Tuesday, May 31, 2011

When a Tuesday becomes a Monday

The Tuesday after every Monday holiday is actually a functional Monday disguised as a Tuesday.  So, if today behaves like a typical Monday, at least you will know why. 

There might be some weather relief in sight for us moss-backed tater heads.  Today and tomorrow are supposed to be sunny with highs in the 60's!  Next weekend the temp might even crack 70 once again.  Yippie, skippee!  We're sure hoping Saturday will be a nice day when Susun rallies her volunteers to plant Hilda's garden.  Methinks there's going to be a lot of interest in helping plant stuff that day.

Speaking of Susun, she's been her Social Butterfly Self the last couple of days.  Sunday, she enjoyed a great dinner with Karen L. and two young women.  Yesterday afternoon, Rachel stopped by and the two went merrily off to Jan's for a little party of three.  We wonder what Susun will be doing today?  Down in Arizona, Susun's friends are mostly all many miles away.  Here, she can drive to visit each and all of them in less distance that it takes us to get to the McGuireville Exit in Arizona!

On our part, we spent yesterday continuing to assemble various esoteric stuff to begin to reload .38 Special ammunition.  We went out to Sportman's Warehouse and become so perplexed and dazed and confused by all the choices, we had to "Dial a Reloader."  Yep, we called up Dear Friend Tom B. and pleaded, "Tom, we're so overwhelmed, HELP!"  Tom walked us through everything over the phone and we were greatly relieved--both of confusion AND cash.

We are pretty close to having our entire target range gig complete.  It's real Type A, as you can imagine and we will spend another few hours messing with it again today.  We visited Harbor Freight three times yesterday so that made it a memorable Memorial Day.  On our first trip, we bought a $40 shop cart.  Naturally, there were at least almost 300 parts to assemble.  Honest, that's NOT an exaggeration.  Luckily, it only took a little more than an hour to put it all together and I didn't even have to dip once into my secret stash of creative cuss words.

OK, here's your daily water update.  From now until whenever we are going to put at least a paragraph into Da Blog on our water situation here.  The Snake continues to flow a little lower than last week's peak.  It's rushing along at 29,300 cfs this morning.  There's nothing upstream to indicate any sudden rise is in store within the next day or two.  However, the weekend storms once again increased the snowpack reports to a new high level for this winter season.  Two Ocean Plateau gained 1.5 inches of water content during the past 7 days and stands at 53.9 inches of agua.  Meanwhile, the temperatures are going to rise in the snowpack and the overnight lows are not going to dip below freezing.  That's usually when the action picks up so stay tuned, the curtain is about to rise on this is stage play.

Have a great last day of May and Many Cheers!  jp

Monday, May 30, 2011

And the Answer Is.....(Drum roll please)

Wow.  We thought we only had maybe 30 blogs.  We often thought maybe we were exaggerating when we said we have "about 30 or so" blogs.  But 52?  That's both amazing and ridiculous but it is true.  There's probably another few stray cat blogs out there someplace but we're not going to bother to ferret out the last fugitive blog.  Fifty two is definitely a large herd of cats and we will leave well enough alone.

All we can say is YIKES!  Have a great Memorial Day & Many Cheers, jp

Happy Memorial Day

What are you going to be doing today?  This is a major American holiday, ya know? We think we're going to take a cue from today's cartoon strip of "Born Loser." Probably grill up some ceremonial chicken thighs.  We ware definitely flying our Flag today to honor all those who have fought in so many wars.  The freedoms we take for granted were first secured and have been preserved at great sacrifice.  May God forever Bless our Veterans and their Families!

Tomorrow we will have been here in Idaho for five full weeks.  We sure are ready for the gray days and cold, rainy weather to end.  Although it's not raining right now this morning, it's another battleship gray day.  At least this weather has been great for getting things done indoors.  We're both becoming über organized.

Well, what lies ahead?  Let's do a little thinking out loud here.  June has a habit of being a very fleeting month--it always seems to be over before it even seems to get started.  So, what are we going to do between now and July 4th--the next major beacon of a holiday?

Here are some things we would LIKE to do.  We might not actually be ABLE to do them but we sure would like to.

1) Visit Heather at the Dream Ranch sometime around June 14-19 when her Mom will be there.
2) Float the Blackfoot River from Government Dam to Morgan Bridge.
3) Camp in the Springfield area and explore the southeast end of Craters of the Moon Nat'l Monument.
4) Go look at deep snow and big water someplace(s).
5) Visit City of Rocks before it becomes blazing hot.  (Yes, it WILL get hot one of these days.)

OK, we're done thinking out loud.

Moving right along, we checked in this morning on our Favorite Blogger: Kirsty S.  She writes the World Famous, Internationally Recognized Momedy blog.  Kirsty put up another great post yesterday.   You can click here to read it.  Kirsty sets a high bar for other bloggers.  Her posts are so full of energy, enthusiasm and spirit.  THANK YOU, Kirsty!!

Wayne Ranney's last blog post was a week ago.  It details his hikes down Cathedral Wash and up the Spencer Trail.  Ironically, we were within a few miles of each other then and didn't know it.  Wayne's due back from Hawaii any day now and we're sure his tropical trip will be blogged about very soon.  Click here to read Wayne's wanderings around the Lees Ferry area.

Goatherder is a wee bit behind in his blog.  He was sidetracked by son Joshua''s graduation this week.  GH did write a real nice blog post prior to the commencement of commencement.  You can click here to read it.

Spudboater is nearly a month behind in updating her blog.  Not that she doesn't have anything to blog about--she's just been real busy with other life stuff.  Anyway, here's hoping she puts up a post again soon. Speaking of life stuff, The Drewster has been swamped after taking extended maternity leave.  He knows he's way behind on the blog but it may be quite sometime before we read a new post from his neck of the woods.

People often ask how many blogs we actually "have."  We reply, "We don't know."  Our blogs are like feral cats--sometimes you see them and sometimes you don't but you know they are out there somewhere.  This morning, we thought it would be a real good exercise to actually try to herd cats and round up our blogs so they can be counted.  This may take awhile since, as we all know, herding cats is a rather "iffy" proposition.  Stand by and we will be back here by and by after taking a census of our blogs.

Many Cheers!  jp

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Grand Pa's pistol

We opened up discussion of the future of Grand Pa's pistol to our shooting buddies.  The vote was tied 2-2 and I decided to sell it.  As you know, someone in Salt Lake saw the ad and talked me out of it.  Anyway, the whole case is settled now as the pistol and Grand Pa's military record are sharing a shadow box on top of our computer desk.  One day soon, we will fill in the blank space with a small narrative explaining the whole thing.

It's been raining most of the day but the rainfall rate has picked up considerably in the last hour or so.  Wet and cold.

Cheers!  jp

The Cook Shack

Well, here's The Cook Shack. This morning was the very first time we set foot inside with the intention of actually cooking something since we've been back here from Arizona. If the slide show won't load for you click here. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a trend and we will be spending a lot more quality time out there.

All's Well

Sunday Greetings this Memorial Day weekend!  There has been some concern expressed about the possible local flooding here.  Not to worry, we are VERY high and dry and don't have to worry about The Snake coming to our doorstep.  All's well.

Believe it or not, the snowpack continues to grow in The Snake headwaters.  Two Ocean Plateau rose again yesterday to its highest level of this water year.  The snowpack over there is a mind-numbing fifty percent pure water.  (53.3 inches of PURE water sitting up there!)  They are progged to get even more snow today and tonight.  It's crazy.

