Archive for October, 2016

Happy Halloween!


Yesterday’s Phenology: A very fall-like day, overcast, a chilly breeze, in the mid-40s. Went to the dogpark in the morning, and many of the trees there are bare, especially so at the top of the trail, but even down below, by the river there is a nice soft carpet of leaves for the dogs to run on. And run they do. Had some fresh-picked raspberries with my granola this morning. Unusual for late October, but I may still be getting some in November, by the look of things.

Song of the day: the Police, Spirits in the Material World

there they go…


Yesterday’s Phenology: It was a nice day for the last day of the farmer’s market for the year. Overcast, but pleasant temperatures. It sprinkled rain now and then. We could remember other end-of-the-market days that were bitterly cold and windy, and were glad that it was not. It started raining more assertively at closing time and rained through the afternoon. The streets and sidewalks are covered with the fall leaves, and looked beautiful in the rain. There are still raspberries to be picked, and I also picked a few tomatoes today that seem questionable, but I applaud their perseverance. There were a number of tomatoes that gave it up in the last day or two and lay on the ground about the tomato patch. 48 degrees as bedtime approaches.

Song of the day: Frank Sinatra, The Best is Yet to Come

autumn gold


Yesterday’s phenology: 71 degrees! And breezy, as the warm front pushed through. We still haven’t had a hard frost in the Twin Cities, and I heard the weather guy on the radio say that we are approaching a record for “length of growing season.” If we make it to Halloween it would be the third longest on record (202 days.) We would have to get into the first week of November to set a new all-time record.
Anyway, an unusually warm day. Probably not a good thing, as it speaks again to global warming. But we must take it as it comes, I guess.

Song of the day: Flight of the Conchords, Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymnoceros

bald eagle at rest


I thought I would wait around and get a great picture of this guy taking off from the tree. But I had to take off before he did.

Yesterday’s Phenology: There’s a lot of different kinds of phenology blogs out there. Some offer long and overly-detailed descriptions of the every minute detail of the changing of the seasons. Mine, on the otherhand, consists mostly of hastily written complaints about vaguely remembered weather.
Today, however, was another day that I was in the office all day, and did not venture out till late. It was a nice enough day, though. Overcast and dry.

Song of the day: Dave Brubeck, Take Five


gifts and oils


Yesterday’s phenology: Dark and rainy morning. Flynn did not enjoy our morning walk, in the dark, in the rain. 10 hours and 25 minutes of daylight, and I think I was at work for 8 of those. A month ago we were at 11 hours and 56 minutes. A month from now we’ll be at 9 hours and 9 minutes, and Thanksgiving will be over, and we’ll be listening to Christmas music while huddled around candles in the cold and the dark.

Song of the day: David Bromberg, Dehlia

now here’s a rare bird…


That’s a vintage B-25, I believe.

Yesterday’s phenology. Overcast and chilly. I’ve noticed that a lot of the red leaves have fallen from the trees. At least up in the Maplewood area. At least, around the pond near where I work. At least, in the little area that I looked at today. How’s that for phenology?

Song of the day: Bonnie Raitt, Bluebird



Yesterday’s Phenology: Worst. Phenology. Blog. Ever.
Beautiful fall day. Sunny and upper 50s. Haven’t seen any Hummingbirds in awhile either.

Song of the day: Bruce Springsteen, State Trooper

morning, dogpark


Yesterday’s phenology: A beautiful morning, upper 40s, sunny, a little breezy, and so many leaves were falling, and swirling around, and blowing in piles across the sidewalks and streets. It clouded up a bit in the afternoon, but still very pleasant. I don’t think that red-winged blackbirds migrate, but I haven’t seen any in quite a long time. Perhaps they’ve gone on vacation.

Song of the day: the Rutles, Get up and Go

done for the year…


Yesterday’s Phenology. Another perfect fall day. Sunny and warm enough. Went to Minnehaha falls, which is roaring this year. Kicking through dried leaves on the sidewalk, and I’m starting to see rakes and leaf piles. Street sweeping signs are starting to appear. Early in the morning, before the sun was up, I saw Orion overhead. Winter is Coming.

Song of the day: John Prine, Paradise

colorful autumn


Yesterday’s Phenology: Beautiful fall day. However, a work day. And thus, little phenology of note. Very dark in the morning on my way to work. Not that bright out later, on my way home. But brighter than it will be, lo, these dark days of approaching winter.

Song of the day: Johnny Cash, I Walk the Line

that time of year


Yesterday’s Phenological Observations: Yes, the leaves were not as nice as the day before. A cool fall day, a little bit breezy, high maybe in the mid 50s. Very chilly last night, and even with the moon out, there were a lot of stars visible. I get to work now before the sun comes up, which makes me think it’s about time to change the clocks, so that I am driving into the sun again. Falling leaves are commonplace now. Pretty, but ominous. Winter is coming.

Song of the day: Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, Tenderly

morning crow


Yesterday’s Phenology: Every day the trees seem like they are at peak color. But today, I think, was really the day.

Song of the day: Glen Campbell, By the Time I get to Phoenix

morning dew


Yesterday’s Phenology: Perfect Fall Day (PFD). No Observed Phenology (NOP).

Song of the day: Paul Simon, Anji

early autumn leaf


Yesterday’s Phenology: Well, surprisingly warm this morning. Mid 60s? And the air smelled like city, not healthy, so I suspect one of those temperature inversions where the cold air up on top was keeping all the warm city air trapped underneath. It stayed mostly overcast the whole day, and then in the afternoon a hard rain fell, with thunder and lightening. Roughly an hour or 90 minutes of hard rain. Ten hours and 51 minutes of daylight today. (Ten hours and 22 minutes if you happen to be in Northern Ireland.) On September 25th it was 11:59 minutes of daylight. So, though the days are short indeed, with barely enough time to do what needs doing, it’s worse in Northern Ireland. So take heart.

