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Friday, June 1, 2012

Green Requires Grey

We have been suffering from a drought in the northern part of Minnesota for several years, and as many of you recall, last year the nearby wilderness area, the BWCA, was devastated by a large and fast moving fire, the Pagami Creek Fire, near the town of Ely. We were pretty frightened by that one. The fire came within 25 miles of us, not so close but close enough when you consider that in one very windy day last September the Pagami Creek fire spread over 16 miles, heading right for us! Yikes! So you can imagine that we were not amused at all when another wild fire hit near the city limits of Ely this year -- already, in MAY not at the end of a dry hot summer like last year! Fortunately that fire was pretty small (only about 200 acres instead of square miles) and was contained quickly.

But it was dry, nonetheless. Really dry. Scary dry. Way too dry for spring up here, which is usually sloggy with mud and wet and cool. So we are VERY happy to report a dramatic change in all that! About 5 to 7 total inches later, and things are looking up in the green and moisture situation! And for there to be green, you must first have GREY!

This was one morning during the week of May 20th, when we had numerous days of clouds, thunderstorms and lots of blessed rain.

Hmm...Where did the view go?

The sky was really interesting. Imagine these clouds scuttling by at 25 mpr...
 Every few minutes the light would change...
 On a slightly less damp morning, the misty mysterious view from our lookout...
 ...and Cascade Mountain partly hiding in the mist...
 ...bands of steel...
...a far, green country...'
 ...and the ghosts of some trees...
 Cascade River running with a very full flow... thankfully...
 Then things started to break up...

 ...and soon enough, the puffballs and blue skies were back! 
A carpet of woodland anemone...
 Cascade River again, sparkling and as loud as we've ever heard it...
 For the full experience... Click on the video... Don't fall in! Lots of whitewater and really steep waterfalls downstream between us and Lake Superior...
video


 Not sure, but I think this is a nannyberry, growing wild... and we just planted some! 
 Horsetail ferns, the ancient residents of the deep woods...
 Well, our gardens are sure loving the rain! I put in these yellow and red onions at the end of March (crossed my fingers and they survived some cold nights) and look how tall they are already! 

Here are both of our raised beds...
 We picked up some plants at the local grade school's plant sale... tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower... and of course, also put in beets, squash, beans, peas, lettuce, radishes... what did I forget?...
 And the sun came out! Wow, it is so much greener than just ten days ago!
 In walking about the property I discovered that there are wild roses growing right by our well! Mr. Ojard, did you put these here? Or did Mama Nature just drop 'em in? Either way, I intend to help 'em out and try to get them to bloom. Wonder what color they are? 
 Remember that view of the far misty green country? Looks different in the sunlight...
 ...and so does the Mountain...

 In case you were wondering whether anything ever blooms in a color other than white up here... don't know what this is, but the monarch butterflies love it...
 ... and one final shot of a diminutive yellow violet. 
Stay tuned for another couple of quick updates, coming soon: a cautionary tale, and a visit from a friendly bunch of explorers over Memorial Day weekend!

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