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, June 29, 2008

Boondocks and Beyond

We loaded up this morning and trekked back to Boise. This time to meet D and family at Boondocks for a day of fun in the 101 degree heat. We were there and playing by 10:30 and got most of the outdoor stuff done by noon. I have to tell you that M just loves a day with his Uncle D. The rest of the day we were inside at the arcades trying to collect tickets (515). L and M had a great time as well as Uncle D. Gramma J and Papa Coyote were glad to have Uncle D to entertain M. Gramma J had a great time with L. Papa Coyote's back is on the fritz (too much of rowing M around the lake on Friday night), so he laid low and kept track of L's tickets (194). For a two year old she can play some of the games really well. In the last hour we went back outside to ride the bumper water cars one more time. L, M, L, and H ganged up on a twelve year old boy. Thought they would have some fun and drench him for a minute and then go on to someone else. The kid struck back with vengeance and thoroughly soaked H who was by herself. He came over afterward and told her that he really got her good. Hahahaha. L got off the ride and came over to me and said, "I got really wet!" as she shook her head for emphasis and batted those truly big baby blues. By 4:00 pm we had cashed in the tickets. L got some sprinkles, she loves sprinkles. M got the rest of the points and got some good stuff--like handcuffs and bless his heart got two gifts for H and D for helping him out. (Chinese finger cuffs).
Gramma J had packed lots of food for M's lunch. H had done the same for L, but L took a look at M's spread and helped herself to much of it. (there was plenty) and then at about half of Gramma J's fries. After eating she raised up her shirt and stuck out her thoroughly stuffed bulging belly and announced that she had a baby---Three Babies! She then pretended to take out one (through the belly button, whew!) and gave me one to hold. I guess she figures that her full belly does not look too much different than her mother's belly and her mother is carrying L's little sister. All of this, of course, two year olds have a pretty good understanding--just ask them if you have the nerve.
Leaving Boondocks, we traveled to the Hobby Store at Cole and Ustick. There we bought a couple of airplanes for M since he had been such a good little boy the past several days, especially at Allen's BD which had some long winded judges and a law school dean talking. All went pretty well until M accidentally knocked a glass of champagne into L's eyes which caused her to put up a hell of a howl that Papa Coyote thought was worthy of the clan. H and D rushed her outside and began washing her eyes out with water. You can imagine the little one probably thought she was going blind or worse yet had no idea of what was happening and the unknown is always more terrifying than the known. Cousin John Derr, the Jerome version, was quick to assure M that it was alright that it was just an accident and L would be okay. M was feeling really badly up to that point, but within a few seconds Uncle John had worked miracles and there seems to be no residual guilt. Of, course, when a guy the size of Cousin John (maybe 270 and a beard) tells you it is going to be just fine---well, you tend to believe him. Soooooo, M got to pick out a couple of planes and he already has one built and ready to fly. If L should have some guy throw a drink in her face at a party at college, she will be able to say to the jerk, I have had a better man than you do that to me years ago.
We were going to go fishing tomorrow morning, but are going to put that off a day to let Papa Coyote's back recover. We will then have time to get worms, fix the pool which still has a leak somewhere in the inflatable ring and then relax around the pool in a high ninety degree day. Ah, the good life. We will fish Tuesday morning at Paddock, but probably from the shore as I don't think the back will be quite up to towing the kid for a few days yet. I sure hope his Mom feeds him some muscle food between now and the next time he comes for a visit!!!!!! :) :)
The day was better than expected---Ichiro was 5 for 5 and Mariners won three in a row. WOW!
Papa Coyote has just started a book about the native people of Siberia and their shaman practices----kind of like the Native Americans since our scientist think the Native Americans came from Asia and many from Siberia. If you want to have a civil conversation with today's Native Americans don't get too attached to that scientific idea. At least don't talk much about it if at all. So I think I will retire and get back to reading that book. Maybe I will be smarter tomorrow if I don't forget too much of what I have already learned over night.
Papa Coyote loves you all,

Friday, June 27, 2008

There Is Fishing and There Is Catching

The excitement of the day started with a trip to the Tree House. I manufactured another rope ladder and cleaned the Tree House out. M does not have the strength yet to climb the rope ladder, but he did go up the metal ladder and enjoyed the view from above. He climbed the ladder and came down pretty well. He thought he might be afraid of heights but found it is more a manner of getting use to the height. Then we all joined in to find the leak in the pool. Gramma J won the prize there. So we are putting in more water. Of course, we are running it through Papa Coyote's homemade solar heating system. That would be three hundred and fifty feet of dark green (could not find black) garden hose coiled in a discarded black plastic pickup bed liner. Works pretty well. With the pool fixed, Gramma J fixed a delicious dinner of spaghetti squash and spaghetti sauce. Every thing we ate was M safe and very good. Gramma J also made vanilla ice cream from the goat milk. M likes a generous topping of chocolate added on top. Then after loading the kick boats in the trailer and using M's idea of using the pulley system in the garage to raise the boats and lower them onto the trailer in the garage, we were off and running. Of course, the fancy creative way of loading the boats kind of did not work out on the shoreline of the lake when it came time to go home. Ooooofff, lift, boy, lift! M still has trouble finding the strength to row the boats, so this year I towed him. He could still row and help out, but I could tow him pretty well and he got to troll a worm along behind his boat and caught three rainbow trout. We practiced casting and playing the trout when caught in the drive way before we left. He played each of the trout perfectly and will have trout for breakfast. He thought he had a great day. So did Papa Coyote. Now, we will have to work on the putting the worm on the hook and taking the fish off the hook trick. M is not sure that he ever will be ready for that, but, hahaha, does he really know Papa Coyote--the Trickster!!! Heh, Heh.
Good night all,
Papa Coyote

Cub Migration

M has completed his summer migration east to Idaho. He caught a ride on Gramma R' s return trip to Boise which made it easy on Ol' Papa Coyote and Gramma J. Thanks Gramma R! M has settled into a life of fish watching and TV watching. We have set up the pool, but have yet to detect a leak in the inflatable ring around the pool. We will be working on that today. Today we also have to put together the second inflatable kick boat and go fishing tonight. As you can see in the picture Gramma J was in charge of blowing up the pool toys. Windy old gal!
Michael has seen two of the three Koi, all four gold fish plus the two black gold fish. He pulled a surprise on us when he spotted a baby fish almost an inch long. Don't know where that came from. So far it is not showing any gold color, but maybe the goldfish don't start showing their color until a little bigger, I don't know.
Our friend Maureen stopped by for a night on her way to Virginia and then on to Boston for her youngest daughter's marriage ceremony. John will fly from Seattle when his job wraps up at the end of June. Maureen is driving their Ranger pickup back east to give to their daughter. Makes a long drive for Maureen. I hope she does well and stays safe. We enjoyed her visit and talking with her. She is a high school librarian in Bremerton. WA and John has just retired from his position as the high school principal of Central Kitsap High School. He will manage the technology education in the Kitsap School District until he does finally retire.
Will keep you posted on M's activities and the result of the fishing trip tonight.
Papa Coyote loves you all

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Camping in Chaco Canyon

For several years I have wanted to see the Anasazi (Hisatsinom) ruins in Chaco Canyon. This is a remarkably advanced society of people who lived there and flourished for about 300 years. See this site if desirous of more information: I have studied the Hisatsinom extensively. Hisatinom is the Hopi name for the people who lived in the Four Corner Region and thousand years ago and is the preferred term compared to the more commonyly used term Anasazi. Anasazi is a Navajo word and is considered to be a slur by the Hopi. Navajo did not arrive on the scene until 1200-1300 A.D. and possibly could have played a role in the demise of the Pueblo and Hopi ancestors... the Hisatsinomon. Chaco Canyon is remote--the road is over half dirt and is sometimes too muddy to travel and sometimes water is rushing through the washes making the road impassable. The road keeps out a lot of tourists so only those who really want to go there show up. That is good, but the downside is that only a few Americans, probably more Europeans than Americans, know of the remarkable people who once lived at Chaco Canyon and the surrounding region. Chaco Canyon is the center of about 120-180 pueblo villages (archaeologists are still looking--I had a Navajo-Paiute student whose Navajo grandfather owns land on which one of the outliers is located near Houk, AZ, but he won't let anybody in to look at it. The grandkids can't touch--only look. There are problably several like that that the archaeologists can only guess at.) in the Four Corners Region.

To view this area takes some days. We spent two nights and two days and I could easily have spent a week. So J had to camp. Some of her family doubted that this would happen, but, alas, I have the picture to prove that J did indeed camp. I think she may have even liked the experience. We had the best campsite in the primitive campground. We had relatively cool weather and a very cool second evening, but the down sleeping bags were perfect cover. We had to drive two miles to the Visitors Center to get water. We were about 75 feet from the WC and had a rock over hang for shade--the only campsite with such a nice amenity. We packed the cots and foam pads and put those in the tent. Actually, I think we slept pretty comfortably. And. was it ever neat to see the Milky Way so clearly. The skies at Chaco Canyon are still very bright due to a lack of light pollution, but the area is affected by Southern California pollution blowing in.
We did get robbed by the ravens while away from camp. They made off with 8 packets of instant oatmeal, opened the cooler and got out the lettuce, but left it in the dust, and opened up a packet of port-a-potty chemicals. They left that. Haha. I bet that ruined their taste buds for a day or two. J was less than charitable hoping that they would have a big tummy ache when the instant oatmeal expanded.
The first picture is the campground. Kind of fits the stereotype that some may have of the New Mexican countryside. The other pictures of camp life are self-explanatory. The butte is Fajada Butte and therein lies the key to the remarkable story of the Chacoans. If one wishes to take the time, one can learn a lot by going to this site and studying what Anna Sofaer and associates have put together about their remarkable archeoastronomy findings: I have used the video "Sun Dagger" in my Native American class for the past several years. I bought the Solstice Project's latest video at the Chaco Canyon Visitors' Center. I also bought a book published by the Solstice Project on Chaco Canyon archeoastronomy. The findings are incredible. I had one student a few years ago remark after studying the Chacoans, "Where did we white people get off thinking that we were some how superior in intellect to Indians?"
More about Chaco Canyon and my visits with Taos, San Ildefonso, and Zuni artisans in upcoming posts. Yeah, I bought some of their pots.
Time for this Papa Coyote to climb the nearest ridge and howl--metamorphically-- that is.
Love you all,
Papa Coyote

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Comparing the cost of the 2006 trip to the cost of the 2008 trip

The first stop on our recent trip was an overnight stay in Ely, Nevada. We stayed at the Bristlecone Motel for a reasonable rate of 57$. It is on the route out of town towards Las Vegas so is a bit noise, but not bad at all. The new owners have done a very nice job of remodeling and sprucing up. The rooms were nice. Good buy for the $. Oh, is Ely ever growing. No recession in that town.