Song of the day: One of my Irish favorites, Paddy Tunney, The Lark in the Morning

more rain


Yesterday’s Phenology: chilly morning, 39, quiet a lot of dew out there as we went to the donut store. Then to the dog park, and still dewy. The upper part of the trail was golden, leaves falling, golden leaves carpeting the ground, really beautiful. The lower part of the park, along the river, was still pretty green, though leaves were tumbling down. We saw a couple of bald eagles flying low, headed south down the river. That makes 4 eagle sightings this week, which is a lot for me. On the afternoon bike ride, the prairie was brown and yellow, but mostly brown. It was getting warmer at the end of the dog park walk, upper 60s, low 70s, but became cooler and overcast in the afternoon, during the bike ride, with an annoying headwind both as I was headed west and then headed back east. The sumac in our back yard, which was ablaze with red a few days ago, has now lost about 90% of its leaves. And now, as I write, a little thunderstorm rolls through. Winter is coming. And tomorrow is Monday.

Song of the day: Elvis Costello, Welcome to the Working Week


rain day


Yesterday’s Phenology: The days are short. Up before the sun, to get to the farmer’s market. Surprisingly warm morning, followed by a overcast day and temps in the upper 60s?  All in all, a good day for doing outside chores to prepare for winter. Because Winter is Coming.

Song of the day: Melanie – Candles in the Rain



Yesterday’s phenology: A windy fall day, but the leaves, while brightly colored, are reluctant to fly from the trees yet. Soon though. Because winter is coming. Today, though, was a bit warmer. Nice to see the wind blowing across the pond, kicking up little wind patterns. The geese around the pond seem more sullen than usual today. And there is a lot of them. Hitchcock’s The Birds might not have been so scary if he had focused on geese. They are big and they are surly, but they just don’t look really threatening, somehow. Especially when they are waddling in your direction. Anyway, he didn’t use geese, and the movie was a hit, so there you go. I wonder if I can just go a whole year with just talking about geese phenology. Well, probably not, as they are a bit scarce in December/January.
A very pretty evening, with clouds racing across a nearly full moon.

Song of the day: Richard Thompson – Oops, I Did it Again


the last good tomatoes


Yesterday’s phenology: A brighter day, fewer clouds. We missed the Hard Freeze they were warning us about; there’s a sense of relief out in the garden. Dodged a bullet, all the plants are thinking, as they bask in the sun of another fall day. Life is good. The autumn leaves seem remarkably colorful this year. Just like last year.

Song of the day: Ali Farka Toure & Ry Cooder – Bonde



Yesterday’s Phenology: Winter is coming. I thought that perhaps I saw snow falling in the early morning when I took Flynn out for a walk. Tiny tiny flakes. Perhaps I was wrong. But then, later, my phenological observation was verified by a colleague at work. She had also seen it. Snow.
Later on, we were back to Fall. It was cooler today, in the 40s, and breezy, and cloudy, and the autumn color may be at its finest right now, with some trees splashed with yellows, oranges, pinks, and reds, while others stubbornly cling to green. The contrasting colors are beautiful. Perhaps saw the white-throated sparrows today, perhaps. They are predicting a Hard Frost tonight, and so I’ve picked the eligible tomatoes and raspberries. We’ll see what happens. Winter is coming.

Song of the day: Harry Nilsson, Spaceman

sunny afternoon, a family outing on the pond


Yesterday’s phenology: Well, the trees are looking very nice, about 50%. Our sumac is losing it’s leaves quickly. Yesterday was a partly sunny day, up in the low 70s, I think. Raspberries are still coming in, and I noticed tiny grapes on the house vines, where a hundred birds have been gathering in the afternoon, chirping like crazy, feasting on grapes.

Song of the day: John Coltrane, A Love Supreme, part I

a hillside covered with Miscanthus sinensis. I think. On a bike ride out to Hopkins.


Yesterday’s phenology: Cool morning, but not frosty. Temp up in the 70s today, and a breezy afternoon. Saw a bald eagle perched on a dead tree over a wetland on my way home from work. He (or she) seemed bored.

Song of the day: Joni Mitchell and Johnny Cash: The Long Black Veil

gone to seed


Yesterday’s Phenology: The trees locally are about 40% colorful. Still very green, and only a scattering of falling leaves. The trees along the Mississippi are very beautiful, though they seems a bit muted this year. Perhaps it’s just me. Where are the grapes? I haven’t noticed any grapes growing on our vines. We have a wild grape vine on our fence and a tame grape vine on our arbor. Odd. A “brisk” morning today. 36? The days are getting remarkably short.

Song of the day: Cowboy Junkies, Sweet Jane.

great blue heron in a small suburban office park pond, surveying his domain


Yesterday’s phenology: The crows were cocky this morning around the pond in Maplewood. After besting that hawk yesterday, they are all full of themselves. Crows RULE. Meanwhile the geese and ducks I don’t think even notice the crows. There are probably a couple hundred of them around the pond, coming and going. They seem to be working on their formation flying lately. The egrets and the heron always appear all by themselves, at the edge of the pond, looking lonely and forlorn while the gaggles of geese swim by in small flotillas.
A breezy fall day, and more leaves coming down more often. On the Lake Street Bridge, looking down at the Mississippi, I see the trees are about 30 to 35% now. Pretty colorful, nicely contrasting with all the remaining green.

Song of the day: Loudon Wainwright, I’d Rather be Lonely