Monday, June 27, 2011

Bubbly kind of day

 Yesterday turned out to be a near perfect Picnic Day.  The Heavens even cooperated and put on  a light show right smack in the middle of the day.  None of us have ever observed anything such as the above colored cloud.  Maybe it was an omen for a colorful day.
 Colorful, indeed.  Susun brought our all her Big Gun Party Toys, including the battery operated bubble machine.  "Oh, Boy," as Hank The Cowdog would say.  Here she is in her element once again.
 There were ba-zillions of bubbles to be had.  Here, Madison V. enjoys bubbles in the courtyard.
 (l-r) Chance, Mike, Camille and Madison V. spent a great picnic day with us.  We enjoyed many games of croquet, bocce ball, foosball, frisbee, water pistol fights, bubble blowing extravaganzas, card tricks, and heaping piles of fine summer picnic food.  THANKS for creating such a great day!
 Later in the evening, Susun went over to visit Karen's Family and Friends for a campfire and marshmallow roast.  (We will add everyone's names a little later this morning.)  Susun and Karen enjoy Happy Times below.  It might have been a week early but it was every bit as good as July 4th oughta be.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Picnic Prospects

'Tis 'bout 8 am here and we have about 3 hours to get ready for our picnic guests coming around 11-ish.  So what's on tap for the picnic menu?  Baked chicken thighs, Hebrew National 97% fat free hot dogs, potato salad, cole slaw, sweet corn, baked beans, watermelon, sodas and lots of red, white and blue decorations, plus croquet, too.  That oughta do it, doncha think?

Yesterday was a real nice Saturday.  We enjoyed both Farmers Markets.  The legacy market gave away strawberry shortcake.  The newcomer market featured our neighbor, Chuck, and his group playing bagpipes.  We even finally bought two one-gallon tomato plants.

Susun entertained Shirley for a tea brunch and then Teresa and her friend John and his son and Teresa's nephew came over for some croquet.  While the women and kids played croquet, John and I played two games of chess.  I lost them both, of course, but at least they were close.

Susun drove down to the Farmers Markets in Samantha so she could listen to some classical music on the really nice car stereo in that Samurai.  I rode a bicycle since Saturday morning classical doesn't exactly float my boat, or note, as the case may be.  Anyway, while riding the bicycle back from the markets, I happened to pass one of the 100+ yard sales happening here yesterday.  (No kidding, it really was over a 100.)  Anyway, I spotted a Gra Lab darkroom timer sitting in a box of photo processing stuff.  The woman quoted me a dollar on the timer and I gleefully took it home and listed it on eBay immediately.  I quickly deduced the typical model #300 timer was selling anywhere from $25 to $60 so I listed it as a "Buy It Now" for $16.50 (plus $15 shipping).  I figured I would make somebody's day.  It sold within minutes to some woman who lives in the middle of Manhattan, New York.  That was a fun vignette.

There really wasn't much else happening yesterday to write home about.  It was a just a nice, laid back Saturday.

Create an awesome day today!  Cheers, jp

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summer Saturday

Today's the first official Saturday of Summer and, yes, the morning dawned just exactly the way you would wish a Summer Saturday to be.  It's perfectly clear and there's no wind.  After all the huffing and puffing Ma Nature has exhibited for weeks and weeks, it's so welcome when she takes stops hyperventilating.  Summer actually started here on the day it was supposed to start--the Summer Solstice.  Somebody upstairs who controls such things flipped an unseen switch and, POOF, just like that it was Summer.  If often works like that around here for three of the four seasons: Summer, Fall and Winter.  It rarely works that way for spring.  The transition between winter and spring is a long, drawn out ordeal.  The sudden change of the other three seasons is one thing we dearly love about living in Idaho.  We eagerly await the "flipping of the switch," as we call it so that we can officially enjoy Real Honest Summer.
Heck, the ice cream trucks were even prowling the streets this week and little kids in bathing suits were eagerly lined up to happily slurp sugar.  There are once again lines at the snow cone shacks peppered all across the city and vendors are setting up their gypsy tents to begin selling fireworks.  The next few days will be a popping with all sorts of stuff that goes "bang."  Scofflaws go over to Wyoming and bring back real he-man fireworks to shake up their neighborhoods with high explosive and airborne pyrotechnics.  Susun's flowers are in full bloom, the dandelions have gone back to sleep, the yard looks lovely and, well, that's what is supposed to happen when summer arrives.  Yippie, Skippie, SUMMER'S HERE!

Our July Fourth celebration will take place tomorrow on June 25.  We won't be doing our normal July 4th gig.  Nope.  Miss Susun is going in for extensive oral surgery July 1 and will be pretty much confined to quarters to recuperate over the July 4th weekend.  It's a good thing we're of a mind to hang out all summer here in the city as she will need to be close to dentists for a long time to come.  At this point, we don't think her dental issues will postpone our trek back to Arizona but it is a possibility to be awarer of.  We all wish her the best of success of weathering her upcoming dental detours of life and we will all be praying for her comfort (relatively speaking, of course) this coming Friday morning.  Luckily, she has one of the best and brightest stars in the local oral surgery world.  He is a very impressive young man by anyone's standards.

Yesterday was a wonderful day.  Hey, did I say it's Summer?  You would have thought we would have been out and about doing something to soak up the sun and have some fun.  Well, you would have been wrong.  For some inexplicable reason, we both decided to have out in the basement messing with stuff.  Strange, but true.  In fact, Little Yonni spent almost 10 hours in the basement, finishing his project down there as the clock neared 8 pm.  Yonni finished an almost extreme makeover of his workshop and reloading area in the old coal room.  After tinkering with this room since early 2008, it had finally become a Point of Pride here in the local household.  Sometimes it just takes an all-out, all-day effort to put a project like that across the elusive finish line.  We are both very pleased with the results.

We had a new muffler and tailpipe installed on Samantha but otherwise, there were no ten cent store visits or other fun errands.  It was all nose-to-the-grindstone stuff.  Oh, almost forgot--we did get a free lunch yesterday.  Our bank decided to have a Customer Appreciation Day and served BBQ with all the picnic fixin's under a tent in their parking lot.  It was good, old-fashioned comfort food.  We joked with other banking patrons that at least we were getting some interest on our money there in an enjoyable manner and fashion.  This is a bank that insists we deal with them totally online.  It was refreshing to see real humans associated with the financial institution.

The Snake River has dropped down around 18,000 but that doesn't mean things are quiet in the Upper watersheds.  The Upper Snake is finally coming unglued and the snow is melting really fast.  There's over 24,000 cfs going through the Snake River Canyon above Alpine, Wyoming.  Everything's ripping.  Luckily, water managers have a handle on it and they are just kicking back and letting Jackson Lake and Palisades Reservoir fill to capacity.  We're betting their timing will be perfect this year.  Good job, folks!

We're watching Yellowstone Falls.  It has a chance to go into record territory soon.  We won't be able to go over there due to the dental thing but it sure will be fun to imagine what it would look like.  By the way, Shoshone Falls peaked over 20,000 but is back down around 9000 now.

Mike V. and Family will be coming tomorrow for a picnic lunch to help celebrate July 4th.  We're looking forward to our get together.  Kelli sent along an album of her wedding photos.  Once we get permission to post a link here, we will do so.  Not much else to report. 

