Biking, General, Nature, Outdoor Activities

Spring Marches On

Last year, we had 20 inches of snow during April. It was a very cold and snowy one. This year, April is a delight. I’m sure this has something to do with how horrendous the winter of 2013-14 has been. Snow is now only present in old piles, drifts on low deeply shaded areas.

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Snow on North side of pole barn.

Vultures, grackles and flickers are now here. Chorus frogs are occasionally active but not yet vocal.

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These guys were quite common in one part of a low field.

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The pussywillow-like buds of the aspens are puffing.

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This woodchuck was on a sun-warmed hillside above the St. Croix River at Wild River State Park, where I rode my bike on the roads as the paved trails were still snow or ice packed a few days ago.

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Biking, General

30 Days of Biking

#30daysofbiking is a group that has pledged to ride their bikes every day in the month of April. I’m trying to document each day’s ride.

April 1:
32 degrees with 16mph steady winds gusting to 24mph. Rode from the basement -where the bike was on a trainer- around the back yard over some icy mud, down the driveway, in front of the house then into the garage.
0.3 miles

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April 2:
36 degrees, sunny with very little wind. Rode on a paved trail -Shafer segment of the Swedish Immigrant Trail- that had some icy spots, with some snowy parts still impassable. Also spurred off onto a wet dirt road for a bit. A few unknown dogs confronted me, then the larger, a German Shepherd, decided to join me for about a quarter of a mile. I hope he found his way back.
6.5 miles
The image at the top is from this ride, using the Map My Ride app.
Rode back and forth several times so the mile markers are hard to follow. Started by the ‘3’.

Today is April 3rd. It is snowing now, but I rode in the garage, with one quick sprint on the muddy snowy driveway to the muddy snowy street.

 

Tomorrow there may be a foot of snow on the ground. Hmmm. We’ll see.

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Birding, General, Homesteading, Reforestation, Uncategorized

Spring Activities

In the last few weeks, Red-winged blackbirds (seen above huddled on the downwind side of the septic mound), Canada Geese, Robins, Grackles, Cedar Waxwings and House Finches have all made their initial appearances here. The Robins are still staying in tight flocks, and focus most of their attention, with the waxwings, on crabapples

Apple trees were pruned over a few weeks. There is definitely more snow cover at this time of year than in any of the past 8 years. Pruning was done by walking on top of the snow crust, which elevated me 18-24″ above the ground. This made things easy until I started breaking through in the afternoons as the sun warmed the crust.

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This is the top of a ~18″ white cedar tree. A lot of the trees aren’t showing through the snow. I am fully supported on this snow . . . . most of the time.

Eggplant and pepper plants were started a few weeks ago in flats with a bottom warmer. Most germinated well. The only trouble I had was when bothered with old seeds from varieties I hadn’t purchased this season. Today I thinned the seedlings to one per cell.

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Here are pepper plants, with the thinned ones to the right. These are about 2 weeks old.

Tomato seeds were started the evening of March 31st and are also on warming pads. 144 were started, with about 120 being from saved ‘heirloom’ seeds.

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This fencepost is over 4′ tall. There are 4 wires to this fence. The first is about 14″ off the ground, with the other three a foot above each other. Here you can see only three wires, since the lowest wire is well below the snow. The wire at the snow level is 26″ above the ground.

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Duchess is walking on the snow, above the ground path that had been snowblown all winter.

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General, Uncategorized

Breaking Winter’s Back

There have been very few posts this winter.  Nothing to celebrate.  Cold and Snow. Mid-December to about March 3 seemed like an extended third week of January.

Son and his Girlfriend by Waterfall

Son and his Girlfriend by Waterfall

 

Spring has decided to arrive in the past few days.  We still are 100% snow covered, except where plows/shovels have cleared to the ground, but what was 20-36″ deep a week ago is 10-18″ deep now, and disappearing quickly.

On March 10th, the temp hit the low 50’s, and we went for a short hike down to the waterfall in Osceola WI.

 

Bridge by Falls in Osceola, WI

Bridge by Falls in Osceola, WI

More coming soon!

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General, Hiking, Uncategorized

Cold November Walk

Hiked in Wild River State Park on a day that didn’t rise above the mid 20’s. This is during deer season. Last year this park hosted hunters for the first four days of the season. This year they decided a hunt wasn’t necessary. This area, along with my home six miles away, is in the district that allows the greatest deer harvest-to-hunter ratio in the state. There are a lot of deer.

This is the second year of legal wolf hunting in this area. Our district, east central, has a very short season and a total limit of 10, none of which have been taken according to the DNR. My home is on the south side of highway 95, keeping it out of the wolf hunting zone. The area around the park is in the zone.

All walking anywhere, legal hunting area or not, involves a blaze orange hat.

First Ice on a feeder stream.

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Eagle nest on island revealed by leaf drop.

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Start of stairs to help old geezers make it up the hill. There’s a bench 2/3 of the way up.

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