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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Cost of Fun

Seems as though one should post a picture or two when updating the blog. I have not taken any pictures of late and am too lazy (actually, it is cold and windy outside) to go take a picture to put in the blog. So how about a couple old pictures of the family charmer?
Have purchased a utility trailer for the purpose of hauling around the kick boats. Even have it licensed. Had to send Jane back to Boise (she was going anyway to shop with Barb) to get another bill of sale. I lost the first one. Did not even get out of the pickup after pocketing the paper and still lost it. I am still in wonderment and awe over how I managed that. The next challenge is learning to back it up. Haha. The first attempt did not go well. The trailer is light and if all else fails, I can just unhook it and move it by hand. I can see myself backing the trailer and two kick boats down the ramp to the lake. Those ramps are slanted and the trailer will gain speed and I will be running behind it tryinig to slow it down. That ought to bring plenty of laughs to the onlookers. Heck, I might even be on You Tube.
I mentioned that we had fished Malheur Reservoir last Sunday and I got skunked. That is hardly news. I have yet to catch a fish this spring. But the wind blew like the dickens and I managed to get my eyes irritated--maybe even some sunburn with the glare off the lake and forgetting to wear sunglasses. By Monday night I seemed to have an infection in my left eye and by Tuesday I couldn't keep the eyes from watering and the kids in class were asking what was wrong with my eyes. I stopped in at the optomotrist's office in Payette on the way home from work. The receptionist took one look at me, shuddered, (I must have really had a case of the uglies) went and retrieved my file and put me in a chair. You know how people in the waiting room like that!
Doctor determined that I had something (they always have long unpronounceable Latin names that impresses us while at the same time relieving us), that I did not have an infection yet, and that I needed a prescription and needed to get started on it right away. Oh, Boy! You now how relieved we are when our ailment has a name. Now we are getting somewhere.
I went to Walgreens in Ontario at noon. I was the only customer at the Rx window. In my wildest dreams I could not have hoped for better luck than that. I got these eye drops to place in my eyes four times a day. With my trusty Blue Cross Plan I only had to pay $34--FOR EYE DROPS???!!! When I got home and read the entire bill I about dropped. Blue Cross picked up $85 of the bill. Gads!! What's that? Like about $119 for about forty drops ?? JEEZ. When J puts in the drops (one drop for each eye) I am feeling most of the drop run down to the corner of my eye only to be dapped up by a tissue. Hey, we are talking about $3 a drop and most of it is being soaked up by a tissue. My eyes are still a bit itchy, but better. My left eye still is definitely not focusing as well as it should, yet.
While at the counter of the optomotrist waiting to get a total of my bill, I see some clip-on/flip-up sunglasses for twelve dollars. I bought those. Now hopefully I will have sunglasses on when fishing the next time. Oh, yeah. The bill at the eye doctor was $32. You know what? That first fish is going to cost me, well...we are already into the hundreds with gas and all.
It has been so cold here (suppose to be below freezing again tomorrow morning) that I don't know if the water temperature will ever warm to 70 degrees to trigger the warmwater species to begin spawning. That is when the fish get really dumb and that is when I can catch them I have a fairly narrow window there and had better catch a few hundered to get the cost of each fish below a dollar a fish.
While looking for mushrooms last Saturday, Genille came across a deep, dark purple trillium (also known as Wake Robbin) near the banks of the Middle Fork of the Weiser. Turns out that is a rather rare flower in our area. I should go back and take a picture of that. I will be sure to take a picture of my first fish of the year and post the purple trillium and fish together as a couple of rare finds. Oh, I had better post the picture of the skink with those, too. M, did you ever find the name of that critter with the bright blue tail?
M, do you need to build up your arm strength? Here is a good way to do it. Start by holding a five pound potato sack in each hand with your arms straight out from your body. Hold them steady for a minute. Do this three times, three times a week. The following week use ten pound potato sacks. The next week use twenty pound potato sacks. Work your way gradually up to FIFTY POUND potato sacks. Then when you can easily do that, start putting potatoes in the sacks. Watch those guns begin to bulge!!
Papa Coyote must retire to his den,
Yeeeeeoooooowwwwwww!! Lovin ya'all

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Can You Tell Me What I Found?

