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April 01, 2018


The sooner we can get rid of ICE, the better.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, or issue is more a question of: If the temperature hits 80 several days running, is it time to take the down comforter off the bed? Because it did that a couple of times already (once in February!), before reverting to highs around 60 and freezing overnight.

Climate (changing as it is) is what we expect/ Weather is what we get.

wj, you made me laugh at the thought of a down comforter on an 80-degree day. I have friends in Arizona who close up their pool (October-ish?) when the water temp drops below 80 degrees. I just roll my eyes and try to imagine it.

Favorite saying, probably quoted here before: You know you've lived through another Maine winter when 20 degrees feels like a heat wave.

Right now -- soft mix of sun and clouds, 50-ish -- lovely day. Seeing open water after four or five months of ice is a great treat, but right now I'm settling for wide expanses of brown grass making progress against the retreating raggedy snow. A week ago on the phone my mother (in Ohio; aged 94) asked if things were poking up out of the ground yet. I said, "What ground?" Today there's ground. If I were to drive to Augusta/Hallowell, down in the Kennebec River valley, I would probably see things poking up. Not yet here, though, in "the coldest microclimate in Kennebec County."

We're having family over for Easter brunch today -- not that most of us are religious; but it's an excuse to get together. Salad will include lettuce from the back garden. The sugar snap peas are barely producing yet, but we may manage a couple of them as well.

There's a reason that the rest of the country makes caustic remarks about "thin-blooded Californians." We really are spoiled: snow is nice, but only when it's just a matter of driving a couple of hours to get to it for the weekend. And you can drive home Sunday evening, and maybe wear short sleeves to work Monday. But we pay for it in things you all are spared east of the Rockies: recurring water rationing and a fall which routinely features wild fires that can cover areas approaching that of a small state. Each.

I put things like earthquakes in a separate category. After all, one's reaction to earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes seems to depend on which one you have gotten accustomed to over a lifetime. I can't imagine being willing to live where either of the other two happen with any regularity. But I know folks who moved here for the weather, and promptly moved away after their first (relatively minor) quake -- the sort where the natives barely stir from our chairs, while speculating "What do you think? About a 3.5?". All in what you're used to, I guess.

I think about that earthquake/tornado/hurricane business too. Not to mention drought and wildfires. Maine has tiny earthquakes now and then; I've never felt one, but I heard one once as the wave passed through. We also have a minor tornado now and then -- but the land is too hilly for them to get up a head of steam like they do in the flat midwest. The tail end of hurricanes can be damaging here sometimes.

We're big on ice storms and northeasters, and I'll take those any day over hurricanes etc. I guess just gritting out the winters is what we trade off for some of that other stuff, whereas some people would rather risk earthquakes. Not me!!!

As you say, it's what you're used to.

"Earthquake weather" is a wonderful expression.

And wj has the attitude exactly right...comparing magnitude estimates.

At least until you get up to 6.5 or so, when you're doing the shimmy-shimmy-ko-ko-bop.

An interesting thing about the ice that surprised me at first, although it shouldn't have:

If you put an ice cube in a glass of water at room temp, the ice cube will just get smaller and smaller until it disappears. I.e., it melts.

The lake ice almost never seems like it's just...melting. It is, of course, but that's a more or less invisible aspect of the process.

Once the melting has gone on long enough, the big sheet of ice breaks up, and the smaller pieces get blown around so much that it's hard to picture the whole process as having anything to do with "melting" at all. Maybe only once, in an exceptionally non-windy spring, have I seen it happen that one day it looks like there's a big sheet of ice -- albeit gray and "rotting" -- and the next there's just open water.

It's almost always windy here, I assume because we're in effect at the head of a long, shallow valley. The wind can get tiresome, but I like it because it keep the bugs down, especially the black flies. Black fly season is coming right up, the FSM's way of reminding us that nothing is perfect. Not even May.

California Summers...

And wj has the attitude exactly right...comparing magnitude estimates.

This. I was living in LA for the 94 quake, and we got significant aftershocks for weeks or even months afterwards. I remember when we got to the point where we stood around and swapped estimates, and then checked them against the crawler at the bottom of the TV screen which was permanently tuned to the channel which showed the magnitude, and we got pretty accurate pretty quickly "5.3?" "No, I'd say 5.5". I remember that it took me months or even years, to completely trust the absolute solidity of the ground beneath my feet again. And maybe I never have done, quite....

Beautiful, evocative post by the way, Janie.

The weather here was overcast, but mostly inoffensive. In the end, it was warm.

This news, seems to inform us as to how my neighboring state is dealing with weather underground.

I'm wondering what good it does to note the obvious.

I'm hoping for an tectonic blue tsunami. If that fails, I'd like to have been working with like-minded people on a plan. I lack imagination, but I look at Pinterest, and so many people are coming up with the most interesting designs. I haven't found a plan there though.

