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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

An Experience Like No Other

Good morning from a crystal-blue-sky northeastern Minnesota day at 54 degrees. Gorgeous!

Tom and I headed up to attack the solar-panel area again yesterday. No rain but overcast and still a little sticky. When we drove home Saturday night we drove the scenic way, knowing that if the wash-out hadn't yet been repaired that we could drive through it with the big pickup with no trouble. But, much to our happiness (and a good deal of surprise) it was all redone and the lower pond the beavers had created emptied.

Overall, the bugs are definitely down, but the black flies and no-see-ums have joined the mosquitoes. Bug dope during the day seems to take care of things, though. Besides, it's been too warm and sticky to wear a bugnet! Come dusk, though, you still want to head indoors, post-haste!

My folks drove out for a quick visit to check the progress yesterday. After not having seen the place since winter it was nice to have them see the progress and changes we've made. My dad commented, "How many places are left where you can you drive over 30 miles and see only a handful of cars?!" And we all love it that way!

After their visit we hit the clearing hard again. We got all the big stuff cut, loaded into the pickup (a few loads!) and then unloaded and stacked where the outdoor furnace will be. Now all that's left is the last scrubby stuff on the ground and scrap to really get the spot cleaned up. We hope to finish that up this afternoon. Then we can give our solar man the go-ahead to start!

But, the real fun started after that! Once we'd had some food and drink and cooled off a bit, we threw the canoe and fishing gear into the back of the pickup and headed down to the river. (We have 200' of it flowing through our land, but we fish just south of that before the bridge where the river is wider and deeper.)

As we were paddling out to our fishing spot, we saw something dark move along the left shore. Could it be? Yes! It was a moose, about belly-deep, feeding in the river! We paddled quietly, whispering, trying to get closer. Then, another moose stepped out about 100 yards further down the east side of the river! The two didn't see each other. While the first moose casually grazed, the second just walked right into the river and starting swimming across! Then things got a little insane.

A third moose came out behind the second and started swimming in the river, too! By this time, the second moose decided that he/she didn't want to swim to the other side (as we'd expected). Instead, it just wanted to SWIM! So, it headed down river. In the middle of the river. Just swimming. The third moose joined it. And, man, can they swim FAST! Holy hannah! Then, at one point, we heard yet another moose calling from the east shore. "Ooongh, uungh!" A moose on the west shore answered. Back and forth they talked while Moose 1 grazed, and Moose 2 and 3 swam, swam, swam. So, that's five moose. In the next 15 minutes, we saw two more (not the ones talking) come out. That's seven moose. It was INSANE! Never have either of us seen moose like that - so many and completely in their natural habitat.

Eventually we docked on a floating hummock out in the middle of the river and fished. The entire time we were there (at least two hours), there was at least one moose doing his/her thing within view. UN-BE-LIEV-ABLE.

Then, to top it off, Tom landed a NICE Northern. We've never been skunked on the river, and yesterday was no different. I, on the other hand, only caught weeds. You'd think I would have fished the river clean with the amount I hauled in. But, who could complain after an afternoon like that? And, did I mention that the skies had cleared, and the entire evening fishing was sun, 70s, and a breeze keeping all the bugs away? It was a day we'll NEVER forget.

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