Yesterday actually turned out to be a nice day--light winds, no rain and pleasant temps.  We even wore a short sleeve shirt for a few hours before we had to go back to flannel and fleece in the evening hours.  Susun didn't buy any more plants because she doesn't have room anywhere to plant them.  Imagine that.  She did, however, get the garden ready for planting.  She also enjoyed a late afternoon workout with Friend Teresa and managed to whip up a party with her friends for Monday afternoon.  Never a dull moment in Miss Susun's life, eh?

I spent a lot of time messing with stuff, organizing the garage, the workshop and the basement.  Real mundane activities and totally unworthy of mention or description.  Today promises to be more of the same.

Well, have a great Sunday & Many Cheers!  jp

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Batten the hatches

"Oh, Boy," as Hank The Cowdog would say!  Check what the Pokey People have to say this morning about our upcoming weather:

"Low pressure moving through Utah, then over Idaho on Sunday, will bring heavy rainfall and high elevation snow to central and southern Idaho. The storm will develop precipitation late Saturday night and continue through Monday night, with clearing developing by Tuesday afternoon. The clouds and cold air will keep afternoon temperatures in the forties and fifties, some fifteen to twenty degrees below normal for this time of year. The rains could also put stress on smaller rivers and creeks, many of which are already at bankfull. People recreating this holiday weekend should exercise caution with the strong flows on all creeks and rivers."

Then take a gander below at the wide extent of various flood warnings, watches and advisories as this morning.  The Snake's running 31,200 cfs right now.  Oh, Boy, indeed!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Beaver Dick, Noah's House & Nick Skywalker's ride

Well, yesterday we had ourselves a little mini-road trip all the way up to metropolitan Rexburg.  Part of the deal with selling the Sammi contingent on us delivering it to Rexburg.  No problem--we had to go to Rigby anyway and Rexburg is only another 12 miles farther north.  While we waited for the buyers to arrive from Jackson, we drove out to Beaver Dick Park.  This is a small riverside spot operated by Madison County.  Beaver Dick was a real person--actually a genuine legend in his own time.  Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton National Park is named for Beaver Dick's wife.  Beaver Dick's life was filled with extraordinary hardship and tragedy.  It wouldn't surprise me someday if Hollywood made a movie about Beaver Dick.  He was truly an amazing person.  Unfortunately, there aren't any readily available online biographies of Beaver Dick.  Author Cort Conley perhaps wrote the best available story about him but that's only available in print.  There are a few factual errors in this account by Ken Hughes but it is a good beginning.  Click here to read it.
After we took a lot of photos of the minor flooding of the Henry's Fork at Beaver Dick Park, we went to see the South Fork of the Teton River.  It's normally about 10 feet wide and yesterday is perhaps a quarter mile wide in places.  Way back in 2008 or 2009, I had one of my most memorable fun days at EICAP.  Sharon W. lived next to a used car dealer on the Westside.  The guy had a pink Cadillac on the lot.  Sharon conned him into letting her drive the Pink Caddy for a day.  She came to Houn' Dawg and me and excitedly proposed a road trip up to St. Anthony on US 20 and then back home via every little twisty, turny farm road we could find.  Sharon and I decided Houn Dawg should be the driver--he looked the part of a classic "Driving Miss Daisy" type of pink Caddy driver.  Oh, boy, as Hank would say, did we have fun "stylin' " in that ridiculous looking vehicle.  You should have seen the farmers in coveralls turning their heads to look at us and we cruised the countryside.  Naturally, we got lost.  Not totally lost because you're not really lost if you can still see the LDS Rexburg Temple on the horizon.  Anyway, they were both trying to find Noah's House.  Well, I was shocked to see this piece of homegrown splendor sitting in the Snake River Plain.  Yesterday, I told Susun we were going to find the Boat House.  She was like, "Huh?"  Luckily, we managed to find it without getting lost.  It sure brought back fond memories of that day in the pink Cadillac.  I wonder if the people who live inside that house sometimes dress up like Johnny Depp and play pirate games? "Ay, Matie, Pass the Jello and be quick about it or you'll walk the plank!"
While we were out driving around looking at high water and hoping to find Noah's House, we stumbled on Nick Skywalker's ride.  Here it sits in all its glory.  We took a LOT of photos of this creative contraption and will do a photo album of it here shortly after our upcoming morning HAM radio check-in.  Whenever we find stuff like this, it makes us wonder what the heck else is stashed around the hinterlands.  This is a classic piece of modern American folk art at its finest.  Many Cheers!  jp

Clean desktop

Just so ya'll know, we CAN actually keep a clean computer desktop!  NO, it doesn't like the inside of Goatherder's shed.  Honest.


Yesterday, the wind blew hard and gusted into the 40's for 18 hours.  Today hasn't been so bad--less than 12 hours so far.  The wind is really taxing the patience of the local populace.  I know it's taxing OUR patience!  We talked today about the possibility that the wind might blow forever here now, what with the volcano and so forth.  I guess that means we might get blown away.  Whatever!  Cheers, jp

PS--Here is the forecast for tonight: "Tonight...Mostly cloudy. Scattered rain showers with possible snow showers and thunderstorms in the evening...Then a slight chance of rain showers and snow showers after midnight. Windy. Snow accumulation around 1 inch. Lows 30 to 37. Southwest winds 20 to 30 mph...Decreasing to 10 to 15 mph after midnight. Chance of precipitation 50 percent."

Our Neighbor, Cody

Living in Eastern Idaho is a perpetual exercise in watching children in all phases of their growth--from newborn babies to toddlers to pre-schoolers to grade school kids to high school skateboarders to laid back college kids.  Contrary to what kids think, they aren't even close to mature until at least 10 years past high school graduation and even then that's debatable. But we digress.

One of our many neighbor children is named Cody.  This afternoon he was caught vacuuming his parent's vehicle in preparation of going to one of the local drive-in movies.  (Idaho Falls has TWO drive in movie theaters!)  Susun took Cody's photo and then Cody asked if he could take Susun's picture.  This is Cody's very FIRST published photographed.  GOOD JOB, Cody!

A favorite dinner...if seldom seen

This is one of our mutual favorite dinners but is seldom seen on our table.  That's why it is featured here tonight--it's been so long since we've seen it that it is a news item.  It's technically called "Clam Linguini."  We use Dreamfield's Linguini, two cans of clams (one chopped and one minced), 8 cloves of garlic, four really good quality tomatoes (canned won't do), and liberal dollops of real white wine and high quality extra virgin olive oil.  You must also top this dish with REAL grated Parmesan cheese--NOT the stuff that comes in cheap-o plastic containers.

Meanwhile, it helps if you can pick a sprig of parsley from your own garden and then prep a huge side salad.  This is a Mediterranean Feast of the First Order.  You wouldn't believe how tasty it is.  WOW!  Anyway, thanks always to SWPF (She Who Prepares Food: AKA: Susun).  Life is good. Cheers, jp

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy Camper

Well, well...what's Little Yonni all smiles about?  Yesterday was a fun and memorable day--possibly even a Dear Diary Day.  I was all smiles because we just wrapped up the sale of both the 1987 red Suzuki Samurai and the oversize tires we took off it a week or so ago.  Plus, even though we didn't sell Grand Pa's pistol, we actually had someone offer full price for it.  On top of that, we bought an awesome piece of luggage at a ten cent store for $6.88 that retails for $329.99.  (Not a typo.)  And on top of that, we learned more about our GPS unit in one day than we've learned in the past few years...combined.  And on top of that, we received more emails from Dear Friend Tom B. in a single day than we've received in the past year or two combined! Tom is mentoring us about how to get started in reloading. "Sweet," is what Napoleon Dynamite would have said about the day.  

