exploring our amazing natural spaces

Archive for January, 2013

Mother nature’s palette

They say no two snowflakes are the same. I’m willing to bet no two ice fractures are the same either. Lake Elmo in eastern Minnesota is a natural gallery of two foot deep fissures CLEARLY visible through beautiful deep blues and greens.

lake fractures

ice leaf 2ice leaf 1

O degrees and still paddling

If you ever questioned the insulating ability of down these swans, geese and ducks should squash any doubts. A group of 40-50 trumpeter swans takes what winter has to give at the mouth of the Willow and St Croix rivers near downtown Hudson Wisconsin.

swan song

swans by moonlightxposed swans

A metaphor for life

The nice part about cross country skiing is the flexibility of the sport to match an individual’s personality. Some people like to stay in thin man-made tracks and go with the flow of the trail (classic style). Others like a wider groomed lane to show off their gliding technique and speed (skate skiing). And then there’s the bushwhacker preferring to carve their own trail and destination whenever they can.

skate skiing


Belly power

In September I spotted a litter of North American river otter kits slinking through these woods from one small lake to another. Their mother had used an abandoned beaver lodge for their den. Based on these slide marks it looks like three of the kits are still hanging together using their back legs and belly to scoot through the snow toboggan style.

river otters


Your lucky day

Being the first skier to make tracks on a newly groomed trail makes you feel like you’ve just gotten the last table at a restaurant or found a dollar bill on the sidewalk. For a moment you feel like it’s your lucky day.

first skier

Into the inside…for just a minute

I was shooting near the pond today (photos of course) and ducked into our local barn for a break. This one was built in the mid 1800s before the¬†Civil War. That’s old for Minnesota a state admitted to the union in 1858! Thankfully this structure is well loved and will survive for many years to come.

Barn inside

Good buds in January

When the weather turns coldest here in Minnesota it’s nice to catch a glimpse of the coming spring like these buds on a poplar tree reminding us that winter is only temporary, the days are getting longer and spring although a few months away is coming.

winter buds