Wednesday, November 13, 2019

'Snow Fun . . . Not!

While cutting extra-growth limbs from the quince bush, I took a break and went inside the house.

My friend Ann had called and left a message, so I sat down and called her back.

During our conversation, I looked out the living room window and saw tiny bits of snow in the air.  

"It's snowing here," I said,"but it's just spitting."

By the time our conversation ended and I returned to my project, many of the limbs already cut and lying on the ground were covered with snow.

Figuring I could get the job done because certainly this was just a squall, I went back to snipping off limbs covered with dead leaves.

Suddenly, the spitting from the sky turned into full-fledged packing snow, the kind perfect for building snow men.

Sorry, I'm not ready to build a snow man.  Probably never will be again in this lifetime.

The squall was turning into a message of hope for every school kid in Bonner County----all probably stealing looks out the window and hoping this would get bad enough for school to be dismissed.

When it comes to snow, dramatically different perspectives abound. 

By the time I finished cutting all the growth from the bush and loaded it into the cart, my jacket, hat and gloves were sopping wet. 

I chuckled cynically while passing the rake by the door, now coated with snow. 

Gonna have to bring those snow shovels over to the house, I thought, AFTER I throw my coat and gloves in the dryer and get a dry coat. 

My friend Trish posted that she looked out the window and for the ???? time, saw the snow said she was not ready. 

Yes, it may be mid-November, but I think a lot of us are never ready for snow when it decides to come. 

Our travel trailer is still sitting outside.  With no plow yet on the tractor and the snow deposit eventually amounting to more than two inches of, yes, snowman snow, I drove the tractor up and down the lane and driveway to pack down some trails.  

It worked, allowing me to walk back and forth with relative ease and arms loaded with firewood.

Yesterday WAS the day the chimney sweep was supposed to come and clean the chimney.  Let's hope the roof gets safe enough for him to come another day. 

The snowfall lasted for several hours.  Eventually, I found a way to appreciate it by taking a walk in the woods.  

Unlike the day before when I had seen neighborhood deer relaxing on dry ground just down the road, I only saw tracks in the snow where those still hanging around had passed through. 

I'm sure they'll be on their way to winter quarters fairly soon. 

And, so, this morning the temperature has risen a bit and snow is rolling off the roof.  Let's hope it all goes so the chimney sweep can do his job. 

Admittedly, it is pretty but probably much prettier to those who do not have to add several dimensions to the daily workload----- shoveling before opening and closing gates, for example. 

Yup, like my friend Trish, I'm never ready for winter to start, but that's life, and we'll deal with it. 

Gonna go watch some political theater critiquing the reality show we've been watching the past three years. 

I'm sure that will take my mind off the snow. 

Happy Wednesday. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Sleep! Thank you, Seattle

Five twenty!

I looked again.

My eyes were not deceiving me. 

Yes, the clock said 5:20 a.m.

I scrambled quickly, knowing dogs had been waiting for their cheese, including Kiwi, her meds.  Festus was probably starving in his domain. 

Mom was running an hour late this morning.  At least, it wasn't yet time to feed the horses.

For a while, I couldn't figure out why I had slept so soundly.  Then, as my brain came to life, I remembered the last moments of my Monday. 

It was Seattle's fault. 

Two days of watching Seattle teams win big games had taken its toll.

And, almost seconds after Russell Wilson had set up that amazing last second win for the Seahawks over the undefeated '49'ers, I drifted off into an uninterrupted slumber, lasting an hour longer than usual. 

No sleepless in Sandpoint after last night's exciting nail biter. 

Two days in a row stress associated with the home team had caused my brain, mind and body to shut down.  

It must have needed a break, for sure. 

I don't know if the dogs or cats really care why their breakfast was late this morning, but I do know that it would be fun to live in Seattle this week. 

After all, today, two home teams will be celebrating epic victories, and for a while, I'm sure everyone in Seattle will claim Sounder and Seahawk fan status. 

Quite a pair of games, which have no doubt exhausted a lot of bodies and minds of diehards. 

Oh, so sweet, though. 

I've admired Russell Wilson since he first started as Seattle's quarterback----talented, committed athlete and wonderful role model. 

Last night the color commentators mentioned several times how Russell Wilson uses visualization while approaching each upcoming game.  In last night's case, he had visualized a "down-to-the-wire" ending.  

This man appears to be not only a talented athlete but also a prophet because I don't know how any contest could get any more down-to-the-wire than last night's overtime win. 

At one point, feeling the extreme tension, I said to Bill, "This reminds me of some of those nail biter ZAGS games." 

Usually football can get exciting but it doesn't have that kind of effect on me.  

Happily, twas a perfect ending signaling a near perfect day today in Seattle when the Sounders celebration probably spills over into a Seahawk celebration. 

I saw the following tweet this morning, indicating that there was a bit of FANdamonium in Seattle on Sunday as the Sounders won the MLS Cup in another exciting and loud contest.  

