Wildersmith January 6

"Marshmallow globs hanging on every limb are a flocked delight"

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Gunflint territory is headed off into a new year and the month of the full “wolf great spirit moon” (Gich Manidoo).We folks cherish this special place and sure hope the essence of our January moon is more winter-like than its “cold moon” brethren that just passed. December’s lunar rendition surely didn’t live up to its usual namesake!

Just a few days into 2012 the atmosphere is already better suited to the season. Howling winds, blowing snow, and a little sub-zero at Wildersmith ushered in this new stanza of history.

With a deluge of watered-down football bowl games, dated Christmas deco to be put away and a frosty out-of-doors, it has been a great time to hunker down soaking up warmth from the old wood stove. This north woods forest is truly the best place in the universe for savoring occasional whiffs of wood smoke and quietness though the weather outside was frightful as we bid 2011 adieu.

The digits on my hands are also confirming that winter apparently has finally gotten a grip. The annual dry cold splitting of finger-tips finds me struggling to even button a shirt or lace up and tie my boots. Several man-made moisturizers have little affect for yours truly in neutralizing the crispness of “old man winter” once he decides to take things over. It seems that I just get one healed up and others crack open I guess this is the only negative thing that I can say about this wonderful time of the year.

Another sample of winter’s fervor is the quickness with which it can make ice. Such an example was observed on the twenty-eighth of December when the Gunflint Lake gal succumbed to ice. She froze over for good in the wee hours of that morning.

In less than twelve hours, the folks down at Cross River Lodge reported that the thickness was such to support the predator-prey theater. A wolf-deer chase took out over the newly formed hard water and in no time at all the warrior had corralled its favorite entrée and opened a temporary fast food venue.

Since that time, several inches of insulating snow have slowed the “zamboni” process. Further support for the tenuousness of our Gunflint Lake ice comes from a neighbor telling of a creek running full bore through his property that is dumping icy liquid along his shoreline. While there might be supportive ice in spots, many unknowns remain under this vast cake. I would advise caution on any ice walk ventures for a few more days.

Our pre-New Year’s Eve snow made the forest stunning once again. Those marshmallow globs hanging on every limb are a flocked delight. Before the howling winds set in last weekend, another eye catching deco resulting from the previous fluffy application is the little white lids stacked on the clumps of yet uneaten mountain ash tree berries. The scenario reminds me of a cherub choir with their rosy faces and frosty stocking caps all lined up for a holiday concert so cute and petite!

The wind whipped snow probably sent those tiny hats a scurrying but has since created a different art scene of special mention. Although the dense forest prevents the drifting to which the plains dwellers are accustomed, the placement and chiseling of white crystals in a zillion different places throughout border country are beholding spectacles. One doesn’t have to trek far away from the house to experience the intriguing marvels of these “nature-made” ivory sculptures.

That’s all for now! Keep on hangin’ on and savor a growing winter wonderland!

Airdate: January 6, 2012

Photo courtesy of chenmeister64 via Flickr.


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