This past Wednesday evening we had a much needed thunderstorm that brought us some moisture and gave us the fresh start that I look forward to starting each spring with. Although we have had spring on the calendar for a few weeks, the weather hasn’t been totally spring-like. As I awoke the next morning after that nice rain everything seemed to be fresh and clean. There is a certain smell in the air that goes along with that first spring thunderstorm which signals a new beginning for the year.
The birds even seem to have a little extra chirp as they go about their daily nest building activities. As a kid I especially loved the sound of the red winged blackbirds as they busied themselves building their nests in the nearby slough. Once the snow had melted and the running water had subsided to a normal flow, I would spend many hours at the bridge, which for the spring and most of the summer seemed like a second home to me. I would watch and listen for the first sign of those blackbirds because I knew that with their arrival spring was officially underway.
For some reason the sound of a normal blackbird never seemed to do anything for me. If I were to venture a guess it would be a numbers thing not to mention the fact that their sound is actually rather annoying. As an adult who likes to feed birds, the blackbirds and starlings are kind of a nuisance because they can clean out a feeder faster than a squirrel on steroids.
I have a few feeders up at our cabin and I found that I eventually had to put them on a wire or line strung between trees to keep the other critters from cleaning them out. Last year I thought that I had the feeder thing figured out at the cabin and I had even decided to leave one feeder, which was shaped like a barn, for the chipmunks to enjoy. Unfortunately that feeder was within reach of a family of raccoons which visited one night and totally destroyed it. When I awoke that next morning to the sight of what was left of that feeder I was not a happy camper. Over the years the raccoons and I have had our differences, but this meant war and putting all feeders out of reach was the only way I was going to come close to winning the battle.
I haven’t been up to the cabin since last fall but I am planning on heading up there in the not too distant future. The emergence of some real spring-like weather has given me the bug to head north and open up the cabin. To some, opening the cabin involves hooking up water lines and other such things, but opening our cabin involves mostly cleaning and restocking the canned goods. It’s a little different and a little easier when you have no running water. To some that may be a great inconvenience, but to us it’s just part of the package. We’ve come a long way from the day that we cut down the first tree to make a driveway into the land and it’s been a fun family venture ever since.
I don’t believe there is a more relaxing time than when a person is in the woods enjoying nature in all of its beauty. A few years ago as I went north to open the cabin and check to see if there were any trees down I called an old service buddy, Mike who lives in Outing. He drove up the next day and although the weather wasn’t the best we sat in the cabin and caught up on what had been going on in our lives. As we sat there enjoying the warmth of the fire I noticed this red squirrel busily running back and forth from one woodpile to another. All at once the squirrel stopped in its tracks and stood perfectly still under a pile of small branches. I couldn’t figure out what it was up to until I spotted the red tailed hawk sitting in a tree just a short distance from the two woodpiles. The hawk was obviously sizing up little Red for its afternoon meal. The squirrel’s survival instincts must have been pretty sharp because it never moved or even twitched until the hawk tired of the waiting game and flew on. To this day I still consider myself lucky to have been able to observe first hand, how an animal survives an encounter with a natural predator in the wild.
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Muskie Talk News
The next meeting of Southern Crossroads Chapter of Muskies Inc. will meet Wednesday, April 15 at 7 p.m. at the Eagles Club in Owatonna.
Our speaker will be Bob Schmitt of Just Encase Tackle Boxes. Hear updates, also, door prizes, raffle and plenty of muskie talk. Need not be a member to attend. Bring a friend and help improve muskie fishing in Southern Minnesota. See you at Minnesota Muskie Expo, April 10, 11, 12, At Concordia Univ., Gangelhoff Center, 235 Hamline St. N, St. Paul.
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Until next time, the smell of spring is in the air and it’s a great time to take in all the wonders that nature has to offer.
Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.