Friday, December 5, 2014

Life at home in September and October

We got back to Utah in early September and found ourselves very busy.  One of the things we did take time to do was take the kids to the Ogden temple open house.  It was super fun being with them in the temple.  Before we went inside I told them to ask any question they wanted.  I tried to instill in them a concept that temples and worship services should be viewed as sacred, not secret.  And if they have any questions they can always ask us.  While we walked through they asked several questions and commented on how pretty it was.  I thought the tour went great.  Afterwards we went to dinner and I asked them what they thought or felt while inside the temple.  Ady quickly responded that she was surprised there were bathrooms inside the temple.  Brock followed with, "and so many drinking fountains-I tried everyone of them".  That was true, I think he did try every drinking fountain we saw.
When we were in Minnesota we picked wild raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.  Then when we got home we picked more raspberries from our garden and rhubarb.  Then we set about making jam!  We now have some of the best jam in the whole world.  Some may say we cheated and did freezer jams, but we think they taste great. 
As soon as we got back the kids started playing soccer.  Ady really seemed to enjoy playing soccer, Brock on the other hand seemed too young and usually just played around or danced during games.  In the picture if you look closely you will see he is dancing and making faces.  Both kids seemed to learn things and we had some good discussions about sportsmanship and giving our best efforts.  At the start of the season, Ady was one of the worst players on the field and by the end she was playing quite competitively with the other girls.  We were really pleased with her progress and interest in improving.  Watching her struggle and keep working and gaining confidence made us very proud parents.  Both kids even managed to score a couple of goals during games. 
Also both kids started school-Ady in the second grade and Brock into preschool.  We debated about Brock, he often acts very immature and we weren't sure if he was ready for school.  Part of us thinks that kids should be allowed to play more and enjoy childhood.  But after much discussion we decided to put him into a two days a week class.  At first he seemed to enjoy going, but after a couple of weeks he started grumbling about having to go to school.  About a month into school he and I had a talk about school.

 Brock had just come home from preschool and said he hates school. I'm thinking great, he is only 4 years old and already he hates school! So then Kasey asks him why he hates school.
Brock: "It isn't fun, we don't play on the playground the whole time, sometimes the teacher makes us come in and tries to teach us things."
I'm thinking, wait till you don't get to be on the playground at all. Then I ask him if he likes learning new things. He tells me he doesn't learn anything at school, nothing interesting is taught. I'm completely unsure what to tell him. Literally 5 seconds pass where we just stare at each other and I am completely lost as to what to say.  I want to say something profound and give him a reason to change his stance on education and feeling hopeless as a parent.  I am unable to think of anything to say and then he walks by me to look out the window and says, "hey look the leaves are starting to change colors." I think, well I suppose this conversation is over, I will have to plan for next time so that I have a better response.
Then Brock says, "Dad, do you want to know why the leaves change color?." I say sure. "Dad, leaves have Chlorophyll and that makes them green. But in the winter time, there isn't enough sunlight so the tree pulls all the stuff inside the leaves back inside it's trunk and without the chlorophyll in the leaves they turn yellow or brown and fall off. Then in the spring when it is warm the trunk lets the leaves have the stuff again and they grow new green leaves."
Me: Ummm..... "where did you learn that?"
Brock: "I learned that from my teacher during science time."
Apparently his version of not learning anything and mine are very different.
One of the things that we have put more focus into in our family during the last year is working harder at having one evening a week set aside for the family.  Usually we try to do this on Monday evenings, but sometimes we have to move it.  We have had some really good discussions during these family nights about many things that we hope to teach the kids.  And we have some fun activities together.  One such activity that the kids loved was when we all worked together and spray painted our view of outer space.  The kids are so inquisitive about everything and it was fun to talk and use our imaginations.
In October we of course carved Jack-o-Lanterns with the kids.  We had a couple of pumpkins from our own garden but they weren't huge.  So we used them for other things, and got a couple of large pumpkins from Kasey's brother Brian.  The kids had fun with them. 
The kids did great with the pumpkins and enjoyed having them on our porch.  If you look closely you will see that Brock is wearing a cape.  He regularly dresses up as a super hero.  For Halloween we helped Kasey's mom with her store and then took the kids out trick or treating.  Brian and Jennifer's kids came with us and the cousins had so much fun together.  After getting back Carrissa and Landon had a sleep over and watched movies with us.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

