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Tag Archive | "winter"

Winter is here!


n-winter-photo-lois-allenWe had our first big winter snowstorm last weekend, bringing 8-10 inches of snow across parts of Michigan, including here in Kent County. Kids were rejoicing Monday morning, when many schools were canceled, including here in Cedar Springs. Reader Shaun Cook sent us this nice photo of downtown Main Street, taken after road crews had plowed Main Street late Sunday night. Thanks, Shaun!

Publisher Lois Allen took this photo of her bird feeder, showing just how much snow had fallen at her home in Nelson Township.

More snow is on the way. If you’d like to send us photos of winter weather, or kids having fun in the snow, send them to news@cedarspringspost.com.

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Winter sleeping


By Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller

Chipmunks emerge from underground burrows in mid winter when conditions warm, the sun shines, water trickles, or warmth penetrates deep into their bodies.

During my naturalist career, we shared the best evidence-based scientific discoveries about hibernators, deep sleepers, and those that stay active all winter. Insects hibernate, diapause, or even stay active all winter but they are excluded from this discussion, as are birds that also have some hibernators. Those groups like reptiles and amphibians will merit their own nature niche adaptation stories.

Within the Class Mammalia, we taught Michigan has four groups with true hibernators, including some bats, the 13-lined ground squirrel, woodchuck, and jumping mice. Bears are deep sleepers but are not considered true hibernators. Chipmunks that periodically pop out of the ground during winter were reported as deep sleepers.

An authoritative book I depend on is Michigan Mammals by William Burt (1957). It referred to chipmunks as hibernators. Despite the rigorous scientific scrutiny used in making the text accurate, questions were raised regarding chipmunks’ winter behavior in regards to sleeping or hibernating. I was not greatly concerned with the issue and referred to the small striped mammals as deep sleepers.

I should have pursued the issue with more vigor but information seemed conflicting and I had other scientific controversies to address that seemed more pertinent and meaningful for society’s welfare. Things like climate change or animal species origins related to Earth’s biodiversity, for ecological sustainable conditions that people need, took precedence.

Recently my naturalist friend, Greg, spoke about chipmunk hibernation and I challenged the idea. It stimulated me to examine peer-reviewed research. New technology developments during recent decades make it easier to study winter sleep for various species. Small monitoring devices can be implanted in animals to monitor breathing, heart rate, and temperature on a 24-hour basis.

Studies supported chipmunks are true hibernators but there are still unknowns. Hibernators’ breathing and heart rate become extremely slow and body temperature drops to near freezing. Bears do not experience such dramatic reduction and are considered deep sleepers. Bear body temperature only drops from about 100 to 90 F. Respiration and heart rate slow but are not so reduced that it is difficult to arouse the bear.

Chipmunk heart rate slows from 350 beats per minute to about 4, temperature drops from 94 F to 40 F, and respiration changes from 60 to about 20 breaths per minute. It is difficult to arouse them. The adaptations merit the designation of true hibernation but other factors are not consistent with what is normally considered true hibernation.

Chipmunks awake periodically instead of remaining in deep torpor for months. The triggers causing them to periodically waken are unknown. They become active, eat cached food in burrows or even venture outside. Other true hibernators do not defecate or urinate for months, but chipmunks do.

I learned long ago that it is not either/or in nature. Most everything is on a gradation from one end of a continuum to another. It is not either hibernate or not hibernate. Different species demonstrate behaviors and adaptations along a continuum. Most might show a particular adaptation, such as hibernation, but all are experimenting through the process of natural selection and evolution for survival.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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Winter wonderland

Post photo by L. Allen.

Post photo by L. Allen.

The unusually warm weather we had in December left some feeling (or hoping) that winter would never come. But now that it’s January, winter weather warnings and advisories, with blowing snow and windchills below zero, have shown us that we are firmly in the grip of winter. No matter how cold it is, it can still be beautiful, as you can see in this photo.

Do you have photos of winter nature scenes or winter fun you can send us? We’d like to see your landscapes, snowmen and other fun activities. Email them to news@cedarspringspost.com.

