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Nature

Porcupines Can Be Particular Creatures

Porcupines have always been such an elusive creature to me. While hiking, more often I see signs they are nearby like scat, bark missing on trees, or wood chips scattered on the ground instead of the real creature. They always seem to evade detection, which is interesting seeing as they ...

Use Your Computer To Experience The Joys Of Birding

People keep asking if we’re going to skip winter this year. I don’t know. There have been a few snowstorms here and there; rain and high winds have replaced snow and frigid temperatures in many places. Here in Western North Carolina at an elevation of 2,000 feet, I’ve only recorded one ...

Some Climbers Enjoy Faster Pace For Hike

There is a large contingent of the hiking community that lives for hiking fast. Often I am also one of those people. Pushing your physical limits and testing that mental stamina to keep your legs moving, to climb that mountain or to make it through those next few miles focuses me and ...

The Advantages Of A Flock, Birds Of A Feather

On a cold March afternoon in 1983, I sat in a blind on the banks of the Platte River near Kearney, Neb. and watched seemingly endless lines of sandhill cranes, Canada geese, snow geese, and many species of ducks descend into the shallows to roost for the night. The parade continued well past ...

Outdoor Adventures

For outdoor adventurers, the list of places to go is usually long. New discoveries, experiences and challenges, mountains to climb, rivers to paddle, and sights to see. Or secret spots to come across and relax. I count myself as one of those adventurers. I love to go new places, but ...

Meet The Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers And Its Relatives

On a recent episode of Jeopardy, the correct question to an answer was, “What’s a yellow-bellied sapsucker?” My ears perked up because I notice when birds get favorable attention on national TV. And it’s a great question. To the uninitiated, yellow-bellied sapsucker may sound like a ...

Water Is A Magnet

Water is a magnet for children. They like to dam little creeks to create pools and whirlpools. Sticks are tossed into creeks from bridges to see how long it takes them to float underneath. Rocks are splashed and skipped through the water. Water is an attraction. I have to confess that I ...

Gardening Trends For 2020: Unconventional, Sustainable

Gardeners in 2020 will veer from the beaten path, opting for unconventional varieties and eco-conscious surroundings, according to a plant trends study by horticulturalists with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). Their forecast is based largely ...

New Deal With Mining Company To Protect Rare Nevada Plant

RENO, Nev. (AP) — An Australian mining company has agreed to a moratorium on new activities at a planned lithium mine in Nevada in exchange for conservationists dropping a lawsuit to protect a rare desert wildflower they say doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. The Center for ...

Ramble Through The Woods

On Monday, the weather was gorgeous though odd for December. I was not unhappy though, as I had visitors from England and the warm day provided an opportunity to spontaneously ramble through the woods. Visiting with my oldest childhood friend provided highlights at the end of a year that was ...

A Tale Of Tails

Animal tales often occupy this space. As the year comes to an end, thoughts of animal ends also come to mind - their tails. So, here’s a tale of tails. Animal tails are fascinating appendages that come in a variety of forms and serve a variety of functions. Tails help animals move, ...

Consider More Sustainable Alternatives To Peat Moss

It may be time to say goodbye to Pete in the garden. Peat Moss, that is. Peat has been a great helper for years, especially with seedlings. It’s made our potting mixes better able to hold both water and air, so important for confined roots, and it’s helped grab onto some nutrients that ...

Into A New Year

As we steadily creep through winter and into the new year, the focus will eventually begin to move from the calm of night toward a season of increased light and activity. Every day we gain a couple more minutes of light in the evening and eventually more motivation and activity. As those longer ...

A Poem For The Holidays

Every December, readers make two requests: please reprint your Christmas poem and your suet recipe. I’m happy to oblige. First published in 1988, the poem is an attempt to instill in younger family members a sense of the wonder and fun that backyard feeder birds provide. My hope is that ...

The Longest Night

There is something about the solstice that captures my imagination. The winter solstice is the longest night of the year and the official beginning of winter and generally occurs on or around Dec. 21. From that day forward, the days will get longer and the nights shorter. Even as winter is ...

Enjoying A Christmas Eve To Remember

It was the night before Christmas, 1993. Nora was barely 10 years old, and Emma would not start kindergarten for another eight months. We had just gotten home from an early Christmas Eve church service. About two inches of snow had fallen the day before, and it was about 25 degrees, so a ...

Winter Cacti Are Hard To Name But Easy To Grow

Years ago, I had one of those spineless cacti that once a year splash colorful flowers out the ends of their flat, arching stems. Such plants are usually named for when they are supposed to bloom: Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter cactii. I just call them “holiday” cacti because they ...

This Fungi I Know…

‘Tis the season of death, or at least a long rest, in nature. The trees are bare, the grass has stopped growing, and the stems of plants brown, shriveled, and lifeless. Many in New York state find the season dreary and mundane. Yet we are all guilty of not realizing how important this time ...

Walking In A Winter Watershed

The holidays can be a fun and joyful time, but for many, they can also be a hectic and stressful time. If you find yourself needing a break from the chaos this season, bundle up, get outside and let nature give you a reprieve. Although hiking might not be your first thought when the snow ...