By John Matonich
As the leaves change color around here, there are lots of things going on. It typically means school is starting and the young folks head back to the classroom to pick up where they left off earlier this year. It also means football season starts and the local school teams kick it in high gear. I enjoy high school football, but it is a lot different here today than when I was in high school.
Our student population in the county has shrunk quite a bit. Besides that, there are a number of competing things going on to keep the local football teams from filling up. This year all 3 high schools in the county combined to create one football team. For many folks, this is tough to take, but there weren’t many options. Instead of rooting for the Wakefield Cardinals, Bessemer Speedboys or the Ironwood Red Devils, we now root for their combined team known as the Gogebic Miners. It is taking some getting used to, but at least it is still football.
The fall also means a spending time at camp. This camp time is a precursor to deer season, but the temperatures are reasonable and I find it very relaxing to sit on the deck at camp with no bugs and an adult beverage in hand visiting with folks from neighboring camps. Time is usually spent catching up on local news or sports. There is also plenty of work to get done. Fall seems to kick in a switch from non-snow items to snow items.
We make sure there is enough wood for the sauna, fix any parts of the camp that may need it and do any other fall-related maintenance. We changed a couple of deck boards last weekend that some local porcupines seemed to take a liking to. Also had some eve trough that needed new hangers and we still would like to stain the deck before the snow comes.
The same type of changeover happens at home as well. Took the boat out of the water the other day and made arrangements to have it winterized. I will need to take off the tractor’s mowing deck and replace it with the snow blower attachment. I know it is only September, but you never know when the white stuff will fall. I have heard it said many times that you know you are from the UP when you have to make sure your Halloween outfit fits over your snowsuit. I think I will wait a little on the tractor switch as we may have to cut the grass a couple of times yet.
I always smile when these changes happen as I know in just about 6 months or so, we will be switching everything back in anticipation of a nice summer. That’s OK in my book as I signed up for this when we moved back home after pulling the pin on Troll Land.
We seem to add a few new things to do every year and this year is no exception. A few of us local boys will be heading to Montana in late October to see if we can’t put some mule deer in our freezers. We have done this a couple of times and it is always fun. Good friends, good laughs and good venison make for a great trip. Besides it also means I don’t have to worry about that Halloween costume for this year fitting over my snowsuit.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …