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DayCreek Journal

August 25 , 2004

Here Toad-Day, Gone Tomorrow

Life through the eye of a Gray Tree Frog.

I figured I better hop to it and get this slimy journal out the door before August croaks . As with most journal entries, I'm sure you'll find this journal quite "ribbitting".

If you ever want to attract reptiles and amphibians to your house, my suggestion is to slurry newspaper. For most of the summer, the same gray tree frog has made his home in the barrels filled with newspaper slurry. It's actually kind of comical. He has become so use to me that while I am pulling buckets of slurry from the barrel, I take him out of the barrel and put him off to the side so he won't get hurt. Afterwards I pick him up and put him back in the barrel. He seems quite content to spend his life immersed in wet newspaper. Occasionally I won't see him for a few days, but sooner or later he comes back. Maybe he likes the sound of the barrel when he sings or maybe it's just for protection. (A few of his front toes are missing on one foot, probably from some run-in with a predator). Whatever the reason, I'm glad to have him as a friend.

Besides the frog, there's a pretty good sized American Toad that likes to visit. Although he is more illusive than the tree frog, he's a welcome member to Al's Slurry Spa.

Where has the time gone? It seemed that August had just started and now it's already coming to a close. It's been a busy month attempting to juggle weekend activities and working on the walls whenever I can. Typically the weekdays are set aside for working on the house while weekends are kind of up for grabs. Either Jo has been coming up here or I've been traveling to Illinois—there's always something going on. So much for a simplified lifestyle.

The second wall to the upstairs' bedroom is now complete!

As of Friday, there are NINE walls left to go. It's going to be tough to finish before the snow begins to fly, but I will be doing my best to attempt it. There's always something that seems to get in my way of accomplishing this. Either it's the weather or some other job that has to be done. The grass has to be mowed once per week and then there's the unforeseen mechanical breakdowns that occur with power equipment. The brushes wore out on my mixing drill, the sickle bar mower fell apart and threw metal parts into the weeds never to be seen again, the lawn tractor is blowing blue smoke and then there's the mechanical breakdown of this body. I could probably use a good overhaul myself. Such is life!

It's kind of a sad time when August comes to a close because you know what's coming—Winter! The birds have stopped singing and some have already packed their bags and left. Not that I would blame them. August has been a very cool month with record setting temperatures. So cool in fact that last weekend saw morning temperatures in the 30's with frost reported in some areas. So cool in fact that some of the valleys had crop damage with the tops of soy bean plants blackened from the frost. Frost has occurred in August in the past but it is RARE and for it to occur during the middle of the month is RARER.

We are somewhat protected here due to the Root River. Our house is located on the side of a bluff along side the river valley and the river fog that typically forms here in the summer months helps to keep a blanket over us.

While we have been setting record cold temperatures, Alaska has been setting record warm temperatures. Anchorage for example, has set 6 record high temperatures so far this month and the month isn't even over yet! The record Alaskan temperatures have also contributed to Alaska's wildfires. The Seattle Times this week reports that the number of acres consumed by wildfires was just under 5 MILLION acres.

Strange weather indeed.

The cool weather here has been playing havoc with solar insolation with sunny days being few and far between. But when the sun has been shining, our electric meter continues to run backwards and over the next week or so, we should reach 700kWh of surplus electricity. This means that we have produced 700kWh more than what we have consumed. It's only been 3 months since we started producing clean renewable energy, but we should be able to add to our surplus over the next few months before the sun becomes really scarce.

Well, I guess I better go do something productive. This is one of the rare weekends that I have available to work on the house.

Until next time...stay warm!


Just another frog-filled...uh, I mean fog-filled August day.