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Box 2129
Tofte, MN 55615

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: December 2010
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « November 2010 | January 2011 »

12/30/10 - Following a long standing Sawbill tradition, current and former crew are returning to help celebrate the new year. After numerous card games, puzzles and conversation, the early arrivals adjourned to the canoe landing to create some Sawbill themed snow sculptures.

Happy New Year to all our Sawbill friends! - Bill and the extended Hansen family.

(l to r) Craig Hill, Caitlin Coomes, Carl Hansen, Dos the Voyageur (Uno's cousin), Clare Hansen, Liz Foot, Luke Opel.

Homer (Moon) Hansen

Sawbill Sculpture Garden

12/27/10 - Four Hansens and three dogs traveled the first Kelso Loop of the winter season yesterday. It was a good ski for everyone except Homer the Retriever who hasn't moved from his bed since we finished 18 hours ago.

Cindy and Clare at the Sawbill Lake canoe landing.

The Sawbill side of the Kelso/Sawbill portage.

Taking a breather at the mouth of the Kelso River.

Adam and Clare at the end of the ski.

12/26/10 - We had our own minor miracle here at Sawbill on Christmas eve. At lunchtime, a beautiful fox appeared under our bird feeder just a few feet from our dining room table. It could clearly see us and hear us but was completely unconcerned. It casually ate seeds spilled around the feeder and occasionally hunted for mice under the snow.

From time to time, we get a friendly fox around the property or out in the BWCA Wilderness. Years ago, a fox strolled into our campsite on Mora Lake and sat down between the two of us, facing the fire, joining us in our contemplation of the fire. Gradually, we resumed normal conversation and the fox just sat, so close we could have touched it easily, glancing at us from time to time and completely unafraid. After half an hour or so, it calmly got up and walked away.

Our Christmas fox hung around until well after dark. To our great surprise he was joined by another fox in the late afternoon. While the smaller female patrolled the feeders, the larger male curled up on the ski trail and took a nap! In the morning, they were gone and have not returned since. - Bill

Mr. Fox peers at us through the living room window.

Under the bird feeder.

Mr. Fox curls up for a nap on the ski trail just a few feet from the house.

12/20/10 - 1" of snow overnight and it is still snowing. I'm measuring 13" on the ground right now. It is very high quality snow, so skiing and snow shoeing are fabulous. - Bill

12/13/10 - Occasionally, during the brief moments between hauling wood, stoking the fire, shoveling the decks, sweeping the solar panels, etc. I find myself wondering; is this really all we do in the winter??
The answer, thankfully, is no.

tday 12_13_10.jpg
Amy and Dave Freeman, Jessa and Eric Frost, Sue and John Davies all helped us celebrate a belated Thanksgiving.

book club 12_13_10.jpg
Cindy's book club braved the arctic conditions for another festive party.

Woodpecker 12_13_10.jpg
In addition to the albino chickadee, this pileated woodpecker has been a regular visitor.

Lake 12_13_10.jpg
It turns out that the recent subzero temperatures have been helpful! The slush on the lake is almost completely frozen through, making lake travel much easier and more enjoyable for people and dogs.

Between all the celebrating, cooking, laughing, skiing, etc. I find myself wondering; uh oh, did we remember to stoke the fire?? -Clare

12/9/10 - Garrison Keillor says of Lake Wobegon "The women are strong, the men are good looking, and the children above average." Well, here at Sawbill the women are strong, the men are in Africa, and the only kids who are above average are the ones who get plowed out in time for school.

Strong Women 12_9_10.jpg
Speaking of strong women and plowing.... Clare and Cindy showing off their array of snow management tools.

Campground Show 12_9_10.JPG
We use the snowmobile to set a classic cross country ski track through the campground.

Workshop Curl 12_9_10.jpg
This curl of roof snow is on our workshop. Many of the roofs here are sporting these whimsical waves.

In other news, it is Carl Hansen's birthday today! The youngest Hansen sibling is finally 21. He'll be celebrating by "finishing off finals" out in Missoula, MT. -Clare

12/8/10 - We got the solar pumping system working at the new fish pond business that Adam is setting up with four friends in a very rural part of Kenya. We are staying on a subsistence farm with no electricity or running water. We've been walking a two mile path to the work site every day. It is pretty much done now, so after double checking on it tomorrow, we're off to Uganda for some white water rafting on the Nile. It's a little bit of a busman's holiday for me. - Bill

We jerry rigged the solar panels and the pump to see how it would work.

The owners and work crew admire their handiwork. In a week or so, it will be ready for fish and in six months the profits will roll in (knock on wood). Quite a few curious neighbors showed up too. These fish farms are pretty common in Kenya, but this is the first in this area.

12/4/10 - Things are slow paced at Sawbill this time of year, so I've journeyed to Kenya to join my son Adam for a little travel adventure. I've been in Nairobi for a couple of days playing tourist and enjoying the warm hospitality of Joyce and Bonnie Mulinge.

Making new friends at the Giraffe Center.

Adam is helping some friends start a fish farming business up by the Ugandan border. We're heading up there today with solar panels, a heavy duty pump and 17 - 18' lengths of 2" irrigation pipe. All this along with our camping gear and a guitar will be going on top of a local bus for an 18 hour overnight trip. I'll post some better, non-tourist pictures the next time I have internet access. - Bill

Current Sawbill Newsletter | « November 2010 | January 2011 »

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