Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A Little Good, Fun News


I love this old barn on Center Valley Road. Lots of history. Most of the longtime residents remember it as the Fredolph Nelson barn. 


Bridie was supposed to have her little-girl surgery today, but it was postponed until next week. 

So, she got to eat and go to the barn and do her normal thing this morning. 

As usual, she transformed into Border Collie pose upon reaching the barn door, lest Sunny, the cat, be there to meet her. 

Once inside the barn, Bridie slinks her way to her little safe pen, always vigilant, on the lookout for that cat. 

Before she reaches the barn, we spend a lot of time with the reminder "Don't pull."  

She would prefer to pull me to the barn, but she's getting better at understanding that the old lady at the other end of her leash doesn't care to nor can she run to the barn. 

So, whenever she's particularly emphatic and with her body nearly on its side, she gets to go in circles around me.  Sometimes she is asked to sit. 

She gets big rewards whenever she fulfils those requests. 

I have found over the past two months that the walk to and from the barn, with Bridie on leash, has offered perfect opportunities for low key, non-urgent doggie training. 

Never too much time or frustration but always little opportunities to practice the basic commands. 

We are working on "stay" right now.  At least once or twice, she hears "sit" and usually does so.  Then, facing her, I put my hand out with a "halt" motion and ask her to stay. 

Each day, the stay lasts a little longer. 

I'm quite proud of what she has learned and how fast she learns. 

Of course, the big challenge is when Bridie has big brothers anywhere in the vicinity.  Then, it's a whole new ball game. 

Anywho, I saw the article below and thought I'd post it because I've seen that a lot of folks I know have acquired pups in the past several weeks.


So far, all news about little Bridie is good news, but I've also seen a couple of neat announcements which should make the locals and the tourists happy. 

The best part of both of the announcements below is that the folks making them are local.  

And, in both cases, we're talking about popular eating establishments. 

So, good for Brittany and Alex from Pack River General Store and Pearl's and Kate and Carson at The Hydra.

 Best of luck to you and your staff.  

Looking forward to some more wonderful dinners at the Hydra and trying out the new restaurant at Beyond Hope.  

GREAT NEWS, indeed. 

We are beyond (pun intended) excited to announce that we are opening a seasonal restaurant at Beyond Hope Resort opening mid April-October. 

We are so looking forward to spending the summer in the lake! Please give us like and a follow @pearlsonthelake and stay tuned for details and updates. #therumorsaretrue #hopeidaho #beyondhope #pearlsonthelake #lakependoreille

from Kate Reeder on Facebook . . . .

Time to set the rumors straight! My husband and I are going to be the proud owners of the Hydra Steakhouse, starting March 1st! 

I have had the pleasure of running the Hydra as the General Manager for the past (almost) 6 years, and couldn't imagine having someone else turn it into something it's not. 

I was born and raised in Sandpoint, so the Hydra has always been a favorite spot of mine. So just to set the record straight, the Hydra is NOT going to become condos, instead, it will continue to be the same tried and true family owned restaurant Sandpoint has always loved. 

We will be reopening 7 days a week as soon as possible, and I will update everyone as soon as we're able! — at Hydra Sandpoint's Original Steakhouse & Lounge.

Yesterday while going to take a photo for an assignment, I saw this regal bird perched in a tree.  

It didn't seem to mind cooperating for a spontaneous photo shoot.  

Eagles seem to be plentiful in the area this winter. 

After taking my photo for the story assignment, I realized how much I love doing the feature "Natives and Newcomers" for Sandpoint Magazine. 

With the newcomers, I get to start from scratch learning the basics about someone I've never met.  Often, this experience results in new friendships. 

And, with natives, it's like the kid in the candy jar, eager and enthralled while swapping stories of the peeps and the good times we have all enjoyed over our lifetimes. 

It's definitely a "We are Familee" experience. 

What a treat!  How lucky am I to have these opportunities-----especially in January (five more days after today). 

On the game Wordle, I have nothing to report today except that I need to play Wordle at a time when "the next thing to do" is not breathing down my neck. 

I finally gave up with yesterday's challenge, having gotten both greens and yellows, but taking forever trying to figure out the word. 