The Samurai sale was easily the sweetest of all.  How so?  Well, as you may recall from our chatter last September, we thought the little red Sammi was one of the best Samurais we'd ever seen--so nice, in fact, that we simply couldn't bear to take it out on a back road.  Likewise, we estimated it's true value to be $2500 so we added $500 worth of repairs and maintenance to the $1950 purchase price and stopped tinkering with it when our investment reached $2700.  The extra $200 was title, registration and $100 in gas to go pick it up south of Provo.  You can click here to read the summary of our investment in the Sammi.

Well, lo and behold, we were contacted by a car dealer from Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  JH, as locals call the place is awash with rich people and you can actually smell money when you hit the city limits.  (The scent of money is hard to describe but you sure know it when you smell it.)  Anyway, this guy was delivering a Mercedes to a buyer in Pocatello and he swung by yesterday afternoon.  Boy, oh, boy, he really put "Sonny," as we call that Sammi, through its paces.  He offered $2500 but I turned him down and waved goodbye.  Meanwhile, later in the evening he called up and offered $2700.  BINGO!  We jumped all over that and we will transfer the Sammi to him today.  The really sweet part of the deal is this:  the buyer said the Sammi is the finest he has ever seen.  Next, he said I was the best seller he's ever dealt with and complimented me on my honesty.  Third, he said he loved that Sammi so much that he's going to give it a complete restoration and list it for sale for $8000!  (Not a typo.)  He thinks some rich Jacksonian will buy it as part of their stable of cars--you know--the stuff that fills an eight car garage.  He figures whoever buys it will drive it maybe once a week to downtown JH to buy a croissant or some other foible. Anyway, it was very sweet to receive vindication and positive feedback for our assessment of that vehicle and to have stopped putting money into it at precisely the level we knew we could ultimately recover.

Some of you will be thinking, "Well, what about your time?"  That's a good question.  Bear in mind that we list "Suzuki Samurai" as one of our official hobbies.  Working on a Sammi is a labor of love and is a cherished hobby.  People don't count the hours they spend on their hobbies and neither do I count the time spent tinkering with a Samurai.  They are just so much fun to mess with it that the time factor doesn't matter.

Meanwhile, a different guy is coming by this afternoon to pick up the cast off wheels and tires for $240.

No wonder Litlle Yonni was all smiles last night!  It was a great day.  And to top it off even more, Goatherder sent along a photo album from Joshua's graduation.  All of the pictures therein are wonderful and some are downright emotional.  We show only one here.  Thanks, Goatherder!  (By the way, we are chronic clutterers of our desktop.  We clean it up once every two months whether it needs it or not. See GH's comment below.)

Oddly, the sun is shining today.  How fitting!  Have a great Friday and Many Cheers!  jp

The Beat goes on

In this case, that's the steady beat of rain on the roof.  Yes, it's raining once again and progged to continue raining until The Second Coming--of sunshine, that is.  People here will greet the coming of summer sunshine with a lot of pent up cabin fever, fervor, frenzy.  It reminds me of a Bill Murray line in our fave movie Ground Hog Day, "It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be gray and this winter's going to last the rest of your LIFE."  (Slightly paraphrased)  We can't even imagine camping in this type of weather--it makes last year's inclement spell look like a walk in the park.  It might even snow here in Idaho Falls over the Memorial Day weekend.

The river continues to rise and is at a new high for this runoff season: 28,700 cfs.  From the looks of what's coming down from above, it's going higher and will probably squeeze past 30,000 real soon--maybe even today.  People are pretty buzzy about it here and some folks who are connected to higher swamis than we say the river will run high, hard and fast until late July or maybe even August.

Luckily, the Weather Angels gave us a balmy day yesterday--just nice enough to make the debut of Alive After Five a wonderful and most welcome event.  We took a lot of photos and will post them up later.  It was great to see so many people out partying in the streets.

Susun went to her workout and then logged four hours at the Habitat for Humanity Restore.  I milled around town trying hard to remember what it was that I was milling around for.  I also engaged in a lot of geeky, nerdy stuff relating to reloading, GPS, HAM radio, the food shopping blog, fishing tackle and other things I can't remember.  My name was in this morning's newspaper.  No, it wasn't on the police blotter.  I was mentioned in the outdoor column with a fishing question.  Imagine that. The Editor even printed the word "Friend" before my name.  It's always nice to be a Friend of The Editor.

All this airborne water coming down to earth is causing the grass to grow insane.   It's borderline out of control.  There's not much we can do about it when it's this wet and windy.  It looks like we will be under house arrest and confined to quarters here for the Memorial Day weekend.

Some local LBRs might be interested in our food shopping blog.  You can click here to read it.

OK, let's end this post with a story.  I have been agonizing for quite some time about whether to sell off Grand Pa's pistol.  I wrote a REALLY long blog post about it on a different blog and then conducted a poll of my shooting buddies.  The vote was split 2-2 so I cast the tie-breaker and decided to sell the pistol on KSL Classifieds in Salt Lake City.  It's legal to list the pistol for sale there.  OK, in the ad I referenced the blog posting and encouraged people to read it.

While I was playing chess Tuesday evening the cell phone rang.  It's a no-no to answer a cell phone while playing chess so I waited until I was sitting out in the parking lot to return the call while rain poured down on the truck.  I reached a guy named Pat in Salt Lake City.  He's a homicide detective by day and an avid gun collector the rest of the time. His voice reminded me of Ed Asner's.  Well, he wasn't the least bit bashful and he launched off on giving me a stern Fatherly lecture about the "un-wisdom" of selling that pistol.  He was very persuasive and persistent.  I told him I was touched that a he would care enough to make such an impassioned plea to a complete and total stranger.  I told him that if he left a written synopsis of his sermon on the blog, I would remove the pistol listing immediately and follow his advice.  Lo and behold, he actually followed through and did so yesterday about dinner time.  I kept my promise and removed the pistol from potential sale.  You can real the whole long story by clicking here.  Be sure to read all the comments because that's where it gets real interesting.  Anyway, THANKS, Pat!  Now I guess I have to get busy and find the right shadow box and begin a craft project to display the pistol properly.  The fact that a total stranger would care about my angst over this pistol had an emotional impact on me.   I sent Pat a special email thank you last night and woke up this morning to a reply.  Pat said, "Thank you for the comments it makes this old boy feel good."  Pat's intervention added greatly to the story of this pistol and now there's no way I could even think of selling it.

Have a great day and Many Cheers!  jp

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Today's The Big Day

For most of you reading the blog title, you're thinking, "Wait a minute, this is a Wednesday and it's May 25th, what's the big deal?"  Well, for one person in particular and for at least two other people, this is a REALLY Big Day.  Joshua  graduates from Red Rock High School tonight amid all of the classic hype, hoopla and happenstance of Pomp and Circumstance.  He will be wearing the cap and gown and getting a certain little piece of paper upon which parental human types are known to place great significance--a high school diploma.  Joshua's high school days seemed to zoom by in a blink of an eye--four years have never seemed to pass so fastly.  Opps, that word is quickly, isn't it?  Please join Susun and me in a hearty round of virtual applause for Joshua and his proud parents, Goatherder and Kate.  Ya'll dun good and we offer our congratulations to you all.  Enjoy the day with Many Cheers!

