Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sunrise Earth

No, not “Sunrise Earth” as in the Discovery Channel HD TV show. I’m talking about the “sunrise earth” I witnessed this morning on my run!

Morning has broken over the northwest metro



What a sight today with clear skies and the light breeze creating some gentle ripples on the lake. Throw in a few loons, some cormorants and ducks, chirping red-winged blackbirds and song sparrows, and my pair of nesting eagles, and it made for a sweet run this morning. Although it was not warm (still in the upper 30's, even though we are a day away from May), it is still very pretty, and some trees are starting to sprout leaves. Nice!

In food news, I also made another darn good pizza last night. I topped this one with smoked farmer’s sausage, red and yellow bell pepper, Vidalia onions (they in season…yippee!), black olive, mushrooms, and three kinds of cheese. Delicious!

More fun with pizza



I’ve been asked by a few folks if I make my own crust, and the answer is a definitive and enthusiastic “yes.” Here is my template; I use Alton Brown’s pizza dough recipe, only I incorporate 25% whole wheat to the total flour content just because that’s the way (uh-huh, uh-huh) I like it! :) The recipe is easy and produces good, consistent results. If you have a stand mixer, you can knock the dough out in no time. And it keeps in a zip bag in the fridge for about a week, so you can have it on hand for those weekday dinnertime pizza cravings (like last night!).

Until next time,

Jean

Monday, April 28, 2008

Snow, snow, go away!

Here is a recap of the weather for the past few days:

Saturday after my run, I did some shopping and had a little lunch at the Wayzata Bar & Grill. While eating my breaded fish sandwich, I was looking out the window at the snowflakes falling and being blown in a horizontal fashion. Upon leaving the restaurant, I felt so cold that I resorted to turning on the heated seats in my car for the drive home.

Sunday was a lazy day spent mostly indoors because it was chilly and overcast. In the afternoon, I was treated to a display of large, feather-like snowflakes falling outside of my window.

This morning I went running. Temperatures were in the upper 20’s, and there were a few places where I had to watch my footing. Certain areas of the bike path where water had been running across had frozen overnight, creating a veritable skating rink in places. On my drive to work, some ultra-fine snowflakes were visible when I was stopped at a light.

Quite the spring we are having, wouldn’t you say?

Of course, my grumblings should be kept in a proper perspective; we really didn’t have any accumulation down here except for what fell Saturday morning. Northern Minnesota experienced another huge dumping of snow. Insanity!

Still lots of wildlife to report. This morning I saw two deer, some bluebirds, the eagles, several egrets, a couple of swans, and even a solitary loon that was hanging out. Today’s new arrival was the cormorant. And not just one; there were at least three dozen of them floating around in the middle of the lake. I was lucky enough to see them take flight with a whole lot of splashing. Quite a sight!

I managed to do some pretty good cooking over the weekend. Saturday night I made homemade pizza with Italian sausage, artichokes, roasted red peppers, black olives, mushrooms, and a blend of many cheeses, including mozzarella (regular and smoked), Monterey jack, Emmenthaler, and a new favorite, Dolomitenkoenig (almost like a softer, nutty Swiss cheese, but from Italy).

Pizza of the gods



Yesterday I threw together a very nice spicy beef stir-fry, loaded with ginger, garlic, chilies, and tons of different veggies. And it was spicy enough to get my nose running! :)

Spicy and yummy



Until next time,

Jean

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Blanket of white

In Minnesota, the weather in unpredictable. Wednesday we saw temperatures in the mid 70's. This morning, here is what I woke up to:

A photo from my deck, four days before the start of May!



31 degrees, winds steady out of the west at 20 MPH (gusting to 35!), wind chill of 19 degrees, and SNOW!

A blanket of white was cast over the grassy areas, perhaps an inch or so. The snow was heavy and wet, so it clung to the trees, making for a pretty scene. But the wind was brutal.

I ran 14 miles in these conditions, a run that "builds character," as they say. Only three other people were encountered on my journey, and they all pretty much said the same things; "Nice weather, huh?", and "A lovely spring day, isn't it?" Yes, this was really something.

Thankfully, the woods offered some decent shelter at times, but there was a horrible stretch between about the 12 and 13 miles mark where I was going west, directly into the teeth of the wind. Crystalline snowflakes stung my face and eyes, and the wind nearly stood me up. It was awful! But I made it. Certainly, one of the most challenging runs I have had in some time.

