Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse Day: Lead-up Dispatches from the Gallery

Working hard? Or hardly working? I have been getting double duty out of my souvenir T-shirt. Turns out it is perfect as a computer screen shade.

Thanks to Dan Morrison for the picture.
 — with Dan Morrison.

Sandpoint native Chris Pietsch has been in Madras, Ore., for the past few days with all of his camera equipment.  He's been posting on Facebook from time to time as the masses gather to watch today's historic eclipse.  

As an award-winning photographer, Chris will certainly capture some incredible shots of the activity surrounding today's event.  

In the photo below, he shares a shot, suggesting another form of solar eclipse. 

I got a chance to shoot the eclipse a day early!

---Chris Pietsch Eugene Register-Guard

Another Sandpoint native, Hon Walker, who works as an editor/writer in Portland, traveled to Weiser, Idaho, to view the eclipse.  

In Hon's words:  Ten-plus years ago, my mom (Sandpoint's Betsy Walker) was a principal in California's Central Valley. 

She connected dots and learned that colleagues of hers, Mary, Kathy, and Olga, whom I'd never met, also had made a pilgrimage to Weiser. 

So we made a raucous afternoon out of it at the town's eclipse festival. Why not? Sometimes the planets just align.

Another observation from Hon:  People are arriving from around the US and the world, and everybody has a story. 

The campsite on one side of me is occupied by Karl from New Jersey, who drove across the country by himself. On the other side, three generations from Pakistan. And a Seattle guy needs a place to charge his Tesla. 

Meanwhile, a group of little kids walked past with fishing poles, and one announced, "A solar eclipse happens every hundred years. So it's once in a lifetime. Unless you live to 100."


The folks on the left in this photo are staying an extra day in the Hope area because they decided that the last day of their 11,000-mile road trip---which would put them home in Boise----could wait for the eclipse.  

They did not want to deal with the projected traffic jams around Boise, so they were planning some lake outings today with their friends.  

We met them on the deck at Icehouse Pizza last night and thoroughly enjoyed them: Pam, Dave, Bert and Liz. 

Also thoroughly enjoyed every bite of our pizza:  our LAST SUPPER before the eclipse!

Speaking of eating during the Eclipse, I just saw this:     What does one serve during as snacks for a solar eclipse? Moon pies?

Not at Sandpoint's Arby's:  
Eclipse Special at Arby's today! Classic Roast Beef Sandwich only $1.19!!! Celebrate the eclipse with an Arby's Classic! limit 5 per order. Please share this post!

2 hours ago

Experts predict the US will lose an estimated $694 million in productivity during the eclipse process:

Anybody know what channel the eclipse is on?

As for me:  I'm just NOT gonna watch the Eclipse this morning cuz I still don't have any glasses and cuz I've become a believer in the alternative fact that IT'S ALL FAKE NEWS.

That's my fake story, and I'm sticking to it!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Moyie (Mo--ee--ay) Day

We ate deli fried chicken and deviled-egg tater salad in the land of large fish yesterday. That was while batting away hungry bees with rolled up newspapers. 

Shortly after noon, my daughter-in-law Debbie and I took off toward Bonners Ferry, stopped off at a couple of stores and stocked up on goodies for a picnic with Bill and Willie.  

On our way, we also enjoyed a quick visit with a horse-loving friend Marv, who had just returned from spending the past year or so in Ireland. 
Marv  Lagerwey

The Bill-Willie fishing team had already headed for the Moyie River with their fly rods and waders.  

By the time we saw the father and son, they were hungry for food---unlike the fish in the river. Twasn't til later that the fish started liking the looks of those flied dropping on the Moyie waters.

Bill loves to tell unsuspecting visitors that he'll take them to a place where they're gonna see some really big fish.  When they roll across the railroad tracks and arrive at the picnic grounds, they start seeing the big fish----OUT OF WATER.

Yup, those fish sculptures, placed in prominent spots around the picnic ground, don't really care much about flies or bees or hooks.  Except for some occasional vandalism, their metal bodies are safe from extinction. 

And so, we survived the bees, had a nice visit with the anglers and then headed on our way, going south on Meadow Creek Road. Just a mile or so down the road from the picnic ground, we saw some more big fish.  

These trout were live and swimming, and they don't feed so much on flies cuz they eat a lot of bread, thrown to them by humans. 

