Outdoors
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Talk to any astronomer and you're likely to hear the word "magnitude." In astronomy, magnitude refers to intensity, just as it does with regard to natural phenomena, such as earthquakes or tornadoes. Magnitude measures a star's brightness. This … more
Wildflowers are among the easiest plants to grow, especially if you copy Mother Nature. For cool climate gardeners, that means spreading seed over the ground after the first killing frost and before the ground hardens. Natural germination inhibitors … more
We've all had those days when nothing seems to move. No matter where we are - the highway, the line at the grocery store or the ATM machine - everything is at a standstill. This happens much too frequently for my taste, so on days like this I … more
Q. Question for you: I saw one male red-winged blackbird in my yard Sunday, Oct. 30. I don't recall seeing them so late in October before. I've looked at several migration maps and information on their migration. What the maps say and most of the … more
Raising small flocks of backyard chickens has been a trend among city dwellers for a decade or so, and putting the birds to work can be a boon to gardens. You can use them for tilling, grubbing for worms and for their manure, which makes excellent … more
"Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right." — Oprah WinfreyAgain, it's the time many of us make New Year resolutions, and scores of these resolutions are personal, like cut down on coffee consumption, eat less or lose … more
If you missed the Geminid meteor shower of mid-December (and most of us did because of bright moonlight), you've got another chance. Not with the Geminids, of course — they won't return until next December — but with the Quadrantid … more
Q: I thought my bird feeders would be safe from bears by now. Unfortunately, I was wrong and they ripped down my bird feeders on Thanksgiving. Shouldn't they be hibernating by now? -Joyce, Sheffield A: With the second bear hunting season … more
Q: I wonder just how late our summer birds stay in the fall. For instance, what is the latest?- Jim, Hinsdale.A: Many of our nesting songbirds arrive in April or May and leave in September or October. Although, unless we have banding records, it is … more
Landscape designers in cities are creating quieter living spaces by using trees to mute loud noises like sirens and air brakes. It's called "soundscaping," and it aims to restore peaceful, natural sounds like wind whispering through leaves, birds … more
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