Sunday, February 19, 2017

Where in the World IS Annie Headed This Time? Etc.

My flip flops are smiling! Can't wait to take off for Brazil tomorrow!
                                                                  ---Annie Love

Look out, South America! Annie Love will soon be on her way to flipflop her way through the jungle to find some of your geocaches. 

Yup, off she goes again on another adventure and to visit yet another continent for the first time.  

It's a long day ahead for Annie as she takes off from Seattle about 9:30 this morning, endures a five-hour layover in Detroit and then flies for ten hours to Sao Paulo, Brazil.  

She'll be meeting other geocaching friends at the airport and then heading into the jungle to find the "Ape Cache." 

From the official geocaching blog:  In 2001, fourteen geocaches were placed in conjunction with 20th Century Fox to support the movie "Planet of the Apes." 

Each geocache represented a fictional story in which scientists revealed an Alternative Primate Evolution (A.P.E.).

The Brazilian Ape cache, which Annie and her group will find, is located in Intervales State Park, within the Atlantic Rain Forest and known for its abundant bird watching opportunities.

Annie tells me that she's not sure how much connection she'll have to the outside world for at least a couple of days of her visit, but if she's lucky, I'm sure we'll see some fascinating photos.

While Annie is on her way to South America, my brother Mike and his wife Mary will be flying back to the states from Mexico City, where they have spent a wonderful two weeks, revisiting many familiar areas from when they lived there in the mid-1980s.  

Maybe they can wave at Annie as they fly by. 

Meanwhile back here at the Lovestead, we enjoyed another afternoon of ZAGS basketball, especially the outcome which makes the ZAGS just two games away from attaining the perfect season.

This is going to be a pins-and-needles week for the ZAG faithful, and as I told our living room group yesterday, next Saturday when they play their last regular season game against BYU at the Kennel, it's gonna be emotional in many ways.  

We'll all hope to be shedding happy tears and that the ZAGS write their way into the annals of NCAA history.  What a wonderful run it has been and such a positive diversion from day-to-day challenges and general negativity.

What this team has done to uplift its fans through their dedication, their talent, their team unity and their phenomenal success is so appreciated.  GO, ZAGS!

Meanwhile, later today my sisters and I will try to make up for the disappointment of our cancelled weekend trip by visiting India and Australia for a couple of hours.  It's a pretty inexpensive escape, and it should be inspiring. 

Happy Sunday. Safe travels to all family members!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Climate Change, Anyone??? Sure, I'll Take Some

Don't get me wrong!  I'm far from being anti-science. In fact, I do believe that there certainly is a remote possibility that some of us humans may not always serve as the best stewards of the earth.

So, the fact that I'm ready for a little climate change at the Lovestead should not be interpreted as either a believer or nonbeliever.

I do believe, however, that we've had enough of this unorthodox brand of winter weather, which, in its latest chapter, had brought on flooding on top of multiple bone-breaking ice. Not a fun combination.  

And, please don't start spouting those perennial put downs to anyone who dares to open their mouth and gripe in February:  it's North Idaho. Get over it.  It's winter, for Heavens sake. 

For those of us who have lived through more than our share of North Idaho winters, I'm proclaiming that it's okay to gripe about the one we've experienced this year.  

After all, when virtually every muscle in one's body aches from pounding on ice, shoveling water-logged snow in search of a drain area for streams  or lakes of water from newly melted ice, beating on stubborn barn doors, bailing water out of horse stalls with a shovel and a cart or sinking into ankle deep manure water through melting ice, one reaches the point of thinking that maybe this farm life isn't all that much fun. 

We gathered at our usual Friday-night dinner last evening to share our battle stories, which are pretty much like those of everyone else in the region, living in the country.  

At least, we can drive to town. On last night's news, we heard about a few families over in Washington who are stuck on their farms because flood waters have gone over their routes out. 

So, it could be worse. 

The plus side of all this is that the sun did shine yesterday, and the rain did stop, allowing folks to get caught up on the individual calamities brought on by the Wednesday night-Thursday downpour. 

In fact, after pounding, shoveling and expressing a lot of gratitude to my Yak Tracks for keeping me upright, I walked over and CLOSED THE BARN DOOR.  

By golly, it opened too, and very easily.  First time in over a month we've had that success.  And, it was nice enough to open easily for me this morning. 

Little victories!  Oh, so sweet. 

We also eventually dug to and opened the culvert which dispatched a whole lot of water from the shop and the area around the shop.  Lily's original stall is now dry and clean. Lily likes her new stall and is so neat and tidy that she drops her apples in one half and leaves the other half clean.

While Bill was chipping away at more ice during some pleasant afternoon sunshine, I planted a few posies and a whole bunch of tomatoes on the tailgate of the pickup.

