Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday Twitterdeedum

I spent some fun time yesterday with one of my SHS Class of 1965 classmates and friends, Donna.

She'd never been to Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, and since we've included them on a list of possible venues for our 50th-year reunion in 2015, she wanted to see the place.

On the way to Western Pleasure, we stopped off at the Lovestead, which Donna had never seen either.  During that visit, I learned that Donna had ridden horses in her younger years----a Morgan and an Arabian.

Seems funny that we can know someone for so long and continue to learn interesting new facts so many years into the friendship.  Donna enjoyed getting acquainted with Lefty, and he didn't mind the company either.

We moved on to Western Pleasure, took a tour and then had lunch at the Pack River General Store, where I have discovered the BLT caesar salad wrap.  As one staff worker noted to me last week, that wrap can become addictive.

Very good as is everything there!


Uneventful.  That’s pretty much the headline around here this morning.  The sun is shining.  Leaves are turning.  No good news or bad news from what's left of the garden.

Looks like a pleasant, relatively low key day ahead for which I've assembled "the list."

"The list" helps me remember all those little "to do" chores that don't take much time but that do often get overlooked for days on end in the grand scheme of life.

My current reminder sez:

  • Sasha's letter
  • Photos to enlarge
  • Dirt to dog kennel
  • Woven wire to dog-run shelter
  • Fill gas cans for lawnmower
  • Etc. Etc.

Sasha's letter will be completed today.  It's a light edit and among the "urgent" things on the list because she'd like to use it in a few days.

I've picked a few photos from Ireland that I'd like to frame, so my trip to town today will include a stop off at the Wal-Mart enlarging machine.  I'll probably pick up a few more frames also. 

It's kinda fun seeing such good memories in a more tangible state.  

When I saw "dirt to the dog kennel" on the list, my morning brain felt a bit groggy.  

Why the heck would I take dirt to the dog kennel?

There must be a reason, I thought, or was I so tired last night that I simply wrote down the wrong words?  That DOES happen occasionally.

After a sip of latte, however, the lightbulb flashed on.  Oh yeah, there IS a garden area around the dog kennel, and it does desperately need some new dirt.

Have I ever got a supply of lovely dirt this fall!  

After that wearisome job last week of removing the tangled up jungle of pumpkin vines from the manure pile, I took the tractor and loader and worked the pile.  All contents have decayed enough to provide a wonderful supply for adding some nutrients to the garden spots. 

So, the first project involves depositing a new layer on the area around the kennel. Maybe my chard will grow better next year with the extra shot in the soil. 

Woven wire to the dog shelter out in the run.  

I won't even describe how it's gonna be used.  Let's just say it's a "Marianne band-aide" until I can get someone to construct a real roof over the shelter where these days tarps have to do the job.

But I've got an idea, and it may just work.  I'll report results just like I promised a few months ago when I purchased those three recoiling garden hoses.

All three still work just fine.  None have blown up.  Nary a problem with any of them.  

One has been used for the deck flowers, and every morning while watering, I rejoice the fact that the hose is so easy to store inside the little deck hole with slat door that Amos constructed for me.

Two recoiling hoses are attached to the long stretch of over other garden hoses which I lug from manure pile to the big garden.  They've been dragged over sharp rocks, run over a few times and even stretched. 

Three months later, they're as good as new.

So, I'm thinking the recoiling hose concept has probably gone through some perfecting over the past couple of years.  Highly recommended. 

Finally, in this last part of September, it looks like I can get away with mowing my ever-lush lawn just once a week now instead of every three days.  

This has been an unusually moist year for the grass around this place.  It just grows and grows, but the cooler nights have finally slowed it down a bit.

And, since all the gas cans are empty, I'd better get 'em filled up for the next mowing.  

Soon I'll have to go to Pac West Parts to pick up that part which Tony is welding back together for the lawnmower pickup bag.  Earlier this summer, I collided with an apple tree with the bag connecting with enough force that an important piece broke off.