The big trout swimming around the pond next to the deck at Feist Creek Falls Restaurant provide but a portion of the charm to be found at this eating place, serving railroad workers and anyone wanting an excellent meal and some local color in a remote, beautiful location. 

The falls themselves, cascading down a moss-covered rock wall to feed the fish pond, are stunningly lovely any time of year.  

When Debbie and I arrived yesterday, we enjoyed another part of Feist Creek charm.  It was late Saturday afternoon, and the locals and their dogs were gathering in front of the restaurant.  Both a Kelty and a blue heeler greeted us, along with several friendly residents.

I visited with Justin, a California transplant with a white beard, bright red tenny runners and two armloads of tattoos. Justin told me he's an artist and that he pretty much thinks he's found Heaven in his new little corner of the world up the Moyie near Canada. 

The fact that Debbie was wearing the Trinity College t-shirt Bill had given her was not lost on one of the diners on the deck behind the restaurant.  

Immediately spotting her logo as she came around the corner, he told us of his friend who coaches at Trinity College and of his visit to the Book of Kels in June just a few weeks before we had visited Dublin. 

Next time he's taking his wife and visiting the whole Emerald Isle, he told us. 

We moved on down the road and turned into Meadow Creek Campground, a longtime family favorite.  The campground hosts were there, and once again Debbie drew the attention.  

They know her from their experience of volunteering at the Bonner County Food Bank, where she works as the director. 

Jack and Judy, who live the rest of the year near Elmira, were quite welcoming and happy to visit.  We learned all about of setting up camp there in the weeks before the campground officially closes for the season.  And, we might just give it a try.

We toured the grounds and looked at the possibilities and then headed for home.  As we pulled into the Colburn farm, Barbara, Laurie and their friend Nancy had just arrived from a day of looking at Arabian horses over in Montana.  

Seems that some more of those lovely creatures will be making their way over to Idaho.

I learned this morning that the fish in the Moyie did eventually get hungry with Bill and Willie catching and releasing about 20 fish each. 

Yesterday's outing offered a nice change of pace and some great moments of natural beauty and good visiting.  On my way home from the Colburn farm, Mama and her baby Bambi's were enjoying some grass alongside the road. 

Twas a fun day. 

Happy Sunday. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Saturday Slightly Squirrely

Yup, the squirrel population around the Lovestead increased by at least two during the past week, and we are constantly well aware of the newcomers.

They really seem ubiquitous.  This morning while snapping a few photos of the pair, I suddenly heard loud squirrel chatter behind me over in the plum tree.  

Now, I'm not really sure if there are three pine squirrels or if they really do move that fast.

The town squirrels have definitely taken  back seat to these cute little bundles of perpetual motion.  

They are not easy to photograph because they move so fast, so I'm quite pleased with the few images I caught while on the morning squirrel watch.

Of course, the turkeys were out and about too.  I was standing by a fence down in the field when I suddenly heard some rustling in the grass. Two turkey moms were coming through the fence from the Meserve Preserve. 

It would be difficult for any animal lover to get too bored around the place these days, as it seems that that the general 4 and 2-legged creatures are busy from dawn 'til dusk----either stealing apples or storing acorns or just plain rooting and grazing for ground goodies. 

I love all the critter activity. 

Yesterday, while listening to squirrel chatter, I painted a few sections of fence.  Once it starts and once one section looks so much better, there's an urge to keep on going. So, the paint buckets and brush will most likely get a lot of use over these next few lovely days. 

Right now, I'm listening to high-pitched whining from Foster downstairs.  He's quite broken-hearted, as usual, at the sight of Bill heading to the woods on the 4-wheeler with Kiwi running alongside.

Bill said he was going to use his chain saw before hoot owl restrictions go into effect for the day.  No sawing after a certain time.  No campfires at all as breezes blow and the land remains tinder dry. 

It's a lovely Saturday, and we're looking forward to puttering around with a few projects this morning and enjoying a fun adventure this afternoon. 

Happy Saturday. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Morning Assorteds

It's a floundering kind of morning here at the computer.  The Blogfather has said his good byes and has officially entered the realm of full-fledged retiree.  

The Blogfather has always been there since I started this blog 13 years ago, as has the bookmark for Huckleberries Online.  

Just for nostalgia sake and to honor an ongoing and supportive influence in my life, I'll probably leave the HBO bookmark in my list of favorites.  Dave, you're already missed, and I'll bet you slept in this morning. 

On this Friday morning, it's also an "assorted type of day."  As noted yesterday, we took Liam to his first agility class yesterday afternoon. 

