The beginning changeover to Fall has begun we can see it in the trees, this morning it’s the sun trying to break through the rolling fog on the cove. With that, a Happy Saturday morning to everyone from here in the North Woods. With morning temperatures in the 40s as the new norm it makes that morning mug of hot coffee extra special.

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I’ve been trying to get through an introspective written by singer, composer, writer, and rocker extraordinaire Neil Young and it’s delightful. Marcia spotted it sitting on the shelf at the little town of Iron Bridge’s library – only open two afternoons a week. It’s been years since I checked out a book where the librarian dutifully inked her rubber stamp to stamp the return-by date inside the cover. Oh for the memories.

”Old memories are wonderful things and should be held on to as long as possible, shared with others, and embellished if need be.” ~ Neil Young (from, Waging Heavy Peace –A Hippy Dream 2012)

Amazing Grace – I set out into the wind and the waves with the words from Leonard Cohen’s ‘au revoir’ album, You want it Darker, in my mind; “month by month, day by day – thought by thought”. Finally, my major paddle of the summer had begun.

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It required that I had to cut across Big Basswood Lake to reach the home where Pipers would play on a dock. It wasn’t long before I realized that Big Basswood Lake is a Beast. A brisk wind was blowing from starboard and quickly the ensuing spray had me soaked. The fact that the lake is over 10-miles long and I had to traverse a (very?) solid mile of white-caps made the crossing interesting. Thought by thought.

I had begun what would turn into over a three-hour adventure in my little kayak.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you appreciate Bag Pipes, here this instrument with wind blowing through the trees and off the waters, comes to life. And it’s glorious! For an hour they played. For an hour I bobbered in front of the dock while hanging on to a line tossed to me by a kindly boater – thanks a whole bunch.

It took longer getting back; a little more time for reflection. The ending piece, Amazing Grace, was playing in my head. Thought by thought.

Observing how I must have looked when I got home, Marcia spontaneously blurted out; “OK, now that you’ve done it, that’s it, no more.”

All I can say is; “It’s still a long time till next year.”

Everyday Life – The seasonal change has also meant that we’ve begun to huddle around campfires again. These are great times to banter, to discuss, and to laugh.

We’re also involved in some work on cleanup and on Northern Comfort. Although not openly discussed it’s a sign of early preparations for the winter hiatus. Bob-the-Forester has been busy splitting and stacking wood for the winter after next – it needs to season. Each year’s supply is a stack 30’ long, 5’ high, and 5’ wide. Oh, and he supplements with Propane.

Animal Planet – Our local dump is in part what the General Store or Barber Shop used to be, a place to catch-up, to meet and greet. It’s also a place where ‘lightly’ used items can be deposited and retrieved. A few weeks ago Marcia found a great bird feeder. Since then it’s been cleaned and I’ve hung it – keeping chipmunks and squirrels off it is the trick. Then a week ago when we were in Michigan and after some research I purchased a sack of Black Oily Sunflower seeds; a favorite of American Goldfinches. Within a couple of days these beautiful wild canaries have become regular visitors.

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Mid-week I began to hear a repeating sound I didn’t recognize. Quite musical, to me it sounded like popping air bubbles in water. Maybe Bob-the-Forester was practicing a new animal – no. The professor thought it sounded like coconut shell knocking. Finally I walked to behind his place to see what it was. Turning the corner, with a 60” wingspan a massive pitch-black Raven took off. Using my Audubon App I found the sound; it was a call that a dominant female makes and is so absolutely different from the normal raspy calls made by these birds.

The Hummingbirds too are more active. They drink like crazy and are more aggressive towards each other. I guess that prepping their tiny bodies for a several thousand mile journey takes work.

Slithering at the back of the cabin I found a yard-long Garter snake. I didn’t need for him to discover a way in so he was placed in the garden. I think he’ll make an excellent watchman.

Lest you think that all we have are exotic animal sightings, this little guy too is a regular.

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Finis – This week it was wishing a Happy Birthday to Adrianne and to Sandy.

Our thoughts go out to the folks in Texas, especially to Kirstin, Vince, Derek, and Kellen who are on the fringe of the storm, but still have to deal with the rain bands.

DIDjkPQVYAA0_yZ   Then today is the 99th birthday of this lady – Katherine Johnson. 99 is special, but what makes her so amazing is that she was a mathematician who worked for NASA. For the Apollo 11 Moon mission Astronaut Buzz Aldrin insisted that she, by hand, calculate the landing trajectory. He didn’t quite trust computers.

It also points out how much change many of us have experienced in just a few years. Where today most of us carry more computing power in our mobiles than NASA had access to in their mainframes.

Make it a great week everyone.

Cheers.

Dirk

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