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, August 30, 2009

Visiting Sonoma County, CA

The cast iron pot shown is said to be one of only two left in tact in the U.S. Interesting that they put sand on the ship's deck, placed the pots (notice the shape) on the sand, then lit fires under the pots to "try" the blubber. The work those men did on the 18th and 19th Century whalers is absolutely mind boggling. May I suggest Nathaniel Philbrick's In the Heart of the Sea-The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. This is an awesome story so very well written.

We saw as many as 13 surfers in the water at any one time. They, of course, are wearing wet suits. I talked to one of the surfers who appeared to be about 50. Says he surfs two to three times a week. In 18 months he will have his house paid off and plans to work only a few days a week, so will be able to surf more. I surfed Laguna Beach when I was 18. I remember having a really abrupt introduction to the bottom of the ocean when I missed a wave. Ouch.

Sonoma County is known for its wines, but the county's western border is the Pacific Ocean. J and I spent one day at Bodega Bay and tasted its reportedly great clam chowder. Now I am a clam chowder afficianado. While I can say the clam chowder at the restaurant where the movie Birds was filmed is good chowder, it is not as good as Mo's clam chowder at Newport, Oregon or other Mo's along the coast and the best chowder can be found in my sister-in-law Judy's kitchen or at Al Scoma's restaurant on Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco. Now that is more like clam stew----lots and lots of clams. Yum, Yum, Yummmmy!

I will work on the wine country part in the next blog. We did tour the Charles M. Schulz Museum which was great. Could not take pictures in the museum and for some reason the pictures I took outside the museum did not record on the disc. This is a mystery. As some of you well know, Schulz was a Minnesotan and brought some of Minnesota with him to Santa Rosa by building an ice skating rink in Santa Rosa and playing ice hockey regularly. Way to go Charles. We did not have organized hockey where I grew up in Valparaiso, but we did play a sandlot variety when the city would plow out a rink each winter on Spectacle Lake. I loved playing hockey. Makes NFL look like wimps.

Note: Double click pictures for more detail.

Later, got to go rest this old body. Got lots of work to do tomorrow.

Yeeeeoooowww, Papa Coyote loves you all.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Lewiston Hill and the Camas Prairie, Idaho

Hopefully, the pictures that appear above this information will be of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers taken from atop Lewiston Hill. When driving from southern Idaho to northern Idaho on U.S. 95, one must drive up Whitebird Hill (named after the Nez Perce head man at the time of white contact whose band lived on the Salmon River). The old road is said to have had 33 switchbacks (one can still drive this road if they want) as it gained 200o or so feet in elevation. You can imagine traveling this route in the winter. The new road is a pretty straight road. It just keeps going up and up and up. The famous Battle of Whitebird Hill was fought alongside the road. The Nez Perce put the big hurt onto the U.S. Army in this battle. It was the battle that started Chief Joseph's famous flight toward Canada. The old Lewiston Hill road was much like the old White Bird Hill road. It also gained about 2000 feet. The cars that were built in the seventies and before often overheated on the way up. We saw lots of cars pulled to the side with radiators steaming. Travelers regularly carried five gallons of water when making this trip. The first picture should show the Clearwater River flowing west toward Lewiston (ID) and Clarkston (WA) and its confluence with the Snake River. (Note the winding road pictured) The Clearwater is the first river that Lewis and Clark were able to put canoes on after crossing the mountains. They stayed with the Nez Perce at Canoe Camp and while making their dugout canoes and much enjoyed their time with the Nez Perce people. When I was a little kid I was scared to cross the Snake river because I thought it was full of snakes. Actually, it was named after the Indians who lived along the river upstream from Weiser to the Wyoming border. The sign language for these people among other tribes was to show a hand moving in a weaving manner or as a snake would move. Actually, it had nothing to do with the reptiles, but with how well these Shoshone people could weave and were known throughout the West as master weavers. White men got it all wrong and the Shoshone Indians in southern Idaho became known as Snakes. Well, so did the Paiutes. They were also called Diggers. Not especially complimentary, but these people were masters at digging roots for food.

These three panels are located at Tolo Lake on Camas Prairie. The prairie was one of the favorite places for the Nez Perce people to gather in June to harvest the camas root. They would harvest, roast and store literally tons of these bulbs. Tolo Lake was a place where several different bands of Nez Perce would meet. After the long winter, the people were enthusiastic about seeing members and relatives of the different bands. Of course, the young people, if of age, were looking over the members of the opposite sex with much interest. There was much gambling by the men, horse racing, and foot racing. Are you knowledgeable about Indian culture? Test: Did the Indians tell stories around the fire at night on the prairie at this time? See answer at bottom of the blog. I will not restate what is written on the panels. If you will double click the pictures, the picture will be enlarged and you may read what is written on the historial panes. Incidentally, Idaho does a very good job with their historical roadside markers. I have driven in all but two of the states and I think Idaho does the best job.

