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North Shore Weekend

  • Saturday 7-10am
Genre: 
Variety
Host CJ Heithoff brings you this Saturday morning show, created at the request of WTIP listeners.  North Shore Weekend features three hours of community information, features, interviews, and music. It's truly a great way to start your weekend on the North Shore. Arts, cultural and history features on WTIP’s North Shore Weekend are made possible with funding from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

 

 


What's On:
Star Map May 2021.jpg

Northern Sky: May 8-21

“Northern Sky”  -  Deane Morrison
May 8 – 21, 2021
 
As the winter constellations head into the sunset, Mars struggles to avoid the same fate. 
     
May Day finds the red planet on course to glide between the bright stars Procyon, in Canis Minor, to the east and Capella, in Auriga, the charioteer, to the west. At the end of the month, Mars will be close to Pollux, the brighter Gemini twin. All the while, the planet is steadily dimming and, despite its relatively fast orbital motion eastward, sinking toward its inevitable exit from the evening sky this summer.
   
 In the southeast to south, Spica, Virgo’s only bright star, is outshone by brilliant Arcturus, high above it in Bootes, the herdsman. To Spica’s lower right is a misshapen rectangle of stars marking Corvus, the crow. 
     
To the north, the Big Dipper—part of Ursa Major, the great bear—begins the month upside down, “spilling its water” on Polaris (the North Star) and Ursa Minor, the little bear. To identify Polaris, follow the “pointer stars” at the end of the Big Dipper’s bowl. Bracketing Polaris are two brilliant stars: Capella, in the northwest, and comparably bright Vega, in Lyra, the lyre, in the northeast. During the course of a night, or from night to night, this arrangement changes as the sky rotates counterclockwise around Polaris.
     
In the predawn sky, look for Jupiter and dimmer Saturn low in the southeast. Thanks to the resurgent sun, we have to get out earlier each morning to see them against a dark sky.
   
 The night of the 25th-26th, May’s full “supermoon” will be large and luminous as it slips through the Crown of Scorpius, a line of three stars near Antares, the scorpion’s red heart. The moon undergoes a total lunar eclipse on the morning of the 26th, but sets before the moment of perfect fullness and also before the eclipse reaches totality. 
   
 This will be the year’s closest full moon. It reaches perigee, the moon’s closest approach to Earth in a lunar cycle, only about nine and a half hours before reaching fullness. It edges out the runner-up, April’s supermoon, by a razor-thin margin. According to NASA, May’s full moon will be closer than April’s “by about 98 miles, or about 0.04 percent of the distance from the Earth to the Moon at perigee.”
 
 

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SNF Update

Superior National Forest Update - May 7

Superior National Forest Update with Steve Robertsen, education and interpretation specialist with the USDA Forest Service.
Campgrounds won't have water or dumpsters available until next weekend.  For this and other SNF info, check out this interview...

Listen: 

 
Wildersmith Sign Only

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - May 7

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
May 7, 2021    

           
The Smith’s are back in the woods once again. A swell visit to Iowa found us re-uniting with kids after sixteen months of COVID caused separation. While Zooming is an alternative, there is nothing like the presence of real hugs and face to face conversation.                                           

Here we are a week into month five, and winter is but a memory, except for counting five piles of snow holding out along the Mile O Pine. Ice is history on the Gunflint having made its official exit on April 24.                                                                                                            
Being out of the territory, I do not have reports from the other big lakes, but I presume they became fully liquid near the same date as Gunflint. It’s all about “cool, clear waters” lapping at the granite shore lines during the next six months for folks in this neck of the woods         

Absence of precipitation is haunting the upper Trail again. While away from this neighborhood, a mere one tenth of an inch was the only accumulation in the Wildersmith gauge. And there has been little more than a snippet in this neighborhood, since I commenced with this weeks’ scoop last Sunday evening.                                                                                                    

This being said, danger for forest ignition is at a serious level for a second time since March. We surpassed the fourteenth anniversary of the Ham Lake tragedy a couple days ago, and the nightmares still linger when it gets crunchy dry under foot. Residents and business owners are keeping fingers crossed for both a blessing from the heavens and no unnecessary or careless use of fire by humans.                                                                                                              

In the meantime, everyday has spring becoming more assertive. While the area is still a few weeks away from being fully verdant, progress is being made. I see green tip buds on birch and aspen around the house, chives and rhubarb are discernable and some unknown blue flowers are blooming up next to the house.                                                                                                           

Elsewhere in the wild land, I see hares, with exception of their white socks, have put on their summer camo and squirrels are molting in preparation for sultry days ahead.  It’s also a good bet fox kits, wolf pups and moose calves are coming into the world, and bear cubs are exploring new outdoor surroundings after several weeks of feeling their way around in a dark den.                                                                                                                                                     

Aside from avian, little things that fly are starting to buzz about. Common flies, moths, butterflies, and yes, mosquitos are beginning to occupy air space. On a related note, the loons have returned to their nesting site around the bay at the Chik Wauk Museum Campus.                        