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Winter snow fun



Clare Armstrong sent us this photo of her daughter, Berkley Armstrong,  enjoying some snow play and some snow eating (with snow cone syrup) while inside on a 5-degree day last week.

What clever or fun things can you do with or in the snow? Send your winter fun photos to us, along with some info, to news@cedarspringspost.com.


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Top tips for keeping skin healthy and beautiful all winter long

(ARA) – No matter where you live in the country, winter’s grip can take its toll on your health, including your mood, waistline and even your skin.

“It’s important to consider the seasons in your skin care routine and make adjustments for the best possible results,” says Dr. Gervaise Gerstner, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai. Gerstner’s advice has appeared in the pages of Allure, Harper’s Bazaar, Self and W magazines. “Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and the first line of protection for all the other organs. Sunlight, changes in weather, and seasonal stress can affect our skin’s health. They’re also factors that make us overlook proper care, so it’s critical you have the right routine in place.”

Gerstner offers her top tips for keeping skin beautiful and healthy this winter, and all year long:

1. Keep your hands off. Your hands can pick up a lot of germs and bacteria during the day that can cause breakouts or even infections, so keep them far away from your face. Also, since winter is often associated with irritating flareups of pimples, rashes and cold sores, it’s important to avoid the urge to pick.  Picking can cause inflammation, and with broken or raw skin, further put you at risk for infection, and even cause scarring.

2. Slather on sunscreen. “Even on days it rains or snows, it’s important to wear sunscreen,” Gerstner advises. Your skin is constantly exposed to potentially harmful UVA and UVB rays. Even just walking from your office to the coffee shop on the grayest of days exposes you to possible solar damage, such as wrinkles and even skin cancer.

3. Treat ailments quickly.  Common conditions like cold sores can be embarrassing and painful, so treat them right away to find relief. Remedies found at your local drugstore can be effective.

4. Don’t forget your nails and hair. They’re part of your skin too, and often show the most obvious signs of winter’s impact like raw skin and split ends. It’s important to properly moisturize, such as using a leave-in or deep conditioner, or heavier creams on your face and hands. Dr. Gerstner also says that hair loss and brittle nails are two of the most common complaints she hears from her female patients. Taking a daily biotin supplement of 5,000 mcg can help.  Limit use of a flat iron to once or twice a week, and avoid excessive hair coloring treatments.

5. Brighten your smile, and use it often. Winter’s weather woes and seasonal stress can make it easy to forget to smile, but nothing makes your face look better than a big grin. Keep your teeth well polished—whitening strips can help—and  flash your smile frequently. It can brighten your mood and the moods of others around you.

6. Quit smoking and moderate alcohol use. By now, virtually everyone knows smoking is deadly. But if the health threats of smoking don’t convince you to quit, perhaps an appeal to your vanity will help. Smokers suffer more wrinkles, poorer skin texture and slower wound healing than people who don’t smoke. Alcohol can dehydrate your body, which often shows the next day in parched skin and eyes. It also exacerbates adult acne, called rosacea. When drinking alcohol, alternate with a glass of seltzer.

7. Forego designer brands. Expensive creams leave your wallet lighter and don’t necessarily make your skin look any better than less costly products do. Simple drug store products can work just as well, especially if supplemented with a retinol or glycolic recommendation from your dermatologist. Fancy products often contain essential oils or fragrances that can irritate skin.

