NEW RICHLAND-HARTLAND-ELLENDALE-GENEVA AREA

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For the past week or so I have had an urge to take a drive to our cabin for a couple of days just to check things out. This trip will be more of a therapy trip for me inasmuch as it will go a long way towards healing the dreaded “cabin fever” I have self-diagnosed myself to have. If I do go it will be the earliest I have taken the first trip north to our cabin.

The first spring visit to the cabin never comes without a little mystery involved. Questions: How did the cabin survive the winter? Will there be downed trees blocking the road in or the driveway? Will everything be just as we left it in the fall? These are questions I usually ask myself over and over on the drive up.

I no longer have my two oldest grandsons, Trevor and Taylor, to ride along and do the heavy work in case I need help. They are both off to school furthering their education and in their off time they seem more anxious to spend more time with girlfriends and less time with Grandpa. What’s up with that? I can truthfully say that both of those boys (young men), along with their cousin Dylan, were a great help when we were clearing the land and building the cabin.

There were a couple of years when Trevor and Taylor would go with me in April for a weekend just to check things out. We had just put the structure up and it was livable, or at least a dry place to sleep and eat. I had purchased a kerosene heater to make it warm enough for sleeping and to stay dry. At the time we had no insulation in the walls or ceiling so any heat that was generated didn’t hang around too long. I do have to say that the smell of a kerosene heater is not as nose-friendly as a wood stove.

On both of those trips we were greeted with fallen trees that had to be moved and cut up; luckily I had two really good workers with me to accomplish the task. We did the April trip for two years running before Trevor figured out we were there too early for fishing and it was a long way to drive for such a short stay. Once we cleared the trees away and cleaned up around the outside of the cabin, there was not much else to do, except listen to the radio, play cards and keep the campfire going.

I really enjoyed those times we had together on those weekends opening up the cabin. The sleeping accommodations weren’t much as we had one big room with just a single roll-away bed where Grandpa slept (seniority). The boys slept in sleeping bags that I’d lain on top of a couple of other sleeping bags that were serving as makeshift mattresses. I believe the mattress on the roll-away was probably harder than the floor; at least it had to have more lumps. Although the kids were always excited to go, I believe that it was Grandpa who was really excited about spending time in a cabin that we were building ourselves, just a little bit at a time.

Having a cabin in the woods that we (our family) built ourselves is a dream that I, for years, never thought would be possible but now it has turned into something very special. Over the years we all, especially the grandkids, enjoyed catching fish and swimming in our pretty little lake. It is where they learned to take fish off the hook and how to clean any kind of fish that swims. Brian’s boys also enjoyed being there in the fall, hunting grouse and waterfowl.

Our cabin doesn’t have any running water or indoor plumbing and about three years ago we finally got electricity. Although a rustic getaway like ours does not appeal to everyone, it sure works for our family. I knew building a cabin ourselves would be a work in progress and although it is a lot of work, I have enjoyed every minute of it. These are great memories that cannot be replaced and ones that I can look back at with pride and a feeling so good that I cannot describe it.

With all this being said, I think I will just have to take a chance and drive up to the cabin next week. With any luck at all there will be no downed trees or damage that needs to be repaired.

I haven’t heard much talk about the fishing in our neck of the woods lately; I would have to believe that the more winter-like and unseasonably cold weather we have been experiencing may have put a damper on it. The calendar says it is spring so I will keep that in mind as I make plans for an early season visit to our cabin.

Until next time, the weather will be heating up before we know it so there should be some great fishing ahead. Remember; walleye, northern and bass seasons are closed for now but the rest are fair game.

Please take some time to honor those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms that we enjoy today. Also take a little extra time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who served and those troops that are serving today.

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