Snettisham 2023 - 6: Solitude
August 18 - 24



First day's catch

Photo Album

I've just spent a considerable amount of time on my very difficult Mongolian puzzle, one that I started last year--or was it the year before?--and which has been sitting on top of the refrigerator waiting for me to be down here alone and with enough time to work on it. Oh, and when I had enough light! Today after lunch I installed a second DC LED light in the lodge, this one above the card table by the window, my favored puzzling area but, like the rest of the lodge, not quite bright enough. The installation went reasonably well, though I had to loosen the screw on the bottom of the wall bracket and brace it out in order for the fixture hole to meet the bracket hole due to the bracket occupying the seam between wall panels and the presence of wires sticking out from behind it. I laid the wires down the wall and along the floor to the battery, and then the hard part started--attaching the battery connectors. I'd bought a small portable vice for just this purpose and set it up inside on a sawhorse. A few turns in, however, and I was stymied with only a small dent in the connector. I wound up making about five trips to the shed, first for gloves (that gave me another turn or so) and then for various tools to increase my torque. I wanted to simply extend the handle, but could find nothing that would work, so wound up using a pipe wrench which had a hole through the end of its handle that I could use to lever it up. I bent the handle a little doing this, but eventually managed to crimp the connector down over the positive wires.

With the right tools and a little experience, the second connector went much more smoothly. I secured them to the battery with my new wing nuts and, voila, I had two lights properly attached. I cleaned up and set aside everything I'd need to bring to Hermit Thrush to repeat the process for the light there, then rested on the porch for a bit with my new novel. I've felt just a bit out of sorts today. It's been the perfect trip so far, and this was my first full day of having nothing to do, really being able to read or bird watch or nap or do whatever I wanted all day. As usual, the very beginning of a vacation feels a little depressing. But it was a beautiful day and I know it will pass. After having a sleepless episode in the middle of the night (when it was dark!) I slept in a little, almost until 8:00, and lingered in bed a while longer until the prospects of tea got me up. The day was calm and overcast, the negative tide still falling. I ate oatmeal and then decided to do a bird survey after I scanned the flats with the spotting scope and realized I could identify most of the gulls out there, all spread out and foraging near the water. Along with them were seven mallards and a handful of other critters. The short-billed gulls numbered in the 80s (at least); the Bonaparte's gulls were fewer and concentrated at the edge of the bars near deep water. I was pleased to find among the short-billed gulls a hulking loner which I called a herring gull. It was nice to pay attention to the gulls individually and find an outlier.

Once the birds on the flats were cataloged, I let the survey continue until some locals came by. There was a lively, vocal flock of chickadees as there had been yesterday--at least eight--along with a couple of ruby-crowned kinglets and a Townsend's warbler. A young hermit thrush has been around along with wrens, and a couple of brown creepers were calling. Shortly after I ended the survey, a single hummingbird came by, to my delight, and after some uncertain nosing around over several visits, found her way to the openings and has been here on and off the rest of the day. A Pacific-slope flycatcher also made an adorable appearance in the spruce tree. Then I finally had my cup of jasmine tea, rather weak, but nice for my chilly hands. The sun peaked out for a few minutes this afternoon (Cailey went down on the deck to appreciate it), but otherwise it's been a little chilly and breezy on and off. After tea, I took a COASST survey, inviting Cailey for the first time this year. She was eager to go and did a cheery happy dance at the turnaround point, romping with a stick when I kicked it for her.

And that was pretty much today! Cailey is now conked out on the couch with me, but up until I made her lay on it when I started puzzling, she's been awake and very active most of the day, not sleeping much as far as I could tell when she was laying down outside. She buried a new rawhide, dug one up and ate it, and wandered around on her own. It was nice to give her freedom and feel some confidence that it wouldn't cause a relapse and I think she was also quite content with it, maybe taking advantage of it more than she might have otherwise! It's also possible it was partly in reaction to being locked in the lodge several times yesterday. I had hoped to come down earlier in the week, but the weather window was always Thursday, though changing from variable winds early in the week to 1-2' seas to 2-3' seas. My Wednesday at work was intense and numbing, and there was game night that night, so by the time I got up on Thursday and saw the forecast, I decided against going even though it was clear that the promised wind had not manifested. I was exhausted, in a poor mood, and just didn't feel like going. The following day promised partly sunny skies and a NW wind to take me south.