Oh, yes, the answer. Indians told stories only during the evening hours of the winter. Stories were very entertainingly told. Most tribes considered it to be bad luck to tell stories once winter camp was broken. I think it was because the work of gathering, fishing, and hunting food for winter storage was such hard work that they just collapsed into their beds at dark and said to heck with telling stories. I have prepared and tanned a hide. I can tell you that it is very hard work. My son and I also dug sego lily bulbs for about 20 minutes. We dug seventeen bulbs. If we had had to exist on our gathering skills, I would be a very fit and thin person.
Time for bed,
You all take care and enjoy the day. You know the old saying......
Yeeeeoooowww, Papa Coyote loves you all.

This panel about the mammoth is of particular interest. When the first carbon dating results were returned, the tests showed the mammoth remains to be only about 4,500 years old. The mammoth are thought to have gone extinct with the rest of the megafauna about 7,500 years B.
C. or thereabouts. I have a good Mormon friend, Jim, with whom I taught, who was ecstatic about those test results. Somehow the idea that mammoths lived 6,000 years longer than what had been commonly accepted by scientists played into his theology or the theology of the LDS Church, I am uncertain which. The remains were re-tested because the first results did not fit into the scientific model that had been created. I don't know if the second testing brought results more consistent with the commonly held hypothesis developed by paleotolongists or not. But it sure had Jim excited. More importantly, a man who was leaving just as I drove up to the small lake, had caught two sixteen inch bass and released them. He had pictures on his cell phone. These cell phones are going to ruin a lot of creative story telling.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Stockton Family Reunion in the Park

I went to Spokane this past weekend and stayed with my sister and BiL in their motorhome parked at the Spokane Gun Club. I am always a fan of free room. We attended the family reunion on Saturday. I think 25 people showed up. I took a picture of everybody, so I can get an exact count. The oldest was Uncle Bob. The youngest was Carley. You can see her armwrestling her brother Rudy. It was a pretty special time getting to visit with the first cousins, uncles and aunts the children of them. Of course, by far most did not show up. I would have liked to have seen many more. The family in Missouri is planning the 2010 Reunion. It will be either in Missouri or possibly Boise.
While visiting I contacted a seller on Craigslist and met her Saturday morning in the parking lot of WalMart and bought three gallons of N. Idaho huckleberries for $30 a pound. They were very big berries, very well cleaned, and the gallon bag was absolutely crammed. Couldn't have asked for a better transaction. Since berries are regularly selling for $45 a pound, I felt very fortunate.

We got a phone call from my sister telling us that brother-in-law had driven himself to the hospital at eleven that evening with a kidney stone. He was in the hospital for a few hours then released. My sister is unable to take care of herself, so I was hoping that BiL could make a fast recovery.
I have been working on the sprinkler system getting it ready so that the place will be automatically watered while we are visiting in Windsor, CA and San Francisco. I have hired the neighbor to take care of the fish pond and her mother is going to collect our garden produce and make use of it. I did not want it to go to waste and there will be a bushel or more of tomatoes and about four gallons of green beans and many yellow summer squash and Japanese cukes.

Well, I am tired from working on the sprinkler system and am going to bed. Yawn. Later, Gators!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

J and I used our WorldMark membership to rent a two bedroom, roomy condo in McCall for one night. Cost $77. We ate out at Lardo's Tuesday night and then at at my favorite breakfast restaurant, the Pancake House. The Pancake House is an 11,000 sq. ft. restaurant. During the ski season the wait to get a table can be an hour--for breakfast. I attended a week-long economics workshop about a fifteen years ago held at the Shore Lodge in McCall. Attendees were teachers from around the U.S. The lead professor was from Florida State Univ. He conducts these workshops for an Economics Foundation. He has conducted workshops in every state of the Union and says the the McCall Pancake House is by far the best place in America to get breakfast. He felt so strongly about this place that he chartered a school bus and required every teacher to board the bus and eat breakfast there. He bought. He had his camera ready and when the pancakes and cinnamon rolls were served, or the biscuits and gravy, he had his camera ready to capture the shocked look on the face of the participants. The pancakes and cinnamon rolls are just huge.
You can see pictures taken as we traveled over a dirt road for 28 miles up the Middle
Fork of the Weiser River to get to Donnelly, ID. We stopped in to take pictures of the failed Tamarack Ski Resort. You can see the big hotel in mid consturction when the bank Credit Suiss finally pulled the plug on the owners. This is a huge operation. The bank that loaned the money for the ski lifts is having the ski lifts removed for lack of payment. Quite a blow to the local economy. Some pretty good prices on some multi-million dollar homes are to be had.
The first three pictures show the condo where we spent the night.
On the way up I took a side trip to Brundage Reservoir to look for bolete mushrooms that a club member had reported were just beginning to flush in the area. I spent an hour walking around and only found a fool's hen for my efforts. When I get home the next day and checked my e-mail, two members are bragging about the boletes they found around Brundage Res. Huh, I must have been looking in the wrong place or I am blind.
On the way back home J and I stopped and picked three pints of huckleberries. Yummy.
Papa Coyote is traveling to Post Falls, ID tomorrow to attend my mother's side of the family re-union. J cannot accompany because she has a booth a the Eagle bizarre. I am looking forward to seeing cousins and the few aunts and uncles that are still living. I have the camera battery charged.
Yeooooowww, the Mariner game is on. Gotta go. Mariners won 1-0 in fourteen innings last night. I watched it all. Griffey won the game with a pinch-hit single. Wowzies!
Papa Coyote loves you all.

