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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - October 23

Wildersmith (375x500).jpg
Wildersmith (375x500).jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by    Fred Smith
October 23, 2020    

           
The march of autumn through month ten has either been stalled temporarily, or expired since we last met on the radio. The ground is white, the bird water dish is frozen, area ponds are skimming over and I don’t have my winter wheels mounted on the vehicle yet. But alas, the shovel is hanging by the back door with care, the snow blower started for practice on the second pull and the blade is attached to the pushing machine.                                                                                                                                            

If you have been following my scribing over the years, you might recall I have a simple, but unofficial way winter is declared to be in effect. While conditions might trend more temperate a bit in the days/weeks to come, I say it’s here when the mercury stays below the freezing mark for twenty four consecutive hours. Such was the case at Wildersmith last Saturday afternoon though Sunday.                                                                                                                                                                           

Further confirmation came from the avian world, as I was greeted along the Trail by the first flock of snow buntings exploding from the roadside shoulder as my vehicle approached. Another of the winged species, a Chickadee, was caught near me at the feed trough during a recent snow squall. The tiny bird looked to be giving me the eye, with a discerning gaze of, don’t you see me, it’s time; get a handful of seeds out here.                                                            

Meanwhile, our wet, windblown snow took down the “last leaf of summer” on the birch outside my window, now making that season a distant memory. Another observation, found a hanging Fuchsia plant gave into the “old man of the North” with icicles hanging from its leaves last Sunday morning. The oddity is, it was left out to be enjoyed as long as possible, because it was in the most beautiful condition of the entire blooming season. So it’s definitely time the call should be made for all to begin hunkering down, especially the bears.                                                                                                                                                
Having undeniable affection for winter, this is my favorite time. There is nothing more energizing than the first white covering on the landscape. And with the first snow, usually of the wet sticky nature, the coniferous forest was decked out waiting for the first shutter click of a Hallmark Card photographer. Snow is a wondrous element of the many atmospheric components as is turns a multitude of both man-made and natural ugliness into unmatched crystal magic.                                                                                                                                                               
The weekend of Cook County “Moose Madness” events passed with uncountable visitors along the Trail in hope of seeing one of those live north woods icons. How many live animals observed is unknown, probably few. A couple gals did report a cow and calf being spotted in some unannounced location along the Byway. The most likely sightings were “Murray the Moose” down in the village or “Mickey the Moose” in the Nature Center on the Chik Wauk Museum Campus.                                                                                                                        

While volunteering at the Nature Center on Saturday, I made several moose calling attempts to the enjoyment of several visitor groups. As you might expect, with commotion of vehicles and people, none came ambling out of the forest, but we all had fun!                                                                                                                                                                                    
A neighbor up the Trail shared weekend video of a young moose meandering around his cabin during two separate late night occasions. In between the moose ops, even more interesting was another video where audio caught a choral rendition from the end of the Trail wolf pack.                                                                                                                                              

There was a variety of howling tones which must have included some juveniles, all yet to change the yipping pitch of their puppyhood voices. One has to wonder if they had moose steak on their minds. We’ll hope not, but we’ll never know.                                                                            
 In closing, remember, WTIP has always had a friend in you. Why not give your Community Radio friend a call?  Its’ the “Phone a Friend” membership renewal time, and furthermore, WTIP is hoping to add new friends to the list.                                                                                      

WTIP is in the midst of this third and final drive for support in 2020. Continuing pledges of support are very important during this Pandemic tragedy.                                                     

Phone lines are open, and the website is waiting for you to click on and pledge now.  It’s WTIP.org or locally call 218-387-1070 or toll free, 1-800-473-9847. Won’t you be our Friend?            

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, along the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, even when the weather outside is frightful!
 

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