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March 2, 2016
February ended with the last ice disappearing from Spirit Lake, and March began a bit like a lion with an inch of rain and strong winds, chilling enough overnight to coat the trees with some fresh snow, which is almost the last snow in sight...   The lake is up to full pool, and probably spilling over the two foot dam at the outlet.  One of the interesting things about Spirit Lake is that the outlet is over gravel and the water that comes out of the lake for a couple months in the Spring disappears with a mile or two into the aquifer.
I've made a new pottery ad called The Meaning of Life.  It's not really a pottery ad, more a conceptual art piece.  It took about 10 minutes to write the ad, an hour to film it, and an hour or more to edit it with Windows Movie Maker, which likes to crash regularly on my laptop.

March 3
Two new ads:  The Evil Twin and
a rocket scientist buys Sondahl Pottery.   And here are the bloopers
Lately with the early departure of the snow pack I've seen two animals that might have been overlooked, both in white fur..  Snowshoe hares are fairly common here, but stand out now...   Then just a few minutes ago I saw a least weasel run across the railroad grade in front of me.  It was all white except a black tail tip, and so small it had to be the "least."  Does make me wonder what triggers the color change, and whether species like these are imperiled by global warming... 

March 5
We got 1/3 inch of rain today, and I spotted the first buttercups in our back yard.  The chickens are scrabbling for worms.  Looks a lot like Spring...

March 8
The first Spring Beauty flowers are open on our west facing hill today.  We got another 0.8 inch of rain over the weekend, with more expected tomorrow...  The last piles of snow are still draining away slowly, with night time lows below freezing...


March 11
After unloading a ton of clay, we went for a bike/walk on the new Empire Trails, the first time we've ridden the whole 5+ miles...  There's a lot of uphill that we push our bikes, and gave Butters a chance to catch his breath...  The first grass widows were blooming at Vista Point



The small creeks were full of freshets...



We're just back from a vacation to the Washington coast.  Usually we think Oregon coast with its sea stack rocks and tide pools, but the area along the outer Olympic peninsula was unknown to us and thus appealing...  We planned our trip by the forecast for sunny skies, but had to leave a day early for scheduling purposes so we drove across recently snowy passes and through frequent showers to reach the sea at Westport WA.   The sea was still high from a windstorm that swept the area the previous few days...


The Twin Harbor State Park we planned to stay at was closed from flooding (and related sewer) issues.  We had to drive through 4-6 inches of water to reach the beach there, but it was worth it.  The beach was strewn with sand dollars, which we couldn't resist collecting by the shopping bag full (got over 200).  We may refinish a shower with them...  I was curious enough to see if they have any value beyond sentimental and found that they do sell on Ebay for around $1 a piece, mostly as wedding decorations/favors...
So we went to Graylands State Park, a few miles south of Westport.


I saw these working the pools in the sand the morning after our arrival.  Graylands seemed to have a lot of pools between the camping area and the actual sea, but that may have been a byproduct of the biblical inundations they'd experienced there recently...


This was our campsite, with the picnic table partially in a pool that wouldn't normally exist there...

We went back to Westport, hoping to take a whale tour, but they'd been canceled due to choppy seas... In the harbor were seals, otters, and lots of sea birds which were foreign to us and hard to identify... This is probably a rednecked grebe in winter plumage.

This is also a grebe but the reflected color of the boats made it an artistic shot...


Pigeon guillemot


The seals are aptly ensconced by  their would-be annihilator (if not federally protected--fisherman feel in competition with them for salmon).  I read that the nearby port at the mouth of the Columbia is trying those annoying dancing tube  stick figure fan blown plastic ad deals to use as scarecrows to keep them from taking over the wharves...


We went back to get more sand dollars before leaving the area, and I got several artsy photos making the flooded picnic area look like a Japanese garden.  The picnic table belies it a bit...


We decided to explore US 101 up the outer edge of the Olympic peninsula, and stopped at Ruby Beach, which has as pretty sea stacks as are found in Oregon....


As dusk set in we took a less traveled road toward Port Angeles, and discovered this unmarked Beaver Creek Falls as darkness approached.  After experiencing frost while camping, and sleeping in all our clothes to stay warm, for some reason we opted to stay in a motel in Port Angeles the second evening...


We had a short visit to Dungeness Spit, the longest sandspit in the world and a wildlife refuge...  I think this is a loon.


I'm sure this one is...


At the end of the 5 mile spit is this lighthouse, probably about 3 miles away as the crow flies, and on the beautiful blue sky day we could see Mt. Baker looming behind it 76 miles away...
After that we visited our goddaughter giving a slide show as part of Harbor Wildwatch, and enjoyed walks and food with two sets of relatives in the Tacoma area, then drove home arriving at 3 am, making one glad to be on vacation, and glad  to be home.

March 29
Butters and I had to go no further than Spirit Lake for some beauty today:

We also found a small shed antler at the same time (I picked it up first, though so he can have his old one, that he's chewing on now)...  The spring beauties, grass widows, and buttercups are all in full bloom...


Books read and other media of note
Dodger by Terry Prachett  Worth rereading, three years after I read it initially.  Adventures of a tosher in London in what is called historical fantasy, clearly derivative of Joan Aiken, that excelled in both stories about a tosher and historical fantasy...

Dead Center by David Rosenfelt.  He has a tendency to name books slightly misleadingly.  From the protagonist's love of sports, one would guess it was a basketball murder, but it was actually related to Wisconsin, which is sort of dead center in the US, although Belle Fourche SD claims that title...

The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett.  A lovely coda to a literary life based on a joke from the sixties about the world being held up by four elephants standing on a great turtle.  When asked what was under the turtles, the answer was "It's turtles all the way down..."  I guess you'd have to be there...

Sudden Death by David Rosenfelt.  A football player accused of murder makes this title appropriate...  A fine mix of fun and mayhem...

The Promise by Robert Crais .  Crais started as an imitator of Robert Parker's tough PI, but he's gone on to weave tougher suspense detective plots than Parker settled for. 

First Degree by David Rosenfelt.  Another tightly plotted mystery, with a Carpenter instead of Perry Mason...

The Hollow by Agatha Christie.  Similar to A Little Night Music, a weekend in the country turns tragic...

Rumo by Walter Moers.  This is a rereading of the quest fantasy by Walter Moers, who is compared with Douglas Adams and the Harry Potter series on the cover but really is the super deluxe expanded edition of The Princess Bride...



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