Archive for the ‘Fall’ Category

Slender Man, Trump Hair Clouds and Great Big Idaho Potato Truck

September 18, 2016

We had a hot dry summer this year in southeast Idaho, a summer of seemingly endless blue skies. This past Tuesday thunderstorms rolled through. It was cloudy most of the day, but then the skies cleared, and the sun reappeared. We took an evening walk, David Megan and I …

7:03 PM Tuesday 9-13-16

7:03 PM Tuesday, 9-13-16

in our paranormal states. No particular relation to Slender Man, the meme that compelled two 12-yr-old girls in rural Wisconsin to stab a friend 17 times and leave her to die in the forest. (Do you remember that incident on June 2, 2014, when two girls were charged with stabbing a classmate as a sacrifice to the mythical character Slender Man ?? They are now both being tried as adults.) Yuck!

Shira Chess is a scholar of the Slender Man Myth. So, in case you wonder, Chess’ analysis of Slender Man is that he is a metaphor for ‘helplessness, power differential, and anonymous forces’ – an infinitely morphable stand-in for things we can neither understand nor control, universal fears that can drive people to great lengths, even it would appear, very scary, cold-blooded lengths.

What? Hey, we had Rudy with us…

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He only chases cats

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Indian Summer… A palpable diminishing of daylight with each passing week. On June 20 the sun set at 9:13 PM! – tonight, at 7:41, nearly 1 1/2 hours earlier. But hey, if we hurry down this hill we can still catch the sunset!

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We descend the hill, round a corner, heading north now. “Trump hair,” David says.

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The sky is dazzling

Sky to the east

Sky to the east

7:26 PM – Sun is setting in the west

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I capture several more photos of the sunset:

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Back home now, I took what could be one last photo of our impatiens lining our front walk. Extremely frost sensitive. How long before they are nipped and laid limp by the first hard freeze? A week??

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Don’t need any help from Slender Man here …

Idaho is celebrating potato harvest. We grow em’ big here! I have sent this post card out as a joke

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But the Big Idaho Potato Truck actually exists. It was built in 2012 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Idaho Potato Commission and is now on its fifth cross-country journey. Here’s a link to the Big Idaho Potato Truck. A couple of years ago the Big Idaho Potato Truck tried to get a selfie with the Statue of Liberty. The 12′ wide 72′ long truck was tugged out around Manhattan harbor by The Brooklyn barge company, Hughes Marine. At the barge’s closest pass, Lady Liberty was lost in the background. Here’s a link with a live video of the event.

Yeah, so this 6-ton Idaho Potato made a stop in Idaho Falls, this past Friday. We stopped by to check it out and tried to get a selfie with it. Pretty hard to get a selfie of a 6-ton Idaho potato on a flatbed truck. First I tried to capture a photo of David and Megan with the whole rig:

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One of the drivers on the truck tour jumped in to help us:

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And captured these photos:

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According to the above link the potato on that truck:
Would take over 10,000 years to grow.
Weighs 6 tons (12,130 pounds), equalling 32,346 medium-sized Idaho® potatoes
Is 1,102 times heavier than the largest potato ever grown, which weighed 11 pounds.
Would take 2 years and 9 months to bake.
Would make 30,325 servings of mashed potatoes. Pass the gravy!
Would easily make over 1,500,000 average-sized french fries.

‘Whoopdee-friggin’-do,’ you say?

Well, did you know that the Big Idaho Potato Truck is escorting the Capitol Christmas Tree to Washington D.C. this year? Check out this link! An 80-foot Engelmann spruce chosen to be the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will travel from the Payette National Forest in Idaho to Washington, D.C. – Each year, the U.S. Forest Service cuts the so-called People’s Tree from a different national forest and displays it on the west lawn of the Capitol. Idaho last received the honor in 2003.

The tree will be cut Nov. 2, and its journey will launch on Dec. 4 with a celebration in McCall.

“Idaho is a national brand, and the potato coming out of Idaho will make the tree more famous than the tree by itself,” said Idaho Potato Commission President and CEO Frank Muir.

