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Friday, October 31, 2008


Friday, 8:30 AM. 43 degrees, wind W, calm. The channel sparkles silver, glittering in the reflected rays of the rising sun. The barometer predicts sunny skies, which are presently clear.
The last of the Chamber’s daffodils, 400 bulbs that weren’t purchased by members, were planted yesterday by Jay’s Tree Service in Fountain Garden Park. That makes about 2,000 planted there this fall in addition to as I recall 500 previously. In all, 7,000 daffodils were planted in Bayfield through the chamber’s efforts this fall. That is in addition to about 20,000 planted in several prior years. Next spring’s display will be even more spectacular than last years, which was a real “wow!” We will, I hope, plant at least 5,000 daffodil bulbs each fall for at least the next few years. It is nothing exotic and as they say, “it ain’t rocket science,” but it gets everyone out of the winter doldrums and is very good for business.
I am recovering quickly from the depredations of the oral surgeon, and the tooth fairy indicates that I will be back in good form by the end of the day.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

10/30/08 TREES OF GOLD

Thursday, 7:30 AM. 36 degrees, wind SW, calm. The channel is mostly calm but will probably become choppy as the wind picks up. The sky is mostly clear, the sun not yet up. The barometer predicts precipitation. It looks like it will be a true Indian Summer day.
One of the great transformations of the Northland is now occurring. The tamaracks, Larix laricina, have changed from green to gold. As you probably know, the tamarack, or larch, is a deciduous conifer…it loses its needles in the winter, so it is not, in a real sense, an “evergreen.” I’m not sure what the evolutionary advantage might be to losing its needle-leaves, when almost all other conifers keep them all winter to good advantage, as they can photosynthesize all winter long at least on warmer days, We could create or find some theory to explain it, but I prefer just to enjoy the anomaly and the beauty of the golden trees.
Another Larix species is the European larch, Larix decidua, quite similar but with larger cones and a more open shape, and also very hardy. Our neighbor has a nice specimen. The Japanese larch, Larix leptolepis, is also a beautiful tree. All things considered I prefer our native species. All of these trees need plenty of room to grow.
Another deciduous conifer is the unrelated, southern bald cypress, Taxodium distichum, probably not quite hardy this far north, but a very beautiful and useful tree. A conifer which goes the opposite direction entirely is the living fossil, Ginko biloba, which has leaves rather than needles. More on these trees at some future time.
I have a dental appointment in Ashland which is sure to spoil my day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Wednesday, 7:45 AM. 22 degrees, wind W, calm. The channel is calm, the sky clear and the barometer predicts precipitation.
The whitetail deer rut has started. The bucks, as everyone knows, rub the skin from their antlers (which are grown new each ear) on young, soft-barked trees in preparation for territorial battles. Perhaps less well known is that the bucks also mark their territory by scraping the ground with their hooves, these “scrapes “ can vary in size, but are definite evidence along with a “rub” that a buck frequents an area.
The rub pictured was discovered at one of my favorite grouse haunts yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately the photo of a scrape did not turn out, I will try to take another in a day or two.
The birds have become accustomed to the feeders and a downy woodpecker is busy on the suet feeder right now.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Tuesday, 7:45 AM. 22 degrees, wind W, light. The channel is dimpled, the sky is partly overcast and the barometer predicts partly sunny weather.
The red oak, Quercus rubra, pictured is across the street from our house. It has had bright red to blood red color every fall. If that continues for a few more years I think it would be worth propagating as “the Bayfield oak,” I already have my eye on a candidate for “the Bayfield hawthorn,” and would like to find a “Bayfield maple” and a “Bayfield apple” as signature trees for the community. Red oak is one of the dominant trees of our region, well adapted to the sandy soils and cold climate.
I have an early chamber committee meeting and then a trip to Ashland, and don’t know what else the day may hold.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Monday, 8:00 AM. 25 degrees, wind NW, moderate with stronger gusts. The channel has an angry look, and the sky is overcast. We got a trace of snow last night but the barometer predicts partly cloudy skies.
Fall has given up all its pretenses, and winter reared its head. The Geranium baskets are finished but they don’t know it yet, and Garden View Lodging is closed until next season except for family and friends.
