After yesterday afternoon’s 90°+ heat, we attempted to sleep through a lightning storm flashing brilliantly, even through our opaque Roman shades. There was no thunder or rain, only lightning. Normalcy resumes; the temperature is in the 60’s and clouds cover the sky with no blue in sight.
Effie naps. She spent a few hours in Effieland earlier this morning. The bugs are returning from their winter holiday, and Effie was digging up beetles. She prefers crickets and mantises, but they will arrive later.
Spring asserts its hold for now. Winter is not inclined to return; summer put in a preview performance yesterday, but after taking her bow, she properly conceded the stage to Spring.
Effie looks forward to tasty bugs. I look forward to watching her make amazing leaps catching them, on the wing and on the ground. My own aspiration is almost as dramatic: I look forward to catching a Steelhead. >><<<<<>°
I wish I could learn this skill from Effie. . . .
Very large flakes of dense, gushy, large, wet snow are falling. The falling snow provides a refreshing sight, enabling me to wish we could move to the Galapagos Islands, so that I might become a curator of tortoises, and I could quit reading the news.
As always, there are intervening considerations.
I was happy to see a couple of Downy woodpeckers return to our Spirea garland tree this week, as winter continued to negotiate whether to settle in or depart. I tend to believe the migratory birds know better than the Weather Service; after all, the birds have more at stake.
Snow remains on the ground, but less of it. The lovely crystalline stuff gradually melts into the soil to awaken bulbs, grasses, and ubiquitous weeds.
Effie has less at stake than either birds or weather predictors. After frolicking in her sunny 40° Effieland, she comes inside for a ready-to-eat lunch, jumps into her hammock to give herself a thorough scrub-down, and then, unlike Hamlet, who could only feign an antic disposition, she undertakes a true antic routine.
The Downy woodpecker (follow the red forehead patch)
Late morning greetings from my house to yours,
The air is warming; the mercury calls 32.5° F, and a less mighty wind howls at a relatively pokey 9.8 mph. It all makes for a modest wind chill factor of 24.4. We haven’t lost power during the recent weather changes; that has been a lavish blessing. Effie is doing well at entertaining herself indoors. When I’m occupied with things that don’t enable me to toss catnip mouses for her—or even her catnip turtle, who wings through the air like a little flying saucer with a small smiling head, flippers, and a tail—she bats her prey into the air, catches it in her teeth, lies on her back clutching it in her claws, and shreds it to death with all four paws in comical motion. Then she takes a nap.
Effie’s energy is absolute proof positive that life is good.
Sight, smell and taste are critical in assessing even the most familiar things. . .
We may become so excited with something that we lose track of it entirely. . .
But once we recover it, we’re fully engaged again.
I do not need a nap! I’m not really tired!
No told-you-so’s, please, okay?
Bundled in a Polartec vest, heavy winter coat, winter hat, and somewhat warm gloves sufficiently flexible to allow my hands to operate my camera, I stepped out onto our deck to photograph the deeply snow-blanketed basalt hills that form the walls of Hells Canyon. The temperature was 20° F, the wind speed 11 mph, for a wind chill factor of 8° F.
Our chilliest wind chill factor so far today was this morning’s 2.9° F. The actual temperature was 20°, and the wind speed was 24 mph.
My British chums would not unlikely call it “brisk.”
Greetings from Effieland. . .
My husband had a holiday today, and we spent the morning and early afternoon fishing from our skiff on the Snake River. The river wasn’t crowded, and no jet boats whipped up obnoxious wakes and noise; it was altogether pleasant. I was cheered to see a couple of fellows catch a Steelhead and net the big guy into their boat. Once again, we caught no fish; nevertheless we thoroughly enjoyed our river outing.
The temperatures continue to span fallish 50s to summery 80s. We have Gaillardias in bloom.
We enjoy fishing, rain or shine, and whether or not we catch any fish. There have been only a few times that no fish preferred to leave their river and come home with us. But fall and summer are different seasons, and fish are known to change their routes and their behaviors with seasonal changes.
In summer, we routinely found fish willing to leave their river and come home with us. Now, their autumn attitude is to remain in their river where they are. That’s just fishing. Simply being out fishing on the river, from a boat or afoot on the shore, is agreeable whether or not fish come home with us, whether or not rain is falling, and whether or not other projects beg our time.
Today marks the third fishing Saturday in a row that no fish took an interest in our formerly enticing lures, even though the little spinning spoons were festive and colorful. Rain fell the entire time we were out. But after all, how can I blame them? What do the season-savvy piscines owe us?
Life has its consolations. We saw a wild ferret bounding into the tall grass and trees near the dock as we were putting in our skiff. The little sprinter was the first ferret I have ever seen in the wild. My husband fresh-canned the fish we caught over the summer, and still has a three-month supply. And I love it that Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize in Literature.
My husband took all the photos in this post.
My husband and I picked six more pounds of Swenson red and Flame grapes this afternoon. We now have 10.9 pounds of grapes picked, stemmed, and bagged in small zip-lock bags in the freezer. Grapes freeze very well, and are delicious to eat either thawed or frozen.
Yesterday we fished from our skiff on the Snake River, near the mouth of Hell’s Canyon upriver from Asotin. We caught five very nice Smallmouth bass in about an hour and a half.
The Canyon’s basalt cliff scenery is always spectacular. We both packed our cameras, and in the excitement of the scenery, catching our bass, and the fast boats whooshing by us (they terrify me), somehow it never entered either of our minds to take any photos. This is a first.
But we have our fish. My husband cans what we catch, and we have a good supply of bass and trout on hand for him to eat. (I’m fish-allergic but I love fishing.)
The other harvest yesterday was the arrival of a book I ordered, after seeing it in my dentist’s waiting room and immediately coveting it: Steelhead Fly Fishing Nez Perce Country Snake River Tributaries, by Dan Landeen. My husband enjoys fishing with flies and with spinner lures; I have so far used only spinners. Since starting to read Mr. Landeen’s book, I’m beginning to feel the nudge of inspiration to try fishing with flies, and to understand firsthand what all the fly-fisher mystique is about.
Here are a couple of photos from previous trips to essentially the same location where we fished yesterday.
Hailstones on the deck melt as quickly as they multiply.
Tall wheatgrass bows in the hail. . .
but Effie neither bows nor gives any opinion whatever.
. . .and all manner of other good things.