Bob Spiwak Monkey MazamaBy Bob Spiwak

It is another freezing, foggy Monday morning. The “wintry mix” predicted has not shown up at ground level, but about 300 feet up on Grizzly Mountain it is all white from residual snow and fresh, heavy, cotton candy frost on the pines. With the attendant humidity it feels much like an ordinary winter back on the other coast.

Last week we gave some snow statistics for a few years past here at West Boesel. I could not find records for a year ago but in swamping around my “office” the other day I came across 2012’s interesting information. The snow arrived on Jan. 17 on the heels of minus 2 degrees, bringing with it a 21-degree temperature rise. Snow continued daily for the next five days, virtually non-stop, enough to have made myself a note that I was on the tractor plowing two places for four consecutive hours on Jan. 14. And aside from the snow, on Jan. 22 we recorded the first temperature over freezing in 10 weeks — 32.3 degrees.

Checking out the wood supply last week, it appeared that we could well run out before shutting down the stove that heats us, as well as cooking potatoes and turkeys in its belly. Luckily, Ned Hawks had a hole in his schedule and dropped a load off over the weekend. We like it in smaller-than-usual pieces and now it’ll be back to the splitter to make two pieces of firewood out of each single chunk.

Unfortunately, we were not able to make it to the program at North Cascades Basecamp last Thursday, where Alexis Billings of Missoula was giving a talk and demonstration of the language of Steller’s jays. She had set up working areas in several places in the upper valley and ours was one of these. Unlike decades past, there was a short supply of the birds here and elsewhere, but she was able to use electronic jay calls and record the birds’ responses. Notable also was a smaller population of just about every other variety of wild bird and beast, from squirrels to cougar tracks. Alexis will be back, probably next year.

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Frost and snow dusted Grizzly Mountain. Photo by Bob Spiwak

Pat and Jerry Sloan have been our neighbors for at least a quarter century, and sorry to say, they have moved to Omak. It was time, they decided, to avail themselves of suburban living, closer to medical and commercial delights. We already miss them.

Get out your March calendar and reserve March 19 for a “house concert” featuring the Horse Crazy Cowgirl Band, beginning at
7 p.m. at the Edelweiss home of Don and June Fitzpatrick. Tickets are $15 and reservations are required. Call June at 996-2071 to reserve your spots.

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