Saturday I drove friend Reta and a Boise couple, G and M into the mountains to scout a burn area called Gray's Creek. We were attempting to find out if the SIMA club could make a successful foray into the area the 2nd weekend of May to find morel mushrooms. We determined that the amount of snow pack would cause the foray to be delayed a month or five weeks. I drove through some pretty good snow pack because someone had used a cat to plow out a road to his cabin.
We saw some wild flowers, particularly lomatia (not pictured). We saw a grouse as you can see and we saw a little critter that I first thought to be a snake. It had the brightest cobalt blue tail that you can imagine. He was about five inches long and on more careful inspection we found him to have two sets of legs, fore and aft. Can you tell me what the critter is? The president of SIMA knew what family he was of and the name is pretty obvious once you know the family. It is the first time any of us had ever seen this critter.
Went fishing today with members of the fly fishing club. We went to Malheur Reservoir, but the wind was so strong that the fishing was nearly impossible. I caught no fish, and the best anybody did was to catch two. One oar broke so I gave up early and had a nice conversation with a retired ag econ professor from Univ. of Nevada (Reno) now living in Weiser and a man who owns a fly tying supply business in Kent, WA. He was traveling to contact his client stores and came on the trip with one of our members who works in fly fishing store. Interesting people.
Oh, and I am ever going to have to wash the pickup. Mud, Mud, and More Mud!!
Time to run,
Papa Coyote loves you all

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


In Idaho the seniors must have passed a test (well sort of) before they can graduate. This is the week that the sophomores are being test at the school in which I teach. We are forbidden to give homework to the sophomores during the testing week. Since over half of my classes are sophomores, teaching has come to halt. I am showing a video called "More than Bows and Arrows" which I find to be a very good cataloging of the contributions that the American Indians have made to our lifestyle. We learned the principles of democracy and the concepts of a democratic republic from the Six Nations Confederacy. We certainly did not bring those concepts from the despotic governments of Europe from which our forefathers fled.

Today I started the movie Dances with Wolves. The majority of my students have not seen the movie. Part of the class is designed to teach how the Indians have been portrayed by Hollywood. We watched the first movie John Wayne starred in (the Indians were portrayed in stereotypical bad guy roles or the one good, faceless servant of the white hero. Dances with Wolves is certainly a complete reversal of the old portrayal of the Indians by Hollywood, but still does not get away from the violent stereotype that whites traditionally view the Indians. Later the students will see Smoke Signals. That movie is written by Sherman Alexie, a Spokane Indian and one of my favorite authors. The movie portrays modern day Indians with their modern day problems and puts on exhibit the unique Indian humor. A great movie if you are in need of a good movie to watch.

But, the point is that one week of teaching has been put on hold, but not completely lost.

I have taken pictures of our flowering plants. As you can see my out-of-control fire has pretty well done in my tulips. Daffodils are doing well and several have yet to bloom. It is still pretty cold around here with a high of 42 predicted for Thursday.

I have settled on a utility trailer to haul around my kickboats. I have been watching ads since December on Craigslist. I think I have found a good deal and the right size trailer. Will be picking it up on Wednesday. The pick up of the trailer has been a bit of a circus since the hitch on the trailer in Boise doesn't fit either of the two balls on my trailer hitch. So I had to find a stinger hitch on Craigslist and buy another ball. Sorry, D. You had it right at Christmas. I never dreamed you would be so right on for a Christmas present.

I am thinking that D will have to come out so that the two of us can have a few hours of backing a trailer up. We need practice and lots of it. Do you suppose a few bottles of beer and wine can get us straightened out?

For some reason the picture of the daffodils will not upload to this blog. So, since some of J's sewing creations have appeared in my camera, I will put those on the blog instead. They look as good as the daffodils, anyway.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Buyer Beware??

