“Old Man Winter” roared back into the north woods this past weekend. In simple terms, it was “Just a moment, my wilderness friends and little Miss Spring. I’m not “outta” here just yet.”
He may be a memory by the time this upper Trail news reaches you readers and listeners. However, while the “old guy” hung around the territory, it reverted back to a more February-like character.
The usual NWS “fantasy” of a winter storm warning turned into a white reality show, with anywhere from four to near seven inches blanketing the area. Strong northwest winds buffeted border country along with single-digit to teen temperatures for a few days, adding to what some would call April misery. Guess my re-cap of winter in last week’s edition was premature!
The hubbub of unexpected atmospheric conditions caught any number of folks by surprise, having put away snow shovels and the like. A few days before, I had even considered taking off the snow blade, but for some reason did not get it done. Luckily, my procrastination this time paid off, as road and driveway plowing was the order of mid-month business.
So, spring has been put on hold for a few days. Dry roads will be replenished with additional mud and run-off will gouge more at miniature canyons from the first meltdown. But this too will pass, and the season of buds and babies will resume. Above all, regardless of this brief set-back, we are thankful for the always needed moisture!
A green thumb friend over on Loon Lake tells of crocus blooms that seemed to pop right out of the melting snow from one day to the next, prior to “Mr. Winter’s” late-season stop. She also mentioned that tulips were well out of the cool ground. Wonder what those little green beings think of their white surroundings now?
The Wildersmith neighborhood has had plenty of dark clouds lately and I don’t mean in the heavens. The forest has been alive with a murder of crows and they have been joined by a flock of iridescent grackles, several red wing blackbirds and those steel-gray juncos.
The seed cafeteria along our deck has been the scene of considerable critter frustrations as both the ebony avian and our little red rodents seek supremacy over the feed trough. Meanwhile, chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches seem unphased by all this commotion as they dart in and out between the chatter and flapping of shiny black wings.
The weekly supply run to Grand Marais found the Smith’s spotting a number of robins, but at this writing they have not appeared at our place along the south Gunflint Lake shore. I suppose they’ll zip in with the melting snow any time soon.
It was amusing that during the height of the white gales last Sunday two deer charged back into our yard. The white tailed gang had “headed to green fields everyone” during the past couple weeks, but returned to the balsam canopy of Wildersmith in the roaring fury of blowing snow. They even came to the window, looking in with curiosity as if to say, “what’s going on with this weather, anyway?”
A recent journey down County Road 20 (south Gunflint Lake Road) found two snowshoe hares in the usual locale where they were so prolifically abundant last summer. I hadn’t seen any during the winter, thinking that they were either consumed by the carnivore gang or taken out by the trapping fur collectors. It’s sure nice to know that a couple survived.
It was interesting that one was somewhat indecisive about the changing season, as it still had a white coat. On the other hand, bunny number two had apparently made the decision early as it was already into its warm season attire. “Mr. White Coat” is probably having the last bunny laugh right now in our renewed white landscape. I wonder if they are into multiplication practice yet?
That’s all for now. Happy Easter and keep on hangin’ on, savoring whatever the wilderness adventure!
Airdate: April 22, 2011
Photo courtesy of Miguel Vieira via Flickr.