Archive for the ‘Idaho’ Category

Horse Chestnuts, Dandelions and Garden Pests

July 31, 2018

I’ve taken gobs of photos this past spring and summer. It seems summer flies and it’s suddenly gone. Here it is now the first of August and leaves are already turning gold and falling. From the heat? Maybe. But the plants already know, summer is nearly over.

I’ve missed spring in years past. I notice the buds, next thing, the trees are out, all bushy and full, their blossoms long gone. How had I missed it? So I try to pay close attention to the blossoming of spring.

It begins with the dandelions – bees’ first feast!

Nice for the bees, not a great look for your front yard

I love to see fields of dandelions, however, by the end of April it’s a declared war, humans vs. dandelions, daily raging battles, humans extracting dandelions from suburban lawns – a war that can overcome the average adult strapping male.

Dandelions are clever imposters, posing as a fill-in for a gorgeous bouquet

So vibrant!

Ha! You think you can get away with this?

Yeah, like we don’t recognize a clump of dandelions

Oh, you think we don’t recognize that you’re not tulips? We’re totally on to you. Your gig is up!.

By early May tulips and daffodils command the show

Rudy finishes his inspection – May 5

Crab and May Trees flower and alight with buzzing bees

Then the lilacs bloom! – and fade so quickly. Don’t miss it! Fill your kitchen with their marvelous fragrance.

Bury your nose in their velvety moist blossoms!

My absolute favorite tree of all blooms in late May. I watch for it. There’s a big ol’ ancient one in town beside the Broadway Bridge on the Snake River.

“Oh Megan, pose in front of it!”

“Okay, mom, if I must.” June 2, 2018

The 6-inch blossoms stand stately on their limbs like lavishly decorated Christmas trees.

There’s a red variety too. I took a photo of one in Tautphaus Park:

I’d love to plant one of these trees in our back yard. Oh wow! Here’s a plaque by the big tree Megan is standing under identifying what it is:

‘Horsechesnut’
Shouldn’t that be two words?

Horse chestnut??? Hmmm. Well, okay.

By the first of June the flowers were all planted in our pots and flowerbeds – marigolds and zinnias, impatiens, petunias, red and blue salvia. Tomatoes and green peppers. Let the battle begin! You know, against slugs, fungus, heat, insects, weeds, crowding, drought, poor soil, under-fertilizing, over-fertilizing, over-watering, not enough dead-heading. And one more pest – our next-door neighbor’s dog, Einstein. Here – I’ve captured this ‘pest’ problem in this video:

Einstein is an escape artist. It’s simply impossible for his owners to keep him in their fenced back yard. They have given up. You will see in the video the ladder we propped up against the fence beside the arborvitae three summers ago to keep Einstein from jumping directly from his back yard into our garden. But, no matter. He simply jumps their fence and once he’s escaped his yard, we obviously can’t keep him out of ours.

This helps explain why I’ve been remiss all summer in writing my blog. I’ve been crazy busy. “Gardening” among other things. Figuring out why some stuff grows okay and a lot of it doesn’t. I’m not posting any closeup photos of our flowers. There’s just too much explaining to do. I keep learning, though.

This year I learned from the local nursery how important it is to apply their special brand of fertilizer on the flowers and vegetables – at least once a week!, to achieve, say, the desired effect for your next dinner party of showing off your happy bushy flower pots. Except if, on your petunia leaves, you start to notice what looks like a serious case of spider mites or maybe lace bugs, and you run a sick leaf down to your local greenhouse for their expert diagnosis, you might learn that applying liquid fertilizer to plants at the beginning of a 90-degree day will likely burn the leaves as if they’re infested with tiny bugs. On the other hand, with the application of liquid fertilizer on a 90-degree day, you could also maybe burn any existing pests off the leaves? I know. It’s hard to tell about these things, other than to admit your giftedness to kill plants.

Alas, by late summer the plants know to stop growing. So you can relax. I practice relaxing at home on the couch by example of our dog, Rudy.

Rudy demonstrates the proper way to flop

I’ll have you know, we think we’ve made some progress in discouraging Einstein’s over-the-fence leaps directly into our garden with the installation of a wind vane whirly thing we bought at my brother Eric’s shop.

Wind vane

With the persistent Idaho winds, it stands out as one very happy thing in our garden, downright exuberant in a high wind:

Oh, and all those blooming trees are now bearing fruit! We happened upon my favorite spring blooming tree this past week. You know, the “horse chestnut.” Sure enough, it has chestnuts all right.

Can’t wait to walk here barefoot when they ripen and drop off

Chestnuts coated in prickly spikes (Huh. that sentence rings like a new verse for ‘White Christmas.’) I picked a developing horse chestnut to show you, but it was too prickly to put in my pocket. David held it long enough for me to take a photo.

Horse Chestnut

Yeah, well maybe we should plant a horse chestnut tree in that corner by the fence as an added deterrent to Einstein. David did some research – found a link (click here) that tells all about the Horse Chestnut tree or ‘Aesculus indica.’It is in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen in October. It’s common along the Himalayan Lowlands and its leaves are used as cattle fodder in parts of Northern India. “It is used in traditional Indian medicine, for the treatment of some skin diseases, rheumatism, as an astringent, acrid and narcotic, and in the relief of headaches.” Huh. I believe, with all this stress of gardening, it’s just what the doctor ordered.

Except all those horse chestnuts dropping to the ground in October would turn that area of our back yard into a snow-covered no-mans’ land with those horse chestnuts to greet us at next year’s spring thaw…

And I’d likely exhaust myself trying to keep the dumb tree alive, anyway. Maybe just turn our whole back yard over to dandelions.

Out with Camping, In With … Uh…..?

April 23, 2017

One day in September, 2004 I was driving along a busy road outside of town and spotted a camp trailer sitting near an intersection with a ‘For Sale’ sign on it. I pulled over and peeked in the windows, wrote down the phone number and then hammered David through that evening and the next day, Honey, we just have to buy that trailer! It was no ordinary trailer. It was an extraordinary retro 1974 Bell 16’camp trailer, small enough that surely David could pull it with his 4-Runner. Sure, we could afford something bigger and newer, but I had spotted the trailer I wanted.

