Summer Rain

Heavy rains today – just after lawn-mowing! But at least no tornadoes!



December Snow

DecDriveWith the start of December we are getting our first serious snowfall. The few inches we got on December 2 were very wet and heavy. The snow coming down now seems drier but the forecast is for 6 – 12 inches. It’s definitely time to get the snow blower up and running!

Since we are under a Winter Storm Advisory it’s a good time to review safety measures. Number one on the list is travel – namely, Don’t. Any errands or appointments should be rescheduled. If you must go to work allow extra time, as much as double your normal commute time. Be sure you have the minimum survival supplies in your car in case you get stuck: winter coat, hat, gloves, boots, flashlight, food, water. Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times, and don’t forget your cell phone.

A current look at the Minnesota Department of Transportation 511 info site at shows most of the state with fair to difficult driving conditions (purple is difficult, blue is fair).

September Here, Autumn Coming

Here it is September already. The heat wave has passed at last, and while the days still warm up into the 80’s (F) at least it gets cool at night. In fact, it got down to 41° (F) last night, which feels chilly. It certainly makes for more comfortable sleeping.

Our big ash tree was trimmed so we lost about half the shade it usually provides in the summer. It certainly makes a difference.


First Day of Spring

Spring feels like it’s arriving a bit late this year. Last year in March we had temperature highs reaching the 60’s and 70’s (F) 17 times. This year we got into the 50’s once this March. Mostly the temperatures stayed below 30 and dropped as low as -18. Also, we kept getting heavy snows requiring the use of shovels and snowblowers again. (Tip: you’ll definitely want a snowblower for Little Falls’ winters.) By the way, the Accuweather web site allows you see the month’s temperatures at a glance.

This is typical winter weather, and certainly not the worst winter we’ve ever had. The problem is that once you start looking for spring, winter gets old fast. With April around the corner, though, it is time to start thinking about the lawn. Kare 11 News has an interesting beer/soda recipe for keeping a lawn healthy.


Babk viewFront view

Winter Upon Us Again

Winter is is full swing now with temperatures dropping below 0°F. Although it is 21°F (-6C) today, Sunday morning (Jan. 20, 2013) the low is expected to be about -29°F (-34°C). Time to stay in and work on long-ignored projects!

My forgotten projects include re-designing my Web site and finishing my mystery novel. Writing is hard work, so I may focus more on my Web site. There’s plenty to do.

Early Autumn This Year

Autumn is coming early to Little Falls and Minnesota as a whole. The drought has caused most plants to call it quits for the year. Little Falls had been avoiding the worst of the drought conditions until just recently, but the lack of rain is finally taking its tole.

Newscasters have been reminding everyone that evergreens will not show how much they are hurting for water until spring, when they turn brown. The recommendation is to go ahead and water the evergreens now. Lawns have gone dormant and can wait until spring.

The other concern is the fire danger. We’ve had red-flag warnings in most of the state. Residents are urged to rake up dead leaves and haul them away from their homes. Even in plastic bags, it only takes a spark to ignite the tinder-dry leaves, and if the bags are close to buildings they’ll catch fire immediately. Observing these reminders will keep everyone safe.

On a side note, the short-lived television show “Terra Nova” was recently released on DVD. The package comes with an activation code that allows purchasers to download theme music and sound effects from the show, as well as .png images which can be used to create your own video ending for the series. There’s a link to my little video on the ‘Web Video’ page of this blog.

Autumn LeavesTee Rex from TV series Terra Nova

Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

A few weeks ago we saw sandhill cranes flying over the local Walmart, so it seemed like a good time to check out the Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge just a few miles southeast of town. We’d seen the signs to it but had never gotten out that way. We found that it was just off County Highway 35 east. There is a small parking area, some informational signs, and a number of short trails designed, evidently, for school groups. It’s a pleasant area although the day we were there was chilly and windy. No sign of birds anywhere.

We spent a few hours driving around the county, ran up to Motley, across highway 210 to Baxter, stopped for lunch at our favorite Bonanza, then headed home. Wildlife spotted: one black squirrel, one bald eagle, lots of crows. We’ll have to plan to do our wildlife viewing when the weather warms up a bit.

Frosty Today

We’ve had unseasonably warm temperatures all January and continuing now into February. Today it’s 25 degrees (F)(-2C) when normally it could be around -20 F (-30 C). It’s been foggy most of the week in the morning and evening, making for hazardous driving, and this morning I woke up to hoar frost.  Before you get any ideas, according to Wikipedia, the word “hoar” comes from Old English and refers to showing signs of age, i.e. the frost makes trees and bushes look elderly with white hair. The frost forms when trees and other objects lose heat and become colder than the surrounding air.

Evidently our warm winter is a result of the ocean atmosphere phenomenon La Niña. This winter has been particularly mild. Even International Falls (the ‘Frostbite Falls’ of the cartoon ‘Rocky and Bullwinkle’) near the Canadian border has experienced mild temperatures. We’ve also had very little snow. I think all our snow went to Colorado.

frosty morningfrost on branches

First Snow of 2011-2012 Season

I expected to wake up to snow this morning, but the day started dry and dark. According to the weather radar it was already snowing over Little Falls, and half an hour later I looked out the window to see large fluffy flakes piling up everywhere. The forecast is for 3″ to 5″ with winds of 20 mph. So it’s a good day to stay in, make cocoa, and start catching up on correspondence.

Now that it is actually winter I am willing to switch to winter mode: warm clothes, emergency supplies in the trunk of the car, keep the gas tank filled in case you get stuck somewhere, keep extra groceries on hand, allow lots of extra time for scraping off windows, driving slower, and so on. One of the most important things is to give other drivers plenty of space because it always takes them a month to learn they can’t drive like they are on dry roads. It seems that far more accidents happen the first part of winter than the last. And, since we live on a school bus route, it’s best to park in the back, off the alley, so the snow plows can clear the street thoroughly. It seems the city doesn’t keep up with the streets the way they used to; it can take days to clear the streets of a big snowfall, making parking downtown a nightmare (4-wheel-drive only). Eventually, though, we can get out to the store.

Snow piling upBare trees in the snow

How Do You Fit 100,000 People in a Phone Booth?

Well, not exactly a phone booth. This year Little Falls hosted the 39th Annual Arts and Crafts Fair, September 10 & 11. Our little town of about 8,000 was expecting 100,000 visitors for the fair. I haven’t seen any reports of the actual attendance, but it always feels like Little Falls has been squeezed into an old-fashioned phone booth. Sometimes we go away for the weekend of the fair, but this year we stayed home and I spent a few hours shopping. There are a few vendors I always stop by to visit, like pottery and some of the hand made soap stalls, where I always buy something, and I try to check out the vendors who are new to the fair too. Of course, I can’t skip the cheese curds vendor either, but 2-3 hours of shopping is enough to wipe me out, especially if it’s hot. This year I planned ahead and carried some ice cold water from the start.

Although dealing with the crowds may seem like a lot of hassle to some folks, the craft fair, along with the Antiques and Collectibles Fair the same weekend in Le Bourget Park, fills the motel rooms from Monticello to Brainerd to Mille Lacs for the weekend. Local service organizations often raise their annual funding by having food booths, parking cars, and providing other services such as clean-up for the fair. Over 600 vendors bring a great variety of  products to the area. Since these vendors make their own products, they can answer all your questions about them. Each year we stock up on my husband’s favorite soap, and I add to my pottery collection.

Countryside PotterySoap and Other Vendors


Cheese CurdsMore Vendors

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