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North Shore Morning

AM Community Calendar/photo by masochismtango on Flickr

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News and information, interviews, weather, upcoming events, music, school news, and many special features. North Shore Morning includes our popular trivia question - Pop Quiz! The North Shore Morning program is the place to connect with the people, culture and events of our region!

 


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November Sky Map

Northern Sky: November 10 - 23, 2018

NORTHERN SKY – Deane Morrison
November 10 – 23, 2018
 
Now that we’re back on standard time, the stars come out earlier. That’s good for watching the evening sky. But the morning sun also comes up earlier than it did on daylight time. It rose over Grand Marais at 7:49 a.m. right before the switchover, and it won’t rise that late again till the second half of December. So for now, everybody will have to get out earlier to see the morning show.
 
The star of that show is our old friend Venus. It’s climbing over the eastern horizon as it emerges from a trip between Earth and the sun, and so it’s relatively close and very bright. It starts out as a thin crescent, and through a small telescope or even a pair of very strong and steady binoculars, you can see the crescent getting thicker as the days go by. The star above Venus is Spica, in Virgo. If you go out on only one day, try the 14th, when the planet and the star will be at their minimum distance, just over two moon widths apart. Look about an hour before sunrise.
 
Jupiter will join Venus next month, but right now it's in the process of falling out of the evening sky and getting lost in the sunset. And Saturn is right behind it. In both cases, Earth is going around the sun, leaving those planets behind. In the east, the bright winter constellations are making their annual entrance. However, only a few, like the Pleiades star cluster and Taurus, the bull, are up right after nightfall. If you’re out at that time and looking for something new, you may want to see if you can find some double stars that are up in early evening. Binoculars are highly recommended here.
 
The first double star is easy: it’s at the bend of the Big Dipper's handle. The Big Dipper is now sitting pretty much upright, just above the northern horizon. The double star in the handle is well known, and you can see it without binoculars if your vision is good. While you’re there, you can use the Big Dipper to find Polaris, the north star. The two stars on the bowl of the Big Dipper that are farthest from the handle point toward the north star. Also, try to find the whole Little Dipper. Polaris is at the free end of its handle, and keep in mind that the two "bowl" stars nearest the handle are pretty dim. The second double star is in Taurus. To recap, it's in the east after nightfall. Find the face of the bull, with a star chart if you need one. You'll see the bright star Aldebaran next to the Hyades star cluster, which is shaped like a V. Follow the line of stars from Aldebaran toward the point of the V, and you'll see the double star. Binoculars will help. Use them again on the Pleiades, which appear to the naked eye as a fuzzy patch above Aldebaran. The third double star is the most challenging. Find Vega, a brilliant star in the west, and look just above it for a tight doublet of stars. You’ll definitely need binoculars for that one. And you may want to postpone your search for double stars until after full moon because a waxing or full moon can wash out the dimmer stars in the early-evening sky.
 
Our full moon arrives at 11:39 p.m. on the 22nd, which is Thanksgiving Day. It rises over Grand Marais at 4:28 that afternoon, and for my money, that's when it will be most beautiful. At nightfall, it will be between and just west of Aldebaran and the Hyades, below, and the Pleiades above. 
 

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - November 9, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
November 9, 2018             

It’s Sunday evening as I begin this weeks’ Gunflint scoop, and it appears my winter declaration is panning out sooner than later. It’s snowing.  Rooftops and the ground are turning white and the area is under a winter storm warning. What may happen in our up north atmosphere during the days leading into this second weekend of November remains to be seen.                                                                                                                                                                    
Regardless of the weather situation, we at Wildersmith are ready. Most of us live a life of lists. My 2018 edition has been a long slate of “do this and do that” in preparation for winters journey. Imagine my surprise when suddenly I looked up from all the “doings” and find there is nothing left to cross off. The plow blade is mounted, the snow blower tested positive on the first pull and the snow shovel is in the ready position by the back door. Guess I’ll retire to the workshop for some sawdust production.                                                                                                                                                                        