Create a Great Day & Many Cheers!  jp

Friday, June 24, 2011

Blog backlog

Perhaps we need a flog for the lack of blog lately. Our last post was Monday and here it is Friday. What happened to a WHOLE WEEK? Yikes. Well, for starters, we can use the "very busy" excuse. And then we can throw in the "internet down" excuse. Finally, we can play the "lazy" card. Add 'em up and what you saw it what you got--nothing all week long. Sorry 'bout that.

The "internet down" excuse is real. We had a corroded connection outside the house and it took Cable One until the end of the second day to fix it. We were gone until 10 pm that night so there went two days--POOF. Yesterday, we had to get to a dental "consultation" by 8:15 and then the day proceeded to be insanely busy once again. Each day this week has been crazy busy. At the end of each day we think, "How could it have been that busy today and yet we still have a long list of undone stuff?" It's kind of strange, actually, especially since I can't quite remember all of what we both did all week long. It must be age-related.

Tuesday I remember a dental appt. and a great round of golf with Terry M. and then a million errands until Happy Hour arrived. Wednesday was all about Habitat for Humanity for Susun and shooting sports for me. Since the dental "consultation" took the better part of the morning, Thursday was just another blur afterwards and now it's Friday. What did we do Monday? Hum....guess we forgot already. Meanwhile, we've managed to squeeze in a lot of stuff regarding the new Samurai--stuff like a new clutch (ouch!) and much more. Susun's been off to her athletic club several times this week and enjoyed a great lunch with Kris, too. She prepared a fine dinner for her friend, Jan, as well, and has spent at least half the week messing with her landscaping.

Meanwhile, we still haven't managed to post up details about last week's trip. Sometimes when we get this far behind, we just throw up our hands and wipe the slate clean and start all over from scratch. It's beginning to look like that's what we will do again. There's a ton of stories pending here that are now at risk of remaining forever untold. Oh, well, that's the way it goes sometimes.

We trust you've been having a series of great days and will enjoy many more. CHEERS! jp

PS--Spudboater posted up about her Middle Fork trip--GREAT BLOG POST!  Click here to read it.
Here are the stats.  Readership was down this week because we didn't post anything all week long.  bear in mind we put up this counter last June 19, so what you see is finally a full year's worth of visitor and page view statistics.  Pretty amazing!  Thanks, LBRs and Visitors, for giving us motivation to keep writing this blog.  Your readership is much appreciated.

The Daily News                        

                    -- Site Summary ---                     

            Total ........................ 8,344            
            Average per Day ................. 19            
            Average Visit Length .......... 2:41            
            This Week ...................... 134            

          Page Views

            Total ....................... 15,097            
            Average per Day ................. 27            
            Average per Visit .............. 1.4            
            This Week ...................... 192 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Back To Bowery

We spent four summers at Bowery Guard Station in MOAN Country. We logged over 2,000 official volunteer hours there during in 2004, '05, '06, '07 and probably another 2,000 unofficial hours as well. We hadn't been back to Bowery since we left in mid-August 2007 to move to Idaho Falls and get a job. Even though we visited Heather's Dream Ranch in June of 2009 and 2010, we just weren't motivated to go back to Bowery. This trip was different and we both felt a strong urge to see the place again and enjoy those wonderful waters of the Bowery Hot Springs. It was a great visit and sure brought back a lot of memories.
Bowery sits in the very headwaters of The East Fork of the Salmon River. Galena Peak and the Boulder Mountain Ridge are on the horizon here. It's still quite cold and snow covered in the very highest part of The Land of The East Fork. Bowery itself is nestled below the horizon about the middle of the photo.
The grand old Bowery Guard Station sits as stately as ever alongside the East Fork. We were happy to see the facility is still in decent condition. Ironically, both Bowery and our Idaho Falls home were built in the same year: 1939.
Bowery Hot Springs lies perhaps 150-200 yards upstream from the Guard Station and is perched literally right on the edge of the East Fork. The hot thermal water comes right out of the side of the hill. The Forest Service put in this hot tub and built the deck so that people would be drawn to this spot. The geo-thermal area actually covers 40 acres but it also populated by an endangered flowering plant. So, the Forest Service correctly guessed that the use of the hot tub would keep people from wandering around and hurting the fragile plant.
It was part of our volunteer job description to maintain these hot springs for four summers. Tough duty. This spot is so far from anywhere that days would often go by without any people using the springs. So, it wasn't a surprise to find it empty and inviting on a cool and cloudy Saturday morning. Soaking in those wonderful hot waters next to a noisy, rushing, clear mountain stream is a unique joy in life.

Many Cheers! jp

Welcome Samantha & Samson

Lo and behold, we travel up to Salmon River Country and come home with two new Family Members: Samantha and her ever faithful watch dog, Samson.
Samantha and Samson have been Natalie's Babies for many years. Here, Natalie, Stephen and Trevor say goodbye to the pair as they prepare to head off to a new home in The City.
We drove Samantha straight from the banks of the Salmon River near the mysterious site of The Lost Dwarfs of Tunnel Rock to The Falls of Idaho Falls. Samantha looked so good there as 23,000 cfs plunged over the falls.
Samson was very pleased to have a change of scenery. Although he's enjoyed country living for many years, he's now excited to sniff out new horizons in the bustling hub-bub of River City.
Here, Samantha and Samson meet SuziQ. SuziQ is happy to have a partner again but she's a little perplexed at being kicked out of the garage so Samantha and Samson can have it all to themselves. Samantha and Samson (S 'N' S, for short) are going to be the City Counsins while SuziQ will get to enjoy the rough and tumble life as the Country Cousin.

We are very happy to welcome S & S into our Family and wish to say a HAPPY THANKS to Natalie and Stephen for caring so well for Samantha. She's in a nice new home now.

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy Days

Aren't these two pictures so beautiful?  YES!  We rec'd permission to print them last night and luckily had a minute to post them up.  Mom Maggie is so happy for Daughter Kelli and Husband Mike and we are all so happy for them.  Thanks, Maggie, for the "go" to use these photos. 

We are taking a blog break--we'll c-ya Sunday or Monday.  Have a great day and weekend & Many Cheers, jp

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Robin, Chicken, Corn, Dog

This is easily The Best Gardening Photo we have seen in a long time.  Especially since it involves our neighbors.  Robin and Gary have "got corn wired."  This photo is actually from mid-June near Montezuma Well Nat'l Monument.  This is proof positive you can really defeat gophers and defy odds of an unforgiving climate and grow good corn--EARLY!  Way to go, Robin & Gary!  We celebrate Your Corn!  Many Cheers, jp
PS--As if the corn wasn't enough, Robin and Gary have harvested a bumper crop of garlic.  We don't know which one makes us more hungry.  Corn?  Or garlic?  Too many choices, too little time.

Summer Soiree

Suzie's Summer Soiree Season is now in full swing now.  Yesterday, Rachel, Lee and Teresa (l-r in bottom photo) joined Social Butterfly Miss Susun for a courtyard dinner and croquet afterward.  Little Yonni, the resident life size Yard Gnome took care of all the grounds maintenance and croquet game set up.  Susun really knows how to entertain and puts on as delightful a soiree as you're likely to encounter.  She's in her element once again!

