Sunday, January 19, 2014

The first trip onto the ice ~ What a fun weekend!

We finally made it out onto the ice!  After a very cold month and a half, we were able to get our fishing house onto Lake Mille Lacs.  It was a strange year for the ice, even though the temperatures had been low, there was a layer of snow on top of the ice that was insulating it from getting thick enough to safely support the houses.

My father-in-law and a few others went up early to have our house moved for us.

Being my first time out on the lake in its frozen state, I was understandably anxious.  I did feel comfortable after a few minutes, but it was definitely out of my comfort zone.  Jon said since there was snow covering the ice, it would feel like driving on land, and he was right.

Before, during and after the ride to the fish house

When we got to the cabin, it was time to get fishing!  Jon, my Dad, and  Jon's cousin Kevin each took a turn setting up fishing line and drilling a hole into the ice.  Then we got the lines measured, baited and dropped...and we laughed, we laughed a lot this weekend.

My Dad, Bruce, setting up an ice reel
Jon drilling the first hole of the season

We didn't get a single bite that first night.  The next morning, Jon and Kevin set up the dish, which went miraculously well, and the Television was up and running.  I spent much of the morning and afternoon reading a book (such a rare thing with a five year old!), before going into town with my Dad to show him around. 

When we returned, we had supper, and then things got interesting!  Inside each ice reel, is a jingle-bell, which makes noise when a fish is on the line.  We were sitting around watching TV and talking, when we heard the first jingle of a bell.  We missed that one, but shortly afterwards, my Dad pulled up a 12" walleye.

First fish of the season ~ 12" walleye

Right away, we heard another jingle, but this is the one that got away.  It seems that there's always at least one every weekend.  Jon set the hook, then pulled the fish up to the surface of the water, and just about had it out of the lake when it wiggled off the hook.  He was mighty disappointed!  Soon enough though, he made up for it with a 14" walleye out of the same hole.  In fact, it must have been the same fish, because it had two minnows in its mouth.

Jon's Walleye

Me holding Jon's fish

While the boys pulled up the fish, I worked on a craft project ~ I hung some birch bark snowflakes above the stove.  I'm trying to give this place a little personality!  I am really happy with the outcome.

Birch bark snowflakes from a local artist

After awhile, we decided to watch some movies ~ Grumpy Old Men, and Grumpier Old Men.  The first was filmed in Minnesota during the winter and featured ice fishing.  The latter was during in the summer, with some of the scenes filmed near our neighborhood.  In fact, I drive past the street that was graced by Sophia Loren and Ann Margaret every day!  Jon's Dad stopped in to make sure we saw the sunset.

Hard to capture the beauty of this sunset

Around 3:15 am, we heard one of the reels moving fast.  I jumped for the camera, and my Dad set the hook and started pulling.  He almost had the fish out of the water when the fishing line broke.  Jon was still in the top bunk, he looked down, and said that the fish was still at the top of the hole ~ Grab it!  My Dad reached in and pulled the fish out, when we measured, it was 24" long.  The regulations at Mille Lacs say you can keep fish between 18-20", and over 28", so this one went back into the drink, but it sure was fun to catch!

Bruce with a whopper!

The next morning, we used Jon's new camera to look around down at the bottom of the lake, but we didn't see much...

You can see the bottom of the lake on camera, and how thick the ice is here

So we decided to pack up and go home.  But first I snapped an extra photo of our cabin for all of you!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Beginning

Every cabin has a story, and ours is no exception.  While the final version is a far cry from the original vision, we couldn't be happier with our place.  Magically, it is everything to everyone.  It fulfills my wishes for a tiny cabin, it completes Jon's dream of owning a fish house, and it's a place for Chloe to play as she grows up.  It's the perfect getaway from our crazy lives, only two hours north of the cities.  Located at a resort across the street from Lake Mille Lacs, there is a restaurant and a meeting center withing walking distance.  The charming town of Isle is about 5 miles down the road, and boasts several gift shops, a yoga studio, a bakery, a soda shop, a hardware store, a thrift store, a grocery store and a Co-op, and most importantly, a knitting shop.  There's also a shop called Portside, which sells gas, bait, and snacks, halfway between the resort and the town.  We always seem to stop in here on the way to our house!

