Friday, May 22, 2015

Action-Packed Educational Day

Idaho Fish and Game Conservation Officer Tom Whalen talks trout. 

U of I Extension Water Educator Jim Ekins

I always love seeing former students in action as teachers.  Molly McCahon, Lake *A*Syst coordinator for Bonner County Soil and Water Conservation,  led a group discussion AFTER a distracting spider was removed from her outdoor classroom. 

Because I was just passing through, I never caught the gist of this, but that license plate covered with all those shells kept students like Caleb (my next-door neighbor) in rapt attention as Megan Lawrence explained the situation. 

A rather nice setting and a beautiful day to learn about water at Laclede's Riley Creek Campground. 

This scene replicated the challenges for fish as they try to get upstream to spawn.  Occasionally, there's a predator or two in the way. 

Well-known Sandpoint nature lover Gail Lyster led a popular session about animal tracks. 
Former Panida Theater manager Karen Bowers came along to help Gail. 


After listening to some highlights about different classes of animal tracks, students went to work, adorning their personal bandanas with a wide variety of tracks. 



My friend Ruby, a senior at Sandpoint High School, volunteered to help out with Waterfest. 

With bandanas complete, students chose various ways to wear their finished product. 

Students heard tidbits about mapmaker/explorer David Thompson and fur traders as they roamed the woods, directed by compasses. 


And, a few fur traders showed up to tell about their experiences in the wild. 

Beautiful Riley Creek Campground, perennial setting for the annual Waterfest,  exhibited some added beauty yesterday as the bridal wreath is already in full bloom. 


I spent most of yesterday on the run and on the road.  My sister Laurie invited me to the annual Waterfest at Riley Creek Campground in Laclede.  

Yesterday was my first experience at the 20-year-old event which has numerous stations around the campground for elementary students to learn about water, its quality and its importance in our environment. 

Last week I was impressed with the high quality of education that is imparted to students at the Idaho State Forestry Contest.  Same is true with Waterfest.  It's beyond impressive. 

In both cases, many students have been prepped in their regular classrooms for several months leading up to the day of outdoor education.  Instructors provide hands-on approaches to concepts learned, and from what I saw yesterday, the event provides a great day of fun for the students and their instructors AND for a visiting photographer. 

I had to leave Waterfest early for an appointment with Ken, my new investment counselor.  

I learned a little more about investments and that he and another longtime staff member from Edward Jones on Pine Street will soon be moving to the new office complex in Ponderay across from Sand Creek Conoco at the Schweitzer stoplight.  

With a Starbucks also moving into that complex, that's gonna be pretty handy for me. 

After that meeting, I headed home to do some quick projects and change clothes for the PAFE reception where recipients in the local teaching profession and POAC received 52 grants for educational enrichment projects next year.  

My sister Barbara and Willie received a grant for the journalism convention trip next year, Debbie accepted two grants for POAC, including the Kaleidoscope program and my sister Laurie accepted a grant, which she coordinated with Debbie, Barbara and my niece Laura.

Later, special awards were given, and that caught Laurie offguard because their grant to bring in a Native American cultural speaker and dancers for a special day next school term won a beautiful plaque honoring the memory of Betty Ann Diehl, who was a great proponent of and contributor to the arts in Sandpoint.  

Pretty neat program, to say the least, and I know family members are pretty proud and happy about these grants. 

So, we went to dinner to celebrate.  That involved another trip home and another change of clothes.  The day finally ended around 9 p.m. but with a feeling of satisfaction about the day and about the tremendous educational opportunities here in our area.  The future looks great. 

Happy Friday.  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Is this really May? Nose Job


Yesterday Debbie and I had coffee and dessert on the deck at Trinity.  I'm glad I had my camera along because I couldn't believe my eyes when I noticed swimmers out there in that water on May 20.

Certainly not the July crowd, but any number of swimmers in May is somewhat astounding.

When we finished our coffee and left, we climbed into a hot car where the temperature registered 88 degrees.  I figured it had been sitting in the sun, but even after driving through town and heading north on HWY 95, I looked again and saw temperature of 81.

