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.


Posted by: greentangle | June 23, 2018

Nature Fest

I was scheduled to work today but I got a reprieve on the eve, so I decided to go to a couple outdoor events instead. I wound up passing through them quickly; the Rhubarb Fest where the coop was making drinks with pedal power, and the Park Point Art Fest which was crowded. But they were a good reason to do more walking and photographing than I’ve done lately.

Sections of the Lakewalk are still closed because of erosion as a result of storms in October and April. Latest estimate for repairs and improvements to cope with our new climate storms is $9 million, and because the work involves lots of regulations and funding and permits, the best case scenario is that the work won’t be complete until late next year. And we’ll hope for no more major Lake storms before then.

Meanwhile, the Lake is still brown from last weekend’s storm which killed a few people and washed out many roads in the UP and Wisconsin. According to the website of the bus company I use for my visits to the UP, I still can’t get there from here, as we used to say in New England.

And you may have heard Trump came to town. If you’re interested in my experiences with that, check in a few days (I haven’t written it yet).



Posted by: greentangle | May 20, 2018

Natural Hero and Ecocentrists

Here’s a 25 minute video about Edward Abbey, featuring a lot of his friends.

And notice of a scholarly book coming out in a couple weeks–The Ecocentrists: A History of Radical Environmentalism. Don’t know what the attitude will be or if it will add anything we don’t already know, but here’s what Publishers Weekly wrote about it.

Posted by: greentangle | May 2, 2018

More Old Photos

This was my favorite tree in Boston.

A few more favorite plants. I don’t have a good photo of Indian Pipe.

It makes me a bit sad that I spent so little of my life in fox squirrel range. I love their coloring. This one was rehabbing on a wine box.

Howling wolf.

How can you not love this face?

This is definitely the Porkies!

I always loved this juxtaposition. Neither of them is there now; I’m sorry only one is in prison.

Looking to sea.


Posted by: greentangle | April 28, 2018


So, Thursday, the oil refinery blew up. Then, Friday, it snowed. Someone said it looked like the end of the world. The smoke, not the snow.

I could see the mushroom cloud from my house. As the day wore on and evacuation zones of 3 miles in all directions and 10 miles in the direction the smoke was traveling were announced, I wondered how far away I was. It took a while to figure out because online maps want to tell you how far it is to drive from place to place. Turns out that’s not the route clouds of toxic gas take. I am 7 ½ miles away, so if the wind had been blowing in a different direction, I would have been in the zone, and neither the state line nor the Lake would have saved me. In fact, that night, residents on the other end of my long town were told to stay indoors with windows closed in anticipation of a change in wind direction.

Along with the visible danger of the smoke, the primary reason for the evacuation was that the refinery is one of about fifty in the country which still use hydrogen fluoride to make gasoline. That tank was only about 150 feet away from the fire according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune article. You can read about hydrogen fluoride on the Center for Disease Control page. I especially like the section titled “How hydrogen fluoride works”, which really describes how it works to kill you. You can find out if you’re near one of the refineries by checking Appendix C of this report. A quick search will find more reports of similar explosions (including one in Texas just a week earlier) and the dangers associated with using the chemical.

The early indication is that this was caused by human error. By that, I don’t mean an individual human, but hey, in this country corporations are people too, right? The refinery was in the process of shutting down for maintenance, reportedly a dangerous time, when the explosions and fires occurred.

I thought of all the oil disasters of my lifetime, the Exxon Valdez (with those horrible memories, it’s shocking that it’s only the 36th worst spill in history by volume), the Deepwater Horizon, the tankers and trains, the drilling platforms and wars, the spills and leaks and pipelines.

I thought of The Oil Song by Steve Forbert, first released almost forty years ago, now updated with additional verses when he performs it live.

I thought of the new Line 3 replacement pipeline (which will double the amount of crude oil coming here from Canada) which Enbridge, also located in Superior, wants to relocate and rebuild across Minnesota while leaving the old one in the ground. I thought of the same company’s Line 5 pipeline, underwater between Lakes Michigan and Huron, near the other end of the Superior Lake, recently damaged by an anchor but still operating because we value oil more than water.

Evacuees from Superior were told they could come to Duluth’s convention center for shelter, so I thought of New Orleans’ convention center and superdome, Katrina and failed levees and constructed channels and disappearing wetlands and a doomed city.

I thought of the recent issue of Yankee magazine I read with articles about the New England shores and cities which are being damaged by storms and rising water, and the declining number of moose due to the increasing number of ticks due to warmer winters due to climate change due to our extravagances.

I thought of Puerto Rico and our indifference to its destruction by hurricanes. I thought of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl and Fukushima. I thought of mining disasters and the Superfund copper mine site near Butte and the copper sulfide mine most of our so-called leaders want built near the Boundary Waters because they value a few jobs more than water.

As a civilization and as individuals, we live always close to the edge of disaster, closer than we like to acknowledge. Pushing species to extinction, we are the biggest disaster in thousands of years.


“If things don’t get better well they’ll probably get worse

If you can’t drink the oil oh you might die of thirst.

–Steve Forbert

Older Posts »