Oct. 5, 2022
I noticed this lovely mongrel dahlia today--we have both types blooming separately, but bicolor ones are rare.
We call these urchins, since they resemble sea urchins...
This was the view across the mill pond this morning...
was the pond/slough at the James Slavin Conservation area southwest of
Spokane this afternoon. The pond was full of ducks and
geese, mostly mallards and Canada... I think it would be
interesting to visit in the spring, since it's a semiarid pine woods
quite different from our area...
been a slow month, with the killing frost holding off, and forest fire smoke adding a pall to otherwise pleasant fall
days. We only started heating yesterday. We also got the
first measurable rain in months yesterday, and managed to get a hike in
to the high line trail in Farragut Park. In spite of the dryness
some mushrooms were blooming:
made a car tour to Minnesota to visit my family there. I
like to drive the back roads, like Montana 200. I knew a winter
storm was predicted, but it sounded fairly mild... I have always lived
in the north...
proved to be driving many miles at slow speeds on icy unplowed roads.
Just a couple inches of snow, I thought... First I saw a
Fedex truck jackknifed in the ditch. About 10 miles further, I
started swerving, and ended up sliding off the left side of the road
backwards. The roadside was rather like this, not too steep or
wooded on the sides of the road... I was able to get back on the
road by building up speed in the ditch until I could go up the slope...
Only minor damage to the car... Chastened, I kept going.
This is the emptiest part of Eastern Montana. I finally
made it to Miles City, where the forecast had just been for rain...
There I could have gotten on I94, but had planned to go on US 12.
I stuck with the plan, and as US 12 rose out of the valley, the
snow appeared again on the road, and got deeper. I would have turned
around but there was nowhere to do so. The snow got about 4
inches deep, and my car has a low clearance, so I was often pushing
snow at 35 mph. I got behind a pickup pulling a trailer that gave
me good ruts to stay in. At one point a snow plow was coming
towards us, and I immediately decided I would drive on the wrong side
as soon as he passed. Unfortunately, he was not plowing,
apparently just driving to where his route was... An hour and 30
miles later a plowing truck came, and immediately both the truck ahead
and I switched lanes on the empty highway, but switched back whenever
there was a low visibility hill in case some other fool was out on the
At the first town I stopped and checked how to get to
a freeway... I was about halfway between I90 and I94, so I headed
to the shorter 60 mile north jaunt in hopes of better roadways.
After that drive with snow blowing crosswinds, I reached the
interstate to find only one lane open on each side, due to packed snow
and ice. An hour or two later and the freeway was clear....
It was late fall on the Cannon River in Northfield...
I got to see a red bellied woodpecker
walked along the freight yard where I once hopped a train to Chicago
one spring break... The nearly always incomprehensible grafitti
on rail cars always entertains me while watching trains go by. So
much paint and labor sent off to an uncaring world... This
D3UpsideDownPeaceSymbol had remarkably subtle color sense and design
I partially came for my mother's 100th birthday, but
since she's deep in dementia she sometimes recognized me but couldn't
really register whether I'd be there for her actual party (which I
avoided as a dedicated introvert). As too young a child, I read
the orginal Gulliver's Travels, one land was where people lived
immortally. The only catch was that they still aged...
the way back, I got to spent an afternoon and overnight at the Badlands
N. P. I took a lot of photos, and these stood out for me:
Although I like the pointy spires, this looks totally primordial...
Some parts look like worn down monuments...
Although I got some closeups of bighorn sheep right along the car, this was more interesting, looking down from a vista point...
In this view there are two bison dots in the middle left, and a car and people on the right end for perspective...
This is another unexpected elephant skin mound at the edge of the formation...
the Sage Creek campsite (after a 12 mile drive on bumpy gravel road), I
learned the camp is on a prairie dog town and they were totally
acclimated to people. It was also a bison range...
reading the warnings about approaching bison, and having seen a video
of one charging a woman trying to pass them, I wanted to get by a
couple of them to walk to Sage Creek, but this one eyed me coming and
raised his tail, which is a sign of aggression... Instead I
climbed the hill behind the camp:
is a view of the edge of the campground with dozens of bison within a
short distance (more than seen elsewhere in the park--I overheard
someone saying they are privately owned like cattle)...
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