My, oh my, where has August gone? Entering this last weekend, it seems like we just started chapter eight.
Our planet celebrates this passing monthly segment with the full, “blueberry” moon Saturday night, before we head off into the last calendar days of summer.
With the warm season recreational time winding down, the Trail is busy, busy, busy. Visiting wilderness enthusiasts are eagerly trying to grab just a little bit more of this peaceful paradise before school and other activities begin to reconsume their lives. In the meantime, while our seasonal neighbors are starting to bring in boats, docks and closing the cabins, those of us residing here full time are engulfed with the sudden thought of checking items off our “getting ready for winter” list.
Yours truly still has a couple of pressing items on my late summer “to do’s” with one more building side to stain and firewood, and although split, yet to stack. Then the usual “close down” winterizing tasks commence, remembering tolerable days in September and October whiz by pretty quickly.
Our past week up the Trail has been seasonally comfortable. In fact, the Wildersmith neighborhood experienced a first taste of fall with a couple mornings slipping into the high 30s. To confirm that atmospheric things are beginning to change, winds were howling cold cries like those of a winter storm as I started scribing the local scoop this past Sunday night and into Monday.
We were issued some moisture over the past weekend, although accumulation around this place was nothing to write home about. The area did, however, receive a good soaking of at least an inch and one-half a few days after our last radio meeting, thus wetting down the crispy forest landscape.
There has been at least one positive consequence in regard to the hot time this territory experienced a couple weeks ago. Perhaps we can blame it on the “global warming thing,” then again maybe not. For whatever reason these northern border residents have already picked ripened tomatoes. If the sun returns to hold off an early nipping, the projection is we’ll be having several more by the time this broadcast column comes your way. The scarlet fruit happening is highly unusual for us as there have been only a couple times over our first 16 years where our lonesome plant escaped frost and cold to provide harvest opportunity. So BLTs will now be possible with a home grown flavor!
Air traffic at our hummer feeding station is continuing at an unrivaled pace. If air traffic controllers had to deal with such unguided landings and departures like we have, they’d surely be going stark raving mad! By the way, final hummingbird departures should have occurred during the past few days according to the Farmers’ Almanac.
Recently, another active avian gathering was shared by a lady residing down the road. It was a golden day at her feeder when the unit was a sudden stop-over for a flock of goldfinches. She sent me a digital of the flashy lemon-colored birds having lunch, which I share with you on my website column at WTIP.org - dropping down under “community voices.”
Gathering is on the increase at ground level in our yard, too, as neighborhood squirrels and their distant cousins, chipmunks, are packing away their own harvest. Seeds and morsels of all kinds are being stashed here and there. They are constantly underfoot seeking a hand-out whenever I step out the door, no matter how quiet I try to be.
I read sad commentary in the local paper recently of an orphaned bear cub in the county which escaped a feverish rescue effort by local law enforcement only to succumb to a tortuous shore side run-around by a bunch of rowdy people. The chase panicked the little critter to take to the lake, where it ran out of energy and drowned.
Living in this wild area, we are often found to be dealing with what authorities call nuisance bears. I often contemplate there are probably not nuisance bears at all, just nuisance people setting them up for a bad rap. Have we no common sense or conscience?
This is Fred Smith, on the Trail, at Wildersmith! Leaf peeping fortunes are just around the next curve along the Gunflint Trail, be on the look-out!