Sunday, May 01, 2016

Customers Appreciating Moose Valley Farms

Yes, Moose Valley Farms is a business, but with my friend Mary Lambert Kimball and her family at the helm, it's much more than that.

Moose Valley is kinda out in the middle of nowhere.  It's located alongside HWY 95 between Elmira and Naples, both little hamlets along the route from Sandpoint to Bonners Ferry.

It's a nursery where one can buy shrubs, ornamental trees, flowers aplenty and veggie starts. Along with those items come accessories like funky yard art, beautiful pots, planters, potting mix, etc.

Inside, there's a gift shop with a nice variety AND a good supply of dog food.

For 13 years, the business has sponsored a Customer Appreciation Day with a carnival atmosphere.  

Besides the popular, fresh homemade ice cream, hotdogs and cake, a balloon man keeps kids enthralled as he turns balloons into figures and gives each away.  Vendors accentuate the main offerings with their crafts.

The bloodmobile shows up as do staff from the local fire district.  Heck, you can even get garden advice for 5 cents.

I learned yesterday from my friend Joanne that when she first came to Customer Appreciation Day, maybe 20 others showed.  

Well, the word got out over the years, and when I arrived yesterday, the parking lot was overloaded, so I had to park on a dusty side road.

That was okay, though, because I didn't mind walking a ways to take in all the downhome action at this year's bigger-than-ever event.

Besides the ice cream and oodles of colorful people scenes, I did more than my share of visiting, and actually came home empty-handed but with a mind and camera full of wonderful images.

One of the highlights for me was seeing Bonners Ferry horse trainer Marv Legerway who has come back home for a while from several months in Dublin, Ireland, where his wife Tish has taken a job with the Port of Dublin.

During our visit, Tish called, so I had to opportunity to say hello to her.

As a low-grade multi-tasker, I figured it was best to make a trip back on a quieter day for making purchases.

As always, the experience at Moose Valley made my day and provided a nice exit to April.

The calendar has turned over and now we can bring on more and more of the May flowers.

Happy May Day.  Enjoy the photos!

These two ladies would be my sisters, Laurie (front) and Barbara (behind). 

My friend Myra from Clark Fork identified this lovely lady as "my friend Arlene Erickson who is 89 years young today."
Happy Birthday, Arlene!!!

Sharon Gould, calligrapher, showing off a sample of her work. 

Hey, Annie Love:  Tom sez hi!  He's wondering if you're going to look up Sergio Garcia when you go to Spain!

Thanks, Mary, old friend and classmate! You, your family and all your loyal team do a fabulous job not only with your Customer Appreciation Day but also with your entire enterprise.

Twas definitely another fun experience at Moose Valley yesterday.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Saturday Slightly Knightly

Now, that definitely looks like a band aide on Bobby Knight's nose, and the photo was taken just a day or so after Bobby endorsed The Donald for President.  

Nonetheless, my son Willie assured me no politics was discussed nor chairs flung when he met the legendary and colorful NCAA coach yesterday afternoon.

This photo popped up on my cell phone around 4 p.m. I showed it to Bill, and we both agreed that it looked real.

"What's Bobby Knight doing in Sandpoint?"

That was the next question on my mind.

"Is Duane gonna mow lawns for him at his new home?  

That was the question on Bill's mind.

A couple of interrogating texts later, and I learned that Bobby Knight was NOT in Sandpoint. Instead, we learned that both Bobby and Duane and Willie were in Las Vegas at a coaches' clinic. 

So, no SHS girls varsity coach Duane Ward will not be mowing Coach Knight's lawn.  And, no, we did not learn why Bobby Knight was wearing a band aide on his nose so soon after endorsing Donald Trump. 

Yes, SHS girls assistant coach Willie felt like he was flanked by two legends at that very moment.  

Has Bobby Knight coached as long as Duane Ward?


Yes, both have made their marks in their own ways, affecting hundreds of young athletes' lives, and I'm kinda thinking Duane has probably done so with much more restraint but with no less enthusiasm.

Twas a great day for our son who has to be in Heaven this weekend, walking among the great names in college basketball AND learning from them, including North Carolina coach Roy Williams. 

Willie sez there's a possibility he may have another photo taken with ZAGS coach Mark Few cuz he's at the clinic too. 

Anyway, once we learned that our son had taken off for Las Vegas for the weekend, we were really glad to learn that not ALL of what happens in Vegas, stays there. 

Mom and Pop got to enjoy the thrills albeit via text photos.  

Now for the mundane.  I do know that photos of spring around Selle could be getting a little redundant, but this year's edition has been a dandy. 

And, on this Saturday morning, I'm much happier about the looks of my lawn than I was last Saturday morning. 

It's been a busy week with eye surgery, new lawnmowers, horse hauling, etc.  Happily, it has all turned out well.

