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Brad's Blog

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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...

April 2
    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...

April 4
    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 places...

April 5
    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

downy woodpecker

Red bellied woodpecker, Davenport, Iowa.

Rosebreasted grosbeak,  Kentucky.

White pelican, Davenport Iowa.

Mourning dove, Kentucky

Mockingbird, Kentucky

Magpie, Colorado

Cardinal, Minnesota

Falls 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...

This 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 estate...

This was the Minnesota woods in Spring, with Wood or Rue Anemone in large patches.  Not sure what the yellow flower will be...

The 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...   

The 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...

April 24
    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...

April 26
    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...

April 27
balsam root
(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... 


April 30
    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 hunter experiences.

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.



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