Birdshot and backlashes

by Bob Cary

The two deer came off the big island in Jasper Lake, cutting across the surface to the main shore. The only thing was, they figured out that they probably couldn't get to where they wanted. Too much slush. The deer were up to their bellies in snow and slush. They stopped and stood in the snow, looking around, probably discussing the matter.<BR><BR>One deer says to the other: "Boy, you're a star! You said we could cross the lake here and go over to that patch of dogwood for breakfast and now look! We are up to here in snow and slush!"<BR><BR>The other deer says: "Aw shut up! If you are so doggone smart, how come you didn't say the lake was full of slush?"<BR><BR>Anyway, wherever the deer were going, they changed their minds and headed for the nearest shore. They got out of the junk and onto solid ground, which is where a lot of us have been the last couple of weeks.<BR><BR>The problem is: Edith won a nifty tip-up, ice skimmer and door mat in the Ragnar Snowmobile Fun Run a week ago. It was donated by Laura Zika from The Ledge Sport Shop in Tower and Edith was all excited because she never won anything in a drawing before. <BR><BR>The door mat doesn't have anything to do with ice fishing, but the skimmer and tip-up do. The tip-up is one of those fancy jobs called "The Cyclone Polar DeLuxe Ice Fishing Tip-Up." <BR><BR>Admittedly, it is a mouthful, but it is an impressive-looking device. As soon as the lake surfaces firms up, we are going to give the lake trout a try.<BR><BR>TIME TO HIKE<BR><BR>This is snowshoe time in the deep woods. There is simply no other way to get around if getting around is important. <BR><BR>Life goes on in the back country, snow or not and the story is written in tracks. Deer tracks, wolf tracks, marten tracks, fox tracks, weasel tracks, rabbit tracks. Even a few moose tracks. <BR><BR>Some of the bigger critters like moose, deer and wolves are spending considerable time on the plowed roads these days, where the walking is easy. They are a traffic hazard because they don't like to get off the road and into the soft snow unless they really have to. Sometimes they stand there until the last minute. And then sometimes, with the deer, they dart right in front of the car.<BR><BR>Anyone who has hit a deer with a car knows it is a mess. Not good for the car nor the deer, either. Hitting a moose is really horrific. Just as well run into a brick wall. <BR><BR>The problem right now is: with the high piles of snow along the roads, it is often difficult to see the animals until the car comes around a bend and there they are! Right in front of the fenders. <BR><BR>Nobody drives fast in the winter, anyway. That is, nobody who has lived up in this country very long. Just too doggone chancy.<BR><BR>BIRDS MAKING THE NEWS<BR><BR>Seems like a lot of media folk are up here these days. Taking photos and doing stories on the owls which have migrated south from the Arctic. <BR><BR>That and stories on the weather. This is one time of the year when the little community of Embarrass gets considerable attention. Probably because of Roland Fowler and radio station WELY. <BR><BR>Roland has been keeping tabs on the temperature down there and he calls it in to the radio station. Because Embarrass sits in a low spot, it is usually 10 degrees or so colder than anywhere else. Even International Falls which likes brag that it is "The Icebox of America." If the Falls is the Ice Box, Embarrass is the Deep Freeze.<BR><BR>It is a community made up of very hardy folk, mostly of Finnish descent, people who are tougher than dry tamarack. <BR><BR>Originally, they came here to farm. The growing season is pretty short, but they were good at raising potatoes. And cutting wood. And even growing a few cows. The story is they kept their cows in the house so they would both stay warm in the winter, but that's probably not so. <BR><BR>But it is so that Embarrass is the coldest spot around. And Roland Fowler is probably the country's coldest weatherman.<BR><BR>