Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The summer that was not

It took me until September to update this blog for 2014.  The only excuse I have is that the "summer" went way too fast.  We had a disgustingly long winter, and spring lasted through June.  June was the 2nd wettest on record in Minnesota.  I'm not sure if/when summer actually arrived.  I believe we hit 90 degrees twice this year.

The days that were hot, triggered strong storms in Outing.  Over the 4th of July week, a storm took off the roof of a building in town, knocking down power lines as well.  We were back up a couple of weeks later (July 19-22nd) and a big storm knocked down a bunch of trees on our property.  A couple of them landed on the back of our Toyota Sequoia.  Insurance totaled the vehicle.  Luckily none of us were hurt and the cabin and the garage had no damage.

After that storm, we were not able to get back up to the cabin (due to lack of a vehicle and busy schedules) for a month.  We managed to replace the Sequoia with another Sequoia of similar age/mileage.

We were finally able to get up there on Aug 22nd for a long weekend.  Over the course of 3 days, it rained so much that the water level of the lake went up 12 inches.  We spent a lot of time cleaning up the downed tree's (at least the ones that were in our way).

We had bought a new speed boat this spring, but barely used it due to cool weather and rain.  At least we were able to get it out a few times.

The upside to the cool weather and rain is that we did manage to get a good amount of work done inside the cabin.  We got 2 of the 3 bedrooms mudded, taped, painted, and flooring installed.  We also got the flooring installed in the hallway as well.

I still hope to get back up a couple of more times this fall to mud/tape the final bedroom.  Hopefully that will go well.

Monday, September 9, 2013


I have a couple of bits of good news to share.  

I went up this past weekend with a couple of buddies to see if we could get the boat running.  One of my buddies is pretty knowledgeable about small engines (which I am not) and he was able to get it up an running in no time.  I learned a few things about boat engines in the process.  We cleaned up the spark plugs, drained the carburetors, cleaned the fuel filter, and blew out any remaining water.  

After getting it started again, it was purring like a kitten.  It was running so well, we took it out and he did some water skiing.  

Last week, the crew that puts the boat lift in each year came and rescued the upside down boat lift from the lake.  They placed it up on shore for us.  This is how it looked when we arrived.

The main lower unit did not appear damaged in any way.  The real damage occurred to the upper ribbing that the canvas attaches to.  One of the uprights that supports the upper unit was also slightly bent.  We got to work trying to un-mangle the upper ribbing.  It went well and now it's pretty much back to normal.

I was shocked to discover that even the canvas survived pretty well.  Other than being discolored, it only had a few minor rips along one edge.  We can surely put it back on if we decide to do so.

In addition to those two projects, we decided to finishing hanging the drywall in the last bedroom.  The drywall hanging is now complete within the entire cabin!!! 

Needless to say, I am much happier writing this today than I was writing the last update.  I owe a lot of thanks to my good friends for helping me getting this all done.  Thank you Steve and Bob.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Putting the 'Labor' in Labor Day

It was quite the weekend at the lake this Labor Day weekend.  We arrived on Thursday afternoon to a slightly rainy, warm day.  We brought our last three sheets of sheet rock up with us with plans of completing the sheet rock in the back bedroom.

Late Thursday afternoon the skies turned dark and for the first time ever, we heard the tornado sirens go off.  Luckily all we got was some heavy rain.  The tornado actually hit about 10 miles north east of us.  I have not heard of any real damage that it caused.

Friday was a beautiful day.  No bugs, great temps, tons of sun, and not many people on the lake.  We did a lot of tubing and playing in the lake.  The forecast for Sunday was much cooler, so we decided Sunday was the day we would put up the sheet rock.

Saturday was another fantastic day.  Sun, sun, and more sun.  The lake was much busier, but that is to be expected.  Right around 5:00 pm the skies started to cloud up.  By 5:30 pm the sky was very dark and everyone abandoned the lake.  It was a good thing too because a quick storm came through that caused quite a bit of damage.  Cheryl and I were watching out the front windows when we saw our boat and lift do a 180 degree flip and end up like this:

Click the images to see a larger view

The storm did not last long so after the storm Cheryl and I went out and managed to release the boat from under the lift and somehow got it upright again.  The boat itself was only slightly damaged, but I fear the cost of getting the motor running again.

There were a bunch of tree's down all around on the lake.  Neighbors directly across from us both had tree's down along the shoreline.  Many others had downed tree's around their cabins, but I did not see any that fell on cabins.  Within a few minutes of the storm, the sound of chainsaws was coming from all directions and continued through most of the day Sunday.

I did not see any other lifts that got flipped on the lake, just ours.  Of course, the power went out during the storm, but thankfully it was restored by 9:00 pm.

On Sunday we used the trolling motor to get the boat over to the landing and out of the lake.  Amazingly everything that was in the boat, stayed in the boat.  Life jackets, skiing ropes, the anchor, battery, gas tank, everything.  I set everything out to dry.

I called the folks that put our lift in and out each year, but they were not able to come out on Sunday and rescue the lift.  They should be out within a few days to rescue it.  Also, being a Sunday the local Marina was not open either.  We will head up again next weekend to assess the lift damage and talk to the Marina to get a feeling for the damage to the motor.