Meanwhile, with temps around here hanging in the thirties under mostly cloudy days, it has allowed the night time skimming of area ponds and smaller lakes to extend more than a few hours into the next day. Although the early crinkling of ice is far from safe, a few nights into the teens and twenties will soon lock them up for good.                                                                                      
 
And speaking of area water bodies, they are suddenly filled to the brim. Although precipitation over the last several weeks hasn’t seemed too prolific out this way, guess the persistency has played a role more than suspected.                                                                                                   
 
A specific example is a wetland along the upper Trail west of the USFS Seagull Guard station. This particular liquid location has taken on the look of a substantial lake. I’ve never observed this wetland area in such a condition before. One might suspect “Beaver and Beaver Construction Co.” may be responsible for work along Larch Creek, thus holding back the rushing water from the highlands, as primary the cause.                                                                                                                                                                             
Beyond our enthusiasm for the pending big snow adventure, excitement reigns boundless around the yard. Deciding bears are likely no longer a threat, I’ve opened our deck-side critter eatery.                                                                                                                                                              
 
The first morning after our return to standard time found me awake at daybreak and the avian folk in a feeding frenzy. One would have thought it was the morning of “Black Friday” as the mixed flock was seemingly out of control in its assault on the seed tray goodies. Of course, a gang of blue jays was trying to dominate. Thank goodness, a couple of red squirrel air traffic controllers were regulating arrivals and departures enabling the smaller winged beings to land for their share. Such “wild neighborhood “energy is as invigorating for us observers as the winged participants.                                                                                                                                                       
While the migrators continue coming and going, I’ve received a report of first upper Trail pine grosbeak arrivals. The spectacular rosy/pink, cold season, visitors have been seen in the mid-Trail area, and I spotted a few during a recent trek along the Trail.  
                                                                         
At the same time, I’m still observing robins. It would seem they should have been on their way south after the cold of late September and nearly all of October. I hope they don’t get caught with ice on their wing tips, but guess they know what they’re doing.                                                                                                                                                            
With nary a leaf left hanging out his way, the woods are left drab and brown, but one can now see deep into the forest. This being the case, the opportunity to observe things not seen in months is increased considerably.                                                                                                                   
 
Such was the case on our last trip into Grand Marais when we Smiths’ had the occasion to catch a wolf crossing our path, on its’ way into the woods. Whereas we always know this carnivore gang is out there, we hadn’t seen one in some time. So this sighting was exciting as always, and we’ll keep on watching.                                                                                                                           
 
While on the subject of wolves, especially as it concerns humans tinkering with the dynamics of natures’ balance, I came upon an insightful writing in a recent edition of the Sierra Magazine. This well-written document by Conor Mihell explores perspectives of re-introducing wolves onto the celebrated Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior.                                                         

In substance, it chronicles two differing points of view regarding the attempt to restore balance to predator/prey management with a burgeoning moose population and only two, rather unhealthy, known wolves. Entitled, "A Reasonable Illusion", I would recommend it to all who cherish the wilderness world.
                                                                                                                                                                 
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith on the Gunflint, where every day is great, as the “great spirit of the north” is gathering momentum!
 


 

Superior National Forest Update - November 9, 2018

Superior National Forest Update with Jake Todd, information assistant with the Superior National Forest, Tofte Ranger District.
November 9, 2018

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Sawtooth Mountain Elementary - School News November 8, 2018

Sawtooth Mountain Elementary - School News with Alivia, Katie, and Hazel.

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Matt Goldman

Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury - Matt Goldman

Lin Salisbury's "Superior Reviews" features Edina author, Matt Goldman's book, "Gone to Dust".

