Awe and Concern

Sphinx Moth on bee balm

Standing in that sea of color, watching Lake Superior’s never-ending blue waters meld with the sky, I wanted to stay there for the rest of my days” Melanie Radzicki McManus

Read Melanie’s entire adventure at Superior Hiking Trail 

Yes, this big lake has a spiritual effect on many of us. I love mornings the as the sun rises and noisy birds are busy with their day. The eagles whistle and screech as they fly along the shoreline. I watch two adults and one juvenile land on a white pine, they sit and watch the lake, and chatter among themselves as they fly away. I wonder what the adult eagles are telling their child about life and survival? The hummingbirds are also active in August. They are eating and drinking and squeaking as they prepare for their journey south. What do they tell their young about the journey that lies in front of them? This all typical of August on Lake Superior

Monarch chrysalis under a step

Sphinx moths and many bees are loving my late-blooming pollinator garden. The monarch caterpillars have become chrysalis , and I watch for new monarchs to emerge, and to my excitement they do!

A new monarch dries its wings.

Sadly, August is not like Melanie (above) describes in June. Signs of our warming climate are wearing on this big lake. Canadian wildfire smoke is creating a milky white sky and foggy horizon. Also, blue-green algae has been found along the south shore, probably caused by the yearly hundred year rains in the lake watershed. The watershed streams over-flow into the lake. Heavy rain run-off of lawn and agriculture chemicals causes a nutrient rich brown lake. Along with warm water these nutrients can lead to a blue-green algae problem. After the brown sediment filters out a greener color lake remains that has not been the Lake Superior norm. Read at blue-green algae

More on the changing climate and Lake Superior

Lake Superior is hidden by milky Canadian wildfire smoke, August 2018

A Superior Joy

It makes me so happy when butterflies dance along as I walk the road by my house. One day there were dancing sulfurs, another day monarchs, swallow-tail and white admirals. I was watching a northern pearly eye, it flew at me, and decided to sit on my hand for 10 minutes as I continued my walk.  July is easy to see painted ladies, red admirals, wood nymph butterflies, checkerspots, fritillaries and many skippers. This is the best time of the year to see butterflies! Get outside and look.

Northern pearly-eye by wikimedia

Seeing butterflies is so much easier than seeing birds, but the birds sing their ”I love life” song? some of them must have raised their first family and ready to start again? Song sparrows, red starts, chickadees, chestnut-sided warblers, vireos, and white-throated sparrows seem to sing just for me. I sure appreciate their happy songs.

July on Lake Superior

Weather Weird

The wind is constantly moving the slushy ice around the lake.

Who would ever think you would wake up to 9 degree temperatures on April 9? It has been a cold two weeks of 20 to 30 degrees below normal! Meteorologist Paul Douglas calls it “Weather Weird!” One theory is that the warm weather in the Arctic and Alaska could be hijacking jet streams causing polar air to move south. I recollect some of this happened during the famous Polar Vortex.

NASA picture of Lake Superior

Yes, it is cold but the days on Lake Superior are sunny and beautiful. Deer are feeding wherever they find open snow-free ground, the eagles are protecting their new babies, and the migrating seagulls and Canadian geese are back. Mourning cloak butterflies are finding sunny muddy patches, and ore boats are again crossing the big lake. All are signals that spring is finally on its way!

April can be the cruelest month, but April can also be one of the best months to be outside. I hope you get outside to experience the changes and new beginnings. Make a daily walk part of your routine. Enjoy!

Happy Autumn!

Thoughts for the first day of fall on Lake Superior:

Bees love the fall asters

Crickets sing, eagles whistle, the wind howls and pounds waves against the sandstone bank.
The red tips of the maples, the blooming asters, and the shortening days say one thing, summer has turned to fall!

Summer’s End
By Judith Viorst

One by one the petals drop
There’s nothing that can make them stop.
You cannot beg a rose to stay.
Why does it have to be that way?

There is an unusual explosion of painted ladies this fall

The butterflies I used to chase
Have gone off to some other place.
I don’t know where. I only know
I wish they didn’t have to go, and all the shiny afternoons
So full of birds and sun are done. I do not want them done!

The sun sets on summer 2017, Lake Superior

Loving A Mild Winter, My Superior View

Ice on Lake Superior doesn't last long.
Ice on Lake Superior doesn’t last long.

“There is a privacy about winter that no other season gives you. Only in winter can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.”  Ruth Stout

January has been a month of peace, quiet and intense beauty on Lake Superior.  Snow frosted balsams radiate a charm that goes unnoticed during other seasons.

Then a few hours later open water on the big lake.
A few hours later, open water with a few ice clumps on the big lake.

The face of the lake can change hourly as the lake refreshes itself, and the wind shifts. The lake dramatically changes from ice-covered to a few floating chunks of ice, and then back to ice-covered. Sporting new looks adds to the mystique of this enormous fresh water lake.

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Calmer winds allow the balsams to stay snow covered. A few ice chunks on the lake.

Beautiful June Days

Lupine on Lake Superior
Lupine on Lake Superior

Superior Views, June 2015

lake superior
lake Superior

Wow, who doesn’t love June? The weather is perfect, and everyday brings new budding/blooming flowers, birds and butterflies. The red-eyed vireo, song sparrow, and least fly-catcher sing constantly in our yard.  Painted lady, northern-crescent, and tiger swallowtail butterflies add to the beauty of the days.

Nothern-Cresent in Daisy Fleabane
Northern-crescent in a Daisy Fleabane

The best plants are those that pollinators frequent. The bees and the hummingbirds love

Bees buzz on the flowering candlesticks of this maple
Bees buzz on the flowering candlesticks of this maple

the wild geranium, and the flowering maple is a favorite for bees and many birds.
The dominant roadside flowers are daisies, lupine, hawkweed and buttercups that create a beautiful mix designed by nature.  Unfortunately, the road crew of my town cut down all these blooming beauties.  So much for our butterflies and bees which are now in a struggle to survive.  Mowing roadsides in late September would help pollinators and enhance enjoyment for you and me.

Hummingbirds and Bees Frequent the Wild Geranium
Hummingbirds and Bees Frequent the Wild Geranium