We went out to the shooting range for a couple of hours mid-day to test out our new handloads and meet with the IDPA Match Director.  Turns out this guy is a certified NRA Pistol instructor and we received a one-on-one, hands on lesson from a real pro.  Our shooting accuracy improved immediately.  It's amazing how you can pick up little bad habits that you don't even realize are bad habits until someone politely points them out to you.  It makes me wonder what other bad habits I am walking around with every day in all other aspects of my life.  All-in-all yesterday, we reloaded 200 rounds of 9mm--pretty good for a total newbie at this newfound hobby.

Today's going to be a very busy day as we have to leave practically crack of down tomorrow for Salmon River Country.  We're going to Natalie & Stephen's home for lunch tomorrow to look at God's White Samurai and probably help do some maintenance on it.  We haven't visit with Nat & Steve for a long time so we need to get there pretty early and it's 4 hours away. 

Tonight's the next IDPA weekly match.  Last week, I finished last in my class and second to last overall.  LBRs know we love being Type A about stuff.  Well, this club is Type A on steroids.  Not only do they keep incredibly detailed and complex score sheets for EACH of your shots but they put each week's scoring results online for the whole world to see. Everything is right down to the 100th of a second.  No kidding. You can click here to see last week's score summary.  Note Little Yonni at the bottom of the SSP class.  (SSP = Stock Service Pistol).  Luckily, my first round was that 9.31 second score so people at least knew I could shoot before my scores went south from there.  I thought the time was 8.81 but it turns out they added a half second penalty for hitting the edge of a scoring circle line.  Half seconds are as low as they go, no quarter seconds or nothing.  Well, anyway, you can sure see how you stack up against the other shooters and there's absolutely no hiding from a lousy score.  I love it.

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Sun is Shining this morning

Sunshine in the early morning is a rather rare commodity in these parts so it deserves it's own blog post title today.  Perhaps we will shuffle our hunched, moss-covered back outside to rub our eyes in disbelief.  On recent days when teh sun has dared shine, it's been a very brief appearance.  Gray clouds with little fits of rain have quickly displaced any show by Ol' Sol.  Hopefully, today will be different.

Astute readers may be wondering where last night volcano post went.  We removed it from this blog and put it where it belong, over on the Geek Speak blog.  You can click here to find it.  As you know, we try to avoid overly geeky stuff here.  Chattering about the river has been bad enough but volcanoes?  Come on, that's just a little too over the top, don't ya think?  We have a free pass to speak geek all we wish over on that other blog.

Hey, speaking of the river, the local daily newspaper carried a front page story today that the peak is most probably behind us.  The reporter opened his fine story with this lead-in paragraph: "Very slowly now, Mike Beus is letting go a long sigh of relief."  Yep, ya got that right--we can all exhale now.  The river's now holding steady at 21,000 cfs, slightly more than 10,000 cfs below it's Friday peak.

After Susun visited the dentist, she spent the rest of the day gardening.  We're talking the entire day here.  She barely had the energy to eat some dinner before retiring early from a case of gardening overload.  It's lawn mowing day so Susun and her Dear Friends, Lee & Rachel, can play croquet tonight.

I spent yet another day embedded in either the basement of Sportman's Warehouse.  We had several long phone chats with our reloading mentors, Tom and Gary.  THANKS, Guys!  By the end of the day we figured out to reload 9 mm.  One of these days, we will write about it over on the shooting blog.  It's quite the time-consuming hobby and it's a hobby we think we can really develop over the long run.  It's a lot of fun and requires rigid attention to detail.

On Thursday morning, we're heading out to visit The Land of The East Fork up in Salmon River Country.  Heather and her Mom will be arriving tomorrow at The Dream Ranch and have invited us up to join them.  Every visit to Heather's Dream Ranch is always such a special occasion so we're really looking forward to a short sojourn out in a portion of the back country we know so well.  This won't be a camping trip--we get to stay in a real building with hot running water.  Our main preparation chores in the next couple of days will be mainly assembling various foods and beverages to share with Heather's guests.

Wayne Ranney posted up to his blog Sunday about his recent trip to Hawaii.  You can click here to read it.  Wayne has become a genuine World Class blogger.  Congrats, Wayne!

The Spudboater is off on a Great Big Adventure.  She left yesterday for an uncertain set of circumstances regarding a river trip on the legendary Middle Fork of The Salmon River.  Not only is the Middle Fork running high but the road to the put-in is closed with deep snow.  You can read some of her thoughts about the matter (as well as some chicken stuff) by clicking here.

Lastly, we know some of our LBRs will enjoy visiting Kirsty's blog as well.  Kirsty and her Family are having some really Big Time Fun with the Family's newest member, Baby Ella.  Kirsty started what she's calling The Ella Project and it is a huge hoot.  You're going to love it--I promise.  Click here to go to Kirsty's always awesome blog.

Have a great day and Many Cheers, jp

Monday, June 13, 2011

Longest Days

Our favorite weeks we savor each summer are before and after the Summer Solstice.  Even though the solstice is technically the longest day of each year, there's very little difference between let's say today, June 13 and the actual solstice on June 21 (11:16 am MST). Nor is there much difference between any day in early July and June 21.  Each of these days is a delicious long dose of daylight, even if it is cloudy and spitting rain up here in chilly Idaho.  We did actually see some nice temps this weekend: 70 on Saturday and 69 on Sunday.  Anyway, the sun comes up insanely early and seems almost not willing to set this time of year.  We love it but in six month, of course, we know the sun sill be setting before 5 pm around our campfire down in Arizona.  Ah, the ying and yang of the annual cycle.

Kelli and Mike's wedding went off with a hitch on Saturday.  Opps, that can't be right--they got hitched so maybe we should say everything went well.  We haven't received a description yet,  Maggie has swamped with family and friends and matrimonially-related duties.  We did receive a peek at some photos but we can't use them here until the official wedding photos are released to an eager public.  Suffice to say, everyone was absolutely beaming with joy and happiness.

We both enjoyed our Saturday sashay to the Land of Farmers Markets.  It was great here having just one Farmers Market but now there are two and the new kid on the block is really coming on strong.  The high school football coach from Driggs comes over to fire up a trailer-mounted, wood-fired earth oven to make pizza at the new Farmers Market.  That alone makes it worth a visit just to stand and stare at the unique oven on wheels.

Susun was very busy this weekend doing various things for and with Karen L. Karen even came over Sunday morning to join us for our traditional bicycle ride down along the Greenbelt.  We went to the Bella Vita coffee house and enjoyed some expensive beverages.  It felt like a real civilized morning.

Daughter Stasea stayed high in Hawaii Saturday.  She and her friends visited one of the zip line operators on Kauai.  Stasea said this one had nice different stages and it was apparently pretty scary but she managed to complete all nine.  Way to go, Stasea!

For my part, I logged many hours messing with reloading stuff.  After proofing our first ten handloads Friday up in the caldera, we took about 50 rounds out to the lava flow and they performed great.  We managed to get one five shot group of 2.5 inches at 10 yards.  Our whole reloading gig is now under control and it's definitely a fun hobby.  We're saving about $10 a box for the ammo we're reloading right now so there is definitely some financial incentive to learn this hobby.

