Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Party Continues

We are having an absolutely wonderful time during Marti B's visit here.  The Spudboater is a constant spark and source of merriment, mirth and much ado.  Susun and Marti discovered their inner foosball selves this afternoon and obviously enjoyed a bit o' bubbly.  Thanks, Marti!  Viva, Spudboater!

Down in The Big Ditch

We begged shamelessly and hoped for a miracle and, LO!  We have a photo from Joshua taken on his trip.  Nope, there's NO photos of him but at least we have ONE photo to post here on the blog.  This is such a typically great photo of a typical Grand Canyon river trip.  What a way to live!  Thanks, Joshua, and Thanks, Goatherder--your favor is very much appreciated.  May you enjoy many more miles of smiles on rivers flowing free forever, Joshua.  Many Cheers, jp

El fin de Julio

All good things must come to an end and so it is with the month of July.  Bye, Bye, July.   The month began with Susun's oral surgery and moprhed quickly into that annual red, white and blue weekend.  Hardly before we knew it, Roger was here for a week and then it's been a whirlwind of visitors ever since.

Byran and "Da Boyz" (Nathan & Sam) left yesterday morning about 9 am and Marti B. (Spudboater) arrived about 2.  We three thoroughly enjoyed a Saturday evening of croquet, camaraderie, coolers and cocktails.

The Brown Family visit was way too short--something on the order of 19 hours total.  Bryan says he will remedy that next year and stay for 2-3 days.  We hope so.  Spudboater gets to stay until sometime tomorrow before bouncing back to Boise.  Yea, Marti!

After Bonnie and Bob left Thursday, Susun and I were in a real low energy ebb but luckily rallied up in the nick of time for Bryan and his sons. 

July 2011 will be remembered as a "MOVing" month.  (MOV=Month Of Visiting).  It's been fun and we've enjoyed every day of it, even if has been a very high energy month.

August will be a much slower-paced month.  Here's what is shaping up so far as we know.  Arizona Dear Friend Gary W. is pretty sure he will be visiting August 19-21.  We have the Riverside Campground Space A21 booked for August 30 to September 1st.  That's about it at this point.  As usual we will be heading over to Jenny Lake the day after Labor Day.  This year Susun isn't traveling to San Diego for Van's birthday so we might turn the Jenny Lake trip into a long-distance road trip of some sort.  We're thinking of a start in Jenny Lake, then over to Dubois, Wyoming, and then up to Cody for a visit to the museums there and then up into the Beartooth Pass area before coming back down through Cooke City, Lamar Valley and home via Yellowstone Falls.  That time of year it's easy to get a campsite inside the sprawling National Park.  We shall see, as they say.

Joshua got off the Colorado River at Phamton Ranch and returned home to Cornville yesterday.  Way to go, Josh.  Deano reports he's been having a great time being a guide away on Oregon's Rogue River. Wayne Ranney has a new post (July 28th) on his blog about a great river trip he took up in Colorado.  You will surely enjoy it.  Kirsty put up a wonderful photo-filled blog post showcasing the Family's four-month-old Baby Ella.  Check it out.

Yesterday was another Two Guns Day for Little Yonni.  He actually sold two pistols in a single day!  Only two more to sell and the collection will be leaned down for to those that actually get used on a regular basis.  There's simply no reason to keep firearms around that see no use whatsoever. What's the point? 

We're having far more fun reloading ammunition than we ever thought we would.  We got into reloading to save money.  What we didn't foresee or expect is that the repetitive aspects of reloading can be an excellent way to relax and actually meditate.  It's a wonderful way to take a break from a busy day.  One simply can't make a mistake while reloading.  Mistakes are not allowed.  So one must maintain a high level of focus and awareness of what one is doing......over and over and over again in the same methodical repetitive motion activity.  Meanwhile, in all that repetition, the mind relaxes and slows down and it's quite delightful, actually.  We can now see that we would enjoy reloading for its own sake even if it didn't yield a significant savings in the ongoing expenses of shooting sports.

Bryan delivered six pounds of .45 ACP brass Friday.  We've polished up less than half of that amount and are now busily proceeding to reload about 300 rounds of the stubby little 100-year-old historic cartridge.  Instead of dreading the repetitive aspects of taking six separate steps to load each and every cartridge, we now look forward to this process knowing the calm enjoyment it will bring to our day.

Well, there's nothing else much to chit chat about this morning.  Enjoy the last day of July, get ready for August and enjoy Many Cheers!  jp

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pistol Palooza

We're all been having quite a bit of fun these past few glorious summer days.  Rosa, Bonnie and Susun have garnered all the headline fun stuff--road trips hither and yon, musical moments and downtown interludes.  Meanwhile, Bob and Little Yonni have been going through their paces at the pistol range.  Yesterday marked Yonni's 8th consecutive day there--a new record.  Our practice culminated in the weekly IDPA match last evening.  It was a real hoot.  We had a great squad and everyone was very supportive of Bob's participation.  They helped him feel like he belonged there.  We had six very tough stages to shoot and it was a long night--we left at 5 pm and didn't get back home until close to 10 pm.    Rosa arrived home safely late yesterday and we are all so happy her visit here worked out the way it did.  We all made a lot of memories we'll be chattering about 'round the winter-spring evening campfires back down in Ol' Airy Zonie.  Bonnie and Bob leave today for Cody, Wyoming.  Thanks, Rosa, for your great visit!  We already miss you. And, Thanks, Bonnie & Bob for your great visit.  We've really enjoyed your company. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Tuesday was another rockin' road trip for the Susun and our visiting friends.  The ladies went over into Grand Teton National Park to visit the Laurence S. Rockefeller Preserve (LSRP).  It's a sweet special spot.  Above, Bonnie and Rosa stand in the water at the edge of Phelps Lake with the Teton Range in the distance.

