Good morning all:

Weekly Wisdom from deep in the North Woods

“You only need two tools in life – WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn’t move and should, use the WD-40. If it does move and shouldn’t, use the duct tape.”— our local everyman we’ll name Claire

It started late afternoon and into the evening and then all night long; a howling wind whipping up the water, and everything about the cabin. Wherever there is a hard edge, deck, roof, cabin corner, tree, a continuous moaning zzzzweeeeiuew sound from the passing wind is heard. Since this is day one of the storm there is an air of excitement about being in it. Actually, this morning I am feeling quite high; or as they say in Cumberland, “six feet and a brick.” It’s amazing how, with a steady rain and howling winds about the cabin, a mug of steaming morning coffee can not be more wonderful.

Heading north – The travel north was flawless except for the magnetic-trailer-tail-lights which kept falling off the “Duck” (I shoulda used duct tape). And the weather has been a wonderfully cool early springtime in the North Woods – until the winds started blowing that is.

Yesterday morning I had some coffee and breakfast and set out for the season’s first kayak paddle. The trick is to stay out of the water since the water temperature has barely budged from what it was a week ago when the ice was still around. Having earned my cold water dunk medallion at that time, this time I did stay dry. Sitting here this morning I can feel my arms from that bit of exercise. Since Jason, Marin, and I signed up for Paddlefest 2011 in Cincinnati late June I best keep at it since that will be an 8.2 mile paddle from Old Coney to the riverfront area. Marcia calls it a “float”, but then, she hasn’t done it either.

When Jason and I headed home we made a short stop in Petoskey, Michigan to pick up the Car Tow Dolly I had purchased on Craigs List. I managed to snag a well maintained trailer at a very reasonable price and the ride from Petoskey went smooth – other than the sound of chains rattling about the empty trailer.

The trip north had me pulling the same Car Tow Dolly, only this time we were pulling “The Duck.” The phrase “smooth as glass” is an exaggeration, but it did ride just fine. Almost fine that is if I do not include a discussion of the temporary magnetic-trailer-tail-lights I had purchased, wired in, and attached on the rear bumper. The ‘attached’ portion was as per instruction sheet using the massive magnets in their base. Let’s just say that it’s a bit disconcerting when zipping north on I-75 and have someone pass you frantically pointing to some point in space behind your vehicle. Twice over that happened. Both times it was one of the magnetic-trailer-tail-lights with their “made in China” magnets which had let loose and was now merrily bouncing along the highway being pulled by their still attached wiring.

I’d return them to the store, but I soon discovered that there was too little left to identify what it had been—sort of like the forgotten pet dog whose leash was attached to the bumper in Chevy Chase’s Family Vacation movie. On the other hand, Marcia was adamant that it reminded her of our travel adventures from early in our marriage. Just ask her when you have a spare hour or so and watch her ‘wind up.”

Animal Planet – When we arrived the tree line across the lake showed green pine trees and a barren brown from all the other trees. Thursday I noted that all that barren stuff was now tufts of red. Yesterday the red ‘tufts’ were showing a soft green – spring has come to the North Woods.

May 11th and I saw the first spring butterfly a small blue Azure. May 12th and we spotted our first Hummingbirds. May 13th and the first of the, very pesky, deerflies require swatting. Yes, springtime has definitely come to the North Woods.

For about 20 minutes Marcia and I watched a pair of Loons frolic in the crystal cold water of our cove. It almost appeared as if they even swam on their backs. Wings flapping, walking on water, diving, and right back at it again.

Upon arrival, one of the more immediate whoa’s we noted was that a series of small shrubs and a couple of little (5” – 6”) trees were gone. These formed the beginning of our little side woods, the area we call Narnia. Closer inspection revealed the culprit—one of the Beavers from up the cove. Blow up the photo (click the picture twice over) to see what these critters can, and will, do to a 6” tree aside from just dropping it.

Closing – have a safe trip home Donn and Marlene—they’re pulling an empty four wheeled trailer back home and have to cross the 500’ high Mackinac Bridge. The wind will probably mean having to be escorted across. It was good seeing Paul and Dia when they showed up late afternoon. Make it a great week everyone.

Now I’ll watch a pair of Loons fishing some feet off our shore—neither rain, nor snow, nor rain, nor……… Oh, sorry wrong group.


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