Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Heat Be Gone

It's over.  Yep. Done.  The recent heat wave will now be remembered by some numbers in the climate data record book.  It was a really long stretch of hot weather--the hottest we've experienced for late August in our short seven year Idaho tenure.  We're VERY happy to wave bye-bye to the heat wave.  Today's high is only progged for 81 degrees and tomorrow will be at least another ten degrees cooler.  Meanwhile, tomorrow's low is progged to be in the THIRTIES!  Yep--20 degrees cooler than this morning's low temperature!  Up north, it could be downright C-O-L-D.  Check this snippet from the morning NWS AFD:


As we've saying for quite some time--somebody upstairs flips a switch and, poof, summer's over.  Gary W. is hiking in the Sawtooth Wilderness and, boy, will he be surprised during the next couple of nights!  His hiking group will go from microwave oven hot to the deep freeze without any transition whatsoever.  We can't wait to hear how that plays out.  We've been faithfully following Gary's footsteps via his SPOT.  What an amazing device.  Here are two terrain screen shots.  It looks like they have been off trail since they left Goat Lake on Monday.  They went up and over a steep ridge and are now nestled in a small lake-filled glacial bowl.  They hiked for well over 7 hours yesterday and it must have been a grueling grunt judging from the difficulty of their route.  (more narrative below the two screen shots.)

DF & LBR Terry M. and I logged some time yesterday considering how to provide "input" on the evolving plans for an extreme makeover of Memorial Drive and the adjacent high use portion of the Greenbelt.  This makeover has been in the works for many years but appears to be coming to fruition during the next couple of summer seasons.  We met with one of the honchos and talked to the other through his window screen.  Yep--you can do that in Idaho Falls.  Who needs a formal sit down meeting when you can stroll up to somebody's window and say "HEY" and get right down to business.  Very Mayberry-esque, actually.   Below is the screen shot of an interactive map showing the gist of the project.  It's gonna be pricey and create major new impacts on the area.  It's gonna to be interesting to see how our "input" evolves and finds final form.
Four DF & LBRs sent along best wishes and suggestions for Miss Susun's situation.  She really appreciated those thoughts and we think they helped her healing process.  She is moving very slowly about the house with the aid of two rubber-tipped hiking sticks.  As we all know, Susun is the Eternal Optimist and she thinks she will be soon bounding around like Mary Poppins singing "The Sound of Music" in flower-filled fields.

 Tonight is the last weekly shooting match of the summer season for IDPA.  This will be our 13th consecutive IDPA match so far this summer.  We also participated in two ICORE matches making the total 15 events since June.  On one hand, we will be sad to see the weekly matches end.  On the other hand, we're anxious to shift our focus away from shooting sports to other pressing areas around the house.  Plus, we have to start packing for next week's Jenny Lake trip (hoping, of course, that Miss Susun's back will be better by then).  We've rallied up the newspaper to send a photographer and reporter to tonight's final event of the summer.  We went out to our home on the range yesterday for some practice and feel really good about the evolution of our skills and accuracy this summer. The NWS says the winds will be howling 20-30 mph this evening.  What a fitting finale for the season. It's been quite a roller coaster ride this summer and we will be both happy/sad to see it end.

One closing piece of trivia of slight interest to our desert readers.  Labor Day is the peak of the sweet corn season here.  Down there it's early July so there's almost a two month "corn shift," if you will.  We've seen plump ears as low as 12 cents each this week.  Numerous street corners are decorated with pickup trucks piled high with fresh-picked sweet corn.  Meanwhile combines continue combing lion-maned barley fields.  It's a wonderful time of year here and high time the heat hightailed the heck out of here!

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Set Back

Susun tweaked her lower back yesterday and she's barely moving.  We're hoping it will get better soon.  The last time she buggered her back she was down for only a week or two.  Once a few years ago, her back didn't get better for many weeks.  The only thing we know that helps her heal is plenty of rest, very little movement and lots of love.  We know you all wish her well and your healing thoughts are like a tonic to her.
Luckily, she went to the dentist before she tweaked her back and got a nice new crown installed.  It looks great and she is very happy with it.

