Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Remembering and Reflecting

I remember this scene as if it were yesterday.  Actually, it was 14 years ago. 

Annie and Kelsi visited the Coromandel Peninsula yesterday on the North Island of New Zealand. 

It was about three weeks earlier when Annie and I went there in 2003. And, from what I've seen in the photos, the Kiwis are enjoying much warmer weather than we encountered on my visit. 

As I looked at her collection of photos, a brief moment, which I had not thought about for 14 years, popped into my head.  

Some aspect of one of the photos took me back to our rental car as Annie drove through a neighborhood on the peninsula. 

As we rounded a curve, I heard the sound of a pheasant rooster.  

This happened to be during the time that Bill had gotten into raising pheasants and turning them loose once they reached adulthood.

The experience of being around those birds as they matured in their manmade roost gave me my first examples of the sounds those birds make, and, like with chickens, the rooster sound is very distinctive. 

So, to hear that same sound in far off New Zealand in the Land Down Under, I took note. 

Amazing how photographs can revive long-forgotten tidbits stuffed away in our memory banks----defintely one of the reasons I love photography. 

To say the least, the Coromandel Peninsula is beautiful, especially at this time of this particular year. 

Annie's trip and this particular calendar date also revive another poignant memory in my life and that of my family's.  

This is the date that we experienced our first family loss. It came shortly after I returned from my wonderful adventure in New Zealand. 

On this day, after more than a week of uncertainty and great concern, constant vigils at Sacred Heart Medical Center, we family members gathered around our dad as he took his last breath. 

One never forgets those days, and in not forgetting, many, many memories come to mind of the man who, along with his beloved wife Virginia, laid out the principles and values by which we live.

Most importantly:  keep your nose clean. 

I think we all still try our best to do that on a daily basis, and if nothing else, that is a great tribute to the impact of Harold Tibbs. 

I have a feeling that a few "Harold" stories will be told throughout this week as we come together again to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and the family traditions that both of our parents instilled in us. 

So, that's all for this morning.  

Keep your nose clean.  Don't take any wooden nickels, close the gate and have a nice day. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Raindrops on Roof Tops and Hurling of Chuck-Its

Yup, a warm rain is falling softly on the roof top.  I can just barely hear the light pitter-patters through closed windows here in my desktop computer domain.

The quiet of this mornng is impressive. 

Earlier, while outside doing chores, I welcomed the rain, even along with socked-in surroundings.  

Whenever rain is quiet and the temperature is warm and the past weeks and months have been filled with a whirlwind of constant activity, mornings like this bring a sense of welcome calm.

We need such breaks from  from time to time. Mornings with weather like today's give us an excuse.   

I don't know how long I'll be tolerating or even embracing this Monday-morning weather pattern, but for now. it's okay. 

We ended the day yesterday with spectacular color shows in the western sky.  

After coming inside the house from an afternoon of touch-up raking which had followed a morning of holiday-roll baking, I looked out the kitchen window to see a stunning early-evening sky, depicted in the top photographs.  

It was definitely a "WOW" moment, of which we're blessed with many.  

I think skiers in the mountains were in Heaven yesterday, as was I down here in the valley with the smell of fresh-baked rolls wafting through the house and, later, in during continued yard clean-up frequently interspersed with seemingly continuous chuck-it ball hurling. 

Yes, I have three helpers when I'm out there gathering all those Lovestead leaves into piles.  

And, of course, with each chuck-it ball retrieval, comes that saliva-induced slime ball, dropped smack dab in the middle of the leaf pile. 

Sometimes, if I don't get to the ball soon enough, there's comes added squabble over that ball, smack dab in the middle of the leaf pile.  

Then, I get to do a raking rerun. 

It's all fun, and always reassuring to my fragile self esteem with the sensation of six eyes totally focused on every move I make.  

Of course, I also accept that it's all about the ball. 

The other day I talked in a blog post about the therapeutic values of "outside."  

Well, add one ingredient to that:  loving dogs. 

In fact, I read just yesterday that people who run (or sit) with dogs are not as likely to suffer heart disease those without pets. 


I believe the assertion enough through my own experience with our black-and-white beloveds that I won't even go to Snopes to check out its validity. 

And, I have a feeling my friend, Dr. Jim, will agree. 

So, anyway, it's Monday.  Bill is headed out the door for the Sandpoint Tree Committee meeting and then bound for Bonners Ferry again where he's working with a crew on a tree-thinning project.  

