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Wildersmith on the Gunflint: November 1


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            The north land bade month 10 a spooky good bye, and greets November with a new moon while returning to Central Standard Time this weekend.  All are reminded to reset that clock before turning in Saturday night (we’re “falling back” once again).
October was a half and half measure of time in the upper Gunflint territory. The first half refused to accept the idea of a departing summer, tricking us into short sleeve complacency.
Abruptly with week three, summer cashed in its chips, giving way to more typical border country weather. Our second half has seen little sun; clouds galore, snow cover has come and gone, along with damp/raw temperatures that have varied little from nighttime lows to daytime highs.
Some would say it’s been downright gloomy, but that’s to be expected while creeping into November. As we begin layering up to go outside these days, the seasonal transition remains magical with winter anticipation for a lot of us back country folk. That’s why we live here!
Our colder spell has caused smaller bodies of water throughout the area to skim over with the first ice of the season. On our Wildersmith deck, the bird watering shell has frozen a couple times and remained solid for about three days before a peek of sun loosened it up for a brief reprieve. With a confirmation of things to come, the thermometer sank to 10 degrees this past Monday morning in our neighborhood.
In spite of the ground still being relatively warm and unable to hold snow cover for more than a day or two, I’ve found some places where there are a couple inches of frosted terra firma. While attempting a bit of driveway leveling, I found my shovel balked at getting through the thinly frozen layer of my gravel stock pile.  And when the scoop did break through, the clumps unloosened did not break up without some good whacks. So times of winter solidarity gain day by day.
Lake waters are dangerously cold now. A fellow down on the west end of Gunflint tells of his fingertips turning nearly blue/black in a matter of minutes while being submerged as his dock was brought to shore for winter storage.
 With the building of our usual November winds and typical, yet-to-freeze, rough inland seas, I would hope that common sense prevails in regard to taking any kind of watercraft away from shore.  The slate gray liquid is way too frigid for an accidental dip as we head toward “walk on water season.”
 Late fall explorers might as well leave those canoes and kayaks on top of their vehicles and stick to navigating on foot. Also remember that the fashion hue of the month is blaze orange as hundreds of game hunters are out and about.
Honors have come to two of our Gunflint neighbors during the past week. Bruce and Sue Kerfoot, owners of the historic Gunflint Lodge, have recently been inducted into the Minnesota Resort and Camp Ground Association’s Hospitality Hall of Fame.
Congratulations to the Kerfoots on being recognized by their peers for their dedication to the hospitality industry both here in the Gunflint Community and statewide. I feel certain they share this recognition/honor with a great team of supporting employees.
Congratulations are extended to the WTIP family of listeners for their tremendous support in the “All Welcome” fall membership drive that ended this past Monday. Once again you have stepped to the plate and hit a grand slam with your financial commitments.
Over $22,000 pledged speaks volumes to the loyalty and respect that countless listeners have for their community radio station.  WTIP, in 15 years, you’ve come a long way baby!
Thanks to everyone who participated, and although the official drive has ended, it’s never too late to renew a membership or join as a new family member. Call in, click on or stop by!
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the howls of November blowing through the pines!

{photo by Kristin Molinaro via Wikimedia Commons}