If Sharon Moen isn't up to her ears in clay penguins, she soon will be.
The potter (and co-producer of The Sea Grant Files on KUMD) is all laughs when talking about her creations (or trying to fit headphones on one for a photograph), but all hilarity slips away when she starts talking about climate change, changes in the Antarctic ice shelf, the atmosphere and the oceans, and how the current administration will be dealing with - or not dealing with - those issues.
Without a "garbage patch" in Lake Superior (like the floating rafts of plastic debris found in our oceans), maybe it's hard to work up concern about the plastic bags merchants tuck out stuff into when we buy something or the foam containers restaurants give us for our leftovers.
Sunrises are coming earlier (around 7:50am), sunsets are coming later (around 4:45pm) and while it's too soon to be looking for spring, naturalist Larry Weber says next week's January thaw is really going to shake things up.
Larry gives his phenological year-end summary. Temperatures for the past year have been warmer than normal for every month but one. Icy snow over the last week caused difficulties for human travelers, but also for many animals living in the snow, such as the ruffed grouse and the deer.
This week on Backyard Almanac, Larry Weber details the dramatic highs and lows from this past week with a nearly 50 degree swing. He shares the surprising fact that snow fall so far this year is average and answers a listener question about why the trees didn't drop all their leaves in fall. Listen for details about who is moving about over the snow and of course details about the Annual Christmas bird count.
Hartley Nature Center says they're just taking advantage of the snow cover to safely burn a series of debris piles (and a little storm damage) left over from a logging operation this summer.
It's not an official park activity or anything, but the park is still open, and if you're out for a ski or a walk in the 20-below wind chills and you happen upon some folks tending a nice blazing fire ... and you happen to have some marshmallows in your pocket, well - so much the better.
Even after all these years, all the cool gadgets he's talked about on the show, a decades-long quest for an electric wheelbarrow ... master gardener Tom Kasper says there's still nothing better than giving the gift of your time to garden with someone you love.