August camping trip

In August we went to Minnesota to help out at the lodge.  August is by far the busiest month and also when we lose the summer help.  Bad combination.  So we loaded up the family and headed to Clearwater.  The kids were so excited to be back at the lodge.  We knew we had missed the place, but really had no idea how much we missed being there.  Along with all the work we managed to squeeze in a 4 day camping trip.  We packed food and gear, and set off on a our family's first overnight canoe camping trip.  We found this detail to be funny.  Here we owned a business that set up canoe trips and our family hadn't been on a trip together.  I've been on tons of trips, and Ady has been on several with me.  But as a family we had never done this together.  But Brock was now old enough to go so off we went.  The weather had been horrible.  Solid rain and cool temperatures for days had dampened our enthusiasm slightly, but we decided to go out anyway. 
Ady was definitely a pro on this trip.  Since she had been on a few trips and Brock hadn't, she thought she was our guide.  She had to tell Brock every little thing to expect.  And give her credit, her experience showed at times.  One day while Kasey and I were setting up our tent we heard this shriek and went running down to the lake.  There was Ady and Brock fishing and Ady had caught a fish.  She was so proud of herself, having set things up on her own and then hooked a fish. 
Even with the less than optimal weather, the kids had a great time.  They loved exploring the woods together and found time to occasionally "perform".  Here they are dancing on a rock together. 
In total we paddled across a dozen lakes and camped at 3 different sites.  The kids favorite lake was one that was covered with lily pads and flowers.  They made me stop paddling to take a picture of one of the flowers. 
During the trip we experienced some interesting weather.   This picture is us waiting for the fog to finish lifting one morning.  It was so thick when we got up that we couldn't even see the island in this picture.  One night we received more than 2 inches of rain.  Seriously, I left a pan out to measure the ran and it was filled to the brim when I checked on it.  We were able to enjoy a fire each evening and for the most part stayed dry.  The last night it started raining right after dinner so Brock and I went out fishing while the girls hung out in the tent.  Brock thought we were nuts to be fishing in the rain.  He was even more surprised when we caught fish.  He couldn't believe the fish would be caught in the rain, because as he put it, "don't they know that if they get caught they will get wet?".  When we got back to camp it was dark but the kids weren't ready to go to sleep.  I had to go out and make sure that the tent was going to stay dry and all the gear was okay.  While I was making some adjustments to the tent I saw a frog.  I caught the frog and was going to show the kids when I had an idea.  I turned on my flashlight and shined it on the frog so that it's shadow was on the tent.  The kids thought it was so cool.  So then I went around and tried to find things to create shadows on the tent wall for them to guess what they were.  The best was when I caught a crawdad.  They were trying to figure out where I found a lobster!  All in all, the trip was a blast and I hope to be able to do another someday.

Monday, November 3, 2014

April 2014-July 2014

I just noticed it has been more than 6 months since our last post.  Since this is our informal family journal I think I should give an update. 

Last spring we decided that we  wouldn't be heading out to Clearwater for the summer.  We were really sad, but our struggling start-up needed our attention more than the lodge did.  We promoted Erik, the outfitting manager at the lodge to GM and trusted that he would do a great job.  He did an awesome job and really seems to enjoy his work/life.  I did work on a massive project in during the spring where I compiled pictures and stories from as far back as 1909 and turned it into a book on the history of the lodge.  I thought it turned out really well and we received many compliments on it from guests who enjoyed reading about the various owners of the lodge and it's unique history.  Kasey worked like crazy again in March and April making shirts and hoodies for the gift shop and then in late April we loaded the truck up and headed out with the kids for a week.  It was super cold still and the lake was frozen solid.  We were all disappointed that we couldn't go out on the water, but we had so much work to do to get things ready and train Erik and his crew. 

