Environment & Outdoors

Larry Weber joins us to talk about the winter issues that fascinate him, including something called "albedo." We also hear about how the January thaw affects the wildlife we see this time of year and how you can tell it's coyote mating season.

The ice ain't nice

Jan 12, 2018
Apostle Island National Lakeshore

There are a lot of things that are bad even though you can't tell by looking at them.

People, for example.  Novels. And ice. 

For example, the ice surrounding the mainland ice caves at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is abysmal.

In fact, it's so  irredeemably bad the only hope for opening the ice caves this year (they last opened in 2015)  is if a northeasterly wind blows it all out "to sea"?  "to lake"?  and new ice can form.

Bad ice is dangerous ice.  

Andreas/Flickr

Seed catalogs as wish books - and then mulch, flamethrowers as weed control and the many varieties of kohlrabi as we celebrate the Vegetable of the Year and 2018 itself.

Sharon Mollerus [via Flickr]

It has been so cold these past few weeks, it's enough to make one think that everything in nature has burrowed down deep for a long sleep. But if there is anyone in our community who can remind us to look around to see that is not the case, it is educator, author and naturalist Larry Weber, and he joins us every Friday for Backyard Almanac.

Michael Rael [via Flickr]

Larry Weber observes the cold temps ending this month are in sharp contrast to the warm temps at the end of November.  Our precipitation totals for 2017 are 6 inches above the normal average.  We reach perihelion on the night of January 2 when the earth is closest to the sun on its annual orbital journey.  There will be two full moons in January – on the 2nd and the 31st, and there will ALSO be two full moons in March – on the 1st and the 31st!  Larry is conducting his Christmas bird count today.   He has seen many tracks in the snow; mammals are out and about despite the cold temps, includ

storebukkebruse/Flickr

Jason Carpenter/Flickr

Larry Weber says the darkness of this week leading up to the December 21 winter solstice is should be embraced, and a walk (or a cross country ski) under the starlit sky just a little "dose of humility."

©Bryan French

 “And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. 

©Lisa Johnson

Every year, Tom Kasper runs down his list of good gifts for gardeners.

And every year, the most popular is still the gift of your time.

©Lisa Johnson

For The Birds host Laura Erickson stepped into the breach this week as the "emergency auxiliary backup Larry Weber" (after Larry was sidelined* with a bad cold),  armed with information about snowy owls and a Robert Frost poem off the top of her head.

*the expression "sidelined" comes from the world of sports, as Laura herself alluded to a text message after agreeing to sub for Larry this morning:

"But actually, I don't know how to do that -- just talk for a minute or longer.

apalca/Flickr

Tackle box? Check.  Ice auger? Check.  Life jacket?

Huh?

Your best chance of surviving an accident on the ice of a frozen lake or river this winter can be summed up on two words: life jacket.

MaryRN

This week on The Sea Grant Files, host Jesse Schomberg brings us insight and information about the transportation of crude oil in and around the Great Lakes region.

red.raleigh [via Flickr]

We speak with Jennifer Teegarden, a forestry outreach specialist with the MN Department of Natural Resources about how the DNR goes about selecting the holiday tree to be placed at the Minnesota Governor's residence each year.  Also, she recommends using real trees rather than manufactured trees as they can be mulched and returned to the environment – storing carbon rather than releasing it. 

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