Now, isn’t Idaho a tad more famous now? You can follow the truck at potatotracker.com or call 844.bigidaho. I’m sure you’re gonna wanna meet that 80-foot Christmas Tree escorted by the Big Idaho Potato Truck somewhere on its cross-country route and try to get a selfie.

‘Tis the Season

November 13, 2015

Jack-o-lantern faces grow moldy, collapse
Lose all their delightfulness
And get tossed in the trash.

Ghosts of leaves impregnate the walks

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Heaps and heaps of fallen leaves
are raked and bagged,
guarded by Rudy

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They’re soon to be hauled away.

Shadows grow long – hey, get to work!

No, stay very still, Jody

No, stay very still, Jody

Flowers freeze and wilt to a moldy gray

Come on! I'm still gorgeous

Come on! I’m still gorgeous

Give them a jerk!

Dull November skies

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Open up and stream their warm sunny brilliance.

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Hopeful November!

Uh, yea, so when did you notice that first reminder in TV ads that Christmas is coming? … That subtle jingle behind dancing snowflakes, then the red bullseye from Target. Laughing couples on a snowy hillside wearing red scarves, climbing into a shiny car, subliminally coaxing you, Buy a new car for Christmas!

What’s with the incessant media blitz about this year’s extended Black Friday deals? Hear ye! Did you know? November: the Black month of discounts! Ten days of Black Friday deals now begin on Sunday! Which Sunday? Huh? Turn on the radio, don’t wander astray, Black Friday deals start today!

Black month of discounts? Ahem.

Does that spark joy?

Barely a spark.  'Oh joy'

Barely a spark. ‘Oh joy’

I’m ranting to David about the onslaught of Christmas advertising and merchandise, once again, barely into November. Except this year the major retailers have upped their game with their incessant carrot-in-shoppers’-faces with their advertising of Black November deals –

Can we please find some refuge from constant reminders that the season to spend, spend, spend (!!) is here – “Black November?”

Christmas is best ignored, David advises me nonchalantly. Give it a rest, Jody. After all, it’s only November 12! Okay. I can go with that. We settle in for a little Thursday night Football – who’s playing? Oh the New York Jets vs. the Buffalo Bills. Cool, New York rivals!

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Huh?

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What’s with their outfits?

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A bunch of sparring elves. Directly from the North Pole?

Thoughts of Christmas will not be sidelined

Uh, unless you’re colorblind. Which was, in reality, problematic for many fans trying to figure out which team had the ball. (Problematic for colorblind players, as well?) Ha! Who would have thought?

Okay. Cool. Teams spreading a little Christmas spirit here. It’s a stretch, but I’m going with it, I said to myself last night during the game.

Then today I visited David at his office, and couldn’t resist capturing the photo for ‘November’ on his Calendar.

Racing toward 
Turkey Day

Racing toward Turkey Day

Yeah. I’m settling in with this image for the rest of November.

Turkeys running for their lives? you ask.

Hey, those are Sandhill Cranes. Brings a little peace to the fray.

November House Guest

November 6, 2015

“Dull November brings the blast,
Then the leaves are whirling fast.”
– Sara Coleridge

Dull November descended on the wakening dawn mere hours after the last sightings of Ghouls and Goblins on Halloween night. Halloween? Hey, that’s ancient history. Don’t you hear the sleigh bells ringing? Nooooooo!

But, indeed, on Sunday, November 1, the Halloween decor had to go – packing away the ghosts, skeletons, spiders, witches, webs, as my first order of business. I collected them all up in a heap on the dining room table and shoved them back into a new, smaller, box. The m&m costume got relegated to a closet. I quick! smashed down the lids over the bulging contents, sealed the seam with two yards of duct tape and shoved the box away into the dark depths of the basement storage.

But the jack-o-lanterns keep their sacred berth on the front step.
They are just too …. precious:

sweetly flummoxed

sweetly flummoxed

scare-wy!

scare-wy!

Ever since our walk through a neighborhood last November 4 and this fella called out to me – I dunno…

“Hey, I barely fit in here!”
Come on, save me, aren’t I adorable?”

