Wildersmith December 30

As winter arrives, the first of Wildersmith's usual white tail gang returned to the homestead.
As winter arrives, the first of Wildersmith's usual white tail gang returned to the homestead.

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Just like old-time cowboy hero, Gene Autry used to sing, “I’m back in the saddle again.” It’s great to be at home sweet home in Gunflint Country after a fine time with family and friends back in Iowa.

Many thanks go out to that Nosey Rosey from over on Hungry Jack Lake for subbing. I got back to border country just in time to hear Rosey’s day before Christmas commentary. Wow, I mean bow-wow, I didn’t know of this canine’s talent at carol crooning.

While I was away, and since my return, winter in the northland continues to struggle against this global warming monster. Although there are still calendar days to come for the newly arrived season, it appears more and more that this is going to be another of those winters that wasn’t. Our drought continues!

A few trickles of snow have blessed the territory in the past week. Thank goodness they came in advance of Christmas Eve so things were freshened up in pristine fashion for that night of nights.

Temperatures also have remained unseasonal; in fact they are somewhat warmer than they were earlier in the month here at Wildersmith. The usual sub-zero readings remain missing in action.

This factor, along with incessant winds, has kept the Gunflint Lake water rockin’ and a rollin’, ice free as I scribe on Christmas Night. There was a partial coating late last week but the Christmas weekend winds have sent that a-packin’ as icy crinkling along our granite shores.

My lake freeze-up statistics as passed on to me by the late Check Tiffany go back as far as 1982. The latest icy cover-up in that span of years is December 29, 2001. Things could change rapidly between this keying exercise and broadcast time, but at this point it looks as though a new modern day record might be set for ice cover on this old Gal.

How about that magnificent after dark sentinel in the north woods over along the Trail on Birch Lake? For those not in the know, a couple great Birch Lake guys, along with help from a local cherry-picker operator decorated a near perfect 20-foot spruce spire with hundreds of holiday lights.

What a treat to round that curve and see that wonderful tribute to the season. It may not be as significant as the star over Bethlehem, but it sure brightens the way in a place that is most symbolic for its truest sense of peace on earth. Thanks Tom, Daryl and Dennis!

What with the glut of commercial exuberance during this time of year, it has been great to be here in the woods where we can celebrate the simple gifts of our natural wonder. Since our southern trip return, the Smith’s have been gifted by visits from a couple of Mother Nature’s clan.

Just days after our homecoming, a handsome warrior of the wilderness happened through the yard. Mr. Wolf was obviously on some sort of reconnaissance mission, but did stop long enough for me to get some good mental images stashed away in my database.

Then a day or so later, the first of our usual white tail gang returned to the yard. It was a real surprise as they are so sparse of late. I had not expected any at all. Now the word must be out on the deer hotline, as a number have discovered that the lights are on and we are home.

In a matter of hours, year 11 of the 2000s passes off into the history books. It’s our hope from Wildersmith that your year has been prosperous and rewarding in spite of our tumultuous world. May the New Year be fruitful and happy for everyone!

Keep on hangin’ on, and savor a little bit of wilderness peace…and put in a little appeal to the snow gods!

Airdate: December 30, 2011

Photo courtesy of Ben Edwards via Flickr.


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