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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:

Wildwoods Wildlife Rehab Center - Tara Smith

North Shore Morning host, Marnie McMillan talks with Tara Smith, care coordinator at Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Duluth, MN.

Wildwoods Wildlife Rehab Center is located at 4009 W Arrowhead Rd, Duluth, MN.
www. wildwoodsrehab.org    218-491-3604

Listen to the November 15th  interview below.

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - November 16, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
November 16, 2016   

 
As I started keying this weeks’ Gunflint scoop last Sunday, winter had tightened its grip on the northland. The upper Trail forest is decked out like a Hallmark Holiday card.                                       

At Wildersmith, seven to eight inches of cold season character has blanketed the neighborhood since the unexpected storm swept through kicking off last weekend. It’s a good bet areas in the mid-Trail snow zone have recorded even more. So at the moment, we head into the second half of month eleven pearly white.                                                                                                                                             
The wind howled as the first of the storms’ onslaught passed, making for white-out conditions across Gunflint Lake and many others as well. Adding to the fury, temps tumbled into single digits in places and a first zero reading on the thermometers around the Smith abode early one morning. Since then temps have rebounded a bit but remain in the ice making mode.                                                                                                                                                                                 

Once again, our magic white carpet has captured my attention. I make this comment in regard to evidence of animal visitors in both twilight and darkness hours. It’s tracking time.                                                            

Of course, I can identify most tracks left in the snow, so I know who they are. Intrigue and adventure come in wondering of their motives for leaving such impressions of attendance. Were they hunting, or the hunted? Could they have been on the run or just strolling by? Maybe their trek was simply a shortcut to another place of safety or a midnight snack.                                                                                    
I’ll never know for sure, but my curiosity always runs wild imagining what was going on. The entire scenario kind of carries me back to another place in time. Guess it is more legacy of the Gunflint Trail rising up from wilderness lore.                                                                                                              

Adjustments back to Central Standard Time came easy for the Smith’s. However, we still catch ourselves commenting, “Boy, it sure seems dark out already.” I know this is bothersome for many dwellers this far away from the equator, but it will pass. As the trek is made toward the “Solstice” it’s hard for some to contemplate maneuvering of the heavens and earth as the universe sticks a little more darkness onto each day. One just has to hang in there until the point in time when it all reverses course.                                                                                                                                                                
All of this reminds me of a scribing by author, Tom Hennen.  He states in his work, “The Life of a Day” that: “Each day is unique and has its own personality quirks, which can easily be seen if one looks closely.”                                                                                                                                                     
“Days usually pass mostly unnoticed, unless they are wildly nice, or grimly awful.”                      
“For some reason, we want to see days pass, even though most claim they don’t want to see the last one for a long time.”                                                                                                                          
“We examine each day with barely a glance. And say, no, this isn’t the day I’ve been looking for, and wait in a bored sort of way for the next, when we are convinced our lives will start for real.”                                                                                                                                                               
Meanwhile, the days go by “perfectly well adjusted, as most days are,” with the right amount of light and dark.                                                                                                                                     

Guess we all should take more time to live life one day at a time and enjoy it for what it is, after all, “every days’ moment is a miracle.”                                                                                                                                       

As we look toward the week of Thanksgiving celebrations, travel safely if you’re on the roads and enjoy the days with family and friends, remembering all for which we ’ve been blessed!                                                                                                                                                                                       

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, and we Gunflinters know it, by experiencing “wildlife in the wildlands.”

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
 

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Superior National Forest Update - November 16, 2018

Superior National Forest Update with Forest Interpretation Specialist, Steve Robertsen.
November 16, 2018

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Chipmunk in Snow

North Woods Naturalist: Mammals in winter

WTIP’s CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about how the mammals along the North Shore prepare for winter in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.

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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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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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