It's been awhile since we posted here.  It's been cold and raining and, normally, that would be Prime Blogging Time.  My blogging jumper cables must have slipped off the internal battery posts as I've had minimal motivation to do much writing the last couple of days.  This cold, wet weather has coated my brain with a malaise of mental mayonnaise.  The sun looks like it is daring to come out this morning and the sight of blue sky has perked me up a bit--that and a nice flavored cuppa joe, too.

There hasn't been much happening to write about lately.  Susun and Karen spent the last couple of evenings hooting and hollering in front of the TV screen as the last two episodes of Dancing With The Stars concluded its season.  I notched a dubious record of achievement this week--I've actually taken more items TO the thirft stores than I've brought back home this season.  Ah, the ebb and flow of ten cent stores.  Last night I lost ALL my chess games, not even managing to win a single one.

The water and snow continue to be fun to watch.  Here's a figure I've never seen in print before for any watershed in my lifetime.  The Bear River watershed is 525% of normal snowpack!  Let that figure roll around in your brain for awhile.  Mind boggling.  Heck, the Snake River's Two Ocean Plateau snowpack not only hasn't started to melt yet but it keeps getting BIGGER, actually reaching its deepest level yesterday of the whole winter!  Mind boggling.

I was so bored yesterday I actually thought about buying a fishing license.  I even pulled out all my long dormant fishing gear and did an inventory.  Luckily, I came to my senses before taking the big step and pulled back from the brink.

Tonight marks a local milestone we truly love--the summer beginning of "Alive After 5."  it takes place each Wednesday downtown.  They rope off a big chunk of pavement and have themselves a righteous little block party.  The Civitans sell beer and wine and food and a decent group makes music and hundreds of people show up and socialize.  It's one of the neat features about downtown in the so-called summertime.  We are looking forward to going tonight, even though we know the sunshine is fading back to black and bad weather will resume for many days ahead.

Maybe bad weather is this year's New Normal.  The most recent Icelandic volcano has the potential to wreck havoc with our summer and fall weather.  In fact, we're already thinking it's going to bring us a cold early fall season.  We guess that's good in a way because the leaves will drop by Halloween and we can get back to Arizona in time for Kate B.'s birthday on 11/11/11.  On the other hand, if that volcano really messes things up it's going to be a pretty gray summer at these latitudes.

Not much else to report (obviously).  Have a great day & Many Cheers!  jp

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A water watcing we may go

Last night we were filled with GEEE (Greatly Excessive Evening Exuberance) and we happily chattered about how we could go gander at all of the incredible snowmelt runoff that is happening all across Idaho, Wyoming and Utah as we speak.  Spring 2011 will definitely be one for the record books on many creeks and rivers.  There's so much to see and so little time.

We did decide that it's worth the high gas cost to travel to as many regional icons as possible.  Top on the list, of course, is Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho.  We saw it in April 2009 at 15,000 cfs and were duly wowed.  Right now it's running perhaps 25,000 cfs and surely would be a memorable sight.  What's amazing here is that Shoshone will peak far higher than 25K!  It could be 40K, heck, it could even be 50K or higher--it all depends on how fast it warms up in the high country.  (Click here to see our 2009 video of Shoshone Falls.) Right now the highest elevation in the Upper Snake watershed hasn't even started to melt yet.  The snow water equivalent actually peaked on May 16, a week ago today and it's lost barely an inch out of the 53 inches of pure water up there.  This mean, naturally, that Yellowstone Falls will be out of this world spectacular, too.  We hear media reports that people are flocking to American and Mesa Falls.  Little known Cave Falls will be righteous as well. And then there's Cauldron Linn.  Even seeing tiny, small streams that are normally bone dry is a thrill.

Anyone and everyone who knows us knows that high water has a hypnotizing affect on our brains.  Susun and I have been addicted to high water since the day we met back in the 1980's. We love it in a way that can't be described.  It makes the endorphins go nuts in our brains.  It is one of the finest and greatest "highs" of all time.  And, best yet, it's legal.  We don't even need flood insurance to enjoy it.  How can you beat that?

At this point, we're clueless as to when the snowmelt will peak.  Afterall, if the upper snow hasn't even started to melt yet, who knows when the bulk of it will come off?  Rest assured we will be keeping a close eye on the situation and prepare to be ready to roll on a one day notice.

Locally, the Snake is running 26,300 through town this morning but it's going higher.  They have upped teh release from Palisades Reservoir to 21,100 cfs and there's 8,000 cfs in the Henry's Fork so the local river should soon reach 29K and change.  

It's incredible up here right now--the earth's jucies are flowing--water is the pulsing lifeblood of our planet.  The power of all this rushing water is truly awe-inspiring.

Many Cheers!  jp

She buys, she plants, she buys, she plants

 Look carefully just to the left of the red "X."  There you will see the Planting Lady (AKA: Susun).  As the stroke of 9 am nears on a Saturday morning, the Planting Lady begins to hyperventilate--"LET'S GO," she calls.  As soon as the truck stops, she bounds forth in a single leap and zeros in on her score of the week.  Now she is Happy once again and the Planting Lady can resume her all-consuming pastime!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Busy Friday

Susun went off to her workout early yesterday.  After she returned, we went down to the Greenbelt at 10 am for the dedication of phase two of the Art Bench Project.  It was a blustery, cold morning that tried to spritz some sprinkles on.  A goodly group of people listened to Carrie's presentation and two TV stations showed up to tape the proceedings. Susun even spoke up to the group asking for their help to plant the Hilda garden on the first Saturday in June. Afterwards, Susun and I joined Carrie and Jerry at the Villa Coffee House.

Normally, we wouldn't mention going to the Villa here but it was an "all in a day's karma gig," so it merits a paragraph.  After a fun visit with Carrie & Jerry, we prepared to leave.  I walked over to the bar and idly noticed a flyer about a cribbage tournament on June 3rd.  As I reached out to pick up the flyer, some guy sitting there said, "You play crib?"  Well, it turns out that the organizer of the tournament was distributing the flyers.  His name is Reese and he's a cribbage fanatic.  He organized a weekly cribbage league this winter and boosted its membership upward of 20 players on busy weeks during the winter.  Susun and I chatted excitedly with Reese for quite awhile.  It's so exciting to think that we might get together with other cribbage players here soon.  We will need to practice our game during the next few days.  Without Carrie's invitation to join them for a cuppa joe, we would have never crossed paths with Reese.  Way cool.

By and By, we headed over to EICAP, arriving near 12:30 pm.  Susun and I helped Emily H. get ready for Debby D.'s retirement party that commenced shortly after 1 pm.  Friday's are sparsely attended days at EICAP so there were only about 20 people who showed up.  Emily had a real nice cake for Debby.  Don J. gave some remarks, I lead the group in a song and EICAP Director Russ S. presented Debby with a nice plaque.  Debby seemed to be happy about the whole thing but we can't help wondering how much she will miss her involvement with a group of people who became like family to her over the past 7+ years.  We wish her well with all her newfound free time ahead.  We know she will find new and creative ways to stay busy and involved with the community here.  Bon voyage, Debby!

