Posted by: greentangle | February 14, 2019

Let it Snow

We’ve had 26 inches of snow in the first half of February, which is more than double our average for the entire month. I thought I’d take a short hike and some photos this morning, but the cloudy forecast was wrong and the sun was too bright and hot so I only took a few shots before getting some groceries and heading home.

My first social security money arrived yesterday! Happy to have made it this far and hope to enjoy it for a few years. Scheduling a few medical tests around a trip to Marquette next month, and will decide in April whether or not to stay on the blood thinner which causes side effects I hate.


Posted by: greentangle | January 17, 2019

Considering the Mammals

I stopped working at the zoo earlier this month, a long-planned departure as I start collecting social security, working less, and playing more. I’ll miss the critters, but I’m happy I won’t have to deal with the long bus rides and icy walking for the rest of this winter. I’m on a blood thinner after having a DVT and being out in the cold dry weather increases my minor but irritating bleeding.

So partly because of not seeing those animals, partly to give myself something to write, partly to give myself an extra incentive to read a book I’ve owned for years (Behavior of North American Mammals by Mark Elbroch and Kurt Rinehart), I’m considering writing a series of posts inspired by some of the fifty or so entries in the book. I would aim at a mix of natural history, personal experience, politics, fun, and creativity—a different version of the Autobobography series (using Dylan songs as starting points) which I wrote on Hard Wood to Whittle in 2016 after first having the idea a couple years earlier. If you’re interested in seeing the sort of variety I’d be aiming for, that series began here and continued for about six months.

I do enjoy that sort of creative writing, but I’m not sure I’ll make time for it now that I’m looking through 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die and adding a second to-be-read list (I’m only up to the B’s) to my more current one.

I’ve almost finished my first nature read of the year (published late last year), In Search of the Canary Tree: The Story of a Scientist, a Cypress, and a Changing World by Lauren Oakes. It describes hands-on scientific research and sociological issues related to climate change effects on an area of Alaskan forest.

It reminded me of my favorite nature works of last year: the novel The Overstory by Richard Powers, the nonfiction Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore by Elizabeth Rush, and the podcast series Threshold which in its second season traveled to Arctic areas around the world (though I’m obviously biased and preferred the first season featuring Yellowstone bison).

Given my new unfortunate (and hopefully temporary) aversion to being outside in winter, forecast highs in the single digits for the next three days and not much warmer for the rest of the month should leave plenty of time for readin’ and writin’. And listenin’—I’m fairly new to the podcast world so I’m still discovering my favorites, but a couple creative ones I’m currently enjoying catching up on are Nocturne and The Truth.


Posted by: greentangle | December 28, 2018

Revolution #19

This is my 19th post of the year here, and there were only 10 this year on my other blog. Clearly blogging is not something I do much anymore, which is a logical result of other changes. No more adventurous travel, no more living in a national park, little hiking, more health issues, fewer new nature books published to write about, living under a repetitive national political nightmare. I now spend a lot more time reading and listening and watching than writing. I’m generally content but I’m hoping for a more interesting year ahead, as I’m about to leave one job, anticipate some changes, and expect to move in the fall. I’ll start out with jury duty in a month, hopefully followed by a trip to Marquette, and then get a medical procedure out of the way in the spring.

At the library the other day I heard a man with white dreadlocks asking about Edward Abbey books, and wound up chatting with him on the elevator. He said when he was in the army, he was given a list of books to remove from somewhere and Abbey was on the list, which he said made him want to read all of Abbey’s books. I said I had all his nonfiction, but didn’t like his fiction that much (not that I don’t love monkeywrenching itself).

Today I borrowed 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die by James Mustich from the library. I doubt that I have time. But the first book described (alphabetically by author) is Desert Solitaire, so only 999 to go. And of course, Walden is included, and The Outermost House and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and My First Summer in the Sierra and some of my favorite classics and science fiction and mystery and children’s books and recent novels. It’s a fun list and although I don’t want to take the time to count my way through the entire list, I’m sure I’ve read hundreds of the included books.

We had a fairly big snowstorm yesterday, about a foot officially, and in advance I’d considered heading out to take some photos, but it was one of those storms which give winter a bad name. With some warmer temperatures and various precipitation mixed in, it’s a mess right from the start with frozen uneven walking surfaces and piles of plow clumps to climb over.

