minnesota but not metro area

redwing, and barn bluff

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Yesterday’s phenology: a damp cold. A damp gray cold. A damp gray rainy cold. Sparrows and geese and a single flashing blue jay that swooped by on our way to the dog park.

Song of the day: Carole King – (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman


1160, Redwing

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Yesterday’s Phenology: Another grey day hovering just over the ice line, 33, 34 degrees, mixed precipitation. This is suitably November-like weather. High of 35, 2 degrees below normal.

Song of the day: Aretha Franklin, (You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman


leaf, redwing

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Yesterday’s Phenology: a good day to be in-doors, even if at work. What they call “a wintery mix.” Rain, sleet, freezing rain, snow fell in varying degrees all day long, while the temperature hovered at about 33 degrees. A bit of slushy accumulation, slippery spots in the roads. Mostly people drove sensibly. (Though more sensible to not go anywhere.) Tonight they are predicting more of the same, though perhaps a bit more on the snow end of the spectrum. Where’s the shovel?

Song of the day: Aretha Franklin, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman


The Bard of Redwing

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This Shakespere  fellow is up on the outside of the Sheldon Theater in Redwing. It kind of looks like he’s doing time up there.

Yesterday’s Phenology: A beautiful October day; sunny and in the mid 50s. Seemed a little bit breezy in the later afternoon. Needed to scrape ice of the car windows in the morning, which is never fun in the pre-dawn dark. Or ever, really. I’ve been looking extra hard for phenology the last couple days, but there’s not much to report. We are getting the last raspberries out of our garden, and they are very good. Same with the kale. Have we finished putting the winter storm windows up? No, we haven’t.

Song of the day: Joe Cocker, With a Little Help from my Friends


minnesota mid-state landscape

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One last shot from the drive up to Hibbing is the soft mist and the early morning rain. (Cue: Gordon Lightfoot).
(Actually we listened to “The Lonesome Touch,” which was just right.)

Yesterday’s Phenology: Awakened by more thunder, more lightning, more rain. We got about an inch of rain, a little less, which puts us almost an inch of rain ahead of normal for September. Things are pretty soggy here. I can remember a lot of falls where everything turned brown in August, and stayed brown till it snowed, and I guess I’d rather have this. Everything is very green. More rain predicted for tonight and tomorrow.
However, I think it’s hard on the raspberries, which are also pretty soggy. I was startled while in the raspberry bushes by a large, low-flying bird, that swooped low over my head and then over by the fence. I walked over a bit closer and watched for it, and eventually saw it pop up. I think it was a broad-winged hawk, but that’s mostly a guess. I only saw it from behind, it was a beautiful brown. I got a glimpse of a lighter colored chest and then it swooped off. I was unable to catch a look at its tail feathers. Broad winged hawks are fairly common in Minnesota, though I’ve nowt seen a one, until, perhaps, today. I thought it also might be a Cooper’s Hawk, but I think the eyes are a bit more colorful on a Cooper’s hawk. Broadwings like small prey, and this one was near both our bird feeder and our compost pile, where I bet small prey might be found occasionally.
Alas, I had no camera with me. Why not?


rainy ride north

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From our last trip to Hibbing.

Yesterday’s phenology: totally pleasant. Fat red raspberries waiting to be picked. Tomatoes also waiting to be picked. Is this the peak of Goldenrod season? Bees buzzing happily, but it’s hard to walk through the yard without bumping into the Goldenrod.


a rainy drive through minnesota, and the return of phenological notes

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I’m a guy who likes a rainy day, who prefers a rainy day, and a dreary grey rainy landscape. My sister tells me I would like it in Ireland, and I’m sure she is right. This particular view is on the way back from Hibbing this past Saturday. Perfect driving weather. Especially if you are not actually doing the driving, but instead scrunched down sleepily in the back seat, gazing at the misty landscape as it slides past.

Yesterday’s Phenological note: Pretty typical late August weather. Sunny. Hot. Humid. Add 200,00 people into the mix and you have the Minnesota State Fair. Which we are missing this year, for a change. I’ve noticed that our second crop of raspberries is coming in, and there is an abundance of various flowers busily flowering in every corner of our yard, attracting clouds of flying Insecta. The Goldenrod is getting out of hand in spots. The Morning Glories are bright blue and cheery. Driving home from the funeral home last night I could see a lot of lightning in the north, playing in the clouds, and at home the radar revealed slow moving thunderstorms that seemed like they may or may not ever arrive. As I type this, though, I can hear the first rolls of thunder, so things are looking up.

I see that the Milkweed pods are fat with seeds; as we went to the Tiny Diner a couple of days ago we saw a few Milkweed that were crowded with Milkweed Bugs. (Yes, a clever name. How did they come up with that?) We don’t mind individual bugs too much, in general, but festering seething masses of them just plain gives us the willies.

More thunder. Experienced phenologists are able to extract meaning from the various rumblings, echos, and peals of thunder. This particular thunder is telling me I had better get off the computer soon.