After a week of crazy work, we returned to Utah and started working on our garden.  We planted corn, potatoes, strawberries, beets, onions, brocoli, cabbage, pumpkins, squash, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes.  We also had a decent raspberry patch, a pear tree, two apple trees, a peach tree and a sour cherry tree.  Needless to say we were pretty busy trying to figure out how to be gardeners.  The kids loved planting seeds and talking about all the stuff we would eat during the summer and into the fall.  Sadly, we found out we are awful gardeners.    And the late freeze that killed the buds on our fruit trees didn't help. 

I returned to the lodge a few times during the summer to check on things and for a couple of meetings.  Here is a picture I took on one of my trips as I walked down to the lake.
Back in Utah, Kasey was preparing to run a Marathon and a Ragnar race.  In June I went on a road trip through Wyoming, Montana and Idaho where I drove around visiting remote lodges, B&Bs, dude ranches and resorts.  In two weeks I covered 5500 miles and saw some incredible country.  My favorite areas was the area around Glacier National Park and Jackson Hole, WY and Stanley Idaho.
During my trip I stopped occasionally and saw some family, really I was grateful to get a nice meal and a bed.  When I was at my Grandma's house in Northern Idaho I asked my Grandma if she had any jobs that needed to be done while I was there.  I assumed she may need something done on her roof or somewhere hard to get to for an older person.  However, she had a different problem, she had a skunk get stuck in her window well.  She asked me to get it out.  So I built a little ladder and the skunk crawled right out.  She thought I was really smart to think of that.  I just didn't want to get sprayed trying to lift it out. 
In late June Kasey ran the Ragnar with Natalie and Thayne.  She said it was fun.  Didn't look fun to me, but oh well.  The kids had fun going to the finish line to watch her come across. 
I decided somewhere during the summer that I needed a hobby.  So I tried my hand at spray paint art.  I've always wished I had some artistic talent but can't sing or draw to save my life.  So I got on Youtube and started watching recordings of street performers.  Once again I was reminded that I am bad at art.  But after dozens of paintings where the kids asked me what the picture was, even after I told them they couldn't see it, and lots of odd looks from my family I finally started to get things that resembled what I was aiming for.  It may seem weird, but it has been fun and I'm slowly getting better.
We enjoyed being Utah for fourth of July.  It had been a few years since we went and watched fireworks.  Kasey and I decided to go all out and went to the stadium of fire.  We also took the kids and hung out for a couple of days with family and stayed at my cousin Michelle's house.  We really enjoyed barbecuing and playing in her pool.  Then in late July Kasey ran her marathon.  She worked ridiculously hard training for it.  She was so dedicated and did a great job on her big day.  I dropped her off at the starting line really early in the morning and went back to bed.  26 miles, and almost 5 hours later we met her at the finish line.  The kids had made signs with me that morning and they were excited to cheer on their mom.  We were very proud of her hard work and determination to finish.  She was super sore.  Couldn't really walk for several days and she now says she will never do that again.  We will see. 
For almost 10 years now I've heard how awesome the Morgan County Fair is.  Kasey has always wanted to take me to it and since this summer we were in Morgan, we went.  We went to exhibits, we ran a 5k together, we went to the rodeo and of course to my personal favorite-the demolition derby.  Brock thought the crashing cars were awesome.  This one car went right over through the barrier right in front of our seats. 
After the fair we went up to Bear Lake and visited Kasey's Grandpa Haddock.  We went at the same time as Kasey's parents and brother's family.  The kids enjoyed camping in the back yard with their cousins and some of the adventures we went on.  My favorite part was hiking to Bloomington Lake.  It is so pretty up there.  Plus they have one of the best rope swings in the world.  Here is how not to do it.  And yes, I am the jerk laughing at my wife.  In my own defense, I could tell that she wasn't hurt. 

