Thursday, May 25, 2017

TBT/This and That

I experienced a few waves of nostalgic sadness yesterday afternoon while standing at the kitchen island, emptying the contents of the wallet above and transferring them to a new Liz Claiborne model, purchased at J.C. Penneys. 

It was time----a statement reminiscent of the day my sister Laurie stood on a bale wagon at our Upper Place and said to me, "It's time, Marianne."  She was referring to my need to start doing something to hide the ever-increasing strands of gray hair appearing on my head. 

Well, that was easily 25 years ago, and my hairdressers have been "knowing for sure" ever since.  

It's probably been close to 20 years that I've carried around the wallet pictured above.  It traveled with me to the Southern Hemisphere in 2003 where Annie and I both received passes to visit the New Zealand legislative assembly building in Wellington. 

My pass has been affixed to the innards of the wallet ever since as a reminder of one of the "times of my life." 

The wallet has also traveled to Ireland, France, The Netherlands, Canada and back and forth to local grocery stores, etc. zillions of times. 

Of late, my credit-card collection has been falling out of the slots where borders protecting the slots have worn away, opening up more opportunity for those cards to wiggle their way out. 

More than once, the whole pile of cards has fallen onto a counter during a purchase.  So, yes, it was time to buy a new wallet AND a purse. My last purse, a classy black leather model, no longer looks too classy even though it's still completely functional unlike my wallet.

As I transferred items yesterday, memories resurfaced with restaurant business cards from abroad, email addresses of folks I'd met in my travels, scrawled on pieces of paper, way too many Wal-Mart receipts and canceled checks.

I made several decisions about which items could finally hit the trash and which would make the transition into the new wallet. 

Of course, those precious photos of Willie and Annie as adorable pre-teens, which have accompanied me everywhere I go, needed no pondering.  They melt my heart every time I find them tucked away safely in one of the compartments. 

Many business cards and old credit cards were discarded, but I took great care in making sure my insurance cards would occupy a secure but easily found spot.  After all, I'm getting older, and I might forget.  

I won't throw away the wallet.  I'll leave that up to the kids some day.  Some aspects of our life, which we sometimes take for granted but always take with us have the right to live on, even if stuffed in a box underneath a bunch of other items that only we view as treasures. 

So, if the wallet becomes another person's junk, so be it. I shall always treasure it by keeping it among the "stuff" that would be sent to the dump if it weren't for the emotional connections. 

The island also served as a nice setting last night to snap a photo of our evening meal, two thirds of which came from this place.  Only the Stouffers lasagna and those cukes had to be purchased at a store.  

I grew the lettuce, the asparagus emerges completely on its own every year (and this year has seen a bumper crop), and I baked the rolls.  Once again, I think it tasted better than usual because of its local Lovestead qualities.  

Always fun to eat a meal filled with personal touches. 

On another note, which could fit in the "throwback" category, I'm wondering if back in the old days when I was really young, people liked to fling put downs of others who talked on the telephone. 

I was too young to remember if that was the case. I just remember my mother talked on the phone a lot, and we loved it cuz we could sit and listen while she talked. 

Nowadays, people use social media like blogs, Facebook and Twitter to communicate, but it seems that our submitting to this relatively new means of communication brings out occasional barbs from cynics.  

Seems that some folks, often using their own Facebook post, no less--- like to communicate their disdain those who rather like its convenience and accessibility to people we probably never see or hear from had it not been for the continued development of social media. 

Granted, using Facebook, tweeting, texting or talking on the telephone, do require a sense of responsibility and caution, but when I think of the all the wonderful layers of awareness and communication all these entities have brought to us everyday, ordinary people who like to keep in touch, I embrace the technology. 

I can remember when many folks (me included) poopoohed computers, vowing never to allow our fingers to walk over a computer keyboard.  Times changed.  Our worlds opened up beyond what we could ever imagine as we gradually took baby steps and realized they weren't nearly as scary as we had imagined.

Now, look at the majority of us!  We can't imagine living without our modern means of communication.  And, so when Facebook is down for me and for a lot of other people who love the photos, the connections and other positive aspects of the medium, it's a big deal.

I'm so glad that because of some of the helpful comments I read on various Facebook posts yesterday, I finally was able to troubleshoot by unplugging my computer and wi-fi modem and, "voila!" Facebook had returned.  

And, though nobody sits around and listens to me while I'm on Facebook like in the good ol' days with the telephone conversations, it's just as much fun as it was when my mother cranked up that wall phone in the North Boyer living room and asked for "382" every day so she could talk to Ardis Racicot for hours on end. 

Besides, how many times could a cow chewing its cud out in a pasture in rural North Idaho enjoy some fame when all we had was the telephone. 

