Written by William Butt, reproduced from the Fortune Teller
Some old sayings are true - March did come in like a lamb. The first two days were super; the countryside was perfect, a carpet of white lay over the land, the quads and skidoos were the outdoor persons dream, the country was alive with travelers going to and from cabins way back in the bush.
A few could be seen on the ponds looking for a few trout, but they were really out for the boil up, the fishing holes were just an excuse to get away.
As one looked over the country from another angle the snow looked like puffy white clouds that had fallen to earth, just waiting for someone to explore. As I rode to the high country and looked back down into the valley I could see the small objects flying across the puffy white. A cloud of white dust was left behind to drop to the earth to await the next rider.
My thoughts soon turned to warmer days as the sun shone on my face with great warmth. I was tucked under an over hang of snowdrift and the wind was on the other side of the drift. Like the frosting on a giant cake, it was as if you could almost see the cake underneath. Itís funny how oneís imagination thinks of food. This too was an excuse to get ready for the boil up, but up here there were no trees, and what would outdoor tea be without a few spruce pin boughs slipped into the kettle when the boys had their backs turned. A few would hope that you would, so down we went to the edge of the river. A couple of our majestic friends of the forest caught our scent or heard the machines and scurried out of sight but left their footprints deep in the snow. We heard their departure but left it at that.
Nature plays a very important part in all forms of life. It all has its beauty if we just take time to look a little closer. The things around us are for us to enjoy and most of us do. Some of it is for food but we must be very careful not to overtake - it takes a long time to rebuild. I think more time and effort should be put into educating our children at an early age, in school and home, about the benefits of the protection and management of what Nature can give. To take only what we must to survive and leave enough so it will rebuild itself is a lesson well learned at an early age. Nature, if treated right, will give us lots of enjoyable days on the country.
We must not forget also, that in the months leading up to spring and the warmer temperature, the water in the gutters gives off a little heat from the bogs. This honeycombs out the ice and snow covering. Be very careful. You could be in for a bad spill and a long walk home. To avoid this, travel with friends on your outings, make your outdoor recreation enjoyable; leave the countryside free of litter in and around Fortune outdoors.
March month was not true to old sayings. It came in like a lamb and went out like a lamb. What a month of great weather. The outdoor life was great and we took advantage of every little bit. Is this a prelude to our coming summer? If it is, I canít wait!
The snow is going fast. Flower boxes are coming into view. I looked in a couple of days ago. To my surprise, I saw green shoots of snow crocus, daffodils, and other green early spring plants reaching for that little bit of warmth from the morning sun. I, too, was reaching for the sun. As it moved up to a very warm day, I found myself sitting on the patio, shirt off, catching a few rays from the haymaker and dreaming of better days of summer.
On one of my many country trips this winter, one was very disappointing. It was my trip down through the country from Fortune to the Golden Sands. We came across a young bull moose that was taken down by the coyotes and eaten alive, so to speak. One could see where it was the soft tissue that was started on first. The poor animal must have succumbed to death in a very gruesome way. We talked to people from Lawn that came upon it while the kill was in progress. They said there were about 15 coyotes in the pack that took this poor creature down.
I think, as outdoor people, we must press the wildlife people to do something about this pest that is overpopulated in this area. Our moose will go the way of the Caribou on the peninsula Ė not one to be seen. Between poachers and coyotes, in five years they will be a thing of the past.
As you roam about the woods looking for wood to boil up, you notice a few partridge tracks and close by one can see where the coyotes are tracking them. The snow is a great place to see just what is happening in the great outdoors. It leaves telltale marks on the snow; almost anyone can read the signs.
The warm weather gets the blood flowing for the outdoor gardener. There is so much to clean up after the winter. Snow has caught lots of garbage that blows around and seems to hold it for spring clean up. Old flower stems have to be removed from the beds. We do that, but many times I wonder Ė are we taking out something that nature wants left there for vitamins for the new coming plants? We have most of our garden for flowers done. Now itís on to the plants for berries and fruit trees. Itís a full time job, to care for all the little things that we love doing, to make it more beautiful.
This month brought another visitor to our town from far away. It was a beautiful white egret. Itís of the blue heron family. This was an adult bird. It had a wingspan of nearly four feet, yellow legs and yellow bill. The neck on this bird is nearly two feet in length and is in the shape of the letter Ďsí while it is standing on high legs, waiting to spear fish or frogs. He is a fisherman. It was seen in many parts of Fortune. I saw it in the Cashmere Brook, near the entrance to Tomís Pit. A number of walkers saw it the same morning. I had a few phone calls about it also. This is a tropical bird. Are we getting warmer? I hope so. It is nice to see such lovely birds in and around Fortune outdoors.
Warm weather has come at last; spring fever is in the air; the weight watchers, along with other walkers are out in full force trying to loose those extra lbs gained over the winter months. We all try very hard to get rid of that bulge around the waist but, try as you might, there are still so many things happening with dinners one finds it very hard to cut back. Most of us have that sweet tooth but I do believe I must have more than one.
As in other years I was invited to the close out of the Sir Humphrey Gilbert Sea Cadet Corps inspection. Like other years they really put on a splendid job, showing their training programs really works. Itís so nice to see our children of Fortune doing their thing and doing it well. I commend them and their trainers for a job well done. Of course the end result is that there is always a social - lots of food and on goes the weight.
To make matters worst for those of us who are trying to tighten our waist line a wee bit, Branch 25 of the Royal Canadian Legion, Fortune had their close out dinner. With lots of pork chops and chicken barbecued for dinner, several kinds of salads, desserts; you could eat all you wanted to and think about it later. How many miles must I walk to rid my body of those extra pounds gained over the weekend. A special thanks to the Ladies Auxiliary for the desserts and thanks to membersí wives who made salads plus other things to make the close out dinner a great success .The president closed out the Legion meetings for the summer in a fine style.
There have been other sightings of different birds in this area; some, I might add, are very colorful. They are frequently seen at the feeders, some are back most everyday so I donít think they are just pit stopping to fuel up for further flights, I think they are here for the summer. If they get a chance to breed here they will be sure to come back to their birth place. If you see a different bird in your feeder take a picture. If you donít have a camera handy, write down the colors it will help to find the species in the bird books.
The Fortune nature trail is drying out. Make a hike up the trail; keep your eyes and ears open for new sounds and sights; and donít be in a rush to get the walk over. Stop whenever you can and surprise yourself at what you can see on your hike. Itís a wonderful way to spend a morning. The fresh air is nice, the country is beautiful, you came for the walk - enjoy it by adding quality time to your hike
On my hike I saw rabbits, teal ducks and lots of song birds that were flying around looking for worms and other insects. The gulls have taken up their watch along the shallow parts of the brook flats where the young trout are congregating; they are feeding on the algae that come in with the tidal waters and of course the gulls know that their
breakfast is there too. Some of the younger trout make it up into the deeper water of the brook out of the reach of those sharp beaks that are always searching for food.