The quack grass took over our flower garden last year, so I started
digging it out today, including the iris bulbs, that are hopelessly
entangled in the quack grass roots. As I do it, I know I can't
get every quack grass root, so it will have to be done all over again
in a few years. But at least we'll be able to see the
flowers... Now if my back and wrist hold out...
Here's a picture of our flower garden in 2011:
April 4 We were having the kind of sprinkle on
and off day that almost makes you stay home, but that characterizes
Spring around here, so I took the bicycle down around the Mill Pond and
set up the game camera in a new area. The water is flowing over the dam
finally. The other day I took the family that's been staying with
us out in the canoe, and we saw the first blue heron. I took some
pictures, and for some reason they were pretty washed out, like this:
mostly use a paint program to brighten photos I've taken on dark
stages, but in the paint program the brightness was turned down and the
contrast up, making the photo much better:
not sure if I wrote in the blog a few years ago about a photo taken on
a security camera posted on the Spokane paper's website of a robbery
suspect, where the photo was so dark you couldn't tell a thing. I
copied it into my paint program and lightened it up and it was clearly
identifiable. Anyway it makes me think that I should be paying more attention to brightness and contrast on my photos.
A walk to the ridge today revealed spring beauties in addition to the
buttercups and grass widows. There are hooded mergansers passing
through, but the familiar twisted cackle of the red necked grebe was
heard for the first time on the Mill Pond, and they'll stay through the
We went up to the Orthodox church at Bonners Ferry for church
yesterday, then explored the local waterfalls and the bird refuge (if
you can call it that since there are large parts open for hunting).
The bird refuge was a disappointment except for eagles--only
mallards, coots, and Canada geese... Here are the photos:
Myrtle Creek Falls, a half mile walk up from the parking lot for the wildlife refuge.
view of the refuge (with the Kootenai river and Cabinet mountains
in back), which is still marshy and was once the bottom of a glacial
lake (you can still see the islands that stuck out of it in places,
although not in this picture).
Immature bald eagle down to one dark streak...
Mature bald eagle along the Kootenai river...
Rivulet near Snow Creek Falls.
Upper Snow Creek Falls
April 11 Two
days ago we drove to the turnaround before the lake road gets really
rural, and found a nicely maintained trail with views of the upper lake.
the way this spruce grouse crossed the road, probably to get to the
other side (in case you wanted to ask the obvious question)
were lots of grass widows and some yellow bells, with trillium
emerging, so it looks to be a good site to return and check for other
I went into Spokane to play music with Jonathan, so I combined it with
watching the Captain America movie (very fine if you like the
action/fantasy genre) and briefly viewing downtown Spokane. This
is the Spokane Falls, with the gondolas left over from the world's fair
in the foreground, and new green grass being installed in an improved
viewing area (under construction). The tower on the left is the
Spokane County courthouse, with the classic Monroe Street bridge on the
And today we went skiing at 49 degrees North, since it is
the last week of skiing and free... No falls for either of us, so
it went in the "fun" category. We saw a couple elk feeding in a
field on the way home, but the photos were blurry from their distance...
the family that has been living with us since October moved on.
They gave us two Rhode Island Red hen chicks a week or so ago.
The kids and mother all played with them quite a bit, so they're
pretty tame--they follow you around the yard, and climbed up on me for
This is one of the new occupants of our birdhouse-- a mountain chickadee...
walked again at the trail at the end of the lake, in search of the
creek that enters near Bronze Bay. These were the first shooting
stars we've seen. Also was a first for the year for glacier
lilies, trillium, and skunk cabbage (pictured below)
creek was in a dark hollow so the photos were all dim--hand held for
1/4 second, which is challenging. At that long of an exposure,
the water becomes a misty blur.
tried a few shots with the flash, but as you'll see in the next photo,
the natural light is more beautiful. I took this shot to show
the old truck tire rim with large trees grown through and around it.
It's probably from the first logging around 100 years ago...
Here you can see the flow of the water makes a prettier picture...
This one becomes almost abstract with the well defined sticks in the foreground and the blurred water in back.
Here's the same basic photo backed off to show the next waterfall above as well...
April 18th It rained all day on Thursday, adding up only to 3/4 inch at the end. That's enough to propel the greening forward... Just
across the bridge on the Mill Pond, to the left, there's a new osprey
nest--we saw them bringing in sticks covered with moss two days ago.
Here's a picture of the pair at the nest:
They're making good use of a tree that died on top, as did the one to the right, perhaps by a lightning strike... We
went out picking a few flowers to use for Easter decorations-- grass
widows, yellow bells, glacier lilies, trillium, and spring beauties.
