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May 2, 2013
calypso orchid
I went looking for this calypso orchid, one of which I'd seen in bud a few days ago.  I almost didn't see it--they're only about 3 inches high...  It was a delightful day for a ramble--60 degrees and sunny...  I saw turtles, a bald eagle, and red necked grebes.  There were also yellow violets (a blurry one is in the background, Richardson's geraniums, and lots of shooting stars, but the grass widows are limited to the northern side of the ridge...  The camas is getting ready to bloom but I didn't see any open...

May 5
    After church we stopped at the Priest Lake Visitor Center, having seen in a booklet on Priest Lake hikes there were a couple hikes originating there...  They start right behind the kiosks, but there's no mention of the trails on the kiosk.  Anyway, our chosen hike was to Kaniksu Marsh.   I joked that this was the marsh they named the local national forest after, then later learned on the kiosk (for the umpteenth time) that Kaniksu was the native word for black coats--the Jesuit missionaries...  There was a 2.5 mile loop hike to the marsh, which is what we intended when starting, but it was a nice warm day, and when we got to the end of the marsh, we decided to bushwack around it and go back the way we'd come.  The marsh was probably a half mile wide by a mile long, so it added a couple miles to our hike...
This is Kaniksu marsh, looking south from the north end.

A redtailed hawk soon appeared, frequently calling, and once flying down onto the marsh briefly...
leech
We saw this leech (roughly backwards S shaped in the middle of the photo, on top of some appendage like leaves) which was about 4 inches long, come sidling up as we felt the water...  Fortunately it didn't attach...


I think these were ring-necked ducks...


When we got to the south end, we saw a muskrat in this waterway (not in this photo) which separated a peat moss and grassy left side from more caney right side.  Since we had first seen the marsh from the far side of this, we walked barefoot across the left side.  The water channels were sometimes only 2 feet across but 3 feet deep...
We had the whole walk to ourselves, and there weren't even any jet trails in the blue sky.  It felt like wilderness, but was only a half mile from Highway 57, so we'd hear the occasional car pass by...  The hike took around 3 hours.  A tornado-like windstorm had knocked over a lot of trees in one section of the marsh a year or two ago, so the going was fairly rugged...

May 6
California quail
We got our manure delivered yesterday, and I spread a lot of it today, but not before this quail perched on top of it, with the raspberry canes behind...

May 8










This is when it briefly landed on the water...
These are the images I caught of a roughly pigeon sized bird that flew around in circles over the lake today and landed a couple times on the water.  I've included all the admittedly poor images hoping someone can identify the species...
My daughter-in-law suggested it might be a pigeon guillemot, which is a seabird common on the Pacific Coast, but several hundred miles out of its typical environment.

May 12
    When I was growing up we had a print of Harvey Dunn's "The Prairie is my Garden."  (Harvey Dunn may be the most famous South Dakota painter, which is why you probably haven't heard of him...  (This link to an image of the painting)   Growing up in Brookings, S.D.  I didn't see any prairie--the town was surrounded by cornfields...  When I moved to Ames High School, a wise biology teacher got a patch of ground behind the high school designated as virgin prairie, mostly home to a couple of native grasses called big and little bluestem...
    I mention this because the lovely wildflowers I love to photograph every Spring are not ubiquitous to our area, more consigned to the rocky fringes...  I'm going to the dentist tomorrow, whose office used to have bird feeders for pheasants and quail, till the neighboring prairie land was turned into a Walmart.  The whole area between Spirit Lake and Coeur D'Alene is called the Rathdrum Prairie, but the prairie is all but disappeared--the flat land is perfect for housing developments and malls.   So I stopped to take a picture of a bit of prairie between Rathdrum and Post Falls to show what it probably used to look like:
Rathdrum prairie
This stretches over several acres--the pinkish flowers are phlox, and the yellow ones balsam root.  There's a rock leftover from the glacial period covered with lichens, and a few bushes...  It's probable that fire periodically cleared the prairie of brush...  Although it's dandelion season, there are none in this field.  Nearby fields have no flowers at all, most likely the result of spraying...  A field nearby like this is for sale, commercial...


Here's a nice shot of  an apple tree in our yard...
I got about half of the garden planted in advance of rain predicted for tomorrow, then went around spreading some spare flower seeds along the road where only invasives are growing...

