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North Shore Weekend

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  • Saturday 7-10am
Genre: 
Variety
Host CJ Heithoff brings you this Saturday morning show, created at the request of WTIP listeners.  North Shore Weekend features three hours of community information, features, interviews, and music. It's truly a great way to start your weekend on the North Shore. Arts, cultural and history features on WTIP’s North Shore Weekend are made possible with funding from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

 

 


What's On:

Superior National Forest Update - March 22, 2019

Superior National Forest Update – March 20, 2019.

Hi, this is Renee Frahm, Visitor Information Specialist with the Superior National Forest, and this is the National Forest Update, information for you if you’re headed out the road and into the woods. 

Snow is melting, and it is now officially spring!  The spring equinox was this past Wednesday, so according the stars, it is now springtime despite the feet of snow still on the ground.  It is spring according to the animals as well.  There have been lots of eagles moving northward through Hawk Ridge in Duluth, and we’ve been seeing more gulls up the shore as well.  Chipmunks have reappeared above the snow, and you may see red squirrels in love chasing each other through the trees.  It’s actually the only time red squirrels tolerate each other at all – they are generally loners, and only get together to mate in March.  Red squirrels are pretty much absent caretakers – the male will return to his territory, and the female will be left to do all the child rearing.  By midsummer, young squirrels will be kicked out by mom as well, and have to carve out their own individual territories.

It is a great time of year for ice fishing for trout.  Most lakes still have plenty of ice on them, and the slush has melted and refrozen making travel easier.  Your ice house should be off the lake now, but it is nice and warm out for sitting on a bucket waiting for fish to come.  Our snowy winter means that despite the warm temperatures, it is still pretty good for snowmobiling and skiing too.  Visit our website for links to trail conditions, things can change rapidly in the spring.  Also, when you are out, watch for bare patches on south facing slopes.  People are injured skiing every year when they come to an abrupt halt at the bottom of a hill when the snow turns to dirt.

Driving out in the woods is starting to get trickier.  Spring weight restrictions are now in force in both Lake and Cook Counties, which means that the roads are getting soft.  It means there won’t be big logging trucks out and about during the day, though in some places, they could be active at night when the roads freeze again.  The soft roads will affect your vehicle too, even if it isn’t a big truck.  Be on the lookout for wash outs and frost boils where melt water erodes the road from the bottom creating almost a quicksand area.  Be equally on the lookout for icy patches on north slopes and shady spots that can send your car spinning.  And lastly, always be on the lookout for deer and other wildlife.  If you are lucky, you’ll even have a moose licking salt off your car.  They are very active this time of year, and often favor roads as travel routes.  All this makes for a season when it is easy to find yourself stuck somewhere out in the Forest.  Plan for it, and bring emergency supplies.  While it may be warm, it still gets cold at night, so make sure you always bring winter gear along, even if you may not need it.

Although the snow is melting, you still need a permit to plow unplowed Forest Service roads.  Please stop by the office and tell us of your plowing plans before your truck hits the road. 

Spring can be a great combination of winter activities with warm weather, so be sure to take advantage of these few spring days before all the snow is gone for good. 

Until next time, this is Renee Frahm with the National Forest Update.
 

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BlackBearandMotherSM by beingmyself via Flickr.jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - March 22, 2019

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith     
March 22, 2019    
 
Gosh, the universe is at the fourth Friday in the month, how time flies! Whiffs of spring are on the upswing along the Gunflint following the collapse of “old man winter” last week.         

Although current conditions could regress, it seems unlikely since the warmth of the continent extends from Fairbanks, Alaska to border country and beyond. It just looks like spring has the upper hand as winter whimpers away.                                                                                                     

This part of the world still looks wintery with plenty of snow and ice left to melt. Nevertheless, the abrupt seasonal changeover gulped up about a foot of the north woods landscape in a short time, before falling back to more seasonable character by last weekend.                        