Not much going on.  Mowed the lawn.  Big whoop.  Actually, since we poured on the grass food not long ago, the lawn thinks it's found the turf version of the fountain of youth.  What's left of our corn survived yesterday's blustery winds.  The sunflowers simply yawned.

Our heat streak has waved adios and we're gonna cool off for good now.  The weather service says high alpine valleys will be well below freezing by Thursday.  Goodbye summer, hello fall.

Gary has a big first day of hiking.  That's what the photo above is all about.  He carries a thingie called a SPOT.  It's one of the coolest pieces of technology we've ever seen.  We will be able to track Gary's hike in the Sawtooth Wilderness practically step-by-step as it unfolds.  You can click here to learn about SPOT.

Speaking of hiking, we might be going on a hike September 11th if Susun's back to the future, so to speak.  Neighbor Bill S. has offered to take us out on Tex Creek that day.  It would be a fine and fitting way to spend the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.  Bill and his wife, Karen, are avid day hikers.  Below is a photo of a little known nearby canyon they explored a couple of days ago. (More comments below Bill's photo.)
We sent a little something to Joshua Sunday and worked with Goatherder yesterday processing about 80 megabytes worth of photos from Josh's recent Grand Canyon trip.  We've ordered two 20x30 collage prints to send to Josh today.  Below is the first one we made yesterday.  Believe it or not, Sam's Club only charges five bucks for one of these prints.  Heck, that's danged near free.  Well, that's all folks!  Many Cheers, jp

Monday, August 29, 2011

A fleeting visit

Dear Friend, Neighbor and LBR Gary W. visited.  He arrived Friday afternoon and left Sunday morning so it really was a fleeting visit.  We packed in as many activities as we possibly could in such a short time, including a visit to Hilda's and a long bicycle ride all around the entire Greenbelt.  Gary pretty much was able to see and enjoy a snippet of all of River City's highlights.  As you can see, he even enjoyed a goose, too.  Thanks, Gary, for a wonderful visit!  May your Sawtooth Wilderness hike be one of your best ever.  Ya'll come back soon, ya hear?

In the bottom photo, Susun and Gary are standing in front of one of the special Greenbelt Art Benches.  It's a tribute to Louis B. Armstrong and here are the words inscribed in stone above:

What A Wonderful World lyrics
Songwriters: Thiele, Robert; Weiss, George David;

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom, for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces, of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, sayin', "How do you do?"
They're really sayin', "I love you"

I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow
They'll learn much more, than I'll ever know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Oh yeah

Hilda's Helping Hands

Somewhere upstairs where the flowers bloom year 'round, Dear Hilda is smiling and gossiping with her friends. "Oh, would you look at those two," she says with pride.  Sure enough, The Dynamic Duo was at it once again on Saturday morning, sprucing and shining up Hilda's for the weekend crowd.  When we bicycled past the garden Sunday morning, sure enough, there was a guy with a video camera slowing panning around the garden recording it all to show off to his distant Family & Friends.  THANKS, Dina & Susun!  Hilda Loves You!

First Day of School

Can any of us remember our very first day of school, oh,, so long ago?  We sure don't.  Our neighbor boy, Cody, set off to his first day of kindergarten this morning.  His sister, Brook, was all smiles for the occasion.  Good Luck, Cody, and Best of Success in your long journey for at least the next 13 (and hopefully 17) years!


Sunflowers are so fun to grow!  We grew a single plant three years ago but it didn't perform like these giant specimens.  They are amazing.  They are far taller than the 9-foot hollyhocks now.  Their bright heads turn and follow the sun each day.  They are impressive and fill us with a sense of marvel at the power of a single small seed.  As you can see from the close up of one of the flowers, it's going to be quite awhile before they set and mature their famous edible seeds.  Meanwhile, the hollyhocks are mature and their seeds are beginning to drop from the bulging pods.  That's not good as the hocks can take over an area very quickly.  So, the hocks are coming down this week.  That will expose the sunflowers to the brunt of our upcoming wind event later this week.  Maybe we will tie them to a car bumper or something to keep them from blowing over.  We'd sure hate to see them collapse this late in the season.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fine Friday

Joshua W. went off to college.  Pa Goatherder wrote a real nice blog post about it--his first blog posting since June 9th.  Click here to read the PG-13 post.