I'm planning to just keep putzing away at the remaining projects slated for completion before the next winter blast, including tarps over lawnmowers and snipping away the oregano patches around the place.  

I also have a feeling that I'll probably bend over a few hundred times during this day to hurl those chuck-it balls as I work. 

Meanwhile, Down Under, the Sandpoint natives, Annie and Kelsi, tied in with each other yesterday in Auckland, New Zealand.

Now, they start the big saga of touring the two islands over the next several days.  Should be some fun photos.  I've included a few below with the first two from Australia and the last three in and around "hobbit" land. 

Happy Monday. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Weekend "Seens"

Twas a full day yesterday.  Much of it involved food.

We already had plans to go to the Inland Forest Management annual party at Trinity, and I was planning to bake rolls for Thanksgiving.

Then, Bill, who was finishing up a forestry work project, called to report on the annual craft sale at the Mennonite School north of Bonners Ferry. 

Until yesterday morning, I had completely forgotten that the popular sale is always the weekend before Thanksgiving.  One year Debbie and I attended and were blown away with all the baked goods and crafts.

Another year I went to the sale alone and must have been late cuz items were pretty picked over. 

In yesterday's phone conversation, Bill assured me that there was still plenty to check out at the sale, which benefits the Mennonite School.  

He also told me he had purchased a pecan apple pie with caramel drizzle and that the organizers would start serving all-you-can-eat ribs at 10:30.

I knew with that revelation exactly why Bill was planning to hang out at the sale for a while.  

He likes his ribs. 

After his call, I decided to bag my roll-baking plans, called my sisters and we drove to the school where the parking lot was full but not the tables inside. 

As we walked into the school, it became immediately obvious that we had arrived too late for the baked goods.  

While waiting for us, Bill had purchased a small block of Swiss cheese, which prompted me to head to the cheese table.  

Only two blocks were left, so I purchased the larger one for $3.25. 

Then, we all spent a few minutes strolling around the big open display area admiring  samples of hand-crafted furniture and lamenting that we should have come earlier.

We also met an adorable young Red Heeler pup and her owner who trains dogs. 

Later, when I paid for my cheese and once again expressed disappointment with our arrival time, the cashier told me that people were lined up at the door long before 8 a.m. 

When the doors opened, they grabbed boxes and began their shopping.

"Was it like Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving night?" I asked.

"No, nobody got trampled," she said, adding, however, that  shopping activity had been brisk. 

Even though most of the baked goods were gone inside the school, we had arrived soon enough to watch outside where the final moments of processing a whole lot of pints of apple butter were unfolding. 

The scene offered a fascinating example of pinpoint organization and precision teamwork of these industrious people. 

Bill had mentioned seeing a Border Collie where an extensive herd of sheep live a mile or so up the road, so we said good bye to him and headed on our way.  

Turns out the  Border Collie was a bit too far away for us to take pictures, but we did chuckle at the rather enthusiastic black and white cat which seemed to be keeping the Border Collie in tow.

Then, it was off to the Bread Basket Bakery for a fresh-made sandwich and cookies.  The bakery was pretty quiet yesterday because many staff members were probably helping out at the craft sale. 

In spite of the fact that we didn't spend much money picking up items at the sale, we thoroughly enjoyed the brief getaway and the always beautiful scenery along the way.  

On our drive home, there was talk of turkeys---we're having two gobblers for Thanksgiving:  one deep-fried, the other prepared traditionally.  And, we finalized all the plans for who's bringing what for the holiday dinner.  

The only problem we're having as we look forward to Thanksgiving is that the ZAGS play that night in the most prestigious and largest NCAA tournament ever----at 9 p.m.

The concern:  after eating all that turkey will we be able to stay awake.  We agreed that going for a walk in the brisk night air may even accentuate the drowsiness. 

But, we'll get that figured out.  We always do when there's a ZAGS game. 

Last night's sumptuous company dinner topped off a day of thinking about food.

And, now those tasty thoughts are beginning anew.  First thing I'll do when I go downstairs is to mix up that batch of bread dough for the Thanksgiving rolls.  I saw a recipe earlier this week for a honey glaze so I'm gonna give that a try.  

Yum. Yum.

Happy Sunday. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Saturday Slight

OUTSIDE:  the best therapy money doesn't need to buy.

In more than one conversation of late, the "ain't it awful" subject of winter showing up way too early has exposed a common feeling.  It's depressing. 