The remainder of the afternoon was spent nosing around Deseret Industries (we spent only 50 cents); shopping at the WINCO Spa & Relaxation Center; browsing Lowe's and attempting to organize the garage.

Susun, of course, busied herself with the ongoing ritual of spring flower planting.  It's a good thing spring only comes around once a year.  Otherwise, Susun would have be potting plants 24/7/365!!!!

Today it's back to the Farmers Market.  It's a near perfect spring morning to visit the market--nary a breath of wind so far and pretty, partly cloudy skies.  The gang taggers hit another alley nearby so we will be mobilizing to eradicate their strange symbols.  We're going to tackle Phase One of the garage Extreme Makeover and, undoubtedly, there will be other impulse activities to give the day at least a hint of unpredictability.

Have a great day & Many Cheers!  jp

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Year Ago Tonight

A year ago tonight we played host to The Spudboater at Baumgartner Campground on the South Fork of the Boise River somewhere in MOAN Country east of Featherville, Idaho.  We were pretty smitten with Baumgartner a year ago.  We had a wonderful weekend with Spudboater--it was a classic get together. 

Last year, it cost us $115 in gas to get there and back.  Luckily, someone else was paying the gas costs.  This year, the same trip would be well over $150, plus the nightly fee for camping.  Chances are we would spend $200 to go camping at Baumgartner. 

Is it worth it?  Well, yeah, in a way it is.  But, on the other hand, you have to look at what $200 would do for you just staying home here in the city.  Geeze, we can live like a King and a Queen here for $200 over the same time frame.  Heck, $200 would cover us for WAAAAY more than a week hanging out doing whatever we felt like doing with lots of money left over. 

That's the whole trouble with high gas prices--prices have become so high it's a real negative reinforcement loop.  You look at what it costs to go somplace and then you look at what the same amount of money could do if you spent it here in Idaho Falls and stayed home.  It's a no brainer most of the time. 

Why bother to spend $200 when we can have a ball here at home for a lot less money.  Last Friday's 164 mile trip only cost us $21 and we started from home and finished at home.  Now that's a great way to spend twenty one bucks.  For the cost of one trip to Baumgartner, we could do danged near ten such trips! 

The "new math" of high gas prices sure have changed our travel equation--no doubt about it.  And, guess what?  We don't mind at all.  It's great to be here.  One of the reasons we chose this city is that it's filled with fun, low cost stuff to do.  We reasoned as long ago as October 2005 that Idaho Falls would be a perfect place to be when gas prices got outrageous. 

Well, guess what!  We were right!  This place rocks and we don't have to spend a dime to travel to get here.  We already Be Here Now.  Us chickens have come home to roost in our own coop.

Click here to read the blog post from a year ago about Baumgartner.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Special Request Photo Tonight

Here's Susun's Special Request Photo.  She asked me to put it up on the blog tonight.  Now she is in charge of writing the caption for it!!!!  It's a wonderful photo and I enjoy looking at it every day.  Thanks, Sweetie!

This Just In

Bulletin--Arizona was/is colder than Idaho.  

Today, apparently, Hades almost froze over as we have learned from reliable sources that our friends in Arizona were actually officially colder than we in Idaho.  Now, Class, this is truly weirdness in the first degree.

We received a report from The Goatherder that he was forced to put on pants AND socks today as his high temp was a mere 60 degrees.  By comparison, Idaho Falls rose to the Jimmy Carter thermostat of 68.  Cornville's low as 38 and the Idaho Falls low as 36.  There's ain't much difference between 36 and 38 in the morning--but there's a big difference between 60 and 68 in the afternoon!

Consequently, we can safely say that at least ONCE in world history, Arizona was colder than Idaho.  Amazing but true.

Now you see it, now you don't

 The gangbangers tagged an alley wall a half block north of our house last night.  One of our neighbor's called it to my attention not long ago this afternoon.  She said she had called the cops and that they were trying to find the tagging.  She said the city would paint over it.  Well, I learned the "inside story" on the city's anti-tagging efforts while I was RSVP Director.  The city might get to it within the next couple of weeks...and they might not.  So, I scrambled home and grabbed a gallon of paint, a roller cover, etc. and reported for duty at the scene at 4:06 pm.  The tagging was gone and I was home with everything put away at 4:19.  POOF!  GONE!  One thing most folks know--the quicker you can make the tags disappear, the less likely they are to waste their paint near your place.  The taggers place a high value on longevity of their gang symbols.  It's vitally important to react instantly.  And so it is done.  Cheers, jp

Weird WX

The weather has been quite strange not just for us here in Idaho but for our friends down in OAZ as well.  (OAZ = Ol' Airy Zonie)  It snowed on Maggie's Place in Flagstaff yesterday.  (That's Maggie's Garden shown above!) The morning HAM net was all a-Twitter with the wild, whacky and weird weather all across Northern Arizona yesterday.  This is barely a week before Memorial Day so, yes, it definitely qualifies as WEIRD!

One of the Shining Icons of the Idaho Annual Calendar cycle is Opening Day of fishing season.  Basically, Opening Day is a lot like a religious holiday, perhaps like Christmas or Easter or something of that magnitude.  Heck, it's probably better than Thanksgiving for a lot of addicted fishermen.  Imagine a combination of cabin fever with fish fever and a dose of obsessive compulsiveness and you get a good idea what happens to the fish people here.  Now, through in one of Eastern Idaho's most famous annual events--the St. Anythony Fisherman's Breakfast--and you have a recipe for barely controlled chaos.  The Holy Grail of Opening Day is a place called Henry's Lake.  It's a genuine Mecca.  Well, guess what?  Henry's Lake is totally and completely frozen over--S-O-L-I-D!!  WOW, this is a cause of HUGE concern here in Eastern Idaho right now.  It's never frozen over by Opening Day.  Fishermen everywhere are on their knees casting their eyes, hearts, hands Heavenward sending fervent pleas for "ice out" by May 28.  Odds are the ice will still be firmly in place by May 28th and that could send uncounted tens of thousands of fishermen into a state of total despair and depression.  Only time will tell but it is an entertaining soap opera while it lasts.

We will hopefully add another blog post later today.  We spent a lot of time earlier this morning updating yet another blog we maintain.  We've long ago lost count of the blogs we own.  We think it's "30-something."  Sometimes by the time we get around to writing The Daily News, we are plumb  "blogged out."  So it is this morning.

Have a great day and Many Cheers!  jp

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Falls @ 27000+ cfs

This is what Google calls an "Original Sized" photo.  Normally, we use the "X-Large" setting so it resizes for the blog screen.  You can click on the photo above and then click it again to see the larger size.  it's not the true original size since it wouldn't load--it was too large--just like The Falls right now.  There's simply no way to convey how freaking HUGE The Falls are running right now.  We did a 38 second video and it is embedded below.  We tried to pan from the top to the bottom and still missed a lot of it.  There's not way to truly capture the power and magnitude of this event.  Oh, well, at least we are trying.  Yes, we ARE trying, a lot of people would agree with that, eh? (Here's the link for the video in case the embed doesn't load:

Dear Debby

This is the "A Team."  Debby is third from left seated in the front row.  She's wearing black.  All the other ladies are the heart and soul of the much vaunted "A TEAM." They are all amazing individuals each in their own way.  The guy in the back left is the new Director of the RSVP.  His name is Don Johnson and he has no connection to Miami whatsoever.  We met today at a retirement center known as Lincoln Court.  Out in the lobby, the clients were having an ice cream social.  Luckily, we had our own niche where it was quiet and "just us."  We are very proud of Debby.  Meeting her and getting to work with her was THE highlight of my 2.5 years there.  Debby is the quintessential Virgo.  She lives and breathes "organization" in every way, shape and form.  There's no detail too small to escape her eagle-eye attention.  In my whole life I never worked with anyone who remotely cared as much about the "devil in the details" as Debby.  She was/is awesome in that--and many other--regards.  She has the rapt devotion of "The A Team."  Those ladies love her dearly as she does them.  It's a fabulous co-dependent relationship the likes of which are the stuff of novels and soap operas.  I am grateful to have been there today.  THANK YOU to DON for getting it all organized and THANK YOU to DEBBY for making the surprise factor work so well.  YA DUN GOOD!

