exploring our amazing natural spaces

Outdoor Minnesota Spring

Spring break

Overnight the ice broke on the St Croix river. A few weekends ago we confidently walked several yards out from shore here. Yikes! Today raccoon and crow tracks mark the sandy shore as eagles, geese and other birds fly above scanning the open water for food.

spring break

near shorecrow prints

Sunset on winter

The last day of winter is a major milestone here in the northern climes. We’re sad to store the skis and pack away our winter clothes. But ELATED to feel the warming sun on our face like a tonic for the soul.

Last day of winter

Blue damsel

These dragonfly-esque bugs are called damselflies who thankfully eat mosquitoes like their broad winged cousin. But unlike the dragonfly, damselflies prefer to rest with their wings on the sides of their body. Hey as long as they eat mosquitoes – wings out, wings in whatever works!

at rest

Jewels of spring

June is Minnesota’s rainiest month and so far we’re on track to support this trend. Beads from today’s rain gather on an Iris strand flattened by the swirling winds of spring.

pearls of spring


Spring rain

There’s nothing like spring rain to clean things up after a long winter. Mother nature doesn’t care if it’s an April or May shower both will replace winter’s gray browns with the green of summer.

colors of summer

Foggy bottom

Our last bit of snow melted with an overnight rain and a fog formed over the pond this morning where spring peepers call continuously to attract mates.

foggy bottom

Goodbye, farewell…

..auf wiedersehen, adieu to winter. Ice on smaller ponds has melted with just a patchwork here and there on deeper Metro lakes. 70 degrees and sunny tomorrow should finally put an end to six months of the frozen stuff.

Last ice


Sunny and 60 warmed the neighbor’s wood pile enough to “spring” this chipmunk from his woody lair starting the annual process of gathering and storing leftover seed from beneath the bird feeder.

chubby cheeks

Resting spot

This morning the pond is a flyover, still covered with a thin sheet of ice. In a few days it will fill each night like a bird hotel with resting ducks and geese. And then in the morning it will empty again as small flocks come and go en route to preferred nesting grounds farther to the north.

Flyby pond

Spring in the valley

A wide view of the St Croix river valley from a perch above downtown Stillwater. Spring yes but single digit temps at night keep the river frozen and ice-covered. 130 years ago back in 1884 logs spanned across the river as red and white pine from northern Minnesota and Wisconsin made their way down to sawmills in towns like St Croix Falls, Stillwater and Hudson (National Park Service photo).Above Stillwater MarchHistoric photo of logjam in Taylors Falls, 1884