Sunday, May 22, 2022

Machinery Woes


It froze again last night. 


The most beautiful day of 2022 starts out with a white film over the grass. 

This year has dished out its fair share of frustration.

BUT we could be in Colorado or South Dakota where kids can create snowmen.

So, I won't complain. Too Much!

I just hope my beautiful little apple blossoms are hardy enough to fend off the frost. 

In other news, we have a new Mr. Coffee. 

It's the yearly model. 

We bought a little time last year when I took the other one apart, washed all its intricate parts and put it back together.  It quit gasping for air and worked well until this past week. 

I followed the same procedure a few days ago, but the pot kept gurgling and gasping and taking three times longer than usual for the coffee to drip into the pot. 

Bill yelled out the door yesterday before going to town, "Do you think it's time to buy a new Mr. Coffee?"

"Probably so," I answered.  

In our Mr. Coffee discussion earlier this week, which noted that we buy a new one about once a year, I mentioned my computer printer.  

It's a Hewlett-Packard DeskJet 932C.  I believe I have had the printer for at least 25 years, maybe more. 

It still works.  Yes, occasionally I have to baby it along, but it always comes through for me. 

The printer is so old I get nervous when it's time to go to Staples for new ink, always hoping they'll know what I'm talking about. 

So far so good on that account. 

I didn't pay that much for the printer, just like we don't pay much for Mr. Coffee's.  

Why does the printer keep on working while we've probably purchased several Mr. Coffee's in the printer's lifetime?  Just wondering.

By the way, I'm drinking coffee this morning made from the new Mr. Coffee. 

While we're on machinery, my zero turn mower and the mini rototiller are sitting in front of the shop, in hopes that Wizard Tony can come by this week to reinstall the belt on the mower and do his magic to make the rototiller run longer than 30 seconds. 

My bad on the belt.  

I took the mower through an area yesterday which was wetter than expected and the belt came off its tracks. 

As far as the rototiller is concerned, the dang thing needs to do all of about 15 minutes of work once or twice a year. 

Bill has already used up that amount of time over the past several days trying to get it to start and to keep it working. 

Unfortunately, the tiller has never stayed alive long enough to leave the shop area and get to the garden.

I told him that if he could start it right next to the garden, we could hurry up really fast, stir up some dirt and then put it to bed for the year. 

Thirty seconds, though, is not quite enough time to work up my dirt. 

So, if my friend Tony is nice enough to come out and put that belt back on, he can move on over to the rototiller. 

Unlike the coffee maker, I'm not going to send Bill to town to buy another new tiller! 

Ahhh, spring.  

It always brings on new, often unwelcome challenges and a variety of ways to get exasperated while trying to just get something done. 

We had another seasonal development around here yesterday.  

The cows came back for the summer. 

I've seen Bert Wood over next door fixing fence this week. 

Yesterday the cow population in the neighborhood increased considerably cuz Bert also has a herd at the north end of our road.

So, the dogs and horses will once more have to get used to new moo activity next door. 

I also noticed that the doe trotting across Gary Finney's field yesterday has a rather ponchy tummy.  So, it's likely that the deer population will grow significantly over the next few weeks.

Lot happening, and in spite of the frost, the sun promises a lovely day ahead, and the birds outside my window are singing happy songs.

I'm looking forward to some leisure time with no worries about machinery at beautiful Farragut State Park today. 

Happy Sunday.   

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Saturday Slight

It's a Saturday. 

Lost in the '50s has brought in the crowds and beautifully restored classic vehicles to Sandpoint and the Righteous Bros, et. al to perform at the Bonner County Fairgrounds. 

AND the latest issue of Sandpoint Magazine has hit the streets. You can read the online flip version by clicking on the link above. 

This is the first time in two years for Lost in the '50s, so I'm sure a little rain on the car parade last night did not diminish the excitement. 

Lots of Lost in the '50s stuff going on in town all weekend. 

I'll be very honest, however, in noting that our family did not participate in the downtown activities last night. 

With our trip to Ireland and Iceland coming up in a month and an increase in Covid cases locally, we are avoiding big crowds. 

Not easy choices all the time, but, for us, it feels like a wise policy. 

So, we went out to Hope last night and enjoyed pizza and a beer.  The rain hung on through that trip, but we still had a nice time, especially since it's been almost a year since we've had any Icehouse Pizza. 

