Monday, October 20, 2014

Mother Nature Speaks

Mother Nature handed us a beauty yesterday.  

My sisters, their pups, Willie and I took advantage and took our cameras to the aspen grove up Rapid Lightning Creek Road. 

At long last, the color has come, and it IS indescribably beautiful.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Precious Day

Well, today makes the 36th "Precious" day of our lives.  We're spending it without "Precious," but we may see one of the Seattle Sounders biggest fans tonight on ESPN2 when the Sounders play the Los Angeles Galaxy for the league title.  

Annie told us the other night that we should be sure to watch this important soccer match because the Seattle section will be comparatively smaller than LA's, and that we should be able to see her when the camera pans the fans. 

So, we'll probably be watching, and during this day, we'll probably be thinking of many of the "Precious" memories of our lives with "Annie Love of Sandpoint, Idaho."

That's what she used to tell people when she was about the age depicted in the photo above with our beloved and ever-patient horse Tiny. 

I don't know if she still spouts that personal identity out in all her worldly travels, but like everyone who becomes a child of the world, so to speak, her roots are still firmly planted here where she was born on a beautiful October day in 1978.

She loves to come home, eat Second Avenue Pizza, play with her dogs, take the 4-wheeler for spins around the place, visit with friends and family, do some geocaching and take in all that "her own private Idaho" has to offer. 

Folks who met Annie, even at a young age, were amazed at her can-do outlook and her quickly learned skills.  

One friend, who's in to psychic thinking, said she had a special aura, the first time she saw Annie as an infant.

Her Aunt Mary once remarked about the scenarios----how Annie could always envision how things were going to be----and that she acted upon that knowledge. 

My mother was amazed by her years ago when we ran a food booth in conjunction with one of our horse shows.

"I couldn't believe how she could make change and wait on the customers so efficiently," Mother often reflected.  

Annie was about 9 or 10 at the time.  

As parents, we've seen different stages of Annie AND, yes, different behaviors.  

For example, the same kid who trained for months as an adult to climb Mt. Rainier and later Mt. St. Helens with her dad often---well maybe all the time---expressed her objections to family hikes when she was younger. 

We were pretty convinced she wasn't a happy camper sometimes.

Well, these days she welcomes any opportunity to go camping.  To say she embraces adventure is an understatement.  

These days a host of Annie fans, both family and friends,  live vicariously through her "on-the-go," world-traveling lifestyle.  And, sometimes we get to go with her, e.g., New Zealand, Maui, Ireland, etc. 

And, of course, this weekend, she's keeping up her traveling trend, exploring Los Angeles and playing in Disneyland.  

To say we are proud and thrilled to have Annie as our daughter, as our "Precious," is beyond understatement. 

Thanks for all the "Precious" memories, Annie, and here's wishing you a phenomenal birthday celebration and may you enjoy the same sunshine that embraced our world the day you were born. 

Maybe we'll see you on TV tonight, and for sure, GO SOUNDERS!!! 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Slight

Tina Ward, owner of Weekends & Company

I met Tina Ward yesterday, and she helped me out. 

I was searching for a mandoline.  When my friend Florine told me I needed a mandoline, I first wondered where she'd get a silly idea like that. 

After all, I have hardly mastered even one song on the banjo; why should I add insult to injury by adding a mandolin to my musical instruments.

Well, context in what Florine was suggesting to me quickly unveiled itself in the next sentence when she mentioned my ongoing quest to bake a better potato-chip.

"Oh, so they have mandolines in the kitchen too," I thought.  Continuing to read Florine's note, I learned that these mandolines cut stuff, and yesterday I learned that they will even cut a thumb. 

Enter Tina.  She's the former gift buyer for Coldwater Creek.  Like so many former Coldwater Creek employees, she has a new job.  She now owns Weekends & Company on First and Cedar (used to be Ross Rexall Drug a year or two ago). 

I had made my way into town, starting at the north part at Wal-Mart, looking for a kitchen mandoline.  Two different clerks there tried to find one, but couldn't.  A third clerk said, "We don't have those," as the other clerk pointed toward Home Depot and said they might.