I learned many things about agility but I also learned the our teacher Lindsay certainly can multi-task much better than I.  If you'll study her photo below, you'll see an extra mini appendage below her forearm.  

Yes, Lindsay taught our class with her youngest on board.  We never heard a peep, and her other two daughters sat quietly entertaining themselves in a mini shelter next to the fenced in agility course.  

Lindsay also kept tabs on Finn, the family's Golden Retriever.  He happily demonstrates the tasks as we were introduced to each agility station.   When I say "we," I'm referring to Liam and me.  Ben and Dorothy had already attended some agility training, so they were very nice and patient as Liam and I took our maiden runs over jumps "OVER", "UP" onto to a table and "WEAVE (said only once) through some poles. 

The dogs also took turns crossing over an unsteady piece of plywood.  That's in preparation for the teeter totter where they might get just a little apprehensive when movement begins. 

Liam was cautious but agreeable about each task.  Part of his caution may have really dealt with a few distractions outside the course, the chickens which came marching past from time to time and the kitty cat.  

I think there may have been moments when Liam much preferred to go herd the chickens as opposed to jumping up on the table. 

Anyway, it was fun, and we'll be going three more times, each time graduating to higher and more wobbly expectations.  I'm anxious to see Liam on the teeter totter. 

Back to multi-tasking.  I learned right away that trying to take pictures and learning agility strategies do not mix.  So, not much visual documentation this morning. 

All that said, it's pretty easy for me to walk down the road and take pictures.  So, this morning I can say the feeling of fall was in the air as was the mist and the birds in Taylors field across from our place. 

Twas a pretty scene.

In keeping with "assorteds," I can report that our Sandpoint friend in the Vatican is at it again.  Cindy Wooden noted her "What I Did Last Summer" report on Twitter, along with some nice comments about her colleague who took the photo of Pope Francis for a new book she has co-edited.

The book is due out in 2018. 

This will be Cindy's third effort in the book publishing business, including another book focusing on Pope Francis.

Not bad for a Sandpoint girl.  Check out the link below for more information. 

Yay, Cindy.

Changing the subject again! The deer were out this morning.  I first saw them crossing the road from Gary Finney's field to the Meserve Preserve.

I had a feeling I'd see them again, and, sure enough, it was breakfast time in the apple orchard.  

When you're a deer, eating an apple, you're about as good at multi-tasking as Marianne. It's imperative to finish the apple before doing a 180 and bounding off to an apple tree somewhere else. 

So, I was able to get pretty close to the muncher. 

In other news, Bill has already left this morning to take the pickup to Les Schwab for some work and then head on into town and Coeur d'Alene for some other errands. 

I'll probably be picking some more plums and just enjoying the lovely weather.

Finally, I've just had my first test of being an orphan blogger.  Just as I was ready to wrap up, the power went off, and, of course, the computer screen went black.

It was instantaneous, but it took a while to get up and running again.  

I'm thinking this was a sign from Dave Oliveria, the Blogfather, reminding us that he won't be around to save us anymore.  So, we're on our own. 

Fortunately, all worked out, and my blog material was still there after the outage.  

Happy Friday. 


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tractors, Turkeys and Throwback Thursday

Ultimate bliss!  Brush hogging the fields!  It's that time of year again when the pastures transform from once green fields to dried-out ragged messes. 

Brush hogging is definitely a step up from lawn mowing.  After all, we do take a significant step up when we climb into the tractor seat.  Plus, that extra height enhances the view.  

This week two of the pastures have undergone the brush hog manicure, and it's been sheer delight going round and round those fields, knocking down grass and just plain enjoying the abundant rural scenery. 

The process will probably enhance grazing for the horses too.  They can actually find their grass without wading through a jungle.  

Anyway, it's tidy-up time around the place, and I'm enjoying the projects, one of which is painting the fences.  That project will be ongoing and dependent upon when I have a few extra dollars to purchase paint.  

Obviously, from the turkey scenes below, the barnyard fences could use a little whitewashing. Some day we may even replace those boards that the horses ate when they weren't out in their pastures. 

An electric wire, turned on from time to time, has halted the total destruction of the barnyard boards.

It's not too often that I even notice that gobbled up section on the northwest side, but when a gobbler of the two-legged variety was perched up there this morning, those tooth-formed ridges are hard to miss. 

The turkeys didn't stay long, but they did hang around long enough for me to document their visit. 

