Sunday, September 23, 2018

Autumn Delights, Near and Far

Hello, Autumn.

Don't tell the other seasons, but I like you best of all . So, it's nice to welcome you officially. 

I also hope you aren't in a big hurry and that your pleasant temperatures, brilliant colors and supreme opportunities for enjoying our great outdoors last as long as possible. 

On this first full day of autumn, we have two family homecomings.  

As I type, Annie is in Dublin, Ireland, waiting to board her flight home to Seattle, after several adventure-filled days in France and Germany.

During her grand finale yesterday in Paris, she hosted a geocaching event AND walked 17 miles around the City of Light. 

I've included a few of the photos she took----toward the bottom. 

Back here in the States, my sisters Barbara and Laurie, brother Kevin are bringing Pache aka Ravenwood Hot Stuff home from several outstanding days of performance at the Arabian Sport Horse Nationals in Nampa.

Pache did go five for five in the Top Ten placings, which means five beautiful ribbons along with five impressive plaques. 

You'll see Barbara's photo of the two among today's collection. 

Once he gets home, Pache will return to his life of being one of the herd with a whole lot of time for grazing and being downright lazy with his friends, much like the Wood's horses in the picture below.

Up through last weekend, some of that herd were still appearing in local horse show classes, all spiffed up and ready for competition.  

By late afternoon today, Pache will be "letting his hair down," just like the Wood horses. 

Some Lovestead autumn color . . . .

In the midst of the photographic flower show, I want to share some information about a group of University of Utah students who are wrapping up their visit to Bonner County today. 

Many locals have probably already talked with them during on-the-street type interviews about the area---what's right, what's wrong, what could use some improvements and what interviewees envision as the ideal lifestyle mix.  

I promised the Amy and Brady, who were stationed at Wal-Mart that I would fill out the survey on line and that I would encourage others living in Bonner County to do the same.

Their efforts are the main ingredients for a class they are taking at the university this semester.  Past teams have gone to other communities and published their findings in an attractive full-color booklet. 

Today is the final day for teams will be asking questions in the area.  They'll be at two venues----the fairgrounds at the Inland Northwest Preparedness Expo and at the Blanchard Community Center. 

If you have not met these students around the area and you can't make it to either of today's events, you can go online at to learn more and to participate in the survey. 

Laurie Tibbs and Ravenwood Hot Stuff aka Pache, and their loot from this past week's Arabian Sport Horse Nationals.


Travels through Paris yesterday with Annie . . . . 

Annie and her French geocaching friends. 

Finally, back home here at the Lovestead . . . . 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Saturday Slight

It's a mess on First Avenue in Sandpoint, but that's not stopping the throngs of peeps. 

I've heard recently about the piles of gravel and all the heavy equipment but saw it for the first time last night. 

We parked over on North Second and walked to MickDuffs, like we always do.  

The pub was not completely packed when we arrived, and our friend Nancy had already secured a table. 

As we visited and ate, however, the groups kept coming through the door, many after a substantial wait outside. 

Later, we walked down the street for ice cream at Panhandle Cone and Coffee.

The place was buzzing with activity as folks continued coming through the door while we sat, enjoyed our ice cream and visited with Emma and her friends.

The downtown construction is an inconvenience, but the downtown businesses have established themselves well enough that patrons are dealing with the inconvenience of walking a little more than usual.

Besides, Sandpoint is a walking town, right?

My main impression, however, after our downtown socializing last night is that our little town is on the cusp of no longer being "our little town" anymore. 

Throughout the spring and summer months, I've been amazed with the numbers of people on the sidewalks, even at times when no big event is happening. 

We've been discovered, for sure.  That's been very evident this past year.  

I hope the powers-that-be will continue to do everything possible to maintain the aspects of our community that make it so alluring for both its locals and its visitors. 

It's obvious from this summer that the massive amount of downtown road construction (Cedar Street was dug up for several week and is now paved) has not deterred the popularity of one of America's Most Beautiful Small Towns.

While at MickDuffs, I had a chance to visit briefly with three individuals I met eight years ago.  At that time Ali, Vivi and Vince were lined up in infant chairs on the floor at their parents' home. 

Well, now they are proud students and from the looks of their apparel, they're sports fans. 

I wrote a column about the Gunter triplets back then and always enjoy seeing them with Mom and Dad.  

Their dad Clint tells me he wishes now that they're a bit more independent that time would start slowing down as they continue to grow into delightful and very charming youngsters.  

Great to see them and their parents last night. 

Shortly after I post this morning, my sister Laurie will be riding in her last class at the Arabian Sport Horse Nationals, and she'll be trying for a clean sweep of five Top Ten ribbons and plaques in five classes.  

Yesterday she took sixth in a class of more than 30 entrants, noting "we fought hard for this one."  

So, good luck, Laurie and Pache.  

And, that's it for this Saturday morning. Hope everyone has a nice day. 

