St Croix River Road Ramblings

Welcome to River Road Ramblings.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September changes

Hints of color show up across the lake on this slightly foggy morning shot.  The ash are turning yellow, and soft maples are beginning to show color.  
Nice time of the year--the mosquitoes, deer flies and ticks are mostly gone and the weather is still nice to have breakfast on the porch.  This morning a pair of swans floated by and the smallest hint of yellow has touched the ash trees.

Biscuits and gravy for breakfast (out of the cans) with coffee while we wait a little for the grass to dry off before dropping a few dead elms and cutting them up for firewood. Then have to get the 22 rifle out and practice up for the Hanson family 22 rifle competition Saturday.  My $14 single shot Western Field needs a new rubber band to hold the barrel tightly to the stock.  

Just as I am posting this the otters swam by the edge of the lake and by the time I had my camera ready all I got was the wake.   They are not very cooperative posing.

The sounds this morning are a cow bellowing far to the south trying to get her teenager calf to come back from a night out and a pack of hounds making a racket as they get their morning food--eager to be out on the trail of a bear, I suppose.  In the background are crickets, cicadas and probably tree frogs.  Very few birds singing this time of year.

The lake is quiet; the trumpeter swans seem to be resting their voices.  The otters have taken to cruising around the lake each morning and evening -- parents and two youngsters.  No swans stayed for the summer so no cygnets this year.  

The other day, Margo watched a parent bald eagle take her youngster around the lake and try out the favorite perches -- often on the top of dead trees.  The eaglet landed in big maple right next to the cabin, something the parent would never do.  The parent stopped in the big tree next to the lake and spent the next 10 minutes calling the youth away from the cabin--beware of those people it seemed to  be saying.   Of course, we don't deserve being warned against, but a skeptical view of the motives of humans is healthy. 

Started cutting up some dead elms last week on a cool day, and am headed to the woods for the next few weeks to get in the winter cabin firewood.  The elms get to be about 6-12 inches in diameter and then die from Dutch elm disease, drying out and then falling down.  They are doubly useful--fostering morel mushrooms around the base after they die, and providing pre-dried firewood in just the right size to save having to split it. God's gift to the improvident woodsman. 

Mom's new roof is being completed today by the Craig Carlson crew from Milltown.  Craig is the son of two of my local school friends and does a good job on roofs, even on a 100 year old house like the Hanson place.  Mom made sure the lightening rods were put up again, and we got the TV antenna working.  

After a week of no TV, Mom was in the dark as to whether we were in a war with Syria, what Dr Oz was saying and having a week of not hearing the local news, had left her door unlocked.  The local news reaches far and wide to scare everyone into thinking the world is a much more dangerous place than it is. She ordered one of those Life-Alert necklaces that you push for an emergency--TV ads are quite effective.   As she had no TV, she is working her way through the 100 Christmas cards she sends each year, each with a personal note inside.  TV and daily mail are her generation's facebook, internet and email.  

Certainteed shingles of the 1990s were a wonderful boom to the construction business, failing in about half of their expected lifetime. You can get $500 back on a $7000 roof replacement.  The lawyers get about 3 to 1 compared to the customers. 

Apples are ripening at Mom's.  Many were knocked to the ground after a storm 2 weeks ago.  An apple crisp and apple cake with Wolf River apples, an old huge cooking variety.