This morning, I'm keeping the post "slight" cuz I hope you'll go to the link for the new magazine and read some stories. 

As always, I'm honored to be a participant in production of the magazine's offerings. 

As always, I had a great time back in January and February interviewing and photographing this issue's "Natives and Newcomers."

Four wonderful people with unique and fun stories to tell, so check toward the back of the magazine to learn about Ruthann Nordgaarden, Kevin Dreier (natives), Julie Ann Connary and Brad Benoit (newcomers).

 BTW: last night we dined really close to where Ruthann spent some of her childhood years. 

I also wrote a story about my longtime friend and member of one of Sandpoint's pioneer families.  Terri Farmin-Cochran has created some wonderful tote bags and clutch purses along with a touch of local history.  

And, people love them. So, check out her story, which is located toward the front of the magazine.

I enjoyed reading a story about our good friend George Eskridge, new mayor of Dover.  

All in all, the magazine offers oodles of great information and pictures of the people, places, eats and fun things to do around our area. 

So, check it out. 

Hats off to editor Trish Gannon who once again pulled it off in the midst of personal medical challenges.  

Trish, you are amazing and inspiring AND a treasured friend. 

Good job!

Happy Saturday to all. They say we might even start warming up and seeing the sun on a more regular basis over the next few days. 

We'll take it!  

Friday, May 20, 2022



I'm not exactly walking on happy feet but am hoping to have them feel a little better soon. 

A bout with plantar fasciitis in both feet over the past month has kept me really busy consulting with Dr. Google, with other sufferers and, most recently, with a real live foot doctor.  

His name is Dr. Fisher, and I was thrilled to find out yesterday that he lives in our general area and harbors a desire to have his own hobby farm. 

Plus, he's a horse-manure connoisseur and is looking for a manure spreader. 

I met Dr. Fisher and his staff of efficient helpers during an early-morning appointment yesterday. 

This was a BIG deal for me because anyone who's ever read my first book Pocket Girdles knows that my feet never are allowed coming-out parties, even for family. 

They aren't that ugly but let's just say they would never be selected to appear in beautiful-feet commercials.

With the upcoming trip to Ireland, my feet need to be functional, so, when all else fails, go to the doctor. 

Seems I've done that a lot lately, and for a person with a longtime aversion to doctors' offices, I've come a long ways in overcoming my fears.  

In the past year or so, I've established a relationship with the eye doctor, a dentist and a family medical provider.

Now, add the podiatrist to the list.  Could this, by chance, exemplify the true meaning of "coming of age"?

If so, I'm well on my way and am not yet 75!

Bill and I were talking yesterday about my continuing progress toward veering away from the Internet doctors toward the real deals. 

He repeated an oft-quoted Bill-ism:  I always said that there are two professionals that I wanted to be older than I:  my doctor and my airline pilot. 

He says, however, that of late he's kinda changed his tune on that desire.

Anywho, during the appointment Dr. Fisher looked at my feet, said they weren't that ugly and then gave me some advice on shoes and exercises to do.  

Then, he had his assistants bring out some inventory, a pair of his idea of true hiking shoes as opposed to mine, a handout on exercises to do every single day and how often to do them, some quality orthotics (not covered by insurance) and the torture machine.

The "torture machine" is a boot with straps, one of which is used to increasing tension.  

"You can't sleep with two of these, so you can trade off each night on what foot goes into the boot," he said. 

The boot's purpose is to put steady tension on my foot so the plantar band will be in good shape for the morning.

He also told me to go to Outdoor Experience and "tell 'em Dr. Fisher sent you."  They would know exactly what kind of walking shoes to pull out for me to try. 

The appointment lasted about 15 minutes, and I walked out the door with my arms full of stuff and the knowledge that my early-morning maintenance time would have me getting up even earlier than the normal 4:15. 

After finishing morning chores, I decided to do all the money spending and gathering of foot enhancing equipment in one day. 

So, that meant a trip to downtown Sandpoint, First Avenue, no less. 

The shoe-buying mission provided me a pleasant opportunity to check out a couple of other places in town, including the new Bonner County Museum store, which is loaded with a lot of old treasures.

Yesterday, Val Plaster, a former student, was minding the store. She explained the highlights of the shop, which is open Wednesdays through Sundays. 

Lots of neat stuff in there!

