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Birdshot and backlashes

The engineers are busy Those furry, big-toothed, dam builders that live along the shorelines. One thing the wet spring produced was a lot of extra work for beavers. There must be something in their genes which does not let them allow water to run off anywhere. If it is a stream, they have to dam it. If it is a lake, they look for the outlet to plug. Among other activities, they like to jam culverts going beneath roadways, an enterprise which brings them into conflict with people.Not far from where we live, several beavers have dammed tiny streams going under the Fernberg Road. Lake County road folk are forever at war with the beavers, unplugging culverts, removing dams and beaver houses and otherwise making the rodents unhappy. But the beavers keep coming back. It is a never-ending conflict with no apparent winners.NEW WILDFLOWER CROPThe three-million-acre wildflower garden that makes up the Superior National Forest is in total bloom. Bright yellow Canadian hawkweeds, of the aster family, nod along roadsides, interspersed with bright white ox-eye daisies. Orange hawkweed, another aster, appeared last week in patches. Local folk know these blooms better as devils paint brushes, but just what the devil has to do with them is unclear. Indeed, how these flower became know as hawkweeds is sort of a mystery. We have never seen any hawks hanging around them. Somebody with more knowledge of flowers may know the source of the name and maybe they would drop us a note to enlighten us.Another, less prevalent aster, the yellow goats beard, nods in the sunlight like a hairy, overgrown dandelion. Pink wild roses are sporting their blooms which will be followed by bright red rose hips, a super ingredient for rose hip jam or jelly. Sometimes after the first frosts of deer season, we have simply stripped fruit off some of the branches and chewed them up when we needed a deer stand snack.Blueberry plants are through flowering and have moved into the berry stage. Currently, the tiny berries are white and hard, but if we get some warm days there will be a heck of a crop for picking sometime in July.Local stores have field guides for identifying the dozens of wildflowers in the forest. If the fish aren’t biting, it’s worth taking an afternoon off to hike the trails and see how many different flowers there are to see. It’s also a good time to prospect for future blueberries, particularly in spots a little way off the beaten path where other pickers are not apt to frequent.UP EARLY, UP LATEIt’s a fabulous summer for photographers. The skies at dawn and sunset are an ever-changing kaleidoscope of brilliant color. Huge white, yellow, blue and purple clouds allow beams of bright orange and yellow sunlight to peek through. On still days, it is all reflected on still lake surfaces with dramatic effects. It takes only a few seconds to record some of these astounding scenes, something to look at later and perhaps show friends and family members. The thing about sunrises and sunsets, no matter how many a person may see, no two are ever alike. The photographer gets one shot and that’s it, forever.

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