Posts Tagged ‘Metigoshe’

Metigoshe Ice Tower, 2009 Edition

Uncategorized | Posted by Derek
Dec 29 2009

Oh, the wacky things we do to stay sane.

My brother’s been visiting for the Christmas holiday, and one of the projects he likes to do in the winter up here is make it look like we’ve got an Artesian Lake. You know, like the wellheads that flow out of the ground without a pump, because of the pressure in the aquifer? It’s the same thing, just… in a lake.

And of course, when you have vertical water in sub-freezing temperatures… Strange and wonderful things take shape.



Uncategorized | Posted by Derek
Dec 09 2009

The cold keeps the riff-raff out. They migrate south for the winter.

I had a brief opportunity the other night to spend some time out on the dock. Yes, indeed: we leave our dock out to freeze into the lake. It gives us a platform to work from while the ice is thin, both early winter and early spring. As long as the wind is perfect when the ice melts away, very little harm comes to it. The problem we’ve had - once - is that the ice was not so thin when it first started to melt, and we had a south wind that carried the ice, dock, and a boatlift (with boat still on it) out into the middle of the lake.

It was never dull growing up around here. But I digress.

The absolute silence on a calm night during the winter months up here is nearly a spiritual experience. During the summer months, there’s an amount of white noise. Insects buzzing, nocturnal creatures slinking about, the gentle lapping of water along the shore… And the occasional boat taking a nighttime cruise.

When the lake freezes, it all changes. On a calm night there is literally no sound. Should it also be snowing, you can stand outside and listen to the snowflakes impacting the ground. If you’re lucky (some would say ‘blessed’) you can catch the ice singing. I really can’t put it into better words than that, and I don’t have the audio gear to capture it. My grandmother came up for my birthday this year and heard it for the first time in her life. (She’s 82, if math serves me…)

What it is, technically, is the ice freezing, expanding, cracking from the pressure, and refreezing. When you have a sheet of ice covering a lake this size, the noise of a crack carries through the entire sheet, ringing it like a string on a violin. The entire surface becomes the resonator and the sounds carry for miles.

I’ve said for the last five years that ‘I really should get something to record that next year.’ One of these times, I may actually do it.


Uncategorized | Posted by Derek
Dec 07 2009

My second attempt at a photoblog is getting started over at metigoshe.us. Powered by WordPress using a novel little plugin called PhotoQ.

I’m dearly going to miss cact.us, presuming the transfer ever completes…

Day Job

General | Posted by Derek
Aug 14 2008

The days are few and far between where I stop long enough to forage up something to call ‘lunch.’ I also seem to skip breakfast too often, so it’s a rare treat to actually be able to sit down and have something to eat at a reasonable hour. Today, it’s a steak sandwich at a little place on the Lake Loop Road called ‘Jerry’s.’

I’ve been thinking as I wait for the meal to leave the kitchen - I don’t think I’ve actually ever explained what it is that I do. Most days I’m not certain that I understand it myself.

I live on the shores of Lake Metigoshe, nestled in the scenic Turtle Mountains in northern North Dakota. We’re technically international waters, because the lake straddles the Manitoba border. If you stop at just the right place on the lake, a perfect line slices through the forest where the border lays. On the western shores, immediately south of the border, a road actually goes up to where this swath of treeless land begins. A series of intimidating 3-foot tall cement pylons and a 10” x 8” yellow sign indicate that it might be a bad idea to step across this imaginary line. There’s a picture on my photo site (also neglected): Tax Dollars at Work

About three years ago, the lake flooded. Water washed up into the lower floors of a great number of cabins. Idiots in speedboats ran around the lake at their usual high speeds, leaving their boat wakes to suck out landscaping and retaining walls as they crest over shore. My current employer was working on a brick patio; there was a pile of sand beside the location to be used as fill for the base. After the waters receded it looked like a minefield. Fish had used the nice sandy bed for spawning.

I’d come up for a few days of relaxation. My mother had been working with a real hillbilly of a guy for a year, doing seasonal dock installations and removals, the aforementioned landscaping, and firewood processing. So, I show up, and the water is lapping at the forward 4’ tall posts holding the cabin up. Both stunned and amused by this, I go along with them on the barge to take photos of the lake as they work. Then, I helped hook up chains to docks and lifts to try and help - it’s hard work for a two-man crew, even with a crane on the barge to do the big lifting.

Three years later, I’m still here, doing the same things: lake work, landscaping, firewood processing. We’ve also done demolition and remodeling; gutting a basement damaged in the flood, removing the water damage, and putting up new insulation and such. I’ve also learned a lot about mechanical work: I just finished a rebuild of the engine for the barge. I routinely have to fix wiring on the trucks. No matter how neatly and cautiously I bundle up the wires so they won’t get hung up on obstacles and get torn out, someone finds a way to do it.

Food’s here.


Uncategorized | Posted by Derek
Nov 27 2007


My Windows PC’s power supply has been slowly failing. It’s been a contest between it and the laptop screen to see which would ‘splode first. I declared the laptop the winner, which of course made the PC jealous.

The guts make this squealing, hissing sound when it’s under high loads. Sitting on the floor, the damn thing got so cold it turned itself off tonight - the voltages dropped too far and the motherboard just turned off. Picked it up on top of the desk, waited 5 minutes, booted right up. Set it back on the floor, it shut down again after a few minutes.

Oh, and the can of pop I just opened flash-slushed. Ever seen that? Under pressure, it’s liquid, but as soon as you let the top open, the freeze point changes and it just instantly crystalizes.

Brrrrr… November is a bad time to work on walls and insulation when you’re a mile south of the 49th Parallel.