Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Stuff of Saturday

When I saw Liz Wood at the Pack River Cemetery yesterday, I said, "I wish we wouldn't have to do this."  Twas not meant as a lazy comment but more of a lament regarding those we've lost.  It would be nice to still be able to put flowers in their hands, not on their graves. 

Since that cannot be, however, the act of visiting the cemeteries on Memorial Day with whatever fresh, cut flowers are available has a poignancy about it.  

No lilacs for the graves this year, but, in my case, every selection and every cut flower from around the yard gave me a deep sense of connection with the intended recipients. 

I still remember so clearly the day Mother and I were placing flowers at my younger sister Jean Marie's grave at Pinecrest Cemetery when she said, "I hope you continue doing this when I am gone."  

It's a wish commonly stated between mothers and daughters, signifying an everlasting thread of family remembrance. 

Well, the time that Mother alluded to that day at Pinecrest has come, nearly three years now, and her words are not forgotten, nor is she or Harold or Jean Marie.  I hope they like their bouquets, maybe not the prettiest but definitely arranged with love. 

So, after my cemetery visits, I headed to Spokane to spend some time at the Eastern Washington Arabian Show where Barbara, Laurie, Maryann and the gang are hanging out for the weekend.  To be accurate, Laurie has a horse at the Sport Horse facility where she is doing dressage tests. 

I had not been to that show for some time.  It was fun to reconnect and visit with a few folks. 

I also watched a couple of trail classes which Barbara won with her gelding Dusty.  She has a whole wall of ribbons from two days of showing, and I understand Maryann has done quite well.  Over at the Sport Horse Show, Laurie has taken a second and a fourth competing with her young horse for the first time, 

Besides all the familiar folks, it was fun seeing Lily's "husband."  Yes, Lily went off to Sunshine Acres Arabians in Nine Mile Falls near Spokane a month or so ago and had an affair with a classy looking stallion called SW Ferrari.  He's owned by Sheri Boito Hibbs and her husband. 

And, we found out this week that, if all goes well, the blend of the pretty flower (Lily) and the hot car (Ferrari) will result in a bundle of four-legged joy, which we're hoping has the color and the style of its parents. 

Monty, trainer of both of my horses and pictured below with Ferrari,  and I are partners in this project.  He has also trained Ferrari, pictured below.  We both have some big dreams, and we're very aware that we'll have to be patient to allow time for those dreams to come true. 

For now, we'll just keep dreaming and hoping for something really special. 

Finally, at the horse show, I saw Sigrid and Shiraz, Maryann's in-laws from Ephrata.  When he saw me drive up, Shiraz, who's a fantastic gardener, headed to his travel trailer to bring me the moon flower starts which he had prepared for me. 

He told me to plant them in an area where they'll be handy for us to watch them open when darkness sets in, as illustrated in the video below. 

Thanks to Shiraz for this exciting new dimension to our flower family here at the Lovestead.

Twas a great Saturday in this holiday weekend, and we're looking forward to going on a hike today with Laura, Sefo and the triplets plus one who are up in this area for the weekend.

Now, I've got to get over to Facebook where I see the pilgrim has posted her latest set of photos and the latest posting on her blog:

Happy Sunday.  

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday Slight

Promise of berries and lots of them. I might just keep track of this off road spot where I visited yesterday afternoon.  I saw similar vines loaded with white blossoms just about everywhere I looked. 

So maybe a trip back about the time the fruits make their appearance will be in order. 

It's always fun to find new wild berry patches.  Granted, we do have blueberries and raspberries here at the place, but plucking berries from unregulated, protected vines and using them for jams, jellies or desserts adds a special link to frontier spirit and the past. 

And, that element of history sometimes makes them taste better.  Whether or not they do is another question because beauty or good tasting food truly is in the mind of the beholder. 

This morning I took off early to go feed and let my sisters' dogs out.  They're at a horse show for the weekend.  That early morning 3.5-mile drive over our road and theirs was beautiful, as always.  

Some of today's photos represent both late afternoon and early morning in our neighborhood, where I discovered yesterday that walks at that time may not elicit as many steps on the Fitbit as desired.  That's when folks are coming home from town and when they see someone on the road, that's visiting time. 

I enjoyed a nice visit with our neighbor Dan Wood who was hauling a gigantic John Deere tractor to his farm just up the road.  After we finished and Dan went on his way, I walked a few more steps, and along came Helen Baker.  So we did a little catch-up. 

This morning the tables had turned.  On my way back from my sisters' farm, I saw walkers. 

What did I do?  

I stopped to visit with my neighbor and former teacher Eva and her sister who is visiting from Missoula. The two were enjoying morning air before their planned visit to Pack River Cemetery where they'll place small American flags on veterans' graves.  

With its recent spruce-up by the Gold n' Grouse 4-H Club and with the addition of the flags, the cemetery should be beautiful for all the other visitors over the Memorial Day weekend. 

We haven't heard anything out of the "pilgrim" over in Spain yet this morning.  She was anticipating a challenging walk today, and we're looking forward to lapping up yet another array of photos once she arrives at her evening destination and posts on her blog and Facebook.  

It's pretty neat to learn of all the fans Annie has acquired since her walk began on Wednesday.   The photos are exquisite and her anecdotes provide some nice insights.

It's looking like another beautiful day in the neighborhood, so I'll get outside and take advantage of it.  We'll be using the brush hog today to open up trails around the woods in hopes of getting out there more often and avoiding all those wet pant legs and shoes from the morning dew. 

