index

Brad's Blog

  Click here to zoom down to today's entry (after clicking, you can bookmark this page and it should always take you to the current date).

  
May 2
We got two chicks given to us by the family that was staying with us, and the weather just recently got hot, so we couldn't house them in the greenhouse, where it gets 100 degrees on a sunny day... So this leads me to my latest chicken contraption:

Assembled from scrap pallet wood and chicken wire, it has two small wheels on the heavier end, and two handles on the other end, so it can be pushed to new locations as they devour the grass.  With the door open you can see the two nesting boxes above, and a platform for the food and water on the bottom, so that it can hopefully be transported without having to move the food and water separately...  It also has the enamel top of (what turned out to be) our current washer for shade and water shedding...
This was a redesign from a memorable failure a few years back:

This was too heavy and having four wheels it couldn't turn if it wanted to...

    We used to say "We've got 3 seasons in North Idaho, and temperate isn't one of them..."  It went from 27 degrees overnight and highs in the 50's, to highs in the upper 70's the last couple days.  That doesn't sound too bad, particularly if you're still recovering from the polar vortex in Minnesota, but a sunny day and upper 70's is too hot to work in the garden.  Speaking of which, the cherry trees are blossoming, the manure got delivered yesterday, plus a pickup load I got this morning.  All that coincided with my getting an intestinal bug that has zapped my vitality, so I'm mostly lying low...
 

May 6
  Still feeling a bit under the weather, although the weather has been nice today...  We went to the Mill Pond for the sunset the other night, and the pale night sky, reflected in the still water, which showed the vee shaped trail of a beaver heading over to our corner.  Part of the unfortunate fallout of the new park project was cutting out some shade trees along the edge of the road. including dumping the branches in the water.  That wasn't effective if you want to remove willows, since they will sprout from cut-off branches, but it was effective in drawing the beaver right over to us, and we could hear it nibbling the bark off some of the branches.   Beavers come and go on the Mill Pond--years ago they dug deep trenches in the mud to make a watercourse available to them all summer, but that was all removed when the bottom of the Mill Pond was sealed with fabric a few years back... 

May 8
I guess I'm back to normal, since we went on a 3 mile hike steadily uphill on the logging road M41 today, to look for calypso orchids (found 3).  There were thousands of other wildflowers in bloom--, wild strawberries, maiden mary blue-eyes, prairie stars, dwarf waterleaf:
dwarf waterleaf
balsamroot:


shooting stars, larkspur, yellow and blue violets, trillium, skunk cabbage, bluebells, Columbia Virgin's Bower, glacier lilies, 
and a juvenile snowshoe hare shot with my last photo before the battery ran out:


It was steady work pushing a bicycle up the gravel road, at least a thousand feet of elevation gain, but it was fun and easy to ride down in about 20 minutes at the end...

May 12
My Mother's Day observance included a pickup load of manure going onto the church garden, including lots of digging out grass.   The weather was very nice, and expected to get nicer through this week.
I'm still digging grass out of the paths in our garden.  When we put in the garden, aeons ago, we thought it would be nice to have grass paths, not knowing that the grass in question, quack grass, puts out dozens of runners underground in all directions, so we were were providing handy pathways for it to take over...

May 15

This is a female rednecked grebe on its nest.  A similar nest nearby had two eggs.  We canoed partway up the lake on this lovely warm morning  to see if we could see some wood ducks, but only saw grebes and geese and a turtle or two.
In Spring, an old man's thoughts turn to manure, repeatedly, probably in more ways than one.   But I got another pickup load of manure yesterday, and commented that I'd performed a literally Herculean task of emptying it at one go.  This is probably a better use of literal than most, since it WAS one of Hercule's tasks (except for the pickup-load part). This morning I spread that load and parts of several others, needing to get it all spread to get the garden planted, which could mostly have happened a week or two ago, given the current weather (nonfreezing and warm).  And now I should get back to do a little more gardening before dark...

