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Brad's Blog

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June 3

A couple days ago I was riding down to the railroad grade and found myself being ground into the gravel. When I picked my bike up I found that the front fender had lodged in the front tire, making it stop instantly, probably due to a rock or stick catching it.   I got a large contusion and a few good scrapes, and I'm moving a little slower on and off a bicycle, but keeping going... 
The weather is headed towards hot in the west, with today breaking 80 and the next few days 90.  It's a challenge to keep our gardens watered at times like these.  But we've got fresh strawberries the earliest ever, along with spinach and lettuce..

June 17
We spent the last 10 days driving to Davenport Iowa  and Northfield Minnesota to visit family...  The drive itself is mostly enjoyable, particularly the western half.  While visiting my birding son we made more vacation like trips than visiting my aging mother in her assisted living community, so these photos reflect the different nature of the visits...


Here's an eastern wood peewee, which is like the western one we only recently identified...  We added about 10 species to our bird list...


We have hundreds of columbines in our yard, but I seldom see the classic wild one, which is generally red/pink, like this one along a path at Maquoketa Caves State Park in Iowa...
'
This is the view through an arch at one of the entrances to the largest (and lighted) cave.  Swallows swooped around this area, finding niches for nesting on the rock walls...


Further into the arch it looks more austere than the green world above...


The light was poor when we spotted this indigo bunting.  We even got to see it take a bath in a creek... We have lazuli buntings in Idaho, which I wouldn't have known without Susa and Forrest....


Here's a yellow crowned night heron....


Later we took a water taxi around the quad cities, visiting the John Deere pavilion and watching the pelicans seeming to be on their own viking ship passing the Isle of Capri, a permanently docked casino in Davenport...

 June 20
Although we just got back, a bike trip up Brickel Creek seemed the thing to do on the first day of summer.   Butterflies were everywhere, often in clusters:

As part of the great circle of life, these were often found on dried up coyote scat,....


This pretty orange and brown butterfly was hanging out on the pretty orange flower, actually a bit depressing since it's very invasive hawkweed...


The monarchs of the west, the yellow swallow tails, were all over our state flower, syringa, or wild mock orange...

June 28
It was cooler last week, and hot again this week, hastening the raspberries so that the first half cup could be picked today.  I expect the yield to rise exponentially in the next week.  The cherries are turning color but not sweet yet...  We're eating our garden peas every night for supper...  Watering is the biggest challenge, but before going to the midwest I bought two double hose programmable water controllers (which are unfortunately as complicated to program as their name suggests), which has reduced the need to constantly be moving a sprinkler hose.   I also bought a few more hoses, but need one more.  Earlier this summer I learned a lesson about that when I started finding water in the basement, and then realized we'd borrowed a hose from one of the timers which then dumped its 3 hour load right alongside the house).
    We're too busy for birding, but have spotted yellow warblers and black headed grosbeaks in our yard lately...\

June 30
   
This moth was in our pottery display this morning.   I thought it quite unique, until, after letting it fly away, I spotted another just like it about a yard away from where the first was.  I hope it's not an invasive species causing the local young fir trees to die....


 
Books read and other media of note
The Acts of King Arthur and his Noble Knights by John Steinbeck.  A modern language retelling which was never completed, enjoyable to read, understandable why he didn't finish it.  Clearly the Arthurian legends were one of  the forebearers of modern fantasy...

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick.   His only work set in 2016.  I tend to avoid bleak post WWIII apocalptic stories, but make exceptions for PKD.    He was always overly optimistic on technical progress but mentions corrective eye surgery which is now commonplace.  The plot made sense of the title, which in itself is an accomplishment...   I'd have to see Blade Runner again to see how widely varying the plot was.   Just read that the director never finished reading the novel...





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