I had one of those reconnaissance “skeeters” annoying me just a few days ago. Further, with creeks still gushing from rains of a several weeks ago, the annual black fly bloodletting spree is soon to be in the offing. So this rite of spring has me scrambling to find the bug dupe and head nets as I hang up the snow scoop and pick-up blown down remnants from the winds of winter.                                                                                                                                                                   
Oh, and on a final wild critter note, plenty of Arachnids have emerged. Spiders are busy at spinning their north woods fiber network, as I discovered while catching some of the silken stuff across the face while out in the yard a couple days ago.                                                                       

A reminder to area lake/ property owner associations and less organized neighborhoods, the annual Trail clean-up takes place this month. The County Highway Department will be picking up collection bags along the Trail on the afternoon of Thursday, May 27th.                                                                                                                                                    

If you haven’t picked a spot and want to help spruce up (no pun intended) the Trail, contact the GT Scenic Byway Committee at 388-2275 to learn of an organizer in your neighborhood/area. Remember, littering begets more littering, so at your convenience, let’s get to picking, up.                                                                                                                               
Wishing all Moms’ a huge thanks and a splendid weekend, this is Wildersmith, along the Gunflint Trail, where the nurturing of “Mother Nature’s” is celebrated every day!
 

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Star Map_May 2021.jpg

Northern Sky: April 24 - May 7

"Northern Sky" by Deane Morrison
April 24 - May 7, 2021

 As the winter constellations head into the sunset, Mars struggles to avoid the same fate. 
     
May Day finds the red planet on course to glide between the bright stars Procyon, in Canis Minor, to the east and Capella, in Auriga, the charioteer, to the west. At the end of the month, Mars will be close to Pollux, the brighter Gemini twin. All the while, the planet is steadily dimming and, despite its relatively fast orbital motion eastward, sinking toward its inevitable exit from the evening sky this summer.
   
In the southeast to south, Spica, Virgo’s only bright star, is outshone by brilliant Arcturus, high above it in Bootes, the herdsman. To Spica’s lower right is a misshapen rectangle of stars marking Corvus, the crow. 
     
To the north, the Big Dipper—part of Ursa Major, the great bear—begins the month upside down, “spilling its water” on Polaris (the North Star) and Ursa Minor, the little bear. To identify Polaris, follow the “pointer stars” at the end of the Big Dipper’s bowl. Bracketing Polaris are two brilliant stars: Capella, in the northwest, and comparably bright Vega, in Lyra, the lyre, in the northeast. During the course of a night, or from night to night, this arrangement changes as the sky rotates counterclockwise around Polaris.
     
In the predawn sky, look for Jupiter and dimmer Saturn low in the southeast. Thanks to the resurgent sun, we have to get out earlier each morning to see them against a dark sky.
     
The night of the 25th-26th, May’s full “supermoon” will be large and luminous as it slips through the Crown of Scorpius, a line of three stars near Antares, the scorpion’s red heart. The moon undergoes a total lunar eclipse on the morning of the 26th, but sets before the moment of perfect fullness and also before the eclipse reaches totality. 
     
This will be the year’s closest full moon. It reaches perigee, the moon’s closest approach to Earth in a lunar cycle, only about nine and a half hours before reaching fullness. It edges out the runner-up, April’s supermoon, by a razor-thin margin. According to NASA, May’s full moon will be closer than April’s “by about 98 miles, or about 0.04 percent of the distance from the Earth to the Moon at perigee.”