And, yeah, ICE needs to go. It's spring.

Springtime for Trump...

a friend in philly posts pictures of his azaleas in bloom.

here on the MA coast just above Boston, the early bulbs are up, but nothing's in leaf yet. forsithia will probably pop in a week or so.

sister in southern NH is waiting for the last of the snow to go.

i'm not expecting a blue wave this fall, just a chipping away of the red one. going forward i might suggest a focus on the census - common cause is doing good work there.

no ill will toward our red-leaning fellow americans, but the conservative program of the last 40 or 50 years has not served us well. got to go forward, not back.

in the meantime, i'm digging on warne marsh, who floats like a butterfly and stings like a painless bee. sounds like philly joe on drums. can't take that away from me,

always cool to hear from you janie.

If only we could wake up and find that it's all just been a remake of The Producers. If only....

Although the casting is seriously inferior this time around.

I am in a race with the squirrels to see if I can plant lillies faster than they dig them up. The slugs are in a race with my shasta daisies to see if they can leaf out faster than they are eaten.

And so another season of gardening begins with me hauling top soil and potty soil into my back yard and planting things. It is not warm yet, at least not by Washington standards. (fifties)

I am checking my ornamental trees and vines for signs of life My minigtrue apple tree is dead. The deer mice ate it.

so that's the report from an island in Puget Sound

Thanks, everyone, for your spring observations. I'll step back for a second take.

Today, it was kind of overcast and chilly. I took a nap to celebrate. But I did go stand under the peach tree in our yard, where there was a loud hum of honeybees buzzing amid the flowers. The bees buzz when the weather is over 50ish, and it definitely was that. And there are tree flowers aplenty.

The peaches on our tree don't always make it all the way - sometimes a hard frost kills them before the fruit forms. When they do develop, since we don't spray them, most of them are infected with some kind of black fungus. We've eaten some parts of some of the least affected fruit, and they're delicious, but it's not worth the effort to poison the other things in our immediate vicinity (although I'm sure it could be done right by a more energetic gardener).

The deer appreciate the peaches though, blight or not. We've seen them on their hind legs getting them, and even shaking the tree. Once, one of our dogs chased a doe away from her peach meal. She ran off for a minute, then raced back to get her unfinished peach before running off again.

It's a wild and beautiful world despite us.

Some types of peach tree fungus can be treated with hydrogen peroxide.

Really, CharlesWT? I am very intrigued and will look into it. These peaches are delicious, the tiny bits that we've been able to taste.

This article is about treating the leaves so I don't know whether it would effective in treating the peaches.

Hydrogen Peroxide to Treat Fungus on Fruit Trees

@ sapient -- Funny you should mention peaches. I was in the car the other night and the local "Maine Calling" program was on the radio, and it was about dealing with critters who get tangled up with our human doings.

One of the topics was porcupines gobbling peaches. One of the experts/consultants on the show said to put flashing around the base of the tree (I don't remember if they said how high it had to go) and that would take care of the problem. He said some people don't like the sight of the metal so they paint it tree-bark color.

This is of course if you manage to thwart the deer and the fungus and then the porcupines show up to fill the gap. ;-)

The person who called in was complaining that the porcupines didn't even eat all the peaches they bit into, they'd just bite lots and leave half of them unfinished and rotting on the ground.

I had apple trees for a few years. Fruit trees are incredible pest magnets (using the word "pest" expansively). In the end the deer and the plum curculio beetle beat me down.

@ wonkie -- I don't think I knew you lived on an island in Puget sound. Cool! That -- the islands and the peninsula -- is the most beautiful place I've ever seen.

I was on one of the islands briefly once (don't remember which one) and hiked for two or three weeks in the Olympics and along the park's coastal strip north from Forks. My impression is no doubt skewed, because I wasn't there in the rainy season (which is most of the time, right?). Then again, on the east side of the mountains the rain isn't so all-encompassing IIRC. There's a rain shadow...?

That visit was in 1972...I wonder if I would even recognize the place now. I hope so.

Enjoy your garden!

Fruit trees are incredible pest magnets

Yeah, the Virginia Wildlife and Game department also warn that fruit trees attract bears. We protect some things from bears in our yard, but the deer get the peaches so fast, I don't think the bears would have a chance.

i'd love to see a porcupine . I don't think we have them in these parts.

saw my first ladybug of the season yesterday. she was moving very slowly, but she was moving.

upper 70s this weekend in NC. it's that awkward time of year when it's too warm for the heat, but not quite warm enough for the AC. so, we left our bedroom windows open last night, and listened to the coyotes howling.

Bears! Porcupines! Mountain lions! You all are so lucky, we do have deer of course, but overall it feels like our wildlife are so insignificant compared to yours.