Unfortunately, I was going to miss the opportunity to run into the Alaskan as my mom and Roger were heading home from a week in Gambier and Windom bays. Or so I thought until I got an inreach message Thursday night that they were anchored by South Island. So after a good night's sleep, I was up shortly after 6:00 and out of the harbor at 7:48. The seas were mostly calm until I passed Grand Island, and then picked up a little, but of course on my stern more or less, so it was very pleasant. I went through a fog bank in Taku Inlet, but only briefly lost sight of land, never lost sight of the sun, and quickly passed into partly cloudy beauty. And rather than heading straight for Snettisham, I headed for South Island and disrupted morning coffee for my mom and Roger. They seemed pleased to see me and said they'd hoped, as I'd independently hoped, to meet me as Snettisham the day before, and even anchored there for a little while. They agreed to come over after a little fishing, so I headed out, crossing Stephen's Passage on a quartering sea in about 13 minutes.

Naturally I arrived shortly after a -.9' tide. I'd known this would be the case, but was surprised to find that I couldn't even begin to make it up the channel that I usually try to anchor in. It didn't exist, and to make it farther upriver at all I would have had to take the main channel closer to the other side of the river. Instead I crept my way toward shore and went aground before I got there. It looked like wader work, so I put them on and was able to pull the boat all the way to the edge of a beach of small rocks. I took the perishables, my backpack, and a few odds and ends to the beach, carried Cailey in, and left the Ronquil anchored. It was a long but pleasant walk up the beach as we'd had to anchor well below the eagle tree, perhaps at the last beach with grass at the top. I opened up as usual and also trimmed some bushes that were encroaching on the boardwalk, swept the porch, and did a few other odds and ends to make the place more presentable. And then I put Cailey in the lodge while I trekked up to the water system, as it was clearly not running. I found the intake hose in place, but with a lot of rocks and gravel and small detritus clogging the opening. I cleaned it all up and moved a lot of the rocks near it away, but struggled to determine if water was running. I wound up putting pressure on the hose just down from the end to make sure it was at a lower elevation and cupped my hands around the opening to encourage more water to come through. It seemed like it should be running, so I went down to the valve and shut it off and on a couple of times to make sure. It didn't rush through as it sometimes does (perhaps because it wasn't completely empty), but I could feel the hose get colder when it built up and eventually the places I'd patched started slowly dripping. It had worked.

So then I got to relax, eat a quesadilla and read for a little on the porch before I saw the Alaskan come around the corner which spurred me into action. I knew it would take them a little time to anchor, so I decided to fetch the boat--the tide now being reasonably high--so I wouldn't have to worry about unloading and anchoring later. They were struggling with crazy depth readings, so I was unloaded and anchored by the time they dropped their anchor, which gave me time to haul everything to the lodge and put it away. Soon the little Boston whaler was cruising to shore with all three of them. Jenny seemed very happy to be there and gracefully descended from the bow to the beach. Cailey was also happy for the company.

It was a pleasant partly sunny afternoon, so we camped out on the porch and chatted for a while and snacked. My mom showed me photos of Windom Bay and we caught up just a little. In the middle of it, I spotted an unusual bird which I thought at first might be a MacGillivray's warbler, so I prompted my mom to look where he (actually there were two) was foraging in the alder tree. The yellow on the sides made us then think yellow-rumped warbler, but there was yellow on half the tail as well--American redstarts! At the same time, the young hermit thrush showed up as well as a Wilson's warbler. Quite exciting--the first redstart I've seen at Snettisham and two of only a few ever.

We eventually went for the standard tour around the property, then we all had a drink until about 4:00 when they headed back to the Alaskan and their next anchorage. It was all in all a very pleasant visit and I'm glad we were able to connect out here. I put Cailey in the lodge for a third time to kayak out to the Alaskan after them to borrow my mom's inreach, as I'd lost mine on the Pavlof/Tenakee trip, so I'd have it when I go fishing. On the way back, I was able to paddle fairly close to a group of four ducks that had flown in and out a couple of times, just as they met up with a fifth, darker bird, and started paddling up toward the homestead. When I'd startled them while anchoring earlier, I'd asked them to come back later, and here they were. Imagine my astonishment when I found them later in the spotting scope and saw that, although they had female mallard-like markings, they had enormous bills that flared at the ends. Northern shovelers!!! A new one for me, though it's possible I've seen them in the past here, long ago. And with them was a solid dark merganser--a female or immature HOODED MERGANSER, my first at Snettisham and third total, and in different plumage. Amazingly, they took flight and landed right in front of the homestead and let me approach quite closely for amazing looks and decent photos. At times the shovelers gaped and lunged at the merganser and at other times seemed to follow her, but mostly they paddled around the edge of the grass, preened here and there, and nibbling. Amazing. This is just not a very ducky place.