We also took the binoculars down the lane to make sure I had really spotted a coyote over in Meserve's field.  By the time I'd walked to the house for the binocs and walked back, it looked as if the alleged coyote had left. 

But no, once I peered through the binocs, I could see that the critter had found itself a nice place to lie down and soak up some sunshine.  Our dogs were barking and playing, and that alerted the coyote of our presence.  It looked our way, got up and then calmly trotted off through the field to the west. 

I reported to Bill that I had also seen deer and turkeys at Betty Berger Pass on North Kootenai Road.  

It appears that critters and humans alike were loving the brief springlike retreat from the winter battle.  

I'm not in to a big climate change here at the Lovestead, but a little more sun, a lot less snow, NO more ice and only rain that washes off the snow------that's what I'll order from the weather menu.  

Whether or not I'll want to send my serving back to Mother Nature's kitchen, we'll see.  If she does come through, I'll be happy to tip with a few smiles and a whole lot of praise.

Regardless of weather, it's another good day cuz the ZAGS play Pacific at 1 p.m. PST on KHQ/Root this afternoon in the Kennel.  

The ZAG faithful will certainly be ordering up another win to make it 28-0.  And, if that happens, we can take whatever Mother Nature doles out to us today. 

Happy Saturday.  GO, ZAGS! 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Best Laid Plans . . . .

I guess today's post will focus on a reflection of what might of been and what really was. 

What might have been:  I would be up and at' em with a cup of coffee while Bill and my sisters would probably still be snoozing.  I'd be sitting at my laptop writing my blog post for today. 

The entry might include a picture or two, maybe not.  

After all, we would not have landed in Arizona until after sunset, and we would be in a big hurry to get our rental car so we could drive quickly to the nearby airport Best Western to watch the ZAGS-Dons game in the hotel restaurant which kinda doubles as a sports bar. 

The staff let my sisters and me do just that last year when the ZAGS played Southern Methodist and lost.  So, we definitely had a plan---this time with Bill along as our sisters' trip chauffeur---to scurry toward those TVs and possibly catch the second half of last night's game.

Well, we caught the full game where Gonzaga started slowly but won "bigly," but that has to do with what really was, so I'll save that. 

This morning in the what was to be, as I do every morning when I travel, I would be focused on getting my blog finished and published earlier than usual so we could get on our way.

Our "way" today would have involved a road trip heading south to Tucson and then on to Tombstone.   We would have basked in the sunshine and SO enjoyed walking on bare ground like old folks with stiff joints but not like really really old folks like we've had to do over the past several weeks.  

Tomorrow we would enjoy a more relaxing day indulging in our annual excuse to go south in February, the Scottsdale Arabian Show.  Barbara and Laurie would find their perches for the trail  and dressage classes, respectively, and I would be awaiting a call or even a sighting of my dear longtime friend Susie/Sky Baldwin.

She and her friend have gone from the Schmid Ranch above Telluride, Colo., to Arizona for the rest of the month to ride horses in the desert. I'm jealous.  

Anyway, she had agreed to meet me at the horse show where we would jabber for a few hours. Later in the day, we planned to go to the Superstition Mountains to catch some Arizona sunsets. 

And, Sunday, the Prescott-Wickenberg loop with lots of stops to enjoy walking and basking in sunshine, of course. 

Then, we would board our flight Monday morning and be back to Sandpoint and our respective homes by late afternoon, knowing that all was well thanks to Angela at my sisters' and Elisabeth at the Lovestead.  Both are friends who do a wonderful job allowing folks to go away and not worry about all the critters. 

Twould have been a great weekend, but early, early yesterday morning when I received a call from my sister Barbara informing me that their entire barn had flooded---every stall--with about five inches of water, hopes for the great adventure began to dim.

The situation darkened when I went to my barn and found about four inches of water in the south end of Lily's stall. Still thinking there was hope that some of us might still be able to go, I began to bail water.  

Seven cartloads later, when I still had at least another three cartloads left to bail (I think the water was replenishing itself every time I would go outside to dump), I went to the house to check on the latest situation at Colburn.  Laurie had decided to stay home but Barbara was still hoping to go. 

Eventually, when it was clear that I was never gonna get Lily's stall lake to please go away, Bill and I decided that we'd better stay home.  We both had heard the Peter at the dike story as children, and its message had become reality everywhere we looked.  

No way would we put Elisabeth through the almost insurmountable challenges at the Lovestead over the next few days.  

At one weak moment, we waivered ever so briefly, thinking we could pull it off, but that thought faded quickly. 

