Archive for December, 2008

Snowshoeing on Vermilion

It was an amazingly sunny day out today.  This afternoon I donned Jim’s mukluks and snowshoes and Erin and I headed out across the lake.  The snow was crunchy on top sounding like glass shattering on each step.  We got a little ways from the house and looked back to see our tracks in the snow.  This is one of my favorite things about snowshoeing.  You can really see your progress with just a glance over your shoulder.


We continued down the lake towards Black Bay.  We weren’t planning on going all the way there.  We really didn’t have a goal in mind, but were kinda thinking about checking out a trail called “Slim Chance” which we usually get to by boat in the summer and fall.  On our way It was fun to see the relatively untouched snow covering the lake in front of us.


We continued down the lake enjoying the frosted trees everywhere and the snow covered docks.  Its kinda nice here in the winter it gives you the feeling that you are the only ones on the lake.  Most of the houses are summer use only.


We did make our way out to Slim Chance and hopped onto the trail.  Erin snapped this photo of me heading up the trail.  It was a little up hill, but the snowshoes did their job of keeping us on top of the snow.


We continued down the trail stepping over fallen trees and actually crawling under one.  Erin got a little tripped up stepping over one.  The cool thing is it doesn’t even look like she fell, it looks more like she is posing for a photo in the snow.



Along the trail there was a tree with a huge shelf fungus stuck to its side.  I’ve seen a lot of these, but not many this big.  I didn’t touch it, but if you do touch the bottom with your bare fingers it will stain the fungus where ever you touch it.  You can essentially write on them with just a finger.


Once we were on the trail it was really cool to look up through the trees above watching the blue sky shine through.  It really is a very different atmosphere between summer and winter.


After a little hike up the trail we headed back home before we were too sweaty and cold.  The hike back went just fine.  There were a few spots where we sunk through the top layer of snow into the slush below.  We were quick to hop a head and attempt to soak up the remaining water with dry snow.


We came home to a warm fire in the wood stove.  The mukluks performed greatly, but they are a bit small for me.  I might run over to Ely and pick up a pair for myself.  I love my bunny boots, but they are a bit heavy for long hiking trips.  The mukluks are nice, light, and warm.  You can check them out at

I am hoping to head out to Hegman Lake this week.  Hegman is where the painted rocks are that we did for one of our first BWCACAST shows.  I am hoping to basically shoot it again, but this time in the winter.  It is supposed to be sunny on Wednesday.  That’s the proposed day for the trip.

I am also thinking about driving up to Atikokan Ontario this week to shoot a show for bwcacast on the Souris River Canoe.  They make very nice canoes and its a very small business.  I think it’d be fun to show a behind the scene look on how their boats are made.

No Ice Rink :(

My hopes and dreams of clearing off a skating rink over Christmas break came to a slushy sloppy stop.  You see after it snowed a couple weeks ago and Jesse and I tried to clear off some of it, the weight of the snow on the ice caused water to be pushed up through the ice and flood the surface.  This mixed with the first 6 inches of snow making a layer of slush above the ice and below a blanket of snow.  It seems the snow on top is keeping the slush from freezing.  The area that Jesse and I had cleared off did freeze up.  The bummer deal now is that there is too much slush to remove with anything short of a big plow.  Which we don’t really have a way to get down on the ice, and even if we did I don’t know if I’d want to be driving a big plow around on the ice.

So with out our nice little rink in front of the house, Erin and I headed in to Cook to try out the rink they have in town.  We weren’t there but 5 minutes when a few kids showed up.  Half of the rink had some pretty choppy ice while the other half was managable.  I had brought a puck with and I was letting the kids play with it.  I’d skate in every once and a while to play a little defense on them.  One time in the choppy end I was skating backwards and my skates punched through a little bit sending me over backwards onto the ice.


Erin was johny on the spot with the camera.  I have been giving her a hard time about taking photos of my blunders instead of my figure skater-like skills I normally display out on the ice.

