Greenwater Report for July 20, 2004

The Greenwater Report for July 20, 2004

July 18th, 2004: Another hot, muggy day. We had a very lively electrical storm last night, preceded by a terrible north wind. Richard was by our place on the Lake lane, cutting out some trees, so there must have been some blow-downs. There was .3Ē in the gauge this morning; so far, we have had 3.9Ē of rain in July.

We had a wild old storm early Monday morning though I slept right through it. By morning there was two inches of rain in the gauge.

Last Sunday, a bunch of us went out to Birch Beach on Marean Lake to try out the new Marean Lake Birding Trail.(top of page) It is a good one; nice and wide, with a path of crushed rock wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side. Itís fairly short, but there is a lot to see so it will take a good hour. If one walks it the way it is laid out, there is a very steep hill; once that is scaled, it is all down-hill from there. Or, you could walk it in reverse and have a long but gentle rise, then a steep descent. We didnít see any birds, though we heard some, but midday is not the time for birding. To go to Birch Beach, go past the golf course and just follow the gravel road. Itís only a couple of miles and there are some benches and toilets at the trailhead.
 
Some strange little bugs have been harassing the populace recently ó long nosed critters that bite and suck your blood. Turns out, they are mosquitoes - itís been so long since we saw any that we forgot what they looked like. I detest putting on mosquito repellent, but itís the lesser of two evils. Either put it on or stay inside.

First, we had the willow fluff, then we had the poplar fluff, and thought we were done with it. Then, early in July the poplars started generating fluff again. There was a little around here, but at Fishing Lake the trees looked like cotton plants and the air was full of fluff. Then, last week, we noticed the poplars at the beach just loaded with fluff, especially higher up, and the air was full. Horrible stuff! Maybe Saturdayís windstorm blew it all away.
 
We went to Saskatchewan Express on Wednesday. The kids were game, though they had a horrible sound system that was made worse as the wind came up and howled in the mikes. A great black cloud threatened us from all directions and people started leaving before the show was half over. There were a few drops, though no actual rain, and I suspect they ended the show early. An hour later, we had a doozy of an electrical storm.
 
The thrill of the century! Monday was my birthday (Iím not going to tell you how old I am, but if you knock 18 off of 90, youíll be in the ballpark) and Doreen gave me a gift certificate for a hot-air balloon ride. They had an opening for Friday evening, so we went to Saskatoon. After some doubt about weather conditions, they blew up the balloon and six of us climbed into the basket (which really is wicker!). We lifted off about 7:30 and drifted slowly northwards, mostly at speeds of seven or eight miles per hour. Our ride was to be an hour, more or less, but by 8:30 we were moving straight north above the highway, and of course he couldnít land on the highway. He can control rise and descent, and can rotate the balloon with two rope-controlled vents, but other than that we are at the mercy of the wind. Finally we got a slight push to the right, and touched down gently in a pasture close to the highway. After giving the operators a hand to collapse and stow the balloon, we had a glass of champagne, which I understand is a tradition.
 

 

 

 

 

                 

 

 

 

 

click on the thumbnail above to see the image full size

It?s very peaceful up there; there?s no wind at all (because we are moving at the same speed as the wind), no sense of movement or height. All of us were leaning over the side, taking pictures straight down, with no discomfort. We were between 500 and 1,500 feet above the ground and could plainly hear ground noises. The balloon is utterly silent, except when he fires the burners to give us some lift. Then there's a roar and a blast of heat.
 
Doreen & Jerry Crawford
Box 100, Chelan, SK S0E 0N0
telephone (306) 278-2249
fax (306) 278-3423
http://www.greenwaterreport.com/

 

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