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Don't I look cold in this picture? That cold look on my face is actually pure acting-- I was overheating in that big blue parka.
Last year on Christmas eve at Sawbill the temperature got down to 24 degrees below zero. This year on that same date the low temperature was 33 degrees above zero. In fact, the highs have been above freezing just about every day this week. You know you're a true Minnesotan when you hear yourself declare "It's hot outside!" when the thermometer hits 30 degrees farenheight. All the information in the Weather History of this Website is courtesy of Frank Hansen, who keeps meticulous records of the daily weather at Sawbill going back years and years. On this website alone we have records going back to May, 1997. This weather history makes for a valuable trip-planning tool: if you're thinking about coming up to Sawbill for a canoe trip over the Fourth of July next year and you're not sure what kind of clothes to pack, you can look up what the weather has been like on the Fourth over the past nine years and make your plans accordingly. Of course, as the warm spell we're currently experiencing illustrates, temperatures and conditions can vary wildly from year to year.
The Sawbill Trail seen from the inside of a moving vehicle
These recent melting and refreezing temperatures combined with somewhat erratic plowing have made the Sawbill Trail icy and slippery. I won't name names in order to preserve the dignity of the affected parties, but let's just say there has been more than one car pulled out of the ditch over the last few days. No cars, people or wildlife were injured in these recent incidents-- I only mention it as a warning to anyone who might be planning to drive up to Sawbill for a visit in the next few days. Drive slowly and carefully! At least one moose has also been spotted ambling along the road near Sawbill, so keep alert for wildlife too.
Thanks to everyone who emailed about the previous newsletter entry. I'll try to oblige any requests for specific information or photos over the next couple of days. If there's something you want to see, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. -Ruthie
Bill, Carl, Clare and Homer Hansen snowshoe across Sawbill Lake in a single file line.
Ruthie here with an update on everything that's been going on at Sawbill since I arrived here from college in Chicago on Christmas eve: The whole Hansen family gathered together to celebrate Christmas, with the notable exception of Adam, who is spending his winter break from law school traveling in Europe with Sawbill crew member Lida Storch. The traditional Hansen Christmas celebration entails hills of delicious food rivaled in size only by the mountains of gifts piled up under the tree. Any time not spent eating and opening presents is spent enjoying unique winter pastimes: snowshoeing, skiing (both downhill and cross-country), snowboarding (Clare, Carl and Bill shred up the hill at Lutsen on a regular basis), ice fishing (traditionally we catch no fish, and this year has been no exception), saunaing (followed by rolling in the snow if you're brave, like Bill), and driving golf balls onto the lake and then hunting for them in the snow. Summertime visitors to Sawbill frequently ask what it is we do up here all winter long-- so now you know! There's some work to do, too, but not at Christmastime.
Carl, Ruthie, Clare and Homer Hansen pose near the Sawbill Creek. Ignore the goofy look on Homer's face.
Now that Christmas has passed, we're looking forward to New Year's Eve. A number of Sawbill crew members past and present will be traveling to Sawbill to celebrate a very snowy New Years Eve at Sawbill. I promise to take lots of pictures and keep the newsletter well updated with every turn of events over the next week. My dad says that too many pictures of the snow and the Golden Retrievers gets repetitive, but I know that as a frequent Sawbill Newsletter reader how much I enjoy seeing pictures of the dogs and the lake and the trees and the snow. I guess by living here full-time one gets accustomed to the astonishing beauty that surrounds us here at Sawbill. Now that I live in Chicago most of the time, I'm thrilled to run around outside and investigate every icicle, pine needle and animal track. What an incredible, cold, snow-covered world.
12/21/05 - Yesterday, I came across two bull moose about two miles south of Sawbill when I was driving back from town. They were good sized bulls with big racks, but one had lost one antler already. It looks terribly uncomfortable to have only one heavy antler hanging on the side of one's head. It must make for a stiff neck for a few days.
Someone camped on the parking lot last night in a large canvas tent with a wood stove. Before I could investigate this morning, or even snap a picture, they had packed up and left.
On Carl's second trip home from school as a newly licensed driver, he went in the ditch and had to call home for dad, a pickup truck, and a chain. His sister Clare went in the ditch on her very first trip to school, so Carl figures he is twice as good a driver as Clare. Actually, Carl got sucked in by a sub-par snow plowing job as he was pulling over and slowing down in response to something he saw on the road ahead. He didn't get a good look, but based on the tracks, it looks like it was a large pack of wolves. Not the kind of hazards that new drivers normally face. - Bill
12/16/05 - We had a ton of snow over the last 36 hours.
This is the picnic table in front of the Sawbill store this morning. Picnic anyone?
Carl made his first trip to school this morning as a duly licensed driver in the State of Minnesota. Dave Freeman was visiting last night and caught a ride into town with Carl.
Carl exudes confidence in the pilot's seat while passenger Dave seems slightly nervous.
12/15/05 - We are very pleased to announce the marriage engagement of Sawbill crewmember Alison Behm to Pat Bents. They are planning a summer '07 wedding. Alison assures us that she will schedule it for a quiet time so her Sawbill extended family can attend. Based on the picture below, you can see what Pat sees in her!
12/13/05 - Carl Hansen passed his drivers license test just moments ago. He is planning to "cruise the point" (the equivalent of "dragging main" for Grand Marais) with his friends after ski practice today.
We hit -12 last night for the coldest night so far this season.
We cut our Christmas tree today. It is a minor expedition that is filled with family traditions - large and small. They include letting the dog(s) ride in the back seat, intense negotiations over which tree to choose, the actual cutting by the children, and locking mom out of the car for a short time on the return trip.
Clare, Carl and Homer are packed into the backseat of the pickup on the way to go tree hunting. Our other retriever, Sunnie, is too old to jump into the truck, so she guarded the kitchen rug while we were gone.
Clare and Carl fell the mighty spruce.
The finished product fills the living room with holiday cheer.
Carl Hansen, currently the youngest Sawbill crew member, turned 16 today. He is taking his driver's license test in four days. His driving ability will mean a new world for his parents, as he can start driving himself the 55 mile one way trip to school!
Carl admires the sixteen candles on his necktie shaped cake. Carl and his friends wear neckties and sport coats to school every Wednesday. (Where did we go wrong as parents?)
Homer and Carl can barely suppress their excitement about Clare's gift of a honey dipper and miniature whisk from the Blue Heron gourmet cooking store in Duluth where Clare works part time. These were Carl's favorite items in the store when he visited Clare at work.
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