Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Winter, Woods and Whatever


These aspen are not in our woods; they are located on a culdesac at the end of Hopkins Road in Selle. 

I had time to take a drive yesterday afternoon, part of which was down Hopkins Road.

Time on my hands.  

It was a nice perk yesterday, especially nice because we had received a dusting of snow.  

A dusting means that we can still walk pretty much anywhere we wish.  

So, I took a small chunk of that rare extra time and went for a walk around the hay field and through the woods. 

It was a peaceful, contemplative experience, as I was in no hurry.  

I thought about how nice it is to walk in our beautiful woods in the winter time---I actually prefer walking to snowshoeing any day.

So, I considered the opportunity a gift and enjoyed every second.
Actually, it would be okay with me if the entire winter precipitation down here in the valley were limited to a dusting.

If that were the case, we could enjoy the beauty which snowflakes add to the aspects of nature, and we would not have to work up a sweat to do so.

I'm sure we'll not be so lucky.  

Overall, it was a great day of laid-back, not-so-urgent projects.  Yes, even more oak leaves were hauled off to the woods, and I changed the snaffle bit in CB's head stall.  

On Sunday when Barbara had trouble, we figured that a thinner bit would go into CB's mouth with a little more ease.

So, the little projects made my day. 

Annie sent me a text last evening confirming that she will not be coming for Thanksgiving.  That solidifies the fact that Bill and I will spend the day alone, as will Barbara and Laurie, Willie and Debbie and Annie.

Again, we have no wool, and we don't go "B-a-a-a-a," as is so often implied by the keyboard army of mask and Covid naysayers. 

We've been accustomed throughout our lives to read, to listen to those in the trenches, to study and to weigh information and to thoroughly check out the credibility of the sources when making our major decisions.

Some these days may find that age-old approach enlightning, but it works most of the time.  

In this case, we tend to believe that to have family from different households---all of whom travel different daily paths---hanging out together for a Thanksgiving feast is probably not wise. 

As much as we love our family members, we know they love us, and we'll all take care of each other by staying away from each other for Thanksgiving.

It ain't easy.  It's downright sad and painfully heart-breaking but we WILL listen to the experts and heed their advice. 

Maybe Christmas will be different, and we'll all still be here---we hope and pray. 

My brother posted this link on his Facebook page yesterday.  

With no preaching, I'll just say it's well worth the read. Who knows?  Its brutally honest message may just save a life or two. 

Since I was talking about the woods earlier, it seems appropriate to share my friend Connie's blog post this morning. 

For those unfamiliar, Connie lives on a road near Hope, Idaho, east of Sandpoint.  

A snowstorm slowed the efforts to complete a logging job on their place, but the melt over the past several days allowed the crew to load up and haul off. 

Some fun photos and a video. 


Monday, November 23, 2020

Neighborhood Good Stuff


It was a day of reconnecting, a day of learning, a day of late fall sunshine, it was a day to meet lucky little Baller and twas a day of a whole lot of other fun stuff. 

Yesterday was just a good day.

When Terra DROVE her dad's jeep into the driveway, I'm pretty sure their arrival marked the first time I had seen her since July. 

Last time I saw my young friend from the neighborhood, she was was taking driver's training while working with Lily for a horse show. 

Now, a few months later, she, at 14, almost 15, has permission to drive as long as an adult accompanies her in the car. She'll be able to drive alone in early 2021. 

Terra came over yesterday to "play with horses." 

 Once I knew she was coming for sure, I asked my sisters to come along too and show Terra some of the fine points of tacking up and of longe-line training. 

After working with CB this fall, my sister Barbara bought me a surcingle and some side reins to continue CB's ground training. 

With a segment of winter and then a whole lot of yard work, I had not yet had time to try them out. 

So, with a plan in mind, I asked my sisters to come over and make sure that the equipment was adjusted to fit CB's needs and, of course, to give Terra some pointers from experts. 

All went very well, except that CB likes to make it a bit difficult where the bit is concerned.  Barbara finally took him into a box stall where he could not back up, where he finally opened his mouth and accepted the bit. 

Then, we all headed to the round pen where both sisters shared an abundance of helpful pointers about what to do when that horse goes round and round in circles.  

There's a whole lot more going on than circles---discipline, responding to cues and muscle building exercises. 

With CB's previous training and a lovely sunny day, it was a total pleasure and a beautiful site watching him perform.

Eventually, Barbara turned the whip and the longe line over to Terra, so she could get the feel and learn the emphasis needed to keep CB performing smoothly.