There is still wonderful fall color as attested to by the Hydrangeas at the Garden View door, and many oaks and of course the tamaracks are really coming into their glory. But winter is at the door, and it’s time now to leave the porch and seek warmth and a hot cup of coffee.
There is a Tree Board meeting this afternoon and I have to do a lot of preparation for it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Sunday, 8:15 AM. 33 degrees, wind W, very light. The channel is wrinkled, the sky overcast and it is raining. The barometer predicts partly cloudy skies. So far, no snow.
Last night’s farewell dinner at the Lutheran Church for Ruth was well attended by Conservancy Board members and spouses, with a number of kids there as well, including Ruth’s two growing boys. The potluck food was delicious and many little mementos and gag gifts were given.
One way to spot non-native plants in the landscape at this time of year is to look for deciduous trees and shrubs which are still green (not always indicative, but pretty nearly so). Note the large mass of common lilacs (European), the very invasive buckthorns (two European species but treated together for this purpose) and the easily escaping Asiatic Multiflora rose with its large red fruits. Apples are also Asiatic in origin and the leaves of most remain green at this time.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Saturday, 8:30 AM. 36 degrees, wind W, calm. The channel is dimpled, the sky overcast, it has rained over an inch in the last 24 hours, and the barometer predicts more precipitation. If it had been a little colder we would have snow to shovel.
The Bayfield Peninsula gets less snow that the Keewinaw Peninsula of Michigan, eighty miles to the east, because we are at the west end of the lake. They get more moisture-laden winds from all directions across the lake, and jut out into the lake further, and therefore get several more feet of snow each winter than we do. They can have it, we get enough for me (although they are more of a winter sports area because of it).
The magnificent yellow-leaved tree pictured is a black walnut, Juglans nigra, probably planted, many years ago, as we are just north of the natural range of this valuable species.
I have a meeting with a client this morning, and tonight Joan and I will attend a farewell dinner for Ruth Oppedahl, who is leaving her position as Executive Director of the Bayfield Regional Conservancy to take a State job. I have been on the Board for a number of years. We will miss Ruth badly, but wish her well in her new position.
Have to go to the recycling center this morning and then work on getting the old boat ready for winter. It never even got in the water this season. The chimney got cleaned yesterday between raindrops. Boy, was it dirty!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Friday, 8:45 AM. 37 degrees, wind SW, calm. The channel is calm. The sky is overcast and there is a slight drizzle, and a trace of it in the rain gage. The barometer predicts precipitation , in which case it may be be snow if it gets colder.
The playground pictured is on 7th and Manypenny, replacing an old-fashioned one with teeter-totter and pipe frame swings, which was uprooted as part of a recent sewer project. The new one is nice, and includes a large sand box, climbing equipment, handicapped swings, etc., but is in my opinion rather overdone, and even has a stage and theater seating. I can’t help being nostalgic for simpler times, but my grandchildren will love it, as they do the playground at the waterfront. Sure wish Bayfield had more children.
Last night’s fresh trout dinner was delicious. Today the chimney will indeed get cleaned.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


: 7:15 AM. 29 degrees, wind SW, very ligt, the channel is crawling slightly, the sky is partly cloudy and the barometer predicts the same. It is a “pink sky” morning, for which I can think of no old sailors predictions.
The sun is getting progressively lower on the southeastern horizon, as it should be doing. By December 22nd it will be rising over LaPointe, and then heading back north again,
I should be cleaning the chimney today, but Marv Paavola called and asked if I wanted to go fishing with him and his friend Hans, and I said "sure."
Later: it was a fine day on the water, and we caught enough fish to be fun, and to eat. Lost a couple fish, and threw one undersized trout back. I tried to get a photo of some of the action but it was too chaotic. The eagles were out in force today, a pair circling high above us for a very long time, and several others watching intently as they flew low over the boat as we reeled in fish jumping behind the boat. The large ship in the photo is the Hack Noyes, a DNR research vessel, evidently out netting lake trout for study or eggs. The other photos are of the rocky shoreline of Basswood Island, and of course this morning’s dawn.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Wednesday, 7:45 AM. 29 degrees, wind SSW, light. The channel is crawling, the sky is partly overcast and the barometer is down, predicting partly cloudy skies.