I did see three new birds, however, so that made it worthwhile; there was a dainty little pied-billed grebe on the lake, the beautifully speckled blue-winged teal, and one of my favorite little birds who also has a lot of character, the chipping sparrow. Nice to see these guys coming back!

Not much else on the agenda today except for some shopping, a few good eats, and sports on TV. I probably don't have much energy for anything else; Mother Nature kicked my butt today! :)

Still waiting for spring,

Jean

Friday, April 25, 2008

Gray, gloomy, and perhaps even snowy

The last few days have been gray, gloomy, and rainy (in fact, it absolutely poured on Thursday). And now we have the potential to be…snowy?

Yes, believe it of not, the possibility of snow exists in our forecast for the weekend! Unreal. We are not under the winter storm warning that is in effect for north-central Minnesota (6 to 12 inches?!?), but the weekend looks to be continued cool and gloomy. Spring will arrive by June, I am sure of it! :)

My morning runs this week have been nice. Nothing new to report in terms of birds, really. The loons that invaded us last weekend have seemingly moved on to the north. I did see three deer in the park on Thursday morning, and they simply stared at me as I trotted on by. Otherwise, it has been the usual cast of characters. I am still waiting to see a few warblers, though.

Work was very busy this week. I had to get a release done for a client, which always has its challenges. But we got it done a day ahead of schedule, which was great. And last night, we had a company happy hour at Axel’s Bonfire, so that was a fun way to end a crazy day. I have some really great co-workers.

Not much on the agenda for the weekend. I will get in a long run at some point, but the cold, crappy, rainy/snowy weather might keep me indoors otherwise!

Still being teased by Mother Nature,

Jean

Monday, April 21, 2008

Wile E.

I was treated to a mild morning with temperatures in the low 50’s, partly cloudy, with a decent breeze; very pleasant for running. I felt pretty energetic today, too. Perhaps I am just enjoying the fact that we are now officially in “shorts” weather? :)

It would seem that we are still under an “extreme loon advisory” here in the metro. As I rounded the lake, I saw 10 more loons floating around the bay with several more in the air above me. They are really cruising through at the moment, and it has been a lot of fun to see such large numbers of them.

There was another funny wildlife encounter along the trail this morning, this time not involving birds. While running through the park, a coyote emerged from a low lying area and trucked across the trail about 30 yards in front of me. This was a fairly good looking specimen with nice fur, the only blemish being a slight kink in his tail.

Wile E.” eventually stopped in a field at a point where he thought he was a safe distance from me. Of course I started talking to him. He sat down, put his ears back, and tried to look nonchalant. As I continued on my way, the coyote headed back to the same area where I rousted him. I believe I might have interrupted his breakfast, because I am thinking he must have had some good eats over there!

Speaking of good eats; last night’s beef pot roast was awesome! :)

Gravy should be its own food group



Until next time,

Jean

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Six Word Memoir

OK, so I was tagged by Addy to write my "six word memoir." I have to post it on my blog and tag off to some others who might like to play along.

My six word memoir is as follows:

"Always surrounding myself with good people."

The advice to "surround myself with good people" came from my family at an early age. Having people with integrity, character, and work ethic around you increases your chances of being successful, both in work and in life. I like to think that I am doing just that, and that my family, friends, and people I associate with are the best of the best.

And if that doesn't work, my other six word memoir is:

"Dang, I really like driving Volkswagens." :)

Tag to Bob, Southbay Girl, and Danielle...if you feel like playing along!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Loon Invasion

A shot of the sunrise during my run on Wednesday...I remembered my camera!



Today was not sunny like the photo above, nor was it warm. There was a slight drizzle in the air, and it was about 40 degrees. Still, very comfortable for a long run, which is what I did.

I put in 12 miles, looping around my lake a couple of times. The running was good, but the birdwatching even better. Those of you that have been reading for some time know that my blog posts in the spring tend to be more of a birding journal, and this report will be no exception. Today was just that good.

Some new arrivals include the cute little ruby-crowned kinglet, bufflehead, osprey, northern flicker, American coot, and the beautiful fox sparrow. Already, it was a good day.

I saw a couple of loons (our official state bird) as I circled my lake. Then I saw a couple more. And even more. Eventually I stopped and counted 15 of them in a single bay! I figured conservatively that there were at least 20 loons that I saw, probably more because they are hard to keep track of when they dive underwater.

