Category Archives: recent history

Our horseshoe dam might need a little luck

Speaking of geometry… not all dams are straight like this slapped-together beaver dam, and this monster dam in China. Some dams break that mold. Take a look at this angular, horseshoe-shaped dam below the Third Avenue Bridge on the Mississippi … Continue reading

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A perfect place to preen

I can’t make it to the urban birding festivities that start tomorrow (Thursday) and run through Sunday. But it’s open house season, so I made the rounds in my neighborhood, visiting the birds in their urban digs. This time of … Continue reading

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A whole world in a handful of sand

I’ve learned two things this week: 1. Plain brown sand is never as plain and brown as it looks. 2. You really can see a whole world in a grain of sand. A few weeks ago I collected a sample … Continue reading

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High water watch — second crest!

Great river watching this spring. The Mississippi at St. Anthony Falls reached its second crest this week — one cold snap and two weeks after its first crest. This is what 45,000 cubic feet per second looked like this morning: … Continue reading

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What land is this?

University Avenue SE, just east of its namesake, is an ordinary urban street. It has the expected mix of stoplights, restaurants, credit unions, and, well, a center for homicide research. That part, not ordinary. But if you turn on 30th … Continue reading

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A delta not so far away…continued

I have a sand collection. I’m up to about eighty bottles. Our home d├ęcor is rapidly becoming Contemporary Sand. I collect it on my travels, and people bring me little bags of sand. I’m not a purist — I don’t … Continue reading

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My bur oak branch in the winter

I’m a Minnesota native, but I lived for a while in Seattle. One of the reasons I wanted to move back here was to be near oak trees again. True fact, just ask my husband. I missed the humble oak … Continue reading

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Did she have to wear a scarlet letter?

There’s nothing like a (one-hundred-and-fifty-year-old) neighborhood scandal. A young woman named Kate Noonan lived and worked as a domestic servant in various homes in the pioneer town of St. Anthony Falls. One of those homes is a few blocks from … Continue reading

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Tale of two riverfronts

Trains are an endangered species in my neighborhood. I’ve seen track pulled up, signs removed, and far fewer rail cars biding their time on the tracks that parallel the Mississippi River. It’s not surprising. What’s happening here has happened all … Continue reading

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The durability of Swedish flat bread

The story goes like this: In the days when the workers at the old Grain Belt brewery in Minneapolis could drink beer on the job, they would eat Ry-Krisp, a crunchy flat bread, on the way home to sober up. … Continue reading

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