By the end of the next day, for 1500 bucks, it was ours! Of course, it needed some work. Like, rewiring, new plumbing, it didn’t even have a rack to hold the propane tanks. (What propane tanks?) Uh, did I mention the upholstery on the fold out bed was in complete tatters? Okay, no worries, I just dropped it off at the Local RV repair shop, Eagle Rock RV, and they kept it for a week or so and fixed it all up! ‘Ka-ching!’ (doubled the investment). I had the fold out bed reupholstered as well. Ready to go! Except it was too late in the year now to go camping. So we rented a storage space for $300.00/year.

Camper in storage, isn’t it a beauty?

When we pulled it out the next summer, we discovered that maybe it had some leaks too. My hubby wasn’t too thrilled with that news, but my sister Lisa’s husband Tom climbed up and sealed every window, sealed every seam on the whole thing, so David wouldn’t be so mad at me and my insistence on having this camper in the first place.

To be honest, getting ready to go camping for the weekend is a big project. First you pull the thing out of storage into your driveway. Then you check that everything works, the battery, the pump, stove, furnace, the tail lights and blinkers, check the tires, check for plumbing leaks… fill the propane tanks, fill the water tank with your hose, stock the camper with food and bedding, extra table, folding chairs, grill, firewood, clothes, flashlights and bug spray – don’t forget the flashlights and bug spray! Oh, and boy scout fluid to light the campfire…

We’re ready to go!

Ready to hit the road!

Our favorite camping spot was Garden Creek Campground on the Big Lost River off of Trail Creek Road, about 20 miles beyond Mackey off Highway 93. We must have camped there 4-5 times, over the past 12 years. We’d always go with my brother Eric because he knows about every possible camping, hiking or fishing spot within a 200-mile radius of Idaho Falls. We’re on highway 93 now going north toward Mackay – with Eric’s rig behind us

Eric in our rear view mirror

We’d set up camp, unhitch the trailer and take off in the truck looking for a trail head to some obscure lake Eric had in mind.

Once we got a flat along the way:

David/Eric manly-man-team

But we enjoyed so many fantastic views just getting to the trail heads in the wilds

Corruption Mountain

Some Lakes you will only get to if you are already camping in the wilds..

Eric at Merriam Lake

Pulling out of Garden Creek campground now:

The Lost River Range is sprawled out in front of us as we head back to 93 on Trail Creek Road

Lost River Range

Megan went camping with us once. Uh, maybe twice. She doesn’t like bugs. She camped with us behind Pond’s lodge up in Island Park in September 2009. We parked our camper next to Eric’s. The view out our doorway was quite unique…

What’s with that cabin? Did a tornado blow through here?

We were camping only about 30 paces from the front door to the restaurant in the Lodge where we ate all our meals. Now that’s camping in style!

Plus we had cell phone coverage outside the camper:

Megan camping

We drove to the top of Mount Sawtelle where it was very windy. I thought the wind might blow Rudy right off:

Rudy on top of Sawtelle in Island Park

My sister Lisa and her husband Tom love to camp and fish. We met them a couple of times up near Island Park. Except they found even more remote campgrounds than we did and had to tie their food up high in the trees to keep from attracting bears. They have endless wild camping stories. We hiked up to Blair Lake with them –

Blair Lake

Megan and Rudy led the way back:

Hiking back from Blair Lake, September 2009

Of course, there’s always a huge mess to clean up after a weekend camping trip.

Who’s cleaning it up?

And to be honest, in the past 12 1/2 years we probably only went camping 10-12 times. About one weekend a summer. So out of the last 12 1/2 years we were camping maybe 25 days… the camper sat in storage 4500 days. We didn’t take it out at all last summer.

So when the $300.00 storage bill came due the first of April, David said, hey, I want to sell the camper. Awwwwww. Okay. It’s time…

We hauled it out of storage and checked everything out. It all works! What a great camper. You see, the fridge just uses block ice, and the bathroom… a porta potty. The furnace doesn’t have a blower, so there isn’t much in that camper that can break down.

I took photos of its exquisite interior. Everything is original except the curtains and the bench I had reupholstered. Love the double sinks and all that kitchen counter space!

Well, I posted it for sale on Craig’s list $2000 firm, and got a call that very day. A young lady, Elisa, with a couple of small children came by to see the camper. First thing she did was to check the outside windows and seams to make sure the camper was sealed. Tom had done a great job on that.

I’ll take it! She said, and wrote us a check for the full price.

I’ve been looking for a camper like this since last January! she said. I bought another vintage camper for 900 bucks from a relative. Bought linoleum for it. Was going to fix it all up, but found out it was all rotted out because of water leaks. I’m a glamper! You know what that is, don’t you? You know what glamping is?

I acted like I sorta did know.

I’ve even bought the chandelier! she said. I have flags!

Chandelier?

I Googled it – and found a couple of links of glamping and glampers on Pinterest.

I took a couple of (crappy) photos from Pinterest with my i-phone (couldn’t figure out how to download them) just to give you a teaser…(come on males, I know you’re interested now):

And here’s one more link with more spectacular glamper/glamping ideas!

It was great to sell the camper to Elisa who loved it at least as much as I did. Gushed over the color, the original lamp shades, the whole early 70’s vintage thing. Even loved the bathroom space with porta potty.

Here’s looking at you, kid

I don’t know about you, but I’m seeing a small chandelier above that porta potty. Puffy ruffly print curtains. Some flags for sure. There’s probably room for several shelves with flower arrangements and such, too.

Who would have thought all along we could have done such glamorous camping? Glamping in our vintage trailer! That works, actually, if you park your glamper behind a restaurant and lodge.

One Last Kauai Sunrise

March 5, 2017

“Move on from Kauai already!” you say. “You’ve been back from your trip more than month!” I know, I know. So which would you choose, more photos of ‘Idaho’s seemingly endless winter so far’, or this:

Kauai sunrise, January 26, 2017

Kauai sunrise, January 26, 2017

A Princeville, Kauai sunrise! We took a walk along the Princeville golf course later that morning, after a thunderstorm waned into a Kauai mist

Followed by a rainbow.

January 26, 11:02 am

January 26, 11:02 am

We had several blustery days. I enjoyed the sound and movement of the wind through the towering palms

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You can be there too, imagine yourself standing next to me, in this video

A couple more photos to share… this tree on Ke’e beach near the Kalalau Trail

Warning to tourists- “Hanging your clothes on this might tip it over”

How does it stay up? Its root system appears to be completely above ground. Shouldn’t they post warning signs for tourists? “Do not nap under tree.”

