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Wildersmith on the Gunflint: September 6th

white cedar seed clusters
white cedar seed clusters

Wildersmith_20130906_finalcut.mp37.93 MB

            Folks are humming that September song as Mother Nature appears to have surrendered her hot, grouchy attitude. Last weekend found the upper Trail both cooled and dampened down. It was about time, too!
            A couple rain episodes leading up to and including part of the long Labor Day holiday tallied nearly 1 3/4 inches in the Wildersmith gauge. The heavenly dousing couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for our brittle woods.
As it was, plenty of thunder and lightning accompanied the moisture deposit. The spirits of stormy illumination put on a brilliant, but dangerous display over borderland waters. We sure hope those natural fireworks didn’t strike and ignite some unwanted incendiary activity. Residents are keeping their fingers crossed that such didn’t happen. Guess we’ll know in a few days.
The coolness ushered in on the first day of this new month was quite refreshing after the sultry last part of August. Cooling conditions were such last Sunday evening that I actually saw puffs of breath while out doing some early evening grilling. Now this is what the north woods should be about.
The frozen cream and pie event at Chik-Wauk last Sunday was held amidst all kinds of weather. Nevertheless, many guests showed up to celebrate a culinary happening. In fact, the variety of pastry delights matched the mosaic of atmospheric formations throughout the busy afternoon.
Many thanks to members of the Gunflint Community for their contributions of help in making this event a sweet sensation!
During one of the few blue-sky moments at our end of the Trail festivities, an unexpected guest buzzed in to check out the colorful serving table line-up. Just a few of us worker bees witnessed the aerial episode. It was so spontaneous that it caught most by surprise, and even had some doing a “did you see that” double take.
Guess the assembly of vivid fruit wedges caught a hungry hummingbird’s eye. The tiny ruby throat dove in and momentarily hovered over a decadent piece of cherry-cranberry pie.
It was however, able to resist a sampling, which was not the case for a couple hundred humans. In a blink of an eye, the inquisitive hummer apparently decided “paradise found” could be gained elsewhere and soared off to parts unknown. Meanwhile, we astonished observers were left humming about the incident.
With a week of September under our belts, the “wild rice/harvest moon” is sprouting in the heavens. A sense of “Dagwagin” (fall in Ojibwe lore) is in the air.
If one can gain any insight from the squirrel intensity for harvest and subsequent storage around our yard, perhaps we should expect a winter that might be early and harsh.
 I’ve never seen such a vigorous cutting of white cedar seed clusters in any of my previous autumn seasons. If all those morsels are going to get salted away, there’s going to be some worn out rodents by the time our earth turns hard with frost.
A gal from over on Hungry Jack Lake tells that a late hatching of loon babies in her locale finds them in a hurry-up maturation mode. They are also assuming considerably more independence from the parents than might be expected for being such tardy arrivals.
Actions of these two species would make one wonder if members of our wild neighborhood might have inklings that the “Mom” in charge of things up here might have a winter surprise up her sleeve.
Checking back into my atmospheric journaling of a couple years ago, our Wildersmith neighborhood recorded snow and sleet to cover the ground briefly on Sept. 14. And we had midday snow showers on Sept. 22 in 2012, while a few years earlier the Hungry Jack/mid-Trail area got some four inches of snow on Sept. 30. Anything can happen, we shall see!
Leaf Peepers had better be getting up this way soon. The rainbow of autumn colors is about to burst on our granite hillsides. One might even see a bruno or two as they depart their nesting places around picked-over blueberry patches in search of winter quarters. It’s spectacular time in Gunflint Country, don’t miss it!
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the “change and parting.”

{photo courtesy of Homer Edward Price via Wikimedia Commons}