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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - July 5

Photo by Abigail Lynn on Unsplash.jpg
Photo by Abigail Lynn on Unsplash.jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint    by     Fred Smith
July 5, 2019    
Days go by so fast, it seems as though I missed something with one week of July almost history. Here’s hoping all had a safe and sane holiday.                                                                                         

Since our last meeting on the radio, some nasty heat and humidity has engulfed Gunflint territory. Conditions have been keeping a lot of us woodsy critters in the shade or lake waters. Whereas it’s not hot as most of the US, our definition of heat in the northern forest has many folks crying “ugh!”                                                                                                                                               

Nevertheless, throughout the wild land, forest flora is shooting forth with enthusiasm after being stunted with cool since snow departed. Summer blooming is booming with oranges, pinks and yellows decorating back country roads and the few treeless spaces.                                               

Among wild edibles, strawberries, thimbleberries, Juneberries and blues seem to be shaping up for another juicy harvest. The same can be said for fruit on the Mountain Ash trees which will make a lot of Cedar Wax Wings happy come fall and early winter. All growing conditions being equal, it’s a good bet local green thumber’s are happy too.                                                                                     

The annual explosion of lupines has some folks smiling, while others more in the know are scowling at their noxious presence. While the multi-colored spires can be a blur of beauty to some observers, it’s hard to feel much affection toward the toxic invaders as they crowd out natives.                                                                                                                                                                             

As I kicked-off this weeks’ scoop, this neck of the woods has dried out once again. A couple wimpy showers in this neighborhood netted less than two-tenths of an inch, settling the dust for barely a few hours.                                                                                                                                           

Insomuch as our extended local forecast looked bleak in terms of a serious allocation soon, there’s a 90 % chance prognostications will be wrong. Perhaps a wet distribution will pop up unexpected by the time I hit the airwaves with this report.                                                                                           


Speaking of air waves, the Community Radio station of the northland is kicking off the 2019 summer support drive in the middle of this coming week. Considering WTIP radio waves connect people in this great area, the “Radio of 2000 Lakes” theme seems highly relevant as more earthy waves are dashing shorelines throughout the territory. Activities will get underway next Wednesday the 10th and run until noon on Tuesday the 16th.                                                                                                                            

This fundraising endeavor is the second of three held annually. In concert with the spring and pre-winter events, “Radio of 2000 Lakes” is a critical component to sustain the great broadcast opportunities to which listeners are accustomed.                                                                         

WTIP is counting on one and all to step up and help hit the mark. Be ready to check-in with your pledge of listener love.                                                                                                                          

I’m starting a list of “getting ready for winter” chores. There are buildings to stain, and firewood to stack heading the list as I get into month seven. With July’s weed whipping to do and continual brush to pile for snow season burning, there might not be enough days left if the month careens out of control as did June. So busy is an understatement.                                                                                                                                 

A couple notes from the Gunflint Trail Historical Society calendar remind members and friends of two coming events. First is an invitation to the grand opening celebration of the new Watercraft Exhibit Building at Chik-Wauk on this Sunday, the 7th from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The second event is the July, Historical Society membership meeting on Monday July 8th. This will be held at the mid-Trail/Schaap Community Center, beginning at 1:30pm. Treats and refreshments will be served at both events.                                                                                                                                                             

A bear or bears have been making the rounds in the Wildersmith neighborhood, but doing so in nighttime obscurity. To date there have been just “calling card” notices, piled here and there with no reported property ravaging. We can only keep our fingers crossed along the Mile O Pine.                                                                                                                                                              

Meanwhile, “Woody” the chuck is making daily visits to share seed vittles with the squirrels. The ground level seed patch is unusually contented with the two rodent species munching away right next to each other. “Woody” used to dash off at the slightest noise or movement from the house. Now it just munches away as I pass nearby.                                                        

My neighbor down the road dispatched one the other day, and I thought it might be the end of this Wildersmith visitor, but it turned out to be just a cousin as “Woody” remains at the feed trough.                                                                                                                                                                      

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, even though it’s been hot and sticky!