Happy Earth Day!
I would say plant a tree, but it just so happens to snowing pretty hard outside right now, and um, whether or not we have only 9 days until May, spring has apparently quit the job.
I’m feeling pretty bad for those geese I wrote about last time – poor confused little guys.
So, in short, there’s not much news here; but I promise to say if it ever warms up.
Well, wish all us poor cold Minnesotans luck.
A huge snowstorm blew into MN this week – it certainly still feels like winter, with so much snow on the ground. But since I spent all that time outside shoveling, I counted 3 flocks of canada geese flying overhead in just half an hour. I’d nearly forgotten about the geese, but when I heard their familiar honking I realized how few birds there have been around here; especially waterfowl. Well, they’re back, along with budding maples and daylight lasting until past 6 o’ clock.
Well, in just about two days it has turned from sunny and warm to freezing with snow. Woke up this morning and snow was falling thickly, and it hasn’t stopped yet. It’s pretty thick, too. Guess it’s time to put away the rakes and get the snow shovels out!
Hey! I know I haven’t posted for a while, I recently came back from a trip to Massachusetts & Rhode Island. The weather’s a whole lot warmer there. (It’s in the 50’s here – brrrr.) I saw a bunch of new animals, mostly birds (salt water means a lot of species I don’t normally see), such as mute swans, sanderlings, & common terns. But surprisingly, some of the most interesting species were also the smallest. Getting closer to winter, caterpillars are becoming active. In the holes in tree trunks and other little cozy & protected spots, it’s easy to find wooly bears. These fuzzy orange & black caterpillars live a long time, wintering underneath bark & in hollow logs. When spring comes they spin cocoons & transform into the yellow & black Isabella tiger moth. It used to be thought that you could predict the harshness of the coming winter by the thickness of the wooly bear’s orange stripe: the thicker the stripe, the milder the winter. There’s a lot of skepticism over this, but there’s also some good evidence. There are also monarch caterpillars – not-fuzzy yellow & black caterpillars you almost always find on a milkweed plant. Since it’s September, these caterpillars are eating up for their long flight to Mexico when they become butterflies. There are several generations of monarchs born each year – the fall generation lives the longest: 6-8 months! It’s pretty cool the things you discover when you pay attention to the smallest things in life.
This morning, the weather was sunny & moderately warm. (For February anyway.) In a few hours, it changed to a blizzard it’s hard to see in. The weather here is pretty much instant. For some reason today, the wild turkeys were out, just hanging around on the streets in the middle of everything. Many of the animals don’t mind the cold, & actually seem to be more active in bad weather, gathering food. Probably this is to keep themselves warm. But with their thick winter coats, the cold doesn’t bother them very much.
The weather has finally warmed up! temperatures are above freezing, & everything is melting. (However, as soon as I start to believe that, we’ll probably get 6 feet of snow.) The birds & the animals are loving the weather. I saw a few goldfinches recently, feasting on some thistle seeds. Starlings have started to show up too. There are puddles on the sidewalks several inches deep. Water is everywhere, & even the snow on the river is washing away!