So, instead of desert sunshine and cacti and pretty horses all sleek and slick, we looked at fog and felt the never ending rain every time we went outside to slide our way over wet ice to the barn. 

Weeks of planning for this trip were washed away, and, yes, we were disheartened, to say the least, especially when we learned that the insurance purchased for our airline tickets had fine-print facts which did not include flooded barns as an excuse to cancel the trip and get a refund.  Who woulda thunk?

And, this flooding caught us all by surprise.  We knew we were leaving winter behind, but never dreamed that the combination of rain, four feet of snow and warm weather would blend so quickly for such a calamity. 

Two bright spots in the day:  one was Rona from the Philippines who worked with Orbitz to try to salvage some benefits for our canceled trip worked for at least 90 minutes, checking with me every so often as I held the line.  She did her best and found information for us to pursue the situation even further. 

The other bright spot came when we DID get to watch the ZAGS game in its entirety.  No hurrying with the rental car or rushing into a restaurant begging to watch a certain channel.  Bill and I watched after dining on treats from Pack River General Store (their chicken lasagna with bacon, onions and gouda cheese is yum yum as are their mint brownies).  

Meanwhile, my sisters planned to fry up some hamburgers at their home and watch the game.  

In short, nothing can lift the spirits on a bad day quite like another Gonzaga win.  A slow start but another convincing victory with a 35-point spread.  27-0, still No. 1.  Love it!

With the way our day began, this was a much welcomed contrast.  And, this morning after Lily spent her first night in her brand new, dry stall which I'll dub the "maternity ward," and with no rain, it's looking to be a good day. 

We won't be seeing cacti or gunfights at the OK Corral, but we roll with the punches, and I can tell you there are a lot of punches when living on a farm during a North Idaho winter. 

Some days are raindrops, some days are dust. 

Happy Friday. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Throwbacks: Ten Years Ago . . . .

Well, this morning, Bill, my sisters and I were going to head off for a weekend in Phoenix. 

Well, this morning, now we're not going.  

Our barns are flooded with about four-five inches of water after a heavy overnight rain and melting snow.  It's the perfect storm, so to speak, for good ol' North Idaho winter misery.  

We're not really happy, to say the least, but our animals are important to us.  We'll figure out what to do about all the reservations later.

At this moment, Bill is in town buying a pump cuz it's gonna get worse before it gets better.

Rather than sharing a bunch of  %#3i34@@??? words, which I've already shared during an hour's worth of trying to remove the lake from Lily's stall, only to give up, I'll just end with "Mama said there'd be day's like this. . . !"

Thank you, North Idaho.  We didn't really need to see the Arizona sunshine anywho. 

Happy Thursday.  GO, ZAGS.  Enjoy the throwback photos from ten years ago.  . . .

Ten years ago, we still had our magnificent, unique Lodgepole tree, which crashed to the ground about a year ago.  So, cousins Patti and Sue joined the Lodgepole Society during a weekend visit. 

Ten years ago, a retirement party for a couple of Farmin-Stidwell teachers was held at my sisters' farm.  I'm pretty sure they were looking at pretty horses. 

Ten years ago, Willie received his official Wampus Cat regalia. Thanks, Trish. 

Ten years ago we met our little Lovestead Lefty for the first time.  Turns out he picked me out, and when Barbara called Laurie, he was the same little baby that had taken a liking to her.  So, it was meant to be that he would come along to Idaho with his pal Dusty. 

Ten years ago, my new Miss Lily had a lot less white hair.  

This is my editor Helen's daughter Pam and her two children.  They're among the few Alaskans who belong to our Lodgepole Society.

This little lady came to Farmin-Stidwell horse day at the Tibbs farm with her dear mom, everyone's friend the late Jenny Meyer.

We pontooned on Lake Pend Oreille in 2007.

Ten years ago, we hiked the beautiful Scout Trail northeast of Bonners Ferry.  Tough hike, but oh so beautiful.

Ten years ago, Barbara met Dusty for the first time.  Oh, the places they have gone since!

Ten years ago we had some kind of forestry program at our new home.  That's Bill's fishing buddy Chris  putting on a talk while my editor's husband Skip listens.

Ten years ago, Annie took her Aunt Laurie on her first geocaching adventure on the new Mickinnick Trail in north Sandpoint.

Ten years ago, Annie and I took a trip up the Yaak River valley in Northwest Montana and visited the falls.

Would you believe I was a member of a group called "Church Women."  At this particular gathering, I did a book talk about my teaching career.  Occasionally, to add a little spice to a humdrum day in the classroom, I pulled out two styrofoam cups, cut out the bottoms, stuck them in my eye sockets, taped up my nose and moved on with class.  

