Brad's Blog
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March 1
I just checked the 7 day forecast and while we're not expecting much snow in the week ahead (after record snowfalls for February) we are predicted to have lows below zero which it mostly hasn't done so far.  I was looking forward to milder conditions suitable for pruning our fruit trees this month...
Sales in February at the pottery were slow from some reason:


It's a good thing we could get away to church on Sundays:


March 6
Last weekend I helped with sound and made videos of the Showcase as is my habit.   The first group, at this link, had a very creative version of the old gospel song, Working on a Building...

We roamed the steep cliffs along the Mill Pond and saw some awesome huge natural icicles.  (Even the icicles from last month were on road cut-throughs that create an unnatural environment). 


These are about 10 feet tall--there's an overhang that one can stand behind like a frozen waterfall...



This is the view from behind, with Butters to illustrate the relative size...



Icicles coming off mossy slopes have a yellowish cast to them...

March 9

A few nights ago I took this photo of the Baptist Church parking lot next to the pottery...  I like the way their LED streetlights illuminate the falling snow.  I used my phone camera, and I think it also used flash, resulting in the bold gray streaks nearby...


Last night this was the view at sunset on the lake with the cumulus clouds bunched up on the far ridge...  10 deer had just crossed the lake, but they would have been mostly invisible with my phone camera...

Today I began pruning since the temperature reached 35--not important for the fruit trees but important for my hands...  With two feet of snow on the ground I set down two 3X4 feet pieces of plywood and stepped on one and moved the other to work around the tree.  There are a few tall branches I couldn't reach without a ladder, and a few branches still stuck in the snow, but it's a good headstart...

March 11
More icicle cliff photos:

The rainbow colors were quite visible and I was happy to catch some in this photo...

This one is probably 30-40 feet tall.


March 14
Last evening while waiting for a pork loin to get done, we walked down to the Mill Pond and saw a couple deer emerge from below the icicles.  Then we saw a white swan or goose at the tiny water opening at the bridge.  This morning we walked down again, this time with my good camera and long lense in case it was still there... 


It was...



When we went down on the ice to head for the ice cave it flew, but only circled around and landed back on the ice...
This was a rare opportunity to get close to a single swan.   They migrate through here regularly, and hang out in large numbers on Kalispell Lake, but it's private and best viewed with binoculars...
The weather is headed toward seasonal 50's next week, so we're visiting the icicles while they last:



March 16
The swan is still inexplicably staying around. With the bright sun today I was able to get a slightly better photo...


March 19-27
We seldom take real vacations, but decided it was time when some church friends invited us to visit in ocean suburbs of Los Angeles..  So:


Near the Columbia Gorge we stopped to see a huge influx of snow geese.

At our first stop along the Oregon coast we saw this oyster catcher.


Although we've been there many times before, one of our favorite stops is Cape Perpetua, with the Devil's Churn.  The surf was fairly high but had been lower for a while before the photographer on the right positioned himself for that shot.   Immediately after this photo he was drenched by the spray...


The tide was high when we were at the beach with its many inlets that yield tide pools, but you can see the emerald sea anemones and purple sea urchines as well as the mussels and barnacles above the water...


While wandering around the visitor center, we took a slightly wrong path that led to the camping area.  It was delightfully empty so we decided to spend the night there, allowing us to drive up to the stone lookout shelter, built when it was a CCC camp in the 1930's, for the view and the sunset...  We discovered whale watching there, which is mostly a sport on land for telephoto lenses and binoculars, which we had.  These are gray whale spouts on their way north from Baja California to Alaska...



This was the view towards the south of Cape Perpetua and US 101 South...  The lookout was 800' in elevation...


After following the coast to California, we decided to visit the "lost coast," accessed through the victorian town of Ferndale...  The road is narrow, curvy, and full of potholes, but a lot of beautiful views were there for the taking.



The coast is largely undeveloped, with cattle grazing down to the sea, like scenes I've seen from Ireland...


Our deer have white tails--these have black...



The road along the lost coast empties into the major Redwood National Forrest  corridor.   This is a fallen redwood, home to lots of ferns, as are the living trees.  They were
beautiful trees, reminding me of the old growth trees gone from our area...

We followed Califoria 1 to Big Sur, where we saw a lot of delights, like this sea otter in the frothy surf...



Oregon and California are full of great rocky headlands....


McWay Falls, into the sea!



We felt lucky to see some condors at the recommended pullout, far below us perching.  Then at another pullout we saw one cruise right by us...  I grew up following the plight of these endangered carrion eaters...



It's amazing how predictable condors and elephant seals are.  At this stage elephant seals are weaned and hanging around to gain skills to survive at sea. 


The youngsters play in the surf...


Our first friends (the husband, at least) is devoted to calf roping.  He took us to the equestrian center where his mare was due for a colt, and we watched a bit of roping practice.  (The one one the left is the USC offensive football coordinator)..   The colt was born two mornings after we left...


Then we visited Naples, California, which has a canal, and all the houses are varied in architecture with varieties of succulents and tropical plants making a walk in the neighborhood more varied than most arboretums...





A surf scoter in the canal...

After a week of travel, we headed back through the Mojave Desert, via US 95.  The Joshua trees were blooming:





Nevada seemed less desolate than we recalled, helped by the snow atop many of the mountains...  This was the view at a roadside lake that featured $2 campsites for senior citizens...


.As we crossed a bit of eastern Oregon these lovely basalt columns were on our way down to the Idaho border...


We drove by our old home area near Craigmont Idaho when the sun was setting.  We had skirted a severe thunder and windstorm for a hundred miles or so, and the clouds were still pretty stirred up for the brief but beautiful sunset...

March 31
We walked around the Millpond today, still up to 30 inches of snow in one place...  The ice cascades were nearly gone.  Among the goldeneyes and mallards on the growing hole in the ice was a new bird for us
 
Blurry photo, but American Widgeon...


books read
Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosley  Another intriguing premise in detective fiction from a master...

Space Team by Barry J Hutchison  Humorous Sci Fi which would appeal to fans of Guardians of the Galaxy (and I'm one)

Whiskey When We're Dry by John Larison.   Reminded me of Steinbeck if he wrote on the Wild West...

The Stick Game by Peter Bowen.   A tough read, focusing on mining pollution issues on reservations in Montana as a backdrop for the usually more light hearted storytelling...
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