I heated up tortilla soup for dinner and wound up heading to Hermit Thrush quite early. I was chilled at the lodge, but less so once in the cabin, and the Nordic stove warmed things up very quickly. In fact, I was extremely comfortable and cozy all night, in part thanks to the clean sheets. Sleeping in dry, clean sheets really corroborated my thought that they'd gotten somewhat damp this summer, which is why I'd brought them to town to wash. Both my shoulders were sore, though, so sleeping was a little challenging, plus the middle-of-the-night wakefulness. Still, I can't complain as my little week-long Snetty vacation gets underway! Now it's after 8:00 and I'll be heading back to the cabin soon to hopefully rest up. Tomorrow will be third rainless day following pouring rain (atmospheric river I suspect) and stormy weather last weekend and on and off dumping rain Monday-Wednesday. Hopefully Sweetheart will be to a fishable level, and hopefully I'll have plenty of energy to fish.

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I had another cozy, dry night of sleep, though I did have a bit of a wakeful time in the middle of the night. I was up earlier and, thankfully, found that the dullness of the previous day had passed and I thoroughly enjoyed the start of my day on the porch and the sunny walk upriver exploring along the base of the cliffs. Cailey had found the ball Jenny had left by the water and carried it on the whole trip, abortively burying it many times. On my walking, I stopped by the Ronquil and added some fuel. It was late morning when I got back and I was peckish, so grabbed some pepper potato chips and a beer and felt magnificent on the sunny porch.

Consequently, I just kept snacking instead of eating a proper lunch all afternoon. I surreptitiously packed to go fishing, putting all my small gear in my day pack and the net in the bottom of my dry bag. Thankfully, I'd uncovered my good net (new/smaller) in the shed the other day or I would have been fishing with my old, larger, awkward net. To make sure I had the right one, I'd brought the older net from the boat and compared them on the deck. At 3:00, I put Cailey inside and gave her an early dinner, donned waders, and snuck down to the water where I paddled out to the boat, added my bonker to the gear, and headed for Sweetheart. One boat was there, which I'd seen go in around 9:00, and I thought I saw people on board. I took it as a good sign that I didn't see any launch on shore. It had been breezy on the river but was dead calm in Gilbert Bay, a fine and sunny afternoon. The hike to the fishing point was uneventful with few carcasses and no bears; the pool was very fishable, lower than I expected, and packed with fish.

Mostly pinks. I caught a lot of pink salmon, many silver bright, causing me to squint at them to make sure they had spotted tails. I caught a sockeye about ten minutes in and another about half an hour later. Then another half an hour after that. It was hard fishing, almost every net with pinks, from two to ten, or more, at a time. I was surprised to find that my casts improved with time and I was able to gain a couple of feet of distance with wider spreads. One huge sockeye flew out of my net as it went over the falls (or possibly I'd startled it into jumping downstream by the net) and another came in to shore, alone in the net, a huge beautiful silver fish, only to slip out through one of the holes at the base of the net just as I got it up on the rocks. I pounced on it and had it for probably two seconds, but it was facing the water on a downward slope and was impossibly slippery. I was pretty mad about that.

As time went on, the pool seemed to clear of fish and I often waited several minutes between casts to let it repopulate. I don't know whether the perpetual casts were scaring them away, whether I was fishing it out (!) or something else was going on. I was still catching fish though. Most of the sockeye seemed to come from the center closer to the left current. My last two were jacks (one on the pre-decided last cast) and I kept them along with one pink for Cailey that I'd mistaken for a sockeye (one of them still had sea lice). After about two and a half hours, I repositioned to the crevasse at the lowest point and gave it a try there, catching pinks successfully--probably mostly a matter of luck and persistence. After half an hour there and another kept pink, I headed back to the water, fairly comfortably with the fish in my new dry bag. Back on the boat I cleaned the fish in my cooler and headed home, relieved to find that the falling tide had not revealed flats to keep us too far out. I anchored, paddled to shore, and drug my catch up on a tarp piece I'd cut from an old tattered one earlier. Cailey was very happy to see me. I'd already prepped a bit for processing, including setting up sawhorses with a piece plywood on the downriver edge of the deck so I could stand on the ground and lose a little height relative to the table. In less than half an hour I had inexpertly filleted my eight fish and brought them inside where I set up the vacuum packer on the card table and cut bags--sitting comfortably in a chair! Why hadn't I done this before? The new light was wonderful. I soon had the generator started and was securing my beautiful catch. Everything was done less than two hours and I headed to bed around 9:30, exhausted, and read until 10:30.