The Kauai garden spider – I didn’t see as many on this trip as usual, but who nowadays ever sees a garden spider?

Top view of the spider first, then a view of its yellow underbelly:

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Farmer’s market produce provides fabulous organic garden-to-table ingredients for our personal chef, Victor:

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And a marvelous spread for breakfast – Mango, pineapple, rambutan! Rambutan? Yes, those red hairy balls.

red hairy balls are rambutan

red hairy balls are rambutan

Here, Eric will model them for you:

Such a handsome human specimen

Such a handsome human specimen

Okay so the photo is a bit of brain overload. Where do you focus? On the red hairy balls, the astronaut kitty floating in outer space, or what Eric might be concealing in his mouth?

Did I mention we bought several delicious organic grapefruit?

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I modeled those:

The worlds most luscious boobs

The world’s most luscious boobs

I cherished this moment to showcase my boobs, the sheer size, voluptuousness, form, erectness! I couldn’t have imagined myself with such a set even in my wildest, most unfathomable dreams.

My moment was quickly out shadowed by Eric sporting his swimsuit on the back patio.

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Okay, Eric, so the pineapples might be tolerable. Please warn me the next time you plan to take a swim. I’ll meet you when you’re in the pool. Although who can’t admire your physique?

Is that a chest implant?

Is that a chest implant?

A physique shaped by decades of hauling antique furniture to and from your store, delivering to customers and singlehandedly loading and unloading truckloads of antique furniture to and from weekend furniture shows across the west.

Okay, so vacation is about over. One last shot of the Kauai landscape, as the sun is about to set …

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and several more shots of rum in our last round of Mai Tais at the airport in Lihue before we board our plane

January 28, 10:20 pm - David buys the last round

January 28, 10:20 pm – David buys the last round

You know, to help us sleep on the 6-hour red-eye.

12 noon Sunday, January 29 – Flying over Utah now, nearing our descent into Salt Lake City.

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Salt Lake City is under a blanket of smog held in by a temperature inversion

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We’ve hit the road toward home – It’s a 3-hour drive from Salt Lake through northern Utah …

I:50 PM - near Brigham City

I:50 PM – near Brigham City

into southeast Idaho… Here we are near Downey, Idaho, about 3PM, Sunday, January 29:

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Oh joy! We’re home now. I see the plows have been through the neighborhood.

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And the people we hired to shovel our driveway did their job too

Driveway is shoveled!

Driveway is shoveled!

We have cleared the sidewalk to the street.

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Megan stayed back home in Idaho with companions, instead of going with us to Kauai. She kept us abreast of news from home, in particular, this one issue, through text messaging:

“Hi Mom. Titan and Einstein are in the back yard again. Rudy keeps barking”

To enlighten you, here’s the photos I took of the situation we met in our back yard upon our return home:

Better situation with a winter garden than a summer garden, however, Rudy seems to know better...

Better situation with a winter garden than a summer garden, however, Rudy seems to know better…

Rudy is fond of Titan

Rudy is fond of Titan

Rudy hot foots it back to the house

Rudy hot foots it back to the house

Here you see the source of the problem: David’s last fix for the hole in the fence along our back yard held up about, uh, two days?:

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He engineered another fix right away. The snow’s been so deep in the back yard, I didn’t take a close look at it till yesterday –

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Huh. So is that going to suffice as the permanent fix? Come spring I could set some vibrant blooming flower pots around it, – heck, submit a photo of this unique yard art/floral arrangement for publication in House and Garden Magazine.

BTW – Which neighbor is responsible for repairing or replacing a fence establishing the boundary for both properties? Should I get an opinion from Mexico on this?

January Escape

February 5, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017. We hit the road from Idaho Falls about 4pm – David, me, and my brother, Eric, cruising along I-15 South to Salt Lake City.

David is driving, Eric is riding shotgun, I’m in the back seat shooting photos of the winter landscape sailing past us at 80 mph.

By 5 pm we are flying past McCammon, Idaho:

McCammon, Idaho

McCammon, Idaho

The outside temperature is about 18 degrees. The snow has been accumulating for several weeks, turning the landscape into a pristine winter wonderland. We pass through Downey, Idaho, as the sun is setting:

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Downey, Idaho

Downey, Idaho

Then Malad City at 5:20:

Farm equipment in dormancy

Farm equipment in dormancy

We’ve entered Utah now. The town of Portage is peeping through the frozen landscape like a buried single strand of Christmas lights.

Portage, Utah

Portage, Utah

Fast forward 16 hours … Thursday, January 19, 10:30 am:

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The Phoenix airport (!)

We’re on our way to Kauai. On American Airlines. Caught the 6:50 am flight from Salt Lake to Phoenix. Will fly directly from Phoenix to Lihue, Kauai.

It’s a six-hour flight to Lihue. Sleep is good. Reading … Sleep … Suddenly the islands come into view.

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Flying over the big Island, Hawaii …

The Big Island

The Big Island

Now Kauai!! That might be the Napali Coast? Not sure …

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We’ve landed in Kauai

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Here’s where I pinch myself. My sister Steph and husband Victor live part of the year in Princeville, Kauai, and every January for the past five years they have invited David, Eric and I to come for a 10-day visit. I have blogged about the adventures of all our previous trips, 39 blogs, total. You can find these blogs in my ‘Kauai’ category.

Princeville is on the north-central edge of the island, about a 45-minute drive from Lihue. We hop into a rented SUV and head toward Princeville. First order of business: Meet up with Steph and Vic at the Kilauea’s Farmer’s Market.

It opens at 4:30. People gather in droves and line up to shop before it opens.

Kilauea Farmer's Market - 4:27 pm - open in three minutes!

Kilauea Farmer’s Market – 4:27 pm – open in three minutes!

At 4:30 on the dot, a farmer toots his truck horn and the shopping frenzy begins …

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Sample some star fruit!

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I took a picture of this red fruit below, but don’t know what they are. They look a bit like raspberries, but they are hard, like cranberries:

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????

This is egg fruit:

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I sampled it – it was too weird for me.

Eric carries our basket of spoils, all of it organic

Fresh organic produce!

Fresh organic produce!

Homeward to Princeville. Princeville was named after Prince Albert, the son of King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma, who died in 1862 at the age of four. A Roman fountain, constructed in the 1980’s, graces the entrance to Princeville.

