Thursday, August 15, 2013

August afternoons

Fresh picked ‘Yooper’ blueberries!
Photo by Diane Hutte

Bounty in the northland


In addressing the apparently common conception that summer is nearly over - no it is not. We are in the midst of festival season, people! Shape up.

Now is a great time to run the rivers in a canoe. The rapids are raw with the water being low, and the water being low is the best time to scout out areas that are normally hidden from plain view. This is a good way to find potential fishing spots, and also track different sub-aquatic species that use the river like otters, mink, and muskrats.

August is also traditionally a prime time of year to go for a dip into Lake Superior. It may be a little cooler in the greatest of lakes right now due to an unseasonably cool past couple weeks and cool rain, but it's not going to get much warmer, either. I love swimming in this lake and recommend it to everyone who visits - it's incredibly refreshing. I always try to jump in Superior when visiting the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, no matter the time of year.

Camping is also an excellent choice. With the cooler temperatures, a lot of the most irritating insects have waned greatly in their local populations. Mosquitos are seemingly hard to find, biting flies have not been an issue, and ticks have slowed to a crawl (haha).

Plus the cool nights are great for campfires, and if you're like me, make for wonderful sleeping comfort. Late afternoon still warms up nicely, especially if the sun comes out, setting a great stage for late summer fishing. Oh and just to clarify, there's plenty of daylight left. The sun rose at six o' clock sharp this morning, and looks to set at about 10 after eight tonight - don't waste those daylight hours!

Soon enough folks 'round here will be trudging to work in the dark, arriving home in the dark, and spending a lot of the day indoors. Life is passing us right by and if we don't reach out and grab it we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

It's not too late…


In fact timing is just right for gathering berries in the U.P. and northern Minnesota. Phone reports and Facebook photos are showing high yields of wild blueberries in those northern reaches. Wild raspberries are popping up in some places and soon blackberries will join the fray of delicious wild fruits growing out of the land.

The Bayfield Apple Festival is still months away (Oct. 4-6), but northern gardens are reaching their potential with peppers, tomatoes, and onions already. This means that a trip to the local farmers market should yield a healthy selection of fresh, delicious crops to choose from. Allow me to suggest going to the farmers market, picking some products out, and making up a dinner in your head as you browse. This can be a very relaxing and enjoyable way to spend a lazy afternoon.

And that's just it - lazy afternoons - it's not too late for more of them. Push aside a few items from your schedule when the mood strikes you, and just kick back. The way the clouds are rolling through the blue sky, with crickets chirping day and night, and the recent, cooler air holding just a hint of autumn in its scent - don't let that pass you by.

Do you have a favorite activity to fit into this part of the year? Is there a secret berry patch or certain activities you enjoy during mid-August? If I don't know about it, please let me know! I'm compiling a list of all the potential fun I should be having right now, and I need your help!

See you out there,
A woodsman in training.

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