Archive for September, 2016

black lab in the mississippi


Yesterday’s Phenology: Coolish, and mostly overcast. A bit of sun later. Typical early fall day. A few leaves falling. Things a tiny bit more colorful. The usual.

Song of the day: Chaka Kahn – I feel for you

river grass


Yesterday’s Phenology: unremarkable.

Song of the day: Low, Plastic Cup

a moment on the prairie


In the field outside the dogpark.

Yesterday’s phenology: a cloudy cool start to the day, in the 50s, and then sunny in the afternoon and upper 70s. The sun is a blinding orange ball at the end of Lake St. on my morning commute.  Lots of dragonflies zipping about the pond today. A lone blue heron in the shallow water. Herons seem to be loners, and, perhaps related, they always appear to be annoyed about something. Perhaps they do not enjoy wading about in the shallows, day after day. Anyway. Milkweed pods are splitting open, setting free their silky treasures. Our Ironwood tree seems to have some sort of so-called fruit. Not the kind, I think, that you would eat. Unless you happen to be a Hawfinch.

The forecasters are predicting “heavy rain” for tonight and tomorrow. Flash flood warnings all over the south part of Minnesota.

Song of the day: Down in the Flood, Bob Dylan, 1971

gather ye pollen while ye may


The bees get a bit hysterical as the summer draws down. It’s deadline pressure.

Yesterday’s Phenology: Well, let’s see. Overcast morning and a few sprinkles, then sunny and warmish and a beautiful fall day. A sprinkling of red maple leafs on the ground in the park. I remember now that I saw a Wooly Bear caterpillar crossing the bike trail a couple weeks ago. Wooly Bears are widely known as reliable predictators of the weather. They say that the Wooly Bear has thirteen (13) distinct “segments” that are colored either black or rusty brown. The wider or the more brown segments there are, the milder the winter will be. The more black segments (or segment width. whatever.) the more harsh the coming winter will be. Rule of thumb: if more than a third of the Wooly Bear is brown, it will be a milder winter.

Unfortunatly, I was on my bike at the time, cruising at about 18 mph through a quick S-curve. While I did not smash the Wooly Bear (lord knows what that would have meant for the coming winter) I also was unable to scientifically measure it’s brown/black ratio. And so, well, we just don’t know. We will have to rely instead on the witchcraft and superstitions of the National Weather Service instead.

Two other things: it’s just kind of fun to say Wooly Bear. Whoever named those guys, nice job. And the Wooly Bear that I saw was moving at some serious speed across the bike path. Do Wooly Bears know about bike paths and mortality? Why does a Wooly Bear cross a bike path, anyway?

Song of the day – well, what else could it be? Wooly Bully! – Sam the Sham and the Pharaos, circa ’65


dog-park day!


This is not a great picture, but it does represent the general idea of  Sunday being dog-park-day, and how much Flynn enjoys it. As do we.

Yesterday’s phenology: Well, a pretty picture perfect fall sunday. Mostly sunny till late afternoon, not a lot of wind, which was good for the bike ride. The Touch-me-nots are ready to be touched. The sun set today at 7:17. Again, right on time for this time of the year. One of the more reliable aspects of phenology. Lots of raspberries on the bushes, and lots of bees also in the bushes. On my bike ride I did some calculations, and I figure we’re still about 95% green around here, with 3% yellow and 3% red. The red stands out a bit more than the yellow. I saw a blue heron (I think) standing along the shore of a pond while I was on my bike ride. He was fishing, and keeping a watchful eye on the pond and its approaches. I also rode by a hillside of Miscanthus all a-flower. (Pictures later.) All in all, not a big day for phenology, really, though I was out and about a good part of the day. Stopped on a bridge over Minnehaha creek, and noted just an occasional fallen leaf, aspens, I think, being carried down stream.

The political news is relentlessly depressing these days. But – on the bright side – it made me think of this song today while I was mulling and biking. Randy Newman – Every Man a King.



Second Saturday family art event at the Midtown Farmer’s Market is always fun!

Yesterday’s phenology: cloudy most of the day, and cool, and nice. 60s? Probably got into the 70’s yesterday, and now it’s into the 50s at night. We all know where that is leading. We have a waning gibbous moon tonight, very beautiful up there in the sky. And now I learned that a gibbous moon is a moon that is over half illuminated. Less than half is a crescent moon. Seems like I should have known that, but this is one of those little details that is easily glossed over amidst all the chaos of day to day life. But now I know. Gibbous. And crescent.

You’re probably wondering, gibbous? Where’d that come from? Well it came from the middle English, from late Latin gibbosus, from Latin gibbus: ‘hump.’ So that explains that. Case closed.

Song of the day: Vincent, Don McLean



Somewhere around Rosedale, in the parking lot of a parking lot for a parking lot deep within one of the many sub-mall spin-offs

Yesterday’s Phenology: A nice fall day. Came across a tree this morning that was a flutter with juvenile cedar waxwings. They were  not as colorful as the adults, but had the little head crest, and the mask over the eyes, and the bright yellow bar on the tip of the tail. There were a lot in the tree, and they were all jumping around, it kind of looked like fun. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology says that in the fall these guys will gather in the hundreds to eat berries, and we thought that might be what they were up to, but there weren’t hundreds of them. Maybe 30 or so. It was hard to get a good count. They were kind of noisy, though.

Other than that, not much. A single peal of thunder in the evening, but no rain, I don’t think. The sumac in our yard is edged with red in a couple of spots.

Song of the day: Goin’ Down, by… yes… the Monkees.