Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Just Wednesday Stuff

Meet Annie.

She's one of my favorites, even if she isn't black and white.

Annie lives on the same premises as Wood's Hay and Grain.

So, she comes to work pretty much every day that Dana's working at the desk.

Annie does her job:  she's a sweet, quiet greeter to the customers, and she keeps an eye out on what's happening around the business yard. 

I spent some extra time visiting with her while Dana went to get some extra bags of shavings yesterday.  

Since the fork lift didn't want to climb a little hill while coming from the big barn, it took some time to get all my shavings. 

Just as Annie and I were getting into a really great visit, I looked up to see Dana and another employee, carrying two bags of shavings apiece toward my pickup. 

So, Annie and I said good bye, and I went on my way. 

Just had to feature her today because she is a sweetie. 

I also spent some time later in a dismal afternoon checking out the Filipowski barn up the road for new baby calves.  

They do have one, which was born last week, but immediately appearing camera shy, it ran off to Mom.

Colleen assures me that she'll send me a message when the next Hereford babies are born.

She knows how much I enjoy seeing those little ones soon after their births.

We can almost smell the end of January, but it seems that the month is gonna make us earn every ounce of joy we have when turning over the calendar to February. 

I visited my sisters yesterday over at the Colburn farm.

  They're sick of plowing, blowing and shoveling, especially after feeling they had finally made some progress, only to have yesterday's snow dump create a brand new mess.  

Barbara and Laurie are not alone.  Many of us farm types figure we've paid enough dues for one year, but then, we don't call the shots. 

Today my mind will get to escape somewhat from thinking about the January countdown.  

A young visitor is coming to spend the day.  So, we have a plan to do some horse stuff and some social stuff in town with Debbie. 

Should be a fun day, and now we can happily proclaim only two more days left in this long month after today.

On a positive note, Willie has hit the two-game countdown for this regular season of girls basketball. 

A win last night in Lakeland upped their record to 12-6. 

This next two weeks, the Bulldogs play their other league rival Moscow twice, both here and in Moscow, and then the season will end, except for the one major goal they set every year:  going to State, and, of course, doing well. 

Fingers crossed.  So far, very good. 

Congratulations, Bulldogs! 

Hey, I hear chickadees singing outside.  A welcome start for the day.

Happy Wednesday.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

I Kid You Not!

Lately, it seems, Bill likes to warn me about things.

These pronouncements of caution often occur in the early morning hours. 

A few days ago, he warned me about the ice outside. 

This morning, it was that he had an article possibly showing up in today's Daily Bee

Seems our family has an abundance of writers, many very good, including Bill. 

Any writing instructor will tell you to "write what you know about."  

Let me tell you that Bill knows about flies, not so much those black, annoying kind that tickle your face in late September while you're trying to type at the computer. 

No, Bill knows about the flies that fish will die for. 

In Bill's case, very few fish have ever succumbed to his home-tied flies, but by golly, they bite and often get caught and then released. 

Anyway, I would be remiss this morning in not pointing out his fly-tying piece in today's local newspaper.  

I happen to know that some of the folks who stick with me on this blog do their fair share of fly fishing. 

So, let's modify that writing guideline for reading purposes:  read what you know about by someone who knows about what you know about.  

Have fun. 

Also, this morning, I'm providing another link which I found both fascinating and disturbing. 

Generally, it discusses a full-scale study of untrue or fake news and how this information, promoted through Twitter and other social media, has more followers and believers than information with accurate, proven facts. 

The study focused on Twitter. 

One take that I inferred:  people like this sensational stuff because the real facts are boring. And, isn't that true? 

Here's a sample from the story:

Though the story is written in the clinical language of statistics, it offers a methodical indictment of the accuracy of information that spreads on these platforms. 

A false story is much more likely to go viral than a real story, the authors find.  A false story reaches 1,500 people six times quicker on average than a true story does. 

And while false stories outperform the truth on every subject—including business, terrorism and war, science and technology, and entertainment---fake news about politics regularly does best. 

Twitter users seem almost to prefer sharing falsehoods.  