Tony came and fixed my zero-turn mower yesterday, and I wasted no time sprucing up the front lawn, which I had mowed earlier this week with the brand new Sears model. 

Life is good when two riding mowers are running and cutting, so no complaints here. 

I do have to wait a few days before tackling the garden again.  Seems that laser zaps are like welds, so while they become fully effective, one has to take it easy.  

No bumper cars at the carnival, no racket ball matches, no standing on my head, and probably no galloping across a field on my horse and happily no weeding. 

So, the weeds will get to hang around until the week of full recovery takes place.  The doctors gave me the green light on the riding lawnmowers, as long as I don't try to race with my next-door neighbor, whom I've heard now has a zero turn model of her own. 

I saw on Facebook that Moose Valley Farms at Naples is having their annual customer Appreciation Day today. That means free homemade ice cream and a whole lot of other fun stuff. 

So, that may be a way of taking it easy and conjuring up some good ol' garden dreams.  

Looking like a good day ahead, especially with a newly mown lawn. Just like with Willie, the lifelong basketball fanatic, for this ol' lawn and garden girl just off from successful eye repair, life doesn't get much better than this!

Happy Saturday. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Tractors and More . . . .

Yup, it's just a week away. On Saturday, May 7, the members of the Panhandle Antique Tractor and Engine Club will create some nostalgia and transform a a farm field.

They're also hoping to raise more funds for their equipment display building, set to be constructed in Kootenai. 

This year, the group will till up a field in Algoma, one-half mile down the Algoma Spur Road off HWY 95 in Sagle. 

While visitors stroll around amiring the ever-growing fleet of beautifully preserved vintage tractors, others will be hooking up their plows or disks to those tractors and taking their turns prepping a 30-acre field for seeding. 

Throughout the day, burgers, hotdogs and drinks will be available at a concession stand operated by volunteers from the Bonner County Heritage Museum.  Donations will also be accepted.  All profits will go toward the equipment display building. 

Over the past several years, I've attended a few of these events and can enthusiastically report that they are fun experiences.  

There's a great atmosphere of nostalgia, there's good down-home visiting of a rural nature and there is definitely a vast display of pride in workmanship, not only with the tractors themselves but also with the work performed by their drivers in the field. 

Plus, there's a never-ending flow of historical tales to be told. 

I've never seen a tractor owner yet who wasn't more than happy to show off his pride and joy on four wheels. 

So, mark the date on your calendar---Saturday, May 7, beginning at 9 a.m. out south of town off from HWY 95. Watch for signs along the highway and come join the fun.

For more specific information, call Lee at 610-5871 or Jim at 597-4335. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

I Can See Clearly Now: Gratitude

I'll probably never know if it was the blow to the eye from a segment of woven wire that hit me in the face when I pulled it from its post or the limb that, two hours later, brushed over my left eye or even the throwing my hands over my eyes in horror two days later when our pup Liam ran into the barnyard dangerously close to the hooves of bucking and kicking horses OR if it happened simply because I'm old. 

Over the past 2.5 weeks, I've learned about floaters. They're those wiggly, wormlike things or black spots that suddenly show up in one's vision, especially prominent when looking at sky or white walls.  I may have had floaters before but nothing like the one that suddenly got my attention just moments after Liam escaped the barnyard and lived to dig holes another day. 

Since that day, I've worried myself sick. I've tried to WISH the irritation in my left eye away. When the latter did not happen in spite of the strong desires of this tough ol' farmgirl, I finally did the unspeakable---for me anyway. 

I bit the bullet, made an appointment, saw an eye specialist and overcame a second challenge this year related to deep-seeded personal fears.  The first involved taking a hot-air balloon flight over the Arizona desert in February, which happened only after a lot of coaxing from my sisters and the balloon pilot. 

Besides heights, I fear doctors.  Not that the doctors do anything wrong; I simply don't want to learn that anything is wrong.  

Stupid? Yes, but I must say that in the journey I've taken over the past couple of weeks, not one professional has chastised me because of my fears.  Instead, they have exhibited understanding, compassion, encouragement and great skill. 

My first appointment with "fear" occurred earlier this week with our local ophthalmologist Dr. Charles George.  The good doctor had a little advance help from his friend and staff member Linda Neely Chapin who gently encouraged me behind the scenes.  When the courage finally came for me to make the appointment, I asked Linda, a former student and friend, if she could let them know about my doctor anxiety. 

I don't know if she said anything, but the minute I walked into the clinic, familiar and friendly faces greeted me and, each in their own way, calmed me down, including Rosalee whose friendship dates back to when, as a student in my English class, she thoughtfully brought me some baby booties crafted by her mother when Willie was born.

