Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's Spring!

Welcome to spring in the north woods. The forecast is for up to six inches of snow by midnight. Meanwhile it is misting outside. We will see what happens.

Last night was our third and last wedding of the spring. A really nice couple from Thunder Bay came down with all their friends and family. To fit the setting, Adam brought the bride to the outdoor ceremony by dog sled. Here is a picture of her arriving at the lodge. The guests are waiting up on the patio.

One of the best parts of spring is welcoming back our resident animal populations. Don Decker, who mushes for us, saw a cougar on top of the Gunflint hill last week. Don Kufahl went up to check the tracks. He said that the paw prints were definitely from a huge cat. This cat had a running stride of eight feet! Although I have seen a cougar on Highway 61 by Grand Portage, I have never seen one up here. I am sure that the animal is almost gone before you realize what it was.

We have also started to see more snowshoe rabbits. They are still pretty much white. Their feet and the tips of their ears appear to be starting to turn brown. The rabbits run so fast that it is hard to decide what is or is not brown. With all the wolves around, we are surprised to see so many rabbits.

Birds have been busy eating up our feeders. One set of neighbors were cleaned out twice by a large flock of pine siskins. Other neighbors have been cleaned out by red polls. Why one flock gets together and quickly eats all the seeds out of a feeder is a great mystery. I have not seen any robins yet so, no matter the date, spring must not be here yet.

There is an immature bald eagle on the lake now. He still needs to get his white head and tail. Seeing him fly leaves to doubt that this is an eagle. We assume that he primarily living off the deer carcasses on the lake.

Bonnie is getting pretty mad at the wolves. She doesn’t mind them killing the deer. The problem comes when Bonnie pulls the carcasses behind a snow bank. She comes back a couple hours later and the wolves have pulled it out again. The only good news is that after a day there is almost nothing left of the deer. It takes at least two deer a week to keep our wolf herd fed. From the few sightings we have had of the wolves, there is no doubt that they are well fed.

By next week, there will be even more animals returning from the south lands. Let’s see what appears.

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