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Brad's Blog

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August 6
Still picking cherries and green beans every day.  We've been canning green beans as well as freezing them this year. 
I took about 15 pounds of cherries to the food bank today. 
It's time for some garden photos:

Left to right, green beans, onions, cabbages, broccoli, potatoes, and a hedge of raspberries all around...


This is our corn patch, with volunteer sunflowers along the border.  They're taller than ever this year, but a high percentage didn't produce ears, so it's not looking so great on the yield side...

Across the street we've planted a squash and potato patch, with tomatoes along the wall of the garage, where they may catch some reflected heat from the sun.  These pumpkins in the foreground are called neon, and look bright yellow from an early age, a boon in a climate that sometimes frosts around Labor Day.

August 8
Cherry season is over, well sated with the supply this year.  Tomato season has started, but it's only a trickle of ripe ones so far.  The pumpkins pictured above doubled in size and turned darker orange in the last few days.
Today the heat has slightly abated, although 100 degree days are expected again in a couple days.  I'm looking forward to a break at the Blue Waters Bluegrass festival, where it's a short walk to swim in Medical Lake from the (for me) two days of high quality bluegrass bands.
Back in April 2013 I posted this picture of a wild turkey with some neighbors' chickens:

Since then it disappeared, the neighbors moved away.  Then in the last couple weeks a flock of a dozen or so turkeys has been coming through.  Another neighbor thinks its this same turkey with family and friends.  While they are a delight to view, and look prehistoric enough to support the theory that birds are descended from dinosaurs, they also marauded through our neighbor's garden, so we're having to reassess our attitude toward them.  Butters the dog has no qualms about rerouting them out of our yard on sight.
A possibly more serious pest was spotted 10 blocks from us-- a cougar yesterday.   Most likely just passing through is the consensus view.

August 10
I attended Bluewaters Bluegrass Festival again, and here is a link to the photos to prove it...  It was hot during the day, but the lake was right there to cool down...  My favorite performance was superb mandolinist John Reischman playing with amazing flatpicker Kenny Smith, making great music having never really played together before...

August 13
We had another windstorm and shower last night, but it was nothing to write home about, except for the 0.2 inch of rain to settle the dust.
Sales continue brisk so I continue to make lots of pots. 
In spite of the recent 90+ weather, the longer nights are starting to allow the lake to cool slightly, so it's currently perfect.
The garden is yielding onions, carrots, tomatoes, green beans, peapods, cabbage, and broccoli, so we're eating lots of stir fry...

 
August 17
The green beans are about done, but the blackberries and sweet corn have kicked in, keeping summer eating fun. 
We had our Montana friends come through with a bigger dog than Butters, so he had to use wiles and a few nips to the flank to get the rubber frisbee away from Odin.  I had to keep calling him on it as a referee...  Odin didn't seem to mind and they parted great friends...

August 21
    I played music with the principal oboeist of the Spokane Symphony today.  I figured he plays classical and I play folk, but we both play hymns, so that's what we did.  I'd like to report that the results were ethereal, but it turns out an oboe is about as loud as a saxophone and I could hardly hear my own guitar picking.  Also, his two young kids were shaking maracas and randomly strumming a ukelele, so now you have a more complete picture of the event...  It was fun anyway...

August 22
This year we spread our dahlias around our various garden beds.  This one doesn't win the prize for beauty, but always attracts the most pollinators, perhaps because the petals don't hide the functional flower so much...

The butterfly was a type I hadn't noticed before.  It was competing for nectar with a small bumblebee.


Along the south side of our pottery display we plant grapes and morning glories to help shade it in the summer.  Actually the morning glories reseed themselves, and the grapes just need pruning.  The morning glories, true to their name, look great in the morning but are puckered up like the bottom ones in the photo by noon...

August 23
The town is jumping this evening, with live music at one of the bars, a wine tasting auction in the park across the street, and a free outdoor Lego movie in the city park, courtesy of our police department.   So instead of doing any of those things, we went and saw the Montana Shakepeare in the Park presentation of As You Like It in Liberty Lake. 
Pavilion Park in Liberty Lake is Golf Course nice, surrounded by Nice Houses and a lot of the residents ride to the performance on their Golf Carts.  As a perfect late summer day ended, flocks of geese flew over the park, and a nearby shower that wouldn't dare approach the outdoor stage shed a partial rainbow for over half an hour.  It felt a lot like Camelot, except that the interpretation of the play set it in 1917 Butte Montana.  I kind of missed the pantaloons...  I did hear the lines that reminded me I'd acted in a scene from this play in Honors English in high school...  Shakespearean language, rattled off fast with lots of gestures, remains hard to take in to the modern ear.  The plot was mostly intelligible, and the right people were coupled at the end.
    I gave blood earlier today, and decided to drive the 3 blocks to the blood van to see if it might improve my blood pressure readings--which it did 136 was the high one, I didn't need to hear what the diastolic pressure was after that...   I credit it mostly to the dog...
    Speaking of the dog, it was warm enough to swim again today, which includes the dog swimming out a bit and fetching a stick or two. Whether on land or sea, Butters will quit after two or three throws--important to know if you don't want to fetch the toy yourself.

August 28
    Summer continues like it will never end, except the forecast predicts a cool weekend.  Sales continue to do well.  We've started eating our second plantimg of corn, which should be good for a couple weeks.  I played music for the West Central Farmer's Market this week, and am scheduled to play in the Spirit Lake Park (as usual) on Labor Day, right after the parade.  Boise State is losing their first football game, otherwise all is generally well with the world...

August 30
    Aside from mixing 3 batches of glaze today, I finished at tearing down the chicken coop at the pottery (likely to start another coop at the yellow house soon--crazy hobby).  We're eating locally lately--the quiche tonight had our broccoli, onions, tomatoes, and eggs in it.  It was a break from the high sweat corn diet we're on--not likely it's a weight loser...

Books read and other media of note:
The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg.  This was a fun romp combining lovable scoundrels, cons and bad guys reminding me of Donald Westlake at his best in the Dortmunder novels.  I hope the series continues...

Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr
A combination of in various ways weak characters struggle to survive a kidnapping.  More a suspense story than a mystery, but it works well, except for the deus ex canine used a couple times too many...

Channel Zilch by Doug Sharp I read this because I kind of knew Doug from days in college.  The silly premise of steeling a space shuttle to broadcast a reality show from space is just a format to engage interesting characters in a complex thought experiment.  I will read the follow up novel to see where the story is really headed...

Borderline by Nevada Barr
  I'm sure the author intended that the title refer not only to the Tex-Mex borderline, but the mental state of most of the characters in the novel.  As much as I enjoy her many mysteries set in our national parks, I did wonder if she wasn't a bit borderline herself (spoiler alert), when a ranger gets into a life or death struggle in the dark, with another ranger, without stating their identities.

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