Gary W. arrived about 3:30 pm and we had a fun Friday afternoon poking around the city's local map room and other tourist attractions.  Karen L. returned from Atlanta (the one in Georgia) and regaled us with awesome tales late into the evening.  Home made tamales topped it off.

We're heading out now to watch Susun and Dina do their duo digs at Hilda's Garden and then it's off to the Farmer's Market.

The pigs have flat worn themselves out--there's only so much flying they can take.  Yesterday was the hottest day of summer--97 degrees.  It was too hot even for the pigs to fly and they kept to themselves in their cozy wallows of cool mud all day.

Have a great day & Many Cheers!  jp

Friday, August 26, 2011

Heat Goes On

Same old, same old.  Another day, another new high temperature record set.  Yesterday's 94 degrees blew away the 1985 record by four degrees.  The next two days are pretty much the last chances left to set new records as the temps will begin to fade after that.

There was a comment yesterday about how to read the above graphic.  Well, the first two columns are month and day.  The third column is the average high for the day calculated over a 50-year time period.  The fourth column is the official record high temperature ever recorded for that date during the 50-year time period.  The fifth column is the year in which that record high temperature was logged.  The last column on the right is this year's recorded high temperature at the official NWS weather station located at the Idaho Falls airport. (AKA: KIDA)  There are two question marks remaining on the graphic because we don't yet know the high temperature for today and tomorrow.  Is that clear now, Class?  We sure hope so.

Yesterday was a rather lazy day for both of us. Susun busied about the yard, messing with gardening stuff and the courtyard.  Little Yonni enjoyed a laid back day as well--mowing the yard, shopping in a thrift store and tidying up his toys.

Gary W. finally hit the road at 6:40 am Arizona Time and arrived in Ogden, Utah in the early evening. He's 80% through "The P's."  That's Page, Panguitch, Payson, Provo and Pocatello.  He expects to be here this afternoon.

We enjoyed lunch with The Houn' Dawg.  He and his compadres have moved into newly remodeled quarters inside an old indoor go-cart track.  As the morning newspaper says, "You'd never know it was an old go-cart track."  Um...huh.  Anyway, all of the workers are now crammed into cubicles considerably smaller than those pilloried in a typical Dilbert cartoon.  It's quite a change from the spacious offices everyone has enjoyed for the last 20 years or so.  We tried to point out the bright side of the new location.  It's only five minutes from the Pinecrest chipping greens and five minutes to The WINCO Spa & Relaxation Center.  Plus, he can walk to Burger King.  We're going to do our best to help buoy HD's spirits about these new quarters.  Hang in there, HD!

The scoresheet from Wednesday's match was distributed yesterday.  We finished 5th out of ten participants in our Division and 16th out of 38 participants overall.  Those are our best finishes of the summer.  If we can finish in a comparable place during next week's final match, we will be very happy indeed.

The weekly blog statistics arrived this morning.  Sometime probably on Monday, we will cross the 10,000 visitor mark.  Here's the stats.  Thanks for reading and Have a Great day with Many Cheers!  jp

The Daily News                        

                    -- Site Summary ---                     

            Total ........................ 9,910            
            Average per Day ................. 28            
            Average Visit Length .......... 3:28            
            This Week ...................... 197            

          Page Views

            Total ....................... 17,557            
            Average per Day ................. 43            
            Average per Visit .............. 1.5            
            This Week ...................... 304 

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Time once again for a glob on ketchup on our plate.  Yep, we haven't been posting much here lately.  Maybe it's been a heat-related malaise.  Maybe we've just been busy.  Maybe we're lazy slackers.  Maybe it's all three and more.  Who knows?

As is usual for this type of post, they hark to the very subtitle of this blog: "Ruminations & Reminisces about Mundane Meanderings."

Joshua W. is heading off to college tomorrow.  Pa Goatherder will escort Josh to his new dormitory digs.  The whole "leaving the nest" thing is such a huge milestone in the lives of both parents and their offspring.  We wish them very Happy Trails and Many Cheers!