I have already related the story of J's purchase of the broken table. Jane has found their website There is a statement that all merchandise must be submitted by the owner in useable condition. But, there is another section that says that the purchaser must make sure that the item is usable before leaving the store and that all sales are final. Jane has sent a rather forceful letter to the owners of the store. She has noticed that the business is a member of the BBB and she intends to write a letter to the BBB about this sale. Since she was told that the table was teak, and it is not teak, she may have an interesting leg to stand on. The table certainly did not have a leg to stand on.

I went to the baseball game last Fiday to watch Fruitland clobber Weiser in five innings (ten-run mercy rule). After two innings Weiser was ahead 10-2. Gads. The Fruitland fans were stunned and wondering if we were to be the victims of the ten-run rule. The head coach has to go on a cruise with his wife who had won the cruise for being one of the region's top bankers. The coach really did not want to go, but felt he had to perform his husband duties. We were wondering how the assistant coaches were going to explain this loss to the head coach. Well, by the fifth inning, Fruitland walked off the field with a 22-11 win. Whew!! The assistant coaches owe the Weiser coaches big time. Seems as though they have yet to teach the Weiser boys how to catch a fly ball. Seriously!

After the game J and I met with the Fabricius's for dinner at Synnove's (a really good Norwegian restaurant in Weiser, can you believe?) The dinner was to die for. While eating the other couple received a phone call from their daughter who is a junior at theU of I that she had just received an award from the U of I as one of the outstanding juniors. Everybody was pretty excited about that. Her mother had been chosen as the outstanding senior when she attended the U of I. Papa Coyote never even knew there was such an award when he attended.

Q: What do you call a lion with toothache?
A: Rory!

Q: What do you call a man who doesn't sink?
A: Bob!

Q. What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches?
A. A nervous wreck.

I am out of here. Have to go watch the Mariners lose another game.

Q:What do the Mariners have in common with the Weiser Wolverines?
A: Some really bad players.

Papa Coyote loves you all

Saved Some Money with a Little Internet Seach

Two months ago we received an offer from the Hanigan dealership in Ontario from whom I purchased the Dodge pickup. They would put a rain guard on my windshield, replace the windshield wipers and replace the air in my tires with nitrogen for $59.95. I did not even stir. Two weeks ago we received the same offer in the mail, except no windshield wipers--this for $29.95. The old Coyote stirred. This might be tempting so I went to the computer to check out these two products. The windshield rain guard looked to have some merit, but I could buy it online for 8.95 plus shipping. That was a lot cheaper than $29.95. Now how about this nitrogen idea? Hmmm. The jury seems to still be out on that one. I found way too many people had some pretty good explanations for not using nitrogen. Would not be harmful and may have good effects, but, basically, if a person checked the air pressure in their tires about every six weeks or so, there was little reason to use the nitrogen. Besides, the nitrogen is not free.

I went to the local hardware store to get some stuff to tune up the lawn mower and asked Steve about the wipe-on rain guard. He said he uses it and thinks it is a great product. He said you don't really even need to turn on the windshield wipers and it is a lot easier to wash off the bugs with the rain guard on. So, I bought the large size bottle for--now get this-- $5.00!! I wiped it on the windshield of the pickup as you can see me doing in the picture, put it on the windshield of the Toyoto and the back window and put it on all the windows of the van. I still have enough leftover to do another car. Anybody interested? Since the windows have to be really clean before applying, our car windows are looking pretty good right now. If I had taken all three cars into Hanigan's, I could have paid $89.85 to have this done and they only would have done the windshield. What a deal!!! Took about an hour and half to do the three cars. I did not get the nitrogen in the tires for the price, but I am unconvinced nitrogen in the tires is worth paying for.
Hanigan thought he could put one over on the Old Coyote! Fool!!! Hahaha

I will let you know how it works after we have had a rain. The real selling point for me was that I might have an easier time washing the bugs off the windshield. Driving along the Snake River in the early evening can really be a messy experience.

Q: When is a car not a car?
A: When it turns into a garage.

