A New Year of Nature’s Way — 2022 Almanac

Pink sunset over frozen pond

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

“Each year, after the midwinter blizzards, there comes a night of thaw when the tinkle of dripping water is heard in the land. It brings strange stirrings, not only to creatures abed for the night, but to some who have been asleep for the winter. The hibernation skunk, curled up in his deep den, uncurls himself and ventures forth to prowl the wet world, dragging his belly in the snow. His tracks marks one of the earliest datable events in that cycle of beginning and ceasings we call a year.”  

Aldo Leopold’s words in A Sand County Almanac highlight the science of phenology: the observation and study of the timing of periodic life cycle events of nature’s way that are influenced by climate and seasonal change. With those thoughts in mind, this special edition of the Wilder Side of Oakland County explores the monthly phenology of 2022.

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Fox Squirrel Tales

Fox squirrel eating

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

They have chisel-like front teeth, powerful legs, flexible ankle joints, furry paws, sharp claws, keen eyesight, sensitive whiskers, and they always have a multi-function colorful blanket at the ready. Their menu varies with the seasons, and December is their season for feasting on high-energy nuts and frosty tree fruits, and, of course, the seeds at your bird feeder. As I write these words, I’m watching one gnawing away at a black walnut from the security of a tree limb barely twenty feet from my door on the wilder side of Oakland County.

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Jerusalem Artichokes: Not Just for Bees!

Bee and Jerusalem artichoke blossom

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Honey bees know a good thing when they see one. They found the ten-foot-tall object of my quest first — a cluster of brilliant, yellow, eye-catching flowers that bloomed during the first week of October. The bees were harvesting the bright orange pollen of Jerusalem artichokes for their near final foraging flights of the season. That was almost two weeks ago. I returned a few days ago for the tubers.

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