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Showing posts from May, 2013

Mississippi River from Itasca State Park

GOING NATURE’S WAY By Kate Crowley Several weeks later than planned we have finally begun canoeing the uppermost part of the Mississippi River. Mike had hoped we’d start at the end of April, but I knew ‘the winter that wouldn’t quit’ was going to make that impossible. Most of May wasn’t much better weatherwise, and when the forecast called for continued chance of rain this week, we decided we couldn’t wait any longer.    Along with our neighbor Dick Glattly and another friend, we put our two canoes in the water just 50 feet from the line of low rocks  people love tiptoeing over so that they can say they’ve walked across the mighty river. When we arrived at the famous spot, there was much splashing and squealing coming from the water as a large group of middle schoolers braved the chilly temperatures in the exuberant freedom of a spring field trip. The four of us set our boats in the stream, donned our life jackets and set off into the unknown.  We could only see portions of the river, (w…

Baltimore Orioles

WINGIN’ IT By Kate Crowley When you see a Baltimore oriole, there is no doubt this bird comes from the tropics. But you may be surprised to learn that this beauty is from the same family of birds as grackles, red-winged blackbirds and meadowlarks.  In coloration and nest type it more resembles the Old World Orioles, but genetically, they are not closely related. Each spring when we see the first Baltimore oriole in our yard, we rush madly for oranges and fruit jelly (grape being the preferred).  Then we quickly slice the oranges and dash outside with it and the jar of jelly to entice the beautiful orange and black birds to stick around. For awhile we even had a special plastic oriole feeder that looked like (sort of) a large orange.  This we filled with sugar water. But even this failed to convince the birds to stay.  Inevitably we went out the next day to collect the orange which was starting to shrivel and the jelly coagulating into a solid mass.  With undimmed hope, we repeated the ri…