My trusty navigator and I took a drive last weekend, to Cincinnati, my son and the Cincinnati Bengals. Our drive took us across miles of unseasonably barren farmland virtually devoid of snow.
I’ve been making the trip for decades. I don’t recall any year in mid-February when there was so much brown ground.
Continue reading Planet warning
Wednesday, California became the first state to require all school staff to get vaccinated or agree to regular testing. President Biden has said maybe federal employees can avoid being vaccinated if they are willing to be tested regularly for Covid.
Continue reading Water pollution is like a virus
Some people claim the stock market is an indicator of the health of our economy. In truth, as indicated by the newsworthy reactions of the Big Investors to being outfoxed last week by what they call “Dumb Money,” it is a way for (mostly already) wealthy folks to shuffle money around giving the appearance of making more of it.
Continue reading Trading water
As I was reading some stuff about water one morning this week, I was reminded of the water source of my youth – a twenty-foot deep hand-dug well. It sometimes is difficult to believe that we in 2020 are not far separated, measured sometimes by the calendar and sometimes by miles, from having no imagining of conveniences such as computers or water that simply appears at the turn of a knob.
Continue reading Water, water everywhere
I was standing by the stream when I noticed a wake tracking along the far bank. The head surfaced, and it crossed the creek to the salad bar.
Continue reading Muskrat in the afternoon
The legal description of the 50-acres of wooded shore front my parents owned noted a huge boulder at one edge and a brook at the other. The watercourse was called Smelt Brook because every spring the smelt – anchovy-size minnows used mostly for bait to catch larger fish – would run into it to spawn.
Fisherfolk from town would show up, as well, and that’s the crux of this tale. They would bring their beer and build small campfires next to the creek, and be sociable. The smelt ran at night when kids my age were supposed to be in bed, so dad and his long-handled, fine-webbed smelting net attended the party alone.
Continue reading It’s a privilege
I finally photographed my first Osprey.
He came up from a creek, across the corn field where I stood trying to grab
some pictures of Red-winged Blackbirds.
I wonder what he thought of the stranger standing alongside the road. He had seen humans, sometimes walking, sometimes driving a tractor, carving rows in the soil.
Continue reading The greatest show on Earth
Like the rest of us, when the cost of some new endeavor outweigh
the potential benefits, we balk at increasing our expenses. My mom had an aging
pickup and wondered whether it was time to trade.
Continue reading Clean water could become pricey
When I was about to retire from the Navy and move back to where I was raised, folks often would ask why I would want to move to the north woods.
“There’s nothing there,” they almost uniformly pronounced.
Well, not quite but, relatively, close.
Continue reading There’s nothing there
“Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me. I want people to know why I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren’t paved.” Will Rogers said that, and I agree. I have invested a considerable portion of my travels searching out unpaved roads. Or at least roads less traveled.
Continue reading Odometers, unpaved roads, and tire wear
Monday morning, the Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources cut a ribbon making a 560-acre parcel abutting Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve an access to Michaux State Forest. The move was a good one.
Continue reading Protect the trees, protect the water
When I was young, finding water was fairly easy. An old farmer would take a forked apple branch, some of the younger fellows used a wire coat hanger bent into the requisite “Y,” and head out to the area one proposed digging a well. It was called “dowsing.”
Holding the branch by the short legs, the long end poking out in front, the dowser would begin to walk around. Eventually, the tip of the divining rod would dip toward the earth. At the point the rod dipped deepest – hopefully, pointed straight down – the person in need of water started digging.
Continue reading Where’s the water?
I woke early Tuesday morning, to the sound of July thunder, and the splattering of humungous raindrops on the roof above my pillow. In my childhood memories, the lake ice is becoming unsafe to walk on. Soon it will turn to crystals that tinkle in the waves of a light spring breeze. One morning soon, the first loon of the year will issue the celebratory call announcing open water.
Continue reading “War on coal” ends, water is the new target
While many of us have been quibbling over the details of our Distracter-in-Chief’s latest tweet – or more recently, his sudden lack of early morning digital shouts to his public – most of us are, for various reasons, not paying much attention to some of the more important edicts he has, with less fanfare, issued and will continue to issue. It’s not that what he is doing is secret; too many of us are simply not paying attention.
When Scott Pruitt was made head of the Environmental Protection Agency, we understood on some level that he would like to abolish the agency, and there was media commentary noting the incongruity of placing in charge the guy who had mounted 14 lawsuits to block the his new subordinates from doing what their name seem to indicate they should be doing.
Continue reading States’ Rights an unsettling question
President Trump has been busy the past two weeks. He made some promises during the campaign, and he is trying to keep them. Or look as though he is trying to keep them. If unemployment rises, he will get the blame, so his claiming credit for job creation seems somehow fair, though he has little really to do with it, either way.
But his edict about banning immigrants from predominately Muslim countries has prompted me to consider my own genesis and belief on the subject.
Continue reading Times they are a-changin’
A few of us had a rather nice conversation on Facebook, of all places, the other evening. One could follow the discussion and read what each said and know which side each was on. We kept talking. The participants were respectful, though in agreement not so much.
Many of us are well acquainted with the “anonymous rant” some social media conversations take – someone, sometimes with an obviously assumed name, makes some oft-heard unsupported (and oft times unsupportable) statement about one presidential candidate or the other, a few people gang up with the first and for most observers it becomes a shouting match. When the shouting starts, the listening stops.
Continue reading While the king tweets unsweetly
At the tender age of about 10, I got my first lesson on the subject of cleaning up after oneself. We’d gone to visit Gramma and Grampa in Watertown, Mass., a little way out of Boston. I always liked visiting their home, a really old-fashioned place with a parlor – a small room off the living room, home to a couple of rocking chairs no one actually sat in. In fact, the big set of double French doors to the parlor was rarely not closed.
Continue reading Finishing the job
Seasonal weather finally is upon us, maybe. Temperatures should be in the 40 F range, and they’re often in the 60s, but last year this time they were in the 80s, so I suppose it is a bit more seasonal. The juncos, looking like flying preachers in their white shirts and dark gray capes, have returned. Nearly all the other “snowbirds” – what northerners who move south for the winter are called – have departed for what they hope are warmer climes.
Continue reading Environmental Prognostication
TThree Black Vultures showed up in the backyard Tuesday and headed for our stream. They were not looking for food; they craved water. They hover over us every day; that was the first time any of them landed so near our house.
Drinking water is in short supply in many wild places. We are in a time of year when water levels often are low, but Marsh Creek, in places where it normally only is low, is nearly dry. I was shooting pictures of a pair of Great Blue Herons looking for enough water to support a fresh frog for lunch when a Mallard drake swam by, about three feet over the surface of what used to be the creek. There was more water in the humid air than in the stream bed.
On a nearby fence rail, a dozen starlings sat with mouths open, panting. Other critters presumably have found shadier places to await sundown.
Continue reading It’s getting hot out there
Fishing season started this week. It was too darn cold to brave the squadrons of fisher-folk who’d be gathered in all the most productive places, though I did buy my license.
When I was a lad, we were one of two families living year-round on the lake. Some summer folks from town had their weekend-only cottages in clusters; between the clusters were large trees that passing storms had pushed into the water, and lily pad farms where the broad leaves and deep grasses hid lunker Chain Pickerel.
Continue reading Fishing season opened this week