Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Thrush Day '17

We have not heard the call of a Swainson's Thrush yet, but one has been seen a few times today as it visited our holly-tree. The talented little bird hovers briefly as it snatches berries from the branch before darting in for a perch.

From www.allaboutbirds.org


Last year the thrush was first heard on 5/18, so it's right on time this year! Given the cold and wet seasons we've had, the thrush's timely arrival is very impressive; I had expected a delay. So much for that!

Update, 5.17
Sitting outside at 8pm, listening to the b'wit? and whi-burrr thrush chants. No spiraling song at this point, but warmer weather is coming; perhaps sunshine will do the trick.


May 18th is yet again our date for the first full thrush-call!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Spring, apparently

We've reached 65 degrees at last. In fact we hit 70 in a tropical airmass followed by several bouts of thunder - and it's 55 again. More nice weather is coming soon, and many plants have responded. Snow season was amazing..but it is naive to move on.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

more wet days

We finally hit 65° on the hill-top (Portland too) on Friday - but heavy showers today render it a near-mythical memory already. I had figured that next week would produce another above-normal month here - but I did not see with the science-geek eyes of uWa professor Cliff Mass. His link below notes a pending atmospheric river with several unusual features, coming soon to a coastline near us: it's wide, moving fast and of Filipino origins. This is not a typical time of year for such things anyway, so it's both impressive & depressing to see more grey and wet days ahead.




Friday, April 21, 2017

first mowing of '17

A single beautiful day broke through the clouds today, and we reached 65° for the first time. Portland had not hit 65 before today either, which broke a long-standing record for the latest to reach that temperature! I did not get a chance to relax thoroughly in it, but I did get to sit on our large, loud mower and get the level areas mowed. The tires slipped when attempting a hill but I managed it once I learned to lean over the slipping wheel. It's no surprise I would slip, as over half the lawn is in fact moss.. but in the end the place looks much better.

I hate using my cell-phone camera, but it did a decent job of the late-day sun on our local volcano. No blooms on this particular rhododendron, but others are beginning to blush.

And now, back into the showers. April will probably reach its normal amount of rain, like every month except January.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

regaining contact

Our cell phones have been almost useless this past year. Our home is quite remote, so it's no great surprise - yet the degraded signal is a problem.  Both calls and texts have been missed, and some text replies arrive a day too late to be of much value.

We recently picked up a signal booster, in our case a WeBoost 3G device for residential use. First tests were not great, but eventually I rigged up a test-spot with a consistently decent signal. Today I crawled under the house and rerouted a coaxial cable that once went to a satellite dish. I pulled it to the other side of the house where cell towers are most prevalent, and mounted the antenna high on the side of our home. Once the inside antenna was set up, both our signals​ was pretty much at maximum strength!

So we have improved from a home where two indoor spots gave us occasional signals to excellent reception in several rooms and our deck as well. Much better!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

damp days

Numerous sites around us have already reached their water-year totals for 2017. Put another way, if it stops raining now we would still be above normal in September! Our site agrees with this as we are 3" above our computed Oct-Sep average right now, and another inch should fall through tomorrow. Quite amazing, and difficult to bear - even for the Pacific NW this has been an exceptionally cloudy stretch of months.

If you're seeking geekier details with charts and stats, the CliffMass blog is where you should be!

Our season has turned, however, with crocus daffodils and our first hummingbird sighting. The days are longer, though still wet and grey. You can watch it rain longer with the extra daylight though, and no doubt the rain-drops are a bit warmer.

 This too shall pass!

4/20 update:
from fox12 weather 'blog,  speaking for Portland:
"WE’VE NEVER GONE THIS FAR INTO THE SPRING SEASON WITHOUT HITTING 65 DEGREES."
Ouch/brr..

Saturday, February 18, 2017

memories of March

We have now gone a few weeks with no snow; however next week's forecast is now hinting at a little bit more, later in the week. Of course it would be forecast for the day of an appointment that has been cancelled twice by snow.. we shall see about that! They are only expecting 1" but that's what 'they' always say at first.

I recall several late-season snows in Portland that painted the West Hills white - and since we live at 750' those would now be us. Even mid-March photos from my office showed snows just a few hundred feet above my fifth-floor perch! It's therefore prudent to be prepared for a last, brief burst of white in the coming few weeks.

We now have modern cleats for all four wheels of the SportTrac. That will not keep us from slipping sideways off our own driveway, but it's handy once off the steepest part. The Fiat has also shown its worth this cold season, enduring many trips that it should not have been forced to take.


Some day soon we can begin planting our garden, basking on the porch, and looking at the winter of 2016/17 as a distant memory. 
Not yet.