The fountain was made famous in the 2011 movie “The Descendents” starring George Clooney. However, the fountain is soon being removed and replaced by something more reflective of native Kauai. So I took one more picture of it:

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Our first big adventure took place on Friday morning, January 20. (No, it wasn’t watching Trump’s Inauguration.) We decided to go back to the “Hissing Dragon” – Victor had never seen it. Although it involves a bit of a trek around a ledge of rocks that lead you out to a point, the adventure that awaits you at the end renders it totally worth it.

I wore flip flops the first time Eric enticed us to go, thinking it was a walk on the beach. This is my third time and I’m wearing sensible shoes tightly tethered to my feet. And I’m too busy trying to keep my footing to take many photos. I took this one, though, of Steph, Eric and Victor behind me:

Hiking to the Hissing Dragon

Hiking to the Hissing Dragon

We hear this sucking noise on this flat outcrop of rock which turns into a blowhole when the waves come crashing in. I took a video.

As you approach the point you receive a foreshadowing of what’s to come… a dragon’s roar coming out of a large crack in the rock face. I stopped, listened, then took a video of the crack. Yes, it’s a video of a crack. But if you turn your sound up full blast you’ll hear the roar of the Hissing Dragon:

Be forewarned …

We’re at the point now. The tide is high. There’s a cavernous hole where the dragon leaps out at you. Eric beat us there. We arrived just in time to see Eric out on the rocks facing the hole with his camera, you know, to get a good shot, when a huge wave came crashing in behind him. We scream at him to move out of the way (!!) – just in time. My heart leaps out of my chest. Whew! I stood safely alongside the hole and took this video of the ‘Dragon’

But Eric did manage to get his video facing the dragon hole. He posted it on his Facebook page. Check this out!

Click on this link <a href="http://https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Feric.seneff.98%2Fvideos%2F234042560339373%2F&show_text=0&width=560“>link to see Eric’s video that he took facing Hissing Dragon’s hole.

I downloaded his video from his FB page – which I guess is why the link is so sprawled out. But you get the picture …

The Dragon almost ate him.

I took a photo of Eric – after we turned to head back. Soaked from head to toe. Even the cats on his shirt have gone berserk over the experience.

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I took some photos on the hike back…

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Victor, Steph, Eric

Victor, Steph, Eric

Needless to say, we feel we’ve earned a beer break by the time we get back off the rocks.

David

David

Uh, you might want to keep an eye on that tree to your right, David. Those giant tentacles look as though they could spring alive at any moment, reach out and grab your leg, entrap you. Then, in one stroke, pull you under that tree trunk, suck you up into some alternate realm, the tree itself, OMG!, in one hop to the left, could overtake and devour you!

I dunno, maybe I’m just a little paranoid after coming face to face again with the Hissing Dragon.

Ol’ Man Winter Keeps Rolling Along

January 17, 2017

Ol’ man winter
That ol’ man winter
He don’t say nothing
But he must know something
Cause he just keeps rolling
He keeps rolling along

My theme song of late … I woke up yesterday singing the tune of Ol’ Man River, sung by Paul Robeson in the classic 1936 film version of Show Boat (substituting ‘winter’ for river). Winter in southeast Idaho is wearing to the bone with storm watches, snowfalls, incessant shoveling, a slight melting, then a deep freeze. Here I took a photo of our last snowfall a week ago:

9:07 AM. January 10, 2017

9:07 AM. January 10, 2017

We were wondering if the city had any money left in their coffers to plow our streets again. But then on Friday, a hopeful sign. Returning home late morning, I met a humongous city truck stuck crossways, spinning its back wheels on a thick sheet of ice. The snow had been plowed into an icy ridge down the center of the road, and they were now attempting to clear the ridge. Except, this one truck got stuck, blocking traffic in. I waited ten minutes watching the back wheels spin on the ice, while the driver attempted to rock the truck enough to break free. Finally another truck showed up, backed up to it and pulled it free.

Friday the 13th, 10:45 am, Hartert Dr., Idaho Falls

Friday the 13th,10:45 am, Hartert Dr., Idaho Falls

I started rolling again toward home, then caught up with the operation. Don’t follow too closely. They need an empty replacement for that dump truck ASAP!

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The trucks roared through our neighborhood again on Saturday about midnight, shearing the matted snow off the icy rutted streets. They cleared driveway entrances too, lining them with mini snowy mountain ranges.

House across the street

House across the street

But it’s bitter cold, the snow isn’t melting, and the ice remains.

We hardly left the house this whole past weekend, except to pull the trash to the curb. Very carefully, mind you, since our driveway doubles as an ice skating rink:

Treacherous!

Treacherous!

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We were out there last week trying to secure a safe path over the ice to our front door, using a combination of ice melt, leaves, tree branches, and finally, cat litter. I didn’t want the mailman or anyone else falling and breaking, who knows what, getting to our front door. First laid down some traction across our driveway from the neighbor’s house,

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Then, tackled our front sidewalk. Our house faces north and this time of year, the sun hardly even hits it. Plus, the sidewalk has settled over the years… We had a few days of melting, which created a small skate pond right where you enter the sidewalk…

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Anyway, turns out, the mailman wears crampons or some such set of spikes over his boots. Smart. We all need a pair of these…

Idaho Falls received 30 inches of snow between Dec 1 and Jan 10. The first 20 or so inches were cold and fluffy, but the top 8 inches were heavy and wet. So when we let Rudy out to go potty he’d head back into the house like a bouncing snowball. We carved out paths in the back yard for him, so he could roam, do his business, keep our place safe from strangers (bark) without romping through snow drifts.

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Oh and run to the east fence to taunt our neighbors’ two big dogs, Einstein and Titan.

Mission accomplished!

Mission accomplished!

Except, Titan and Einstein apparently took Rudy’s taunting so seriously, they broke through the fence and were now romping around in our back yard. Rudy went berserk. We let him out and there he was up to his head in snow drifts chasing after the big dogs. We ran them off. Rudy was back in, looking for a lap, covered in snow clods the size of cotton balls.

David knocked on the neighbor’s door to tell them about the fence. They propped a door against the hole on their side, there, problem solved!

David was hardly through explaining the fence situation to me when Rudy went berserk again. Titan was on our back deck! I let Rudy out – and watched them play. And make friends …

Titan and Rudy

Titan and Rudy

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David went back and overhauled the fix on the fence. Secured the ‘patch’ on the hole with rope.