We are being invaded by loons! :) Clearly, they were migrating north to their nesting grounds, and the lake in my neighborhood was serving as a wayside rest. What a treat! Never before have I seen so many loons at once.

Could this birding moment possibly be topped? As it turned out, yes, it could. How does adding a new bird to your "life list" sound?

Rounding the southwest corner of the lake, the trail is literally right next to the water. I am chugging along and out of the water pops this duck-like waterbird with a thin beak and long neck. I stopped running, and I think I may have even said out loud, "I'll be damned!" It was a red-necked grebe!

The grebe was no more than 15 feet away from me, and he just sat there on the water. He was a gorgeous, if not somewhat unique looking bird, with a wedge-shaped head and a velvety reddish orange neck. What a spectacular find. Had I not been running by that exact spot at that exact time, I might have gone right by and missed the grebe. I just stood and watched him for awhile, and he slowly started to move away from me out onto the lake.

Today I got to check off the red-necked grebe on my life list in my very old copy of Roger Tory Peterson's A Field Guide To Bird East of the Rockies. That, along with several new spring arrivals and a display of loons unlike anything I have ever seen, makes for a very nice Saturday.

And how does one celebrate a great running and birding day, you ask? Why, with an old fashioned Norwegian-inspired dinner of fresh potato sausage from Knaus Sausage House in Kimball, along with sides of fresh asparagus and goat cheese mashed potatoes, of course! :)

Embracing my inner Scandinavian



Until next time,

Jean

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Turning the corner, and seeing some birds

Temperatures soared into the upper 60's today. What snow we got over the weekend is gone, and the lake along my running route is close to being free of ice. I am officially calling it:

Spring is finally here! The worst of the wintry weather is behind us!!! :)

The last two mornings have treated me to some spectacular running…and birds!

Monday morning was crisp and cool (and below freezing, actually, but the day quickly warmed into the mid 50’s). The running was most comfortable. Along my route, I saw my friends, the eagles, and the hooded merganser made an appearance in the creek once again. Not only that, but I flushed a rooster pheasant in the park, scared up a kingfisher near the edge of a pond, and saw my first pair of wood ducks for the season.

This morning on my run, it was a breezy 42 degrees with some wispy clouds in the skies. The sunrise over the lake was amazing, with the giant, hot pink orb lifting above the horizon (note to self; bring your camera on runs more often, dummy!). It was so incredible that I stopped running on a footbridge for a while to take in the sight. I was glad I stopped; otherwise I would have missed seeing our state bird, the loon, swimming out in the bay near the remaining ice. Yes, the loons are back! There is a good “be sure to stop and smell the roses” message in here somewhere. Only in this case it involves stopping and seeing loons.

As I said, the weather is improving. But last Saturday when I was running in the cold, wind, and occasional slush (all the while whining a little bit), there was a brave group of Wisconsin and Minnesota trail runners who ran through a heck of a lot worse than I did on the trails at the Chippewa Moraine 50k. Check out this race report! I cannot even imagine how difficult that must have been running trails in those weather conditions. Way to go, guys and girls! :)

Until next time,

Jean

Saturday, April 12, 2008

20k on a "spring" day

This morning, I hopped in The Silver Hornet and headed to the southeastern Minnesota city of Rochester. I would be running in my first longer (by my standards) race of the season, the Dr. Steven Fetzer Memorial 20k. As you can see from the picture below, it was a spectacularly gorgeous day for running...

The snowy, sleety start line of the Dr. Steven Fetzer 20k...yikes!



If you saw my previous post, Minnesota was ravaged by a winter storm on Thursday and Friday. The remnants of that storm were still impacting the state today with snow showers and fierce winds out of the north.

The race was headquartered at the Bamber Valley school, and most of us spent our warm up time...well, staying warm in the gym. Nobody was going to go outside until they had to. Unrelated to anything, while I was in the gym I took a picture of the school mascot on the wall just because I thought that was one of the cutest sports logos I have ever seen!

I think the mascot is saying, "Let's get this dam race over with! It's cold out!" :)



In spite of the weather, everyone was in a fantastic mood. I think we are all a bit loopy from the long winter, and we were just excited about that fact that the race season was starting up. The runners were all smiling, and the race director and volunteers were great to us. They even made personalized race bibs for the preregistered runners. How cool is that?

A nice personal touch!



