Archive for January, 2017

a little taste of summer, one from the archives, September 2007, monarch

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Yesterday’s Phenology: a dusting of snow overnight made the morning bright and slippery. We took a late morning hike to the dogpark, and the sun came out and it was a beautiful January day there, for awhile. The temps skyrocketed up to break 40, and then the clouds moved in again and more precipitation, rain? snow? and more of the same tonight. There were rumors of eagles and owls at the dogpark, but no, none were seen. Saw a few crows, though, and bunny tracks in the new snow. And lots of dog tracks.

Song of the day: Bobbie Gentry, Ode to Billie Joe


another monday moon

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Yesterday’s Phenology: A very bright object was seen in the sky over Minneapolis. Scientists tell us that this is called “the sun.” Presumably it is important, but today it was just annoyingly bright. It also created the illusion of warmth, though the temperatures stayed just about where they’ve been the last few days. So much for reputed importance of “the sun.” After the sun thing went down, there was a very pretty sliver of a moon in the western sky, with Mars nearby and Venus higher overhead. I guess there will be a Venus Mars Moon meetup on the 31st, watch for it in a sky near you.

Song of the day: The Cowboy Junkies, Blue Moon


the Castle has fallen

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Yesterday’s Phenology: Another cheery gray day, temps hovering in the mid 20s, a little breeze making it feel a little chillier than that. I was thinking about the birds that I’ve seen so far this year. The bird list has kind of come to a standstill. Geese and crows. Crows and geese. Crows and crows. Sparrows at the bird feeder. Deep, we are deep down in the January doldrums.

Song of the day: John Lee Hooker, Blues Before Sunrise


snow scape, footprints, time

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Yesterday’s Phenology: Today, late in the day, the sun came out a bit. The temp approached the freezing mark, but stalled out at 31. The sun was a big red ball on the horizon during the evening commute. Thousands of crows were flying about the Mississippi, near the Franklin Avenue Bridge. I saw them from a distance as I was coming down the hill from Prospect Park. They reminded me of bats leaving a cave. Headed towards downtown, along the river. Friday night crow party, downtown Minneapolis. After I got home I noticed Venus up there in the twilight sky as I was walking Flynn around the block. I pointed it out to Flynn. He cared not.

Song of the day: John Lee Hooker, Santana, The Healer


winter grass

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Yesterday’s Phenology: Just a few degrees colder and a few inches of fresh snow and it seems like winter again. Today I heard on the radio that we’re headed for another warmer-than-average month. Which will make 17 in a row. Which kind of makes me wonder if we will ever have another colder-than-average month. Today’s high was 29. Paul Huttner on the Updraft blog reports that 18 of the last 26 days have been cloudy or mostly cloudy. Squadrons of geese fly over frequently, going here and there. What makes a bunch of geese decide to go fly somewhere, some other little patch of water? Boredom? A mean-looking squirrel tried to drop a big branch on me the other day. Everybody’s on edge, it seems.

Song of the Day: John Lee Hooker – Crawlin King Snake Blues


winter kale

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Yesterday’s Phenology: After a number of days of gray overcast cloudy days, temps hovering about freezing, it finally decided to snow a bit. We got perhaps a couple of inches. So things look brighter and cheerier, a bit, I guess. Still, cloudy all day, and the temp peaked at about 31.

Song of the day: Johnny Lee Hooker, This Land is Nobody’s Land


winter tree

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Yesterday’s Phenology: The temperatures been hovering between 32 and 33 for about the last 20 hours, and the sky has been overcast since 2016, it seems. But today seemed a bit colder than yesterday (and I guess it was a couple of degrees colder.) And they sky seemed darker and the gloom that landed with a thud on 20 January has only deepened. Occasional couples of geese fly over the house, headed for the river. They cheer me up, their pristine goosiness.

Song of the Day: John Lee Hooker, I’ll Never Get Out of These Blues Alive


the long shadow of winter

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Yesterdays Phenology: Another March day, with a dirty grey sky and temps that stayed in the mid-30’s all day long.
Saw some crows today.

Song of the Day: Bootsy Collins, If 6 Was 9


another monday moon

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Yesterday’s Phenology: The song remains the same. Overcast, and in the upper 30s, drizzly. Snow ever receding, puddles spreading, reflecting the grim sky and barren trees, and crows, crows, crows.

Song of the Day: Fogarty and Springsteen,  Fortunate Son


“The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.”

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Mark Twain said that. This is a good time to spend some time with your dog.

Yesterday’s Phenology: More gray damp somewhat melting weather. Got up to 38 today. Heard a woodpecker tentatively pecking a bit while on the morning walk. Saw it climbing about in the branches. He looked dissatisfied. Perhaps a bit early for real pecking.

Song of the day: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fortunate Son


candle

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Yesterday’s Phenology: A suitably morose day, gray and depressing, with a heavy mist stinking of discouragement, disappointment, and dismay. The temp peaked at about 37 today, but there was a cold chill in the air as darkness descends.