So, I went to Home Depot where I visited briefly with my friend Cathy (did you, Cathy, reread yesterday's Cindy Wooden blurb that her book is not yet available in the U.S.?) Yes, Cindy's book featuring Pope Francis will be available in the U.S. and when it is, that website link will feature it. 

On to the kitchen showroom at Home Depot where the lady told me they had no kitchen mandolines.  So, I moved on to Sears.  Again, no dice, but they do have allergen machines which I need to consider in the spring when my pollen itch starts again.

Finally, I walked into Tina's kitchen store.  She happened to have just what I was looking for on the shelf.  Had just gotten it in the day before.  So, I bought it and enjoyed visiting with her.  

She told me that her eventual plans for the store include some cooking clinics.  

Who knows, maybe she'll teach how to make a better potato chip. For now, I can say that meeting her was an enjoyable experience.  I wish her good luck at her new adventure. 

After purchasing my mandoline, I wasted no time after getting home, removing its plastic casing.  

Out came some homegrown potatoes.  I peeled them and then started getting acquainted with the mandoline.

I'm guessing the very first slice got my thumb. So, it was time out to get the blood flow stopped.  Then, back to fingering the mandoline with much more care. 

Eventually the four potatoes turned into pretty thin slices.  Debbie and Florine had told me that cold water (in Debbie's advice, even overnight) is a key to a better potato chip. 

So, I followed instructions and this morning pulled out a few slices, dried and seasoned them and stuck 'em in the microwave.

It took much less time that my second attempt, and I still have to work on the seasoning, but talk about crisp.  I've got that part down. 

So, I'll keep working at it and eventually my chips should be acceptable to the palate.  We all know Rome wasn't built in a day, so patience with potato chips should win out, I'm thinking. 

In other news, it's birthday season.  Three days of family celebrations again.  Sefo finished his yesterday, Jim today, and Annie tomorrow.

Annie flew to Disneyland to celebrate her 36th.  She'll top it off tomorrow with friends at a Sounders match at the LA Galaxy. 

It's a rainy day, and it sure was dark for my morning walk, but no cars on South Center Valley Road meant I had it all to myself. 

I'm still considering whether or not I'll use this rainy day to drive to Spokane to pick up Gonzaga season schedule posters.  That may happen, and if it doesn't today, it will for sure one day this week.

We'll probably watch a football game or two today and with good weather predicted for tomorrow, the horses will get another fall workout.

Besides football and upcoming basketball games, I'm noticing more and more that we've reached the "silly season."  Ya know that last couple of weeks before elections.  

I'm also noticing that if you don't want someone to win an election, you conjure up a lawsuit against them in your behalf.  I have a feeling that may backfire in our local election.  Plus, anyone who has their campaign sign hanging on the Hoot Owl will get my vote.   

I'm also thinking that a lot of the local folks who've put out the smaller election signs will get my vote because they aren't polluting the roadsides and irritating me with the reminder that some big moneybags with questionable agendas are supporting their cause. 

Plus, when people on motorcycles are stealing my friend Shawn's campaign signs, that makes me damn mad and more determined than ever to vote for her.  She's one classy politician, and I'll vote for her any day of the week. 

I've also decided I kinda like that cute guy who graduated from Cornell.  Now, if my dear friend George had won in the primary, I would have voted for George, but since George isn't on the ticket, I'll go with good looks, a big smile and Cornell any day. 

And since I once wrote a story about the Three Name Lounge in downtown Sandpoint, which is a town favorite, why not vote for that lady who has two names? 

I don't care what she put on her Facebook page.  I've known her for a long time and have always admired her common sense and intelligence, even if she does have two names. 

And, if ya read between the lines, you'll see that I'm an equal opportunity voter.  I give both of the main parties a chance by voting for folks on both sides of the aisle. 

Makes for a more interesting mix and maybe even some attempts to get along, if for no other reason than to honor the voters who'd like to see some positive results. 

Guess that's enough politics for now.  

