Lake Life Up North

By ALEXI VENICE

The culture of the upper Midwest is to go even farther north on the weekends—where only fur trappers and voyageurs live—to frolic on the many lakes left by glacial retreat. Life can get pretty wild up there, so I absolutely had to post about the 4th of July weekend at our lake cabin.

We have a cabin on a relatively small spring-fed lake that’s over 100 feet deep in the center. We know it’s over 100 feet deep because my husband—who wishes to remain anonymous on my blog—has a fancy depth finder on our boat that creates a perfect picture of the bottom of the lake. Personally, I think he’s more of a cartographer than a fisherman, but he comes through occasionally with a good catch. (After all, he caught yours truly.) For ease of blogging about him, I’ll refer to the love of my life as “Bill,” after Bill McCallan in my Pepper McCallan Series of books.

Bill likes to fish for Muskies (technically—the muskellunge, or locally—da Muskie), which involves trolling around the lake from dawn to dusk, sometimes catching nothing. ON THE OTHER HAND, sometimes he catches the big one! Here’s Bill with a 46-inch Muskie that he caught last October. He fishes for Muskie in cold weather, so that’s why he’s wearing a coat. Look at the mouth on that thing—the fish, not Bill. Bill has an ordinary mouth. The Muskie’s mouth is as big as Bill’s head—and he has a very large head. Ask his mother. She’ll tell you that her vagina was never the same after giving birth to him.

Todd's muskie

I can’t imagine how Bill wrestled that monster onto the boat. (Yes, he’s a catch-and-release guy, so that Muskie returned to the depths of the lake, left to resurface next summer to eat small dogs who retrieve tennis balls off the end of the dock.)

There’s a fair amount of wildlife that moves through our property, too. Here’s a pic of a bear crossing our yard at 8 o’clock one evening a few weeks ago. Fortunately, my two duck tolling retrievers were inside at the time, or the little disabled one, Daisy, would have chased the bear down, barking, “I’m gonna kick your ass.”

1945:062417:64F:2888:CABIN   :0E[117:0207]G[016:0x000f]

My other duck toller, Zane, was so afraid of getting eaten by the bear that he sat on my daughter’s lap by the fire that night.

Zane and Sarah at lake

Here’s a pic of one of the foxes that have a den by our boathouse. They like to sun themselves on the driveway because they seem to know that the dogs have an electric fence. If you look closely, you can see this fox saying, “Zane, I ate your dog food last night then peed all over your lawn. Catch me if you can, sucker!”

Fox at lake

Below is a deer looking at Zane that very same morning, who is by the front door on the other side of the pickup truck, standing next to his dog food bowl that the fox emptied. The security cam indicates it was about 7 a.m. when the deer crossed the driveway. The doe just couldn’t stop herself from throwing over her shoulder, “Too bad, Flea Bag, you’re wearing an electric dog collar!”

deer for blog post_LI

Back to the actual lake. The residents on our lake go for a cocktail cruise between 5 and 7 p.m. every night, so there’s a steady parade of boats we can join to socialize and be like everyone else.

Over the Fourth, my sister-in-law, Cinnamon Bandi, and her husband, Chap Daddy, brought the cousins to visit. We went on an extended cocktail cruise, and Bandi—being of English descent—drank a handle of Tanqueray and tonic with heaps of fresh cilantro stirred into them. Yuck—juniper berries meet pico de gallo flavors. I couldn’t do it.

Several glasses in, Bandi started talking to her pug—who she named Margot Robbie—muttering sweet nothings like “I love you.”

Bandi - Margot Boat

That’s right, Bandi, Margot is your bestie and you should hold onto her for dear life because she sinks like a rock in the water. Her small paws can’t possibly keep all those sexy Margot neck rolls afloat. Moreover, Margot closely resembles what Bill uses for Muskie bait.

Alexi Boat

After a few beers into our cocktail cruise, I insisted on water skiing—because alcohol makes me feel like I’m 20 and invincible, which I’m reminded I’m NOT the next day when I have to crawl to the kitchen for coffee and aspirin. Here’s an evening pic of me hitting it hard. I’m a little stiff in my 50s, but it’s worth it. On a calm night, the water feels like I’m skiing in vanilla pudding. Hear that, Bill? Vanilla pudding!

Alexi Evening Rooster Ski-blog post

A little further down the lake, Bill suddenly jumped off the boat—with his clothes on—making a spectacular dive into the water. We were confused and surprised as to why he launched himself, but when he came up for air, he insisted that Margot had fallen in and da Muskie was about to get her. I didn’t believe him for a second. I think he just had to take a leak. Below is a pic of him back on board, Margot by his side.  He’s not an arrogant man, so that self-satisfied grin means that he either saved Margot from the jaws of a Muskie, or he took a leak. You decide.

Todd Swim

We returned from our cocktail cruise and Bill and Bandi became grill masters, making pork, chicken and shrimp fajitas—finally, an appropriate dish for all that cilantro. Bandi’s G&T is behind her on the ledge. See it? I think she dropped even more fruits and veggies in there.

Here’s a bad-ass pic of Bandi and Chap Daddy in their 4th of July regalia. Happy Red, White and Boom from up north, baby!

Bandi and Chap Daddy

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