At right, the Sunshine Sisters got a chance to escape the family compound and thoroughly enjoyed a change of scenery.  The girls were gone from 9:30 to nearly 7 pm and arrived home happy and bubbling with Happy Hour enthusiasm.  Bob and I spent most of the day once again at the shooting range.  As a result of Bob's ideas and insights, we're going to be changing around our shooting sports plans to make the hobby more enjoyable, efficient and cost effective. THANKS, Bob.

Tuesday evening wound well on to midnight before the revelers retired to slumber land.  Today promises to be somewhat more sedate that the previous two days.  Rosa will bid adieu and make the shuttle and plane trek back to Ol' Airy Zonie.  Bob and I will participate in the IDPA match this evening

On a local note, Houn Dawg and Suzanne ventured north this past weekend to fish on Island Park Reservoir.  They had a great time and finally enjoyed some well deserved fishing success.  Way to go, HD & S!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When Company Comes

Susun, Rosa and Bonnie went to Island Park and Upper and Lower Mesa Falls yesterday.  They also toured Riverside Campground and had lunch at the Warm River Campground.  Bob and Little Yonni spent most of the day at the shooting range.  The ladies hosted and all-female soiree during the evening while Bob and Yonni had a guy's picnic at The Falls and then roamed around the greenbelt before retiring into the basement reloading room.  After the party people dispersed, a nice little summer evening rainstorm rolled through as we five sat under the blue spruce laughing and chatting about our VODs.  (VOD = Vignettes of the Day.)  Today, the self-named Serape Sisters will head out to the Tetons to tour the Laurence Rockefeller Preserve while Bob and Yonni do deja vu duty once again on the range.  Home, home on the range....This will mark I think the 6th day in a row I have been out there.   Have a great day & Many Cheers!  jp

Sunday, July 24, 2011

And now this just in...

Hot off the virtual press, we have a report of yesterday's Clayton Heritage Days by Publisher Roger Plothow.  Roger's writing always makes us smile and chuckle.  He was born to be a writer-photographer-publisher.  You can click here to read Roger's report on Clayton.  THANKS, Roger.  Roger is easily the most prolific blogger we know--and that's in addition to all the other professional journalism stuff he does for his Day Job.  You can click here for his profile and a list of all the other blogs he writes. 


Post-Register Photo by Robert Bower. Copyright 2011.
Well, well.  Who should we see in this Sunday paper but none other than DF & LBR Terry M., Chief Engineer of The Miller Line Railroad right here in Eye-Dee-Hoe Falls.  The newspaper did a big spread on Terry's incredibly extensive railroad--the one that pretty much fills his entire basement and takes four engineers to run properly.  Terry decided back in June that he's going to revert his basement back to its natural landscape and tear up the track and take down all the buildings and even level Mt. Shasta.  He enlisted our assistance in getting the paper to come and do a story on him.  The conspiracy worked and, voila, the article is making the whistle stops around Eastern Idaho today.  We've archived the article on our Google Docs so you can read it (pending official permission from the P-R, of course).  You can click here to read it.  Way to Go, Terry!

Speaking of the Post-Register, Publisher Roger Plothow sent us a late evening email with a brief report on the Clayton Chili Cookoff yesterday.  Here's what Roger had to say, "Well, we had a great time in Clayton, but I'm not sure they'll invite us back. No, we didn't do anything embarrassing, but our adjudged chili winner included -- hot dogs. Not sure how that happened, other than the cook also added lots of bacon. Anyway, there were seven entries and all but one were pretty good."  THANKS, Roger & Kathleen!  Ya dun good.

Susun worked her anatomy off yesterday helping prep, stage, serve and clean up lunch for the Bike and Build People at Habitat for Humanity's Ammon construction site.  We went over to observe the scene.  It was very hectic and busy.  Miss Susun pretty much served all of the young bikers single-handed.  Whew, it tired me out just watching her in action.

The Farmers Market was pretty much packed yesterday morning.  People were practically fighting each other for parking spots.  The place was swarming with shoppers.  Some vendors enjoyed lines at least 10-deep!

We trekked out to the shooting range for the fourth day in a row.  For the first time we were able to get the Bonomo Custom 1911 firing correctly without a jam or a misfeed.  It's so darned accurate it's uncanny.  It's easily the finest pistol we've ever owned--far and away.  Thanks, Tom!

Speaking of the Verde Valley, here's a photo of our Second Chance Ranch taken by our Eagle Eyed neighbor, Gary W. while doing the dawn patrol in his ultralight.  Gary reports everything is hunkie dory down there. Thanks, Gary. The mesquites are obviously in full bloom but the weeds so far haven't become overly problematic.

As LBRs know, that open area in the bottom of the photo is Montezuma Well Nat'l Monument and it was first homesteaded by Verde Valley Legend Wales Arnold.  Our place is part of the original Arnold homestead. Ace Reporter Steve Ayers recently did an article on Wales. You can click here to read it. Steve's article set the record straight about a lot of little known facts concerning The Life & Times of Wales Arnold.   We've been telling Wales Tales for over 25 years so we will now have to correct our stories to conform with the published facts.  Thanks, Steve!

It's nice and calm and quiet here this morning, even a tab bit on the cool side.  What was that we said about a whiff of fall in the air?  However, things will change later today.  That's when Bonnie & Bob B. shows up with their young black lab and then Rose S. arrives from Sedona via the Salt Lake airport and the four hour shuttle north.  Bonnie and Bob live in Cornville, Arizona, but have been in Jackson Hole for an unspecified workshop.  It's going to get quite lively here later today and for the next few days.