I was going to blog more, but this one is already long, so I will have to do the catch up in parts.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Thumper's Rule

During wrestling season we attended a match at a small high school.  Adam was helping coach and was down on the mat with the team when they had the flag presented.  The kids and I were up in the stand in the visitors section with a few other moms on the team.  The cheerleaders presented the flag, and one of the cheerleaders was noticeably larger than the others.  I didn't think much about it.  A girl with a nice voice sang the national anthem.   All was going great, right up until the girl singing took a small pause to take a breath and a little voice carried over the gym saying "Why is that cheerleader so fat?"
Yes that was Brock.  The entire wrestling team was busting up.  The moms were holding back laughter in the stands.  I couldn't believe that he picked the precise moment that everyone would hear him to ask that question.  When I tried to tell him it was not appropriate to say that, he just asked me "Why Mom, it's true".
Sadly, this is not the first time this kind of thing has happened.  Last summer we were waiting for a seat at a restaurant and a lady came outside who was quite large.  Brock looked right up at her and said, "Wow, You're fat."  My mom happened to be right there and got right after him.  Adam and I just pretended like we didn't know who he was. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Jump Rope Club

Ady has been participating in Jump Rope Club at her elementary school.  We've been pretty glad that she decided to, even though at first she didn't have interest.  She has improved her skills a lot and even though she started out only being able to jump 1 or 2 times, she has now gotten up to the high teens.  Her club performed at the High School Basketball game.  Even though the basketball wasn't really interesting to watch (the score was like 50-10 at half time) the half-time show was awesome. Of course Brock wanted us to sit all the way on the top row so we did. Here is a brief showing.  Ady is on the front row, 4 from the left(just to the left of her instructor).

Monday, March 3, 2014

While we are at it...

Last week Ady learned about swear words starting with A.  This week she learned about swear words starting with S.  The kids have been interested in pirates since going to Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride and since we watched Captain Blood(aka Cousin Carson who had the lead in his Jr High School Play).  So we watched Pirates of the Caribbean with the kids.  We warned them there might be a scary part, but they were sure they could handle it.  We sat down to watch and once in a while the kids would ask if this was the scary part, but we assured them it wasn't.  Then when the part came where the crew of the Black Pearl turns into skeletons in the moonlight, we told them this was scary.  The kids cuddled in closer and held hands tighter, and then after they showed the skeletons for a little bit, Brock announced that this was NOT scary.  Ady didn't think it was scary either.  Funny that these things aren't scary, but they are both too scared to go ask for a drink refill at a restaurant.   
Back to the reason for this post.  Sometimes it is hard to get the kids not to talk during the movies.  We are still working on it.  So at one point in the movie Captain Jack Sparrow says that he is not leaving without his ship.  To which Ady repeated:  " He says he is not leaving without his shit".  Uhhh....Ady he said ship.  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ace Store

Yesterday Ady and I were driving by the Ace Hardware Store in Morgan.  Ady looked at it and told me that she thought that Ace(pronounced a-s-s)store is where her Dad was going to be working because his office key said Ace(again pronounced a-s-s).  I was laughing pretty hard.  Ady has been doing so good at reading and improved so much this school year that she hardly ever makes a mistake.  I was caught a little off guard.  I then felt obligated to inform Ady of the correct way to pronounce Ace, and that the Ace store makes keys for all types of places. Of course then she wanted to know what ass I told her all about it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Valentines Day