It's depressing, especially if some of us are not skiers who are probably giddy as can be this morning, thinking about those snow-covered slopes at Schweitzer, where the resort is seeing one of its earliest openings in years. 

Yup, those people probably didn't sleep last night cuz they're so excited to hop in the car, drive up the hill and hit the slopes. 

For others, however, that blast of winter at the beginning of the month set many minds into a downward spiral with the thought that what seems like endless days of gray and wet and snow and messes to clean up could be longer than ever this year.

Apparently, Mother Nature was listening to the grumbling, and she has given us a break with some rain, a whole lot less snow covering up all those leaves and even some sunny, crisp days where green has again returned to the flats and the most brilliant of white snow covers the mountains---just as it oughta be. 

So, some of us are breathing a sigh of relief and hoping the old gal who runs the weather department holds off a little longer down here in the valleys and just keeps dumping on those mountains where snow is supreme and much welcomed. 

In the midst of our most recent weather transition from winter back to fall, I spent several hours for two or three days outside desperately raking and even some mulching in green spots on the lawn with hopes of ridding the yard of most of the blanket of leaves which had been hiding under the blanket of snow. 

It has been a successful pursuit, and now I'm down to the touch-up stages where if we get a snow dump, that'll be okay. 

One somewhat dreary raking day, I came inside and checked Facebook where I saw that Danielle Otis from Western Pleasure Guest Ranch had tagged me to the 7-day black-and-white photo challenge----a photo each day, black and white, no people, no explanations.

Well, these days with photo editing programs we can turn most any color photo black and white.  Knowing I have thousands and thousands of pictures in my library, I thought the challenge would be an easy task.  Just use the editing program and "voila," lots to choose from. 

But then I thought why make it so easy and why not take advantage of this excuse to go out and get some new photos specifically for the challenge. 

My knees were beginning to ache from so much raking, and I had planned to go back outside to do some more that day.  Instead, I let the rake sit, put the dogs in the garage and took off to "I knew not where" with my camera.  

This time my camera and my car took me to a road I seldom travel because a major portion of it winds through wooded areas along Pack River Flats.  

When it's been raining, that segment of road has some mighty big mud holes, stretching so far that a car almost has to get off the road avoid the giant puddles.  Plus, it's a pretty bumpy road. 

The plus side:  hardly anyone else 'cept maybe the residents travels the road, which for a photographer always out on the hunt is a good thing.  Nobody's hanging on your bumper at the precise moment you wish to stop and snap a photo. 

This particular photo hunt turned out to be pure pleasure cuz I stopped any time I wanted and I saw the world around Pack River Flats through a completely different eye---since I was looking for good black and white subjects.

I also marveled at the restoration project in the flats, spearheaded by Cathy Cousins and the Fish and Game----all those geese love that place. On this hunt, I also discovered interesting items along the roadside where, in the past, had gone completely unnoticed.

Finally, the trip took my mind completely off from remaining leaves to rake and the troubles of the outside world.  

For an hour or so, I had actually entered a pleasant and peaceful realm all my own, undisturbed and undistracted. 

I also discovered, because of the focus of that day that purely black-and-white photography provides a completely different perspective and a multitude of new opportunities---especially at a time of year when we're in seasonal transition and we tend to think that the beauty has all vanished. 

Not true.  

The scenes along that drive and later, along stretch of the same road (known as Sunnyside) where the sun shines and where swimmers, sunbathers, boaters, etc. hang out along the shoreline throughout the summer, are very different when the lake is drawn down for the winter. 

Suddenly fascinating structures or natural phenomena, usually hidden by all the other seasonal beauty, get their opportunity show off. 

Long story short, this assignment has offered me a new perspective and it has demonstrated one more time how therapeutic our outdoors can be when our minds start going into seasonal tailspins. 

So, thanks, Danielle for this meaningful and fulfilling assignment and thanks to all the other photographers who each day are posting such amazing photos of our black-and-white world, which really isn't so ugly when leaves fall and water recedes and mud seems to rule the landscape. 

Finally, I've included a link from one of my favorite local writers, Ammi Midstokke.  I read this week's Sandpoint Reader and thought if fit in perfectly with my message this morning.  

One note:  Ammi and my daughter Annie were in the same class at Sandpoint High School.  I'm thinking there must have been something in the water when they were born cuz the two of them lead about the most adventurous, amazing and inspiring lives imaginable. 