On one final note, we ask our LBRs to send out good vibrations to our Momedy Blogger Kirsty S.  She's had a tough go of it here recently and could use all the positive energy we can beam her way.  Hang in there, Kirsty, we're all pulling for you.

Well, that's about all the daily news we can muster this morning.  Have a wonderful summer Sunday and Many Cheers, jp

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer's Peaking

Susun mentioned yesterday she thought all her flowers and so forth are at their peak of color right now.  We'd have to agree with her.  Each late July we've witnessed here always seems to express the peak of prettiness.  Everywhere you look everything is full bloom.  It's a delightful time of year.

Thursday golf outing was a real fun time.  The weather was picture perfect, there wasn't a breath of "w-i-n-d" and a hootenanny, happy time was had by all.  Carrie hadn't played in at least five years and made some great shots.  Terry sunk a 30-foot putt and lofted like he was on the Pro-Am Tour.  Susun got a lot of practice with her chipping game and dropped a tough 20-foot putt.  The blog author played better than his last outing but still managed to nail a tree smack in the center of its trunk.  From tree hugger to tree slugger, eh?  It was a memorable morning and the proverbial good time was had by all.

Susun has been going the extra mile this week for Habitat.  She put together a great first aid kit for the Restore.  Yesterday she spent most of the day helping prepare for the Bike To Build event today.  It's always a big deal when the young cyclists come to town to help build a Habitat home for a day.  Their energy is effusive and infectious.  They are awesome.  The bicycle from coast-to-coast stopping along the way to pitch in on a Habitat house.  Their story is amazing.  Click here for their website.  The graphic of their route that's included here obviously hasn't been updated for a weeks or two.  At least the graphic shows their route.  Susun's has been helping with the lunch preparations and will be the Event Photographer.

Meanwhile, Susun is in full on prep mode for a party she's staging here Monday evening.  Over ten of her friends will be attending to meet and greet Rose S. and now Bonnie B., too.  It promises to be a memorable soiree and the courtyard has never looked better.

The blog author continues to be smitten with all things relating to shooting sports.  He's been out to the range for three days in a row and burned through a lot of ammunition.  He learned some rudimentary gunsmithing as well as how to make adjustments to successfully sight in a wildly inaccurate pistol.  Dear Friend BTB literally went the extra mile out on I-80 east of Salt Lake City to pick up six pounds of .45 ACP brass for the cause.  THANKS, Bryan!

Joshua W. is down in The Big Ditch.  That's what some of the river guides call the Grand Canyon.  He departed yesterday on a Grand Canyon Youth trip between Lee's Ferry and Phantom Ranch.  He will be hiking out of the canyon at one of the hottest times of the year but at least he's done it once before and knows what to expect.  We all will be thinking of him each and every day during his trip.  Each trip anyone does in The Big Ditch imparts an expanded level of consciousness in ways that are far beyond the descriptive scope of this blog.  We fully expect this trip to yield many dividends for Joshua as his future evolves.

DR & LBR Wayne Ranney's most recent post on his excellent blog is a real winner.  Check this quote: "You can mark your own disambiguous moments in life and watch as other people become perplexed at your hyper-awareness of time."  Click here to read it.  Way to go, Wayne, and Happy Belated Birthday. (The photo is of Wayne on his birthday on top of Arizona's highest point in the San Francisco Peaks.) Both Spudherder and Goatboater haven't posted up to their blogs for a few weeks.  Maybe we can give a gentle nudge to resume blogging.  Lately, we ourselves have been downright slackers as far as blogging goes, so we can sure empathize with their lack of posting.

That's about all the news we can muster this morning.  Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Golfing We Will Go

Thursday Greetings!  This week is zooming by as summer weeks are wont to do.  The stores are filled with frenzied Mom's buying carts full of school supplies for their hyperactive kiddies.  This is probably the time of year when the annual sales of #2 pencils peaks.  We are Major Big Fans of #2 pencils.  Life just wouldn't be the same without them.  So, we go out and stock up on them this time of year.  The stores consider #2 pencils a kind of loss leader and you can often find them for pocket change.  We enjoy shopping for school supplies, too, even though we're not going into the classroom any day soon.  The sad and forelorn looks on the children's' faces tells quite a story.  They know their days of freedom are numbered and it shows in their eyes and posture.  It's actually quite hilarious in a non-LOL way mostly because we remember what it was like for our self in those distant days of yesteryear.  We always felt a sense of impending doom as the first day of school loomed ahead.  Surely summer couldn't be coming to an end!

Susun really had a fun time at Habitat yesterday.  She usually comes home from her weekly volunteer stint feeling good but yesterday she was floating on air.  Not only did she get to exercise her "retail sales" gene but she was also allowed to do some actually display merchandising.  That meant she was given reign to mess with the merchandise and arrange it on display in a way to tempt shoppers into buying it.  She loves doing that kind of stuff.  Viva Habitat for helping Susun enjoy that part of her personality.  Late in the evening, our friend and neighbor Karen L. came by for a visit in the courtyard and we stayed up 'til almost 11 pm talking all things Habitat.  Karen is Habitat director and she is doing great things with the organization here.  Talk about a breath of fresh air!

