Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wild life

Is it life or is it wild (sorry Memorex). When a person remembers to put out a critter cam about 100 feet from the house just to see what creeps around when we are not looking, it can reveal all kinds of interesting things. The usual does walk on by of course.
A few days later you get the male of the species checking things out. "What was that perfume I caught a whiff of?"
But the real surprise was the sighting of a species that used to be extremely rare this far north. I saw one of these about 10 years ago and was so surprised I almost drove off the road. I hadn't seen one since I left the Twin Cities some 20 years before. This time, however, there were not one, not two, but three of the cute little monsters in a clump.
I heard it on good authority that a road-killed possum was seen by Two Harbors, which is only about 90 miles from here (south). More evidence of climate change, I would say.

So when I went to get the critter cam and look at what was on it, I took a stroll to the lower pond and noticed some beaver activity. Today I went to explore this a bit more and was surprised again (the great thing about low expectations is that I am rarely disappointed and often pleasantly surprised!). The beavers have been busy (no surprise there, however). They fear no tree.

What I found to be unusual though, was the beaver sense of art and design even though they are known for their great feats of engineering. It reminds me a bit of our friend Andie the engineer. While I knew she was a fairly brilliant engineer (also, kind, compassionate, and cute) she also has a degree in music. Back to the beavers after this slight digression. They apparently are more into sculpture than film or painting as you can see by this.
I think I'll go set up the critter cam by the ponds. I just need to be careful not to put it on a tree marked for destruction (or food or whatever) or one that will be hit by one falling. The beavers are actually dropping the trees where they want them. People with chainsaws are rarely as accurate unless they are professionals.
I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall panic

It has been busy on the farm as it always is this time of year. We try and have some fun in between critical chores which makes for some pretty hectic schedules. We went to get the Cooker some new glasses last month and found out she needed cataract surgery. It's done and she no longer needs bifocals. I told them I would like that surgery, also, but only if I could get zoom lenses. I was being facetious, but they said research is getting to the point where that may be possible someday. Whodda thunk it?

The seasons are rapidly changing. I grew up (assuming I finished the process) in Delaware, where autumn and spring linger for quite sometime. Here in Northern Minnesota the change is rather abrupt. There are the usual signs like colored leaves and migrating birds.
The geese were wondering why that jackass with the camera is chasing them.

The Cooker and Stitch went to an ACTHA (American Competitive Trail Horse Association) ride down by Duluth yesterday. Stitch used my horse and came in second in her division. Pretty good present for a first timer and birthday girl. She is leaving the Cooker down there because the Cooker needs foot surgery tomorrow morning. Stitch will bring the horses home and I will go to Duluth to be with the Cooker. We should be home tomorrow evening and Stitch will have left for a work related trip for the week. That means I get to do everyone's chores and play nurse to the Cooker. Well, it's a good excuse to take some time off of work. The Cooker has to stay completely off her foot for two weeks which will make it a challenge for her nurse (me) as she tends to be a non-compliant patient. A good thing I kept those ropes and handcuffs from our younger days! Just kidding! Really!

Some of the weather changes bring some gloomy mornings.
And then we get some windy days to get rid of those pesky leaves. If I were the type of person to rake leaves I would feel useless up here. Nature takes care of that.
These are not "Edmund Fitzgerald" storms, but we may get a couple of those in the coming weeks. It is just part of the moodiness of the big lake. Some days I wonder how the breakwalls survive the pounding, even in the fairly light winds. (Click on the picture to see the outer wall of the harbor a bit larger).
Other days it can be the most serene place imaginable like it was yesterday morning.
This morning I finally got around to replacing a leaking valve that controls my outside spigots. I thought I just finished building this place and now I am having to do maintenance.  Time really goes by fast. The Cooker was just a young chick when I met her and now she needs a little maintenance, too. Time used to flow like a river. Now it seems more to flow more like a bucket. Events seem to have a place in time of their own, but I can't tell if it was a few weeks ago or a few decades ago. Should I be lucky enough to live a couple more decades I wonder what time will seem like then?


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Blah, blah, blah

I am watching and listening to the first presidential debate. If my horses could produce so much manure in such a short time I would be a rich man. I will do my part when the time comes, but enough is enough.

I have been traveling weekly to Duluth, about a 5 to 6 hour drive round trip. The cooker went to get new glasses a while back, but the eye doc said it wouldn't help. Cataract surgery was the only way to get an improvement. It has turned into a relatively simple and quick procedure thanks to modern research and medical practice. Hopefully next week's trip will be the last for a short time to finally get her glasses. The nice thing is that we are getting pretty good at driving along the coastal waters of Lake Superior and learning to enjoy the time. Last week was the second eye and it went very well. The surgery center was next to a good Italian restaurant (lunchtime!) and that was next to the Rose Garden at Leif Erikson Park. I am embarrassed to say I had never been there before. The good news is that I had my camera and a new (used) macro lens to play with. It was a beautiful sunny day and the colors were vibrant.
It was nice to take the time to stop and smell the roses. They have over 3000 rosebushes there!
The Scenic Railway goes right by the park as does the Lakewalk.
Even the working class (Ann Romney's "Those people") can enjoy their lunch breaks.
Even the gulls have a nice view of the lake.
Did you spot the bird?

It's easy to find this place as it is along U.S. 61 made famous by many things, but this man in particular who has this stretch as his namesake.
You may need to click on this picture to see what I am talking about.

Yet again we bid farewell to the air conditioned city with a look back toward the Lift Bridge, entry to the harbor, and say, "We'll be back next week."