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PondIce.jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - November 2, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint   by     Fred Smith     November 2, 2018    
 
Gunflint territory greets November with a bit of trepidation. We full-time borderland residents know “Mother Nature” is engaging month eleven as her curtain call for 2018 warm and fuzzies. Following a few sneak previews of winter since late September, this is “her” final warning. Ready set, here we go!                                                                                                                                                 

Although the weather out this way has been on the calm side during recent days, sunshine has remained a rare commodity. Dreariness usually associated with this new month has extended through nearly all of October, this last week included.                                                                                        

Gray skies and a couple soakers have bolstered moisture conditions for things that will grow again next spring but have been more chilling to us two-legged creatures than if it had been snow and in the single digits. With temps hanging in the mid-thirties to mid-forties, it’s been just plain raw outside.                                                                                                                                                                             

I did notice a skim of ice on bodies of water along the Trail one morning when the mercury hovered around the twenty-degree mark, but by afternoon it was gone and has remained in the liquid state as of this scribing. One thing certain is that area lakes, ponds and swamps are on the verge of making “hard water” with temps in the thirties. This is further corroborated in the heavens by Novembers’ Ojibwe, “freezing over” moon, “Gash Kadino Giizis.”                                                                                                                                                        
Speaking of being on the verge, one can never be sure what might happen about now. Remembering last year, the areas first blanket of snow came on October 27 and was still here in early May. On a related snowy note, the area escaped a repeat of the famous 1991 “Halloween Blizzard” as trick & treaters did their begging in damp and cold.                                                                                                                                                                                   
All this seasonal stuff in mind, yours truly is making a couple declarations. First of all, I’m proclaiming it officially winter in spite of what the calendar claims.  We had a day here when my-self-imposed criterion was met as the daytime temp stayed below the freezing mark.                                                                                                                                                                                             
 
I feel safe in making this statement as other folks out this way are demonstrating they know what’s coming too. Last Saturday volunteers hit the Banadad cross-country ski Trail for a day of cleaning up accumulated summer debris, all in anticipation of the first opportunity to swoosh through the woods. Thanks to all!                                                                                                                             
Another group of beings in tune with the times is those pert little snow buntings. Our winter “welcome wagon” is busy along Trail sides exploding with each approaching vehicle as if to say, look at us, we’re here, it’s that time of year.                                                                                                                                                                                     
My second revelation comes in regard to Americans regaining a degree of common sense by recognizing the time of day by the sun, as the creator intended. Remember, it’s time to “fall back” as we exchange ebony morning gloom for late afternoon darkness. Don’t forget to re-set those clocks before retiring Saturday evening.                                                                                                                  

I’ve not heard of recent bear activity, so I’m presuming they have retreated to dens for their long winter snooze. Following suit, chippies, skunks, and woodchucks have not been seen of late either. However, “Brother Fox” knows when it has a good thing going around Wildersmith and is still hanging out.                                                                                                                 

Meanwhile, out this way, silence is golden as were the leaves but a few short weeks ago. Even the wind was down to near zero last Sunday and Monday with lake surfaces like mirrors.                                                 

About the only noise of consequence was occasional tweeting and fluttering of some hungry Chick-a-Dees. The quiet was pleasant, but at the same time, noting such silence, summoned a sense of uneasiness for some unexplained reason.                                                                                           

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as the forest has opened with transparency. Get out and VOTE, it’s your right to be heard!
 

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Superior National Forest Update - November 2, 2018

Superior National Forest Update with Visitor Information Specialist, Renee Frahm.
November 2, 2018

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Frog

North Woods Naturalist: Wildlife adaptation to cooling temperatures

WTIP’s CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about how different wildlife survive the winters in our woods and waters.

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Birch Grove Elementary - School News - October 31, 2018

Birch Grove Elementary School News with Jack, Nataliya, and Whitney 
for October 31, 2018.

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Magnetic North by Vicki Biggs Anderson

Magnetic North by Vicki Biggs Anderson                   10/23/18
When a Tree Falls
 
Welcome back to Magnetic North, where recent high winds took a toll on nearly every road and property. I was out of town during the storm and got home so tired from travel that it was almost a week before I notice the 60-foot poplar lying along the back edge of the yard... And but for my five goats clambering among its limbs, I might well have missed it until the spring.
 
The poplar, which stood throughout its life in obscurity among the spruce and jack pine by the old dog kennel, now became a fabulous treat for a small herd of bark loving goats.
 
Watching the goats clamber among the now-reachable branches of the downed tree made me think about how, depending on a tree’s place, either in the landscape or one’s history, it’s falling can be cause for so many emotions, from annoyance, to fear, to grief. And for goats and deer, celebration.
 