The race course was just about entirely flat and took us along the bike trails down by the Zumbro River. It was a very cool route, and I would imagine this place would look spectacular in the summer and fall.

Chilly runners at the start



There is something abut the combination of damp + wind that is positively bone chilling. Even at 30 degrees, which is mild compared to what I ran through this winter. It actually feels more comfortable to run on a crisp zero degree day. I don't think I have ever felt so cold at a race. For the first mile, I couldn't feel my toes, and my gloved hands were freezing as well. Are we insane?

Running was challenging at times, as there were some patchy areas of slush to negotiate, and also a slippery bridge crossing. I kept thinking that it could have been much worse. Southern Minnesota was really spared the brunt of this last storm.

The course did a little bit of an out-and-back, so you got met by the faster runners, and also met slower runners on the return route. It was remarkable how enthusiastic everyone was. Runners were greeting each other, wishing people well, and offering encouragement to all.

Earlier in the race I was running with a small pack of people. We had just crossed the 4 mile mark when a runner behind me said to the guy he was running with, "8:30!" (He was telling his friend their pace for the last mile). Another runner just ahead of us and within earshot partially heard this and replied back, "What was that?"

The runner behind me replied, "We went through the last mile in 8:30. But you were a little bit ahead of us, so I am sure you went through in at least 7:20!" All of us exploded into laughter!

Hey, it's cold, windy as hell, and we're all freezing...but darn it if we aren't having a good time!

And may God bless the people who volunteered at this event. Those people at the aid stations and directing us at intersection; they all had to stand in the cold. Running in the cold isn't so bad, but standing in it absolutely sucks. Yet, they all smiled, patted us on the back, cheered us on, and slapped us high-fives. Wow, what a bunch of rock stars! I have never seen better. Thank you all, you were marvelous!

As for my race, I ran a steady pace and felt really good all day, even heading into the wind (which was brutal at times when we hit an unsheltered opening along the river). Although, for some reason it worked out that the wind was either at our backs, or at least helping, for the last three miles. That never happens! :)

I crossed the finish line in 1 hour, 44 minutes, and 12 seconds (full race results here), and I was very pleased. Coming off of a brutal winter for running, I had some doubts as to what kind of shape I was in. This erased all my doubts. I am very excited for the spring (whenever it arrives) and summer months.

For the return trip home, I took the scenic route, driving through the small towns of Kasson, Mantorville, Wanamingo, and Kenyon. The snow showers had subsided, and the driving was more pleasant. This is simply a beautiful area of the state consisting of vast farmland that is dotted with pockets of woods. My Dad is from this area, and it is always fun to go through here.

The historic Hubbell House in Mantorville



Had I not been all grubby from my run, I would have loved to have stopped at this place for lunch, the Hubbell House in Mantorville. Mantorville is a beautiful old town (and not in a cliché, touristy way), and the restaurant has a history dating back to 1854 (four years before Minnesota became a state for any of you keeping score). I am thinking this might be worthy of a Sunday drive in the future. On a warmer day, perhaps!

Anyhow, it was a nice drive home. And tonight, I will practice my semi-regular post-race tradition of getting some Chinese take-out for dinner, and then settle in for the NASCAR night race from Phoenix! A good way to end an even better day at the races.

Until next time,

Jean

Thursday, April 10, 2008

More winter storms in spring

This is getting absolutely ridiculous...

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
436 AM CDT THU APR 10 2008

...MAJOR WINTER STORM TO BRING HEAVY SNOW AND HIGH WINDS TO PARTS OF THE REGION TODAY THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT...

.A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR A PORTION OF CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA FROM THURSDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING. THE WARNING BEGINS AT 1 PM FOR WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA INCLUDING THE COMMUNITIES OF APPLETON...
CANBY...REDWOOD FALLS...HUTCHINSON AND ST. CLOUD. THE WARNING BEGINS AT 7 PM FURTHER TO THE NORTH IN CENTRAL MINNESOTA...INCLUDING ALEXANDRIA...LITTLE FALLS...AND MORA.

A WINTER STORM WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FROM 4 PM THIS AFTERNOON INTO SATURDAY MORNING FOR PORTIONS OF EAST CENTRAL MINNESOTA AND THE HIGHWAY 8 CORRIDOR IN WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN. THIS INCLUDES THE TWIN CITIES METROPOLITAN AREA...RICE LAKE AND LADYSMITH.

