We have about five inches of good ice. It's still thin enough that we wear ice pickers on the way out just in case we break through. Ice pickers are little things you hold in your hands and if you break through the ice you can use them to pick into the ice and pull yourself out. That's the theory, anyway.
I got the Eskimo ice house as a Christmas present for Steve, but it was delivered on the day I was out ice fishing with Roland. That means Steve beat me home and saw the box in the garage! It sure came in handy last weekend, so I'm not too sorry the surprise was discovered early. Besides, it's kind of a family present.
Here is the inside. I was inside most of the day because I forgot my snow pants!
Look at the crappies we caught! That's Tansy's head sniffing one of the fish. (The fish she's sniffing is a bluegill. The bluegill was just as big as the crappies!) Notice her bright orange neck gaiter? That will figure into the story about the Big Scare that I'll tell you next.
Steve and I went fishing Sunday afternoon on Cedar Lake, which is a lake pretty close to our house. Tansy got occupied with a squirrel while we dug our fishing holes. Then we noticed we no longer heard the squirrel, so we called for her. Nothing. After 10 minutes of calling, Steve left to walk the trail to find her. He came back and hour and a half later with no sign of Tansy.
It was almost dark, so we packed up and headed to the truck. I took the truck home to grab my cell phone while he went back down the trail calling her. By now it was dark. Pitch dark. I met Steve back at the lake and we drove the trails in the area. No luck. Nothing. We were worried that she was stuck in a trap, killed, drowned, hurt somewhere, stuck somewhere, just lost? She always comes to our call.
We heard barking and thought it was her, so we booked over to the road where we thought it might be coming from. Still no luck, but we were close to our house there, so we went home to warm up and call from our dock. I put out an APB on Facebook that she was missing and noted that she should have on a blue and green collar as well as a blaze orange neck gaiter. Here's a photo of her that our friend, Heather posted on Facebook during the search.
We called for an hour at home and then went back out on the roads. We finally just came home at 9:30. Steve was exhausted from cutting wood all morning, cutting ice holes and traipsing through the woods looking for Tansy for seven hours! I couldn't sleep and knew I had to stay up until I dropped dead from exhaustion.
I was so sad. She's so skinny. She's is great shape and young (three), but she just never has carried any weight and it was going to be 10 degrees with a stiff wind over night. I knew she was either dead or terribly lost and scared and hungry. She didn't get her supper, and I started to cry.
A little after 10:00 the phone rang and it was our friend, Ellen. She was on her way home and spotted Tansy on the Echo Trail up by Bass Lake. That's SIX miles from our house! And a good five miles as the crow flies from the lake where we were ice fishing.
I tore out of the house like greased lightning - never even hollered to Steve that I was leaving. I drove carefully, though, the roads are pretty slippery. She was nowhere to be seen. I called Ellen to try to pinpoint exactly where she was when spotted and what direction she might have been going. I called for her from the place they saw her, but then decided drove a bit north directly to Bass Lake to try from there. Ellen was going to come help and see if she could be spotted further north of Bass Lake.
Just then I heard a big crashing in the woods and Tansy came barreling out to me as fast as she could. Such luck! Luck, luck, luck. Lucky that she headed west instead of north or she would have never hit the Echo Trail. Lucky that Ellen lives up the Echo and happened to be driving home right when Tansy was on the road. And lucky that Ellen heard that she was missing and saw that it was her by the bright orange neck gaiter. I know there's a lot more luck I could mention, but you get the gist.
Tansy knows she is lucky, too. She's been sticking to me like glue. I'm still a little shaky from the whole experience. I ordered a tag for her collar. Not that anyone could catch her and read it, but if she were found dead, at least I might know about it. Ellen tried to catch her, but Tansy does not like people and even on a good day you wouldn't be able to catch her. But you could trick her with a Frisbee. She'll do anything for a Frisbee.
For now she's grounded. Maybe that means she's tied to me for the rest of the winter. It's okay, though, I usually tie her to me all winter for skijoring. Remember this post of the careening death ride?
Here's a photo our neighbor, Terry Jackson, took today of the Echo Trail. Look at the woods. We have a million acres of woods out of our back door. Literally a million acres comprises the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area. Lucky that Tansy was found at all.