Even when the researchers controlled for every difference between the accounts originating the rumors---like whether that person had more followers or was verified---falsehoods were still 70 percent more likely to get retweeted than accurate news. 

I kid you not or "believe me," the story is worth the read, and hopefully, if they follow it from start to finish, readers may exercise a bit more caution and do a smidgeon of research before passing along sensational facts.

Finally, this fourth from the last day of January, I hope you enjoy the video below, featuring Tanya Tucker and Brandi Carlisle.

The two country superstars performed the song at the Grammys on Sunday night. 

Every once in a while comes a song that--even on the first hearing---tugs with tenderness at every single heart string with its simple but beautiful lyrics and its poignant message.

This one is one of those.


Monday, January 27, 2020

Bathroom Talk

The other day, while scraping and shoveling horse manure from the three box stalls in the barn, I listened to a radio deejay conversation about airplane bathrooms.  

During this discussion, I even learned the most personal of information from one of the commentators.  

He never goes No. 2 on a flight, even those lasting several hours. 


He takes Imodium before getting on an airplane. 

That gave me an idea.  If I'd give my horses  a dose if Imodium in their grain when they go into the barn at night, I wouldn't have to clean stalls every morning. 

Just kidding.  

I don't mind cleaning those stalls at all because the more I clean, the more garden gold I have on hand the next year. 

As a lady who searches out the location of the bathroom virtually every time she enters a new venue, even I was surprised to learn such personal information coming from the radio waves into my barn. 

Still, as one who has dealt with a nervous gut for years and an increasingly urgent bladder, I could identify with the gentleman who admittedly carries a few extra pounds.  

Even without the extra pounds, going to the bathroom on a plane requires a certain amount of planning, especially on long flights where both bathrooms and coach seating seem are engineered for space efficiency. 

I've noticed on our flights to Ireland that getting out of my aisle seat (which I always choose so I can get to the bathroom quickly, if needed)  involves a lot more gymnastics than the usual rising from a chair or couch.

In my case, I plan my moves first, then grab hold of the aisle arm rest, slowly push myself upward, eventually propping myself on that same very uncomfortable armrest---after removing my hand, of course. 

Finally, I launch the rest of my body into an upright position. 

Then, it's shake those legs into life again and move on down the aisle, trying not to decapitate any sleeping heads draped part way out into the aisle. 

I try to take my bathroom trips when it looks like everyone else on the plane is sound asleep.

Nothing can be more nerve-wracking than getting inside those tiny enclosures, with a plan, and knowing someone's standing right outside the door with who knows what level of urgency.

You don't want to take too long, but you also want to make the trip and all that planning worth it.

Happily, planes make a lot of noise, so, at least, the sound factor doesn't play into the stress like it tends to do in other public bathrooms. 

After finishing my duty and washing up, I might just take a little stroll up and down the aisle to help those slumbering leg muscles come fully alive so they can be ready for a few more hours of dormancy. 

The guys on the radio show suggested that some passengers use the bathroom as an excuse to get some exercise. 

In my recent past, I cannot remember one single trip to the bathroom serving as a cover for my airplane exercise regimen. 

Never happened.  Never will, knowing my gut and bladder. 

Well, I just can't get away from bathroom talk.  

Actually, I think I could write a book about bathrooms, based on personal life experiences.

This morning, I ran across a piece in the Atlantic magazine about bathrooms.  

The author pursued another facet of bathroom in his piece:  why do we Americans have so many in our homes and why do they tend to keep growing in size?

Personally, I have no complaints about either of those thoughts, but he points out that our fetish for large bathrooms---maybe even two per person in some homes---has evolved through history. 

I found the story fascinating for obvious reasons but also as an interesting look into our culture. 

Plus, what do we do each day more often than we eat meals?  

Well, as we age and eat and drink, a lot of us do take far more than three trips to the bathroom a day. 

The author also points out that the bathroom serves as our place to get closer to God:  cleanliness is next to Godliness, he reminds us. 

That portion of the article brings to mind a question which baffles me pretty much every time I go to Ireland and want to take a bath or a shower. 


Lots of bath towels and hand towels but no wash cloths. 

