The Free Press, Mankato, MN

News Ticker


April 13, 2013

Cross: Don’t like the weather? Blame me

— I decided last Saturday that winter officially had ended.

With no small amount of satisfaction, I wheeled the snow blower into the shed after preparing it for summer storage.

Likewise, all of the ice-fishing gear was stashed.

The weather was so pleasant I even rolled the boat out to get it ship-shape for the first opportunity to pursue ice-out crappies.

I charged the batteries, refilled the lower unit with fresh lube, even slapped on the water muffs and fired it up. She’s all ready to go.

Then on Sunday, yet one more day of remarkably nice weather, I rolled out the motorcycle and lawnmower and prepped them for the summer season, as well.

A change of oil, a splash of fresh gasoline and they’re ready to go, as well.

I even tempted fate a bit by taking the bike out for a quick spin around the block, in spite of expired license tabs and enough sand still on the roadway to make taking a corner very exciting.

Oh, foolish me.

Just a couple days later, Mother Nature was treating us to an impressive display of wind and snow, all accompanied by some awesome lightning.

The wind moaning through the barren trees outside the window, the gusts sending the bathroom vents rattling and clanking and finally, the heavy, wet snow that blanketed my driveway the next morning, rendered my declaration of winter’s demise a bit premature. 

Trout fishermen probably had sense enough to bundle up in their ice-fishing garb for yesterday’s season opener.

Just in case they were wondering what that strange light was that came and then quickly went, it is called sunshine.

Those of you who believed you were lucky by getting drawn for a permit to hunt during the first five-day session of Minnesota’s spring wild turkey season that begins on Wednesday may not have been so lucky after all.

Ditto for those holding tickets to the B season because things aren’t looking just a whole lot better for you, what with the extended weather outlook predicting highs only to be in the 40s with a little wind and rain thrown in for good measure.

Arguably, the silver lining in all of these recent storm clouds is that the dry weather pattern that has gripped much of the area for the past year seems to have abated somewhat.

Dry sub-soil and thirsty lake basins are getting a welcome drink.

While it’s unwise to look a gift horse in the mouth, the precious moisture could just as easily have arrived in the more agreeable circumstances — gentle rains and 60 degree temperatures.

Yes, I’m a native Minnesotan, so I should have known that there would be a price to pay for my audacious belief that winter was history, that spring was here to stay.

In typical Minnesota fashion, spring will get here in due time. But probably not before taking two steps forward, then one step back.

Not that it will make any difference, but if you’d feel better having someone to blame for this malingering winter, maybe I’m your guy.

After all, I was the one who recklessly put the snow blower away so soon.

John Cross is a Free Press staff writer. Contact him at 344-6376 or by e-mail at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Paying homage to the turkey hunting gods If there were a Minnesota Turkey Hunter Hall of Shame, I could be a prime candidate for induction. It's been so long since I've wrapped a tag around a Minnesota bird's leg that I can't remember exactly the last time I've pulled the trigger on a gobbl

    April 20, 2014

  • No Headline Provided Key City Conservation Club to hold Youth Day MADISON LAKE -- The Key City Conservation Club will hold a 12th Annual Youth Day, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, May 3, at its club property at 23370 Blue Earth Co. Rd 188, Madison Lake. A variety of outdoor ac

    April 20, 2014

  • Eileen Factor-O.jpg Eileen Factor

     Eileen Factor, 85, from Le Center passed away on Monday, April 14, 2014.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • cross, john.jpg Cross column: Exorcising winter's demons ... finally

    Can't beat fresh fish for a meal

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Know Your Lakes: Series maps

    Missed out on the weekly lake preview Wednesday's in the print edition? That's ok, we have you covered here. View the series thus far and download a printable PDF.

    May 24, 2011

  • Trout opportunities available Saturday Trout opportunites available Saturday WATERVILLE -- Anglers looking for a little open water relief from this extended winter might consider heading to one of the area's trout fishing venues next Saturday when the Minnesota stream trout season begins.

    April 6, 2014

  • mfp sports jccolumn 3-30 Cross: Focusing on future of Minnesota's deer herd Minnesota deer hunters are never short of opinions. Put a bunch of them in the same room, ask them how the state's deer herd is doing, and you're sure to get an earful of divergent views. But that was the point Thursday as the Minnesota Department of

    March 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Searching for spring -- and open water We all can agree: It's been a long, long winter. If you're an ice angler, then maybe you're quite happy that that your knuckles are scraping by the time your auger breaks through the thick mantel of ice. But the rest of us? Winter weary, we pine for

    March 24, 2014

  • cross, john.jpg Cross column: Free guns with truck makes good business

    To suggest that the promotion to give away guns with a truck purchase tweaked media interest would be a significant understatement.

    March 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Muskie group to meet in Owatonna

    March 9, 2014