-----------------------------------------     
The University of Minnesota’s public viewings of the night sky at its Duluth and Twin Cities campuses have been curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, see:
Duluth, Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium: www.d.umn.edu/planet
Twin Cities, Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics: www.astro.umn.edu/outreach/pubnight
Check out astronomy programs, free telescope events, and planetarium shows at the
University of Minnesota's Bell Museum: www.bellmuseum.umn.edu/astronomy
Find U of M astronomers and links to the world of astronomy at: http://www.astro.umn.edu
 

Listen: 

 
Wildersmith Sign Only

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - Apr 23

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
April 23, 2021    

           
Month four along the Gunflint has whizzed by, and we head into the final verse as this weeks’ scoop hits the air. All has been quiet in this neighborhood as roadside snow banks wither and mud is firming up.                                                                                             
 Enthusiasm is building to get out on the lakes as hard water on the big lakes is giving way to open patches. Reports from Seagull and Saganaga Lakes tell of rippling bays while Gunflint is open only at the west end at the moment.                                                                          
 
At Wildersmith our Gunflint Lake shore line is open as I started this report last Sunday evening. The annual meltdown from northwest to southeast is pretty certain to be completed by this weekend if not stalled by a cold snap.                                                                                           
 
Whatever the timing, I’m in hope winds will remain calm during the solids to liquid transition so as not to stack too much ice along the shore. The annoying shore line build up here has often played havoc with my lake water system, and I don’t care for climbing out on the chards to un-complicate the confrontation between ice and that water pipe.                                         
 
Weather conditions dried out after the soaking of the past ten days. Since then, we’ve had some spectacular sunny days, although temps have not been all that warm.                          
 
One could say it’s been about normal with nights being cold enough to make ice and daytimes in the high thirties to forties. Such weather circumstances match up well with the moniker of the full Ojibwe, maple sugar, moon which will be lighting up the north land this coming Monday evening.                                                                                                                                  
 Although not too unusual, snow was being predicted for border country, while I worked at my keyboard. It turned out this was no “April Fools” prank. A grumpy “old man winter” lashed out with nearly four inches of white in this neighborhood. Winds howled like January and I had to scoop and plow one more time. Perhaps this will be a final curtain call.                       
 
During the fine days of the previous week, yours truly took advantage to start opening things up around the place. To mention a couple chores, a pile of fire wood left under canvas cover last fall was moved to the woodshed and driveway gravel was put back in place after being relocated during the snow removal process.                                                                                    
 While the woods is reasonably damp right now, folks are reminded to get those wild fire sprinkler systems tuned up as the territory can wither fast when May comes onto the scene. Remember the Ham Lake inferno, be prepared!                                                                          
 I have not heard of any bear visitations yet, but they cannot be far away. Only we humans can prevent bear confrontations. Bears were here first, so let’s give ‘em a break, and be proactive in not tempting our “Bruno” neighbors into situations, where they will end up making a nuisance of themselves.                                                                                                         
 With plenty of bare ground with which to find nourishment, I’ve closed the deck side cafeteria for the coming season. It’s been a shock to the red squirrel clan around here, but they will just have to be digging into countless holes in the duff, where they have stashed a couple hundred pounds of seeds during colder times. From the number of holes appearing around the yard, they are not going to go hungry.                                                                                                   
 
In closing, hope you all remembered “Earth Day”, and maybe planted a tree or something green. We have the choice, so “why not do a positive thing for our earth and climate EVERY day!”                                                                                                                                                
 For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, along the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, waiting for the green!
 

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Wildersmith Sign Only

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - Apr 09

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
April 9, 2021    

           
Skies have been sparkling along the Gunflint Trail on the first weekend of month four. Temps have been warming steadily after the minus two experienced at Wildersmith on April “fools” day morning. Since then, spring has swallowed a big gulp of winter since our last gathering on WTIP.                                                                                                                                              

Border country landscape still has patches of winter memories, but is now in various shades of brown. A good deal of windrowed snow remains along back country roads where the sun is shadowed by coniferous shade. It’s a good bet this too could be gone in a week or so with the rather unusual April heat.                                                                                                             

There is increasing talk of ice out on area lakes. As I keyed this weeks’ scoop last Sunday evening however, the big ice cube on Gunflint looks to be pretty tight along the shore at Wildersmith.                                                                                                                                

Remembering the last two years, Gunflint Lake ice was going out during the day of the Walleye opener on the second Saturday of May. It’s a good bet the hard water will easily be gone before months’ end at the rate things are going.                                                             

Other signs we have turned the corner are noted with pussy willow buds popping like corn in a hot pan, a couple reports of rhubarb and daffodil sprouts have been reported peeking out of the warming earth and needles of the coniferous forest are suddenly, brighter green.                   

On a cautious note, the territory went yet another week with no precipitation. And our first thunder of the spring echoed down the lake earlier in the week, but boasted more “bark than bite,” dropping a mere quarter inch of rain. We are thankful for the dampening and hopeful of more by the time this report hits the air.                                                                                          

Several days have been quite breezy and coupled with the now dry forest duff and brush, wildfire danger has many of us on edge. An example was noted in a fire that could well have been disastrous last Saturday in the southern part of the county along highway 61.                    

