Friday’s Weekend Column
Last Days of Fall

by James Glaser
November 19, 2004

That is what the weatherman is telling us. Highs will be about 30 starting Saturday and a little colder next week. It sure has been nice, with a warm fall you just sort of slide into winter. Some years we get hit with snow in September and it stays all the way to May.

If you are an optimist, you are thinking we might have a real short snow season this year and already it is going to be at least six weeks shorter than some years. I have seen years that the snow didn't come until Christmas, but up here we really do need the snow to insulate the ground, so water and sewer pipes don't freeze. Two years ago we had thousands of people who had their above ground "mound" septic systems freeze because there was so little snow. Having an outhouse up here is a good idea.

Today, Jimmy Martin came up to help me install a new sliding glass door upstairs. We started at 10 and were done, clean up and all, at 12:25. We amazed ourselves. The old door was a wood French door that was in the cabin when I bought it. The thermal panes had lost their seal and moisture would fog up between the glass.

The new door is a slider, where the old one needed space inside to swing open. Also the glass is a lot bigger on the new one and lets in a lot more light. I have a deck up there that is as wide as the house and the view is spectacular. I would have to guess that the floor of the deck is about 45 feet above the lake level and it is less than a stone's throw away from the shore, maybe 50 feet.

I can sit out there at night and look at the Milky Way or listen to the loons in the summer. It's quiet, private, and you are up there near the tree tops. In the summer there are no bugs because most nights there is slight breeze coming off the lake.

I hate to say it, but I think I am all ready for winter. You know when you say something like that, you discover something that you haven't done yet and then you are doing it in the bitter cold. Lucky for me, Jimmy noticed that the end of my dock was in the water and we went down and corrected that. The dock is 42 feet long and I pull it up the hill. I had it out for about a month and I guess with all the rain we had a few weeks ago the lake level came up a lot. Well it is fine now. If it stayed in the water, the ice would have bent the end.

I moved one big planter into my kitchen as I want to grow salad greens in it this winter. I get sick of just iceberg lettuce and want fresh spinach and arugala and maybe something new. I can get whatever I want down in Bemidji, but I don't drive down there as much as I used to. It doesn't seem right to make a 90 mile trip to buy salad greens. Right now I am eating hot dish made with sauce Charmaine cooked last year and canned. It is so spicy hot that my forehead beads with perspiration. I sure miss that woman's cooking and her banter during our meals.

Deer season will be over this weekend. I don't know how anyone didn't get a deer. My yard is filled with them, even in the day time. One doe will stand and let me talk to her for a long time. I keep telling her that she should run away when ever she sees a car or truck, but she just gives me that dumb look and bats her eyelashes at me. I think she loves me for my hostas, as she has eaten every one down to the ground.

We had a Barred Owl move into the neighborhood this week. I saw him fly down and grab a rodent right in the morning. They give a call of eight hoots that sound like they are saying, "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you." We have had a Great Horned Owl who says, "Hoo-hoo-hoo-hooo." I have only seen him one time, but I have heard him many times. Over on the blacktop road there is a snow owl that sits on the top of a telephone pole and he looks huge.

I like it this time of year. With all the leaves off of the trees you can see way into the woods and if you have the eye for it you can see a lot more wildlife. It is kind of like looking for mushrooms or agates. Once you know what you are looking for, they are easy to spot. Deer do blend in well, but if you look for their silhouette, they are easy to spot.

I have the workshop heated to about 50 degrees and that is just fine. In fact it keeps you working because if you sit back and relax, you get a chill.

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