Cabin Fever

The title probably fits better with the situation around 8-9 days ago, but since I did not write last week, I will go ahead and use it this week! I am just about fully over my bout with the flu. It was not too bad. The main issues were sinus headaches, a cough and very low energy. The low energy was probably the worst of the three and also the fact that the illness lasted about 2 weeks. I don’t know if it was a blessing or a curse to not get any snow while I was sick, as it kept me from having to do any extra work, but also gave me one less reason to have to get my rear out bed and into the great outdoors! It does feel real good to be on the mend though.

Nora and I had planned a quick family trip to Duluth for a couple of days during spring break and for a moment, it was looking like that trip might have to be put on hold, but the time we were set to go, I was feeling good enough to go. I actually felt like just getting out of the house for a few days would make me feel better, as I was struggling through some pretty serious cabin fever, along with the flu. I am not sure if getting out of the house did in fact help me to get better, but I did.

We actually did not stay in Duluth. On Monday around midday, we left and drove to Ashland, WI. There is a hotel with a small water-park in their pool area. Gracie is still at that age where she does not HAVE to have the biggest and bestest amusement or water park to have fun and both Nora and I liked the thought of being able to be more relaxed while Grace played than have to keep up with her in a bigger facility. It worked out great. Gracie had fun going down the water slides as well as making some new friends and playing in the pools. Nora and I were more than content to sit in the lounge chairs and relax.

Ashland is only about an hours drive from Duluth, so on Tuesday we slept in a bit, had a great breakfast at a local dinner and then headed to the big city. Our first stop was at the aquarium. It’s a nice aquarium for a city the size of Duluth. We had been there around 5 years ago, but Gracie was too little to remember that trip. I think one of the things I enjoy the most about going to places like that in cities like that is you are not fighting hoards of crowds like you would in a major metro area. Sorry Duluthans, you are still a small city in my eyes. 🙂

Anyway, Gracie had a blast viewing all of the exhibits. One of them allowed visitors to interact and touch the fish. It was an aquarium filled with sturgeon. Not just Great Lakes Sturgeon, but sturgeon from other areas of the world like Russia. Nora got to “kiss” an electric eel and I got to live out my lifelong dream of being a weatherman! There were also some otters on display. It’s fun to watch them play, its like they are little kids! These two were probably the most crazy, you should have seen the big one snap up all the raw smelt tossed to it! The final thing we did was got to see two employees don dry suits and scuba gear and go into the two story tank they have there to feed the locals. By the look on my face, it was probably a good thing that was the last activity before heading off to lunch!

We shot over to Grandma’s in Canal Park. From the outside and ads for it, it looks like a total tourist trap, but I had read some very good reviews from both visitors and locals to Duluth and I am glad we went! Very good food and service. After lunch, we headed to the Duluth Trading Co. store. Strangely enough, the Duluth Trading Co. did not start in Duluth, nor was it’s first retail store. I had gone there about a year ago when Huck had his knee surgery and to tell you the honest truth, it was probably the most anticipated part of the trip for Nora and I. Not that it is something crazy great, but is a neat store and right up our ally as far as clothing is concerned. We probably spent the better part of an hour in the store and then headed to the mall to get a few things and then up the highway a bit to Northern Tool. I can’t believe that I did not need to go to Acme Tool this go around, but for the moment, I think I have all I need to have from them. For the moment…

I think we hit the road and were headed back to Ashland by around 4:30 or 5. Gracie had also been battling a bug and ear infection in the week leading up to our trip, so by the end of the day, she crashed out and snuck in a little cat nap on the way back. Once back, we grabbed a bite to eat and then headed to the water-park to let Gracie get her fill. Once that was accomplished, we all hit the hay and got a long nights sleep!

Wednesday was a return trip day. Even though we had only been gone for a little over 48 hours, we all were excited to get back home and see the pups. My brother was kind enough to house/dog sit for us, so we knew they were having a good time, but it is still nice to get back and give them a good belly rub.

Nora and Gracie had the rest of the week off and just sort of relaxed. The weather was not bad, but not real good either. Temps mostly in the 40’s for highs and teens/20’s for lows. By Friday, we warmed into the upper 40’s. I had gotten a call from Rt 12 and they asked if I would be able to part with the demo sled over the weekend, as they had someone coming up to get in one last ride. It is always a little sad to say good-bye to the seasons ride. Even though I struggled to put even 300 miles on it, they were pretty much all high-quality miles full of smiles and I can easily say that sled is probably the best dialed in model since Cat switched to the new chassis. So on Friday, I pulled the ride out of the shop and parked it on the snow for the boys to come and retrieve.

The weekend promised some better weather and mother nature delivered what the weather guy predicted. Quite a bit of sunshine and temps in the 50’s, almost reaching 60. The warm weather has made the woods a lot more active. The big critters like the deer have not shown up, but we still have quite a bit of snow on the ground here at the north end. However, the birds, squirrels and chippers have all been out and the other morning, Nora saw a big old tom turkey run through the front yard. It’s nice to have the woods coming alive again, especially on the sunny days. Really helps to make it feel like spring. The only problem is, the squirrels and chippers are looking for a nice place to bed up and have babies and the number one attraction seems to be our house. This is not the first go around with them that we have had and probably not the last. Last year I learned how intelligent squirrels are. You will be very lucky to get one in a live trap and will have better luck getting one with a snap trap, but they seem to learn very well from others misfortunes, as once one had been caught in a snap trap, they stayed clear. So I had to resort to a pellet gun and the dogs last spring. That worked pretty good. We were able to get four of them that way. The dogs would chase them up a tree and then I would bring them down with a pellet. I did not take any enjoyment out of having to shoot them, but new that I had tried all the non-lethal ways and failed and that them getting into the house presented a hazard to all of us. So I did what had to be done.

So this year, I did not break out the live or snap traps and went straight for the pellet gun. Saturday afternoon was beautiful to be outside and do some squirrel management. I dropped the tailgate of the truck and the pups and I went on watch. Now I might sound a little cooky here, but I had been letting the dogs out to chase them for about a week or so and as much as they tried, they just could not get one. Nor did it seem to deter them from coming out of the woods and heading for the house. But I swear that as soon as the three of us sat on that tailgate, me with the gun and them with a bit of drool coming from their mouths, I have yet to see one make a run for the house. So maybe, just maybe, those that escaped the pellet last year remembered what happened and are staying around. Perhaps not. Either way, the pups and I are ready!

Yesterday was probably the nicest day we have had since last autumn. We flirted with 60 degrees and had wonderful sunshine all day. A lot of time was spent outdoors. Not really doing anything super important, but Nora did a little pre-season work on her gardens. I put a few winter type things away and cleaned up the truck a bit. A yard game was even broken out and we took turns trying to toss the giant plastic coated washer into the boxes.

The sun set, we all went to bed and awoke this morning to a regular day of school and work…and a more typical day for early April. Temps in the 40’s, a heavy overcast and it looks like it is going to get busy raining soon. This is the weather that I dislike the most, but is all part of the program up here. Thankfully it is also probably the type of weather that lasts the shortest. In a few weeks, we will be having more days like yesterday than today and in a little over a month, sights will be set on the woods, beaches and pool. In the mean time, I plan to get busy in the shop making some projects.

Good night from the Keweenaw..