Cheers, jp

Trifecta Plus

In honor of yesterday's full moon, we had burst of energy and were able to engage in three of our hobbies in a single day--actually four.  So it was a Trifecta Plus sort of day.

First, LBR Terry M. and I went to the Pinecreast golf course and spent two hours having fun.  We whacked a couple of hundred balls on the secluded chipping range.  Then we spent quite a lot of time on the putting green, concluding with a one ball putting match through six holes.  We ended tied up even-steven.  We both agreed it was a lot of fun and look forward to the next edition sometime soon.  Best of all, our activities were totally free and closer to our homes than the Sand Creek kiddie course.  THANKS, TERRY!

After some time passed, we kept looking out our window and seeing decent weather with no wind.  Somehow we thought it was going to rain yesterday.  Nope, the weather kept holding and the wind didn't come up.  Go figure.  So we called Houn Dawg and proposed a pistol target shooting session in the late afternoon.  Much to our surprise, he agreed.  I picked him up at his Westside home and we went out into the boonies near the edge of the Hell's Half Acre lava flow to the remnants of what was once a National Guard shooting range.  We set up HD's folding table and our newly minted targets.  In total, we sported four pistols and two .22 caliber rifles.  One of the rifles was a 1915 single shot--a real relic.  We spent over two hours shooting at the targets and evaluating our accuracy.  It's clear we have a lot of work to do to become as accurate as we both wish we were.  It was a lot of fun and I didn't return home until almost 7 pm.  THANKS, HOUN' DAWG!

On the way back home from HD's Place, we were driving east on 13th Street when we passed a tiny child running a lemonade stand on the sidewalk.  The little boy looked so downcast as I drove by.  Frankly, I can't imagine anyone stopping to buy lemonade at nearly 7 pm.  I knew I had an errant dollar bill in my pocket so I detoured a few blocks to loop back and become a customer of the boy's stand.  He was assisted by his tiny sister.  I sure brightened the day for those kids.  The boy went from looking downcast to looking perplexed.  It was clear I was his first customer and he wasn't really sure of the various steps to assembling a foam cup of filled with lemonade.  Eventually, with some pointed fingers and admonitions from his little sister, he figured it all out and got it together.  They were delighted with I gave them a full dollar for a cup of stuff I had no intention of drinking.

When we arrived home, Susun was entertaining Karen L. in the courtyard prior to their watching DTWS.  They both got quite a laugh of of the story about the lemonade stand.  (You should have heard them hooting and hollering when the dancing show started.  Man, those ladies sure know how to have fun watching TV!)

Then it was off to Tuesday chess at Barnes and Noble.  As usual, my anatomy was used to wipe the floor by the other players.  I did manage to win one game.  It helps to win one game each week--it proves I can still play, even if only feebly.

After leaving B&N we sat in the driveway until the Eagle Rock Amateur Radio Club weekly net came on the air at 9 pm. We dutifully checked in when our turn came. The local net is nothing compared to the robust net held each morning at 7 am (Arizona Time) by the Verde Valley Amateur Radio Association.  I look forward to participating in that each morning.  Yesterday, I told them that the Snake was running 27,000 through the city and that touched off a lot of comments about river flows during the 90 minute net.  This morning, I made up a blog post with links to various USGS statewide flow monitoring networks and talked about that on on the net.  The people down there are very hospitable and seem to enjoy my comments each morning.  That's cool.

Well, lots to do again today--we don't have the liberty today of enjoying the "day after" affect of the full moon.  Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Second Coming?

Back in the mid-60's (the years, not the temperatures) I was sitting in some tired old classroom in an ancient 19th century building on the Purdue campus listening to some bespectacled professor try to teach us about newspaper headlines.  The topic of the class that day was how the size of the type font should always relate to the relative importance of the story, especially with with any banner headlines for the lead story on the front page.  The prof droned on and on in a way that only tired old profs can do.  But he raised his voice and his eyebrows when it came to discussion of truly important lead stories on the front page.  That's when he started discussing "The Second Coming."   He said that if The Son of God were ever to set foot on earth a second time, you were justified in using the largest type font that you could possibly find.  Back in those days, most newspapers were still setting their stories in hot lead cast using a Linotype machine.  The prof reached into this tired, worn briefcase and huffed and puffed and pulled out this HUGE freaking piece of heavy lead that he had somehow scammed from a newspaper's layout the day after WWII ended.  (History buffs will recall VE & VJ Days were put on the same pedestal as The Second Coming.)  All us rubes in that class were duly impressed and looked at each other with knowing nods and appropriately amazed facial expressions.  Well, obviously, I never forgot Parable of The Second Coming.

Lo and behold, we woke up this morning to a classic Second Coming headline in our local daily newspaper.  It's quite an apt us of what is otherwise known as a "Screaming Headline," don't you think?  Afterall, the headline is discussing a potential second coming of an honest-to-gosh real flood the last likes of which were seen in these parts in 1997.  Frankly, I dearly love it when a headline actually, truly, really DOES match the magnitude of the story below.  Kudos to the P-R's headline writers.  (We're wondering, of course, if any of them ever heard the Parable of The Second Coming.)  But, whatever, we're digressing and maybe even regressing, too.  Get to the point, John, darn it.

OK, the point is something we've discussed a couple of times right smack dab here on this blog.  But first, let's take a look at the meatiest, juiciest quote in the story printed in today paper.  Here it is in all its glory:

"At some point this year, Clements said, the Snake will be so high that it will make the falls in Idaho Falls disappear from view. "

WHOA!  Say what?  Now that's a fearless prediction if I ever saw one. We can hardly wait to see if that prognostication comes true.

 Our two cents worth on this situation first appeared in an April 27 blog post when we said, "The Bureau of Reclamation is paranoid about the snowpack."  The head BuRec guys was quoted in today's paper as saying:

"Either way, it may be awhile before people such as Rowland, Clements and Beus get a good night's sleep.  'It'll be a wild ride,' Beus said. "

In our May 8th blog post we said "There's going to be a lot of nail-biting and hand-wringing going on during the weeks ahead--of that, you can be certain.  Stay tightly tuned to this saga, folks, no matter how it turns out, it's going to be one for the history books."  You can click here to read that blog post.

If you are interested in reading the full article from today's Post-Register, we printed it to PDF and put it in our Google Docs.  You can click here to read it.  Remember, this article is Copyright 2011 by The Post Register and is used here with permission.

We will go down and take some more photos of The Falls today.