So, we're having some warm weather, to say the least.  I told Debbie that by the time summer comes, we'll be tired of summer.  Maybe not!

I don't think Schweitzer usually looks like this in May.  This was taken earlier this morning.  Actually the neat clouds attracted me, but I also clearly noticed the lack of snow for this time of the year.  

Again, I took a photo with emphasis on the beautiful baskets brought to me yesterday by my friend Kari, standing next to the deck in the photo below.

Her daughter Sage is in a 4-H group which takes orders for the baskets as a fundraiser.  Kari spent two days delivering 145 baskets, so I'm thinking the kids are on to something with this annual sale.  The baskets come from a nursery in Spirit Lake.

They're so eye catching I decided to take a picture and then noticed my adorable little buddy watching me through his couch perch in the living room.  Not a bad setting for a cute doggie photo. 

Yay, Kari.  Yay, beautiful baskets!

Piggy received a coat of paint the other day.  I purchased my flying pig from Moose Valley Farms a few years ago and eventually the silver coating tarnished.  So, I figured it was time to have a pig of a proper piggly color.

Maybe I need to call him Percy . . . remember the speech class tongue twister:  Percy Pig is plump and pink.  I like plump, pink pigs, I think.  Thank you, Ann Curtis for teaching me that wonderful porcine thought.  I've found a use for it off and on over the years.   

Speaking of plump, let's talk about Festus who has the bestus of fat bellies.  Festus wanted to follow me to the paper box this morning, but he stayed back once I walked out on to the road.

Festus paid a visit to the Center Valley Veterinary Hospital earlier this year, and I think the doctor used the term "obese" about five times during our visit.

I don't know how one puts a cat on a diet, and judging from Festus' Meow Mix dish, which is seldom empty after a feeding, those pounds aren't coming from his daily catfood supply.

I remembered just a few minutes ago that today was Thursday Throwback, so I grabbed this photo from a book event.

Years and years ago, a group of my teaching friends and I got together for a summer barbecue.  We were an active, creative lot (some gatherings included dressing up in costumes from a large wardrobe owned by one of our friends).

Well, at this barbecue, someone came up with the idea of taping up our noses.  So, we did.  We sat in a circle and soon were in hysterics, looking at each other through tear-filled eyes.

Taping up one's nose doesn't exactly get you on the cover of glamour magazines, but it does occasionally break up the monotony.

Occasionally, during my remaining years of teaching, when things seemed a bit dull in the classroom, I reached into my desk drawer, hid my face briefly, taped up and then resumed class.  Things usually livened up a bit.

I have declared today as National Tape Up Your Nose Day, so sometime during the day when you're feeling bored, go get the tape, do your nose job, look in the mirror OR better yet, take a selfie and post it on Facebook.

Dare you!!!!

Happy Thursday!!!




Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Just Wednesday Stuff . . . .







It's a great morning.  The sun is shining.  A soft breeze is blowing.  Yesterday's School Board election went very well. 

Both candidates who support the school district's general direction and its staff and students won easily in yesterday's voting. It was hard to tell what the trends would be, based on all the signage around the county.


Voters stepped up to the plate, though, in favor of our local system of public education, and I am thrilled.  For many years, while I was teaching, our district dealt with turmoil and revolving doors.  


Over the past few years, however, a sense of stability and unity among staff and administration has made all the difference, and the district has received numerous accolades as a result. 


So, congratulations to Geraldine Lewis and Joel Molander, and good luck to you in your upcoming service to the Board and to the students of Lake Pend Oreille School District 84. 


In other news, color is popping out all over here at the Lovestead, and the columbine is especially beautiful this year.  I love the individual blossoms and the different color patterns of this prolific perennial.  


Columbine has been spreading around the place, and each year the flowers put on a better show.


In the last few days the mountain bachelor buttons have burst out and welcomed honey bees from next door.  


Along with the bees have come other insects which irritate the heck out of poor Lefty.  As mentioned in past posts, he suffers perennially from skin problems, especially in the summer.  