Happy Saturday.  GO, ZAGS! 

Enjoy the link and Annie's photos below.

From Ammi Midstokke:


From Down Under . . . .with Annie

One amazing day of caching! Not many could beat this. It started at 6:30am exploring the town of Alexandra and finding caches, meeting amazing people at the Mega, caching all afternoon finding amazing gadget caches with wonderful people, a BBQ and ended with a 4+ hour T5-D4 4WD night Cache.....one of the best caches I've ever done.

Saw a kangaroo, a wombat, so many cool birds (like the ones you see in zoos in the US), didn't get eaten or attacked by anything! Well....except for that one stick in the forest that I thought for sure was a snake! Thank you, Australia!

Friday, November 17, 2017


I don't think I have any really good reason for putting "TGIF" as my title this morning.  Generally speaking, that expression is usually reserved for folks still in the "9-5" work force.

Still, even after 15 years of retirement, Friday means good things:  Friday-night dinner involving family and friends and a sense of exhilaration when thinking of fun times during the weekend ahead.

This particular weekend fun starts a little early as I'll be going to lunch with a couple of close and longtime friends, and I'm excited about the visit. 

One has promised me that she would design me a spread sheet which she'll also manage. I'll tell her what to list on it and how to code it for times reported and level of nausea provocation.

Actually, with this particular topic, "TGIF" is totally inappropriate as are the items associated with it.  

After all, I've noticed lately that rather than taking a weekend break, Friday's tend to be prime days for exposure of data to collect for the spread sheet. 

I'm asking my friend to do this project because it's either my senior memory or because of the sheer numbers of scenarios I now have to keep track of in my head as we deal with the barrage of revelations associated with the United Scumbags of America aka our "leaders." 

Heck, yesterday we got back to the "you don't dare go to the bathroom or you'll miss something" mode. Nasty news was popping up all over, especially regarding the guy who used to look in the mirror every Saturday night on television and reaffirm. 

He may have to return to "Saturday Night Live."  

In yesterday's news cycle reports of his misbehavior even trumped that of the judge running for U.S. Senate who reportedly has, in the past, emulated the relationship of Joseph and Mary  

It's a whole lot to keep track of and to ponder as we watch all those two-legged  creatures we call "leaders" floundering around in "the swamp."

I'm also wondering this morning why the great white hunters will soon get to bring those decapitated elephant heads from Africa back to the United States. 

Wonder how they'll get through airport security.  

Maybe it's a party thing. 

Well, anyway, regardless of all that we see in the news, TGIF is still driving my day cuz I'm really looking forward to having lunch with my two friends and seeing the spread sheet.

My only problem in keeping the form updated is that, with the speed of how these events in our nation's scariest reality show/soap opera have been unfolding, I'm wondering the heck will happen while we're at lunch!  

I'll just make sure I don't go to the bathroom. 

In other news, Annie made it to Melbourne, where she became a day older before her time and encountered her second late spring season of this year. 

She has met with her geocachers at the event in Alexandra, and, of course, she has also had her picture taken with the Sounders scarf, so all is going well Down Under.

I also visited, via text, last night with some other local family friends AND ZAGS fans who are spending some time in Australia, specifically Sydney.  

Hello to Doug and Sandy.  Nice connecting with you.  

Happy TGIF to all. 

From Down Under, Annie's photos. . . .

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Stalking and a Sasquatch Vote

"I love you, and remember I'll be stalking you."

"I know you will."  

That was the last exchange of words that my daughter Annie and I shared last night over the phone while she was waiting to check her luggage to Melbourne at LA International Airport.

She had lots of time to kill, having arrived at Los Angeles five hours before her departure for Australia.  Booking two flights ensured that she would not have to worry about too little time to catch the second flight AND to save money, her dad told me this morning. 

As I write, it is 2:15 a.m. in Melbourne, so Annie has just under seven hours left in her 16-hour flight. That means that just before 2 p.m. our time, I'll be checking to see that she made it there safely.

We talked about "mother stalking" the other day while visiting with a friend at my sisters' celebration.  This adult friend mentioned that her mother stalks her too. 

"It's a mother thing," I said as Annie told our new friend of past arrivals in various places in the world, turning on her cell phone and seeing a message just sent from Mom.

So, yes, this morning, I'm stalking.  In fact, I even checked earlier by sending a text message to see if she had gotten Wi-fi on the Quantus Airlines jet.  

