As I fed Effie her daily fresh catnip leaves in Effieland this morning, I noticed a small handful of suddenly ripe blueberries that brought me joy and consolation nearly two weeks into the absence of any hint of blue in the sky or elsewhere. The smoke is predicted to clear tomorrow–we’ll see. Much-needed rain and westerly winds continue to elude the smokey valley.
I’ve picked all the blackberries, and Vic picks several large, full stems of Himrod (green) and Flame (dark pink) grapes every evening. We’re thankful we have plenty of water on tap to keep the fruits of the garden and the chickens hale.
We are also extremely thankful for the aerial and land firefighting crews in Washington, Idaho, and Montana. May God continue to sustain these wonderful people. I don’t know how the losses they have prevented can ever be calculated.
This is actually Earth’s sun, which was flame red when I took this photograph at 6:55 this morning. My camera rendered it white, perhaps because its lens went into shock.
The red sun effect is the product of forest fires in northern Idaho; the nearest to us is about 40 miles away.
The 3,200-foot-high basalt hills that mark the edge of the Palouse and compose our northward viewshed are completely obscured by smoke. It all looks like San Bernardino on an exceptionally smoggy day.
I rue having to bag our plan to fish for crappie and bass on the Snake River today, but I bear the bane of those “sensitive individuals” for whom an alert was issued, suggesting we avoid inhaling our local air.
Lightning, not human carelessness, was determined to be the cause of the fires.
Tripoli, Libya (as versus Tripoli, Lebanon, or Tripoli, Iowa) was 93° F at 3:00 PM local Tripoli time. Effieland, our cat Effie’s garden domain, was 98° F at 3:00 PM our local time.
In all fairness, we are 1,300 ft above sea level. Tripoli is 266 ft above sea level, bounding the Mediterranean Sea.
The climate where we live is designated “cold semi-arid steppe (grassland).” Libya is designated “hot semi-arid,” though Tripoli has a more temperate, Mediterranean climate.
We have more cold days and colder days than Libya has–but also a few hotter ones, too.
Tripoli, Libya – Mediterranean Beach Scene, Summer, Corinthia Hotel, Dhat al-Imad Office Buildings
My beautiful bit of prairie
We returned today to our so-far-favorite lake, Dworshak, where we went for my birthday and I caught my first Kokanee–or any salmon. We enjoyed the beauty of the lake and the quiet. Very few boats were out, and they spread out so everyone seemed to have the lake to themselves. Vic caught a small bass and released the trusting little fellow. I didn’t secure any nibblers. Fishing and simply being out in our boat or, fishing from the shore, are sufficient for a day of peace and beauty.
Nothing has changed at Dworshak Lake since my post chronicling our first visit there last month, where you can see the photos that Vic took of our first visit.
At least the road construction on Highway 12 between Lewiston and Orofino is no longer causing lengthy traffic delays!
My husband took the day off from work so we could take our dory for a fishing cruise on the beautiful lake at Dworshak Dam in northern Idaho. I caught my first Kokanee salmon and Vic caught a Kokanee and a bass. The weather was clear and a little hot, but comfortable. I could never have asked for or imagined a lovelier birthday.
The dam viewed from the access road to the boat launch
At the launch
Heading into a cove
My rod trolling in the rod holder
I wear a lab coat to prevent sunburn.
View of Dworshak Lake from Pisca-Dory
Our catch: Two Kokanees and one bass
Black Swallowtail butterflies swarm the boat ramp, drinking water.
Road construction on U.S. Highway 12 stopped traffic for 15-20 minutes on the way to Dworshak, and at least 40 minutes on the way home.
Following another temperature drop into the low 20s, patches of ice returned to a section of the Snake River near Asotin, Washington.
Pisca-Dory’s Garmin fishfinder showed a lot of fish directly under our bonny boat. The fish moved slowly and mostly vertically, and from their 8-15-foot depth, they showed no interest in our lures. The tugs on our lines were most likely river weeds and the River’s currents.
The clouds blotted the sun, leaving us cold, but our propane heater kept us from serious chill.
For my husband and me, fishing is not defined by the objective of catching fish; if it were, we would shun the River all winter, and that is not an option. We like staying in touch with “our” River.
At last–a sunny day in the warming spring–and we went fishing. Alas, the fish were 8-15 feet below us, and still too sleepy and cold to test our lures. Fishing does not always yield a catch, nor is fishing defined by catching fish. Going out on the water and casting our lines is nonetheless the soul-profiting act of fishing.
The weather was sunny and felt mild in the 40s. The water was 34°-37°F and unlikely to inspire self-respecting fish to surface. It was a beautiful time to be out on the Snake River.
Ready to roll. . . and we’re just 10 minutes from the launch!
Vic at the tiller, and we’re cruising at a pleasant 11 miles per hour
I loved the white frost-killed branches of these willows. They brought to mind a motif, “Death is the mother of beauty,” from Wallace Stevens’s poem, “Sunday Morning.” The trees might grow back later in the spring.