A Continuation of the 20+ Years of
April 2021

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April, April
Laugh thy girlish laughter;
Then, the moment after,
Weep thy girlish tears.

            -- Sir William Watson (circa 1880)

Yes, it's April, but:
No ice out contest. No cabins to be opened up and spring cleaned. No pine needles to rake. No docks, boats, or pontoons to put in. Etc., etc., etc. You know the routine; you've been reading about it for years.

The Mississippi Pub re-opens today with full hours after being closed for the winter due to COVID19 concerns. YES!
April 2nd   Note to North Carolina Laurie:   If and when your plan to move to Grand Rapids materializes, however far into the future that might be, should I still refer to you as North Carolina Laurie? Or will you then be Grand Rapids Laurie, or maybe even just Laurie? By the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY over a week late. I'm sorry. I'm not sorry that you had another birthday, I'm sorry for not acknowledging it in a timely manner. Hope it was a fun one!
April 3rd   Twenty (or so) hours of straight driving is a lot of driving; but "Home again, home again, jiggety-jog".
Easter Sunday   This is really a neat picture. But if you want to hold hands, and if you both need a cane, how are you going to carry your drink? Click HERE
April 5th   As per some people living on Little Bass Lake, the ice-out date will be early this year.......possibly even this week. There is some open water near the south end, and a Loon has moved in for the summer. Click HERE.   (Thanks for the picture Randy, who actually got it from Mike.)
April 6th   There's probably not much growing Up North yet, but here there are at least some Crocuses. Click HERE. And besides that, the Frog Serenades have begun.
April 7th   Huzzah!!!! Today is ice-out day on Little Bass Lake!
If you remember (or click HERE if you don't) the lake froze completely on November 30th last fall, which was exactly on the median freeze date. Since the median thaw date is April 20th, it became liquid 13 days earlier than normal. It was frozen for 128 days (141 days was the average). Notice that the average days frozen dropped to 140 but the median freeze and thaw dates remain unchanged. (Thanks again to Randy for watching the ice and filling me in.)

PS:   In the ice-dates page which you clicked on above, you'll notice that the dates and numbers have been updated, but the graph has not. That will be updated just as soon as I re-learn how to make graphs using MS EXCEL. I haven't done that since the Spring of 2018, and at my age it's easy to forget such things, but not so easy to re-learn them.
April 8th   On June 15th of last year, this mother turtle came into the yard and laid her eggs (click HERE). Then this morning, almost 10 months later (about the same time as it takes Up North), this hole, which wasn't there last night, suddenly appeared (click HERE). The ground was very hard until last night's rain storm softened it and probably made it easier for the little guys to breakout. After looking around, I managed to find one of the youngsters (click HERE) and (HERE).

Most literature about these turtles (including Wikipedia) indicate that the eggs will hatch in late August or early September, but a few articles (though very few in fact), mention that in some locations the eggs will remain in the ground until the next spring when the snow melts. That's what happens in Northern Minnesota, and now we can see that it happens down here near the Metro as well.

Note added two days later:   Eventually we found a second underground nest and found at least a half dozen youngsters trying to find their way to the water. Sometime this summer, that "nesting area" will be covered with a cement patio, so it would behoove us to watch for the mothers this June and try to direct them to a different area, or their eggs will be distroyed.
April 9th   One is in the snow in Minnesota and one is in the sand on a beach in Florida. Take your pick: click HERE or click HERE.

Chronicles entry for this day in 1998, twenty-three years ago:
I put a boat in the water this afternoon (the first one on the lake), put a little 9 horse motor on it, and visited a friend at the south end of the lake. I had to break though ice to get to his dock, but I got there, nonetheless.