So, yesterday a summer stable sheet came in the mail, and I'm hoping it will help give him some relief.  The good news about the stable sheet is that it is still in one piece after an overnight with Lefty.  


Lefty tends to be a bit rough on his clothing, so I'm hoping this sheet has a little extra durability.  


While I was taking pictures of flowers and other evening sights around the place last night, Bill was emptying the new old motor home of kitchen supplies, etc. 


After two trips to the fix-it shop and a whole lot of $$$$, the electric outlets inside the motorhome now work again.  Turns out there was a bad wire, so on the second fix-it try, the mechanic bypassed one of the outlets with new wiring and got the juice flowing again. 


So, it's for sale.  We were asking a ridiculously low price for it, but Sharon at Lake RV said, with the electrical working, it's worth $3,500.  So, I'm advertising it in the classified AND right here on the blog. 


All the kidding over the years aside, the motorhome is very usable, and people seem to enjoy it.  We've kept it clean and maintained.  We figure that it's probably best characterized as a practical RV perfect for camping or hunting. 


It ain't fancy, but it works and drives like a dream.  

So, pass the word.   Who knows, maybe it will end up serving as someone's personal dwelling.


Guess that's enough for this morning's babble.  I'm anxious to get outside and enjoy some more of the fragrances and the color. 


Happy Wednesday.   

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tuesday Twitterdeedum


I'll bet this old relic would have turned a few heads at this past week's Lost in the '50s parade.  Mighta needed a little work to get it running though.

It resides at the Ray Delay farm in Careywood where the Idaho State Forestry Contest was held last week.  

I think its current resting place amidst the Aspen trees showcases its character.  So, maybe it will stay there a long, long time. 

If cars and trucks could talk about their adventures, I bet they could fill a history book or two. 

~~~~~~
The community said good bye to a treasure yesterday.  And, it was pretty sad to think that so many of us will never get to have another conversation with Maggie Becker, at least on this Earth.  

Maggie of Dover, some folks called her.  Seems a lot of folks in this community knew Maggie. Many of them packed every available space at Coffelt Funeral Home to bid adieu to one fine lady, mother, community activist, friend and babysitter to hundreds.

I was so glad that my daughter Annie got to visit with Maggie at a girls basketball game in Les Rogers Gym over Christmas.

Maggie guided both Willie and Annie from their toddler years until they reached the age when they no longer went to daycare at Patti Howell's house. 

That easygoing, calm manner and genuine warmth so characteristic of Maggie attracted her to countless little children, adolescents and adults. 

Maggie was just one of those people you knew, and you felt like you had known her forever from that first-ever meeting.  Although I don't attend very often anymore, I have always enjoyed going to Koffee Kult with Maggie and the gang.  

She was usually the first to welcome me when I'd show up after a long absence.  Before I'd leave, she'd counsel, "Don't stay away so long."  And, she meant it. 

One of my classmates Judy, also a relative of Maggie's, told me a story last week about meeting Maggie years ago ('60s) when she worked at The Bootery, a downtown shoe store. 

"We were so impressed," Judy told me, "because she was a 'working woman.'"  Times have changed a bit since then.  Lots of working women around, but nothing ever changed over the decades regarding the general admiration of Maggie----for numerous reasons. 

I sat next to another Koffee Kult member, Penny, yesterday.  She's a longtime Sandpoint resident who has said good bye to many of her friends at the funeral home or local churches.

"This one is especially hard," she told me.  I agreed. 

I know that most anyone who knew Maggie has been feeling pretty heart-broken this past week. 

The local paper mistakenly reported last week after Maggie's death that she had served as mayor of Dover.  The minister at yesterday's funeral pointed that out, adding that most people thought of her that way, so why not!

Yup, Penny, you were right.  This one's hard.  Gonna miss ya, Maggie, my Irish friend.  

~~~~~
Today's the School Board Election.  I already expressed my thoughts in a post a few days ago.  So, today, I'll simply encourage locals in the voting districts for today's candidates to get out there and vote for Geraldine Lewis and Joel Molander. 

