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North Shore Weekend

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  • Saturday 7-10am
Genre: 
Variety
Host CJ Heithoff brings you this Saturday morning show, created at the request of WTIP listeners.  North Shore Weekend features three hours of community information, features, interviews, and music. It's truly a great way to start your weekend on the North Shore. Arts, cultural and history features on WTIP’s North Shore Weekend are made possible with funding from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

 

 


What's On:

Northern Sky: November 14

Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota. She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column, and contributes to WTIP bi-weekly on the Monday North Shore Morning program through "Northern Sky," where she shares what's happening with stars, planets and more.

As we approach the end of November there will be lots of activity in both the morning and evening skies, including the Leonid meteor shower.

(Photo by Helen Cook on Flickr)

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint: November 13

Atmospheric conditions along the Gunflint Byway have remained on the passive side of the ledger. As the area reaches the mid-point of our 11th month, unless things change abruptly, those not in tune with winter will be happy as clams noting the long cold season is being shortened by one segment.

This neighborhood has been yo-yoing since we last met, with abnormal warmth, then a couple days near normal and then back to September character. A skiff of white was recorded, but vanished quickly in the midst of one more “El Nino” swoosh.

It would appear the actual lake freezing over, as acclaimed by the Ojibwe “freezing over moon” of November, will probably be put off until next month. The usual skimming over of our smaller lakes, ponds and swamps by this time of year just isn’t happening.

Although the larger Gunflint Lake is traditionally one of the last territorial bodies to become solid, this “old Gal” is still offering a summer-time lure. Last Sunday, the purr of an outboard motor was heard near sundown from a late season angler heading home. Yes, fresh water angling in the midst of firearms deer hunting season. Wonders of the north land never cease to amaze!

In further testament to our extending tepid spell, another week has passed and more bear wanderings are being reported - no denning up just yet. Perhaps they are holding out for Thanksgiving leftovers.

A couple down the road had the thrill of recording a night time photo-op with a Canadian Lynx. This is the first “kitty” report heard from out this way in quite a while. They sent me a digital of the cat which was unfortunately not crisp enough to share, but you can take my word, this feline of the north was a handsome critter. Snowshoe hares and grouse should beware!

Speaking of grouse, their numbers must be in an upswing cycle. It must have been a fertile year for chick production. In my travels through this neck of the woods I see uncountable numbers of the seemingly dimwitted “chicken birds.”

Continuing avian excitement engulfs the Smiths anytime we step out the door. For some reason, known only to our winged neighbors, the chickadees and nuthatches are infatuated with our presence. I’ve heard of this from other long time Gunflint residents but this tweeting experience is a first in going on 17 winters here. It's like an attack of the birds. They expect to be fed, and we have fallen right in line with their feeding-frenzy expectations. This experience with our feathered friends, in addition to being enjoyable, has proven educational too. Getting an up-close look at their routine of hammering each morsel into a nook or cranny of tree bark is amazing to watch. Their system of warehousing and inventory control would probably even wow “Amazon.”

All this being said, guess we (Smiths) might be included in the “dimwitted” category for getting such a kick out of their greedy companionship!

Last weekend a winter season visitor came back to our deck side feed trough. “Piney” the marten stopped by, having not been seen since the meltdown of last spring. It was easily recognized as one of our previous marten visitors with a tiny notch missing from one ear. Hungry as usual, it spent considerable time munching sunflower seeds much to the annoyance of the usual squirrels and bluejays.

One adventure of north woods living is wondering and imagining where these “wild neighborhood” critters have been, and what they’ve been up to during their transient times. We’ll obviously never know, but it’s energizing nonetheless realizing this one survived the wild for another year, and came back looking quite healthy and remembered a nice place to get an easy meal.

Although not a whitetail deer has been observed for months around Wildersmith, there must be scent of such a return in the air. Wolf reconnaissance has been noted (although not physically witnessed) with evidence from the timber canines found along our Mile O Pine. So the saga of predator and prey lives on, only now a human factor has been tacked on for a few weeks. It is hoped the stars of fate are aligned for both the stalked and the stalkers in this wilderness drama.

This is Fred Smith, on the Trail, at Wildersmith! We're keeping an eye out for the stalled “great northern express!”

 

 

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North Woods Naturalist: Ciscoes

There are many names for lake herring, but only one that’s truly correct. WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about ciscos.

(NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory)

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Gathering water along the Basswood River

A Year in the Wilderness: October 29 - Traveling the Horse and Basswood Rivers

Cook County adventurers Dave and Amy Freeman are spending a year in the wilderness. On a regular basis they’ll be sharing some of their experiences travelling the BWCAW. Here’s their latest installment as they travel the Horse and Basswood Rivers.

 

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Pacific loon

North Woods Naturalist: Fall Migration

The bird migration at Hawk Ridge is approaching half a million. WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about songbirds and raptors, ducks and loons.

(Photo courtesy of Morro Bay Winter Loon Study on Flickr)

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The Fomalhaut System {NASA/P Kalas via Flickr}

Northern Sky: October 31

Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota. She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column, and contributes to WTIP bi-weekly on the Monday North Shore Morning program through "Northern Sky," where she shares what's happening with stars, planets and more.

Halloween, one of the cross quarter days; Fomalhaut, a near neighbor of the sun; and more action in the morning sky.

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint: October 30

The Gunflint October is idling in neutral as month eleven is about to slip into gear. Most days of the past week our weather has taken on a November look with more gray than blue overhead along with bone chilling winds.

Although temps have not been bitterly cold, one has the feeling “old man winter” is about to rise from his recliner with a dose of something soon. Summer/fall has passed on and November will be slipping across the border in a couple days. It won’t be long until permanent skims will be glazing area lakes and ponds as water temps are heading south rapidly on these leaden tinted, cool days.

This neighborhood received another meager ration of rain over the past seven segments. Again, there was less than a half inch in my rain gauge, but it’s doing the right thing in regard to soaking the ground. Murky clouds and cool air don’t allow for much drying out this time of year. So this is good for all things needing to freeze damp.

Meanwhile, as the tamaracks are dusting off the last of their golden needles, and with Halloween at hand, long-time Gunflint residents are holding their breath so to speak in hope a storm the likes of 1991 doesn’t throw a ghostly white blanket over trick or treat activities. For those who weren’t a part of the “beggars” time dropping, this territory received upwards of 40+ inches of white 24 years ago at this time. Not living here myself back then, it’s hard for me to grasp snow to such a depth falling at one interval.

Ghosts and goblins will be trekking about the county this year on the heels of the Ojibwe “falling leaves” moon. Having made its tenth appearance of the year this past Tuesday, his “lunar highness” will still be lighting the way and creating frightful shadows behind trillions of timber beings.

Although few youngsters live, or venture from town out this way, everyone is urged to be on the look-out for the little masked creatures darting across roads and driveways. Let's make it a safe and sweet end to October.

Although I receive many comments on moose sightings, it’s been some time since yours truly has come upon one of our dwindling iconic herd. However, my moose observation fortunes got a boost a few days ago.

While traveling up toward end of the Trail, near Seagull Fishing Camp, a huge bull emerged from a swampy domain and crossed right in front of my vehicle. It was not a close call from a collision point of view, but heart stopping nonetheless. Slowing to watch as it trudged off into the forest one direction, a peek the other way, found another of similar enormousness munching some swamp water goodies.

I had to wonder if I might have barely missed out on a battle for the engagement of a fair moose maiden between the one now on my right and the other to my left. It would surely seem the two were not sharing cordial greetings about where the girls are. Whatever the case, like yes, there is a Santa Claus, a few moose are still out and about.

The next day while talking with a local gal about my sighting, she shared observing a pair of bulls in the same location just hours earlier. Perhaps it was the same pair. If so, maybe they’re DNA brothers, then again, territorial issues just might not have been settled before my interruption of the previous day. And yet, could there be four of the big guys in the same neighborhood? It’s “Moose Madness” deja vu.

A timely reminder comes your way as we return to true “sun time” this coming Sunday morning. “Falling back” from another of mankind's manipulations, don’t forget to reset those clocks before you go to bed Saturday evening.

Also be advised to start digging out the “blaze orange” gear as the rifle season on deer opens next Saturday. Sharing the woods with amorous crazed deer and excited hunters can be dangerous, be prepared!

This is Fred Smith, on the Trail, at Wildersmith! The express of November is cruising into this idyllic Gunflint territory, right on schedule!

