Wednesday, July 27, 2016

This and That and Ridin' Lefty

Nothing really special about these photos except that they were taken from the back of my little Arabian gelding Lefty.

Nice to have him to a stage where I can carry my big camera and stop every so often to snap a photo. 

Fans are going at 5:20 a.m. and not doing much good at cooling the air.  We're supposed to reach the high 80s today with a "real feel" at 93.  

Right now, it's 56 with a "real feel" of about 70. 

I see our intense heat wave---earlier forecast to run through early next week---has been modified to two or three days.  Good news. 

Yesterday we had a breeze and clouds for most of the day, which was good because I spent a couple of hours shoveling P-gravel from the back of our pickup to the dog run.

"Digger" Liam has turned a good portion of the run into a series of deep trenches, causing humans to carefully pick their steps when luring the doggies to "biscuit time."  

"Biscuit time" gets our pups to the run, while "report" gets them to the garage.  

Anyway, I've walked through that trench-field gauntlet enough times that I decided it was time to bring in some gravel----not only for safety sake but also in hopes that doggie paws and legs from digging would not be quite so mucked up on rainy days.

The dog run looks better and safer, even though one hole had been dug up again by the time I let the dogs out of the run last evening. At least, it's sand, not dirt!

Yesterday's pleasant breeze also gave me an opportunity to saddle up Lefty.  We enjoyed a nice ride 'cept for the instant when a deer bounded out of the tall grass right in front of us and when Lefty decided he didn't like the chain saw Bill was using in the woods to cut firewood. 

The good part of both incidents is that, even as an old coot, I have discovered through these distractions that I can still stay on when my horse suddenly bolts or wheels around. And, knowing that gives me more confidence. 

Amazing how at almost 70 and with a lifetime of experience aboard a horse, one can conjure up more than enough anxiety. 

After reading an article recently by a lady who has developed a strong sense of fear toward taking off on a trail ride, I have found that I'm not alone.  

Folks with a long history of riding to can develop a healthy sense of fear for two reasons: we are keenly aware of the infinite possibilities of bad things that can happen beneath our saddle when something suddenly spooks our horses and even more importantly, we know how long it's gonna take to recuperate should we hit the ground. 

For many of us oldsters, the young and carefree days of giddy-upping and racing full bore across fields have been replaced by a strong desire for our horse to stick strictly to a flat-footed walk, thank you. 

Still, the occasional distractions can cause even the most seasoned of horses to react, and when that happens, it's comforting to know we can stay in the saddle.  

I'm hoping I can stay in the saddle today when we're going on a longer ride, an actual trail ride up north of Sandpoint with other family members.  It's in a shaded area, so the heat shouldn't be too bad.

Guess that's all for now.  It should be a fun day ahead.  Happy Wednesday.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Zucchini Warnings, et. al.

While most of my garden goodies are just now coming on, the hay crop is becoming overripe, thanks to all the rain, which has slowed down the hay harvesters. 

Zucchini time is upon us here at the Lovestead.  Looks like a bumper crop this year for the first time in a few years. With that in mind, I'd better be watching my squash pretty closely.  

Otherwise, with temps soaring into the 90s for the next several days, the zucchini could easily expand to sizes capable of completely drowning out the cucumbers.  So, I'll be picking them before that happens. 

After all, fresh cukes have to be my all-time favorite garden crop, and I'm doing everything possible to aid them in their development.  

Last year, no matter how hard I tried, I could NOT grow zucchini, but the Lovestead cuke crop exceeded all expectations and more.  

This year, the roles have reversed, it seems.

The cukes appear to be somewhat reluctant about maturing just yet.  Maybe all those healthy zucchini are intimidating them. 

Meanwhile, over in the manure-pile garden, the deer have allowed my pumpkins to take off, but not the tentacles which would like to extend clear out to the grass.  

Yesterday morning I noticed several that had been extending beyond the protective netting had been nipped off. This morning I noticed a few more chomped off along with several potato tops. 

Speaking of protective netting, I removed it from all the blueberry bushes yesterday. 

Daily harvesting of what also turned out to be a bumper crop is finally winding down, so if the deer want to stroll through the patch at night and sample a few berries, that's okay by me.  

I'll just take the protective netting and cover some more items in the manure-pile plot.

Speaking of garden pests, since we've got heat, we've also seen a dramatic rise in the pesky bee population.  Why do bees like lettuce so much, especially when it hits its prime?  

This week, I'll have to pick with extreme care, knowing that beneath those leaves lurk some nasty stingers anxious to strike. 

Always something making us earn every delicious bite that we take from the garden. 

At least this year, I've been able to stay ahead of most of the garden-pest battles.  That fence Bill built has made all the difference. 

The situation makes me happy and probably irritates the heck out of the deer.  Too bad.  

