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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I sure wish the weather would get straightened around and stay the temps that are appropriate for late May.

So far it has snowed twice this month and we have had frosts and a couple of mornings, temps in the mid 20’s. One thing that HAS been good because of this is that there are not nearly as many mosquitoes as there could be considering we have had some decent rainfall. I’ve been able to mow all season so far without putting bug spray on. HOO-RAY!!

BUT, on the other hand these temps are requiring me to get up about 30 minutes before dawn…THAT is when the hummers start coming to their feeders. I get up to make sure that the feeders haven’t frozen. You may ask why I don’t bring them in the night before…the hummers come to the feeders later than what I stay up! And I’ve have to get up early in the a.m. to hang them back outside anyway.

I titled this “What is up with Mother Nature” because of some of the things we have noticed over the past couple of years. First there is the lack of certain birds and over abundance of others. Late s ummer last year, the tree swallows left EARLY. They normally raise two broods; they raised one. We did not have near as many snow buntings last winter and the ones we did have left EARLY. We’re noticing less Evening Grosbeaks at the feeders. We haven’t had any killdeer in 3 years and we use to have them all of the time. They’d run behind the mower catching bugs that the mower stirred up. We’d mow out far around their nests so as not to disturb them. When the babies hatched, they’d bring them up to the bird bath. They were so much fun to watch….and now there are none. For the pat 4 years, we have less hummingbirds. This year, so far, all we have are two lonely males! I’ve seen one female ONCE. It use to be by the time their babies were “raised” and coming to the feeders, we could count 25-30 at a time. Last fall, we counted a total of 8. I’m beginning to think that West Nile has affected a lot more birds than the wild life biologists realize.

BUT on the other hand, there is an abundance of blue jays, robins, red wing black birds and of course those darn starlings.

Another thing this year is the quantity of PINE CONES!!!! I have NEVER seen so many PINE CONES!!!! The white pines dropped their cones in the fall/winter and they are all over the ground! When I’m mowing, it sounds like a Gatling gun! There’s no way I’d even try to rake them all up. They are all dried out, so I don’t think they are hurting the mower blades too much. There is LARGE fir trees in our campground that I thought were dying because the tips were so brown; from top to almost the bottom of the trees. I finally realized IT WAS PINE CONES!

The other day we talked about my total fear of spiders and how the wolf spider is a Yooper resident. THERE ARE A LOT OF THEM THIS YEAR TOO!!!! In fact, yesterday morning, I was getting ready to shower and there was one under the towel (which hangs over the shower curtain rod and curtain). He had NOT been there the previous day and already he had crafted this very cottony, silk home for himself (or herself??) in the fold of the shower curtain! I just about came unglued. Fortunately Dan was awake (well, truth be known, I probably woke him up with all the cussing and screaming), so he found the damn thing and killed it. ONLY ONE OTHER TIME IN 14 YEARS HAVE WE FOUND A WOLF SPIDER IN OUR HOME!!! NOW, I am petrified to get in bed, to put my leg in my jeans, to move a towel. I see a thread moving slightly in a breeze and I jump (I scream and cuss first) 10 feet in the opposite direction.

And one last thing that comes to mind is the amount of skunks we are “sensing” this year. We haven’t SEEN a lot of them, but we sure know they are around in abundance. They must be finding Yooper life very intimidating this year as many times as they let loose with their “delicate scent”. Yesterday morning, when it was so cold, you could tell there had been a skunk in the immediate area…and I do mean immediate. I told Dan “As cold as it is, maybe his anal glands froze and exploded!” It was BADDDD!!!!

So, we’ll just have to wait and see what kind of a summer we actually have with the weather and our “critters”. If any of you are noticing similarities in your area, I would be interested to hear from you.

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