Ady has been a bit enamored with Valentines Day.  She wanted to make her box early in the week.  I did have to prod her to look at pinterest, and hear her complain the whole time about looking at other's boxes and not hers.  But we did come up with a princess castle idea from it.  I helped her make a covering of white paper with a door, and Grandma Haddock helped make a couple tower spires to put on the top.  Ady decorated it the rest of the way herself, she had a book of princess stickers and decorations, she even drew some windows and made it look like the princesses were looking out, she also cut out hearts and put them on.
Adam picked up some valentines for her class and Ady put them all together and put her name on all herself. The morning of Valentines she was right up and out of bed, she put all the Valentines in her bag, and even got a special one for her teacher that she had made the day before at the Library Story Hour.  It was a heartbug on a stick.  She also told me that morning that she thought about writing a poem next year for her valentines.  "Roses are red, Violets are blue, and you are so sweet! How do you like it Mom?  I just made it up myself"  I told her it was great!  She ran out the door to get in the carpool for school.(which is very rare to see more than a slow walk, she has informed us that is the way Jesus made her--to walk slow)
She had also been telling us all week long that she really wants a rose for Valentines Day.  The MHS has a fundraiser for the choir and they give a rose, a chocolate and a song to your child.  I signed up to give Ady a rose.  Perfect, right?
All was going well until Ady got home.  She showed me her box with valentines from her class. Then I asked if she got a rose.  She said no.  I said why not.  She then got hysteric talking about how they said Ady, but they said another last name and she didn't think it was her.  After I told her that indeed she should have been called, she was devastated.  She was crying and wanting a rose so bad, and she didn't know to go when they called a mispronounced last name.  Then Brock was jumping on the couch calling "Ady's a baby!" and that did not help.   I emailed the choir director and he wrote back and said they were sorry for the mistake, but the soonest they could get her a rose would be Tuesday.  I tried explaining that mistakes are made and getting a rose on Tuesday would be okay, but Ady just couldn't seem to wait because "today is Valentines Day and I always wanted a rose on Valentines Day."  Next I asked what she would do with it, she said "I would look at it, I just want to look at it and smell it"  This girl is in serious love with flowers.  So after a while of consoling, we got under control, even though she was still devastated.
We were going to meet Adam in SLC, so I called him and we arranged for him to save the day and pick her up a flower.  He had to go to 3 stores to find a place that still had some.  We met in SLC and went to dinner, Adam asked Ady about her day.  She didn't even bring up the rose.  I couldn't believe it.  Not even a word of complaint to him.  Either I am really good at consoling or Ady doesn't care to complain to Dad who has figured out the secret to not having your kids complain to you.  If it is the second reason I guess I need to pay attention to how that happens!
Well, after dinner Adam got the kids Valentines out.  He first off gave Brock a rose and gave Ady a Captain America play figure.  They quickly figured out that Dad was teasing and they changed their gifts and were very good the whole ride to Grandmas house where we stayed for the weekend.  Needless to say, Ady was thrilled with her rose.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Minuscule Happenings

Here are the kids in their Halloween Costumes.  All appropriate for the different personality flavors.  We did the Morgan Business Trick-or-Treat after helping my mom get thru the initial hundreds of kids trying to get a t-shirt at her business.  Brock was done after our third stop--getting a slurpee; Ady was done shortly after that too.  We met some of our neighbors that night as we went around to the neighborhood too-good reason to go out trick-or-treating in a new(old) hometown.  

 We've also been trying to "home improve" and make things our own.  We are excited to have a place that is our own that we can hang a picture up and not report it to the landlord. We are also self-improving as we figure out how to do it ourselves, when we have time...  We did get the wallpaper down in the kids room and painted the upstairs.  The kids were just in the way trying to help take down wallpaper, and while Adam thought it was nice to be working together, I hope we never paint again.  We are glad my parents did a lot of things to improve the house so we don't have to.  One thing is for sure, we won't be building any shelves anytime soon.  We currently have a whole closet just for legos!
 We attended the BYU vs Utah State basketball game at the energy solutions arena.  It's the third year we've gone with Adam's Dad(who cheers for BYU while we root for USU), and this year our brother-in-law, Sam joined us.  BYU won again.  Good thing we weren't this bad of luck when we attended USU, it wouldn't have been nearly as fun to attend the games.   Maybe next year!  Go Aggies!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2013 Disney Vacation

