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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - November 20

Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash.jpg
Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash.jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
November 20, 2020    

Quiet as the Gunflint forest, days of November have slipped by ending week three. It hardly seems possible the celebration of America’s Thanksgiving has crept into the picture. So we’ll be doing the gobbling with those big gobbling birds as the feature entrée.                         

One has to wonder what the weather will be like by the time we get to next Thursday. Conditions in border country have been on a yoyo as the pages of 2020, chapter eleven, have been flipping.                                                                                                                                                
We’ve been through a gamut of happenings since we last met on the radio. Snow of the plowing variety, another brief meltdown and then a return to winter as this weeks’ report rolled off the keyboard.                                                                                                                             
Last Sunday was a howling success as winter tried to regain the control started in October. A northwest blast found the pine forest clinging to earth for dear life, and waves crashing the shores of lakes not already under winter cover.                                                             

As the day of rest started in a melting mode, just above the freezing mark, I watched with interest, the drippy roof edge slowly transition to icicles as the mercury began to slide. The mini spears defied gravity at the huff and puff of gale winds, to end daylight time angled to the east. These stalactites of hard water are magical, truly a miracle component of the winter adventure.                                                                                                                       
Meanwhile, twilight gave way to darkness in near blizzard surroundings although snow accumulations were minimal in the Mile O Pine neighborhood this time. Since “there’s no business like snow business” a good stimulus to our flake-less economy would be appreciated.                                                                                                                                                                      
There’s a good chance we’ll have another dose of melting before the passage of Phrenologist, Larry Weber’s “Autwin” yields to full blown winter. So there’s still time to get out and enjoy nature” in advance of every day frosty breath, frozen nostrils and squeaky snow.                   

While the Pine Marten has been getting sole enjoyment of chicken treats for a week, sharing could be in the offing. My old fox friend has been making routine visits during night time hours. Tracks in the snow around my wood shop door confirm the fox knows the feeding routine, and must be the frequent guest. Hanging around here until spring gave way to summer, a formal re-union with the AWOL animal has not taken place. But it’s likely just a matter of time until we make eye to eye contact, and I can resume my role as the server.                      

Since last summer an extensive invasion of annoying critters has been bugging many Trail residents, and Wildersmith is no exception. They are forever trying to infiltrate wherever warmth and/or nourishment might be found. And cold weather makes them even more invasive. I’m talking mice, of all types.                                                                                                    
I have trapped uncountable numbers in my out-buildings, even a couple in the vehicle and they just keep coming. Happily, they have not gained entry into the house.                                        

They are wily invaders as everybody knows, and everyone deals with them in their own way. I have reached the point where I’m now chaining the catching devices to a fixed place so they can’t run off with the trap, should the bait and trip operation not do them in at first bite (I used to lose a lot of traps).                                                                                                                        

To authenticate my efforts in culling this vermin population, I would have a good start on a mouse pelt coat if I were not making daily rodent offerings to avian predators. Mice, like mosquitos and black flies, have been a menace since the beginning of time! Some things never change.                                                                                                                                              
For WTIP news, this is Wildersmith, along the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, and it is open season, for wilderness adventures!