We were consumed with shooting sports stuff all day.  It takes a fair amount of preparation to assemble everything necessary for a good quality practice session.  Counting the rig, round trip travel, range time and de-rig, a practice session consumes about 3-4 hours.  The 'tween time was spent trying to solve some issues that have arisen regarding operation of our newly minted 1911.  By the time 4 pm rolls around, we have to be in full on prep mode to get to the range for the weekly IDPA match.  We leave home no later than 5 pm and typically don't get back until 9 pm or even later.  Last night was a rare exception when we arrived home at 8:30 pm.  So what do we get from for all of this effort on Wednesdays?  Lot of fun and enjoyment.  However, if you look at the actual shooting time involved, you'd have to wonder if it's worth all of the energy and expense.  Below, you can see the total actual time it took me to shoot the five stages of this week's match.

Stage 1    9.10    11.10
Stage 2   15.71    15.71
Stage 3   18.84    20.34
Stage 4   31.28    31.78
Stage 5   14.60    16.60

Soooo....we're talking a grand total shooting time of a minute and a half!  (The numbers on the left are actual shooting times.  The numbers on the right are the "adjusted times" which include penalties for not being precisely on the center of the targets.)  Some would question how 90 seconds of shooting time would be worth the hassle.  The only way to explain this arcane sport is that it's quite a bit different experienced on the participant level than from the spectator and/or pedestrian levels.  Embedded in those few brief seconds is a wide range of technical, behavioral, social, physical and mental skill sets.  To the participant, those few seconds are much longer and larger in life than they appear to be as mere numbers on a blog page. Time seems to stand still during your turn on the stage of each stage.  The fruits of all of those skill sets have to converge at precisely the proper time and in the proper format as a peculiar form of disciplined and carefully choreographed movements take place in front of your peers and judges.  It sure might not look like much but we can say without doubt that we are quite pleased with those seemingly insignificant numbers recorded last night. 

Now it's time for a change of pace and venue.  A golfing we will go this morning as a foursome.  Carrie G-S and Terry M. will join Susun and me on the Sand Creek short course at 10 am this morning.  We have all agreed to banish score cards for this outing.  No one's going to be paying attention to our total strokes.  We're basically going out for a walk in the park while carrying bags full of esoteric long-handled instruments whose sole purpose on earth it to smack a small white sphere in the general direction of a gopher hole marked by a flag stuck in the middle of a small island of impossibly smooth grass. Generally, we haven't been taking photos of our golf outings.  Today will be an exception and you can expect a full report later today.

The weather turned quite nice yesterday.  A strong wind blew in cooler temperatures.  There comes a day each summer when one's nose can get the teeniest, tiny whiff of a nano-whiff of fall.  So it was late yesterday as we hurried here and there prepping for our match.  Our rational brain said, "Don't be ridiculous, that can't be a whiff of fall."  Our other irrational brain laughed and said, "Anything's possible in Eastern Idaho!"  Sure, we will have several more hot spells here and temperatures will once again reach the 90's but it's a short summer season in these parts so the clock is ticking on summer.  Better squirrel away more #2 pencils while we can.

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ketchup...yet again

There's really only one way to get back to blogging.  Write?  Right!  Sometimes when too much time passes, the only way we can resume is to simply begin writing...letting the fingers tip toe across the keyboard with reckless abandon.  We have to leave a lot of stories untold on the table.  The only way to get back in the saddle is to climb onboard and Cowboy Up.  It's the Buckaroo Way.

Yesterday was a pretty low key day of recovering from the high speed week of Roger's visit.  Susun spent most of the day in the basement doing sewing projects.  We mowed the grass and tidied the house.  The blog author reloaded a few hundred rounds of ammo and once again re-established his relationship with the local Ten Cent Stores, finding all sorts of the usual goodies.  Our larder was restocked and we enjoyed a great evening visit from Mike V, Daughter Madison and Nephew Garrett.

Susun allowed a neighbor girl to roam among our hollyhocks in search of fixin's for making some hollyhock dolls.  Unbeknownst to me, the making of hollyhock dolls is a cherished young girl thing to do and apparently provides a fond lifelong memory.  We have to say the finished products were quite endearing, especially if you're into old-fashioned retro kind of stuff.

Meanwhile, visitors to our courtyard know that Kid-At-Heart-Susun has a small fish pond located therein.  Frankly, this so-called fish pond had been a real yawner for me.  It's "point," so to speak, was lost on my feeble brain.  Well, Susun enjoyed some sweet success with her fish pond last night.  Five-year-old Garret was mesmerized by the fish pond and used the pole and it's magnetic tackle to actually hook fish right out of the water.  He was so totally delighted with his fishing success, I have to say I apologize for yawning at the fish pond.  If you ever want to entertain a "young'un" well git yerself a right smart little fish pond and sit back and watch the smiles and enjoy the giggles.  It was quite fun.
Between Susun's bubble machine, the fish pond, hidden hollyhock happiness, the Sunshine Family and other assorts kid-dom toys, one never knows what type of entertainment value will surface on any given day.

We have a break until Sunday here.  That's when Rosa S. from Sedona arrives by shuttle from the Salt Lake Airport.  Soon thereafter, Bonnie and Bob B. from Cornville roll in with their black lab and a camp trailer.  After these Dear Friends hit the trail, Norm H., BTB  & Da Boyz arrive.  Shortly after their departure for a Middle Fork trip, the Spudboater Road Show arrives.  We're sure looking forward to seeing Spudboater again--it's seems so long ago that we were together for the kayak race down on the Verde in late March.  We get another break in the action during the first few days of August and then head out fior three nights in the Squirrel Meadows Guard Station with Houn' Dawg & Suzanne up alongside the Reclamation Road between Ashton and Flagg Ranch.  Busy, busy!

