Our apple crop last year was near zero because the blossoms were killed by late-spring frosts. This year our orchard produced an abundance of apples of good quality and size. We enjoy picking our orchard and making apple juice. Our cider press is a low-tech machine with a hand-cranked apple grinder and a screw-jack oak barrel press. We set it up in front of the shop to grind and press bushels of apples.
My paternal grandfather was a tall guy who grew up in upstate New York and was an avid hunter and fisherman. He coached me in fishing for trout when I was 6 years old standing in the Oswegatchie River near the outlet of Cranberry Lake in the Adirondacks. We were using his bamboo fly rod and a wet fly that he had tied. He showed me how to read the currents and to spot the places where trout were feeding. I remember his quiet observation and patient manner. I was thrilled to catch a brown trout. That outing with my grandfather led to a lifelong interest in rivers.
To help inmates prepare themselves to rejoin the wider community the St. Croix Correctional Center in New Richmond offers a wide range of work and treatment programs. According to Caitlin Smith of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Wetlands Management Office near Somerset, the USFWS and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources completed a prairie restoration project on about 5 acres of the Correctional Center grounds. This started a conversation for further partnership and how to expand effort for pollinators.
When the bobber goes down a long way from the boat it's important to reel the slack line in quickly and then set the hook with an upward sweep of the rod. When the rod bends in a three-quarter arc and the line sings in the wind you know that you have a good bluegill at the other end. This is the best of times to fish for bluegills, affectionately known in Wisconsin as "sunnies."
Before heading north from Florida last month we considered our choices of routes to take back to snow country. Pouring over our big Rand McNally atlas, we paged through the different southern states and found a route that suited our interests in scenery (much of the way is quite boring), places to stay (we had our dog and fishing boat along) and directness.
Carol and I are enjoying our stay in the small town of Cedar Key on the “Big Bend” of Florida’s Gulf Coast. This area is also called the “Nature Coast.” The really special thing about Cedar Key and the Nature Coast is that it is protected from high-rise condos, gated communities, canals dug through former wetlands, huge tracts of suburbia, shopping centers and golf courses — the kinds of development that have overwhelmed much of Florida’s other coastal areas.
Now that we have nearly a foot of snow on the ground and the thermometer plunged to 25 degrees below zero last night, it really feels like winter. Going out to get some firewood and feed the birds this morning seemed like an expedition to Antarctica.
Now that the leaves are down, it’s easy to see all the trees that are dead and dying. The recent rainy weather and some days of strong wind blew down...
Birds of the 42 species in the Corvidae family are really smart. They are among the most successful of animals with a nearly world-wide distribution. Crows, ravens, jays, rooks, jackdaws,...
We can usually hear rooster pheasants crowing on fall evenings as they fly from standing corn into our prairie to roost for the night. This year there aren’t many of them. Two brutal winters killed nearly all the pheasants that were living in our area.