I can’t bring myself to murder jack-o-lanterns. Murder? Okay, smash, crush, destroy, eliminate …

Here’s our last year’s jack-o-lanterns:

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They’re in heaven now.

Yeah, so out with the Halloween, in with the …. Hey! What the heck!

what are YOU doing in the produce basket?

what are YOU doing in the produce basket?

Crap! A Halloween cargo stowaway. I’ll be darned if I’m going to go dig that box out again – haul it up here and unstrap it just to put the dumb spider where he belongs.

How about just find a new home for him?

Need a napkin?

Need a napkin?

bird eating spider

bird eating spider

In the candy dish?

curb your chocolate appetite

curb your chocolate appetite

Oh no. He’s climbed up the orchid.

spider venom fragrance

spider venom fragrance

Now in the Christmas potpourri

Yech. Too much cinnamon

Yech. Too much cinnamon

The bathroom violet

Stunning blossom

Stunning blossom

Oh, he’s dead!

playing dead, actually

playing dead, actually

I know where he’ll be when I ask my son, Ben, to pull out the china for Christmas dinner

uh, Hello!

uh, Hello!

Now about that dull November blast that brings the leaves whirling fast…

November 6, 2015

November 6, 2015

How clever are you, spider, at wielding a rake?

October: Ghosts of Halloween Past

October 29, 2015

Here in southeast Idaho we’ve enjoyed one of the mildest Octobers on record. The Fall colors have been exquisite. I’ve captured lots of photos on walks through our neighborhood and around town.

What, another photo?

What, another photo?

Tautphaus Park:
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The brilliant trees lining South Boulevard:

October 23

October 23

Community Park:

Some folks get right on the leaf detail

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Halloween decorations begin to appear. We watch a fenced graveyard evolve on regular walks past one house. The man constructing the graveyard was out there one day when we passed by. He said it takes him 6 weeks to put it up, one day to take down.

Enter if you dare...

Enter if you dare…

Totally worth it!

Are you going creepy

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Or kid-friendly?

Warm fuzzy's

Warm fuzzy’s

Megan and I pulled our Halloween box out this past Tuesday. The box must be 30 years old. Over the years, we haven’t thrown much away. Whatever we take out, add, or put away again, ends up on top. We rarely disturb the bulky lower contents of the box – old masks, costumes, accessories, unused decorations…

Out comes the paper plate spider Megan made in grade school.

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and the huge hairy spider now hanging in the doorway to the den

how 'bout a head massage?

how ’bout a head massage?

Mr. Skeleton on the buffet

Yes, I'm very much alive

Yes, I’m very much alive

Our sound-activated Ghost comes out. You might recognize him …

'Stretch'

‘Stretch’

the Brooklyn accent-talking ‘Stretch’ from the 1987 movie ‘Casper.’

Oh crap, he needs new batteries!

Yeah, you try getting the screw out

Yeah, you try getting the screw out

10 minutes later I know for sure, I don’t have the right screwdriver to open up the battery compartment.

Oh, and I’ve torn Stretch’s torso in half in the process…

Yes, that'ring of hot glue sitting on he counter is supposed to be holding the ghost together

Yes, that ring of hot glue now sitting on the counter is supposed to be holding the ghost together

Stretch is dead

When's the funeral?

When’s the funeral?

So we’re finished putting out our decorations

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– time to carry the box back downstairs to the basement…

Oh no!

the guts of the box

the guts of the box

What the …

The old box gave way…

Nice 'coming unglued' visual

Nice ‘coming unglued’ visual

The box came unglued … and then unravelled. You know, like humans do. Dumb 30+-year-old worn out box!

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I plucked my old mask from the heap of stuff pooled at the bottom of the stairs. Although the mask may be 20 years old, it makes me look about 200 years old.

Oh, and here’s Ben’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume from … Kindergarten??? (26 years ago)

Ninja Turtles might make a comeback?

Ninja Turtles might make a comeback?

