You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
June has leapt into July, already -- summer hurtles forward ruthlessly
Summer guests at the lake -- Pugsley and Wednesday, not so terrible when they're snoozing. They're siblings, so they're very close; they're also younger half-siblings of our Choupette; it's complicated.
The first of July, we're off for our near-daily hydro-jaunt.
We've been informed that we are expecting a guest lake-pilgrim with us this afternoon.
Passing Adjidaumo, the centre island in the northern part of the lake
By a consensus of the participants . . . into the canal
Through the canal's little mid-lake, a.k.a. Mirror Lake
Our companion today is Bryan Pierce, the recently retired head of the Northwoods Land Trust.
Into the second part of the canal
A new bench for weary tourists, provided by the Pottawattomie Colony to the Northwoods Land Trust
Stopped by the spillway at the far end of the canal
Turning these awkward vehicles around in the crowded canal is always a challenging enterprise.
A land of primeval ferns
Logs jammed up against the spillway by recent rains
Back to the mid-lake, our turtle friend has appeared on his favorite log belatedly.
About 2½ years ago, some 430 acres (174 hectares) of forest around the lake, with about 4.4 miles of undeveloped shoreline, owned by a family trust descended from the original lumber company that ran a sawmill here more than a century ago, was donated to Mr Pierce's Northwoods Land Trust to preserve for the public good.
Mr Pierce shepherded that donation process at the time but had never seen the newly-named Yawkey Forest Reserve from the water, so here he is, on a mini-grand tour. With a few sensitive areas closed off for conservation purposes, most of the Reserve can now be visited by members of the public.
Bryan Pierce and Elke reviewing old times on the dock . . .
. . . under the glaring eye of one of nature's avian curses.
Another day, here is a more encouraging avian phenomenon . . .
. . . a very, very large family of cruising merganser ducks. Each summer, there is a family of mergansers of a mom with about 8 or 9 chicks paddling along behind, less a few that may fall victim to the predatory cycle of life in the wild over the course of the summer. But that looks like way more than 8 or 9 chicks.
There's no counting them with this little point-and-shoot; we'll switch over the Cousin Rob's superior camera.
So it looks like 16 little ones, herded along by their mom. Hmm, or by somebody's mom.
It's a mystery. But now they've lost patience with us and are repositioning across the lake a ways.
This is a little cove, at the back on a somewhat larger cove near the southern end of the lake, that's become interesting since the water level began rising some years ago. We're yearning to pedal in and have a look at it.
But first we must get through the tag alders that grew up mercilessly back when the water levels were lower . . .
. . . and are now still blocking the entrance to the cove. Our tag alder specialist is working at yanking the stubborn tree corpses out of the muck and disposing of them appropriately.
A promising start, but that's enough for one day.
Pugsly (the grey one) is a determined eater of his cat food and, in this case, of Choupette's as well.
Choupette can only hope that there'll be some left over.
A floral interlude
Another procession of mergansers, but clearly not the parade we witnessed three days ago.
We're developing a consensus theory: two cute merganser parades may have crossed paths in their tireless journeys round the lake, and some of the kids just followed off with the wrong mom. And so far, no one has noticed. Or maybe it doesn't make any difference.
5 July, and we're back for another go at our hidden cove.
The last of the big tag alders look ready to surrender to their fates.
But now our tag alder expert is tangled up among all kinds of bad things in the shallow, mucky bottom. Look at that propeller striving so mightily.
This will never work out for us.
It's a nasty looking little cove anyway, and only about two inches deep, probably no fun at all.
Perhaps a canoe or kayak would have a chance, but never a hydrobike -- we'll leave it to the cacophonous frogs lurking among the weeds.
Passing Ellie and Cathy on the way home
The flowery dock
And a flowery deck, too. But who on earth has stuck those decorations out -- oh, it was the Fourth of July yesterday.
A grey, rainy day; perhaps a day off the lake, then, snuggled up with an improving book
A feline interlude. Choupette is admiring the afternoon rain from a perch that can't be very safe and should have been impossible to get to.
-- Get down off there, you little malefactor.
You can't turn your back on this cat for a second.
-- All right, have it your way.
Agate the dog is normally afraid of Choupette, but this time it's a stand-off. And Agate even has his muzzle on.
Still another grey day -- we're going out anyway.
Just across our northern end of the lake, in front of those mansiony second homes in a row up here, we've come to salute the nice flag again but chiefly to admire this contemporary miniature version of a dory.
It's very beautiful, but hasn't yet been seen out on the lake, as far as we know.
The story of the loons. A few days ago, there were rumors that someone had seen the resident loons with two chicks; if true, they would be the first chicks born on the lake, we're told, in at least ten years.
And behold, it is true. Now we've seen them, but . . .
. . . we're not the only ones.
It's unkind of us, but now we're rather harassing the adult eagle from one surveillance perch to another. Off in one direction, and then . . .
. . . back again.
We're halfway down the lake now, and have accomplished our diversionary mission.
Cousin Rob's superior shot of the vile thing
Another duck, of an unknown genus
We're parting ways at the end of the afternoon . . .
. . . and heading north, back to . . .
. . . Mussent Point.
Choupette, eyeing the ceiling beam and dreaming