As one would expect slushy conditions, fog and substantial rain caught many out this way by surprise as this is usually an April/May occurrence. Wildersmith recorded well over an inch of liquid during the cold dampening ordeal with temps not moving far from the mid-to upper thirties for the better part of three days.                                                                                                                             

Folks were slogging around in deep white gush as backcountry roads and driveways turned into quagmires of slippery ruts. Some actually gave up attempting to navigate and just holed up until a welcome freeze slowed things and solidified surfaces.                                                                                    

The result is that numbers of wilderness folk are now dealing with icy drive and walk ways. At the Smith place, our vehicle has taken its transition season place at top of the driveway until further notice. It’s not a matter of getting up our serpentine of slipperiness to the Mile O Pine, but stopping on the way down. This is a minor inconvenience however, compared with potential to slide through the trees and onto the Gunflint Lake Ice.                                                                                                                                

Beyond vehicular difficulties, getting around on foot is dictating the use of studded footwear. So far I’ve remained in the upright position, and hope others in Gunflint Territory are doing the same.                                                                                                                                       

Speaking of lake ice, my neighbor was up for a last shot at a trout or two, and found the conditions for drilling less that favorable. By the time he waded through knee deep slushy water to a drilling site, his interest waned. He did drill through the cold goop, and found the ice in this neighborhood to be only twenty-one inches (plenty safe if one finds a place to stay on top of the semi-melt), but far from the usual depth.                                                                                                                                                            

These messy lake conditions have slowed snowmobile activities too. There’s not been too many anglers passing by lately. Getting off the packed sledding paths is likely to find one stuck in the muck. There have been many reports of riders struggling to get machines dug out of some precarious situations.                                                                                                                                                    

Recently, I had the occasion to look through a Sierra Club magazine. This March-April edition has an interesting article on black bears. The writing by Brandon Keim, titled, “Does A Bear Think in the Woods?” offers some interesting research studies/observations of the Bruno’s, confirming what many of us residing in multi-bear habitat already suspected.                                                                                      

Bears are pretty smart, displaying several attributes which are thought to be unique to human capacity. They are social, “with a society of sorts, using a rich communication system, and govern themselves by long-term relationships and rules of conduct.  Being highly self- aware; they judge, they punish, have gratitude and friendships.” Sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it?  I think it would be suggested reading for all who will soon be encountering the “Bruno” winter wake-up and subsequent visits along the Gunflint.                                                                                                                       

Sadness is hanging over the territory once again with the passing of a long-time friend and neighbor. Word has been received on the passing of Mark Patten last weekend.                      

Mark is at peace after struggling with several health issues. He died in Duluth Hospice care.                                                                                                                                                 

Mark will long be remembered for his gracious Christian hospitality at Okontoe on Bow Lake where he and his family are perhaps best known for their wilderness lifetime of reaching out to troubled youth, and their enchanting sleigh ride adventures.                                                                                                                     

The Gunflint Community wishes strength and condolences to his wife, Nancy, his children, extended family and countless friends.                                                                                                                         

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, even at the thought of mud season, and bitin’ bugs, itching to get at us.
 

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Common raven.  Photo by Neal Herbert via Yellowstone National Park on Flickr.

North Woods Naturalist: Ravens

WTIP's CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about ravens in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.

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Photo by CJ Heithoff

Great Expectations School News - March 15, 2019

Great Expectations School News with Zoe and Mary June.
March 15, 2019

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Star map March 2019 submitted by D.Morrison

Northern Sky: March 16-29, 2019

NORTHERN SKY – By Deane Morrison  

March 16-29 2019

We’re now deep into spring equinox time, when the sun climbs fastest through the northern sky. The equinox happens at 4:58 p.m. on March 20, and Grand Marais gains three minutes and 28 seconds of daylight per day for two weeks around that date. But Anchorage, Alaska gains five minutes and 44 seconds, while in Trondheim, Norway, they’re gaining six minutes and 19 seconds. Trondheim gets more than an hour of extra daylight just during the 10 days straddling the equinox.
 
These ultra-rapid changes shouldn’t be too surprising. For example, in Trondheim, the day length goes from about four and a half hours in December to about twenty and a half in June. When the day length has to increase that much in just six months, it’s going to change pretty fast. And it’s fastest in March because that’s when the sun moves northward most rapidly.
 
At the equinox, neither pole is pointing toward the sun, and the day length is the same, theoretically, all over the planet. We actually get slightly more than 12 hours of daylight on the equinoxes because Earth’s atmosphere is a gigantic lens that allows us to see the sun for a few minutes before it rises and after it sets.
 
The equinoxes are also times of switchover. During the winter, the farther north you go, the shorter the day length. After the spring equinox, it’s the other way around, and as you go north, the day length increases.
 
All this is due to Earth orbiting around the sun while being tilted on its axis. That tilt doesn’t change during the course of a year. The North Pole always points to the same spot in the sky, near the North Star, and it’s our orbital motion that makes it point toward or away from the sun, or neither, depending on Earth’s position.
 
If that’s hard to visualize, get an apple and face a wall. Tilt the apple a little so that the stem—the apple’s north pole—points somewhat upward and toward the wall. Then, without spinning or pivoting the apple in any way, move it counterclockwise in a circle and imagine the sun in the center. Move your arm horizontally, as if stirring a pot, keeping the apple pointed toward that same wall. When it’s closest to you, the apple tilts toward the sun, like Earth at the northern summer solstice. When it’s farthest from you, it tilts away from the sun. That’s the winter solstice. At the midway points it tilts neither toward nor away from the sun, and those are the equinoxes.
 
Okay. In the sky. Jupiter is well up in the south in the predawn hour, Saturn is much dimmer and off to the lower left of Jupiter, and Venus makes it over the eastern horizon just as the sun’s rays start to wash everything out. 
 
In the evening, Mars is still up in the west after nightfall. It’s been kind of lonely, but some visitors are on the way. The Pleiades star cluster and the bright star Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus, the bull, are moving closer to Mars every night. Best viewing starts the 22nd of March, at about 8:30 or 9 o’clock, when the sky will be dark but the moon won’t be up yet.
 
March’s full moon comes right after the equinox, at 8:43 p.m. on the 20th. The moon will be just a day past perigee, its closest approach to Earth in a lunar cycle, and that means we get our third supermoon in a row. This one rises over Grand Marais at 6:52 p.m., less than two hours before fullness, so it’ll come up very round as well as very big.
 

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Pine Marten photo by Fran Smith

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - March 15, 2019

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith     March 15, 2019    

Winter on the Gunflint backed off since our last radio gathering. Spring nudged its’ way in with a preview, although it has not been a serious showing, as yet.                                                                                  

The “Vernal Spirit” turned up the thermostat along the Mile O Pine last Saturday. With the mercury tinkering around the freezing point for the first time in countless weeks, conditions took on an almost balmy feel for border country.                                                                                                                                  

I noted three takeaways with the warm-up. First, this neighborhood hasn’t had a below zero morning in several days. Second, the loosening cold grip found huge chunks of snow falling from tree branches after having been attached in most places since November. And thirdly, a joint effort between the powerful March sun and the county highway department has the Trail free of packed snow and ice.                                                                                                            

Although roadsides remain stacked high with snow, it’s nice to see bare black top for a change. Further, we drivers can loosen their white knuckle navigation grip on the once slippery surface. However, diligence is still to be maintained as those annual roller coaster dips are magnifying by the day, lurking to test both driver and vehicle resiliency. Meanwhile back country roads have given up little of their white majesty.                                                                                                

