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Sunday, August 14, 2011






Sunday, 7:00 AM.  60 degrees, wind WSW, calm.  The sdy is rather overcast and there is some fog, but things are clearing up and the barometer predicts sunny weather, and another beautiful Bayfield day.
    This seems to be the summer to replace culverts and bridges.  Old Hwy K in the Town of Russell parallels State Hwy  13 to its north for about eight miles, and the DNR camp site and boat launch at Little Sand Bay can be reached from east or west Hwy 13 via Old Hwy K, so it is a rather important secondary road.  It crosses the Sand River at about the four mile point.  The crossing is over a very large culvert rather than a bridge, and this culvert is being replaced.  It is quite a project, located at the bottom of rather a steep ravine.  The river itself isn’t much except during spring snow melt, when it can be a torrent.  The watershed both above and below the culvert is important for timber resources and water retention and lake water quality.  There are thousands of acres of watershed both above and below the road crossing.  Except maybe for spring migrations I don’t think the Sand River is an important fishery.  A cursory look at the construction work leads me to believe that the job is going well and is environmentally  sound.  I am not aware of the reasons for replacing the culvert, but I would expect it is normal age wear and tear.
    Chicory, Chicoria intybus, in the sunflower family, is a European and Middle eastern plant of ancient use as a food (salad and pot herb) and fodder plant, and the fleshy roots as a beverage and to blend with coffee (this is its primary use in this country, particularly in the South).  Chicory is a tough, deep rooted perennial, growing two to three feet tall.  Although quite straggly in appearance, it is very pretty as a roadside weed, the blue flowers an unusual color in the summer landscape.  It has had numerous herbal uses in the past and is still used as a diuretic and gout remedy.
    Political comment: The riots n England have made me think about the perils of gun control legislation.  All private hand guns were confiscated in England in 1999, with the intent of making the country more “safe.” Now, a dozen years later, with anarchic mobs burning, looting and killing, and the civil authorities hard pressed to control them, the average citizen is defenseless.  I am not a gun nut, in fact do not own a hand gun, but I am coming to the conclusion that everyone should possess the means to defend their life and property.  The Second Amendment guarantees all the others..

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