Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Neighborhood Sunshine


Outdoor home projects continued yesterday at pretty much a nonstop pace, 'cept for going inside occasionally and tending to that pork shoulder roast in the slow cooker. 

During morning hours, I filled the cart with dead flowers and weeds and cut back perennials. I decided to follow a one-cartful-a day routine, so maybe within a week, pots and beds will be put to bed for the winter. 

I also climbed aboard the tractor and spent some time turning the manure pile where the pumpkin crop was planted (not a great year for pumpkins). 

This pile is made up of manure and shavings from last winter's barn cleanings.  It's done a pretty fair job of aging but can use a few more turnings before it turns to that black gold. 

Later, after finishing up the lawnmowing project and successfully (doesn't happen very often) installing the bags and their chute on the zero-turn mower, I picked up and deposited the first hundred thousand or so leaves of the annual gazillion that drop to the ground.

This repetitive process will go on a few times each week until the last of the leaves fall in November. 

In the midst of those projects, I took a brief spin around the neighborhood where "everything was beautiful, trees, shrubs, cows, horses, peeps, even the turkeys, all in their own way."

Finally, Bill and I enjoyed that pot roast with taters, beans and carrots all grown on the Lovestead.  

The roast also came from the neighborhood, so it was definitely another delicious experience of truly eating local. 

Today will involve pretty much the same routine along with some brush hogging in the pastures. 

Also, we'll be thinking about the birthday girl Annie who's celebrating with her friends in Minnesota where she's working remotely this week. 

Happy Birthday, Annie. 💗💗💗

I also want to issue a special shout-out to Tom and Barbara Keough, who are each celebrating their 90th birthdays today. 

Tom is a former colleague who served for a while as principal at Sandpoint High School, also father-in-law to our former Legislator extraordinaire Shawn Keough. 

Happy Birthday, Tom and Barb. 👫


It's always fun to read my friend Connie's blog postings about life at her home above Hope. 

We share much in common, including those pretty black-and-white doggies. 

On another happy note, three of my siblings and their two friends will pull into Tulsa, Okla., today where they'll begin their preparations for competing in the U.S. Arabian Nationals.  

Looking forward to some visuals to share once they get settled.


And, how 'bout those ZAGS! 

Pre-season No. 1 in the polls and first games coming up in just three weeks. 

Excitement among fans is rising.


A poignant thought about a great and honorable, American, Gen. Colin Powell, from my brother Mike, a 1966 West Point graduate. 

General Powell was not a West Point graduate. He was awarded the Thayer Award in 1998. 

The award is given annually by the Association of Graduates to a recipient who has extended beyond self in service to country while embodying the West Point motto, "Duty, Honor, Country." 

 On regarding West Point, General Powell offered the following words:

For all its beauty and history, West Point is a pile of stone until you bring it to life every day. You can inscribe Duty, Honor, Country on every granite block and it would mean nothing unless those words are engraved in your heart.
                                                            --- General Colin Powell

How true!

Makarley and her grandma Betty enjoying the sunshine.

A special song for this day. . . . 

Monday, October 18, 2021

The Lists of Fall


Most of today's photos were taken from the back of my lawnmower.

That means life is getting back to normal, and there's a certain sense of urgency to go along with it. 

Not urgent enough, however, to hinder the total enjoyment of being home in the midst of the fall color show. 

Yesterday was spent marking "to do's" off the list. 

Fill the bird feeders. 

Pick apples. 

Organize the potato harvest. 

Fix the electric fence around the barnyard---for the second time in two days.

Silly me.  

The first time I repaired the wire fencing, I did not take time to walk the fence line where other wire and insulators had been pulled away from the boards by bored horses during my absence.

As mentioned before, nothing keeps horses more honest than a little jolt from the electric fence when they start gnawing away at the board behind it. 

My electric fence does not work 365 days a year; instead, I plug it in maybe once a month or whenever I see that some teeth have chewed away a new section of board. 

One jolt and the whole crowd knows to stay away from the fence, but they're not dumb.  They test the wire every so often, and if it doesn't bite back, they take the license to bite at the wire or the boards. 

Nothing more fun than latching on to a piece of electric wire, pulling it away from the fence and then watching it snap back. 

Great horse game, to say the least.

Well, eventually, that wire gets so stretched that it comes loose, as do some the insulators to which it's attached. 

AND, most importantly, if the wire is not connected clear around the barnyard, the fence charger doesn't work. 

So, my horses enjoyed a double bonus when they pulled two sections of electric wire away from the boards.  

And, I should have walked the fenceline to see that everything was in place. 

I won't forget to do that again AND I'll report that this morning, even in the darkness, after fixing the whole fenceline and plugging in the fence charger, I could see a new wave of respect among Lily, Lefty and CB.

This respect will last a while, especially if I plug in for the next few nights. 

Back to the list:   

Vacuum the house and all the leaves that have been tracked in on the bottom of shoes. 

Mow lawn.

 I've been working on that project for two days now because I did not ask Elisabeth to mow while we were gone.  

The grass had grown a bit, thanks to rain, but mowing has been relatively easy, 'cept for the layers of leaves that have fallen. 