Many Cheers!  jp

Monday, May 16, 2011


We enjoyed a real nice two hour bicycle ride along the Greenbelt over to Bella Vita in Snake River Landing.  That's one sweet little coffee house there--we love it.  We hung out there reading the Idaho falls Magazine and sipping a couple cups of coffee.  It was a delightful bike ride along the river and back and forth through the deserted downtown.  As we've said, there's NOBODY on the streets on Sunday morning.  It's like the Twilight Zone or something.  All of the city's tulips are up now and the streets are filled with bright spots of color.  The tree buds have finally begun to pop and some of the trees are even thinking about leafing out.

Susun is tiring of her bicycle and hopes to find one more comfortable.  Since we basically only ride on flat paved surfaces, we probably going to buy a nice aluminum frame Mongoose out at K-Mart for a hundred bucks.  That ought to keep her in a mood to continue our Sunday cycling jaunts.  At this point in our lives, if all we ever do on a bicycle is ride every Sunday downtown and then ride once a year over in the Tetons that would be fine with us.  (Yep, she liked the bike--took it for a spin around the store.  You should have seen the clerks looking askance at her!  Oh, well, there was no customers in the store.  Who shops Kmart on a Monday morning?  Nobody except us.)

After a lot of thought about that pistol target shooting gig on Saturday, I threw caution to the wind and decided to set up my own targeting system.  I spent a little less than what the club dues would have been ($32.50) and came up with a really spiffy target set up.  We will be describing it soon on our hobby blog.  Houn' Dawg and I will be going out soon to test these targets at some spot he knows at the edge of the Hell's Half Acre lava flow west of the city.  As long as "pistol target shooting" is officially on my hobby list, I'm gonna give it the good ol' college try to make the most of whatever situation we have here at our Idahome.
By the end of the day everything was totally finished and now all we have to do is await a good time to get together and go pistol target shooting.

Susun processed photos and generally had a lazy day all day, rising now and then to putter with plants.
We're off this morning to go down to the semi-annual EICAP All Staff Meeting at the Red Lion.  What? WHY?  Well, Miss Debby's retirement party looms on Friday so we need to rally as much help as possible for organizing her party Friday morning.  Since the staff meeting is mandatory (if you're not there you're fired) everyone I need to help will be milling around before the meeting starts at 8 am.  I can get in and get out in a flash--even though it's early, it's majorly time efficient to rally support for the party this morning.

Gotta run--Many Cheers, jp

PS--It was great seeing all my former co-workers.  Everyone agreed to help with Debby's party.  My-on-my, the Snake is HUGE over The Falls.  It's a 1,000 cfs higher than last week's peak and is running 25,200 cfs as I type this.  It's imposisble to convey the power of those falls when it is running this high.  It's simply amazing.  Click here to see the past 23 years of peak flow.  Note that 1997 is THE peak.  The highest we've seen it was a couple of years ago at 27,600.  Today it's only 100 cfs lower than last year's peak.  It's fairly certain it will run higher than 27,600 this year so we're in for a visual treat that doesn't come around very often according to the table of annual peak flows.  WOW!  Note alss from that table that the peak normally takes place in mid to late June.  Pretty amazing year we've got going here.  Viva La Niña!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mid May already

'Tis another somewhat blustery day here.  Temps are in the mid-50's but it has been gusting into the mid-20's so it feels a lot cooler than 54 degrees.  And it's cloudy to boot.  Maybe we will go bicycle riding and maybe not.  We did get both bikes rigged and ready to go yesterday.  We shall see.

We went on down to the Farmers Market yesterday morning and Susun scored some special flowering annuals that she has been hankering for.  She said the FM price was 75% less than the store price for the same thing.  She spent $26 so I guess that means she saved $75.  She spent the entire day planting flowers in her various containers.  The place it beginning to look like its typical summer self.

For my part, I went out to the pistol range I "discovered" this  week.  I put up a long post about the experience over on the hobby blog.  You can click here to read it.  Warning-it's a HUGE long post--like almost a book.

Each spring the major big box retailers feature camping equipment and the headliners are always the year's new tents.  We always LOVE reading about the hottest tents of the year.  These are the type of tents that probably only get used once.  It's hard to even imagine how difficult they would be to set up.  These three from K-Mart are classics of the genre.  The top one comes with a two speed overhead fan and light with a wall switch if you can believe that. The middle one sleeps TEN adults if you can visualize that--that's one short of a full football team.  I can't possibly imagine sleeping in a tent with nine other adults.  Talk about Animal House.  The bottom tent would probably need a building permit from your local county.  Geeze--over 200 square feet?  You've got to be kidding.  Gabled roof?  Be sure to check out the two stall toilet/shower/changing rooms hiding in the background of this Taj Majal.  Well, it's hard to imagine how another retailer will top these three tents.  We will keep an eagle eye out and be sure to let you know if somebody tops these puppies.

Not sure what we're going to do today.  I guess we will have to read our own blog tomorrow to find out.  Have a great day and Many Cheers, jp

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Road Trip Slideshow

We have processed the 149 photos we took yesterday, reducing the number to a paltry 138.  (DARN!)  We actually even wrote captions for ALL of them, too--during Happy Hour even.  Yikes.  You can click here for the show.  There's still a bit of tinkering we have to do with it but at least it's up and running and it works.

The Mow We Go, The Mow We Go!

 As the trees begin to bud, so does the grass grow.  And as those tender blades spread their green wings to the sky, so do people young and old roll out the lawn mowers and run hither and yon across their yards giving their grass yet another spring buzz cut.  Here we have a Happy Family.  Above, Danielle and Brooklyn share a Mother-Daughter moment behind their own mowers.  Below, Jared and Cody pair up for a Father-Son, one-two punch on their yard.  Danielle, Jared, Cody and Brooklyn are our neighbors across Cranmer Street.  We enjoy their smiles and watching their kids grow like kids are wont to do.  Danielle is a Loyal Blog Reader and keeps up to date on all our "doings."  THANKS, Danielle, Jared, Cody and Brooklyn for all your great energy and Happy Faces!  Many Cheers!  J&S

Vaporized post is back

Google vaporized this blog post a day or two ago. Its disappearance had something to do with issues on Google's end. Anyway, here it is again in abbreviated form. Each Wednesday, Susun volunteers at the Habitat For Humanity Restore. A Restore is a place where some people donate building materials and other people come to buy it at ridiculously discounted prices. It's like a thrift store for home owners and builders. Susun loves volunteering there. So does her Supervisor, Karen L. shown at left. They are "best buddies" and clearly enjoy each others company. Karen is a real dynamo whose singlehandedly picked up Habitat by the bootstraps and given it pizazz again. Incidentally, Karen was the Realtor we signed on to help us find and buy this house here in Idaho Falls. In a past life, I'm certain Susun owned a small general store out in some pioneer village in the Wild, Wild West. She's the Life of The Party when she's helping customers and running the register. When Susun's on duty, people just want to pull out their wallets and empty their spare cash onto the counter.

The photo below is Susun and another Best Bud, Dino O. working in Hilda's Garden later that day. Everyone agreed that the garden's perennials were taking up too much space so Susun and Dian spent the afternoon thinning those hardy plants. It was a perfect day down on the Greenbelt. The Snake was peaking at 24,200 cfs as the pair whistled while they worked. Meanwhile, a busload of Japanese tourists merrily snapped pictures of everything in sight. In a classic "all in a day's karma" episode, Susun met a couple from Lake Montezuma who were friends of the late John Wildman. The male of the couple also played a big role in the Rimrock Fire Department.