Neither Tony nor I have been in a big hurry to get it repaired, but with leaf pick-up coming soon, I'm sure he'll have it ready to go. j

I'm sure I can add a lot more to "the list," but I'd better tend to what's on it for today.

So, on an uneventful morning, I'll just wish everyone a happy Tuesday. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Horsin' Around and Good News

The four pictured above brought a smile to my heart yesterday.  Even though my knees were aching a bit from walking all the way while Debbie and Laura rode, I felt no real pain, just great satisfaction and happiness.

It's hard to describe how thrilling it is finally to be to the stage where one's horses can calmly do what horses are supposed to do----provide their riders with the great pleasure of enjoying the outdoors and of viewing beauty from a different,higher perspective from what we two-legged creatures normally get to see on our own two feet.

Oh, when sitting in that saddle, there's a limb here and there that can scratch your face when plodding through a wooded area, but the tidy wood pile and logs yet to be cut into wood along the trail or the myriad of talkative birds flitting from limb to limb in Bill's lovely forest---nothing beats that. 

Debbie had to do some adjusting with Lefty yesterday because he's graduated to a curb bit, and she's ridden him with a snaffle in the past.  So, we took great care to see that all went smoothly as she practiced using her leg pressure more than ever and maintained enough contact with his mouth but not too much.

Too much pressure---or shall we call it 'yanking'---with a curb bit can cause great discomfort with a horse's mouth, and even a tiny bit of discomfort on a horse with a "soft, uncalloused" mouth like Lefty's can, in turn, cause the head to go in the air and a whole lot of confusion with both horse and rider.

I can proudly report that Lefty's head never went into the air, and Debbie learned quickly during yesterday's ride, which buttons to push with her leg muscles and what to do with those hands full of reins.

I kept close to Lefty at the beginning to make sure all went well.  Then, I couldn't get away from him.  Lefty does like his mom, so through most of the time we spent on wooded trails and on most of the road trip, that soft nose was nuzzling me.

I didn't mind. 

I guess Lefty figures if Debbie has the right contact with his mouth, he needs to keep the right contact with his mom.

Yup, the little, adorable "I'm yours" baby from that ranch in Ronan, Mont., has grown up to become a nice saddle horse, one who truly loves his peeps. 

As for Lily, all I can say is that she and Swiss Miss have bonded.  Any worries I may have had prior to Laura's first ride last week are now very distant memories.  

One must always be careful when introducing a strangers in the "horse-peeps" category, especially when the peep comes from another country and says she likes horses.  A whole world of possibilities could exist with a statement such as that.  Some can turn out well, some, disastrous.  

In this case, Swiss Miss not only likes horses, but she also knows how to handle them with ease and with a calm, quiet manner.  Lily figured that out right away and responded accordingly. 

"Guess she knows what she's doing," Lily must have been thinking, "so I guess I'll just plod down the trail and behave, just like my mom expects me to do when she's riding me."

And, that's what Lily does, as Laura sits aboard, quietly directing her wherever she (Laura) wants her (Lily) to go. 

The scenario could have easily been the other way around with a different person on board, but horses sense quickly---just like kids---how much mischief they can wreak. 

Laura thoroughly enjoyed riding in the woods, directing Lily in and around trees.  

She told me that the woods in Switzerland generally have trees growing too close together for an enjoyable horseback ride, so yesterday's experience was a treat for her. 

I could not have been happier to walk alongside those horses and their riders on a pretty afternoon as these two ladies enjoyed their time spent aboard my two horse buddies.  

Good Lily.  Good Lefty. 

Definitely a great afternoon memory. 

Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Saturday Afternoon Bike-Path Stroll

Twas a great September Saturday yesterday from start to finish.  

Beautiful and comfortable weather, projects completed and time for pleasant recreation made for a fun day. That chocolate sundae to top off the day while watching the Mariners wasn't bad either.

My body got a work-out yesterday with plenty of walking and some very rigorous toil.  So rigorous, in fact, that I decided to break what I thought would be a quick project into several stages.

That would be pumpkin-vine removal. 

