August is cue for ‘get everything done that you should have done over summer and didn’t.’ It’s the absolute worst knowing you have a mountain of house projects, yard projects, or any project, and now you're losing daylight and nice sunny days to complete said project. We are your typical procrastinators, especially when the wilderness is calling to you and the sunsets are gloriously pink and orange - who can say no to that?
The loon calls even seem to mock us and sound more like desperate calls to come and visit for a tidbit before they leave us for good. The birds are now in a hurry, frantically hustling around the yard picking up odds and ends of leftover seeds and flowers. The rose breasted grosbeaks said their last goodbyes and we’re assuming the hummingbirds are not far behind them. And there we are stuck with a shovel or paintbrush in hand daydreaming of when life was slower and we were just enjoying summer nights in a canoe or around a campfire.
As dramatic as this may sound, that was us this month haha! We were truly in a race to complete as much as possible around the house that we lost all sense of time and direction, and before we knew it, the daylight faded away and temperatures cooled. The wind and chill of fall started to creep into our house and the canoe parked itself in our garage slot. At least we get good views from our deck to take in whatever summer vibes nature’s willing to dish out.
In our own hustle and bustle, we managed to make time for a short paddle on the water. We were worried the loons were gathering and leaving and so as important as it was to wrap up our own to dos, we grabbed our life jackets, paddles, and our camera gear and headed to the lake.
It was quieter than the lakes had been in past weeks, but there were still 4 loons that must have been trying to hold out the last days of summer for as long as they could manage. We snapped some photos of them and were pleasantly surprised at how blue the water looked against their black and white feathers. Still, both of us in the canoe felt a bit robbed of time even being in such close proximity to these beautiful birds, it was almost as if we both knew we couldn’t turn back the clock and regain what we’d lost.
Despite our lack of exploration this month, it seemed that wildlife knew of our busy schedule and came to us. One cool August night, David came flying into the house out of breath and told me to look outside.
Here was a large black bear hanging out by our deck, hee-hawing around the yard. We had put out water dishes for the birds and he meandered up to them and just starting lapping up the water. “Thirsty ole bear” I whispered so as not to startle him since our windows were all open. We watched him for a while before he headed back into the woods where he had come from.
Again, the next night I had been preparing to go out and water the flower gardens when I looked up and noticed there was the same ‘thirsty ole bear’ making his way towards our deck around dusk. This time he was a bit more curious of our yard and approached the house closer. Still left with some daylight you could see his large paws and winter ready figure.
We snapped a quick photo in the dark lighting as he took another good refreshing drink, and made sure to tell him he was welcome anytime. He came back each night for a few days and we noticed that he was probably drawn to our wild raspberry bushes for an evening snack and we were happy he was putting them to good use.
Bears for us are truly special. They have the most incredible scent abilities, amazing personalities, and fit the stereotypical Pooh bear, waltzing around searching for any smackeral to eat. Any time we have the opportunity to come across one, even for a split second, it’s a great reminder that they too enjoy and love the north woods. We continue to remind friends and family that any encounter with wildlife (big or small) is about mutual respect and to embrace that they have allowed us this opportunity to be among them. Our favorite moments are when they look you directly in the eye, noticing your presence, and simply continue on to whatever mischief they were up to. That trust is gold.
About this time, turkeys also make their way back to our property. Large groups use some of the trails we’ve established in our woods to march their way through, bringing their young with them. They wander around the yard clucking to let us know they’ve arrived. We are very welcoming of their presence, snatching up all the bugs the flower gardens and grasses attract. Then when they are set to leave their big wings take off and glide over the hill in search for a new area to hit up.
The remainder of August flew by us like the geese heading south overhead. We stopped and looked around us at the flower gardens that held such beautiful hues of colors on their petals weeks before, now dried out and drooping. Noticeable bites were taken out of the hostas from the deer passing by signaling that food in the woods is starting to become less and less, and the bright greens that once donned the trees were taking on yellow and brown tones.
When you live in the north woods as we do, you notice the seasons change around you so much more. You’re more in tune to nature and to wildlife’s patterns that are dependent on those changes. You have to say goodbye to a great many things, and you find yourself feeling a bit empty without them to greet you in the morning and the evenings.
In the spring and summer, we’d make it habit to open all the windows in the early morning and hear the waking up of the world. The pileated woodpecker would drum his beak into the bark of the trees, songbirds would be singing pretty tunes, mornings were full of life. Now the transition to fall will take on its own beauty and we will try to appreciate what’s to come. Farewell summer...until next time.