April 2009

Click here to see the other months in 2009:
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

All Fools' Day Apparently this day of pranks has been around for quite some time, possibly even back to the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in the late 16th century. To see a neat list of "well known" April Fools' pranks, click HERE.

Six or seven more inches of wet heavy snow is on the ground and I don't want to blow it. What to do! What to do! Sigh.
April_2nd The docks are still in the water ("on the ice" would be more correct I suppose); that's gotta be taken care of this weekend for sure!!!!
April 3rd Yesterday I saw my first Goldeneye of the year swimming near a flock of geese on the Mississippi river where it crosses Highway 6 between Cohasset and Remer. That was two days ahead of last year.

There's still some fishing activity on the lake but I don't know how thick the ice is. I'll find out and let you know, hopefully by tomorrow.
April 4th To Laurie in North Carolina, whom I have never met:
Thanks for the e-mail. Yes, I blew the snow.......and no, I didn't get hurt. Presumably, after the long problem with keeping the Chronicles up to date last month, one could be forgiven for a short two-day relapse, couldn't one? But the problem is gone now (hopefully). Ya know Laurie, Spring is not my favorite time of the year and it usually shows up long before I'm ready for it. But this year I'm ready for winter to be done, even considering the resort work which will have to be started soon. Why is that, do you suppose? Old age maybe????? Whatever the reason, maybe you're right Laurie; maybe Winter does have me down and I just don't want to admit that to myself. (Hmmmmmm...........)    Anyway, thanks again for the e-mails; I've enjoyed receiving them.

And speaking of resort work which has to start soon, the docks are now on the shore (thanks for the help Brian). Click HERE. It's the dock near cabin 4, but you probably knew that.

Added at 7:45 PM, and the color is the key. To all you UConn fans, I'm sorry about this, but:   Yes!!!!
April 5th We grow accustomed to the dark --
When light is put away.

           -- Emily Dickinson (circa 1862)

Of course we do!   But will we grow accustomed to perpetual Winter when Spring refuses to appear? Sweet Emily didn't tell us anything about that.
April 6th If this is a normal year, the ice should be gone two weeks from today, but it doesn't appear to even have a start at melting yet. In case you've forgotten, it didn't go out until May 3rd last year.

Tonight: Michigan State University (my Alma Mater) and North Carolina will play for the NCAA Championship. Not many people are giving MSU much of a chance, including me. But I haven't given up yet.

Note added at 10:30 PM: Congrats to the North Carolina Tar Heels and their fans on their victory over my MSU Spartans in the NCAA Championship game tonight. Sigh.......
April 7th What do you think? Does this look like winter is winding down and the lake is starting to thaw? Click HERE.
But then again, what in the world was this guy doing walking across the sidewalk on a day when the temperature varied between 20 and 37 degrees? Click HERE.

The moon over the lake yesterday afternoon: Click HERE.

Welcome back Larry! Let's get together for a beer soon........maybe even today.
(Larry is my neighbor to the south whom many of you have met. I saw him in his driveway as I drove past his house yesterday afternoon. He just returned from Arizona where he spends the winters.)
April 8th Wow! As often happens, a small bird, probably a Redpoll, just flew into my kitchen window and fell to the ground dazed. But this time within a minute (or even less) a Merlin flew down, grabbed the dazed bird, and flew off.

LBLR Merlin history:  In the years 2005, 2006, and 2007 a male Merlin showed up at LBLR; I first saw him on 4/18, 4/10, and 4/16 respectively so this is the earliest I've noticed his arrival. He always stayed for a few weeks and then left. In 2007 there was a female with him so I thought maybe they would spend the summer here, but they didn't. Last year I didn't see or hear him at all, but of course that doesn't mean that he wasn't here.

On the way into town yesterday there was a King Fisher flying over a field, which might be the only time I've seen one that wasn't near the edge of a lake or river. According to the bird book, he's about right on time for arriving in this neck of the woods.
Maundy Thursday As the Rosy Fingered Dawn illuminates these 4-wheeler tracks you can see that the snow on the lake isn't very deep anymore, but the occasional loud "boom" from the cracking ice indicates that it's still quite solid. Click HERE.
Good Friday This time of the year the resort looks like a real mess, except maybe from a distance. It'll be good when the trees in front of the house get some leaves on them so that it doesn't stand out so much. Click HERE.

