Feb. 1



A new visitor to our feeder this week, Cassin's finches...  The bright topknot often stands up a bit like a mohawk...


Here's a more natural photo I got today...



And here is a female purple finch.  We're keeping track of species visible from our yard this year.  We're up to 16...

Feb. 4

Yesterday I replaced a couple heating elements in my older kiln and had to struggle with reattaching the new element in the space provided because every time you put new elements in you have to snip off a bit of wire  that connected the old ones, so it was very short from many element changes.  I inadvertantly pulled out  the thermocouple that tells the temperature in the kiln, so on the next firing the kiln over heated and destroyed itself and the pottery inside. I circled in red the little thermocouple which I pushed back into place this morning.   (the cracks in the kiln walls are nearly all new. the kiln shelves slumped and the pots all have bulges) Fortunately business has been very good the last year... I'd been thinking I needed another new kiln, and now I have occasion to buy one...

Speaking of Covid, my mother has recovered fully and is back in her old routine at Millstream Common, and we are all happy about that...

Looking down in the rain barrel today was a nice 6 sided ice crystal forming on top.

Feb 5
A new kiln is ordered (up to 4 weeks till delivery).  It cost twice as much today as 10 years ago...
We had lots of sun today, although only temps in the mid 30's, but it was good for pruning one of the last apple trees, just as the sunset went glorious...

This was the view from behind our cabin...

Feb. 12
The highlight of this week was getting my first Covid-19 vaccination on Tuesday.  There had been previous hopes dashed as the system is a bit chaotic, so I felt like a winner of the lottery when called by my local clinic and notified there was a no show and I could get a shot.  Aside from a slightly tender innoculation site, no side effects.  
As in most of North America, the weather has gone towards frigid (although not below zero here, yet) and that cuts down on my desire to photograph outdoors..
Before it hit I got a glimpse of a farway bird, poor photo but not sure of ID:

Might be a northern shrike...
I've been going through my recorded CD's and combining them with my nature photography to make new Youtube videos.  I Shall Be Released  is a Dylan cover song I recorded with Jonathan Hawkins.  It was also the last song we sang together, last fall, making videos for the Fall Folk Festival.

Feb. 14

It was an odd day, with an even cloud cover from the early morning, turning into fine snow with sun breaks through the day.  



These were two objects on the ice.  With the breeze and fine dusting of snow,  they received a delicate spray of white.  The ice has tiny bubbles making it almost resemble cement pavement...  The photo of the pine cone caught my eye since it pops out so brightly as the definitive pine cone (ponderosa, to be technical)

Last week I rewatched The Music Man, long one of my favorite musicals (even the Beatles covered one of the songs--"til there was you").  When I first became aware of Trump running for election in 2016, I said that he reminded me of The Music Man, clearly being a con man.  Rewatching it in hopefully the end of  the "age of Trump," I was less sympathetic to the romance of the professor and the librarian, and his certain-to-fail promises with the band (although I admit I learned harmonica and guitar with the Think Method).  The year that I tried being a children's librarian, I had an improvisatory series the kids worked on called What Happened After, where they continued familiar stories that usually end with the characters living happily ever after.  I applied that method in my mind to the Music Man, and thought what would happen when Marian would realize that the stories of his having a girl in every county were true, or the lawsuits would pile in on all the frauds the music man had committed.  In other words, the plot came too close to the current milieu for comfort...

Feb. 17
After a couple days of snow and gray, this was this morning from behind our cabin:


and with the bright sun, it made beautiful patterns on the water stirred by this female common goldeneye:


Feb. 23
Although it was only about 35 and windy, the sun was shining as we planned a picnic on the beach at Farragut Park.  While eating we watched a snow squall move in on the lake, but missed us by "that much."

It was snowing on the right side, clear on the left.  

books read
The Princess Bride by William Goldman.  I reread this after reading it in the 80's and enjoying the movie several times.  From the multiple intros to the teaser to a nonexistent sequel, he plays with reality like it was his favorite toy.

Star Kingdom Books 1-3 by Lindsay Buroker  Although the pace is frequently slow on action, great character development make this epic space opera addictive...


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