Brad's Blog
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March 4
It took a few days but March is coming in like a lion, gusting all night and melting away at the few piles of snow remaining...  I stopped at the Gateway Park at Stateline Idaho today and saw lots of buttercups blooming.  That would be the earliest I've seen them in the area...
 

March 11
While Coronavirus doom looms around the planet, we took a road trip to Iowa to greet our first granddaughter.  I can't post photos of the baby, but as usual I enjoyed photos from the trip:



This is early morning in Big Timber Montana with the Crazy Mountains in the background.   There's little big timber around Big Timber, and the sports team, headed to State finals, is the Herders.  So go figure...


Our trip through the Badlands yielded these male bighorn sheep.


Also these mule deer.



Whitetailed deer at Scott County Park near Davenport Iowa.


After they saw us, they gamboled off, this one just landing a prancing jump...

March 12
 A walk on the ridge today confirmed spring is on the way, with both buttercups and grass widows blooming...   This would be 3 weeks earlier than last year, and the lake is nearly ice free, as opposed to still mostly frozen April 1st last year...  For variety  there's 8 degree lows and snow predicted this weekend...

March 18
    We were combining a fun trip to Farragut Park with shopping at a large grocery for some things our smaller local store is out of (guess why) and dropping off some garbage at the dumpsters.  Leaving the dumpsters, I saw a sign for "preparation workshops online" that reminded me that for a couple years Idaho has been a destination for Christian end-of-timers who see this area as a "redoubt" or place to hold out against the coming end times.  Similar groups arose during the Y2K furor.  Since plague is one of the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse, I have no doubt this outbreak is feeding their fears.  After a nice walk at Farragut, we arrived to the grocery, to have a woman shopper tell us as we got out of the car "they're out of everything."  My list was modest: cheese, milk, canned catfood (our oldest cat only eats the canned) and flour.  The store was not "out of everything."   There were empty shelves including dog food, some canned goods, and limits placed on milk (hard to hoard milk, but...) potatoes (only a few 5 lb bags left), but 95 % of the store was there, including lots of fresh meat and fish, vegetables, etc.   We asked about flour and a young man said they were out, since everyone is baking bread. I wasn't shopping for bread, since we usually do bake our own, but did buy some hamburger buns without difficulty.   We usually buy flour in 50 pound bags, since I make 6 loaves at a time, and give them away to members of our church or people we're assisting, but that shop is in Spokane, and probably out of flour currently as well. I expect the supply lines will soon catch up with the perceived needs of the "preppers" or "hoarders" who are making life difficult for each other...
    Long time readers of my blog are aware that we do grow a lot of our own fruits and vegetables, not for fear of end times but from the positive benefits to taste, and health from "sawing your own wood to warm you twice."  We also like to heat with wood, which is a particular benefit if the power goes out, but that is an infrequent occurrence.
    I've continued to blog far past the time blogs were popular (replaced by Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the most part) because it works both as my own journal and photo collection, and I can print it out monthly to send to my mother who is in assisted living in Minnesota. After visiting our first grandchild a couple weeks ago, we were able to visit my mother briefly before they shut down her facility for the patients' safety, essentially incarcerating them in nearly solitary confinement.  While I understand their efforts from a rational level, I am sorry for the residents who struggle to understand the situation.  Of course we are all in the same boat...
    We are hopefully learning to do social distancing before the virus is actually among us.  Our church is nearly all highly at risk in age group, so we have shut it down.   We may do Easter outside somewhere...   All my planned musical appearances, along with the institutions and outdoor events they were scheduled at, are shut down...  Our pottery has been set up for self service for years, so we remain open, and until a few days ago were actually seeing quite good sales for the time of year.   But it is obvious the world has changed, and pottery may well be an unnecessary peripheral for many.
    Of course this is depressing.  But I'm beginning to work through that.  Our local Chamber of Commerce may not be able to do much, but we've set up a Google calendar and I can put local businesses openings, closings, and amended hours on it as a community service. Today I will put up a sign about and upcoming blood donation on our chamber sign, important because people are shying away from giving blood at this time...
   
March 23
Spring rolls along just as the virus counts go up as well.  It's good to have uncrowded woodland to walk about, rather than staying in the house all the time.  Also there's a lot of garden clean up, and the spinach in the green house planted last fall is ready to eat...

March 25 Had to shut down the shop today for at least 21 days.  Hopefully for the best.  Usually a slow time of year for us anyway, although we were having an eerie boom, given the stock market plummeting and virus counts rising...

March 26
We had a good bit of weather last week, yielding these two spring photos:


If you don't have these eagles around your neighborhood (and they are becoming pretty common) I'm sorry for you...
https://apps.idahovotes.gov/AbsenteeBallotRequest/
It's hard to get a great photo of the humble buttercup, but I like this setting...

March 28
There have been lots of waterfowl on the Mill Pond lately:

Male  common goldeneye


male common merganser


female common goldeneye


Same female goldeneye taking off...

March 31
March came in like a lion, and left like a snowy white lamb, with over an inch of snow...  It covered up the spring beauties and other two flowers mentioned earlier...


The Big Kahuna by Janet and Peter Evanovich.   Another fine Fox and O'Hare mess, with a bit of travelogue thrown in, probably on their expense accounts for writing the book...

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.  Thinking this was a X-men/Harry Potter type of fantasy, until the realistic fantasy photos showed up--50 of them.  It turns out (spoiler alert) the author did what I'd done 20 years ago--taken a bunch of disparate photos (weird disturbing photos culled by collectors from early B&W photography) and made a compelling story.  Well, he made a compelling story--I made the Hat War

The Bitterroots by CJ Box. Having just driven through Montana, and stopped at Big Timber, the opening set in that locale drew me in to the thriller mystery.  It didn't help get me to sleep...  That series was too disturbing for my sensibilities--I quit the first one, and only started this one not realizing it was in the series about a ultra serious version of Stephanie Plum... (This one even had a car fire or two).

Highfire by Eoin Colfer.   As a fan of his juvenile fiction, I was initially put off by his PG13 for language and violence new take on a dragon fantasy.   The new take involves a dragon living in a Louisiana swamp drinking and watching satellite TV with a cast of dysfunctional people that are hard to warm to.  But I stuck it out and it was a pretty good ride by the end...


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