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Wildersmith December 11

Middle of the Road
Middle of the Road

Finalcut_Wildersmith_20101210.mp33.8 MB

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?  I’m guessing that such is the case down on Bow Lake at Okontoe as “in the lane, snow is glistening.” It’s a gorgeous winter wonderland out this way. Ahhh, the romance of a sleigh ride in the wilderness, can life get any better?

A short-term meltdown brought a brief spell of rain and then wet sticky snow to these parts last weekend, and all the forest was re-flocked. In fact, some of the earlier natural decorating had not fallen off, so most parts were just enhanced. Now the marshmallow puffs are here for good, frozen stiff. So is the knee deep snow out in the woods, where snowshoes are a must.

Since then we have experienced several days of single digit temperatures and snow showers have sparkled us with ivory flakes. When the sun peeks through or nighttime headlights meld with these slivers of crystal, the earth and all around flicker like diamonds. Truly a sensational spectacle!

I’m told that Seagull Lake is now ice-covered and a trip by Poplar and Birch lakes along the Trail confirms they too have taken on a winter coat. A week ago, the Gunflint Gal tried to skim over at the west end, but gnashing northwest winds the next morning sent that hope a-packing until another day.

Haven’t heard from folks up on Saganaga, but I feel certain that she is still like her Gunflint cousin; rollin’, rollin’, rollin’! However, our final chapter can’t be far away as the upper Trail is really feeling like it’s ice-making time.

Yours truly got an early holiday gift last week when a handsome 10-point buck that has been showing up around here left one-half of his headdress. Another buck has been hanging out too, and he is completely rid of his cartilaginous crown, so ‘tis the season.

That sweet-toothed pine marten showed another appetite fancy a while back when some leftover barbequed chicken wing bones were presented in its feed box. If it’s anything like me, I can just imagine the mouth a-watering when it got a whiff of that tangy sauce. I didn’t see the furry critter come in for his/her carry-out, but the treats were gone in a matter of no time at all.

Those skeptical Canadian jays that came in a few weeks back have finally figured out that I mean them no harm. They now line up with my old whiskey Jack friend for a morning ration of bread cubes.

They are a joy to watch, landing one right after the other, taking their two bites and vamoosing to a deck-side balsam to gulp them down. Then it’s right back for more. All the while, their cowardly blue cousins sit in the trees watching impatiently for me to leave so that they can come in and bully the chickadees and nuthatches out of some sunflower seeds. Guess bullying isn’t just a human imperfection!

At the cost of sunflower seeds these days, I dare not give too much thought as to the end-of season expenditure. I’m already into my third 50-pound bag of the oily black morsels and it’s only early December. Of course when feeding uncountable squirrels, a couple pine martens, a band of jays plus flights of chickadees/grosbeaks and nuthatches, is it any wonder? But they are happy, so I am too.

Keep on hangin’ on, and savor our white paradise!