Seems like an easy enough job, but this year's tentacles spread far and beyond the norm, firmly affixing themselves in some areas to the point that I had to chop 'em to get them to move.  Plus, they seemed to weigh a lot more than usual.

Over the course of day and five overflowing toboggan sleds later, I finally completed a major part of the manure-pile clean-up.  There's still more out there, but the bulk of that pumpkin plant has been removed and piled up in another spot near the barn. 

Each load of tentacles, with a few chewed up zucchinis (the moles have had a great summer) was so cumbersome that I had to hitch up like a workhorse and huff and puff deeply while pulling the sled to the pumpkin-vine depository. 

Maybe I've found a new way to condition these old leg muscles, but I'm probably not going to pursue it.  In fact, I'm wondering if next year I could dice that pumpkin seed in half before plopping it into the top of the manure pile. 

During one of my extended breaks from working the pile, I saddled up Lefty. We took a lovely ride around the place, up and down the road and over to Geneva's where both Becky and Geneva enjoyed some soft-nose petting.

Lefty was pretty well behaved as we visited, even though Lily kept calling from next door and those nasty September flies kept tormenting his underside. 

Over this past week I've brush hogged some new patches in the woods and south of the house near the road, opening up some nice riding spots right here on the place.  Except for those scary shadows in the woods, Lefty seemed to enjoy our leisurely ride. 

And, I really enjoyed it.

Later, with a couple of hours of afternoon left and not wanting to return to the pumpkin tentacles, I took my camera and drove into town to the bike path leading alongside the Long Bridge. 

Having only been on that route one other time with my bicycle since its opening, I enjoyed tuning in on the surrounding sights and sounds.

A train was headed south on the tracks, creating interesting layers of motorized vehicles. No trains, planes and automobiles, but close and colorful.

On the walk to Dog Beach and throughout the day, the planes overhead created interesting patterns in the sky. 

The walk was pleasant with folks biking and folks just plain relaxing.  Another train came north, and I enjoyed watching it with a much different attitude from the days on Great Northern Road when they kept me awake or kept me from getting to or from town. 

Yesterday's thoughts included memories of the time I spent time researching and writing a story for Sandpoint Magazine about our community being the "Funnel" in train lingo.  That's cuz we had three different lines going through here, and I'm thinking we still do. 

Lots of history but yesterday the trains simply contributed to the scenic hodge podge of a community taking advantage of a beautiful Saturday. 

Today may include more time on a horse, and I'm sure less time at the manure pile.

Happy Sunday. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Saturday Slight

Terry Wood Photo:  Herman, the friendly pig, lives with his human family up the road from Terry's place.  He likes being neighborly. 

Mile No. 16.

That’s where we live on Chris’s route today.

“Put the Gatorade behind that white post . . . I’ll be coming by around 7.”

Those were our instructions for this Saturday morning.

Overnight, the fruit-punch Gatorade sat on the kitchen island.

Since the “wolf crossing” sign is nailed to that white post, one never knows if a thirsty or ravenous wolf might come by in the night and decide to bite into that plastic bottle.

So, we decided to keep it in the house.  The bottle went its assigned location just before I started off on my morning walk.
The brilliant morning sky almost matched the contents of that Gatorade bottle---wine red.

Our morning Gatorade assignment certainly added a little interest to the mundane morning activities around the Lovestead, and we were happy to oblige.

After all, our friend is training for a marathon, probably next month in Kansas, and it appears that he’s put considerable planning into his training schedule.

As I write, it appears he’s a bit behind schedule because the Gatorade was still sitting behind the post just before I sat down to do this post.

Bill figures the darkness may have delayed his start, but by the time I go outside again, he’ll probably have passed by and grabbed some energy.

In the meantime, Bill has left for a day of celebration.  He’s headed to the Fitchett property up in Gold Creek where the longtime local family will be honored as "Idaho State Tree Farmers of the Year."

Besides a tour, several people will give talks during the morning gathering, including Bill talking about the Humbird Lumber Co. which once owned the area before the Fitchetts arrived several decades ago.

The Fitchetts are a wonderful family, and we figure nobody could be more deserving.

