Part Eight of how the Last Resort came to be! Scroll down to read Parts One through Seven!
The resort next door was for sale so I managed to rent the main house for the winter season as there was more room for Myself, Jennifer and our house lady.
When the ice became thick enough, I plowed the surface out in front of the house and made a large ice skating rink for Jennifer and her friends. At that time, girls were not allowed to play hockey in school or at the Eagle River Association Ice skating rink. There were several very talented girls that wanted to play hockey and the negotiations were on for the rules to change. Finally, the girls got a chance to play and did very well. Recently one of the young ladies from Eagle River, Janelle Zaug, was a member of the USA Winter Olympic Woman’s Hockey Team. Great accomplishment and a real role model. Lake Forest Resort and Eagle River Golf courses permitted snow sledding on the hills on their properties, and we had a blast on sleds and tubes all winter. I installed a wood furnace in the furnace room alongside the Natural Gas furnace and joined the plenums at the top. I bought a loggers cord of hardwood and cut and split every log to the last splinter. It helped keep the cost of heating under control that winter.
I continued to commute back and forth to O’Hare in Chicago. On one flight in early winter, one of the stewardesses on the flight and I were talking, and she said she knew of a lady that was single. She thought she and I may get on, so she gave me her number. A month went by and I wound up flying with her again. She asked if I called her friend. I admitted that I had not and lost the number. She gave me the number again, and this time I called. Her name was Carol, and she was a dental hygienist and lived in Villa Park, IL. We agreed to make a blind date and meet at El Toritos for dinner. I arrived a bit early in my trusty 1975 Chevy Impala, went inside, and scanned the patron for a possible date. Not good pickings, so I went and powdered my nose. When I came out, I was heading for the door, and then I saw this lovely young lady sitting at a high top. Yep, that was her. We had a nice dinner and departed for the parking lot. As we walked toward my car, she saw this magnificent Mercedes Benz sitting there. Since I was an Airline Captain, she assumed that was my ride. Nope. Right on the other side of the Mercedes was my trusty 76’ Chevy looking pretty much like it does now. I headed back to Eagle River, and she headed back to Villa Park. Our future communications were via telephone getting to know one another.
Spring was right around the corner, and I decided to try making maple syrup at the resort. I asked the locals how to do it and went to Ace Hardware to buy the tree tappers/bucket hangars. I tapped the large maples on the resort property in April when the temperatures in the day were above freezing and the nights were below freezing. I drilled and tapped the Maples and hung my buckets with care. I was quite surprised at how much sap ran out of a tree during the daylight hours and kept busy running back and forth with the buckets.
I needed fire, so I took a small gas stove from one cottage and rented a portable propane bottle to fire it. The locals said to boil it outside. If you boil it inside, the steam will destroy the drywall on the ceilings. A large galvanized tub was in the laundry shed, so I put that on the 4 burner stove, lit the burners and started pouring maple sap in the tub. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. I bought a hydrometer, cheesecloth for straining, and log cabin type tins for the finished product. Amazingly enough, it all worked out well. I canned many quarts of delicious Maple Syrup and also burned a batch due to a long and extended long distance phone call with Carol. Made maple candy out of that batch.
To be continued…………