The Riches of the Boreal North…

Are not Gold – not silver – not diamonds – not trees – its something that each and everyone of us should recognize as clearly as the nose on our faces. It is so abundant that its effect is similar to the way the massive glut of gold devalued nearly every commodity after the Spanish Conquistadors rape and pillage of the Americas. Whenever I am confronted by this resource south of the boarder and have Americans speak of abundance I merely sniff and say, “You know nothing of abundance….”   What is the true wealth of the North?? It is it’s MASSIVE amount of insect biomass! It feeds the ecosystem vast tonnage of nutrients converting huge stores of every available nutrient into vast biodiversity and what we all love so much – fish and wildlife. This concept struck me the other evening as we were admiring the end of another fabulous Firth Lake sunset and were marveling at the enormous hatch of large green and slate drake mayflies. It was spectacular! thousands perhaps millions of the delectable flies emerge from the lake to have their swan song of mating egg laying and early death. The massive orgy provides almost every creature here with inexhaustible food for a couple weeks. Obviously the fish, but even more so the baby ducks and nesting birds of every species get a huge boost of growth fed by the highest quality food. The cascade to other parts of the ecosystem has just as profound a positive and longterm impact. We can easily observe and marvel at the amazing hatch because they are not biting insects. But as I am sure you all realize that is generally not the case with the other insects! Black flies, mosquitoes, no-seeums, deer flies, horse flies, ankle biters etc. all harass and annoy. Yet we should always understand that if any or all these irritating insects were to disappear the North would not be as productive and great ever again.

So as I said the annual Mayfly hatch is on and it is spectacular! Happy hours on the beach in the sun and watching this marvel is an honor. The biting insects are finally in remission too. Another of my favorite things to do during this high insect density time is with my bats. The bat houses on the side of the lodge are all occupied this year. Every night when I shut down the power at around 3am I open up the gravity water tank and go over to the patio. I point the flash light to the sky and shade my eyes from the beam then wait for my friends to visit. Tens of tiny winged bug eaters begin to buzz my head snatching the insects drawn to me and the beam. I hear the barely audible clicks and chitter of their sonar and conversations and I feel the breeze from their tiny wings as they swoop within inches of my head and face. What an honor it is to commune for scant moments with such divinely adapted alien creatures. I always feel so lucky when ever conditions are right for this and I am like Lou Gehrig perhaps the luckiest man in the world.


“Honey you look as fine as a brand new dock!”


No dock project is complete until Inspector Kevin does his in-depth check and falls off the dock at least once!

For the fishermen the lake is warm and the mayflies are hatching. Everything is as it should be. Fishing is slow now but will rebound with a vengeance. The new west dock is completed and installed and the Piscarious is now resting comfortably on the east dock in the warm welcoming arms of lady Firth. True to my internal vow I did not launch the Piscarious until the west dock was complete. Before I go further I should thank the many people that actually did all the work on the dock project – Paul, Charlie, Unckie Vic, Rob and Ryan in the procuring of the logs. Mike and Bill with the dismantling of the old dock and connecting all the logs for the new dock as well as drilling and placing the brackets and help with set up. Pat Cherry (one of the Evil One’s two friends) with getting the logs into the lake and distributing them and connecting them as well as decking. Pat swings a mean hammer even though it is small (sorry Pat). Also Lyle Beckett for the invaluable help putting the rubber bumpers on the dock. And last but certainly not least Joan for the generous sponsorship on the materials to complete the dock. As I look back on the project — if there were a commemorative plaque put on the dock all the people I thanked would be listed first and my name would be a mere footnote listed as the consulting engineer.

Riley continues to amble about the camp with Joan in tow and keeps every morsel of edible material off the premises as well as romping with the terror Kevin as a generous grandma would with grandchildren. Bart continues to keep the camp safe from marauding birds and squirrels as well as training Kevin. Kevin continues to grow and amaze us with his elan and joi de vive. He is a pup with boundless energy yet seems to sync very well with his old daddy. We seem to run out of gas at about the same time with similar results.


The Evil One took this picture clandestinely about a half hour into our nap time. I figured I should post it before it debuts on Facebook and I am derided by The Evil Ones two friends (Pat and Carol).

Kevin – like any wild beast lies in wait to ambush unsuspecting prey (aunt Joanie).


He is a constant source of amusement and inspiration.

Is this Heaven? —- No its Sportsmen’s Camp


1 thought on “The Riches of the Boreal North…

  1. Wow, that was an inspiring post! The dock looks great. You’ve out-done yourself again.
    I am looking forward to meeting Kevin and relaxing in an adirondack chair by the fire, while smoking a nice cigar.
    While reading your post, I felt like I was at camp for a moment. Nice description!
    Can’t wait to be there!
    Fun Al

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s