I discovered this on my first trip, thought my experiences might have been just an anomaly for my second trip and, for trips, three, four and five, took along a wash cloth. 

If someone could please explain to me why Americans need and do use wash cloths, while Europeans do not?

If there is no clear answer, then I'm gonna start a wash cloth business where, once those folks get the hang of it, I might even get rich. 

Enjoy the Atlantic article.  

Also, be cautious about the Imodium strategy, if you want your system to act "naturally" once you get off the plane! 

Happy Monday. 

Four more days until February.  

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Pretty Ugly

Most of the time, we can do a lot with a camera to create a beautiful scene.  We can work with angles and perspectives, and we can cut out or crop the nonesthetics even before taking the picture.  

We can also edit our images with programs that enhance light, color, even mood. 

I love the tool in my editing program which allows me to remove blemishes on the image----sometimes even wrinkles. 

I'm thinking of my own face with that last example cuz spending too much time in the sunlight over a lifetime has provided me with an abundance of facial wrinkles.

The problem with my face is "where do you start?"

In a nutshell, it's a great time to have a camera or even a cell phone to capture pretty much everything we deem important in our lives. 

And, so, I don't want to be accused of lying----lying by omission, that is. 

Sometimes we tell the truth but maybe not all of it. 

Most of the images I publish on this blog or on Facebook portray solely the ideals of our life experiences. So, many of those images have big smiles, pretty flowers, drop-dead beauty or idyllic settings.  

After all, who wants to look at ugly?

Well, folks, this morning you're gonna get to look at ugly!

Aren't you thrilled, 'specially those of you sipping you coffee in the desert sun or on some island in Paradise maybe thinking about the poor saps back home.  

You know, those folks complaining and moaning cuz they've got too work to do and it's STILL JANUARY.

Before someone starts thinking, oh, there she goes again, I must interject that I actually had some fun with ugly yesterday. 

After the morning survival of starting my day maneuvering through barnyard mine field and driveway skating rink and across the South Center Valley pothole challenge, I actually pulled out the tractor in the afternoon and prepared an improvement to my morning chores. 

With the rear plow, I scraped away a layer of ice and snow in the driveway, which meant really not needing yaktrax this morning. 

But, you know me:   too lazy to bend over and take off the yaktrax. So, I wore them anyway. 

I also used the tractor loader to remove sections of five-foot piles of snow from outside the barnyard fence. 

During this time, the rain actually stopped for a while and the moderately warm air had a hint of spring. 

So, it was fun. 

I also used a shovel and cleared a path from the sliding glass door to another path across the west lawn.  Finally, I widened a narrow path leading to the water tank. 

Most of this work allowed me to stay out of the barnyard this morning, drive my cart with relative ease, pull up to the openings and throw hay over the fence for the horses. 

Much better and much safer than the barnyard obstacle course in the dark. 

I also noticed while walking out to get the paper (again with relative ease and more of a "skip" to my step) that genuine daylight was a-coming from over the Cabinet Mountains. 

Definitely a feel-good moment, knowing that fairly soon, the darkness factor will be a moot point in doing morning chores. 

Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do with the tractor or my camera or an editing program to hide that fact that it's "pretty ugly" in these parts right now. 

Like anything, we do have to experience the good, the bad and the ugly here in what we love to call God's Country.  After all, God has to deal with Mother Nature too. 

A longtime friend of mine moved to North Idaho from Florida back in the mid-1970s.  

I often think of the advice given to her and her family after they had paid a visit to the area during the summer and thought it was the promised land.

Of course, they went to a realtor.  I don't think it was a realtor who gave them some wise advice.  I think, instead, it was someone who just plain lived here, year round, on a farm.

The advice generally goes as such:  if you think you want to move here, come back and visit in January and not just at the ski hill. Spend some time getting to know North Idaho at its worst.

Then, decide. 

My friend has never left, but I have a feeling she would dish out the same advice. 

We do tend, sometimes, to embellish the stunning beauty of this place we call home, and so we might just be guilty of lying by omission. 

Since I don't want to confess to lying if I ever go to Confession again, I'll leave you today with these lovely photos.    

I have another friend who loved to use the phrase, "new frontiers in . . . ."