May 18
We went up to the chain of lakes along the Coeur D'Alene River and bicycled about 15 miles today.  Much of the route was through swamp on an old railroad grade, so it was easy to get close to quite a few wildfowl.
white pelicans
The surprise were these white pelicans, which I hadn't known were in our area. They have the funny bumps on their beaks during mating season.

I think this is a male cinnamon teal


A male yellow headed blackbird

A pair of hooded mergansers
female redwinged blackbird
This female redwinged blackbird looked good on the native waterlilies.

May 22
Gardening hard and furious these days.  A patch of volunteer spinach is big and glorious, showing that I've way behind on planting the cold weather crops this year.  But now the manure is spread and peas, dahlias, gladiolas, corn, and broccolis are in, with more to go in later today.

May 23
Carrots, green beans, more peas, and various greens are now planted as well.  We're still eating a few carrots from last year--the ones that overwintered in the garden and weren't eaten by gophers or frozen...  I got another load of manure to take up to the church, and am trying to reclaim some acreage from the evil quack grass.  And the weather is very nice but could benefit from more rain...

May 24
My son and I went bicycling around Farragut State Park today-- the former Naval training base about 10 miles from Spirit Lake.  I thought there was a chance to see a few different flowers or birds, so I brought my camera, but the part of the park that had been the base retained little visible native flora beyond some patches of Rydberg's pentstemon and balsamroot. In a few places the asphalt roads that had ringed the many sections of the 30,000 population camp were deteriorating to gravel, and nearly all the buildings had been removed except for the Brig, which is now an interesting museum of the place's history.  
Driving around the town of Spirit Lake there are still lots of wild phlox blooming, and I hope to get up on the ridge before the camas flowers are through.  My daily focus remains on the garden, including planting, watering, and weeding.

May 26
I've been fixing things lately in my spare time. So much of our world is disposable, but a few things can still be fixed, like a garden hose timer that I took apart and removed the gunk so it would work again.   Then there's repurposing-- I take apart old computer hard drives for the great magnets inside.  I used one of them today for a screen door closer--the spring pulls it in and the strong magnet latches it tight, but a push opens it without having to turn a knob.  My toughest project is replacing the blades on a very old Vornado fan--I was cooling the chicks in the green house and it fell over, breaking the plastic fan inside the green enamel metal housing.  Using Google and Ebay, I was able to find hopefully the correct replacement in about 10 minutes.  I'm a big advocate of "letting my fingers do the walking" but I don't expect that's what Ma Bell had in mind when it was the advertising slogan for the yellow pages (remember them?).  While at Ebay I checked to see what my old Vornado might be worth--probably over $100 before I  broke the original fan blade.

I went looking for what's blooming this afternoon, and decided to include all the ones that turned out reasonably since I'd like to edit my wildflower pages some winter day.


This song sparrow isn't blooming but posed nicely in our garden.


It's late for the calypso orchids, but I found 8 walking up to the ridge from the SW corner of the Mill Pond.


These mariposa lilies are common now.


The wild hyacinth was common at Farragut Park, but I only saw a few on the ridge.



Ninebark bushes are starting to bloom--very common.


Rock penstemon is common on rock outcrops, and at its height now also.


Larkspur and phlox tend to grow on the sunnier exposures.  Larkspur above, phlox below.


May 29
    I'm doing well in the fixit department.  The new fan blade fit the old Vornado fan, and another fan was in the shop for failing childproof switch got glued to functionality.  Then there was the missing pole for our tent rain fly.   I remembered seeing a trashed party site behind the Mill Pond with an abandoned tent and got the foldable poles from it, which with cutting and taping fixed the missing tent pole for us...  I would have cleaned the site up more, but the ants had colonized the tent...
    We've had sprinkles the last few days, but from the weeding I've been doing I know the subsoil is drying fast, so it's going to take more watering for the gardens this year.  We usually let the lawn go brown, since the orchard and garden end up costing over $100/month for water as it is...

