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Brad's Blog

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April 1
It's full on Spring here, with temps in the mid 60's and peas and spinach coming up in the garden.  Last night I made turkey soup using the last fresh tomatoes from last Fall--some paste tomatoes that got just dried out enough not to spoil.  We still have apples and squash as well, and fresh sweet carrots that overwintered.  With the current forecast not calling for freezing, I planted the frost sensitive seeds yesterday, such as peppers and tomatoes, and the first cabbage family seeds were coming up from planting a couple weeks ago. 
The other side of the Spring coin is working on the garden--spreading manure, trimming and thinning the raspberries, and trying to get a head start on the quack grass...  Spreading manure sets back most weeds but burying quack grass just gives it incentive...

 April 2
Swallows and spotted towhees are back, and prairie stars and glacier lilies have added to the flowers everywhere...  Here's this year's grass widow bouquet:
grass widows

April 4
It was a classic N. Idaho day, with rain, sleet, and sunshine, sometimes all at the same time...   I change the letters on the Chamber of Commerce sign, and as I went to do the 10 minute job I looked to the hills, where the gray mist said it would be raining in five.  I got the old letters down, then it poured, so I had to go back an hour or so later.  Then we planned to go for  a walk, and just when we were going to leave there was a windstorm with slush for a half hour.  Then we went for the walk and it got calm and sunny, and we walked to the first peak of the ridge and saw 6 elk below us as we started down...  Found an antler also--second one this year...

April 13
It's a time when nothing and everything is happening...  It's raining, but only tiny showers.  The Spring wildflowers are at their peak, but the leaves are only now coming out on the bushes.  I walked on the ridge this afternoon and saw grass widows, glacier lilies, prairie stars, shooting stars, buttercups, yellow violets, trillium, yellow bells, and camas. But I was really keeping an eye out for morel mushrooms, since the local mushroom group is doing mushroom walks this weekend at Farragut State Park.  I saw no morels nor other mushrooms...  But with their guidance I'm hoping to find some in the narrow window that they emerge, reported to be roughly when the lilacs bloom...


April 17
    We went to the Silver Valley today for church, so later we rode bikes from Bull Run on the centennial trail to view some swamps full of water birds.  We saw:
redheaded ducks, wood ducks, northern shovelers, a raven, marsh wrens, green winged and cinnamon teals, great blue herons, ospreys, mallards, buffleheads, white pelicans, swans, Canada geese, kildeer, coots, bald eagle, redwing black birds, ring necked ducks, and gulls.   It was really nice weather, first day in shorts with lots of sunscreen...
Most of the birds were hard to identify with binoculars, and even with a sunny day a lot of the photos were blurred...  These came out best:

Marsh wren

Northern Shovelers

A view of the marsh in just spring...

April 18
The weather couldn't get much better.  The day started cool, then every time I went out I took off another layer.   By 4:00 I was arrested for public indecency.  Well, at least clothes would have been optional at that time.   It was too hot to work in the garden in the late afternoon, which added to the perfect ambience.  After supper on the porch it was cool enough to garden and THERE ARE STILL NO MOSQUITOES, proving it to be a glorious day...
Anyway here's a link to last weekend's frivolity: 
http://www.sondahl.com/events/INBMAApril2016.html :photos and a couple videos from last weekend's music showcase.


April 22
We had our first thunder shower of the year.  They're fairly rare in the Inland Northwest, which is good since they trigger forest fires, especially when they happen in the later summer...   I was glad for the 1/3 inch of rain, to keep the wild flowers and grass greening up...   The forecast includes chances of rain and cooler weather.  Today was in the 70's, after 80's the last couple days.  There were kids swimming in the Mill Pond when I took Butters for his afternoon walk...  Parts of the pond are already covered with pine pollen, another sign of how early this spring has been...  Other years that doesn't happen till late May...   The progression of wild flowers is a natural spring calendar--today Columbia virgin's bower and Richardson's geranium were open, and the camas is just opening...   I arrange the blog index so it's easy to compare one April with previous ones by clicking down the column.   Snow showers show up regularly in other Aprils, and the flowers appear to be a couple weeks early this year...

April 23
Just enjoyed an author lecture by C.J. Box at the Post Falls library. I've read most of his books...  He started the talk saying how he came to love reading in the Wyoming library when he was a child, reading Encyclopedia Brown books.  By high school he knew he wanted to write a book, but not even whether it would be fiction or non-fiction.  After he'd written his first book, it sat with an agent for four years, till he learned of the agent's death at a book-pitching gathering he attended, and the ironic retelling of that story to an editor there led to his getting a 3 book deal, and writing a book and a half per year...  His stories are all based in the modern west, with the most successful series about a Wyoming game warden.  He mentioned his books appeal equally to male and female readers.  In my opinion his closest analogue might be Tony Hillerman without the spiritual and cultural trappings...

April 24
We're trying to check out some of the scenery around Priest Lake we've missed before.  Being early spring, Hunt Creek Falls was roaring, and on a low light day the photos I took were disappointing, but I made a video since it's much more an aural and moving experience.


The rapids leading down to the falls were more photogenic.  With a bit of imagination the moss warrior is attacking the fir banshee...


This was an artistic arrangement of a cluster of shooting stars on the edge of the canyon...

On the way home we saw a kestrel perch in a tree to snack on some small prey...
We also found 4 morel mushrooms.  A fun excursion for sure...

April 28
The weather has been conducive to two hour nature walks daily.  Even with rambling on deer trails, we've only encountered a couple ticks, and those were found before they connected...

We found 6 calypso orchids in one area.  Looking for them is like looking for Easter eggs.  You can gage its size by the fronds of moss growing beside it...


I was taking pictures of the shrubby penstemon when Butters photobombed it...


This great blue heron landed in a tree that we passed near.  A lot of its cool feathery features are visible in this photo that you don't see when they're wading along the shore...


Books read and other media of note
Storm Front by Richard Castle.   Although a lot must be forgiven when reading fluffly mass market ghost written thrillers, questions remain, like who really was reportedly trying to kill the hedge funds manager, since no one in the plot had it in for him, and who in their right minds flies commercially from Ames, Iowa to Des Moines, a distance of 30 miles?

Changeling by Roger Zelazny  This tale rides the line between SF and fantasy, with two babies being exchanged across parallel universes growing up to get caught in a triangle of love and power trips.

White Night by Jim Butcher.  I enjoyed James Marster's reading of this book on CD, one of the many intriguing Dresden files...

Robert Parker's Blackjack.  by Robert Knott.   The dialog seemed a bit obtuse early on, but the western novel styled after Parker fell together nicely...

Full Moon by PG Wodehouse.  A Blandings castle novel I don't think I've read.  They're all worth reading...

The 13 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear.   Endless creativity on display with drawings as well as stories....





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