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Jim Cumming - From the Publisher's Pen

Jim is the publisher of the Fort Frances Times Ltd. He writes a weekly column and can be contacted at jcumming@fortfrances.com

Resigned to the loss of trees

TREES

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

—Joyce Kilmer

Don't pass up the attractions nearest to us

I sometimes think that as a resident of the Rainy River district that I have not taken enough time to be a home tourist.

I suspect that many of us are that way.

As a family, we travelled to Winnipeg to take in the various museums and art galleries.

We headed south and visited the Historical Forestry camp in Grand Rapids, and the Minnesota Mining Museum in Chisholm with the kids.

We never travelled to Ely to see the wolves. Our trips came during the off-summer season destination.

Everything happens for a reason

Sometimes “things happen” as my good friend Phil Bangert would say.

This past weekend was like that and it became a bit of a trial.

We were heading to the lake. We were even leaving early to try and avoid the lineup moving over the overpass. We were on schedule.

We arrived at the boat landing, removed the top from the boat and loaded the supplies and groceries for the weekend.

We turned the key. Not even a click was heard. A new battery was needed and a quick trip back to the Fort was needed to acquire a starting battery.

Should we be worried about earthworms?

As I travelled the highway to Rainy River delivering papers last Wednesday, I could not help but notice the flocks of sea gulls in the field feasting on what I suppose are earthworms.

Gardeners love those earth animals as they break up leaves and other vegetation and leave behind rich nutrients for plants to grow on. I was always told that a healthy garden is filled with earthworms.

I know several fishermen who have patches of gardens that are designed to grow healthy crawlers to be used as live bait for walleye.

Paper could have a renaissance

Every two weeks we put two blue boxes on the boulevard. At our home, the blue boxes contain a mixture of empty cereal boxes, clear plastic containers that once held strawberries or some other fruit, salad dressing bottles and empty gallon jugs that once held milk.

Asselin Transportation collects all of the material in the blue boxes for the town and puts it all together for shipment to a Winnipeg sorting and recycling facility.

Getting the cabin set up for the season

We finally made it to the cabin.

Earlier this year, the International Joint Commission had expressed concern that flooding on Rainy Lake might occur with the record snow fall through the winter and heavy rains last October, but we were able to pull right up to our dock. The lake was higher than we expected.

There had been reports that Rainy Lake was much lower than appeared normal to many cabin owners at this time of year. In many a previous year, we often found that through the early part of May, a great part of the first part of our first dock was out of water.

Looking forward to trees blossoming

In the spring of 1980, my wife and I were on our hands and knees with shovels, bare root stock digging holes for shrubbery and trees. Today those same trees and shrubs are coming to the end of their lifetime.

We have watched and enjoyed them from the time that they were mere root stock. That was almost four decades ago. The silver maple in the northeast corner of our yard appears to be splitting down the centre of the “y” that were the two main branches.

The trunk now measures almost a meter in diameter. The tree will produce a lot of firewood.

Early spring is welcomed

It is lake time again.

Commissioner's Bay has already lost its ice. Creeks are brimming with fast flowing water. I have booked my boat to be ready for pickup this weekend and hope that I will be able to travel to the cabin for the first trip of the year.

On Easter Sunday, I was reminded by Facebook of a picture taken at the cabin in 2015 with ice still on the beach, deep blue water and bright sunshine. It may have been the earliest trip ever.

Sore muscles tell us a different story

Sometimes we think that we are younger and stronger than we really are, and all too often when we take on jobs, our bodies remind us of our ages.

Marnie and I have been remodeling at our home for three years.

Last year, we expanded the work to include an updated look to our rear entrance. Previously, a huge Manitoba Maple had occupied a significant portion of ground.

Once the tree was removed, a much more open area was available.

Changing of the guard

We have begun a new era at the Fort Frances Times with a trusted new editor.

My first writing adventure was an assignment by Mr. Steve Bond, my English teacher. At the time I didn't think of him as a good teacher but over time I have come to realize that he taught me about research, essay writing, and making sure assignments were in on time. He had no forgiveness as a teacher.