March 13, 2012 - [BUMP -- Last night, 3/12/12, was the year's first warm night rain, about 60F. Yeah, as everyone knows, it's been a low-snow season (but we made the best of it! right?). So I got Henry and neighbor Ben revved up on the possibility and we went out to see what we could see at 9:30pm. Chief OYB Assistant Robert met us at the nearby Va... > Read
"Group of Seven" White Pines...
September 12, 2010 - It was neat putting two and two together this summer about the Group of Seven trees.
The Group of Seven was a group of Expressionist painters in Canada, who helped give a vibrant sense of identity to their national culture, for the first time. They did much work in northern Ontario, around Algonquin Provincial Park, a place... > Read
Jim McGrath: Super Local Nature Guy!
March 28, 2010 - [Bump up from 4/06] Jim McGrath and his family of super naturalists live near here. They travel around the state daily, teaching kids about snakes and frogs. OK, it seems like his whole family is part of the show but it's probably mostly him. And they teach people of all ages about creatures of all kinds. They take them outside and... > Read
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Gulf Specimen Lab Needs Help!
February 25, 2010 - Marine labs and aquariums are usually big places, funded by universities and vast enterprises. The Gulf Specimen Lab is the only independent lab on the Gulf Coast. It's run by Jack Rudloe, the guy who started the conservation movement down there---the only reason why that whole stretch isn't Disney already. Just one little guy i... > Read
Stuck in the Middle Again! Twixt & Tween Weather Blues
January 28, 2010 - Ugh! This is when winter is wretched. When it's cold out but not enough snow to ski.
But wait a minute... it'd probably be good for ice fishing, right?
And...maybe even ice skating! OK, I'll go over and check out the swamp behind my brother's house...maybe there's good ice there. ...Maybe even it's good out on Lake Lansing... > Read
Arc of Appalachia Preserves in Ohio
January 25, 2010 - Friends of ours told me about an amazing natural area. It's the Arch of Appalachia Preserves in South Central Ohio (near Chillicothe) and it's the most naturally diverse area in the USA, I recall them saying.
It's a last remnant of old growth forests in the East and it's been pieced back together into a network of eleven amaz... > Read
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Surprise Inside a Watering Can... !!!
July 13, 2009 - OK, we have a little old plastic elephant watering can.
Martha went to water the flowers today with it.
...And the water wouldn't come out.
She looked in the end of the spout.
And this is what she saw...
It's the frogs and morels time of year... [again]
May 18, 2009 - [Brought up to the front from 2006 and 2004.]
UPDATE 2006: What's the BEST thing about an "upnorth" spring? OK, lots of things, like frog music. But what's WAY up on the list? A wild meal! And what's the best wild meal? It starts like this...a saute of morels, wild asparagus, fiddleheads, and ramps. Find em, clean em, cut e... > Read
I Love a Beech Tree in Winter
November 24, 2008 - ...Because its copper leaves stay on.
I like how it stays yellow so late in autumn...it's one of the last bright trees. Then it turns copper against the white winter snow and deep blue skies. And of course you gotta love the hardness and toughness of the slow-growing beech.
But why do its leaves stay on?
Because it's ... > Read
October 21, 2008 - [BUMP from 10/13/07, which was bumped from 10/5/04] It's the prettiest time of year around Michigan. Our boy just had his birthday. During 'his' week the sassafras trees in the front yard light up like, well, birthday candles---roman candles, more like. Every year. They were lit up when he came home from the hospital. Light 'em! ... > Read
Shades of Gold
October 21, 2008 - It's rainy today, but here's the view from my desk window.
It's glowing in shades of gold.
The "featured shot" is the view from our front porch. I get almost the same view from my desk window except that thru the window it's a telephoto-ized view, with layers of gold and depths of yellow as I look thru yellow trees into mo... > Read
Leaf-Peeping Report Websites
October 19, 2008 - When are the leaves going to change color? Where are they changing? How are the colors doing?
Check out the linked-to website to find out.
Here's a big site with autumn foliage info on the whole Eastern USA:
www.fs.fed.us/r9/conditions/fall_color/... > Read
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Water Surface Temps for the Great Lakes
September 17, 2008 - Ever wonder how cold some lake is in the Great Lakes area?
You might, if you want to go swimming at some beach.
Here's a site that gives water surface temps for the whole region.
(The home note says a satellite is down---this is 9/08---but the individual lake maps seem to work fine. So click away!) > Read
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In Our Yards: 2 of the 3 Great Silk Moths...
June 25, 2008 - This spring we played host to a big brown pellet. It was 1"x 3" and a friend noticed it on a tree branch in our yard. It was a cocoon!
At the same time our friend Mike Woodruff had a big pellet of his own in his yard in Ann Arbor.
We both wondered what would become of them.
Well, within a few days of each other in early Ju... > Read
Moth Names are Crazy!
June 15, 2008 - We have a book of eastern caterpillars and the butterflies and moths they love.
(OK, "who they turn into.")
For some reason in the second half of the moth section the common names turn pure loco.
Here are perhaps half of the loopier names (I got on a roll and couldn't quit adding more):
The Little Wife
... > Read