Well, the 2015 season at Birch Forest Lodge is officially in the books. Sadly enough we are now closed till May of 2016. These summers go by so fast. And whereas we only arrived in July, this summer was even shorter than usual! This is my 9th summer up here in the area working, and each year I forget how much work it is to winterize a resort. Opening up and closing down take so much work. Come spring I’m sure I’ll have forgotten again and be surprised at how much there is to do. Being that this was our first time to prepare Birch Forest Lodge for winter, this year had some added challenges. But we were very blessed in two ways. First off, so many thanks to Marc Thiery, Marc’s father (Lonny), and Dan and Troy, who came up to help (really to show us what to do). They were lifesavers. They showed me how to take out the dock and Lonny worked with me getting the water lines blown out. The other good fortune we enjoyed was the weather. No one complains about temps around 60 degrees and blue skies. The weather has been great for a couple of weeks. In fact, most of the trees around here still have leaves! Prior to Marc and friends arriving we had to get some things ready. I had to take apart the dock and stack the dock pallets. My kids tried to help, but at 8 and 5 years old, they talk more than they help. Here I am carrying the dock pallets.

taking apart the dock

I wanted to get as many of the pallets off before the help arrived so I spent most of Friday carrying pallets. After dozens of trips back and forth on Friday, come Saturday I could barely lift my arms! Here are the dock pallets stacked and the dock frames out of the water.

closed down-dock is out of the water

Along with the water lines and dock, we worked on several other things to prepare for the winter. We had to inventory the retail items in the lodge store, wash bedding, fold and store linens, bag the blankets, pull the boats out of water and winterize them, cut and stack firewood to dry over the winter, inventory dishes and cabin furniture, pull out the hazard buoys, put stuff in storage and so much more. So there you have it, no docks, no boats and no cabins open. We must be closed.

Whereas we will be heading south for the winter, Adyson, our 8 year old daughter, and I stayed up late last night to watch the moon come up over the water one last time. At about 11 pm we were down by the boat house ready for the moon to appear. While waiting for the moon we once again marveled at how many stars we have and how bright they are up here away from any city lights. And then about the time the moon started to come up the northern sky started glowing a faint green! Here is the photo I snapped of the moon rising and the Aurora Borealis making a brief appearance.

moon with stars and northern lights

Along with the melancholy feelings of being closed, I am also reminded how blessed and fortunate we are to be able to enjoy the Northwoods of Minnesota. I know that I will miss the warm days of summer and life on the lake. I already can’t wait for the 2016 season. Here’s to long days, star filled nights, fishing, relaxing in the hammock, laughing while playing bean bags, playing on the beach, Northern Lights, campfires, swimming in the lake, gooey smores and everything else that makes summers at Birch Forest Lodge great. Hope to see all of you next summer!