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We hosted our first ice-fisherman over the New Year's holiday in our new winter rental, Cabin 8. They were incredibly nice fellows and overlooking a few mishaps with the cabin, we rebooked them for next year.

It was stressful, however. They were here at the same time as the tragic ice-fishing related drowning of a long-time guest of a neighboring resort. A 78-year-old man died when the bomber he and his group were riding in crashed through the ice. Ice that had been tested and driven upon already that morning. The news was so incredibly sad and shocking it swept through the small Angle community like wildfire. Our guests were fishing independently using ATV's, and still, I asked them to check-in when they came off the ice each night.

The nature of the winter rental is different than our summer experience. We don't have the lodge open and we're not offering any services or gas or morning coffee and fish stories, which I know both Tony and I are missing. We don't have an opportunity to interact and get to know the folks who come to stay. In fact, we might not even see them if they pay digitally, like a couple groups. It feels like the contact-less trend that developed with Covid and the uptick in AirBnB or VRBO.

And I'm hoping it's easier for people. They can come and go. It's a beautiful cabin, big enough for a group but cozy enough for two. To make this whole winter experiment work, we're hoping for a few more bookings, and we might have to do what Grandma Grace and Grandpa Dale never did: <insert horrifying music here> Advertise. Gasp.

So, if you know anyone...

The winter temps have been hovering around 0 at night and well below freezing in the daytime hours. "We're making ice now" as Tony likes to say...though "we" have nothing to do with it. Fishing has been bountiful, from what we hear and from the heaping plate of fresh walleye the Cabin 8 guests left us. It made dinner for two nights, both my favorite - lightly sauteed in butter with simple salt and pepper seasoning, and the kids' favorite - a Shorelunch dusting, egg wash and then coated in crushed Saltines. Those are admittedly my favorite too, but less carbs makes me feel less guilt and my joints less creaky. So I lie to myself: butter is better. Butter is better.

The winter herd is slowly gathering, hoping for the benevolent hand-outs a few of the locals may or may not give out. Last year, we weren't supposed to feed the deer. So we didn't. We definitely didn't. You didn't hear that here. They didn't gather in our yard, or anywhere. It's bad for them. There's not even a herd. How silly of me to describe it that way! This year, we're not in the no-feed zone, so I can finally post all the pictures I took, I mean "take", of them.

The frost hangs low over the lake this morning. Baby Mac and I will make the UPS run and pickup Julian from preschool, while Tony braves the temps to do the last of Cabin 7's insulating and sheeting in the crawlspace. It looks SO good, like it was meant to be where it is. I'll write and post more photos soon.

We are wintering well and wish you all warm mornings, plates of walleye, and your own deer-herd out the window.

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