Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Clocks, Tests and Seafood


Nobody told Liam that ZOOM time has returned to the Lovestead, thanks to the latest Covid wave. 

Bill had three ZOOM meetings yesterday, and the evening session upset Liam's schedule.

We don't really need a clock at our house because we have Liam. 

When it's precisely 7 p.m., it's time to go outside for the first potty run of the evening. 

In the evenings, Liam likes to spend most of his time lying on the bathroom floor, so when his inner clock starts inching toward 7, he gets up and comes to the living room to stare at Bill. 

As soon as Bill sees the persistent stare, he knows what time it is. 

Well, Liam ran into a problem last night. Bill was involved in ZOOM meeting at 7 o'clock, in the bedroom with the door shut. 

No Bill to stare at. I figured he would come to beg me with those Border Collie eyes to take him out. 

Nope, Border Collies are regimented.  It's not my job to take him and the others out at 7; it's Bill's.

So, after a few minutes, Liam and the pack lined up near the bedroom door, waiting. 

Knowing Bill probably would not leave his ZOOM meeting to take the dogs to go potty, I put on a coat and took them outside. 

They seemed to do fine. 

I don't know how often during this current Covid surge that Bill will have ZOOM meetings at "go out" time, but I do know that last night's situation was a bit unsettling for Liam who fiercely sticks to routines and always on time.


In other Covid-related news, I read a post by a friend last night revealing how careful we, in this area, need to be right now. 

The New York Times this morning says that the Omicron virus is peaking or has peaked in several areas of the country, but not so much in the Northwest. 

It has taken time, like the other variants, to reach our region, but its impact has suddenly begun to affect individuals, teams, schools, etc. 

I asked my friend if I could post her thoughts, and she agreed.  

So, just some food for thought in hopes that everyone will make an effort to be more careful.  The bad news is the level of contagiousness; the good news appears to be that the wave moves quickly and goes away fairly quickly. 

But, as my friend and others have said, it's not just the flu. 

Here are her words . . . . 

Now is the time to let you know that if you are very careful and fully Vaccinated… plus have your booster shot and you can avoid the new Variant Omicron… don’t let your guard down like I did. 

Wear a mask, social distance and keep up the hand washing, avoid large indoor gatherings. 

I had a great day watching my oldest Granddaughter Audrey play in a Volleyball tournament in Spokane with hundreds of people… most not wearing masks.

I had a false sense of security. 

I wore a mask most of the time but let my guard down, and a week and a half later I can say that Omicron is a super spreader. 

It’s different and worse than getting the flu and don’t trust an early PRC test if it’s negative. Wait 5-7 days to be tested from when you think you were exposed.

Because yes -I have Covid. 

Now I’m feeling stronger but this is not for sissies if you are 65+ years old(69 years)or unvaccinated. 

Be smart- trust me. This is nothing you want to have. 🚫🦠

Be well, stay vigilant and let’s encourage each other to stay healthy. We have zero idea how this will affect us long term.

Thanks, my friend, for sharing.


Also, thanks to everyone who is doing their part to pass the word on how to easily order four free Covid tests. 

Here's the link.  It takes all of 90 seconds once you click.

Some fun news:  

Bill and I have stayed at a bed and breakfast in Clifden, Ireland, on our past three trips. 

It's called Sharamore House, and the hosts are John and Sue Brittain.

On our last visit, they told us about an experience where an Irish chef named Neven Maguire who has his own food show had come and filmed an episode.

Well, today they get to see the results, and, they sent us information about the episode which airs live at 12:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time or 8:30 p.m. their time. 

John and Sue are delightful people, and Bill always figures a trip to Ireland is complete with a few opportunities to enjoy Sue's pancakes. 

Everything else is tasty and satisfying too. 

Anyway, we're excited for John and Sue, and if you have any interest in watching an Irish food program, you can give it a try. I downloaded the RTE Player for free. 

The program is scheduled to air on RTE 1. 

Disclaimer:  One never knows if this is going to work, but if it does, it should be fun. If you can't watch at that specific time, I'm sure there will be a video available later. 

Happy Wednesday. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Time for John Denver


Ahh! Freedom! 

And, I'm one of those "sheep" who wears a double mask whenever I am in public areas with other people.

Yup, an unapologetic sheep who wears a mask who feels free.