The dang thing wiggled a lot on me as I made guess after guess, finally looked at the time and threw in the towel. 

Today I'll plan my time with Wordle more wisely. 

And, finally, that Dick Gooby over there in Montana is on a roll with his January documentations of Mary Ann at her best.


Happy Wednesday.  

Gooby Ranch Report:

The other day we had to give the calves their pre-weaning shots since we are ready to wean in a couple weeks.  

When Mary Ann got back from spending the night keeping the elk out of our hay stack, she got my breakfast ready then headed out to chase the cattle into the corral so we could separate the calves. 

We had opened the gate so the cows could graze along the road to save having to feed hay.  

Mary Ann took her favorite cow dog Zakaria with her and they walked down the road about three miles to get past the cows so she could get them headed for home. 

I had a conference call so I wasn’t able to help Mary Ann chase the cows.  Our granddaughter had set up the conference call so she could show us a bunch of pictures of her new baby Ellie along with how she is doing.  

Mary Ann decided she would rather I was the one to get on the conference call while she herded the cows.  

About a half hour after the conference call and I had a snack, I went out and Mary Ann had just got the cows and calves in the corral.  Next, we needed to separate the caves so Mary Ann could give them their shot. 

My job is to open the gate so a calf can go through then close it so a cow doesn’t sneak through.  Finally, we had them all separated and Mary Ann got the shots ready while I had a cup of coffee.

My job was to write down the calf’s number while Mary Ann runs up and gives the calves their shot.  Mary Ann had one calf that was so fast and spooky she couldn’t get close enough to give it the shot. 

She put the syringe in her mouth and the next time she got up to the calf Mary Ann jumped up on its back.  While the calf was bucking the syringe bounced out of Mary Ann’s mouth and lit on the ground. 

I picked it up and when the calf got close enough to me, I was handing the syringe to Mary Ann, when I slipped on the ice and stabbed the needle into Mary Ann’s hand and accidently pushed the plunger. 

Mary Ann had her weaning shot.  She drinks milk with every meal. Mary Ann hasn’t drank any milk in the last five days.  

I think she is weaned. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Festus-Food Run


Used to be that Bill, the kids and I would bundle up on winter Saturday mornings, climb in the pickup and head west. 

Our ultimate destination:  the Safeway store just across the Washington border in Newport. 

The object of the trip was for me to purchase lottery scratch tickets. 

At the time, we couldn't gamble with the lottery in Idaho. 

Twas at a time when it seemed that winning the lottery was gonna be our only way of ever striking it rich.  

I must say that teaching salaries have improved dramatically since those days. 

Anyway, I've always like taking a chance or two, and for those readers who may worry about addiction, I've always been a moderate, never an extremist at pretty much every facet of life.  

Same is true with playing the lotto---moderation is my MO. 

I have a husband who, to my knowledge, has never bought a lottery ticket in his life. 

Also, when we've been together in Nevada, he walks around while I try my luck with maybe twenty bucks at a machine. 

Bill has never stood in the way of my lotto habits.  He's one of these people who won't participate but remains supportive if his wife wants to earn a few black marks on her soul. 

Besides, when we drove to Newport, there were dumpsters, and Bill would load up the garbage to deposit in those containers. 

There were also fresh donuts and maple bars at the Newport Safeway.  That's why the kids loved these trips. 

Everyone got a reward, and once in a while Mom scratched off a winner---maybe 30 dollars or less. 

That was our Saturday entertainment. Bill reminded me this morning that we hit other dumpsters on other outings with the kids----Blanchard, Rapid Lightning, etc.

Well, yesterday Bill came home from work and I remarked that we're living in "petrified" times cuz the whole gray and white landscape seems frozen and lifeless.

After that comment and with the afternoon ahead, he asked, "How would you like to drive over to Oldtown to the Super 1 or the Tractor Supply and see if there's any Festus food?"

"Sounds good," I said.  I have once more resorted to ordering Festus food from because the stores have not had it available for at least a week.  It's a specific flavor of Purina Beyond, and the only variety he will eat. 

We stock up wherever and whenever we can. 

