Monday, April 19, 2021

One Fine Day


We just wanted to go for a hike in a pretty place and eat grilled German sausages.

We did that and more yesterday afternoon AND managed to get home just as the wild wind storm had blown sections off from the greenhouse. 

I am so thankful that social media posts alerted us that the storm was coming. That knowledge meant bringing the dogs into the house from the run where they would have been staying in the afternoon.

The run is surrounded by trees and not a good place for beloveds to be during a storm like yesterday's. 

It was hard before we left to accept the fact that the weather would turn so wild because of the day's start with sunshine and ever-increasing warmth. 

Even when we pulled out of the Lovestead driveway, there was no hint that things would turn so wild. 

Bill, Willie, Debbie and I took two Subarus to Clark Fork, made a stop at the convenience store and then headed down River Road to a beautiful plot of Avista property, which is open to public use. 

A train track runs through the area, as does a beautiful stream. An old tunnel below the tracks with inscriptions dating back to the 1920s leads into a large field and access to the Clark Fork River. 

To the north, the snow-capped Cabinet Mountains provide a spectacular scenic backdrop. 

We chose to walk the property first and then come back to grill the German sausages where we planned to sit back and relax for some fun conversation.

  Yesterday's talk focused on crazy road trips we had all taken over our lives. Lots of laughs.

Our walk included some extras.  Two people in a fishing boat were cruising down the river.  Then, came some folks on horseback. 

I began snapping pictures.  

Then, came a show.  

A spit-shined cowboy among the group decided to provide me some color for my photos.  

He left his group and spurred that horse at full speed across the open field.  Then, he turned around and raced back to the pack. 

As the group rode by, one rider told us they were from the Chapman Ranch down the road. They were all very nice and obviously enjoying their afternoon ride.  

Later, back at the parking lot, we had begun eating sausages and Taco Bell tacos when a car from Washington pulled into the parking lot.  

A man got out and walked over our way.  He told us he was looking for real estate in the area.   

I asked him why the desire to move to Idaho.  He said he and his wife wanted to escape the Communism taking over this country. 

When that comment elicited no comment from us, he decided to go on his way.

Used to be "I came across the bridge" led the responses when I'd ask that very same question about why people wanted to move here. 

Times have changed. 

Eventually, seeing dark clouds brewing to the north and the west, we decided it was time to go.

Willie and Debbie headed home, but Bill and I took a couple of slight detours----one to the Kaniksu Land Trust public access area which ends at the Montana border and one to our friends, Myra and Byron Lewis, who own a gorgeous ranch across from the Avista property.

Once again, the exciting feelings that have arisen from post vaccination times overflowed as Myra and I gave each other a big hug while Bill walked over to visit with Byron. 

Myra and I taught together, and over the years enjoyed many wonderful family memories outside of school. 

So, to see my friend for the first time in more than a year---that topped off the day---the calm part of the day, that is. 

This morning the sun is shining, the power is on, my heater is still working and the greenhouse is somewhat put back together.  

Best of all, the plants survived. 

This morning I'm also filled with gratitude for another memorable afternoon spent with Willie and Debbie.

 I'm also anxious to hear from the road-trip traveler Annie who should have arrived at her friend's house in Minneapolis last night. 

And, of course, we're all anxious and hoping that the city where she is staying remains peaceful this week. 

Happy Monday.   

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Productive Saturday


Twas a day filled with everything from horses to garden nozzles to a treasured telephone visit with a friend. 

I lived through my riding lesson with Monty. The older we get the harder we fall, definitely a truism I do not want to experience.

My first reminder to Monty after climbing aboard Lily in my sisters' arena was to remember that I'm pushing 74. 

I thought that would be enough for my former student and family friend to realize my apprehension for what pain he might inflict upon me with his assignments. 

For some reason, Monty gave me more credit than I was due. When I kept reminding him of little things like "my butt hurts," his only response:  already?

I soon realized that I was gonna have to grin and bear it and do what I was told. 