Rusty Fitchett and his sister Ruby work together managing their forest and harvesting timber.  Bill says 14 family members will be on hand for today’s celebration.

This morning, after taking horses to pasture, I gathered up the last of the pumpkins from the massive plant next to our barn.
All sizes and a few weird shapes, but that makes it more fun.  Yesterday, the four largest among the patch went to the front of the house to create a blend of summer and fall with the flowers still flourishing after the big freeze.

This morning a cartful of pumpkins joined their siblings---mainly for a photo op.  I’m thinking it will be kinda neat to have a nice assortment of sizes for fall decorating.  Later, some will go in the oven for the winter supply of goodies for pumpkin desserts and breads.

A brisk breeze is blowing outside, and it added a different tone to the morning walk---quiet but soothing as I enjoyed having the road to myself.

I’m wondering if some morning I might meet up with Herman, the neighborhood socialite.  Herman talks only “Oink, oink,” and he’s been showing up at folks’ homes just for a visit.
Yesterday, the friendly pot-bellied mini porker decided to visit Dan and Terry Wood’s farm up the road.  Of course, Terry posted a photo and later her sister-in-law Janice introduced the rest of us to Herman, who had visited her home a week or so ago.

“Very friendly,” Herman’s hosts maintain, along with a caution for everyone to watch out for Herman and make sure he doesn’t end up on someone’s breakfast plate.

Never a dull moment out here.  

I wonder if Herman will be out and about when marathoner Chris trots down the road.  If the two should meet, it could be that Chris may be wondering what all’s in that Gatorade.

Happy Saturday. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Frost Busters, Not!

There's a new look in the neighborhood this morning:  crispy, wet sheets and dead plants. 

"That's all folks!" seemed to be the message from once-beautiful sagging pumpkin and tomato vines on the manure pile and the most gorgeous, now brown zinnia blooms ever. 

Last night's was a frost that meant business, launching an all-out freeze attack on any weakling among the veggies and flowers. 

I now call the area west of the barn the manure-pile morgue and am expecting to find total collateral damage while assessing the overnight damage more closely this morning. 

Looks like those sheets for protection did little good.  The nice part is I don't have to put them out again, and the concern that comes with cold, clear September nights is all but gone for a while.

This was to be the cold night, followed by a week of overnight 40s.  

The good news is that the sheets covering 'maters in the garden nearest the house may have saved the plants.  Again, we'll see.

I moved some pots with zinnias to the deck, hoping for protection from the house's warmth.  

Any other zinnias in the path of frost, however, have done as zinnias always do when they get cold:  turn brown. 

So, it looks like there will be quite a project of removing the dead stuff, retrieving tomatoes, moving pumpkins to the deck and minding a whole lot less garden for the remainder of this year. 

Last night I pulled all the Walla Walla sweets and am hoping their fumes did not have Festus crying onion tears all night in the shop off the house. 

Bill noticed the onion odor when we went to retrieve some breakfast items from the back freezer.  I assured him the onions would be moving to the bigger shop later today where only the mice can smell them.  

And, so goes September, the month of worries about impending death of all which we've nutured during the year's growing season.

I'll be anxious to hear how my neighbor Janice's plants fared over night, as I noticed a whole lot of sheets in her garden area while walking past their place this morning.  

There's still plenty of color left, and I plan to enjoy it during the warm weather ahead. 

"At least, it wasn't August," Bill said when I came in to give the garden mortality report. 

Yep, it's been a good year for our tastebuds and our eyes and noses, and another will come again. 

Still, it's a little sad to think about those zinnias.  They were so beautiful.  Maybe the pots I put on the deck will make up for the loss.  We'll see.

In the meantime, the killing frost will be followed by another "killer" day---beautiful sunshine and no clouds. 

Happy Friday. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Good News Amidst Sad Remembrance

This always will be a sobering day, as we remember horror which we'd like to forget. Everyone has their story of Sept. 11, 2001, and in every heart, the retelling is nothing short of poignant.