The river has backed WAAAAY down here.  It's 21,900 cfs as we type this morning.  That's down from its Friday peak of 31,300. Yep, it created on cue.  It's smooth sailing ahead.  We won't be chattering nearly as much about it in the days and weeks and months ahead.  A couple of things we might start chattering about volcanoes and the sun.  We're been getting some significant volcanic action and solar activity is showing a pattern which hints at the distinct possibility of emitting potential very damaging energy into our atmosphere.  You probably haven't been paying much attention to that Chilean volcano down int he Southern Hemisphere.  It's pretty amazing as far as volcanoes go.  Within less than a week, it's ash had cross the Pacific and closed down flights in Australia!  The particulates from that eruption will definitely, absolutely, without doubt have a big affect on Southern Hemisphere weather.  In times past, that would be a yawner for up here in the Northern Hemisphere.  However, there's a whole new ball game taking shape in terms of how our water vapor patterns are developing and we're getting a lot more of our Northwest precipitation these days from water that started its journey in the equatorial interface near the Indonesian archipelago.  On that cheery note, we wish you a Happy Monday and Many Cheers, jp

PS--Click here for some awesome NASA photos of Arizona's Wallow Fire.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


It's not often we get to actually witness the hand of man (and woman) at work in skillfully managing a giant river system under times of great stress.  Yesterday was such a day and we want to give those unseen people a virtual standing ovation and yell out "BRAVO!" as they take their bows on our imaginary stage.  Gosh, it's downright inspiring to know it can be done and done right and that those with their hands on the controls turned the right dials and pushed the right buttons and made it all come out OK.  It was genuine spine tingling stuff for people like us who watched the high drama unfold practically cfs by cfs.

The Snake River here in Idaho Falls peaked at 31,300, just a hundred cfs more than its level when we wrote our last blog post.  Since then, it's dropped back significantly and is running "only" 28,900 this morning.  We're 100% certain this level will continue to drop today and then stabilize somewhere in the mid to upper 20's for the foreseeable future.  The bottom line is that they all stood and delivered at crunch time and they pulled off a masterpiece of monumental water management.  Somewhere, someplace we like to think that a room full of largely nameless, faceless hydrologists stood and exchanged high fives and hoots and hollers of wild joy.  WOW, what a job they did!  Totally awesome work, folks!  Talk about toeing a fine line.  These people performed like ballerinas in Carnegie Hall.  Our hat's off to you.  Congratulations on writing a chapter of history few will ever read or know.  Ya dun good!

We spent all day yesterday on the road--hustling out of here as soon as we could get our act together to go look at the forks of the Teton River, various crossings of the Falls River and, of course, the surging Henry's Fork.  Oh, boy, as Hank The Cowdog would say, what a show.  We even went back in the boonies to check out Warn Springs and it was a real dazzler.  The twin Stars of The Show were Upper and Lower Mesa Falls.  Upper Mesa Falls looked basically the same as it always does in those postcards and tourist brochure shots although it was easy to see it had a lot more water going over it.  Lower Mesa Falls was simply stunning and put on a whole new persona for this show.  If our local readers have any chance at all to go see both of those falls during the next few days, go for it, and bring a big telephoto lens to capture the lower falls.  They are always a great place to visit regardless of the water level but they are really special right now.  And if you want to see something extra special, bounce down the back road to Warm Springs.  It's huge compared to its normal flow.  Plus, you will get to see just how wet the caldera is.  There are lakes where no lakes technically exist.  BIG lakes.  There are flowing creeks and streams laced all over the landscape in places we didn't even know could carry a stream or creek.  The same trees and landmarks are there but the landscape looks radically different with all that water.  Basically, the place is about as saturated as it can possibly be.

Meanwhile, you can see all the high elevation snow in the far upper tippy, top areas of the Snake River watershed.  We're guessing there's so much snow up there it can't possibly melt off this year and will be there largely intact when the next snow cycle starts this coming fall.  It's all really high elevation snow and, barring some epic, tropical rainstorm, it's going to come off in a very orderly manner.  So, the overall bottom line is that the Snake system basically peaked this week and will now coast into summer with no hand wringing antics in store.  If the rainstorms of the past few days had hit here instead of Montana, it would have been a totally different outcome and no masterpiece of water management could have forestalled hydrological mayhem and chaos on this river system.  Even without the rains that hit Montana, water managers had their hands full here and needed a playoff-caliber performance to stand up to the challenges they faced.  Their work is simply awesome and inspiring.

Many Cheers, jp

Friday, June 10, 2011

High water makes news again

This morning's local daily newspaper devoted the entire upper half of the front page to flood news.  The Idaho Governor, a guy named Butch, even flew around in an Army helicopter while wearing his trademark cowboy hat.  Somehow that almost reminded me of Slim Pickins riding that bomb out of the B-52 in Doctor Strangelove.

Well, anyway locally at least, it appears the river will make a slow rounded peak today and then recede once again.  We're guessing much of the snow has been washed off the Henry's Fork watershed so the threat of a double whammy has dimmed.  Montana continues to get the brunt of the wet weather and they are having some serious flooding up there.

The Snake is running 31,200 as we write this and rising ever so slowly.  It's earlier peak was May 28th at 4:45 am when it briefly touched 31,800.  We don't see anything upstream to cause a sudden surge to much higher levels.  We also don't see the kind of weather happening that could flash melt the Upper Snake's snowpack.  For all practical purposes, the threat of super severe flooding here is now greatly diminished.  The river will run really big for many weeks but it's highly unlikely to create havoc and mayhem.

One key indicator that the middle elevation snow is all gone is the flow out of Grays Lake. This graph shows what water managers there did yesterday.  They turned off the spigot that releases water from Grays into the Blackfoot River system.  One day is was almost 700 cfs and the next day it was three cfs.  Pretty spiffy.  Well, that means all that snow we saw over there on our May road trip is gone and that's a good indicator of what's happening up on the Henry's Fork, too.
What does all this mean for Little Yonni and Miss Susun?  Simple--time to fire up a vehicle and hit the road.  Today, with any luck at all, we will go see Upper Mesa Falls.  We probably missed its peak by a couple of days but, heck, it was terrible weather during the last two days.  It looks like we might actually see the sun here today and the wind might not be blowing 20-30-40 miles an hour.  The next biggie would be whether we can manage to pull off a Blackfoot River trip.  The releases out of the reservoir are at their peak this morning but are 100% certain to drop quickly since the tap was turned off at Grays Lake yesterday.  It's now or never for that trip and tomorrow or Sunday are the only two possible days when we could rally up such a trip.  Busy, busy.

Yesterday evolved pretty well.  Rodney from Challis came by and bought the raft.  He liked it.  We finally received two packages we'd been waiting on and actually commenced to begin reloading some .38 Special ammunition.  It rained off and on all day so we spent a lot of time in the basement messing with stuff.  Miss Susun has created a really impressive little Sunshine Family niche down there.  Meanwhile my reloading bench is actually beginning to look like the real thing.

