An accounting of some ventures in the life of grandma and grandpa for the kids, grandkids, friends and those who drop by for a visit.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Garden almost done

Haha!!! Almost done? A garden is never done. Kind of like life. Kind of fun to live life in one year and start over every spring. For tomatoes I planted three Early Girls, two Romas, one Better Boy, two grape tomatoes, and plan to buy a Beefsteak for a large slicer tomato. Everything is planted, watered and there is weed barrier fabric between every row. Now I am tired, but it is a good tired. Oh, yeah, and the Mariners won today.

Oh, yeah, a trick I learned from Territorial Seed. I planted a pretty red flower (seeds) between the hills of squash. The flowers are suppose to attract honey bees (I hope some are still alive) to polinate the squash blossoms and increase the yield. I also have a couple of varieties of sun flowers to plant at the end of the garden to help attract bees and make the garden look nice.

Visited with D,H, and L yesterday. Had lunch and then had dinner at H's folks. Had not seen H's mom and dad since P went into the hospital for the last operation. I was uneasy visiting with him because he is not quite his old self. He is doing pretty well, but I just did not know what to say. I did not want to embarass him or make H unhappy by asking him something that he could not recall and possibly upset him. I don't know if that would bother him or not. Mostly I just stayed out of the way, or tried to make polite conversation. But, L and I were discussing new research in Germany about the likelihood that the cause of the honey bee die off around the world is due to cell phone usage and P was knowledgeable of that research. To my knowledge that research has not been widely publicized. I heard about it on (where else?), but, NPR. I was surprised and impressed that he was up on that rather obscure news item. P and L are walking every day and she is trying to make nutritious and fattening meals for P so that he can gain some weight back. Unfortunately, L is eating those meals, too, but I could not tell that L had put any weight on. She is looking about the same, but much more tired and, frankly, older. But, why wouldn't she? This has been both a physical and emotional burder for her.

Michael, why do you go to bed?

Ans.--Because the bed won't come to you????

Michael, why did the computer go to the doctor?

Ans.--It had a virus.

Michael, what do you take before every meal?

Ans.--A seat, silly!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

"Gardening" or "an old man's excuse to play in the dirt!"

I have read and listened to numerous accounts of my grandsons playing in the dirt, mud, and water. Sometimes all three at once. Papa Coyote is thinking these boys are having way too much fun. How can I have fun, too. Ahhh, it is very socially acceptable for old men, women too, (but Papa Coyote's wife is not into having fun in the dirt) to garden or have fun playing in the dirt.

Hooray, the Territorial Seeds order arrived in a timely fashion. The garden is now half planted. Many strips of weed barrier have been laid between rows. Papa Coyote is thinking of trading hours of weeding and cultivating for hours of fishing this summer. Gramma is dragging me off to Boise today (Saturday)["I have about 3 and one-half hours (translated to I have about six hours) of stuff to do in Boise. Do you want to call Dave and offer to help him with his yard work or take a book along to read while I shop"], but I am holding out hope that I can complete the planting of the garden on Sunday and can start watering it so that the seeds will finally germinate. With our predicted 80 degree temperatures for the weekend, the garden could be off to a good start if everything was planted and watered.


PK and I went fishing at Paddock Reservoir yesterday, Friday. PK, at the age of seventy, has caught many large trout (really large trout), large bass, bone fish, salmon, and steelhead on flies. I had talked him into trying Paddock (After I had talked him into this trip and we had set a date, he "sneaked off" to Paddock with two other guys and fished the lake last Tuesday. On a cold, cloudy day they had very little luck and PK only went again because he had agreed to our trip.) after hearing good reports from two of my fellow teachers who had fished the reservoir two weeks ago. As we caught bass and bluegills (really small 3"-6"), I could not help thinking of the big fish PK has caught in his life time. He was a good sport and we both enjoyed the fast action. We probably each caught and released a hundred or more fish.

This countryside is all green at the moment. The sun was about to retire for the day leaving the landscape covered by every imaginable shades of green. Miles and miles of uninterrupted vistas was a fitting end to an enjoyable afternoon of fishing. As we drove out we passed two cowboys riding toward us on the road. They looked very much like the cowboys one imagines driving the cows north on the Chisholm Trail in 1860. Couldn't help thinking of a motto Idaho Dept. of Tourism once used a few decades ago (before Micron's rise to prominence)---"Idaho is what the nation use to be."