Rosalee and I enjoyed a wonderful visit about our families until Steve, the assistant, called out my name.  He ran me through a battery of tests, provided some wonderful explanations about eye floaters, dribbled some drops in my eyes and went on to the next patient.  

When Dr. George came into the exam room, he greeted me as if we were old friends.  I'd come to his office decades ago when he had examined my eyes and told me it would be a while before I needed glasses. 

On Monday, we talked about eyes and age, and that's when I learned that he was examining me on his 68th birthday, which gave us something in common, since I'll still be 68 for several weeks. 

It was beginning to look as if I might walk out of that exam room a free woman with peace of mind that those floaters were just floaters and no need for concern.  

At the last possible second, however, Dr. George quietly announced that I had a retinal tear.  It has been hard for him to see, but he finally spotted it. 

"What happens now?" I asked.  

We'll get you to a laser specialist, he said, adding that it would mean a trip to Spokane, maybe even tomorrow. 


Yup, those words accentuated any fears I'd had up to this point.  

"Those guys do this every day," he told me.  "You'll be fine." 

Well, the gulps continued as I drove myself home, instantly realizing that car headlights behind me sure do have a stunning neon effect when you're looking at the rear view mirror through eye drops.

Bill had gone fishing for the afternoon at his favorite spot.  I called him and gave him the news.  

"Do you want me to come home?" he asked. 

Nope, I said, there's nothing you can do.  Enjoy your fishing.  I knew Bill would be giving up some time for me in the next few days, so I wanted him to enjoy himself that evening.

For once, I did NOT consult "Dr. Internet" too much on what happens with laser surgery on retinas.  My friend Susie had recently gone through a hip replacement, and she told me she wanted to know as little as possible about what happened in surgery.   

Good idea, I thought, even though I did read one Internet segment outlining the general procedure.

Turned out yesterday was the big day.  We had already spent most of Tuesday driving back and forth to Spokane to pick up Lily who had been at a stable for two weeks.  We realized later that we had driven almost past the eye clinic in North Spokane on that day. 

So, we took the same route.  

As an aside, I must tell a "Nervous Nellie, who searches out every bathroom available when she's nervous" anecdote.  

"Let's stop one more time before we go to the clinic," I suggested to Bill. Soon, he pulled into a Chevron convenience store.  

"We don't have restrooms," the clerk announced.  

We drove on.  Bill said there was a restaurant up the road where we could stop.  We pulled in, parked, and, again, I walked inside to be greeted by a sign on the Women's room (which had a key code for a lock) announcing to use the number on your receipt to unlock the door.  The sign also said to knock before entering. 

A first for me, the bathroom aficionado who's seen virtually all levels of restrooms!

Since when do you have to buy your bacon cheeseburger BEFORE you're allowed to go to the bathroom????

And, do those burger-joint receipts all have the same code number, obviously leading to the distinct possibility that the poor, unsuspecting person inside the restroom could be in for a surprise if you forgot to knock first. 

Incredible!  That's all I've got to say, coming from a town which understands citizens' bathroom needs and found a way through its "2 Reasons" fundraiser years ago to construct a community restroom in the center of town. 

Well, we drove on, and thank God for Arbys (Denise, you'll appreciate this since you were an active 2 Reasons proponent.  Arby's in North Spokane lets people use the restroom without a receipt for their Arby's Patty Melt). 

Probably as a gesture of appreciation, Bill bought a milk shake. 

Then, time came for the appointment.  I walked in with purse in hand, ready to dole out the Medicare and supplemental insurance card.  

A very nice lady named Dawn greeted me and told me how much she liked my bright, spring colors.  Later, she told me I was beautiful.  I told her I'd have to mark that on the calendar cuz I don't think anyone has ever complimented me like that. 

Dawn has a soft place in my heart because of her warmth and kindness.  Same is true for several people I met yesterday, unfortunately not learning all their names, except for the other "Maryanne," my nurse at the surgery center.

Bill and I sat in the waiting room at the North Spokane Eye Clinic for just a few minutes, but still long enough for my courage to be happily heightened by a lady from Sandpoint, Carleen Mikesell Wallace (SHS Class of 1961).  

"Laser surgery, you'll enjoy it," she said, adding that she had gone under the scalpel with her eyes a time or two.  Carleen's reassurance was music to my ears.  

After a preliminary check-up and eye-drop procedure, I met my doctor, Jason Jones who knew my former student Matt Jones from Sandpoint, also an eye physician in Spokane.   Jason came to Spokane several years ago from Ohio State University where he graduated top of his class. 

He wasted no time examining my eyes, and I loved it when he kept saying that certain conditions inside those eyes that could be bad for my age looked good. 