I've retold mine a time or two and will probably do so a few more times, just as I tell of Kennedy's assassination, Mt. St. Helens eruption, the Challenger disaster and other horrific events that have occurred in our lifetime. 

This day is similar to that morning in 2011, except it's a heckuva lot colder:  a four-layer day, to be exact.

It's a Thursday, not a Tuesday, and, on Facebook,  a lot of folks like to post photos of "Throwback Thursdays."  

Ironically, many posted this morning were probably not intended to be a throwback, but they are----those images of 13 years ago, firmly planted in so many minds. 

So, what's the good news on this day of sad remembrance?

First thing this morning, I enjoyed seeing the video of a delightful man in our extended family who hails from the quickly fading generation whose minds were filled forever with memories of Pearl Harbor Day in December, 1941. 

Like so many who responded to the 9-11 attack, that generation answered the call to action when America's homeland was attacked in Honolulu.

And, now the nation honors them for their service during WWII with trips to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.  

This morning's video of Bill Short and several other WWII veterans coming home to Chicago from their honor flight to Washington, D.C. was moving and uplifting.

His proud and loving family was there with welcoming signs and flags and stirring patriotic music was playing.  

My mother's first cousin Bill (the Irishman and the last of his generation from that family clan) rode down the ramp in a wheel chair as did most of the veterans.  

Before Bill appeared in the video, though,  one tall former soldier proudly walked, almost strutting and coming close to beating his chest with pride as the crowd chanted, "USA . . . USA." 

I'm sure a tear or two of familial pride was shed at Chicago's O'Hare last evening as Honor Flight No. 59 returned with its precious cargo.  What a day it must have been for those veterans!

And, so this morning, watching the video certainly started off the day with some good news.  

Other good news:  the tomatoes and cucumbers survived yet another cold night, which is good because the wind blew one of the sheets off from 'maters in the big garden. 

Another positive or two came during my morning walk as a jogger and her dog came running past me.  We enjoyed a quick chat about how cold it was.  Gary Finney also stopped to talk.  He's wearing an extra vest this morning.

On my way home, yet another car pulled to a stop behind me.  It was April May who lives on Forest Siding Road.

"She's following you," April said.  

I turned around, and sure enough she was.  I had stopped to take a picture of Baby Percheron across Gary's field, but black on darkness doesn't show up too well. 

Apparently when I started walking, she thought we needed to have a conversation.  So, after April headed on to town, Miss Baby Percheron came along the fence line and stuck her nose over my way several times. 

I'm thinking that's good news because we've never enjoyed a visit that upclose and personal.  I'm thinking someone must be working with Miss Baby Percheron, and she's decided she likes people. 

The piercing, cold wind from yesterday has quit, and it looks like a mild and lovely day ahead.  So, there will be moments of remembrance blended with the usual moments of gratitude around here----gratitude for the opportunity of living in an area where it's relatively peaceful and the worst news usually involves the weather.  

Let's hope it stays that way, and let's give thanks for those, like Bill Short who have always worked so hard over the generations in our behalf to maintain the life that we so enjoy. 


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

On the Subject of Reading . . . .

I want to talk about some writers, but before I do, let me mention a hero.  His name is Bill Short.  

As I type, he's probably flying or maybe he's already arrived in Washington, D.C.

Bill Short lives in Chicago, and he's a family member:  my mother's cousin.  This soon-to-be 90-year-old is a prince of a man and a proud veteran of World War II.

Today he is traveling with a group of Greatest Generation heroes on an honor flight, visiting the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

I'm told by his son Brendan (another fine man and author) that on the way back, the veterans will receive a bag of mail to read----all from proud relatives and friends who have extended their written pride and thanks.  

So, on this morning of the day when the Air Force wood winds come to perform at the Panida in Sandpoint, I'll be thinking about Bill and the wonderful experience he must be enjoying and which he so deserves.

I salute you, Bill.  

In other news, with my aforementioned refocusing efforts, I picked up my Ivan Doig book, (which has gathered a little dust) and this morning I returned to the bar in Montana where the kid from Arizona named Rusty has come to live with his dad who runs the bar.