It looks like Gary W. will be visiting here afterall.  He was originally going to arrive late last week.  Now it could be either tomorrow or even Saturday.  We will all believe when we post a photo here of his smiling face in our courtyard.

These sultry summer Wednesday nights have been delightfully delicious.  After I return from the Wednesday evening shooting match, we turn on the courtyard twinkling lights and sit around talking and noshing on fine foods and having a wonderful time.  There's only one shooting match remaining  next Wednesday for this summer season.  We will miss these wonderful late evening interludes.

Everything finally came together for last night's match and I did quite well--the best of the summer.  It's been a tough road to travel but I was finally actually pleased with my overall performance. Whew, it's been a long time coming.

Susun's been busy with Dina at Hilda's Garden.  The dynamic duo is really keeping that place looking ship shape.  Thanks, Susun and Dina!

We have put up a few blog posts this morning.  Any LBR who knows Gregg Wallace will really enjoy the Flagstaff Flashback post below.  Scroll down and enjoy!

Well, there's really not much to report--everyone's simply waiting for this heat wave to subside so they can return to a more normal lifestyle here in River City.  For our part, we're anxiously awaiting the cool down so we can get out on the Snake River in our canoe and/or kayak.   Speaking of the river, LBRs will remember a long time ago, Stasea told us about Stand Up Padding (SUP).  It was only a matter of time until someone brought this new fad home to the Snake River in Idaho Falls.  Post-Register Ace Photographer Monte LaOrange took the copyright photo of Doug Kufus below.  It appears in this morning's newspaper.  We know Stasea will smile when she sees it.  We wish we would have been the first to indulge in this sport but, hey, the entry ticket price is pretty steep!  And, afterall, we already have our share of boats here.  That's all, folks, have a Great Day & Many Cheers!  jp

PS--Sometimes blog comments slip through digital cracks in our content.  Now and then we review the Master Comment page to see if we missed any incoming comments.  Lo and behold, Deano & Lora left one under the "Assorted Pork Chops Overhead" post.  What they said is below in italics.  What we say is: SWEET!  Thanks, D&L!

"I can't tell you how much I love this, let's try this: " I know I weenie man, he owns a sausage stand, he sells most anything from hot dogs on down... someday i'll share his life, I'll be his weenie wife, oh how I love that sausage man! Hot Dog!" Of course it leaves a lot to the imagination, without the melody...Lora & Deano"

Broken record

Back in the Vinyl Daze, people listened to music by putting a thin black disc onto an ancient device called a turntable.  Then a needle-tipped mechanical arm would descend into tiny grooves on the spinning disc and, viola, music would happen as if by magic.  It was all so analog then.  Oftentimes, something would happen and the needle wouldn't move seamlessly from one groove to another.  Whenever this occurred, you would hear the same snippet from a song over and over and over again until you grabbed the arm off of the damaged disc.  People used to call this circumstance "a broken record."

And so it is this morning that we use the old Vinyl Daze terminology simultaneously with the term "broken record" as in long-standing climatological records being broken.  High temperature records have been falling every day in such a repetitious manner as to remind us of the Vinyl Daze use of the term.  They are being broken over and over and over and, unfortunately, there's no arm we can grab to put an end to this refrain.  Take a look at the graphic below that we prepared this morning.

Four out of the last five days have set new high temperature records and six out of the last eight have either broken or tied the previous record high! (Note that the "normal" average temp is much less.  It's the first number to the left of each date.) Yesterday was officially the hottest day of tthe far.  It's entirely possible that today could top that and set yet another new high for this, a summer for the record books.

As we've noted, normally the hottest temps take place in July.  This sort of thing is so rare in August.  The last such string of highs took place back in the era of Woodstock in 1969.  There's going to be at least two more days of scorching temps here in Tater Nation and then it's over.  Really.  Honest.  This is summer's Last Hurrah.  From here, it's all downhill into winter's lows.  As if on cosmic cue, the temps will become downright docile and normal and, gee, lookie right here folks:
Yep, what you see above is the forecast for Grand Teton National Park during the time we will be enjoying our traditional trek to tent camp at Jenny Lake.  Note that the September 6th low is progged to be four degrees below freezing.  Yep, right on cue!  Ah, Fall, here we come.