Time to get busy prepping for today's road trip.  Maybe we will post some more soon.  CHEERS!  jp

PS--We haven't put up the stats for this blog in awhile.  Here are the weekly stats (June 19, 2010 to date) freshly delivered this AM:

The Daily News                        

                    -- Site Summary ---                     

            Total ........................ 8,055            
            Average per Day ................. 28            
            Average Visit Length .......... 3:38            
            This Week ...................... 196            

          Page Views

            Total ....................... 14,688            
            Average per Day ................. 45            
            Average per Visit .............. 1.6            
            This Week ...................... 315 

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Last week, as some will recall, we titled a blog post "Thursday" and then began to write about Wednesday by saying "Thursday was a blur."  DF & LBR Maggie called us on the virtual carpet on that blooper and we've been mentally snickering about it ever since.  Maggie is really in the midst of a whirlwind right now.  As you can see from the countdown clock at left, time has a habit of fast forwarding straight to her daughter's wedding Saturday afternoon.  Good Luck, Maggie and, of course, congratulations to Kelli and Mike.

Susun dutifully danced over to the Habitat For Humanity Restore for her four hour volunteer stint yesterday.  Susun really loves that weekly dose of retailing.  She really excels at it. Way to go, Sweetie!

My day was basically consumed by shooting sports activities.  On Tuesday evening we purchased three used firearms from a seller in Pocatello.  We turned around and sold one of them yesterday.  The first caller bought it.  That's a long story.  Heck, everything about shooting sports is a long story.  We then had to take a pistol out into the desert for a "get-acquainted" session.  Our first ten rounds missed the 16x16 target board entirely and we were concerned.  Luckily, we were able to compensate and learn how to shoot the pistol more accurately.  We headed out at 4 pm for the weekly IDPA match at the SEIPS range.  Surprisingly, we were highly successful with the new pistol, hitting each of the five targets in the first stage with near perfect accuracy in 8.81 seconds.  My Dad was a Pistol Marksman in WWII and he sure would have been proud. Our remaining stage times and scores were definitely very respectable. We spent four hours completing the match and really enjoyed ourselves.  We're looking forward to each and every match this summer.

The raft buyer is coming down from Challis today so that ought to make today real interesting.  The weather here is typical, low 40's, windy and gray.  The term "new normal" keeps coming to mind when we look out the window each morning.

The Wallow Fire continues mostly unabated but the acreage figures haven't changed since yesterday morning.  We suspect the new figures will be rather larger than yesterday's 389,000 acres.

The river here has inched up a little in the last day.  It's back to near 29,000.  The big news is the Henry's Fork.  It's running 14,000 and at a major new high flow level for the season so far.  Whatever peak it reaches in the next few days will undoubtedly be its 2011 high water mark.  Meanwhile, the BuRec is doing an outstanding job of water management.  They've trimmed the Palisades release from 23,000 down to 19,000.  This should put a cap on the flow through downtown Idaho Falls somewhere in the low 30,000 range once the Henry's Fork flow makes it's way downstream.  The Upper Snake hasn't cut loose like the Henry's Fork and everything appears to be under control.  It didn't rain on the Upper Snake snowpack.  All that rain went to Montana so water managers might actually be celebrating a minor miracle.  It's beginning to look like the House won this game of craps.  Close, very close.

So, what's up with the photo above?  We added it well after writing the blog post.  That's Joshua's brand new boat purchased just yesterday.  Click here to read all about it on The Goatherder's blog.
Congrats, Josh!

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Yelling "Fire" in a crowded forest.

Above is the June 6th NASA satellite photo of the Wallow Fire in Eastern Arizona.  Since then, the fire has continued to explode and, as of this morning, has charred 389,000 acres.  It's lapping at the edges of the Springerville-Eager communities and most people there have already evacuated to safe places west of the fire zone.  The smoke is wafting from parts of Wyoming to Kansas and Iowa.  It's still zero percent contained and will almost certainly become the largest fire in Arizona history.  Thankfully no one has been injured so far and we pray that trend continues.  There are already three Type 1 Incident Teams on this fire.  This is the type of fire that really tests the system's ability to get it under control.  The big question is: "How can this fire be attacked and controlled?"  The answer to the question is obviously very elusive and may not even be known to anyone at this point.  This monster fire has a mind and life of its own and will go where it wants to go.  Wildland fire managers know well enough to keep their crews out of harms way from a fire that can move many miles in a single day.  It's an epic fire and we read the media reports with a sense of amazement and incredulity. Today's Arizona Republic newspaper apparently has a headline that blares, "NO END IN SIGHT."  That pretty well sums it up.
Below is an Arizona republic photo taken from Mars Hill at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.  The Wallow Fire smoke towers above the landscape over 200 miles away!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Earth, Wind and Rain

Wasn't there a group called Earth, Wind & Fire "back in the day?"  Yep, here's the Wiki on them.  well, we think there oughta be an Eastern Idaho group called "Earth, Wind and Rain."  Maybe they could put some rythmn into this rain--it already provides plenty of funk and blues.

Today is more of the same--rain and wind on our flat earth here.  The rain is beginning to impinge upon the snowpack but not in a hugely devastating way. Two Ocean Plateau has dropped four inches of water content in five days since its peak so its definitely beginning to come on down.  As long as the rate of recession is stable, it's manageable.  Today's newspaper includes a telltale quote from the Main Man at BuRec.  he says all they fear is a "rogue storm from the tropics."  Yeah, he got that right!

We had a nice little Parks & Rec Commission meeting yesterday.  I told Terry M. my main benefit of joining that group was to get to meet him. He's a lot of fun.  THANKS, Terry!  Other than getting to visit with Terry, the meeting was real boring and definitely not the stuff of novels.  It took some effort to keep from falling asleep and embarrassing myself by having my forehead hit the table.  That would not be cool.

We dilly-dallied and procrastinated long enough that we didn't have to mow the yard.  We SHOULD have mowed the yard but by the time we got around to it, the rain began in earnest and we missed our opportunity.  Oh, well, at least we sold some tires on the hoof, so to speak.

Today we will get the new Michelins and then sell off the used Goodyears this evening.  Whoop-dee-doo, huh?  Meanwhile, today's a nice day to continue organizing our basement workshop.  Real scintillating stuff. Tuesday night chess has been placed on probation.  If we go out there tonight and its filled with those annoying urchins, then that's the last time we're checking in there for the foreseeable future.  We will simply resume playing chess on the computer.  It's boring but at least the computer is silently polite.

Eastern Arizona continues to go up in flames.  The Wallow Fire has grown to nearly a quarter million acres.  Since it's not remotely contained and since the high winds are expected to continue for a few days, we'd bet the fire's size will soon become the largest fire in Arizona history.  That might have an asterisk in the record book, though, because the fire is fixing to cross state lines and start burning down part of New Mexico.  Once again, this fire is thought to have started from an abandoned campfire. If the fire gets over into the nearby Gila Wilderness, it sure could become monstrous in a hurry.  There's about 2,300 personnel on this fire and that figure will probably grow larger in the next few days.

Well, that's about all we have to report today.  Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Monday, June 6, 2011

Shoshone Falls

The first photo below shoes what Shoshone Falls looks like most of the time. The irrigators take all the water and there's really nothing left for The Falls. Years and years go by and people come and stare at rocks and say, "Gee." Well, now it's been rock and roll all day long at The Falls and this bottom photo is what it looked like Saturday at 21,000 cfs when Idaho falls resident Robert Drexler stopped by for a "look-see." THANKS, BOB, for letting us use this awesome photo. As anyone who takes photos of waterfalls knows, you can't really get too close because the spray from the falls obscures your lens in a nano-second. Bob must have been doing something special to get this photo.  Click here for the Wiki on Shoshone Falls.


Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed
Nothin' seems to fit
Those raindrops are fallin' on my head, they keep fallin'

So I just did me some talkin' to the sun
And I said I didn't like the way he got things done
Sleepin' on the job
Those raindrops are fallin' on my head, they keep fallin'

But there's one thing I know
The blues they send to meet me won't defeat me
It won't be long till happiness steps up to greet me

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red
Cryin's not for me
'Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'
Because I'm free
Nothin's worryin' me


It won't be long till happiness steps up to greet me

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red
Cryin's not for me
'Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'
Because I'm free
Nothin's worryin' me


So, here's a story for you this rainy Monday evening.  I've been looking at the tires on the Nissan pickup (AKA: Snappy) for about the past year kind of keeping an eye on 'em and monitoring their wear down.  Within the past six months I began thinking, "Hum, we're gonna need to replace those tires before our next round trip to Arizona."  Bear in mind that these tires are still real safe and have LOTS of tread life left in them.  Afterall, they are top-of-the-line Goodyear tires.

Well, as chance would have it, I was roaming 'round Sam's CLub the other day and noticed they were having a Michelin tire sale.  You tire-heads know that Michelins are the best tire on Planet Earth.  This morning I called up Sam's and asked 'em how much the "out-the-door" price would be for four new Michelins for Snappy including all tax and add on fees, etc.  They said it would be $369 and change.  That alone is a smokin' deal, folks.  Being being the Deal Dude as I called by The Spudboater, I decided to see how I could drop the price just a wee bit more to sweeten the deal.

First, I asked Miss Susun to inspect her tires. Afterall, Snappy is her ride.  Then, I laid out the options and she agreed to "The Plan."  So, then I hot-footed it back to the computer and listed the four tires that are on Snappy as we speak for $60 and I said that they were the best four used tires in ALL OF EASTERN IDAHO AND BEYOND!  Well, that siren call netted me a nearly immediate response from some Bubba Dude who works in Pocatello but lives up near Freddie in Eye-Eff.  I said I'd be happy to drive off and show him the tires as long as it was BEFORE 5 pm.  Well, he didn't get back into the city before 5 so Happy Hour commenced.

Meanwhile he called and wanted to see the tires.  I said I had a glass of wine and couldn't drive a vehicle so he agreed to come here to look at them.  Sure enough, he showed up right away in the pouring rain and we went out into the driveway to do a walk around the Nissan.  This guy was on top of his stuff.  I could see that he knew how to evaluate tire tread by the way he used his fingers.  He started at the passenger rear tire and worked his way around to the driver's rear tire.

So, as he was carefully inspecting the last tire, I said, "Well, what do you think?"  And he slowly turned to face me and straightened up to his full 6-2 (+ or -) height and yelled out:


while simultaneously raising his right hand to give me a righteous high five.  Oh, how we both practically doubled over in laughter at his use of one of our favorite words. (Napoleon Dynamite is one of his Heroes.)

Hey, for sixty bucks, you can't possibly find a set of matched used tires this good within several thousand square miles.  He knew it.  I knew it.  And it was truly SWEET!

Meanwhile, that means we get a new set of Michelins with an 80,000 mile warranty for a mere $309.  Now that really is:

Cheers, jp

Oh, Oh...

Um...yoo-hoo, Houston?  Could we have a word with you?  Now, Houston, this is not to say we have a problem....yet...but we sure might be having one soon.

Here comes the Big Craps Shoot In The Sky--the one that water managers have been on pins and needles about for weeks.  In a nutshell: warm temps and a heavy rain.  Opps.  The wild card today and tomorrow will be just exactly where the rain falls.  If the cosmic dice roll snake eyes, the House wins and everyone can exhale.  If the dice roll a seven or eleven, the House loses.  Frankly, things have been going quite well with this spring's water management so I'm gonna bet on the House to win this one.  But the high rollers have come to town and there's a lot at stake in this craps game.  The proof will be in Wednesday's pudding of streamflows.  Pull up a comfy chair, bring a bag of popcorn and watch The Show!

Cheers, jp

PS--This morning's US Navy water vapor view for the Eastern Pacific is below.   There's more where this one came from!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

There's Gnome Place Like Home

There's Gnome place like HOME!
Our Yard Gnomes would easily agree.  
They were discussing it this morning.

YES! 84 degrees today!

WOW--it was awesome.  Eighty-FOUR!  
The eighties never felt so good!


Translation: "Woman Who Moves Water With Man."

75 degrees yesterday

(l-r: Susun, Carrie, Dina & Shirley G.  Shirley is seated.)
'Twas as wonderful a day as we thought it might be Saturday.  Miss Susun & Crew planted about 1200 flowers at the Hilda Garden.  It's a beautiful sight to see.  Thanks to Dina, Rachel, Shirley, Shirley and Carrie the garden is decked out in floral splendor for yet another summer season. (Rachel left before the group photo so she is shown at left with Dina & Susun.) I spent most of the morning helping the crew, too.  All that water surging over The Falls is really mesmerizing.  Likewise, it's so fun watching all the people walk, jog, saunter, stroll and otherwise promenade along the Greenbelt. What a Gem for The Gem State!

Our afternoon was pretty non-descript after the hustle-bustle of the aerobic planting session.  I messed around with various target shooting tasks while Susun tidied the yard and took a real long nap.  We finally played several rounds of cribbage during the evening hours.

Mike and his son Chance and I are going target shooting this morning so our Sunday bicycle will be delayed until mid-day.  Hopefully, we can play some croquet or (eee-gads) maybe even some golf this afternoon.

The river continues to recede very gradually.  The Two Ocean Plateau SNOTEL has shrunk an inch in water content during the past two days so its peak will now be officially listed as June 2-3.  the Grassy Lake SNOTEL has lost 11 inches of snow in the last couple of days.  That means the meltdown is definitely beginning and will only accelerate from this point forward.  We're still sticking to oru two week time frame for the peak of the melt of the high elevation snowpack.  Palisades Reservoir is in good shape to contain the runoff this year.  It's 25% full and Jackson Lake has been drawn down to 44% of capacity.  Barring a super HOT spell or a warm rain, the BuRec water managers might have dodged a bullet this year.  Only time will tell.

While driving around town yesterday, we noticed this new addition to a median strip near the railroad underpass. We thought you would enjoy seeing it.  Those city Horticultural People just never stop thinking of new and creative ideas!  Below that is easily the most creative tomato carrying contraption I've yet seen in this lifetime.  Have a great Sunday & Many Cheers!  jp

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Back to Blogging

You've probably noticed we took a blog break.  Yep, this blog break lasted almost two days.  Time to put the nose back to the blogstone here.

Hey, it's finally going to be a truly glorious day.  All days are glorious in their own way, of course, but a TRULY glorious day has no wind, clear blue skies, and temps pushing the upper 70's or maybe even the 80's plus a big fluffy whitewater river downtown and lots of ladies planting flowers.  (Lots of ladies would have their own acronym of LOL if it wasn't already taken.)

Planting Day at the Hilda Garden is always one of year's most special days for Miss Susun.  She's really rallied a lot of people to come and plant today and none of them will be able to use the "bad weather" excuse to weasel out of planting.  It promises to be a wonderful and memorable morning--I can hardly wait myself what with me being the designated photographer.  (That's like designated driver only different.)