Posted by: greentangle | October 22, 2018

Chester Creek (Hiking in Duluth VI)

The subtitle is a bit of an inside joke, because Part V appeared back in 2009. Today was planned to be a bus ride to Marquette, but it’s been delayed due to numerous appointments and an upcoming procedure I hope will fix my clotty leg. So for some exercise and to get my mind off missing my vacation and my Marquette peeps, I decided to attempt the trail closest to me–an up and down on either side of one of the many creeks which descend through Duluth on their way to Lake Superior.

I used to hike this trail several times a week, but it has been years since the last time. I initially stopped hiking it mostly due to the large number of illegally unleashed dogs I encountered. I generally like dogs, but not when they’re charging me on a narrow trail which often has a 50 foot drop next to it.

It has a few steep sections and I wondered if I should take the hiking pole I’d bought at the Bozeman Walmart before I moved into Yellowstone. I didn’t, and quickly realized that was a mistake. I have a better pair of poles in mind to buy if I’m going to start doing this hiking thing again.

On to the photos.

An explosion of water.

No, I didn’t see the non-berry portion of this photo when I took it.

The walk wasn’t as easy as it used to be but the smell of the pines and the sound of the creek were refreshing.

Though the water is usually shallow, there are many falls along the way.

It’s not the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, but it’s lovely and a lot less crowded.

You know what time of year it is.

And the trail ends where it began, at a city street two blocks from my home, with a view of the Greatest Lake.

Posted by: greentangle | September 24, 2018

Not the Arboretum

About now, I had expected to post some photos from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, a place I’ve never been. Unfortunately, I’ve got another clot in my leg and although they say it’s not as bad as last year’s, I was advised to not take part in a couple scheduled day trips I’d signed up for. And my planned late October vacation to Marquette depends on a couple future ultrasounds.

So today I took a short walk down to the Lake for some slow motion exercise.

Here’s a tree which is not in the arboretum, but seems to be having a productive year.

There are a variety of transportation options on the Lake.

Here you can insert the closeup photo I would have taken of a woodpecker if I’d had my camera out. Or just look at a distant eagle.

Another tree not at the Arboretum. Leaves are generally just starting to change color, but this tree is always way ahead of the rest.


Posted by: greentangle | September 15, 2018


I was semi-woken a few times during the night by the sights and sounds of thunderstorms. When I got outside, I could tell there must have been some heavy rain because there were piles of mud and gravel at hillside intersections (and on our back stairs leading up to the dirt alleyway, in part because an uphill neighbor across the alley paved a slope behind their building last week—I expect those stairs will be an icy experience this winter), and deep erosion ruts at the end of the block in that alleyway. The neighborhood creek was hidden but loud when I crossed above it.

I later read that we got almost 2 inches of rain, and that some nearby areas of the state got 5 inches. This occurrence of heavy downpours is becoming more common, with major flooding and damage often happening throughout the upper Midwest, whether in Houghton, MI this summer or Duluth in 2012.

The rain served as an example of the sad news this week which came from a report that Minnesota has been affected by climate change more than any state except Alaska. I’ve certainly noticed it myself even since I first moved here 17 years ago, with warmer temperatures in both summer and winter. This summer was about 3 degrees warmer than the historic normal.

The article taught me a new word—solastalgia, defined there as “a feeling of distress caused by climate change”. A little internet searching finds it being applied to other environmental causes of changes in places such as mining and clearcutting. I feel a bit of it around Duluth when I see big boxes where wooded areas used to be. If I still lived in my childhood home, I’d be deeply distressed by the absence of the fields and woods where I once roamed free as children today aren’t allowed to do.

Searching for more about solastalgia, I discovered this interesting article as well as discovering the interesting magazine Nautilus in which it appeared.

Posted by: greentangle | August 6, 2018

Flowers and Falls and All

Hung around the zoo today for a tiger feeding. I’m not allowed to post photos from that (no loss, I didn’t get any great ones anyway), but here are some from the hour I spent walking around while I was waiting.

This first group of flower shots are very similar but I like something different about each of them.

OK, time for some variety of flora and fauna.

Green tree python


And down the creek I go.


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