Perspectives differ, and these days, the word "freedom" seems to have gained some added connotations.

I don't feel the least bit like a prisoner when I'm wearing a mask to protect myself from others and others from me. 

I quit wearing masks in public for a few months last year.  That was at a time when we were pretty sure that our vaccinations would keep us safe from Covid and that others could not get Covid from vaccinated peeps. 

Well, the Covid story continues to unfold, with new twists and turns, and, as it does, I feel very comfortable going back to wearing masks even when I'm the only one doing so wherever I happen to be. 

My attitude is that I've not suffered a bit because of wearing those masks, and because I've remained healthy, I've been able to do some fun stuff over the past two years that has made me feel pretty free of the burden of illness. 

So far so good. 

Like everyone, though, I'm quite aware with this Pandemic that there are exceptions to the rule.  Maybe the one absolute connected with this period of our lives is that nobody really knows all the answers.  

Even the expects throw that reminder in when they are theorizing the best courses of action or what might happen next.  Seems like some folks just don't listen to their disclaimers. 

Anywho, I want to talk about another aspect of freedom that those of us who've slogged through the ravages of winter over the past weeks are feeling. 

A little sunshine can make a big difference in one's outlook, especially when that sunshine opens up possibilities that may have been put on hold during all that snow and rain and shoveling and slipping and sliding and hurting and so on. 

Sunshine melts the snow and sunshine feeds the heart and soul. 

This weekend on a sunny Sunday, I tortured my lower back just a bit more and shoveled out our new greenhouse. 

When the task was done, I mentally labeled my shovel work as the "pathway to spring." 

Twas nice to open the door and walk inside and plot what I could do now, in January, to prepare for gardening season. 

My decision:  go to town the next day and get some potting soil.  

No, I wasn't going to plant seeds, just yet, but I could, at least, put the soil in some trays and have them ready for when it's a reasonable time to plant. 

Just the ability to plan that little errand gave me a sense of freedom and exhilaration. 

While I was shoveling that day, so was Bill.  

We now have more freedom because we can go out the sliding door, down the steps and onto a short path leading to the dog-run path, which we shoveled out for two or three days last week. 

Weekend sunshine also gave me the opportunity to do something with my horses besides shoveling their stalls and feeding them. 

I dragged out my mounting block, set it up next to the gate to the barnyard (which had been shoveled out several times, as you may recall).  Then came an extension cord and finally the clippers.  

Throughout the afternoon at different times, I would put a halter on a horse, lead it to the gate and clip away at their bridle paths and their long whiskers.

They all loved the attention, and I loved the satisfaction of how nice they looked after three inches of a horsehair crewcut had been removed behind their ears. 

A good clip job always does wonders for a horse mid winter, especially when the days are somewhat warm.

Just to be able to do something besides shoveling and hurting and then shoveling and hurting some more gave me a sense of feeling alive and hopeful again. 

Bill and I added to that sense yesterday with another drive to Bonners Ferry.  It was gray and somber here, but about the time we passed the Boundary County border, we were seeing blue skies. 

And, once we reached the Three-Mile Antique Mall where I purchased that Guinness sign I'd seen last week, the views of snow capped mountains surrounding Bonners Ferry and the vast Kootenai Valley were stunning. 

We drove for a few minutes through the valley and then headed home, where the sun had appeared and everything seemed so much more beautiful than when we had left. 

Yes, a little sunshine can go a long way in helping us make it through the many funks of January. 

Add to that a gorgeous moonlit night and early morning where we can enjoy the landscape in the blue and coolness of the night. 

Sorta like Heaven. 

And so liberating from the cumbersome feelings of what feels like winter imprisonment. 

Sunshine does make us happy.  So, today, a little John Denver and some scenes made possible thanks to the welcome hours of sun. 

Stay safe.  Stay healthy.  

Covid is on the rampage and a good mask could help as well as keep you warm.  

Happy Tuesday. 

Our neighbor, Ginny who lives on North Kootenai Road, was enjoying some sunny freedom with her dog when I came home from town a few days ago. 

Denver described how he wrote "Sunshine on my Shoulders": "I wrote the song in Minnesota at the time I call 'late winter, early spring.'  

It was a dreary day, gray and slushy.

The snow was melting and it was too cold to go outside and have fun, but God, you're ready for spring.

