November 2009

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January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

All Saints' Day I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colours are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and it is content.
-- Lin Yutan

This is from this morning. Click HERE.
All Souls' Day It was a cold nocturnal boat ride to and from Randy's place last night.......perhaps the last one of the year. Within 2 months it'll be an even colder nocturnal walk across the ice (hopefully).

Little Bass Lake must be growing. The DNR occasionally changes the acreage for the lake. Back in the early 90s it was 152 point something acres; then it went up to 155 point something acres; now it's 160.5 acres. Hmmmmm..................

There were 16 American Goldfinches near the feeder at the same time this afternoon, but of course they were all in their drab fall colors. Wouldn't that be a gorgeous sight in the Springtime?
November 3rd Yesterday was the first time this fall that the sun went down before 5:00 PM here in Cohasset, and we wont see it at 5:00 PM again for the next 12 weeks.

Some of the nearby small ponds were covered with ice and there was even a little ice in the weed beds over on Bass Lake this morning, but nothing on Little Bass yet. Of course I'm sure it will all be gone by this afternoon.
November 4th A thing like this makes a person feel good, doesn't it? So now: Let it snow!!!! Click HERE.
The Nones of November Remember, remember
the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot.
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
I was chatting over the computer with my Dear Edinburgh Daughter this afternoon, and we could both hear the fireworks in her background even as we spoke. Click HERE.

Last year, three weeks from yesterday (11/25/08), the lake was first totally covered with ice. What do you think will happen this year?
November 6th Okay, I lied on November 2nd (see above). As it turned out, that wasn't the last time I took a nocturnal boat trek across the lake and back this year.
November 7th Ron E and his group from St. Paul are out deer hunting even as I type. This makes the 18th consecutive year that they have used LBLR as their deer camp.
November 8th We haven't gotten much cold weather recently. I have a feeling that the lake will be late to freeze this year.
November 9th Ron E and his hunting group left this afternoon without a single deer. That sure hasn't happened very often. Oh well, they'll be back in a short time for muzzle loader season. Better luck then, you guys.
November_10th It's not frivolity that makes women intolerable, it's their ghastly enthusiasm.
-- Horace Rumpole (1967)
Veterans' Day It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our wars far away. The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers, grave and gray-haired. But most of them were boys when they died, and they gave up two lives -- the one they were living and the one they would have lived. When they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance to be revered old men. They gave up everything for their country, for us. All we can do is remember.
-- Ronald Reagan (November 11, 1985)

Click HERE.
November 12th Okay all you outdoor persons, what are these? They're in a large patch of wild rice, a fair distance from the shore in the Mississippi River. Click HERE.
The Ides of November A lot of people guessed that the objects in yesterday's picture were Beaver houses. That was a good guess.....but wrong. Beaver houses are bigger, they're made out of branches and sticks, they're more permanent, and they're usually at the shoreline. (To see a picture of a typical Beaver house, click HERE.) These are Muskrat Lodges. They're much smaller, they're made of weedy material like reeds and cattails, they're out in shallow areas of the water rather than on the shoreline, and they usually have to be replaced every fall. Incidentally, John Latimer told me that some people believe that the size of these structures can be a guide to the severity of the coming winter; the larger the structures the more severe the winter. But the truth is that it probably has more to do with the nearby supply of vegetation than the severity of the coming winter........and in the middle of that wild rice patch they have tons and tons of vegetation.
November 14th Within the next five weeks Cohasset's 9 hour and 23 minute days will be shortened to 8 hours and 30 minutes, which is a loss of 53 more minutes of daylight. But 41 of those minutes will come from our morning light and only 12 of them will come from our afternoon light. Why is that, do you suppose? As I said once before, some of these astronomical tidbits are rather difficult to fathom.
November 15th If the lake level doesn't drop anymore this fall it will freeze at the highest level of any freeze date in the last four years (click HERE). Of course, since the freeze date is probably more than two weeks away yet, most likely that wont happen. And by the way, the water temperature is 2 to 3 degrees warmer than it was on this date the last couple of years (click HERE).
November 16th I have lost all faith in Chinese fortune cookies.
November 17th Yesterday was the day the lake froze in 1997, which is the earliest freeze date in my records. Tomorrow is the day the lake froze in 1992 (my first year in the Northland) and more recently, three days from now is the day it froze three years ago. This year there is no ice on Little Bass yet and the water temperature off the front porch is still 41 degrees. I know these things can happen rather suddenly, but I don't think we're going to see any appreciable ice for quite some time yet. By the way, the latest freeze date was in 1999; it was on December 6th (almost 3 weeks from now). That winter the lake was frozen for only 116 days which was four weeks less than the average and nearly six weeks less than the maximum. What a non-winter that one was! Click HERE.
November 18th Tonight had yet another cold noctural boat trip across the lake. At this rate they might go on until January, but this is the last one I'll bore you with even if there are ten more of them.
November 19th Little Bass Lake Water Clarity in a nutshell (based on 92 readings over the last four years):
When the ice melts in the Spring the clarity is around 10 feet. The lake begins to clear almost immediately and continues to do so until early to mid-July when it is at its clearest point of the year at approximately 20 feet. It then loses some clarity over the next few weeks (due to algae growth supposedly) until it levels off in early August at around 12 feet. It stays roughly at that level until mid-September when the water cools significantly and the lake begins to "turn over". At that time the clarity decreases until it reaches its minimum of 7 or 8 feet in late October or early November. From there it again clears to 12 or 14 feet by the time the lake freezes in late November. Click HERE.