The sunrise is awesome, a “red sky in the morning…” sky. I feel sorry for folks who don’t watch the sunrise, it sets the tone for the day, and challenges and invigorates the soul.
The bird feeders are up and at least the friendly chickadees have found them. Sunflower seed in the tray for everybody, thistle seed for the goldfinches in the bag feeder, and peant butter and seed block in the set feeder for the downy woodpeckers . Bring on the birds!
One of these nights the hanging baskets will freeze and will be taken down, but until then they are still a welcome reminder of warmer days past. One of these days soon the garden will have to be cut back and the tops left as mulch, but not just yet.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Tuesday, 7:15 AM. 29 degrees, wind W, calm (but large banks of dark clouds are moving slowly on the horizon, out of the SE). The channel is wrinkled, the sky mostly clear, and the barometer predicts fair weather. This time of year is difficult for me because I am a morning person, and daylight saving time makes the mornings late and dark, and I can hardly wait for it to change back to standard.
Morgan and Eric have not been around for three weeks, Eric and Nancy being on a trip to France, and Lucky has been looking for them.
I have planted half the mums and must finish that task after I get back from Ashland this morning. I will stop at the IGA in Washburn and see if they have large bags of sunflower seeds in yet, which have not been evident anywhere and I need to get the feeders up. The Wild Bird store in Washburn closed suddenly a few weeks ago, and we sorely miss it. It was a good source for bird stuff and information, and the owners very knowledgeable. Small businesses have a tough time making it here, but they were open for several years, and I thought they were well established. I hope perhaps they lost there lease, and will open in another location but the longer out of business the harder it is to reestablish it. Anyway we miss them and wish them well.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Monday, 7:5 AM. 37 degrees, wind W, moderate. The channel is crawling, the sky mostly clear and the barometer predicts fair weather.
The early gun deer season ended for me not with a bang, but sort of a whimper. I went to the Larsen’s camp late Sunday afternoon, quietly walked and sat until 5:00 PM, then gave it up in some disgust, walked back to the truck and packed up.
As I was driving out to the main road, I glanced down a recently cut over stretch under the telephone line going to the Larsen’s barn, and there stood a doe, looking right at the truck. I stopped, got my gear on, loaded the rifle and by that time it had jumped back into the thick cover. I walked to where I thought it disappeared and waited, in an awkward stance, for over an hour until it was almost dark, but it never reappeared.
Prey animals react, predator animals (including man) are required by evolution to out-think their prey. I did not, for I should have remembered I had seen that deer in that location at that time before. I should have walked to that spot and checked it out before packing up. I would have fifty pounds of prime venison in the freezer.
It’s going to be a pretty day even though a lot of leaves are down. Lots to do after four days a-field.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Sunday, 6:25 AM. 40 degrees, wind SE, strong. The sky is overcast, the sun still abed. The barometer predicts rain.
It is a dark, blustery morning, and the deer will be moving to cover, perhaps already there. It will be a tough hunt, but on the other hand, sometimes changing conditions make them move about. In any case I will skip church but have to be to the Parish House for a noon vestry meeting. Joan has coffee hour but will fend for herself.
2:30 PM. No luck this morning, I was right about the deer holing up. I should just give it up today, but instead will go out to the Sugar Bush and see if anything is moving about at the end of the day. I did see one unidentifiable deer just before dark yesterday. The photo is of the remains of the sunset on the deer trail yesterday

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Saturday, 12:45 PM. 43 degrees, wind S, moderate. Skies mostly clear, the channel is crawling and the barometer predicts partly cloudy skies.
I got to the gate on the deer trail by first light, left the truck there, and walked very slowly down the 3/4 mile or so to my stand, hoping to find a deer going back to the woods after a night cavorting in the apple orchards. The fallen leaves were damp so I could proceed very quietly. Pretty well down the hill to my stand I heard a rustle, off to the side in the woods edge, and sure enough there was a good sized deer, looking right at me. I could not tell if it had antlers or not but it snorted at me loudly as it turned and ran, so I assume it was a buck. Had it been opening morning of the regular deer season I would have had a deer, as it was an easy shot, and both buck and doe can be taken then, where I hunt,
After lunch and relaxing, I will head back out to try my luck again. The photo looks west down the hill toward my stand, about 1/4 mile ahead.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Friday, 8:00 AM. 37 degrees, wind W, calm. The channel is calm. The sky is overcast and the barometer predicts partly cloudy weather.