This past Sunday was an interesting day.  The blog author participated in his first ICORE match.  I was out at the shooting range for almost five hours.  There were 13 shooters there--all old guys like me.  Only Old School revolvers are allowed in an ICORE match.  Little Yonni finished 6th out of the 13 participants.  He's still basking in the glow of such a high finish amid a stellar group of lifelong target shooters.  After returning from the shooting range, Roger and we trooped off to a Chukars baseball game.  Roger has a long and storied baseball past so he thoroughly enjoyed the few innings we witnessed.  The Chukars were blown out 19-6 so we departed in the 5th inning to avoid watching any more of the lopsided scoring.  Late in Roger's visit, we all got into playing croquet.  Roger really liked the game and quickly became a certified professional.  He was unstoppable and unbeatable and sank seemingly impossible long distance shots as if they were routine.  Even though he trounced us both game after game, we all enjoyed playing several evenings in a row.  We enjoyed sitting around each night quite late there in the courtyard swapping tall tales, white lies and few true stories, too.  THANKS, Roger, we really enjoyed your company and we made some cherished memories!

Speaking of Roger, there's a our Local Roger--the newspaper publisher.  He and his wife are doing us a huge favor Saturday.  How's that?  Well, they are going to judge the Clayton Heritage Days Chili Cookoff in our place.  That means we don't have to go.  This is a very good thing.  Not only is Susun incapable of being a chili judge right now but the trip was going to cost a pretty penny and take a lot of effort.  As it turns out, we really need some R&R (Regroup & Recharge) time here before the next surge of our summer visitors washes ashore here in the Idaho Fall eddy on 12th Street.

Our garden is coming along nicely.  It is nearing its annual peak of picturesque postcard prettiness.  Plus, we are actually eating fresh-picked stuff from it: snow peas and zucchini.  Yummo.

Today's back to a pretty normal Wednesday.  Susun volunteers 10-2 at Habitat for Humanity while the blog author spends most of the day consumed with shooting sports.  We will go practice at the range this morning, do various mundane stuff during the middle of the day and then spend four more hours at the range competing in the weekly IDPA match tonight.  I sure wish I could do as well with an automatic pistol as I seem to be able to do with an old-fashioned revolver.  Oh, well, that's why people practice.  Speaking of pistol news, our long-awaited Bonomo Custom 1911 arrived in two packages last week.  We enlisted the IDPA Match Director to come to our home Monday to correctly and safely assemble it.  It's such a wonderfully beautiful pistol.  Wes G. sent an email calling it "gorgeous."  Wes said guys are allowed to use the word "gorgeous" when describing guns.  We agree.  It almost deserves its own shadow box so we can admire it for awhile before actually shooting it.  Good Ol' Bonomo sure dun good on this one!  Way to go, Tom!

And speaking of Buckaroos, we're going Hawaiian tonight the the IDPA match.  You wanna talk dime store cowboy?  Well, how 'bout Luau Johnny Aloha?  Geeze, what will he be doing next?    Have a great day and Many Cheers, jp

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Gee, our last blog post was Saturday.  Sorry 'bout the lack of chit chat.  We're slowly getting back to normal here at Blog Central.  We plan on being fully caught up on this blog today.  Roger made it back to Mesa safe and sound yesterday evening.  We all have a great time.  There's much to chatter about being the blog squirrels we are.  We will put our nose to the blogstone later this morning.  Thanks for your patience.  Cheers, jp

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Salmon Roger

At first it was Rainbow Roger.  Then it was Teton Roger.  Then it was Old Faithful Roger and now it's Salmon Roger.  Susun really stretched out the envelope today and took Roger on yet another LOOOONG Road Trip--like 375 miles!  Thursday's trip was 400 miles and took 13 hours.  Luckily, this one was 375 miles and took 8 hours.  The Dynamic Duo headed out across the Snake River Plain Desert to Arco and thence up through Mackay to Challis.  From there they went downriver to Salmon and then came back via one of the loneliest roads in these parts.  They saw a mere five northbound vehicles between Lemhi and Mud Lake--a distance of at least 100 miles.  Roger loved it, of course, and chattered about it well into Happy Hour.  Susun kept her appointments, seeing Clark Morley in Lamb's grocery in Challis and interfacing with Duane Wilson and Bill & Judy at the BLM Cottonwood campground.  Susun took Roger to our favorite motel room in Salmon (photo above) where he could visualize a really nice Happy Hour some day in the distant future.  All-in-all, it was a perfect road trip for brother and sister cruising into another dimension far out of bounds on roads less traveled.

Little Yonni spent the day a the shooting range.  Yep, six hours!  It was Ross Coin & Gun Range Days.  Long story but great fun.  Have a wonderful day and Many Cheers, jp

Friday, July 15, 2011

Whirlwind 400 miles

What a whirlwind 13 hour trip it was yesterday. We cleared the city limit sign with nothing but the tail lights at 7 am and rocketed off in a hot rod 2011 Hyundai Elantra. After our first brief stop in Alpine we pulled in and check out Lunch COunter and Big Kahuna Rapids in the Snake River Canyon. Jackson Hole was a mere blur and we were sitting on the deck at Dornan's by 9:30 am. (More captions between photos below.)
Roger really enjoyed looking at those tall pointy mountain peaks they call The Tetons.
We took a picnic brunch over to the same spot where Susun and Roger's Beloved Mom Doris visited in 2008.  Her spirit continues to preside over this special place.
Little Yonni will do anything for a photo.
But it's worth the effort to wade right in and capture a priceless memory there on the shores of Jenny Lake.
Susun always does her part to pose people for photos.
And here's what it looked like through her lens.