Then, he went searching for the tear that Dr. George had found.  At first, he found only a tuft and suggested that maybe I would not need surgery, but then he called Dr. George for further reference.  When he came back and searched again, he found the tear to go along with the tuft. 

Soon, Bill and I were driving downtown to the surgery center, just off I-90.  The efficiency in that place is amazing.  I checked in, sat for a while, visited with some folks from Cheney and soon heard my name called. 

The surgery center is definitely an assembly-line production, but the care by nurses is fabulous.  When I learned that they'd have to stick a needle in my arm for the surgery "happy juice," and when they brought out the blood pressure machine (which I flunked the first time), I'm sure my blood pressure rose considerably. 

Turns out when Maryanne, the nurse from Tonasket, took the pressure the old-fashioned way, the count was not all that bad for this Nervous Nellie.  Maryanne also assured me that she had inserted a needle a time or two and that it was perfectly okay to look away. 

Then came the nurse with the happy juice.  All was great from then on.  I may have nodded off because it sure seemed like the doctor showed up from the North Spokane clinic quickly. 


"You're done," Dr. Jones said. Someone put a bandage on my eye, telling me to leave it there for at least four hours.  Staff gathered up my stuff and Bill, removed the IV, gave me some guidelines, and off we went to none other than DICKS Hamburgers for a chocolate shake, Whammy and fries.  

Twas a good way to celebrate the relief after two weeks of worry and fear.  And, speaking of relief---though I did not need to use it---I'm sure Dick's restroom does not have a code nor a need for a receipt before relieving oneself. 

When I removed my bandage last night, I learned firsthand just how weird double vision is. So, I put the bandage back on the eye and went to bed.  This morning, the double vision is gone, and all is well. 

More than anything, I appreciate all those people, including my patient and caring husband, who have helped me through this personal ordeal.  

The world outside my window is looking pretty good this morning, and I'm looking forward to appreciating the beauty that exists there for a long, long time-----thanks to all these good people. 

Happy Thursday. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Faces and Frolic in Spring Splendor

After posting these photos this morning, I realized that I had managed to get all the long-term beloveds here at the Lovestead:  Bill, Festus, Lily, Kiwi, Lefty, Foster and Liam.  

We do have a lot more unnamed souls in the menagerie, like the robin which is always looking for worms in the northeast section of the main front lawn or the resident crows who flit and squawk about all over the place and, of course, the town squirrel and the chickadees and finches. 

I'm sure there are more, but these are the principal characters in a usual day around the place. 

Of late, the pansies have come to full life, a few new blooms every day, and I do believe pansies have expressions.  Take the photo of the purple (should I say 'Prince') pansy, which seems to say I'm first while its yellow counterpart in the back looks a bit forlorn about its lot in life. 

Granted, tulips don't really have faces, but when we take an upfront and personal look, we can reach right into their souls and see their innermost dimensions.  Happily this year other faces with four legs have not come to the Lovestead to look deep into any of my tulips' souls and then take a chomp.  

Knock on wood.  It's been nice to enjoy these vibrant spring flowers for a change.

I'm loving the ever-increasing color around the place, and I always love the first day when the horses get to go to the front pasture with brilliant, lush and fast-growing green grass contrasting with their colors.  

They don't stay long in the pasture this time of year because that grass can be too lush for their tummies; Lily never seems to understand that concept because once she's tasted grass, she'd settle for grazing the whole day. 

I've noticed lately that fat Festus (termed obese by some) has been wandering away from his deck chairs and actually walking to the barn.  Fortunately for me but not for Festus, the mouse population out there has been minimal to zip for several months.  Hope it stays that way, and, with Festus' plump barrel, he'll do okay without adding mice to his diet. 

And, of course, this is the peak of esthetic joy when the Border Collie Nation Plus One go to the hayfield.  Their trips will soon be limited as the grass turns into full-fledged hay. 

Last night's session in the field with the dogs and Bill was not quite as joyous as it appears.  All went well until Liam chewed his leash into two pieces, even while being free. 

That meant an increased challenge in catching free Liam. When we managed that, I tied the leash back together.  One run across the field and my knot came undone.  

During all this leash repair, Liam was getting ideas about his freedom.  He soon put them into action crawling through the fence into Meserve's field.  

Do you think Liam was gonna let us catch him?  Oh, he would let Bill get to within three or four feet and then trot off to go sniff another part of the field. 

It became frantic, but finally he decided he had had enough fun and came back through the fence on his own. 

"Free Liam" has gone back to being a concept, and I think I'll need to search for a newer, better, chew-free leash. 

In spite of the frenzy, we did enjoy some play time with the dogs in a gorgeous setting, and that does overshadow the occasional bouts of human apoplexy over canine danger-filled misconduct. 

It continues to be beautiful around here, and all the inhabitants are loving it.

Happy Wednesday. 


I love you, Foster!