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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - August 7

Fox image by Sunya via unsplash (333x500).jpg
Fox image by Sunya via unsplash (333x500).jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by    Fred Smith
August 7, 2020    

In case you haven’t noticed, August is a week old. Where have all the days gone, a long time passing. While in the midst of 2020 diurnal pandemonium, the eighth Ojibwe, “blueberry” moon quietly passed us by, and is now waning toward a rendition of “September Song.”                                                          

While all full moons have their moments of splendor, it’s the “big cheeses” of August through November that seem to emit an exclamation point unlike others. It could be a whisper of brisk air, earlier sunsets, mountain mosaics, sky high avian journeys, crystal in the ditches or fields of blessings from the toil in days gone by, making the great lunar orb of these months appear boldest of the bold. It always seems the sky is so enormous when these moons are at their peak.                                                                                                                                                                      
There is so much to relish in anticipation of an autumn moon. Some lunar gazers would even count their resting segments until the next full one rises, and then the next one after that.                                                                                     

It actually felt like month nine last week end, and has extended over the past few days too. Brisk northwest winds and temps in the low sixties last Sunday broke the spell of consecutive hot and humid weekends since Fourth of July. With a couple showers sandwiched in over the past seven, the cool Wildersmith neighborhood finds the moose and I are now in a zone of comfort, and hoping the spectacular days of late remain this way.                                        

While the local showers did little to mitigate the declining lake level on the Gunflint, I have noticed the water temp has dropped to just under seventy degrees, down from the mid to upper seventies of a few short weeks ago. Just over eight tenths have been caught in my rain gauge since our last meeting on the radio, and have been of benefit to dampen wildfire danger for the time being.                                                                                                                                                                            

It is nearing the time of year when “getting ready for winter” (season # three in the North Country) thoughts are dancing in my head. There will be fire wood to stack, more fire wise chores, brush piles to cover, a final whacking of the weeds, a garage to stain and come September, a sundry of winterization tasks. While laborious in nature, these activities match the juices of energy conjured up with full moons arisen.                                                                                        

A report came to me in the past week of an unusual “wild neighborhood” confrontation. Word is this Gal of the Gunflint let her feline pet out for its evening constitutional.  Time passed, and frightful screeching erupted from somewhere in the yard. Knowing her cat might be involved, she made a quick exit into the dark outdoors.                                                             

Head lamp on, and flashlight in hand, the quest began to find who or what was making the agonizing sounds. It wasn’t long before a trek around the property came upon a stand-off between her cat and a fox.                                                                                                                
The fox was but a few feet away from the feline and was shrieking in fear of this bristled up, tough “tabby”. The cat was scuttled away from the scene by its owner, and the relieved fox high tailed off into the black of night. No harm, no foul, but certainly a surprisingly unexpected scene of ferocity.                                                                                                                       

One would think the fox, being a wild thing, would be in control of such a situation. Although not scientifically confirmed, I’ve since been informed a fox will not engage a member of the feline family, and in this case, even a domestic kitty. Guess cats have too many weapons, no matter what the size or realm or domestication.                                                                                                                 

Other critter notes from the upper Trail, find the Monarch Butterflies should be emerging this weekend from the Chik Wauk incubator cages; the humming bird assaults on our nectar jug continue; and last Saturday, my neighbor saw a bear headed toward Wildersmith from the lake shoreline, but it was apparently diverted, never arriving, that I could prove.                      

In a closing item, a reminder that the Virtual Woods, Winds and Strings Concert will be “ZOOMING” through the forest on the Sunday the 16th, at 4:00 pm. Remember this event is part of the “Safe Summer” activities for the GTVFD sponsored by Gunflint Friends of the Fire Department and Rescue crew. More details on the Zoom invitation will be coming next week.                                                                                                                         

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail where every day is a looming adventure!