Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Friday, May 3, 2019

Turkey Time

 I have been in the wood
   but heard nary a Tom
so wonder then where
   have the Gobblers all gone

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

As promised

The loons are right here
the ice is gone
and other watery beings arrive

Monday, April 22, 2019

"The Loons Land Tomorrow"

She proclaimed it as truth
returning from the third dog walk of the day
down to the point
the edge of the shore
to see the melting ice
to breath in the moist north east wind
charting the course of the thaw
and the song of the white throated sparrow
and the rasping red winged blackbirds
staking their urgent claims
and mud was the colour of her dogs

Alder catkins ready to seed

 Ant swarm. She thought it looked a bit like spilled caviar.


Trumpeter swan greeters

 Still Life: Winterkill bluegill with Pin Oak.  The mechanism by which this fish arrived in the forest over 100 yards from the water's edge remains unclear.

Of course as soon as the snow is gone, come all manner of ticks.

 Only about a third of the ice has gone, but I determined an evening paddle and a first cast with crappie fly attached to the four weight.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Bare Ground on the Hypotenuse or Chinookiness at Last !

The trail to the mailbox is the shortest route from the house
to the outside world
if one is afoot

the cold finally snapped
after sixty seven days below the Celsius doughnut
and thawing arrived with gusto
five full degrees by mid afternoon
producing an actual glimpse of ground
rarefied air indeed

Friday, December 21, 2018

Winter Beginings

Today marks the start of the winter season as per the calendar and the axis wobble of the big blue marble. Winter weather has actually been here since early November, with enough sub-freezing temps, snow, ice formation and grey skies as to be nearly continuous, except for a few hours yesterday and the day before when the air temperature rose above thirty-two. So, during this longest night of the year, I am looking back toward the other Solstice.

On that afternoon in June, on the shore of Winnibigoshish, it was cocktail hour, after the crew and I had already burned twelve plus hours of daylight. We sat around on the deck of our host's cabin in a small clearing of the canopy in a large section of the maple basswood complex of northern Minnesota's Chippewa National Forest. The air was alive with flying insects, birdsong, and wind waved leaves as a true tropic cascade danced above.  We watched an explosion of frenzied dragonfly feasting on both seen and unseen targets. There were several different species of dragonfly present, distinguishable in size, as they patrolled the opening in the canopy and the clearing below. Mosquitoes, blackflies, deerflies, midges and mayflies were all on the menu. And there were woodland warblers darting through the whole mix, eagerly collecting the abundant protein.

And then there was something surprising that non of us had ever seen.

With an audible "splat", the largest of the dragonfly types crashed onto the deck at our feet. Clasping tightly around a captured meal, it consumed another, smaller dragonfly. We were stunned and wowed!

New information about the green darner suggests that migration patterns of these common large  predatory insects are becoming better understood.

The time required to completely consume the meal was eight minutes. Only the mouth parts of the darner moved as it ate its meal. The smaller odonta was just reeled into oblivion! We witnessed this phenomenon several times over the course of that afternoon. We even laid bets on whether the big predator would be able to fly off after such a large meal. I was on the losing side of that - with no struggle or hesitation, and one flip of its wings, it was gone again into the aerial hunt the instant that the other was finished.

So, I think I am looking forward as I look back. Isn't that the purpose of the whole seasonal celebration. Happy Holidays !!