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Longer Days, Lots to Do
March is the best month of winter for one reason: daylight. The Winter Solstice is a distant memory as the sun rises earlier and sets later each day. Daylight saving begins at 2 a.m., March 8, giving everyone an extra hour to enjoy the daylight after work. The Spring Equinox, when day and night are equal length, is March 19. After that, days continue to get longer until the Summer Solstice on June 20. Some folks say we should do away with daylight savings and simply not “fall back” with the clocks in November. This would give us an extra hour of evening light year-round. We suspect that many of us who endure the winter darkness in the Northern Wilds would agree with that idea.
Now that we are entering the time when winter days are longer and typically somewhat warmer, it’s great to get outside and enjoy them. Lots of snow and some below-zero temperatures most certainly lie ahead (March is not spring at this latitude), but this is when we can have icy-cold nights and above-freezing days. That combination can create enticing conditions where melt-softened snow freezes overnight to a hard crust. Mornings are a great time to go exploring on snowshoes, provided you get back before the sun’s afternoon warmth makes the snow “punchy.”
You won’t find stories about snowshoeing in this issue. You will, however, find an interview with animal behavior expert Temple Grandin about how animals think. Rae Poynter interviews three North Shore homeowners who have merged unique homes with their personal lifestyles. Longtime Finland resident Bonnie Tikkanen shares stories from her community’s colorful past. Elle Andra-Warner explains the winter phenomena of red snow, ice disks and snow worms. Northern Traditions columnist Julia Prinselaar writes about the many uses of tree sap beyond traditional maple syrup making.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that March marks the beginning of the “busy” season for many folks throughout the Northern Wilds. Those in the tourism industry are getting ready for the annual influx of visitors. Contractors are preparing for what we’ve anecdotally heard will be a good year for home construction. Others who earn most of their keep during the snow-free months are in prep-mode, too. Here at Northern Wilds, our workload is picking up steam in the print shop as well as in our production department. In addition to our usual summer products, the Cook County Map and North Shore Menu guide, we’ll be releasing two new books. We are also planning to introduce a new community product later this year. We’ll keep you posted on our progress in upcoming issues of Northern Wilds.—Shawn Perich and Amber Pratt