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Dec. 2
This year for the Fall Folk Festival, as was the case last year, I had two people help take photos for the website.   They both have better suited cameras for the occasion, and take great photos.  This year they got more into taking lots of photos, such that when all was said and done, they each sent over 1300 photos for me to use, to add to the several hundred photos I took.  Add to that the wind storm that I'm still clearing brush from (the willow lies intact on its side) , and it was only today that I got all the photos up on the website, at
http://www.spokanefolklore.org/FFF2015/2015.html It struck me as a bit ironic that I was one of the few musicians that didn't get a photo taken in performance...
My next scheduled performance is for the local bluegrass association monthly show, and Don Thomsen has agreed to join Jonathan and me, so it should be slightly extra fun...
The weather has stayed below freezing for over a week, but is warming up to snow and rain, to keep life interesting...

Dec. 4
The weather roller coaster continues.   A couple days ago I worked and walked outside with just a vest on (good thing no one saw me :-) ) with temperatures in the mid 40's.  Then the rain started and I remembered to look at the peanut butter jar I use for a rain gauge, which had 2 inches in it before I dumped it out, and now has a half inch of rain and some slush from the two inches of snow that fell after the rain today...  Meanwhile record warm temperatures are predicted for  tomorrow, and up to 60 mph winds on Wednesday, putting a lot of people around here into pretraumatic stress disorder...

Dec. 10
We're at the part of the roller coaster now that I just emptied my rain gauge of 2 3/4 inches of rain, so it can record the current wet heavy snowfall, predicted to continue with melting over the next few days.   The wind yesterday was gusty to 40 mph but no new trees or powerlines came down in our area, so the snow today seems like a resumption of "normal" December conditions.  With the wind all the ice on the lake broke up and thawed, and with the rain the Mill Pond began refilling, bringing the geese back into it for dabbling.  A nice side feature of the wind yesterday was blue skies, which are as rare as hen's teeth in this area at this time of year.
    Butters and I just returned from lunch taking the scenic route from home to pottery, going around the Mill Pond.  Because of the inch of slush and the current sleeting we had the only human and dog tracks around the pond...   There were lots of squirrel tracks, a few grouse and quail, and only one deer.  Lately kinglets have been commonly seen both in town and along the lake, heralded by their high warbly whistle.  It's hard to get a good photo of them, as they frequently dart about in the understory of the trees.  Here's one from my blog in 2010:

    We've started eying Christmas trees, which we don't usually put up until a couple days before Christmas.  Around here evergreens grow like weeds.  We try to pick one either too crowded or growing under power lines, and are generally happy with the result.
    In Spokane some of the many downed trees from several weeks ago are getting decorated with colored lights, kind of making lemonade out of lemons...

Dec. 14
We got another inch of rain in the last couple days, so the Mill Pond continues to fill and be an abode for geese and ducks.   Holiday sales have been brisk lately...

Dec. 20
The rain has turned back to snow, and we got 5 inches the other night, with more predicted the next few days. 
Last night Jonathan Hawkins and I performed for the bluegrass showcase, with Don Thomsen joining us on mandolin.  While warming up my voice I had to cough , which brought the slight pain I'd woken up with into sharp focus.  About a week before I'd slipped on a patch of ice, and I'm now pretty sure I broke a rib, since I can internally hear that thunky crepitus noise (not to mention having broken a few ribs before, providing a credible comparison).   So I think it was hanging on by a thread until that cough, and now I'm planning to take it easy for a few days till it resets.  Good thing there's football today...  Here's a link to the photos of the other performers last evening...

There's only a hole in the ice under the bridge to the Mill Pond, although the main part of the lake is mostly open, but a few geese, mallards, the muscovy duck, and some goldeneyes and ring-necked ducks (like the one above) are still around.  The white ring on their bill helps to spot these ducks, which were here by the hundreds a couple weeks ago...


This evening was the annual Christmas parade with Santa through Spirit Lake, done by the Fire Department, with police, city council and others helping to collect food for the local food bank.  I stood out with my bag of cans as first a fire vehicle appeared playing the chicken dance song, then the long fire truck with Santa, an ambulance with Lord knows who, and finally the snowman to collect the food donations...It started around 5 and I'd pretty much despaired of seeing them when they finally made it on Maine Street around 7:30...  The photo also shows the two inches of snow we got today and some of the nice lights on Maine Street...

Dec. 21
It's been snowing mostly for the last 24 hours, but it settles, so I just poked a yardstick into some unsullied snow and we're just over the 12 inch mark.  We were given a snowblower a few years ago that tended to plug up.  I got to thinking that waxing it might help, so I took a heat gun and some parafin to the main throwing area and it didn't clog up today in spite of the sticky snow temperatures.  Emboldened by that, I also treated our aluminum scoop shovel the same way...

Dec. 23
With a little down time I recorded the first new tunes in a long while for Youtube:   A minor Triumph is named that because it's in the key of A minor and ends rather upbeat...  Over and Over is my version of a Dave Clark 5 hit...

We're over 15 inches of snow...  The open spot by the bridge on the Mill Pond has goldeneyes, mallards, and the lone muscovy duck (none pictured).  There's still a lot of the lake yet unfrozen...

Dec. 30
We're over 21 inches of snow, with snow falling lightly for the last 48 hours, until this morning when we had a brief play of sunshine.  The combination of snow, no wind, no sun, and temperatures below freezing have caused lots of evergreens to sag over to the side under the weight of snow that they would usually shed. The rural electric grid is threatened as they fall and they've taken the unusual step of hiring helicopters to fly the power lines to blow the trees clear with the prop wash.  Just one more way this is a totally unusual year...

Dec. 31



It's blue skies and winter wonderland today, with nippy temps to go with it...

With the cold snow I noticed classic six pointed flakes on top, and tried to get some pictures.  Autofocus doesn't like snow, but here goes:



Happy new year!
 
Books read and other media of note
Elvenbane by Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey.  An engrossing bit of fantasy, with well established rules and the undermining of an exploitive elf situation...  I've avoided the jointly written Norton books till this, will probably try some others...

The Sum of her Parts by Alan Dean Foster.  A successful conclusion to the trilogy quest for knowledge of a mysterious data storage device.  I did wish that they weren't such a difficult pair to bond with...

Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney It was interesting to listen to the CD-book of what has become a cult classic film, which made the revolutionary  paranoid alien invasion  idea seem a bit slow in development, but one always likes the version one encounters first. 


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