Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Moose Drop Inn

Thought I would give you a taste of our weather, courtesy of the weather service:

WIND CHILL ADVISORIES & WARNINGS IN EFFECT FOR THUR & THURSDAY NIGHT FOR WESTERN & CNTL NO. DAKOTA. A VERY COLD ARCTIC AIR MASS WILL PUSH INTO WESTERN & CNTL ND THUR & THUR NIGHT. DURING THE DAY ON THURSDAY WIND CHILLS NEAR 20 BELOW WILL DEVELOP IN THE NORTHWEST AND SPREAD SE DURING THE DAY ON NO. WINDS OF 15 TO 25 MPH. THURSDAY NIGHT WINDS WILL CONTINUE AT 10 TO 25 MPH AS AIR TEMPS FALL TO 10 TO 25 BELOW. THIS WILL CREATE WIND CHILLS NEAR 40 BELOW. WIND CHILL ADVISORIES & WARNINGS MEAN THE COMBINATION OF VERY COLD AIR & STRONG WINDS WILL CREATE DANGEROUSLY LOW WIND CHILL VALUES. THIS WILL RESULT IN FROST BITE & LEAD TO HYPOTHERMIA OR DEATH IF PRECAUTIONS ARE NOT TAKEN.

So this is life in the Turtle Mountains!

I was thinking about the terrible cold forecast, and wondered how families ever lived in the little Norwegian cabin that is on our land. People in the area have told us the cabin was built just before 1900. Most people had large families back then, and this cabin’s outside dimensions are only 16 feet by 16 feet. There is only one room on the main floor, with a very small upstairs for sleeping that is accessed by a very steep wooden ladder. The occupants moved out, and allowed the cabin to deteriorate. Soon the place was used by party goers (we had to clean up a lot of cans, broken bottles, etc. close by where there was a bonfire area), and in the winter by snowmobilers that needed a place to get out of the wind.

When we first moved up here the contractor wasn’t ready to dig our basement, so Jim and the boys started cleaning up this cabin in order to store Jim’s woodworking tools and other items inside. They decided they should call the place the “Moose Drop Inn”, as we were told it was a good place in which to trap critters and moose had been living in the side rooms in the winter. Needless to say, the place needed a lot of cleaning up! Apparently someone along the way added 2 small rooms to the structure, but party goers had torn away lots of the boards to fuel their bonfires.
Jim and the boys (and friends that came up to help) removed the dilapidated side rooms and cleaned up the inside of the main structure. There is no electricity down there since the cabin is located about ¼ mile from our home, so whenever Jim needs to run a power tool he has to get the generator going. The logs on the exterior were hand cut to make square sides, and the corners are dovetailed to fit. Amazing what they could do by hand. We need to repair the chinking in between the logs, and hopefully we can start that in the spring. I think the roof could use a few wooden shingles as well. Jim added a wood stove and proper doors and windows in order to secure his tools inside. There is another entrance to our property from the road where it curves around by this cabin, and it seems no matter how many times Jim places barriers down there, people either move them, drive over them or just go around. Old habits die hard, I guess.

In the fall of 2004 we had a small fire down there to roast hotdogs and marshmallows … My brother had come up for a week to help out with enclosing the basement and had pitched his tent by this cabin. My oldest had gotten a raccoon that had been trapped in our neighbor’s garden and had skinned it, saving the meat for us to taste! We all took one bite and decided it tasted like chicken, then decided not to eat the rest. After it grew totally dark I looked up into the night sky and noticed that the Big Dipper was directly overhead of the peak of the house. It was amazing to me that the original homesteaders had built the little cabin in a direct north/south direction, probably without the aid of any instruments or tools. We sure could learn a lot from those people.

I guess I am very thankful to be living in this basement instead of at the Moose Drop Inn!

9 comments:

mountainfirekeeper said...

Hi Lynn!

Interesting story and excellent pictures of the old cabin! Hope you and your family stay warm and safe during this arctic cold spell!

Emily said...

Hope you stay warm and cozy with that frigid weather coming! Brrr! We are having unseasonable temperatures once again after our big snowfall on Sunday. It was 56 degrees today at midday, light variable winds, and a blazing sun high in the sky. Gorgeous! But tomorrow it will be gusty and pouring rain and then back to the cold temps. That's been the weather pattern all year. What a quaint and interesting piece of history you have in that cabin. Someday I'd like to research our house's history since it was built in either 1829 or 1826, depending on whom you talk to. Oh, I must say that I've been enjoying your son Jonathan's blog, by the way. He has quite the talent for telling a tale in a way that keeps the reader in suspense!

Benjamin said...

Well, finally everyone is getting some real winter! (or at least that seems to be andrew's sentiments- lol). We're under winter storm warning here in Iowa too- supposed to have 6-9 inches of snow before the day is out- and it's snowing good now. We enjoyed your post.
Stay warm
Ben and Heather

Lynn said...

Thanks, Steve! We are staying toasty warm!

Wow, Emily, that's quite an old house. But then, ND's past doesn't go quite as far back as the east coast states. I've always loved old houses, and would love to see yours. I liked the way the old houses out east would be connected to the barns. Jonathan does a good job of writing, he has been at it for a long time. He has a newspaper he publishes of items written by homeschooled children; maybe your children would be interested? www.dakotatimes.com. Our son Peter also is doing a good job of blogging: www.mrflatpicker.blogspot.com.

Well, Ben, now you and Heather can tell everyone down in Iowa your "war stories" of your growing up years on the prairie, with all the wonderful cold and snowstorms!

Anonymous said...

Good story Lynn. I was wondering the age of that cabin.

Temps going down in the North and up in the South. Maybe winter is finally getting its act together.

Guess you will have plenty of hot water the next few days. Hope you have a good wood supply.

Thanks for the good blog.

I like the cabin name.
Gp B

HomesteadHerbs said...

I want a cabin like that! :-)

It's in the 80's here...yesterday we were in short sleeves and shorts! And very humid!!

Northern Farmer said...

Fifty below windchill here this morning. Chores were a little rough. Stay warm over your way folks.

Lynn said...

Don't rub it in, Christine! I like the lack of humidity up here better, in spite of the cold! Gives me an excuse to get indoor things done.

Tom, our windchills were just as bad this morning. Jonathan said it was a bit chilly when he brought water down to the sheep! Thankfully during the last blizzard our thermometer disappeared from the tree so we have no idea of how cold it actually is! Our crazy German Shepherd sat out most of the night and barked until he was hoarse; he must not feel the bone chilling cold. Interesting how the cold weather really doesn't stop activities in the country, we are still expecting quite a crowd on Sunday for the Country Living Skills Workshop.

Anonymous said...

is it possible he was barking because he was in distress from the cold?