Wednesday, August 26, 2015

One more look at the summer that was, 2015

It is August 26, and in many ways one asks what happened to summer.  Yes, I still have my co-ed nude volleyball tournament in 10 days, which this year I am more running than playing although I will play, somebody needs to run it.  It seems I didn't do anything all summer until I look at it closer.

May 29-June 1st

We bid our son Allwin goodbye and took him to the airport for his summer in Vienna doing research. After a fun weekend in E. Bethel, I chased a bird to southern Arizona for three days on a lark, well more on a flycatcher

I saw the tufted flycatcher

I saw a red-faced warbler

I added four life birds, met a new friend, and said hi to a couple of other friends.

Mid-late June

In 2015, since I'm doing a big year in 2016, I decided to do two fishing trips to Smoothrock Lake Ontario, one with the family and one with the "guys".

Lauren caught the biggest pike...of her life 44.5 inches 25 lbs and then a photo releasing it

I caught a 27 inch walleye

we had fun and even saw a bear really close

On nice days, Olaf was being Olaf

I desperately needed a tan that month.  We did everything you do on fishing trips including cookouts, and seeing the sights

My parents even were with

July 11, Minnesota Nude Wedding

I officiated a nude wedding on July 11 for a couple named Bob and Ann.  It was a large affiar and a fun party.  Pastor Olaf was in his usual form

July 13-25

Glacier National Park-beyond

We dropped off our daughter at Swedish Language camp and headed west to recreate our honeymoon, since this was our 25th anniversary.

We stopped to see a rock effigy in NW North Dakota that is a 9 on the rock art meter.

Silja got car sick on the roads.  The day started off romantic that is for sure.  What could I do to make it better?  Nothing says romance better than this camping spot near Chester MT in the literal middle of nowhere filled with nothingness and biting flies...oh the lust filled nights such a place can create...or not

We got to Glacier the next day and it looked just like we remembered it, well, less traffic and it seemed more majestic....maybe 100 trips ago it was that ...IDK.  It was a big traffic jam this time.

We searched for a bird and only found Hoary marmots and bighorn sheep...

The marmot was an old pal because its silly ancestor stole my shoe while on our honeymoon, the shoe's owner was preoccupied on a mountain pass doing married things during this larceny.....I'll say no more ...little thief.  Okay we have never been that shy about things.

I finally found the black swift nest (lifer #709)  in the middle of the monsoon so no pics, hard to believe that 2 miles from where it had rained everyday for a month, they had a huge forest fire causing mass evacuations.  Luckily we stayed on the wet side..(so wet I thought I had mold on my bum)..I saw the center of varied thrushes in Montana about 50 feet from our tent site at Avalanche Creek.

And we went to Kintla Lake to avoid the rain and the fires, it is gorgeous over there

We did hike the McDonald Creek area a little and saw some birds and scenery:

We also found the usual instructive signs so I wouldn't be run over on any bridge, I like helpful signs

We headed off to Washington state by way of the National Bison Range where we saw Buffalo, antelope and lewis's woodpeckers and Lazuli Buntings.  This is an overlooked spot and is way cool.

After 2 nights at a clothing optional ranch north of Spokane, Silja and I showed up at my birding pal Thor Manson's place in British Columbia.  The intrepid Thor, trying to find us a flamulated owl but they had vacated the nest boxes for the year.

Thor is my hero and I sure wish I had a school principal like him.    I keep telling Thor he is my hero and his wife, Joan, a saint, not sure he believes me or not on this point.  I want to retire and be just like him.  Thor is conservative and liberal at the same time.  He is SO Canadian!  He lives in the gorgeous Okanagon Valley in British Columbia, it seems like the south of France especially with all the wineries, we spent a day drinking..oh I mean tasting.

We are like fish, like fish...guests start to stink after 3 days so being a pike fisherman who stink more quickly than others, we decided we should go ans so we left Thor after 2 days....

We had big plans to see Crow's Nest Pass (Silja was sleeping); Lethbridge AB (I picked up a nail in a tire and got suspicious of Canadian Tire's help......Saskatchewan, more rock art, nobody goes to see

anymore and after too many tire pumping episodes like the one above on dirt roads in southern Alberta, we had to go down to Havre MT to get tire fixed all the while the Havre Tire people cursed the Canucks, "Damn Canucks!"  They'd say as trying to clean up the green goop placed in the tire.  I have already bought extra tires for the big year.

