Today it feels like we skipped fall all together and went right into winter.  The temperature got down to 22 degrees last night and my house is finger freezing cold.  That’s when you’re typing and your fingers get so cold you can barely find the right keys any longer.  The same thing happened when I was a kid practicing piano in our basement or was it just because I wasn’t any good at playing piano?  In any case it’s really cold out right now.

     The good news is it is supposed to warm up into the 50’s today.  The winds are only predicted to be mild and it looks like a great day to paddle.  The kids are home from school today so we may just take the canoe out for a ride.  The school schedules half-days every once in awhile and I can’t see making them ride the bus for 3 hours for 4 hours of school time.  We’ll learn something up here at the end of the Gunflint Trail today instead.

     I’ve already learned a few things this morning and the day has just begun.  Checking up on fall colors I found a new way to determine when it is going to snow.  The USFS Gunflint Ranger District had this posted online along with a photo this morning.

Another indicator is the condition of the Fireweed wildflowers.   I’ve heard that people used these flowers to predict when it will be time to start moving the fragile things indoors and when the first killing frost may occur. Watch the progression of blooming of the flowers on the stalks. When the last couple rows of buds begin to bloom at the top of the stalk, begin counting TEN DAYS from that date. You will find that the first frost for your local area will occur within a day or so of that predicted date.   Now that most of us have had a frost, we can’t check that prediction, but here’s another.  Once the Fireweed wildflowers have “feathered” out to the very top of the plant, winter (or snow) is six weeks away.

     The USFS also has an Air Quality website with a webcam of the Boundary Waters.  This is kind of neat to see along with their Fall color report..  There’s lots to learn and see if a person has time.  Unfortunately my typing time is up, my fingers are frozen!