My visit to Outdoor Experience netted some really comfortable walking shoes and a visit with the mom of one of my former students.  I also met Hobie who's a photographer (former photojournalist) and a Border Collie lover. 

As I walked into Outdoor Experience, I noticed that the store mentioned a few weeks ago in this blog "I See Something Shiny Boutique" was just across the street. 

So, that was my last stop.  I'll probably go back because I saw the menu for The District Restaurant, which is a part of the boutique, along with chocolates and wines and shoes and note cards---you name it. 

I also enjoyed a visit with new friend Troice who was working on a window display. 

And, so my downtown experience came to an end, pleasantly so as I walked around town in new shoes with doctor's office orthotics. 

It felt reasonably good. 

After a night of surviving the torture machine (it wasn't THAT bad cuz I did sleep through the night), I'm not exactly ready to do any footloose moves but feeling hopeful that I might want to do a jig when I get to Ireland. 

We'll see. 

For now, my feet have taken me through some new adventures in life, painfully so, but also mind-and-body enriching.  

We ARE works in progress, no matter how old we get, and I'm feeling a sense of satisfaction that I'm still progressing and weathering this present physical storm fairly well. 

In fact, I'll might also spend a little less time with Dr. Google and more with the real deals. 

Finally, if you know of a manure spreader for sale, Dr. Fisher might like to talk with you. 

Happy Friday. 

These cupcakes actually came from Post Falls and were delivered to our home by our daughter-in-law Debbie who purchased them at Wednesday's Farmer's Market. 

Angie Rettstatt from Random Acts of Sweetness brought her offerings to the market.

from her story . . . 

Random Acts of Sweetness creates uniquely indulgent cupcakes. These are not your kid’s cupcakes. Don’t get me wrong, your kids can eat them, you just aren’t going to want to share.

Each recipe is designed to create a delectable dessert experience, much more tantalizing than your average cupcake.

Baked fresh daily, they are then packaged and hand delivered to you or your intended recipient throughout the Rathdrum, Hayden, Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls areas.
Better than flowers… these cupcakes are guaranteed to sweeten your day.  

Bill and I selected two, my sisters picked out theirs and Willie and Debbie enjoyed the last two.

I saved mine for after my appointment and spent the day cutting off scrumptious bites. Best key lime I've every tasted. 
  Maybe she'll come back to the market with more.  

Former student and friend, Val Plaster

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Rainy-Day Escape


Nothing like a drive in the rain on a springy and colorful day in May to set one's mind free of all the woes and "oh no's" we seem to face on a daily basis anymore. 

Bill was headed to Costco, I finished what outdoor stuff I could do, and so it was time to get out of the house, away from the news and let my mind feed on the sheer beauty of spring.

So, that's precisely what I did for a couple of hours yesterday with my pal Bridie at my side. 

We drove through Pleasant Valley south of Bonners Ferry.  We also drove across the Kootenai Valley to the road which passes through the Kootenai Wildlife Refuge. 

It would be hard to imagine any prettier or bucolic scenes than those I enjoyed yesterday. 

Bridie and I left the car a couple of times but not for long cuz that rain was pretty relentless. 

What a magical and softened touch it adds to the landscape, though!

And, yes, I did forget the news and let go of the funk that had dominated my morning after learning election results for our county and our state. 

Twas much easier to digest the facts of our future lives after that drive, even though the reality of what they mean has not changed in my mind. 

As a native of North Idaho, who has seen it all for nearly 75 years, I am disturbed by the trends I see--- not so much because people have moved here but more because of their motives and their general behavior toward others. 

If only some of these people could go for a ride with me like the one I took yesterday and gain true insight into what we long timers have appreciated for most of our lives---the beauty of this place and its people--- maybe we could open some minds and change some visions. 

I don't know if that is even possible, but I do know that we have not lost all that means so much to us.  

It's nice to be in the know of beautiful places to go for solace and insight whenever you need to be reminded of the words of Rudyard Kipling in his poem "If."

     If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Yes, Joanne, my friend, I do thank God that we still have opportunities like Bridie and I enjoyed yesterday. 

I hope that aspect of our lives never gets destroyed. 


I hate to interrupt the serenity of the scenes I saw while on my drive yesterday, but for history's sake, it is important to include the contrast of the day AND of the dog. 

