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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - March 1, 2019

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

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 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!