I've taken only one reading during the wintertime which was on January 28, 2008. I augered a seven inch diameter hole in the ice and covered the hole to keep the sun glare off of the water. My Secchi Disk had a 25 foot rope attached to it, and I could still plainly see the disk at that depth. So if that one reading is anything to base a conclusion on, the water is very clear during the wintertime (more than 25 feet) but becomes much less clear (to about 10 feet) as the ice melts in the Spring. However, I suppose it's possible that the covering of ice on the lake makes the viewing conditions much more favorable, and that could be the reason why the Secchi Disk was easily seen at that depth. Who knows?
November 20th Well I'll be darned!!!!! Down at the south end of the lake where the sun hardly ever shines on the water these days, there IS a little ice in the weed beds. Amazing!
November 21th Geez, does this ever bring back memories!!!!! It's from the 2002 version of Cindy's "Women on Water" weekend at LBLR. That's a picture of the Front Porch, if you can't see it well enough to tell. Click HERE.
November 22nd Here's what the Climate Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (which is part of the National Weather Service) in Camp Springs, Maryland says about the weather during November, December, and January as a result of the current El Nino:
Above-average temperatures and below-average snowfall is most likely for the Northern Rockies, Northern Plains, and Upper Midwest, while below-average temperatures are expected for the southeastern states.
We're the Upper Midwest and so far they've got that part of it right. It's not going to be a good winter. Sigh.............
November 23rd Part 1:
One time this past Summer I happened to notice a dead bird laying in my driveway, which is not an unusual occurrence. But when I saw it again a few hours later I noticed that it had moved about a foot; and I could even see the marks in the gravel where it had crawled. At that point, I assumed that when I saw it the first time it wasn't quite dead, but after looking at it more closely I was sure it was dead this time. However, the next morning I again walked past the dead bird, and to my surprise it had moved several more feet. I was stumped, but I didn't notice anything else suspicious and I soon forgot about it.

Part 2:
Last evening I read the following question and answer in the "Natural Curiosities" section of the July/August edition of the "Minnesota Conservation Volunteer".
Question: I looked out our deck door one evening and saw a dead bird that must have hit a window. It began moving slightly and I realized that many bees were going in and out of it, and they seemed to be causing it to move! The next morning I looked out and noticed that it was about a yard from where it had been the night before. What was going on?
Answer: Hornets, also known as Yellowjackets, feed on dead flesh in late summer, says DNR entomologist Robert Dana. There is a good chance that's what you observed. Another possibility is that the movement was caused by carrion beetles. These black-and-orange insects will transport carcasses and even bury them.

Part 3:
That probably explains it..........interesting, eh? By the way, are you familiar with the "Minnesota Conservation Volunteer" It's a great little magazine which is published six times a year by the Minnesota DNR. It's full of interesting articles and information. You'd love it. To find out more about it or to sign up for it, click HERE.
November 24th Dark, dreary, wet, warm, and calm.........that's what November has been. Click HERE.
November 25th All the kids, grandkids, and sons-in-law, have arrived (except for the daughter in Scotland, of course). Yay, yay, yay (Tammy made me say that).

The lake froze on this date last year.
Thankgiving Day 6:00 AM: There is a very light coating of snow on the ground. The rest of the snow predicted by the weatherman has mysteriously disappeared from the forecast, but at least the temperature is below freezing. All of the family members, except for me of course, are still in their respective cabins fast asleep.
Noon: The turkey is in the oven.
2:00 PM: My Lions have been beaten by the Packers. Sigh............
6:00 PM: Dinner is on the table!!!!!!!
8:30 PM: Believe it or not, the delicious dinner is over, the clean-up work is done, and the movie has been started.
11:30 PM: The movie is over, the kids (etc) are back in their cabins, and the fire is dying was a delightful day indeed.
Black Friday The north end is now put to bed for another winter. As usual, thanks for the help Josh.
November 28th The last Clarity and Temperature measurements of the year have been taken, and the last boat/motor is out of the water.

The kids (etc) have all left, but not without leaving me a couple of pictures from the weekend. From Tammy, click HERE and from Jeff click HERE.
November 29th A few last words about the water temperature: Yesterday morning when I went out to take the last temperature readings of the year, there was a very thin sheet of ice floating on some parts of the lake, but the wake from the boat broke it up. The temperature of the water a few inches below the surface in the area where I always take the readings was 38.6 degrees. However, I went over to where the ice sheet was and checked the temperature an inch or less below the surface and it was about 35 degrees in that area. To be consistent with the way I have taken the temperature readings in the past, I logged it as 38.6 degrees.
November 30th There is a fair amount of ice extending out from the LBLR shore this morning, but it's very very thin. When the sun gets higher and the wind comes up it'll soon be gone. Click HERE.

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