On the way back a Canada goose moved off a floating log which was
about 10 feet off shore--here's what she left:
a kind of high traffic area but geese have long figured out humans
aren't much of a problem for them (if only vice-versa were true also).
The red-necked grebes are back for the summer also...
Now that we're "empty nesters" ourselves again (until next month when
our son returns to help sell pottery), we're doing a lot of projects,
like adding rings to curtains so we can use the Roman fold system to
raise and lower them... We already had the curtains in place, and
it only takes about a half hour to sew on the rings and add
It was a busy Easter weekend, playing Easter Hymns before the Bluegrass Showcase, doing sound for the Showcase, then going to Spokane to spend Easter with relatives. So
The weather is back towards cold and rainy, with about a half inch of
rain yesterday, and light snow overnight into this morning. For
variety there's a chance of thunderstorms forming, though nothing in
This weather prompts one to turn to inside projects,
such as making the curtains scrunch up in a handy and somewhat orderly
fashion with the Roman ring system. It takes about an hour to sew
on the rings and run the cords for each curtain--I got two done today
after pottery work--4 more to go... Good thing there's a 100 per
cent chance of rain tomorrow...
April 24 We went for a two hour hike this
evening in a break in the nearly continuous rain today, along a spur
off the M41, one of the two logging roads leading into the woods from
Spirit Lake. The flowers were great, including balsamroot, glacier
lilies, yellow bells, dwarf waterleaf, and shooting stars.
was the view from the end of the lake, including one of the two small
islands on Spirit Lake. After we got home it poured rain again.
On Easter we visited family and a couple friends in Spokane,
and I took this photo of downtown from the new Kendall Yards
is most of the few 10 story buildings that are the core of downtown
Spokane, plus the Monroe Street bridge. Photos from the other
side catch fewer of the buildings and more of the Spokane Falls...
April 26 We took another walk up Birch Creek today, getting
as far as the first logging road above it... The valley is strewn
with dead rotting logs, which makes the going slow. There were
also more land snails there than any place I'd seen before. Here's another falls shot from the creek:
The exotic flower in the front is skunk cabbage, named after its bad smell...
most common flower in the woods was trillium, which this isn't, inspite
of having 3 leaves and 3 petals. This was a new one for us. A Facebook friend identified it as Round leafed trillium We
thought we might find some calypso orchids in the woods, but were
surprised to find them in the ditch along the way back to our car.
The ditch is also the only place we've seen mountain lady slipper
orchids... (Don't spray the ditches!)
We went looking for the goose nest previously pictured, and the goose
and eggs were gone... It was in clear view only about 10 feet
from shore. One can only conjecture that something "got" it...
It rained on and off all day again, so I sorted
through the seedlings started in our south facing window and moved them
to the greenhouse. I also split apart double plants and
transplanted them, increasing the number of viable tomato plants.
Some cantalope and cucumbers got transplanted into large containers in
the greenhouse, since the squash family seems to enjoy the high heat
Our two new chicks are also having the run of the
greenhouse, since they haven't figured out how to scratch all the dirt
loose yet. Because of the cool wet weather (snow as we went north
to church today), we've kept a 80 watt bulb heatlamp perched above them
on their nest of straw (they may think it's their mother)...
They're still pretty tame when handled...
Books read and other media of note:
Hawkeye, My life as a weapon by Fraction, Aja, and Pulido. Most
modern comics are a bit too fractured in their storytelling for my
taste. But being a fan of the Avengers I couldn't pass this up,
and it was fairly good.
Troublemaker by Janet and Alex Evanovich Being the kind of
guy that likes Little Lulu comics (and happy to see it adverised inside
the back cover of this graphic novel) I enjoyed the comic book styling
of this Barnaby and Hooker novelette. But a lot of the comedy in
Evanovich is in the writing, so--less writing, less comedy.
Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich Evanovich reminds me of PG
Wodehouse in that she uses the same formula regardless of trying
different characters to fill the roles. In her case it's the
mostly unrequited love female lead who gets involved in tangled
Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich Trying
to make a comedy about Satanic forces taking over the world is a tough
trick (Good Omens a notable exception). So the light tone of humor
used by Evanovich in this series seems weaker than the same stuff with
her crime novels. But it's good enough that I'll probably read the
rest of the series. Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett It
reads a bit like the history of railroad expansion, with greedy
entrepeneurs and dedicated engineers, except this is Discworld, and the
railroad is a means to restoring the Low King of the dwarfs to the
throne.As in many of his books, intolerance of various sorts is pilloried.
Metro Girl by
Janet Evanovich. Like Carl Hiaasen, this uses the oddball
characters of the "special" state of Florida (only state with its own
tag on Fark.com). Stronger plot and weaker humor than the Plum
novels, but enjoyable ride.