Well, I do believe the past couple of days have offered new frontiers in just how ugly this place can get. 

It will get better, and just five more days in January. 

Happy Sunday. 

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Saturday Slightly Cheesy

Bill warned me.

"It's icy outside," he said as he saw me going through the usual ritual of hopping and dancing around the living room, trying to urge my feet all the way into my low cut LL Bean barn boots.  

I tend to destroy the backs of the boots because I'm too lazy to bend over to pull the ridge away from my foot.  

Once the framing inside becomes crushed, I end up having to to bend over anyway or sit down and stick my finger between my heel and the boot to get the darned things on. 

You'd think a person would know better by the 70s not to ruin those boot backs. 

Bill's announcement meant I had even more work to do before heading to the barn for morning chores. 

Yup, it was a Yaktrax morning. 

Took three times while sitting on the couch in the garage to get that one studded track on my boot. 

 It's really fun when you almost have it on the boot only to see it shoot across the room. 

Only said the "s" word once, though. 

The next few minutes of maneuvering the cart filled with hay across the dark barnyard AND going out to get the paper reminded me of the scene in the movie 1917 where the two soldiers enter an enemy bunker and discover the place is filled with booby traps. 

One wrong move, and "poof" they'd be gone. So, they remain extremely cautious with each move but not so with the thieving rat which triggers an explosion. 

Fortunately, the soldiers survive, even though one has to be dug from the rubble. 

Well, back here at the Lovestead, as I labored my way through the barnyard distributing flakes of hay to clean, snowy areas, I knew I wouldn't blow up.

 Instead, my feet sure could get submerged in yucky, cold manure water OR I could stumble and fall down so my whole body could hurt all over and I would need a bath. 

Happily, I survived another morning in the barnyard but now know that I won't do that again, for a while. 

Instead, I'll have to trudge my way, one careful step at a time, up plowed snow piles and throw the hay over the fence. 

The rest of the outside morning experience continued in that 1917-like scene as ice, rough ridges and even deep mushy water required moving slowly and with care every step of the way through the driveway.  

Once there, in the dawn light, I could see the masses of potholes to the north and to the south.  Best speed bumps ever for any vehicle trying to get from one place to the other.

Yup, they did look like mine fields, but I could see well enough by that time to avoid stepping in them.  Then, with paper in hand, it was back through the driveway taking more slow, careful steps all the way back to the house. 

By 6:30 a.m., I had already experienced a feeling of great achievement:  surviving morning chores. 

Only six more days of January!

On another front, yesterday afternoon I went to Winter Ridge Natural Foods store to get acquainted with an individual I'm interviewing for a story. 

On my way out, I spotted Brad, Tyrel and Jaden standing behind a sample table, which included a few items the store offers for sale. 

The trio was there offering samples of their specialty cheeses from Selle Valley Creamery. Learn more by visiting the link.

Turned out my trip to the store offered an added bonus as I got acquainted with Brad and his sons and learned more firsthand about how they got into the cheese business. 

Brad, who works as a builder, actually spent more than a year in Pennsylvania learning the science of cheese and how to make it. 

He now lives on Selle Road, and pretty much every time we drive down the road, we see his ice chest at the end of his driveway with cheese offerings, sold on the honor system.


The "ends," off from larger cheese blocks, sorta like the heels on a loaf of bread,  include several flavors including huckleberry cheddar.

Third time was a charm on this latter flavor as Brad and his cheese mentor experimented.  I can attest, after trying a sample, that the huckleberry flavor doesn't come right at you.  

Instead, it's pleasantly subtle, which I found to be a lovely palate experience.    

Brad, an Indiana native and the father of seven children (by the way, today is Jaden's birhday)  packages the ends and sells them at his driveway and at several businesses in the area.

We enjoyed a great get-acquainted visit, and I'm looking forward to seeing Brad and his family more often as they are in the neighborhood, and I enjoyed the my "3-year cheddar" enough to pick up an end every so often as I drive by. 

More and more, I'm learning and enjoying some wonderful and flavorful experiences, thanks to the folks here in Selle Valley who offer homegrown products. 