Oh yeah, we paid 4.279 for gas in Wells, Nevada. That was the most expensive gas. We paid as low as $3.799 a gallon three times. For the entire trip we averaged 23.34 mpg in the 2003 Dodge Caravan. It was pretty well loaded with camping gear. We now have 105,000+ miles on the van. We traveled 5.91 miles per dollar of gas. In 2006 on our trip to Ventura, CA, we were able to travel 7.14 miles per dollar of gas, but did not have nearly as heavy load as we did in 2008 because we did not have camping gear onboard in 2006. We did get 1.02 miles per gallon better gas mileage on this 2008 trip. The better mileage might be explained by the nitrogen I had put into the tires. With nitrogen we had more consistent tire inflation. That is a savings of 4.6% on fuel mileage. I think that is significant in this day of high fuel prices. It cost $39.95 to have tires inflated with nitrogen. Our dealer guarantees free refills for the life of the car.

At Ely I found a statue of a Shoshone Indian woman in front of their public library. The title was something about the good things in life are provided by mothers. I thought it was cool that the people of Ely had chosen to honor an Indian woman. There is a very small Shoshone reservation just south of town.

The next stop was El Centro, CA. That is way down nearly to the Mexican border. We stayed two nights there. (motel courtesy of my nephew Don--Thanks Don and Roberta!) Enjoyed visiting with the whole family. Had not seen Chelsea and Cynthia for a long time. Cynthia is just finishing her first year at the local community college. She intends to major in psychology and be a school counselor. Chelsea likes horses as you can see by the picture. She just finished the seventh grade. Both girls are sweet hearts and do very well in school. Don and Roberta have parented well.

While there Don took a day off from chasing the Mexican drug smugglers and took Jane and I to the local museum. Roberta's father and mother are of the first families in the El Centro area and have given much to the museum including her Dad's first house. They have a very nice museum there. We especially liked how they have allowed each of the cultural groups that have settled in El Centro explain their story. Those displays were really well done and makes it pretty obvious that there were a couple dozen cultural groups in the mix.

Roberta works as a lactation consultant out of the local hospital. She is really an expert on the whole subject. I am sure Rasjane would love talking to her.
It is Fiddle Festival time in Weiser this week. I took a picture of one of the old timers. He looks a little dessicated, but some of the senior fiddlers are really old timers. Well, this guy was in the museum at El Centro. I could not resist.
More about the trip in the next blog, but one thing. I was in New Mexico at the wrong time for fishing. The streams and rivers were running full as if we were in a chocolate factory. Could not fish the rivers. I tried one day to fish a lake, but that day made the headlines in the New Mexico papers for the snow storm. We just happened to be in the snow storm and howling winds on the day I had purchased a license. Bummer. Pretty hard to fly fish a lake covered in white caps in a howling blizzard.
Papa Coyote has some books to read about Chaco Canyon. He loved that place. A great place to howl at the full moon. The skies are so clear there.
Love you all,
Papa Coyote

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

You see the koi? Since I had not sighted a single goldfish in the pond this year (Richard and I had managed to introduce 35 of them into the pond last summer), I figured that none had wintered over. I did find no more than a dozen or so dead ones during the winter in the skimmer box. With the granddaughter coming out for Father's Day, I decided to buy some fish for the pond so that she might watch the fish in the pond. This year I really splurged. I bought 3 koi ($7.95 a piece). We caught a few fleeting glimpses of them on Father's Day and don't think L ever did see one. Bummer! So, tonight about an hour or two before dark I am standing on the corner of the deck looking into the pond to see if I can see one or all three of the koi. (This afternoon I did see one hanging out on the skimmer box side of the pond [west side] apparently eating dead algae off the bottom of the pond.) I could not believe my eyes. I saw four (Yes! FOUR! fish swimming on the west side of the pond. I reported the incidence immediately to J. Amazingly, the four were still hanging around and J saw them. But, her keen eye discerned that none of the four were the koi that I had put into the pond on Saturday. Some of the goldfish survived and they are very actively darting around the pond. Or some person is playing tricks on Papa Coyote. No, nobody tricks the Trickster! Well, maybe Richard. They are about five inches long----the same size as the koi. When I put the goldfish in the pond last summer, they were about one and one-half inches long. So they did winter well. Now, I am curious to see if any more spring to life in the next few days. Could the frog be next???? If that frog springs to life, I am going to call him or her, Jesus!!