Believe it not, except for the lake, things are "Spring"-ing up quite nicely around here. Consider the following:
  • The first Juncos of the Spring appeared at the bird feeder this morning.
  • The first House Finches of the Spring appeared at the bird feeder this morning.
  • I saw my first Loon of the Spring on the river this afternoon.
  • A lot of snow melted today.
According to an electrician friend of mine who works at MP&L, both the male and female Peregrine Falcons have returned to their nest (as they should have at this late date) near the top of one of the smoke stacks. The Falcon-cam is still not working, as has been the case since last May, but plans are underway to repair it.........hopefully by next week. If you're interested, click HERE. Obviously you wont see the Falcons yet, but the story and factual data are interesting.
Holy Saturday On this morning last year we awoke to our third foot of snow in five days. But we don't have much snow now, and what there is, is melting nicely. Click HERE.

New Spring arrivals are coming in hot and heavy these days. The first Fox Sparrow and the first Purple Finch arrived at the feeder this morning, and although I've seen a few chipmonks prior to today, they are now under the bird feeder gathering sunflower seeds.
Easter Sunday And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: and as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.
-- Luke 24 : 4-6

Yesterday Lori and I went on our earliest bike ride yet, a trip into town for lunch. Our normal loop into town and back is 26 miles, but this time we couldn't use the bike trail because it's still covered with snow, so we only went a tad over 19 miles.

This picture, which is also from yesterday, was taken at the Grand Rapids Public Library. I have been told that there are several of these big chairs in the Cities too. Does anyone understand the signifiicance of this? Click HERE.
April 13th The Ides of April are upon us!

On this day in 1981 in Rochester, my friend Bob and I double dated. It wasn't exactly your classical double date, you understand, because we both took out the same girl at the same time, a lovely young lady named Donna. We were both in our mid 30s at the time and she was a tad younger. Our reasoning was that although she would never consider going out with either one of us, we might have a chance if we asked her out together. So we did............and somewhat to our surprise, she accepted. We flipped a coin to see which of us would have the honor of walking her to her door after the date, and I lost. But that meant I got to go to her door when we picked her up. It was a fun date, though not nearly as neat as we had anticipated, and needless to say, she never went out with either one of us again. But ya know, taking Donna out that night may have been the high point of the dating experiences for both of us (current significant others excluded, of course).

By the way, we're finally making some headway. The temperature stayed above freezing last night.
April 14th You keep hearing about how much ice is still out there on the lake, but here's something to remember. In 2005 the ice was 24 inches thick on April 3rd. Eleven days later (April 14th) it was gone! It can melt rather quickly if the conditions are right.

There is a pair of geese standing on the ice at the northwest corner of the lake where the creek to Bass Lake flows out, but there's no open water for them yet.
Shvi'i shel Pesach And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
-- Exodus 14 : 21-22

Today is the 22nd day in the Jewish month of Nissan, ie. the last day of the Passover (Shvi'i shel Pesach) and the day to commemorate the happenings documented in the above passage. We are in the year 5769, incidentally.

Hey! Look at this! Open water. It's not much, but it's better than nuthun'. Click HERE.
April 16th Though there are still a few snow piles around the resort, the weather, in general, is lovely. One can sit in a chair by the shore and admire the lake, but only if one doesn't mind admiring the ice. Click HERE.

There's one egg in the Falcons' nest this morning. Click HERE.
April 17th Spring raking is underway: Click HERE.

The first Common Flickers appeared at LBLR today.
April 18th Beginning today and continuing until there is no more ice on the lake, "Today's Picture" (at the top of this page) will be a view of the lake looking south from the Front Porch dock. It will be updated every morning.

At 6:30 this morning there were a pair of Bald Eagles, three Canada Geese, and a pair of what looked like Crows, all standing on the ice in close proximity. The Crows and the Eagles were within a couple feet of each other. After about 30 minutes they were joined by two more Geese and a Herring Gull (who only stayed a few minutes). They remained there for over an hour, at which time they all left except for one Eagle who stayed there for another 10 minutes. I could see nothing on the ice that would have attracted them to that particular area. Very singular indeed (as Dr. Watson would say).

Three or four tremolo-ing Loons flew over the lake early this morning. What a lovely sound!
April 19th "A Tale of Some Northland Truck Mechanics" (or "A Little Estrogen Can Be a Good Thing").   Click HERE.
April 20th "Today's Picture" is virtually identical to the ones from the last two days since not much has been happening with the ice lately. The wind is predicted to be West or Northwest for the next few days, but since the ice sheet isn't moving around yet that's probably not relevent. To see what can happen with an East wind after the ice sheet starts to move click HERE.  It's from 2005 and I'd sure like to avoid a replay of that this year.

There are now two eggs in the Falcon nest. However, since the camera was inoperative the last few days (it was just repaired this morning), we don't know when the second one first showed up. Click HERE.
April 21st Today is the average date that the lake becomes completely free of ice. How long do think it'll be yet? Any guesses? Click HERE.

