Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Northwoods Mothers' Day

Mother's Day is a holiday even in the northwoods. The husbands and children just have to plan a little bit further in advance. Mothers also have to compete with the fishing opener but it all seems to work out.

One thing that is the same everywhere is that the phone lines are busy and it's not with reservations. Children are checking in with Mom. I got my first call about 8:00 a.m. this morning. Since most of our children are scattered, the phone keeps me in touch.

Looking at the wildlife around us also reminds us of mothers for the next month or so. Most of the young in the woods are born now. In fact the other day, I heard a story about one Mother's Day not too long ago. The entire family went fishing and had pretty good luck. On the way home they got a bonus. Rounding a corner they came upon Mother Moose with a newly born calf.

I also remember some 40 years ago when the Trail resorts used to get baby mallards to raise each spring. At Gunflint "Mother" Eleanor Matsis would feed them at the dock during the day. At night a trail of corn would lead them up into a safe pen to spend the night. The descendants of these mallards still come into all our docks for corn throughout the summer months. By fall they will eat out of your hand.

Recently there had been a mother fox living on the Trail along the Loon Lake stretch. Her kits like to lie on the sun-warmed pavement of the road. One resident puts out chicken bone treats for them. Locals know to watch and slow down to see these cute little young ones.

We must not forget that the mother walleyes are spawning now in many of our rivers. These huge females can have over a quart of eggs to lay. Then along comes the smaller males to fertilize the eggs. In a couple weeks there will be lots of tiny walleyes. We all hope that many of them will grow up to the 1 to 2 to 3 pound size -- just perfect for eating.

Happy Mother's Day to all kinds of mothers everywhere.

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