Happy Saturday.  

Friday, May 27, 2016

All in a Day . . . .

Lupine loveliness is at its peak here at the Lovestead.  All along Love Canal and in numerous flower beds around the yard, tall stems of various colors have shot up and are showing off. 

I loved walking around the yard yesterday just admiring the combinations and the vibrance of this special spring flower variety. 

I do have a bone to pick with lupine, however.  They're very uncooperative in bouquets; I think it's cuz they want to stay put outside and resent being cut and stuffed in a vase with a bunch of other flowers.  Once there, they usually lead the pack in drooping and losing their buds which dribble all over the surface around the vase.  

So, generally, I just leave them alone to thrive wherever they have chosen to appear. 

Once again, the old and rustic took up a part of my day yesterday in the form of the barn and fallen down fence, along with a well-aged shed accented by aspens.  These were near Elmira.  I'm betting my friend Betsy of Elmira will recognize those two shots. 

Bill, Liam and I also took an evening drive to Upper Pack River and beyond, after turning off the Pearson Creek Road---definitely bumpy and slow-driving at times but a pretty route, which offers some nice views of several Selkirk peaks. 

I hadn't been up there in years, so it was a nice change of pace.  Liam did not get too excited.  He likes to go with us, but he also is very anxious while riding in vehicles---unlike the rest of our dogs. 

So, he just leaned against the car seat, panted and looked straight ahead.  We stopped at a place a long ways up the road where large moss-covered rock masses on both sides, dotted with wildflowers created a park-like setting. 

Once Liam jumped out of the truck, the anxiety waned and his nose went to work. I have discovered that Liam doesn't go into automatic pose mode for photos like his big sister Kiwi.  His nose keeps him pretty focused. 

On our way back, darkness was setting in, and the wildlife were moving.  We saw two huge moose, three deer and a bear on our return trip.  

Also, before we turned off at Pearson Creek Road, we came upon a group of kayakers who had just floated the river.  Suddenly, I recognized one of them, Nick, grandson of Skip and Nancy Pucci and a former English student from my last year of teaching. 

We enjoyed a nice chat, and it was fun telling Nick that his granddad had picked up Bill at the airport back in 1973 when Bill had flown in from Louisiana to participate in the Boy Scout Jamboree where Bill and Marianne met. 

It was a lovely day yesterday, an assessment that has been enhanced by this morning's dreary, wet look.  At least, we're keeping all that pretty stuff clean and thriving. 

For those following Annie, she has arrived at Pamplona, found Hemingway and has set off for some more walking before settling in for the night and posting on her blog, which is up for today! 

She says tomorrow's walk involves some climbing so she wants to get farther down the road in preparation for taking it on. 

Check out the blog, where she has added some spectacular photos to the post about her first day of walking.

Happy Friday and a safe weekend for all travelers. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Country "Seens"

I was doing some cleaning in the barn the other day when I found this bag hanging with a collection of dusty harness leather.  

Hard to tell how old it really is, but I think it's definitely old enough to serve as a Throwback Thursday item.

Who knows what all has inhabited this bag.  For now, petunias can spend the summer showing off as they and their domicile hang on the old manure spreader in the front yard. 

Maybe that fence can fit in TBT also.  It's been around this place since we moved here ten years ago, and I'm betting for much longer than that.  

We thought we needed to hurry up an build a barnyard fence when we thought one of our horses got out back in the winter of 2006-07.

So, Bill and collaborated during the month of January (not a good time to replace fence posts in North Idaho) and nailed up boards to keep those horses in their enclosure.

We learned later that the suspect loose horse, which had left tracks all over the snow around the barn and the yard actually belonged to a neighbor and that it had come to visit our horses.

Innocent horses or not, it was nice to have a more substantial fence for ours.  The horses have enjoyed it too; nothing better to chew on than boards----or spring grass underneath those boards as far as their noses can reach. 

This country "seen" is along Rapid Lightning Road at the big alpaca farm.  

We're always on a mission, it seems, when we're driving up or down Rapid Lightning Creek Road, and when we go past this spot I always want to come back and take some pictures.

Well, last night when I took Liam and Foster for a drive, there was plenty of time, so I pulled off the road and fulfilled my photo mission.  It's a pretty spot as is just about anywhere along that road where the creek is running full and clean. 

Just another deer among the multitude in North Idaho, but NO, this one feeding in a clearing along Upper Gold Creek is growing his antlers.  So, of course, he was a bit out of the usual.  Twould be neat to be able to see his full growth. 

She's part of a herd, which had been turned out to pasture at Western Pleasure Ranch, but she took my eye because she was slightly separated from her friends, peacefully enjoying her evening meal. 

Usually, it's pretty quiet at Pack River Cemetery, but the residents had a host of visitors last night, "cleaning house" for this weekend's Memorial Day visits.

This group, along with Pack River Cemetery board member and overall cemetery guardian Eva Whitehead, spent the evening with their brooms and rakes and sheets of plastic, tidying up the eternal resting place for their own beloveds as well as many others.

They're the Gold 'n Grouse 4-H Club.

As a frequent visitor to the cemetery where our parents are buried, I say "Hats off" to these 4-H'ers and to their leaders and parents for performing this wonderful, thoughtful civic duty year after year.

The group worked hard but also had fun doing so, and I'm sure the residents didn't mind that one bit. What a meaningful learning experience for these youth---definitely a nice bond between the future and the past.

Yay, Eva.  Yay, Gold n' Grouse 4-H Club.

Your work and service to the community is much appreciated.