April snow and rain showers that the northland experienced a few weeks ago are beginning to bear results. The upper Gunflint is alive and well with blooming of all kinds.
A mosaic of color is exploding in spite of sparse moisture over the past couple weeks. However, it’s been raining lightly since I commenced this keyboard exercise and this is good!
Awesome is the kaleidoscope of emerald that blankets the wilderness landscape. With tones of dark forest green in the coniferous stand, at one end of the continuum, to almost shocking hot green chartreuse sprouts of aspen, Mother Nature has about covered the gamut of things containing chlorophyll.
Leaf out is entering the final stages and will be pretty much complete as we turn the last pages of May heading into chapter six. Full deciduous leaflets will soon be quaking with every breath of air, as their needle cousins are shooting candles of new growth at what seems like an earlier than normal frequency. Then again, it’s almost June and the forest will be all decked out once again!
At ground level, those dandelions are out in force while the swamp areas are popping with the buttery faces of marsh marigolds. I spied one exceptionally large patch of the marshy golden blooms along the Trail near the Tuscarora Lodge turn-off. Ferns are also adding to the low level panorama as the fiddleheads are uncoiling along many back country paths.
Tints of blue are debuting as well. The forget-me-nots have forgotten us not, and wild violets, plus a few unnamed tiny azure posies, are gracing the yard at Wildersmith, as we head into the Memorial Day weekend.
Familiar faces are starting to return to their warm season retreats. Amidst the birthing of wilderness babies and a barrage of ornery black flies, their homecoming can be somewhat daunting with the chores of re-opening cabins after a long winter respite.
Among things that can always be a bit unnerving is the reactivation of water systems. It’s amazing how forgetting to drain even the tiniest bit of water in a pipe can cause such frustration come spring.
Probably the next greatest concerns are functioning septic systems and a wildfire sprinkler system pump that starts for a test run with a minimum of pulls. Then it’s on to things like ridding the place of unwanted varmints that might have made a winter home for themselves in a wall, and many other fix-it/ housekeeping tasks.
The list of “honey-do” things can seem endless, as the desire to get outside and onto a favorite lake for paddling, fishing or maybe just some shoreline R & R, looms large ass the critical reason for being here in the first place. Even reaching this point in the re-upping process involves putting docks in the water and the hoping that all is OK with the marine equipment and fishing tackle.
One can readily see that getting back into the north woods groove is not easy. So it’s welcome home neighbors, glad to have you back, hope all is in good working order at your place in the woods.
For yours truly life is not quite as complicated. At this point, everything that has been working through the winter is still working. The dock is soon to go into the lake and the boat will be out of storage for its annual trip down the road to be dipped in Gunflint waters for 2011.
Meanwhile, the Smiths have already started another ‘getting ready for winter’ job. The wood shed has empty rows and there’s a stack of wood to be split and stacked for 2012.
That job is being sandwiched between finishing the pruning efforts of the winter deer browse, taking a whack at some early season weeds and transplanting a few baby trees. Oh, I almost forgot, all this home work is added to many days of working with the Chik Wauk Museum/Nature center for its coming season.
So to the query from people to the south, “What do you do up there all the time?” My answer is quite simple, it’s busy, busy, busy, and the days sure fly by.
Guess I’ll keep on hangin’ on, and savor this wonderful time in border country. Hope you do too!
Airdate: May 27, 2011
Photo courtesy of Gael Martin via Flickr.