May 14

    I went for a walk along the north side of the ridge, where the flowers are still doing nicely.  
Heartleaf arnica
This was as nice a display of heartleaf arnica as I've seen...

pussy toes flower
Pussy toes flower


Larkspur
camas flower
The camus flower was at its height on the shady side of the ridge...

May 16
I added 3 new videos today, including two originals:
Love Lingers On
Brown Eyed Women and Red Grenadine (Grateful Dead)
The amateur detective
Yesterday I went for a ride to another section of the ridge, where I thought I might see some different wildflowers.  It was slightly disappointing--moreso when I returned to my bike at the bottom and found I had a flat tire...  I was around a mile from home, so I pushed it and repaired the flat last evening...

May 20
Saturday I ran sound and took photos at the last Bluegrass Showcase of the year--pictures at this link
http://www.sondahl.com/events/INBAMay2013.html...
Sunday after church we worked on the garden with church people through out the afternoon.  In spite of adding several pickup loads of manure, it still mostly looks like sand.  Our garden spaces in Spirit Lake started looking like gravel, but after many years of manure now are fine black soil.
We had a brief shower at dusk last night, resulting in fog early this morning, and the light was just right for these photos:

This is our back yard, with an old kiln section as our fire pit, and the trusty two wheeled cart I built at left...


The dew highlighted the rose leaves and accentuated any spider webs.   The tripod at left is for our trumpet vine...

I had to line up with the tree trunk to keep the sun from burning through everything, but this is just how it looked, full of sunstreaks in the fog...

May 25
The days have been packed lately.  Around four days ago I planted out the tomatoes, then dug them up when I learned it might freeze.  Two nights ago there was frost on the car in the morning, but a small tomato I missed was untouched.  Tonight a low is predicted of 35, so I covered up most of the tomatoes that I replanted yesterday...  Also the squash family is coming up in the garden.   All this shows that in our area it's safest to wait until Memorial Day to plant out freezable crops.
    Thursday I had the pottery group over for supper and glazing--a new member, and around 6-7 others--the studio was crowded but we got a lot of pots dipped and decorated, and I've fired most of them in two kilns since then...
    Today was a busy sales day, but a lot of it was self service since the woman whose 3 kids we've been doing a lot of support work with got a job here and started working today, which meant we baby sat the kids...  Well, mostly I went up to Priest Lake and played music for 3 hours at Autumn's Loft gallery with Jeff Renfro, but otherwise I did some kid tending...  The music went well, but it was cool enough that I kept the car heater on most of the way home...

May 28

Mount Spokane
On Sunday I drove up to Brickel Creek, where you can see Mt. Spokane with its ski trails in the background.  It's a conflicted area--heavily logged, but in recent years use by the public is restricted to those with passes (which we got one for this year).  As a result of the restriction, I only saw one other person up there in the 3 hours I spent there, on the very busy Memorial Day weekend.  I walked on the Brickel Creek walking trail, where a full sized moose and I startled each other (it was about 20 feet away when  it did a sort of moosey pirouette and disappeared quietly into the brush).  Later on the trail was obliterated by slash from a clear cut happening above.  I'd hoped to see some different flowers, but wild flowers aren't everywhere, as you can see from the photo...
Later on Sunday I put the bags on our cherries to prevent them getting eggs laid in them by the cherry fruit fly.  On Monday I planted the second date of sweet corn.  The first date was just poking up, along with carrots, green beans, and spinach..  We still need to plant more potatoes and dahlias and gladiolas, but it started sprinkling last evening and appears to be continuing to do so today...


Books read and other media of note
Raylan by Elmore Leonard  I've been watching the Justified series on Amazon Prime videos, and this book consists of several of the plots from season three, in a parallel universe (with changed names and subplots).  Elmore Leonard is a master of plots, and the Justified series has probably made him satisfied in ways that he never was with his other Hollywood novel adaptations...  I doubt if I were from Kentucky I'd like it, since it's pretty heavy on hillbilly stereotypes, but I'm not from Kentucky.

Robert B. Parker's Lullaby by Ace Atkins
Parker perfected a formula with Spenser and Hawk, such that after Parker's death Ace Atkins could simulate his style totally.   I enjoyed it, but I think there's probably enough Spenser novels in the canon already...

The Last Detective by Robert Crais  
Crais turns the kidnapping of a child into a terse action packed adventure...  Even though I figured out the plot denouement in advance, I wasn't disappointed...

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