Note added today:   The "friend at the south end of the lake" was my friend Randy (whom many of you know). He and I used to have a contest to see which of us would get a boat and motor into the lake first. He used to win most of the time, but obviously, in that particular year, I won. However, since he claimed that a small 14-foot boat shouldn't count, I guess it's a matter of opinion who really won. And by the way, the last of the ice went out two days later. Geez, I miss that stuff.
April 11th   This is the door to the Lady's Room in a restaurant in Destin, Florida; the door to the Men's Room is similar. I suppose some people would find it funny, but I'm sure other's would not. What do you think? Click HERE.
April 12th   This is a simple, but still interesting, sunset with low lying clouds, is it not? It was redder than it appears in the picture. Click HERE.
April 13th   There have been no Hummingbird sightings in Minnesota yet, but there have been a couple in Wisconsin already. It's a tad early, but last year they were sighted at several Minnesota locations in late April and Early May, so it's probably not too early to put your feeders out. Click HERE to follow their progress.
April 14th   In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.
-- Mark Twain (circa 1890)

Obviously Mr. Twain was exaggerating a tad, but....... With 84 degrees just a few days ago, and below freezing temperatures (along with a little snow) last night, one could think that maybe he wasn't exaggerating all that much.
April 15th   Here's a question for you bird people:   Do Cliff Swallows and Purple Martins hang around together at times? This Martin house is occupied by lots of Purple Martins, but isn't that a Cliff Swallow sitting on the top left perch (click HERE)? Or is it a female Purple Martin with a reflection from the sun on her forehead? Notice that near the center of the picture there's another bird with a white breast and a glint of white on its forehead, but there are other birds facing toward the sun that don't have a white glint. HERE's a blowup. What do you think?
April 16th   Here's a question for you plant people:   Why is one branch on this Lilac bush full of green leaves, when there aren't even any buds on the rest of the branches, or on any other Lilac bushes in area? Click HERE. At first it looked like a tall weed that had grown up in the middle of the bush, but it's not; it's one single branch of the Lilac bush. If you have an explanation or even a guess, please let me know.
April 17th   A new entry (titled The Mystery of the Dead Bird) has been added to the LBLR "Stories, Poems, & Anecdotes From the Northland" page. It's very short, and it was the Chronicles entry for November 23, 2009, so you might recognize it. The "Stories, Poems, & Anecdotes From the Northland" page is HERE, but you can go directly to "The Mystery of the Dead Bird" by clicking HERE.
April 18th   Click HERE.
April 19th   If you think that the "Great Body Rebellion" of middle-age is tough, just wait till you get to the old-age version of it.
April 20th   Escape into the city of the trees,
Where they've traded in the buildings for the breeze,
Where the parking lots are fields of green with gravel roads running in between.
It's an afternoon's drive, but once you arrive, you'll never want to leave.
-- Jake Donze (Circa 2004)

You saw that about 15 years ago, but since this is the time of the year when "City People" and "Down Staters" are beginning to plan their first Up North excursion of the season, or perhaps even opening up their cabins for the summer, it seems appropriate.
April 21st   Which of you regular hard-core fishermen are planning to go Up North to fish this summer? I know that Dave B will be there (twice, in fact). Surely Denny T and his group will be there a few times too, right? Frosty? Gary G? How about you guys? Without the reservation book I don't know who's coming anymore.   PS:   Opening day is only three and a half weeks away.
April 22nd   The Grand Rapids VFW burned down in March of 2020, then in July of that year it opened it's doors in a new location on NW 4th Street. Before the VFW took it over, the building was occupied by Tovio's Sports Bar, which opened its doors in June of 2011. For the two years prior to Tovio's Sports Bar, the building was home to Darlin' Clementine's, an 1890s style steakhouse. But for many, many years before Darlin' Clemetine's, the building was the home of 4th Street Station, a very popular sports bar & restaurant. For many of the later years of the 4th Street Station era (which ended 12 years ago with its sale to Darlin' Clemetine's), a key part of the staff was Lester (cook), Cindy (waitress), Sue and Di (bartenders), and Sandy (kitchen help). The "old" group got together for lunch yesterday at a local restaurant, click HERE. Unfortunately Lester passed away since the 4th Street Station days, but his wife Kathy attended the lunch; she's on the left. Seated next her is Sue, with Cindy and Sandy behind them, and Di bringing up the rear. It's really nice to see the group back together again, and I'm sure that any of the regular customers from that time would agree.
April 23rd   A long time ago I mentioned that one trait of being in the resort business, is that when you have a day off, you can't really tell the difference. Now I've noticed that the same is true about retirement.......but for a different reason I suppose.
April 24th   This is so sad. A few weeks ago we lost our young friend, Lucas, from across the lake. As his obituary says, On April 5th 2021, [Lucas] took his final walk at his farm on Gull Lake. He passed on April 6th, 2021 with his Dad by his side. He was 24 years old. Click HERE.

