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.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Middle of September, work, play and WOW!--the colors in the Rocky Mountains

You might think we have done little this past week, not true. I took the camera, but forgot to take pictures and who wants to read a blog w/o pictures. J and I spent this past Thursday night at our WorldMark Condo in McCall. We had a very pleasant evening with the Kelley's. Perry and I fished Horsethief Reservoir in our kick boats on Thursday. I caught nothing (this has been a very bad fishing year for me) and Perry caught, but one, and he is a very good fly fisherman. Of course, the worm drowners were having success on the bank. Highlight of the trip was breakfast at the famous Pancake House. They added on this summer!

Believe me, this is not a working Great Pyrenees!!!!
Before we go playing there is some work to do. Everyday I feed the fish a couple of times. Well, okay, that is fun, but the filter screen needs to be cleaned twice a day and that is a tad bit of work. I have counted 21 fish and there might be one or two more. Five are still black, four or five are half black and half orange and all the others are all

I finished up painting the back wall of the garage and the east side of the house, sans gables for now. I follow advice of a friend, Hershall, who said never set out to paint the whole house in a year. The task will seem daunting and one might never get started. Paint one side a year and if one gets really in the mood, heck, paint another side. In four years, the house is done. I am following that advice, but also am throwing in the retired guys' motto--turn a day job into a week. Note the contrast of the new white paint on the existing white paint applied in 1992. The job went faster than I expected so the whole ceiling was finised in one afternoon, but the edges still need to be painted.

Seems that half of the work is getting ready to paint, but preparation really cuts down clean up time.

I took Tuesday off to gain a little serenity at Lake Serene--a two mile hike off Vance Creek Trail off the road to Hazard Lakes. For those who have gone to Grassy Twin Lakes or Coffee Cup Lake with me, I am using the same trailhead. This is a view looking back toward the road from a high point one-half mile from the road.

This pictures shows the burned trees from the 1992 fire that burned 250,000 sq. miles north and west of McCall. We had experienced a long drought (well, we still are) and the spruce trees had suffered a devastating invasion of spruce beetle. When the trees are distressed for a lack of water, they cannot produce the sap necessary to fill the bore holes the beetles make, thus causing the tree to eventually die. By the time of the 1992 fire, most of the spruce trees were dead and very, very flammable--and did it ever burn. I hiked in the forest in November after the fire had died out and I sunk a foot or more into the soil which had turned to ash. That was not ash from the trees, but roots and other vegetation matter in the soil that had burned to ash. I thought the forest would never recover, but by the next July bear grass was growing--the first plant to recover from the fire.

The forest is just alive with color right now. The predominant color is a rusty red brought to us by the dead sour dock. The mountains are covered by this plant which is the first to die with the first sign of frost. The three other most common flowers, and they are thick, are paintbrush, aster, and pearly everlasting. The red, purple and white mats of flowers are unbelievable. I even found some lupine in bloom which surprised me for this time of the year.

The most spectacular color is the bright, bright, red and scarlet of the huckleberry bushes that have turned because of the frost. My camera does not even get close to capturing the colors of the mountains this time of the year and this lousy camera is really frustrating me.

Sour dock and pearly everlasting.

Mostly pearly everlasting with some sour dock. Incidently, sour dock was used by the Native People to relieve menstrual cramps. The plant has several other common names, such as, yellow dock. And the plant is reported to have many other medicinal uses.

I thought this tree was rather unique since only one half of it burned in the fire. The other half seems to be carrying on quite well. It is interesting how some trees can completely survive a fire with every other tree in a hundred yard radius dead. Another interesting observation is that the forest service had made no effort to replant this huge burn area allowing the trees to reproduce naturally. Well, nature is not doing too well. One can find a new tree five to ten years old and not see another for hundreds of yards. Evidently, our prolonged drought and warmer than normal temperatures are not going to allow this forest to regenerate. I don't think it would do any good to plant because the planted trees probably would not survive. Idaho is going to look like New Mexico in another hundred years or so.

You may have to click on the picture to see the enlarged version in order to see the subject of this picture. If I had taken a video with sound and smell, you would know immediately. Sheep! and lots of them. This is one band. I came upon two other bands later in the day. There are about 2,000-2,500 sheep to a band. That is a lot of smell and baa-baa-baahs, folks. Listening to the Peruvian herders call out to the herd dogs (Australian Shepherds, If you have never seen sheep dogs work a herd you are really missing a treat. Put that on your bucket list.)

The bad thing about this particular band is that they were being moved down the trail from Serene Lake and the guard dogs--Great Pyrenees--did not think I should be moving up the trail amongst his sheep. These are seriously big dogs when you get close to them and they growl and bark like they mean business. Oh, and they don't look nearly as pretty as they do in the pictures you see on the internet. In real life they are kind of dirty, thin, show signs of mixing it up with some predators and just generally don't look very sociable.

So I walked on past the turn off a couple of miles to see if there was another way to the lake when I topped over the ridge. There was not, so I walked all the way back, through the sheep again (guard dog never showed) to the car and drove five miles or so to Hazard Lake and CG.
There I fished, unsuccessfully, and enjoyed several hours of the sunshine and a sunny, crystal blue day.

