Posted by: chlost | July 16, 2012

Snowplows don’t plow only snow, you know!

We have very mercurial weather cycles around here. The winters, which generally are extremely cold (at least one or two batches of -10-20F) and generally gently warm summers (usually a few days of 90F+).

At this point in the summer, I almost long for the snowy landscapes of January in Minnesota. Well, almost.

This year, our winter was quite mild, and our summer is on course to be one of the hottest on record. There is now much talk of global warming finally being accepted as truth……many in this area have been doubters. Nothing like sweating it out in sweltering heat and humidity to convert the non believers. But really, I didn’t need this heat to be convinced. I believe, I believe!

There are other, more interesting (at least to me) weather-related things happening around here. These have nothing to do with global warming. I don’t think so, anyway. A couple of the most interesting have happened in just the past couple of days.

We have had amazing northern lights this summer. I have tried to stay up to see them, but haven’t quite made it, as I have to be at work with a somewhat functional brain each morning.

Aurora Borealis observed in Norway on 2006-10-28.

Aurora Borealis observed in Norway on 2006-10-28. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I haven’t been able to get any photos. Others have done me a favor and have filmed these and have posted them for the rest of us. Here is a real-time video of what they saw last night about 25 miles from where I live. As I could not get the video to post here, I am reduced to linking to it. It is spectacular, and worth the click. the Aurora Borealis have been particularly active the last few days. Perhaps increased solar activity is related to that, but whatever it is, it makes for an amazing night sky. I have personally seen smaller and less intense displays in the past. Apparently, sometimes there is a noise that you can hear as well.

Ah, summer!

We live on a major river. The river plays host to many different species of wildlife. This includes bugs. Every so often, there is a major hatch of Mayflies. This is one of those years.


Mayfly (Photo credit: nutmeg66)

One mayfly is not a big deal. But multiply that little bug by a million, and there is a whole different dynamic at play.

Mayflies covering a truck in North Bay, Ontario

Mayflies covering a truck in North Bay, Ontario (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the town of Hastings, the mayflies hatched out last night, and today the city had to plow-yes, with the snowplows-the dead bodies of the bugs. These insects are born, mate and die within several hours. The streets become very slippery with all of the dead bugs. I know……gross! But interesting, as well. Apparently, it is a sign that the river is healthy.

Yes, the river is very healthy this year. Just hope the people can survive them.

In just a couple of days, I am going to go “up North” with a couple of friends. Around here, that means that I will be on the north shore of Lake Superior. It is a beautiful area. The highway winds along the shore of this magnificent lake. There are several State Parks along the route, and many small towns, all with their own flavor. Some of those towns are old iron mining towns, others rely on the nearby ski resorts. The lake is rimmed by a range of small mountains…..well, only around here would they be considered mountains. They are really just large hills. The weather is cool, the breeze comes off the large lake, and the smell of pine and lake water mix into a perfume that cannot be bottled.

There will be no heat, humidity, or mayflies there.

This is what I will be enjoying:

Cliffs at Palisade Head on Lake Superior in Mi...

Cliffs at Palisade Head on Lake Superior in Minnesota near Silver Bay. The is view is looking northeast to Shovel Point. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Grand Portage State Park in Minnesota...

English: Grand Portage State Park in Minnesota. 120 foot waterfall on the Pigeon River is highest in Minnesota. Category:Images of Minnesota (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aerial view of Split Rock Lighthouse, Silver B...

Aerial view of Split Rock Lighthouse, Silver Bay, Minnesota (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota o...

English: Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota on the North Shore of LakeSuperior; photo taken from Palisade Head (foreground) looking NE to Shovel Point (midground) and Sawtooth Mountains (distant background). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And, if I am really lucky, this:

English: The aurora borealis, or northern ligh...

English: The aurora borealis, or northern lights, decorate the night sky in Fort McMurray, Alberta. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



  1. We don’t get to see the Northern Lights down here in Colorado… though, I do understand they’re quite spectacular in some places this year. Hope you get a good view!

    I’m glad we don’t have Mayflys. It is interesting their short life, which, sadly ends with their bodies being plowed off the road. That’s sad, really. Though, in some ways it’s kind of nice — you’re born, you have sex, you die. They don’t have to worry about things like taxes and Sarah Palin… so, it can’t be all bad. 🙂

    • We were so tired at the end of the day that we fell asleep long before the time of the lights…. I wish I didn’t have to have Sarah Palin in my memory.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful get away! I saw that clip on the news about the may flies. We don’t have any here as of yet. Ahhh, the Northern Lights! It’s like watching a grand symphony in the sky! Have a wonderful time!

    • The May flies missed our part of the river, too, thankfully. I love the symphony analogy.

  3. I haven’t been able to stay awake long enough to see the Lights in summer. Winter is easier to see them and there are no bugs.

    • I haven’t been able to stay awake, either! It was so good to meet you. Next time, it is your turn to come down here.

  4. Enjoy your trip “up north.” It looks beautiful.

    • Thanks. It always is refreshing to see it.

  5. Those bugs are just creepy…reminds me of the grasshopper infestation that hit us a few years ago. The ground crunched (and jumped) where we walked. Ick!

    The northern lights would be awesome to see in person. Your ‘up north’ looks beautiful. I’m sure you’ll get some great pictues.

    • I think the grasshopper crunchings are very similar to these. Come on up north sometime! It is cool and breezy.

  6. lol What you call May flies we call June bugs!!

    • Around here, June Bugs are the ones that look more like B-52 Bombers-big round and black, and they clunk against the screen doors at night. What do you call those?

  7. I’d like to see the aurora borealis, and your vacation spot looks beautifully serene.

    But ick on plowing mayflies!

    • Thankfully, we saw none of those bugs, and the vacation spot was great!

  8. Oh, this is all so wonderful. Have a grand time.

    • Thank you! We had a wonderful trip.

  9. Spectacular lights I don’t get to see here in So Cal. Your Mayflies remind me of the noisy gathering in huge numbers of locust one year when we lived in AZ. They shed their shells left everywhere.

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