Brad's Blog
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June 6
Amid the tempest of this extraordinary time, I follow events and cheer on sane comments with social affirmation, and affirm as well my son who is willing to stand on the streets of Coeur D'Alene to passively promote justice.
But mostly I continue to live my life and find solace in nature.  Even that has its compromises.

First a bit of frippery.  My camera has a touch screen, which, when touched snaps photos, and this is one.  I do not know what it is
except art...


We went up to see Birch Creek, lovely with little tumbling waters like this one.  But the mosquitos seemed to have been imported from Minnesota, largely owing to a huge nearby swamp, so it turned into a forced march uphill to escape from them..

In the shadowed valley the queens cup is blooming.  We discovered this valley is tagged for logging, currently on hold, but likely to damage the ecosystem for the next hundred years as it will not be shaded and likely lead to the creek drying up early in spring...


Once we were up safely (from mosquitos) on the open ridge, this was the view,of the swamp at lower right, and the heart shaped clearcut which has become a landmark, now conjoined with a larger clear-cut, (which we were told on a woods tour by the paper company that owns the land) is not a clear-cut because they leave a couple trees on every acre.  You can guess which industry defined the term clear-cut...



Along the lake road, in the ditches only, are mountain lady's slippers blooming currently.  There were none up the moist creek valley.  The road ditches have been assaulted by road improvements and water line ditch digging.  Still they persist.

June 8
It is both time to survey bumblebees for my citizen science volunteer opportunity, and rhododendron blossoming time.  So:

It doesn't work if you're afraid of bees.  Almost all the bees I surveyed had a spot on their thorax like this one.  I guessed Bombus Nevadiensus.

June 16
I recorded a couple of early Dylan tunes, one without words:
Just like Tom Thumb's Blues
Just like a Woman.

Today I got photos of both a male blackheaded grosbeak at our feeder, and a female on the nest:




And here are our local wild roses, generally pale pink and single petals deep...


June 18

Black headed grosbeak  (Here's looking at you, kid)

June 25
Here's my latest column for the bluegrass association newsletter.
 I've lived in Idaho mostly since 1982, but after a 9 year stint in the Camas Prairie in the 1990's, came back to live full-time in Spirit Lake in 2000.  I had started attending a monthly jam in Grangeville while living in central Idaho, and longed for more musical camaraderie back in the Inland Northwest.  I found that home in the INBMA, attending jams from near Cheney to all parts of Spokane, and attending the Thang/Showcase regularly.  That, plus the Fall Folk Festival and Blue Waters and Mark Harding festivals have been the highlights of my year.  I started taking photos of the Fall Folk Festival in 2003, and added them to my rapidly growing webpage.  It took till 2005 to add in  Bluewaters and Newport photos    and photos from the Thang.   I'm including the links to all of them in case you feel nostalgic to see what some of us  looked like 15 years ago until now...   Like the Joan Baez song says, memories bring diamonds and rust. 
    Some great musicians have come and gone through those years...  A handful have gone on to professional careers.  Looking through the photos there are a lot of the same dedicated local musicians in new configurations who have worked to put on enjoyable bluegrass and oldtime entertainment in our community for many years. At its heart bluegrass is folk music, played in people's homes, with only a few dedicated fanatics taking it to the professional level.  Our bluegrass association is blessed by support of musicians and fans from a broad rural area as well as urban Spokane. 
    This is the most challenging time in our lives.  Live performance of any sort has become a potentially dangerous event, although the dangers are invisible and thus doubtable, and have become politicized.   Many of us are of the most vulnerable age, so we have to be cautious about exposure.  It's hard to motivate to practice music with no expectation of playing it for the public or with others who enjoy it. That doesn't mean it shouldn't happen.  You can play along with Youtube videos, or record some of your own...  We've been making videos to share with our church congregation, and I've been doing music for them, like this Carter family tune, Working on a Building.  I was fortunate to get to play a concert recently with Don Thomsen and Dave Lorang at the Coeur D'Alene library, and there are other outdoor concerts which have not been canceled for the summer.   Try to find a way to keep this music in your life this summer ...
   
June 30th
We drove around the north end of Priest Lake for a birthday camping celebration.  Thanks to my family for helping me to purchase my new camera, which immediately got great results on that trip.  It's a Panasonic FZ-80 with macro to 60X lens.  It is light and agile at focusing.  It's also cheap for the features.  Enough advertisement:

This is the Upper Priest River, flowing down from nearby Canada into the Priest Lakes.


We hiked up the river trail and turned around, then drove up to the end of the road to try to find the trail to American Falls.  We did find the place, but not the trail, and on the way back down noticed the white spot in the distance which could have been a snowfield. But the new camera proved it was:

American Falls!


In the evening when I saw a snowshoe hare about a block away, the camera brought it to life....


We found a pullout to camp along a valley with a great view of the local mountains.   The furthest one to the right had a bump on top which suggested it was a fire lookout..


This was probably 5 miles away...



This was a view of lower Priest Lake, heading south down the east side at about 35 mph (I wasn't driving).


By our church were puff balls in various stages.  These looked like dinosaur eggs that had hatched...


Back home in Spirit Lake, it was easy to get this photo of a crow early in the morning...

And this spotted towhee near our feeder. 

My new camera uses the same numbering system as my old Panasonic, so this also showed up with a similar number, an experiment with photoshop from days gone by...

Books read:
True Fiction by Lee Goldberg-- I could see where this one got its start--9/11 eerily inspired by thriller fiction, turned on its head.  Throw in a lot of conspiracy theories, including pandemic for world domination, and this was quite a good roller coaster...

28 and 1/2 wishes by Denise Grover Swank.  A romantic mystery, with supernatural elements, like the Plum Spooky Evanovich series, only less humor...
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