I have set up the fly tying vice and am in the process of creating the workspace (banished to the front porch) needed to tie some flies. Eyesight is the major concern, so am anxious to see if I can see well enough to tie the flies that I hope too.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The power of the group

This past autumn I joined the Indian Head Fly Fisherman Club. It is a group of men and several women of Southwest Idaho who share an interest in fishing with flies, tying flies, and promoting a clean environment conducive to good trout fishing. The club is very active and composed of genial people. I even was invited to give a program on fishing the high mountain lakes of Idaho. Papa Coyote and children have been to some of those lakes. Anyway, to the theme of this entry.

On St. Patrick's Day, the 22 club members were known to be afloat of Malheur Reservoir on a day that reached into the mid-70's. (We have not seen those temperatures since) We caught and released over 400 trout. Even Papa Coyote managed to land 20 trout with two hitting 19 inches. These fish are very healthy, strong, and fight like G getting his diaper changed.

Six of the club members went back to the reservoir yesterday and were greeted by a small front moving in that seemed to really discourage piscetorial cooperation. I fished for a few hours without a bite and with the winds causing larger, and larger whitecaps, I headed for shore. (I am out on the lake in my kick boat) On the way I passed fellow club member, J.G. who said he had landed eleven fish. (He is retired and moved from Florida saying he had his fill of hurricanes and alligators. Can you imagine a retiree moving north from Florida? This guy is heyoke! He loves Idaho and he stays for the winter. Of course, we don't have winter any more. I hope he is telling his friends in Florida what a horrible time he is having) WOW! Papa Coyote was wondering if this guy might be more coyote than I had imagined any other person could be. Then he said he brought six others to the net and lost them. Hmmm! I am thinking, Hmmm! then he said the largest was 19 inches. Hmmmmmmmm! Then he offered to me the fly he was using(he had tied several the night before). It took me over an hour to cover the hundred yards to shore because I had ten bites and landed four fish. Two were rather nice 15 inchers that each took a good five minutes to land. If I had not been fishing with a group, I would have been skunked and Papa Coyote doesn't like skunk or skunked. J.G. is very coyote in the ways of catching fish. I like this fellow coyote a lot.

J.G., P,K, myself and maybe a few other club members are going to fish Paddock Reservoir after I get out of school on Wednesday. We have reports that the steelhead smolts that were planted last spring are now 19 inches and are being caught. Bass, up to 17", are being caught. And, surely, there must be crappie to be caught. We are hoping for rising barometric conditions and warmer weather by Wednesday.

The trip from Huntington to Malheur Reservoir is a pretty drive through the Eastern Oregon desert (sorry no trees). We see herds of elk, deer, antelope, lots of range cattle, herds of horses (tame) and the lek grounds of a rather large group (0ver 100) of sage grouse booming attracting mates. I even drive by the ranch of two of my students (brother and sister) in my Native American Studies class. The girl is interesting, being a straight A-student, beautiful, a cheer leader and in the summer she rides the ranges looking after the family cattle. And it can be very, very hot on that sage brush desert.

As the Coeur d' Alene story teller would say, "This is the end of the trail."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Jack Frost--You Go Away, Right Now!!

Papa Coyote has been looking at tomato plants because the snow is no more on Cornucopia (a triangular shaped peak in the Wallowas visible from Weiser). According to the earliest settlers here, when the snow leaves Cornucopia, it is then safe to plant the fields and gardens. S0, the Old, and I do mean feeling older, Coyote, plopped down $31.80 to rent a front-tined rototiller. This machine might better be described in the rent shop as a self-flagellating machine. After all, planting a garden is a rather spiritual experience. How can one get any closer to Mother Earth than getting right down there sitting in the dirt and sifting Mother Earth through one's fingers? (Hey, M and G, your Mom really was into the garden thing when she was your age.) After a thorough beating, I did get the soil well worked, raked out with the big four-foot-wide-baseball-diamond rake (the only way to go!), and a plan in mind where to plant what. I returned the rototiller (the shop attendant is still pondering how I got that machine unloaded by myself off the pickup Ha! He does not know I am Coyote!)
I asked him if Bill (the shop owner) included a $45 massage at Sandy's in the price of the rent. He thought I was being funny and laughed. Well, he did not know the state of my body at the moment. Funny!! I was dead serious.