Happy Saturday.  And, if ya need a mandoline, Tina can help you out!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Wrap AND Exciting News

My title for today made me think of yesterday when I actually had a wrap.  Debbie, who has spent a busy week in Eugene, Ore., viewing potential talent for next year's Pend Oreille Arts Council line-up, arrived back in town in time for us to get together and pick up some dinner treats.

So, we chose Pack River General Store, and I chose the chicken caesar wrap once again. Believe me, the staff there puts out a good product with all their food, but the wrap has become one of my new favorites.

At MickDuff's I've moved on from the Irish Pub burger to the Tiki burger:  a Kobe beef burger dressed with pineapple and swiss cheese. Yum!

I don't know where we'll be going for our Friday night out with family tonight, but just talking about those two delights makes me hungry. 

Yup, all the sudden it's Friday, the end of another busy week.  

I was quite pleased to finish my tack room project in the barn.  From now on, I'll never have to worry about falling through the floor, and there's a whole lot of yucky stuff in garbage bags, bound for the dump.

It was sad to put the Life Magazines I've been saving since the early '70s in the bag, but the mice had devoured most of the stories and pictures, leaving the magazines as piles of confetti.

Believe me, the mice had lived well in that tack room, and I felt like an Ebola medical worker while doing some of my initial work----face covered with bandanna so as not to breathe the air particles while sucking up at least 3 million mouse droppings. 

I wore gloves and long sleeves and when the stuff had been vacuumed, I emptied the shop vac far away from the barn.  Having had the spotted knapweed rash experience (it's much better and almost gone), I became fully aware of the importance of taking great care while removing gloves. 

Yes, a bit of the week ran somewhat parallel to the stuff we've watched on the news, and I learned firsthand how easy it can be to pick up something when not using great care with clothing and gloves.

Each time I worked in the tack room, virtually everything I wore went straight to the wash.  I've learned my lesson, thanks to the nasty rash. 

I could not help but think this week about the time we spent at Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d'Alene three years ago when my sister contracted viral encephalitis.

For some time, the medical experts did not know if her form of the disease was viral or bacterial, so we immediately learned about wearing protective gear.

If we were in the room with Laurie, we had to wear masks and gowns.  If we left the room, we had to carefully discard our gear, and when we returned, they would suit us up with brand new gowns and masks. 

We looked like outer space folks but we also happily complied.  When the staff finally learned that Laurie's form of encephalitis was viral and not contagious, we no longer had to wear the gowns. 

Every once in a while we are subject to wake-up calls about the fragility of life and the potential for bad germs or other particles that can really do a number on us.  

When that happens, we not only need to be very careful about those entities, but we also have to take great care in NOT overly alarming the public.  

In Laurie's case, we were very cautious about who knew and what they knew.  We also took a proactive approach with groups who might have reason to be concerned about her illness.  It all worked out with no undue panic and with all of us feeling comfortable that Laurie was in no way contagious. 

As we watch the Ebola crisis unfold, I have faith that mistakes made early on will not happen again and that the consequences of this outbreak will be minimized.

Until this week, I had no idea that I should be more careful when plucking unknown plants from the ground.  My bad experience with the spotted knapweed rash alongwith my knowledge of the dangers of mouse droppings have taught me some good lessons. 

We humans make mistakes, and sometimes communications in this "Information Age" or lack thereof can turn out the be the biggest contributors to mistakes like those we've witnessed in the news this week and what I've experienced personally. 

Mistakes are not fun, but they are often the greatest teachers. 

Well, I guess that's a wrap for this Friday, and I'll go about my way, taking a bit more care than I did last week. 

Happy Friday, and now for the really good and exciting news!

THIS JUST IN!  Congratulations to Sandpoint's own Cindy Wooden.  We ARE PROUD OF YOU!  Cindy just told me when the book is available in the United States, she'll send me a blurb!  FYI:  Paul Haring is the photographer.  Cindy says the book will be available at the following link:


Thursday, October 16, 2014

To Create a Better Chip

I've got a challenge ahead.  Those potato chips I've mentioned a couple of times?  

I've gotta keep perfecting them, along with learning how to make them more efficiently.