I had to review a few pages because the last page I read some months ago was not well marked. When action began to sound unfamiliar, though, I knew I'd found it and felt totally at home within minutes as the story line once more hooked me in a pleasant, relaxing way.

That's what I love about Ivan Doig books.  Extended time in between reads does not ruin the story, nor do I have to start from scratch.

With fall coming and shorter days and less outside work to do, I can get back to spending more time reading. 

And, with that in mind, I'd like to announce this morning that I love Ammi Midstokke's columns in the health section of our morning paper.  She shares space with two or three other columnists who try to help us all stay healthy in mind and in body.

I don't always read those columns, unless their headline promises something dealing with my usual ailments---too much time in the bathroom or the itch.  

For some reason, I happened on to Ammi's most recent column, read it from start to finish and thought, "Gee, that had nothing to do with being a midwife!"  

Iz Ammi the local Midstokke who does midwifery?  

Since I haven't had a baby in almost 36 years, I'm not on a first-name basis with those who bring them into the world. 

Anyway, this morning's and the last column I read by Ammi delighted me from start to finish.  Maybe that's because she has a quirky sense of humor and views the world a bit like I do.  For example, I don't think Ammi and I would get much help if we were sitting together in a self help seminar.  

More likely, we'd get kicked out. 

So, if you're local, and you'd like a morning chuckle, check out Ammi's column.  If you're local and you're about to have a baby, I still don't know if she's the ONE who brings newborns into the world.  

So, ya'd better get that new telephone business directory from a couple of weeks ago and make sure.

Along with Ammi, I've latched on to a few other writers who like to share their unique perspective through blogging.

If you want to learn the vintage ways of the world, go check out Jenny Leo's blog.  The most recent edition talked about fall house cleaning, using an article from a few decades ago. 

It was all okay until it got to the part where the in-home slave aka homemaker was expected to go take a bath and freshen up from a day of in-house drudgery before hubby came home.  

After all, hubby doesn't like to open the door an unkempt wife in a spotlessly clean house when he's been toiling at the office all day.

I have a feeling Kaitlin Glines Barnhart's husband is proud of his wifey who finds ways to be a mamma and to go fly fishing, all at the same time. 

Kaitlin, who moved from this area to Boise a year or so ago, has been having so much fun with her mommy/angling multi-tasking that she has created a blog which takes readers to some great trout streams.  Most recently one of her friends brought along everything needed for baby and fly fishing along with a goat. 

Most recently, I've learned about Cynthia Tanner, who proudly claims "outlawry" as a connection.  

She's from Wisconsin, and she is a shirt-tail relative---more like the Duluth Trading Co. variety of shirt tail, though.   Ya know the kind that have that long tail cover up stuff that most people don't want to see.

Actually, I'm not suggesting I wouldn't want to see Cynthia----it's just that she's pretty removed as far as relatives, but she is a cousin to my brother's wife, so she definitely counts!

Cynthia wrote me a note last week and introduced me to her blog.  

So far, I had time to read about the U.S.Tennis Men's Finals and her personal experience during 9-11 where a micro managing manager/boss kept the troops in a room and unaware that something horrible had happened in the world for a couple of hours---until AFTER the corporate propaganda videos had been shown.  

I'm still reading several other of my longtime blogs each morning, but on this day of getting back to Ivan Doig and the kid in the bar, I thought it would be fun to introduce the new members of my personal blogroll. 

So, enjoy. Their links follow. 

Jenny Leo:  http://jenniferlamontleo.com/blog/
Kaitlin Glines-Barnhart:  http://mammaflybox.wordpress.com/
Cynthia Tanner:   http://northwoodslistener.wordpress.com/


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

A Slight Detour

My friend Mow aka Jean likes the spirit behind Annie's thumbs-up with most of her photos, so, of course, she was thinking of Annie when my friend and former student Zach Spohn took this photo yesterday at Trinity. 

And, since Zach was kind enough to take our photo, I snapped a shot of his group, Sandpoint's Bulldog Bench.
I especially wanted to take this picture because I knew everyone at the table.  That doesn't often happen in downtown Sandpoint these days.  