So, I got off an order to Territorial Seed. My Lord, they do dearly hate to part with their seeds. I had to come up with one and one-half day's pay to convince them to give up those seeds! Now, for the best part of the plan which I began acting upon today until my lovely wife offered to take me to dinner at the new Japanese restuarant in Ontario--Ogawas. (It is pretty good). I have a roll of landscaping-weed-blocking fabric that comes in a four foot wide roll. I have a big roll. So, I am cutting it into 16 foot lengths (in two foot wide strips for between rows) and putting it down to cover the garden space. I have already started to put grass clippings over the fabric. I am hoping to seriously cut down on the amount of hoeing and weeding that has to be done this year.

The garden will have cucumbers, yellow summer squash, three types of tomatoes, two types of potatoes (red and blue), string beans, a winter squash, ambrosia melon, and corn. Also, ordered several packets of flower seeds to add a little color around the house. And oh, yes, more sunflowers. Got to love Territorial Seeds sunflowers. Even got one pack of the giant. Can you imagine sunflowers as tall as the garage? Wow, Papa Coyotehas got to see this.

Papa Coyote has to find a place to curl up and sleep. It is 11:22 and the day starts at 6:00 a.m. Yawn.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Yip,Yip, Yip, what a beautiful morning! I spent Easter weekend at the Coeur d' Alene Indian reservation. Imagine, if you can, the State of Idaho building a four lane highway to an Indian reservation. It is getting closer to being finished. What a difference a large casino can make. Twenty years ago the people of Kootenai County did their best to ignore and/or discriminate against the members of the Tribe. The Couer d' Alene Tribe is now the 2nd or 3rd (depends on the monthly figures) employer in N. Idaho. Only the Kootenai Medical Center employs more people.
There is good news and good news concerning this trip. First, I won $80.20 at the slot machines. The Casino advertisement says that the Couer d' Alene people are friendly and are good hosts. I concur. And the food in the Sweet Grass restaurant is very, very good.
The second good news is even better. I went to the Casino to observe the stick game, a gambling game that has been played by Indians and people of Asia for over ten thousand years. Archaeological digs have confirmed this. When I walked into the huge exhibition room Saturday morning, I was overwhelmed. There must have been a thousand Indians nearly half of whom were chanting and beating hand drums to conjure up some magic to confuse the opponent in their attempt to guess which hand held the marked bone. The game is reminiscent of our childhood game of "school" where we had one playmate act as teacher and the kids played the role of student and could move up the stairs (grades) by guessing the hand in which the teacher held the pebble.
Ever been a minority of one? Haha. I had lots of stares being the only white guy in the room. I found it interesting that none of the thousand or so white people playing the slot machines just on the other side of the doors had enough curiousity to enter the room and see what the stick game was all about. With all that drumming and chanting, I thought at least one white person would be curious, but I guess they had taken the childhood story about curiousity killing the cat too seriously. Heck, maybe they thought it was a scalp dance!!
What a wonderful learning experience watching the various ways different teams of five would work their magical spells to throwoff the other team from guessing correctly. Since the winning team won $10,000 and some very nice letterman type jackets, the teams played the game with great intensity. Indians gathered from all over the Northwest and Canada for this first stick game of the year.
Late Saturday evening the Cree people (about 200) from Alberta, Canada had drawn up their folding-fabric-lawn chairs (what did they ever do eight years ago before the invention of these chairs? Maybe that is why some of the players were wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words, "Stick Game, the best damn game played in the dirt.") on one side and were playing the stick game with another tribe of nearly equal size. The game was serious in a nice way and money was flowing back and forth across the aisle between the two tribes. After all, this is a gambling game. There is also spiritual significance to this game, but that is another story.
The last week of March the wife and I spent at Lake Chelan in Washington. We had a good time, relaxed and learned a few things. Oh, yeah, and found a really fine winery. We drove to Twisp to see the school J's father had been the superintendent of and then to Winthrop, then to Omak and finally to Nespelum where Chief Joseph was exiled upon his return from Oklahoma (another exile). Deb Louie, a tribal council member and director of the Colville Confederated Tribes natural resources, was kind enough to meet with me. I pumped him for a ton of information in the 45 minutes that we conversed. Really interesting. He invited me a jump dance next February. I am going to have to lose some weight because right now I could not jump from sundown to sunrise two nights in a row.
Hope you are wearing yellow today (G) to match the beautiful sunrise that some people experienced this morning. We sure had a nice sunrise.

Bye, Bye,
Papa Coyote