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  • September 2011
    from www.CustomCabins.com
    14663 Vosburgh Rd. Ely, Minnesota 55731
    email: info@customcabins.com


    Moving right along, it is now September in northeast Minnesota and it was a busy time for Custom Cabin Rentals. Most of the summer was dry—especially the latter part of July and August.

    We have to back up a bit and tell you that on August 17th, because of a lightning strike, a small forest fire started near Pagami Creek. Now, Pagami Creek is about 14 mile east of Ely, which pretty much put it close to our back yard. The specific area is about four miles south of the Fernberg Trail, which is our life line road to town. The Forest Service easily could have put it out, but opted to let it burn (which is the policy of the Forest Service in BWCAW areas) to help get rid of the debris left from out 1999 blow down. They monitored it for quite awhile, and then, decided to ignite a "back burn" to help clear the area of dead materials. Having looked at all of the weather forecasts, winds, etc., the Forest Service decided to go ahead with the burn.

    Well, the winds shifted from the south (which would have pushed the back burn into the existing fire) to the north and the fire ran some sixteen miles to the southeast in one day. Because of the winds, the fire literally took over the weather. The very extreme heat from the fire altered the composition of the clouds and pushed the smoke all the way to the Chicago area. We had several e-mails and phone calls from guests who live in that area asking us to please keep our smoke to ourselves. We even made the national news.

    In addition, we and the Chamber of Commerce heard from people who believed the entire town of Ely had burned as had the entire BWCAW. It is definitely not so! The fire was to the south of us, and we were totally unscathed.

    Did we have smoke? Yes, we did, but it usually cleared by about eleven AM. One day Willy had an early tow and motored up to Prairie Portage. As he ran down the lake, he took a picture from his cell phone and tried to capture the twin islands on Moose Lake.

    Reports from the Forest Service say that there are over 92,000 acres that burned. Yes, at the present time, it is "under control" and is being monitored by air patrol. We have been told the fire won't be totally out until we have several significant snows.

    Last summer we noticed that part of the dock had been sagging. The guys tore off the top part and realized the outer wall which protects the dock had washed out because of waves, freezing, thawing, and some 30 years of having been in the water. Hence we had to install new partial dock. Next spring by the part next to Williams and Hall will be repaired as well. The good part is that the new dock includes benches where guests can sit and enjoy the beautiful view of Moose Lake.

    Now the big news for the month is that we hosted a very large north woods wedding reception. We thought the party would be for about 80-100 people, but when we recounted (more or less) it appeared that there were some 150-170 people who attended. What we do know for certain is that there were 200 hamburgers that were cooked, and that not one was left over.

    The bride and her father were picked up at our dock in a 1958 Crestline boat sporting a 1958 Johnson motor. Following maritime etiquette, the captain, who was sporting his "captain's garb", saluted the bride and her father as they boarded the boat. The bride was adorned in her finest denim bib overalls, which she had converted to be the bib with a long skirt. In addition, she had sewn in some ruffles of upholstery material at the bottom of the skirt.


    The wedding was held at John Herrick's Moose Bay Company, which is located in a bay around the corner to the left of us. The groom has guided there, and the bride owns and operates A Laundry Room in Ely. So as the bride, groom, and wedding party arrived and took their places, Willy and Gregor provided the pre wedding music. Anyway, after the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom paddled back to our dock in our 1946 Thompson canoe accompanied by their two dogs (sorry, one dog was camera shy).

    The initial reception was held both at our dock and up on the hill at our house/lodge. There were shuttles running people from the wedding site to either our dock or to our lodge. After the initial reception which consisted of pizzas, cheeses and crackers, and many other snacks, the dinner portion of the reception began on the top of the hill at our house. In order to move the congregation from the dock to the "upper level", the "beer wagon", which actually was our 4-wheeler with a wagon, merely moved out, and like the Pied Piper, all of the people followed.

    The couple had set up a very large tent in our parking area in case we had foul weather or a lot of smoke from the fire. So, after dinner and the cutting of the cake, a band provided good danceable music for all to enjoy. A good time was had by all. More pictures of the wedding will be posted at: elywedding.websimple.com.

    About a week after the wedding reception, we hosted a Paella party for our guests, neighbors, and friends. A dear neighbor and his wife prepared this wonderful Spanish dish, which consisted of shrimp, chicken, rice, chicken sausage, peas, other veggies, wonderful spices and herbs, and was colorfully outlined with lemon wedges. Of course, we are sure there were the "secret ingredients", which Chef Jim will never disclosed. Normally, clams would have been added as well, but the latter are difficult to obtain in Ely. He prepared the entire meal in a special VERY LARGE platter. Anyway, there were about 26 here to enjoy all of the goodies. It was a definite "do again" gathering. Thanks, Jim and Mary.

    The end of the season is upon us, and we would like to thank all of you who visited us at Custom Cabin Rentals. We hope will see you again next summer. Yes, the newsletter will continue. Stay tuned.

    Custom Cabin Rentals
    14663 Vosburgh Rd.
    Ely, Minnesota 55731
    218-365-6947 or 1-800-235-6947