April 2007

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April Fools' Day To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.

Edna St. Vincent Millay (circa 1940)

That's only the first part of Edna's poem because the rest of it is not very pleasant. Ya know, it's unusual for a poem about Spring or April to be negative but this one is, although the first part doesn't necessarily sound like it. If you're interested in the rest of it, click HERE
April_2nd Mark Twain told a story about a sick elderly woman who was getting worse, and she was at the point where her doctors could do nothing for her. From personal experience he knew how to save her and he told her that he would do so. All she had to do was give up smoking, drinking, cursing, and gambling, and she would be cured within a week. But she said she couldn't give up those things because she had never done any of them. Mr. Twain's comment about that was something like "So there it was, you see.......she had neglected her habits. A few bad habits would have saved her. She was a moral pauper. She was a sinking ship with no freight to throw overboard."

Moral: Make sure that you have a few bad habits. Even if you've been neglecting your habits for the whole of your life, it's never too late to start. And if you haven't already done so, I suggest that you begin immediately.
April 3rd Yesterday was the first day of the Passover. Your second Seder should be this evening.
April 4th As I understand it, there are 7 inches of snow on the ground in Grand Rapids at the moment, with a low temperature of 5 degrees expected tonight. But that's hearsay because I'm in St. Paul at the moment.
April 5th On the west side of highway 35 between mile markers 170 and 171 (a tad north of Pine City) there is a pond. On one side of that pond are a lot of trees, and in 3 or 4 of those trees are 20 or 30 nests which appear to be Blue Heron nests. There are some trees between the nests and the highway so when the leaves come out the nests may not be visible. There is a similar group of nests (which Shirley Mickelson used to refer to as a "Blue Heron Condo") on the the middle section of Bass Lake.
Good Friday "And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said 'Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit', and having said thus, he gave up the ghost."

Luke (23:44-46)
April 7th The temperature was near zero the last three nights, the snow is not even beginning to melt, and my water line has frozen somewhere between the pump house and cabin # 1. Maybe I tried to start too early this year. Sigh!

The Michigan State Spartans (my alma mater) are the NCAA Division 1 national hockey champions!!! They beat Boston College 3 to 1 this evening.
April 8th Today is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox, hence.........Happy Easter!
April 9th WHO AMONG US has not, on occasion, been fooled into believing that "spring is finally here" well before the last snowfall of the winter? It was more than two weeks ago that I told the group of kids who are going to rake up the pine needles this year that "the snow is gone and you can begin raking at your convenience". We now have 3 or 4 inches of snow on the ground, and the weatherman says we're going to get another 2 to 6 inches. SIGH.......
April 10th I've often said, "I know that progress is a good thing, but haven't we had enough of it already?". Well, I just got the "real facts about progress" (as the author put it) from the writings of Russell Baker. He said: "There is actually far less progress than most people suspect. In the year 1894 there was absolutely no progress anyplace on earth, in spite of what a lot of people thought at the time". Hmmmmm.......can that be true, do you suppose?
April 11th Although the lakes aren't open yet, the waterfowl are here. On the rivers, streams, and small ponds are lots of Canada Geese, Goldeneyes, and Mallards. I haven't seen any Mergansers yet, but I'm sure there are some around. Tons and tons of Juncos and Finches are at the feeders, and Hawks and Eagles are getting more numerous. There are still a few Pine Siskins at the feeder but their numbers are dwindling; many of them have already moved north. It still doesn't feel like Spring, but apparently the birds know better than we do.
April 12th This crack in the ice is 4 inches wide and goes across the whole width of the lake from the point by cabin # 5 to Jim and Patti Davey's house. I wonder how loud the noise was when it opened up. Click HERE

This morning an Osprey was standing on a power pole looking over his old nest. He was checking it for winter damage, I presume.
April 13th One year ago today the ice on Little Bass Lake was GONE! Today it's still 14 inches thick. What do you think.......about a week and a half to go yet? That would make it the 22nd or 23rd. I'll let you know.
April 14th This is from the Rochester Post Bulletin of April 13, 1932:

"The past winter's snow fall was like the record breakers old timers talk about. The Rochester area received 62 inches, second only to Bemidji with 89 inches. Minnesota highway 58 between Zumbrota and Redwing was closed at one point for a full week, longer than any other state highway."

It sounds like even 75 years ago "old-timers" where bragging about how tough the winters were when they were young, doesn't it? (Thanks Dotz.)
April 15th About 3 weeks ago the first chipmonk appeared. He stood on top of a wood pile for a bit, yawned, and then went back into the wood pile to his warm bed. He briefly appeared 2 more times in the last 3 weeks. Today ALL OF THE CHIPMONKS WOKE UP, and they're out "en masse" picking up sunflower seeds from under the bird feeder.
April 16th The Merlin returned yesterday. The last 3 years his arrival has been between April 8th and April 18th. He's almost as timely as the Swallows of Capistrano. Alas(!).........the poor local water foul!
April 17th The sooner one gets behind, the more time one has to get caught up.
April 18th If a person is in the right state of mind, he could spend many enjoyable hours in Cabela's.
April 19th There is still no open water on LBL but the ice sure is gray.

At 5:15 this afternoon I heard my first loon call of the year. One was flying over the resort and I heard it through the window.
April 20th There is some open water at both the north and south ends of the lake this morning. It might be a couple days before the ice is gone, but with a high near 70 today if a strong wind were to come up, who knows?!?!?! The Loons are here(!) along with some Mallards and Goldeneyes. I have never before seen the Loons arrive with so little open water; they might not have enough water to get airborne yet.
April 21st I counted 41 Horned Grebes on the lake this morning. Incidentally, that's LBL Bird species number 75.

The ice ridge on the point by cabin 5 is being built up a tad more. Click HERE.
April 22nd The ice is GONE! Click HERE

Two pair of Buffleheads were on the lake (in Larry's Bay) this morning. Click HERE.

3:30 PM -- There must be 50 Tree Swallows crisscrossing the lake (in the rain no less) hunting for bugs. They sure got here as soon as the ice went out, didn't they.
April 23rd The first secchi disk reading this year was 11 feet; they varied from a low of 8.5 feet to a high of 14 feet last year. I was expecting it to be higher than that, but maybe yesterday's rain affected it. I'm also going to track water temperature along with the clarity and lake level this year. If you have Excel on your system, the data is HERE and HERE.
April 24th At the risk of inundating you with data you aren't interested in, here is my LBLR bird list. An LBLR bird species is one that I've seen on the lake, flying over the lake, or on the land near the lake. It's HERE.
April 25th Okay, so I drink a fair amount of red wine........but I only do it as a preventative for tooth ache. I've never had a tooth ache. What's more, I don't ever intend to have a tooth ache.

Actually that's from Mark Twain (with a few slight revisions).
April 26th This used to be a nice little tree growing on the shoreline holding the soil in place. Darned beavers! (No offense intended to Melanie or any of the other residents of the Beaver State of Oregon.) Click HERE.

This evening we used Randy's boat and enjoyed the first "wine cruise" of the season.
April 27th To John and Ginger: It was a pleasure doing business with you!
April 28th Thanks to Brian and Ann, the pontoons are back in the water. But to see something really significant, click HERE.
April 29th Lori and I got the bikes out for the first time this year and we did our standard loop into town and back.......23.3 miles. It's good to be back in the saddle again.
April 30th This was a scary and exciting evening in 1992. See the Chronicles entry for tomorrow.

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