Great group of people, all wonderful contributors to the community. 


Today seems like a good day to think of "slight detours" or maybe better yet to "refocus." 

I've been headed on a somewhat disciplined track for several weeks, involving all the family and community activities and visiting that occur during typical summers in Sandpoint.

This year, especially, my focus included several touch-up projects around the place, all aimed at completion with the visit of my friend Jean aka Mow.

And, proudly, it's nice to report that most of them were completed, allowing for a wonderful weekend of just plain enjoying the place and the sights and sounds around the community. 

Well, the weekend fun all came to a close yesterday with a culinary grand finale of sorts, occurring at Trinity Restaurant, where I told Mow that she must try the pecan-crusted chicken salad.

Have I mentioned that I live for every chance to sample that salad at Trinity?  

Well, yesterday I learned that I'm not alone.  

When the server asked us if we were ready to order, I asked her, just out of curiosity, what she thought we would all want to order.

"Pecan-crusted chicken salad," she said. 

Case closed. 

It's, indeed, a very popular selection, and yesterday's tantalizing experience did not disappoint.  The salad always varies slightly--ever so slightly---during different times of the year.

Debbie, who's also quite well acquainted with the salad, noticed, like I did, a little extra kick in maybe the dressing.  That had no effect on the fact that I'm pretty sure all three of us ate every bite, and my friend Mow highly approved.

Anyway, that dining delight completed, we said good bye to Debbie and headed for Spokane Airport.  I'm assuming as I type this morning she has reconnected with Webster, Lovie, Fionia and Bob and has shared many of her experiences in North Idaho, no doubt highlighted by tales of her new canine friend Foster.

Foster has a way of slowly working his way into everyone's hearts, and that he did with Mow.  I think he especially loved his "tummy rubs." 

Anyway, this morning, life returns to a somewhat normal pattern here at the Lovestead, absent the major goal-setting activities.

I actually started with a mundane errand yesterday on my way back from Spokane by driving around the Valley for about an hour, finally finding Valley Vac n Sew, where I dropped off our back-up Dyson vacuum cleaner for repair.

It has been sitting in the shop off the house for a few years after the duct tape used around the hole in its hose quit holding in all the debris sucked up by the cleaner.

Time to get that fixed, I thought.  So, I quickly gave it a once-over with the shop vac, trying to remove as many cobwebs and excess cat fuzz as possible. Somehow fuzz and cobwebs tend to build up on most everything in the shop.

After a quick cleaning, I put the Dyson in the back of the car.  Once at Valley Vac n' Sew, I pulled it out, took it in and asked if they could fix the hose and give it a general tune-up.

The nice man said yes but he wanted to listen to the motor.  So, he plugged it in, and the second he hit the switch, a tree toad leaped from somewhere in or on the cleaner. Guess I should have spent a bit more time removing all the excess at home.

Anyway, Valley Vac n' Sew now has a Lovestead tree toad hopping around the store, and the clerk cautioned me that the "laboring" motor might mean the cleaner is not worth fixing.  Guess I'll know in a week. 

After returning home last night,  I compiled a list of "things to do," now that life is taking a slight detour from the summer super highway. 

That list includes getting a new sack of grain for the horses, since the grain in the bin overheated during the summer.  Ride horses also tops the list, and if I do that, a fresh sack of grain for the post-ride treats will be in order.

Lots of other miscellaneous items on the list will get attention, along with the fall lawn mowing and winter prep.  

Overall, though, looking back, I'd say the summer far exceeded expectations, and I have lots of wonderful memories to support that. 

Life is good.  Happy Tuesday. 

Monday, September 08, 2014

Sunday Sampler

It was kind of a smorgasboard Sunday, not only in the food department but also with the activities.  The day had a lot of the plate for all family members, with Barbara and Laurie taking their horses to the show and giving guidance to Spring, who rode in her first horse-show class ever.

Spring has been helping around the Tibbs Arabians for several months----grooming and exercising horses and honing her riding skills.