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Amazingly, by this morning, and following another cozy night of sleep (during which I stepped outside to find myriad stars peering through the trees) I was already fully recovered from the self-loathing and frustration of my inability to catch sockeyes and ready to try again, for the fun of it, maybe tomorrow, with low expectations. It could be that the water level will be TOO low this time, but knowing what I'm walking into and going earlier in the day with less threat (or care) about my spot being taken sounds downright pleasant. I could even try the upper pool if I'm brave enough, or go for a birdwatch in Gilbert Bay if it doesn't pan out. Actually, I thought I might take Cailey over to the beach there today for a little expedition, but a brisk breeze picked up in the afternoon when I would have gone and made it easy for me to decide against it. It's my first real day of vacation (Monday) and I feel pretty good about taking it easy. I did a long bird survey this morning when a Lincoln's sparrow showed up and dashed down around the spruce tree when I heard an unfamiliar song, pleased to find that it was a song sparrow singing that fall song I'd discovered here years ago (who later came back through and sang long, soft songs from the log over the path). In one instance, the alder downriver held a perched hummingbird (there are two now), Pacific-slope flycatcher, and Lincoln's sparrow, with the song sparrow nearby. Other than that, my day has been reading, wandering around down to the rocky point with Cailey, a bit of a nap, and working on the UK trip report. It is very quiet and peaceful and, while I'm a little sunstroked, I feel pretty good and eager for another little adventure tomorrow. The sky seems a bit hazy, but I intend to see if the stars are out tonight (no moon).

As the afternoon waned, I finished my book on the porch outside with a glass of wine, then tucked Cailey inside and paddled out to the Ronquil to pick up my cast net. I'd found my reel of fishing line and decided I may as well try to patch some of the holes, especially the big ones that the large silver sockeye had escaped through. I then made rice pilaf and simmered bison strips and cauliflower (from my mother-in-law's garden) in tikka masala sauce and ate it over an X-Files episode. Vacation is great. After dinner I tried to repair a number of holes in the net, which may or may not hold, and failed to find any large enough for a sockeye to escape through. Perhaps the broken line that connects the lead line to the top is how he escaped? Either way, maybe this will help tomorrow.

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Having had such a pleasant and solitary experience at Sweetheart on Sunday, I was overly confident in finding myself alone there on Tuesday, so decided to set out around noon. I figured that if I was fortunate enough to find sockeye, I would have a leisurely evening to process, in the light, and relax. While hanging on the porch in the morning, I did fix the broken line that purses the net at the bottom and felt good about the repairs. I ate leftovers for an early lunch, then tucked Cailey inside with half her supper and paddled out to the boat, underway just after noon. The river was ripply, but the stronger afternoon wind hadn't picked up yet. I think the ride was only about eight minutes, but I was chagrined to find two boats at anchor, one large yacht and a smaller boat. So much for solitude! I probably would have had more luck it I'd just turned around and come back at 4:00 as is my usual practice, but....I knew that I probably wouldn't, and certainly didn't want to. I was there, I was ready, I may as well see what was what.

And of course there was a couple at my fishing site. They had two or three sockeyes on a stringer, were catching lots of pinks, and expected to be there a while. They were from the large yacht and part of their group was across the creek. Disappointed, I decided to walk to the next point upcreek and see if there were sockeyes I might target in the upper pool. I think the water was lower than it has been when I've seen it in the past, so the fish should have been visible in the calmer water, but when I reached the intermediary point, I saw nothing--no sign of sockeye at all. Perhaps they were all in the white water, but it was a surprise. In any event, not a place I expected to catch fish.