Many of you have met him or read about him. Over the years he was mentioned in these Chronicles nearly 20 times. Almost always it was in regard to fishing, hunting, or anything outdoors, which was his passion; but occasionally it was simply to mention that he had been over to help with some resort chores, or just to chat. He was mentioned in the Chronicles for the final time in April of 2015 (he was 18 years old at the time) when he and a friend of his spent the day helping to put a new roof on the Garage/Game Room. To see a few pictures of Lucas which have appeared in these Chronicles in past years, click HERE.

So long Lucas.......even though we haven't seen each other in the last few years, you will be missed a lot.
April 25th   On this day 1930 Shel Silverstein was born (he died in 1999). He was a writer, poet, cartoonist, songwriter and playwright. He wrote dozens of books and recorded dozens of albums, but what I liked were his children's books, expecially the poetry. My favorite of his books is "Where the Sidewalk Ends"; it's full of poetry (and drawings) that children love to read or have read to them. Being mainly familiar with his children's stuff, I was surprised when I learned that he wrote "A Boy Named Sue" which was recorded by Johnny Cash. I was even more surprised when I saw his picture for the first time. His writings led me to envision him as looking somewhat like Mr. Rodgers, but to see what he really looked like, click HERE. Now tell me, do you think he looks like someone who writes poetry for children?

Note added 04/26/21:   When my Granddaughter, Nattie, read that entry, she sent a text to me saying: "No, that particular picture does not say 'children's poet' to me". Nattie and I used to take turns reading to each other out of "Where the Sidewalk Ends".
April 26th   The first White-throated Sparrows of the season appeared at the feeder this morning! Also, the Hummingbird site (it's HERE) shows that Hummers were seen in Coon Rapids and Maple Springs yesterday.......the first Minnesota Hummers of the year. But none here yet.
April 27th   Febuary of 2009 had 28 days, yet there are 29 Chronicles entries between the 1st and the 28th. Do you see the problem? (It's HERE.) Why doesn't somebody point these blatant errors out to me?!?!?!
April 28th   Sand or snow?
April 29th   I received a text this morning from Dave B, an avid fisherman and long-time LBLR customer and friend. Apparently he was doing a bit of reminiscing. Here's his text:

38 years ago today, yours truly made a hole in one on the 90-yard par 3 monster 8th hole at Oak Hills Country Club. Here's the call from CBS commentator Ben Wright:
Big Dave now steps onto the tee box on number 8. He has been in the zone since pulling his tee shot left on the 6th, followed by a nice par on the 7th. After consulting with JA, his playing partner, he pulls out his Northwestern 9 iron. It has to be all carry as he hits across the creek, with out-of-bounds on the right, and a plateaued green with the pin placement in the middle. There's a massive tree on the right, just waiting to suck up your golf ball like Logan, the All-State baseball champion sucks up ground balls on the baseball diamond. Dave places his orange Prostaff on a half broken tee. He takes two practice swings. Ted is cleaning his square grooves with his tee, and washing his "par rite plus" golf ball. As Dave swings, the leaves rustle from the speed of his club head. The ball soars like an Eagle, lands in front of the green, and starts slowly rolling towards the's tracking.......tracking.......tracking, then it hits the pin and drops into the cup. The patrons go wild!!! The kissing bandit comes running out of the gallery to plant one on Dave!!! It's chaos Bubbamania gone wild!!!

Nice story Dave; thanks! about writing one with an Up-North theme that can be an entry in the "Stories, Poems, & Anecdotes From the Northland" page. Surely you have some in you considering a lifetime of fishing in Northern Minnesota, as well as 22 consecutive years of using LBLR as a fishing camp.

Note added later:   Dave's friend Ted said that's not how he remembers it.
April 30th   Perhaps you've alrady noticed this, but from now on, "Today's Picture" will be "Today's Picture" as it was on this day in 2007 (14 years ago). Hopefully that will help us remember was it was like back in those heady days. However, at times it might be "Today's Picture" from 2015 (a mere 6 years ago), and at other times it might be something completely different. And that'll be least for awhile.

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