What to Expect on Northern Lakes in October

Northern Wisconsin Fire Lake

Summer’s over. Days shorten. Harvest’s in. Winds blow. Birds head south. Rains come. Lakes get choppy. . . The Packers are playing... BUT so are the musky and walleye; and, like the Packers, the musky and walleye “play for keeps”! Here’s what some local anglers reveal about fishing their “primo” northern fishing areas in October. . . “I get goose bumps. I’m quivering, as I even THINK about October,” exudes George Langley, Eagle River fishing guru / guide / bait & … [Read more...]

Look for Animal Tracks in the Snow

Northern Wisconsin Animal Tracks In The Snow

Tracks are often well defined in shallow snow, so after examining your own tracks look for those made by other animals that are winter-active in your area. You may only find prints left by neighborhood dogs and cats, but check for those made by birds and, in areas that support these animals, those left by squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, and deer, to mention just a few. Follow any tracks you come across, and try to piece together something about the animal’s activities. You may find evidence … [Read more...]

Plant Dye and Wool Yarn

Hand Woven Yarn

Dyeing with natural dyes is fun and easy to do. Wool takes dyes more readily than cotton or other fibers, so why not dye some yarn that you (or your mother) can make into something? Knit up a handsome scarf, or some mittens. Stitch a needlepoint pillow or a wallhanging for your room. You need to boil up some leaves, bark, or nutshells to extract your dye. In general, you need two pounds of fresh materials, and one pound of nutshells, barks, or berries in order to dye a pound of … [Read more...]

Can Crickets Tell the Temperature?

Narrow Winged Tree Cricket

Have you ever noticed how crickets chirp more when it's warm? They are very sensitive to temperature. A scientist named A.E. Dolbear also noticed this and came up with a way to guess the temperature by counting the number of times a cricket chirps in one minute. He based his figures on Snowy Tree Cricket chirps, but you can count the chirps any crickets make. Other crickets are not as reliable, but it's still fun to do. Listen carefully, because it's sometimes hard to tell when one chirp ends … [Read more...]

Glorious Range of Spring Activities for All

Northern Wisconsin Spring

Whatever type of travel experience you prefer, you'll adore northern Wisconsin's forests, lakes, rivers, meadows and wetlands in the spring and early summer. That's when trillium carpet the forest floors, marsh marigolds rest in roadside waters, and columbines nod from rocky settings. That's when you can pluck wild leeks and other edibles to spark your menu... That's when you'll see and hear loons, eagles, and Great Blue Herons, enjoy the glorious sounds of hundreds of songbirds, and maybe … [Read more...]

Wisconsin Autumn Realities Exceed the Fantasies

Northern Wisconsin Fall

Autumn in northern Wisconsin. Breezes blow cooler. The moon and stars seem brighter. Days shorten. Harvests are bountiful. Crowds are gone. Leaves turn colors. Wisconsin’s exquisite beauty and pristine environment beckon. And the colors dazzle! It’s time to drive, hike or bike amid thousands of colorful acres of Wisconsin forests, meadows, and wetlands garnished with glittering streams, rivers and glacial lakes. It’s time to watch eagles soar; see wildlife cavort; and listen for the … [Read more...]

Look for Owl Pellets

Owl Pellet

Owls are among the birds that are permanent residents in much of the United States. They are nocturnal, but even if you've never seen one, you've probably heard one. "Hoo, hoo-hoo, hoo" hoots the great horned owl (whose "horns" are really tufts of feathers). "Who cooks for you all?" cries the barred owl. You can find where owls live by looking for their pellets. Because birds have no teeth, they swallow their food whole. For owls (and other birds of prey) this means bones and all! What these … [Read more...]

Art with Leaves

Scattered Leaves in Wisconsin

Leaves come in all shapes and sizes -- some are squat, some are long and skinny. Each has its unique design of veins and lobes. Most leaves are simple (this means there is one blade). Some are compound (each blade is divided into three or more leaflets). Leaf Prints You can really see these differences in leaves when you make leaf prints. You can make prints from the leaves that are turning, as well as the leaves from houseplants and other garden plants. (Just make sure you ask before you … [Read more...]

Watch for Meteor Showers

Meteor Shower in Wisconsin

Wow! Fireworks in August! Well, not quite, but meteor showers are just as exciting. Around August 10-13, stargazers stay up late to watch the Perseid shower, an eagerly awaited summertime event. An average of 65 meteors light up the sky each hour as they move towards the earth. The best time for viewing is after midnight, but you'll see plenty earlier. One hundred million meteors are thought to enter the earth's atmosphere each day(!), most vaporizing high in the air. Occasionally … [Read more...]

Preserving Leaves with Glycerin

Preserved Leaves with Glycerin

You may have heard of glycerin. It's an old-fashioned ingredient in hand lotions (rosewater and glycerin). You can still buy small bottles of it at drug stores. You can preserve all sorts of foliage with it (from oak leaves to ferns) and even a few flowers, notably hydrangeas. The plants turn color somewhat, but these are usually pleasing shades. Prepare your foliage by stripping the bark from the thick lower stems (or mashing them slightly). Dilute the glycerin with water -- one part … [Read more...]