The deer hunt yesterday was uneventful until I was walking up the trail, just at closing. Then, as is always the case, the totally unexpected occurred. A large deer stepped cautiously onto the trail. It was about 150 yards away but silhouetted perfectly against the horizon. I looked closely and saw ho horns (this is an antlerless hunt) I pushed the safety off and was amazed that the deer heard the faint “click” at that distance, as it looked directly at me and wiggled its ears. Still no horns. I raised the gun and took careful aim.
Now, what is wrong with this scenario? Did you guess? Directly behind the deer, about 25 yards was a large blue object. My truck! If I missed the deer I would take out the radiator or the windshield, either very hard to explain to my insurance agent. In that moment’s hesitation the deer turned and bounded back into the dark woods, waving its white tail. So, in what may be yet another futile attempt to prove man’s superiority over the beasts, I shall go back this afternoon, and sit at the top of the trail looking down it and hope for a repeat performance, this time hopefully with the right ending and some meat in the freezer.
The trees pictured are a wonderful hybrid between red and silver maple, there are several different ones available in the nursery trade. I believe these are ‘Royal Sunset’ or something like that (such hybrids also occur sometimes in nature). Anyway they grow fast, have obviously terrific color, and at this point seem to have strong branches.
The other photo is of my little wild area. I am very happy that I have not eliminated the sumac, just keep it under control by cutting it back every other year.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Thursday, 1:30 PM. 42 degrees, wind W, moderate. The sky is overcast. The barometer predicts sunny skies.
No deer were moving this morning, and there was very little wildlife activity of any kind. I heard a few very distant shots early. Came home for lunch and a little nap, and am heading out again shortly. There was a full moon last night and it was light enough to walk easily down to my deer stand behind the apple orchards long before first light.
Kenny Dobbs, owner of the Blackhawk Marina, has done a great job of creating something of an outdoor fishing boat museum and some very pretty gardens. He deserves an award of some kind or other for his efforts. The boat pictured is being restored at the behest of Mary Rice, who I am told has fond memories of the boat plying the waters near Sand Island when she was a little girl. Kudos to Ken and Mary both.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Wednesday, 8:45 AM. 38 degrees, wind SW, light with gusts. The sky is partly overcast, and the channel is crawling. The barometer predicts rain. The full moon has just set.
The mushroom pictured is the common field mushroom, Agaricus campestris, in the family Agaricaceae. It is a gill mushroom (note the underside of the cap). This is one of the most common and highly edible of wild mushrooms and if I am not mistaken is the one most commonly cultivated and sold in stores. I am tempted to cook it but have sworn not to eat wild mushrooms. The reason: this one is quite similar in appearance to the also common, and quite deadly, the all white “destroying angel,” Amanita virosa. The latter has a bulbous sac at the stem base, called a volva, which can easily be broken off and left undetected in the ground by the careless collector.
Many other edible mushrooms also have deadly look-a-likes. If I were starving and didn’t care if I died anyway I might trust myself to eat wild mushrooms. I will leave the matter to braver and more knowledgeable folks than myself. In France one can take wild collected mushrooms to the local pharmacist for positive identification, and if we had such a service here I might take the chance. Otherwise, if I want to gamble I will go three miles north of Bayfield to the casino on the Rez. I may loose some quarters there, but not my life.
If the wind doesn’t pick up Jay and I are going out fishing this afternoon, but at present it looks iffy. I will check with the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) web site for a near shore weather report.
Tomorrow is the opening of the early gun deer season, and I have to take my collected apples down to my deer stand this morning.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Tuesday, 7:30 AM. 31 degrees, the sky is clear, the sun not yet risen. The wind is calm and the channel slightly wrinkled. This is the coldest morning of the fall thus far.
The baskets and pots still outside are on their own, except that I have a few geraniums to bring in, as well as the Amaryllis bulbs still under the front deck. The rain barrels have to be drained (hate to waste the water), the storms pulled down and the rugs on the back deck rolled up and put in the basement. A few mums need to be planted and the lawns mowed.
