Here it is, with August just over, and signs of fall all around us.

Burr marigolds blooming on Aug. 22 was the last of the plants on my list to bloom, and like most things this year, they were late and by five days.

Any day now, we’ll see the first bucks with hard antlers, and their fur changing from summer red to winter brown.

Birds are starting to migrate through.

I’m now watching the weather forcast much closer, as the first frost averages Sept. 16 and my garden needs all the time it can get. Peak fall color normally happens around the first of October, so we have plenty of nice days yet to come.

With the end of phenology season almost here, I have started looking at my trends closer. I’m not finding what most say I should. You’ve got to remember: We are buffered by being in the center of the continent. We’re not experiencing what they are on the coasts. I am seeing a cooling trend for most all of the year on my 23-year record.

Most of my plants’ “first bloom” are now trending later. For the first 10 years of my data, they trended earlier – like the rest of the country.

Butterflies and dragonflies are showing a much bigger reaction than everything else. Now to figure out are they slower or faster to respond? The more I dig into this data and try to figure it out, the more questions I have.

The biggest thing that stands out to me is how we jump around so much more and more. I'm continually wondering where is the warming? I’m seeing more of a shift in our seasons rather than temperature changes.

And worse than that, here in Minnesota, our winters that are trending colder and longer. I believe this due to the warm weather coming up the West Coast and pushing the Arctic cold (polar vortex) onto us, especially late winter.

As winter approaches, let’s hope the trends change and that I’m wrong, but it’s looking to me more and more likely that we’ll have longer winters and more cold in late winter. On a positive note, ice up is still trending later.

An outdoorsman all his life, Dallas Hudson grew up in Akeley. He tracks the birds, animals, insects, plants of northern Minnesota in his daily journals. Hudson shares his nature observations and photos with KAXE’s Season Watch, the Minnesota Phenology Network and the Park Rapids Enterprise. He works at an official field camp of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on Shingobee Lake, near Akeley.