Archive for December, 2008

Observations of Small Town Living (OOSTL)

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008


Like mail delivery, plowing is also optional in small town living. Most people shovel/snow-blow their driveway and the city/county come along and take care of the streets. If this is you, go out and hug the plow guy as this is not necessarily the case in rural life. This is not to say that a plow can’t be somewhat fun. That’s the case with the Rhino (pictured below) which is a blast (at least for the first 60 inches of snow, thus far). This vehicle is so much easier to use for plowing than an ATV and was a worthy investment. In the summer, the plow, windshield, chains, sandbags (in the dump bed) and roof come off and this snow utility vehicle turns into fun machine.

rhino-01.jpg

rhino-02.jpg

Observations of Small Town Living (OOSTL)

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Rural people must be dishonest. We don’t have a postal address. The postal service doesn’t deliver to our street address because we’re too far out. Just yesterday, I was filling out a rebate form that required I provide a street address and that if I use a P.O. Box, my rebate would not be honored. I guess bad guys use P.O. Boxes in their dishonest crimes. So, to get my rebate, I have to be dishonest and trick them in sending the rebate to me. Methods include having them send to the address of the post office with an apartment number of our P.O. Box or making a very long address that includes both the P.O. Box and the street address. Go figure.

Weather Stuff

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Since my Rhino and I are relegated to be the voluntary snow removal crew, weather plays a major roll, even an obsession, in the winter. To that end, I’ve put together my own Cocolalla, Idaho weather-web page consisting of resources that I can use to predict the weather to help plan my day. http://testinprogress.com/weather.html . To the locals who sometimes read my rants here, maybe you’ll also find this useful.

Eagles Again

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

I just couldn’t get enough last time so I returned to Lake Coeur d’Alene to get some more shots of the eagles. I feel a tradition coming on. Click the thumbnails below to see full size images.
eagles-031.jpg  eagles-021.jpg eagles-011.jpg

Micro Loans Make a Big Difference

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Kiva.org is an organization that loans money in small amounts to very small businesses around the world. The money gets paid back so you can loan it to the next small businesses own. I have a heart for small business owners (being one myself), and a heart for people trying to gain independence in third world countries. Kiva aggregates several donations together with mine to fulfill the loan and so that nobody is risking very much money. $25 is the amount I typically loan out.

Here’s some folks who have been helped so far:

Renaldy works renting computers because she couldn’t find a job, so she decided to invest her small savings and a loan in this business, which contributes to supporting her family.One of her goals is to improve his locale’s conditions, buying a photocopier machine to offer a larger variety of services to her customers, who come to her business in search of those services.

kiva-02.jpg

Felix Alonso Ramirez started working at a very young age in a service station where he stayed for 15 years. His wife worked as a school teacher. With the passage of time Felix was tired of being an employee and decided to start his own business. He bought a mini bus and he works as the driver. His wife is now retired. Felix is married and has three daughters. He is so proud to have provided his daughters with a good education because today all three are excellent professionals. He also provided them with comfort and was able to fulfill all their necessities.
kiva-01.jpg

Komi Assidzu is 35 years old and a married father. He lives and works in the village of Wome, a small village located in a beautiful, lush area of Togo near the border with Ghana. Komi’s children all attend school, and he provides for them as best he can, while his wife takes care of the family and their home. As most people do not drive cars in Wome and instead drive motorcycles, Komi started a mechanical business.
kiva-03.jpg
I’d like to encourage anyone reading this to consider getting involved in the lives of people who need a small leg up. It’s a loan, not a gift and not welfare. http://kiva.org

Observations of Small Town Living (OOSTL)

Monday, December 15th, 2008

Our church, consisting of 150 or so rural residents, put on it’s second-annual Christmas presentation. A humble and simple showcase of kids’ worship and celebration of Christ’s birth. Having been to and participated in mega-church-style Christmas presentations, I found myself observing something different this year. It was how much more powerful the message of God’s love is when it comes from children who know in their hearts what God has been trying to tell adults for centuries. No glitz, no budget, no big production, no lime-lights, no costumes; just a simple message from kids, telling their parents that they got the message.

xmas-show.jpg

One of the presenters shares a poem that she wrote about Christmas.