Problem solved ... for now...

Problem solved … for now…

Meanwhile, it turned bitter cold. And stayed cold. The snow isn’t melting much, but a hard crust has formed on the surface and Rudy can run atop the snow now like it’s bedrock.

Rudy rousing the neighbor dogs

Rudy rousing the neighbor dogs

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I dunno how others are holding up. I will say the world just made it through Blue Monday, the third Monday of January, Jan. 16, which is considered the most depressing day of the year. Whoopee! Although there seems to have been no dearth of news in the local paper lately of people going off the deep end. We had two fatal shootings in our town just this past week. Whereas, I don’t recall in recent memory there even being a fatal shooting in this town. A week ago, after that last snow storm there was a domestic fight ending in an arrest of a woman who threw a gingerbread house and a vacuum at her boyfriend before cracking him over the head with an empty beer bottle.

Which caused me to ponder gingerbread houses. How DO you properly dispose of a Gingerbread house after the Holidays are over, considering all the work put into making it? I will say, that this Christmas I experienced the most wonderful gingerbread house of all, on display at the Museum of Idaho – at the exhibit I told you about in my previous blog. Here, I took a picture of it:

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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.

Hell Roaring Hike in the Sawtooths (Part 2)

September 8, 2016

Monday August 22. Up early at Redfish Lake Lodge to check out the mountains. It’s smoky up here due to the Pioneer Fire that’s been burning in the Boise National Forest since July 28.

8/22/16: Mount Heyburn overlooking Redfish Lake

8/22/16: Mount Heyburn overlooking Redfish Lake

The amount of smoke depends on the shifting of the winds. Not too bad today. Breakfast at the lodge, then we’ll hit the trail! Eric has talked the other seven of us into the hike to Hell Roaring Lake. We’re at the trailhead now:

5 miles to Hell Roaring Lake!

5 miles to Hell Roaring Lake!

Yeah, so five miles to the Lake, five miles back … Eric leads the group. The first part of the hike is the most strenuous. The trail climbs more than 300 feet up through a dense lodgepole pine forest.

David and Megan

David and Megan

David, Megan and I bring up the rear and lose the others quickly. You walk along the creek in the beginning,

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but then the trail veers away from the creek.

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The path is well-worn and dusty. Long, but not strenuous. Question is, are you in good enough shape to hike 10 miles? David, Megan and I trudged along for three miles and then decided to find a place to sit for a picnic. Hey this place looks good, some fallen trees to sit on!

Time for a picnic

Time for a picnic

What the heck. We’ve lost the others. It’s still two miles to the lake. How about we call it good and head back?

We take a selfie

Megan, Jody, David

Megan, Jody, David

Then I capture a photo of the area across the path from us:

Pine beetle devastation?

Pine beetle devastation?

Lodgepole pines have been stressed by consistent dry summers, leaving them vulnerable to pine beetles. No wonder wild fires are raging in Idaho.

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Meanwhile, Eric, Paul, Pauline, Adam and Meredith make it to the lake. They shared their photos with me. So now you and I get to experience Hell Roaring Lake vicariously through their photos! Just think, too, it has saved us the stress, time, and wear and tear of getting there.

We’ve arrived at Hell Roaring Lake!

Photo taken by Meredith

Photo taken by Meredith

The lake is pretty, but if you want the good views of the mountains you need to cross the inlet and walk another half mile. Look carefully at the center of the photo and you’ll see: the only way to cross the inlet is to traverse a log. Here I have zoomed the photo so you can see – the log is near the center of the photo:

 you have to cross the log

you have to cross the log

Great. You’re already exhausted, do you really need to put yourself through this?

Of course you do. Eric leads the way across the inlet. Adam and Meredith follow. Pauline and Paul decide not to bother with that last half mile. Me personally, I suspect I would need a bit of coaxing to maneuver my exhausted body across the log and beyond. If you think at this juncture you do want to cross the inlet and walk that last half mile … follow Eric, Adam and Meredith. We’re at the log now. Hmmmmm. Hesitating on this. How to cross it without slipping, scraping your ankle, twisting a knee??? No worry. Meredith will now demonstrate how it’s done:

Ha. Piece of cake – if you’ve had years of gymnastics training. Okay so now we have walked the last half mile along the lake for a close-up view of the Finger of Fate (at 9,775 feet) and other peaks. Here are Eric’s photos

Adam and Meredith

Adam and Meredith

Finger of Fate - still a bit smoky

Finger of Fate – still a bit smoky

We arrive back at the Lodge starving and exhausted. The wind has shifted direction – and it’s smoky again:

Back at the Lodge

Back at the Lodge

We drive to Stanley for dinner

Smoky in Stanley!

Smoky in Stanley!

Sunset view of Sawtooths from Stanley

Sunset view of Sawtooths from Stanley

The smoke clears again on Tuesday. We’re a bit tired so we just hang out at the lodge and on the lake. Meredith and Pauline both rent kayaks:

Meredith kayaking on Redfish Lake

Meredith kayaking on Redfish Lake

The rest of us just hang out. Except for Eric, a.k.a. ‘Mountain goat,’ who was off on another huge hike.

A patio table near the outside bar and concession stand overlooking the lake, serves our purposes just fine

The self-proclaimed Three Wise Men declaring one beer is not enough

The self-proclaimed Three Wise Men declaring one beer is not enough

Megan orders an ice cream. Double scoop, please…

A little top heavy -  what to do with it?

A little top-heavy – what to do with it?

We shop at the General Store:

Yes, they sell apple pie

Yes, they sell apple pie

Matching sweatshirts for Megan and Pauline!

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We spot the perfect miniature poodle girlfriend for Rudy:

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She could teach him a thing or two about healthy eating habits:

in case you wondered, Rudy is also a miniature poodle

In case you wondered, Rudy is also a miniature poodle

Wednesday morning the winds blow in our favor – the air is clear! But we have to check out and drive home. That figures. I snap one last clear photo of Mt. Heyburn before we hit the road:

Redfish Lake, Wednesday August 24, 2016

Redfish Lake, Wednesday August 24, 2016

I don’t snap any decent photos of the Sawtooths on the drive home. But Eric does:

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Well, I take that back. The best views of the Sawtooths are from lower Stanley. Unfortunately, they were behind us as we drove through Stanley.

So I captured a photo of the Sawtooths in our rear view mirror.