In October, after all the busyness of the Clearwater summer season, we finally drove away and 3 days later we were in Utah.  We moved into our house (by the way, we bought a house in Morgan, Utah--it is my parents old house and we are very happy that we won't be moving out in the spring and will be coming back to the same house after the next summer in Minnesota).  I finally talked Adam into using our sky miles rather than driving to California after having just driven to Utah, so we headed off on vacation to meet up with most of Adam's family this time.  We decided not to tell the kids where we were going.  We did a pretty good job of not telling the kids, and most everyone else did too.  A couple close calls, but I don't think they picked up on anything.
Here is the video of how the surprise went.  I guess we thought they would react a little more, but at least they were happy.   At least until we actually went to Disneyland Brock was happy, then he decided after just one ride that he wanted to go back to the hotel.  I guess we should get a less appealing motel next time, because the whole time all Brock wanted to do was go home or back to the hotel to play legos and swim in the pool.  He even liked some rides and would say so, but when asked if he wanted to go again he would just say no.  I hope it is just a phase he gets over since this family is pretty keen on Disney trips.

Ady, on the other hand, made our vacation planning and saving for feel much more worth it.  She loved going on rides, waving at all the characters in the parades, and wearing her Rapunzel dress pretty much everyday so that she could be called a Princess wherever she went.  We went to a Character Breakfast with the Princesses. "It was always my dream to meet a real princess" she says.   Here are a few pictures from our trip:
Character meets:  Brock was pretty shy, but he was mostly shy of the pretty girls.  Ady just loved meeting all her favorite Movie Stars!
 Grandma's Wild Ride was with Ady, not Toad.
Here is Grandpa with all the grandkids on Jungle Cruise.

 We had Breakfast with the Princesses.  We are glad we did, it was one of Ady's favorite things and Brock was pretty funny too with so many pretty princesses.  And the food was pretty good too.

 Ady was selected to Jedi Training with her cousin Tyson.  She did awesome fighting Darth Maul!

 The new Cars Town was awesome and the new Cars ride was probably our favorite (along with toy story mania), too bad it had such long lines, we only went a couple times.   The other rides are fun too.  Even Mater and Lighting McQueen made special appearances.

 This is Adam and me right before sunset at the California Adventure Park.   We are really glad that we could go with family and that they even let us go on some rides without the kids.
Brock did love the Iron Man Exhibit.  He was pretty serious about trying on Iron Man's suit and shooting with his hands.  Did I mention he wore his Iron Man Costume pretty much the whole time.  We couldn't pry the kids Costumes off them.  Oh well, we were on vacation doing what we want, right?

Ady loved the parades and seeing all the characters, good thing Aunt Whitney was there to wave and be excited with her and Oakley since Adam and I, well, let's just say that we don't mind watching college kids in costumes wave at us, we just really like the rides more.

 Here's Brock in his usual face!  He probably had just told us for the hundredth time he wanted to go back to the hotel!  I really hope next time we go that he will like Disney enough to want to stay there.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A New Bear Story

Adam has had a "bear story" since I met him.  It was about when he was 18 and a bear hunting guide, and has always been entertaining.  But this summer, he got a new bear story, where he was the actual shooter.  He, of course, tells it better in person than I tell it.  But here is the gist of the story.  

