Tuesday, March 21, 2017
One of the annual "things I love about spring" involves playing with water and pretending I'm a hydraulic engineer. There's a certain satisfaction in bashing ice into smaller chunks and using a shovel to reroute standing water toward temporary spillways, allowing it to flow away.
It's especially satisfying to come back an hour or so later and to see that those efforts have made a difference.
We have the biggest lake ever in the doggie playground, so big, in fact, that yesterday a pair of mallard ducks decided to claim it as their own.
Since then, the instant any humans or dogs are detected coming down the lane, intense quacking and rapid launch-off begins.
After hearing about our temporary lake in a phone conversation last night, Annie suggested last night that we get the canoe out and do a little rowing. Not a bad idea.
At our other place, we enjoyed a few days each spring, taking short canoe trips in a little pond south of the driveway. I also enjoyed taking peanuts out every day and feeding the ducks. For one whole season, we had a Mama Duck who would show up from far across the field, along with her babies, as soon as she heard me call out, "Mama Duck . . . Mama Duck."
We probably won't take the time to partially tame these ducks, and I'm hoping the lake disappears sooner rather than later.
Yesterday morning it was still partially frozen, which did not turn out so good for Liam when his ball went bouncing off across the thin coat of ice. I walked down the lane just in time to see Liam fall through the ice into what had to be some cold, cold water.
I think the incident scared him, but it did not deter him from trying to figure out how to get that ball. Mom helped him out, taking one of pieces of metal pipe we've been using to unclog the culvert.
I was able to reach far enough with the pipe to send the ball into the water, and it soon floated Liam's way.
This morning, thanks to above freezing temperatures overnight, the ice is gone from the lake, but we've got more rain coming. It's looking pretty ugly out my window toward Schweitzer.
At least we had a nice day to start spring. I took a short drive through Oden farm country and along HWY 200 eventually stopping for a lakeshore walk around the Trestle Creek Recreation area.
Had the whole place to myself and was feeling pretty good about walking wherever I wished without sinking into snow.
While walking back to my car, another vehicle pulled into the area. The driver got out, headed for the back of his pickup, pulled out a backpack and later some fishing poles.
We enjoyed a brief conversation as he was about to head off to an area along the shoreline, hoping to maybe hook onto a Kamloops.
Turns out he's a Minnesota transplant and a kayak fisherman. Rocky Olson and his son also produce a monthly podcast on their website called www.wildedgeoutdoors.com.
I've tried to reach the site but, unfortunately, have not yet been successful. Hoping that will change because they advertise it on Facebook. If you're interested in outdoor topics, give it a listen.
Twas fun meeting Rocky. He went on his way, and I, mine, which included a couple of stops along the Pack River Flats where thousands of duck, geese and swans are noisily enjoying springtime.
So, it was a nice way to start the new season. Naturally, like everyone, I'd like to see the precipitation and wintry relapses stop for a while. But we take what we can get.
We'll simply March on, like the ZAGS this Thursday, hoping for the best.