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Phone: (218)663-7150
Fax: (218)663-7980
Mail: 4620 Sawbill Trail
Box 2129
Tofte, MN 55615

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: May 2006
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « April 2006 | June 2006 »

5/31/06 - It felt as though we'd won the lottery when the Anderson-Hermann-mobile rolled in with Kari driving and Johnny, Kari's brother and our newest employee, riding shotgun. The van needed only $1000 of work (compliments of daddy) on it before it could brave the Sawbill Trail. They are both thrilled to be here but not quite as thrilled as we are to have them.

Kari's back and already packing food trips in our food department already for the upcoming week.

Johnny will be a sophomore at St. Olaf this coming year. He plays on their ultimate Frisbee team; we're hoping he'll teach us to properly "huck a 'bee."

5/29/06 - Memorial day weekend could have been crazy for Sawbill after an unexpected change of plan. Fortunately for us, we have amazing former crew members who donated their weekend to pick up the slack. Thanks Jeff, Laura and Cory C. for saving our butts!

Jeff and Laura took the weekend off from their busy lives in Minneapolis. They are looking forward to their August wedding.

Recent Cook County High School graduate Cory Cochrane finishes cooking and cleaning up brunch. She'll soon be leaving on a month long paddling trip to Canada.

5/26/06 - Our very own brewmeister Patrick Nash has arrived at Sawbill for good! That means more good beer for us and brings the full-time employee count to seven, making our holiday weekend much more pleasant. -Lida


Nash bonds with Homer and Izzy after a hard day at work


Nash, initially quite skeptical of Sawbill's new small dog, seems to be Izzy's biggest fan

5/23/06 - Former Sawbill crewmember, John (OB) Oberholtzer, has been in correspondance with Wilson Arbogust. Wilson, along with his family, constructed Sawbill Lodge (our former neighbor) in 1933. His memories of that experience are vivid and accurate. OB inqired about where the trees were cut for the massive log lodge (now reconstructed at Solbakken Resort in Lutsen, Minnesota). Wilson sent a detailed map and a wonderful letter. Here are some excerpts:

Tony Logar and I saw-cut close to 500 Jack Pine trees in Sept. 1933. At this point, the cost of each tree was 50 cents. Each tree was cut close to the ground as possible using a two-man saw. No power saws were then available (of course).

Each tree was felled to fall away from the lake. This made dragging easier. The forest in some areas was quite dense so we tried hard to avoid hang-ups. But one, two or three hang-ups a day were sure to happen! Then one of us (usually Tony) would climb the slanted tree and chop to free the tangled branches. Then rode the tree as it crashed to the ground.

Every tree had to be cut no nearer than 50 feet from the water, a rule of the Forest Service. After grounding, each tree had to be "swamped out". Tha was our term for carefully cutting off the limbs as we manufactured logs.

As we sawed each tree, before it crashed, we anticipated its fall and, at just the proper moment we each would shout the warning "FIRE"!! to warn one another of the danger. What a laugh. The only other people within 40 or 45 miles were Mr. and Mrs. George E. Arbogust (George - my Dad - and Jean - my step mother) and the men at the Sawbill CCC Camp about six miles south of "our" Sawbill Lake.

So... now it is late Sept. and a few hundred logs are scattered about. So... we figured we had about a month to get these logs to the lodge site before the freeze up. Dad found the help we needed in Duluth. The two men, plus Tony and me, had to drag each log to the water (we could not find available horses). Dad would bind them in single file and tow them to the lake's south end, about five miles, using a small Johnson outboard. The two helpers found the work too difficult so they quit and were replaced (by Dad).

Tony and I were steady on the job. We "lived" in an 8' x 8' umbrella type tent. The front flap of the tent could not be closed. I recall shaking snow off my sox as I started dressing up in the morning. Tony insisted on wearing p.j.s every night!! (Not me. I seldom removed my heavy clothes.) I was the chef! Our most staple foods were white and/or yellow corn meal on a tin plate using canned milk and sugar!

Because winter "hit" us so swiftly we had to abandon quite a few logs. You may discover their rotting presence along with very short stumps. But keep in mind that this wonderful adventure happened 73 years ago. I was age 20, Tony was 18.

Sincerely, Wilson Arbogust

John "OB" Oberholtzer, amateur archeologist, with a 73 year old jack pine stump on the north end of Sawbill Lake.

Every stump we found was just a few feet further than 50' from the water's edge.

We also discovered this interesting beaver chewed log. The beaver almost finished making this birch log into several pieces and then gave up. What story lies behind this scene?