At the present rate, it takes about an hour for me to assemble enough chips, prepared from the microwave baking, to fill half a sandwich bag.

And, my second attempt still had too much of a starchy flavor.  They were better than the first, but they need work.

This challenge has suddenly gone from my "it would be nice to do" list to "it must be done and ready by the time Jeff's movie wins some awards" list. 

Jeff Bock loves chips as much as I do, and he's been monitoring my progress in hopes that he can profit from my mistakes and learn to make his own homemade chips for munching or grazing.

After reading this morning's newspaper, I immediately felt the urgency of getting these chips perfected in time for them to be served at one of the many receptions Jeff is sure to attend once his movie, set in Sandpoint, makes the bright lights of Hollywood.

In all seriousness and chips aside, seeing Jeff's face on the front page of the Daily Bee this morning at first made me think I might be losing my mind.

After all, he lives in Los Angeles.  What would he be doing on the front page of the local paper?    The online edition can be read at 10 a.m. PDT. 

Then, I looked a little closer at the front page and realized that Mary Berryhill had written a feature story about the movie he and his friends produced in Sandpoint this past summer.

I may have mentioned in a blog posting a while back that Jeff was inspired to write a screenplay based on a story written by Keith Lee Morris.  It's called "Losing Julia Finch," from Keith's story collection The Best Seats in the House.  

The action unfolds at the Tam, City Beach and Eichardt's, to name a few places. 

Jeff graduated from Sandpoint High School in 1992; Keith, in 1981. Keith is an award-winning writer of short stories (Eudora Welty Prize 2005) and an author of several books. He has taught at Clemson University for a number of years.

Well, since a few telephone calls and emails, earlier this year to connect Jeff and Keith, the film project has reached the editing stages.

I saw Jeff the day before he left Sandpoint after he and his crew had spent a few weeks here filming in various local venues.  He appeared genuinely excited about the movie's prospects----great acting, great scenes and, of course, a beautiful backdrop for a film. 

As his former teacher and friend and having worked with him on a three-year video project, I can attest to Jeff's talents and his vision for producing something extraordinary. 

And, of course, Keith, the author has already proved himself numerous times with some impressive literary awards.  

The bottom line with this whole project is that once again Sandpoint will have reason to be proud of the talented and brilliant people whose roots are implanted in this community.  

I have great faith that Jeff's production, based on Keith's creative mind, will go far in the world of film. 

And, speaking of Sandpoint products doing well in that big wide world out there, once more Sandpoint's Marilynne Robinson, already a Pulitzer prize-winning author, has earned finalist status for this year's National Book Award.

So, on this Thursday morning, good luck to the authors and to the film producers.  

Now back to figuring out how to perfect those homemade potato chips. 

Happy Thursday. 

Note:  I had trouble loading this YouTube video featuring an 2009 interview with Keith Lee Morris earlier today.  So, I'll try again.  If it works, enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Color in the 'Hood

Taken from my bike
with my cell phone day before yesterday:
 Murray's field on Selle Road. 

The dogs and I went to Samuels Store to get lawnmower gas yesterday.  

On our way back, I drove up a road off from Colburn-Culver to admire the ever-increasing color in fields and on hillsides.

It’s coming, but I think we may hit the height this weekend.  

The good news is that we haven’t had a lot of rain to pound leaves to the ground.

So, if all conditions remain in synch, maybe we’ll have a grand finale of a grand state this weekend.

For now, the eye candy on shrubs, trees and ground foliage is still pretty exhilarating. 
I actually found the most striking colors right in my back yard while walking from the pickup to the house.  Newly painted white fences tend to enhance the scenes, just as they do for cute black-and-white buddies.

So, that was the extent of camera fun yesterday. 

Today I’ll continue the winter prep with a trip to my neighbor’s for some shavings.  I put away some hoses yesterday and did some tidying up in the barn.

This year the barn doesn’t have quite so much space because, after the mice devoured or destroyed numerous bales of hay in the usual storage place down the lane, I decided the hay could all go in the barn this year.

I may have a little more luck with mouse control.   We’ll see.

With hay taking up more space, I’ve had to go into efficiency mode on where stuff goes inside that barn.

