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Squirrelly Southeastern Minnesota


Fri, Feb 1st, 2002
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By John LevellMonday, February 4, 2002

While a select few see them as game to be hunted and eaten and some folks think they are cute and fun to observe, most Bluffland area residents view squirrels as just two or three species of tree-dwelling varmints that raid backyard bird feeders, damage field crops, and gnaw rodent-sized entryway holes into the eaves of our homes.

In reality, however, at least eight members of the rodent family Sciuridae, as zoologists call true squirrels, reside in the counties of southeastern Minnesota. The regions apparent "squirrelly-ness" is not really all that surprising, when one considers that somewhere in the neighborhood of 260 species of squirrels currently exist in the world.

Like virtually all rodents, squirrels possess flat edged "chisel-like" upper incisors, which grow continually throughout the animals lives. This makes gnawing a necessity, as only the wear associated with the regular chewing of hard objects can prevent these teeth from growing excessively long. The various hard-shelled nuts, acorns and seeds many squirrels typically feed on meet this requirement well, although most must resort to supplemental gnawing on occasion.

Be that as it may, exactly half of southeastern Minnesotas eight squirrels may be viewed as legitimate arboreal tree-dwellers. Each will, however, spend at least some time on the ground, with one species spending a significant portion of each day engaged in terrestrial foraging. None of the four tree squirrel species truly hibernates, although all will sleep away particularly cold and/or stormy winter days.

The Gray and Fox Squirrels are by far the most commonly seen and therefore the most widely known of the tree-dwellers, and are the two bushy-tailed critters most folks typically associate with the word "squirrel." Both species successfully survive in close proximity to mankind, existing quite well in City Parks, small forest plots, and even in lightly wooded backyards. The two species are both sometimes hunted for the table as well.

The Fox Squirrel is the larger of these two species, reaching an average adult total length (including tail) of just under 22 inches and a weight of perhaps 32 ounces or more. Fox Squirrels are readily recognized by the distinctive "rusty-orange" tinge to the fur, although sporadic all black individuals do crop up on occasion. Squirrel hunters further recognize the species by the color of t .....
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Plan your Kitchen Garden Now

Fri, Feb 1st, 2002
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Virginia CooperMonday, Febraury 4, 2002

My favorite catalog for salad greens is 'The Cook's Garden.' They started as a family operation in 1983 with a single page of lettuces and exotic salad crops; now they are a very successful, nationally ..... 
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The Compass Never Tells the Truth

Fri, Feb 1st, 2002
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By Wayne PikeMonday, January 14, 2002

I am somewhat skeptical of those directional compasses that you buy to keep in the car. My grandfathers compass that he had in his 19 Ford was the last one that I knew of that worked properly, with the po ..... 
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Two Journal writers have boods in the works

Fri, Feb 1st, 2002
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Monday, Febraury 4, 2001

Two Journal contributors have been busily working on books that should be coming out in the next few months.

Nancy Overcott

Nancy Overcott, whose column At Home in the Woods appears regularly in the Jour ..... 
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Fri, Feb 1st, 2002
Posted in

Fri, Feb 1st, 2002
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Fri, Feb 1st, 2002
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Fri, Feb 1st, 2002
Posted in

To the Editor,

Our legislators have had a large surplus of our tax dollars for the past six years. The legislators (both Republican and Democrat) have been on a spending spree, which in the last ten years has doubled the states budget.
< ..... 
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Submit a Letter to the Editorhere

Fri, Feb 1st, 2002
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February 4, 2002

To the Editor,

I am responding to the letter written by John Seem of Harmony in the January 13, 2002 issue of the Journal.

I will not disagree that war is a terrible thing and all, or most, that comes ..... 
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