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Showing posts from February, 2016

Winter Robins

WINGIN’ IT By Kate Crowley I am a Minnesotan who likes winter.  I like the beautiful images of snow falling and creating landscape-scale snow globes. I like being able to ski our trails and absorb the silence of the forest.  I like the sense of hibernation too, when our homes become sanctuaries of warmth and peace.  I even enjoy the act of shoveling because it gives me a real sense of accomplishment. I admit that I do not have to face the daily trials of bad driving conditions and cold cars in the  morning, which I believe are the cause of most people’s angst.  So, living through December, January and February is not a hardship for me and it usually isn’t until later in March that I start to get spring fever.  So, it wasn’t wishful thinking on my part when I walked past a townhome on a corner in NE Minneapolis last Saturday and saw two American robins in the yard.  I did a double take, but then stopped to watch as they pecked at the exposed grass under a pine tree.  The temperature had …

Birch Trees - Kate Crowley

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Going Nature’s Way By Kate Crowley photos by Mike Link In the winter, as I ski through our forest I am able to see the trees so much better.  It is a mixed forest, meaning we have conifers (pines and firs) and hardwoods (maples, oaks, aspen and birch).  I have noticed that certain species tend to be found concentrated in different parts of the forest, which makes sense, since they differ in their specific needs for moisture, sun and shade.  Of all the trees, my two favorites are the Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) and the Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera); also known as White Birch. We have a good number of old growth white pines; trees that are over 100 years old. They stand as memorials to the vast forests of a century ago that covered this part of the state.  And they are the progenitors of the new growth spreading through the forest, something we are very pleased to see.  Efforts to replant white pines in the 20th Century were mostly unsuccessful, because the stock was not from the …