I just put the teacher’s guide for The Story of Snow online at storyofsnow.com. If it’s of interest - hop over there to grab it!
Saturday, November 28.
Winter gave a slight feint earlier this week. It grew cold on thanksgiving and that night a bit of snow fell – enough to linger for a few hours the next morning on rooftops, cars, and piles of leaves. But it was gone soon and here we are, the next day over, and it’s back to 50 degrees.
I was impressed to see dragonflies lingering-on last weekend – will they still be around now? Do the Autumn Meadowhawks stay until it is too cold to hang on any longer, or are their days numbered by some other measure? It seems that if all the other dragonfly species come and go based on the unknown logic that whirls behind the natural world, then someday the autumn meadowhawks will also just disappear for the season, even if it never gets cold at all.
They probably will – though it will get soon cold so who can tell which from what. But after last week’s successful hunt I ventured back out to the Allegan Game Area today, specifically to the Swan Creek Levee, to see if any Meadowhawks remain. It’s almost the end of firearm deer season (it only lasts two weeks) and the woods were already less crowded, though the road back to the levee was dotted with parked vehicles and occasional parties of hunters.
At 1 PM the thermometer in my car registered 49 F. (An hour later it rose to 52, and then dropped for the rest of the day.) The November sun hung low in the sky as we pulled into the parking area. I figure that the levee area is pretty safe during hunting season – the game preserve is to the north, Swan Creek is to the west, and the area due east of the levee is often flooded (it more or less is now.) There were no dragonflies in the parking lot and none in the field next to it. I made my way down to the levee, with the low hanging southern sun glaring in my eyes. A short way past the dam a dragonfly rose up before me. A few minutes later, two more rose up and then flew out over the water…
And that was it. Three individual dragonflies, but still - three.
I wandered to the end of the levee, and walked back with the sun to my back. One skittish Meadowhawk flit form rock to rock, sometimes landing on the gravel trail. The image above is the one shot I managed to get of it before it too flew out over Swan Creek. I’m guessing, that’s it for this year.
A couple of hunters wandered down to the levee while I was shooting, rifles in hand. Lookin at their orange jumpers and jackets, I felt a bit underdressed in my greeen shirt and blue jeans, with only a faded hunter-orange stocking hat on my head. Time to head home.
On the way back I drove by the field I affectionately call the Old Farmstead to see if the logging had begun. As I mentioned in an earlier post, several of the pines had day-glo ribbons tied to them, and logging activity had begun in the field directly to the south.
Sadly, the logging has started in earnest. The small parking area that I would slip into is chewed up into a rutty, muddy mess. I’m not sure why they bothered to mow the field because it looks like the trees are being cut down and then dragged across the fields. The very sandy soil has given up the plants that clung to it, and now a good portion of the field is just a torn up sandy mess. I’ve seen similar tracts in the other fields around Allegan – swaths were there are just ruts, open sandy soil, and few plants growing. I never knew where they came from – but now I do.
Oh well – they seem to only be taking pines at this time. Hopefully the large oaks will be spared. I can’t criticize the cutting of trees in a place where they were grown to be cut, but it’s sad to see a place that I enjoyed visiting being treated so roughly. I should have spent more time at other places, so to have something to fall back on.
Next summer’s reports will be from new locales…
Stylurus over at the Urban Dragon Hunter’s blog logged a new late-date for Michigan Odonates this year - December 1st. You can read his post here - be sure to read the comments since that is where he updates on his sightings.
The 2009 Signature Gallery is getting set up and soon will be open!
This year the gallery runs from December 5 to the 26th, with the Artist Reception on Sunday, December 6 from 12 to 5.
The address is 4644 West Main Street. Our new location is in the Westwood Plaza at the corner of West Main and Drake Road - near Mackenzies¹ Bakery and around the corner from Coney Island. The space was formerly used by Wild Goose Chase and most recently Quilts Plus.
I won’t be participating this year, except for the inclusion of the three framed prints. (Go figure - we finally snag a location between a Coney Island and Bakery and I miss out!) But I plan to hang out at the reception for a while.
Stop in and see the fabulous assortment of art objects in all media at the gallery!
For info about all things Signature, visit the website at www.signatureartistcoop.com
The Kalamazoo Nature Center’s Buy Local Art and Gift Fair is coming up in just 2 weeks. I’ll be on hand to sign books and talk about snow crystyal photography from 11 a.m. till 1 p.m. The Art Fair runs from 10 to 4, and in the afternon the results of the Photoblitz contest will be unveiled. Holidays At The Homestead will also be in full swing, with live Celtic Music, horse drawn carriage rides, and other holiday festivities from the past at the historic DeLano Homestead. For more about the event, visit www.naturecenter.org.
And don’t forget the December 4 art hop at Nature Connection in downtown Kalamazoo!
A few days ago I set up a new blog, dedicated to The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder.
Check it out at storyofsnow.com.
I just confirmed that I’ll be interviewed on the Lori Moore Show – AM 590 WKZO Kalamazoo – around 9:45 a.m. on Friday, December 4. I expect we’ll be talking about The Story of Snow, the Art Hop at Nature Connection that evening, the upcoming “Buy Local” event at that Kalamazoo Nature Center, and about anything else that comes up!
Just for the fun of it - here is a snow crystal from 12/21/2008. We’ve had an unusually warm fall in Kalamazoo this year, so it’s hard to believe that we’ll be seeing snow like this in less than a month - but I can hope!
On Friday, Decmeber 4, I’ll be participating in the December Art Hop at Nature Connection - a cool nature oriented gift store located in Downtown Kalamazoo. I’ll be there to sign copies of The Story of Snow, and will also have photo note cards and matted prints.
The Art Hop is from 5 - 9 on December 4, and Nature Connections is located at the corner of Lovell and Burdick. See you there there!