During the 28 years that I’ve lived, nestled on three sides by typically tangled Northern woods, and looking out on a six-acre meadow to the south, only once has a certain tree fallen to earth and left a permanent bruise on my heart by its absence. It wasn’t even the most iconic of the trees on the acreage; The one where all the critters are laid to rest when their time comes. It stands at the East end of the meadow. One towering White Pine, which is, as far as I know, the only one left standing by the subsistence immigrants who claimed this land, living by logging, fishing, hunting and farming little more than root vegetables.. And although I call this lone giant “mine.”  I know better. So many times over the years, wind, fire and even human carelessness let me know that all I call mine is merely on loan.
 
The big pine came close to being felled by a lightning strike during a ferocious storm right before 9/11. Paul and I watched a pin cherry tree take a bolt of lightning and burn like a torch, even in the pouring rain, The next strike was within feet of the white pine, but a birch took the worst of the fiery blow, while the pine to this day bears a scar over 30 feet long on her trunk. “If that tree goes,” one of us said watching the smoke across the meadow that night. But that night, it stayed and so did we.
 
The first fallen tree that truly hurt my heart was a gnarled and spreading red pine that stood behind the chicken run. The axle and wheels of an old buggy were so deeply sunken in the loam around the tree trunk, that roots had begun entwining the buggy wheel spokes. Paul and I would sit there watching the chickens - chicken videos we called those times - stroking our barn cat Mitten, one of the East County14 six-toed clan. I think Mitten got taken by an owl one winter night, but the tree survived her for years ....until one night, it fell. 

The morning after it fell, I carried water and feed in buckets to the coop as usual, only realizing that the massive branches and trunk were now horizontal behind the run, instead of standing guard and swaddling it in its limbs. 
I know Paul would have grieved with me that day for the loss of the chicken video tree, but his time had come too,  just months earlier.

Of course, when most trees fall in a place like this, no one notices and only a few feel bereaved by the absence of any one of them. And then there are ones like the Washington Pines white pines, senselessly downed by vandals, that everyone seems to know and care about deeply. The chainsaw downing of some White Pines in the beloved stand on the Gunflint Trail was grotesque and senseless. Some saw it as a finger in the eye to all “tree huggers.” Others chalked it up to intoxication. And though the perpetrators were caught and punished that didn’t put the trees back. That didn’t take away that hurt.

All this happened in the year before North House Folk School had their first class, a kayak building, taught out in the Coast Guard building off Artists Point. I covered the class for the local paper and discovered that the butchered Washington Pines trees were being used. Instructor and folk school founder, Mark Hansen, salvaged much of the wood for use in those first handmade crafts. The pines got a second life, many second lives, really,  through all the people who used that beautiful wood in their kayaks. The sheer perfection of that outcome still makes me smile.

However, sometimes in a county of trees and can-do folks, a tree falls and someone gets hurt... Earlier this month, this is what happened to a friend of mine and many others, as he tried to cut down a poplar behind his workshop in the town of Grand Marais. The results were many. For our friend, a brain injury and physical pain for a man used to great health an agile mind. For his family, the absence of normalcy, of just another day-ness. Precious things taken for granted, until normal seems like something only other people enjoy... With hard work and time, the prognosis is good for our friend. Best wishes for all good things to Jeff and Jenny and their beautiful boys in this new, unexpected journey.

John Lennon lamented back in the day, that “life is what happens while you’re making other plans. So it was with my brilliant idea to use a downed tamarack branch to make a wreath for the front of the house. Making it took me three hours and wire puncture wounds on both hands, but at last the big golden circle was done and I hung it between the garage doors, a thing of beauty and a joy forever; Forever, in this case being one night. My five goats found it and finished off their poplar lunch with a tamarack late night snack. But did I get angry? Not me. I got even. I made another Tamarack wreath and doused it with hot sauce. Let’s face it, Mother Nature isn’t the only one who can dish out the surprises.

For WTIP, this is Vicki Biggs-Anderson with Magnetic North. 
 

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