Both Terra and I learned a lot in those few minutes with my sisters' well-honed guidance. 

Then, they headed on their way and Terra finished saddling Lefty for a short ride around the place. 

Herd bound-itis with horses snorting from the pasture and Lefty thinking he needed to respond meant it wasn't the best of rides, but still she enjoyed herself.

During this time, Terra's older sister Boston rolled into the driveway and, holding her brand new puppy named Baller, joined us. 

Baller's story may not have appeared on here had Boston not seen movement inside a plastic bag in the ditch this past week. 

When Boston looked to see what was inside, she found the adorable little pup with its siblings---both dead. 

A sad and desperate interlude in the life of such innocence.  

Lucky for Baller that whoever dumped the puppies picked a place where love for animals supersedes just about any aspect of life. 

Boston took the little pup to a vet to see that she was okay, and since that day has given her the best tender loving care ever. 

As Boston says, put the puppies in a box someplace where someone will help out----not a plastic bag in a ditch.

Baller is as cute as cute can be, and she is fortunate to be living in the best place ever for virtually any kind of animal.  BTW:  she is so named because Boston plays basketball at Sandpoint High. 

And, while Boston and Terra and their dad are loving and caring for all the animals at their little farm down the road, their mom is treating Covid patients in El Paso. 

As far as I'm concerned, there's no better definition for the word "noble." 

Bill and I enjoy our relationship with this family so much, especially cuz we've watched those little girls grow up from the time they came by several years ago to stand on the fence and hand over chunks of apples to our horses. 

It's a truly a joy as well as gratifying, to watch the kids in the neighborhood grow up into such interesting and amazing young adults. 

And, to have my sisters, whom I can remember as little girls loving their horses and pets, come over yesterday and generously share some of the knowledge they've acquired over decades of working with horses---it doesn't get any better than that. 

Truly good stuff.  

And, the "animal farms" here in the neighborhood are better off because of such loving, caring efforts.

Happy Monday.   

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Lovin' the Weekend

I LOVE this weekend!

Lots to love in spite of all the turmoil, politically and pandemically. 

I don't love any of that, and I wish it would ALL go away.  

Since it won't, one must dig down deep at times to accentuate the positive. 

There has been plenty this weekend, almost all outside.

I figured out a formula for getting Kiwi to gobble up her antibiotics and pain pills.

That was good, and Kiwi is doing very, very well. 

She even spent part of her morning out supervising while Bill picked up brush and threw it into a healthy bonfire. 

She had a nice but short visit with Willie and Debbie who came by with a block of Tillamook cheese from Costco. 

Did we need anything, Debbie had texted.  We always need cheese.  After all, when dogs and peeps alike devour their share pretty much every day, cheese is a necessary staple around this house.

And, it's nice to stay ahead of the game. 

While Bill, the woodsman did what woodsmen love to do, I the yard lady did what I love to do.  

Though I'll never get ahead of the game on those pesky and persistent oak leaves, pretty much all the other varieties have fallen and have met their destiny, either under the lawnmower or with a ride in the cart. 

While Kiwi was supervising Bill, Liam did the same for me. As Bill says, he likes being a companion dog.  He also takes quick breaks to run his personal perimeters and see that the horses are behaving.

As for Foster, his main job is in the barn, keeping track of Sunny, and when he's had enough of that, the little guy is perfectly happy staying in the house, sitting on top of the couch and surveying outdoor action from his favorite window. 

Today we have another beauty ahead.  There will be a little horsing around and some other outdoor odds and ends. 

Plus, I'm going to stop by briefly to hand over a gift to my friend and blog editor Helen who's celebrating a birthday. 

When I talk about loving the weekend, I must tell you that I LOVE my friendship with Helen. 

Yesterday, we were laughing so hard over the phone that I finally had to bring the "whoopfest" to a stop. My throat was starting to hurt from too many hearty giggles. 

Without getting into too much detail, I'll first say that Helen, who's as sharp as they come, has a very curious mind.  

When something piques her interest, she acts upon it, unlike any other person I've ever known.

Again, without too much detail, Helen's research usually ends up on spread sheets. 

In yesterday's conversation, the topic included a lady with six sons who was a widow for 47 years.  Helen has found information on one son and has applied it to the spreadsheet. 

With five more sons to go, she may use up several spreadsheets. 

The best part of the conversation came when she noted that some of her research even brought my mother into the picture.  

Apparently, my mother attended a function which involved some relative in this rather extensive family.