With ice still on, getting wildfire sprinkler systems set to go is complicated at best, so ice out soon is critical. In the meantime, since about 98% of Minnesota wildfires are ignited by careless humans, Gunflinter’s encourage any and all throughout the County to self-impose their own burning ban. We should do this in the absence of a governmental decree. There’s no need for campfires or any refuse ignition until we get wet.                                                                                   

Speaking of breezy days, a couple area fishermen had a couple get away not long ago as the trout season wound down. While it is not unusual for finnies to get away under this ice, this angling expedition is one for the books.                                                                                          

It was during the last days of March when the two ventured out on a gusty day to set-up and drill for a little jigging. They had no sooner set-up their ice houses than a gust of wind caught the units and sent them sailing off across and down the Gunflint ice. Tethering to their four wheelers was not enough as connections gave way to “Mother Nature’s ire. Luckily the shanties were not occupied.                                                                                                           

Thoughts of angling suddenly turned to search and rescue. Not knowing where the shacks would end up in the blizzard like conditions, one could only imagine where the units might be found along miles of shoreline.                                                                                                           

So the four wheeler quest began. Eventually one unit was re-possessed in a small bay about a mile across the lake. At this time it is unknown if the other shack was ever found. It will likely be retrieved at some point in time, but perhaps in the trees somewhere along the shore.                    

An interesting tidbit related the temporary fishing hut was found to be good condition after the wild ride. Propane heater/tank, tackle and bait containers and all other gear was intact.                                                                                                                                                     
So once again the fishing intent was great, and even one (fish shack) was caught, but in the end, another (shack) got away. It seems hard to escape that at least something always gets away or lost in every deep water excursion. Another fishing story for the ages!                                                

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, along the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as life picks-up anew in the wild land forest.                                                                                             
 

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Wildersmith Sign Only

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - April 02

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
April 2, 2021    

           
Back to the beautiful Gunflint woods after a first visit out of state in fifteen months. Following a couple winter like acts of the past week, it’s now April, no “fooling.”                                               

While I don’t know if this has any meaning, as to this time of the year, while shoveling from the weekend snow, a dark brown item appeared as my scoop passed by. I thought it must be a bit of lint off my apparel, but closer examination found it to be wooly caterpillar. Laying a finger close to the fuzzy critter, I nudged it, finding life as it coiled in reaction, no “April Fool” here. An anomaly  yes?                                                                                                             

The “wow” of the north woods was once again highlighted with a spectacular full, Ojibwe, “crust on the snow” moon, last weekend. The past few full lunar happenings in this neighborhood have occurred behind clouded skies. With clear skies this time, and on the “breast of new fallen snow” the “big cheese” cast near daylight, after dark, on objects below. If listeners weren’t up to see the late night landscape, you missed another Gunflint delight!                   

As winter sputters to an end, it has been mixed with enough spring teasing to open up occasions of mud. With the warmth of the past few days and April at hand, I would declare “mud” season is now official. Such is most noticed along back country roads and on vehicles traveling them. I will just concede to driving the dirt colored vehicle until green-up commences.       

On our trips south toward the village, we are always on the look-out for an experience having never before observed, and it usually happens. This trek was no exception.                                

Our attention was suddenly captured as we approached the Trail intersection with Birch Lake Road. For those not familiar, this is near the location of the Christmas season sentinel cared for by the good folks on Birch Lake.                                                                                                    

For some reason the magnificent, lonesome pine was lit up, twinkling like it was December. Wondering as we neared, what could be going on, had the lighting crew slipped a belt?                                                                                                                                                              
It was soon discovered “old Sol” had risen into an exact position, sending rays into the crystal luminaries, and giving off the appearance, of their being energized by man.                            

