Archive for May, 2009

Birdhouse Update

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

After sitting idle for a month we assumed that nothing was going to inhabit our bird house. You know, the one I’d written about in March . The “purple martin house” put up in Idaho where there are no purple martins! At least that’s what the bird house instruction map showed. While working in the garden yesterday, we saw some kind of bird fly in and lots of little chirps from baby birds coming from inside. I’m happy to report that we have “tree swallows” and they love purple martin houses.


If you’re wondering, YES, that’s a TV antenna on the roof disguised to look like a perch. We weren’t going to buy a satalite dish for birds but we did install digital television. Now they too can enjoy all one chanel that can be picked up here (on a good day).

The Sergeants come for a visit

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

It was a great day when the Howard, Diane, and Seth stepped off the Amtrak train at around midnight. They were kind enough to stop for a day on their way to catch a cruise to Alaska on the coast. We had a great 24 hr visit that went buy instantly before we put them back on their way.

Jenny and Diane went shopping, while Howard and Seth road to the top of a mountain. Then dinner in Coeur d’Alene (Thank you for the treat Sergeants!), a walk on the worlds longest floating pier to look at boats worth 2 and 3 times the value of our house, and back for visits around the campfire. It was quite a day.

Howard and Seth road “Cammie” the Rhino

Click this image to see full shot of view from the mountain

If you’re ever in the area, even for a day, please don’t hesitate to let us know. There’s a lot to see and we’d love to share.

Skipper, Scamper, Loui, Schmoozer, Chipper, Chippet, Peep, Squeek…

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

They go by many names and the names. The names are pretty much interchangeable among most of the creatures in our yard. This flexibility will benefit us greatly when we’re really old and senile and can’t remember who is who. Oh darn, I think that happened already. No matter, I won’t remember writing this in about 15 minutes. It’s probably time to start putting labels on everything. Like, “PHONE and CAT and WIFE”. Anyway, here’s Friedrick (according to Jenny). For those back in Illinois, this is a full grown squirrel (I’m not sure of the brand name!), they appear to be about 1/2/ the size, less fat and don’t have the bushy tails of gray squirrels.



Cascades of water

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Some trails are opening up in the mountains. A friend and I road up today to discover a beautiful cascade of water flowing down from the snow thawing up at higher elevations. I wish I could capture the full extent of the beauty of the rushing water. It might be easy to lose perspective but those are very large trees along the edge of the water.


First Fire

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Come visit. Enjoy the mountain view and the warmth of the fire. Bring marshmallows, we’ll supply the sticks. This shot of Jenny enjoying our first fire in our new fire pit gives you a perspective with the house in the back ground. Then the second give you an idea of the view. Still, you should come and check it out for yourself. (click images to enlarge)


The Snake Pit!

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

“Who the hell are you?” was the first thing a stranger said to me as I stood by the door of the Snake Pit restaurant and bar. Approaching me was a short, stout woman who looked to be about 75. I explained that Jenny was a freelance writer and I a freelance photographer for Northern Reach magazine. We were doing a story on The Snake Pit.


There’s a mountain of history here going back to the 1800s. In short, it was a brothel, bar, restaurant, movie set with murders, suicide, and favorite hang out for railroaders, miners, loggers and now US. I think in it’s day, it was a really rough place to visit. Today however, we’re here to learn about the charm of place, visit with Joe, the owner, take pictures and Jenny’s going to write a story about the place.

And the old lady, you’d think we were best friends from that point forward. Blossom, as she’s called, began talking and didn’t stop for an hour. We learned a lot about the place, and about the town, the valley, the history…prostitutes, education, astronauts, marriage, quilt making and much much more. Honestly, I loved it and her for taking the time to talk to us. Blossom was a total sweat heart and by the end we hugged before she had to outside to visit with friends.

So, how’s the food? Jenny and I ordered the BBQ Special for two which includes the salad bar, baked potato and a plate full of BBQ meat — chicken, riblets, ribs, sausage, & shredded pork. There was so much that Jenny and I couldn’t finish. If you know me, this was a historical event. The same meal in town would have been $60. We stole the food and drinks for $38 which includes the tip. It’s an hour drive but if you’re ever visiting us, please ask us to take you there.


Scrapbooking Retreat

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

I wanted to share this shot. I went to visit Jenny on a Scrapbooking Retreat at the Cocolalla Lake Bible Camp. She’s been scrapbooking for years and it’s amazing how talented she is.


Buying bricks over the internet…

Friday, May 8th, 2009

It always amazes me what people can buy on the internet. Now I have my own story about buying bricks, of all things, over the internet. We needed a walk-way around to the back door and I estimated that we would need 450 brick pavers. I had been checking prices at local hardware stores and was almost ready to buy when I found and ad on Craigslist. A local mason was selling bricks for much less than retail. With the help of a good friend moving them, we were able to buy 1100 bricks for $100 less than what I would have paid for 450 bricks at the store.

Last year’s project was the walkway. And this year project was a fire-pit that I’d been dreaming of. If you’re coming out this year, I’m happy to report that our fire pit is finally finished. Which really means I won’t be asking you to help with it.


Here’s a different shot showing the stairs. Click the image to enlarge:


Spring and birds.

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

If you’re not from the area, this will probably be somewhat exotic. On the right is a Gross Beak. I didn’t crop out the bird on the left so you can visualize the size of the Gross Beak.


The hummingbirds arrived right around Jenny’s birthday (late April. She’s 39!…again). Here’s a Calliope. The smallest bird in the world. This one is about the size of the end of my thumb.


19 years of Joy

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

On May 5th, Jenny and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary. We gussied up in fine clothes and went to the big city (Coeur d’Alene) to a restaurant renouned for great steaks called Sergeants . The steaks were wonderful to be sure. Note that if you dress up for Sergeants, you’ll be the best dressed people in the place. Our “big city” roots are showing. Anyway, this was followed by watching our wedding video (thanks to my brother Ray for that). Several folks in the video are gone and so it was somewhat bitter-sweet.

One interesting thing we’ve observed here in Idaho. Rainbows. So far this year we’ve seen three of them. Including one on our anniversary which we’ll selfishly imagine that God did just for us. Here’s one from the house today.


Snow Shoe Hare

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

I finally got a shot of the elusive snow shoe hare. This was shot out our window (thus the reflection). During the warmer months her coat turns brown but her feet, nose and some patches on the front of her ears stay white. In the winter she is even harder to find because they turn all white will brown spots. They’re bigger than a rabbit and as you can see as she crouches down to eat the clover, their legs are exceptionally long.


Grass Widows Come & Go

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

There’s a secret gift that we’ve enjoyed on our property. Each spring brings a new crop of “grass widow” flowers. They pop up before the snow is fully melted and their beauty lasts only a few weeks. It’s a spectacular sign of spring.


You have to climb up the hill behind our house to get a good view of them. Here’s a shot showing our house in the back ground.