Q: How much do pirates pay for their earrings?
A: a Buccaneer!

Q: Why did M blush when he opened the refrigerator door?
A: He saw the salad dressing.

Yikes, it is time for another post,
Papa Coyote

Oh Man! That Could Have Been a Lot Worse!!

If you look at the picture to the lower right, you may be able to see the black under the pine tree. If you are thinking,
"Well, that isn't right." You would be so right. Friday I used the weed burner (fun little contraption that meets all the little boy pyrotechnic needs of us guys) to burn off the dead grass out front and on the side yard. Worked great, but I caught a few of the RR ties on fire. I thought I had put the fire out with the garden hose, but when I awoke Saturday morning, I saw smoke and all the pine needle ground cover (some of which I spent twenty minutes raking out of the drive way to pile under the tree) charred into black ashes. Pretty well wiped out the tulips which had just begun to bloom. Dirty Rack of Bricks!! The bad part is that the pine needles did a pretty good job of keeping the weeds down, now I will have to spray for them. Also burned out a couple sprinkler heads that will have to be replaced. I am very thankful that the flames did not get up into the crown of the tree. The trunk did get burned, but that bark is the tree's natural line of defense against forest fires and does not easily catch fire. It worked. I hate to think if the crown had caught fire and where the fire would have gone next.

The picture to the upper right shows the pond doing its daily thing. Gunk from the bottom keeps coming up to the top and I have to skim the surface every day or two. The frog is completely covered by algae and is no longer even visible. I am thinking that he is a dead frog. But the water is still freezing cold.

The picture of the current air temperature tells you why Papa Coyote has not donned the waders and gone wading in the pond to take out all the lilies, grasses, and irises to transplant and to clean out the pond. Papa Coyote is waiting to play a trick on grandson M to get him to wade into the pond to clean it out. Maybe he will fall for the old, "Why, Son, there is gold and dead frogs at the bottom of the pond and all you find is yours. Just pile that gunky overlay into the wheelbarrow right here like a good boy." I am certain he will fall for that old, but good trick:) If his Mom doesn't go and read this to him, he will never know. hahahaha!

Mowed the lawn yesterday--that would be the 19th of April. This is significant because I could have let the lawn go another week. In past years I have mowed the lawn just before leaving for spring break (the 3rd week of March) or usually after returning from spring break vacation (the first few days of April. Then I would have found the grass really tall and thick and hard to get through. Our spring is much later arriving this year than in the recent past.

Look for the next posting to see pictures of the broken table and to learn more of Papa Coyote's Journey and how he saved $85.

Yeeeeoooowwww, it is windy and cold outside,
Papa Coyote

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Journey Continues

The reminder from KBSU Radio, our local NPR affiliate, came in the mail three weeks ago that we needed to renew our membership. I did. At the bottom of the pledge to be returned was a notice asking members to volunteer to work the phone bank on shifts during the on-air pledge drive which is currently going on. I did. Two weeks ago I got a phone call saying that we had been accepted. So Jane and I were put on the 3-5 pm shift Wed. April 12, the first day of the drive. We go through some training via CD on a notebook computer. I am thinking, "I hope I can do this." J says, "What have you gotten us into? I am not an officey type." I know I am not. Geez. So we enter the room and find a table with nine notebook computers each with its own head phone. The team leader is a freshman at BSU earning some work study money. Fortunately, she is nice and helpful (and cute) as is everybody else. I grab a place at the table which turns out to be the #8 slot. J comes in a little later and grabs an empty chair which turns out to be the #2 slot. In the two hours I get three phone calls. J gets a dozen or more. She is working away big time and I am visiting with the cute freshman team leader. Come to find out that the calls come into the #1 computer first and then work their way down the line. #8 computer only gets a call if the first seven are busy. For most of our shift nobody sat at the #1 computer. Oh, did the Papa Coyote luck out this time. J, who was volunteered for the duty by her favorite Coyote, vowed the Coyote owed her BIG TIME! I had to take her to a favorite Thai restaurant in Boise after our shift.