Hard to imagine that the saintly canine pal who rode shotgun with me yesterday to the Kootenai Wildlife Refuge could create such chaos later in the day.

We unwittingly gave Bridie the time and the setting for doing her 9-month-old (yes, a milestone yesterday) puppy handiwork. 

Debbie had come to visit.  The dogs' exuberance with her visit wore out soon, so Bill summoned them to the garage.  

We must have hung around the kitchen island talking for at least half an hour. 

A little creative Border Collie can do a lot in that amount of time, very quietly, even with Big Brother Liam watching but not telling. 

Insoles were removed from boots, fishing waders were dragged across the floor, a sack of potatoes was scattered here, there and everywhere. 

The wood box offered some nice items to add to the artwork, including a pruning saw. 

And, when Bridie found that bulk pack of Costco toilet paper (thank God it's not in short supply like baby food), she had hit paydirt. 

She decimated a complete roll of TP, carefully and artistically distributing it throughout the other items to highlight her garage-floor collage.

Meanwhile, we three kept talking on the other side of the door.  Suddenly, Bill remembered that he had been taking the dogs out when Debbie arrived, and she said she needed to get home. 

So, they were the first to see Bridie Love art show in the garage.  

And, was Bridie ever proud as Debbie strolled through, looking and giving a critique of Bridie's work. Having been the executive director of Pend Oreille Arts Council for a few years, Debbie knows good art when she sees it. 

Last night's exhibit may or may not have been the best Border Collie art ever.  I say "may not" because Debbie also owns Border Collies and they have provided some nice original art for her returns home. 

Bridie's pride was obvious throughout the entire clean-up job, which, as Bill said, except for the roll of toilet paper did not involve any destruction. 

This morning I'm wondering if that's the kind of birthday bash Bridie creates for nine months, what are we gonna see when she turns a year old in August?

She's got plenty of time to plan.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Mixed Bag

The lady above and her sister-in-law Sally bought me my first beer at Middle Earth Tavern in Sandpoint when I turned 21, then the legal drinking age in Idaho.  

That was a LONG time ago.

She's also a Carter Hall girl from the University of Idaho, and I had the honor of writing a feature story for the Idaho Argonaut about her and another friend who got stuck in the Wallace Complex elevator. 

Headline:  Carter Hall Girls Get the Shaft 

Fortunately, the door to the elevator could be opened enough that Karen's friends were able to give her a deck of cards so she could play pinochle while waiting to be rescued from the shaft. 

On this "morning after" primary election day and after listening to the song Karen mentions in her post, I want to dedicate the video in the link below to candidates who ran with integrity and a true motive to work for their constituents all across political lines. 

They weathered the storm, maintained their principles and this morning, though they may not have won the most votes, they still have the hearts of those of us who supported them and their principles. 

I thank them for their courage.

I also dedicate the video to all voters who are waking up this morning, scratching their heads and wondering what  just happened.  

We truly do need to hold each other up on a morning like this. 

Thanks so much, Karen, for posting this very timely video. 
True, some of the singing might even rival my talent impairment, but the message comes out loud and clear and enthusiastically so. 

"Let's hold each other up" more than ever. 

And, when you're all finished reading today's offerings, go back, listen to the song again and spread the word. 


"Here are a couple of pics from tonight’s Bend Ukulele Group jam where “Hold Each Other Up” was on the Playlist. 

"This is a song written by Cathy Fink that prompted me to step out of my comfort zone during the height of the pandemic and put together a video for Open Mic.

"It is well worth revisiting the lyrics to this song as the message still remains appropriate a year and a half later. Below is a link to the song that my friends and I performed for the December 2020 Online Open Mic.
                                                 --Karen O'Donnell

My brother Mike and his dog Molly came to visit yesterday.  While Bridie stayed in her crate and Molly stayed in the car, we enjoyed a good people visit.   Later, Molly and Bridie both went outside and enjoyed a meeting of the sniffers. 

And, speaking of Mike.  He's a thinker, a reader and a wonderful writer.  I want to share his latest thoughts, which focus on the Buffalo mass shooting and the Second Amendment, which "saves lives."


from Mike Brown, Sandpoint native, 1966 West Point graduate and decorated Vietnam Army veteran.

Some thoughts probably worth what you're paying for 'em re: the Buffalo massacre:

These events can no longer be considered isolated anomalies. While precise predictions about where and when are elusive, there can no longer be a question that such events occur, and they occur with regularity.