It was fun to skate around.  I would enjoy some time passing the puck around with some bigger kids that actaully wan’t to play with me.  These kids ended up stealing my puck.  🙁


Half way there…

Yesterday a new pipe was installed between Jim’s house and ours.  This new pipe would bring the ever precious clear liquid used to not only replenish ourselves, but our poor dehydrated Christmas tree.  Unfortunately even though the line was good to go coming into the house, since the pipes under the house hadn’t been used in a week they had all frozen solid.  🙁

Last night I worked at the Virginia High School Hockey game against Princeton.  The final score was 9 – 3 with a Blue Devil win (Virginia).  I was in charge of taking tickets at the door.  Erin gave me a call to let me know that the pipe had been installed, but we still didn’t have running water.  I told her that I’d pick up a heater at L&M before coming home.

My friend Tony came to the game with me.  I asked if he’d watch the door for me while I ran off to buy a heater.  He was kind enough to leave the stands and tear tickets apart.  I drove over to the store and found that there were a few different options for heaters.  I knew that I needed one that put out enough heat to heat the whole underside of the house, but one that wouldn’t burn the place down.  Its kind of a catch 22.  The two “bigger” heating options were a diesel heater and a propane heater.  I knew that diesel would be easier to obtain, and not require a special tank.  Since it was already 7:45 in the evening, I figured getting a propane tank filled would be a bit of an ordeal, so I opted for the diesel heater.  Turned out to be a 40,000 BTU “ReadyHeater”.

I went back to the game an let Tony head back to the stands, and finished taking tickets till the second intermission at which point I joined Tony and Steph (another teacher at VHS) to watch the third period.  Since Virginia was so far ahead, the Princeton team seemed to play a bit more dirty.  There were a few questionable hits and ensuing penalties assessed to curb such behavior.   The game was a lot of fun.  Hockey is definitely my favorite sport.

I got home around 10:30 after picking up some diesel from the Cook gas station.  Since it was kind of late, I didn’t mess with the heater and just went to bed.

Today Erin and I ran into town and visited with her grandparents and then stopped by the hardware store to buy a couple pieces of angled stove pipe to attach to the end of our ReadyHeater hoping to divert the hot air away from any combustible areas of the house.  We got back out to the house and found that neither piece of stove pipe would fit the heater.  We talked to Jim who was on his way back up from the cities.  He wasn’t too jazzed up about our new heater being a bit concerned that it might burn the house down.  He told us about a heater he had set out in the garage that we should try instead.  So I ventured up to the grage to find this miracle heating unit.  This is what I was presented with…..


I know… Like your thinking…. Really… this is going to heat up the entire underside of the house and thaw out all of our water pipes?  Here is the comparison between what I bought, and what was left in the garage.  Which do you think would handle the operation a little better?


So we plugged in the little one until Jim came home.  Unfortunately the breaker was popped by the heater and not much was accomplished in that time.  So when jim was there we set up the bigger heater.  We were still concerned that it might start the hosue on fire, so I stood outside for a while to make sure everything was under control.



After about 10 minutes of this über heater we had dripping in the kitchen.  After about 30 minutes we had running water in the kitchen.  At 1 hour we had dripping in the bathroom, and at 2 and a half hours we had running water at all faucets and our drains finally were thawed out.  We are leaving the water running and the heater going to make sure that all of the ice has been cleared out, but we are finally back to showering at home and having the ability to flush our toilet without dumping water from a 5 gallon bucket into the back of the toilet first.   I’d say that this was a successful weekend.

Ohh before the hockey game yesterday, Tony and I went out for dinner and then headed over to the curling club in Eveleth where we hung out with an Olympic bronze medalist and watched curling for about 45 min.  I think I’d really get into curling if I were closer to a curling club.  Its just not that feasible with a 50 mile drive.  I’ll probably go and throw a few stones this winter.  It was a lot of fun watching the “professionals” work their magic on the ice Friday night.  It sure is amazing how accurate they are.   I am looking forward to finishing up school this coming week and enjoying the Christmas break.  I hope you all have a very safe and enjoyable holiday season.

Car 3 – Me 0

The battle began last summer when the car threw the first punch deciding to have its transmission go out.  I fought back by leaving it for two months at the transmission shop to get it fixed.  The car took this in stride and started to leak transmission fluid to show we hadn’t won the battle yet.  We combated this passive aggressive behavior by adding more fluid and trying to make sure it was nice and warmed up before driving.  The car threw another right hook by lighting up its check engine light.  We were planning our next strike a visit to the car shop to have a computer plugged in to diagnose the troublesome light in the dash.  Before we could execute this stealthy move the car sucker punched me when I drowsily went out to start the car at 6 am keeping up the rigorous routine of warming the car up before driving to work.  As I opened the door to start the car it lashed out and struck me in the face, using the very corner of the door to puncture a hole in my face between my eye and my temple.  At -27 F standing in my pajamas and parka with blood pouring from my face, I let the car know how I really felt about it with a few choice words.  I wasn’t about to back down, so I continued with my goal of starting the car and then went in to shower.

