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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - June 14

CinnamonBear_Photo by Chikwauk via Facebook.jpg
CinnamonBear_Photo by Chikwauk via Facebook.jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith          June 14, 2019    
It seems unimaginable, but our north woods universe is at the half-way mark of month six. In a couple days the full “Strawberry Moon” (Ode’imini Giizis) will be lighting up our lives. While by the time we next meet, we’ll also be celebrating the solstice of summer.                                                                      

It’s just impossible to think we will be seeing our longest period of sun time next Friday, and then the slow trek in an opposite direction begins. Guess we can be thankful this astronomical happening is barely noticeable, but then again, based on how rapidly June’s first half went by, is it really as passive as it seems?                                                                                                                                                    
So next weekend we can call it summer and the territory got a warm-up preview for a couple days last week. From this old guy’s point of view, that hot stuff got under my skin pretty quick.                                                                                                                                                                                     

The heat was enough to spurn some new blooming in the yard though and this is good. Forget-me-nots, Columbine and wild strawberry petals popped out overnight as well as a few blossoms on the Honeycrisp tree. Up and down back country roads both Pin Cherry and Juneberry flowers have burst onto the scene mimicking a look of branch coated flakes from a season past.                                                                                                                                                                      

The only thing to temper enjoyment of our floral color exhibit was the big warm-up brought on the first real influx of “Skeeters.” Coupled with their nipping black fly cousins and other un-named irritating pests, life outside of netting hasn’t been the most comfortable. June being designated the month of the “Strawberry Moon” by our Ojibwe neighbors, a gal down in the mid-Trail area has labeled “June, as bug month”, appropriate to say the least.                   

Another note on creepy things has many folks complaining about unusual high numbers of those big black ants. All this unpleasantness however will pass and the beauty of many other aspects of life in wild territory will get us through this time of welts and itching.                                                                           

Plenty of moose sightings have been brought to my attention over the past week including my own observation of long eared juvenile in a Trailside swamp. Another lady from over on Wash-out Road had the “heebie jeebies” scared out of her recently when one stumbled out from the woods in front of her vehicle. Then the obstinate beast proceeded to not allow her passage by taking its half the road out of the middle.                                                                                         

Meanwhile, a couple down the road report a cross-fox has been making nightly visits for trail cam photo ops. And the Smith’s experienced a first bear sighting along the upper Trail in the past few days. Another report from the director at Chik-Wauk tells of and uncomfortable meeting with an upper Trail cinnamon Bruno who’s been hanging around several places.                 

A birthing announcement came from the same gal at the Museum Campus on June 6 with the Loon egg hatching, just one egg I’m told. Apparently the new family was doing well after they vacated the nest platform until breaking news four days later revealed the parents were heard calling and more recently observed swimming around without baby being on board.     
When it appeared the Loon’s had won this natural survival encounter to extend a new generation into being, another element of creation (likely an Eagle) had a sad, but final say in the predator/prey scheme of things.                                                                                                                                                    
Speaking of an eagle, this segues right into the first Nature Center Sunday program of the season on the Chik-Wauk Campus. The program will begin at 2:00pm with a special presentation on Minnesota’s Raptors. Chris Tolman will be the presenter and is said to have some live raptors as part of her program. Admission to this birds of prey event is free, but donations of programming appreciation are accepted.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Threatening skies and rain didn’t squelch excitement for the annual shrimp boil last Sunday. If you didn’t make it, you missed another great sampling of southern cuisine in the North Country setting.                                                                                                                                               
Thanks to the Schloot’s from Cross River Lodge for putting together yet another scrumptious feed. Kudos is also extended to the GTHS and the Volunteer Fire Department for the organizational details along with Voyageur Brewing Co. and many Gunflint Community bakers for their contributions to the bake sale part of the event’s festivities.                                                                                                        

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as the Gunflint Community celebrates each and every one.