Spirits plummeting, I retreated down to the crevasse at the lowest point. I had said that if fishing didn't work, I'd just go bird watching in Gilbert Bay, but again, if I did that, I wouldn't be coming back to fish, and I really wanted to give it a try. So I started fishing the crevasse, pleased that my casts continued to be decent. I learned that my reach could be improved by holding the net farther up from the lead line, which was useful, and that I could sometimes make two back-to-back casts in slightly different places (and sufficient soak time) and come up with fish before I had to let the pool refresh, which is part of why I don't like to fish there. Waiting five minutes between casts--or even one minute!--was difficult, so I killed time by climbing up to the top of the crevasse and watching the couple on the point fish. They caught some pinks and a couple more sockeyes, but also came up with empty nets quite often. They saw me watching sometimes, which I hoped they didn't think was me putting pressure on them, but it was just a lot more entertaining than sitting in the dark crevasse waiting for fish to accumulate.

Oh, but I did catch a sockeye, right after I sat down and had a little pity party shortly after I arrived. It was a little reminiscent of Pavlof--I've had such magical experiences at Sweetheart in recent years, it was very disheartening to experience such frustration and failure, and particularly distressing that my point was taken so late in the season by persistent fishermen (they'd actually been in the area tooling around for several days). The sockeye was from a cast straight out from the crevasse at the edge of white water and came up with a bunch of pinks. She had several punctures that were partly healed, was a shade off of silver bright, and her fins were quite frayed. But she was beautiful! I also accidentally kept a pink, another fish in a net with many others and under a couple layers of net, but so silver bright on the sides that I genuinely thought it was a sockeye. It was only when I retrieved her from the net that I saw the spots on the tail. Oops! Another one for Cailey.

After a little more than an hour I think, I popped my head up to see the couple leaving the point, both with a few fish in hand, and they indicated it was mine. At last. When I got there, I saw that my fears were true and that the extra couple days of sun had dropped the water level enough to be unfishable in the opposite direction--so low that the pool was clear of bubbles and I soon discovered that the couple had exhausted it. It must have been chock-a-block when they arrived, for I watched them haul in lots of pinks, but now a single cast cleared it out. I did catch a beautiful, big silver bright female fairly quickly, and later another one from that central pool--all alone in the net, its bright scales shining unmistakably as the net came to the surface--but somehow it slipped out of the net just as it came onto the rocks. I must have missed a big hole somehow, or it was a magic fish.

But soon enough, I had to wait between casts for any fish to repopulate the pool. Too close to the current on the left and the net just got tangled and came up empty, too close to the falls and it was just swept closed. I would sit and gaze at the scenery or stand on the point and peer into the green water watching the shadows of fish break from the white water into the pool. I also watched fish try to pass the falls. There were a few making classic big jumps--one of whom landed on the exposed rock at the base of the falls, upsidedown (ouch)--but many were wriggling their way up the central part of the falls which had a couple of one-foot steps before it steepened. This was a lot of fun to watch, fish wiggle wiggle wiggling up into the foam at the top, and then on.

At one point, I looked downriver and discovered about ten pairs of eyes focused on me. A big group of people had arrived! My first instinct was relief that I'd secured the point before they did, but then I realized that they were not dressed to fish and were far too interested in what I was doing to be jealous. It was a little amusing to have such a big group of tourists take such an interest. I had let the pool rest sufficiently at that point, so was pleased to make a pretty decent cast which came up with several pink salmon. When I brought the net ashore, they cheered and clapped and whistled their approval. That was a first! Unfortunately, I released them all and shrugged. I'm pretty sure people took videos and photos of the activity, and I was glad to be casting decently, but disappointed that I couldn't catch them a sockeye so they could see the whole process. The intervals between casts were long, but I felt like a hunter, perched on the rocks and trying to time my casts to when fish were right in the area where my net usually landed. That sometimes worked, but they came up increasingly empty. I noticed that the edge of the white water on the left was packed with a line of fish right on the surface, so made a few casts around the corner into it. It did yield pinks, and might have had sockeyes in there too, but the current twisted the net so much that it was too much work to release them.

