Wildersmith August 10

"More etchings of autumnal splendor are beginning to appear in the woods..." (Topyti/Flickr)

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With each passing day, signs of fall continue creeping into the north woods. Most notable since we last met on the radio was the coolness of last weekend. Fact is that last Sunday morning really gave notice of things coming down the pike when the temp dipped in to the mid-40s at Wildersmith. It was actually sweatshirt time, quite September-like, and pretty much stayed that way most of the day in spite of a bright Sol and azure skies.
 
More etchings of autumnal splendor are beginning to appear in the woods as a few moose maples are starting to curtail chlorophyll production, giving way to early stages of red/orange pigments. Meanwhile a flurry of tansy gold has exploded along area roadsides, and the black-eyed Susans are beaming like Hollywood starlets. Not to be forgotten, a couple juvenile sugar maples on the Mile O Pine have also detected the number of daylight minutes diminishing with daily regularity. They too have a tinge of scarlet haloing their leaf edges.
 
The first full week of August has seen the upper Trail dry out.  Precipitation in the meager amount of only four-tenths of an inch is all that has fallen since that end of July drenching.
 
All days are beautiful up the Trail and some are even better, but we residents sure do have an appreciation for regular rain… so it’s hoped that we don’t get caught in another one of those arid ruts that are plaguing many other parts of the country.  Thus far Mother Nature has been pretty darned good to us this summer.
 
With the usual seasonal happenings moved up about four to six weeks so far in 2012, one has to wonder if the next atmospheric segment might be coming in advance too. In addition to the early fall character mentioned both here and last week, it seems that the lake water at our dock on Gunflint is following suit.
 
Whereas the underwater mercury reading had declined to the low 70s last week, a check at keyboarding time of this scoop showed a drop to 70. This may only be temporary should we get another warm spell but, if not, this early change could be a significant hint that our Gunflint white time might come to stay in October as opposed to the usual November.
 
Tokens of prediction might also be coming from a few of the critters around here. The hummingbird activity has stepped up considerably at our sweet juice station. In the past week, the hubbub of take-offs and departures is suggesting that the mini birds might be tanking up in advance of an early departure.
 
Further, any number of the squirrels and chipmunks in the neighborhood are no longer engaging themselves in just hanging out and gorging themselves at our feeders. They are now busy in the pickup, transport and winter storage mode.
 
One of the real blessings for this time of the year is that the airborne fleets of stingers have backed off, at least in this area. For whatever reason, this reprieve from mosquito attacks is marked and welcomed.
 
I did, however, find that not all the bitin’ buzzers have tamed down. While I was doing a bit of tree removal recently, a swarm of (I guess honey) bees let me know that I was not welcome in their domain. Thank goodness I do not react adversely as some folks do, because several nips only served to make me realize that I’d better pursue another locale.
 
A few reminders of people happenings are now in order. The Pie & Ice Cream Social at Chik Wauk Museum and Nature Center is Saturday, the 11th. Serving begins at 11 a.m. and runs ‘til 4 p.m. Come and enjoy the fruits of the forest!
 
The next weekend is the big Mid-Trail flea market, gift boutique and fundraiser auction, all at Fire Hall Number One along the Trail. Activity runs from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 18. Don’t miss this fun!
 
And, in closing, don’t forget the regular membership meeting of the Gunflint Trail Historical Society, this coming Monday, Aug. 13. The gathering will again be held at the Gunflint Lodge Conference Center beginning at 1:30 p.m. The program feature will be “Growing Up on the Gunflint” as three local gals who spent their summer childhood years along Gunflint Lake share some of their experiences. Treats will be served!
 
Keep on hangin’ on and savor an August offering on the Gunflint!

Airdate: August 10, 2012


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