Remember back in late fall when I wrote the post about missing Duluth. I explained that I was pretty sure I would be missing all the options in Duluth less once the snow fell and I was right. I still miss my beloveds there and look forward to returning to get all my teaching stuff out of the attic and spending time in the old haunts, but it feels less urgent to me now.
No doubt this is a reflection of being busy, but the snow and the resulting skiing is so amazing here that I am soaking it up every single day.
For one thing, the trails are groomed religiously. And I don’t mean once a week, but more like twice a day. IT IS CRAZY!
For another, no one gets crabby about dogs. We run into dozens of dogs on all the trails and even when we run into non-dog owners and the poodles run up to say hi, no one and I mean NO ONE has gotten crabby about it. I remember well the everyday anxiety I had skiing with the pups at Jay Cooke (and, of course, the written warning I received from a ranger) and it is such a delight not to worry about that anymore.
Now, not all the trails are dog friendly, but most places have at least a section that is. We respect that. Many of the dog trails are not very hilly, so until a week or so ago, we were missing the screamer hills of Jay Cooke and Fond du Lac State Forest. Then we decided to hit up a section of Masto Hiito that we though was off limits to dogs. It is the place I frequented in fall and the river section where many of my nice photos were shot. It’s also the place where I saw the heron.
When we arrived, we were relieved to see a man with a dog heading back to his car. We asked him if the dog thing went over okay here and he said, “Oh, yeah. You’re allowed to have dogs here. This is the wild side, lady. You’re good.” And man, we’re lucky that is the case! The trails are delightfully hilly with huge stretches of down, down, downhill. We went back the next day and did a huge loop in that section and it was amazing. It was stunning, we only ran into one other person, and the skiing was superb.
We’ve been back nearly every day and I’d say if we keep this up, poor Bryan is going to need to invest in more belts. I swear I am feeding him but he is constantly working hard here, so the pounds keep falling off of him.
Anyway, aside from skiing, we had our first week with me working full-time and Bryguy back at school. It went well. As soon as we got home, Bry pumped water so we could cook, do dishes, and shower in the morning. It went smoothly. The gas was delivered the previous Friday. FINALLY. As I mentioned, we’ve got a bit of a rig going up here with two 150 gallon tanks, now hooked into a 100 gallon tank. We already used up one of those tanks because a blanket slid the thermostat dial up to 90 degrees in the yurt. It was toasty warm in there yesterday, but the tank ran out mid-afternoon. Here is what it looks like:
Luckily, last weekend we didn’t have a lot of projects to do around the homestead, so before our ski on Saturday, Bryan took down a dead tree to use for firewood. Then it got hung up in a tree on its way down. Then Bryan got it unstuck. And it got stuck in another. We worked together, with our climbing rope, and got it down (I yelled TIMBER really loud, even though I recently heard that real lumberjacks say TREE instead). Bryan cut and split it and it’s in the woodshed waiting to be burned.
School for Bryan has continued to go well as he starts his new semester. He got all A’s last semester, including in the class where last year 5 of 6 people failed it. I am ridiculously proud of him. He signed up for another round with that professor and, again, it is just him and the same guy who was brave enough to take it last semester. :-) He is currently stressing about his qualifying exams which are the 28th and 30th and he did not spend too much time studying over break, so it’s cram time now. Yesterday he spent the entire day with one of his office mates studying. I guess there is a type of algebra that they all need to focus on.
He is taking some type of algebra this semester and this is his book:
As for me, life is good. I got my first paycheck (thank God), am getting settled in at school, and finally spoke up to my colleagues about living in a yurt. It was fun to have some of them stop in and check out photos. One of them actually lived off the grid and without running water, etc. for years in Alaska, so we compared notes. The kids have been lots of fun. We’re starting a letter writing unit on Monday, so we’ll eventually write letters to businesses. Some will be complaint letters. Bryan suggested that I just make every kid write to Ferrell Gas, but I figured that might not go over too well. I did write a sample letter to Waste Management about the lack of glass recycling in the UP and I’ll share that with the kids.