I am reminded of a radio interview I heard recently with the punk poet John Cooper Clarke, who was riffing on how one wrong word can doom a song:


I wrote the songs that nearly made

The bottom line of the hit parade
Almost anthems, shoulda been hits
Songs like… Puttin’ on the Ritz
Some enchanted afternoon
Twenty-four hours to Levenshulme
Dancin’ in the daylight, singin’ in the smog
You ain’t nothin’ but a hedgehog
So close and yet so far
Do you remember the way we are
I’d like to get you on a speedboat to china
From an idea by George Steiner
Ain’t no blag – uncle’s got a brand new jag
Ain’t no slouch – mama’s got a brand new couch
She ain’t heavy, she’s my sister
Not to leave out twist and whisper
Brand new leapordskin pillbox glove
Baby you and me we got a greasy kind of love

And then he quoted (which I had never heard, but which made me smile):

You ain’t nothing but a hedgehog
Foragin’ all the time
You ain’t nothing but a hedgehog
Foragin’ all the time
You ain’t never pricked a predator
You ain’t no Porcupine

Forecast says 68 and sunny today, snow on Friday. Springtime in the Rockies. Or at least, near the Rockies.

Earthquakes are rare and small. A thousand miles from the ocean, hurricanes are not a problem. Tucked in close to the foothills is largely safe from tornadoes, which happen farther out on the plains. Biggest worry is the occasional billion-dollar hailstorm. Owned the house here for thirty years and we're on our fourth roof.

Two animals have been shot on our property in the 30+ years we've lived here. My ex shot a huge one that had set up housekeeping in the barn and was almost as big as a small child, and unafraid. My son, as a teenager, with my reluctant permission and with great caution, shot a rabid skunk. In that story we all (six of us) had to get rabies shots...at first in the ER and then, for the later ones (series of 5 nowadays), in the chemo outpatient ward, because health insurance in this country is the work of Satan.

The other porcupine story I have is that I was home alone one weekend when the kids were teenagers. That meant I was dogsitting the ex's two lovely dogs (half black lab, half golden). In the evening I took them out for a walk around the barn, and they ran away from me and came back with snouts full of porcupine quills. I had to get them (with difficulty!) into my son's pickup truck and take them to the nearest doggie ER, which is in Lewiston. What a mess. Then, hours later when we finally got home and I let them out of the truck, the idiots ran right back to the spot where they'd had the great fun of trying to play work a porcupine. Luckily, the porcupine had more sense and had vanished.

GftNC -- you may not have all the wildlife, but you have castles! And English literature! And York Minster! And if not porcupines, then at least hedgehogs. :-)

On the bus ... need an editor even more than usual. First line s/b "a huge porcupine" in case it wasn't obvious.

...the FSM's way of reminding us that nothing is perfect.

It took me a second. Ha!

What's fearless around here are the wild turkeys. And no, before you ask, wild turkeys are not native to California. (Or, I believe, anywhere west of the Mississippi.) But there was a guy around here who was raising them -- and wild turkeys, not the brainless domestic variety.

When he died, his wife wasn't interested. So she just opened the back gate and turned them out. Where they have flourished.

These days, they are endemic** to the East Bay. And, as I say, fearless. To the point of refusing to yield the streets to mere automobiles, especially when it's courting season.

** I use the term in the disease-type meaning. Rather than the "of a plant or animal" meaning. Way too few natural predators here for them.

And no, before you ask, wild turkeys are not native to California. (Or, I believe, anywhere west of the Mississippi.)

There are subspecies whose native range extends well west of the Mississippi. Merriam's wild turkey is adapted to the pine forests in Colorado and New Mexico, spreading occasionally out into the western parts of the Great Plains. Their territorial pattern is quite different from eastern wild turkeys, involving significant migration to change elevation with the seasons. They've been transplanted to other western states, and typically only do well above about 3,500 ft.

It seems like every day, I learn something new here.

wild turkeys are the belligerent drunks of the bird world.


wild turkeys are the belligerent drunks of the bird world

But what I've always wanted to know is, how do they taste? I think I know that you can only eat them if you've shot them during a very short legal season?

The expression on the bunny's face is prelude to catastrophe:


Mostly, wild turkey "tastes like chicken". A little gamier; definitely tougher. But basically, it's the idea more than any special taste that attracts people.

How disappointing. But thanks, wj.

This is all nice, spring and all.

But really folks, we have work to do. Common Cause on the census. Thanks, ,russell. Good to focus on a project.

I'm worried about something, and have been since the election. Nobody here is ill informed about my love for Barack Obama. But I'm afraid that in handing "the peaceful transition of power" to Donald Trump, he actually handed it to Vladimir Putin. Everyone actually kind of knows this, so of course we talk about spring. Because what are we nonviolent people supposed to do?

Well, I suggest we need to quit talking about the probably doomed wildlife, although I'm all for a plan not to make them all doomed. I would suggest we point the way to dooming Republicans. Dooming them with voting (obviously, we peaceful people want to do that first). They are resisting Democracy, and there will come a time when we can't fight with votes.