All of this high heat wave mayhem has added a whole new spin to the term "pork roast!"  Well, all things must someday end and this, too, shall pass.

Cheers, jp

Red Rock Rainbow

This has been a great summer for rainbows.  Yesterday we received this photo from Peggy C. in Sedona, Arizona.  Talk about a picture perfect rainbow over the Red Rocks!  Thanks, Peggy!

Flagstaff Flashback

This blog post appears as a bit of nostalgia for those who remember Gregg Wallace from the mid-1980's.
Below are four screenshots from the YouTube video showing some of the DJs who worked however briefly at Flagstaff early 1980's TV9.  The fledgling TV station was way ahead of its time and didn't last long. It's now an obscure footnote in Flagstaff's media history file.  The Wallace Family (Gregg, Maggie and Kelli) arrived in Flagstaff in either late 1983.  Gregg had an impressive TV background at the time and hooked on with TV9 just before it went belly up.  He's shown here cuing  some early genre music videos as TV9's Music Director.  During this vignette he puts in a plug for TV9 t-shirts and suddenly one of the t-shirts flies in from off-stage hitting Gregg smack in the face.  He recovers nicely and continues shilling shirts.  After the shirt promo, he then goes back to being a TV DJ.  You can click here to watch the full 8:12 video.  Gregg is the second DJ in the video.  He comes on at 1:43 and fades to black at 2:50.  It's an endearing Flagstaff Flashback for those who know Gregg and remember the good ol' days of a sleepy little mountain town perched alongside Route 66 and the Santa Fe railroad.
These screen shots and the video are used here with permission from Gregg Wallace.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


The title of this blog post is pronounced "ag" as in AGriculture.  Susun and I both love real ag.  Of course, I grew up in The Cornbelt where watching the corn grow was (is) a genuine, respectable cultural pastime.  Throughout the Midwest, real farmers grow real crops in vast fields stretching to and beyond the far horizons in every direction.

When I moved to Arizona in the late 1970's real ag was still alive there.  The Valley of the Sun (AKA: Phoenix) still contained huge orange groves and fertile fields that grew all sorts of vegetables.  The Verde Valley was still mostly ag in the early 1980's.  Up in Flagstaff, there were even real pinto bean farms north of town.  Well, now all those fields have long since been swallowed up by housing developments. Ag in Phoenix is gone.  There's no real ag left in Flagstaff at all.  Only one farmer in the Verde Valley practices something resembling true ag--that's Hauser & Hauser--and they are rightfully famous for their sweet corn. 

Watching the annual cycles of ag is an endearing experience that keeps us connected to the land.  That's one of the many reasons we love living here in Idaho.  We are once again surrounded by real, true ag in every direction.  The patchwork quilt of fecund fields is a beautiful sight to see.  From the spring plowing and discing of the ground, to the planting season, early growth, maturity of the plants, brown down and then harvest, there's always something to see.  The sweet scent of newly mown alfalfa fills the air with a heady scent two or three times each summer.  Sprinkler pivots, wheel lines and hand lines spray water in airy curtains over the fields.  Meanwhile, the rural areas surrounding Idaho Falls are filled with real farmers living in real farm houses doing real farmer things.  Yes, there are a few hobby farms and trophy farms here but they are easy to spot and are few and far between.  Farms that are play toys for rich people are the exception here.  Down and dirty real farming rules the day.  Ag is alive in Eastern Idaho with vast piles of potatoes, mountains of malting barley, waves of wheat and churning green seas of livestock feed and forage.

Arguably our favorite time of the ag cycle here is the harvest season.  It's hard to pick just one favorite season of the ag cycle when each is so endearing in its own way.  However, harvest is the bottom line of success for any farmer.  You reap what you sow and it's so fun to watch the reaping process in full swing.  So it is now as we write this that many of the far flung malting barley (think beer barley) fields are alive with the roar and rumble and whirr of wildly expensive combines combing precious seeds from the dry stems.