Some people refer those choices as the "status quo."  Well, status quo is not always a negative term, especially when an entity, such as our school district, is running smoothly and successfully. 

Please encourage folks in the two voting districts to exercise their voting privilege in today's election.

~~~~~

Today will be a planting day for many items in my greenhouse.  I see from the temperatures ahead that we don't have any freezes scheduled in the near future.

Plus, we have finally reached the calendar date when most experts say it's safe to garden. I started gardening several weeks ago and we've already had two or three meals with the results-----last night, the first radishes in a garden-grown lettuce salad.  

So, a few tomatoes, petunias, more pansies and some marigolds will hit the outdoor dirt today.  

Love it!

Happy Tuesday.  VOTE!



Monday, May 18, 2015

A Flowery Trail . . . . and a Blast

















"Do you want to go up Deer Creek?" Bill asked when I came in the house from mowing the first big patch of lawn.  He had just come home from church and seemed pretty eager to go. "I want to fish for half an hour." 

When Bill puts a time limit on how long he's gonna fish, that needs to be marked on the calendar.  Normally when Bill takes off fishing during an afternoon, I don't expect to see him until the next day.

He promised, "Half hour, that's all." 

I bit the bait, said yes and told him I'd hold him to a half hour, that was all. 

So, off we went, headed for Bonners Ferry with a stop-off at Super 1 for coffee, chocolate and chicken.  Bill ate the chicken while I sipped on the coffee and munched on M & M peanuts. 

We headed up the Meadow Creek Road and then turned off at the Deer Creek/Placer Creek Road.  After climbing up the mountain, we stopped at a turn-off where Bill grabbed his fishing gear and I had my camera. 

"Half an hour!" I reminded him.

He gave me the keys to the truck and said, "If I'm not back in half an hour, take off . . . that'll teach me."  

"Yeah, sure," I said, figuring, of course, that I would drive off and leave him. 

By golly, Bill got back to the truck before I did.  I was giving him some slack by continuing to hike up and down the road, looking for photos. 

So, we loaded up and headed back down the mountain.  He then asked if I wanted to hike some more, as he had a spot in mind. When we came to the Keno Creek Road and told me that road led to the Buckhorn Mine of the early 1900s, I said, "Let's go up this road."

The road goes through an area reserved by the Kootenai Tribe for their annual huckleberry picking.  All the camping areas are well marked with the "Reserved" signs and with a set of rules.  

As Bill pointed out, the Federal government manages the land, but the area is the traditional cultural setting for the Tribe's huckleberry encampments.  All others who want to camp in the area can do so for up to 14 days, but for the Tribe, stays are unlimited. 

In a 2010 paper for her field biology class, Kara Strass wrote about the importance of huckleberries as nutritional and medicinal benefits for Salish and Kootenai tribes.  She points out that the huckleberry encampments were meant to be both work and fun for Tribal members. 

From Kara Strass's paper . . . . 


People would move to the huckleberry patches for as long as they could, from a weekend all the way to several weeks during huckleberry season.

The picking of huckleberries is not just a custom that functions to get enough food for the year, it was a social time when families, bands, and even separate tribes would come together and have a good time.

During the picking, there would often be talking or story telling among
those in the patch. At night, there would be games and gambling.

Several of the respondents described being in the berry patch as children and how much fun it was to be with all the other children.

There was work to be done, yet there was plenty of time to
have fun. Before there was a set currency, the huckleberries would be used in gambling.

Because people went back to the same places each year, it was common to meet the same people every year. One traditional place to pick is in Buckhorn, Idaho, and many tribes would meet each year.

The day was time to work and pick berries, but the night was time for fun, storytelling, and gambling. One respondent even remembered marriages taking place in the huckleberry patch.


Our trip up Keno Creek not only gave us a sense of Kootenai culture, but it also provided a new road untravelled followed by a new trail.  

