Tag Archives: ice fishing

Taxes Are Done and I Think I Have My Life Back…

Every year I walk around with a feeling of dread until I have our taxes done. My first task after the new year is to gather all the necessary information for our accountant for our business so he can get started on our business taxes.

Before I can begin on the taxes I have to finish all the 4th quarter payroll reports and pay the quarter taxes for the business and get all the W-2’s out in the mail before the end of January.  “Happy New Year to Me”  for the past 26 years between my former job as city clerk for ten years and now the bookkeeping for our business.

This past week I finished giving the accountant the rest of the information on the phone that he needed to finish up the business taxes. When we finished discussing the business taxes he asked me “By the way have you sent me your personal taxes yet?” This was on Tuesday afternoon. I promised him that I would indeed mail them to him before the end of the day on Wednesday.

I already had everything gathered for the supporting information for our forms but hadn’t filled out our tax organizer that he emails me each year about any changes in our status since the previous year and predictions for possible changes for the next tax year. The organizer is 28 pages long. On Wednesday of this week I spent my lunch hour filling out the organizer and getting everything packaged for mailing to our accountant. I was definitely walking lighter as I left that load at the local post office. Yay! Something else off my to-do list.

The taxes are done and now I realized we have arrived at the end of the first quarter and it’s time to do quarterly reports again. Only nine more months until it is tax time again. Each year I vow I will do things differently and get things done sooner but the reality is that when you work in a small business such as ours you still have all your regular work to do  and have to somehow manage to fit all the tax stuff into an already full schedule.

This afternoon after work my husband and I bought our fishing licenses for the year. It has been three years since we went fishing. When we got home we put on our boots, jackets and gathered our supplies and walked out on the lake for some ice fishing. It has been about twelve years since we last went ice fishing. Our luck has not changed but we were able to enjoy a beautiful afternoon on the lake.

This summer I’m looking forward to more time on the lake and less time at work. Perhaps that will happen since we made the effort to buy the licenses today. I can always read a book while fishing if the fish aren’t biting.


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Clouds on the Ground

Earlier this week I scheduled rental on a Cessna 172 for this morning.  It was before the forecast started firming up for today’s weather.  I had to cancel my flying for this morning.  The clouds are on the ground.  The Metar was OVC 001 which means that it is overcast and the cloud ceiling is 100 ft.  Definitely not high enough for flying.  I have to admit I’m disappointed.  It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been up flying and was looking forward to it.

The above picture is standing at the shore of the lake this morning.  Usually I can see the opposite shores west, north and east.  This is the eastern view.  I can at least see a little in that direction.  To the west and north nothing but the whiteness of the snow on the lake and the fog. 

When I was down by the lake this morning I could see headlights off in the east.  I couldn’t believe someone actually planned on driving on the lake with a pickup truck.  The ice is not good this year.  Remember my earlier post about the annual intelligence test?  I have a feeling that before this weekend is over someone, maybe that truck will go through the ice. 

I could tell that it is much warmer this morning.  In the distance I could hear the crows cawing.  That is something you usually don’t hear on most winter days around here.  Only on the warmer days. 

Just as I started to walk back up to the house I heard a gas-powered ice auger start drilling holes.  That pickup truck must have found its perfect ice fishing spot….or not!   We will see what the day brings.


Posted by on December 30, 2010 in Flight training, Nature, Photography


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It’s Time for the Annual Intelligence Test


Each year it happens sometime after the first snowfall in Minnesota and around Thanksgiving.  Time for the annual intelligence test.  This is the time of the year when ice usually forms on the lakes in our area of central Minnesota.  Avid ice fishermen and winter sport enthusiasts flock to the lakes and ponds in record numbers.  They want to be the first out on the ice-covered lakes for their various sports. 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources publishes a brochure that educates on the dangers of venturing out onto thin ice.  But it is largely disregarded by those who think they know better.   Their regulations suggest the following guidelines for safety but always maintain that no ice is truly safe and you should proceed cautiously in you choose to proceed at all on the ice.

For New, Clear Ice Only

  • 2″ or less – STAY OFF
  • 4″ – Ice fishing or other activities on foot
  • 5″ – Snowmobile or ATV
  • 8″ – 12″ – Car or small pickup
  • 12″ – 15″ – Medium truck

Remember that these thicknesses are merely guidelines for new, clear, solid ice. Many factors other than thickness can cause ice to be unsafe.”

In the past five winter seasons there have been an average of 4 fatalities due to venturing out on thin ice in Minnesota.  Ice fishing used to be done by sitting on an upside down bucket on the lake next to a hand drilled hole.  It has evolved over the past years into mini cities on ice with large ice fish houses.    The ice fishing houses are pulled onto the lakes by pickup trucks or ATV’s.

A couple of years ago my husband and I spent an entire Sunday afternoon retrieving a fish house from the bottom of a local lake.  The owner thought that someone had played a joke on him and removed the fish house overnight when in reality the ice had grown thin and the ice house fell through the ice to the bottom. 

In Minnesota you  must remove your fish house, snowmobile, ATV or vehicle if it goes through the ice and pay all the costs involved.  It took an entire afternoon, our tow truck,  and two scuba divers to retrieve the fish house.  The divers had to go down and hook chains onto the fish house so it could be hoisted out of the water.  It was a slow and cold process but most of the town turned out to watch the event.  Thankfully no one had slept overnight in the ice house which has been the custom in the past few years.

The Minnesota DNR gives the following advice to people regarding driving on ice:

“Refrain from driving on ice whenever possible.
If you must drive a vehicle, be prepared to leave it in a hurry–keep windows down, unbuckle your seat belt and have a simple emergency plan of action you have discussed with your passengers.”

I wish that I could say that my husband and I heeded the warnings about driving on the ice but we did not.  My parents bought a lake home in 1992 about 8 miles from our home and we offered to help my Dad remove a cement retaining wall that had broken by their waterfront.  The cabins were too close together so we could not haul the cement chunks out with the bobcat so my Dad and husband came up with the brilliant idea to wait until the lake froze.  We would drive our flatbed truck across the lake to Mom and Dad’s cabin from the lake access about a half mile and load up the cement and drive off the lake. 

The day finally arrived  in February to put their plan in place.  They checked the ice thickness and declared they thought it was thick enough.  We loaded up the bobcat on the truck and drove across the ice to Mom and Dad’s.  We unloaded the bobcat and used it to load up the cement chunks on the truck. 

When we had a load my Dad and husband took the load to a local contractor that was looking for fill.  Back to the lake for a second load and a second unloading at the contractor’s.  Each trip they tried to take a little different path across the lake so it wouldn’t stress the ice too much.  They drove  the truck with the windows open and the doors partially open for a quick escape if they happened to go through the ice with the truck.

Time for the third trip across the lake.  They loaded up the bobcat back on the truck after they returned from dumping the second load of cement and my husband and I  headed across the lake for the third and final time.  We couldn’t drive too fast because if we did we tended to make a small wave in the ice ahead of us.  We didn’t want to drive too slow either because it would take too long, not wanting to spend any more time on the ice than necessary.

We  drove across the lake, passing a small village of ice fishing houses when all of a sudden everyone started coming out of their houses as we passed by.  Apparently the weight of our truck passing the fish houses was forcing water up through their ice fishing holes and flooding them out.  They just stood and stared as we were passing by. 

Mission accomplished!  We were young and foolish back then and I’m positive that we wouldn’t attempt it now.


Posted by on November 15, 2010 in Life Happens, New Challenges


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