Some farmers along "The Ridge" in West Michigan's apple country let go a sigh of relief this morning that last night's cold weather didn't bring the disastrous frost that it did last year.

Many weren't that all that worried because they could tell from weather signs and local reports that they weren't in for the same sort of series of hard freezes that severely damaged crops last year. But the farmers had reason to be wary: the Fruit Ridge region of West Michigan has the highest concentration of apple growers in the state, and many lost their entire crops last year when April brought record low temperatures after unseasonably high temperatures in March.

Late summer and fall are the most likely times in metro Grand Rapids to catch an awesome natural phenomenon without risking life or limb -- waterspouts over Lake Michigan.

With the right weather conditions and luck, you may be able to spot waterspouts anywhere along the lakeshore of the metro Grand Rapids area. Residents of lakeshore communities say these vortexes that resemble pint-sized tornadoes are infrequent, but not rare.

Bert Jackson and his brother Cliff (left) had an electrifying experience on Muskegon Lake.

Bert Jackson knew “something different was going on” during a bass tournament on Muskegon Lake when the fishing lure that he cast hit the water -- but his line didn't.

Instead of falling on top of the water like all his other casts, the fishing line hummed and levitated in thin air, taking a curved shape that pointed directly up to storm clouds that began rolling over the lake.

Jack Fisk knew he had a huge problem on his hands last Wednesday when a bale of hay in his barn that was smoldering from spontaneous combustion suddenly ignited "just like a bomb going off" as he tried to remove it with a skid loader.

Fanned by a steady breeze from the northwest, other bales of hay stacked three high started to burn as flames leaped as they do a forest fire -- and the barn held several hundred bales.

Jacob Bourjaily spoke in Grand Rapids on dark matter, neutrinos and the cosmic speed limit.

Jacob Bourjaily stood before an audience of about 100 people who had come to hear him at the Schuler Books and Music store on 28th Street last Saturday and struggled a bit to shed some light on the topic of dark matter.

And why wouldn't he? Dark matter cannot be seen with the naked eye or felt against our skin, yet the Earth apparently is passing through great quantities of this mysterious substance every second without it affecting us in the least.

Kevin Finney thinks it's about time we stop sugar coating how Native Americans boiled down the sap of maple trees before the time of the Pilgrims to make syrup and sugar.

Based on Finney's research, the Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids already has eliminated the demonstration that shows Native Americans making maple syrup by boiling the sap from sugar maple trees using hot rocks dropped into hollowed-out logs. He's out to help hundreds of nature centers nationally to stop perpetuating misconceptions during what can be their biggest drawing events for the public.