Kids suddenly came out of whatever daze they happened to be enjoying at the time.  BTW, for disclosure:  I bought my own cups with money from my meager school teacher salary.

A little cousin craziness with my then new Amish cart.  I'm hoping to have Lefty pulling that this year.  Fingers crossed. 

Always adorable, these little ones are now in high school and still adorable. 

Somebody named Bill, now president of the local Trout Unlimited, caught this brookie while "crick" fishing. 

Cousins had a great time visiting that the Lodgepole Society tree, and these cousins and more have continued to have a wonderful time getting together. 

Our lives were enriched by four of these lovables.  We became related "by dog" to my dear friend Mow in Palm Springs. 

This little darling who came trick or treating is still a darling, as are her two sisters.

Former student and family friend, Kris Addison Owens, came to one of my book events for newly published Lessons with Love

Two little babies from Montana, Lefty and Dusty, came home and strutted their stuff at the fair horse show. 

More than likely, Loblolly Love and Grandpapa were discussing geocaching.  Our daughter Annie just celebrated 10 years of working at Groundspeak, Inc., which runs the website. 

Hazel Hall was still inspiring everyone.  In this case she was enjoying the reception for the Camp family's 100-year birthday party for their house on 6th Avenue in Sandpoint.

Two matriarchs were still enjoying the family fun at the Bonner County Fair:  Helen Thompson and Virginia Tibbs. 

We took a ride in the Kodiak----model No. 4, I believe.  That's our former neighbor, my mother, me and Bill.  We went to Spokane to pick up Annie who was coming home from Seattle for Thanksgiving. 

A HERO received a Sandpoint hometown welcome with a parade and a reception after losing both legs in Iraq:  Sgt. Brandon Adam.  More than a hero! Love you, Brandon!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A LOVEly February Day

My neighbor Colleen gave me the go-ahead and the directions for where to go in their barn to photograph the new babies at the Fern Ridge Hereford Ranch up the road. 

Colleen probably didn't realize that she'd given me the golden key to some wonderful moments in my past when our family raised Hereford cattle and I'd get up before the crack of dawn during calving season to check on the cows.  

Always wanted to be the first to run back to the house and announce another addition to the herd. If Harold wasn't already up, he wasted no time getting dressed and out the door with a syringe to give the new baby its shot and to make sure all was going well between mom and her newborn. 

Well, the babies have been arriving at the Filipowskis, and it sounds like more than half of them are here. 

I visited the barn both yesterday and the day before. Yesterday turned out to be the premium day because more calves were resting in a stall filled nice clean bedding where only calves can go AND a new baby was in the calving stall with mom trying to figure out where the dinner plate was. 

During my visit, its efforts were unsuccessful, so the little bull calf found a spot and just plopped down as mom watched him one second and me the next. 

There is a supervisor at the Filipowski barn, a pretty one at that.  Kitty Kat (don't know its real name) met me both times and happily helped out, purring and strolling along the board fence, while I was taking pictures. 

The nice part about these baby calves is that I don't have to get up early to go visit them, and I know that regardless of how the calves feel, I have a new yellow, furry friend. 

The walk to and from Filipowski's cow herd was beautiful as usual with a warm sun and a lovely blue sky.  As usual, pretty winter birds were flitting from perch to perch. 

We're all sick and tired of the stubborn ice that seems intent on hanging around in spite of the past few sunny days. I made the mistake of leaving behind my Yak tracks yesterday, thinking the road would be okay.  

Not so!  Still having to walk like an old lady carefully picking her steps.  Bill and I even ran into that problem downtown last night when we went out Valentine's Dinner----first time in years.  Ice in the dark is even worse than ice in the daylight, and if I hadn't been paying attention, I could have easily slid under the car when I stepped out.  

That curb ice was as slick as I've seen it anywhere.  After having an absolutely lovely meal with wonderful service and a pretty rose to take out the door at Baxter's Restaurant on Cedar, we walked back to the car.  This time Bill pulled forward so I could avoid that killer ice. 

If I had slid under the car, at least we were parked across from the hospital ER!

In short, Valentine's Day for the Love's was superb all day long. 

And, now we're halfway through February.  That ice can melt any time, and we won't be complaining. 

Happy Wednesday.  Enjoy the photos. 

This meatloaf, topped with delicious mushrooms and artfully placed in the midst of mashed potatoes and gravy is to die for.  As one diner noted, they give you a "brick" of meatloaf at Baxter's.  I ate all I could, and Bill, after enjoying his "fresh catch" dinner tried to finish it off but left a couple of bites.

I've had meat loaf sometimes which looks good but has a strange flavor, so I was a bit leary.  The first bite, however, assured me that it was just as tasty as it was attractive. I'd go back for more; it was that good!