The Seattle Sounders scored three goals in their win over Toronto in the MLS Cup championship and fans were so excited, their celebrations registered on earthquake-sensing equipment.

Congratulations, Seattle.  

I doubt that two days of sporting events like what we've witnessed with Seattle teams on Sunday and Monday can ever repeat themselves again. 

So today's celebration will probably be epic in itself, maybe even registering some significant decibels on the earthquake sensors.   

With luck, maybe tomorrow I'll be able to once again get up on time for my dogs and cats.

But wait!

There's a Gonzaga men's game tonight. 

Please, no nail biter trifecta!  

A good game, with a win, of course, will be okay for Mom, thus sayeth Liam, Foster, Kiwi and Festus.  

GO, ZAGS vs. those North Dakota Fighting Hawks. 

6 p.m. PST on Channel 6/ ROOT. 


Finally, in the "Morning Has Broken" department, my morning broke at the usual 4:15 time yesterday.

The sky, especially over Taylor's field was exquisitely stunning as I walked our dirt road after early-morning chores. 

Hope you enjoy today's sample of what Mother Nature sometimes creates for us, especially when we arise and head outside during the break of day. 

Happy Tuesday. 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Sunday This and That

Well, let's just say sports and a  BIG soccer match in Seattle are dominating the day today for our family members. 

Our kids are there,  ready to take in the excitement of having the home team host the big match today between the Seattle Sounders and the Toronto Reds. 

Seattle, of course, is hoping to win the Major League Soccer cup.  And, of course, if that happens our kids and thousands of other Sounders fans will be over the top. 

Good luck, Sounders. 

Annie, Willie and Debbie are ready to join 69,997 other Sounders fans for the big game today at noon. 

Noon PST on ABC

Bill, whose LSU Tigers beat Alabama yesterday,  has a busy Sunday ahead, which will include a fun sporting event in Spokane. 

As I type, he's putting the final touches on his stand-in preaching today at First Presbyterian Church. 

With Pastor Andy gone this weekend, Bill is subbing as the minister, and the congregation is in for a treat. 

It's going to be a service with an Irish theme. Pastor Bill will be using photos and materials he took or picked up in various places on our Irish trip last month. 

One item came from the Aran Island of Inismore, while another features a church in Northern Ireland.  

Songs today include one of my favorites "Be Now Thy Vision" and another to the tune of "Morning Has Broken."  

Once the service has finished, Bill will take the "luck of the Irish" with him to Spokane where he'll watch the Lady ZAGS host Cal State Bakersfield. 

In the meantime, I'll be finishing up my chores/responsibilities in time to turn on the TV and watch the Sounders. 

Lots of good sporting events, including tomorrow's big game between the Seahawks and the unbeaten '49'ers and then the ZAGS again on Tuesday night. 

A full diet of fun stuff, indeed, but this weekend also has a somber theme and reminders of military sacrifices which have helped ensure our freedoms. 

This morning's local paper includes a piece about Vietnam experiences, written by my friend and fellow journalist Susan Drinkard.  

The story includes some poignant memories shared by local Vietnam veterans.  In additon, there's an insert reminding us of the ultimate sacrifices made during the war by our local soldiers.  

One of those soldiers, Glen Shropshire, was my classmate and good friend.  Just last night I was telling someone about Glen and his good looks, his engaging personality and his phenomenal writing ability. 

Glen wrote our senior class prophecy for the Cedar Post in 1965. I still have a copy of that paper, and, like everyone who knew Glen, I still miss him.

Another soldier who died in Vietnam grew up less than half a mile up the road from where we now live.  Jim Lockwood's dad was my bus driver.  He graduated in 1964 with my brother Kevin.  

I did not know Bill Hunt, but I had his son Wayne as a student at Sandpoint High School, and I know several other family members----all fine people.  

So, as we approach Veterans' Day tomorrow, I'll leave you with the reminders and a thanks to Susan for providing them for us in this morning's paper. 

And, thanks to all who are serving or who have served. 

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Saturday Slight

In my wanderings yesterday, I stopped for a while at the Bonner County Community Food Bank, where our daughter-in-law Debbie serves as director. 

I've visited with Debbie at the facility lots of times but never knew until yesterday that the folks on the food bank staff and their volunteers have assembled a museum of sorts. 

Over the years, individuals have brought in unique samples of canned food and other related products to add to the pleasantly quirky collection. 

Yesterday's discovery for me involved just a cursory look and a few photos.  I am determined to go back some day and really study this fascinating display of items.  

During my other travels yesterday, I picked up some copies of the "hot-off-the-press" winter edition of Sandpoint Magazine.  

Even though my time spent with the magazine involves another cursory look, I can say that, as usual, the publication is loaded with stories and wonderful photography. 

As always, I'm proud to be associated with the magazine as writer of the "Natives and Newcomers" feature. 