I treasure my friendship with Helen.  I think we've often helped each other get through some dicy moments of life, and I'm sure that will continue.

The best part always is the laughter.  I guess you could say that some of our telephone conversations could be called "Saturday Night Live on Steroids."

And, that's mighty good thing these days.

So, Happy Birthday, Helen.  As I always say, "Your friendship is a gift." 

And, the best part for Helen:  I think her many friends would say the same.   

Helen of Spreadsheet Newton


In other news, the first thing I saw this morning when I began my surfing was this town which requires appendix-less residents. 

So, of course, that piqued my interest AND no spreadsheet was needed. 

I have a feeling that during the Pandemic there will be no population explosion due to the minimizing of "elective surgeries." 

For all of us oldsters, this day in November always takes us back to the moment we learned that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.

For me:  junior year, Sandpoint High School.  As a first-year journalism student, I was editor of the "Knothole," a mimeographed newspaper put out by the newbies looking forward to serving on the Cedar Post staff.

Barb Kitt, the assistant editor, and I had just begun putting one of the blue master sheets on the mimeograph machine in Imogene Davis's business classroom.

Imogene left the room briefly and then walked back, stood in front of the class and announced that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. 

I don't even know what happened to that master copy at the machine.  I just know the tears came flowing.  In total distress, Barb and I walked back through the hallways to our journalism room where Bob Hamilton was our teacher. 

Soon after we arrived an announcement came that the President had died school would be dismissed. Somehow I eventually ended up at St. Joseph's Catholic Church to say a prayer and then went home.

My brother Jim was just a month old.  We, like so many other Americans, spent the next week glued to our black and white television sets. 

It was a sad, sad time, and thinking about it now, 57 years later, rekindles the sadness.  Almost too much when you consider the times we are living in now. 

BUT the sun is shining and the great outdoors awaits, and we can always give thanks for our outdoor beauty, our friends, our family and all that we love and all that helps us press on. 

Happy Sunday. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Saturday Slight


Disclaimer:  There's a slightly naughty graphic at the bottom of today's post.

  The analogy, however, is spot-on and oh so timely.

 So proceed through today's post at your own risk.

What an unpredictable but fulfilling day yesterday turned out to be!

I had fully expected to spend the day leisurely working on the final touches of my never-ending leaf pick-up project. Twas also online grocery pick-up day.

Bill planned to drive to Bonners Ferry for the final touches of his forestry project. 

Then, when I walked into the garage and reached up to get our 15.5 year-old Kiwi a doggie biscuit, I noticed she was really favoring her front leg.

Upon closer inspection, I saw that her paw was bleeding near the claws, so I led her outside where I could see better.  

She left a trail of blood on the cement, and by the time I was able to bend over for a closer look in the outdoor light, I could see blood oozing profusing.

 Then, I saw something worse:  a partially dislocated bloody claw pointing off toward Nellie's.  It had obviously caught on something and had been yanked from its "socket" as Kiwi pulled away. 

I did not even want to imagine how painful this must be.  I summoned Bill and then began calling vet hospitals.  

Ours was packed to the brim, so they suggested some others.  Another was also on overload, but when I called North Idaho Animal Hospital, the nice receptionist, even after seeing we were not regular customers said she would talk to her team.

She soon returned and said we could bring Kiwi in for an emergency appointment. 

When I went back outside with a bucket of warm water to clean Kiwi's paw, I saw that the dislocated claw had disappeared, and the bleeding was subsiding. 

Bill cancelled his plans, loaded up Kiwi in the back on some towels and we headed to town.

Long story short, Kiwi received some minor surgery with Dr. Morgan to cut back her exposed "quick" so it would be safe from bumping into to things while the claw grows back. 

Bill and I met at the hospital later in the afternoon. Only one of us was allowed inside because of Covid, but the time spent there was so positive.  I met Stephanie, Kiwi's vet tech who just moved to the area this year.  

Wonderful and fun lady who told me Kiwi had received total attention throughout the afternoon AND I did hear from everyone on the phone and at the hospital how much they loved our beloved Border Collie. 

Pretty cool for an old gal.  Of course, we already know how special she is, and we're looking forward to her healing and lots more trips with Bill down the lane to help with his wood projects. 

I can't say enough about how appreciative we are that the hospital took us in and how phenomenal our beloved dog's care was. 

Thank you, North Idaho Animal Hospital. 

In between trips to the hospital, I also picked up my groceries at Yokes where a meeting had been arranged with a former student whom I had not seen for about 35 years. 