May 30
I went to Q'emiln Park in Post Falls again today--as lovely as always.  For a city park it's huge--70 acres, with deep canyons and lots of little confusing trails. I stayed oriented by hearing the sounds from the freeway to the north, or the rushing water of a branch of the Spokane River sometimes as well.

The honeysuckle was starting to bloom there.

These chocolate lilies I'd seen upstream at Tubbs Hill, but  never near Spirit Lake.  I knew the name because I'd just read there was a flower walk at this park and chocolate lilies were expected.

This was a new one to me, possibly in the pea or vetch family.

These wild roses are so common I tend to overlook them...


Here's the rushing waters coming out of the floodgates, scheduled to be replaced this summer, I believe.


Books read and other media of note:
Four by L'Amour The CD version is nicely dramatized, a set of unrelated western short stories.  From his fiction one gets the feeling there were a lot of pretty single women ranch owners in the old days.

A Million Ways to die in the West by Seth McFarlane 
This is likely to offend most aficionados of western fiction--it's sort of an adult version of the Shakiest Gun in the West meets Blazing Saddles.  It is clear the author looked up a couple facts on The Old West on Wikipedia and then wrote a thoroughly modern novel set in his own mythology.  Correction--it's based on his own screenplay, so it's derivative of a genre that created his false mythology--I think.

The Empty Land by Louis L'Amour. 
Classic western with the reluctant gunslinger coming in to save a mining town, with two potential love interests.  The kind of story that makes you wish Hollywood and America were still into westerns...

Nothing to Lose by Lee Child 
It starts out with chily vibes like The Lottery or The Visit, and works towards plausibility but never arrives there.  And the ending might work in a fantasy, but in the real world?  Nah.

A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff. 
When it comes to juvenile books that mix doom and destiny, Margaret Mahy's Pirates Mixed-Up Voyage is my favorite.  This one, shrouded in fantasy, came off a little too serious for my taste.  It did have the fun concept of talents that could be captured like mist...

Stone Cold by C J Box
Having read most of Box's books, I was afraid he was veering too much into the dark side, but this book, probably titled after a character in the novel being a "stone cold" killer, was somewhat redemptive in the end.  There was still some bleak commentary on our gun culture and colleges...

Sondahl blog index
January
2017
February
2017
March
2017
April
2017
May
2017

January
2016
February
2016
March
2016
April
2016
May
2016
January
2015
February
2015
March
2015
April
2015
May
2015
June
2015
July
2015
October
2015
December
2015
January
2014
February
2014
March
2014
April
2014
May
2014
June
2014
July
2014
October
2014
December
2014
January
2013
February
2013
March
2013
April
2013
May
2013
June
2013
July
2013
August
2013
September
2013
October
2013
November
2013
December
2013
January
2012
February
2012
March
2012
April
2012
May
2012
June
2012
July
2012
August
2012
September
2012
October
2012
November
2012
December
2012
January
2011
February
2011
March
2011
April
2011
May
2011
June
2011
July
2011
August
2011
September
2011
October
2011
November
2011
Deember
2011
January
2010
February
2010
March
2010
April
2010
May
2010
June
2010
July
2010
August
2010
September
2010
October
2010
November
2010
December
2010
January
2009
Febr.
2009
March
2009
April
2009
May
2009
June
2009
July
2009
August
2009
Sept.
2009
October
2009
November
2009
December
2009
Jan.
2008
Febr.
2008
March 2008
April
2008
May
2008
June
2008
July
2008
August
2008
September
2008
October
2008
November
2008
December
2008
Jan.
2007
Febr.
2007
March 2007April
2007
May
2007
June
2007
July
2007
August
2007
Sept.
2007
Oct.
2007
Nov.
2007
Dec.
2007
January 2006February 2006March 2006April 2006May 2006June 2006July 2006August 2006Sept. 2006Oct. 2006Nov. 2006Dec. 2006



April 2005May 2005 June 2005 July 2005August 2005September 2005October 2005November 2005December 2005
index