Even though the autumnal equinox was last Tuesday, it just has not felt like fall yet. The leaves have certainly began to turn, with bright red maple leaves covering the forest floor on top of the sumac which gave up its leaves a couple weeks ago. The ash is pretty much down as well and the aspen and oak are beginning to think about turning color too. The hawks are streaming past Hawk Ridge in Duluth and the V's of geese are heading south as well. Its a big year for apples in northern Wisconsin and the calendar says we are officially into the fall season but the plain fact is that it just didn't smell like fall yet. Until mid afternoon Sunday, that is.
We were lured to the hunting camp with visions of grouse flushing in front of the shotgun but when we strolled in late Friday night and I saw a trailer full of dimension lumber sitting by the site of the long discussed cut up shack, it became apparent that the DeWalt drill, rather than the shotgun, would be the tool that separates us from the apes this weekend. It was the perfect weekend for both framing buildings and grouse hunting. A front had moved through during the night and cleared the clouds but it was not the classic fall system, with rapidly moving scattered clouds and a cold, dry northwest wind. Nor did it provide that first hard frost of the season that hay fever sufferers have been waiting for. This was a wimpy southwest wind that had no chance of giving us that cold air and triggering the decaying leaves, damp ground, brisk fall smell that was missing. It was pretty good weather for building in a T shirt however, and we 'made hay while the sun shone'. Fresh sweet corn, a sirloin tip roast garnished with horseradish produced the weekend before, and apple crisp also told us mentally that we were in the midst of fall but still no smell. I thought that my switching from Summit Kolsch, a superb new Summit offering now known unofficially as Konstruction Kolsch, to Summit Octoberfest might trigger the change but no luck.
Sunday morning broke with another weak front moving through. We had a couple showers but nothing to make a person lay down their hammer. We saddled up about 1pm and headed for Mora, where the VOR had left her car. About halfway there the wind blew up out of the northwest and the temperature dropped from 68F to 49F in the space of about 15 minutes. When I got home I checked the nearshore forecast and found that small craft advisory had changed to gale warnings and that 9-12' waves were forecast for areas within 5 miles of shore on western Lake Superior. More importantly, when I opened the patio door to let Rookie the Wonder Dog outthis morning, the fall smell had magically appeared. Fall is most definitely in the air!