If I can get the tack room floor fully fixed before the snow flies, I’ll have plenty of room. 

Whoever built the floor whenever they built it used razor thin plywood for the floor and then stuck a loose sheet of linoleum over the top.

Needless to say, the plywood has not stood up well, and when one stands on it, the plywood tends to crumble beneath one’s feet.

A week ago I tore about a third of the decadent floor out and filled it in with gravel.  Two thirds remains, and it’s a dirty and hard job, but I think I can complete the task in the next week or two.

This morning, after reading the paper, I’m reminded more and more that ZAGS season is approaching, and we ZAG Nuts are gonna get a little crazy again for a few months.

Can’t wait for the perfect antidote for our winter doldrums to get started.

On that note, I’ll get on the move and just wish everyone a Happy Wednesday AND to anyone of my classmates who happen to be reading, I’ll leave you with some news.
50th Year Sandpoint High Class of 1965 reunion is taking a bit of a twist from past reunions.  We’re old and mostly retired, so we’re not locked into using the weekend for the reunion.  

Plus, those of us here in town who are inundated with activities and company throughout the summer months figure September will be a much less hectic, more peaceful time to get together.

We have scheduled it for Thursday evening, Sept. 10 and Friday evening Sept. 11, 2015, tentatively at 41 South at the end of the Long Bridge for Thursday and Western Pleasure Guest Ranch for Friday evening’s banquet gathering.

We figured that folks could come to town, do their reunion stuff and then have a weekend to enjoy other aspects of the area.   So, mark it on your calendar.  More news coming next month.  If you’re a reader and know someone in the class, pass the word. 


This is taken off North Center Valley Road where Bert Wood keeps another herd of cows and calves. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday TwitterdeedumKnapweed

Spotted Knapweed:  I always wondered about that ubiquitous purple "flower" which has blossomed every late summer and thrived in the southwest flower bed of our yard.

When we first moved here, the flower beds were filled with wonderful shrubs and perennials, planted several years ago by a professional landscaper. 

I was afraid to touch anything in those beds during weeding time, lest I pull the good stuff. So, unless I was absolutely sure that some of the foliage was either tansy or ferns,  I left the other plants. 

Well, this year I decided that the purple stuff, which seems to get thicker every year, had to be a weed.  

So, this past week I spent two days off and on working at it, either pulling it roots and all or cutting it.  I wore latex gloves while working, but must admit that I was not very careful when removing them.  

In recent news accounts, after seeing the care that is needed for the medical workers, donning and removing their protective gear while treating Ebola patients, I must say that the need to be more careful with gloves has become much clearer to me. 

Anyway, when I was finished with my eradication project, the flower bed looked pretty good after that purple stuff and those always-thriving tansy plants had been removed and hauled away to the nearby woods. 

Shortly after that big weeding project, I developed a stubborn, itchy rash on my arms. 

What else is new for the Itch Queen?

A few days later, I asked my sisters and a friend to look at the rash.  

"You've gotten into something," they all concluded, suggesting I must be pretty allergic to whatever it was.

The rash is slowly subsiding, and I've been very careful NOT to scratch.  I also notice that it reacts to warmth, and when I'm outside, it almost disappears. 

Last night Bill went for a walk in the woods.  Upon returning, he suggested that he may have found the culprit for my rash.

"Spotted knapweed," he said. 

"Where?" I asked.

"In that flower bed," he responded, "all those weeds you pulled are knapweed."  

Then he told me how last year he put some seed-head weevils in the flower bed, in an attempt to keep the knapweed from going to seed. 

Just now, he told me that it takes these weevils a while to do their job and now that I've removed the seed heads, the weevils don't have anything to eat.

Here I must interject that Bill never mentioned the knapweed presence, probably because he assumed that I knew what those plants were.  

For some reason, I did not think we had knapweed this far north, and the variety in my flower bed doesn't look much like that which we see along roadsides in dryer areas south of Sandpoint. 

So all this lack of knowledge and communication has led to starving weevils and itching Marianne----what a combo!