Eventually I decided to call it a day, another three hours into fishing. I wanted to catch another pink for Cailey--a humped male to see what it was link to fillet it--but I was only getting smaller pinks when I caught anything at all, so I decided to head back to the crevasse and chat with the tourists, maybe catch a big net full of salmon in close quarters for them and actually keep one. They turned out to be a lovely group on a boat out of Seattle, some of whom were guests from Chattanooga. It was very out of context to smell perfume at Sweetheart Creek! To their mixed awe and trepidation, a medium sized brown bear showed up on the other side of the point I'd been fishing and stole the show, quickly catching a pink salmon, then catching another and losing it as it flopped down the cliff, to the chagrin of a large gull (maybe the same one that had watched me catch and lose the big bright sockeye two days earlier). While they watched, I went and caught my net full of pinks without witnesses and kept the largest one, a medium sized male. The guests I'd chatted with the most were concerned about the best way to retreat, so I said they could follow me, although someone from the boat had obviously led them in and could lead them out. I cautioned them that it was the way that *I* used, and they did not necessarily want to follow me, though for myself I vastly prefer the creek-side route than the muddy, rooty interior route that they probably took. The ladies did seem quite uncertain when I descended the steep cliff, but their leader assured them it was okay and helped them down. I was to the next point well before the first of the ladies started down, but I waited until the leader looked up before continuing on, just to make sure they knew where the right entrance to the woods was. I'm not sure where they went from there and felt a little bad about leading them astray. As they assured me I could and waved me on, I headed back by myself from there and was to the boat and cleaning fish before they emerged from the woods.

I was back at the lodge around 4:45, a little longer than I like to be gone, but at least I could take my time to process. In fact, after changing clothes and getting cleaned up, I had a cold beer on the porch as I'd been looking forward to for a couple of hours (having heat and thirst overcome me while fishing). I was all set up for processing still, so it took me little time to fillet and vacuum pack. The tray of portions held a lovely rainbow of salmon colors: deep, rich red from the silver bright sockeye from the upper pool, salmon orange from the worn out sockeye from the crevasse, pink from the silver bright pink, and pinkish gray from the humped male. Really fascinating!

That night I ate a simple dinner of Indian food and toast with olive oil for dinner, watched an X-Files, and probably worked on my puzzle some more.

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Wednesday was another day of rest, though I was in a bit of a funk all day. I cleaned up Hermit Thrush in the morning, then returned in the afternoon with a sawhorse to put battery connectors on the wiring for the light and finish up. I did a few other odds and ends like lubricating all the door knobs, hinges, and water valves with WD-40 and packing up and taking a couple loads of gear to the boat, which I'd anchored much closer in this time. I brought the anchor even closer in so make sure it would go dry on the 5.5' tide and to make it easier to carry the rest of the gear down before a low tide departure. I spent much of the heat of the day inside at the picture window laboring through the Mongolian puzzle, each piece a hard won victory. I cooked yellow rice with cauliflower and steamed salmon on top of it (my Snettisham one-pot specialty), then watched an X-Files before finishing the puzzle. In the end, I wound up alternating between trying each piece everywhere it could possibly go and trying each piece in a particular spot until I found the right one, consistently finding the latter strategy to be superior. Even down to the last pieces, I couldn't predict where they would go. The puzzle is challenging for two main reasons: the photo of it is tiny and the puzzle extremely intricate with repeated features that make it hard to find precise areas; and the pieces are cut uniformly, either all male ends or all female ends, so every piece fits in half the available slots perfectly. The very last piece that I placed doesn't match the pieces around it, so somewhere on that vast puzzle I've made a similar mistake. MAYBE I'll try to find it, but maybe I'll just call it good.

As is my new habit, I stayed in the lodge for the night and had been looking forward all week to sitting on the porch as it got dark to look for that starry sky I'd seen from Hermit Thrush a few nights before. The crescent moon had shown over the mountains of Gilbert Bay shortly before dusk, but not enough to disrupt the sky. Alas, the clouds moved in as the evening came on and, in my grumpiness, I watched another X-Files while sitting on the porch. I've always enjoyed this in the past, but I think it was too dark this night to be able to appreciate both the dusk and the show. In any event, not much happened, though I did see one star peek out high in the sky before heading to bed. Several nights before, two bats flew by several times, a few times in such close proximity I thought they might interact, and I was also startled by a mouse visiting the couch, crouching in the dark on the rim of my hat for some time, just a few feet away, before disappearing.

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I slept reasonably well with Cailey on the couch and did most of the close up chores and cleaning before settling onto the porch for breakfast and then special coffee before working on this and heading to town.
 

Northern shovelers