Wildersmith June 18

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The Gunflint territory was blessed with a bit more moisture since we last met on the radio. Although amounts varied from mid-trail to the end, another half inch or so was welcomed in most places by the dry forest floor.
 
Most days of the past week have been cloudy and temperatures marvelously cool. The moose and I are smiling, knowing that we have escaped one more week of the usual warm, sultry weather.
 
The northland will celebrate the calendar turn to summer in a few days with old Sol reaching his pinnacle in the northern hemisphere climb. So this last weekend of spring succumbs to the solstice of summer. We will soon see the minutes of daylight start to trickle away as folks begin squeezing as much as they can out of sunrise to sunset.
 
Looner activity after dark along the shores of Gunflint Lake in the Wildersmith neighborhood has been quite vociferous in the past few evenings. The magic of these wondrous birds captivates one’s imagination with regard to what the actual conversation is all about.
 
Several folks have mentioned… with wonder… what has happened to the hummingbirds. Most little red feeding stations have been abandoned in recent days except for an infrequent arrival. It would be my best guess that they are in the nesting mode. However, I still wonder why they don’t need a sweet drink during this time of bringing new members into the world.
 
Some friends report an extremely large patch of moccasin flowers found in an undisclosed location. They said there must be at least a hundred. The shade of the blooms seem to be a paler pink than usual, but they are nevertheless a splendid view. It makes me wonder if the subdued color could be due to the dry conditions of the past months.
 
I received an answer to my question about the blueberry crop in last week’s column. A fellow in the mid-trail area reports that he has already found berries on the bush in his neighborhood. Of course they are in the unripened stage, but with the recent rains, the picking might be early in 2010. Pray for more heavenly liquid and fear not…the blues will be coming.
 
In my travels along the Trail last week, I came upon a handsome bull moose. The big fellow was in complete summer attire, including a head dress of the most beautiful dark velvet. Then a few days later, during a passing of Swamper Lake, my wife and I got to see a moose practicing its front crawl strokes as it headed to the far shore. This was a first-time observance of a moose swimming.
 
I was happy to read about recent DNR reports being more positive concerning the moose numbers decline. The topic of herd numbers slumping has been of research interest for the past decade. Hopefully investigators are accurate and the downward trend might be reversing…guess time will tell.
 
Due to summer flower planting at Wildersmith, I had to relocate a feeding station for the local squirrel clan. The feeder was located just above a hanging pot which became a prime site for both finding and burying sunflower seeds by the pesky rodents. Thus the plants of the container were under continual excavation.
 
Who would have thought that moving the feed unit could cause such amazing confusion for the little red beings, even though it was only shifted a few feet away from the previous spot? The tiny critters came and sat at the old site…looking around and chattering “what for” about the goings-on with their lunch box.
 
It seemed to take several hours before they figured out to just move on down the deck rail for their usual treat. Talk about being conditioned! The episode was quite amusing.
 
Time is growing close for the annual North Shore Health Care Foundation Barbecue fundraiser. The date is Sunday, June 27 at Gunflint Lodge…BBQ buffet is open from 5 to 8 pm. Everyone is invited and reservations can be made by calling the foundation office at 387-9076. Proceeds go to the Foundation Endowment Fund.
 
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor a trip through paradise.

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