Actually, I wasn't afraid of falling off from Lily; instead, I was much more concerned with how my body was going to feel once I dismounted and went on with the day.

Here's a tip for oldsters taking their first riding lesson of the year:  Advil. 

I've done this before----pop an Advil BEFORE getting on the horse. 

And, by golly it worked.  The only slight pain I feel this morning is coming from the very area about which I complained yesterday.  

Yes, my butt bones are gently whispering to me they were overworked during that lesson.  

Could be the saddle seat needs to be a bit more comfortable, but if this is the worst reaction I experience from yesterday's ride, I'm quite satisfied.

In between my reminders, Monty did have time to instruct me on some fine points of collection, hand movement and keeping Lily moving in smaller and smaller circles. 

So, the gain was well worth the pain. 

After coming home, Bill and I visited while munching on our lunches.  Then, he went on his way to Mirror Lake with fishing gear, and I, mine. 

My first mission was to go to town and purchase a bottle of fly spray for the horses----not a common mission in mid-April but necessary in this odd year. 

Once they received their relief from persistent flies, I moved on to some yard and garden work, which included setting up the extension cord in the greenhouse for the heater and bringing out an extra length of hose to water the plants which would be moving from the kitchen window to the greenhouse. 

After not finding the nozzle, it was back in the car and off to the Ponderay Garden Center. 

The place on HWY 95 north of Sandpoint, I'm told, is still for sale, as it has been the past couple of years.  

I soon learned, however, that it's as bustling and interesting as ever with beautifully cared-for shrubbery, fruit trees, plants and a whole lot of very colorful funky. 

I was in heaven, walking around admiring the tasteful and strategic placement of unique chairs, tables, pots and wall furnishings. 

I met Kerrie, who's in charge of plants.  Very nice and accommodating lady who showed me the array of nozzles and then reminded me to pick my favorite color. 

Yellow got the nod.

 A few minutes later, the nozzle went into action inside my green house.  

I'm happy to report this morning that the plants made it through their first night outside, so it's looking like the others still inside the house may follow. 

My Fitbit read 23,000-plus steps by the time the work day ceased and I came into the house.  

Later, after seeing a lovely Facebook photo of my dear friend Merriam who has had quite a year living in care facilities, I texted her daughter and asked about Merriam's current status. 

Within minutes, I was punching in a telephone number, and soon we were gleefully catching up.

 Hearing Merriam's voice and her appreciation for the call turned out to be a much-treasured treat of a beautiful day filled with other positive highlights. 

I like Saturdays like that. 

Who knows what will happen today!

Happy Sunday.  

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Saturday Slight


We have entered a new Internet era around here, thanks to Levi and Intermax.

The motive:  faster Internet.  It took a while. 

Levi spent six hours here yesterday rather than the estimated two. 

A glitch in getting "radios" to communicate kept Levi in the problem-solving mode for about four hours and then finally "pay dirt!" 

Bill and I both remarked about how easy it was to have Levi here for all that time.  He has a great personality, and he did his thing while we did ours. 

Finally just before 6 p.m., I picked up my cell phone, found a Facebook post from Annie which included 60-plus beautiful photos from her wanderings around the Black Hills and scrolled through the whole collection within seconds. 

We have not been able to do such things here at the Lovestead, so that was the first indicator that our virtual world was gonna speed up. 

BTW:  I've included a few of those photos below. 

This morning, I'm speeding up because I have a riding lesson.  It will be my first horseback ride of the year.

And, when you're pushing 74, it's good to take that plunge OR NOT in the safety of others. 

I really do mean "plunge" figuratively and am hoping it stays figurative today. 

Monty Collison is giving lessons at my sisters' arena.  I told Laurie to tell Monty to go easy on me cuz I'm 100 percent sure my muscles will let me know later that they're not at all thrilled with this new activity.

In other news, I can't believe we are experiencing August in April.  Yesterday while walking across the north lawn, I saw puffs of dust with every step I took. 

