Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Winter Projects 2015

Maybe you've heard...no ice caves this year.  By this time last year we were beginning a six-week spree of B&B guests coming to see the ice caves.  Not this year.  Down at The Lake, some days it's ice as far as you can see and the next day, open water.   There are some bays that have enough ice for regular winter activities.  Today we were in Ashland which is on Chequamegon Bay.

The bay was dotted with fish houses for those people who go fishing through the holes they drill in the ice.  Now, imagine a line going across the bay from Ashland to Washburn, and then picture yourself skiing or snowshoeing that 10km route in Book Across the Bay happening this Saturday evening.  Pretty cool!

From the website:
Book Across the Bay is the upper Midwest's most unique winter event, open to skiers and snowshoers of all ages and ability levels. The 10-kilometer course, which is groomed for both classic-style and skate skiing, starts in Ashland and ends in Washburn, and follows a route not on land, but over the frozen surface of Lake Superior, the world's largest lake. The event is held at night, and the course is lit by the stars above and up to 1,000 candles in ice luminaries that line the entire route.
So, since we don't have B&B guests, we can spread out with all our winter projects.  Below is one of mine that I started a couple weeks ago, spread out all over the dining room.  Because of circumstances, I ended up with several plastic storage bins full of family pictures and documents from my mother's and father's families that span the years back to the 1850's.  Added to these are all of the pictures from my immediate family and my family since my girls were born.

Most of the time I love going through all of these things and see how people looked through the years.  I always learn something new.  At a point in time back when my parents were still living, I was able to sit with them to go through and label the pictures.  Unfortunately many of the pictures aren't labeled so then I try to play detective to figure them out.   
 Above are pictures of my mother as a little girl and as a young woman in the late '30's.  I'm scanning them and deciding what I should keep and what can become digital family records.  It becomes a lot of deciding!!

The pictures below are from my father's family and these are all from Sweden.  No labels.  Back in the early 1990's I sent photo copies of these to one of the older relatives in Sweden.  He identified some, but most he didn't recognize either.  The lesson in all of this??  Label your pictures while you still can!

And while I'm obsessing over pictures, Leann is cleaning up her quilting stash of flannel fabric by making LOTS of baby quilts.  These aren't her usual "conversation quilts" that we give away as gifts.  These are just soft, colorful baby quilts made using leftover flannel, and she donated them all to the Fig Leaf Thrift Store in Iron River, 15 miles south of here.  Now she has moved onto a different pattern, but I'll post them later.

But it's only early February, so there are more projects to come.  Stay tuned!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Thinking about eagles and light and stars

Our drive down to The Lake today confirmed our reasons for going there at least once a day just to see what's new.  Today we were surprised to see that the ice in the channel of water leading into the marina was nearly totally SMOOTH!  And this is strange because the last time we saw it on Saturday, it was a jumbled mess of frozen ice chunks.  So, what happened?  How did it get all smoothed out because it certainly wasn't any result of melting!  It's been too cold for that.  But it's also been very windy, so perhaps surface water blew inland and everything froze to almost a skating-rink smooth condition.  Just a hypothesis, of course..."I'm not a scientist."  (Hmmm, where have I heard that before?)

Our other sighting today was eagles--actually four eagles!  They were sitting out on the ice edges and finding something tasty to interest them out there.  

Here's two of them together.  The other two were over to the west but even further out...so even smaller specks in my picture.  While we were there, we saw Laura Erickson who does a blog about birds--Laura's Birding Blog.  She is from Duluth but has family connections here and often comes to visit her favorite bird haunts.  Today she was looking for snowy owls which have been seen here lately, but not by us!

What's really been on my mind lately has been my cousin, Ingabritt, from Sweden-now-Greece.  Early yesterday morning I received an email from her husband, Harry (Hariton), telling me that she had passed away on Saturday.  She is the person who was my inspiration to begin blogging just a year ago when I reconnected with her for the first time since the early 1980's.  In spite of breast cancer and all the necessary treatments since 2007, she has lived life to the fullest as a journalist, wife, mother of three, and friend to many!  I'm so glad I found her last year.
 I met her husband, Harry, when we visited Ingabritt in Stockholm in 1979.  Jeff and I were on a three-week Eurail trip through Europe after being discharged from the Army in Augsburg, Germany.  Harry was an astronomy student back then and is now an astronomer in Greece.  In an email I received from him today, he said that as part of the UNESCO 2015 International Year of Light, highlighting for the world the importance of light and optical technology in our lives, he was able to name a star Ingabritt-Maria in her name.  So nice!  I usually go out on our front porch on clear nights to see the stars and check for northern lights.  Our dark skies always make it a great show!

I hope I'm not sharing too much, but he also said that she was brave and at peace to the end.  Her daughter will be having a baby any day now and Ingabritt was sitting up and knitting baby clothes for her first grandchild until Friday, the day before she passed away!  I knew she was my mentor for my blogging project, but today I realized she will also be my mentor on how to live and now even on how to face death.  What a gift!

Adjö, Ingabritt, och många tack!