My goal this summer is to try a week of eating nothing but foods grown here in the valley.  I'm thinking, as I learn more, that this will be a fairly easy and "yum-yum" task. 

Good luck, Brad, as you follow your dream.  Looks like it's off to a great start. 

The rain has stopped, the fog is hovering.  My plan is to make the most of this day and top it off watching the ZAGS taken on Pacific. 

Unfortunately, we are victims of corporate selfishness once more as now our DISH provider does not have the Fox 28/ROOT channel where the game will be broadcast. 

As always, the root of all evil has reared its ugly head, and the paying customers lose out. 

So, we're looking into other possibilities.  

GO, ZAGS!!!  


Friday, January 24, 2020

Pure Sandpoint: The Committee

What to do on a rainy day?

Go to the local library, don your sunglasses and prepare reunion materials. 

Joining in on this group of committee members yesterday sure helped my rainy-day blues. 

My classmate Donna and I didn't work as hard as the rest of the folks gathered around the table and then some. 

We just listened during a brief meeting, collected information sheets, did some visiting and left. 

The rest spent more time inside that room, counting, folding, writing and stuffing AND more than likely,  visiting.  

I saw only three people I hadn't known most of my life, from childhood on up.  (After all, the age span goes from just above 70 to youthful/amazing 80s).

One spouse couldn't claim native status.  She would have to go back to Oregon to do that.  She married a native, though, and she's signed up to help the others put together an "all-class" reunion, including SHS classes from 1950-1966.

Donna and I, from the Class of 1965, have a unique status.  Our 55th-year reunion was scheduled for the same time. 

So, we're thinking that since it's not yet ten years since our 50th, we'll just have "half" a reunion with our activities the day before the big gathering at the Bonner County Fairgrounds. 

We'll be stuffing envelopes ourselves with information from two different reunions, once we get our plans nailed down. 

In the meantime, it was fun for both of us to reconnect with folks we probably see more often at funerals than any other event--'cept maybe Facebook. 

When John Russell, Class of 1962, wanted to know who I was, I looked him straight in the face from across the table and announced, "I grew up directly across Sand Creek from you!"

John's expression showed immediate recognition.

"Brown," he said, among other things, including a brief story about how he remembered a conversation we'd had a while back about Earl Dustin.  

Earl aka Dusty was the hermit who lived northeast of us and across the creek from the Russells. 

"He worked for us," John said. 

"He worked for us too," I announced. "My dad would have to go down into the field after dark and tell him it was time to go home."  

Dusty picked up sticks on our farm after some dozing made way for planted hayfields.

John also told Donna about riding her cousin's pretty horse. 

Duane and Marilyn Brown Ward have taken on the job of chairing the reunion committee, which is expecting hundreds of SHS alums. 

So, once they opened the boxes of envelopes, information and sign-up sheets and gave a few brief instructions, folks went to work. 

Marilyn is quite proud of the red "Bulldog" stamp which will go on the back side of each envelope. 

It was quickly obvious that the folks in that library meeting room yesterday have earned their medals as worker bees over the years cuz nobody had to remind them to get busy.

And, from what I recall of those committee members in classes directly above our SHS Class of 1965, their "worker bee" status dates back to at least junior high. 

I remember each of them as class leaders then, and decades later, they're still at it. 

BTW:  Jean Miller Martin's sunglasses may have had something to do with wishful thinking, considering the ugly, ugly January weather outside.  

More importantly, though, Jean, whom I've known since I was a little girl, drove over to Sandpoint from her home in Priest River and realized she'd forgotten her regular prescription glasses. 

So, I guess the sunglasses helped cuz she was pretty diligent about doing her share of the work. 

Donna and I eventually left the room and had a brief visit outside, noting that we have a little planning to do before we can stuff our envelopes. 

In short, the gathering was rich with genuine Sandpoint homegrown flavor:  longevity, common history, deep local roots, no-nonsense approaches to attending to whatever is needed to reach a common goal and a strong sense of connections achieved through a mutual love for the community. 

I can only imagine what the reunion will be like. 

Happy Friday from slop, slop country. 

Stay dry.