We headed east and I found some good birding spots near Glasgow MT, this McCown's Longspur was a highlight

Then we visited the Petrified Wood Park in Lemmon SD just after we learned poor Lauren was in the ER at camp.....she took ill but despite a car of tears we didn't go get her, she toughed it out

It was a good trip, all in all, I got more pictures than the last trip to Glacier...?

August 4-12 The Guys fishing trip

The trip started typically as a disaster when I was notified by Jeff Rapp the night before that his passport had expired.  Later I noted my truck's drums were shot, and the front end lurched every time I touched the brakes.   But heck we went anyways and Jeff even got his passport despite snafu's.  We had a terrible storm, much worse than last year's when I was stranded on an island with Quakers (not naked Quakers).  This year we watched 2 inch hail and 7 inches of rain in an hour hit the camp from the safety of a cabin.  We caught lots of walleyes despite this and our boat landed 301 pike...yes 301 pike. (last year was 352 pike)  Size was down but I still caught the biggest pike again,  well I tied at 37" but won a share of title for third year in row to win half the pot.  My boat has it now for 7/8 years.  With Greg and I splitting our championships.  Some pictures from Ontario II

Sija floated the grand canyon when I was in Canada with a couple from Virginia we know and had a good time.

I got 2 novels published and out to Amazon this summer after I spent May tracking down the rights to the picture for the cover of Sjofn later on which is below.  This is without a doubt my favorite picture I have seen.  It will grace the cover of Sjofn, the goddess of love.  That novel needs more editing.

The Collective

The Windigo

I'm trying to get all of my books including Sjofn and The Enumerator done by the end of this year so I can worry about the big year only.  

This is not to say anyone will read them but I think they are entertaining and if nothing else, my kids and grandkids can remember me by reading what craziness is in my head.  You know I have written 9 novels and one adventure book and got six of them published and my adventure book.

I was happy to have my daughter proof two of my novels this summer, she is the reading machine.

Tyko and Allwin

Well as I said, Allwin went to Austria and about got deprted for the having the wrong visa but is still doing well, Tyko spent summer being a Swedish language camp counselor in Bemidji MN.  He stayed with grandmother Lucille when we were in Canada and bought a bicycle.

We all were at the cabin Intermittently on Enemy Swim Lake.

I wrote an article for the South Dakota Bird Notes Magazine on Say's Phoebes one evening while watching the sunset, this sunset.......... not sure if it was accepted.

 I have the easternmost breeding population in the US of Say's phoebes
 I tired to make a land deal to enlarge our property but alas no, he wanted more than the value of our cabin and it included just a hill, not even anyadded water access.  One can't have enough property but also owning non-productive property is a money trap

What else did we do...

We added two new paintings to our collection this summer, and one bronze, this Arno Breker bronze is impressive

The two Marcel Rene Herrfeldt oils, I needed to reframe both of them.  I am certainly the largest Herrfeldt collector on this side of the ocean.

By and large though, the art auction scene sucked.

Silja tried her hand at gardening and well, we got a pepper, two watermelons, and lots of tomatoes, now what to do with so many tomatoes.

We visited sisters, buried a brother-in-law, were happy to see my grandmother doing better, went to a naked retirement party, went birding, played a little nude volleyball, had a company golf outing and mostly....mowed the lawn, it was a wet coolish summer and the grass never stopped growing.

I saw my first jackrabbit of the year in August and he looked well fed.

We fixed a roof, drank some good wine, went out to eat with friends, played with the dog, hugged cats, and well hugged our children who are growing up....It was a longer summer than I could imagine, I'm tired just writing about it.  

I was only in 8 states and 3 Canadian provinces, and only two countries but it seemed like we were all over.  Silja had another state to her list, Nevada for nine one more than I did since Memorial Day.  My year bird count is 516 species in ABAdom, which isn't that bad and I could put together a 700 year if I went for it for the next 2 months with all the places I've been this year but a 700 year is not just my goal. 

Oh is over now and here are just the memories.

So what did you do?



  1. Just a quick question, your picture from MT that you labeled as a longspur is actually a first-year Horned Lark. Did you post the wrong one by mistake? I like your writing, so I think I'll follow this big year...

    1. wrong photo, acutually, fixed it, I uploaded too many photos on that blog and was just figuring it out, thanks, the previous one was not taken in Glasgow, it was 60 miles west of Havre


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