When the wind dies down and the storm clouds travel east to torment someone else, a beautiful aura descends to hover over this city.  Such days as we expect to have here today are exquisite sparkling gems. "Sweet," as one ND is wont to say.

Yesterday evening was quite fun.  Social Butterfly Susun set up a soiree of croquet and cocktails for her Dear Friend Karen L.  I served as both croquet course manager and croquet coach.  Karen aced some amazing long distance shots and seemed a shoo-in to win easily.  However, as usually happens when no one is paying attention, Miss Susun came storming back and won by a stroke.  Go figure.

Yesterday was a ruben-a-palooza.  Between me and Miss Susun, I'm guessing we made nearly a dozen ruben sandwiches.  When it rubens it pours.  Miss Susun entertained her Dear Friend Kris C. for lunch yesterday and rubens were the order of the day.  Once in awhile, there's nothing that can beat fresh beef pastrami with some expensive deli-sliced swiss on pumpernickel with sauerkraut toasted panini-style in a George Foreman grill.  Oh, man, those things are yummy!

My day was yet another Arizona-style dust devil of running hither and yon, back and forth across town way too many times.  I felt like I was in a high speed merry-go-round all day and it didn't stop until the stroke of Happy Hour.  After the dust settled, I wound up with two new pistols, one repaired pistol and a reloading press.  And that's after doing the food shopping for Miss Susun's social appointments.  All of the firearms-related stories will soon show up on our shooting blog.  It would take way too long to tell those stories here. Suffice to say it was another great rendition in the time-honored "All In A Day's Karma" tradition.

We did have a couple of blog posts up here briefly.  We took them down so we could incorporate then into a longer blog post such as this one.  A couple of days ago, DF & LBR Wayne Ranney sent along a note that the Spring 2011 NAU Cline Library newsletter included a note about the John Parsons Collection.  We are really humbled and honored to be mentioned by that august institution.  We made a screen shot of the newsletter snippet shown below.  THANKS, Wayne, for sending along this great surprise.  DR & LBR Maggie made a real kind three word comment on that blog post.  She said, "Very, Very Cool."  THANKS, Maggie!

Speaking of blog comments, Spudboater suggested we "spend some money on gas to take your sweet Susun camping and carousing around."  We would agree, so next week we will be on the lookout for day trip opportunities.  We sense that summer is just around the corner, even if the forecast calls for a return of cool, wet weather next week.

And speaking of the opposite of cool and wet, poor Arizona is in the clutches of yet another epic wild fire season.  Tens of thousands of acres have gone up in smoke this week.  You can Google up the situation.  The trouble is that there's probably at least four more weeks of tinder dry conditions and then the pre-monsoon lightning storms will show up.   Pray that nobody gets hurt during another historic bout with wild fire in Ol' Airy Zonie .

OK, here is our local water situation:  the Snake continue to hold steady just below 29,000.  The snowpack shows signs today that it peaked this week and is beginning to think about leaving the scene.  This weekend warmer temps should really start the meltage in earnest.  We think we're beginning to write the history of the final chapter of this year's amazing runoff season.  We're guessing the the final crescendo of this year's awesome stage play is perhaps 2 weeks away.

Well, have a great day and many cheers!  jp

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Tree Is Planted

DF & LBR Maggie coined a phrase in her comment below this morning's blog post below.  She invented "Parsons Time."  Thanks, Maggie, that explains so much and everything is so clear now.  I can actually see the tree for the forest!  Well, according to Parsons Time we post photo albums WAAY after they should be posted.  And so, here it is: Jana, Matt and Son Oliver savoring the joys of tree planting Tuesday night.  If the slide show below won't load, click here for the album one-by-one.

Many Cheers!  jp


(NOTE: See Maggie's comment below this blog post before you start reading the blog post.)

Thursday was a real blur and I didn't get home until 9:30 pm.  That's 9:30 pm as in DARK CITY!  Yikes.  Susun had a much more laid back day even though she spent four hours volunteering at the Habitat For Humanity Restore.  She loves that weekly duty as it helps stoke her "Sale Professional" persona.  Susun is one of the best sales people I've ever met.  She could EASILY sell ice to Eskimos.  In fact, they would come back begging for more and bigger ice blocks for their igloos.

The early morning proceeded pretty much like any morning.  Things starting picking up by mid-morning.  I went off to the Chukars baseball field and scope out tickets for a game in July when Roger comes to visit.  By and by, I wound up at The WINCO Spa at the wrong time.  Did you know that all of the welfare check recipients absolute SWARM the lowest cost retailer on the first of the month?  I sure didn't.  The place was absolutely packed with women buying overflowing grocery carts full of food and sometimes 2-3-4 carts at a time.  It was a giant swarm of single Mom's often with a six pack of kids in tow.  Quite the sight to see and I guarantee I won't ever be shopping in WINCO on the first of any month for the rest of my life!  That's one Spa treatment I can easily fore-go.

Well, whiel standing at the deli counter there in WINCO marveling at humanity's colorful traits, I rec'd a call from Matt Q.  We decided to meet during his lunch hour at the Pinecrest putting green.  I made a picnic lunch and we had a mini-tailgate party before putting on the practice green.  While there some guy came along and bought my old beater 9mm pistol for almost what I was asking for it.  It's always fun visiting with Matt and we will be getting together again there.  Terry M. and I are overdue to get back there for some chipping and putting, too.

Well, after Matt and I parted ways I spent some time pondering various firearms at Ski's gunshop and then it was back home to mow the lawn and get ready for a busy afternoon.  I left home before 5 pm and traveled out to the Southeast Idaho Practical Shooter's Range to check out the first summer evening session of the International Defensive Pistol Association.  Much to my delight, I think I found a group of guys with whom it would be very fun and enjoyable to shoot each week.  They are a bunch of old geezers just like me.  There's none of this track star sprinting around with $2000-$3000 pistols like that outfit I saw a few weeks ago.  Nope, these people take it SLOW and easy and enjoy each other's company.  The match fees are only $5, barely more than a round of kiddie golf.  I definitely will figure out some way to join this group next week.

I left a little before 7 pm to hustle clear across town to get to the local HAM radio club's monthly meeting.  It began right on time at 7:30 and I had to finally leave about 9:30 because I was about ready to fall asleep.  One of the cool presentations made last night was about our local Boy Scout Council's "On Target" program.  No, it's not a shooting program but it is really COOL.  Scouts assemble teams of people including HAM radio geezers.  Then they go climb or drive up onto the top of high mountain peak in Eastern Idaho, including such places as Mt. Borah which is a REALLY high mountain peak!!!!  (The state's highest.)  Then they contact another team on another peak and start attempting to flash each other.  NO!  Not that type of flashing.  They are using signal mirrors to flash Morse Code to each other.  They use the HAM geezers to talk to the distant team on the other peak to see if that team can actually see their signals.  The "On Target" name refers to a key component of a signal mirror known as the "target."  What a hoot!

