The northland begins chapter 12 of the year 2012, and most everyone is engulfed with holiday celebration aspirations. We at Wildersmith are no exception, as greenery and trinkets of personal significance are gradually taking their place around the house.
The winter wonderland that commenced on Thanksgiving night lasted about 10 days and many of us thought that winter had set in. However, the Hallmark card scenery took a big hit last weekend with a nasty warm-up.
Guess it’s Mother Nature’s prerogative to giveth and taketh away. The meltdown grew progressively worse with steady warmth extending into several days. The ensuing shrinkage has left places all over the forest with the dismal dirty look of snow in urban America, yuck! Plus, grooming of the cross-country ski trail system had just got under way and now will have to be put on hold, stymieing that activity for early enthusiasts.
While warm-ups do happen in these parts, the sad commentary is that when freezing cold returns, the remaining wet slushy snow will turn my driveway into a nightmarish icy chute. It makes me shudder just thinking about slip-sliding my vehicle down the drive into its normal parking place. This is a test of serious winter driving skill in spite of sanding applications. Even more serious is my being able to keep upright and off my tush as I navigate the hilly passage many times daily.
It’s not unusual up this way to experience many consecutive winter days when the temp never approaches the plus side of zero. The current episode of warmth was obviously not of the bitter cold variety. Last weekend displayed an unusual temperature phenomenon that I cannot recall having observed before. The mercury reading on our Wildersmith digital struck 32 1/2 degrees on Saturday morning and stayed that way for over 24 consecutive hours before finally budging downward late Sunday afternoon. No wonder we were so drippy around here.
A call from a fellow down at the west end of Gunflint Lake at Cross River Lodge advised me of another observation that usually occurs with the spring transition. With the Gunflint Gal still being almost totally liquid, he was seeing chunks of ice float by his locale. I’m guessing these mini-bergs were coming from a warm weather break-up of the icy edges along Cross River, and entering the lake where the river dumps in.
I’m thinking that the Gunflint Gal is about ready to take on her winter coat. The quiet west end bay has already skimmed over; we just need some consecutive zero nights with calm air. Meanwhile the territory needs its winter attire freshened up with haste!
The animal kingdom around here has added some returnees of winters past. Although I have not seen them, tracking evidence indicates that white tails are coming back to the yard. The late November deep snow apparently struck a memory that they might find some easier browsing down here along the Mile O Pine.
Two pine martens have also punched the feeding recall button and are now making daily rounds to the trough on our deck, after months of being missing in action. It is amazing how those poultry poachers seem to remember a good thing!
And of course, I experience an attack of the birds (mostly excited chickadees) whenever late day seed time rolls around. I’m such a good guy!
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the fleeting spirit of the season!
Airdate: December 7, 2012