The warm-up stalled briefly with the onset of daylight savings time madness.  After week long cries of more big snow drama for the northern plains, another forecast flop saw nothing more than a nuisance of white accumulation and gusty winds along the international border.                                                                                                                                                                                 
Before we meet again, the Vernal Equinox will make spring official, and coupled with the “crust on the snow” full moon on the same day, I predict there will be a 100% chance the universe will get a double dose of heavenly happenings next Wednesday. How’s that for an atmospheric forecast?                                                                                                                                                            

Nevertheless, it’s anyone’s guess as to what winter-spring will be like for the next six weeks. If one has lived up this way for very long, caution is always taken in regard to never getting too excited about breaking out warm weather wear or putting snow removal equipment into storage much before May. One thing guaranteed, mud season will come in all its “yuckiest” sooner or later.                                                                                                                                                  

While inside observing the wimpy attempt at snow last Sunday, a “flight” of blue jays gathered in the trees near our lake side deck. They were obsessed with an ear of corn I had put out.                                                                                                                                                                     

There were at least a half dozen of the blue bullies. As I expected, they are never too bashful about gluttonous behavior at the food trough. But as I watched, it became obvious a pecking order exists (no pun intended) as to who goes first.                                                                                         

The blues were perched in adjacent branches apparently willing to take turns selecting a few kernels and then departing, only to come back later, getting in line.  All this went unusually orderly, that is, until one swooped in from out of nowhere and dispatched its cousin from the cob setting.                                                                                                                                                      

There were several repetitions of this bullish activity while others remained anxiously awaiting their opportunity. Knowing” there is no honor amongst thieves”, this crass display seemed the ultimate in bullying, expressly as it related to family members, also of ruffian character.                                                                                                                                                                            
To end the kernel plundering, a resident squirrel came on the scene and must have chattered, “Enough is enough”, then cleaned off the last of the gold nuggets. End of story!                                                                 

Later the same day, one of several neighborhood pine martens came by for a snack. It so happened I was out in the snow grilling at the time. Piney became quite curious about what I was doing, and ventured near the grilling operation when I stepped indoors. As I went in and out of the house several times, the little fur ball became ever braver in getting close enough to get a good look and whiff of the yummy goings-on. At one point, I tossed the little guy/gal a slice of fried potato, which was found to be a tasty treat.                                                                                                      

Concluding my cooking exercise, the hot greasy potato skillet was set off the heatto cool. As we ended dinner, Piney returned to explore the now cooled fry pan.  Finding the fatty remains to its liking, the marten spent several minutes enjoying this licking good treat, actually wading in with both front paws.                                                                                                                                 

What an amusing observation! Fortunately, we caught a digital of the greasy feast. See it posted on WTIP.org under the drop down Community Voices, Wildersmith column.                                                                                                               

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, a gift beyond beautiful!                                                                                                
 

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Snow (User:Introvert on Wikimedia)

North Woods Naturalist: Winter observations

It's certainly been a snowy winter on the North Shore.  Naturalist Chel Anderson fills us in on the detail of just how much snow we've seen, as well as other observations she's made this winter.

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Wildersmith (375x500).jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - March 8, 2019

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith       March 8, 2019    

What a difference a week can make. Early March in the Gunflint wild was calm compared to a couple weekends ago? There’s been no new snow in this neighborhood, as if we needed more, but this weeks’ report begins with the temperature cold as if it were January.                                                                                                                                                                    
So with month three being meteorologically touted as the first of the spring season, the deep white on the landscape and mercury buried below zero doesn’t match up in this part of the world.                                                                                                                                                                               
Speaking more of March character, this is the month of the Ojibwe, “crust on the snow full moon.” And crusty it is, since the white stuff was packed nearly hard as concrete during the recent blizzard.                                                                                                                                                                          
In trekking around the neighborhood, I found it not supportive enough (without snowshoes) to keep me from sinking to the waist in most places. While struggling to free myself for the next step however, I had plenty of time to examine faint tracks of small to medium size animal prints easily staying top side of the crystal surface. I’m guessing this will be a tough winter for white tails and others heavy enough to sink more than belly deep in the stuff of which winters are known.                                                                                                                                                                             
Nevertheless, as we Americans push the issue on most everything, spring is being advanced in spite of our atmospheric conditions with the onset of daylight savings time. Yep, it’s that time of year when we spring the clock ahead. It seems like we just fell back into the state of being real. Where have all the minutes, days and months gone?                                                                                       