During the meeting, I sat next to our neighbor, Gary W.  After the meeting, we walked out to his car parked next to our Samurai.  Gary is firmly stuck in the 1950's.  Everything he does, thinks, breathes and is all about the 1950's  He drives a 1954 Plymouth Belvedere.  His phone number ends in 1954.  It's all about the 50's.  Anyway, Gary had his Plymouth's flathead six cylinder completely and totally rebuilt at a cost of who knows who much.  (Photo at end of blog post.) What a great sight to see in the growing darkness of a non-descript Wednesday evening on the Snake River Plain.  Ah, the geeks one meets in pursuit of my arcane hobbies!

OK, speaking of vehicles, whazzup with that angelic white Samurai at the top of the post?  Well, that's the ride that St. Peter uses to take you for an introductory spin after you've cleared the other side of the Pearly Gates.  Ah, just kidding.  That's Natalie's Famous Samurai.  There's a huge long story attached to this Samurai and, who knows, it might one day wind up in our garage!

OK, now what about the weather and water report?  It's very cold outside this morning.  The wind is gusting up to 40 mph and the temps is 42.  It's supposed to spit some rain today...maybe.  Even if it's doesn't precipitate it's going to be a raw day.  What a contrast to yesterday's high of 76 degrees.  I haven't checked but I think yesterday might have been the warmest day of the calendar year so far.  If not, it was darned close.  The river is running 28,700 cfs.  They are letting 23,000 out of Palisades Reservoir.  Palisades is now back to 26% full after being briefly in single digits of capacity.  The fact they are letting so much out right shows their justifiable paranoid about the haunting prospect of a potential uncontrolled release.  They've drawn Jackson down to 43% of capacity and they continue to dump a lot of water out of that picture postcard lake.  Meanwhile a Godzilla snowpack sits perched like King Kong clinging to the Empire State building in a hollywood movie.  We thought yesterday number touted below was mind-boggling but today's number is 3,064% of normal.  Good Grief!  If that isn't enough, the Two Ocean Plateau SNOTEL shows yet another whopping gain in water content from yesterday.  There's over 55 inches of pure water sitting up there across hundreds upon hundreds of square miles of high terrain.  Holy Smokes, folks! We're in HDHO mode this morning.  (HDHO = Hunker Down-Hide Out)  At least we will have some time to work through our backlog of photos waiting to be posted here.

Have a great day & Many Cheers!  jp

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A number you may never see again

This morning the combined snowpacks of the Willow, Blackfoot and Portneuf River Basins are 2194% of normal.  That number is not a typo. Let that number roll around in your brain today.  We'd venture to say that no one we know has EVER seen a number like this in connection with a snowpack and probably won't ever see such a number ever again, barring the onset of another Ice Age.  That's simply completely and totally off the charts, over the top and in Outer Space.   WOW!

June has arrived

We call 'em The Four Sisters: April, May, June and Julie. June's our favorite because she offers the year's longest day and can boast with pride that she also brings on summer.  This year we're counting on June to deliver the goods.  So far, summer had been a very elusive concept and continues to be so.  People here are so starved for a glimpse of summer that they easily mistake a nice spring day for summer.  Take yesterday.  Believe it or not, the temperature actually touched 70!  People were practically dancing in the streets with glee. Susun rode her bicycle over to Joanne's Place and came back all agog and bubbling about the beauty of the place.  Today promises to be one more fleeting dose of 70 degrees before we go back in the dungeon of cold, wet weather.  Yep, back to the 40's and 50's tomorrow.  Luckily, Saturday might be decent weather for the Hilda Garden Gig be then it's back to the 40's and 50's again early next week.  Soooo....the long and the short of it is that June better get her act together and deliver summer SOON!  Got that, June?

The river's running around 29,000 today and there's still nothing upstream to indicate any sudden rise.  The local newspaper continues to say it's flooding here but things are very stable and nothing new is happening.  Meanwhile, the Two Ocean Plateau snowpack took yet ANOTHER jump yesterday, once again setting a new high for the winter season.  This frankly just completely boggles our feeble brains.

Speaking of rivers, we've been wondering how a June trip to Salmon River Country could or would unfold.  Here's how it's all going to come down.  As you may recall but probably don't since it took place in BBT, we bought a raft in August 2009.  (BBT= Before Blog Time.  It's like BC, only different.)  Yes, we paid $800 to a guy in Hailey for an Avon Red Seal.  Well, we used the raft O-N-C-E!  Ouch, that was a very expensive 90 minute river trip!  Ever since then, the little raft has sat in the basement.  Since we bought a new AIRE Lynx II last year, the odds of our using the Red Seal are basically Slim and Nun and Slim just left town.  Well, the longer that raft sits down there the more we have the urge to sell it.  So, we finally plopped it onto Craigs List a few days ago and BAM, we had an INSTANT cash buyer.  Well, we realized we mispriced the boat so we took it off Craigs List and contacted the buyer and told him he would have to pay more.  Yesterday he replied and said he would gladly pay more.  Those are the kind of buyers we prefer.

Anyway, it turns out Rodney lives in Challis of all places.  We got to talking and it was like Old Home Week.  He spent his early youth in Clayton, Idaho.  His Mom is an East Fork Baker!  In fact, he went to high school with Junior Baker and they remain friends.  He's been to Bowery Hot Springs many times in his life and always stops at Junior's house to visit when he's in the area.  He works the night shift at the Thompson Creek Moly Mine and loves to shop at the HUB.  He's a Custer County Lifer.  Anyway, I asked him how often he got down to Idaho Falls and I could tell by his answer that, as a pureblooded Custer County Lifer, he dreads and avoids even the mere thought of traveling to the Big City.  So, I offered to deliver the boat for the cost of round trip gasoline and he jumped at it with both feet.  Sooo.....there you have it, the little raft goes to a new good home and we get a free round trip to Salmon River County.  Cain't git no mo better dan dat.

 Yesterday morning was a lot of fun--I spent over four hours preparing for, enjoying and unpacking from a Tuesday Target Shoot!  YEA!  Houn' Dawg and I went out to the edge of the Hell's Half Acre lava flow and spent over two hours having a good ol' fashioned target shooting session.  I would dearly love to show photos but forgot to take along a memory card for the camera.  Guess I need a checklist.  I will write up the whole thing for the shooting blog.  THANKS, HD!

The remainder of the day was pretty routine.  When I arrived out at Barnes & Noble for Tuesday chess, I did a U-turn and left immediately.  Periodically, a group of urchins shows up and takes over the Tuesday chess session.  These small humans are probably aliens in disguise.  They are all chess geniuses and are absolutely NO FUN to play with.  They have no politeness, never say "thanks" and run roughshod over any sense of civility there.  I don't like them and I can tell by their beady eyed stares that they don't like me.  I'm convinced they are probably zombies from Planet Voltar.  I don't mind losing to adults but I really despise losing to urchins wearing bottle glasses with no gratitude.

Well, it's a good thing the urchins were running rampant at Barnes & Noble.  Upon my return home, it was tree planting time at Jana & Matt's Place.  Susun and I helped.  Susun worked while I took photos.  Matt and Jana and Son Oliver were a lot of fun to enjoy a Tuesday evening visit with a the proverbial Good Time Was Had By All. 

Shortly after the tree was planted, I checked in on our local HAM net at 9 am using my little home grown ET-style ground plane antenna set up beside the front porch.  Tonight is the local HAM club's monthly meeting so I get to spend a couple of hours with some fellow geeks and nerds.

Well, that's all the news you can use this morning.  Have a great day and Cheers!  jp