November’s new moon brought a mix of drizzle and snow. Parts of Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shore were still abnormally dry so the moisture was welcome. Between grey days sun rained down. Opening day of gun deer season on Nov. 21 was sunny and mild; the deer cooperated for some hunters. Seasonable temperatures had everyone wondering when the first serious snow would come. In 2019 more than 3 feet were recorded in some places from mid-November to Dec. 2.
Around Chequamegon Bay a new sort of farming has caught on. Two large electric providers have created solar-panel gardens. Recently a group purchase of photovoltaic solar systems brought even more solar electric generation to private homes in the area. Many folks are now farming daylight to make electricity; like other farmers they look to the sun for a crop. Visit www.cheqbayrenewables.org for more information.
Thanksgiving has come and gone. There was much to be thankful for but for many also much to be desired. It’s good to see the effort made to feed hungry folks during holidays. But hungry people also need to eat on days that aren’t holidays. With such abundant food produced in our nation how is it so many people still know hunger well?
Harvest is mostly finished, as is fieldwork. Farm stores are still open, some with holiday specials. Local yarn and knit goods, flour, pastured meats, milk, ice cream, preserves, syrup, eggs, cider, beer, wine, spirits, mead and more are available. Visit www.feastbythebay.org/listing-of-local-farms.html for more information.
Grass-fed-beef operations report that winter is here. For them winter starts when the cattle leave their luscious green paddocks to begin to feed on hay.
Ships continue to arrive at Port Duluth-Superior to load grain. At mid-season outbound grain shipments were ahead of 2019. The shipping season for ocean-bound ships continues into December; the season for ships on the Great Lakes officially ends Jan. 15. It’s interesting that in our modern era we think humans, not nature, determine the start and end dates of Great Lakes shipping.
This year the deep winter snow that covers bare ground as well as summer triumphs, human disasters and forgotten tools will be especially welcome. Like hibernating bears under the white blanket we hope to awaken to a fresh spring full of promise.
Jason Maloney from Washburn in northern Wisconsin lives between Lake Superior and the orchards and farms of Bayfield County. The retired soldier and educator grew up on a family farm in Marinette County.