(Photo by Gary Siesennop)

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Sonny Meyers

Anishinaabe Way: The Inherent Right of Sovereignty, Part 2

Article 11 of the Treaty of 1854 provides for the retained rights to hunting, fishing and gathering of resources in lands ceded by Anishinaabe tribes in 1854.

Sonny Meyers, the Director of the 1854 Treaty Authority, and Grand Portage Tribal Chair Norman Deschampe, explain the meaning of ceded territory in exchange for retained rights and how tribal resource management differs from the State of Minnesota's approach to resource management.

Director Meyers also stresses the importance of educating the public and local officials about treaty rights and reflects on public perceptions about the "tribal take" versus the "tribal give."
 

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Adult female rusty blackbird

Field Notes: Rusty blackbird

Field Notes with Molly Hoffman can be heard every Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning between 8:00 and 10:00 from April through October. Support for Field Notes comes from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

(Photo courtesy of Seabrooke Leckie on Flickr)

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Lutefisk!

West End News: October 29

The umpteenth annual Lutefisk and Ham Dinner at Zoar Lutheran Church in Tofte is scheduled for Saturday, November 14, from 5-7 pm.  This very popular fundraiser has deep roots, going back to the arrival of the original Norwegian immigrants on the North Shore.  In fact, it really goes back to pre-historic Scandinavia when fish had to be preserved for longer periods of time than simple drying would allow.
 
Lutefisk is dried cod fish that is soaked in a lye mixture for two days at which point it is dangerously corrosive.  An additional 5 days of soaking in cold water, changed daily, makes it edible – at least according to some people.
 
The directions for making lutefisk specifically warn against leaving it in the lye mixture for too long because saponification of the fish fats may occur.  This led me to Wikipedia where I learned that saponification is the process that produces soap, usually from fats and lye.  Saponification is a great vocabulary word, but not one that you usually see in a recipe.
 
Of course, the most notorious fact about lutefisk is - what I will politely call - its “distinctive” odor.  The taste is surprisingly mild though, especially when slathered with melted butter.  The mouth feel is a bit strange.  Think fish-flavored Jello and you’ll be close.  If lutefisk isn’t for you, the good cooks at Zoar make plenty of ham, which is an equally traditional dish for Norwegian-Americans. 
 
This year, for the first time, the church is asking people to make reservations for the dinner and the number of diners will be limited to 100.  All you have to do is call the church at 663-7925 to leave a message with your name and how many people you are bringing.  You can pay the night of the dinner.
 
This is a quick reminder to return your ballots for the general operating school levy referendum before November 3. You can also vote in person on November 3 at the courthouse in Grand Marais.
 
The West End lost two of its most vivid citizens this month.
 
Rob McCampbell died at home in Tofte on October 19.  Since moving to Tofte, Rob spent most of his years at his beautiful cabin on Pancore Lake.  When the Cross River Café was still in business in Schroeder, Rob was a regular, driving all the way down from Pancore to hang out with his friends.  He had an outgoing personality that served him well as he developed a retirement business of selling Turkish rugs.  He ran the Uhller ski lift at the hill for several years.  He would keep detailed and interesting conversations going with multiple people as they cycled through the lift, demonstrating his keen mind and sharp wit.  He was deeply in love with his wife, Perihan.
 
Bernie Sajdak, from Schroeder, died on October 18.  Bernie was a renaissance man with a brilliant mind and a wide range of practical skills.  He did many jobs through his life, including a busy lawn care business most recently.  Bernie also planted many thousands of trees on contract with the Forest Service.  He was an unstoppable tree planter, who loved to work long hours alone.  For many years afterward, he would visit his planting areas to check on their progress and was pleased with the big contribution he had made to the future of our forests.
 
Perhaps Bernie’s greatest passion was his skill as a trapper.  He was an old-school trapper who ranged deep in the woods, where he plied his trade based on his vast and detailed knowledge of animal behavior.  Bernie loved working by himself in the woods.  He always said that his dog never argued with him about when and where they went.  He was one of a small number of people who have been trampled by a moose, although he always made it clear that he didn’t blame the moose. I doubt if there are many left who understand the woods like Bernie did.
 
Bernie always expressed his gratitude for the love shown him by his beautiful and resourceful wife, Bobbie, and his talented and successful children.  I’m sure the whole West End joins me in wishing them our deepest condolences.
 
The West End will never be quite the same without Rob and Bernie among us.
 

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