Ali, Vince and Vivi:  cool and sweet triplets!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Gift of Friendship, Et. Al.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Thursday This and That

A definite freeze today. 

For some reason, garden timing has been right on for me this year.  

I've gathered the last of my cukes, tomatoes and taters and have actually started cleaning up the garden.  

No bed sheets draping the garden at night this year, and I don't mind that at all cuz it's not fun removing them from the plants on frosty mornings---usually wet and smelly. 

The cold-weather veggies like the chard and lettuce ought to be just fine and maybe even thrive a little longer, so I'm pleased. 

Secondly, I must apologize for all the mix-ups regarding "live streaming" of the Arabian Sport Horse Nationals yesterday. 

We've been accustomed in some past years to just tune in and watch.  Since yesterday, however, I've learned that probably not all classes are included in live streaming, and there's a nice fee to pay to watch. 

So, sorry about any inconveniences.  

Laurie has herself two Top Ten placings after her first day of competition----fifth place in English dressage and ninth place in Western.  

I think she's probably most pleased about that ninth place because she and Pache competed against 30-plus horses from across the nation. 

And, if you can't win first place, it's really nice that a gal with a Sandpoint connection took first place in that class. Kari McClain is the daughter of Deena McFarland McClain who grew up loving horses in Sandpoint, especially down our road at the Racicot farm. 

Kari's mom Deena is second from the left. 

So, congratulations, Kari.  We are proud of you.  

And, of course, congratulations to Laurie and Pache for their great start to the week of competition. 

Today she competes in Training Level Open at 10:28 MDT. Good luck to Pache and Laurie.

In other news, I enjoyed seeing and almost feeling the excitement passed through Facebook and Twitter when our Cindy Wooden, Vatican Bureau chief for Catholic News Service, had the opportunity to meet Bono of the Irish band U2 fame. 

Bono met with Pope Francis yesterday and later with the media.  

Way to go, Cindy.

Also, in Europe, Annie has traveled from Germany to Luxembourg to Belgium and back to France today where she'll be staying for the next couple of days in Paris where she'll work remotely.

Of course, she has her Sounders scarf and has added to her collection of Sounders scarf selfies at the Rhine River. 

Looks like her trip continues to be quite successful.   

In other people news, I met and visited with a nice young lady last night while driving over to my sisters' home to feed dogs. 

Turns out I taught both of her parents when they went through Sandpoint High.  

I occasionally see Ali, riding up and down the road, but last night presented a perfect opportunity to actually meet her while snapping a few photos. 

Ali uses her Quarter Horse mare for gaming competitions and keeps her at the stable just down the road.  

We had a pleasant visit.  

It continues to be pretty, and I can still hear calves bawling for their moms as I wrap this up.  

Looks like another pretty day ahead. 

Happy Thursday. 

Laurie, waiting for her Western Dressage class yesterday.

They went on to take ninth in a field of more than 30 entrants.  

Laurie and Pache placed fifth nationally in this class at yesterday's Arabian Sport Horse Nationals in Nampa, Idaho. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Go Get'em, Laurie and Oh, What a Fall!

Good luck, you two!

It's noisy in the neighborhood this morning. 

Actually, the noise started yesterday and continues.  Taylor's across the road have apparently weaned some calves.  

Mommies and babies are sad, and they're letting everyone know. 

This will go on for a couple of days until everyone gets laryngitis or decides there's no use mooing anymore. 

Throughout the neighborhoods more signs of fall are appearing each day.  It's a while before full-blown color takes over, but great weather helps enhance the general scene along our country roads. 

Here at the Lovestead, Bill finished the dog shelter yesterday.  While he was cutting a section of tin which extended past the roof, I filled the inside with cushions and old pillows. 

Then, came the straw, lots of it.  Those doggies are gonna have cushy quarters whenever they need to get out of the weather. 

I also figured out a solution to some of area where Liam likes to dig:  rubber mats, eight of them, along the front where their food dishes will go and a walkway toward the gate.  

We still need to fill in some of Liam's handi aka paw work, but once that's done, at least the humans entering the run will have some safe walking toward the shelter.

I led off with a photo of my sister Laurie and her horse Pache.  Today they begin their quest for ribbons and more at the Arabian Sport Horse Nationals in Nampa. 

She'll ride both English and Western this morning, so it's looking like some quick changing between her two tests. 

Pache's really pretty English, but add an extra superlative to the Western combination with Laurie's black and white ensemble. 

So, if you have the time, check out those times (remember they're Mountain, so for us locals, it's 8:46 a.m.).   

You can see her two rides by going to, (fee involved)  and then there's the wait.  

Dressage is an individual sport, so results are usually posted within an hour or so after the last rider has completed their test in each class. 

According to the schedule, Laurie has four riders following her in the first class and about 30 in the second.  

So, it looks a long day of waiting for the results in that huge Western Dressage class. 

You can surf around the following website later in the day to find results. 

Anyway, good luck, Laurie and Pache.  

Happy Wednesday.