Carol and I continued south after a good time with my family and friends in Ohio over Christmas. We were fortunate to escape the way-below-zero cold at home that made the news. We visited friends near Gulf Shores, Ala. over New Year’s Day. Our friend Jane cooked us a great seafood dinner; oysters Fenton, shrimp cocktail with remoulade sauce, blue crab claws and oyster shooters. The weather there was relatively warm (for us); in the 50s, windy with some rain.
Many of us enjoy strolling through a park-like setting with scattered trees and grassy ground vegetation. We also enjoy time on a beach. These are common human predilections. Savannas are ecosystems with plant communities consisting of open-grown scattered trees with a grassy understory. Savanna ecosystems are transitional communities found between forests and grasslands. The savanna theory suggests that our hominid ancestors evolved on the dry plains of Africa.
By Dan Wilcox A couple weeks ago I hunted for ruffed grouse and woodcock in northwestern Wisconsin in the area between Drummond and Iron River. The area is hilly and dotted with kettle lakes and wetlands, a legacy of the last glaciations. I really like the forest in that area.
by Dan Wildcox, outdoor columnist Last Saturday was an end-of-summer day for us. The big travel lift at the Washburn Marina picked our old sailboat out of the water and set it on its steel cradle.
Now is a great time to take a hike. Corky abscission layers are forming between leaf petioles and twigs on deciduous trees and shrubs, cutting down the flow of nutrients and water into the leaves. Green chlorophyll pigment degrades revealing the yellow xanthophylls and the orange beta-carotene pigments. Red anthocyanin pigments form as the chlorophyll degrades.
By Dan Wilcox Outdoor Columnist Ole and Sven were returning from a fishing expedition with few fish.
By Daniel Wilcox, Outdoor Columnist I agree with Water Rat’s quote in Kenneth Grahame’s book, Wind in the Willows: “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing-absolutely nothing-half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” I really enjoy being out on the water in wild places. I was named after an ancestor who was a Rhode Island whaling captain in the mid-1800s. He survived a number of years-long voyages and lived to tell about it. My mother still has his whalebone cane.
The same four friends went fishing for bluegills again. John Lewinski of McCall, Idaho, grew up in Mann Valley just west of River Falls. My brother-in-law Ken "Buck" Schreiber lives south of Osseo. John, Buck and I are college buddies. We attended UW-Stevens Point, studying water resources many moons ago. Dennis Anderson of River Falls is a river rat and fisheries biologist originally from Winona, Minn. Dennis and I have worked together for 32 years. We all grew up fishing for bluegills and continue to be avid fishermen.
Many years ago, Dr. Milo Harpstead, my soils professor at UW-Stevens Point, began his lecture by informing us that the thin layer of topsoil that covers the planet's land surface is the foundation of civilization. Dr. Harpstead instructed that there's a big difference between soils and dirt. Dirt is soil out of place. Dr. David Pimental, professor of ecology at Cornell University, studies soils and agriculture around the world. Dr. Pimental said, "Soil erosion is second only to population growth as the biggest environmental problem the world faces.