Northwoods Journal 5/4/2013

Saturday, May 04, 2013

It’s not all fun and games

The sky was a lovely, pristine blue when we awoke this morning, the woods fairly quiet.  It wasn’t quite warm enough to have my first cup of coffee out on the porch so I sat at the kitchen table and enjoyed the birds from behind the window.  But by my second cup, it had warmed up enough to be outside with a sweatshirt on.

No lollygagging this morning.  We had to be at the dump by 9 to unload a truck bed full of junk.  I’m telling you, you haven’t really lived until you’ve made at least one trip to the county landfill!  (Hey, it’s not all glamorous living up here in the northwoods!)  Then it was on to the lumber yard in Hillman to buy the supplies for the new porch/deck.  The one that came with the trailer is like some people, looks good on the surface but totally rotten underneath.  Coming back from Hillman we drove through Pleasant Valley and Elk Valley.  Saw four deer in a yard on Hunt Rd.  It was kind of funny because at first glance I thought they were statuary, until one lifted its head!

Around noon we headed to Brush Creek Truck Trail to find a place to walk the dogs.  Mark wanted to check out the spot where he found a big cache of morel mushrooms two years ago.  Nothing showing yet.  Mark thinks it may be too dry, which is funny since two weeks ago everything was flooded!  Marsh marigolds were blooming along Brush Creek.  The woods were very quiet and it was hot hiking in the sun.

Daisy resting on the trail

Daisy resting on the trail

Marsh Marigolds

Marsh Marigolds

Back at the cabin we took some time to just relax on the porch and watch the birds.  I commented to Mark that we hadn’t seen any goldfinches yet and just a few minutes later I saw flashes of yellow high in the trees.  Soon two male goldfinches found the thistle bag.  Lots of other birds, too.  Chickadees, white-breasted & red-breasted nuthatches, rose-breasted grosbeaks, red-winged black birds, robin, downy woodpecker, blue jays, dark-eyed junco, chipping sparrow and two scarlet tanagers.  We could also hear flickers and the oven bird in the woods.

Mark busted out the chainsaw and cut up one of the trees that had fallen during the winter.  I decided it was time to strip the flannel sheets off the bed and pack away the electric blanket for another year.  But, you never know, we could need it come Memorial Day!  When Mark rebuilds the porch he’s going to extend it a little so I had to move my rock garden and the hens-and-chicks, the only plant species I’ve ever managed to not kill.  I hope they survive the transplant!  It was hot and sweaty work but I guess it can’t be all playtime up here.

It’s been amazing to watch the woods throughout the day.  I swear it gets greener by the minute.  The aspens are really leafing out in this warmth and sunshine.  We found a bunch of small, pinkish-white star-shaped flowers by our fire pit.  I looked them up and they are trailing arbutus.  How one cluster got in our yard is anyone’s guess.  Mark’s guess is via bird poop.

For dinner we went into town to the pub so we could watch the Kentucky Derby and use the wi-fi.  I was able to post yesterday’s journal entry.  When we got back we took the dogs for just a short walk down the road to the ATV trail and made a triangle over to Stevens Spring.  The dogs scared up a couple of grouse and we saw a Blandings turtle crossing the trail, which drove the dogs so berserk I was barely able to snap a photo.  Then we saw three deer, so for a short walk, it was pretty exciting.  (We are fairly certain this is a Blandings turtle, even though it does not have as much yellow spotting on its shell as the one I photographed last year.  After consulting our reptile field guide and the DNR reptile poster, it seems to be a Blandings.)

Blandings turtle

Blandings turtle

We topped off the night with a small campfire.  While sitting beside the fire we heard my most favorite sound in the whole world, the song of the hermit thrush!  Oh, how it gives my heart a thrill.  Three sand hill cranes flew overhead, making their prehistoric call.  Then a few minutes later two barred owls called to one another across the woods.  The spring peepers set to singing and they were so loud I almost missed hearing the whip-or-will.  I treasure memories of sitting around the fire as a young girl, listening to the sound of the whip-or-will.  For many years their evening song was absent from these forests so it’s always exciting for me to hear them once again.  A perfect ending to a wonderful day.

A couple of strawberry mallows roasted over the fire was the icing on the cake.

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2 Responses to Northwoods Journal 5/4/2013

  1. Thank you for reminding me how great the night sounds are!


  2. 🙂 You’re welcome! I love to hear the owls calling, and the whip-or-will. I also love it when the coyotes howl, even if it wakes me up in the middle of the night.


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