5/20/06 - On Wednesday, Mary Alice, Frank and I attended the 18th Annual Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards ceremony in Duluth where Mary Alice's book Sawbill: History and Tales was nominated as a book that best represents northeastern Minnesota's history, heritage, culture and lifestyle for books published in 2005. It's a great honor to be considered for such a prestigious award and we're very proud of Mary Alice for her outstanding accomplishment. - Lida

Mary Alice holding her certificate for her outstanding book.

Mary Alice and Lida womanning the display table.

Hey Izzy, could you mark me down for a pop?

5/18/06 - Happy Birthday Cindy! This week, despite our suddenly very busy schedule, we have been doing our best to celebrate Cindy's birthday. The festivities began Tuesday evening with a night out in Grand Marais and continued with a surprise lunch the following day. Tonight we continued the celebration with the most delicious cake and we anticipate a very necessary swim/sauna this evening. We love birthdays! - Lida

The fourth and final of Cindy's birthday cakes (we think).

New dishes and spring flowers couldn't have been a better combination for the birthday lunch.

5/16/06 - Last night was the perfect evening for a paddle. The water was like glass, the temperature was warm and the air was bug free. The north end of Sawbill Lake was void of the vaguely familiar sounds of canoeists and the smell of burning campfires. I don't know about you but I'm ready for a canoe trip! - Lida

Heading north on Sawbill Lake.

Just another gorgeous sunset.

5/14/06 - Saturday night The Splinters, starring Bill Hansen on lead guitar, descended upon the Art Colony in Grand Marais and proceeded to rock the energetic crowd long past their 11 p.m. curfew. Rolling Stone described the performance as "inspired" and said that Bill played with his guts. It was also Clare's first night back from college in Duluth in addition to a well-earned night on the town for the hard-working early season crew. After hitting the town hot spots (darts and 'refreshments' at the Tavern and pizza at Sven's) we worked up a sweat dancing the night away to the likes of Funky Ceili and other Splinters favorites. Thanks for a rockin' good time Bill!

Bill rocks out with his band.

The Splinters' groupies are all fired up after the show.

Here is a nice photo of Cindy, Clare and Kathy.

Hard core death metal punks!!!

5/13/06 - It has been another fabulous weekend for the fishing opener. This weekend only the most ambitious anglers were willing to bear the wintry mix of rain, sleet and even snow for the chance to catch their prized fish. So far we have received few reports of big catches, although the high number of unclaimed permits may account for the high number of unclaimed fish in surrounding lakes. - Lida

Two orange-clad fishing swamis had luck right on par with the weather at Sawbill Lake.

Sawbill crew member Alison Behm sells fellow crew member Corey Belt an out-of-state fishing license.

5/11/06 - Congratulations to Carl Hansen! Wednesday evening he was officially accepted to study abroad in Norway for his Junior year beginning this fall. He will be living with a Norwegian speaking family who will hopefully take pity on a sweet little Swede from northern Minnesota who speaks fluent English, very little Spanish and absolutely no Norwegian. Uff-da. -Lida

Carl at his most recent band performance--see next month's issue of Rolling Stone.

5/8/06 - Bill Walsh sent along a photo he took last week. It is an early morning view from the Sawbill Lake canoe landing. Thanks Bill.


5/5/06 -
Carl and Clare Hansen help their dad celebrate his birthday.

Happy Birthday to Bill! Yesterday Bill Hansen celebrated his 53rd birthday Cinco de Mayo style. While Bill inhaled his 16 oz. birthday steak, the rest of us feasted on steak fajitas and margaritas. Our favorite beer-brewing employee, Patrick Nash came for the celebration. He also lent a big trash and recycling hand and most importantly prepared "Nana Beans." - Lida

Senor Carlos holds his padre's Cinco de Mayo sombrero cake while proving that at least one Hansen male can grow facial hair.

Sawbill crewmember Pat Nash whips up his famous "Nana Beans" recipe.

5/5/06 - It is alway fun to wake up to a fresh snowfall at this time of year. Every twig and needle was coated with white, producing an instant fairyland. It even smelled like early winter. Happily, the winds switched to the southwest, the sun came out, and the snow was gone in a twinkling.

Snow covered canoes are not a good advertisement for spring wilderness travel, but soon after this picture was taken, the snow was gone and the sun shining brightly.

These small piles of snow are the last trace of the winter snow pack here at Sawbill.

5/2/06 - On the way to town today I saw the most pregnant cow moose I've ever seen. She must be carrying twins. She had a look on her face that said "Oooooh, my hooves are killing me!" She actually was having trouble walking because her hips and pelvis were coming unhinged. I would guess that she delivered today. - Bill

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