What I Do in the Winter

People are always asking me what I do in all winter in the woods in the UP. This post and the next ones to follow will help answer this question.

Lake Ecology 101

This winter Rochelle and I took a 6 week online lakes ecology coarse hosted by Michigan State University. Rochelle is the administrator of the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve and they do water monitoring on the Yellow Dog River in case of erosion, mine leaking, or other foreign waste entering the river. They also do water monitoring on Lake Independence which the Yellow Dog flows into and then on into Lake Superior.

Each week we received a new lesson with videos, activities, a discussion forum and a quiz which we had to receive an 80% or higher. For instance, on week one we learned the terms oligotrophic, mesotrophic, eutrophic, different stages of a lake’s life. In later weeks, we learned about lake laws, buffer zones, invasive species, and everything we need to know about promoting lake health.

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Baking in the Woods

This year I got a cook book for Christmas from Jan and Rochelle. I have now been cooking almost every day. I have made some interesting breakfasts: toast with avocado spread and a sunny side up egg on top, peach and blackberry yogurt smoothies, granola bars, but usually I make desserts, cookies, banana and ginger bread. Cooking also helps with math. Often, I halve or double a recipe so I calculate fractions while measuring.

Baking is not so easy in the woods. We don’t have an electric or gas oven, but instead we have a wood cook stove. So, when I want to bake, I first have to go split wood and then build the fire. We can’t preset a temperature for the stove. I have to monitor it the whole time and add wood as needed to maintain the temperature. Most of my baking has turned out except for the one goopy clumpy ginger bread.

Before baking

Before baking

After baking

After baking