It was a picture perfect postcard day.  This is the view from Signal Mountain Lodge looking across Jackson Lake toward Mt. Moran.
There's a lot of water coming out of Jackson Lake Dam.
It was on to Yellowstone where Roger enjoyed seeing all the water, especially gi-normous 132-sq. mi. Yellowstone Lake.
Naturally, we had to go to Old Faithful to have a Chevy Chase American Vacation bonding moment with all of the other thousands of tourons.
At first Old Faithful merely burped and took too long for our collective attention span.  So, we departed the bleacher seats and prepared to head on out.
Luckily, this famous spout performed flawlessly as we were walking back to the car.
Roger loved seeing thunderous Yellowstone Falls.  It was running at its second highest level of all time (at least in modern histry).
The trusty Elantra was incredible.,  It got 40 miles per gallon and was a really plush ride.  The rental car cost $67 and ten gallons of gas calc'd to $35 so the overall cost was a mere $102 for a 400 mile memory-making day.  Thanks, Roger, for your "go for it" attitude to ride along on such a long and winding memory lane.

Many Cheers, jp

Thursday, July 14, 2011


More tomorrow.  We're home safe. (Be sure to click on the above photo for the larger version.)

GCT Today

We ought to be on the road well before 7 am today.  Picked up the rental car last night after the shooting match--it's a new Hyundai Elantra with only 2000 miles.  Supposed to get in the 30 mpg range.  It's going to be a long day and we probably will be lucky to complete the 400-mile loop and get home before dark.

Yesterday was a real fun day.  Roger and Yonni went shooting for about 3 hours and a good time was had by all.  Roger and Susun went down to Alive After Five and joyed the music and dancing.  Yonni had a great time at the shooting match.

We scored a OBB kayak for Joshua yesterday.  OBB=Old Beater Boat.  He and GH are pleased.

No time for a longer blog post this AM.  C-YA on the other side.

Many Cheers, jp

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Fine Time

Tuesday was a real nice, laid-back day.  It actually rained most of the morning and the temperatures continued to be quite unseasonably cool and quite nice.  We three enjoyed a very leisurely morning before setting forth about town for various errands and mundane meanderings.  Roger enjoyed seeing the eagle waterfall at the Taylor Crossing roundabout.  He spent a long time standing around in the humidor picking out cigars at the local tobacco shop.  We even took him into the Wal-Mart here that actually contains a stand-alone, honest, genuine fly fishing shop.  It's one of only three such Wal-Marts and was the first even in the world to have a fly shop.  Bizarre but true.  Roger spent the remainder of the day lounging here at home while reading his Barnes & Noble Nook.  Roger's an avid reader and is smitten with the Nook.  He reclined in the shade of our blue spruce out in the courtyard and thoroughly enjoyed himself.  Susun did various "Susun things" and Yonni patrolled the city looking for deals.  One such deal involves possibly buying an old kayak for Joshua.  It looks like wwe are cleared for take off on that deal and hope to close it today.  We had bean burros for breakfast and got to talking about The Tamale Lady.  We hoped she would come by and I suggested we all "visualize" her appearance.  Sure enough, as if on cue, she rang the door bell late in the afternoon.  It's so nice to have six piping hot spicy pork tamales delivered to your door for six bucks.  They made a wonderful dinner.  Yonni was even inspired to make a large batch of the long dormant chipotle salsa.  Roger loved it and now we all have foul smelling garlic breath this morning.  Hey, speaking of salsa, did you know it's officially 20 years since Goatherder and I went into the salsa business together?  Yep 'twas 1991 when Song Dog Salsa sprang forth upon unsuspecting but highly supportive shoppers.  That's quite a story that begs to be told someday.  THANKS, GH, for some great flashback memories last night and this morning.

Today will mostly be all about pistol shooting.   Tonight's the weekly IDPA match and 'tis time to practice again.  I found out last week that last of pre-match practice is highly detrimental to a decent score.  Roger will be coming to the range today but it's "iffy" whether he will participate in the match tonight.  He and Susun will probably kick back and hang out at Alive After 5 downtown this afternoon.

We're still up in the air about when to do the Big Road Trip.  The weather pattern is such that the Tetons are almost certainly obscured by clouds.  It's probably going to be Friday when we take off on the Grand Circle Tour but it might be tomorrow.

Bryan and his two fine sons (AKA: Da Boyz) sent news yesterday that they will be visiting July 29th prior to a Middle Fork trip.  Rosa S is coming for three nights on July 24.  The first weekend in August we're going to Squirrel Meadows with Houn' Dawg and Suzanne. sure looks to be a busy time in the weeks ahead.  Good thing we didn't make any travel plans.

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rainbow Roger

 Roger came to roost yesterday and brought the biggest, brightest, best total double rainbow we've ever seen.  Now you all know we are connoisseurs of rainbows so when we say it was the best rainbow we've ever seen, that's really saying something.  This rainbow was intensely bright and huge.  It was so huge there was no hope of capturing it in a single photo.  It arced perfectly over the house and lasted seemingly forever.  The colors brightened to some of most intense rainbow hues we could ever imagine.  We can only ascribe this event to Roger's arrival so now we're calling him Rainbow Roger.  Roger's flight was 21 minutes late but it all worked out OK.  The flight actually left Mesa quite later than it was scheduled. The flight is listed on line as taking 3 hours but it actually took only one hour and 31 minutes.  Roger said it was a real rocket ride from Mesa to Idaho Falls.  We enjoyed a fun evening and dined on some Alaskan salmon donated by a neighbor.  YUM!  If Roger's Rainbow is an indicator, we can expect a very colorful visit ahead.  Welcome, Rainbow Roger!

Monday, July 11, 2011


Sun Day was a real blue for Little Yonni.  Miss Susun entertained Kris for a light lunch and had a fine time.  She spent the rest of the day continuing preparations for Roger's visit that begins about Happy Hour today.