You know you live in a real ag town when these very same combines can often be seen making their way through city traffic from one area to another.  They literally tower over tiny sedans.  It's great to see them and their Bubba Boy operators nimble guide the giant machines through the city's hub-bub.  It's a reminder of "all things ag" here and brings both a huge smile to our faces and a swelling sense of pride in our hearts.

Today's world of texting and tablets has largely left our urban peoples detached from any connection to how soil , water, seeds and sunshine magically mix to support and sustain our very lives and futures.  Food shows up at the grocery store and that's about all most people think of it.  Where it came from and how it got there is mostly mysterious, if anyone even bothers to think about it at all.

We are grateful for and forever appreciative of our Nation's farmers.  Theirs is an unseen, largely unknown and generally thankless life.  We're so happy to live here surrounded by REAL ag.  Seeing the annual March of The Machines snake their way through the city, across the river on their way to combine yet another barley field is just one of the many delights of Idaho Falls!

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lucky Boys

What better way to start a Monday than with a cute photo of Susun's Grandsons, Gage (left) and Van.  Mom Sarah takes them practically every day to the park where they romp and play and be boys.  They are so lucky to get to spend 2-3 hours each day in the park.  These two kids are definitely not suffering from "outdoor deprivation," or whatever the new kid syndrome is called in today's world.  WAY TO GO, Sarah!
 Keep 'em coming, Sarah--we love 'em!

Yesterday was our monthly revolver match--it's a group call ICORE.  There were 11 participants and Little Yonni finished last.  Hey, somebody's gotta finish last and besides, what's that cliché about nice guys? I am just honored to be able to able to compete with those guys.  They are a real hoot and they sure can shoot!

The pigs were swarming like flies in the sky yesterday. Oh, how deafening their squeals can be.  It peaked at 93 about 5 pm but felt a heck of a lot hotter--almost as hot as Arizona on a balmy early summer day.  Looks like the pigs have the skies to themselves until September--the forecast is for more of the same--very hot and very dry.

Pam and Roger came to visit for lunch on Saturday and stayed for over two hours.  We had a really fine time in the courtyard.  They are such delightful friends.  We surprised Roger with an unworn Purdue jacket.  He was jazzed.  Roger and I were fraternity brothers at Kappa Sigma back in the last 1960's.  Roger was the fraternity's "Beer Captain."  Naturally, he was a very Big Man on Campus--at least in our frat house.  Pam and we go way back, too.  I hired her as a freelance writer when we had that newspaper in Zionsville, Indiana.  Pam is now an ordained Presbyterian Minister and we call her Pastor Pam, The Sermonator.  She is such an inspired writer and public speaker.  Roger's retired from The Site and bicycling's his thing.  He rides very long distances each week with like-minded people.  Thanks for a fine Saturday, Pam & Roger!

Susun's been working pretty hard oiling the courtyard fence and fertilizing the lawn.  Grass has a voracious appetite.  If you don't feed it, the grass gets cranky and turns brown and acts like it is going to die.  Luckily, we have a great fertilizer batch plant here in town whose main clients are real farmers.  Those bubba boys at the batch plant really know how to mix grass food.

Today promises to be a typical Mundane Monday.  Maybe we will go back to our former employer and set foot through their door just to commemorate our 4th anniversary of entering employment there.

That's all folks.  Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Four years ago

Four years is a mighty long time.  I think we all get tuned into four year time periods because of high school and college.  When we were becoming freshmen in high school, four years seemed like an eternity.  How in the world could we EVER become high school seniors?  Looking ahead at four years coming out of 8th grade made four years seem gargantuan.  Likewise when we graduated from high school, we knew we had to somehow get through four years of college to get that coveted degree.  But, come one, let's all admit it, didn't the prospect of spending FOUR full years in college seem like FOREVER?  Well, it sure did to me and I suspect it did (and does) to everyone that age.

Ever since my high school and college days I've held on to that "four year paradigm" deal.  I tend to measure time in four year increments instead of five year intervals.  It's a habit.