Happy Tuesday. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Pend Oreille: The North Idaho Elixir

". . . Pend Oreille remains a valuable jewel that continues to cast a magic spell on most anyone who ever lays eyes on its waters.  Though tarnished a bit, the jewel remains vibrant and alive.  

Human forces do exist who recognize its fragility; groups are striving to reclaim what’s been lost among its fisheries and its necessary nutrients.  

Though development on the lake is striking, miles and miles of unspoiled shoreline along both sides of the main channel can still propel visitors into a time warp."

                            ----Thoughts from a conclusion I wrote about a dozen years ago for a Keokee Publishing Co. lake book project. 

We just sat and soaked up some intense July sun yesterday morning along Lake Pend Oreille's Sunnyside shore.  

"We" included Willie, Annie, Debbie, Laura and the grandpuppies who stayed overnight at a tipi near Hawkins Point.  

The tipi is owned by Twin Cedars Camping and Vacation Rentals, LLC, of Sandpoint.  Stars lined up, and we were thrilled and fortunate to take advantage of an opening for Saturday night when Annie was home and during Swiss Miss's current visit.   

After finishing my morning rounds at home and while Bill was at his church service on another Lake Pend Oreille shoreline "City Beach," I heated up some orange rolls in the oven, smothered them with frosting and then headed out to the lake to see the campers. 

With weather just about as perfect as it could be, the lake performed its magic for us yesterday and for thousands who live for these times in the summer when water fun is at its height. 

The water was cold, according to some of the campers, but that didn't stop them from taking a few dips.  I'm told the pups really enjoyed their time in the water.  

During my morning visit, Miss Brooke paddled through the water, escorting Swiss Miss while she floated in a tube around the dock area. 

Little Joe wanted to go in for a swim, but the shoreline seemed like a safer place in the young pup's mind. 

Besides, there were sticks and driftwood and occasional soda bottles for satisfying his need to chew on something or to hide it. 

Overall, life for Joe during his time spent at the lake was indescribably heavenly.  For everyone else, the experience was true summer bliss, relaxing and taking one of the many phenomenal aspects that Pend Oreille has to offer. 

On my way back home, I was reminded by the scene at the old Burnett farm on East Sunnyside Road that not everyone gets to indulge in lake-time leisure when the sky is blue and the sun is heating up the countryside. 

There's also the urgent need to "make hay while the sun shines," and this year the sun hasn't been shining quite enough to help the hay harvesting go as smoothly and quickly as we all would like. 

Always trade-offs on sunny days, but we, as a family sure enjoyed a very memorable and lovely opportunity to take in a little of the lake culture over the weekend.  

Thanks, Billie Jean and Mike, for the much appreciated experience with your tipi and its breath-taking surroundings. And, many thanks to that jewel called Pend Oreille that we all treasure so deeply.

Happy Monday.   

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sensational Summer Day

Little Joe in the act of stealing stuff from inside the tipi near Hawkins Point on Lake Pend Oreille and hiding it.  Only problem was I tracked him down with this particular theft.

Joe stayed with the rest of his family ovenight at a tipi on the lake shore. 

Some of us attended Julyamish in Coeur d'Alene, always a wonderful regional Native American cultural event. 

Nothing better than Wood's German sausages grilled over an open fire next to a beautiful lake. 

A small portion of my day involved going to Dover Bay to visit with members of the Sandpoint High Class of 1976.  I had such a good time that I was definitely wishing there were more hours in the day.  The alums put on a wonderful reunion. 

Bill checking out the tipi where Willie, Debbie, Laura, Annie and grandpuppies stayed last night. 

Welcoming note and flowers from Billie for the family members who stayed at her tipi on Lake Pend Oreille last night. 

Kiwi agrees that Oregano is lovely this time of year. 

Grand Entry of Julyamish at Kootenai County Fairgrounds in Coeur d'Alene.  

Turkey perch on the Meserve Preserve

Lots of vendors selling their wares and showing their talent at Julyamish.

These gals will never tell!  Coeur d'Alene Tribal member and royalty aficionado LoVina, niece Laura, daughter-in-law Debbie and Swiss Miss aka Laura. 

Swiss Miss roasting marshmallows on the shore of Lake Pend Oreille. 

Cuteness at its canine best.

Grandpuppies Joe and Todd, checking out the lovely accessories at their overnight home. 

Obligatory "outlaw" photo of Kirsten who's a judge in real life.  Thanks, Phil, for the glass of wine.

Sometimes it's better to snooze amidst all the activity. 

My sister Laurie watching for a good shot during dancing at yesterday's Julyamish.  

My sister Barbara focusing on the dancers at the powwow. 

Annie's selfie and thumbs up on the Upper Pack River during her fishing excursion with her dad. 

Annie's photo of Bill and Kiwi fishing the Upper Pack River.

At the end of a busy and fun-filled day.  Lots of miles covered and countless special moments experienced. I do believe a good time was had by all.