December 2008

Click here to see the other months in 2008:
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

December_1st A reminder: Tonight the cresent moon, Venus, and Jupiter will be in proximity low in the Southwest sky just as the sunsets. The Farmer's Almanac calls it "the year's most striking conjunction". Don't miss it!
December 2nd Isn't my Christmas tree the neatest thing? Click HERE.
December 3rd I know this is a repeat of the last couple of years at about this time, but every year has seemed better than the previous one. The moaning and the groaning of the lake ice before the sun came up this morning was loud and continuous. Geez, I wish I could record that eerie, haunting, lovely sound.
December 4th Happy Birthday to my old friend Charlie Stover, whom I met in the 6th grade!
The Nones of December Geez, we need some snow to cover the ground. It has been cold (not zero, but close) for quite some time now, and if the ground continues to freeze like this, the guys who thaw out water lines and septic systems will all buy new boats and pick-up trucks again next spring.
December 6th Lucas was out fishing this morning and he tells me that the ice is 6 to 8 inches thick.

There's another new entry on the "Northland Stories, Poems, and Anecdotes" link on the main page. It's called "Little Bass Lake Resort" and it was written by grandson Josh. It has been available from the main page of the LBLR web-site for about two years via a link called "My Grandson's Thoughts About LBLR", but it also deserves to be in here. You can get to it from the LBLR home page, or you can take a short cut to it by clicking HERE.
December 7th Happy Pearl Harbor Day (the 67th). Birthday wishes are in order for Mary, Queen of Scots (though she's been dead for 421 years). And happy Immaculate Conception Eve as well.

13 below zero this morning; maybe winter will get here after all.

Happy first anniversary to Florio's Bar and Grill in Cohasset; they are a great addition to the town and to the area. And in addition to the restaurant, we now have Ron, Nancy, Larry, and Sherry as new friends.
December 8th The Minnesota vs. Detroit game yesterday was a "must lose" game for my Lions. With a valiant effort and some appropriate "late game" manuevers for which they have become famous, they rose to the occasion (though it was close) and held onto their perfect record. They are now 0-13 with only three games yet to play. And don't forget, they also had a perfect pre-season record of 4-0.

At least it's starting to look like winter. Click HERE.
December 9th The first permanent ice house showed up on the lake this morning. It's set up near the sunken island but I don't yet know who it belongs to.

We've hit our earliest sunset of the year (4:25 PM). This is as early as it gets! But the sun will continue to rise later till the 22nd at which time we will have shaved another 7 minutes off of the length of our day, thus getting it down to its minimum of 8 hours and 29 minutes.

On December 22nd, the shortest day (if anyone is interested):
  • Lori and her friends in the Cities will have 18 minutes more daylight than us
  • My daughter Tracie and her friends in Rochester will have 25 minutes more daylight than us
  • Angie and her friends in Des Moines will have 42 minutes more daylight than us
  • Connie and her friends in Columbia, TN will have 1 hour and 17 minutes more daylight than us
  • Bob and his friends in my old stomping grounds of Boca Raton, FL will have 2 hours more daylight than us
  • The people in Key West will have 2 hours and 9 minutes more daylight than us
  • And at the other end of the scale, the residents of Barrow, Alaska haven't seen the sun since November 18th and they wont see it again until late in January.
December 10th The water line to Cabin #2 has frozen up twice in two days. I was trying to keep it open for my last group of deer hunters, but no way! They have now agreed to stay in cabin #6, so Cabin #2 has been shut down. Aside: I may have some serious problems next spring as a result of this mess, but it'll be nicer working on it at 60 degrees than at 0 degrees.
December 11th In a dissertation about life in the Northland, the 2004 Farmer's Almanac said: "The onset of Winter may overtake or otherwise confound our preparations, but it doesn't ever surprise us." How true it is! See the above entry.
December 12th It was 21 below zero when I got up this morning, but the weatherman says we might even get above freezing tomorrow. A tropical heat wave is headed our way!!!!

There is now a second permanent fish house on the lake. This one is also in the vicinity of the sunken island but on the opposite side of it.
December 13th High Bush Cranberries in the snow. It's a pity it was such a cloudy day; if there had been more sun they may have looked much brighter and redder. Click HERE.
December 14th Nuthun' but snow all day with white-out conditions a lot of the time! Click HERE.
December 15th 6:00 AM:
Oh snowed all day yesterday. Right now there's more than a foot of new snow on the ground with a strong wind out of the west and a temperature of 16 below zero (and still snowing a little). The high today is going to be about 10 below zero, and as I understand it we'll likely stay below zero until Thursday (the 18th) when the forecast says we might get up to 10 above.

10:00 AM:
The hunters in the duplex can now get out but the north side is impassable yet. It's still 15 below zero, so it's not warming up very quickly, is it? Click HERE.

