Thursday, August 17, 2006

Fall Is Coming

I think that everyone, including the wild animals, is starting to feel fall in the air. We are definitely seeing more animals while driving back and forth to town. I have even seen two partridge. Bruce and I saw a skunk crossing the other day.

The other day I drove in with Nancy Kurz. Just after the East Bearskin side road, there was an animal walking along the left side of the road. It looked unusual. As we got closer, we could see it was a large wolf. The animal didn't look at us. It just walked past on the left shoulder. Most wolves I have seen will quickly glance at you and the move off into the woods. I got the feeling that this was a very old animal and not in good health.

Vi Nelson, one of our neighbors, told me her fall animal story. She and a friend were outside in front of the cabin one day when a red squirrel went by. The squirrel had something in its mouth but she couldn't tell what. It went past them and deposited this lump in a sheltered nook. Then the animal went back to the other side of the cabin into a hole. It soon appeared with a furry ball which went over to the nook. Vi finally figured out that the balls were young squirrels. She thinks that Mama was moving the young ones from the summer home to the winter home. Sounds good to me.

When Sheryl and Bonnie made their canoe trip the other day, they reported seeing a large group of loons. We assume that the loons were starting to flock up in anticipation of the migration south. Also the hummingbirds at my feeder are drinking up a storm. They are probably trying to store up a few extra calories before the long flight south. (I am never in a position where I need to store up calories.)

There has been a bear hanging around the lodge. They are hunger in the fall and therefore, a little bolder about coming in around the cabins. We empty the garbage late every afternoon to not attract them. With all the cabins, however, there is almost always something in one or two of them. I hope this bear moves on before it gets into trouble. After another month we won't see bears anymore as they are slowing down their activity in preparation for the long sleep.

Raspberries are really done now. The leaves on the bushes are brown. There are one or two berries but not much more.

I spent a little time gathering lupine seeds today. Next spring they will be scattered on the road shoulder just across from the stable. Several years ago I scattered them between the lodge and the main trail but didn't get back to do any more. Unknown to me, one of the neighbors did the same that spring. If you remember, the South Gunflint Lake road looked like Lupine Lane this June. As I walked the ditches gathering, it was amazing how many young lupines are coming up now.

There are also some tiny white pines growing in the ditch. These will never amount to anything if left in the ditch. Next spring they may just decide to relocated to a more favorable growing area -- my yard. The great-grandchildren will enjoy them.

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