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January 1, 2016

Here's the view today, high temp in the low 20's.  The ice is firm on the Mill Pond and out to the main body of the lake...  Butters likes his walks...


When I was growing up we'd hang plastic icicles on the Christmas tree...  Current conditions of cold and sun have made the real thing happening--very fun...


Here are the icicles from along the lake road just after the bridge glowing in the sunshine today.  On our walk we saw a heron perched by one of the few small holes in the ice, later replaced by a raven who rolled around taking a snowbath.  The temperature topped freezing today so a lot of trees shed their snow burden, which is good since more snow is expected soon...

Jan. 11


There are still some refugee birds hanging out in the thawed spot by the bridge to the Mill Pond...   But we've never seen a great blue heron persist like this  one has this year.  There are also a few mallards, one bufflehead, and the muscovy duck that moved in this summer.  You can see from the photo there is plenty of snow off of the lake (over a foot), so we prefer walking on the ice, which has an inch or two of snow.   You can also see the open spot in the foreground, and some of the icicles that are persisting along the rocky parts...
We had a warm spell last week which cleared almost all the snow from the trees.  It's snowing again this evening...
    More than ever we're eating from our own garden produce.  We just finished the last grapes, which kept amazingly well in a cold spare room.  We are also enjoying apple cider and applesauce.  The root cellar keeps the apples in better shape than in a cold spare room, since the humidity is higher.  We also have lots of squash, a smattering of potatoes, lots of carrots....  And there there's the canned fruits and green beans, and frozen raspberries and blueberries.  Must be time for supper...

Jan. 13
We got two inches of snow overnight, which I only became aware of after 5 this morning when the fir tree over our house started shedding the snow due to the snow turning to rain, which it's continuing to do this evening...  Before the roads were plowed, SUV's were slaloming down the street since the slush is shifty.  I got stuck after shoveling the driveway when some of the underlying ice/snow turned to slush this afternoon, and that was only a 10 foot driveway to the garage on the flat...
    So I didn't have any sympathy when walking Butters down on the railroad grade and there was a 4X4 pickup stuck while out "joy riding."   What part of 8 inches of slush didn't they understand?

January 17
The slush and rain and snow continue, giving this a March-like feel, which was actually predicted by the weather service this Fall as a likely result of El Nino. But last night I got out to take photos of the local talent at the bluegrass
January 2016 Music Showcase photos.
At church to fill out some extra time I've started helping to tie quilts for Lutheran World Relief.  We've got a volunteer from Canada that sews the tops and bottoms, and others here help pin up the sides and sandwich them with polyester fiberfill.  For a small operation it's quite productive...

Jan. 21
More slush and rain, closing the passes to Seattle again.  The icicles are a fraction of their former glory.  The upside is the snowpack is getting to where Spirit Lake is likely to fill again this Spring, which wasn't apparent this Fall, just in time for the new sand beaches at Fireside Park.

Jan. 23
A few days ago I went to a music jam, and before it started I heard an acquaintance say he had a dead llama he had to get out of his pen.  I immediately expressed an interest, because my golden retriever has suffered from skin issues and my vet recommended looking for a "novel source of protein."  The llama had been dead for about a week, but the weather has been hovering in refrigerator temperatures, so I thought it might be okay.   Then I learned there was a veterinarian in the group and got his opinion, so I arranged to get the llama yesterday.   In spite of developing a cold overnight, I butchered it this morning and cooked the meat this afternoon.  I had visions of a hundred pounds of quality protein, but inspite their height there's not a lot to a llama except for stomach...  I probably got 30 pounds of meat, having driven an hour to get the carcase and spent 3 hours butchering it, so I don't think it's a long term solution to the dog feeding issue, but it was "interesting."   And Butters really likes the meat...
    This was the first large animal I've ever butchered, so I watched a Youtube video before starting.  It did strike me how much most vertebrates have in common, as I found the kidneys, liver, stomach, lungs that all the land dwellers have...  I would've felt bad killing a llama to feed my dog, but it was worthwhile to salvage one that died (in this case from slipping on the ice).
  
 
Books read and other media of note

Play Dead by David Rosenfelt  This is fictional solution to some of the gross economic anomalies of the Afghan war...  Also funny and dog friendly...

Tricky Business  by Dave Barry  Trying to get a heist novel to be both funny and tense is a tricky business.   Donald Westlake was a master.  Carl Hiaasen is also good, and likely to be Dave's inspiration...  Unfortunately this one comes across as fairly tawdry and sophomoric.

Tishomingo Blues by Elmore Leonard.   When Leonard got the series Justified, he finally got the treatment he wanted for his writing.  It was easy to see tidbits of this one worked into the Justified canon...

The Glass Key by Dashell Hammett.  I've read this one a few times--one of the harder ones to read since the protagonist is a gritty political fixer, and gets some brutal treatment as well...   A great classic by one of my favorite mystery writers...

Who let the Dog Out by David Rosenfelt.  There are mystery novelists for every hobby and city, this one caught me due to the dog theme.  Add to that the author is home to 15 golden retriever rescue dogs and I am caught in his web of dogginess...


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