Spring means rebirth. We are (mostly) old. We are the ones who need to be brave. Why send the kids?

Lovely post, Janie.

HI Janie, Still lovely and green out here and we have orcas that cruise by and that barking in the distance is sea lions. We also have a cougar on the island and coyotes. Outdoor cats don't live long.

I have never been up your way, though I was born in the east coast and lived in upstate NY briefly I kind of miss iceskating but I do not think I could handle your winters. Yes, it does rain nine months out of the year, and sometimes more.

I am enjoying this gardening convo. Thank you Janie for the essay.

Mostly, wild turkey "tastes like chicken". A little gamier; definitely tougher. But basically, it's the idea more than any special taste that attracts people.

I somehow read that as 'taste like children' and was looking for a Gary Larson joke in there somewhere ;-)

Count, that youtube link is so weird! You'd think some movie director had gotten someone to train the turkeys for a creepy Halloween movie. Because otherwise...turkeys have death/triumph rituals or something?

There's a turkey (well, maybe more than one, but I've only ever seen one at a time) that roams around Harvard Square....I've never seen it act aggressively, but it sure ain't afraid of crowds.

Dooming them with voting

That, and guaranteeing that the right to vote continues to be available to people who don't tend to vote (R).

I think this is right on, and I think folks also need to be realistic. Contribute your money and time, but don't pin all of your hopes on 1,000 flowers blooming in November. They might not, and it won't help if folks just pack it in at that point.

We are the ones who need to be brave.

I'm looking forward to retirement, so I can put my butt on the line without worrying about losing my job.

Also, FWIW, if I have to choose between protecting the wildlife and protecting the political culture of the US, I'm going to go with the wildlife.

The planet is more important than our country.

If we're really, really lucky, the US will still be here in something like a recognizable form 500 or 1,000 years from now. In the big picture, we're a blip. A flash in the pan.

We're not indispensable. The world is.

I somehow read that as 'taste like children' and was looking for a Gary Larson joke in there somewhere

Well, this time autocorrect didn't do anything to mess me up. But I confess that the threat has made me a bit more careful to proofread before I post. A bit.

There will be regime change in America by all and every means necessary. Electoral means are merely among the many options.


I hear that wildlife in the "no-go" area near Chernobyl are doing fine. Seems that their big problem wasn't "intense radiation", but "humans".

Silver linings in the Age of Trump, perhaps.

Me, I'm looking forward to humanities last two survivors crawling their way across the blasted hellscape when one of them says "but her emails!", and the other beats them to death with a rock...and posts the resulting video to youtube for future species to find and learn from.

According to the Fake News Media, some poor innocent gun fell into the hands of a mentally ill woman(!) in San Bruno CA and was forced to shoot 3 people in and around YouTube HQ a couple of hours ago.

Current reports suggest that the Save Our Guns lobby won't get to bray for a death sentence on this latest mental patient. She may have horribly abused her God-Given Gun, but she appears to have imposed the death penalty on her own self. What a shame.


Contribute your money and time, but don't pin all of your hopes on 1,000 flowers blooming in November.

You are correct. I don't pin all of my hopes on anything, but the elections 2018 are a project for people who want to avoid war.

Honestly, with what Trump seems determined to do, not only to vulnerable non-citizens, but to citizens in blue states, corporations that own newspapers that report the truth, personal grudge victims, the economy, the environment, large endangered animals .... I have never in my life had as many violent impulses. So, yeah - I'll focus on elections.

The planet is more important than our country.

I agree. But the threat to the planet is only defended by functioning, caring governments. No matter how much plastic I avoid, I know that there are 1.3 billion people in China, most of whom don't have access to potable water, who drink from plastic bottles every day. We have to care about this, and solve it, as a people, as a world, not as one mindful person at a time. Obviously, carbon emissions, etc., are the same. It's hugely important to have responsible governments. Hell, even responsible dictatorships. Trump is not that.

Caveat: I would rather have some agency in deciding what happens to my country/the world. Democracy, especially democracy in the US, afforded the best chance for that. A lot of people blew it. It wasn't just "corporations are people" and "big money." (That didn't help, of course.) People who are relatively "smart" (whatever that means) who chose their own narcissistic tendencies and desperation for creative self expression through politics - they did this to us. The "last two survivors" of Snarki's? Yeah. That guy.

I seem to have to revisit this ugly truth from time to time. I'll wait awhile before I do it again.

the threat to the planet is only defended by functioning, caring governments.

to be clear: there is no threat to the planet per se. by far, most forms of life that have ever existed, no longer do. the planet doesn't particularly care who calls it home, or if anyone does.

i'm selfish. i want the planet to continue to be a hospitable place for *my* species to live.

what we're talking about is not politics, it's physics. governments that ignore stuff like this are going to have a short shelf life. you might as well thumb your nose at gravity.

governments that ignore this stuff will either be ignored and worked around, or will be removed.