First suggested by Ben Franklin in 1784 as a joke, this frivolous act of playing games with the sun happens early this coming Sunday morning, so don’t forget to adjust those clocks before retiring Saturday evening.                                                                                                                                 

Before we turn the clock ahead though, one can get in some great cross country skiing in real time by heading up to Gunflint Lodge tonight and Saturday for some candlelight swooshing on these marvelous trails. Beginning at 4:00 pm, it should be beautiful as the sun gives way to darkness over the quiet white landscape.                                                                                      

With some residents suffering from cabin fever during these “dog days of winter”, there’s a chance to get out for a little fun and maybe some sun, in the mid-trail area come Sunday. Appropriately named, the “dog days” are being celebrated with “man’s best friend” on Poplar Lake at Trail Center Lodge.

There’ll be three classes of mushing derbies with four dog (3.5 miles), six dog (12 miles) and eight dog (23 miles) courses, open for all levels of musher skill. These begin at 11:00 am with the eight dog class. Registration is from 8:00 to 10:00.                                                                                                                                            

Then at 2:00 pm, skijoring races will commence. There will be both two and five mile courses with a maximum of two dogs per skier, both open to skate skiing or classic. Skijoring registration runs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.                                                                                                        
The days’ activities are very kid and spectator friendly, and as always, the extraordinary mid-trail organizer/hostess, Sarah Hamilton will have a bonfire, hot dogs, marsh-mellows, s’mores, cocoa and maple snow cones, adding to the festivities.                                                                                                           

All the Gunflint Community is invited out to enjoy the fun however organizers ask that pets be left at home unless they are competitors.                                                                                                                                                       

Reflecting on last Saturdays’ trout fishing derby, the event on West Bearskin Lake was a big success once again with several trout pulled through the ice. The winning catch was somewhere over eleven pounds. With the top three places all exceeding ten pounds. Seventy-five entered the competition, and it was a fun day under sunny skies in spite of a biting cold wind. Many thanks to the Ridge Riders Snow Mobile Club for their organization and to those who plowed out lake ice roads for access.                                                                                                                      

On a closing note, members both old and new stepped up since last we met to complete another successful funding drive. The little Community Radio station that could did it again with great support from our dedicated listeners.                                                                                                            
The Board of Directors, hardworking staff and ever present volunteers are sincerely grateful for the never-ending love extended during these important sustaining events. The “Wide World WTIP” goal was met, hurrah, and kudos to all involved!                                                                                                                                                                 

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as we celebrate the fifth consecutive month of winter ambiance!
 

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Superior National Forest Update - March 8, 2019

National Forest Update – March 7, 2019.

Hi, this is Steve Robertsen, education and interpretation specialist with the Superior National Forest, with the National Forest Update, information for you if you’re headed out the road and into the woods.
 
With eight foot piles of snow by the curb, it may seem strange to start planning for canoe trips, but if you’ve got a date and lake in mind, now’s the time to reserve an entry permit for the Boundary Waters this summer.  The online reservation system is up and running for permit reservations.  We are asked sometimes why there is a permit system and limited numbers of permits available.  The answer is that we have around a quarter of a million visitors to the Wilderness every year, and the permit system helps to spread those visitors through time and space.  That is key to giving people the best Wilderness experience possible, as well as limiting the stress on the resource itself.  Imagine if all 200,000 people decided to go in on the same lake over the same weekend…it wouldn’t be a pretty sight.  The online reservation system allows you to see in real time the number of permits available at entry points.  We recommend you plan ahead by having several back up dates and entry points for your trip, just in case your first choice has no available permits.  Be open to exploring new places in the BW, and consider boldly going where you haven’t been before.

