Good morning all:

Weekly Wisdom, from deep in the North Woods:

“I do love ma woman, eh. Time stands still for her, why, she can still fit into the same earrings she wore in high school” — our local everyman we’ll name Claire who celebrates his anniversary this month

Several times I woke up during the night. One time it would be hearing the pounding rain and next the howling wind. The temperature is “heading south.” The Canadian weather service predicts that our morning’s temperature will have dropped to 8°C (and daytime highs between 11°C and 15°C). Even if it’s slightly higher, it really is beginning to feel lake autumn.

It’s still dark, but two sounds lend huge comfort; my coffee perking and a Loon yodeling in the cove—both heard above the whining wind. How good does it get?

Now for my first steaming mug!

Cowling – Since my pontoon engine repair we’d not had the boat out other than for a very small shakedown run. Every evening there’d be another excuse (by Marcia) not to climb aboard. Tuesday night it was a perfect evening, the lake was like glass and the temperature just beginning to cool after a hot day. Again there was an excuse, but this time I stood firm and set off for a loop around the island—by myself. This is also known as “masterboating.”

The little engine sprang to life and then settled down to a quiet hum. I was off. And it was gorgeous. About a mile and a half later I turned around the back-end of the nearby island and started heading back. The spectacular sunset sky I was expecting had disappeared. In fact, the entry into our cove was completely obscured due to an approaching storm that was preceded by a grey wall of fast approaching rain.

No place to hide so all that was left was to try and barrel through it and head for our dock. Aiming the boat straight ahead I stood up and pulled the little canvas canopy up to help protect from the rain. The actuality was that when the wind-driven rains did hit, that the boat’s floor and the little roof acted much like the intake cowling on a jet engine—the force of the water just accelerated. In fact the water was hitting me was almost painful. I reached into a nearby compartment and grabbed a life preserver—not so much for safety, but to put on backwards as a rain shield.

My little radio crackled to life; ”Dirk!”, “Dirk!”
“Masterboater here.”
Above the noise came a garbled “What’s going on, where are you?”
“Heading home, nearly there” I heard myself gasp.

A short while later, as the sky began to brighten and the rains subside, I reached the dock. I was completely spent, wet through and through, and happy. That night I slept like a log. Vivid dreams of wild rains and massive thunderstorms filled my slumber.

Wednesday morning, whistling a happy little tune, I found myself making stacks of blueberry pancakes. I noted that Marcia was quite speechless.

The Fall – Inquiries dealing with the felling of our large dead Hemlock tree have become a flood. Yes, the tree is down. But, how it was felled is the real story. Two weeks ago I wrote about the plan and offer neighbor Bob, our expert lumberjack, forester, trapper, hunter, fisherman, and lawn manicurist, made.

True to his word he drove 7 hours north with his old-time lumberjack friend, Art. They drove Art’s fully restored “Class of ‘68” GMC pickup truck from southern Ontario. The truck’s bed was filled with logging chain, 100’ coiled of cable, 100’ of rope, several wedges, a “come-along”, fuel, chain saws, and a case of beer. These two were ready to do battle.

Bob explained the plan to Art. Art gave his approval and the two set out to do the deed. Art, the oldest of the three of us, climbed the ladder 25’ up to place the rope and cable. Knowledge is crucial, and, just like a hanging, the knot placement becomes critical.

I was given the “flunky” job of manning the rope, relaying hand signals from Bob to Art, and guiding the direction of the tree’s fall. The latter meant that I really spent time searching out the best spot for me to dive behind.

As the tree was slowly pulled into the correct path of fall Bob kept sawing and placing wedges to ensure that it would do just that. Bob had marked out exactly where he wanted this beast to fall—he proved accurate to within inches. A pretty young yellow Birch was one tree we wanted to save—not a leaf was harmed. Amazing!

That evening Marcia prepared a celebratory dinner for the four of us—main course was bourbon and soy marinated pork loin. How about them apples? Actually, dinner was preceded by appetizers including some drinks and cold smoked brook trout. How about them double apples?

Animal Planet – Another long ATV trail ride this week ending up at the White River. Marcia found dozens of Bear tracks at the river’s edge. Drinking and fishing has them venture into the water and then claw their way back onto shore over the slippery limestone, leaving swirling, claw punctuated, skid marks. Then, right alongside all of this was a very fresh and very large Wolf track; an especially impressive find to say the least.

Bear season is well underway. Our local guide has had his hunters bag six Bear so far into the season. What is making the hunt more interesting this year is that he’s taken an Amish group into the woods—I suspect that the meat will be part of their winter larder. Usually he hangs the bears in the back of a shed overnight before being skinned and quartered. I’ve been trying to get there at the right time for a photo op—without success.

Here is one of the last pictures of one of our lake’s Loons for this year, they’ll migrate shortly. Later on this weekend I’ll complete the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey for Bird Studies Canada and send it in; they want the surveys in by September 15. Aside from just gathering pure numbers the Loons are a great barometer as to the health of the lakes and the surrounding areas and this is the broader value of these surveys.

With all the rains (playing catch-up for what has been a dry season) our cabin’s little lakeside yard has all the look of a mushroom farm. Some of these monsters are almost Frisbee sized. Using our trusty Fungi guide Marcia has identified our crop as being Bay Bolete mushrooms. One identifier is that the white flesh flushes bluish green when bruised and blue when cut. They’re supposedly edible; however, I think I’ll pass on this delicacy. Maybe if “Claire” certified them it’d be a different story.

Closing – Congratulations to Jason, we’re excited for you, and to Nick M. thanks for providing some good fun with your float plane. Dawn is just beginning and I can begin to make out shapes outside—the dock and the boat are still secure: wind – 0, human – 1.

Have a super and safe Labor Day weekend, then make it a great week everyone.



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