Needless to say, we did not spend Sunday putting up our last pieces of sheet rock.  That will have to wait for another day.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Finally, an update

Wow, this sure has been a busy summer.  I apologize for not providing an update recently.  I have been meaning to update this blog for over a month, but have not had much time to sit down and do so.

We have been up to the cabin twice since my last update.  We went up over the 4th and found some time to hang sheet rock in the front bedroom.  We went up again over the weekend of July 19 and almost finished the sheet rock in the last bedroom.  I only need three more sheets of sheet rock to complete the entire cabin.   Hopefully next time we go up I will be able to bring the last three sheets I need.  Then I just need to find some time to mud, tape, sand, and paint the bedrooms.  Maybe I will be able to escape once or twice this fall.

I could show pictures sheet rock, but that is boring.  Instead, I will show you these...

We spotted this strange creature along the road.  Turns out it is called a Hummingbird Moth.

One of the loons on the lake.

We got a new tube and the kids love it...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Water rising

Trying something new today.  I'm blogging from the cabin using the Blogger app.  Of course I won't be able to publish until we get home  slush we don't have a network connection up here.  Please bear with me since I have not done this before. 

We arrived yesterday (Saturday) early afternoon.  Very cloudy day but no rain on the way up.  Temps were in the 60's.  Far short of the forecasted 80's.  The grass was about two feet tall with all this rain we've been having.  I had to fill the mower with gas four times to get it all mowed.  Noticed right away that the lake level was extremely high.  Very similar to last year.  Due to this we decided not to put the boat in the water to avoid a repeat of last year when the boat floated away because the water lifted it out of the lift.  All three kids were anxious to fish and started fishing shortly after we got the path to the lake mowed.  The fishing was good.

This morning (Sunday) the rain started about 5 a.m.  It continued until about noon.  The lake level continues to rise as I type this.  When the rain was ended I took apart my duct tape patch that I had applied to the main vent stack last time we were up.  I replaced the busted pipe and then added metal brackets to secure the pipe so it won't happen again in the future. 

As we were eating lunch today I spotted a porcupine wandering around in the yard.  As usual the dogs were outside.  I ran outside early enough to stop Luke from attacking it like he had done a few years back (he lost).  As I was typing this I went down to the lake to photograph a loon and ended up getting a bunch of photos of a bald eagle that was hanging out on the lake too.  The afternoon ended up being quite nice and Julissa even went for a swim in the chilly lake. 

We ended the evening with a campfire and marshmallows before the mosquitoes came out in force.  All in all, a pretty decent weekend even though it was not nearly as nice as forecast.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

First trip of 2013

We made our first trip up on memorial weekend since the weather has been so lousy this year.  We've been so busy since then, that I have not taken to time to document it until now.  When we arrived I noticed that the sewer vent that I installed last year that comes out the roof was leaning over.  When I got inside I saw that the 3 inch PVC pipe was busted off.  It appears that the heavy wet snow from April had slid down the roof and applied so much weight to the pipe that it broke.

As you can see from the photo above, I had a 3 inch direct vent from outside to the utility room.  Luckily it must not have rained much after this happened because there was very minimal evidence of water damage in the utility room.  I temporally fixed the pipe, like any man would do, using duct tape.  One of our later trips up this year I will replace the PVC and also use stringers to attach the pipe to the wall next to it so that this can't happen again.

Being our first trip up for the year, we spent most of the time doing yard work.  Moving, and cutting back bushes.  I also got out the chainsaw and cut up a dead tree that had fallen last year. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I don't want to go home

This was without a doubt my favorite trip of the year so far. Even though we did have a few scattered showers throughout the weekend, the weather was fantastic. Highs around 80 and lows around 60. We actually took some time to relax and I even got a little fishing in. The boys did a lot of fishing, but did not have much to show for it this time.

Since our last trip up, one of the old dead pine trees decided to collapse, so on Friday, Cheryl and the kids took to cutting it up and clearing the debris.

While they were doing that, I decided it was time to replace the leaking faucet on the shower. When I had originally installed the shower, I bought a cheap faucet, and it had always leaked, and was very difficult to set the water temp.  Menards had a Moen faucet on sale a few weeks back, so I picked it up.

 Later on Friday, Cheryl and Mitchell decided it was time to get rid of the old portable fire pit (sitting in the background on the photo below) and install an in-ground one. I love the new fire pit. We had fires every night this trip.

Saturday started out rainy, but cleared off in the early afternoon.  I still needed to install the closure strips on one side of the garage roof, so I got busy doing that.  Now I just need to caulk a few things on the garage roof and cabin roof and that project will be finished. The remainder of the Saturday was spent swimming, cutting wood and enjoying the fire.

Sunday was a perfect day and I needed one because I had a hole to cut into the cabin roof. One thing that I had never done was to vent the drain system in the plumbing correctly to bring it up through the roof. Until now, it had been venting into the open space under the cabin, which worked fine, but got a little stinky from time to time. I had always planned on doing it and now since the new roof was on, it was time.

Another task that had just never got done was to finish putting up the vapor barrier in the last bedroom. While I was installing the vent, Cheryl was putting up plastic in our bedroom.

It was hard to leave on Monday because it was so nice.  I think August is my favorite time of year up there.  The ticks and horse fly's are mostly gone, and the temps are not as hot as in July.  The kids are always sad when we have to go home.  They keep telling me they want to stay there all summer long.  I have to say that I agree with them.