I happen to like my water frozen.

I miss the Long Island Saturdays of my youth when the street would converge at the Wheeler's house (being the biggest family with 7 kids) and sort out the collective of skates to find a pair for everyone before trekking en masse through the bird sanctuary to the Mill Pond where it seemed like the whole community turned out to skate, play hockey, or just be a part of the social scene. The local FD used to come down and resurface it at night, before the litigious nature of things made that an untenable liability.

The Pond rarely freezes anymore, and no one trusts it enough when it does.

I'm an hour north of the city now, and the lakes still freeze reliably. Some nut drove his Lamborghini out on one this year. It still surprises me, the difference a little distance from the ocean makes. It makes me uncomfortable, being too far from it.

Speaking of winters and Maine, from the in-laws house in Northport you can see out to Islesboro and Vinalhaven when the fog's not up, which is never. A short drive gets me to the Waterfront where I can cozy up with a drink and look over a snow-blanketed Camden Harbor which for my tastes is one of the prettiest things on earth.

I wilt at anything much above 80 degrees, so when the snowdrops and crocuses start peeking through, I get a mild sense of dread as I know fly swarms and tick season are right around the corner. And the humid 90+ days not far behind. Sure, there's sailing and beach cookouts and music festivals, none of which really work as well outside of summer. But I'm already ready for sweater weather and selfishly having the crisp pine air of the hiking trails all to myself again.

Ok, I'll shut up now.

Ok, I'll shut up now.

Please don't.

Took me a minute to realize you were talking about Northport ME and not Northport on Long Island. I spent a lot of time in the latter.

Don't be a stranger!

Thanks! Dad still lives a bit east of Northport, LI, so we share that confusion on occasion. Northport stacks were always a good orient point when out on the Sound - not to be confused with Orient Point. ;-)

Pete -- seconding russell -- no need to stop! Those are great stories and memories.

I lived in Milwaukee for a while, where park lagoons and low spots are (or at least were, 30+ years ago) turned into ice skating rinks (at public expense, oh the horror) every winter.

When we moved to Maine, my ex and some of the neighbors tried to keep an area on the lake cleared for ice skating. An a$$hole tiny minority of snowmobilers wrecked it, over and over, until finally the would-be skaters quit bothering.

An a$$hole tiny minority of snowmobilers wrecked it, over and over, until finally the would-be skaters quit bothering.

I'm kinda surprised by that - I would've assumed a sort of professional courtesy. I wonder if it was malicious or simple disregard (not that either is acceptable). We would maintain our "rink" part of the pond, keeping the snow clear and even resurfacing it with buckets and brooms when it got too chopped up. We weren't territorial about it, though, and when it was "game time" people would do us the courtesy of moving to other areas so we could play.

The kids on the lake here have a similar thing going, and the ATVers and snowmobilers steer clear. Then again, it's all beach associations and private access here, so any bad actors will get called out about it in fairly short order.

Climate is what we (used to) expect. Weather is what we get.

After hitting the low 80s a week ago, we are now looking at highs in the low to mid 60s for the next week. And something like 3" of rain. (Bear in mind, it may be the tail end of the rainy season, but this is still a desert. So that's a lot.) Ah, California!

Remember when Hurricane Katrina (and the successive later hurricanes) presented a PR problem for W? Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are still suffering. Where is the outrage? I suggest a bit more outrage. I know we're outraged out, but people summoned it every night for anti-Obama drone conversations.

Friends, just because IOKIYAR doesn't mean we should, ourselves, buy that line.

sapient, I appreciate that you want to rally the troops and such, but don't you think you would be more effective if you stopped haranguing people and insulting them about their choice of topics and actually wrote something that detailed something other than 'why aren't you as outraged as I am?'. One of the features of ObWi is that we have a decent sized contingent of non-Americans living overseas, so why do you continue to demand readers to write about what you want them to write about?

The offer to write a front post stands and if you'd like to write something, you are welcome to send it to the kitty. But please stop with this 'why aren't you fomenting revolution, what's wrong with you?' It really doesn't serve you well.

Pete -- there's an interesting history with snowmobiles, although my version is from memory after reading tidbits over the years, so take it with a grain of salt. Early on there was a sort of wild west attitude, and then gradually clubs were formed, and responsible people ran them, groomed the trails, communicated with landowners, held landowner dinners each year, and generally tried to make sure that snowmobilers were good neighbors to the people whose lands they were using or affecting.

Even so, there are always bad actors, and the lake across the road from me, far from being private access, is part of the statewide network of snowmobile trails -- i.e. open to everyone and anyone, at any time of day or night. (All night Saturday night is a popular time for snowmobiling, take it from yvt.)