Monday, August 10, 2009

An Exotic River

I think the first picture will show what I take from the garden every two days. The potatoes are a potato developed by the Incas some five hundred or more years ago. The meat of these potatoes is blue just like the skin. Peru releases a vegatable a year to the market. The Incas developed over 3,000 types of potatoes. Mostly specifically to grow at various elevations and on various sides of the mountains because they terraced gardens up the sides of the mountains. I got these potatoes from Territorial Seed in Western Oregon. My daughter turned me on to this neat seed catolog. They have an online presence. Check it out.
Perry and I went fishing for brown trout on the Owyhee River today. Perry had no strikes. He is a very good fisherman and he was bummed. I had one strike--this little rainbow that I helped plant last June. I had some big browns rising occasionally in front of me, but they could not be bothered with my offerings. This river is a classic example of what geographers call an exotic river. The surrounding terrain is desert, but the river provides a ribbon of green vegation. This river and the surrounding area is the site of of the deadliest Indian battles in all of the West. These occurred from 1864 to 1868. Both sides were brutal. Paiute and Shoshone attacks had been going on since 1851. Check out the Utter and van Ornum Massacres in 1851. Puts the Donner Party in second place. Then check out the Boise River Massacres (Ward Party) in 1854. Very brutal. So when the fish are not biting, one can enjoy the scenery and wonder what was taking place at this site in 1866. I taught four children in high school whose mother is a Paiute Indian from the band that lived on the Owyhee near its mouth at the Snake River. Their mother speaks fluent Paiute and their grandfather is the medicine man of the tribe. I some times think about how brutal her people were a hundred and fifty years ago, but then get my thinking straightened out when I think about how brutal the whites were to these same Indians.
Yeeeeeooooowwww, the Old Papa Coyote loves you all.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Forest Management and Diabetes, Yup, there is a link