Enough said.  Happy Thursday.  

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wild and Woolly Wednesday

I am so glad I did not cave to the temptation of mowing the lawn yesterday.  It could have used it as the warm weather of the past two days meant significant grass growth and a new layer of ugliness among the seas of spent dandelions rising above the grass. 

It's not a pretty combination, and with my obsessive-compulsive desire to have a neatly manicured lawn 24-7, I had to fight the constant urge to jump on the lawnmower and whack that grass down anyway. 

My main reason for not mowing the lawn yesterday is because we have visitors coming from Seattle this weekend.  Rather than mow twice in four days, I decided to grin and bear the ragged look and wait until Thursday in hopes that it will still look nice when they come.   

This morning as I hear furious, blizzard-like wind gusts whirling every which way but loose outside and doors slamming inside because of open windows, I'm pretty sure that my ragged-edge lawn is filled with leaves and limbs aplenty. 

So, it was a good call to let that grass grow. 

Besides, I still have to remove my zero-turn mower from the spot where it has remained stuck in the muck for several days.  I think we're going to have to pull it out, so waiting for the ground around the muck to be dry and solid is a must. 

So, that will probably happen today, thanks to this morning's brisk and drying winds, and maybe the lawnmower will stay unstuck for the rest of the summer. 

Yesterday's decision to let the lawn grow opened the time and perfect opportunity to take my first horseback ride of the year. 

With two newly shod horses, I had a choice, and Lefty got the nod.  After all, rather than eating in the pasture all day, like Lily, he spends most of his day standing around in the barnyard.  

Unfortunately, Lefty is just like his owner:  he simply looks at food and instantly adds pounds. So, his eating time has always been kept to a minimum.

Lefty wins the "sweetheart award" for horses. I always tell people that he's a horse that would move into the house with us if we'd let him. He truly loves people and would happily hang out in the living room at the drop of a hat.

To say that Lefty loves his attention would be an understatement, so he was pretty happy with the grooming, saddling and plodding up and down the road. With a gentle morning breeze blowing, it was a delightful riding experience, and Lefty didn't even try to pull too many shenanigans for his first trip out on the road. 

I wish I had more time to ride because there's no better feeling in the world, even with the accompanying aches and pains, than going for a good pleasure ride.  Yesterday's maiden run aboard Lefty was just that. 

My day also included a trip to Co-Op Country Store with three sets of clipper blades. My animal clippers do not cut.  After trying all three sets of blades, using Lefty as a guinea pig, and having no luck cutting off even one nose hair, I gave up and concluded, with a bit of skepticism, the blades must need sharpening.

My friend Angela, at the store agreed with me that they did not look like they needed sharpening.  She suggested doing some adjusting.  So, I took them back home and tried one set with no luck.  

But wait!  There's You-Tube.  I have found a variety of videos addressing the clipper-blade challenges, so I'm hoping one has the magic answer. 

While at Co-Op yesterday, I spotted my friend and classmate Judy Chronic Dabroski selling raffle tickets for the upcoming Fourth of July Celebration. Judy and her husband Tom are heavily involved in the Lions Club, contributing their time to the annual parade and to the Toys for Tots campaign.  

A ticket purchase followed by a visit with Judy made the whole trip to town worth it. Always so nice to see members of our "aging" class still contributing to the community in significant ways. 

With bugs and mosquitoes still hungry for blood, I spent part of my evening in the car, stopping at the old "downtown Selle" where lilac bushes at the former grange turned church are in full bloom. 

The evening sun was accentuating a couple of the longtime farms in "downtown Selle," and a biker was probably traveling fast enough down Selle Road to escape the bugs. 

No lawn cut yesterday but still a very productive day, and the wind continues to blow on this Wednesday.  It was almost bitter cold when I went outside to do my early morning chores.  

As long as the sun keeps shining and the rain stays away, I won't gripe about cool temps or wild winds.  

Happy Wednesday. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Just BEEcuz It's So Bloomin' Pretty

Making up for lost time. That's the story of yesterday here at the Lovestead.  It was true for me and especially true for all the stuff that grows around here. 

Lots of little projects, including holding horses and jawing with John Fuller as he put their shoes on, planting the rest of my taters and 'maters, pulling grass which has shot up in the flower beds several inches almost overnight, filling a new water trough for the dog run and, of course, playing with doggies. 

Twas a banner day for the dogs cuz John left a collection of trimmings from eight long hooves on the ground out by the barn where he does his work.  

Forget the ball!  

When fresh horse-hoof scraps suddenly appear, three dogs dig in, each grabbing their mouthful and running off to a spot where they can chew on the goodies.  Since there were plenty to go around, I heard no squabbles.