While the symbols of light to the world are beautiful after the dark, they seemed more awe-inspiring with enabling from the sun. Sparkling like pearls of dew or rain drops after a morning shower, the solitary scene was akin to a starlit heaven only here on earth. What a refreshing encounter on a bright cheery morning!                                                                                               

Having been out of the territory for a week, our return out the Byway was equally exciting although there was nothing physically observable. As we trekked through the pines, along still snow covered ditches, it was just a “hard to explain,” spirit of the Trail that seemed to reach out with a welcome. So magical and reverent!                                                                                

It was not until we pulled into the driveway and stepped out of the vehicle when we were greeted by a Mile O Pine reality, welcome wagon. I don’t have an official descriptor for a group of squirrels, but there was an excited gang on hand.                                                                        

While the little rodent folk can be annoying at times, it kind of warms one’s heart even though you know they are not really interested in your return, so much as they know, you will be opening the feed bin.                                                                                                                           

Nevertheless, the quiet of the forest was interrupted with excited chatter as they scampered madly about, and into the wood shop where the goodies are kept. I had a devil of a time shooing them out, until I grabbed a handful of seeds to lure them back into the out of doors. Boy, am I well trained!                                                                                                                       

In closing, the border territory is now playing the April waiting game. Waiting for snow to melt, ice to go out, rain to fall, mud to dry, green to come, flowers to sprout, animal babies to be born and the annual re-birth of Gunflint adventures.                                                                          

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, along the Gunflint Trail, where every North woods day has a unique splendor!
 

Listen: 

 
Wildersmith Let it Snow

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - March 19

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
March 19, 2021    

           
Spring along the Gunflint seems to be back on track following a brief guest appearance from “old man winter” about ten days ago. The one and done snowy stop over happened just as last weeks’ scoop hit the air waves, so it missed deadline.                                                                   

Just when we were beginning to see brown patches of ground, the late season happening was the first big snow in this neighborhood since the Christmas Holidays. The dropping saw near nine inches here at Wildersmith and upwards of near a foot at end of the Trail. While this was nice and much overdue, total snow measured at this location, to date, is just short of sixty inches, far below what normally would be expected.                               

Accumulations diminished as one headed down the Byway toward the village. At the same moment, we may have experienced the last sub-zero temperatures of the season on a couple mornings following.                                                                                                                                    

While people who live at forty-nine degrees north and beyond have affection for the cold, whiteness, fishing on hard water and  skiing or sledding on the fluff, enough has become enough. Perhaps I’ve shoveled, cranked the snow blower and plowed for the last time. At least one would think so ending week three.                                                                         

Getting back on track is surely the order as the Vernal Equinox sets the course for re-birth this weekend. The calendar and day light saving time are now in sync, so to speak.      Speaking of DLST, I’ve heard scuttle someone in D.C. governmental leadership is introducing legislation to enact daylight saving time permanently, no more “falling back.” Obviously this person doesn’t care the sun would not be rising until about nine in the morning at these latitudes, and kids in this neck of the woods will be heading to school in the dark. Don’t those folks have more important issues with which to deal?  At the moment of this keyboard exercise, the hour lost has me a bit blurry-eyed.                                                                  

Meanwhile, as the warm-up starts to escalate, ice on Gunflint Lake has not started to make its disappearing act, at least along the Wildersmith shore. Neighbors fishing in this locale report hard water out here remains in excess of two feet. While two feet of ice is two feet, this thickness remains like our snow, less than normal. It’s been pretty much a non-winter, except for one week.                                                                                                                                                 

I was out on the ice a few days ago with the neighbors and their grand-sons. It was a beautiful day, and what a good time those young lads were having, even though catching action was slow. A flag finally tipped up, and the excitement was over flowing onto the ice.                          

A nice eater trout was pulled through the hole by a nine year old followed by grins and high fives all around. One couldn’t help but reflect on an old adage dating back to the “Greatest Generation”, that “no boy is ever bad, when he’s fishing with his dad,” or Grand-dad.”                        

It would be a fair assumption the critters snoozing away the cold season may be rolling over and opening an eye to check on conditions for emergence. “Woody the Chuck” AKA ground hog was right again, as conditions have confirmed his six more weeks’ prediction of back on February second.                                                                                                                            

It’s funny the mythical prognosticator, historically, has always predicted with one hundred present accuracy. So we can expect “chippies” skunks, “Bruno’s and other dozing folk soon to be adding new chapters of Gunflint tales.                                                                                    

While there is still a good bit of snow on the ground, most folks paying attention to the beautiful Gunflint Trail know there is plenty of mankind littering hidden below. This in mind, the Scenic Byway Committee is reminding lake homeowner associations, it’s time to start thinking about the annual Trail clean-up, due to commence in May.                                                                

Please get those pick-up teams organized and ready to hit the Trail when the ground is bare. The official date for County pick-up crews to gather up the roadside bags of collection will be announced as soon as confirmed, around May day or sooner. I’ll have more info as it becomes available.  Thanks in advance to all pitching into those bags.                                           

Speaking of the recent extension of daylight minutes, both “nighttime and daytime” things are going on right now at the community radio station, up on the hill, along the north shore. The WTIP family is in the midst of their own rendition of spring renewal with the “Night and Day” membership support campaign.                                                                                                

As I introduced last week, the drive for both renewing and new family members kicked off this past Wednesday and continues through this coming Monday at noon.                          