You want to get outdoors again and you're waiting for that sun to shine, and you remember how sometimes just the sun itself can make you feel good.

And in that very melancholy frame of mind I wrote 'Sunshine on my Shoulders'."

Monday, January 17, 2022

Simple thoughts on MLK Day


My friend Pat posted the thoughts above on Facebook a few days ago.

I loved the message. 

It's a message for every day, every place we go, for every person with whom we come in contact. 

I was thinking about Martin Luther King Day over the weekend and figuring I'd post a few of his famous thoughts, like I've done a few times in the past.

Martin Luther King Day always brings out the altruistic wishes and desires we have for the world in which we live.  

We talk about them and maybe make an attempt to act on them.  Then time moves on until next year's Martin Luther King celebration. 

Along that journey around the sun to next year comes Earth Day where we once again make known our wishes for the Earth. 

Then, we move on. 

Seems to me that we should put into practice the goals and wishes of each of these special days every single day of the year, not just during their annual celebrations. 

That's why I like the words above, posted by Pat.  

I believe the little gestures of kindness, consideration, respect and love of our fellow humans, animals and the earth, performed on a daily basis, all add up. 

When this happens, the lofty goals to which we aspire on Martin Luther King Day or Earth Day or any other holiday inspiring us to be at our best will be reached. 

If we do that, the famous, oft-quoted thoughts of Dr. King, like the words below, can edge even closer to reality and our Earth will become a better place for all of us. 

  “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

“Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.”

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Bridie Posts


I'm guessing that when a pup reaches a certain age, there's more responsibility involved than immediately stopping whatever I happen to be doing at certain times.

I hear that a lot.

No, actually I hear, "NO!"

I hear it in the bathroom where the toilet paper rolls are now up higher and out of my reach.  

I heard it a couple of times when I stood up the other night, put my front paws on the card table and took a puzzle piece.

  I thought they were treats, but I guess not. 

I've heard "NO" several times at one of the kitchen counters when I've tried to sort through the pile of mail. 

And, for some reason every single morning when I come back from the barn and grab the pot holder on the end table---which is used for opening and closing the stove door---she yells "No." 

I had never even taken a bite out of the pot holder until last night, so I don't know why she complains. 

This morning, after chores, I grabbed the potholder to work on the hole.  As usual, and my dad said, "No," and took it away from me.

It's nice to have parents on the same page, I guess.

Both my mom and dad got mad at me the other day when I bypassed the pot holder on the end table and took the TV remote instead. 

For some reason the TV went a little crazy when that happened, and it was just before a ZAGS game, so they seemed really uptight.   

Anyway, my mom told me that I had to say something on the blog today because I'm five months old.

I wanted to say "No," but I think that option is reserved for puppy parents.  

So, here goes.  

I'm new at this, so if some of it doesn't make much sense, remember that I'm a Border Collie and I'll get better.

I like my life here at the Lovestead, and I really, really like Liam. 

He's the best big brother a girl pup could have. I'm learning a lot about life on the farm from Liam. 

It took him a while to warm up to me, just like Foster, but they both seem to like me now. 

I know they care because whenever I go someplace in the car and come back home, they are there at the car door waiting for me. 

Once I get out, they gather round and sniff me from stem to stern. 

I guess they just want to know that it's really me coming home. 

Foster also meets me at the door and sniffs me all over when I come out of my crate in the morning. 

Foster didn't like me at first cuz I was getting too much attention, but once my mom decided that just Liam and I would go to the run, while Foster could run loose around the place, he was really happy cuz he could be top dog. 

I enjoy the days around here.  In the early morning, I get to go to the barn with Mom while she does her horse chores.  

It's pretty neat to curl up in the hay, behind a gate, of course, and watch those great big horses walk past me down the aisle to go outside. 

There's only one problem with my time spent in the barn:  that cat called Sunny.

She looks at me.  

That makes me nervous.

Sometimes, she even comes over and sits on the bag of shavings right in front of the gate to where I stay in the hay.  Then, she stares at me close up and meows at me, and that really scares me.

So, every morning when we leave the barn, I transition into my Border Collie stance and look both ways to see that she's not looking back at me.

During the day, I go to the run with Liam or occasionally down in the field next to the lane. I've learned that barking does not get me out of the run.

