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Brad's Blog

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Feb. 4
    I spent another Super Bowl in Minnesota visiting my family there and experiencing the winter I was happy to move away from...  It also coincided with a 50s dance party at a bar that my sister and I played a few tunes for.  We also viewed my father's 8mm film collection, newly and expensively digitized.  Seeing it all at one setting, he liked dogs (no surprise there) and he started early on trick photography in the 40's, photographing scenes like my sister diving off a diving board upside down, then splicing them in so she appeared to emerge from the water onto the board...  His scenes of everyday military life in the deathly boring Aleutians and airplanes taking off and landing were a major source of satire in family gatherings in the 60's.  Dad took the razzing with aplomb...
    When I got back to Idaho the whole area had been in the fridge instead of the freezer, and I could still see my tracks from before I left.  I left out a gamecam for the whole week and only got pictures of me walking by it a couple times before leaving...  But a block below the pottery I saw big mooseprints that happened while I was gone...

Feb. 7
    We've gotten 2.5 inches of rain in the last two days, clearing away a lot of the snow and raising the lake 4 inches.  There's still ice on the lake, but a 4 foot open channel along the edge, and the ice is clearly on its way out.  The March weather, which started in mid-January, continues...  Oh, yes, and there is a moth outside our sliding door this evening...
    In spite of heavy rain throughout the day, there were lots of customers, and sales were comparable to a summer day...  Before I left on my trip to Minnesota, I threw quite a few pots, so I've been glazing and firing steadily since returning home...
    While I was gone, robins and other birds cleared the mountain ash of its overabundance of berries.  But the other morning we saw a ruffed grouse standing under the tree...

Feb. 8
We took advantage of the 50 degree partly cloudy sky day and hiked around the ridge with Butters.  We traced a couple of seasonal runoff creeks, and found this tree that had canted up a nearby stump when it fell over, and now holds it above the ground:

There are a lot of root masses tipped up from all the wind storms toppling trees. 

Feb. 16
It frosted last night, for the first time in at least a week, which is a very unusual thing to say in February.  The snow is all gone except for where it was piled, and some of the local ski areas like Mt. Spokane are closing for insufficient snow...  Our wood supply is looking good...
    We're helping a friend fix up a house for rental, and part of that was volunteering to install oak flooring.  I did it for our house, drilling and hammering in finishing nails.  This time the boards were narrower, and we decided to rent an air powered nailer.  We had it for a long day (Saturday afternoon to Monday morning), and it took all of that time to do the parts the nailer will work on (there are still about 3 courses close to the wall that the nailer is too large to fit on...)  It's easy to make mistakes quickly with the nailer, including shooting nails into the top of the board instead of the tongue, but it was definitely less work.  Less skill also...  It came with a heavy version of a croquet mallet with rubber ends, used for tapping the boards in place and triggering the nailer with a light tap...   It takes skill to pound in finishing nails without bending, but a child could mostly do the job with the nailer...  I learned the basics for using it on a 15 minute Youtube video, including some useful tips for measuring to cut the boards...
   

Feb. 22
 40 degree days and 15 degree nights are the current run of temperatures, very pleasant for February.
I did sound for the bluegrass showcase last night--worst experience yet, but clearly not my fault--the mixer board had channels fading in and out and nasty popping noises coming out.  I told them it's time for a new mixer...  Here's the link to the photos:
http://www.sondahl.com/events/INBMAFeb2015.html

Feb. 25
  This is the first day I've made pottery this week. Customers expect me to be throwing all the time, but it's really about two mornings of throwing per week.  So far I've been glazing, loading kilns, and pricing pots... 
The weather continues great for bicycling, blue skies and pleasant.  The weather service tried to convince us a mild storm might pass through, but I think they're bored with the continued fine weather and making it up.
    We had a great elk roast with our garden onions, potatoes, and carrots tonight.  There was some vanilla ice cream but no chocolate sauce, so it occurred to me to make my own hot fudge by boiling a cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of cocoa, a tablespoon of cornstarch, and around a cup of milk.  It was basically chocolate pudding without the egg, but it tasted like high quality hot fudge...  We didn't find out how it would store in the fridge since we ate it all...

Feb.28
We went to hear a lecture on native plants by local naturalist and author Jack Nisbet in Sandpoint, who is a great lecturer.   Towards the end he mentioned having led tours around Round Lake State Park (3 times), and since that is on our way home, and we had Butters along and planned to do a walk, we went there afterwards.   Round Lake is about the size of the Spirit Lake Mill Pond (about 1/2 mile across) so we were able to walk the trail around it in an hour or so...


We saw this Black Backed Woodpecker, a first for us, attracted by its tapping and the way it tore off bark repeatedly in its search for food...

Here's a view from the south side of the lake, with the dock in the middle the only obvious manmade structure (the whole lake is in the state park)


I also got another nice photo of a ruffed grouse...

Books read and other media of note:
Walkin the Dog by Walter Mosley This is the most philosophical novel I've read by Mosley, fitting for the main character being Socrates Fortlow.  Instead of following the trite storyline of a wrongfully accused person clearing his name, larger issues of race relations and what makes a life are addressed in a compelling manner.  The CD version read by ME Willis does a great job of verbally portraying the characters...

The Job by
Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg.  I like this series almost as much as the Stephanie Plum novels, for its clarity of prose and clever plotting with humor mixed with skull and daggers.  This 5th novel was the best I've read so far, but I managed to miss 2 of the 5...

Crooked Man and Trick Question by Tony Dunbar
I was drawn to these as being somewhat funny, and free at Amazon.  Sometimes I imagine The Spider, Tubby Tompkins, grown up into this Tubby Dubonnet lawyer/crime solver.  As the author is a lawyer, it's a bit heavy on the jurisprudence at times, but also a possible glimpse into how the justice system in NOLA might function...

The Long Mars by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
 This series is very different from Discworld--in this case the result of the theory of possibly infinite universes.  As they explore the millions, it bogs down a bit like Verne's The Time Machine did (in my dim ancient history) by trying to cover too much.  Still, it was Terry Pratchett, and that's enough to earn it a read...

The Sandman Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman  Creator of The Sandman 'comics' is a frequent appellation for Gaiman, but a lot of his novel readers like me never had a chance to read the Sandman, so I was glad the local library system stocked the reprint.  But boy, is it bleak...  Also I think Gaiman has grown into resembling the Sandman...




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