Just before leaving to pick huckleberries last week, I was listening to National Public Radio (NPR) while eating a breakfast of shredded wheat and huckleberries. There was an article about the Umatilla Indians displeasure with so many white berry pickers in the mountains this year. The competition was interfering with the gathering of berries. The woman interviewed feared that they would not get the berries they needed for food, medicine and religious use. The Indian lady said that pharmaceutical companies were paying pickers for berries. That got me to wonder what interest the pharmaceutical companies would have in huckleberries so I have done some research and the findings, I thought were rather interesting. I will share some of what I learned.
First of all let me tell you that the Indian women pictured are Lakota women picking chokecherries on the Plains. I don't have a picture of Indian women picking huckleberries. Now, I can tell you that huckleberry bushes do grow almost as tall as these chokecherry bushes in N. Idaho and Montana. Not quite that tall, but tall enough that one can run his belt through the bail of a pail so that the pail hangs from the picker's waist. Then the picker pulls the branches of the huckleberry (also known as whortleberry) over the pail and strip the berries into the pail. I can' pick berries that way in Southern Idaho because the bushes grow so low to the ground. I set the pail on the ground under the bush and strip the berries into the pail if there are enough berries on the bush to use that technique. Usually, there are not. The Indians used skeletons of salmon as rakes for the purpose of stripping berries, today, one can order online huckleberry rakes.
The title of this blog will not stop the heart of any USFS policy maker because the U.S. Forest Service has been dealing with Indian complaints about forest management since 1904 when the Forest Service first started managing forests in the Pacific NW. Lewis and Clark and fur trapping companies noted in their journals the forest fires that the Indians started. Indians across the continent had burned off forests to create meadows to more easily spot and shoot game, to create fields conducive to berry growth, mushroom flushes, and to travel through. And in the east to plant the Three Sisters (corn, beans, and squash) the staples of their diet. When the white man subdued the Indian and confined them to reservations, they began to manage the forests for timber production, not berry growth. The Indians had little interest in timber, but had a lot of interest in meadows that produce camas roots and at higher elevations meadows that produced large and profuse berries. The USFS and the Indians have been at odds ever since. So what else is new? haha. I can tell you unfortunately one is not likely to find many berries in the shade. Yeah, you really do have to pick berries in the hot sun. It seems that the berries need the sun and the fire produces ash that fertilizes the berries. Constantly burning forests is a good management tool for berry production.
So why do the pharmaceuticals want to buy huckleberries? Huckleberries may hold the key to a diabetes cure. Well, so say the natural pharmacy people. One online natural medicine site claims that their pill made of an extract of huckleberries has a 99% success in curing Type II diabetes and a 64% success in curing Type I diabetes. They also claim they have been offered $30 million by a major producer of an FDA approved diabetic medication to keep the huckleberry product off the market. Others are touting the juices made from huckleberries and huckleberry leaf teas. Some sites are saying that glucose levels can be controlled by cinnamon and huckeberries.
We know that before white contact the Indians did not suffer from diabetes. Of course, that was because of their diet. Their bodies had adjusted to the diet of the hunter/gather that allowed them to put on large amounts of weight in times of bounty so as to survive the times of scarcity which was a regular cycle of their life. (Scientists refer to this as the Efficiency Gene, which I seem to have; but this is a controversial subject among scientists and Native American people.) Now that they have ample food 365 days of the year and have plenty of fats, salt, sugar, alcohol, and pre-packaged foods; Indians have a very high incident of diabetes. Well over 50% in most nations and over 85% in the Tohono O'odham people of southern Arizona. (Tacos and enchiladas just look and taste way too good to be healthy)
I am thinking that the key to the huckleberry diet is in the words of one of the online natural pharmacy sites: "...our pill of huckleberry extract and other natural extracts along with a healthy diet and lifestyle will cure diabetes." I think the "along with a healthy diet and lifestyle" is the key here. But I do love the taste of huckleberries. And maybe I can eat the sugar laden huckleberry coffee cake and call it a health food. Hmmmm! Oh, yeah. Papa Coyote is loving this logic.
Hope I didn't bore you too much with the history lesson.
Yeeeeooooowww, Papa Coyote loves you all.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The first pictures were taken this morning just around the house. You can see tomato plants by the pond. There are tomato plants next to the back stoop and there are tomato plants in the garden. J was on my case about planting too many tomato plants. My argument is that I plant with the idea of losing some to frost, but, well, I never seem to lose any to frost. I took J with me this spring to D and B in Ontario to help pick out tomato plants. My idea is to get six plants. But, J is picking them out by the four pack. Then at art class this really nice elderly lady offers tomato plants from her greenhouse to all the class members. Well, I could not turn that offer down. So I ended up with eleven plants and am scrambling to find a place to plant them all. I made frames for the plants. They do keep the plants corraled, but I can't say it is any easier picking the tomatoes that are crammed inside the frames. We have slicer tomatoes, grape tomatoes and cherry tomatoes.
The p0nd had 32 lily blooms on Friday. That is a record. I got what I feel is a pretty accurate count of the goldfish Friday. There are 28 fish in the pond and they are growing. The pond is amazingly relatively algae free this year. The chemicals I learned about at the Far West pond seminar this spring are really working. Whew! Am glad of that because the algae problem was driving me to distraction. I really appreciate the Far West Nursery in Boise for sponsoring that seminar. It was free!!!
Picked about forty ears of corn this morning. J cut most of the corn from the ears and froze five quart packages. We ate about ten ears of corn today. Yummy. I have some really good size crenshaw melons growing in the garden and some of the winter squash is up to a foot in diameter. The blue potatoes have set their blossoms and the plants are nearing the time to die. Oh, and got a big picking of green beans this morning. I will have to take a picture of the Japanese cucumber we planted. Kind of a gnarly looking thing, but tastes good.
The other pictures are from the 3rd of July when D and H brought the girls over for dinner and fireworks. Big M really enjoys that day. I took a lot of pictues of the fireworks. The new camera has a setting for firework pictures. I thought some of them came out pretty good.
It has been hot here--nearly 100 degrees. Tomorrow, a Perry and I will venture forth to the huckleberry patch on the Smokey Boulder road. Everybody talks about picking two, three or five gallons of berries or more. Heck, I feel lucky to get two or three quarts and I am picking likey crazy for five or six hours. I have got to wonder how I can be so slow. And, no, I don't eat berries while picking--makes me too thirsty.
Got to go get some shut eye before having to get up to go berrying. You all be good or happy!
Papa Coyotes loves you all