1:00 PM:
There! The snow blowing is done. I don't believe it's going to make it up to minus 10 today.
December 16th 33 below zero at 6:00 AM; the coldest so far this fall.

At daybreak this morning I took my first trek across the lake to Randy's place......and a lovely trek it was too. Luckily there wasn't any wind to speak of. I borrowed a pair of his snowshoes for the trip back which helped immensely. There's gotta be more than a foot of snow out there; there's that much even between the drifts.
December 17th Happy 75th Birthday to Larry, my neighbor to the south. This picture is from late last month shortly after the lake became iced over. His kids shoveled his name into the snow (he's a little too modest to do that kind of thing himself) but they managed to talk him into posing behind it. Click HERE.

It's nice and warm this morning (relatively speaking, that is); it's just about 12 below zero.
December 18th Today (or tomorrow, I've forgotten which) is the 50th anniversary of the first time a human voice was beamed from space. On that date in 1958 (which, incidentally, was part of the International Geophysical Year) a recorded Christmas message from President Eisenhower was broadcast from a satellite (and I've also forgotten which satellite it was).
December 19th Yesterday I spent a couple of hours chatting with Justin, an old friend of mine whom I hadn't seen in a couple of years. I arrived at his house, quite unexpectedly, a few minutes before 11:00 AM and found him sitting in the living room in his underwear drinking coffee. His wife was out Christmas shopping and he had just gotten out of bed. After he started another pot of coffee and we talked for a few minutes he thought that perhaps he should go upstairs and put on some pants. To me that appeared to be a darned good idea, and I applauded it. Some retirees really have it rough! Do you agree Henk?
December 20th The countdown continues:
According to the ancient Mayans, four years from tomorrow will be the last day. Somewhere around a thousand years ago they predicted that the world will end on December 21, 2012. The countdown is continuing so prepare thyself.
The Winter Solstice At 8:04 this morning (CST) Old Man Winter finally arrived...........and around here it sure looks like he has arrived. We got lots more snow yesterday and it now appears that we're going back into the deep freeze again.

PS: Happy Birthday Colleen.
December 22nd Personally, I don't like to see the days get longer..........but today is only about a minute longer than yesterday, so BIG DEAL! The trouble is, over time those minutes build up rather quickly. Sigh!
December 23rd There is nothing wrong with the Cities, they have their pleasures............but geez, it's good to be back Up North again!

Lucas and his dad put their fish house out on the lake today; that makes three.
Christmas Eve Christmas waves a magic wand over the world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
-- Norman Vincent Peale

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness."
-- Genesis 1:1,3
Forty years ago this very evening those words were read by William Anders as he orbitted the moon in Apollo 8. They were followed by verses 4 through 10 read by Jim Lovell and Frank Borman.
Christmas Day Yuletide felicitations to one and all. Click HERE.
December 26th Happy Boxing Day(!) which is one of my very favorite holidays.

Today is also the start of Kwanzaa which, incidentally, is basically a United States celebration.

It's above zero this morning...........way above zero in fact (low 20s). This is possibly the first time the sun rose to an above zero temperature since early in the month. Wow!
December 27th Since I'm currently in Rochester having Christmas with my kids and grandkids I don't know what's going on up north, but I do know that the cross-country skiing conditions were very good when I left early yesterday. I sure hope the warm temps and precip haven't ruined everything. I'll give you an update when I return to the Northland tomorrow.
December 28th Congrats to my Detroit Lions for their 0-16 season, the worst season in the history of the NFL. But remember, they have only lost 17 in a row and the record is 26 in a row by Tampa Bay in 1976 and 1977. Of course, there's no reason why the Lions can't break that record too.

To meet my commitment from yesterday: there is an icy crust on the top of the snow around here so I assume that the ski trails are fairly slippery. However, since the quantity of snow is adequate, any trails groomed today or later should be back in good shape. To follow the "regrooming" process, click HERE.
December 29th Oh no! Click HERE.

(Note to the Carlsons: As you will notice, even though you burned up my writer's block in a campfire last summer, I still have a picture of it........luckily.)
December 30th If my auger starts tomorrow morning I'll put the ice thickness in here.
December 31st Stay yet, my friends, a moment stayŚ
Stay till the good old year,
So long a companion of our way,
Shakes hands, and leaves us here.
Oh stay! Oh stay
One little hour, and then away.
-- William Cullen Bryant (circa 1850)

This morning I received an e-mail from a friend of mine saying that she recently had an urge to come up here and try her hand at ice fishing. I told her that the "urge" to ice fish is better than actually ice fishing............especially on a day like today. I have two thermometers outside, one on the house that I can see from a kitchen window and one near the ground by the back deck. As I type, one says minus 28 and the other says minus 33. In either case it's cold, too cold to ice fish without a fishhouse.

How can this year be over already? It was the shortest one yet.

Click here to see the other months in 2008:
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Click HERE to see the Chronicles for past years.

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