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Brad's Blog

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Nov. 1
 We've had two inches of rain in the last few days, making it seem like the drought is past, but in digging up our dahlia bulbs the soil is only moist in the top couple inches, so it's a long way to normal, as our empty Mill Pond shows...
   Speaking of the Mill Pond, I've been walking Butters along the edge of the dried up pond, because there are dead spawned kokanee salmon littering the beach by the public access, and they hold an inordinate attraction to him for both eating and rolling.   As a by product, though, I saw the first bald eagle in a month or so today, in addition to the hundreds of geese, seagulls, and probably 20 buffleheads along the lake today.
    I've been building shelves to hold the extra stuff for a ministerial association thrift store up at Priest Lake that we're involved with.   I made 4  45 inch wide by 42 inch high sets of shelves this afternoon.   Once I figured out the design (ladder like sides, with a piece of plywood in the back to provide bracing)  it's pretty efficient banging them out-- 4 sets in 3 hours.  

Nov. 4
    After the set of storms came through, the weather ratcheted down 10 degrees and we finally got our killing frost, and need for a fire through the day to keep the house warm (temps from 24 to 38 degrees today).  Our garage had been full of tomatoes and apples and grapes, but I moved the tomatoes to the basement, and plan to make cider soon from the apples that weren't moved to our root cellar...
    We walked along the lake shore last evening, leaving Butters at home because he's too attracted to the dead kokanee.  Visible with our binoculars, out on the point where the lake widens is a bare tree that had 4 bald eagles in it, come for the kokanee feast...  We'd seen an immature bald eagle swooping around the Mill Pond yesterday, but these were all with the white head and tail...
    Although local sales are slow, orders are filing in to keep me busy in the pottery workshop...  For a friend who gives mugs to participants in a Christmas Contata, I made a new logo stamp which reads "Heaven and nature sing!"

Nov. 6
   We used my revised  cider press to make about 4 gallons of cider yesterday.  The newest revision was to add a wide heavy steel washer in the middle of the piston that squishes the apple pulp so that the force would be spread over a wider area.  The double sheets of plywood that came with it were having the small metal cap get pushed straight through them...  This will help to make the cider press last through the 100 or so gallons I must press to make its $400 purchase price seem reasonable...  There are still enough windfall apples for a couple more gallons...
    Today I bicycled around the Mill Pond to give Butters a good run.  I can bicycle about 3/4s of the way, then I have to carry the bike over a rough and sometimes cliff-like trail to get back to the road...  I've been doing it a lot more since I got Butters.  Last evening I went for a walk along the road that crosses the Mill Pond, and then loaded  Butters in the car to head up the hill.  He seemed to wiggling his head a little extra, and I found he was hiding a dead salmon in his mouth (as retrievers tend to like to hide things in their mouths)...  So I tossed that out the window (no salmonella for him).   This morning I looked behind as I was pushing the bike up the hill to the pottery and he had a really rotten deer hoof he was daintily carrying...  The joys of being a dog owner...

Nov. 19

Events have gotten away from me...  Last weekend was the Fall Folk Festival and I performed and took pictures at it, with the help of two other photographers, and would normally be editing their photos but I haven't received their memory cards in the mail, due to the vast wind storm that has removed electrical service from a large part of our area, including presumably the Spokane mail sorting center...
The windstorm was a confluence of two systems meeting inland, bypassing the Seattle area and blowing 60-80 mph through the Inland Northwest.  1.5 inches of rain, power flickering on and off for hours before staying off for hours... We lost a mature weeping willow, a full sized pine tree, and our yard is covered with fir branches up to 3 inches in diameter. I've seen a half dozen full sized fir and pines down in my immediate neighborhood. On the day of the storm I went out in the wind to walk Butters and saw new trees taken down along the beach, and decided to walk on the leeward side of the Mill Pond. Up above on the ridge a tree snapped about 100 feet away from me. Coming back to the pottery I watched a concussion-sized fir branch fall down right into my path. After that I stayed inside. Our local bookstore had a tree break through their ceiling, the new Spokane animal shelter lost its roof...  The pottery building lost enough roofing that I spent the day repairing it..  Actually I started the morning restoring two 2X6 foot windows in the greenhouse, which had blown loose but miraculously not broken...
Finally in the late afternoon I took Butters for a walk up on the ridge and counted 30 new trees blown over in a half mile walk...
Normally I like to take photos of natural events, but this one was too strong and personal, so I only took the photo above of the weeping willow that will weep no more.  Fortunately we have a couple small pussy willows we were wondering where to plant...

Nov.21
4 days after the big blow, things are returning to normal, although a new one with a lot fewer trees. Facebook friends from Spokane have posted photos of their living area with a tarp along one wall where a tree smashed it, still with no electricity (along with 50,000 others currently).  So I have no reason to moan...
I was sorry to see today that the one tree that fell along the beach on the lake that is visible from the public access was the only old growth ponderosa pine in the area--about 4 feet across at the base.  When our kids were little it took the whole family to reach around the trunk.  The trunk is all that's left standing--the rest is blocking the beach until someone wanting pine firewood and having a long bar chain saw claims it.   That reminds me of the trench humor that someone posted on Craigslist of free firewood--you haul in Spokane with a map of spokane covered with large circles where it can be found...


Books read and other media of note
The Human Blend by Alan Dean Foster   Speculative fiction about plastic surgery gone extreme combined with a mysterious mcguffin of a digital storage filament make this a fun adventure romp.

Skin Game by Jim Butcher.  Not sure why it got this title--I guess a more accurate title would be Oceans Demonic 11, a heist from Hades with a lot of evil types and one forsworn wizard not participating of his own volition.   I'm a fan of the series--loved the short lived tv series based on it and the actor from it now playing in the Arrow tv series...

Flinx Transcendant by Alan Dean Foster.  This was a second generation "boy and his extraterrestrial buddy save the universe" story of the type pioneered by Andre Norton...   I always liked the series and was happy to find this conclusion, 35 years after the series started...  The story meandered like the author as well as Flinx were trying to figure out what he was supposed to do, but it was fun anyway...

Time and Again by Jack Finney.  This was a tour de force of a time travel novel, from an author clearly in love with New York City in either the 1880's or the 1960's when I think he wrote it.  A series of blurry photos and drawings add to the utter believability of the story as told. 


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