Life at the Lake

a diary of living at a small lowland lake


Early moonrise over Lake Ketchum

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and s-integrator


Master Software Architect


Microsoft rules the Internet and most of our home computers. It is a fact, not an opinion. And Bill Gates rules Microsoft. So it is only natural for some of us minions to take issue with the Supreme Commander once in a while.

I've taken a swing at MS Speech Recognition earlier and am about to do so again. I mean, I can't make the damn thing work, no matter how carefully I practice speaking the sample text into my new little microphone. So, in my opinion, it is practically (key word, there) worthless.

So if you can make it work, please contact me and I'll apologize to Big Bill and his staff. and I'll follow your lead and try again.

So, more in a sprit of fun than in any degree of hope for successful accomplishment, I decided to try Word Speech on a bit of Chaucer. I mean, if it doesn't work with Contemporary Me, maybe it needs something a more tested and traditional. (Yeah.)

Remember The Prologue to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales? If you know any Chaucer at all, you'll remember the bit that starts,

Here Bygynneth the Book of the Tales of Caunterbury
han that Aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
{So priketh hem nature in hir corages};
Than longen folk to goon on pilgimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.

Okay, you dig?

So I spoke the words in my best Middle English into the mike, and this is what came out:

As a freshman from the general prologue to toss for Canterbury tales one of the proliferation of this sort of the four of the law to have some trouble, and David of having such a quick trip to the stand for one year of use and what was right, 5/2 in an article in the ?as we all have so often around his health: that?s all well as that. It?s a good idea so far have been shot, shows that all four state: down from the launch had problems for the sake of strong as strong as for all of its more than 601 and a specific provisions of the union and to have about a farewell to this whole thing is to live for the sake of the old one that they?ve said they felt that did not say what they sell for two to one)>when you how long should have a full day of all, she did that come into the bowels of the of what did they put it in, and also for LAN says: her share of the window that four out of a right to . . . .
Not so great, is it?

I thought I might be at fault, so I tried again, speaking ever more carefully. The result?

Habitat of all of the tale of intent of the one of the parole officials of the back door of the law to have to file an affidavit saying this is the effect the same time as the winds of goods with his wife of a visit by a bit of a hole that have had profits of the oldest of the hospital from his house for sale is one of those taken of the things that have all the so-Déjà vu, shows that long before that will have to show The back of human heart of the right of the. . . 

And there I gave up.

Wouldn't you have?

(More on this treacherous subject anon.)

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My small lowland lake


Is it too early to think about trout? Water too cold to catch one?
This was the nature of my thinking about a week ago. I took the temperature on Thursday and found it to be 44 degrees F.

Nearly a year ago, on March 6 (my dead Father's birthday), it just happened to be, I put out a bait off my dock and caught a nice rainbow. I didn't take the temperature, that day. Suffice it for me that the trout consented to hit, get played out, and be set free. The season had begun.

This year, February 20, I bothered to take the temperature first. Nice day, with a warm sun beating lightly down, the water temp was about what I had guessed it to be. And I was rewarded in my impetuousness by a fine 11-inch rainbow. It didn't fight much, though. Too cold an environment, I guess.

It is my practice to catch one fish, then quit for the day. (Unless there are special circumstances, you understand, and often there are.) Next day, and a bit longer wait, another trout of about the same size. And the following day another—this one a good fighter, a couple of inches longer, and a jumper. (They don't call them rainbows for nothing.) The fourth day, another, bigger one yet and no sluggard.

Yesterday was so windy, the lake laced with whitecaps, I did not fish. I am due for some failures and did not want that windlapped lake to so easily provide me with one.

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A field of snows


Yesterday, on our morning two-mile walk with the dogs, we heard a tremendous chattering—almost a roar. Its source was out of sight, but we instantly recognized it as coming from a huge flock of snow geese, perhaps several thousand.

We looked to the sky, but it was empty of all except for a few wispy clouds. The roar continued. It came from the fields along Pioneer Highway, which are adjacent to the mouth of the South Fork of the Skagit river and comprise a vast delta. So we had to use our imaginations.

Last year about this time, when the big migration to the North was underway, the sky was filled with the geese. Too many to count. This year we waited for them to take wing and finally gave up waiting and continued on with our walk.

Later, Norma drove into Mt. Vernon for some shopping and saw many cars pulled off onto the shoulder, many people from them wielding binoculars and spotting scopes. Cameras, too.

They were watching the fields clotted with snows. Aptly named, they will be gone in a few days, and the fields and skies will be barren again.

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Selected portion of the picture shown in Blog 272. Note the trees (alders) sloughing down the bank from the sandy area near the top. This will continue, up and down the slide, until bedrock is reached—perhaps miles to the Northwest


Originally—long before any living body's memory—the slide was less than half this size. Now it is twenty or thirty times this big. What happened? Well, it was a gradual unraveling, caused by water leeching over the top of the hillside—where unstable soils in the form of blue clay and sand deposits from the time of the receding glaciers—provided an ideal situation for massive earth-wasting events, commonly called landslides. And of course winter floods added to the likelihood of a major slide.

In the mid-Sixties, a dedicated year-round steelhead fisher, my partner and I headed for the Oso water on a mild Saturday morning. We crossed the bridge at Cicero and saw the river was very low—at mid-summer level. Odd, that.

We thought no more about it until informed later of what had happened. A huge landslide had taken place at Steelhead Haven, near Hazel, and the river had been blocked for minutes or a few hours. Then the dammed river's force hand broken through the earthen barrier and the river had formed a new channel to the South, tearing up some small summer cabins and shacks, and leaving some of them unreachable on the North side of the river.

Much debris came drifting down the river while Ed and I tried to fish it, amid the increasing gray of the water. Finally we quit. Later we read in the Seattle papers about the slide and, next day, or next weekend (I don't remember which) we drove to within a long walk of the river, and there we privately viewed the devastation.

What a mess. Only that "mess" was to increase many times over the coming four decades.

Other causes contributed, too. Gradually some of the river's five species of salmon and early and late runs of winter steelhead became greatly diminished. Hit particularly hard were the vital summer Chinook salmon. These were important to both commercial white and tribal fishers. But they were vital to the health of the river itself.

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