Saturday, April 19, 2014

Struggling to Get Into Spring

Welcome to the winter wonderland on the Gunflint Trail. We took an overnight trip down to the Twin Cities. Until we got past Duluth, the weather was snow and slop on the road. You wondered when winter was ever going to stop. Yesterday we came home and the Gunflint Trail was dry all the way up. Even the Tucker Lake Road was bare. Today we woke up to snow everywhere. During the mid-morning hours we got about 4 inches. When I drove down to the lodge, it was unplowed snow, melting stuff and rain. What a mess. The county plowed up while I was at the lodge. Now the wet mess is freezing and slippery. Tomorrow it is supposed to be 50 degrees. We will keep our fingers crossed. Even the birds were exceptionally hungry. I put out two huge buckets of sunflower seeds. Also our bird’s variety has increased. The juncos are starting to migrate north. That means I have seen two of them. Bonnie claims to have seen snow buntings going north but I have not seen them. Purple finches and pine siskins are at the feeders. Goldfinches bodies’ are turning yellow now. The birds have patches of yellow and tan. I would like to be able to tag them so I could follow the color change in a specific bird. We saw what appeared to be a morning dove one day. Back at the lodge, the deer are beginning to wander off. We only have a few pregnant females so they must be getting ready to give birth. It is always a fine art to determine how many pregnant females there are. Also we never get to see the results (fawns) so that makes it even more of a guessing game. Don went out and drilled a hole in the ice to see how thick it is. He got 36 inches which is quite a bit for now. Also the North Brule River does not have free running water yet. The river has to be totally running. Then two weeks after that Gunflint Lake should be open. You do the math. Even though the ice seems to be safe, there is no one (men nor animals) on it. I think there are probably places where the ice is not really safe. This might be where we have spring holes. Of course, no one knows exactly where those are so it is better to just stay off the ice. My favorite time of the breakup comes towards the end. There are little tiny bits of ice that are floating around. When they move, the ice pieces tinkle. For some reason I just love to hear this sound. It is getting to be graduation time. Over the Memorial Day weekend we are going out to California. Brian’s son, Sam, graduates from high school. He is going to the University of San Francisco. Back in Minnesota, Shawn’s daughter, Emma, graduates and is headed to St. Thomas for college. I don’t know how they grew up so fast.

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