So, we soon loaded up ourselves with no 40-something kids and no garbage and headed west. 

The overall impression of the landscape from my morning rounds seemed pretty much the same as we went from sunshine in Sandpoint to gray from Dover on. 

Once we reached Oldtown, though, the sun came out.  While Bill (who had the only mask) went into the store looking for Festus food, I took off on a walk around the Super 1 parking lot.  

Pure delight, it was, walking on bare, unobstructed pavement.  Behind the store, I saw turkeys running through a field and a nice patch of cattails, which are certainly the winter posies around here. 

As I returned to the pickup, I saw Bill coming from the store with a bag of soda and no Festus food. 

Twas the same experience at the Tractor Supply.  So, we headed home.  

I had to use a restroom somewhere, and with no mask, it had to be someplace where I would not encounter people. 

So, we pulled into an historical display at Oldtown.  That's when Wordle and the need to think of every five-letter word I've ever known came to mind. 

There was a "men's" restroom and an "Omen" room.

  Dang, I thought, "women" would be a good five-letter word for the second time I ever play Wordle," but certainly not "omen." 

Twas an omen, though, as I walked around the corner to the restroom which was lit up with reminders. 

I had to take a picture.  Then, I reached for the door that needs to be closed, and, by golly, it was closed AND locked. 

Shoulda paid attention to that omen, but, at least, I didn't need to be reminded to shut the door. I do wonder if the management has had women in there doing their duty with the door open. 

And, so a grand and dramatic afternoon adventure in January took on a new sense of Marianne's bladder urgency. 

With all the traveling around the area that Bill has done over the years as a forester, he knows where the convenience store chicken is and he knows the restrooms. 

So, just a few miles down the road, he noted that the Albeni Falls dam visitor center has restrooms, and they're inside. 

Sure enough, and the best part, the place is unlocked and no reminders to shut the door, not even on the men's room. 

Reading this, you probably have concluded that it doesn't take much for the Love family to get excited. 

Times have definitely changed since the days of kids and lottery tickets and Saturday donuts at Safeway.

We can buy a lotto ticket any ol' place we wish here in Idaho, and living not too far from the transfer station, we can take our garbage to Colburn. 

The only sad part: those kids have grown up, and it would be so fun to take a drive with them on a January day to get some fresh donuts. 

We'll have to look into that. 

In the meantime, I've got a busy day ahead, thanks to my story assignments, and I have to take my second stab at Wordle.

My first stab was not so good, but that's okay. 

What a nice community from around the World, Wordle has attracted.

The article in the link suggests that the game is a metaphor on life, specifically for how people strategize to play the game. 

In my brief encounter, I'd say it has created a lovely metaphor on life through the people who come forth with kind support and encouragement of newbies. 

I would submit that no savvy politicians have come anywhere close to uniting the people and bringing out the better angels like Wordle has done in its short existence. 

Who cares if you come up with the correct five-letter word when you've got peeps who actually care about you! 

Just sayin' ! 

Please keep those bathroom doors closed, ladies! It's a bad "omen" to leave 'em open. 



Monday, January 24, 2022

Bluebird Days, Idaho and Writing


Turned into a bluebird day yesterday.

Can't imagine how glorious it must have been for the skiers and boarders at Schweitzer. 

And, the bluebird day outside was only enhanced by some phenomenal NFL football games inside.

Some called the play-offs the best ever, and the grand finale between Kansas City and Buffalo, that was off the charts.  

How many times did those two teams score in the last minute?

I'm sure that game will go down as a classic, one with pure joy on one side and broken hearts on the other. 

Anyway, it was drop-dead gorgeous outside and great television viewing inside. 

To start your day, I've included just a little something for readers to get acquainted with some dynamics in the state where I live and have lived since the day I was born.

BTW:  the Idaho gubernatorial Republican candidate in the article with the cowboy hat (not Bundy) is one of our Bonner County commissioners (Idaho Panhandle/North Idaho). 

Interestingly enough, our Sandpoint mayor is running for Idaho governor on the Democratic ticket. 

The article below is a fairly long read but enlightening, to say the least. 

Finally, if you like to write, I've included a segment below the photos from a piece featuring a famous writer's guidelines on written expression.  

Happy Monday.  

Enjoy the reads and the photos, all taken in my general neighborhood. 

Thankfully, our scenery knows no politics.

The following is actually the  first item I read on this Monday morning . . . it's a portion of a piece detailing what author Kurt Vonnegut thought were some key guidelines to writing. 

Never hurts to be reminded and to take stock in which of these guidelines we might even follow in our own writing. 

On “how to write with style,” aka List #1:

1. Find a subject you care about
Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.

I am not urging you to write a novel, by the way—although I would not be sorry if you wrote one, provided you genuinely cared about something. A petition to the mayor about a pothole in front of your house or a love letter to the girl next door will do.

2. Do not ramble, though

I won’t ramble on about that.


3. Keep it simple


As for your use of language: Remember that two great masters of language, William Shakespeare and James Joyce, wrote sentences which were almost childlike when their subjects were most profound.


“To be or not to be?” asks Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The longest word is three letters long.


Joyce, when he was frisky, could put together a sentence as intricate and as glittering as a necklace for Cleopatra, but my favorite sentence in his short story “Eveline” is this one: “She was tired.” At that point in the story, no other words could break the heart of a reader as those three words do.

Simplicity of language is not only reputable, but perhaps even sacred. The Bible opens with a sentence well within the writing skills of a lively fourteen-year-old: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

4. Have guts to cut

It may be that you, too, are capable of making necklaces for Cleopatra, so to speak. But your eloquence should be the servant of the ideas in your head.


Your rule might be this: If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out.

5. Sound like yourself


The writing style which is most natural for you is bound to echo the speech you heard when a child. English was Conrad’s third language, and much that seems piquant in his use of English was no doubt colored by his first language, which was Polish.


And lucky indeed is the writer who has grown up in Ireland, for the English spoken there is so amusing and musical. I myself grew up in Indianapolis, where common speech sounds like a band saw cutting galvanized tin, and employs a vocabulary as unornamental as a monkey wrench.

In some of the more remote hollows of Appalachia, children still grow up hearing songs and locutions of Elizabethan times. Yes, and many Americans grow up hearing a language other than English, or an English dialect a majority of Americans cannot understand.

All these varieties of speech are beautiful, just as the varieties of butterflies are beautiful. No matter what your first language, you should treasure it all your life. If it happens to not be standard English, and if it shows itself when your write standard English, the result is usually delightful, like a very pretty girl with one eye that is green and one that is blue.

I myself find that I trust my own writing most, and others seem to trust it most, too, when I sound most like a person from Indianapolis, which is what I am. What alternatives do I have? The one most vehemently recommended by teachers has no doubt been pressed on you, as well: to write like cultivated Englishmen of a century or more ago.

6. Say what you mean

I used to be exasperated by such teachers, but am no more. I understand now that all those antique essays and stories with which I was to compare my own work were not magnificent for their datedness or foreignness, but for saying precisely what their authors meant them to say.


My teachers wished me to write accurately, always selecting the most effective words, and relating the words to one another unambiguously, rigidly, like parts of a machine.


The teachers did not want to turn me into an Englishman after all. They hoped that I would become understandable—and therefore understood.


And there went my dream of doing with words what Pablo Picasso did with paint or what any number of jazz idols did with music. If I broke all the rules of punctuation, had words mean whatever I wanted them to mean, and strung them together higgledy-piggledy, I would simply not be understood.


So you, too, had better avoid Picasso-style or jazz-style writing, if you have something worth saying and wish to be understood.

Readers want our pages to look very much like pages they have seen before. Why? This is because they themselves have a tough job to do, and they need all the help they can get from us.

7. Pity the readers


They have to identify thousands of little marks on paper, and make sense of them immediately. They have to read, an art so difficult that most people don’t really master it even after having studied it all through grade school and high school—twelve long years.

So this discussion must finally acknowledge that our stylistic options as writers are neither numerous nor glamorous, since our readers are bound to be such imperfect artists.


Our audience requires us to be sympathetic and patient readers, ever willing to simplify and clarify—whereas we would rather soar high above the crowd, singing like nightingales.

That is the bad news. The good news is that we Americans are governed under a unique Constitution, which allows us to write whatever we please without fear of punishment. So the most meaningful aspect of our styles, which is what we choose to write about, is utterly unlimited.

8. For really detailed advice
For a discussion of literary style in a narrower sense, in a more technical sense, I recommend to your attention The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White. E.B. White is, of course, one of the most admirable literary stylists this country has so far produced.

You should realize, too, that no one would care how well or badly Mr. White expressed himself, if he did not have perfectly enchanting things to say. (From “How to Write With Style,” published in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ journal Transactions on Professional Communications in 1980.)

On how to write good short stories, aka List #2:

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

The greatest American short story writer of my generation was Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964). She broke practically every one of my rules but the first. Great writers tend to do that. (From the preface to Bagombo Snuff Box)

On ignoring rules:

And there, I’ve just used a semi-colon, which at the outset I told you never to use. It is to make a point that I did it. The point is: Rules only take us so far, even good rules. (From A Man Without a Country)

Sunday, January 23, 2022

A Visit Next Door

It will be a while, but, at least, I now have made plans for seed supply to sprout and grow in at least part of this space.

For some reason the poem below is being passed around Facebook. 


Thirty days has September.

April, June and November.

Unless a leap year is its fate,

February has twenty-eight

But all the rest have three days more

Excepting January

Which has six thousand one hundred eighty-four.


                                  ----Brian Bilston


I enjoyed an oh-so-subtle feeling of spring yesterday 

afternoon when I went for a walk somewhere besides 

down our lane, our driveway or the canyon-like trail to the dog run. 

Winter was still abundantly all around, but maybe it was the mild air or the ability to walk on the road without stumbling on clods of snow or slipping on ice. 

Whatever it was, the experience felt good, as I made my way to the Merserve Preserve next door.

Last year around this time I was walking all over the Meserve Preserve, which includes 80 acres of open field, swales, a pond and a substantial stand of trees in its northwest corner.

Yesterday's walk, thanks to deep snow, was limited to the driveway, which had been plowed out to the opening of the large pasture area where Bert and Liz Wood keep their cows during the summer.

No need to sidestep the zillions of cow pies right now.  We probably won't see a cow pie 'til at least April when soggy season comes. 

Even the steps taken in the driveway past the barn and other outbuildings felt exhilarating.  That's just how limited we've been with recreational walking. 

That short afternoon outing breathed an extra sense of life into me, as I thought about the times ahead when there will likely be similar days showing even more progress in thawing and melting. 

That will feel even better because the calendar will also be in our favor. 

January may be six thousand, one hundred and eighty-four days, and we may be to the five thousand point, but, by golly, we're making it. 

My day was also enhanced by the completion of an order for red geranium and some sun gold tomato seed, the latter of which my friend Shiraz introduced to me a couple years ago----or was it three?

I keep hearing from others and do experience it myself the phenomenon of feeling confused about whether something happened last year or two years ago or was it before the Pandemic.

I think Pandemic life has messed with our sense of time and maybe even our timing. 

What's the hurry about getting through this day?  You're not going anywhere or doing anything this evening, so why not just slow down. 

Still, I think it's pretty universal for those of us who live in the land of gray and white for several months to want time to move a little faster, and the consensus is that January can do just that. 

What I really liked about not going anywhere or having anything pressing on my schedule yesterday was the January excuse that we could be couch potatoes and watch sports on and off throughout the day with no sense of guilt that we should be doing something else.

It was a good sports day on TV, and I put in a few hours glued to the tube. 

Bill and I actually made a little Saturday night party out of watching the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49-ers.  

He brought home a menu for Powder Hound Pizza.  I looked it over and we then agreed on what we wanted. He drove to town and brought home the pizza as the game was wrapping up the first quarter.

So, we sat, with dogs watching and begging, and enjoyed our treat with a can of beer to make the scene more partylike. 

Not much but good enough for me, another January day completed, and now, according to my proportioning skills or not, we have only one thousand, one hundred and eighty-four more days of January, 2022.

And, by golly, there are some more good football games today. And, "All Creatures Great and Small" is on PBS tonight.  

Happy Sunday.