The sun is rising now, its rays washing the already golden maple trees in even richer hues. I am collecting and storing these images in my memory, as secure as Midas himself stored his treasure in his vaults.

Monday, October 13, 2008

10/13/08 AWESOME

Monday, 8:30 AM. 58 degrees, wind W, calm. The channel is glassy, the sky is overcast and the barometer is down, predicting partly cloudy skies.
The color is so awesome that one can wander about, walking or driving, totally absorbed in it, lost in nature’s glory. Not much else to say, it really has to be experienced to fully appreciate it.
I hope to crank up the boat motors today in the hope of doing a bit of fishing before the opening of the early antlerless deer season on Thursday, but I have some mums to plant and lawns to mow if it dries out, so we will see what happens.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Sunday, 8:45 AM. 50 degrees, wind NNW, light. The channel is like glass, the Island trees reflecting far across the water. Fog lies in strata over the Island, and the sky is mostly cloudy. We had thunderstorms last night, resulting in .4 inches of rain. The barometer predicts partly cloudy skies.
The fall harvest dinner at the Russell Town Hall yesterday evening was well attended, and we recognized many friends among the attendees, among them Mike, Jim and Myron from maple sugarin’. The menu was roast pork, mashed potatoes and gravy, baked beans, green beans, cabbage slaw and home made rolls. The desert table was replete with all sorts of pies and cakes and cookies. The price was $9.00 for adults, the food delicious and endless. At least half the folks there went home with nice door prizes. We try not to miss any of these local dinners and look forward to the Settlement dinner around Thanksgiving. I bought $20 worth of gun raffle tickets (for two shotguns and a target rifle) and sure hope I win.
Joan and I had a great time and our only regret is that Andy and Judy weren’t there.
The landscape photo is of blueberry bushes and woods in full fall color at Highland Valley Farm, a major local blueberry grower.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Saturday, 8:30 AM. 43 degrees, wind SW, light. The channel is slightly wrinkled, the sky partly cloudy with high, fast-moving clouds. The barometer predicts sunny skies, and we got .2” of rain yesterday.
Mushrooms are amazing things. This Amanita muscari, the fly Amanita, is the size of a dinner plate, and popped up since yesterday morning on the corner of Tenth and Wilson. The fruiting body grows out of miles of threads of living tissue in the soil below it. It is a gill mushroom, and has a distinct ring under the cap, and if dug up the stem has an obvious bulbous base. In the eastern US it tends to be orange, and in the west red, both colors flecked with white. They usually grow under pines and birches. It is called the fly Amanita because in Europe it has been used to poison houseflies, by peeling the skin from the mushroom and placing it in a saucer of water. This attracts and kills flies (I may try this idea). There are about 120 species of Amanita in North America, and some are the most deadly of mushrooms, killing many people, particularly in Europe (where many of the same mushrooms grow) every year. I have read of several people in this country killed by mushrooms (probably Amanitas) already this fall.
Have to go to the recycle center this morning. The colors are stupendous. Mushrooms aren't poisonous to the touch, but don't get too friendly with them.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Friday, 7:45 AM. 37 degrees, wind W, calm. The channel is calm. The sky is mostly gray and threatens rain, even though the barometer predicts clear skies (the barometer predicts weather about twelve hours in advance). It is a very dark, almost brooding morning.
Yesterday's daffodil planting was a great success and very efficient, 5,000 bulbs being planted in approximately 30 man-hours of labor, excluding prep and clean-up time and supervision and travel time.
The mushrooms pictured are Suillus luteus, slippery Jack, in the Boletailes, they are a pore mushroom. They are pretty common, growing almost exclusively under or near white pine trees. They are very viscid when wet, thus the common name. The references say they are edible but they certainly are unapetizing.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Thursday, 7:45 AM. 41 degrees, wind S, moderate. The channel is crawling and will get really choppy as the wind picks up. The sky is clear but the barometer predicts rain.
The morning is almost heartbreakingly beautiful, the color near peak.
We will plant 5,000 more daffodils today, starting at Fountain Garden Park and then on to the Lutheran Church on 6th and Mannypenny, and the Frist residence on 6th and Rittenhouse. I choose the locations according to the impact the display will have when viewed from a moving vehicle, and assurances that the display will be long term. In a few more years we will be the Daffodil Capital of the North.