I lamented to Bill, upon hearing his information about the knapweed and weevils, that I sure do suffer from all my outdoor work-----work that I dearly love. 

Doesn't mean I have any intentions to quit----just must be more careful.  

Always learning and often suffering while doing so. 

Happy Tuesday.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dem Apples and Such

I started picking apples yesterday.  They aren't the prettiest apples in the world, but with my occasional pruning, they've doubled in size since we first moved here.  Great for jellies and sauce.

I'm to the stage where I'll have to put the ladder in the pickup to pick the rest of this year's crop.  At least, I've rescued what's left on the bottom limbs after daily deer visits. 

The deck view is exhibiting more and more of a touch of fall. 

And these trees, pictured last week, are showing more color.  I have to enjoy them now because I sure don't enjoy those poplars when they take their time dropping millions of leaves for me to pick up. 

This pretty waterfall is just off the road a few miles up Rapid Lightning Creek.  Last time I stopped here to take pictures, I was with Bill and Annie.  It was winter time about three years ago, and we were geocaching. 

Rolling Thunder Greeting Committee, I guess.  Amazing what we run across when we take the back roads. 

It’s a Monday holiday, and Bill has prepared a lunch.  So, I’m assuming he’s working today.  I just yelled down to him, asking where he is working today.

“Sandpoint, Idaho,” he responded in his usual thorough manner.

“Holiday?  . . . I guess work doesn’t always recognize holidays,” I said.

He agreed.

Do I ever know that situation firsthand?  As a teacher and freelance journalist for so many years, I often knew that taking time to recognize the holiday or the weekend was gonna get me way behind on my work.

So, we make choices, often choices to do everything possible intended diminish the stress in our lives.

After all, if we leave it sitting today, it’s still going to be waiting there tomorrow, and with a real work day, the “to do” pile is likely to grow.

Anyway, I don’t have to work today, and we’ve been granted one more pleasant and dry day before the rain, which was originally scheduled for the weekend and all this week, finally arrives.

I’m a mother, slightly worried about the predicted bad weather down South where Annie is today. Last I heard she was planning to drive over to Louisiana from Houston where she spent the weekend at this year’s Geocoinfest gathering.

Bad weather down South can be much more dramatic than bad weather up here.  So, if she is on the road, I hope she plays it safe.

But then again, why should I be so worried?  Yesterday she kayaked in a bayou with alligators, and she lived to tell about all the caches she found.

I heard no alligator stories, so I’m assuming the sheer numbers of kayakers out looking for geocaches in that bayou scared off hungry gators.

Speaking of other travelers, I must update that brother Mike did NOT receive his lost suitcase, after all.  It did not arrive at said point of pickup in Santorini, Greece on Saturday, and, as far as he knows, it’s on its own tour of the Greek Isles.

Since their cruise is due to end soon, the need for the suitcase has diminished but not the frustration.  Again, though, he says ship’s laundry has kept him suited and that the trip has been fabulous.

Funny I know of three groups who have been touring the Greek Isles at almost the same time.  One is a former student who has returned home, and the other, according to photos I’ve seen, is a mother and two of her daughters (both former students AND one the owner of the beehives across the road from us).

I sent the latter a note and told her the bees said hi. She seemed pleased.

In other news, both my sisters and I were hoping that the aspen grove up Rapid Lightning Creek would be perfect for a camera visit, but yesterday’s opportunity got a little muddled due to some communication breakdowns.

When I did not hear from them by the time they thought they could go, I took off with Foster.  Bill and the other two dogs had already left for some fishing in Grouse Creek.

Along the way, I stopped a couple of times for photos---one at the pretty little waterfall slightly hidden from the road and the other up Rolling Thunder Road.  I’d never been up there before, so the diversion was a treat----especially with the folks at the entrance of someone’s home.

I’m sure there’s a good story to go along with the lady in the tree and the man with the microphone, but I’ll leave it to the imagination.  Tastefully done and clever, I’d say.

With gray skies dulling the color show, things at the grove were about as blah up there  as the Seattle-Dallas football which was wrapping up in Seattle. Ugh! On both counts. 