J and Barb, They did go a shopping a couple Saturdays ago. Bad News I can assure you. They are just looking mind you, but before J can get home I get a message that a used furniture store (a rip off joint) in Boise wanted J to know that the owners of a table had called and accepted her offer of $350 for a table. What!!!??? When J gets home she assures me that it is a very good deal, long enough for all the family to sit down for a dinner, it is teak and very good deal. Tuesday we go in and pick it up. J and I struggle to get it out of the store and into the pickup. Store clerks offer no help. Table is heavy. Bringing it into the house is a tight squeeze and in the process J utters an o' darn. Seems as though the leg came off in her hand. Turns out it was broken. The former owners made a patch job--just enought to get it sold. J should have looked at the table better before buying it. So we go to WoodCrafters after serving our tour of duty at KBSU Radio to see if we can order some teak wood to make another leg or find a craftsman who could do that for us. The clerk looks at the leg and says well teak is pretty hard to come by, but this is not teak. #2 reason why Jane got a bad deal. Turns out the wood is walnut.

When we can find a leg or have one made, I will have to take the table apart in order to place the leg in the table. Then I have to drill some holes and glue the leg to the table leg supports with doweling. Oh, joy! Maybe that is what J meant by me owing her BIG TIME! I am not too sure, but I won't have to make the table leg.

Got a notice that one of my life insurance policies is not such a good deal and the premiums will begin escalating every quarter. Meet with our insurance guy, J Yano, at Ogawa's in Ontario. He buys J and me our lunch while we go over the options. I have to have insurance on my life so that J can live a comfortable life after I go to the happy mountain meadows where all good Coyote's go after this life on Earth. For another hundred $ a month for the next 20 years J will have peace of mind. All this happiness is contigent on my passing a health test. I had better start studying.

J traded her brother and sister-in-law a bunch of sewing for doing wills, powers of attorney, and some disolution agreement or whatever. Lots of paperwork is all I know, but the pups now will know what is up when we pass on. Somebody (D or S are you up to this?) will be instructed to scatter my ashes on Monumental Ridge east of Catherine Peak. Great place. Will put me for eternity among the Sheepeater Indians' mountain sheep blinds. Don knows exactly where to go.

I took a walk this afternoon and walked along the slough and into the poplar copse near Susan's house. The slough is up a little. The beaver have been working hard as you can see by the picture. Also came across a small skull a little bigger than a tennis ball. See picture.

I think the Mariner game is about to come on and I have to grade quizzes and a really poorly written senior project. I don't know if the kid will ever get approval and be able to graduate. He has, at best, a weak understanding of the English language which is the language spoken in his home since birth.

Bye, Bye

Papa Coyote

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Life Can Be Like a Box Full of Puppies in a Stick Shift Pickup

I have not updated the blog recently and I have been feeling somewhat guilty. I have been thinking that I just don't have anything interesting to relate, but upon further reflection, I see that I have been pretty busy with a lot of different issues, just nothing very big. I hardly know where to start. But I am feeling a little like the half hour some 30 years ago when I put a cardboard box of six 6-week old Brittany puppies in the cab of my old stick shift green Dodge pickup to take to the vet clinic for shots, dew claw removal, and tail docking. Did that ever turn into a circus. Two miles into a seven mile journey while I am on Highway 95 doing sixty or so, one of the pups manages to get out of the box. I could not believe it. Next thing he is on the floor and under my feet. I can tell downshifting and breaking might be a challenge when I get to the edge of town--all of a sudden another comes over the edge and tips the box and now I have six wiggly-butted, little white and orange pups all over everywhere. I think I would rather have had to deal with a yellow jacket in the cab than deal with six scampering pups on the floor, in my lap, under the seat and trying to get a lick on my face while slowing down on the highway. Of course, when I wished to put a foot on the break pedal one of the pups interpreted that as a cue I wanted to play and the shoe laces were savagely attacked. Move the left foot to the clutch, oh yeah, another invitation to play footsie. That brought all but one to the melee at the pedals. The drive through town to the vet clinic was a long ten minutes that had me a nervous wreck. I did not know if I was going to crush some little critter on the pedals or veer into some parked car. I thought of stopping, but was afraid that if I opened the door, I would have six puppies taking off in six different directions in the middle of downtown Weiser and besides if I did get them all rounded up and into the box, how was I going to keep these canine Houdinis in the box? I decided to make my stand in the parking lot of the vet clinic. To make matters worse this was in the summer and it was one of the scorcher days. The pickup did not have air conditioning and I had to keep the windows closed because some of the pups loved to climb up my body to get on my shoulder where they could get a good angle for a kiss or a piercing little nip of my ear. I was afraid one of them would launch himself from my shoulder right out the open window. They all managed to live and I never crashed. Life can be that way sometimes.

