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Yet another white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) mating season is behind us now. This year I spent a truckload of time in the woods following several large bucks who were actively searching for mates. I was able to capture a pile of images of the most interesting mating behavior.

On a sunny Saturday morning last month, Rennie Gathier showed a group of volunteers how to use a special gel to keep the roots of young saplings hydrated for the trip to the Saint Paul homes where they would be planted. By the end of that weekend volunteers from Saint Paul’s Unity Unitarian …

I am always drawn to unique animals. You know, the kind of critters that are different from all others such as the Virginia opossum, which is the only marsupial in America. Or the osprey, a fish-eating raptor that is the only raptor to dive feet first into the water, often completely submerg…

I saw Alton Brown on tour last week at the State Theatre in Minneapolis. It might seem odd that a guy who hosts a show on the Food Network and serves as a guest judge on cooking shows would go on tour, but everything about Alton Brown is odd, in a good way.

Autumn is Americans’ favorite time of the year, according to a survey by market research firm YouGov. It found that 40% say fall is their favorite, followed by 27% for summer, 19% for spring, 10% for winter, and 4% who can’t decide.

A friend recently told me a story of an electrician he knew who was doing some work in a residential home. While he worked in the basement, the mother told her teenage son to carry some rock salt bags downstairs and put them in the water softener. The son did exactly what his mom told him. H…

When it comes to confusing common names for animals, I think the American elk has got to be near the top of the confusing list. This came to light last week when I was in northern Montana to film and photograph elk. I ran into a guy from Europe who was also looking to capture images of elk, …

In August, when fall sports kicked into high gear, we had several student athletes contact us for their fundraising. Although the people who stopped by to raise money don’t call themselves team ambassadors, that’s essentially what they are. They’re knocking on doors, promoting their sports t…

When I went to my hometown last weekend to visit my parents, I brought back a box full of pictures. There are several hundred photos in the box, spanning a timeframe from my great-grandparents through my own kids. Most of the pictures are of my parents, eights siblings, and me growing up in …

Every now and then I get an opportunity to work with a species that I don’t have much hands-on experience with. These are often rare or endangered species or a species that is difficult to access and lives in areas that makes it hard to get close to.

I am no stranger to traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles to see, study and document some of nature's most wonderful events. For over 35 years I have traveled to see the epic migration of sandhill cranes in Nebraska, stunning flocks of snow geese in North Dakota and remarkable monarc…

A friend recently shared a meme that said when guys reach a certain age, they either become obsessed with World War II history or get into smoking various meats. I found it amusing because I’ve reached that certain age, and although I don’t smoke meat, I have started making charcuterie. And …

One thing I’ve noticed since businesses have reopened at full capacity and are getting busier is that at many places, service is absolutely terrible. We’ve been to a couple of our favorite restaurants where a single waiter or waitress was responsible for a large section of tables — in some c…

When Jake Kutina spent the fall semester of his junior year in college studying abroad in Italy and then in Athens, he developed a love for traveling and wanted to return to Italy. At the end of July, he’ll have the opportunity. He’ll spend nearly 12 months living in Sant’Anselmo all’Aventin…

The complexity of nature is sometimes hard to understand and even harder to justify or feel good about, especially when seen through the human lens. I was reminded of this the other day while filming a family of American redstarts (Setophaga ruticilla) that is nesting on my property.

A reader suggested I interview David Schleper for my column because of his work researching, documenting, and promoting the history of Shakopee. I liked the idea. I talked to Schleper about a year ago for a column on what makes Shakopee unique, and he gave me a summary of the city’s past and…

Several years ago, a friend’s son got his driver’s license. My friend told me she was happy for him and it meant she no longer had to drive him everywhere, but at the same time, she said she’d miss the one-on-one time with him in their car. Even though their car rides where typically less th…

Like a lot of people I know, I wasn’t able to see my parents for more than a year because of the pandemic. They were isolating at their home in rural Indiana, so we respected their decision. Now that they’re vaccinated, as are other members of our family, we were finally able to get together…

Various businesses install reserved parking signs in their parking lots to accommodate certain customers or workers. For example, St. Francis Regional Medical Center has a variety of spots on its multiple lots for cardiac/pulmonary rehab patients, pharmacy pickup with a 15-minute max, certai…

I know several young adults who are now in the workforce and looking to move to an apartment. Some are wrapping up leases on campuses, others are living at home and want to move out, and still others want a change of location. I’ve asked some of them if they’ve considered buying a house or t…

I miss live music, food truck festivals, and people coming together, so I’m glad to see Rhythm on the Rails is being planned this summer starting July 14 and running five consecutive weeks. I talked to Main Street Director for the Shakopee Chamber of Commerce Ashley Grotewold about what we c…

One of my guilty pleasures is watching 80s videos on MTV Classic. This week I caught one of my favorite songs. It’s Bonnie Tyler’s former hit “Holding Out For a Hero,” which was featured in the movie “Footloose.”

We’re heading into year two of the pandemic. It’s been tough in many ways, but there have also been some positives. For example, flexible work schedules and working from home will continue long-term for many employees. A lot of people improved their hygiene habits by washing their hands more…

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