My mower will be very busy for the next month, especially after I put the bags on behind.  Falling leaves usually number in the gazillions, so I just keep at it in hopes that the lawn will be clean for spring. 

I must say that mowing the lawn for the past two days has been delightful.  The mower offers the best place to be sitting and moving on these gorgeous fall days.  

It's downright exhilarating, and the views aren't bad either. 

I'll also be doing the same soon with the fields, only sitting on the tractor with the brush hog grooming the fields. 

The lists of fall work are plentiful but very satisfying as flower beds, boxes and planting pots are cleaned, new dirt is dumped on the garden and implements are put away and secured for the many months of winter. 

My time for completing these projects is cut short because of our trip, so I'll move a little faster but still enjoy every minute of this seasonal work, knowing that the more difficult tasks are coming with the snow. 

Happy Monday. 


Below:  not a bad item to put on the list of "to do's" every single day, regardless of the season.  

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Back-Home Beauty

A perfect day in Fall:  the light, the leaves, the loveliness. 

And, of all things . . . a primrose pops out, promising spring

We are blessed. 


Saturday, October 16, 2021

Saturday Slight


Ahhh!  A full night's sleep and a beautiful Saturday ahead. 

Both have energized me this morning.  It will be invigorating to feel somewhat normal and charge into an array of outdoor fall tasks.

We have missed some of the highlights of autumn, but Mother Nature has allowed it to stick around long enough to marvel at the colors and breathe the crisp fall air.

I told my sister Laurie yesterday that I'll be enjoying a comparatively-speaking "laid-back" mode, mentally anyway, now that our long-sought and seemingly unattainable adventure has ended. 

Along with the trip to Ireland came more than enough stress:  organizing to be gone from the Lovestead for 16 days, wrapping up essential writing projects to clear my mind for full-fledged vacation and, most of all,  DETAILS.

The DETAILS of our trip seemed endless and uncertain until we finally boarded that last flight from Chicago to Spokane Thursday evening. All we had left was to worry about was avoiding the deer on Selle Road.  

I realized yesterday, while listening to my sister Laurie share some of the DETAILS that they've had to address for their trip to the U.S. Arabian Nationals, that humans these days must respect regulations for traveling through borders much like horses do. 

For years, the twice yearly Coggins test and the annual brand inspection have dominated any situation where horse owners plan take their horses across state lines for shows or sales or such. 

After last night's conversation, I have to say that Covid travel rules for International travel do remind me very much of life in the horse-transport world.  

All good and all meant for the safety of the travelers and anyone with whom they come in contact. 

I have just this morning talked with my other sister Barbara and wished her a fond farewell on their 18-day cross-country journey, which officially begins about the time I publish this post. 

Barbara, Laurie, my brother Kevin from Frenchtown, Mont., our family friend Roxzene from Bayview and their Arabian club friend Denise from Spokane take off today on a four-day drive to Tulsa, Okla. 


Two horses, Barbara's Dusty and Roxzene's Eddy, will travel with them to the show. 

Over the past months and weeks, this group has also dealt through a detail-oriented barrage of preparations, including practice, practice, practice with the horses, getting ready to be gone from their ranch, setting up horse and peeps accommodations, registering for national classes, paying entry fees, getting vet checks, having horses shod and groomed and, yes, the list goes on. 

FYI:  Barbara took Dusty in 2017 to the Tulsa show and literally and figurative, walked away with a national championship in the trail class.

Sister Barbara after she won the Arabian National Championship in trail back in 2017.  She's hoping for a repeat.  

This time Roxzene has signed on for Nationals to show her horse in trail and showmanship.  Laurie will also show Dusty in several classes throughout the show which begins next week and lasts for several days. 

Once again, our family members and friends will be realizing a long-awaited dream of returning to what they love best.  

The trip, starting today, is very different from the one Bill and I just took to Ireland, but it involves many of the same components----a vision of something wonderful, goal setting, camaraderie, sight-seeing and simply the ultimate satisfaction that dreams really can come true again, even with all the frustrations leading up to them. 

Like our trip, Barbara and Laurie will have fun documenting the highlights along the way with pictures and personal observations of all aspects of their experience.  

And, of course, I'll point you toward their postings. 

Best of luck, Barbara, Laurie, Kevin, Roxzene and Denise.  It will be fun to sit back and enjoy you all as you have the time of your lives. 

And, of course, safe travels. 

On another topic, the pictures I've included are some taken in Kildare and in Dublin on Wednesday. 

I have another set from our Wednesday travels in the Wicklow Mountains south of Dublin, which will probably be posted tomorrow. 

Happy Saturday. 

I can still hear dear Monsignor Tim O'Donovan's soft melodic voice when he told me over the phone one day of his annual association with actress Maureen O'Hara, who was born in Ireland and died in Boise a few years ago. 

Somehow, the two made contact with each other, and for several years, exchanged birthday cards.  Fr. Tim was quite pleased with that association.

Yes, I thought of Fr. Tim when we rolled past this display on a Dublin street this week. 

Miss that sweet man who meant so much to our family.