Brad's Blog
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Dec. 3
With foggy evenings below freezing, frost has been the mornng glory:


The mud puddle pictures got covered with snow, but when it started I took this picture, pretty different from the straight line geometry of  last month...







 This is  a sunflower in its final stage, with the seeds pecked out by gold finches and chickadees...

Dec. 8
I had to run some errands in Coeur D'Alene this evening.  The sunset was great, even from a Target parking lot...

I avoid urban scenes, but this photo goes from the mundane to the sublime.

Dec. 14
We've been making videos for Advent.  This one features my photography and was mostly edited by my wife:  
Advent 3
Also my mother tested positive for Covid a couple weeks ago, and after a short stint in the hospital seems to be recovering in an extended care facility...
Here are some Christmas tunes recorded a decade ago put to some recent videos just uploaded
The Hills are Bare at Bethlehem
Joy to the World
Bethlehem's Journey
Angels we have heard/Good King Wenceslaus


Dec. 20


The weather has been fluctuating between wet snow and rain.  Currently rain has removed a lot of the snow, but before that happened there was enough ice and sturdy enough that Butters went out on it.  He and the ducks were oblivious of each other.  
I brought a tripod down to catch some duck video, which will probably show up on Youtube soon...

On the mornings when it's frosting, cool things are still happening in puddles...
My mother is still stable in extended care and reports that she's enjoying life.

Dec.21
On the rare clear evenings this fall we've enjoyed watching Saturn approach conjunction with Jupiter (while Mars shines brightly to the east), so with all the fog and cloudy weather it looked bad to catch the actual conjunction.  Today in the early afternoon it was socked in foggy, but during a nap the wind started and although it was mostly cloudy, breaks appeared allowing the moon, and finally the planets to show.  With my hand held camera, this was the best I could get, with Saturn slightly ring shaped on the right:


 Dec, 22
Today my musical friend Jonathan Hawkins died of cancer.  He'd struggled against it for about two years, but it had already spread when discovered...
We started playing music together almost 20 years ago, when I answered his ad in the Inlander free newspaper, which said something like:  "I play bass, all kinds, electric, acoustic. Hit me up."
After moving back to Spirit Lake in 2000, I was looking for a steady musical companion, and my usual playing melody and lead capoed up 5-7 frets on the guitar is lacking on the low end.  The first time we played together he had a hard time following any of the songs I brought, and I kind of thought, "well, that's that."  But he wanted to get together again and I obliged him.  He was really good, but I think struggled with self-doubt that got in his way the first time.  He was a perfectionist who would groan if he hit a bad note.  He'd gotten a master's degree in bass from a Boston music conservatory but never made it "big," supporting himself with interior house painting, becoming a sought after specialist in matching antique patinas.  After a year or so we started playing gigs, mostly farmer's markets and garden shows and the fall folk festivals.  We had an "open" musical relationship--side projects included the oldtime band Musicians Anonymous for me, and the bluegrass group The South Hill Ramblers, Alt country Cursive Wires, and punk band The Bucket Riders for Jonathan.   We made 3 good CD's--the first recorded live at a Spokane coffee shop, the others in my home studio.  We had turned toward doing more recording with Don Thomsen on mandolin when his illness and Covid19 got in the way.  
When we tried playing together for the online Fall Folk Festival, he was barely with it, not having practiced for months, but his singing was great...
Yes, I feel sorrow for him, his long-time partner and teen aged daughter...

Dec.24  Brown creeper...


Dec. 27
We got snow on Christmas night, making it technically a white Christmas, but looking through my photos of the last couple days, I liked this one:

I've never experienced ground frost like seems to happen here frequently on trails and other disturbed soils... These are ice crystals pushing up out of the ground like mushrooms, often carrying dirt and detritus with it.  It can cause a sinking of an inch or more when walking over it.    I don't know why they take a columnar shape, like the basalt columns which are common throughout the region as a result of the Columbia basin basalt floods

Dec. 28
The month of ice and snow continues:

These are rocks along the edge of the frozen lake and extended out into it, with a bit of gray sun highlighting them...


Buffleheads, Mill pond open spot in the ice...

books read
Janet Evanovich  Fortune and Glory After 26 Stephanie Plum novels,  Evanovich is finding a second wind, with a treasure hunt, and new character possibly leading to a new series, who could be a stronger female lead than the goofy Perils of Pauline Plum.  

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