Meanwhile Yonni got a wild hare and decided to play a round of kiddie golf all by himself.  My, my, what a fiasco that was.  He looked like The Three Stooges all rolled into one guy.  No matter what he did, the four golf balls he played on each of the six holes developed a mind of their own and went off mostly to parks unknown.  Yonni even managed to hit the trunk of a blue spruce tree with such force that the ball ricocheted back in his general direction at a high rate of speed.  Talk about slapstick comedy.  He even had his suspenders pop totally off on one wild swing. Yes, it was classic Three Stooges golfing and was actually the worst gold ever played in his lifetime.  It sure would have made a great YouTube video. Yikes!

Meaanwhile, an interesting story developed and took most of the rest of the day to play itself out.  The guy who came by Saturday to look at the pistol called and said he was already out west of the city wanting to shoot it.  So, Yonni rounded up all the various things needed to make a target session feng shui and hot-footed it Way Out West where the lava flows.  Below is how we described what happened in an email to Dear Friends Tom and Wes:

"I have had the Taurus Mil Pro PT111 9mm advertised as "unfired" in the newspaper and on KSL.  I finally had a guy to come over and check it out yesterday and he says he will buy it.  He says he will pay my price of $350 (precisely what I paid for it) on Sunday when we take it out to go shooting together.  That's fine, I said.  So, we get out in the desert and we're shooting various other pistols and having a good old time and I say, "Well, Steve, I'd like for you to have this Taurus and fire it now but you will have to give me the $350 before you fire it.  He says, "Ah, shucks, OK, and shells out the $350.  Then he starts firing it and he can't hit the broadside of a barn with it.  His shooting is just totally terrible and embarrassing.  Now, I know he's a good shooter because of seeing him shoot other stuff so I know it's the pistol.  So, I offer to shoot it with my own ammo and I shoot it right on target.  Meanwhile he goes through his whole one box of 9mm ammo and it won't shoot worth a hoot for him.  I offered him my 40 rounds of 9mm reloads that I had brought along and gave him all sorts of coaching to no avail.  I could see he was really, really depressed.  He almost looked like he wanted to cry.  So I said, "Well, Steve, you're a really lucky man."  And he looks at me and says, "How's that, John?"  So I said, "Well, Steve you just so happened to run into an upstanding seller.  There's no way I'm gonna send you home with a pistol you don't like and can't shoot, I'm giving you your money back."  You should have seen his face.  He was thunderstruck and dumbfounded all at once.  If a face could express WTH, his did it.  But I told him, "Well, now Steve, you know I was advertising this in "UNFIRED" condition and it ain't unfired no more so we will have to take a bit of a discount in your refund, you know?"  And he says, "Sure, how much?"  And so I say, "well $25 seems fair to me" and he was overjoyed and kept thanking me for the rest of the afternoon.  It was a hoot.  Well, it turns out he really knew how to shoot.  He was a Vietnam Vet who had been in the thick of things over there.  He pulled out some really choice condition firearms from his truck and told me some stories.  He was a great guy and was so happy he got most of his money back. 
Anyway, the saga of the Taurus Mil Pro continues.  It's a sweet shooting pistol and I am going to use it for at least one IDPA match soon.  I can't wait for the next chapters of this saga to unfold."

Sarah sent some great photos of her sons last night.  I put up a blog post entitled "California Boys" and featured the photos front and center here on the blog.  Normally, I ask permission beforehand.  I better make sure it's OK to put up the pictures before they reappear here.  That's why the post vaporized.  They are delightfully cute-as-a-button photos so we hope it's OK to put that back up.  Stay tuned.

Have a great day with Many Cheers, jp

Heavy weather Down South

Looks like our Friends & LBRs Down South are fixin' to get smacked by some stout monsoon storms today.  At 6 AM (Arizona Time), the NWS had already observed some thunderstorms producing a half inch of rain in a mere 15 minutes.  Apparently, conditions are ripe for these storms to fire off all day and well into the upcoming evening.  A traditional Happy Days Monsoon would form up in the afternoon and then fade away in early evening.  The type of storm system shaping up today involves a much more complex interaction with a low pressure system in the Gulf of California.  In other words, it has potential to be a real corker in places.

Each year when we leave The Straw House, we screw into place what we call a "flood board."  It protects the front door.  That's the door facing up-drainage to the adjacent wash on our property.  Back in early September 2002, The Straw House was actually flooded when water came up two feet high all across the north side of the house.  Some of our propane tanks and other stuff we left outdoors were washed clear over to Wet Beaver Creek.  Water would have to come up well over two feet again to force its way through the front door a second time.  That's the purpose of the "Flood Board," peace of mind when we see a weather forecast such as the one this morning.

With the Arizona monsoon, one never knows.  One area might stay totally dry all day long.  A nearby area might experience a damaging flash flood.  It's the classic fickle finger of fate type of deal.  If a big cell parks itself in the headwaters of the wash on that runs across our property, a large localized flood is virtually guaranteed.  If the big thunderstorm cells park themselves elsewhere it will be a ho-hum day at Second Chance Ranch.

Below is the radar profile from 6 am Arizona Time.  This is definitely an active system that's poised to move north into the Central Highlands soon.  We will be monitoring the situation as it evolves throughout the day.  We encourage our Verde Valley and Arizona LBRs to report any unusual weather here in the form of a blog comment.  THANKS!

Many Cheers, jp

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sun Day

Gotta love these summer mornings.  The wind may blow later in the day but the mornings are delicious summer morsels to be savored with coffee and a fresh newspaper, too.  Yesterday's high was 87 and the overnight low 48 degrees.  That's about what it's supposed to be during Roger's impending visit--80's and high 40's.  Perfect.