Time to feel the hot shower, mmmm, I am feeling a bit tired and sore from all the times i went up and down that ladder and walking four miles in the mountains.
When I left town I filled the gas tank of the 1987 Toyota Camry station wagon which has endured 322,000+ miles to date. I was anxious about the price of a gallon because I had talked to Howlin' Howie of South Bend, IN, Sunday night and he reported that gas had spiked from $3.63 a gallon to $4.39 a gallon because of (so say the Big Oil execs) Ike. Whew! Price was $3.84. Upon returning to town I filled at the same station (Wow! price had dropped to $3.77). I had driven 218 miles on 5.87 gallons of gas. Not bad. My handy calculator tells me that mpg is 37.14. I spent $22 for gas on that trip.
If I had driven the pickup----ooooh!-----really bad mileage. The rocks are probably not good for the tires on the Camry, but nothing flat, yet.
Note for M: there is a dangling gerund noun clause in this posting. Can you and your Mommy find it? It is dangling so it lacks a verb to finish the sentence. Let me know if you two can find it.

May all your trails be slightly downhill (wish mine were),

Papa Coyote

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A September Saturday

Jand I spent Saturday in Boise . Here is what we did after I finished the project Friday on the garage. This is one of the trim boards. I couldn't believe how much this board had warped. Also, a pretty good case for the argument about how much the quality of the lumber has detiorated over the years. I should have used cedar instead of pine, I did replace this board with cedar and really need to replace all the trim on the garage with cedar, at least on the south side where I get the most weathering.
A little project of my own. You can see the peeling paint on the trim. This is the back side of the garage. It is the south side and the sun can be blistering and with the changing of weather patterns that we have experienced in the last 20 years, most of the driving rain and snow hits against this side. Storms now come in from California rather than from Alaska. Yeah, that's right. We have a much warmer climate, but those who think of Idaho has a cold barren wasteland just keep thinking that way. At 1.6 million we already have too many people.
I enjoyed spending Saturday with son, D, moving a wall. H asked if I was not having as much fun working with D on the wall moving as I had fishing with D in the mountains. Is this woman serious??? The question almost, almost I say, left me speechless. I will have to admit that my legs are not as sore the next morning, but my shoulders and arms are feeling like I put in a days work. I have Thoraxic Outlet Syndrome and it is a condition that limits how much work I can do with my arms overhead.
Nice to see software engineers actually doing some work! Haha. D using the reciprocating saw to start the job of removing the wall of the laundry room. It was a beautiful day and we should have been fishing a high mountain lake. Sigh!

View from the garage of the wall that we removed then moved into the garage thirty inches to create an alcove in the laundry room to place the washer and drier. Now D and H will have the room on the opposite wall to put the cupboards that H bought so that she will have a lot more storage in the laundry room. With another baby on the way and plans for one or two more, she needs the storage room.

D screwing a wall into another wall. We used all screws and no nails on this project. I learned to use screws to fasten everyting while building sets for the local Little Theater. When D and I decided that we had done one of the walls incorrectly, it sure was easy to change because all the fatening had been done with screws rather than nails. The task of roughing out the alcove is nearing completion. One more wall to put up to D's right. We had to improvise and make the two side walls (about 30" wide) out of 2x2's so that there would be room to put a new washer and drier when they have to replace what they have. Even with the two 2x2 walls, it will be a tight fit to squeeze these modern appliances into the alcove.

After a hard day at the Art in the Park, visiting dad's relatives, and shopping, it is nice to relax with a ride around the yard on one's four-wheeler. Thanks, cousin C.

Feeding the lady bugs. Actually, ants, but to this two-year old every bug is a lady bug. And she stomps them, too.

Helping Mom by adding ice to the ice cream maker (in this case sorbet maker).

This is the result of a little girl trying to keep up all day with her 63 year old Gramma. Hmmm. The old gal can tire out pretty fast unless she has her nose to the shopping trip trail. I will have to compliment her on not buying anything at the yard sale. At the yard sale she gave Brian, for his birthday, a sack full of seriously tasty molasses cookies which are one of his favorites. He gave one cookie to L then hid the rest of them away from the ravenous relatives. I did hijack three the night before so that I could approve them for gift giving and be able to lend my expert opinion on this blog page as to the taste and quality of the cookie. Yup, darn good cookies! J also made key lime cookies which were pretty good, but she is still experimenting with the recipe and is not yet satisfied with the end result. Keep on testing I say!!!

This is a watermelon sorbet made by H which was really tasty and refreshing after a very good dinner of barbecued chicken on a stick and a couple good salads with several types of fresh tomatoes. Pretty tasty after my son worked me all day, I say there---all day, Good thing I didn't show up until ten in the morning.

L gets a watermelon sorbet treat made by her mother. L had just woken from a short nap started at the dinner table. Seems as Gramma had taken her to B and J's yard sale where L got to visit with daughter C, who L really likes. Nine year old pretty girls are very cool to an almost-three year old. Besides C is really nice and L loves her. Then Gramma and Granddaughter went to Art in the Park where L got one cheek painted with a heart and another with a butterfly. Pretty cute. They got to ride the shuttle bus which L thought was a fun adventure until the bus driver scared her out of her wits when he released the air to open the door. She did not know that loud noise was coming. Then, of course, if Gramma J is with ten miles of Ross, there is the obligatory trip to Ross which of course is another credit card ambush.
We had a fun day and J drove home a tired Papa Coyote.
See you all later,
Papa Coyote saying keep the line tight and the tip up