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Brad's Blog

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June 1  
    The weather is up to the 80's, one of our family swam today (not me), after a hike we made up Brickle Creek, the main tributary of Spirit Lake.  We started late (after 4 pm) which dampened our enthusiasm to cross the deep cold stream to reach the falls, but the wildflowers were fine throughout the hike, including many yellow violets, trillium, calypso and mountain ladyslipper orchids.

This was a new one--white violet, Viola Canadensis, growing along the stream bank.

There were lots of calypsos, but this one was in the sun...


This bunchberry (dogwood family) was the first I'd seen in years...

Back at the lake, this snail was found, a surprise in that we'd never noticed snails in the lake before.  Not sure if it's an invasive or not...

June 3
    We went swimming for the first time yesterday, and it was cold, like the bigger lakes are all summer, but tolerable, and would have gone swimming again today but a mostly dry thunderstorm came through in the afternoon with lower temps following.
    The garden is now all planted except a second planting of   green beans I hope to make, and I spent part of the morning thinning apples.  I'm trying a new organic spray (called Spinosad) for both apples and cherries, and would have applied a second spraying today but for the wet forecast...  If it works we'll have a large crop of cherries.  The apple trees are mostly in an off year, although we'll have plenty anyway.  We had a 3 foot diameter patch of volunteer spinach which we harvested today when planting potatoes, and it filled 3 plastic grocery bags.  We've been eating lots of salads and creamed spinach, and quiche is likely to follow, although the chickens have not been most productive (two of them are broody, steadily sitting on empty nests).

June 4
I saw an ad on Craigslist last night and now we have a 3 year old Golden Retriever:

He's great looking, amiable, pulls a bit on lead but knows a couple worthwhile commands.  He's with me constantly and it's a bit stressful but fun.  I haven't heard him bark yet, but I expect he'll figure out his territory and assert it sometime.   The cats are uneasy, but he's ignoring them.  The family we got him from also gave us a dozen fertilized eggs so our two broody hens will have something to set about...

June 9
I've been very busy walking Butters, the new dog.  His name was Butterball, which probably described him better as a pup...

Here he is in action, running along the old railroad grade above the Mill Pond.
Yesterday we got a ride up Priest Lake on a pontoon boat as part of sprinkling ashes of a church acquaintance.  So here is a photo of the lake:

The island is West Twin Island, the mountains are probably called the Selkirk range, and may be partly in Canada.

June 12


This is the time of year when our garden usually looks best.  The columbines are in fine form (as well as some of the peonies), but a lot of the flowers were dug up in fighting the weeds this year, so it's pleasant rather than stunning...
The dog Butters enjoys frequent walks on the beach, swimming, and staying close to me.  He is very good at obeying commands like come, sit, stay, and shake (generally offers his paw whether you ask him to or not).  I walked with him around the Mill Pond yesterday. We flushed a turkey that flew up into a tree.

June 14
In the week and a half I've had Butters, I've lost 3 pounds from the frequent walks.  This was one of my arguments for getting a dog.
Today, however, I left him at home with a clay workshop for our Cagni group.  I was one of two presenters, on the topic of plates, and I enjoyed learning about hump and slump molds (which I've never used), and as usual impressed them all with my speed of throwing, if not with useful information which they could use at home.  It's still a small group, totalling 11 at today's event.  A new local clay instructor from North Idaho College attended, and we plan to tap him for the next workshop.

June 15th
I spent a share of Father's Day shoveling manure at the church in the rain.  If we hadn't had church I might have watched the lawnmower races in front of the pottery,  but it's a toss up for entertainment value...
Last week I neglected to mention a small project of changing a sliding door into a door that pulls open like a regular door.  It had gotten stickier over the years, and the truth is that a regular door is effortless compared to opening a sliding door.  So I added some strips of wood and a magnet from a computer hard drive to keep it shut, and it's mostly done except a bit of weather stripping before winter.

June 17th
It was getting seriously dry  here, but we've had a lovely all day rain, probably yielding an inch or more, which puts pressure off of garden watering for a few days.   The recent wetter weather slowed down pottery drying to the point that I had a half dozen pots blow apart in the latest bisque fire, in spite of holding it for 3 hours at 200 degrees to try to get them dried out.  I have to learn more patience in drying...

June 21
The weather is back to warm, after the 1.25 inches of rain a couple days ago.  I've been thinning the carrots and corn in the mornings, which have far fewer mosquitoes than the evenings.  Sales have heated up with the weather.
Today Jonathan and I played music for a couple hours at a nice home garden as part of the Spokane Garden Club tour.   No one listens carefully, but everyone is nice, so a splendid time is guaranteed for all.
Butters remains a great dog.  I got him neutered this week, and he rebounded like it never happened,  I'm teaching him a couple new commands.  "Free" means he's free to romp, having removed his leash.  He's a great romper.  "Turn" lets him know he's taking the wrong track when he's loose, and he seems to pick up on my arm signs as to which way to go.
The lake is still pretty cold, but the weather in the nearly 80's beckons us in, and after a hundred yards or so circulation seems to resume in  the extremities.

June 24
We're getting strawberries and one cucumber from the garden.  This year we underplanted spinach--a couple short rows are just starting to grow.  Everything else is looking great.
Acting as a responsible pet owner, I got Butters neutered last week.  He seemed to be fine, and enjoyed running and swimming, but over the weekend it became clear there were problems "back there." So now he's got antibiotics and a week of the "cone of shame."  He puts up with the cone with a lot more tolerance than I would.

News flash--the fertile eggs we were given with Butters the dog have hatched--now we've got to figure out how to keep the chicks safe from Butters and the cats..

June 27
I did music for the Perry Street Farmer's market yesterday.  It was raining as I set up, and drizzled for an hour or so.  My bassist buddy didn't appear--I'd forgotten to check in with him on the day of the event, and by the time I figured out he wasn't coming, I decided not to call him and jerk him around last minute...  So it sounds like a nightmare scenario, but it all worked out fine. The first time I checked the time it was 2 hours and 45 minutes into the 3 hour gig.  I got a lot of positive comments and tips.  The market has doubled in size from last year, and it seems like that's breathed new life into it...  I'm looking forward to my other scheduled gig there later this summer...
    We got half an inch of rain from the showers, which has postponed my organic spraying for a couple days...
We got our tool shed converted to chicken coop ready for the 3 new chicks, the 6 old hens, and the two pullets who will have to coexist on the other side of a fence until everyone recognizes everyone else as one of the flock.  Good fences make good neighbors, and this one was designed to keep the small chicks inside, in case boisterous Butters is feeling his oats, which he generally is...

Books read and other media of note:
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.  A fun prequel to Peter Pan, with a bit too much passing around the McGuffin  from evil hand to hand, but giving an interesting twist to the familiar tale.

Young Adults by Daniel Pinkwater
He manages to capture the uncomfortable truth of young adulthood--alienation, affected coolness, cliques, with humor...

13 at Dinner by Agatha Christie
  the master of red herring sets out in the first paragraph to say that a chance phrase spoken by a stranger turned the whole case, leaving the reader watching those chance phrases, and following a brilliantly challenging murder case.

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