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Oh, and that’s Paul driving my blue Avalon, with Adam and Meredith.

Craters of the Moon, Pioneer Fire, and Redfish Lake, Idaho

September 3, 2016

A couple weeks ago (August 21-24, 2016) our family made a trip to Redfish Lake Lodge in the Sawtooth mountains near Stanley, Idaho. Our group of 7 included David, Megan, and me, son Adam and wife Meredith from New York, and David’s siblings – Paul from Kenosha, WI, Pauline from Arizona. My brother, Eric, a.k.a ‘mountain goat’ met us at the lodge.

Redfish Lake is about a 4-hour drive from Idaho Falls. Traveling west on Highway 20 past Arco you come to Craters of the Moon National Monument. Craters of the Moon is one of the best-preserved flood basalt areas in the continental United States. We had to stop. Five of our group climbed to the top of Inferno Cone. A short but steep trail up the cinder cone leads to an overlook of the entire monument. Five of our group hiked to the top. I snapped a photo of them on their way back down.

Family portrait on Inferno Cinder Cone

Family portrait on Inferno Cinder Cone

Bottom left is Paul, then David, Pauline behind, and Adam and Meredith on top.

Next we walked the 1/2-mile trail to Indian Tunnel.

Megan leads the way

Megan leads the way

Craters of the Moon

Craters of the Moon

We all made it to the tunnel but only Adam and Meredith went through it. I met them at the exit and captured photos as they emerged. First Meredith’s head pops through

Meredith is reborn

Meredith is reborn

Then Adam

Adam emerges

Adam emerges

This Indian tunnel link gives you a photo of the tunnel opening just before you find your way back out.

Adam and Meredith scramble up

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and we follow the cairns imbedded in the molten rock surfaces to get us back to the trail.

Heading back

Heading back

An hour later we lunch in Ketchum and then head toward Galena Summit. Beautiful day! We keep an eye on the car in our rear view mirror – it’s Paul driving my blue Avalon with Adam and Meredith

toward Galena Summit

toward Galena Summit

Check out the Galena Summit view! What?

Galena Summit

Galena Summit

The far peaks, by Redfish Lake, are socked in with smoke. Oh well. We had already heard about the Pioneer Fire in the Boise National Forest, northeast of Boise, that had started on July 28 and was working its way toward Stanley. The fire is still burning today (Sept 3, 2016) and will likely keep burning into October. Check out this link to the Pioneer Fire – published two days ago, on Sept. 1. It shows a video of the Pioneer Fire taken from a helicopter four days ago, on August 30. Hot, dry weather this week caused the wildfire to grow much larger. There are more than 1,100 people working to contain the fire, and as of August 31, it was 58 percent contained. It has grown 13 times larger since July 28.

There are multiple fires in Idaho this summer due to a considerably long dry period combined with excessive amounts of old dead timber. This summer has been one of the driest summers on record in Idaho.

Onward to Redfish Lake, those aren’t rain clouds ahead!

smoky ahead!

smoky ahead!

We’ve reached the blanket of smoke now

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Pioneer Fire near Stanley and Redfish

Pioneer Fire near Stanley and Redfish

The Sawtooths are coming into view. Mount Heyburn is the jagged peak on the left.

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5:30 PM. We’ve pulled into Redfish Lodge – time to check in, in what should be broad daylight. Eerie.

Check out the sun, Megan!

Check out the sun, Megan!

(We made a trip to Redfish August of last year as well, during beautiful weather. I took lots of photos of the Sawtooths and blogged about it exactly a year ago. – click on the link here to see clear photos of Redfish Lake Lodge and the magnificent Sawtooths in late August 2015…)

We check in at our cabin. Then gather for dinner at the Lodge. “Hey Paul, Adam, Meredith – pose for a photo!”

Bloggers are annoying

Bloggers are annoying

That’s better :0 :

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Eat, rest, and be merry, all, but mostly, build up strength, because tomorrow we’re doing the 10-mile round trip hike to Hell Roaring Lake. Yeah, I guess we are. My brother Eric met us at Red Fish Lake Lodge for dinner and somehow talked us into it.

Adam, Meredith, Pauline, Eric, Megan at dinner (David, Jody and Paul missing from photo).  Meredith loves to be photographed

Adam, Meredith, Pauline, Eric, Megan at dinner (David, Jody and Paul missing from photo). Meredith loves to be photographed

Sure, Eric. We’ll do it. Does that sound like a potential death march to you?

Pocatello, Idaho

June 15, 2016

My car has been getting crappy gas mileage lately, at least five miles to the gallon less in town than it used to. Since I do all town driving, I thought maybe a trip on the freeway would blow some carbon out of the engine…

So one day recently, when we had a few free hours, David suggested we drive to Pocatello, a town 45 miles south of Idaho Falls on I-15. ‘Poky’ is about the same size as Idaho Falls, about 58,000 people. It’s a college town, home of Idaho State University. In fact, I attended ISU my freshman and sophomore years of college back in …. 1971-1973. Lived in an apartment in Pocatello just a few blocks from campus. I haven’t visited Poky in years. Yeah, Let’s go!

Poky here we come!

Poky here we come!

Our plan is to first visit Ross Park. David heard it has a climbing wall, and it’s large. Let’s get a good walk in at Ross Park before lunch. Yes! And then visit my old stompin’ grounds 40-plus years ago. See if we can find my old apartment …

I remembered walking to Ross Park back in college (since I didn’t own a car) but it doesn’t look the least bit familiar now. We step out of the car into a grassy area and immediately spot two marmots. Marmots. Rock chucks.

Now I know marmots are supposed to be common large rodents, but I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen a marmot (if you discount road kill). So I’m pretty excited. Get a photo! Dang, these critters are fast …

Fleeing marmot

Fleeing marmot

No problem. We scare up two more marmots. “Get a photo David!” (He’s closer) One marmot ducks into a ledge of rocks and thinks he’s outwitted us, but, nope, not my hubby. David follows that marmot right to his hole:

Jeez, can't a marmot have some privacy?

Jeez, can’t a marmot have some privacy?

We must have seen six, maybe eight marmots at Ross Park. So, yeah, if anyone asks, you can tell them, Ross Park has marmots.

Now we’re walking toward the swimming pool/ water park with a huge snaking water slide. Wow. The pool’s stacked with families and people of all ages. “Check out this car.” David says. “Cop magnet.”