We enjoyed a nice visit to the Farmers Market. This time of year it's always so colorful and swarming with people.  People are carrying away bulging bags brimming with leafy vegetables or hanging baskets overflowing with flowers.  'Tis a scene that would make Norman Rockwell proud. 

As expected, the remainder of the day was a Chore Boy slog.  Most of it was tied up in a hand-to-hand tussle with a balky electric weedeater.  The weedeater won yesterday's battle but lost the war.  We're tossing it in the trash and will buy a new one today.  Bye, bye!  Some mechanical devices in life are such a hassle.  Old weedeaters easily make the short list of such devices.  Perhaps there should be a warning on them when you buy them.  It might say something such as: "WARNING-Use of this weedeater after the third season may result in serious frustration or even terminal aggravation."  Horrid things, those weedeaters.

We received some great news yesterday.  Our Local Roger, he who runs the daily newspaper here, agreed to judge the Clayton Heritage Days Chili Cookoff.  Roger has a great eye for humanity and we're sure he and his wife, Kathleen, will thoroughly enjoy the unique slice of Americana they call Clayton, Idaho.  THANKS, Roger!

Today we will be immersed in much more mundane-e-monium--tackling a lengthy list of chores best left unmentioned here.  On the bright side, we will be going out to teh shooting range early this afternoon.  It seems we have sold a pistol that's been advertised locally for quite some time.  A guy came by yesterday and agreed to pay for it today out at the range.  We shall see.  In other Big shooting news, Tom B. finished our custom 1911 and it will be shipped up here this week.  That's huge.  We made a deal for him to undertake this project way back in September 2009 when he swung through for a visit.  It's an heirloom legacy masterpiece of top notch pistolsmith craftmanship.  THANKS, Tom!

We are both enjoying a stay-at-home summer.  Last summer we were on the go all the time spending 50 nights in a tent and driving hither and yon seemingly every week.  Our time last year in Idaho Falls was all about redigging the most recent trip and resupply and rigging for the upcoming trip.  We didn't really have a chance to smell the roses last year.  It was go-go-go.  This year is the polar opposite of last year and we are savoring each day here in Idaho Falls.  One of the many reasons we picked this city to live is that we knew it would be a wonderful place to stay at home all summer if we ever chose to do so.  Well, this is the first chance we've had to test out that theory and it's working out just the way we thought it would.

Have a great Sun Day!  Cheers, jp

Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer Saturday Sunshine Smiles

Saturday greetings! 'Tis another Blue Bird Day here. The wind blew like Eastern Idaho wind loves to blow yesterday, gusting to near 40 mph but today dawned delightfully for a perfect Farmers Market morning.

We had a busy "chore day" yesterday and will continue to tackle "chore boy" tasks all weekend long and Monday, too. Why so much work? Well, Roger is coming to visit at 5:15 pm Monday afternoon. That's THE Roger--Susun's brother from Mesa, Arizona. He's excited. We're excited. He's flying out of Mesa's Gateway Airport non-stop to Idaho Falls for about $200 round trip. Roger's looking forward to a week long break from the heat and we're looking forward to being tour guide hosts.

It's often said that people see more of their own tourist attractions when company comes to visit than they do any other time. Take, for example, the visit of Wes and Nancy G. the other day. We went down and had a delightful picnic under a tree overlooking The Falls. We're sitting there at the picnic table and Susun says, "Thanks, Wes and Nancy, if you weren't here, we wouldn't be picnicking at The Falls." It's true. Susun and I could go picnicking any day of the week down at The Falls. But do we? Have we? Nope. We don't and we haven't.

Now fast forward to next week some time. We're going to rent a nice new Chevy Impala four door and do The Grand Circle Tour. This tour is famous here in Eastern Idaho. We first heard about it from an EMT at a Blackfoot Memorial Hospital Open House many years ago. Here's how it works. You get up real early and zoom off north on US Hwy 20. You hot foot it to Yellowstone and see Y-stone Falls and Old Faithful. Then you zoom over to Y-stone Lake and head down the John D. Rockefeller Parkway. You drive alongside Jackson Lake and stop for a break at the majestic Jackson Lake Lodge. Then you proceed south along the old road to Jenny Lake Lodge and thence to Jenny Lake. You get out and wiggle your toes in the COLD Jenny Lake and take in the towering Tetons and then head over to Dornan's for dinner. Afterwards, you continue your tour down through Jackson Hole, the Snake River Canyon and beside Palisades Reservoir. You finish the tour by coming back onto the Snake River Plain as the sun is low on the western horizon, hopefully putting on a show similar to the incredible OMG sunset above captured (and copyright 2011) by Roger Plothow earlier this week. You arrive home tired but dazzled just about dark. As far as spectacular tours go, this one is right up there at the top of day trips. The Grand Circle Tour can only work in the middle of the summer when the days are long. The total trip length will be a whisker over 400 miles. The loop show in blue is 347 miles. We added the red spur to Y-stone Falls and that's probably a 60 mile round trip off and back from the main route. Chances are we will leave no later than 8 AM and return about Dark City at 10 pm.

Well, pistol shooting, repetitive reloading, some long recent bike rides and incessant blogging have finally caught up with my wrists. Hopefully, they are both just worn out and need a break and we're not experiencing the onset of carpal tunnel or arthritis. Deano posted up a comment about this photo. (See below). OK, yes, Deano, first you have to duct tape the camera to your face. Then you build a wooden contraption that has a vertical rod mounted over your head. When you lift up your head, the rod pushes down on the shutter. We learned it from The Rube Goldberg School of Creative Photography.

Create a great Saturday & Many Cheers, jp