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"Come Hell or High Water"


Fri, May 25th, 2001
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Monday, May 28, 2001

Weaver Dunes Field Report Mid Spring 2001

Peepers and Chorus Frogs now sing in earnest from wetlands throughout Fillmore, Houston, Winona, and Wabasha Counties. The incredible din of these tiny inch long frogs an unmistakable, long anticipated, and quite noisy announcement of springs true arrival.

As I walk the dunes at Weaver, here in the third week of April, the love songs of these diminutive amphibians fill my ears. Of these two closely related species, the Chorus Frog is adapted to more open grassland habitats and the rasping click of their call emanates from every "fish-free" pond and other small temporary body of water in the region. Only in those areas with at least a modest stand of trees and shrubs, mainly Willow, Prickly Ash, Cottonwood and Birch, do the monotonous high-pitched peeps of Spring Peepers join in this springtime serenade.

Stopping to listen more closely, I hear the curious snoring grunts of a Northern Leopard Frog here and there as well. This comparatively large green frog with the black spots on its back, so familiar to biology students everywhere, typically does not begin calling in large numbers until somewhat later in the season. Unlike the larvae of their smaller cousins, which metamorphosis quickly, the young of Leopard Frogs frequently spend southeastern Minnesota winters as tadpoles and the premature calls of these few impatient adults provide an indication of the presence of deeper, far more permanent pools of water.

It is precisely these more stable bodies of water that I seek, as such will be where many of Weavers resident turtles will have also over-wintered. This is particularly true of Blandings Turtle, the main focus of the studies of my colleagues and myself, with some individuals sleeping winter away under the exact same sunken log or rock pile season, after season, after season. Turtles, it turns out, are quite the creatures of habit indeed.

In spite of the chilly temperature and the drab browns of Weavers still largely dormant vegetation, the voices of our three frogs assure me that Blandings Turtles are now awake and fully active as well. Possessing an almost uncanny ability to capture the feeble warmth provided by the rays of the still weak springtime sun, perhaps through the agency of their blue/black carapace or upper shell and despite an ectothermic or "cold-blooded" metabolism, Blandings Turtles can readily elevate their body te .....
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Reader Mailbag

Fri, May 25th, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, May 28, 2001

This week I'd like to introduce a new feature for Local Gardener, Reader Mailbag, a chance for readers to ask questions about their own gardens, then I'll try my best to give a good answer. Or at least a fun ..... 
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Take This Until It Hurts

Fri, May 25th, 2001
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Monday, May 21, 2001

I dont know why I do this to myself. My birthday is in the spring and so is my semi-annual run-in with my dentist. I could simply make the dental appointment later in the year. That way I would be spared the double-whammy ..... 
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The Death Penalty, with Chinese Characteristics

Fri, May 25th, 2001
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Monday, May 28, 2001

The European Parliament, considers capital punishment to be both barbaric and inhumane, regardless of the means by which the death penalty is carried out. They routinely mention the United States in the same breath as Chin ..... 
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Fri, May 25th, 2001
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Fri, May 25th, 2001
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Fri, May 25th, 2001
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Fri, May 25th, 2001
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Submit a Letter to the Editor here

Fri, May 25th, 2001
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To the Editor,
Monday, May 28, 2001

Parenting is not an easy job. According to the Search Institute of Minneapolis, parents should not be expected to raise their children alone. Communities must be active participants in helping you ..... 
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