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Party on! No, wait. Panty on. I say.

Yeah. David says. It’s Panty on, party off or Panty off, party on!

Yes, I see. Thanks for enlightening us, honey. The car is confusing. So, for them I guess it’s ‘party off’…

(We have such intellectual conversations)

We’re alongside a parked train now, on the tracks that border one end of the park.

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Huh, this is interesting… “Do not hammer on car” Now, who would do that, exactly how … and, why?

Do not arouse car

Do not arouse car

‘Do not apply vibrators to any part of car body.’

Uh, let me guess. The car has a G-spot? If you had thought to bring your vibrator with you to Ross Park, just remember to get the car loaded first. If you do everything right, you might see the car explode.

Well then, now look at these adorable little ducklings. Oh how cute! The mom is up on top quacking furiously, while several new-born chicks are making a run for…

See mother duck top left

See mother duck top left

Oh no!! ROAR! GROWWWWWL” I SCREAM at them and scare them back up to mommy.

Find mommy!

Find mommy!

To keep them out of that disgusting pond:

What's green and looks like antifreeze?

What’s green and looks like anti-freeze?

Okay, time for lunch. Which brings me to my next topic: ‘Space burgers’. Now, I have to tell you, I may know of the only spot on planet Earth, and likely the whole Universe, that sells

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Space burgers. They are to die for. Or at least, that’s how I remembered them from my college days. I would set aside a special Saturday to walk the several miles (3?) from my apartment to ‘Tastee Treat’ near Ross Park after cramming for an exam or something,

Space zombie after so much studying

Space zombie after so much studying

Fortify myself with a couple of incredibly edible Space burgers.

David you must try a Space burger. Yes! There it is, Tastee Treat – Home of the Space Burger. It’s still there! Look! Aren’t you hungry? Pull IN!

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We’re inside now. Check out the walls:

Dig that space border

Dig that space border

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70's retro!

70’s retro!

Check out the menu:

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Uh, check out that girl in front of us

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She can’t make up her mind. (Simple. Space burgers!) Gives us plenty of time to intellectualize about her outfit. Like, where does her body end and dress begin? How do you plan for such an outfit? Do you buy the dress and tattoo the body to match the dress; do you tattoo and then shop endlessly for the perfect dress, do you do both at once? Is she even wearing a dress??? i.e.:

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At this point we’re just irritated after waiting so anxiously in line to order our Space burgers:

The counter at Tastee Treat

The counter at Tastee Treat

“Two Space burgers please.” Wow. Good price @ $2.39 each.

We head outdoors to a picnic table with our Space burgers.

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But of course, you have to fly them first.

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With ‘Star Wars’ sound effects.

Then, as a precaution, pray over them:

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Take a first big bite:

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Hmmmm. Not as spicy as I remember.

Gut bomb:

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Let’s take it home as leftovers. You know, if we’re desperately hungry later…

Oh how convenient. A massive graveyard right across the street…

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Drop dead of cardiac arrest eating your Space burger and they transport you directly across the street to the Mausoleum

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Warning to Meredith from the Universe:

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Do not eat at Tastee Treat!

Okay, well we drive past the University … and my old favorite breakfast place, Elmer’s

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Hey, is that a vulture?

We drive around the various side streets near the University where I thought I might spot my old apartment. Nope. None of it looks the least bit familiar…

Let’s keep driving, maybe we’ll run into old town…

Well, we don’t.

We talked to my brother, Eric, a few days later. “Hey, we made a trip to Pocatello.”

“Oh! Did you visit my Antique Store? It’s in old town, which is really quite charming.”

“No, we didn’t Eric. We drove around, but we didn’t find old town.”

“How could you not? It’s easy – just off of Clark Street exit!”

“Yeah but we took 5th Street exit. We tried to find it, Eric. Drove all the way across Pocatello back to the first exit ‘Pocatello Creek Road’ to get back on the freeway home.

“And you didn’t find old town?”

“Nope.”

Though we did pass another point of interest:

'Mad ink, Sojourn, Twisted'

‘PCP’ Mad ink, Sojourn, Twisted’

PCP. Yep. That sure resonates. Remember Angel Dust, a recreational drug of the 70’s? Psychedelic. Far Out! Helps explain why the 60’s and 70’s were so … Groovy. (This hallucinogenic drug laced in the 70’s with tobacco and marijuana has long since been banned and fizzled out.)

Well that about puts a wrap on our trip to Pocatello. Hmmm. Might need a do-over, you know, to visit Old Town, the University, Eric’s Antique Shop …

Check out those marmots again! Plus, my car still gets crappy gas mileage.

Ketchum and ‘Antique Alley’

May 14, 2016

The first weekend in May we drove over to Ketchum, Idaho – David, Megan and I with my brother Eric. It’s about a 3-hour drive straight west from Idaho Falls. We invite Eric, you know, for his general entertainment value (he can’t help it) and plus he’s an absolute nature maniac – he’ll lead us on a hike or something …

We always make really good time with David at the wheel. Here we are flying past the Big Southern Butte about 45 minutes into the drive:

Big Southern Butte

Big Southern Butte

We stop at the Craters of the Moon National Monument along the way, you know, to hike. To the top of Big Cinder Butte. Admittedly, not the most scenic hike you’ll ever do.

Where's the spring foliage?

Where’s the spring foliage?

The top of the butte is out of view – goes well beyond what you see from the bottom. I learned this the one time I hiked up. David likes to jog up in a t-shirt in cold weather, exerting himself four times as much as your average sane man. He got Eric to go along this time, while Megan and I went up far enough for me to capture this photo of the Lost River Range in the distance:

Lost River Range as seen from Big Cinder Butte

Lost River Range as seen from Big Cinder Butte

I zoom in to take a photo of David and Eric coming down

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… while listening to every word of their conversation, for real. From way up there I could hear every word that came out of their mouths, like they were talking in an echo chamber – I wanted to alert them lest I become privy to some sordid illicit tale, or something… But no worry.

We’ve arrived! In Ketchum. It’s “shoulder” season. What? Our favorite restaurant, The Pioneer Saloon, is closed for remodeling?

Where's all the tourists?

Where’s all the tourists?

The town’s dead. No worry. Eric suggests we visit an antique store, owned by a friend of his, one block off the main drag:

'Antique Alley, open for business!'

‘Antique Alley, open for business!’