HEAVY SNOWFALL IS EXPECTED ACROSS CENTRAL THROUGH SOUTHWEST AREAS OF MINNESOTA BEGINNING THIS AFTERNOON AND LASTING THROUGH FRIDAY. THE PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN AS A PERIOD OF RAIN AND SNOW...BUT A QUICK TRANSITION TO ALL SNOW IS EXPECTED ACROSS WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA THIS AFTERNOON AND BY EVENING ACROSS THE REST OF THE WARNING AREA.

THE CUTOFF FROM SNOW TO RAIN WILL BE IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO SOUTHEASTERN PORTIONS OF THE TWIN CITIES METRO AREA AND ALONG THE HIGHWAY 8 CORRIDOR IN WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN. THESE AREAS MAY SEE PRECIPITATION OSCILLATE BETWEEN RAIN AND SNOW...AND POSSIBLY
SLEET...THIS EVENING WHICH WILL DRAMATICALLY REDUCE SNOW ACCUMULATIONS. ADDITIONAL ACCUMULATING SNOW IS THEN EXPECTED ON FRIDAY.

VISIBILITY IN THE HEAVY SNOW THIS EVENING WILL BE REDUCED TO A QUARTER MILE OR LESS AT TIMES WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF SEVERAL INCHES OF SNOW ACCUMULATING OVER A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. THIS WILL MAKE TRAVEL HAZARDOUS IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE THIS EVENING AND TONIGHT.
SNOWFALL INTENSITY WILL DECREASE FRIDAY...BUT ADDITIONAL ACCUMULATION WILL OCCUR.

THE HIGHEST SNOWFALL AMOUNTS ARE EXPECTED TO OCCUR IN A SWATH FROM CANBY TO REDWOOD FALLS NORTHEAST TO ALEXANDRIA TO CAMBRIDGE WHERE 12 TO 15 INCHES...WITH ISOLATED HIGHER AMOUNTS...IS EXPECTED BY LATE FRIDAY NIGHT. LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING TO THE SOUTHEAST OF THESE AREAS...INCLUDING GAYLORD...THE TWIN CITIES METRO AREA...RICE LAKE...AND LADYSMTH ARE EXPECTED TO SEE FROM AROUND 6 TO AS MUCH AS 12 INCHES OF SNOW BY LATE FRIDAY NIGHT.

IN ADDITION TO THE SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS...THERE WILL BE VERY STRONG NORTHEAST WINDS WITH SPEEDS OF 25 TO 35 MPH WITH HIGHER GUSTS. THIS WILL CAUSE CONSIDERABLE BLOWING SNOW AND POOR VISIBILITY IN OPEN AREAS THURSDAY NIGHT AND FRIDAY.

Just when you think we have turned the corner, this happens. Ugh...

Searching for my snowshoes,

Jean

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

More and more birds

Nearly every day in the past couple of weeks that I have gone running, I have seen new migratory birds arriving for spring. Previously, I reported on the red-winged blackbirds, robins, bluebirds, phoebe, song sparrows, tree swallows, and even a sandhill crane. I am happy to say they just keep showing up!

On Monday morning, the first killdeer of the season made its presence known. This cute little shorebird was making all kinds of noise along my route with its shrill, peeping vocalizations echoing throughout the neighborhood.

Today, in a small patch of open water along my trail where a creek flows into the lake, I saw a mother and father hooded merganser. The mother dove underwater, but the colorful father stayed put and even displayed his magnificent crest for me. I have never had such a close-up view of this species. He is one of the most beautiful ducks! This just made my day and was one of the more amazing bird sightings I have experienced in recent memory.

Although they are not new, I continue to see the eagles at their nest in the park. One is in it, and the other standing guard along side. I always greet them, and the one outside the nest usually tilts his head to look at me. Huge birds, definitely an older pair, and they are impressive creatures to say the least.

As I was heading home, I thought about all of the wildlife encounters I would have missed if I didn’t run.

I looked back at my running spreadsheet and it reads more like a birding list as opposed to a running journal! This is why I run outside all year round, because there is always something to see, even if it is the tough little chickadees who still manage to sing when it is -15 below zero in the winter.

And if you go running at 6 AM on a beautiful day and are lucky enough to see a hooded merganser in full breeding plumage? That, my friends, is about as good as it gets.

Until next time,

Jean

More than 2 feet of snow?!?

