I was just getting ready to settle down in a comfy chair with my first cuppa when I heard this critter just outside the window by my chair. Of course: photo time! This was through the screen, and pretty early on an overcast day, so mostly it just proves there was a pileated working on the hemlock.

Overcast lakeview

A little later, down by the lake…very quiet (tiny off-shore breeze, so only the teeniest shusssshing waves), and very overcast. Stayed overcast all day, and cooler than we’ve seen since right after we got here. The fall color is beginning to show up stronger, but still the leaves are overwhelmingly green.

Change day

Crocks leaf

Oh, I thought, so picturesque…the crocks on the neighbor-deck with a new-fallen leaf.

Leaves aground

Then, later, I looked under our maple, and sure enough, this is the day the leaves began to fall. There were the odd two or three here and there before…but today they came down by the dozen. And not because it was super windy, or even more windy than usual (mostly).

Yon eagle

Down at the beach, I caught the eagle soaring out of a tree back from the beach, and looping around the point to leave me alone. Eagles are loners, most of the time.

Follow-up on the weather: sometime before sunset, the weather went from hot/rather humid, to cooling off more than it has in quite some time (very early in Sept). It’s now in the lower 60s out…and dropping. Extra blanket tonight!

Critters comma latest

Critter fog

I went out while the coffee was dripping to catch a few shots of the fog obscuring the trees on the other side of the field. I thought I’d improve the framing by getting the legendary hillfort basil in the foreground. So often a surprise…this time…

Critter fog hl

…on the left lateral branch of the ancient apple tree…a chipmunk feeding or stuffing her/his cheeks…and, in the distance, a deer, after snorting, turning her/his back and running away, white flag high.

Basil spider

Later I returned to the basil, trying to decide when to make pesto, or a basil purée…not today, but soon…. [Perhaps you can discern, under the right-pointing leaf, a daddy-longlegs (or spider with similar physiology).]

Still, life

Windowscreen cobweb

I’m not sure that the spiders who festoon the window screen are all that successful. Makes a pretty pattern, however.


We took a pre-cocktail stroll down to the beach to see the waves rolling in (kinda). They were pretty tame compared what Florence is kicking up in the Atlantic!

I spotted a swimming leech from the dock and zipped back to dry land to divest myself of shoes and socks. Took me a while to find it again. Several attempted tosses and I lost “him” in the water, then found “him” again a few minutes later. Still wasn’t sure if I managed to throw “him” out of the water (hope so).

And, yes, the pebble was in the shell when I found them among the wrack.

Woods_n_water wander

Flashy bee

Over in the Refuge, we found this bee. I don’t know much about insect types, but this merged yellow-and-orange striped tinting of this bumble? bee, doesn’t seem familiar.

Rose hips

Also on the wildlife walk, we found rose hips. No rose feet, however. And, no, we didn’t collect any. National property regs, you know.

Mouth Hurricane creek

I don’t think we’ve ever skipped visiting the mouth of Hurricane Creek when we’ve been up that way. We found that the present configuration has a long sand spit channeling the brownish river water to the west before the actual merge with Lake Superior. [No lampreys attached to rocks—that I could see—this time, unlike in July.]


Look at this bright green stone! Seems out of place among the browns and greys! For a moment, I even wondered if it was a plant! Not a plant-plant, but a joke-fake-plant. Skeptical me!


Lavender aster type

Ah, autumn flowers…Goo_ing suggests that this is a late purple aster. Looks like an aster. Color can accurately be called purple. And it’s late in the season. So, on the surface, I’ll take “late purple aster…” plus the photos match—heehee.


Sorry to those who are not fans of fluttery creatures. I could not tell what was up with this one (fluttering but “stuck” to the plant)…however, I did manage to get a frame of the wings (reasonably) “in focus,” not an easy task!

Stay warm; it’s getting chilly out!

Small critter stories


In the fields and open areas, the predominant bloomer during this phase of the season is the goldenrod. Sooooo many times it sports these galls…I forget which insect has deposited the next generation in the stem, and the plant makes the gall around the eggs/whatever.

Foam beach

Yesterday’s wind made beach foam!

I wondered if it left us discombobulated leeches, too…only found two small ones…maybe the cycle of life means mostly/only small ones/new crop…. TMI, I’m guessing.


Cone processing

Out and about, I stood under a large pine (mentioned before here) and I was in a rain of cone-parts. Here’s a spent cone amidst conifer detritus.

Squirrel watching

This afternoon, after two brief rain-events (with sunshine between), I spotted this rodent eyeing the street (unfazed by my activities). Is this a belly-cooling pose?

Basil story, NorthCountry 2018

Basil ringfort

With a generous daily measure of water-added, the basil in the ringfort has been productive.


Today we harvested, and the volume was good for a giant dollop of a pesto-like sauce for a big pot of dried tortellini (not to be confused with tortelli or tortelloni…for example).

However, it is so dry weather-wise that unless there’s rain after we leave, these tender plants will NOT make it, and there’ll be no later-season harvest.

Gitchee-Gumee visit

Me n LkSuperior

Indeed, the focus of today’s expedition was seeing Lake Superior. That’s me in bug- and sun-resistant clothing. No fashion plate am I. Turns out, today, almost, close-to NO bugs in this area.


There at the mouth of Hurricane Creek we spotted two lampreys. I never remember seeing them in the wilds before. Scarred fish, yes; the critters, no. That brown “ribbon” across the middle of the frame: lamprey.

Bookstore deli

Instead of our usual return-to-Grand-Marais to lunch, we continued west and dined in a deli-coffee-bookstore in Munising. Yum. Such a lovely place.

Swan trio

On a lark, we also did the Marshland Tour at the Refuge, and of course saw many Canada geese and swans. Most of the swans were far from the car, but this wee-family was close by. I will not mention the clouds of deer flies that rode on our rear-view mirrors; such a contrast to the near bug-free conditions on the south shore of Gitchee-Gumee.