Whoopee! The shelves are crammed with crazy retro collectibles and odd stuff. I face off eye-to-eye with a 15-inch sized Homer Simpson, set on a shelf, his chubby legs dangling over the edge. I could buy it for our son, Aaron! No. (You immediately start thinking of every person you could buy something for in a place like this.) Oh! I’ll buy this wooden duck pull toy (!!) – for our new grandson, Franklin! (Aaron’s son). The precious wooden pull toy quacks and waddles when you pull it!

Too adorable!

Too adorable!

I did buy it. (Do today’s toddlers get off their i-pads long enough to play with such novel and precious toys? No?? ) It’s made in Germany.

I could spend hours in this shop!

“Megan and I will take a walk around town while you shop,” David says.

“That’s fine.” (Doesn’t deter Eric and me one bit.) I spot this retro 60’s record player.

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Hey, I had one just like this! Back in grade school! Like, 1964 or something? (Ouch) “Eric! Let’s plug it in and see if it works!” Eric fiddles with it and gets it going. It works!

I’ll buy it!

Eric decides to be helpful by taking the record player off the shelf and over to the counter by the register. He has to move stuff out of the way to close the lid on the player.

“Oops! Dammit! I knocked over Mother Mary and broke her!”

“What?”

“This Mother Mary candelabra – it’s top heavy and it fell off the shelf, hit the floor, and broke! – oh, jeepers – and it’s $39.00!”

Eric’s friend, the shop owner, of course, is not around. Her substitute sales clerk is now alternating her stare, first at us and then down at the busted Mother Mary sitting on the counter. “This is the first time I’ve run this shop, Eric, and I don’t know what to do about this Mother Mary candelabra you broke.”

Jeez, (I’m thinking…) Eric, if you had to break something, did it have to be Mother Mary? … “I’ll just pay for it – no big deal,” I say. “Hey Eric, come through this door into this other room and take a look at this thing hanging in here.” We check it out…

Meanwhile, I get a text from David:

Got to pee. Time to go.

To which I reply:

We’re buying a cow. We need you. Come in.

I wait for David to enter the store. Which, he doesn’t.

I go out to the curb. There he is in the truck, hands on the wheel, with the engine running. Megan is in the back, all strapped in and ready to go.

“Honey, please read my last text message!”

He lifts his phone and looks at the message.

“What?”

“Yes, I am buying a cow and I need your help with it …”

More on that later…. suffice it to say I bought several things and just had the rattled clerk add the 39 bucks to my tab for the busted Mother Mary candelabra. We gathered her up, pieces and all, placed her inside a plastic grocery bag, tied it all up and shoved her into the back of David’s truck. ‘We’ll deal with her when we get home.’

Eric did lead us on a hike the next day. Up Corral Creek. I’ve no idea where the trail head is. Not much of a drive from Ketchum. We had not gone far when Eric discovered some elk antlers. One antler. And of course, where there is one antler, there is another antler, so he he was scouting around for the other antler. And had us scouting around the area too. It was literally like finding a needle in a haystack, but try to convince Eric of this. I finally found what I thought was a perfectly great facsimile to the other antler. Here Eric, try them on!!

Good enough Eric, now give it a rest!

Good enough Eric, now give it a rest!

Although, admittedly, the cat on Eric’s shirt appears unimpressed with Eric’s set of antlers.

Hiking back now. I snapped a photo of David and Megan ahead of me,

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with Pioneer Mountain peaks as a backdrop.

Then we took a drive toward the snow peaked Boulder Mountains sprawled out in front of us:

Boulder Mountains

Boulder Mountains

Eric then convinces us to go morel mushroom hunting – he knows of a spot near Bellevue, along the the Big Wood River. We drive several miles, hang a right, another right, then a left, circle through a residential area … “There it is!” says Eric, pointing to the parking area by the trail head. He leads us on our morel mushroom hunt – “I’ll look on this side, you branch out to the left …”

Eric, in a state of ecstasy, hunting for morels

Eric, in a state of ecstasy, hunting for morels

Megan and David head back to the truck. None of us find morels. Not a one. Eric and I hear this ‘peck-peck-pecking.’ and spot a gargantuan red-headed woodpecker, if, indeed, it is a woodpecker, since it’s the size of a crow. We watch it for a couple of minutes and I zoom in and capture a photo:

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Sure enough, it is called a Pileated woodpecker – a large woodpecker native to North America – the largest woodpecker in the US. It normally inhabits deciduous forests in eastern North America, the Great Lakes, and the boreal forests of Canada. Check out this Wiki-link! A map shows the areas of North America where these birds inhabit – and this part of Idaho is barely included!

I took a couple photos of the river:

the Big Wood River

the Big Wood River

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Well, we’re back on the highway headed for home now – with views of the magnificent Lemhi Mountain Range carved against the crystal blue sky.

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Saddle Mountain is the far left peak:

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Home now. Time to unpack the car, unload the treasures I purchased at Antique Alley! The 60’s record player. The wooden, quacking, waddling duck. The cow. The cow? You know … the cow, the one where David had to turn off his truck, come back into the shop, and help me with? A flying cow, to be exact, tethered to the ceiling in Antique Alley. I wanted to buy it along with all the other stuff, but we couldn’t reach the hook to get it down. David was the only person around tall enough, standing on a stool, to untether the cow from the ceiling so I could buy it.

Hey, it goes great in our downstairs bathroom.

Yes, that's a flying cow

Yes, that’s a flying cow

You can pull on it when you’re sitting on the throne. Entertainment while you pee. Here, I took a video:

A suitable companion to another precious member of our family, a large gull with a 40-inch wing span, that flies over the washer and dryer in our back entry:

As for the bulging plastic tied up grocery bag that’s been sitting by the the back door since we got home …

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Today I gingerly carried the bag into the kitchen, untied it, lifted out the busted Mother Mary and her missing pieces for close examination. Nope. There’s no fixing her. Here, I took a photo:

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Strange. Those lights are eerie. It’s almost as if she’s still holding two lit candles.

What to do with her? I can’t just throw her in the trash bin. I just can’t do that to Mother Mary. Shove her upright in the garden deep enough so she looks whole? What’s she even doing at our house? Eric’s the one who knocked her off in the first place and busted her. He even treated our whole family to breakfast to compensate us for buying her.

Think I’ll just wrap her up and gift her back to Eric for his birthday.