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summer solstice – this year’s longest day

Today is the summer solstice. Celebrate it. Go dance in the sunshine… Or walk… Or play… We are in it, but few know, having been disconnected from nature and the real world. For most of human existence, people knew seasonal cycles from direct experience. They paid attention because summer, winter, spring and fall mattered. Today experts tell them what they need to know, there’s an app for that covers much of their research, and food comes from grocery stores completely disconnected in their minds from farmers, agriculture, seasons and shipping technologies. In our location, today is the longest day of the year. Tonight is the shortest night of the year. The sun will not set over The North Pole […]

Bitterroot Mother’s Day Tour

Long on my ‘should do’ agenda was to take the old road from Darby to Hamilton. The ONLY route before the “new” highway 93 replaced it… with a primary north-south artery that at several points is lower than the 100-year flood plane. I wanted to familiarize us with the alternate route if that 100-year-flood ever happened our way. Better still, it was a calm, beautiful trip. See for yourself. Oh, but if you are considering relocating from any USofA socialist population center, be warned that the winters here are brutally cold, snow shoveling is overwhelming, the growing season is too short for radishes, throughout the summers forest fires take out most of the homes, make the air completely unbreathable for […]

planting moon

The moon over the Idaho Territory will be full on Thursday, March 7th. Bob Cannard, my organic gardening mentor encouraged us to plant on every full moon. He did not touch on whether or not he believed it cosmically favored the plants themselves. His expressed reasoning was that it organized us to do regular plantings whether that was seeds, starts, bare-root, or transplants. Get something started every full moon and you will always have a good garden. From long before there were computers, televisions and electric lights, people on nature-driven cycles have called the first full moon of May, “The Planting Moon”. Whereas in some environments planting and growing year-round is possible, here our growing season is short, but […]

honeydew

I enjoy my carnivorous plants a heckuva lot more than flypaper, to understate more than a little. The wonderful folks at California Carnivores provide insect control for me year after year. My honeydew from a couple years ago is still among the living – and presumably happy campers in my home. Officially known as drosera capensis, my honeydew is highly photogenic and wonderful for keeping little flying insects in check. Peter D’Amato, founder and principle at California Carnivores told me the little dewdrops at the end of the leaf hairs are ounce-for-ounce the stickiest substance known to man. Once an insect lands on one of these leaves it’s stuck. The leaf then curls up around, and digests the insect parts […]

pink super moon shot

At 0400 hours (4:00 AM) this morning Scooter (aka: Beagle Brain, BLAB – Beagle Lab cross) bugged me to let her go outside. Experience has taught me to honor those requests. I saw this big, fat moon and remembered this was the night of this year’s largest super moon. So I shot it. I fetched my trusty Canon SX740HS camera with image stabilization and 40x zoom to take a couple of moon shots. It is pretty hard to hold a steady sight picture with a palm-sized camera, on an object 224,865 miles away, moving at a speed of 2,288 miles per hour, during the day. Harder still in the middle of the night when I would just as soon […]

March 19th is the Spring Equinox

Let’s celebrate … let’s make today somehow memorable. Your wall calendars and media might call today “first day of spring” or some other trivializing phrase, as if it is a meaningless Hallmark holiday. Do not confuse it with other fabricated events on your pre-printed calendar. Mankind has paid attention to solstices and equinoxes throughout our history. The days have been getting longer since the winter solstice, and will continue growing until the summer solstice June 21st. Wednesday is exactly half-way in between. It defines the shift from snow-cold-snow-cold to robins, flowers, butterflies and shedding jackets during the day. Pessimists say The Bitterroot has three seasons: snow, flood and smoke. I suppose we had better broadcast it like that lest we […]

playing in the mud

Sean called his Darby Adult Ed class “Mud Made Mankind”. He gave us a wonderful introduction to working with clay, glazes, potter’s wheel and much more. We found ways to mold clay that didn’t work. We found ways that did. He was a wonderful teacher, cheerleader and assistant. I entered the class with a specific project in mind. I didn’t care if was the only creation I made, but I was focused on getting this one done. As you can see here, we pulled it off… and I do mean WE … Sean was a big help in many ways. I have a carnivorous pitcher plant that seems to like its home, rewarding me with a fly-free laundry room […]

Spring full moon

My organic gardening mentor encouraged us to plant on every full moon. Not so much that it favored the plants themselves, but because it organized us to do regular plantings whether that was seeds, bare-root, or transplants. Get something started every full moon and you will always have a good garden. In Montana that assumes you have a greenhouse. We simply have too much winter cold to allow year-round outdoor plantings. What a blessed place I grew up in where we could. Lovely Nature was unfortunately taken over by lazy minds. Today, March 9th is a full moon. That is my trigger to consider planting something. Other signals from nature: The little budgies have returned to our neighborhood. The glaciers […]

getting lost in the woods

I share this article, following with my comments. California couple who vanished for nearly a week found alive from commanderzero.com You know, stereotypes are not always accurate…but…they save time and the exist for a reason. Part of me wants to say that this is a case of ‘academics’ who know their way around a college campus but have a total disconnect from the real world and it’s real world consequences. INVERNESS, Calif. (AP) — An academic couple who got lost during a Valentine’s Day hike in the woods of Northern California was found Saturday by rescuers who spent almost a week looking for them and had given up hopes of finding them alive. Carol Kiparsky, 77, and Ian Irwin, 72, […]

flood warning

This epic snow will go somewhere when it melts. Are the ‘somewheres’ in your area going to handle that easily or should you be making plans for flooding? As I mentioned in The Blizzard of ’19 last month, this unnatural heavy snow is setting us up for a special spring melt season. Here in The Bitterroot we stand at 143% of a normal water year. That is one piece of the flooding risk matrix. There is a large potential flow for our river. The threat gets REAL when warm rains bring the snow down in too big of a hurry for the river banks to contain. ——– the KPAX article warns ——– Ravalli County residents urged to prepare for […]

Blizzard of ’19

This one is epic … quite unnatural, but the results have to be dealt with regardless of instigation. I am running the old body near its edges, but feeling quite grateful and a bit smug over having the tools necessary to handle the situation. Eighteen to twenty inches … I will let the photos and video clip from today tell the rest of the story. carving a path to the shop […]

somebody moved Darby to Grangeville when I wasn’t looking

I haven’t dealt with snow at this level since I lived on the wet side of the Bitterroot Mountain Range. As wet air moves east into mountain ranges that make it go up the moisture is wrung out of it. That is meteoroligical fact from a century of experience. The west sides of the Sierras, Wasach and Bitterroots have all shown me this in real life, real time. Thus no real surprise a dozen years ago when I had to shovel 8 to 12 inches of snow off my sidewalk and driveway in Grangeville, Idaho, at the foot of the mountians dividing north Idaho from Montana. At a youthful 58 years old, removing 12 inches of snow on my sidewalks […]