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Showing posts from August, 2015

Forest fires - can we learn their lessons?

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GOING NATURE’S WAY By Kate Crowley As I look outdoors this morning, I find myself wondering whether the sky is really covered with clouds or if it is more high altitude haze coming from the forest fires out west.  Several times this summer we have found ourselves witnessing the after effects of hundreds of wildfires burning in Canada, California, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Montana – each with more than 10 major fires burning right now.  We have all been in awe of the effect it produces on our sunsets, creating magnificent auroras of orange, yellow and pink.  For people living in those states and in Saskatchewan, the reality has been much less pleasant.  Smoke has descended into valleys and created dangerous air quality, not to mention the life altering devastation for people who have had the fires destroy their homes and surrounding forests.  As of right now - 30,000 fire fighters in the U.S. are battling these blazes; the largest number in 15 years and even that is not enough. U.S.…

Nighthawks

WINGIN’ IT By Kate Crowley By the time you read this they may have already passed further south, but Oh, I hope you looked up and saw the Common Nighthawks flying overhead this past week.  You may have seen them and thought you were seeing gulls, but their sharply pointed wings and erratic flight patterns are unique.  We saw the first flocks as we were driving around Bay Lake.  I looked up and saw large flocks sweeping over the trees, probably hunting on the wing, which is one reason why their name includes ‘hawk’ in it.  This particular type of hunting and eating insects is actually called ‘hawking’.  It was mid-afternoon, not night when we saw the flocks, but I was first introduced to these birds when I was growing up in Minneapolis. I didn’t have a name for them at that time, but on warm summer nights when we would be playing kick-the-can out at the street corner, they would be a constant presence around the street lamps, diving down and sweeping upward and making a nasally  ‘peent’ …