Saturday, August 11, 2007

My Last Post

I know that I have written over and over again about berries and all, but I have to do it once again. And anyways, it’s my last post; I’m leaving this coming Tuesday. I am going to miss Gunflint immensely.
But back to the berries. We went on a berry picking hike this morning, and these hikes always attract a lot of families with little kids, which is so much fun. It is a laid back and tasty hike. I don’t even eat breakfast on the morning of berry picking hikes. It’s also a lot of fun to watch the little ones go nuts over the berries that they can just pull off bushes and stick in their mouths. They can never get enough, and I can certainly sympathize with that feeling. I snapped some pictures of cute, berry-laden kids with their families. Here they are.
There is a chipmunk that is hanging around who comes into the nature center all the time. He’s one of many that lives around the birdfeeders that we have, but this one is different. We named him Crunchy. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of him. He’s and eastern chipmunk, and he hangs out inside all the time. It’s gotten to the point where I can tell him apart from the other chipmunks. He likes to come in and run straight for the sunflower seed bin, where he fills his cheeks and runs back outside. I’ve been wondering lately, though, if he doesn’t have either a nest or a food store here inside. He gets locked in all the time. Occasionally you’ll catch one of the three of us naturalists talking to him like he can understand us or imitating territorial chipmunk calls to try to get him to go outside. It works maybe fifty percent of the time. It’s well known that we have mice, chipmunks, and probably voles living in the garage part of the nature center because of the fact that we store all the feed for the birds and deer in here. None of us has the heart to set up traps or allow the “black boxes of doom” to be set up outside our door. Anyways I think that it’s inevitable to have them up here with all that feed around, and the feed has to go somewhere. Just a few weeks ago we lifted the cover off the sandbox to make sand candles and found a huge store of shelled sunflower seeds and some nesting material in a little dug out hole. It was adorable. I felt bad having to get rid of it all, because the little guy had at least twice his weight in food stored under there. I’m not sure if it was crunchy or not, but it probably was. Now we have sunflower seedlings popping up every time we take the cover off. John found another nest when he moved the seed over to make room for our new piano. The amount of food in that nest had to be cleaned up with a shovel. They are busy little rodents, pointing out that autumn is coming.
For those of you who are interested, there is a meteor shower happening in the next few days. The persieds with be peaking this Monday night at three a.m. and there will be no or very little moon, so it should be a good show.
Thanks to everyone at Gunflint and all the guests who came up for such an amazing summer. I hope to see you all next year.
PHOTOS (from top to bottom): Caleb with some berries, picking a flower; Caleb with his parents and his little brother on his back, all picking berries; Sabrina with her collection of berries,
Sarah with her mom; and Sarah drinking berries from the cup. Sarah's mom tried to save some of the berries for later, but Sarah discovered all of them and they were soon all gone.

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