This morning there are three eggs in the Falcon nest.

It's getting close! A strong Northwest wind came up late this afternoon and opened up a 40 foot wide area along the LBLR shoreline. I can see ice piled up in some places along the East shore, so even though the ice sheet still covers most of the lake it has already started to move. And so far, so's slamming into the shore on the other side of the lake.
April 22nd The winds are supposed to be gentle with a temperature up to 55 today (it's 27 degrees as a type), so who knows how long the ice will last?!?! Another day or two maybe?

This morning there were two pairs of Goldeneyes and a male Mallard in the little bit of open water in front of the resort. They're the first waterfowl in the lake, not counting some geese that may have been in the water at the north end. If we lose much more ice today, maybe the Loons will show up tomorrow.

The first Chipping Sparrows appeared at the feeder this afternoon.
April 23rd The Loons are back!!!!!! Their call seems to be coming from either Beaver Bay or Landing Bay.

What was predicted to be a South wind actually came in as a Southeast wind which caused the ice to pull a few dock posts out last night. This is the dock near cabin # 3. Click HERE.

The frogs that we always refer to as "Peepers" were out in force last night. In fact, they have probably been out in force for quite some time now but they're too far from the house to be heard easily. Actually, I'm quite sure that they're not Peepers; they're probably some kind of Chorus Frog. But whatever they are, their sound is lovely.

There were two pairs of Common Mergansers on the lake this morning.........just passing through, no doubt.

There's a 4th Falcon egg in the nest this morning. How many do they lay, for goodness sake?????
April 24th Here's what's left of the ice, and it's all at the south end. Click HERE.

There was at least one set of LBLR dock posts floating toward Matt and Tara's house at the north end of the lake early yesterday evening. Obviously we're going to need a "wine cruise / dock post retrieval cruise" soon.
April 25th In spite of the fact that there's snow on the ground this morning, the ice is GONE! That's 4 days later than the average, but 8 days earlier than last year, and this winter the lake was frozen 8 days longer than it usually is. Click HERE and HERE.

They came out of the water on the 4th and went back in on the 25th.......only three weeks on the shore. Of course there are two more docks (7 sections) yet to do. Click HERE and HERE.
April 26th Laurie and her 2 year old Granddaughter have informed me that there are 5 eggs in the Falcon nest today. Thanks you guys! It's difficult to tell because the "momma" bird is usually sitting on them now.
April 27th A few months ago I had lunch with a high school classmate of mine. Until then we hadn't seen each other for 45 years and, needless to say, I was a tad nervous. We agreed to meet one day at 11:00 AM at an Applebee's Restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa. I spent the night before at my daughter's house in Rochester and left there early enough in the morning to ensure that I'd arrive before she did. The doors opened a few minutes before 11:00 and as I walked in I saw an "older" lady sitting in a booth looking as though she was waiting for someone. I thought maybe that could be my classmate, but I sure hoped it wasn't. I expected her to be an "old lady" but I didn't want her to look that old. I went to the booth and said to the lady, "Pardon me. Are you Angie, by any chance"? She smiled and said "No, I'm not". Whew! I was glad to hear that.

I sat down in a booth near her and began to work on a crossword puzzle when another lady, but a younger looking one, walked in. As our eyes met we both immediately realized that this was the person we were looking for. I stood up, and as I did so Angie came over to me and we hugged........but as of yet we hadn't said a word to each other. As we hugged, I whispered to her "Do you see that lady in back of me? When I came in I thought that might be you." Angie looked at the lady and then looked at me, and after 45 years of no contact with each other, her very first words to me were "I ought to slap you".

We spent the next 4 1/2 hours sitting in the restaurant chatting and reminiscing. It was great!!!!! Thanks Angie.
April 28th Hey Jeff K, it looks like you're going to be LBLR's first customer of the season again. Your cabin has been Spring cleaned and it's ready to go, but I still have to put your dock in the water.
April 29th The last of the cabins now has heat and running water, and a 3rd cabin has been "spring cleaned". And besides that, the dock between cabins 1 & 2 is in the water. (That's 9 sections in and only 3 more to go, incidentally.) We're moving right along toward summer!

Note to Jeff K and Bob F: The above paragraph means that your dock and your respective cabins are now ready for your return to LBLR. It would be nice if the fish are ready for you as well.

The first White-throated Sparrows of the season were at the feeder this morning.
April 30th The first Warbler of the Spring (a Yellow-Rumped) showed up at LBLR this afternoon.

Click here to see the other months in 2009:
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Click HERE to see the Chronicles for other years.

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