looking out over the tip of a kayak on Lake Superior

Lake Superior over the tip of my kayak.

As Laura recently pointed out, things have been busy around here. Not just at Mudminnow but with everything else the three of us do. Hence, the unintended hiatus of Musings from the Minnow.  But, work or not, I’ve had a new kayak sitting in my garage for the last three weeks and because the weather finally cooperated I took it out this past week – several times. I suppose I could have taken it out earlier but it would have involved hauling it over snow and then paddling through icebergs. And honestly? My love of kayaking does have its limits. I’d rather work than haul a kayak through snow.

But the first place I headed was a couple miles down the beach to check out the bald eagle nest. The nest is still there, but there were no signs or sounds of eaglets in there. On one visit there was an adult hopping around on the rocks nearby, and on another visit there was one soaring overhead. But neither was exhibiting territorial or protective behavior. And on the last visit, no adults were visible.

And that’s kind of the tell tale sign – the lack of adult eagles around the nest. If there are eggs or eaglets in a nest there’s usually at least one adult eagle very nearby. But this year the nest is just part of the northwoods scenery.

Which brings me to the title of this blog. In the years I’ve been watching that nest, there have always been eagles there. I didn’t think I did, but obviously I took it for granted that I would always paddle down there and see eagles tending their nest and young. And there are plenty of eagles around here – the other morning I stepped out on the beach and there were 6 soaring overhead. There was one sitting on the rocks this morning. There just aren’t eagles on “my” nest.

It’s easy to forget that it’s a rough world out there for so many of our fellow creatures. When a spring snowstorm dumps on us, we mutter “Damn! I have to plow the driveway again? Aren’t we done with winter?” But for nesting and migrating birds it’s not an inconvenience … it’s deadly.

I’m hoping I’m wrong, that the next time I paddle down there I’ll hear squawking and see adults around. But sad as that, apparently, empty nest is, it’s also good to be reminded: Things change, treasure your present moments.  

                                                                                               — Lesley

One lone bean sprouts in my makeshift indoor garden.

One lone bean sprouts in my makeshift indoor garden.

There are still huge mountains of snow in my yard, I can’t even see my propane tank in the backyard let alone my wrecked garden bed, but lookie here…I’ve got sprouts in my dining room window! Not quite as exciting as bald eagles on the beach…but I’m happy.

I’m also always optimistic that this will be the year my little organic garden started from seeds in my window (and later planted in my backyard raised bed and/or in my village’s community garden) will actually be successful. The growing season this far north is usually pretty short but the sun is intense and with a little technology on my side like a hoop house over my raised bed this year maybe I’ll finally get a few tomatoes and even a butternut squash. I live in hope.

In the meantime, the other growing season for Mudminnow is our next book and here’s a sneak peek at the latest version of the cover…

Barb Flanagin's beautiful illustration for the cover of One Starry Night.

Barb Flanagin’s beautiful illustration for the cover of One Starry Night.


Winter Crafts

February 5, 2013


We might be experiencing single digit temps but that hasn’t stopped me from engaging in winter craft projects. And not just any old craft project, but one involving buckets of water.

I’ve been making ice candles and there are currently 24 of them sitting on my porch. Half of them look a little ragged because in the middle of this project we hit 3 days of +32F temperatures. But the rest are good.

I’m making them for CopperDog. Hopefully, they will line the CopperDog 40 finish line in Eagle River. I say hopefully because I’ve already learned I can’t count on the temperatures. You would think that in February this would not be an issue, but no. These babies could melt overnight.

So there you have it — this week’s fun and games in the snowy North. Possibly an exercise in futility, but I’ve got the buckets and the water, so what the heck.

                                 — Lesley 

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