Busy weekend in the North

StCroix_River_august2009 006This weekend, we visited my husband’s parents.  I look forward to going there.  I was tired on Friday when we got there, so I didn’t do much that afternoon, but made up for it on Saturday.

Saturday morning after breakfast, my husband and his mother headed out to work on the barn demolition project.  The barn is mostly down and what remains to do is sorting the refuse.  The junky wood is being hauled away to be burned at a local utility to provide power.  I’m not sure what is happening to the rest of it.  My father-in-law and I headed out to the garden.  He gardens so extensively that it borders on small scale farming.  Last year was the first time I did any work out there for him and it took me four hours to weed the onions.  That might give you an idea of the scale of the gardening that we are talking about.  Last year it was awfully dry and even though I did a good job of weeding the onions, that crop was a bust because they just didn’t get enough rain.  The unexpected result of all that weeding last July is that the crops there are less weedy this year.  The other thing that it did for us is that it gave him confidence in the fact that he can give me something to do out there and I’ll do it well and save him a bunch of time.    He gave me a big white bucket and set me on the rows of beans.   I have no idea how long it took, but I picked until it was full and later when he weighed it, it turned out to be 10 pounds.  Between the two of us, we also picked a five gallon bucket of pea pods.  (The peas go a lot slower than the beans.)   He was pretty happy about the peas and beans because he’s pretty sure one of the local restaurants will buy them from him.  We then dug and pulled up most of the potatoes and put them in piles which he would collect later, followed the tracks of a bear that had wandered through a couple of nights before.  They went on for about a quarter of a mile before I lost them in some vegetation.   We checked on the corn to find out that it wasn’t ready yet and we also checked out the progress of the pumpkins and various squashes.  Looks like it might be the best year in a while.   The last thing we did before lunch was to see if there were any cucumbers that needed to be picked.  We found about a dozen and I grabbed two to take in for lunch.  I suspect in the next few days he’ll be seeing a cucumber explosion.

After lunch, D and I drove over to one of the boat launches on the bay and paddled up all the channels from that landing.  Compared to our last few trips on the Wisconsin, the water was really cold.  The vegetation there is different too.  We saw one heron numerous times.  When we got done on that side of the road, we paddled back to the landing and then I saw a channel that wound through cat tails, but was sheltered from the wind which was good since there were small whitecaps on the bay.  I figured it would dead end, but after a while, the wind got stronger and the choices were to turn around or go out on the bay and paddle long enough to turn into wide channel leading back toward the landing.  We chose to go out.  This tested my paddling skills a bit.  It was bouncy and windy and really a lot of fun.  Once I panicked a little, but I know that the bay is pretty shallow (though cold even in August) and I figured that I could probably stand where I was and if not, I’d just grab some of the rigging on the boat and swim back to where I could stand.  Never had to test that theory, because I got splashed pretty well once, but the boat didn’t flip on me.

Sunday, we left the parents’ house and headed over to the St. Croix River on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border.  We unloaded the boats and I sat with them and worked a crossword puzzle while D. drove 9 miles down to where we’d take the boats out to park the car.  Then he rode the bike back to me.  The last few times we’ve done something like this, I’ve done the bike riding and I was pretty happy to sit in the shade.  While he was gone, I was lucky enough to talk to a local couple who had come down to check on the water level.  They said that it had been really low with a lot of rocks, but appeared to be up a lot since they’d had four inches of rain in the last few days.  They drove off to get a boat and returned about the same time D. came back.  We chatted with them again briefly, ate the sandwiches that we’d packed for lunch and then we paddled down the river.  The St. Croix was really beautiful with exposed sandstone bluffs, lots of pine trees, late summer flowers blooming along the shore and again water a lot colder than the Lower Wisconsin River has been recently.  It was also really quiet.  We saw almost no one which was much different from last week’s Wisconsin trip with the noisy hover boat club that was using the campground at the Muscoda landing as a base and with the many rental canoers making their way down the river.  We saw the deer in the above photo.  I actually heard it crashing through the brush before I saw it, but then it turned around and just stared at us long enough for me to get the picture.  We were glad to be done and to get to the hotel to shower and relax before dinner.

Everything we did this weekend made me tired, but it’s a good kind of tired and I wish I could do that kind of stuff more often.

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2 Responses to Busy weekend in the North

  1. Aster says:

    No idea why I can’t get this stupid picture framed the way it actually looks. Tired of fussing with it today.

  2. gaile says:

    i’m in a hurry to get out the door but wanted to stop by and say it sounds like a really wonderful and relaxing weekend. I love all the details you include in your stories!

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