Winter

©Jason Mandich. Used with permission.

Some people say winter officially starts with the December 21st solstice.

The National Weather Service says it's December 1st.

Larry Weber says it's when rivers freeze, but he also says, "Who cares? Just get out and enjoy it!"

NASA

Phenologist Larry Weber wraps up the fall season (September was warmer than usual, but October and November were colder) and embraces winter with open arms. Even the coming cold and dark make a perfect backdrop, he says, for the Geminid meteor showers we'll get to enjoy in a couple of weeks.

Glensheen

Back in the day, the Congdon family converged on Duluth to celebrate the holidays at their favorite winter estate in the Christmas City.  The Glensheen Congdon Estate has continued to celebrate the holiday season in grand style and this year adds a family friendly addition to their holiday displays.

©Tom Kasper

It's a hard time for gardeners.  They're having to say goodbye to everything they worked so hard to nurture all spring and summer.

They miss their plants.

One thing they can do to brighten their spirits is repurpose the containers from the summer's flowers and tomatoes and express themselves creating outdoor holiday decorations.

Tom Kasper tells us the other.

Karlyn Coleman celebrates her love of all things winter with a book guaranteed to make natives of the Land of 10,000 Lakes puff out their chests with pride -- and (as it turns out) horrify grade-school kids in Arizona!

Where Are All the Minnesotans? is published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

Pack up the kids and head out to the lake! The annual outdoor Art Shanty exhibit open Saturday, January 20 and is free and open to the public for four weekends of performance and interactive delight on the ice.

Larry Weber joins us to talk about the winter issues that fascinate him, including something called "albedo." We also hear about how the January thaw affects the wildlife we see this time of year and how you can tell it's coyote mating season.

Art Shanty Projects

Glensheen

Tree Wrap
Lowes.com

With the past flurries and more to come in the future, Master Gardener Tom Kasper gives tips on how to protect your trees and shrubs this winter season. Sneak peek, Kasper suggests staying by the fire after you're done in the garden. 

Steve Johnson [via Flickr, modified]

Tom Kasper reminds us in these winter months to be mindful of where we direct our slowblower jetsam. Especially with icy or heavy snow, branches can be easily damaged. 

"Christmas in the Trenches, 1914," EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com

Larry Weber says, by his reckoning, winter officially started this week.

For one thing, the rivers froze.

For another, it was -17 yesterday morning.

And of course, it was time for his favorite holiday tune.  (You can hear it after Larry's piece below)

You can read more about Christmas in the Trenches here:

You can see a music video about the event, backed with John McCutcheon's song here:

Jill Emmer

If you would rather go to an art show than go ice fishing, here is a great way to get outdoors and pretend. The Annual Art Shanty Project is in full swing on White Bear Lake; virtual circus of interactive and performance art pieces disguised as ice houses.

Photo by Kurt Bauschardt (flickr)

Larry comments on our unseasonably warm December we've experienced (with no sub-zero temps reported by the NOAA!) in part due to the abundance of cloudy days so far this winter.  Tomorrow is perihelion, when the earth will be at its closest point to the sun in its annual revolution.

Vincent Fournier/TBWA Paris

Larry Weber says there are four ways to survive winter:

  1. Migrate
  2. Hibernate
  3.  Remain active
  4. Lay eggs and die

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