We walked about two miles after parking the pickup, and the route was glorious with all the wildflowers gushing vibrant colors along the trail---even Indian paintbrush which we're not accustomed to seeing until summer. 

Had we gotten an earlier start, I'm sure we would have hiked further, but yesterday's experience gave us the incentive to return and check out the whole route, maybe even up to the Buckhorn Mine. 

It was lovely, to say the least. 

Finally, today, I have found an online photo of the January, 1981 National Geographic cover photo shot on this day 35 years ago by my cousin Madalyn's husband the late Doug Miller of Ephrata, Wash.

Doug, a career photographer, stepped outside his house in Ephrata as the ash cloud from a couple of hundred miles away billowed through the area.  He submitted the photo to National Geographic and they put it on the cover! 

We all have our memories of that day, but Doug earned a bit of immortality by capturing the drama which so many of us in the Northwest experienced when looking toward the skies after the blast. 

Happy Monday. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Black and White and a Special Gathering



Robyn and Bob and some of Kiwi's kin. 





Willie, Vicki and Bill




We attended a Celebration of Life yesterday, honoring Gale Dolsby.  Gale and his wife Vicki have been family friends for years.

Vicki subbed at Sandpoint High School often enough to be thought of as a member of the staff.  

Gale, a retired law enforcement officer,  stayed involved in local high school sports in numerous ways, including broadcasting SHS varsity action via a local television station. 

During that time, both Willie and Annie gained valuable experience operating the cameras while Gale and his sidekick Larry Copley provided commentary for the games.  Those basic skills have come in handy for both Willie and Annie in their professional settings.

Over the years, I also taught the three Dolsby children, Regan, Craig and Clint.  All of gone on to be highly successful professionals and wonderful people.

Vicki asked me a while back to take pictures at yesterday's event.  To say it was pure joy would be an understatement, as all of the extended Dolsby family many of their longtime friends attended.  

Since our family shares many of the same friends, we were very happy to be there.  "There" was at the beautiful Stillwater Ranch off Dufort Road south of Sandpoint. 

Just as we turned into the driveway, I happened to look back and see black and white bounding around the buildings at a farm across the road.  Long known as the Glen and Leona Judge place, this farm is now owned by Bob and Robyn McNall Ross. 

Robyn is responsible for the Love family loving Border Collies, as Kiwi, our 10-year-old BC came from one of Robyn's litters.  

Well, when I saw that black-and-white activity and knew we still had a few minutes before the rest of the attendees would arrive at the celebration, I had to go meet those dogs.  

Both Bob and Robyn were out working in their yard.  As soon as Robyn saw us, she started our way, with Bob and the dogs joining them. 

That top dog in the photo recently took top dog honors in the "Most Promising Other Breed Trials" at the 2015 Spring Turnout Trials at the Australian Shepherd Club of Montana Spring Turnout event at Frenchtown, Mont.

Rudy is Bob's sidekick, traveling with him to work every day, and apparently, he impressed the folks in Frenchtown last weekend. 

Turns out Rudy and his friend are both related to Kiwi.  I forgot her name, but Robyn says she doesn't like to play quite as much as Rudy, so she nips him occasionally.  

During our brief visit, I saw a lot of Kiwi-isms in Rudy. 

Knowing people would be showing up for the event soon, we said good bye to one Ross couple with Border Collies and drove down the beautifully manicured driveway owned by another Ross couple. 

We admired magnificent Shires grazing out in the field, and as we reached the area where weddings, proms, family celebrations and other events occur throughout the year, what did we see-----another Border Collie.

This guy's name is Gus, and he was in Border Collie Heaven throughout the celebration as different groups kept those sticks flying for him to grab and bring back for more.

Stillwater Ranch is owned by a most gracious and interesting couple, Bryan and Kaye Ross. They truly love all their animals, and to say those animals are living in Heaven on Earth is an understatement.  

Beautiful place, owned and managed by wonderful people.  

Yesterday's celebration was a gathering of people who enjoyed a couple of hours of reconnecting and reminiscing. I'm sure Gale Dolsby highly approved.  

Thank you, Vicki and family, for including us.