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Wildersmith on the Gunflint November 3, 2017

WTIP News November 3, 2017     Wildersmith on the Gunflint      by     Fred Smith

The usual warning of November hit a few days early this year. The curtain call of autumn came abruptly last week with our first winter storm. Although it was not as bad here as other places in the northland, the four to six inches in the upper Trail was a good start to the new season. However, there is a qualifier to this report; the earth is still warm and much could be melted from the ground up by broadcast time, we’ll see!      

The first snow of the season always creates a great deal of excitement for everyone in border country, regardless of the annoyance or hardship it may cause. Most who live above forty-eight or forty-nine degrees north can hardly wait for the first episode of natural tree decorating.                                                                                                                                                                

The late October dropping in this neighborhood did not disappoint as the wet sticky white clung to everything pointing skyward. Every year I swear the first coating is the most beautiful ever, and this year is no exception. For those trying to capture digital winter splendor, this was the place to be. The magic of snow covered pine was especially glorious along the Mile O Pine as I begin keying this weeks’ Gunflint scoop.                                                                                                                   
The recent winter-like happening didn’t come close to the record Halloween season storm of twenty-six years ago. In all likelihood, most 2017 ghosts did their trick or treat thing, like snowshoe hares, blending inconspicuously with our pale landscape.                                                                                                          

With our eleventh month only hours old, the full “freezing over moon” will be beaming down on the northland this weekend. Incidentally, as the monthly lunar experience graces our frosty forest, the reality of standard time makes its’ semi-annual return. Don’t forget to “fall back” as you retire on Saturday evening, or you’ll be out-of-step with the rest of humanity next morning.                                                                                                                                                                 
Another feature of the first snow allows us residents to see who of the “wild neighborhood” has been prowling around during darkness hours. Tracks in the fluff revealed a pine marten stopped by the Wildersmith place, likely looking for a hand-out of the usual poultry parts.

Meanwhile, a neighbor down the road had a visit from a fisher (a marten on steroids) while another left foot print evidence of being here too.  Tracks in the snow never cease to stir up adventurous thoughts about success in the realm of predator pursuit and prey survival.                                   

A day or so prior to the siege of ice and snow, during an evening drive along the Trail, the Smith’s came upon two moose blocking our path. We hadn’t seen one in some time, so as usual, this was a treat.                                                                                                                                          
Both were cows, not hanging out together, but separated by a couple miles. Fortunately, their silhouettes against the setting sun back drop were observed early enough to avoid a collision, and neither chose to be stubborn about getting off the road, so “no harm, no foul” to either moose or vehicle.                                                                                                                                                  

Other animal tidings would find it reasonable to assume, bears have retired to dens, while whitetail deer hunting season commences this weekend. Safe and happy hunting to all! For the next couple weeks, those in outdoor activities should be dressed in warning gear and on the look-out for those folks in blaze orange or hot pink sitting out in the woods trying to act like a bush.                                                                                                                                                

Listener/readers will remember my commentary a few weeks back about a bear pilfering my greasy bar-b-que gloves. I was surprised just days ago when an anonymous reader or readers in Iowa took pity on me, and shipped a replacement pair. What a neat, but unsolicited gesture! Thank you so much, Mr. &/or Mrs. whoever you are!                                                                                                         

It’s with sadness I announce that word has been received on the death of another Gunflint Trail neighbor. Jean Foster, of West Des Moines, Iowa and a longtime summer home resident on the west end of Gunflint Lake passed away on October 25, in Des Moines. Gunflint Community condolences are extended to her husband, Robert, three daughters and a granddaughter.                                                                                                                                               
A final note comes for all WTIP users. At this time next week the WTIP family will be in the middle of its fall/winter membership drive. The excitement begins on Thursday, November 9 and runs for five days, ending at noon on the 13th.                                                                                                    

As with every fund drive, member participation is critical to ensure continued growth of WTIP, the BEST in community radio. If you are a current family member, we need you to re-invest. If you have never joined, but enjoy what this broadcast Phenom has to offer, you’re invited to “Join Together” with the extended WTIP family from around the globe.                                                                                                              

It’s easy to do and your support is so appreciated. Phone in a pledge, do so on-line, or even better, stop by the studios. For more details, go to the web site,                                                                                                             
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Trail, where every day is great, especially when “Biboon” (winter) gets rolling!