While putting a fresh hay bag in the horse trailer, I saw a series of bee combs all throughout.  Out came the bee spray ON APRIL 16!

When I went to the barnyard to do some grooming on my horses, their eyes were ringed with dozens of flies. 

Out came the fly spray ON APRIL 16. 

We all want spring and sunshine, but we want spring, not late summer and all the irritants and pests that come with it. 

I have a feeling that today's surge into the 70s will bring out more dust, more flies and more bees.  Plus, it's likely the daffodils will bloom all at once and wither right before our eyes. 

Strange year, to say the least. 

We'll deal with it, but a little moisture to go along with the things of spring would be nice. 

Anyway, it's a speedy Saturday, so I'd better get on with the morning chores. 

Wishing everyone a happy and fun day. 

From Annie's road trip in South Dakota where it IS NOT QUITE SPRING:  

Friday, April 16, 2021



John Fuller, farrier, philosopher and friend.

I smiled. I listened.  I pinched myself. I felt grateful. 

Yup, yesterday's interactions with old friends, new friends, a former student, an acquaintance and friend with whom I have entrusted everything on our Lovestead filled my cup full and then some. 

Twas truly a banner day for visiting and reflecting. 

I did mow some lawn, and the two boy doggies, Liam and Foster, put on one of their classic fake-fight frolicking all around the newly mown front yard last night. 

BTW:  Foster sez "Happy Birthday, Raine." 

Still, the highlight of the day came in doses, starting with John Fuller's first visit to give Lily, Lefty and CB their first pedicures for 2021.  

While snipping off and rounding off 12 horse hooves, John provided his usual fascinating dose of philosophy on life. 

John's life is going to change this year cuz he's decided this will be the year that the nippers, rasp and hoof knives will do their last duty, along with his taped up fingers. 

We talked a lot about transitions and how we make decisions associated with major life changes, just as we've done for at least 30 years with horses standing and listening while we talk. 

I still remember John quoting one of his friends back when I was still teaching but looking forward to retirement.  

"You're in final quarter, and you'd better make good use of this time."

That thought has guided me every day since, as have several of John's notions picked up from all the books he reads, the people he meets and the experiences he's had with horses since coming west from Chicago as a young man. 

There were no good bye's yesterday because it ain't over til it's over, and John plans to keep on nipping through the summer----until it gets cold, he said while heading out the driveway in his van. 

After mowing parts of my lawn in worse-than-late-August conditions featuring ever erupting dust clouds from the road and ultra-dry soil, I took a shower, washed my hair and put on all clean clothes.

Weird, to say the least, to encounter such dust in mid-April.

Twas on my drive around the countryside looking for pictures and relaxing, that I found pay dirt.  First, I stopped off and visited my friend Elisabeth, who has stayed at the Lovestead numerous times while Bill and I have gone on trips. 

Unfortunately, she has not had to come for more than a year, but she assured me that if and when we want to take off, she'll be happy to continue watching the critters and the place. 

We just enjoyed some good visiting yesterday.  

Later, I turned on to Evergreen Road and stopped to visit with a couple who were out walking.  

Mike and Maureen have recently settled in the area for their "final quarter."  

Turns out we had something in common besides her being Irish and having traveled to Ireland. 

Maureen spent her career as an English teacher in Massachusetts and in Western Washington.  Meanwhile, Mike worked as an engineer. 

Very nice and fun folks, and we all agreed how fun it is to meet someone along a country road. 

Just on down the road, I met a young lady whom I'd met before---just before her second daughter was born.  

She and her girls were out enjoying the beautiful day. 

Upon arriving home, I received a note from a former student named Randy. 

Since sitting in my senior English class as a student, Randy has spent a career as an educator/wrestling coach in Washington.  

Coach Miller has gone from high schoolers to middle school students.  He teaches science but encourages his eighth graders to hone their writing skills in different disciplines. 

As a part of this strategy, he asked his students to show him some of the work they had done in their English classes.  