Song of the Day: Bob Dylan, A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall


a whole lot of crowing going on

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Yesterday’s Phenology: Started out sunny and warmish, then turned cloudy and warmish. Temp peaked in the upper mid thirties. The January thaw is in full swing.

Song of the day: Charles Gounod – Funeral March of a Marionette


thorn time

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Yesterday’s Phenology: 41 degrees. Heard a host of depressing climate news on the radio this afternoon. Earth’s hottest year on record. For the third year in a row. Good article on this in the New York Times. Bright sunny day. Another parade of crows in the evening, on my way home from work, hundreds of crows headed towards the river. Very lovely.

Song of the day: John Lee Hooker, Blues Before Sunrise


late late late summer morning glory

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Yesterday’s Phenology: a grey, damp day, temps in the low mid 30s, and snow and ice half-heartedly melting, but not really trying very hard. The air was gray, probably not great air quality in the cities. A friend reported that she heard chickadees singing their spring song, but I only heard them coughing up there. With the January thaw approaching (Watch this space for tomorrow’s temps!) it makes me think that it’s time for the St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Sculpture contest, the most exciting 15 minutes of the winter. Get there early if you hope to see them!

Song of the Day: Bill Evans, My Foolish Heart


on his way to a crow party

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Yesterday’s Phenology: another pleasant January day, with temperatures just about at the freezing mark. Our first winter trip to the dog park, and it was pleasantly not icy, and busy with dogs celebrating the holiday. Later I walked across the Franklin Avenue bridge and saw about a thousand crows on the ice of the river, and another thousand in the trees around the river, and another thousand flying in from downtown. Some sort of crow party, I guess. The river gorge echoed with crows crowing.

Song of the day: Joni Mitchell, Black Crow


funeral torch, art institute

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Yesterday’s Phenology: the start of the January thaw? When I woke up in was about 5 degrees, but when we left the house about 1ish it was up to about 30 degrees, and we ended up sneaking up above freezing, up to 33 degrees. Needless to say, there was widespread enthusiasm for this. Bermuda shorts were out and the young folk were tossing frisbees in the parks. A nice sunny day, reminding us of what things can be like on occasion.

The Art Institute was crowded today, it being the last day for the Martin Luther show. I missed it.

Song of the Day: Orff, O Fortuna


dark side of the duck

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Yesterday’s Phenology: Not a bad day for mid-January in Minnesota. The temperature crept up to lower 20s, the sun was out, and there was a bit of melting in the streets. We’ll take it.

Song of the day: Anouar Brahem, The Astounding Eyes of Rita


the winter bike

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Yesterday’s Phenology: Another cold day. Seems to be a trend. Every January, seems to be cold in Minnesota. Today, -5 when I woke up. -31 in Hibbing. -39 in Crookston. I hate to think what the wind chill might have been up there. Makes -5 seem not so bad, like an early spring morning. A lack of new fallen snow was also welcome, and it was actually almost bright outside on my drive home from work. Perhaps this is the nadir of our winter?

Song of the day: James Taylor, Steamroller



winter trees

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Yesterday’s Phenology: Again, a couple of inches of snow during the night, and a couple inches during the day, after which it cleared and got cold. Beautiful big moon in the sky tonight, but not officially “full” until tomorrow morning. Speaking unofficially, it’s full. It would have been a fine day to stay home and drink tea and have scones. I hope someone got to do that today.

Song of the Day: Talking Heads, This Must Be the Place


late summer green

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Yesterday’s Phenology: Totally Minnesota. Totally January. Woke up to a rain/snow/freezing rain mixture that had the car coated in ice. A slow and careful commute to work. The plows had done some good work during the night. But then more snowing and blowing throughout most of the day, a couple of inches of dry powder. And then the sun came out and the temperature plummeted, from the mid 20s to the single digits, with -10 wind chill. Big beautiful moon out there, clean clear winter air. The snow is all lit up by moonlight. Saw an eagle swoop over the Lake Street Bridge on my way home, doing some hunting I suppose.

Song of the day: Tom Waits, All the World is Green


the great escape

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Yesterday’s Phenology: Downright balmy. It’s just kept getting warmer and warmer, until now it’s all the way up to 24.  We also had a bit of snow throughout the day, which was fairly pretty as it was coming down but made for a very long commute home, as the roads were covered with mush, making for tenuous footing and worse driving than usual.
But, the snow also showed a lot of nice rabbit tracks around the pond. Invisible rabbits. You never see them, but they are there.

Song of the Day: Graham Nash, Military Madness


This is kind of how January feels sometimes…

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Yesterday’s Phenology: Ahhh, January. The longest month. It warmed up to double digits today. In fact, still getting warmer, up to 16 right now. But an icy wind made it seem like another sub-zero day. Largely gray today. Only 200 or so days till cheery February arrives.

Song of the day: Smoke Fairies, Frozen Heart