While face to face visits to the station during the drive are still COVID restricted, daytime operators would love to talk with listeners on the phone, and 24-7 online communications of support will also be deeply appreciated.                                                               

If you haven’t “sprung” into action, it’s time to move into spring with your caring gift either “Night or Day.” Locally call at (218) 387-1070; or toll free at 1-(800) 473-9847; or “click and join” on line at WTIP.org                                                                                                                 

For WTIP, this Wildersmith, along the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as spring will soon be “busting out all over!”
 

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Photo by Kim Taylor Hull via Flickr/Creative Commons(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

North Woods Naturalist: Spring observations

Chel Anderson is a botanist and plant ecologist and she joins us periodically to report on what she’s seeing in our woods and waters right now.

In this edition of North Woods Naturalist, Chel describes her recent observations during this March spring teaser.

Listen: 

 
Wildersmith Let it Snow

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - March 12

Wildersmith on the Gunflint      by     Fred Smith
March 12, 2021      

 
It’s been a slow news week as March and spring are striding along the Trail hand in hand with the second week of month two, coming to an end. Winter, in the meantime, has withered away in border country after what has barely been a five-month appointment. At the moment, cold season 20-21 is about six weeks short of what we might normally expect.               

Winter beauty remains once one departs the grungy look of receding roadside snow mounds and crud in congregations of community living. It is so refreshing to turn onto the Mile O Pine or other backcountry roads and be greeted with the pristine of crystal, even knowing its future is pre-determined. The grace of living where few people tread is beyond memorable in many ways.                                                                                                                                               

While there is still snow on the ground and ice on the lakes along the International Border, temps this week and other characters of the seasonal transition tell a different story.         

Added to the drippy rooftop edges and spots of slushy snow, the roller coaster ride along our Scenic Byway is sporting dips that will rock your molars if hit at full speed. So earthly warming started around tree roots a week or more ago has extended to depths of roadside culverts as frost is starting to seek a way out.                                                                                          

Another item of vernal notice is the return of crows to Gunflint neighborhoods. A “murder” of the ebony beauties has been scrounging around the yard in recent days and carrying on yackety-yak conversation in the treetops.                                                              

Also in the winged world, a couple of those “Minnesota Chicken Birds” (grouse) have been hanging out up in the Mile O Pine tree tops nibbling on soon-to-be, birch, and aspen buds, as crusty snow is complicating nutritional gathering at ground level.                                                           

The third confirmation is not a component of “Mother Nature’s” doing but is decided by man-kind. Saturday night before bedding down, it’s time to “spring ahead” with our clocks. Guess this is man’s attempt to jump-start the season of re-birth in advance of the Equinox, although we all know, it’s a self-serving intention. Somehow, I wonder if we really ever recover the hour misplaced year after year when we “fall back.” Those hours seem to always get lost in the mayhem of our daily lives.                                                                                                     

This time of year can be identified as being hazardous to one’s health. The scene applies to both people on foot and humans behind the wheel. Our slow meltdown has backcountry roads, driveways, and walking paths in the mode for accidental falls and skids. Daytime melting and nighttime re-freezing can make for wicked glazing. Whereas we will be donning bug nets in a few weeks, right now is the time to slow down, watch your step and pull on those ice grippers if you live in the north woods. Be safe and remain upright!                                                                                   
Speaking of things that happen on snow, it would appear the days of power sledding dwindling fast. Sledding trails that can be viewed from the Gunflint blacktop look to be getting quite beat up from not only the traffic but also from the beaming rays of sunshine. Unless there is a late-season surge of white, those howling machines will soon go to off-season storage. Meanwhile, cross-country skier opportunities remain viable although the snow may be sticky in places where the sun pierces the shade.                                                                                

With a closing note, remember the voice of the northland has you covered “Night and Day.” Keeping WTIP alive and well depends heavily on listener/member support. The “Night and Day” spring membership renewal kicks off this coming Wednesday, March 17th, and runs through noontime on the 22nd.                                                                                                              

Be ready to “spring” into action with a call-in or on-line show of affection for this connection to the “Riviera of the north.” The little radio station that always thought it could, still can, with continuing efforts from our growing family of listeners.                                                   

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, along the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as life out here in the slow lane is extraordinary.
 

Listen: