Thursday, July 24, 2014

Twas a Dark and Stormy Few Minutes

Sad to see this tree in Gary Finney's woods go down.  I've seen many an eagle perched on its limbs. 

A new temporary look for the shop. 

Seeing this tree go is not gonna bother me.  It's this cottonwood complex that wreaked havoc on my mower-bag frame when I was mowing around the clump a few days ago.    

The way I see it:  an eye for an eye aka a cottonwood for a mower bag frame!

A little less shade for Bert Wood's cows at the Meserve pond. 

On the road, assessing damage, Forest Siding Road, that is!

At first, we were thinking that we must’ve been in a vacuum when the wild and furious and fast storm hit.
In just seconds (just like that hail storm earlier this summer), while the sky rumbled with thunder and lit up with lightning strikes every which way but loose, a fierce, violent wind swooped in, destroyed stuff and moved on.

Twas the "hit and run" storm of Summer 2014. 

I was talking to Annie on the phone and watching the sky to the west.  When the thunder started booming, I broke in and said, “I think I’d better go out and put the horses in.”

That timing was spot on.

By the time I reached the house from hurrying Lily through the metal gate and called all dogs inside, the crazy storm had arrived with ample fury.  

Within minutes the power went out. Things started making noises outside, like hitting noises.  I thought sure the Scotch pine in the yard must’ve been hit by something.

And, something made a loud plink on the southwest side of the house.  Turns out  on later inspection, in both cases, poplar limbs had landed hard in weird spots---one got lodged in the framing of the satellite dish.

I simply sat back on the couch, watching and listening and comforting Foster who was shivering nonstop with fear.

A while later Bill drove in and told me his trip home was pretty wild as he watched trees sway and felt his pickup almost swaying from side to side while parked at a stop light.
Soon, all was quiet.  I did a head count and saw that both horses were alive and well in the barnyard.
I did not want to count the limbs on the ground---several dozen and some pretty good size.

Eventually we both went outside and discovered that part of the roof from the storage shed had blown off, a cottonwood behind the barn had blown over and the top from a tree in the woods had snapped off.

Damage but not nearly as much as that hail storm left in its wake.

I called my sisters to see how things had gone at their house just 3.5 miles away.
“We have a few leaves but that’s about it . . . I guess we’re pretty sheltered,” Laurie said.

She was surprised to hear about our damage, and when we drove around the neighborhood, the destruction seemed to be pretty hit and miss, with emphasis on the “miss.”

We learned later that our damage was pretty inconsequential compared to that in Sagle, in Trestle Creek at Sunnyside and in a general patchwork pattern around the area.

My assistant blog editor Cherry put up photos of their truck almost hidden by a downed tree, and there was much more at their home.
My friend George Agar at Kootenai had company last night---35 retired U.S. Forest Service engineers and families.
A tree decided to blow down and block their driveway.  George was a bit worried that he may have 35 overnight guests, but, leave it to engineers, they found a way around the tree:  a neighbor’s driveway.

The Leens at Sagle had a tree blow down that they were planning to cut down but their planning differed considerably from Mother Nature.  They were glad that their new pigpen and its contents avoided the destruction.

A few seconds that can change your life, someone wrote under some photos posted on Facebook. Yup, it was wild and woolly, and places like Jeb and Margaret’s RV park at Trestle Creek are thankful this morning that nobody was injured in all the havoc out there with huge trees uprooting and tumbling to the ground.
Someone said the Army Corps of Engineers recreation area at Trestle Creek will never be the same.

So, I’m guessing that strip of metal hanging from our shop is pretty small potatoes compared to the expenses and clean-up a lot of other folks have to face this morning.

All is calm and fairly bright as I write, and in the next couple of days we’ll go from wearing layers of clothes to finding the nearest fan.

Life in North Idaho. And, smiling amidst the mild upheaval here in the neighborhood. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The BC Fish Eye

Time to move on . . . 

Bill has been telling me for about two years now about his favorite fishing partner.

She’s this good lookin’ gal, whom he takes up to Grouse Creek with him on his Tuesday night outings.

Once they’ve parked alongside the road, she follows him faithfully to the creek and then leads him from pool to pool, keeping a close eye out for the possibilities:  a VERY close and focused eye.

Her name is Kiwi, and, yes, she does love her Folger’s coffee cans and her big blue ball and keeping her horses in line when they’re in the barnyard here at the Lovestead.

Ask her if she wants to go to Grouse Creek (actually not far from where she was born), and Kiwi is all smiles and ready to roll.

We have found that Kiwi is multi-talented when it comes to Border Collie instincts and attention to detail.  Doesn’t matter if it’s a horse or a ball to be kicked or a bunch of fishies swimming in a brook, she reports to work at a moment’s notice.

And, we could put together a pretty impressive resume for Kiwi when it comes to fishing with her friend:  always on time, thinks ahead, serious-minded, stays on task, does not get in the way, intuitive, loyal, respectful, etc.

Last night Foster, Kea and I drove up to Grouse Creek and spent some time watching Kiwi and Bill in action.  

While Bill tends to his “duties” of casting, catching and releasing, Kiwi watches the line and the fly, sometimes a bit impatient when Bill takes more time than usual between casts.

“She doesn’t really care about the fish once they’re caught,” Bill told me, and that was apparent.
“Just get that fly back in the water,” her eyes suggest while looking toward the sky behind her to see the line sail into the water one more time.

Bill is most impressed that Kiwi knows exactly when a pool has seen the best of that night’s fishing.  She then moves on and locates the next pool, waiting patiently for Bill to catch up with her.

As for Kea and Foster, they could have cared less about the fishing.  Just being there in the great outdoors of Grouse Creek and watching their friends in action was enough for them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday Twitterdeedum

I had some surprise visitors yesterday.

My lawnmower repairman Tony truly did surprise me when I walked out of the barn.  I hadn't heard him drive up, nor did I hear him fire up the lawnmower to drive it toward his van for an oil change.

Mentioning Tony's van requires an attempted description of its innards.  

Let's just put it this way:  if the reality show circuit offered a series on "How Much Stuff You Can Stuff into a Vehicle," Tony would be guaranteed his moment in the spotlight.

Yesterday, Tony couldn't find his thing-a-ma-jig that fits around something related to oil changing--it's that thin band of round metal with a handle.  Looks like a can opener to me.

Anyway, he was frustrated cuz he couldn't located it amidst the heap of four million fix-it items that really should cascade to the ground whenever he slides open his side panel door.

I've got loaded cupboards of spices and flavorings that never behave that well.   

Anyway, I don't know how all that stuff of Tony's stays put, but it does.  It took Tony a moment or two to spot the thing-a-ma-jig right at the front and on top of the pile. 

During my commentary, wondering how he finds anything in that van, Tony told me he'd cleaned it out twice already this year.  Just dumps the complete inventory out onto the floor of his shop and reorganizes.

Anyway, after Tony found his tool, he changed the oil in the new lawnmower but not before asking, "Whad' you do with this headlight?"

That was the one hanging from its socket and, according to Tony, probably rubbing against the tire all the time I'm mowing.

"Oh, that happened about two weeks in," I reported. "I just left it cuz I never mow in the dark anyway."  

That revelation probably came as a surprise to Tony who knows he's guaranteed work every year from the Mowing Queen of the North.

"Whad you back into with this bag frame?  Where's the rest of it?" he asked. Only one rod remained of the three that usually stick out behind me when I mow. 

Well, I had quick answers to both queries:  the cottonwood clump behind the barn, and the frame is out by the other lawn equipment.  

Tony put the hanging light up on a level spot behind the mower seat and loaded up the broken frame, adding one more item to the heap inside that van.  

He'll fix the frame and bring it back to me, that is, if he can find it in his van.

Tony was about to leave when a bright red Hyundai pulled into the driveway.  People were waving, and I was wondering who came to visit me from Oregon.

Turns out two sisters (two former students) and their mom were riding in that rental car. Theresa (a faithful 'Slight Detour' reader) and her sister Elizabeth came to town to visit their mom Sally.  

They decided to take her for a drive, and she wanted to go north.  So, of course, that meant Googling Marianne and finding out where she lived north of town. 

We had a wonderful visit.  Sally got to see the horses, and the daughters got to pet Lily, who was a good Lily for her visitors.   That's how it is when company comes.  Even horses put on their best behavior.

Twas a great afternoon with my surprise company, and my lawnmower is good to go until the next oil run or until I run into something and break something really important.  

Tony's always ready to bring that van full of stuff out to my house cuz he can count on a profittable fix-it job.

Later yesterday afternoon, after I let dogs out of their run, Mr. Foster must've worn himself out, playing with the big blue ball.  

So, it was nap time for the little guy.

And, this morning Miss Percheron, my morning friend in Gary Finney's field, must have heard about yesterday's double-fun fawn photo shoot and felt a little jealous.

So, she set herself up in the corner near a nice rustic fence and posed for me.  I did have a camera too. 

No running back to the house this time.  

A great morning so far, and there are beans and blueberries to pick.  I love when pickin' and grinnin' season which comes every year about this time.  

We're entering the height of it right now, and it all tastes good!

Happy Tuesday.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Double the Trouble but Double the Fun

I did not take my camera on my morning walk today.  

I won't do that again. 

Figuring there'd be nothing along the way that I hadn't already shot a gazillion times before, I decided a walk without the camera would be totally sufficient.

The thing is heavy, so it's nice to walk with a little more sense of freedom occasionally.

While headed north on our dirt road, I looked over through Meserve's orchard to see Bert's herd congregated by the fence, looking back at me.

Something had them on the move earlier when I finally walked Lily down the lane to her pasture.

As an aside, I must report that Lily is in to her summer routine of standing at the barnyard gate waiting for me to take her down the lane, only to run to the other side of the enclosure the instant I open the gate.

It's one of Lily's mid-summer games.

She started this year's version about three days ago, and I keep thinking I'm going to teach her a lesson by ignoring her and going on about my watering project.

About halfway through watering this morning, I went back to the gate where Lily stood waiting, figuring maybe this time she would done playing her game.

I opened the gate, Lily ran off, and I threw the lead rope at her as she raced across the barnyard almost thumbing her nose at me.  I called her a bad name and then yelled, "Have it your way, you b-----.  You can wait." 

Lily brings out the worst of me at times.

I went back to manure-pile watering and finished off soaking the taters, squash, 'maters, beans, cucumbers and posies.

"Maybe she'll behave this time," I thought.  

After all, third time's a charm, right?

Not today.  Lily raced off once again.  I uttered that bad name again and told Lefty he could come with me to the barn to get his hay while the bad girl stood on the other side of the barnyard.

I led Lefty into his stall.  He proceeded to munch down on hay.  I finished a few other little chores around the front of the house. 

Lily started whinnying while standing at the gate.

For the fourth time, I walked over and opened the gate.  Lily stood in one spot and then walked up to me so I could throw the lead rope over her head and place the fly mask over her face and ears.

Game over. 

So, on the walk down the lane both Lily and I both watched as little groups of Bert's cows galloped from the west toward Meserve's house.  

Something had them stirred up, although not too much.  I figured maybe a lead cow got it all started----or maybe they all wanted to come up and watch the Lily-Marianne show.

Anyway, with Lily in the pasture, I moved Lefty back into the barnyard, along with his hay (poor guy has had some miserable skin issues lately so I brought him up for dry feed). 

Walk time finally came.  With no camera, I  headed north.

I saw those aforementioned cows and figured they were about as much in the photography department that I'd be seeing this morning.

Just after Meserve's north driveway, a long pathway heads west through the tall trees. I've always liked that pathway with its storybook enchantment. 

This morning the pathway offered more enchantment than usual. 

At first, I thought maybe someone had thrown two chunks of firewood out there in the semi darkness.

Looking closer, though, I saw that both pieces of firewood had ears, up and listening. . . . and little eyes looking back at me.  Plus, this was a different brand of firewood than the buckskin tamarack a lot of folks like.

This firewood had spots. 

Spotted firewood with ears and eyes, sitting there like petrified firewood.

"Hmmm, twins," I thought, adding, "Damn, no camera!"

So, an about face and a determination to walk back home and GET that camera, kept me focused and stepping along briskly. 

No loss, I figured.  If I have to walk the same distance twice and that spotted firewood is gone when I get back, I've at least enjoyed double the exercise. 

If the firewood is still there, I'll have a nice picture to put on my blog.

Well, you now know the rest of the story because my double trouble with the firewood fawns totally trumped and made me forget my four-time frustration with Miss Lily. 

And, who knows, if Miss Lily had stood at the gate like she's supposed to the very first time, those fawns may have been somewhere far from camera range.

So, as they say, things happen for a reason, and now that good timing, thanks to Lily's disobedience, allowed me some fun on the enchanted pathway, I guess I'll take back that bad name I called her. 

Happy Monday.  Look out for spotted firewood; it may be looking back at you!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Clickin' Up Boulder Creek, et. al.

Artful Yard

Keepin' the government out!

Half Rack

It was a two-dog trip when Bill, my sisters and I set off for an afternoon of exploring east of Bonners Ferry, up Katka Road, which leads to Boulder Creek, the old ghost town of Boulder City (complete with well-maintained cemetery) and lots of lovely views in between.

Meggie and Jessie, my sisters’ pups got to go, and Laurie’s pickup provided the perfect transportation with room for dogs, people and treats for all aboard.

Bill is planning to visit the area where we went yesterday again next year because it will mark the 40th year since he camped there in the summer while working for the U.S. Forest Service.

It was probably that year when I first saw Boulder City and snapped a photo of a daisy in a bottle sitting on the window sill of an abandoned house, which probably served as a fine place to live when Boulder City sprung up from a mining promotion back in the early Twentieth Century.

Well, yesterday, about four decades after my first visit, that window sill probably couldn’t hold a daisy in a makeshift vase cuz the house is threatening to fall down.

For nostalgia sake, I plucked a few daisies and an accidental hawk week and flung ‘em into that open window for a photo op.

Later, my sister Barbara, found an old toilet seat on the ground near the house and decorated it up with daisies.

We did so much during our few hours up Katka that it’s hard to remember it all.  Bill told us to get ready on the lower part of the road for the “artistic” landscaping coming up.
For sure, that place needs to be on a reality series.  Our basic question after pondering the scene and snapping photos both coming and going was:  How does one create the vision for such a scene.  We’re figuring you just get started, and then we figured we do have a start with our wheelbarrows, old lawnmowers and, in my case, manure spreader planter.

We just need to do a little collecting.  And, then again we may be too old to get started on a project of such scale.

Besides the government defying lawn art, we saw some beautiful scenery, one time getting out to walk down on a bench overlooking the Kootenai River, another time during lunch break on the Boulder Creek Bridge.
Dogs enjoyed the refreshing “rushing” stream and the handouts.  We had fun photographing a grouse that exploded from the bushes along the trail, like only a grouse can.
The bird was nice enough to remain in a nearby tree for our portraiture session.

We did NOT enjoy the dozens of wads of toilet paper and napkins strewn along both sides of the creek near the camping spots.


We strolled around Boulder City, then drove on up to the cemetery, with residents from the 1920s, resting eternally within a fenced area on a hillside high above Boulder Creek.
Beautiful spot.

On the way home, we took the Kootenai Trail Road back to HWY 95, and a group of deer in a lush farm field put on a show for us.

Twas another great outing, and though we found no gold in Boulder Creek, we still feel richer because of yesterday’s experience.