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Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 2015

Easter gave us a 4-day weekend.  Racin came over and we spent some time on photography and getting my old boat out of mothballs.  The weather was nice and the dogs stayed outside a lot.  Savannah came over for Easter lunch and brought her German Shepherd puppy Max.  Isabel played with him very nicely after a brief re-acquaintance period.

We'd been having problems with the oven.  It would not turn off unless we unplugged it, so Stacey took the Easter food down to the at-that-time vacant Jamison apartment to cook.  She needed the stovetop at home so I plugged in the range before Racin and I went out for a photo expedition.  She called as we were returning.  Apparently, the oven had turned on as soon as I'd plugged it in, filling the house with smoke.  We ventilated the house and unplugged it again.  Replacing the circuit board later fixed it.

We had a nice weekend camping at Wakonda State Park for our anniversary.  We got into the upper campground this time, which has big camp sites right on the water.  The fishing wasn't that great, but all the dogs got swimming lessons.  The Sisters of Chaos did very well, swimming out into the shallows for treats.  Gretchen did her usual act of attacking the lake, and Miss Kitty refused to get in.  All but Kitty also got kayak rides, which they apparently enjoyed.

I went fishing out at Lowell's mostly to collect enough fish to stock my future pond.  The bite was red hot, with the crappie and bluegill hitting hard on plastic grubs.  I called Racin to come out and join us.   We put about 20 bluegills and 10 bass in my pond, while Lowell kept the crappie for a future fish fry.  We returned two days later and the bite was still good.  We were using live bait, and some of the bluegills were deeply hooked and had to be filleted.  Lowell feeds the fish in this pond, mostly for the catfish, but the bluegills also benefit, and have grown quite large.

I went morel hunting three or four times out at Lowell's, and visited the spots that had produced really well in the past. I came up empty every time, except for one false morel that I left right there.  I want to train one of the dogs to hunt mushrooms, but I needed a mushroom to train her with.  Fortunately, one of my students obtained several and gave me one.  Lessons have commenced. I've never trained a dog to scent before, so this should be an adventure.  Too bad I have to wait a year to try her out.  I have been training Isabel to jump for awhile.  I had Racin shoot some photos as I had her jumping outside.  She sure is nimble.

We had a Dog Day at QU, with area law enforcement agencies bringing their K9 units to demonstrate drug sniffing, article search, and bitework.  I love that word: bitework.  The guy in the bite suit was a big dude, but the dogs still got to him, even through the suit.  He had bruises and broken skin on his upper arm.  It was a fun event.  I learned a lot and got some good photographs.

I've had a glorious time in Vertebrate Field Biology.  We've seen a lot of species this semester, and there's been a surprise 'bonus bird' at almost every location.  We've seen more warblers than probably any previous class, including the Northern Parula, a life bird for me.  I took a couple of my students to do stream team.  It was warm, but we found a lot of bugs in the stream.  It was a good afternoon out.

In other news: Savannah and Josh have gotten a second dog, another German Shepherd Puppy.  There are only two weeks left in the semester.

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