I washed the blood off my face and threw a little band-aid over it.  Back out in the frigid cold I confronted my 4 wheeled black nemesis and drove it to work.  After work I returned the sucker punch with getting it diagnosed at the local car shop only to find out that it had locked up its torque converter.  Not dismayed I called the transmission shop back up and scheduled a time to drop it off to get this new ailment addressed.

If it comes down to a legal matter I have digital proof of the abuse I’ve taken.  You have all now heard my side of the story.



A Day Off

There was a pretty bad storm over the weekend that dumped quite a bit of snow as far as the Midwest is concerned.  The majority of this snow fell on Sunday causing the roads in the area to become essentially closed.  Because of all this most if not all of the school districts in northern Minnesota closed their doors for Monday.

This was very nice.  I was able to sleep in this morning which is always a treat.  When I got up I put on my winter clothes and went down to the lake in hopes of clearing the snow off to make a skating rink.  Well… there was at least a foot of snow if not a bit more and I was armed only with a shovel.  A snow blower or a serious plow would have been a nice addition to the snow removal process.  Lucky for me though Jesse came down to lend a hand.  We worked on it for a couple hours and then gave up for the day.





The afternoon I spent working on another show for BWCACST.  This was on our first day into Kife Lake.  This was our last multi day camping trip for the summer.  I am a bit behind as you can see on getting shows out.  I am hoping to get them posted a little bit more regularly if I can.

This evening Erin and I decorated our Christmas tree.  This is our first real tree we’ve had.  Our time in BSSD there really weren’t a plethora of trees to choose from in the villages we lived in, and last year in Baxter we weren’t allowed to have a real tree in our apartment.  The thing I like most about the tree is that it means Christmas break is just around the corner.  🙂


Cold enough I guess….

Well, I woke up this morning and found it to be 27 below zero outside.  I was very happy I had stoked the fire the night before, and that the house was still warm.  There were a few coals left so before leaving for work I stuffed in more wood until the stove was packed full.


Work went well today.  I am glad its Friday.  I am really looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.  When we got home from work today Erin and I discovered that the house was still warm, but our pipes had frozen.  🙁  This had happened about a month ago, but the difference before was all we had to do was plug in the heat tape and the water was running in no time.  Unfortunately this time the heat tape had already been plugged in and it still froze.  This means that the heat tape may not have been working correctly, or its froze up under the house somewhere.  We’ll have to do some more investigation tomorrow.  We had a heater going under the house for a few hours this evening, but we didn’t see any positive results from that.   We could be “roughing” it for a little while.

We are hoping to get a Christmas tree tomorrow.  We’ll see if the weather cooperates.  Hopefully our house will look a little more Christmasy after the weekend.

Curling, Dinner, and a Concert

One of my students is an exchange student from Thiland.  He is taking physics externally so he can take both of my classes.  He is great to have in class, and very polite and just an all around good student.  In class on Friday he asked if I was going to watch him in the band concert on Monday night.  So Monday after school Erin headed to Virginia.  While I was waiting for her to make the 80 mile journy, I went curling with Tony at the curling club in Eveleth.  It was my first attempt at the sport.  I found that I seemed to bang my left knee up a bit when I would push off to deliver the stone.  There really is a learning curve.  It was a lot of fun.  When Erin made it into town we went out for dinner at Good Fellas just down the street from the curling club.  After dinner we walked around Target a bit where I picked up some much needed chap stick.

We left Target and headed over to the school.  I showed Erin around the school a little more and then we went and found a couple of seats in the upper deck of the auditorium.  The concert started off with the Jazz Band which my thi student was apart of.  It was fun to watch them play.  He was very animated while playing the piano.  The whole concert was very good.  Virginia is really well known for its band and chior programs.  After the concert we had the 40 mile drive to get home and ended up climbing into bed as soon as we got home around 10:00.