And each one of them brings a call for tighter, more enforceable regulation along with a companion assertion that guns are not the problem, that there's a host of issues that are the true causes, and that guns are simply a tool.

Meanwhile, it doesn't take a lot of focused awareness to know that sometime in the next few weeks, all of us are going to, yet again, hear of another "mass shooting," with a mass shooting being defined by some measuring authority as any shooting in which more than a specific number--I think that it's four--of persons become casualties. 'Nuff said about that for now.

A couple of weeks ago, someone sent me a survey. I get lots of surveys, and they represent the gamut of the ideological spectrum. Some come from the Southern Poverty Law Center while others come from Judicial Watch, and there are numerous others coming from every stripe of organization in between. Most of 'em go straight to the circular file under my desk.

A couple of weeks ago, though, I received one from an organization that I knew to be sympathetic with advocacy for "gun rights." One of the first questions on the survey asked, "Do you believe that the 2nd Amendment saves lives?" My initial thought was, "What kind of a loaded, crazy question is that?"

But after a few minutes, I thought that it might deserve an answer, mostly because it was difficult for me to draw a line of sight between the 2nd Amendment and saving lives, if only because I don't think that that's the purpose of the amendment. 

And after thinking about it, I answered the question with as much resonance as possible, "NO!" This was still fresh in my memory as I learned of events in Buffalo.

A little background. I grew up with guns. There were always about a dozen rifles in the gun cabinet which was always a fixture in our living room. There were usually a few pistols to round out our household armory. We lived in a rural area. Learning to shoot was part of my growing up...and I was taught to shoot safely.

When I was twelve, I had earned enough confidence that I was allowed to take a 22 caliber rifle by myself out to hunt "ground squirrels." My family environment always included hunting.

As I became an adult, for reasons that I've never spent much time analyzing, I lost interest in hunting and firearms. It wasn't any philosophical or moral objection; I just lost interest. I have siblings and siblings-in-law who love hunting, and they do so very conscious of the responsibilities that go with the sport.

And I support them in that interest. I've always been an advocate for allowing people to continue to enjoy various activities which involve firearms possession and ownership.

But then these Buffalo type incidents keep happening...and the "debate" goes on. And the debate is uniquely American. Yes, there are mass shootings in other countries, but they do not occur on such a frequency or scale as they do in our country.

And strangely, most other countries don't have a 2nd Amendment or its equivalent. It's an American thing. And the ongoing, contentious debate seems to have driven the status of the 2nd Amendment and all that is ascribed to it to a level of untouchable, unassailable sanctity.

We're reminded (in my opinion, falsely) that any erosion of the most loosely associated interpretations of the 2nd Amendment constitutes the beginning of the end of our valuable and vaunted freedoms.

I think that it's time that we get real.

I have a friend who is emigrating to Panama. Recently, he related that upon sharing his plans, he's often asked whether he will feel safe in such a place. His answer: "Buffalo, Milwaukee? C'mon!"

Mary and I love travel, and we've been blessed to travel in a variety of places outside the U.S. But we live next to Tacoma, Washington where there is at least one And too many of those shootings result in deaths.

When we travel outside the U.S., considerations for the possibility of getting shot are not high on our agenda....but in this day in our local environment, one does consider carefully what kind of driving behavior might trigger a road rage incident that'll get you shot.

The point of all this is that I think that there's a legitimate question about our priorities.

On the one hand, we have a national situation of increasingly frequent mass murder while on the other we have a perceived possibility of erosion of freedom at the mere mention of anything remotely suggesting the tightening of the regulation of availability of firearms.

The balance between mass killings on one hand and the perception of loss of freedom associated with firearms is, IMHO, out of kilter. A bunch of people going to the store in Buffalo, New York probably aren't terribly concerned with the freedoms afforded them by the 2nd Amendment. Freedom's great....unless you're dead.

Time to get real, folks.

And, finally, if you're scratching your head this morning and wondering what the heck happened with yesterday's election, the story in the link may give you some insights. 

Heck, you may have even seen some examples mentioned in the story during this campaign and while going to the polls yesterday. 

Living With The Far-Right Insurgency In Idaho | HuffPost Latest News


Hold each other up, and make it a great Wednesday.