 So over the months of July and August we started getting reports that there was a bear on Caribou Lake (one portage to the east of Clearwater Lake where our resort sits) and at the end of Clearwater Lake.  When you go camping, you are supposed to hang your food in a pack in a tree so the bear can't reach it.  Seems like a few people were too lazy and there were some people (no one who outfitted with us) who came out of the woods that had their food eaten by a bear.  It kept going on and the bear became less and less scared by humans, and more into getting food.  It even rolled one bear barrel off.  Many people couldn't scare it away from their campsite.  
One day the head of law enforcement in Superior National Forest stopped by.  They had been out looking to see if these "reports" were accurate.   They told Adam that they were out hiking and looking for the bear, and when they got back to their boat, the bear had found them.  It was in their boat, eating their Subway sandwiches.  The would have removed (shot it) it, but there were some hikers who just came out of the woods, and they didn't want to do it while they were there.  So they left after the bear left, and stopped by our lodge on the way out.  We offered them some lunch sandwiches, which they gladly accepted and said it was the DNR's job to handle it, and they would recommend that it be taken care of.  
The next day a man went missing on the Gunflint Trail and all the crews were tied up with that and taking care of the bear got put on the back burner. I also will mention here that at some point a bear got into our laundry room one night and ate all our decon.  For about a week after that we didn't hear any more stories for a while.  We thought maybe the rat poison did the job.  But alas, the reports started coming in again, and we figured either the bear got over being sick, or there was more than 1 bear, or decon just doesn't do anything to bears.  
Well, finally the Forest Service called one morning and said they were closing all the campsites on Caribou Lake, and they were headed in with motors and possibly the "Beaver Aircraft" to solve the problem.  They came in for 3 days.  The campsites were closed and they couldn't find the bear. So they deemed there was no bear activity and opened the campsites again. 
Then one morning, a particularly busy morning for outfitting, we woke up and came downstairs and there was a huge mess out side in the parking lot and on the outfitting building porch.  We do a trash run every night after dinner so all our garbage's are empty when bears come at night, but a group had a late night campfire and carelessly dumped their trash into the outfitting porch trash can.  Upon finding the trash can, it found the door to the outfitting building was not shut tight, and it came in, busted the door to the food room and got into some stuff like the marshmallows, candy, and coffee single packs, and busted some shelves.  Fortunately it didn't get into the packed food(other than the smores stuff) for the 3 groups we had going out in the morning, and it didn't go in further than half way into the room.  It was a mess to clean up, but it could have been much worse.  
That day the bear came back in the daylight.  We heard Mike (one of our staff) yelling from the laundry room.  We went up and the bear was in the laundry room with him.  When we got it out, it was hanging outside of the food room.  It wasn't scared of us.  Adam only has a .22 gun so he went and got it and got up on the roof of the outfitting building, and tried shooting a nearby tree to scare the bear away.  It ran into the woods.  We figured it would be back since it had found the mother load.  We were right. 
A few hours later, I was checking a group of women into the bunkhouse and when we got there there was a mess of garbage on the porch and one of the screens in the doors broken down.  The ladies promptly asked if there was a room in the lodge, to which I said yes.  I came back to tell Adam that the bear had gotten in the bunkhouse and into the garbage's there.  He had been out asking neighbors to borrow a "real gun"  Way too many of our neighbors had a gun, but no shells.  We finally found some ammunition, and Adam went out to wait for the bear to come back again.  We didn't really want to shoot the bear, but we decided it was enough when it started getting into buildings where people sleep.  Of course it didn't come this time, and Adam came back to eat dinner and we had church that night in a cabin.  After church we came back and one of Erik's dogs started barking, so Adam took the gun and went back to the bunkhouses.  Mike was up there and pointed the bear out.  He found the bear trying to get into an unused staff unit.  Adam knelt down and took a shot with Mike behind him.  The bear turned and ran straight at him. Mike ran in a serpentine fashion to the showerhouse and Adam shot again as he was backing up.  The bear took into the woods and died somewhere.  Adam figures he would have had 2 more shots before it got to him.  (didn't he think, what if i miss?)   My brother, Brian who was up working with us, found the bear later, and there was a shot just above the collar bone and his paw.  We figure the first went in and punctured his lung.  So after we finished work for the night and all the check-ins, we took the kids back to the bear to show them.  It was a medium size black bear that was probably 250 lbs.  They thought it was pretty cool.  Brock didn't  stop asking us to tell him the bear story for weeks.
We called the DNR Conservation officer the next morning.  They asked if it was in our freezer, we said no...we didn't know the protocol and didn't want to have a legal issue with shooting a nuisance bear.  It had been hot and had gone bad at this point and they came and got it and took it away.  They said next time to dress it, and take care of it, but just call them to let them know.  We have also had quite a few forest rangers say thank-you for taking care of the bear, and they haven't had to fill out a report or had a problem since.  
Well that is the story, I'm sure Adam will be happy to make it better in person if you ever ask him.