I have so much going on right now. Tim Woodward published a column in the Idaho Statesman about George Shoup, last territorial governor, first State governor, first U.S. Senator from Idaho and instrumental in the founding of the State. The column was specifically about Idaho honoring him by placing his statue in the National Hall of Statuary in the Capitol Building. Each state can honor two people in the Hall. Do you know who your State honors with statues in the National Hall of Statuary? Most people do not. Well, the article hit on one of my really raw nerves because George Shoup commanded the troops who carried out the worse of the atrocities in the massacre of hundreds of peaceful Indians (mostly women and children and most of the women raped) at the Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado in 1864. His troops even went into the field on the second day after the battle and just looked for cripples whom they raped, mutilated while still alive and scalped. Easily, nothing worse has ever happened in the annals of American military history and Shoup was the commander of this Third Colorado Volunteers who did this. The whole story is a dark stain in the history of the U.S. and the actions of the soldiers was condemned by the U.S. Army after a military and Congressional investigation. President Grant strongly condemned the actions of the Colorado volunteers, Chivington and the commanders of the Colorado Volunteers. This massacre equates to the Mi Lai Massacre for those of that era although our soldiers at Mi Lai did not rape and kill cripples, but some children were killed purposefully. I can only believe the people of Idaho do not know of the role George Shoup played at the Sand Creek Massacre or they would never have honored him by placing his statue in the National Hall of Statuary. Well, at least I hope the people would feel that he should not be honored. I wrote a shortened version of the events leading up to the Massacre and of Shoup's role and sent it to Tim Woodward. I have yet to have a return from him. I am wondering what his reaction will be to my response to his column. If anybody is interested please comment at the end of this blog and I will e-mail the essay I sent to Tim Woodward.

Then there is the upcoming trip to New Mexico that J and I will make in June. I have bought a book that is a guide to fly fishing northern New Mexico and I bought a book on how to tie flies that are particularly productive in Northern New Mexico. So there is a lot of fly tying to do and a lot of fly tying materials to accumulate so as to tie those flies and those materials are not cheap. Then there is the rotary fly tying vice that I bought from Cabelas and that alone is a whole new blog. I am not happy with Cabelas and J is really ticked at Cabelas. This row with Cabelas is going to require another long letter and I have to do it because J is such a consumer rights freak, and in this case, well she should be.

Oh, and the Consumers Report came this week. Jane opens it up and says, "Whew! We're safe. Everything is about how to save money in this time of rapidly rising prices." I am thinking, "Thank God!" Then from the lips of J came a word that I think may have crossed the lines of polite society! Just a thought mind you, may not have heard what I thought I heard, but she said, "~~~~ there is an article about the best refrigerators." Man, wouldn't you know it, but our refrigerator is about the same age as the stove. So you know what that means.

Oh, and there is much more, much, much more.

And there is the constant upkeep of the yard and pond. Geez. See the picture of the three piles of dead sunflower stalks burning last Sunday.

Yeeeeeoooooooowwwwwwww, Papa Coyote is getting worn out just thinking of all that is going on around here.
Reta, my mushroom and wildflower hunting buddy sends me an e-mail saying that she is really lichen the mushroom club and thinks that I am a fungi.