Science Cafe

Monday, December 15th, 2008

Thomas gets his geek fix. After two years I’ve finally found a group of others who enjoy science. Science Cafe is a loosely organized group that gets together once a month and enjoys a presentation by a scientist. Yes, even in this pocket of urban life their are some folks who enjoy this sort of thing. This month’s presentation was given by an inventor from the Idaho National Laboratory of a new kind of battery. Suffice it to say that this one will be much better than the one in your iPod or cell phone. The most amazing part for me was that there were about 60 people gathered to share in the geekness.

science-cafe.jpg

First Winter Storm (12/12/08)

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Well, someone finally turned on the winter machine. Compared to last year, we feel we’ve been graced with about 22 days extra days of fall. We’ve had a few light snows but nothing that stuck. Today however, all that changed as a major winter storm slammed about a foot of snow on us over night. We won’t see temps above 20 for the next week as an arctic blast is heading our way. The first official plowing with the new Rhino went very well. Preparations paid off in spades.

weather-image.jpg

The Eagles Are Coming…

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Migrating eagles have a feeding frenzy during December around Lake Coeur D’Alene as the kokanee salmon (I think I spelled that right?) spawn and die along the shoreline. Peek viewing is in late December but even today we were able to spot about 25 eagles in about an hour (maybe 25 sightings of the same one, who knows). I’m definately going to get out there again if anyone wishes to come along. Here are just a few of the better shots.
eagles-01.jpg

eagles-02.jpg

eagles-03.jpgeagles-04.jpg
Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.

Speaking of weather

Monday, December 1st, 2008

I just needed a quick reference to the weather around here.  This is actually for Sandpoint, but close enough.
Average Temperatures

Month

AVG High

Avg Low

Mean

Avg Precip

Record High

Record Low

Jan

32°F

19°F

26°F

3.94 in.

54°F (1919)

-31°F (1950)

Feb

38°F

23°F

30°F

3.47 in.

61°F (1995)

-35°F (1933)

Mar

46°F

28°F

37°F

2.85 in.

71°F (1915)

-10°F (1955)

Apr

56°F

34°F

45°F

2.25 in.

87°F (1977)

9°F (1936)

May

65°F

41°F

53°F

2.75 in.

97°F (1936)

22°F (1972)

Jun

72°F

47°F

59°F

2.46 in.

96°F (1992)

28°F (1919)

Jul

80°F

50°F

65°F

1.63 in.

104°F (1994)

33°F (1971)

Aug

80°F

49°F

64°F

1.43 in.

100°F (1961)

28°F (1924)

Sep

70°F

41°F

56°F

1.60 in.

 96°F (1938)

16°F (1926)

Oct

56°F

33°F

45°F

2.30 in.

82°F (1923)

4°F (1935)

Nov

40°F

28°F

34°F

4.75 in.

66°F (1975)

-10°F (1921)

Dec

32°F

21°F

27°F

4.75 in.

58°F (1917)

-37°F (1968)


Snowfall

Monthly average snowfall in inches beginning in January and ending in December.

1910-2000

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

22.9

13.5

6.3

0.8

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.5

6.6

20.2

Yearly total: 70.8

Good Morning

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Being on the East side of a mountain, we don’t get to see sunsets. But sometimes, the sunrises are just as good. Here’s a shot from outside our bedroom.It’s fall and the days are very short and usually cloudy. When there is sunshine, it rises around 7:30 a.m. and goes down behind the mountains around 2:30 p.m. We’re counting the days until mid-December when the days will get longer again.

sunrise.jpg

No wimpy frost here

Monday, December 1st, 2008

It’s not snow; It’s not an ice storm; It’s frost.

hoar-frost-00.jpg

Technically it’s known as “Hoar Frost”. Let’s just say it’s when fog freezes and forms a crystal wonderland. I caught these shots while traveling in Washington on Thanksgiving day. Since the fog was a few inches above ground level, the ground was left alone.

hoar-frost-01.jpghoar-frost-02.jpg

Click Thumbnails to Enlarge Images