When I was much younger I thought about becoming a writer. But I realized that if I had in mind to write about everything that I experienced it would be like a huge version of “Kiss and Tell”. Not wanting to contaminate my life with ulterior motives, I backed off from writing hoping some day to be older and know something. Well, now I am older and every time I think I know something, I’m sure that there is a lot more to learn. One thing I am certain of is that if I don’t write stuff down at least for myself, it fades into a blur. With that in mind, I am recounting things that I did write down for the “record”. In keeping with the blur theme, I won’t dwell on them.
- It was a colder-than-usual winter and that seems to have carried over into the spring. One odd advantage was that I was able to get close-up pictures of snowflakes and learn more about them.
- A tough lesson was that circuit breakers wear out after 25 years. Water heaters in the office started to trip the main breaker more and more often, leaving the whole office without power and me with fewer hot showers until I figured that out.
- There are a lot of taxes and related reports for businesses in general and wineries in particular. The clincher was that the annual IRS Income Tax software that I use stopped working on Windows 7. I ended up buying a whole new laptop mostly to support newer software.
- I finally assembled all the articles I wrote on regenerative agriculture into one book, Nurturing Abundance. Of course now the trick is to keep updating it as I write new stuff. Full disclosure, I’m behind on that now.
- Cheryl convinced me to get hearing aids. That also involved removing ear wax first and getting a replacement hearing aid after I lost one removing a face mask in a parking lot and didn’t realize it until too late.
- There is a tremendous amount of real estate activity in Kootenai County, Idaho. Realtors there ordered a folding map of the county that includes two big metropolitan areas, Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls. I did not have mapping data for either one but now I do and have been working on that map for months.
- The Panorama Gem and Mineral Club held its first in-person annual Rock Show in a couple of years this spring. It was a big financial success for Map Metrics and geologic atlases, but hard on my voice and throat, taking weeks of recovery.
- With the snow finally gone, the Heritage Network is holding in-person meetings. In my position as president and head of the project to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the establishment of Hudson’s Bay Fort Colvile, THN is taking up a lot of time. It also has led to some life changing lessons. I encourage you to read my article about the culture wars that this involves, A River People.
The vineyard demands a lot of attention in the spring, first pruning last year’s canes, which also involves shredding them and adding to the compost pile. It also ushers in a need to root hundreds of cuttings for the Northeastern Washington Grape plant business.
As the cuttings get roots, they need potting soil made mostly from compost. Compost is also being spread in the vineyard to replenish the soil there. Making and spreading compost will go on until the snow falls again.
My daughter, April, invited me to be a judge at the science fair she manages teaching science at the Curlew School. That was fun and I eventually wrote another article about citizen science which included lessons from the fair, How Sweet It Is.
Another spring event is the return of making biochar. I made some with snow still on the ground for my own use. But orders are backlogged now for substantial amounts. It takes parts of 3 days to make a batch; one to get the wood; another to start aerobic compost tea going and doing the actual burn; a third to inoculate it with the compost tea, shred and bag it.
We did get to party a little; went to a Santana concert in Spokane on April 3rd and the next day went to combined birthday parties for daughter April and grandson James.
Speaking of family, we got to meet with my sister Anita and her friend, Francie, as they did a fast road trip through Northeast Washington, signaling an end to the lockdown.
The rock club has a lot of new members. So I volunteered to give a presentation on many of the places we went to collect rocks in years past. I also wrote an article on Earths Treasures for other local rockhounds.
- Cheryl has plants growing under lights in the house. It may stop frosting at night by the middle of May. That will usher in even more spring chores.
- There were a lot of repairs and maintenance along the way to keep these things going; new headlight bulbs for my car; continuing printer repairs and replacements; computer backups and restorations; and some more maintenance for Cheryl’s back.
Enough already. It’s not like we don’t have anything to do.