Maybe not but then again, maybe she was sleeping. 

Once she arrives in Melbourne, Annie will meet a former co-worker for lunch and then drive to her geocaching event in Alexandra, which is two hours away and which starts on Friday evening. That's tomorrow night here but it's tonight in Australia.

Long day, for sure.  For those who enjoy following Annie's travels, she told me last night that her Facebook postings over the next couple of weeks could be spotty, all depending on Wi-fi availability.  

Stay tuned.  Whatever she posts in Australia and New Zealand should be fun.

And, now back to Idaho where, as I type, it is 7:24 a.m. Nov. 16 and where just hours remain to vote for a video  highlighting the Pine Street Woods land acquisition by one of my most favorite nonprofits, Kaniksu Land Trust. 

Ten thousand dollars for first prize (to be applied toward the land acquisition) is at stake with this voting.  

So, this morning, I'm encouraging anyone with ties to the Sandpoint area and who loves the outdoors to vote on the video mentioned below.

Pass this information along to family and friends and encourage them to vote also. 

This is a wonderful project, which will provide another plot of spacious land where the public can recreate in a variety of ways---even tracking down Bigfoot! 

The $10,000 first prize can go a long way in helping with the purchase of Pine Street Woods.

Basic information you need to place your vote:  

With only two days left to vote...what are you waiting for?
Vote today for the video LAND IS MY SASQUATCH @ http://kaniksulandtrust.org/pine-street-woods/ or @
http://Vote at www.landismy.org/super-gallery to help win $10,000 for the Pine Street Woods.

For more information on the Pine Street Woods campaign, click here:http://kaniksulandtrust.org/pine-street-woods/
Once you vote, enter yes in the comment and your name will be entered to win some PSW's SWAG.

Remember that voting ends tomorrow Friday, Nov. 17.  Thank you for passing the word and casting your vote!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday This and That

It's a lovely, crisp and clear morning on this Wednesday after a phenomenal ZAGS victory where coach Mark Few's young team scored 106 points-----some very exciting points too!

From the looks of the ZAGS' arsenal last night, I'd say they haven't really skipped a beat from last year's Final Four team.  In fact, they even seem to be more fully loaded.

Granted, they did not play a strong team last night, but still it was neat to see all those new faces exhibiting so much talent and athleticism, along with some phenomenal teamwork.  

Hope it keeps on going, and, knowing the quality of the ZAGS coaching staff, I think we fans are in for another great year. 

No ZAGS game today and no wearing of the uniform, but I still felt an extra bounce to my step while heading to the barn for chores this morning. 

That's because, except for a few piles yet to pick up and haul off, the yard is looking neat and tidy.  

I have work, work, worked the past two-and-one half days with my rake, my barn pick (for loading) and my sled, which works well for transporting the leaves. 

Finally this persistence has paid off. 

No longer will I have to dread hours of chipping away away at clumps of frozen leaves in the spring.  

And, with this huge annual project coming to an end, I can attend to other projects which fell behind schedule with that blast of winter earlier this month. 

Flowers are still blooming in several pots along the deck, while others need to be pulled and disposed of.  Some pots will go in relatively warm places in hopes that their contents will live through the winter.

So, it's a good day here at the Lovestead.  Also, it's a day of celebration for my niece Maureen who cannot possibly be the age Facebook says she is.  

Guess I'll have to check that fact out on Snopes. 

Whatever your age, Maureen, I hope you have a wonderful day. 

I know that our daughter Annie aka Mia Wallace is probably feeling an extra bounce to her step this morning. 

This afternoon, she'll begin the long journey to Down Under, and sometime tomorrow, she'll be in Australia for a weekend geocaching event. 

After the event ends, she'll be meeting up in Auckland, New Zealand with another Sandpoint High grad and family friend, Kelsi. 

The two, who were both visiting Australia back in 2003, tied in with each other on the steps of the Sydney Opera House, will tour both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. It will be Kelsi's first visit to Kiwi country. 

So, that means we, who like to follow Annie on her world travels, have a couple of weeks of our own vicarious travels ahead. Stay tuned.  

I'm anxious to see where in each country she chooses to display her Sounders scarf for a photograph. 

The last time Annie was in Australia and New Zealand, she was not carrying the scarf, which has received special prominence in virtually every country and special point of interest she's visited.

Anyway, it should be fun.  Safe travels to Annie and Kelsi. 

And, to all others, Happy Wednesday.