Archive for November, 2010

Observations of Small Town Living (OOSTL)

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The house I grew up in had three area codes. It never moved and inch but the population around it sure did. And as such, they ran out of phone numbers… Three times. Then we moved to Idaho and discovered that the ENTIRE state has ONE area code.


Idaho doesn’t even have enough people in it to be identified in this Wikipedia pie chart of populations. We seem to find ourselves somewhere in the “other” category on many charts. I think it was that way before we moved here but we’re finding that we fit in quite well among the odd-balls.

Observations of Small Town Living (OOSTL)

Friday, November 26th, 2010

I heard a joke(?) the other day about how tough people from Idaho are. They’re so tough that when they’re stranded in the woods, they’ll kill a moose with their bare hands, gut it, and sleep inside the carcass for warmth (I couldn’t wait to share that with you). I’ve been plowing snow off our drive and road for the last several days because here in rural America there’s no county service that’s going to come and plow it for you. The county only goes so far and for us that’s about a quarter mile away.

But in the big city you get all the conveniences of life or at least the illusion of them. Here’s the text from a press release sent out today from the City of Spokane, WA.

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE: The City of Spokane this afternoon is calling a Stage 1 Snow Emergency…Under the City’s snow removal plan, officials can call for such an emergency when there is at least 2 inches of snow on the ground and four or more in the forecast. 

Note: this was our first snow of the year. OK, from this you can assume that the city is going to be under a Stage One Snow Emergency from now until June. People can expect services to leave them stranded. So much for the conveniences of life. I’ll take rural over city any day.

Observations of Small Town Living (OOSTL)

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Most of my OOSTL are favorable because, clearly, I’m biased by all the good here. There are two observations here, one is the funny way of doing business and the other is rudeness. The rudeness part is way out of character for a town of less than 800 people. Here’s a sign on the wall of our local laundromat.


The funny part: You best get things done before the cleaning person leaves… but there’s not time stated when the cleaning person does this. And the “girls” at the gas station are pretty busy so let’s hope you don’t need them to stop chatting behind the counter and unlock your laundry.

My Rant:  My guess is that this was written at about 2:00 a.m. after the owner was woken up and dragged down to unlock the door by some person with only the clothes on their back. It’s an old sign and my hope would be that the owner would have had at least one good day since writing it where she could have written a nicer sign.  With VERY LITTLE effort this sign could communicate the exact same point without sounding so much like the ones I’ve read in some seedy neighborhood laundromats in big cities.

Night security at post office

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Apparently the post office has hightened security with a new night watchman who positions himself above the entry door. He’s intimidating enough to have Jenny return to the car for safety. I was able to duck under him (or her, not sure, someone else can check that since I don’t work for the TSA).


OK, yeah, it’s hard to tell which end is up, but it’s a bat so it’s hanging upside down just like on TV.  The door is also by a big outdoor light where all the bugs “used” to hang out.

Observations of Small Town Living (OOSTL)

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

We had our first snow on Nov. 18th (Note to self: have everything ready for winter by Nov. 15 from now on!). I get the impression from conversations with my wife that without studded snow tires, her car is liable to spontaneously slide right down the mountain and into Lake Cocolalla… even if the snow is melting in 40 degree temps… and the car is parked in the driveway. Not to mention what might happen if someone actually got behind the wheel of this death trap.

So, I took the car in to get the studded tires mounted. Apparently, Jenny has many kindred spirits, terrorized by snowflakes, because the local tire repair shop was packed. I left the car, got a ride home. Jenny called the tire store and explained that we’d give them our credit card and pick it up on Sunday when they were closed. The tire store rep explained that the credit card machine was down. But then he says to Jenny, I see Thomas at the same restaurant on Fridays. I’ll leave the keys under the mat and lock the car. Thomas and I can settle up on Friday

This guy’s going to trust that I’m going to pay him on Friday so he makes a risky decision on behalf of a major tire chain. He’s not even the owner.  Trusting their customers. That is a sure way to fail at business. Your not going to see that kind of thing very often in big cities. Jenny didn’t even want me to name him or the tire store because he might get in trouble. I think this concern is a latent big-city left over.

Observations of Small Town Living (OOSTL)

Monday, November 8th, 2010

When was the last time you were ordering in a restaurant and the owner, who was taking your order, offered to sprinkle in some of her personal stash of fresh picked black berries?


For the last 10 years in a row, the Hoot Owl Restaurant has won “Best Breakfast in Town” and it’s no wonder. Even without the berries, the oatmeal is the best in town with thick cut oats (thicker than steel cut) which gives it a great texture and heft for those of us who like that sort of thing. Add to that some fresh picked black berries and huckleberries in season and you’re good to go. Note the picture is “half” serving.

Equipment cost justification

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

While I may have put a few thousand miles on my Rhino ATV this summer, I doubt that I had any fun. And even if I did, it doesn’t detract from the primary purpose of the machine which is strictly utilitarian. For example, people hauling:


I hopped off to take this equipment justification picture (so Jenny allows me to keep the machine). Now, to many this may look like Bruce and Linda Morock’s family reunion taking a hayride around the area. However, it could just as well be a human smuggling operation along the boarder of Canada. No really, there’s clearly more money in human smuggling than hayrides. If you have a family that wishes to be smuggled around Cocolalla, hay included, let me know.

Camp for non-campers, Christ for non-Christians

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Cocolalla Lake Bible Camp ( a local camp that brings together people from area churches for all kinds of retreats (ranging from sports to scrap-booking) with a central theme of sharing the gospel message of Jesus Christ with anyone who attends. I was invited to serve on the board a few years ago and have since come to enjoy the range of activities including serving in the kitchen, men’s retreats, volleyball, and more. It’s been a wonderful place to meet people and have fun. Jenny too has enjoyed serving in the kitchen, women’s retreats, stamping and scrap-booking camps (supporting her healthy addiction).

Anyone who knows us, knows that we’re not “campers”. Thankfully, the camp provides (in order of priority) cabins, showers, flushing toilets and commercial grade kitchen services. If you’re not a camper, CLBC might be something to consider. To know us is to know that Christ is a central theme in our lives. The gospel message, to some, is like bug spray to mosquitoes. I can imagine that there are folks who would find sitting through 45 minutes of church to be enough to avoid a day or two of having a great time. Too bad, so sad, you’re missing a great time with some really great people. I can attest that no one has ever died after hearing and believing the gospel message.
Here’s some shots of the girl. First in the kitchen and then at stamp camp.

jenny-at-camp.gif jenny_stampcamp.jpg