As I scrambled around attending to this and attending to that, dramatic stuff was silently happening all around me.  Apple and blueberry blossoms and irises burst open almost with the wink of an eye.  Even a lilac bush has begun to show off its floral delight. 

Twas good timing too BEEcuz those bees, which had been delivered on Sunday, in their hives, next door had descended upon the Lovestead zeroing in on the newly opened blossoms throughout the north lawn. 

Unlike my days of youth, when I pretty much viewed bees of any kind as a nuisance, I have gained a new appreciation for the important work they do, especially since we moved to Selle and where every year the nice bees residing the hives in Taylor's field have come to spend their summer.

These days I view the little buzzers as friends and seldom worry about being surrounded by them.  

As someone in a KREM-TV bee story about the hives at Gonzaga said yesterday, those honey bees may come up close and personal and look us over for a second or two, but when they learn we don't have anything to offer, they move on to the next available blossom. 

Last night I took my camera to the apple trees and the blueberry bushes and spent nearly half an hour just observing and trying to get some decent photos.  

Bees do move quickly from flower to flower, which required me to be on my toes as I focused and tried to click before the subjects flitted onward. 

I've noticed, in all that observing, that this year's honey bees have a slightly different look from those coming from the hives that Chad Moore used to bring to the pasture next door.  
This year's variety is generally darker in color.  

Another little mystery or void in my knowledge involves bumble bees, which seem to be working harmoniously in concert with the honey bees.   I wonder why they all seem to get along.  Maybe a reader can fill me in on those details. 

The bottom line is that a lot of good stuff happened here yesterday, happily minimizing the sad, shocking and disturbing occurrences far, far away from our little piece of Heaven.

Work got done, pastoral beauty came on strong and bees of a different ilk got along just fine. 

Seems too bad that it can't be that way everywhere.  Maybe the bees could teach us all a lesson or two about co-existence. 

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the photos, just BEEcuz!

Happy Tuesday. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sunny, Productive Day in Selle

The Gold 'n Grouse 4-H Club Facebook page announced that cemetery clean-up would be happening yesterday at 1 p.m.  

From what I heard while visiting with some veterans participating in the event, the 4-H club has been helping prepare the Pack River Cemetery on the corner of Selle and Colburn-Culver Roads for about 32 years. 

When I arrived yesterday, parking was limited and the cemetery was crawling with young and old volunteers with their rakes, their tarps to transport pine needles,  their weed eaters and their pruning tools. 

It turned out that I did not take as many photos as planned.  That's cuz I got distracted and often with more than enough visiting.  After all, many of the folks there I'd known most of my life or, in the case of the youngsters, most of theirs. 

The generations were evident not only with names of permanent residents but also with their layers of descendants who come to visit and show their respect.  

In yesterday's case, the atmosphere was less solemn and more convivial as the work got done in the midst of visiting.

In my case, more visiting occurred than picture taking, ESPECIALLY because three of my SHS Class of 1965 classmates were there.  I swore I hadn't seen Phil Bloom in 50 years, but he reminded me that he had attended two reunions. 

Phil, who lives in Moses Lake, was there with his wife Diana (Green) who grew up next to the Selle Grange and his twin sister Phyllis.  Later, I spotted classmate Gayla Archer Bristow, snipping some stems off from a bush, and I visited briefly with the lady who taught us some geometry, Eva Whitehead, who serves on the cemetery board. 

Of course, when the Gold n' Grouse group participates in most any event, we can count on seeing three or four generations of Woods and McNall family members and that is always fun for me.  

When the work was completed, volunteers lined up behind a pickup where the cookies and soft drinks were ready for consumption.  Kids sat in circles around graves while several adults admired some of the personal touches around graves of friends and family. 

Hats off to all who participated yesterday and who continue to do so every year for this very worthwhile and meaningful project.  Pack River Cemetery will be ready and dressed up for more visitors this coming weekend.  

I threw in a few photos of Bill playing Chuck-it with the dogs.  Early evening light cast some lovely images as the dogs raced around the lawn chasing those balls. 

While Bill and the dogs were playing, I spent some time observing a clump of perennials in the front yard, just buzzing with representatives from the summer visitors down the road.  
Beehives arrived at their summer residence in Taylor's field yesterday morning, and many of the occupants wasted no time flying around the neighborhood in search of nectar.

Yesterday, with its glorious sunshine and warmth, definitely created an atmosphere where honey bees and humans could all be characterized in the same fashion:  busy as bees. 

Today and very soon, John Fuller will be here to shoe Lefty and Lily.  That means one more rite of spring and summer can begin.  When the work is done and the temperature is right, I can saddle up and enjoy the countryside while riding my horses. 

Life is good.  Happy Monday.