And legs to Aaron’s 2nd grade spider costume

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Okay, well, I had to model the next great find:

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No recollection here of anyone being an m&m. No idea where this thing even came from. Cousin to the Raisins? What year is that?

Last but not least, the most worthless Halloween costume accessory on the planet- witches fingers.

my hands qualify well enough without the fingers

my hands qualify well enough without the fingers

Renders the uniquely human quality of ‘opposing thumbs” completely non-operational. Heck, you can’t even scoop candy out of a bowl to give to trick-or-treaters with these puppies on. Believe me, I’ve tried it. That’s why they settled to the bottom of the box, like, twenty years ago. And stayed there.

“Phlug” – “Zap!”

November 6, 2009
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Megan and Rudy in October

It amazes me every year how fast fall comes and goes; some years I have missed it. This year I watched the green leaves of early October turn to colors of showy reds, shimmering yellows, and burnt oranges. I’ve watched the leaves cling to their branches against raging winds, as if to cheat death at the height of their brilliant glory — then let go and cascade to the ground. The leaves collect in brittle, colorless heaps that are trampled, scattered, gathered by the wind, raked by humans into piles, and hauled away.

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Trees stand stark naked now. Their branches extend upward like giant broken spiderwebs against the November sky. I am glad Halloween is over. I looked forward to its coming – the season of fall and Halloween – that mysterious time when death whispers through the rustling of the changing leaves and summer blooms blacken with the killing frost. Halloween comes upon us as a time for dress up and innocent fun, but also marks the onset of winter’s gloom. It grew out of a Celtic celebration called Samhain, which originated more than 2000 years ago. The Celts saw it as a fearful time, a time when the boundaries between the living and spirit worlds disappeared, and spirits walked the earth.

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Halloween gets its name from All Hallows’ Eve, as Oct. 31 was called in England centuries ago. On this night people prayed for the dead to prepare for All Saints Day on Nov. 1, to honor Roman Catholic saints and martyrs. All Saints’ Day is followed by All Souls’ Day on November 2, a day to honor and pray for the rest of the departed souls.

We have passed this season now, a time rooted in myths and imaginings, that deepen our experience of the changing weather and our thoughts on the mysteries of life and death.

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On this early November morn I am alive! It is well with my soul. My friends and loved ones are fine. Life is good.

Oh! So why this title, ‘Phlug!” and ‘Zap!” you ask? They are the sounds on the Monday before Halloween, of two squirrels meeting their deaths. I was driving the 25-mph speed limit behind two other cars on a quiet street, when, just ahead on the left, a squirrel began jaunting carelessly across the road. Oh! I thought. Those cars in front of me will surely slow down and make way for that squirrel.

But the first car in our line of three didn’t slow a bit. I hoped the squirrel had remained unharmed. But, nooooo. By the time I got to it, that poor squirrel was writhing in the middle of the road in the throes of death.

Later that same day I was home with our daughter, Megan, when the power went out for about half a second – just long enough to throw off the clocks. “That’s annoying!” I exclaimed.

A few minutes later we took a walk into the park a few blocks away. There we saw a city truck hoisting a guy in a cup to fix the power lines. Walking toward us was another city worker holding a furry creature in his gloved hands. As he came close we realized he was holding a squirrel – upside down, stiff as a statue, with it’s eyes and mouth frozen wide open. “Electrocuted.” he said. “Squirrels are chewing on those power lines.” Yeah, I thought, they are busy scrounging up insulation to winterize their nests.

I told my husband, David, about how I had experienced the death of two squirrels in one day, which was creepy, so close to Halloween.

Last night we were sitting in our den, relaxing in front of the TV, when the power went out for about half a second – just long enough to shut everything off and back on again. I glanced at David and we both said, “Squirrel!”

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How many squirrels from that nest are still alive?


Squirrels are working hard this time of year, just like us, preparing their nesting places for the the onset of winter’s wrath. I just wish humans would slow down, and make way for the earth’s little creatures, in respect for their resourceful, industrious lives, even if they are just … squirrels.

No sense assisting the Grim Reaper.