PS.  We will be using all our Cabela's points we have saved up to buy a "real gun" with real bullets, so if anyone wants to go gun shopping let Adam know. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Summer 2013

Our Minnesota spring/summer/fall was a great one.  Lots of things happened.  Time just seems to blow by, so here are the top 10 things in no particular order from this year in Minnesota:

1.  Ady caught her first big fish. Adam took me, Ady and my cousin Cameron paddling on Caribou Lake in the spring when the small mouth bass were spawning.   We all caught big fish that day.  Ady caught a couple fish and ate all the treats and declared herself bored.  Well, Adam could have gone hours more, but we told Ady if we caught 3 more fish we could go home.   Well, she sat right up and put her pole back in the water and viola!  She caught a huge 4 pound plus smallmouth bass all by herself.

2.  Adam shot a bear.  Not by choice.  This was a problem bear, and the Forest Service, DNR, and Cook County police Dept thanked him. It's a longer story than that, but I'll post that later.

3.  This summer's northern lights were spectacular!

4.  The Haddock's all came out and had a wonderful family reunion.  Everyone was able to come except Blake who was stationed in Bahrain.  We fished, saw waterfalls and even saw a moose, relaxed, went to the lighthouse on Lake Superior, canoed, camped, completed a puzzle, had campfires with marshmallows, geocached, hiked to bluffs with beautiful lookouts, played with cousins and we wore ourselves out!  Thanks to everyone for making the long trip to enjoy the beauties of northern Minnesota!

5. One of our very kind neighbors who live on the lake gave the lodge a hand-carved wooden totem-pole to replace the existing one that was falling apart.  This was a big surprise and a very nice gift that took a lot of talent and must have taken a lot of time.  We had an unveiling ceremony to which many friends and neighbors came and we had a very enjoyable evening.

6.  Adam spoke at the Wooden Boat Show.  He was invited to be a guest speaker and talk about the lodge and it's history and how it impacted the Gunflint Trail and surrounding area.  We both snuck away from the lodge and I teased Adam on the drive in to Grand Marais asking how many people he thought would come.  He said he'd be pretty happy if 15-20 or so people came.  I thought he was being optimistic, but I was wrong.  It was standing room only.  Adam had several people crying during his talk, and several people after came and thanked him since it was so good.  People came up all summer and mentioned they'd heard him speak at the Wooden Boat Show.

7.  We hiked all over in the Fall!  We went on the Centennial Trail, to Deer Lake and to Gogebic Lake.  We went as a family in Sept when things finally calmed down enough for us to slip away a couple of afternoons.  Deer lake and Gogebic lakes are one portage from Clearwater and the leaves were turning.  It made for some great fall photography.  The Centeniall Trail is further up the Gunflint trail and is an old abandoned mining place which used to have a railroad grade.  It was a beautiful hike as well.  Plus we found loads of blueberries that day and Brock did his impersonation of being a black bear eating blueberries right off the bush.

8.  We achieved being ranked #1 on Trip Advisor and we have over 100 5-star reviews. Anyone in the hospitality field knows how hard this can be.

9.  There was a lost hiker.  A mom had flagged a boat down to bring her in and ask for help to find her son.  Jack, one of our seasonal staff, and Adam took off with some water and snacks and started running the trails to see if the boy was to be found.  Jack finally found him and met up with the rest of the party.  It was a big relief.

10.  We took a small vacation at the end of the season to Lutsen.  Our outfitting manger was getting married at the lodge and offered us to leave and stay at Lutsen Resort and go ride the Alpine Slide.  We had a good time staying on Lake Superior, riding the alpine slide and gondola, swimming at the lodge, and playing disc golf and 3-par golf at the resort, and of course eating at the the nice restaurant on site.   It was a much needed break and getaway.