By John Matonich
I was listening to a local radio station the other morning on the way into the shop and the conversation between the two hosts was about the fall season. They were asking each other when you know fall has begun. I think it was a good question. We are past our peak colors here in “God’s Country” and I am sure snow isn’t too far away, but it is supposed to be in the high 60s for most of the week and that is a little unusual for this time of year.
I remember reading a piece once that said, “You know you are from the U.P., when your Halloween costume has to fit over a snowmobile suit.” I am afraid that has more truth in it than humor. The weather here is always very unpredictable and I personally don’t use it to gauge season changes. As an example, just a couple of years ago, we received 40 inches of snow two days before the start of deer season and by the time the month of November was over, we had received slightly more than 100 inches for the month. To contrast that, it was only a few years earlier when I remember the day before the season opener my brother visited his deer blind on a quad runner wearing shorts, a tee shirt and flip flops. What a difference couple of years make.
As for me, I always feel fall is here when school starts and football can be heard on the radio and watched on TV. As our schools typically start after Labor Day, it seems my internal clock changes the season to that of fall. The weather can still be warm and many years it is downright hot, but I know the leaves will soon be changing and the air will be crisper at night. It also means “bird” season is just around the corner and there is still some good fall fishing left to tackle.
I have had a number of conversations over the years on the best time to be in the U.P. and to me; it is from August 15 to October 15. I really enjoy this time of year. The colors are spectacular, the temperatures are typically moderate and there are all kinds of things to do. It will usually get cool enough in the evenings to encourage building a very nice fire in the fireplace, turn on a good movie or open that book you have been meaning to get to. During the day, you can still get projects done or simply take a walk or ride to enjoy the scenery. There always seems to be something that needs to be done to prepare for old man winter, but getting them done is half the fun.
We have a tendency around here to help each other get those projects done; so many hands make light work. Firewood is cut and split, tractors and snow plows are primed to handle the upcoming winter and the summer toys are put away to make way for the winter ones. It is a good thing my seasonal calendar changed right after Labor Day or it may be a short fall to get all this done and still enjoy my favorite time of the year in Da U.P.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …
After a 35-year career downstate amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.com.
Image credit: liz west