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Brad's Blog

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Jan. 3
      Snowy winter is back, and cold, and the Mill Pond is frozen over hard enough for walking on.  All is good except the shoveling...

Jan. 7
We enjoyed Epiphany a lovely set of now former neighbors, with supper, burning the greens, lighting a few fireworks, and letting loose one of those hot air candle lanterns as were featured in Tangled...  They always make me nervous since there is still flames in it as it ascends, but on a cold wet January it's about as safe as could be.  There was no wind and it went straight up until the light disappeared.  Previously I've found the lantern a couple blocks away.  The snow is pretty deep to be mucking about looking for it.  
    We had about 8 inches of snow, turning to rain, settling down to about 6 slushy inches now.  Butters and I went for a walk along the lake.  The two inches of slush on the 2 inches of ice resembles ripply water, as evidenced by this photo:

The sun only breaks through the clouds and fog occasionally.  It's been above freezing every day, and I walk around without gloves or hat for the most part... (hate to rub it in, Minnesota...)
    I've started work in the pottery again.  Last year's sales lagged a bit from the previous two record years, but were totally acceptable.  I have about the same amount of pottery on hand now as last January--one ton's worth.   Since I use 3-4 tons of clay per year, I have my work set out for me, particularly since I made asterisks by the pots on the inventory that were at low ebb...
    Several empty apartments and storefronts on Maine Street are getting fixed up, hopefully to rent again.  A portrait photographer is moving in at the corner of Maine and the highway.  Her name is Amanda Jayne, and she has some trophies she won in Spokane for favorite photographer on local polls...  I've seen people take photos of empty storefronts so business on Maine could pick up again this year...
    Butters is nearing the end of his obedience training, which turned out to be mainly positive reinforcement with treats.  This week his homework was "leave it."  I leave a treat within easy reach of him and admonish it to leave it.  He immediately understood the game and will watch me patiently, or even while I'm out of sight, for the cue to get the treat.  

Jan. 15
Time flies sometimes whether you're having fun or not...  Right now I've got a head cold so it's not so fun, but January is whipping past.  It's been cold enough again to walk across the Mill Pond, but the rest of the lake seems chancy...

This was hoarfrost growing around a small hole in the ice on the Mill pond (about a foot across).  

    It's winter blah time, and bird feeders help to entertain when the ground and sky are both gray...  The grayness of the light has made great photos unlikely, but good enough for identification...  I have one feeder filled with sunflower seeds, and our mountain ash tree is still loaded with frozen berries, and sometimes still robins, grosbeaks, and today a solitairy bird that popped a few in while hanging out in the tree (it's possible that the berries ferment with age)...
'
This is Butters scurrying across the snowcovered ice...

This bird was feeding on the mountain ash today.  I got a better photo of his backside, that helps provide the ID, besides his SOLITARY nature...

The tawny lower wings and white side to the tail make me think it's a Townsend's Solitaire...

January 18
I was really down with a cold/flu virus two days ago, but I recovered enough Saturday to go do the sound for the bluegrass showcase.  So:
My January 2015 Showcase photos
    Today we stopped at the Hardwood Inn in Priest River on the way home from church for a very leisurely dinner and to watch the Seahawks surprise comeback win over Green Bay.  There wasn't a big crowd there, and I was tempted to leave when there was 5 minutes and two touchdowns between them, but we were all screaming and rejoicing as a group at the overtime win!  As I write this no one is expecting a miracle for Indianapolis...

January 19
The same mountain ash tree that broke a lot of its crown with an overabundance of berries this fall continues to provide for robins, flickers, cedar waxwings, and today pine grosbeaks.  Here are the photos:

Female

males
They seem to be biting them and mostly drinking the juice, as it's above freezing.  They were so tame that I could stand 5 feet away to take the photos, and only the late afternoon light kept them from being excellent....

January 25
Looks like it might be March until May, the way it's staying around 40 with drizzle and fog...  There's still over a foot of snow up at Priest Lake, but we've only got about 6 inches here, and the lake is thawing under the warmth onslaught...  I spent a half hour chopping ice in the church parking lot because it's so easy (after breaking it into chunks with a splitting maul).
We've had two new businesses move on on Maine Street in the last couple weeks, a photographer and her transportation specialist husband, and a screen printing shop.  They don't add to the tourist amenities (except maybe the screen shop if they do a line of Spirit Lake clothing), but it's good to keep the business area humming...


January 27.  We enjoyed the Banff Film Festival last night in Coeur D'Alene and plan to see the 3rd night this evening.  The films are about outdoor enthusiasts like kayakers, mountain climbers, and fly fishermen, but geared for the vicarious pleasure of lazy lay abouts...

Books read and other media of note:
Riptide Ultra-glide by Tim Dorsey  Florida is a special state, as evidenced by a special Florida tag on Reddit...  That said, I was thinking of a Florida vacation before reading this book on everything that a couple from Wisconsin (like the waiter from Barcelona, Wisconsin explains everything about them) could experience on a Florida vacation.  In spite of the nightmarish scenerios, it has the funniest serial killer (an oxymoron, I know) and flows like a Riptide ultra-glide...  The CD version was delightful, red by Oliver Wyman, with the central character sounding like Roger Rabbit...  I don't expect the Florida tourism approves of this novel, but if you like Carl Hiiassen, you'll probably like this one...

Circles in the Snow   Patrick McManus
A shame this talented comic writer came so late to the comedy detective drama.  A favorite gag from this one was the tremendous noise as two people shot down a perilous rapids, such that they were hoarse for days afterward...  I wasn't quite clear on the denouement, but that's the Blight Way...

The Peripheral by William Gibson 
A complex and to my mind  overly wordy novel about a murder mystery in a parallel future and some rednecks getting their lives together in the current day.  Lorelei King did a great job of reading this for the CD version...

Searching for the Sound by Phil Lesh  An interesting inside look at the Grateful Dead.  Phil seems fairly forthright on the wrong paths he and the group trod, occasionally lapsing into new agey astrological reasoning, but on the whole an enjoyable read...

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