Mom, I’m scared!

Those of us with kids or grandkids know that whimper too well. Thunderstorms can be frightening to youngsters. At the first flash of lightning, followed by the crack of thunder, we may hear the patter of little feet as the kids come running to jump into their parents’ bed or climb onto a lap to […]

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Few things say spring in northeast Iowa as vividly and vociferously as turkeys gobbling to greet the dawn. That’s even more true in our hills along the Turkey River, where we hear the big toms daily, and admire them as they strut their stuff for the hens. They huff, they puff, they fan their tail

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Earth Day?

Earth DAY? As we celebrate Earth Day on April 22, consider this sobering thought: We’re maybe one-three-hundred-and-sixty-fifth of the way to recognizing the significance of our home. Back in 1970, when I was a student at the University of Michigan and helped to organize the first Earth Day (and it really was the FIRST, since

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Early nesting . . .

The bluebirds alternately perch on the box, then poke inside and once again rearrange the nest they’re building. When a starling drops by for a visit, they aggressively defend their turf and chase the intruder away. But still no eggs. The phoebe keeps checking out and repairing its nest under the eave of our house,

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The First Beauties of Spring

Mere specks on the drab forest floor, the first spring flowers nevertheless bring a welcome bit of life and color to a grey-brown season. We found hepaticas, spring beauties and snow trilliums in bloom on March 28 – perhaps few days earlier than usual for Clayton County. The tiny Dutchman’s breeches buds will pop soon.

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Prairie fire!

Spring brings out the fire bug in us! The warm temps, calm winds, and dry ground persuaded us that it was time to scorch the bromegrass and boxelder seedlings in our reconstructed prairie. Maybe it’s wishful thinking – but we want to suppress the brome and woody plants and give the natives an advantage, if

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Amazing, endless cranes . . .

SPRING! It’s official! But how could we not notice all the recent signs of the changing seasons – from longer days to cheerful cardinals to muddy roads to ice jams to moths at the window to song sparrows and red-wings and flocks of robins. Even a wooly bear. The subtle signs set the mood –

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The Omnivore’s Solution . . .

Maybe not directly nature-related – but what and how we eat really DOES affect our environment! Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and several other books on food and food production and marketing spoke at Luther College Feb. 23. We found his discussion and his books insightful and thought provoking. Here are a few

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