Environment & Outdoors

Billtacular/Flickr

It might be you, too, but the world really did change overnight.

Our high temperature yesterday of 73° yesterday - the first time above 70° since October 9 - broke our seven-month fast from warm temperatures.

Now all of a sudden trees are leafing, baby turtles are moving, wild plum and juneberry bushes are awash in blossoms ... and the blackflies are out.

Duluth Community Garden Program

Bookworms know that something new awaits them between the covers of every new book - and many old books - they open.

Bookworms who fling open the doors of a Little Free Seed Library may be taken aback, initially, but, tucked away out of the elements are the literal seeds of food security for families in Duluth.

Bob King. Used with permission.

Venus's upcoming conjunction with the sun means it will be backlit to a fare-thee-well in the next few weeks, but after that, it changes things up and decides to try out life as a morning star for a while.

Copyright JR Kelsey. Used with permission.

Mother Nature's in no hurry to balance out our too-dry conditions, although a little rain the other did day help.

And it sure gave "the greening" a goose as quaking aspens and smaller trees began to leaf out, and tamaracks sprouted new needles.

But serendipity plays a role when the trees' new leaves, the hatching of small caterpillars, and the warbler migration all occur at the same time, and Larry says, this might be the year.

Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash

You've heard it said that "we're all in the same boat."

You've also heard "politics makes strange bedfellows."

Somewhere in between these figures of speech lives the Fix The Pipes Coalition, a non-partisan statewide alliance asking for water infrastructure funding.

©Russ Sprague. Used with permission.

As the food supply chain experiences some breakage and as we're learning the fragility of some of these systems, some folks are looking at urban agriculture as a partial solution.

Doing something, even if you start small, to provide fresh food for your family is not only good for your physical and mental health, it's yummy, too.  Even if you don't have a Twinkie bush.

Markus Spiske/Unsplash

Tom Kasper is excited about new backyard gardeners, looking forward to being able to donate fresh produce to soup kitchens and food shelves again,eventually ... and shaking his head over people who didn't prune the storm damage off their trees in a timely fashion.

Lisa Johnson

Anyone bemoaning the cool temperatures (despite the bright sunshine) need only remember last year at this time; although you may have blocvked it from your memory.

May 9, 2019: 8" in snow at the National Weather Service in Duluth: an all-time record for May.

Damian Peach. Used with permission.

Yes, it's the Full Flower Moon Wednesday (and Thursday).

Yes, comet SWAN is moving northward and we should be able to see it toward the end of next week.

But the best use of your time between now and next Tuesday, when you can see the constellation Libra and it's three "coolest-ever named stars," is composing a poem rhyming Zubenelgenubi, Zubeneschmali, and Zubenelhakrabi.*

©John P. Richardson. Used with permission.

Tra la, it's May, the lusty month of May
That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray

Tra la, it's here, that shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear

It's mad, it's gay, a libelous display
Those dreary vows that everyone takes
Everyone breaks
Everyone makes divine mistakes
The lusty month of May!

~ Frederick Loewe & Alan Jay Lerner, "Camelot"

Lisa Johnson

Our recent conversations about "local food" have been fascinating, and they're more relevant than ever.

The last time the country was turned upside down, during WWII, our food supply system moved from small diversified farms to the huge corporate operations most farms are today.

Will COVID-19 be the impetus for yet another rethinking of our food systems?

Lisa Johnson

Whatever you plan to do about the deer in your yard, from making them feel welcome to scooting them on down the road, Tom Kasper says you need to start doing it NOW before they get in the habit of dropping by your place for a meal.

And just like we're happy when Minnesota Governor Tim Walz tells us to go out and get some exercise, we should be delighted that Tom Kasper is telling us to get outside and start gardening.

Susanne Nilsson/Flickr

This final episode of Backyard Almanac for April reveals so far, the month was cooler, drier, and less snowy than uual.

We're seeing upwards of 14 hours of daylight these days,  ice is out (as are bumblebee queens), warblers are back and hepatica is up.

MN Interfaith Light & Power

For a variety of reasons, this is not the Earth Day many of us thought we'd be celebrating on the first Earth Day back in 1970.

But from socially-distant cleanups to virtual events of all shapes and sizes (see list below), we're all coming together to celebrate our concern for and connection to our little blue planet.

Earth Day! It's Earth Day!  Here's a partial guide to what's going on:

1) For a list of all digital Earth Day events happening in MN

Jeremy Gillard/Flickr

  You say it "Lye-ra" and I say it "Lee-ra"*

  You say it "Vay-ga" and I say it "Vee-ga"

  "Lye-ra"

  "Lee-ra"

   "Vey-ga"

   "Vee-ra"

   Let's go outside and see!

*with apologies to George Gershwin

The best time to see Starlink satellites, the Lyrid meteor shower, how to use YouTube to learn how to pronounce unfamiliar words, and why you need to put next Tuesday on your calendar.

Helpful links:

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