April 1 We
went for a long Sunday walk today (4 miles), around the Mill Pond,
bushwacking our way up onto the ridge, wandering down to where the
runoff water burbles out of the rocks, and back home along the deer
trails... We saw spruce grouses, 2 eagles in mating flight, and
the first buttercups and grass widows of Spring. The grass widows
get more photos than most, just because they are so profuse and pretty.
Here's this year's first photo:
We had a bit of rain and snow and, as in the case of the photo above, graupel...
On the chicken front, our 3 old hens laid 3 eggs today, matching the 5
young ones. One of the young ones has gone broody (setting on the
nest instead of laying eggs), so I've researched the Internet a bit and
am trying to convince her that's a bad idea... Tonight when I got
the eggs I set her up on the roost for the night. Apparently this
may help cool down her ardor for chicken motherhood...
A hen that is broody seems to keep her feathers ruffled all the time...
I can reach in and pick her up out of her box and she doesn't
seem to mind much. I take her out into the pen where the food and
water is, and she's taken advantage of that to stoke up a bit, but
she's determined to set, for now... It was dry
and even partly sunny today. I considered explaining to the
neighbor kids coming home from school that this is what's called "not
raining." They might not have got my odd sense of humor...
My older kiln is feeling its age today, as I opened the lid some of the
back hinge for the lid popped loose. It is fastened with about a
dozen steel screws, but over time a slightly acidic vapor works its way
out of the kiln and corrodes them down to nothing. So I replaced
the screws and that part is good to go for a long time again, but it's
one of those signs that points towards time to replace the kiln...
It snowed most of today, but it's only started accumulating tonight,
due to above-freezing temperatures. Since snow isn't unusual
here until at least May, I wasn't among those complaining...
However I'm looking forward to our upcoming trip to where spring
is in full session... Speaking of
spring, I was dumbfounded to realize last night that the seasons aren't
capitalized, when I looked it up in a dictionary. I was sure that
a few neurons from my childhood were correct in the memory that Spring,
Summer, Winter, and Fall are proper names, like the names of the
months... Next I'll be putting apostrophe's in inappropriate
We spent part of the day getting a muffler for one of our cars, getting
ready for a Maundy Thursday/Good Friday service, and packing for our
upcoming road trip to Kentucky and other points east (of here).
We were getting excited about wearing short sleeved shirts but a check
of the predicted weather along the route shows we may need our winter
coats after all...
April 6-20 We
had a great road trip--over 5000 miles in two weeks... The
weather started with snow through Montana, and at the end we had
an inch of snow this morning in Summit County, Colorado... We
travelled through and visited friends and relatives in Montana, South
Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Iowa,
Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming... I saved about 350 photos, and
started editing with some bird photos:
blue jay in the poison ivy, near Danville, Kentucky
Red bellied woodpecker, Davenport, Iowa.
Rosebreasted grosbeak, Kentucky.
White pelican, Davenport Iowa.
Mourning dove, Kentucky
emerging from cave, trails from Pleasant Hill Shaker Village, Kentucky.
The wildflowers (not pictured) were mostly similar to ones we
have in the West, including, phlox, larkspur, camas, and trout lilies...
slice of 1800's from Kentucky includes a timberframed barn and Shaker
house, with some of the 20+ miles of rock walls on the Shaker Village
was the Minnesota woods in Spring, with Wood or Rue Anemone in large
patches. Not sure what the yellow flower will be...
weather was threatening through much of Montana (on the way East it
mostly snowed...) and I snapped this photo out a side window of the
typical eastern Montana hills with some of their trademark Big Sky...
The dots here are cows, but they're almost as often antelope...
It was a very low snow year in the attic of Colorado, but recent spring snows still covered part of Loveland Pass...
Davenport Iowa was a mixture of the urban Quad Cities and oldtime Missiissippi River culture. We enjoyed both.
This photo seemed to epitomize some of the urban culture...
current US Bank had a wonderful entry door from the 1920's, a
bank which went bust in the the depression, but left a spectacular
mystic story in brass... Several employees chatted with us about
it--one even took our email and said the bank president might contact
us with more info... Another bank a block away had a lovely
painted ceiling from the same era...
April 21-2 I helped with sound and photos for the INBA Bluegrass Showcase again last night--photos are at http://www.sondahl.com/events/INBAApril2012.html On
Sunday the weather was perfect, and after church we wandered along Lamb
Creek, which still has spots of foot deep snow, then came back to
Spirit Lake to enjoy the ridge in all the spring flower glory...
With the pleasant warm temperatures, I spent several hours weeding the
flower garden and starting to spread manure in the vegetable garden.
I tend to overlook the labor involved in gardening, and also tend
to avoid it unless necessary. Unfortunately quack grass will take
over anything if not rooted out regularly... And manure brings
lots of weed seeds with it as well... At least the labor in the
garden has more visible rewards than jogging or a gym workout...
It rained over half an inch today, then let up in the late afternoon so
we started on a walk. The rain immediately resumed, but that
didn't deter us. The same ridge that showed us renewed rain
coming had an eagle circling, and it landed in a tree on the ridge as
we started up... We also flushed a spruce grouse... Already
the grass widow flowers are mostly gone, replaced by avalanche lilies,
yellow bells, and shooting stars... In the deeper woods the
yellow violets and trillium were going strong... Next time I'll
bring my camera...
(Balsam root blossoming by the Falls dam in Post Falls...)
It was with mixed feelings we had our Chinese elm cut down today.
Chinese elms are messy by nature, with groups of branches dying
off regularly. This one also was infested with a caterpillar, so
the leaves were all chewed up by midsummer. This wasn't all
bad--the cedar waxwings would come and feed on the caterpillars.
But in recent years several large branches had died, and we'd
planted a walnut intended to replace it (as a shade tree for the
pottery buildings). So today a friend of ours whose favorite
recreation is cutting up trees came and downed it perfectly in the
narrow spaee between the new tree and our screen porch... My job
was just to roll off the rounds of wood to let them dry out for
firewood. Unfortunately the bending over involved in that gave me
a back spasm... So I made my first visit to the
chiropractor in a while and he got me straightened out and hopefully
quickly recovering... While in Post Falls I visited the eponymous
falls and the local library, so the trip was all good...
We got 0.6 inch of rain today. The day started with a trip to the
dentist office, only to learn that my appointment was tomorrow...
The joys of aging... My back is
better but not back to full springtime functioning, so I was able to
work in the pottery but the back and the rain kept me from gardening. Yesterday
I planted the squash type seeds in the greenhouse, and I noticed the
cherry tree is nearly full bloom. But there were only a couple
bumble bees pollinating it... I've arranged for
Sondahl and Hawkins to do a 60's music program at our Spirit Lake
Library July 13 at 7 pm. Besides the old-time and blues music,
we've ended up covering a lot of the pop songs from our youth, so I
decided to make a program of it...
Books read and other media of note: (unless otherwise noted, books are free Kindle books)
Smokin' Seventeen by Stephanie Evanovich
(hardback library copy) She never ceases to find amusing
variations on her winning formula of car explosions and bumbling bounty
The Six Fingers of Time by R.A. Lafferty. Timestoppers...
The Pirates of Ersatz by Murray Leinster A fun classic Space Pirates of Penzance, and a Hugo winner as well....
The Tunnel under the World
by Frederik Pohl June 15 repeated, possibly a source for
Groundhog Day, without the romance, with a few twists at the end...
Sand Doom by Murray Leinster A seemingly insoluble problem of being marooned on a hot desert planet...
The Girl on the Boat by P.G. Wodehouse. Very good stand alone early romantic comedy.