Not only is February the shortest month of the year, it also seems to be the one that flies by the fastest. Can the absence of those few extra days really make that big of a difference? Perhaps it travels so quickly because each day brings us a little more daylight. Hence, the nights aren't as long, and before I know it, March is nipping at my heels.
Winter returned to these parts a week or so ago, sending us temperatures in the "teens below zero" range. We all dressed a little warmer, so were prepared in that respect. But we weren't ready (as we never are) for the frozen pipes that soon followed. One frozen septic pipe and one frozen waterline kept Greg and the boys quite busy one weekend. They got the water line thawed, but the septic line still waits. Fortunately, it is in Cedar Point cabin, which isn't habitable right now anyways.
A week ago today, Greg began to dismantle the living room at Cedar Point. He and Robert emptied it of furniture, and proceeded to tear up the carpeting, which we unceremniously tossed into our garbage canister. Greg always loves to get rid of old carpeting. He is definitely a wood guy, through and through. He went to Duluth to pick up his birch flooring later in the week, and will be very happy when he is installing it later this coming month. But I am getting ahead of myself. He also took out the tile covered "hump", for lack of a better word, that was next to the wood stove in the cabin. That really made him happy. Not only will it increase living space a bit, but he also will be installing a new slate floor for the woodstove. Another good thing happening there is that he is finding locations where mice have been able to enter the cabin. Some hardware cloth and expandable spray foam should go a long way towards deterring the little critters. This is the first stage of the remodel. Once the living room is complete, he will tackle the kitchen to give it a facelift.
This past weekend, the Gunflint Trail hosted the second annual Winter Tracks Festival. The schedule was very full, with all sorts of winter activities to try, and some competitions, too. Our guests participated in skiing, the childrens' passport program, and the poker run to name a few. On Saturday night, we joined other Trail folks at Gunflint Lodge for an excellent barbecue, and then dancing to the local band called Critter du Jour. Great music! The musicians got us all organized to do some line dances, round dances, and even a waltz. It looked like everyone was having a lot of fun. Plans are already underway for next year's festival, so keep an eye on the website for further information. http://www.wintertracks.com
In addition to longer days, we also have had a bit more wind than earlier in the winter. Over President's Weekend, Greg and I took a snowmobile ride to our friends' cabin on the Canadian side of the lake. Thanks to strong winds for the two days prior, there were several moguls and dunes on the lake. Makes for a bumpy ride on our old sled. The wolves have been heard, but not seen. The last couple of nights we have been delighted to be awoken by them. They are singing at all odd hours, it seems, and it sounds as though they are very near by. Sometimes if the moon is bright enough, we will get up to look out the window, hoping to see them on the lake. No luck so far in catching glimpses of them. Both Greg and Robert reported seeing huge numbers of tracks when they were out recently---Greg in his plow truck, and Robert on the Piston-Bully while grooming the ski trails. Robert said that it looked like they had a real party running all over the trail through the fresh snow.
Thanks to several inches of snow last week, the trails are in excellent condition. Skiers are having a marvelous time out there.