While thoughts of summer and canoeing are great, the reality is that it is still winter here.  Rather than sit around the house grumbling about it, get outside and take advantage of what has turned out to be one of the best snow seasons we’ve seen in a while.  Ski trails are in excellent shape, and we now have digital georeferenced pdf maps available for Pincushion, Bally Creek, Sugarbush, and Flathorn Gegoka Ski Areas.  These downloadable maps with a geolocating app will put you right on the map on your phone, so you’ll never be lost… until your battery wears out.  A word of caution – always bring a paper map as well; a GPS of any sort should never be your primary source of navigation.  The Minnesota DNR has similar geoPDFs of the trails in all the area state parks, so you can ski for miles!  The DNR site also includes snowmobile trails, so if skiing isn’t your way to get outside, jump on a sled and take off.

Unplowed roads in the Forest can be used by snowmobiles during the winter.  Plowed roads, on the other hand, are not open to snowmobiles, except for certain designated dual use roads.  If you are considering plowing a road, you need to stop by a Forest Service office for a permit.  Restrictions on motorized vehicle use on the Forest are shown on our Motor Vehicle Use Maps, which are also available as georeferenced pdfs on our website, or as hard copies at our offices.

While you are out in the woods, keep an eye on our resident birds such as ravens, owls, and eagles.  These non-migratory species start setting up housekeeping early.  Owls may be on eggs already, and people are observing eagle flights where they lock talons and spiral downwards.  That may look like fighting, but it is actually love and the re-establishment of pair bonds.  The deep snow has forced many animals to use roads for travel, which has created some great opportunities for critter watching.  In the past few weeks, we’ve had reports of people seeing bobcat, coyotes, wolves, marten, lynx, snowshoe hare, and of course, hundreds of deer.  Seeing the animals is great, unless you are going 55 miles per hour and the animal is five feet in front of your car.  Be careful driving, and remember that if you see a deer in the road, it probably has four friends just off the side waiting to run out in front of you. 

As usual, there are also some logging vehicles to watch for as well.  This time of year, be very cautious if you pull off the road.  Ditches are full of snow, and may be plowed level with the roadway.  What appears to be a nice level shoulder may be a pit filled with snow.  You may need to back up to find a safe spot to pull off and let the truck go by.

Trucks will be using the Wanless Road, Lake County 7, Lake County 8, and Cook County 1.  They will also be on the Greenwood Road and Pike Lake Road.  Be especially careful on the Firebox Road and Blueberry Road where the trucks share the road with snowmobiles on the Grand Portage –Gunflint Snowmobile Trail. 

So, while you may be wishing for sun and warm temperatures and green grass, take advantage of our snowy winter while you can.  Honest, spring will come, and sulking in the house won’t speed its arrival. 

Until next time, this has been Steve Robertsen with the National Forest Update.
 

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Vixen licking her chops - photo by TambakoTheJaguar via Flickr.jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - March 1, 2019

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith     March 1, 2019    
 
March is welcomed to the Gunflint Trail after a harrowing blizzard to end the last weekend of month two. This neighborhood hasn’t had one of those in sometime. The snow was snowing, and wind was blowing, but we weathered the storm.                                                                          

Folks out this way can be thankful the brunt of the real heavy snow missed us to the south. Further, with the wind howling as it was, thanks are also given for the temperature not being below zero during the onslaught.                                                                                                                                                                

At Wildersmith, new snow measured only an inch or two. But as day broke Sunday, coupled with the two to three feet already on the ground, morning winds made it look like a ton had fallen based on drifting around the house. It would be a good guess most of the snow from here to Winnipeg has blown across Gunflint Lake and onto the Mile O Pine.                                               

By nightfall last Sunday, the wind was still at full bore, continuing to build on some terrific snow sculptures. And, with temps falling through the day to near zero, guess I’ll be back at toting in more firewood after a few days of letting the wood burning stove sit cold.                                  