The generation that created the clubs that do all the work is aging, and I just saw an article recently saying that they're not getting enough new blood to keep some of the work going. It's a shame. When I came to Maine I looked a little askance at snowmobiling as a recreation (loud, smelly, etc., and who cares about going a zillion miles an hour on a big expensive machine? ;-). But I came to appreciate their trails -- walked many, many miles through the woods in the winter, which I couldn't have done otherwise, not having knees that tolerate x-c skiing.

Somewhere along the way, ATVs took over as the machine without a framework like the snowmobile clubs. They can do a heck of a lot of damage in a short time to stuff like, to take one instance, a farmer's strawberry crop.

Maybe this is stereotyping, but I do associate that kind of ... carelessness ... with the same mentality that leads to all the revving engines and squealing tires I hear at the end of the school day every day. Because yeah, I live at the end of the (high) school road.

So, here in Indiana it snowed on Easter, then rained on Monday, was nearly 70 degrees on Tuesday, with lots of rain to the point where school was canceled due to flooding. And then last night we had torrential rain with high wind and I had to cut apart a tree that had fallen across the road so Abi’s school bus could get by.

Several roads in the near vicinity are closed due to flooding. One had a 3’ culvert buried several feet under the road surface to permit water to flow under, and apparently it clogged. That whole section of road is now gone, down deeper than the culvert was buried, and there is a 20’ section of steel culvert thrown into the trees a couple of hundred yards away.

Oldest daughter graduated in December and is working at the local grocery store, biding her time and banking money until her job in Milwaukee starts in July. Younger kid is shopping for her first prom dress. This from a kid who really prefers legging or jeans. Took the SAT and did well. Well enough to be comfortably above the bar for Purdue or Indiana University.

Last week I planted a couple of pecan trees and a pair of dwarf apples. There are pecans that thrive in this zone, according to the grower. We’ll see.

Garden will have to wait, except for potatoes and onions, which are already in. It’s too wet, and still too cold. Maybe next week. Meantime I still have a load of aged manure in my truck; I don’t want to have to unload it and move it again. Minus a few wheelbarrows I used to condition the soil around the new trees, so I am not quite completely full of shit.

Plus I have a whole stand of river birch that I have cut up and am splitting by hand, because my splitter spends most of its time over at dad’s place.

It’s been a cold winter here. I thought I had enough wood for two years, but it’s nearly all gone. I am ready for some comfortable, 50 degree days.

And now I have to get back to work. Wednesdays are tough.

Where is the outrage? I suggest a bit more outrage.

every day is outrageous. at a certain point it's no longer remarkable.

folks still feel outrage, it's just become such a steady state that it doesn't merit verbalization.


Have lived in Sacramento most of my life. As a kid I remember being fogged in for a week at a time. Have not seen that kind of weather in over a decade.

Now retired and thinking of moving north to escape the heat. You all had a conversation about Spokane and went to check it out and loved it. An amazingly beautiful place and you can drive 20 minutes in any direction out of town to find something totally different and beautiful in its way.

My wife investigated a town called Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula. Made an offer for a small house on 2.8 acres with an 8 acre commons. The property is abuts the Dungeness Wildlife Reserve and the house is about 1500 feet from the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Have only spent 4 days in the area and not certain what we've gotten ourselves into. The house looks to have been built in stages back in the good old days when you didn't need no stinkin permits.


normalization is when it doesn't bug you anymore, or at least you just don't care anymore.

I don't think we're there quite yet.

If folks want to yell, I will not stop them. It is, however, exhausting, and I'd rather save my powder for stuff that will actually make a dent.

My wife investigated a town called Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula.

My sister and brother-in-law moved there a year ago (getting away from the California cost of living in retirement). They are loving it. One interesting point: unlike Seattle ("drought" is three days in a row without rain), Sequim is in a rain shadow. It's still temperate rain forest climate, but much less rain that neighboring areas.

Beautiful view across the straight to Victoria, BC, too.

My future home backs up to an impenetrable forest, has a southern orientation with an awesome view of Mt. Olympus

Sequim was in our sights after our couple weeks of hiking the Olympic Peninsula in 1972, and again for a short visit in '74.

As I said to wonkie right here a few days ago, it's my vote for most beautiful place on earth. Okay, most beautiful place I've ever seen.

The offer to write a front post stands and if you'd like to write something, you are welcome to send it to the kitty. But please stop with this 'why aren't you fomenting revolution, what's wrong with you?' It really doesn't serve you well.

You're right of course, lj. And if you'll forgive me one more moment, my comment was meant to point out that ObWi was so fraught with people concerned about Obama's policies - every night was a new adventure of why people thought too many drones, too many defenses of state secrets, too little support for Medicare for All.

If I want to rant and rave, LGM is a good place to do it, and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings here anymore. But, just saying, people are saving their energy for what - when the next Democratic President wins an election, and they can move that person to the left?