Cindy O'Donnell had made arrangement with me to look at one of her writing projects. I told her I don't usually take on such projects, but because I had remembered her as a pure and enthusiastic learner, I would say yes. 

Cindy used to live in our old neighborhood near Great Northern Road, and we met when she was a student in my senior English class. 

She married a local woodsworker, Pat O'Donnell, who has a relative or two around the area.  A bit of an understatement!

Cindy and Pat have been living in a 5th-wheeler in Northern California where Pat has been working as a sawyer for the State of California for the past few years.

That was one of the best parking-lot conversations I've had in years.  We caught up on a range of levels in our personal lives and by the end of the day, Cindy became one of Annie's Facebook friends.  

Why? You may ask.  

Well, when someone is an avid geocacher AND she wears flipflops 12 months out of year, she and Annie need to meet!

Great visit and reconnection, Cindy.  Looking forward to more when you return for good. 

 And, speaking of O'Donnell's, our longtime family friend John O'Donnell posted this local Sandpoint High Bulldogs team photo from 1961-62 on Facebook yesterday. 

Since both of my older brothers are in the photo and SO many other names whom we Sandpointers know, it seemed appropriate. 

Hope the locals have fun picking out familiar faces and local legendary coaches. 

In the "there's actually a Pandemic Plus" department, a great story about making lemonade out of lemons with sports and academics below.  

Grandma's and Grandpa's around the world, get ready to watch!

The story above is so cool, and it offers a wonderful and positive distraction for the months ahead. 

No news value in the photo above.  It's just our Sunny out and about in the front yard.  

Since she lives in the barn, it was unusual the other day to see her coming out to join me while I picked up leaves. 


And now for the aforementioned "slightly naughty" graphic with a very effective message sent to me by someone treating people who did not understand the concept. 

Happy Saturday. Stay safe.  

No need to practice peeing on others to see if it works.  

Just wear a mask! 

Friday, November 20, 2020

For "Goodness" Sakes!


My impish and pretty CB was "feelin' good in the neighborhood" yesterday.  

I grabbed a camera, and, though the photos are a bit grainy, they still show that CB knows how to perform. 

And, when he does, it's a sight to behold. As usual, his buddies could have cared less. 

Hope you enjoy his antics.


The front-page Daily Bee article below provides a "for goodness sake" inspiration. 

I also just learned from Debbie that the food bank is giving away turkeys to needy families today and next week. 

The need will be ongoing and more urgent than ever before, as you'll see by reading the story.  

So, do donate however you can.  

That's our Debbie, director of the Bonner Community Food Bank.

In Covid news, locally, yesterday, the Panhandle Health Board passed a mask mandate for the northern counties of Idaho.

Two board members, both from Bonner County, voted against the mandate, while one from Boundary County abstained. 

Social media forums of resistance almost immediately lit up with the usual bravado-filled resistance. 

It's no understatement to say that Pandemic weariness is getting wearier by the day in countless ways all across the globe, but I'm sure few of those frustrations don't come close to the weariness felt by medical providers trying to save lives worldwide, including Bonner County.  

Just sayin'. 

I saw the eye-opening graphic below in this morning's New York Times news summary.

In the Times morning review, I also saw this interesting and creative idea for the upcoming days of gratitude. 

We still can be thankful, can't we?

from this morning's New York Times:  Six word stories

At a Thanksgiving dinner more than a decade ago, a magazine editor named Larry Smith made a suggestion to his relatives seated at the table: They should each tell a story about themselves — in only six words. It was a twist on a challenge that somebody apparently once issued to Ernest Hemingway.

Smith’s family had fun with the idea that night, and he soon turned it into a best-selling book series.  More recently, he wrote a Times Op-Ed, "The Pandemic in Six-Word Memoirs." 

For Thanksgiving, I want to invite the readers of this newsletter to do a version of the exercise. In this year of pandemic, politics and so much else, tell us what makes you grateful, in just six words.

“The constraint of the six-word form helps us get to the essence of what matters most,” Smith says, “and I can’t think of a time when expressing gratitude has been more important.”

He advises you to go in any direction you want: “You can express gratitude for life’s big things (‘Cancer-free after five long years’) or seasonal joys (‘Daughter now makes family Thanksgiving feast’). Maybe you’re thankful for current events (‘Vaccines are coming — thank you, science!’) or a longer life journey (‘We all lived through son’s teens’).”

Happy Friday.  Wear your mask.  Stay positive. 

And, for goodness sake, help wherever and however you can.