WILDERSMITH ON THE GUNFLINT MARCH 27

Melting snow
Melting snow

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Finalcut_Wildersmith_20100325.mp38.19 MB

Spring’s here, the sun was due east and west, but the calendar’s new season came in breathing frosty air. Day one of the vernal time dawned frigid as the Wildersmith thermometer fell to just above zero.

It was a bit confusing for the Gunflint Lake gal too, as the water and slush of the past week froze tight once again. While out performing my morning chores, she even  murmured some grumbling tones about having to make ice once more.

Apparently expressing her displeasure with the colder turn of events, the growling lasted for that day and then another. This lake ice vocalizing is unusual for this time of year, but will soon be gone until next December.

Then again, the whole of this past season has been conspicuously lacking of usual character. With Zigwan confirmed, I’ll share just how lacking winter was in upper Gunflint land.

Looking back at my journaling of daily atmospheric happenings, the most startling number is in the snow count. Total snow accumulation for the duration at Wildersmith was a measly 32 inches. This compares with last year when 100 inches were tallied.

While the neighborhood did experience a couple bitter cold stretches, the coldest minimums of minus 33 on January 2 and minus 32 on February 5 are a far cry from minus 40-pluses of 2008-09. Our coldest stretches extended for 10 days during weeks two and three of December, and 20 days from January 26 through Valentine’s Day
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Continuing like a broken record, another week has passed with no rain. Rain gods are shunning this area like it has the plague. Clouds come and go, but have shed barely a tear for what seems like weeks. I like consistency in life, but these arid happenings are getting downright ridiculous. Wilderness folk have to be looking for a lot of April showers, or there’ll be few flowers.

The chorus of dawn in the neighborhood has been less than harmonious lately. A murder of crows, with uncanny regularity, has been providing a cacophony of raucous sounds to greet my morning chore time.

They serve to drown out anything that is of natural sweetness, and then, in one black cloud, wing it down the lakeshore screaming like a rally of agitated political demonstrators.

The crow racket is compounded with a couple hammering pileated woodpeckers and the usual blue jay clamor. Don’t know if the jays and the Woody Woodpecker look-alikes are in a battle of the bands or not, but it’s been noisy as a morning of urban rush hour. Peaceful and quiet, it’s definitely not!

Last week’s discussion of biting insect possibilities came to reality on spring’s first day. The sunshine beckoned me outside, in spite of the cold air, to do some firewood splitting. Wouldn’t you know it, a bitin’ critter found its way under my glove during the clean-up process. The nip has the itching character of a black fly, but I have trouble believing they can be out already. Regardless of who or what it might have been, I’m into the antihistamine ointment already.

And lastly, whitetails of the neighborhood are trickling away to south-facing hillsides. Daily browsers are down to just a couple bucks and an apparently orphaned fawn. The little girl deer looks so forlorn. Wonder if her mommy might have become a wolf pillaging statistic, or is she in a parenting way and just sent the young one peddling?

Keep on hangin’ on, and savor a journey into the woods!


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