So, I simply turned around and came home.

I finally connected with my sister Barbara who reported that when their plans did not work out, she made a stew.
I told her that I was in the process of practicing with another batch of homemade tater chips, so it sounded like we were both happy with our alternatives.

She agreed.

My chips turned out a little better than the first batch.  I think Bill actually ate two or three this time, and Foster even gobbled his down.

So, here we are with the holiday and all the folks in my extended family have gone to work.  So, I’ll follow suit; only mine won’t follow a time clock.  I’ll simply take on the chores as they come.

Happy Monday. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Long-awaited Trail Ride

The horseback riders:  Laura, Maryann, Laurie, Barbara and Marianne

Barbara's horse Dusty is so laid-back that she can take hundreds of photos with her big lens. 

Bill and Laura enjoying a chat. 

Amber fields make for neat photos.  We were standing in front of the Boy Scout Jamboree Friendship Tower as Barbara took a group shot.  So, of course, I shot back with my cell phone. 

Maryann and Capone.  Capone usually performs in a horse show arena, but he seemed to really enjoy his experience yesterday at Farragut. 

 Laura saddling up April. 

All the pretty horses:  Dusty, April and Scout. 

Barbara and Laurie have gone "bling." 

Laura and Barbara dishing up the first helping of sandwiches and chips. 

Good talk; good sandwiches. 

Ahhh!  It's a wonderful life. 

Miss Lily with the storm in the background.  We, thankfully, missed it. 

Bill's trusty steed needed no treats. 

After a summer of nonstop activities, keeping us going at what seemed like a million different directions (get the hyperbole, Laura aka Swiss Miss?), we finally had an opportunity to head out on a trail ride yesterday. 

The weather was perfect, even though we heard thunder boomers and witnessed an ominous dark sky toward the end of our ride.  Except for an unexplained rain shower with deep blue, clear skies above us, we stayed dry through yesterday's area weather event.

Farragut State Park provided a wonderful venue for our ride, as it did for several other horseback enthusiasts yesterday.  Hunting season kinda limits the options, but Farragut is a wonderful place to take to the trails, whether you're aboard a horse or a bike as Bill was.

Our horses performed wonderfully with just a few little glitches, i.e., Lily does not like narrow trails or drop-offs.  Makes her nervous, so we avoided those wherever possible. 

What at first seemed like a swift kick from one horse to another was later assessed as a switching tail that simply landed with a slap.  All was well on that front. 

"The other Maryann," as we call each other, was thrilled that her Arabian Capone performed beautifully on his first-ever trail ride.  

And, Laurie, fresh off from spending a rather successful stint with her dressage horse Mani, was more than pleased with her Western horse Scout's first trail riding experience. 

Some of the more experienced horses---in their past lives---must have had to flee giant boulders rolling down hillside. 

That seems to be the only explanation for Lily and Dusty's reluctance to pass by the first few boulders along the trails, but their fears eventually subsided, probably because they were on level ground and those big rocks stayed still. 

And, Laura aka Swiss Miss, who learned about hyperboles yesterday, putzed along seemingly without a care in the world while riding April. 

Farragut's horse set-up is supreme with a nice outdoor arena, outdoor horse pens and picnic tables, along with a wide expanse of trails that could keep a sense of new scenery to virtually every route.

When the breeze intensified and claps of thunder started, we decided it was best to head back to the trailers where a great feast awaited us. 

Bill arrived about the same time from his bike tour, which took him to a couple of geocaches. 

 Using his Dutch oven, he stoked up the pulled pork, adding seasoning and sauce while we started our picnic with ham and cheese sandwiches between slices of 10-grain bread from the Mennonite Bakery in Bonners Ferry.

Then, it came time for the pulled pork on buns, and our tummies had plenty of room.  As we dined and sat back relaxing and reflecting on what a good time we had and how we have to do it again if the weather allows, our trusty and loyal steeds munched from their hay bags. 

I think we shall make every effort to get one more ride at Farragut before the snow flies, and I think it's important to plan because Bill sez next time the Dutch oven will be heating up some chili.  No pun intended!

Happy Sunday.