In the meantime, of course, it's nice to discuss the weather, and the fruit trees. I like them too, and I'm worried about the snow forecast for Saturday. I had plans for my outdoor caregiving on Sunday, and it might not happen because of the cold.

And, yes, lj, I agree that I shouldn't post another cranky comment here until I get it together to submit a guest post. Maybe I'll do that soon. Thanks,

But, just saying, people are saving their energy for what - when the next Democratic President wins an election, and they can move that person to the left?

The pseudo-disclaimer "just saying" notwithstanding, you have no clue how the rest of us are spending our energy. Neither God nor Obsidian Wings requires us to tell you, because it's none of your business.

Assuming you know what other people are doing and thinking, and then sneering at them for it, is not well known as a way to win friends and influence people.

Assuming you know what other people are doing and thinking, and then sneering at them for it, is not well known as a way to win friends and influence people.

I'm not at all sneering. I just wonder why ObWi isn't about politics anymore. But you're right, it's none of my business that people choose to do whatever they do in other venues.

Peace out.

I just wonder why ObWi isn't about politics anymore.

I'd say that it stil IS about politics to a great extent. It isn't JUST about politics. But then, it never was.

I can't speak for others, but I come here for a respite from reading the stream of depressing news. As well as some insight to how some of these depressing news stories came about, which is why I appreciate links with some explanation.

And while I have some status here (largely from hanging around long enough, my music career was similar, I always felt that I got whatever I got simply by being around longer than anyone else, though there are some people who predate me on this blog) Also to find out what people who are not in the same situation as me (which is admittedly quite different from most, though there was one commenter who knows me in real life, but he's moved over to Crooked Timber) are thinking. That's why I am especially appreciative of the non-USAians who post here, all of you have my deepest gratitude.

wj is spot on, ObWi isn't JUST about politics and it never was.

Of course it’s about politics.

Just not 24/7. Because there is more to life than winning at the ballot box, in Congress, and in court.

For some of us, anyway. Spring is about to spring, and there’s just a whole lot of nature waiting to enrapture us.

whenever i think it's all just too FUBAR to bear, I consider that it hasn't even been 200 years since women had the vote. that in my great-grandparent's lifetimes, people owned other people as slaves, and that resolving that took a horrible war, and then we had to endure another 100 years of systematic nationwide terroristic organized violence before the law caught up.

i consider that school age kids used to work their childhoods away as factory labor. i consider that working people had to go to literal war to get the most basic legal standing to represent themselves in their relationships with their employers.

i consider that in my youth cities and rivers were on fire. i consider that we had a president who lied us into a horrible meritless war, and i'm not talking about bush, and then his successor deliberately extended that war for his own political advantage, at the cost of many thousands of lives.

i consider that my friends tommy and don, and the bobs, and catherine and christine, and the dozen or so other married gay couples i know, would not have been able to be married as recently as ten years ago. those that have kids would likely have lost them. they may have lost their jobs. they would have been subject to harrassment and physical abuse.

i could go on and on.

trump sucks. he himself, his family, his cabinet, and his advisors are by and large a pack of greedy weasels hucksters and creeps. it's politically and socially safe for nazis and white supremacists to walk the streets openly. he american people are preyed upon by smart-ass whiz kids and financial sharks.

we're all at each others throats.

know what? it's been worse.

trump is a zit on the nose of the body politic. he is an epiphenomenon, an eruption of the vile pus that is always just under the surface here.

he's a clown. he doesn't matter. the 60+ million people who voted for him do matter. the 40% of eligible voters who couldn't be bothered to even show up do matter. trump and his crew are just noise.

america is a mixed bag. statue of liberty, and also the KKK. liberty, and also slavery. all men are created equal, and a history of profound white supremacist fascism. the american dream, and for much of our history regular financial panics and endemic poverty. a nation of immigrants, and a nation of jingoistic nationalist know-nothings. this land is your land and my land, because we annihilated an entire people and their culture so we could take it from them.

the author of our most stirring aspirational founding texts kept his dead wife's black slave handmaiden, who was herself the child of an enslaved concubine and her master, as his own personal concubine and slave, and then kept their children - his own children - as his slaves and personal property.

we contain multitudes, said whitman, and he said truer than i think even he knew or intended.

we contain glory and maggots, all wrapped up together.

it takes a lot of hard freaking work to move the ball forward, because there are a hell of a lot of folks who don't want to move the ball at all. they like the ball right where it is.

just keep doing the freaking work, as your time energy and resources allow. eyes on the prize, and members don't get weary.

trump is, frankly, a side show. a noisy and attention-grabbing one, but a side show nonetheless. ignore donald j trump, he does not merit your attention.

don't be distracted. be patient, take care of yourself, have faith, and keep on doing the work you can do.

the world does not belomg to trump, or to people like him.

Russell, that was...epic. Truth.

My hat is off. I am unworthy.

