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Wildersmith on the Gunflint: September 27th


Wildersmith_finalcut_20130927.mp37.4 MB

            There have been big changes in the scenery since we last met along the Trail. It appears Mother Nature was just waiting on the calendar to really get after the landscape pigmentation changes.
            In just a matter of days the big show has exploded. The striking tapestry of golden tones, along with a glow of molten red iron on our sugar maples, is simply breathtaking. The blur of our new autumn is just one of those “you gotta see” moments in time. I encourage everyone to make time to experience the Gunflint in full color regalia, but don’t wait too long.
            The morning of the day we ushered in our Technicolor season, it sure felt like fall too. In fact, it was downright cold last Sunday. The Smiths arose to a good hard freeze with rooftops crusted hard in crystal. So I’m feeling that summer can surely be put out to pasture.
            Moisture was on the menu over that past week as well. The rain gauge at Wildersmith had to be emptied twice with a total of well over two inches. I’m told that there was even more in other places along the byway corridor. It came to mind during the dousing of a week ago Thursday that, given a few degrees colder, we could’ve had a heck of a nice snow.
            It’s been like a zoo around the neighborhood in recent days. We had a late night deck-side visit by one of those invasive masked bandits. This makes the third straight year a raccoon has encroached on our neighborhood. Others living along the South Gunflint lakeshore indicate never having seen one. Why me?
 This migrant did a number on my apple tree. It managed to break a substantial branch out of the center, while pilfering part of the first good crop I’ve ever cultured.
 I’m now lying in wait for this alien with a fine slice of bread and jelly (this has always been well received in previous entrapment efforts.) If this masked ringed tail returns to take the bait, there will be more to come on this adventure.
A wanted guest made a cameo appearance last Thursday when a huge bull moose was reported ambling on the Mile O Pine not far from our driveway. I did not see it in person, but confirmed the visit upon seeing a trail of big hoof prints.  We haven’t had one of these icons down this way for several years, so this sighting was great news.
 The scoop on his visit was that it sported a massive rack, a real handsome devil. Since ‘tis the amorous season for these big critters, there is hope that there might be scent of a female companion somewhere nearby.  If such would transpire, we might experience more frequent visits from the now dwindling herd.
As a follow-up to the moose passing by, a third member of our wild neighborhood stopped by a day or so later. This one was also uninvited, and not necessarily wanted up on our deck, looking in the window. This peeping Bruno was of medium size, maybe a yearling. It was quite inquisitive after being discovered prowling around, but quickly high tailed it when I un-loaded a shot from my blank starting pistol.
I don’t know if this north woods Yogi had an eye for my apple tree either before, or after, it was dispatched. Next morning, I found a second incident of animal vandalism. Only this time, the tree was more seriously damaged.  The tree, which is not too far along in years, has taken two good whacks in a week.
 I can only imagine how it must have looked with about a 200-pound teddy perched precariously, munching my ripening Haralsons. At this writing, none of the three wild characters has returned for a curtain call. In the meantime, Act Two of this saga suggests that I’d best be picking what’s left of my apples, as I just got word of a momma bear and her twins frolicking just over the hill, grrrrr!
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the north woods glow, as October’s banging on the door!
{photo by Darkone courtesy of Wikimedia commons}