The full moon was setting in the west as I headed out on my walk along Wildcat Boulevard the other day. The moon was huge and looked like a round cheese ball.

The full moon was setting in the west as I headed out on my walk along Wildcat Boulevard the other day. The moon was huge and looked like a round cheese ball.

I have been reading about the spring breakup(thaw) in the northern United States lately. The U.S. Coast Guard Ship Mackinaw has been working in the Great Lakes to open up the water for shipping.

The Mackinaw is one large, tough, and powerful ship. The article said it can break through 32-inch thick ice and ram through ice ridges as high as ten feet.

The oil shippers of the Great Lakes are anxious to get the season going. More and more oil is being pumped or hauled by train from the Canadian or North Dakota oil fields to the Duluth/Superior port and shipped east. Too bad our politicians won't okay the Keystone Pipeline, seems safer than Great Lakes tankers.

The upper Mississippi was not open for barge traffic last I read. The ice measurers (Is that a word?) had discovered that the Mississippi ice at Lake Pepin, about 60 miles south of the Twin Cities, had gotten thicker.

It is rare for river ice to thicken in late March. I don't know if they have ice breakers on the Mississippi.
River barges are much more efficient for bulk items. A semi-trailer hauls about two and one half tons of cargo. A river barge will hold 1500 tons. I think we're hauling more oil products on the Mississippi River presently, too.

Fargo, North Dakota, has been in the winter news lately also. They have had a heavy snow winter. Because Fargo sits flat on a former glacier lake, water runs off slowly and runs north. With cold weather, where the runoff goes north, is still freezing, runoff is slowed.

The northern states with lots of snow are hoping for a spring that comes slowly, so they don't have big time flooding. Fargo has had so much flooding the last few years that it has over three quarters of a million sand bags filled and in storage.

Mother Nature sure has some interesting ways to make a person wonder. Here lately I expected that all the local geese had been paired up and were nesting. The other morning, after only seeing pairs in flight for weeks, eight Canadas flew over together.

Take a walk, look around, be glad you don't need to worry about spring breakup, use those signal lights, and see what you notice while calking along Wildcat Boulevard.

Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.