Well, humans are a magnificent, despicable lot.

russell, that is profoundly true (and important, and beautiful).

Thank you, russell.

thanks to you all for your kind words.

also, too, it's been less than 100, not 200, years since women got the vote.

times change, and in general the trend is forward. keep advancing the positive trend. every little bit helps.

in the meantime, take care of yourself and don't forget to smell the flowers. it actually is spring, or as we here in new england call it, "not quite as cold as it was yesterday".

Right arm! I think the biggest contribution I can make to the world is to raise my kids not to be a$$holes. Fnck all the -isms you can think of. Be kind, but don't take any sh1t, either.

(I'm feeling vulgar today. Sorry.)

russell: ignore donald j trump, he does not merit your attention

Alas, DREAMers among others can hardly afford to take that advice.

BTW, "among others" includes federal employees, armed and not. Also people who may not be able to smell the flowers through the stench from the "deregulated" plant upwind.

It's comforting to think most of us are not "among others" -- yet.


Alas, DREAMers among others can hardly afford to take that advice.

This is correct.

I'm trying to find the right balance of staying angry in order to keep up some momentum, and not losing my mind. So far, it's not looking good.

On the other hand, russell is right in the sense that keeping one's sanity makes it possible to find ways to make a bit of difference in ways that we can find to do so. I hold out some hope for the elections, and have more trust in the Democratic agenda than many here have shown over the years. Obviously, we have a serious, and probably long-term problem with people who are rejecting liberal democracy here and all over the world.

I don't understand racism. I mean, none of us are immune, but I don't understand why we don't dislike it in ourselves when we notice it. The environment is something else we (most of us here) care about. Trump is taking us backwards at a crucial time to move forward.

So, no. We can't ignore Trump, although it would be nice to be able to avoid the noise, and focus on work-arounds to the extent that we can.

my point about "ignoring Trump" is that the problem is not Trump. the problem is the 40% of the people in the country who think POTUS Trump is a perfectly fine thing.

unless you're one of those people, in which case the problem is the rest of us.

in any case, I don't see focusing on Trump per se as a particularly productive exercise. he's a performer, he loves the attention. he's a provocateur, and yanking all of our chains is his hobby. if you want a daily dose of outrage, he'll surely provide it. but a daily dose of outrage is gonna wear you the hell out.

don't be trump's monkey. don't play his game, on his turf. focus on the positive stuff you can do.

wrs at 6:41 on the 6th.


As to ice -- I left Maine for Cambridge Monday 4/2 and came back last night (Friday). Past Freeport, where the interstate turns more inland, we started seeing snow. At home, everything was coated in a perfect white frosting maybe 2 inches and just wet enough to stick -- pine trees gorgeous, driveway (plowed by then because some people are obsessive ;-) outlined perfectly, everything as if in a storybook...of Christmas time???

The promised aftermath of rain didn't happen, so the storybook look was still there at dawn, but by late morning the snow was gone from the trees, and by mid-afternoon it was disappearing from the fields as if a torch had been applied -- which indeed it had, in the form of brilliant sunshine. (Coupled with a cold wind....)

The ice on the lake is still one big, well-blanketed-again sheet. But there's a fringe of thinner ice around the edges, and the line from the brook has widened a lot. So I didn't miss ice-off, though I didn't expect to. If I didn't have a sore/infected foot, I would go for a walk and see if the spring peepers are awake yet. If enough of them are, I won't even have to go walking to hear them.

Speaking of frogs, I heard a talk on vernal pools a week or so ago. It wasn't about spring peepers per se, but the biologist who gave the talk referred to the night when her kinds of critters all wake up and start mating as "the big night."

The spring peepers seem to send out a scout -- one night I'll hear just one, up the road by the swampy ponds near the school. The next night they'll all be awake making a racket that's almost deafening if you walk right up to the edge of the water. Frog sex -- right up there with ice-out as a spring festival.

this week, all their trees got their pollen on. it was thick as fog Tuesday AM, and everything was coated in yellow dust until this AM when it finally rained. now the gutters are all yellow and choked with discarded tree blossoms.

today, about a quarter of the tree have small leaves and most of the rest have buds. so the forest is misty green, with black trunks and streaks of bright white and pink where the wild dogwoods and redwoods are blooming.

azaleas are just starting and my yard is full of weeds that make these clumps of tiny light purple flowers.

it's antihistamine season.

Northcentral Texas is on the western edge of the range for a type of tree frog. More than one unfortunate soul has realized that having a tree outside their bedroom window isn't conducive to a good night's sleep.

Amazingly visual and evocative post, cleek. Thank you.

spring has sprung here where i am, snow or no snow.

the finches are getting their breeding color, the snowdrops and crocuses are up, and the forsythia and weeping cherry are budding out.

it's 40 degrees, 30's at night, but new life will out.

the tiny purple flowers are actually "tiny bluets" !

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