I love the sight of apple trees in the early evenings during this time of year.  This one over on North Kootenai Road takes me back to another tree with many memories. 

That particular tree stood out in our pasture/hay field at our farm on North Boyer Road. It wasn't far from the fence separating us from the Senft, Bidwell, Alton, Crape place. Heck, I think even Dave Lewis may have owned that piece for a time.

Anyway, when fall came, we'd take buckets and ladders out to the tree and start the picking. Some years it was loaded; some years not. 

Regardless of its annual bounty, the tree served a dual purpose----apples and shade. Many images of Hereford cows chewing their cuds or horses taking naps beneath the tree swirl around in the recesses of my mind. 

The tree is long gone as is pretty much every other reminder of our farm, so any time I see a scene like the North Kootenai Road fruit tree, memories of another time come floating back. 

I think apple trees probably do that for a lot of folks. 

And, another throwback:  first photo of Mr. Liam Love, taken shortly after we picked him up from his birthplace at a farm in Hunters, Wash in November 2015.  

His first trip, even before coming to the Lovestead:  to Lake Roosevelt, just a few miles away from his first home. 

On close inspection, viewers may detect a little slobber cascading from Liam's lips.  Little guy had a rough start in the car, losing his breakfast a couple of times. 

I think that uncomfortable experience will stick with him the rest of his life because he likes to get in a vehicle, but whimpers a lot whenever we park. 

Since that time, Liam Love and Ma and Pa Love have gone through a lot together, including eaten furniture, chewed up quilts and comforters and a whole lot of new fence construction to keep Liam safe. 

He has survived his early youth, as have we.  

Today marks a significant day for Mr. Liam, as he's going to school. In addition to his occasional visits out to Curlesses for herding lessons, Liam is gonna give agility a try.

He doesn't know that yet, but I don't think we'll have to spend too much time encouraging him, once he sees all the fun he can add to his athletic repertoire. 

We're thinking that Liam will probably enjoy his new adventure, especially because he'll be learning along with another Border Collie named Ben.  

So, it's an exciting day, thinking about the fun experience ahead.  

As I type, the squirrel chorus is louder than usual outside the window.  At least a couple of pine squirrels have appeared out in the yard over the past few days, even coming to the feeder, which is normally occupied by town squirrels. 

Bill is sure hoping they'll clean up all the acorns under the oak tree.  I'm sure they'll do their best. 

Finally, today is the Blogfather's last day on the job at the Spokesman-Review newspaper.  

Dave Oliveria:  through your Huckleberries column you have sparked many a lively conversation, inspired a lot of folks and provided a daily pulse for what's going on in North Idaho. 

To say we'll miss all that is an understatement as is sending you best wishes for a happy retirement.   You will be missed AND you will be happy!  No doubt about it! 

Good luck and many thanks.  Now go have fun with your golden years!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Smith Creek Visit 2017

If I wanted to go with Bill to Smith Creek, we would go there.  Otherwise, he planned to head up the Moyie River where he would fish for the afternoon and early evening.

We went to Smith Creek.  

Smith Creek is one of Bill's old stomping grounds from the days of his first summer in Idaho, working for the U.S. Forest Service. 

Since 1974, I do not believe a year has gone by that Bill has NOT gone to Smith Creek. This time, he issued a pre-emptive warning. 

"I will fish for 35-40 minutes," he told me.  

That seemed all right and just about the perfect amount of time for me to walk around and take pictures. 

So, Kiwi, Bill and I loaded up and headed toward the creek, located on the west side of Kootenai Valley not far from the Canadian Border. 

Our route took us across the valley at Copeland, up the West Side Road to the Smith Creek Road and the same route back.  

Even though smoke was in the air, we enjoyed some wonderful late summer scenes, where in the majestic valley, the recent harvest of grain has left some idyllic images.  Up above in the mountains, the bees and butterflies are working furiously at a tapestry of wildflowers in full and fresh bloom along the roadsides. 

Bill caught a few fish, yelled at something big and invisible splashing around in the creek. He thought it might be a deer, but who knows---maybe it was Bigfoot.  

In the meantime, I walked up and down the road near the brand spanking new bridge where we were parked.  Since the bridge currently has no egress other than a turnaround, we felt pretty safe to park there. 

We stopped a few times on our way back to play "turist."  

It turned out to be a lovely outing, and I'd say picture taking yesterday was even better than fishing. 

Happy Wednesday.