Brad's Blog
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Jan. 1
    We hiked a few miles in Farragut Park today, from the park headquarters to the Buttonhook Bay lookout, and there is a tiny spring-fed creek that has been depositing ice on the nearby twigs during the subfreezing weather, so here's the first new year's photo:




Jan. 3
We're having some of the wetter warmer weather predicted by the weather service due to the La Nina year.  Ordinarily the lake would be frozen over enough for snowmobiling, but most of it is open water with only the Mill Pond having a couple inches of wet ice...  Feels like March...

 Jan. 5
Here's some photos and videos from the latest bluegrass showcase (our turn next month) http://www.sondahl.com/events/INBMAJan2019.html

Jan. 10

This has been the winter without a winter--we were down to bare ground, then got a couple inches of snow followed by a coating of ice, now back to melting down with highs in the 40's.  They warned us this is typical La Nina for this area...  Not complaining since it's less slippery and easier to keep the places heated with wood...

Jan. 18
Still getting some sloppy snows.  While it was clear I set up the game cam my son got me several years ago in the back yard of our cabin.  It caught lots of pictures of Butters and me going up and down the hill to get to the pottery:


and lots of mama and baby deer photos:



This photo was shot in infrared which makes the eyes glow white so I darkened them for a bit less ghostly image...

Jan. 25
    Various things have happened this month that are difficult for me to put in context.  In the typical burn-out and rebirth cycle of small town institutions, I agreed this month to become the vice president of the Chamber of Commerce.  This week we held a board meeting and I got the by-laws which I've read through to discover there is no office of vice-president.  I guess I'm on the board, anyway...
    The local bluegrass organization has gone through a similar process but I resisted getting on their board, although my heart is with the well being of that group...  The trio I associate with will be performing next weekend...
    And finally (on the topic of change) we got a tour of the old Lutheran church in Spirit Lake which is being leased to the Historical Society for a museum, so that will require inputs of time and energy (and webpage work) to get started...
    Meanwhile we had a genuine 6 inch snowstorm earlier this week, so it feels more like winter, with days barely thawing:


You can see the streaks of snow in the photo.  It was early morning when this was taken so the light was insufficient to "freeze" the flakes instead of streaking them.The Baptist church next to the pottery put in some LED streetlights in their parking lot that make snow falls a delight to watch as each flake can be traced individually as it falls, or the pattern of flow from the breeze is made apparent...


Jan. 28
My son was asking me about the closeup lens he'd gotten me for my birthday, which I hadn't used much last summer.  So with a hoar-frosty morning I set up my tripod and took some frost photos, like this:


Sometimes the frost grows in long spikes (which I later saw in deer footprints on the lake) but this frost was more rounded for some reason...

I've also been learning/playing with a 20 year newer version of Paintshop Pro than I have been using, which my son Forrest also gave me since he prefers to use the open source GIMP photo editor.  So here's a photo of a sunset after I played with it:



and another special effects photo
from the original


Jan. 31
We're enjoying a warm up (above freezing) while the Midwest has a deep freeze (part of the delight I found in moving west)...  This was the view of our local ridge this morning:

The sky IS often that awesome, but I tweaked the photo in my new Photoshop to simulate an HDR  photo, which brought out the trees at the bottom as well as the sky...


books read
Peter and the Star Catchers by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry.  I passed these up for years, although liking a lot of Dave Barry, never being too big a fan of Peter Pan...  But this book makes a plausible if fantastic (in the fantasy sense) prequel to the Peter Pan story.

The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart
Set in a bleak unbalanced world with the local city run by a mysterious tyrant, an invisibility device leads to adventure for a poor young lad...

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. 
A graphic novel that provides a sensitive look at the world of the hearing impaired as well as a visual puzzle.

The Marvels by Brian Selznick  The story plays with the concept of what's real and what's fiction, with a surprising mixture in the end...

Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart. 
Not as hilarious as the blurb at the top of the cover suggests, still a heartwarming bit of historically based fiction of a female family fending off a dastardly mill owner...

Dear Mrs. Bird
by AJ Pearce.  A lovely first novel set in the bombing of London WWII, both humorous and touching, with a taste of the film screwball comedy to offset the heavier moments...
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