I can't wait until a bunch of the snow is gone so we can spend time in the south woods and maybe even back in the hay field where I was able to play off leash before the snow came.  

At night, the three of us dogs usually lounge around and veg out in the house, but there's always a time, which Mom calls my "witching hour," when I go bonkers, wrestling with Liam and running circles around the dining room table or through the hallway and living room.

When I get too carried away, I hear another word, which has become a regular in my ever-growing Border Collie vocabulary.  

"CRATE," she will command.  

I usually first respond with a pathetic, wounded look, but if I don't go straight to the crate, she says it again. 

She's pretty impressed with how quickly I can scamper into that crate, once I decide there are no other choices. 

Mom calls that lockdown my "time-out" period, so I just go to sleep for a while. 

So far, after almost two months, I can say life is fun here at the Lovestead with my parents and my pup pals.  

I've got a lot to learn before they ever let me just run loose.  For now, though, I know one thing for sure.  

My folks and my pals love me, and that's the most important. 

I'll keep working to be a "good dog." 

Mom said to finish my essay with "Happy Sunday," so I did.  

A typical evening with Liam, Bill, Bridie and Foster. 

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Saturday Slight


Gary and Diane Johnson; Syd and Diane Rayfield.


These January days, after the big snow and clean-up marathon, do not offer a lot of opportunities for getting out and enjoying a nice walk.

Plus, January is starting to work its monotony  as it usually does quite effectively in this part of the country.

I reached one of those frequent January moods of wanting to jump out of my skin yesterday afternoon, feeling somewhat trapped with constant fog, the house surrounded by deep snow and the driveway still an ice rink. 

One tires of watching blah blah TV, and in-the-house projects just don't seem appealing for those of us who love the outdoors. 

When that happens, I know it's time to get out of the house.  Bill came home from a morning at work and doing things around town. 

"You can watch the dogs," I said after he had been in the house for a while.

"Don't you want to take Foster with you?" he asked. 

No dogs, I responded.  I've spent lots of quality time with my dogs.  I love them dearly, but there are moments when going solo is extremely important for the psyche. 

So, my escape took me to town where I parked in the lot next to Bridge Street and the entrance to City Beach. 

The trail along Sand Creek, though not bare, was walkable. 

Wearing my Yak Trax, I also took along a trekking pole, no longer feeling too proud to tough it out on any icy surface.  

A single trekking pole adds a layer of confidence, when we've come to "this age." 

The walk along Sand Creek provided the perfect antidote to my blah-blah mood, which not only instantly improved with the fresh air and the views along the creek but also with the sighting of six familiar faces along the trail.

I even enjoyed a brief visit with my classmate Gary Johnson, a retired smokejumper/firefighter. 

Gary and his wife Diane came along just after I'd begun visiting with retired school district staffers, Syd and Diane Rayfield.  

So, of course it was picture time. 

I also saw retired educator Barbara Miller and local architect, Chris Kontor.  

So, for a local, the few minutes spent along the trail was, indeed, a hometown bonanza.  

We need such outings during January, especially with the fog that seems to want to hang around for several days.  

When I returned home after being gone for a couple of hours, the house seemed as inviting and cozy as always.  And, of course, I loved seeing the dogs and Bill who had enjoyed a quiet afternoon. 

Maybe one of these days, the ice and the fog will take a permanent escape. 

For now, the Sand Creek trail downtown offers a nice opportunity to enjoy walking and seeing others who need the same kind of break from their January routines. 


City Beach sign could use a sprucing up. 

Just sayin'.

I read the piece below this morning and intend to read it again and maybe come up with some of my own ideas. 

The story inspires concepts for manageable adventures without a need to travel too far.


My friend Susie aka Sky sent me this last night.

She is a lover of cowboy poetry, and she said this one tickled her funny bone. 

I am issuing a disclaimer. It's a bit politically incorrect and it includes a couple of words some might find offensive.

So, read and enjoy at your own risk. 

Susie sez this poet is from Idaho. 

We must enjoy our beloved ZAGS as much as possible this season because once more one of their games next week has been postponed/cancelled due to Covid.

But they ARE playing today at Santa Clara. 

Should be a fun way to spend an afternoon on yet another foggy day. 

1 p.m. PST

ROOT TV or Fox 28


Happy Saturday.