How did it all begin though?  I got the idea into my head about two years ago to start saving for a cabin, with nostalgic notions of  lakeside properties, stone fireplaces, and lofted ceilings.  Unfortunately, these sorts of places come with  hefty price-tags, which we could never justify.  While on the search for affordable cabins, we discovered the "Tiny house" movement.  These portable postage-stamp sized houses that people are very happily living in, looked high-end and lovely, maximizing space with clever storage solutions.  We started downloading photos of the ones we liked, while searching for a parcel of land to purchase. 

During the summer of 2012, we spent a week in my Mother and Father in-law's fish house, and it was so relaxing and delightful.  Jon and his dad went fishing, I got some alone-time to wander the town, knit and read, and Chloe was a little beach bunny, spending most of her time near the water.  Jon made the astute observation that we should use our cabin fund to buy a fish house, but I wasn't on board with that idea yet.  A year later, everything was different.  We were going up to Mille Lacs almost every weekend, there were 5 or 6 girls at the resort that Chloe could play with, and all of a sudden Jon's idea made a lot of sense to me. 

Naturally, once we decided that we wanted to buy a fish house, we wanted one immediately.  We looked at several over-priced, run-down beaters before we found our beauty.  We had almost given up looking in October, when we saw a Craig's List ad featuring exactly what we wanted, at a different resort.  Amazingly, we were the first to answer, and I was able to take a weekday off to go up north to look at it with my Father-in-law.  The seller was a bit surprised at the amount of interest, telling us that he had gotten 15 calls about it, with 4 other parties scheduled to come see it that weekend.  Even while we were there, he took a call from someone who was requesting that he hold the house for them.  When it got the stamp of approval from my Father-in-law, I told him that we'd take it!

The booth, the bunks, and the bathroom
Luckily, a spot opened up at my in-law's resort that same week, so our house is situated right across the street from them.  The timing couldn't have been more perfect!  I wish I could have been there to see it get moved, but by the following Monday afternoon, our house had been delivered to our resort.  That gave us the rest of the season to fix it up a bit. 

The heater, the kitchenette, and the booth
After buying quilts for the beds, we definitely wanted to install blinds on the windows and the door, make curtains, and replace all the brass hardware.  Our place looked a bit bare, especially in the beginning, but we're hoping to add some personality to it along the way!

Kelly sewing curtains for the kitchenette
One of the biggest surprises for us is how much we like the booth!  Initially, I had thought that we would sell it immediately, but after living with it for a few weeks, we've decided that we really like it.  It is incredibly useful, and comfortable.  We sit there often, it offers storage under the seats, and it turns into a bed.  

Our bathroom
The only drawback is that the house doesn't have running water.  This is part of it being a fish house, however, we are simply used to living with plumbing. 

Our bathroom has a bucket system, but in the summer, there are bathroom facilities just down the road, which feature modern amenities such as faucets, toilets and showers.  Amen!  We have to "rough it" in the winter, but hand sanitizer abounds, and we can use the restaurant bathrooms too.

But what can I say?  We love it.  The people we've met up here are truly delightful.  The waitresses at the restaurant give Chloe quarters to spend in the toy claw machine (her obsession!), and  people go out of their way to be nice to us.   Our neighbors at the resort are awesome, we are close to our family, and we are giving Chloe the best childhood that we know how to give.  She's still young enough to find joy in the simple things, like riding her bike with her friends, running in the waves, and hanging out with her grandparents.  We just have to remember to save up our quarters all week, because that "Claw Ma-hine" gets expensive!!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Introductions first, of course!

Hello, and welcome!  We are Jon Beaman, and Kelly Lightner Beaman, born and bred Minnesotans, living in Northeast Minneapolis.  Jon works in waste disposal and Kelly spends a lot of time in an environmental laboratory.  We got married in 2008, and our daughter, Chloe, was born later that year.  Jon's daughter, Jaclyn, is 20, attends college and works for AT&T.

Kelly wanted to start a blog to document and share our fish house adventures, because it's not every day that you hook your cabin up to a tow truck and haul it out onto a frozen lake!