An end to the week…

I was able to sleep in on Saturday which was great.  I didn’t get up till 10:00 AM.  It was a beautiful day out with the sun and bright blue sky making the new snow sparkel on the frozen lake.  I went out and did some shoveling to get the steps cleared off of both Jims place and ours.  I then fired up the snow blower and headed down to the lake in an attempt to get the skating area cleaned off again.  I quickly found out how out of shape I acutally am.  When using the snow blower you have to lift up on the handle bars the whole time so that it scrapes the ice as clean as possible.  In doing so my biceps were quickly tired out.  I then came up to the house and did some looking on craigs list for a four wheeler with a plow.  That would be the best way to keep the ice clear.

Saturday afternoon I headed over to Hoyt Lakes to hang out with Kate and Tony.  We went bowling with Kates three kids.  It was fun to watch them wrestle with the heavy bowling balls.  There were a couple of times the rolling technique looke like a shotput.  After rolling the one game we headed back to Kates for some Lasagna.  After dinner we watched 5 minues of “Back to the Future” with the kids and then they went to bed.  Kate Tony and I then played a game of Farkle and I hit the road.  On the way home I got a bit lost and drove about 10 miles towards Two Harbors before realizing I was going the wrong way.  I got back on track and then came across a car full of High School kids in the ditch.  I turned around to see if they were okay about the same time a police officer showed up.  So I continued on my way home.  I had to drive relatively slow because the roads were a bit unpredictable.

Today has been nice and relaxing.  April and Laura stayed the night, so we’ve been watching tv and pretty much not doing anything.  I think Im going to run into town and pick up a christmas tree.  We were going to go cut one, but with hunting going on I think it might be a bit safer just to buy one.

Photos of that to come soon.

Finally Friday

The week has finally come to an end.  To cap off the week I successfully broke the school districts website this morning.  It was only visually down for about 5 min.  It wasn’t fully restored for a few more hours.  I won’t go into the nerdy details too much, but it involved a corrupt file being uploaded causing the site to not work.  I have since made a complete backup of the entire system just for such an occasion.

Erin and I decided to go out to a movie and dinner tonight.  So while I was waiting for her to drive over from school Tony and I went out for a tasty beverage.  When Erin got to Virginai we headed out to the mexican resturant for dinner and caught up on the day.  After that we went and did some grocery shopping before heading to see 4 Christmases at the theater.  The movie was pretty funny.  I really do like Vince Vaughn.  After the movie we made the 40 mile drive home in a pretty heavy snow storm.  It was very difficult to see at times, and the road was less than visible.

Its very nice to have the week done and better yet have the opportunity to sleep in tomorrow.  More than likely I’ll be up at 8:30 feeling like I’ve slept forever.  Crazy to think back to the days when I’d sleep till 2:00 in the afternoon.  Man that was nice.


So I figured I should keep up the schedule of posting, but I couldn’t really think of a title for this post.  Work has been well… Work…. The 9 – 5 hasn’t been super duper fun lately, but I guess that’s how it goes sometimes.

I got to work with a few of the Parkview teachers this morning.  They were getting trained in on how to use their staff websites.  They were great to work with.  Very upbeat and willing to learn.  I know some of the things asked of teachers (such as a staff website) can really add a lot of work to your already busy day.  These folks sure took it in stride and were brainstorming ways they could utilize this online system not only to connect with parents, but also to provide information for their students.  I hope they are able to log in a couple times in the near future and post a couple more times.  It always helps to practice a few more times right after you learn it to help make it stick in your brain.

My broadcasting class have been given the task of creating a 30 second commercial about the school district to have aired on the local television channels.  Its a tight timeline to have it all done by Christmas break, but they are eager for the challenge.   I’ll keep you posted on our progress and will more than likely post the finished product on here when its completed.

My web design class just took on a big project.  I put them into groups of three and gave them the task of creating a full website including a main site, a forum, and a gallery.  All three installs need to have a very similar design and layout which is very time consuming.  I’ve asked them to make this very professional looking.  Up until now I’ve let them be “creative” with their design, and it has really opened up wide range of design styles.  It will be interesting to see how these come out.  They are a fun bunch of kids to work with.

I was going through my iPhoto library and came across this photo…  I think its kind a cool… A reflection of a tree at the edge of the lake on one of our BWCA trips.


Have a happy Friday.  I’m sure looking forward to the weekend.  Hopefully some fancy posts to follow.  🙂