Randy sent me some impressive samples of poetry he had read by eighth graders at Royal City Middle School. 

This morning I'm thrilled for Randy, the students and their English teacher to share the work with readers. 

This anecdote about Randy illustrates so much about education----its sharing, its connections among professionals and the lifelong connections between students and teachers. 

I always enjoyed having Randy as a student and knowing him as a family friend.  

To reconnect with him so many years later and to see what he strives to do as an educator makes me proud. 

It's the way education works in this world, and it's the reason we should honor the profession, which serves as a constant flow of poignant and profound life-changing moments for all involved. 

Thanks, Randy, and special appreciation to Jaelyn and Briana for sharing your work. You are ALL winners.
Keep up the good work. 

Oh yes, I also saw a herd of elk on North Center Valley Road but did not visit with them.  

Happy Friday. 

Randy Miller, SHS grad and Royal City, Wash., educator


by Jaelyn

When in the depths of despair

We use your sound

When we put in our earbuds

It’s as if the darkness has been drowned

However on other occasions

You help us cope when we’re down

Like a bit of therapy when needed

You always seem to be around

Whether it’s musiek, mele, musique, or ongaku

Music differs from one to another

Like no two snowflakes are the same

You’re composed differently than others

As beautiful as a field of daisies

But as drastically changing as day to night

You can give us a comforting feeling

Or even give us a great fright

Yes, you’re only a word, I know

But the way you’re used is more than a word

In movies you set the mood

Or even give us something to do when bored

You build up great intensity

Or even make our eyes water

You can also make us eternally grateful

Or very happy, like we found a dollar

You’re used in many ways

You’re medicine to the souls of all who partake

You’re the light at the end of the tunnel

You’re played at events that celebrate.

This poem is my thanks to you

My final words to conclude

You’re a great thing in my life

And often help me out of my mood


by Briana

Sadness you’re just a word but you slice through my soul. 

Tristeza rolls off of the tongue gently and so peacefully

As though the wind was slowly blowing my hair  

Sadness is like a cold breeze on a Winter day. 

Traurigkeit says the Germans hurt more than one thousand punches 

Creating depression and not letting us escape our rooms

Droefheid you’re like fire burning through my body 

You despise seeing a smile on my face

 It's very calm to be sad all alone

With tears rolling down my cheeks reflections fill my head

I see a puddle on my bed after a waterfall appeared from nowhere

Droefheid despairs us from happiness 

when we try to stop our nose from running and our lip from quivering it feels like the end

Bēishāng everyday a wave of sadness 

defeats my body and I don’t know how to make it 


 You increase aches, and pain across my body

 Your pain makes my eyes burst into tears

Dripping, I see each tear as it falls onto the floor

I wish you didn’t exist, sadness makes life less fun, and less full of adventure but you do let us see a whole other world made of

 black, white, and gray. 

Sadness is the worst feeling a human can reach

It can be from something so small like losing your favorite pen to something even more like losing a close loved one

 There is no extent that sadness can’t reach

You hurt me once 

And I said no more but you ignored me

I tried to run away from the pain but it would only make it 


Leaving us in despair


And, can anyone guess why I would I enjoy posting this one?


by Paola

Love? Love is like a amazing feeling

You have inside of you

It creates many types of friendships.

Koreans say sarang to say how loved and lucky they are to have a wonderful person like you.

Love will be hard in some days,some

Days you won't be hearing Amor 

Somedays you will be hearing love 

But love can be like a flower that only 

Opens its petals in spring and dies in the fall.

I´amour only comes when you really need it and you let that love come in you

Love is  just a word but to many people it's more than just a silly word

You make many people smile, feel loved. Without love you won't be as happy. 

Love may break hearts, but to others love heals them.

Love...becomes really strong when you really 

Love someone. To me your just a word but a word 

Can be stronger than you think.

Love will be important sometimes in your life.

Love will break you 

Love will heal you

Love is needed

But overall you will become stronger each day

Just remember that

You have a very special person in your life