Even if it weren't known to be the warmest early year on the planet
ever, our locality has "enjoyed" the second hottest April on
record. My two inch tomatoes in the greenhouse seem totally
out-classed by the 80 degree weather we're having. I've been
spending weeks spreading manure when I could have planted even the
frost sensitive plants a couple weeks ago... But today I did get
some broccolis transplanted, and planted squash, pumpkins, zucchini,
and the main crop of peas... The first date of corn was planted
The wild flowers are still running 2-3 weeks ahead
of average in blooming. The camas is about done, virgin's bower
is blooming, heartleaf arnica is starting on the north side of the
The early spring could be a harbinger of a dry
summer, but rains have been falling just regularly enough to keep
things green so far...
Today with the heat the sky was clear and the mill
pond still, so I could look in along the bank at the fish like in an
aquarium, and saw several hundred of several species ranging up to a
foot in length. The sunfish were lazing with their dorsal
fins sticking out of the water like little sharks...
We got 3/4 inch of rain earlier this week, luckier than most places in
our area, keeping Spring on track instead of lurching off into fire
season... The lilacs are finishing here, as opposed to most years
when they're just starting. I visited the Spokane
river at Stateline with Butters last evening and the tough leaved
irises were blossoming, along with any that had ever been dumped by
anyone. We're going to have a large crop of them blooming
soon. We even dumped some of our excess irises on the edge of our
property, having noted that they never die...
I've been too busy for blogging, but did get back to take some photos of the fish in the Mill Pond:
I think this is a bass... There were two of them, each about a
foot long, 3 feet from us on the shore. Right after this photo a
fisherman came along in a boat and caught one of the two...
I also got some nice views of a red tailed hawk that flew and perched from tree to tree making it easy to get some photos..
Here's another photo of a painted turtle in the Mill Pond. What's
interesting is the way his pupils are parallel to the surface of the
We think this is a rough winged swallow on a powerline at the Mill Pond...
Flowers are easy to spot, not so easy the morel mushrooms at the base of the log.
The one on the right was the biggest we've seen. We picked them for eating...
With gardening, the old year isn't over before the new one
begins. We're still eating carrots from last year, and today I
sorted the last apples and made sauce and cider from the bushel and a
half that remained... Normally last year's potatoes would be the
new seed, but they got scabby last year so I bought some certified seed
potatoes and we're trying them in a new patch. Those also were
planted today. Yesterday I found the first couple broccolis
chewed off by deer, so I bought some 10 foot poles today to
beef up the deer fence around our main garden... I also baked 5
loaves of bread somewhere in there. As Calvin says, the days are
We got over to Farragut Park today with some visiting
relatives. We saw few birds, but this small blue butterfly
perched on my and on my sister-in-law's hand for a long time...
They are common around seepholes in the dirt and probably attracted to
skin by the salt. It's the inner part of the wing that's most
blue, so it's mostly silver when the wings are together...
This evening we went for a walk again and saw 7 turkey vultures
wheeling around each other, probably more related to mating than
finding some dead animal...
We're getting light rains, with more predicted, and we'll take all we can get...
A frost was warned of last week, but it only got down to 40 so the
tarps were all unnecessary... Still a bit of garden to
plant, and orchard to thin and spray...
The weather is back to seasonal, which is cool and wet-- 0.8 inch of
rain over the past couple days has reset our clock to Spring instead of
heading towards Fire Season... It's rained steadily the
last two days, but very lightly. It seems inevitable that we get
such rains when the peonies are blooming and then they get
waterlogged. The irises are at their peak, as is the locust tree,
which often blooms in June...
I returned to what I now know is Gateway Park at Stateline
Idaho/Washington today with a camera. It's a totally
natural strip along the river with a few footpaths through it, and
interesting varied wildflowers from our local environ.
Today I saw a lot of wild asparagus along the bank...
Also lots of wild onions. Could probably make some soup from them and the asparagus...
Away from the river bank it's a dry prairie...
Here are lots of onions along the bank...
And there were lots of these spotted sandpipers along the bank..
We had our first strawberries from the garden today--earliest
ever. The flowers at our houses are at their peak
Some of the irises are 4 feet tall. The small purple flowers are
columbine, and the greenery in front is mostly oregano, which had
invaded our lawn when we purchased the place (when it blooms it has
nice purple flowers and attracts bees). In the back left are the
brown roots and shrubby comeback of our weeping willow tree that blew
over in the big winds of last November. Half of its roots were
still attached, and it seems like it will take on a new, more hedgy
I worked today on planting the last potatoes and green beans,
transplanting celery, and trying to finish the deer fence around our
main garden (back yard)
The deer have never eaten our rhododendrons, which are currently at their peak as well...
Since the area is crowded (by our standards) on Memorial Day
weekend (like the two large RV's and 10 cars next door), we
headed up into the Inland Paper land to explore some of the logging
roads, bringing our bikes and dog in the pickup...
This fuzzy headed herb was a new one to us..
The lupines were in full bloom and these blue beetles were all over
them, mating and probably eating the flowers.. A quick google
yielded no suggestions of their identity...
This was another new flower, growing in only one sandy patch that we
saw, they are small and easily overlooked except for the lovely
The logging roads were put in at regular intervals going up the ridge
for practical purposes, but there were many stretches that yielded
great views of the area. Here is most of Spirit Lake visible at a
glance, minus the Mill Pond, which was on the other side at the left
end of the ridge...
This is the view looking east from the ridge to the town of Spirit
Lake, then with Silverwood and parts of Athol and the Cabinet mountains
on the east side of Lake Pend O'Reille. Being longtime
residents, seeing the layout from a couple thousand feet higher is
always interesting... The big brown patch near the middle is a
new set of soccer and other ball fields going in at Volunteer Park.
On the way down the ridge we saw an elk cow and her calf on the road...
I think it's a bass and a sunfish locally known as a pumpkin seed...
Books read and other media of note
Dogs by Elmore Leonard. No one is more deft at handling cool
dialogue, plot twists, and complex characters. Like the seedy
pseudonym of Donald Westlake (Richard Stark), this focuses on the bad
guys rather than the good, but either direction it's a fun ride, and
there's always a bit of yin in the yang...
a crooked Man by David McCallum. From the Wikipedia article,
apparently I wasn't the only one who thought Illya Kurakin was way
cooler than stuffy Napoleon Solo, but that's the past. Now I wish
when I'm 82 I could write as ripsnorting and sexy a thriller as David
McCallum has for a first novel. And the guy is a musician
Dog Tags by David Rosenfelt Good suspense, good humor, good plot, good pageturner...
Back by Sara Paretsky I've read most of Paretsky's work, and
spent the first half of the novel admiring the realistic back story and
world she created for V.I. and the clever way of using baseball
terminology for each tractor. But (spoiler alert) I felt like the
plot fell together in such a way that I wouldn't have been surprised if
Zaphod Beeblebrox and the Heart of Gold also showed up at Wrigley Field
at the same time.