Just a quick post; Check out this slide show illustrating the ridiculous amounts of snow northern MN received over the weekend.

We got nothing but rain down here in the metro, but some areas received more than 20, even 30 inches of snow as a result of this storm. Virginia, MN takes home the title with 32 inches! That is absolutely insane.

Wow! This is April, for crying out loud!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A little running, a lot of wine, and some good food

Saturday I awoke to a gorgeous day. Low 40's, sun, a slight breeze; perfect for running.

I ran a 12 mile loop through the park and around the lake. Nothing too stressful, just a good, easy pace. And the mild temperatures meant that my Gatorade didn't freeze up! :) (By the way, that Gatorade "Tiger" in the grape flavor is mighty tasty)

New birds seem to arrive daily. Yesterday on the run I saw my first tree swallow of the season. Also, the shores of the lake were inundated with song sparrows, and were they ever singing. In fact, all of the birds were singing! A chorus of bird sounds accompanied me all throughout my run.

Once I got myself cleaned up, it was time to do some shopping. I bought my groceries for the week, and then I headed off in search of some vino. A local wine shop, Haskell's, is having their annual spring "nickel sale," so I had to take advantage! The Minnetonka store was an absolute zoo (as it always is...this is a popular sale!), and I walked out with a mixed case of reds. The "cellar" is now fully stocked. :)

Winding my way west of the Cities, I sought out some lunch, as I had not eaten post-run and was feeling quite famished. As it is spring, the Minnetonka Drive-In is now open! I enjoyed a delicious "California Supreme" burger and fries from the comfort of The Silver Hornet, windows down, sunroof open, and tunes playing. (Oh, did I mention it was 60 degrees outside at this point? Niiiiice!)

The California Supreme burger at the Minnetonka Drive In



The rest of the day consisted of a lot of sports (NASCAR, golf, Final Four). For dinner, I embraced my inner Scandinavian and cooked up a roasted chicken with lemon and dill. My recipe is similar to that of Andreas Viestad's from his Kitchen of Light cookbook. He advocates using a ton of dill, and I am happy to oblige! The chicken turned out fantastic.

Last night's roasted chicken with dill and lemon



Today is rainy, and with a day off from running, it gave me an opportunity to spend even more time in the kitchen! I made pizza dough this morning, so I will have that on hand for the week. And there is a pot of homemade split pea soup simmering on the stove as I type this, so the leftovers will serve as my lunches at work.

From the looks of it, I am really glad I enjoyed my Saturday. The weather forecast for the week isn't looking too sharp. Even more chances for some snow? Ugh. Bring on spring, darn it!

Until next time,

Jean

Friday, April 4, 2008

I can get used to this

For winter running, you need to layer your clothing and bundle up. This may require some base layer undergarments, tights, a couple of shirts, and a jacket. If the route is snow-packed, you may need to use your trail shoes for additional traction. Then you need to find your stocking cap, thick socks, gloves, and perhaps even a ski mask. It takes forever and a day to get ready just to go running.

But in weather like yesterday (58 and sunny), you are out the door in a matter of minutes. Shirt, shorts, socks, shoes, and you are ready to rock!

What a beautiful run yesterday. Signs of spring are slowly emerging. Ice is melting off of the ponds and lakes, and the creek I run past has open water.

I have seen three new birds over the last few days, including the eastern bluebird, the eastern phoebe, and also a gigantic sandhill crane that swooped into the swamp as I was running by on the trail. Always nice to see the new arrivals for spring. In a few weeks, the warblers should start passing through to their northern nesting grounds. An exciting time to be a bird watcher, to say the least!

Unfortunately, our weekend doesn’t look so great. A chance of rain both days, and Sunday looks to be a washout judging by the latest forecast. Oh well, April showers equals May flowers, right?

Until next time,

Jean

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fools snow

This is not an April Fools Day joke. Here is a shot from my deck taken just minutes ago on this, the first day of April.

Welcome to spring! :)



I think my neighborhood officially got somewhere around 4 inches of snow, although a lot of it melted when it hit the ground. Snow came down hard yesterday, and we would have been buried had the temperatures been about 10 degrees colder.

I am telling you, this is the never ending winter! Unbelievable.

Until next time,

Jean

P.S. - In case anyone thinks I am pulling your leg about the snow, here is a link to a local TV station with a slide show from yesterday's Minnesota Twins opener!

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