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Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Spud city

I don’t think I’m alone when I have always thought of Idaho as the nation’s potato producer.  I never thought of potatoes coming from California, but they sure do. 

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Many of the fields that are leased by farmers on the refuge are planted with potatoes, and the potato harvest began a little over a week ago.  The road in front of my RV site has had all kinds of huge trucks full of spuds blasting past from morning until almost sunset.  I’ve been tempted to pick up some of the potatoes that fall out of the trucks along the roadways.

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Yesterday, I spent the day giving new volunteers, Heather and Cliff, a tour of the refuge on their first day.  I mentioned about the potatoes, and Cliff got out of the car at one of our stops.  He went over to talk to the farmers in the tractor in the first pic to ask if he could pick a hill or two.  They said help yourself.  I now have enough fresh picked potatoes to last me several months.  I just had to have fresh hash browns for breakfast today.  Winking smile

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Today I went out to do the bird survey, and check water levels at Lower Klamath.  Some water has been released into the refuge, but contrary to recent hunter rumors, the hunt sections are still dry as a bone.

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In the Oregon Straits area of Lower Klamath Refuge, one of the fields that had water a couple of weeks ago doesn’t any more.  Instead, a big flock of sheep has been moved in to graze.  This is the first time I’ve seen sheep around here.

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This afternoon I did the Tule Lake NWR auto tour route to see how many more waterfowl have arrived from the north.  On the last aerial bird survey there were close to 200,000 ducks and geese on Tule Lake.  These two button buck mule deer probably know this is a safe place for them.

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Lots of greater white-fronted geese have arrived.  Hunters down in Texas call them speckle bellies, and around here they’re just known as specs.  Can you see those spots on their bellies?

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                                              And, yes, the snow geese have begun to arrive.

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In three weeks or so, there will be three to four times the number of waterfowl than there are now.  Numbers over a million on the refuge are hard for me to wrap my mind around.  Not sure I’ll still be here to see that.  It all depends on the weather forecast.

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I leave you tonight with one of this year’s young eared grebes.  They’re divers, and lots of them were raised on the refuge this season.  By next year, those eyes will be a brilliant red.

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                                                                             THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

23 comments:

  1. Didn't know taters are grown in Cali. Your photos are awesome!

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  2. One of the best end pictures yet. Love it. I had no idea that potatoes came from California. I always seem to see Idaho Spuds for sale at the stores.

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  3. Wow, a million snow geese!!! That's pretty tempting to stick around to see! Tule Lake looks like a pretty cool refuge!

    We just got our first 3 sandhills at Bosque today. Can't wait for the snow geese to arrive here (and thousands more cranes & ducks too)!

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  4. When the kids were growing up, we grew potatoes. They loved planting the eyes and then digging up the potatoes in early fall.

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  5. Well I learned something today--Potatoes in California.

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  6. That last photo is perfect! A grebe knows exactly how to say "the end"

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  7. I didn't know they grew potatoes in California but I'm not surprised--anything grows in CA!

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  8. When I go to my local farmers' market I have my favorite "potato stall". Yes, just about everything grows in CA and I hope we can get some rain this winter so that it can all continue to grow. I really hope you can see over a million waterfowl before you leave - it's so hard for me to imagine that many birds in one area. I think you are lucky to have had this brief opportunity to work at Klamath, and of course, they are lucky to have you!

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  9. Sure they grow potatoes in California and in Maine and other states as well. BUT, only IDAHO has FAMOUS potatoes!

    You see Idaho potatoes in all the markets but only those with the "Grown in Idaho®" seal are the real Idaho Famous Potatoes.

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  10. Nice to get free potatoes. Maybe that is what attracts all those birds? ;c)

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  11. Your potato picking story reminded me of the Escapees Park in Hondo, TX. Behind the park are large fields of cabbage. The dirt road to the main road is used by the trucks overflowing with cabbage. Yup, those Escapees would get the "pick" of cabbage. But this spring many were disappointment. The trucks coming down that road now had tarps over them! Keep on getting those potatoes while you can.

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  12. This happens in South Texas a lot...spilled produce on the roads. Looks like the shield on the Klamath sign was used for target practice!!!

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  13. Jefferson County, the county just north of us used to have potatoes, like 6 potato sheds and a processing plant, used to get spuds on the corners, where the trucks did not slow down :) !! good way to supplement the pantry for us 'poor' folks... they got blight or something, then everything moved to Boardman on Columbia river

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  14. Your refuge has such interesting stuff! Potatoes and snow geese! I should have tried hard to get out there to see it. Maybe someday.

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  15. Very nice to get some free potatoes "hot off the farm". Hope they aren't GMO. Also hope you'll be around to see a million birds. I cant' even imagine.

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  16. Free spuds -hard to beat:) Those geese can sure stink up the area.

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  17. Dennis planted 40 hills of Yukon Gold potatoes this year...We have just started to harvest them..There is nothing better than a fresh grown potato!!! Love all those birds moving in..We have lost our Hummers..they were smarter than we are...headed South.

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  18. Having lived in both Idaho and Oregon. I can tell you that Klamath Basin (either side of the state line) potatoes win. Can't wait to get back over the mountain to see the snow geese. Hope we see you again too before you migrate, but if not, we will see you this winter I am sure. Big hugs to you, Judy

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  19. Fresh dug potatoes are the best.

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  20. Funny about our potato perceptions. A visit to east of Devils Lake in N.D. brought me into a major potato area. I was taken by complete surprise....;)

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