Laurie decided to let Spring ride Scout in yesterday's show, and the two did very well together.  Seemed like there was a constant smile on Spring's face throughout the day, especially when she accepted two ribbons for her two classes. She also had a contingent of proud family members cheering her on. 

Sage also helps around the place, and for the red hat class, Sage seemed to have come up short on her costume, so just like duct tape, vet wrap has lots of uses other than wound care.  

Just wrap that stuff around the helmet, and you're set.  Sage had a great day, winning a couple of firsts and a high-point award for her age group.

Along with the girls, my sisters entered a couple of classes with Scout and Dusty, both lookin' pretty good. 

Foster accompanied Mow and me to the show, and I've learned Foster is becoming more possessive of his mom.  He doesn't like me to get too many feet away from him, but when one goes to the honey bucket, even little Foster can't quite fit inside. 

So, Mow held him as he howled for Mom in the john. 

Laura and Debbie also came to the show and took a few pictures.  Barbara handed her camera over to Laura, and it got some good use.

After the show, I snapped a fun shot of my friend Kari and Erik (Sage's mom and grandpa) we took a quick trip up to Schweitzer.  Mow noticed a bit of a change from her visit about 25 years ago. 

Then we all got together for a barbecue with my special summer veggie dish, fresh corn on the cob, and cukes and tomatoes from the garden.  We also cleaned up on a lot of those dessert items, purchased during our Saturday rounds.

Yup, the plate was full in more ways than one, and it turned out to be a pretty satisfying day.  Today Mow goes back to Palm Springs, and everyone else, back to work or school after a great weekend of fun. 

Happy Monday.  

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Playin' Turist and Geocaching

Thumbs up after cache finds-----just for Annie!

Photogenic relics in a Ruen field

BIG Binocs!

Mountains of Montana

The stories this place could tell!

Off to the next cache. 
A "Loblolly Love" cache

Lightning Creek

What to do!  What to do!

We're scaling back a bit on sticking to a disciplined schedule today after a full day of sight seeing and geocaching AND eating. 

Doesn't get any better than that especially when the weather cooperates.  

Our biggest challenge yesterday was deciding whether or not we really needed to bring along a jacket.

Turns out we did need a wrap while sitting on the deck, enjoying our tasty sandwiches and delightful nibbles of cappucino bars outside Clark Fork's Pantry.  

Enough shade and a little breeze eventually sent me to the car for my fleece.

Minutes later, however, the fleece remained in the car, and minutes after that,  I was shedding my pullover long-sleeved blouse in favor a one-layer cover.  The September sun's warmth even made me think my jeans could have easily been exchanged for shorts.

Our day started out with breakfast, coffee, newspaper reading and watching the turkeys in the field with Lefty.  

Later, we even saw an amorous Tom trying to set up a romantic interlude with a hen down in the hay field.  She seemed pretty indifferent, though, as he kept circling her with tail feathers at full attention.

No X-ratings there!

After stopping off at the Pack River General Store and picking up some seven-layer bars (which surpisingly have survived overnight), we took a trip up Lightning Creek near Clark Fork, where the name Viggo came up a few times.  

No Lord of the Rings king sightings, though. 

The post-Pantry adventure took us to the Henderson Ranch Wildlife Management area across the river and east of Clark Fork.  

It's a lovely expanse of ponds and open fields, even a pear tree with ripe fruit.  That's where my friend Mow got officially christened into the sport of geocaching.  Bill showed her a few things about the GPS, and she was off to find caches.

Five in all by the time we left the ranch.  While they talked tech and showed the thumbs up after every find, I happily wandered around snapping photos.

Later, we drove to Heron and then back home for a break before topping off the day at Dover where we dined at The Dish Restaurant along the river. 

Just about perfect:  that's how I'd term the day----three old fogey friends having a great time in the beautiful outdoors on a stunning day from start to finish. 

Today we'll go to the horse show and watch Barbara and Laurie ride in a few classes, and then we'll top off this day with a barbecue on the deck.  

Should be another fun one.  

Happy Sunday.