I was about to get at raking snow off the roof, but it looks like I’ll have to be shoveling out the back yard first just to get close enough to set up a ladder enabling such. With a little luck, perhaps the “great wind bag of the north” might have blown some of the roof covering south to Loon Lake.                                                                                                                                                    

That exercise was put on hold as it was inevitable, Monday would be spent scooping and snow blowing my way out to MOP. So it was, and after four and one-half hours, Wildersmith was open to the outside world again.                                                                                                           

Aside from the atmospheric conditions, I remind listeners we at WTIP are into another full day of the winter membership drive. This important, “on air canvas” merits your attention and strategies for continuing quality Community Radio in the northland and around the cyber world makes supporter backing a must!                                                                                                                      

It’s “Wide World WTIP”! The voice of the north-country is counting on you! Dial us up or click on the web now.                                                                                                                                                      
Those numbers to remember are 387-1070 locally, or 1-800-473-9847 toll free, or click at WTIP.org. Should you happen to be out and about, stop up at the studios, 1712 West highway sixty-one, make your pledge in person and enjoy a little comfort and conversation, you’re always invited!                                                                                                                                                                                             
If ice fishing is your bag, another big event sponsored by the Ridge Riders Snow Mobile Club happens Saturday, March the 2nd. The annual Trout Derby takes place over on West Bearskin Lake.                                                                                                                                                                       

Activity begins with registration from nine to eleven am and angling ASAP thereafter. Catches of the day must be recorded and on the display board by two in the afternoon when results will be tallied and place winners announced.                                                                                              

Winner of the largest trout will catch $300, with $200 for second and $100 for third. A raffle for other prizes will be held in conjunction with the usual food and refreshments. This event is always a fun family day!                                                                                                                              

In closing, a late day visit from the friendly fox just missed last weeks’ news deadline. This time the foxy Ms .or Mr. caught me by surprise while I was out on the deck grilling. The fluffy tailed critter came around the corner of the house, and down the deck toward me suggesting what I interpreted as an, “I’m hungry” look. Of course I proceeded to my cache of turkey nuggets and offered some treats.                                                                                                                                                   
Going back to my cooking, it was not long before the animal was back. The cagy creature meandered around and sat down near me, obviously not totally satisfied.                                                
 However, the grilling task was completed, and my time to eat. So I went inside thinking “red” would be gone.                                                                                                                                       

This was not to be the case. It remained deck side through our dinner time, and when I looked out later, there it remained.                                                                                                                 

Now my cooking exercise involved a black skillet too and grease. So my decision was made to set, the now solid grease remains, down for a tasting. This turned out to be a real mystery for this wild beast. It would come up and sniff the oily goody, but every attempt for a lick moved the skillet, spooking my curious friend. After several tries, it gave up.                                                       

Feeling a bit of compassion about the difficult situation I had created, I stepped out and offered a slice of peanut butter bread, tossing it in the skillet. This added element renewed the foxes’ attention.                                                                                                                                                                  

We observers got a big kick out of attempts to retrieve the peanut treat without moving the skillet. After a few nips at the slice and dropping it back in the pan, foxy accidently flipped the bread sticky side down in the grease. This became a more serious dilemma, with the degree of difficulty increased considerably.                                                                                                                                                
It was not to be deterred though, and following a few more snaps, the open face peanut butter treat was secured, and it trotted off into the night. I’ll bet it never spent more time catching a rodent in a snow bank than it did making this sticky grab.                                                         

Further, one would wonder if it might have experienced annoying frustration ridding this human delight from the roof of its mouth. This was likely a sticky state of affairs.                                                                                                                                                                            

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, with natural adventures by the moment!
 

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