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Tips for fresh, clear skin

Even during the harsh winter months

(ARA) – Cold temperatures and dry air can make it difficult to keep your skin clear, hydrated and looking beautiful during the winter months. After dealing with the pain and embarrassment, the last thing you want to do is to head into spring with dry skin and breakouts.
With these easy winter skin care tips, you’ll feel more confident and proud to show off your clear, beautiful skin:
* Don’t scrub dry, sensitive skin during the winter months. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), skin is drier than normal during the cold months and vigorous washing can irritate skin, making issues like acne even worse.
* For those who suffer from acne, try the MaxClarity Acne Management System to kill acne-causing bacteria beneath the skin and exfoliate dead and damaged skin cells. The system’s combination of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid will promote new skin growth and let your healthy, clear skin shine through.
Made with VersaFoam technology, MaxClarity is a three-step process that includes:
– Deep cleanser that cleans and treats acne on the face, chest and back.
– Advanced acne treatment that dries quickly and fights acne during the day.
– Rejuvenating toner, a leave-on foam that exfoliates dead skin cells overnight to reveal a healthier, glowing complexion.
* Don’t assume you can trade the swimming pool for a tanning bed while it’s cold just because the sun isn’t shining. Continue to keep your skin healthy by avoiding UV radiation – indoor tanning can lead to premature skin aging according to the AAD.
* Be sure to use moisturizers when treating acne in winter months. In order to effectively treat your skin, dermatologists recommend gently washing your face first, applying acne medication and moisturizer and finally applying makeup.
Approaching your skin with gentle care during the cold, dry months is sure to help tackle your breakouts and allow you to happily expose your fresh skin just in time for warmer weather.

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How native Michiganders deal with winter

rib cooker

Who cares if it’s 9 degrees outside? This morning it was only 1, and now the sun is shining; so let’s put some ribs in the smoker!
This photo was taken by David Marin east of Cedar Springs, in Nelson Township, last Saturday, January 8. Thanks so much, David, for sending us your winter photo!
Do you have a winter photo you’d like to submit? Send it to news@cedarspringspost.com, and put “winter photo” in the subject line.

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Keeping your car battery on track for winter

Here’s a cool idea: Be sure your car’s battery is in good condition before venturing out into the cold.

(NAPS)—Preventing a frozen battery in the winter is easier than you may think if you take some time to check out the situation before nasty weather sets in.
To ensure that your car battery starts dependably, no matter how outrageous the weather, Interstate Batteries cold weather expert Gale Kimbrough offers some simple tips to protect your car battery against severe cold conditions:
Test the starting power: The cold weather can dramatically reduce a battery’s available starting power, so have the vehicle’s starting and charging system tested every three months or every oil change.
Charge the battery: Use a battery charger to maintain charge levels and keep the battery in good condition. If the battery is more than three years old, it should be tested to make sure it can survive the coldest winter months.
Test the battery: Have the battery tested before taking a long trip or after it’s been recharged.
Inspect the battery cables, posts and fasteners: Preparing your car for the winter doesn’t end with the battery itself. You need to inspect your battery cables, posts and fasteners. Make sure the cables are in good shape and are secured firmly to the battery. Corrosion keeps power from flowing freely from the battery, reducing the power that is available to start the car.
Keep it clean: Clean the battery terminals with a wire brush or spray some battery cleaner on the terminals.
In just 30 seconds, Interstate All Battery Center locations can provide motorists with a free printout analysis of their vehicle’s battery condition—from projected battery life to cranking performance. It’s important to have the battery and electrical system checked by a professional. Sometimes the naked eye cannot detect the presence of corrosion because it is hidden under the metal between the connection and the post.
A fully charged battery is the best defense against cold weather and vehicle nonstarts because engines require more cranking amps in colder weather. The cold also reduces a battery’s efficiency, reducing its charge acceptance and ability to start an engine. An engine at 32 degrees Fahrenheit often demands more than 150 percent cranking power from the battery than it does at 80 degrees. At 0 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be 250 percent.
For more information, visit www.interstatebatteries.com.

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Winter storm blankets area

icy branchesMichigan was socked with a winter storm that blew across the Midwest on Sunday, canceling more than 1,600 flights in Chicago and dumping enough snow in Minnesota to collapse the Metrodome just hours before game time.
School closings raced across morning television on Monday and tow trucks were busy clearing vehicles from icy roadways. No serious injuries were reported in our area which escaped inches of snowfall that hit places in Indiana with 30-plus. Get ready readers, it’s just getting started!
Help out our editor! Send in your storm or winter pics, i.e. snowmen, snow scenes, wintry weather… Send with info to news@cedarspringspost.com.

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