Once again, the four individuals chosen for this issue provided a nice and fun representation of the folks that make our community tick. 

Plus, they each have interesting backgrounds and opinions. 

You can read that feature and the entire magazine by clicking on the link below.  Once there, you can click for a full-screen view of the contents.  

Great job, Trish and staff!

Hope you enjoy. 

For the cat lovers among us---these two images can be seen at Panhandle Animal Shelter in Ponderay.  

It's always fun to visit the shelter not only for the potential pet kitties or doggies but also to see the delighted expressions of those who come to visit or to adopt. 

The shelter also has a program where volunteers take young kittens home and foster them until they're ready to go to their permanent homes. 

Yesterday, one of those volunteers had come to pick up her kittens.  When I saw her getting into her car, she was like a kid in a candy store----totally delighted with her new batch ready for  nurturing. 

It's nice to know about these unseen heroes who give of their time and their love so that the little kitties get off to a good start. 

Do you see that Gonzaga logo on this gentleman's jacket?  Well, to put it mildly, he's a devoted ZAGS fan. 

Twas fun to catch two of my favorite people side by side yesterday:  that would be Pat West and my daughter-in-law Debbie Love.

And, yes, the undefeated, 8th-ranked ZAGS play tonight, tipping off at 5 p.m. (according to the Spokesman-Review)  against the Arkansas Pine-Bluff Golden Lions.

KHQ-TV, channel 6.

GO, ZAGS!!! 

Happy Saturday. 


Friday, November 08, 2019

Lovin' November

I don't know when these spectacular November days are going to end, but I do know they're good for the soul and especially good for completing outdoor pre-winter projects.

Yesterday I could finally see a significant light at the end of the tunnel on my annual leaf pickup.  

Most of the tight spots around borders and tree roots, where blowing leaves come to a halt and pile up, got a thorough raking.

It was satisfaction plus because, as I look upward at our deciduous trees, most of their leaves have fallen from the limbs.  

So, that meant my raking job yesterday would not be much in vain.

Granted the poplars and oak trees aren't gonna ever make it easy on a leaf raker.  

They'll let go of their annual produce incrementally---just enough to keep a worker busy but holding back just enough to ensure that leaf raking and pick-up lasts over a longer period of time. 

Knowing that most of the other leaves have fallen and gone to their resting places, I can almost thumb my nose at the poplars and their oak friend. 

Speaking of thumbs, while raking yesterday near the bird feeders, I could almost put my thumb on little birds flitting from above my head and making quick landings to grab a sunflower seed.

They didn't seem to mind that I was standing quietly and still just a foot away from their landing pad. 

So, of course, I took their pictures, which they didn't seem to mind either. 

I love moments like those when the level of trust and respect between living beings come together. 

Seems like a lesson there that more of us humans could follow----demonstrate respect and others will trust you. 

Eventually as the afternoon wore on and sensing the possibilities that, if I left for an hour, I could still finish the leaf project before chore time, I left the cart, picker and rake, put the dogs in the house and took off with my camera.

It was a welcome hour after having been on my feet most of the day. Once in the car, I could just sit back, relax, enjoy the views and stop occasionally to capture them.

Yesterday's quick trip took me around the Sunnyside Loop from west to east.  Folks were out walking their dogs.  Others were engaged in their own leaf pickup operations.

As I proceeded around the loop, I realized that a couple in a car ahead of me were on a mission similar to mine.  

See a gorgeous view of the lake, stop, get out take a photo or two and move on. 

It was definitely one of those "get-out-and-enjoy" kind of days.  I also saw a man and two boys along the shoreline, equipped with their fishing poles and a bucket.  

While rounding the curve at Hawkins Point, I looked up and saw a mare and foal trotting the fence line at a home above the road. 

I knew this Arabian mare and foal.  

Last time I saw the pair, they were over at my neighbor Billie Jean's Forest Siding home.  The baby was just a day old. 

She has certainly grown into a plump and cute filly. 

After enjoying her little running exhibitions along the hillside, I moved on and spent some time watching a large blend of swans, the ducks, geese and the herons sharing the slightly watery mud flats.

It was hard to tell whether groups thought of themselves as exclusive species or if they had been excluded from the group.  

Interesting site.

With my hour away from the yard, the rake and the leaves quickly winding down, I moved on around the loop where I was  amazed with the large timber sale turned development in an area that had once been filled with thick groves of trees with lovely seemingly landscaped meadows. 

I wondered as I drove on how many houses would dot those hillsides in the next few years. 

I'm sure people out here in Selle have wondered the same thing over the years as the valley what were once wide-open hay fields or pastures have turned into little farmettes.

So far so good in our little Heaven, but, I've learned over the years that change does happen. 

Anyway, my little spot with the big yard here in Selle is looking better and better each day as we approach the winter months. 

And, I really appreciate the opportunity Mother Nature has afforded me to get the jobs done. 

Happy Friday.  Looking like another lovely November day.