Me? I’ll take another ’24’.

Our Frost-Induced Frenzy Faves

October 6, 2009

impatients photoWe enjoyed an exquisite Indian Summer here in Idaho through September, brimming with bright flowers, sunny breezes and temps that hovered near 80 all month long!

Here you see the impatiens in front of our house on September 29. Oh happy, happy impatiens! It was the following night, on October 1st, when ‘Indian Summer’ abruptly butted heads with ‘Ending-ing Summer.’

“SUMMER HAS HIT THE ROAD!” Nature declared, as she dumped a killing frost on us, ushered in on the tails of a harsh north wind. The temperatures took a thirty-degree dive and stayed there. That first cold always shoots to your marrow, turning your limbs into popcicle sticks, and it taunts you … “Just try to warm up!’ (Okay, so the impatiens didn’t like it either.)

I crawled out of bed on the morning of October 1st, my bones creaking with chill. My lower limbs carried me like sledge hammers as I shuffled, half-consciously, to my closet to don layers of long cotton …

It was here, in front of my closet, that I began my foray into our family’s 5-day frost-enduced frenzy. I started flinging out flip flops and digging for … KNEE SOCKS and sifting through summer clothes which absolutely had to go! Next thing, last spring’s jeans are flying from their hangers, being tried on, one-by-one, sorted, and strewned across our bedroom floor, with me in exclamation, “Yikes! Too tight!” – “Worn!” – “Out of style!” – “Why did I buy these?” – “I need to go shopping!”

There’s nothing like the first spell of cold weather to kick your butt into re-organizing your closets. Which brings me to … coats! Get them out! Oh, you didn’t launder them last spring before stowing them away? Too bad. Wear them anyway, you’ll have to figure that out later…

The cool, light, summer cotton sheets are … too freakin’ freezing and flimsy! Dig out the flannel sheets from the – (Aargh! what a gnarly, crumpled mess that’s in!) – linen closet. Replace the bedding, haul the armloads of dirty sheets to the laundry room where they’ll … sit there staring at you in a messy heap.

Oh, the camper! We haven’t winterized it yet! Better drive out to where it sits in storage and flush out the plumbing before it freezes and bursts – get that taken care of, we wouldn’t want pipes squirting at us come next summer, now, would we?

Hey! Remove the air conditioners from the windows already! Shove them in their winter places, won’t need those again for 9 months! Off with all the screens while we’re at it, ah, geez, the windows are filthy – so glad we can clean all 30 of them now that the screens are off!

Oh oh! The tomatoes! Pick every one – find your recipe for fried green tomatoes! (Yeah, right.) Okay, so they froze already and, my goodness, the gardens are unsightly! Get out there with your 36-gallon trash bags and stuff them full of frozen plants. Rip the black-limbed impatiens carcasses out of their ravaged bed out front and stuff those bags! Oops! Not the perennials! Some need to be transplanted. There’s bulbs to plant too! Now’s the time!

Alas, the grass is tall again, waiting for its last mowing. Cut it way short. But, first! – dig out those dandelions lest they emerge tenfold in number come spring. Mow the lawn! Mulch the gardens with the clippings. Treat the lawn now with fertilizer and broad leaf killer. Drain the hoses and roll them up. WINTERIZE THE SPRINKLERS ASAP, or you’ll be diggin’ holes bigger than crap!

Oh, and you might wanna remove the drinks from the fridge in the garage before they freeze and explode – transform themselves into whirling dervishes that squirt their sticky contents all over the interior of the fridge, you know, like they did last year…

These examples above give you a sampling of our frost-induced frenzy ‘faves’ – our favorite frenetic activities of the past five days.

And now you get to see a photo taken this morning of our front lawn. Well, we did get it mowed …

October 5, 2009

October 5, 2009

I’m gonna go shop now for some new fall faves in clothing attire. For starters, I’ve ditched my summer purse (duh!) and I need to find a suitable winter replacement.

I should maybe also buy a couple of stocking caps, some gloves, large snow shovels and some ‘ice melt’ …