Many Cheers! jp

(Note: The original post contained some photos of a HAM radio antenna I built on Tuesday. We will resurrect that post on the HAM blog where it belonged in the first place.)

Friday, May 13, 2011


Well, it should be "discombobulated," but whatever.  Google threw the blog-o-sphere for a real loop-de-loop by accidentally turning off all the lights yesterday.  Not only did they make it impossible to post to a blog, they actually even eliminated posts and comments, too.  We will have to attempt to rewrite the post about Susun and Karen and Susun and Dina. 

Rather than fret about blogs and stuff, we took off at 9 am this morning and didn't get back until 4:45 pm.  In between, we traveled 164 miles mostly out in MOAN Country to Grays Lake and Blackfoot Reservoir and various points in between and beyond.  We almost got ourselves permanently stuck in a bar ditch in CAT MOAN Country--it was a real close call.  We saw some amazing stuff and had a good time.

Happy Hour is History and Dinner is done.  We're retiring for the evening and will attempt to get back to normal with blogging tomorrow.

In the meantime, if you want to see sort of a map of our trip today, you can visit the Zuki Trips blog by clicking here.  We could have done a better job with our GPS but at least we got back home safe and sound on Friday The 13th--that's saying something.  Wait 'til you see the photos--some really cool stuff!  Have a great evening & Many Cheers, jp

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Snake Show

The Snake is running close to 24,000 cfs this morning. We went down to look at it yesterday when the flow was 22,600. It's a might impressive sight. We took four video clips with our still camera. The one that's embedded above is a general overview taken from the Broadway Bridge. The other three are scenes from the spillway at the top of the area. Click here for Video #1; Click here for video #2; and finally, click here for video #3. (If the embedded one won't play, try this link.)

The river will probably have its first crest of the season here today. The next crest (at whatever level that may be) will come when hot weather arrives. (Unless we get another major rainstorm.) It looks like everything is doing fine throughout the watershed.

We built another HAM antenna yesterday. You can see it on the HAM blog by clicking here. It's called a quarter wave simple groundplane. Total cost for the antenna parts as $6 but the total project cost was $25 due to cables, connectors, PVC, and some nut, bolts and solder.

We went out and played chess again last night and lost all games except for one. There are some very good players there this year. We also finally checked in on our local HAM club's weekly net at 9 pm last night. We will talk more about that soon over on the HAM blog.

Susun is enjoying her athletic club membership--she planted grass seed yesterday and will be planting snow peas today. Today's her day to volunteer at the Habitat restore. We will go take her photo later today.

The weather finally broke on through to the other side and it's going to be mostly sunny and DRY today. We will have to wait in line with all the rest of the city's population to have the moss scraped from our backs. Geeze, that was a long wet spell we just endured. Nothing much else to report--Have a great day and Many Cheers, jp

PS--We've resurrected the Idaho Falls food shopping blog for any LBRs who might be interested in such a thing.  Click here to go there.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


We've been flatlined here for more than 24 hours.  During all of our waking hours yesterday, the temperature had a two degree range: 38 to 40.  In the late evening, it rallied all the way to 43 but has since fallen back to 38-39.  Meanwhile, it's been raining steadily and constantly since yesterday morning about 5 am.  We've picked up maybe a half inch during that time period.  What can we say?  It's cold and wet.  Below is our view of the world from the kitchen window.  Cheery, eh?  Most of yesterday was running hither and yon on various errands.  Just for grins and gustatory pleasure, we decided to do a lot of field research into olive oil.  It's a long story we will tell later.  We talked to Gary on his new HAM radio antenna via Echo Link from up here.
Susun went to Joanie's with Karen to watch DWTS.  Susun also officially rejoined the athletic club.  Real pot boiler day, huh?  Have a great day today & Cheers!  jp

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Weather chatter

Here's an up-to-the-minute look at road conditions atop Teton Pass, the 8400 foot western gateway to Jackson Hole.  Brrr....

Meanwhile, the snowpack in the Upper Snake River is an eye-popping 169% of average!  The SNOTEL we watch is called Grassy Lake.  It's near the Reclamation Road between Ashton and Flagg Ranch just south of the Yellowstone NP boundary.  As of this morning, there 105 inches of snow there and that huge pile of white stuff contains 46.5 inches of pure water.  It appears we are getting the very first inkling of the onset of runoff season.  Grassy Lake peaked out at 117 inches containing 49.5 inches of pure water a mere week ago so it is beginning to shrink.  The Bureau of Reclamation has about finished drawing down Palisades Reservoir.  It's at 10% of capacity this morning but releases continue at 14,000 cfs.  The Snake through Idaho Falls is running 16440 this morning because there's 3258 cfs coming in from the Henry's Fork.  The difference between the Palisades release added to the Henry's Fork is because of irrigation withdrawals.

All eyes are on teh weather.  The BuRec says there's more snow sitting upstream than there was during the infamous 1997 runoff season.  That's when the Snake through town here peaked at 48,000 cfs.  That flow would have been the highest on record except the records are messed up by the bursting of the Teton Dam in 1976.  That catastrophe caused the river here to flow perhaps 100,000 cfs.  Nobody knows the real peak during that crises but it was epic, to say the least.  Anything in the mid-20000 cfs range is generally considered to be within the top 10-percentile of river flows here.

What's on everyone's mind is the propensity of weather to change suddenly from one regime to its opposite.  In other words, will it go from cool, damp to hot dry overnight?  It's not uncommon for such a sudden reversal to occur.  In fact, these days, it's almost the "new normal" rather than a flukey exception.  The other fear is that a freak heavy rainstorm might park itself over the deepest part of the snowpack and unleash holy heck downstream.  The BuRec walks a very fine line on Jackson Lake.  If they guess correctly, they gain just enough water to refill that potato lake.  if they guess wrong, one of two things happens: A) the lake finishes the runoff season underfilled and the potato growers are angry or B) they don't let out enough water and the dam is in danger of overtopping.

The truly nightmare scenario that remains unspoken is a total overtop of Jackson Lake Dam.  It's an extremely remote possibility and that's one reason nobody mentions it.  But it IS a possibility in years such as this.  If a freak storm were to unleash the upper snowpack all at once, it's almost certain the dam would be overtopped.  No one really knows what would happen in a circumstance such as this.  Chances are the dam would not fail because it has been reconstructed to withstand anything short of Armageddon. However, the law of unintended consequences could kick in and that's a worrisome thought for those who watch snowpacks like this one.

Palisades is drawn down enough there's no real worry about a repeat of 1997 here in Idaho Falls.  The chances of the snowpack getting totally out of control are very, very small.  However, there's always the Wild Card in any equation and when a region as large as this one is sitting on as much snow as we have, it doesn't take much to tip the equation out of control.

Since it's safe to say runoff season began in the first week of May, we now have approximately 6-8 weeks before runoff season comes to an end, barring an "act of God" rainstorm.  Typically, a normal runoff season will peak sometime in June, usually mid to late June and then begin to taper off until returning to mostly normal flows in early July.

This year, those 6-8 weeks loom large on the radar of those in the know.  There's going to be a lot of nail-biting and hand-wringing going on during the weeks ahead--of that, you can be certain.  Stay tightly tuned to this saga, folks, no matter how it turns out, it's going to be one for the history books.  Today's BuRec teacup diagram is below.  You can click here for an interesting May 5 article from Jackson Hole.