Well, we are sitting at a major Four Year Milestone here tonight.  We've actually been in this milestone's "window" for a few days but have refrained from mentioned it until this evening.  Four years ago tonight was my last night of freedom.  On August 22, 2007, I stepped into a tired old building at 357 Constitution Way here in Idaho Falls and began serving my 2.5 year term as Director of the Eastern Idaho RSVP.  Granted, it was a paid job and had benefits and some perks but it sure felt like walking into the slammer.  After being footloose and fancy free as a retired guy since January 2001, going back to an 8-5 paid day job was a real heavy hit on Ye Ol' Psyche.  Four years ago tonight, we were living in our travel trailer at the Snake River RV Park over off Lindsey Blvd.  We were having my last Happy Hour as a free range man.  I told Susun back then that what the upcoming gig really represented was a thrown down challenge to "stand and deliver."

It's easy to talk the talk but when you really have to walk the talk, it's a wee bit different.  People can talk the talk all day long 'til the cows come home but they all skee-daddle pretty pronto when it comes time to walk the talk.  I must admit that four years ago tonight I was filled with dread and foreboding.  I didn't want to go back to work.  No way, no how.  But life had some how conspired to put me in that position and on August 21st, 2007, I felt I had no choice.  Of course, I really DID have a choice but I just didn't understand my options, or something like that.

Anyway, we had a fine Happy Hour four years ago tonight.  I woke up the next day and packed a lunch in an old antique tin lunch box and bicycled off to work like a singing dwarf in a Disney movie.  And the rest, as they are wont to say, is history.

We will be chattering about our lives and times four years ago for the next few days here in Da Blog.  It was a time of great transition in our lives.  In hindsight it was all GOOD transition.  Some of it didn't seem so at the time but, as we say, everything happens for a porpoise.

We are very happy to be here in Idaho Falls.  This is our home and we are proud to call it our home.  We love this city, its people and all of its idiosyncrasies.  It's a great place to live year round.  We're lucky to be able to go to Arizona each winter but, honest, we'd be very happy to be here in the depths of a brutal winter, too.  Why?  Because this is an awesome place to live and the people here are as equally awesome as the place.

Well, we are in the midst of re-creating the Happy Hour we staged four years ago tonight so we will leave you now with fond thoughts of all of this nostalgia.  Somehow, with the passage of these four years, I feel like we ought to don a cap and gown, listen to strains of Pomp & Circumstance, go on stage and receive a rolled up degree.  The third degree, perhaps?  Nah, the Nth Degree!  Viva El Ciudad Del Rio!

Have a great evening and Many Happy Cheers, jp

Assorted pork chops overhead

Mark Twain once said, "Nothing improves the scenery like ham and eggs," unless of course, it's a flying ham overhead mocking Little Yonni's eggs-on-face weather prognostication foibles.  Luckily, we were able to capture a decent photo of this porcine fly-by from none other than the vaunted Red Bacon, distant cousin by DNA to a Red Baron sausage pizza.  As Red flew over, we could hear him snorting in glee about our "out on a limb" prediction of no more 90+ degree days, Our pontification that "pigs will fly" before we have another 90 degree day had once again given pigs everywhere unlimited license to take to the air.  Say it ain't so!  Yesterday was 92 degrees.  Weather data don't lie--it's etched in climo stone.  Ah, well, it's fun seeing the little ham hocks cavort in their sky sty.  They are so cute, afterall.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

First Aid Day

Yesterday was almost entirely devoted to First Aid.  We took our neighbor, Chuck, out to the shooting range at 9 am and he had a mishap with his pistol that caused a deep cut in his hand between the thumb and index finger.  Of course, we immediately took him home so he could seek medical care.  The cut required four stitches and Chuck is doing fine.  Luckily, he will still be bale to play his bagpipes.  Whew.

Well, the incident changed our day around and we spent the rest of the day messing with the revision of our first aid kit.  It lives in the .50 caliber ammo can shown above at left.  You wouldn't think revising a first aid kit could consume a whole day would you?  Well it did.  The time was spent mostly running around chasing down various items to replenish the kit as well as some new items we've never carried before.  We also had to repackage everything and then pack and repack the box for efficiency, etc. We also researched online to find and print the latest guidance on CPR and response to a choking incident.  Finally, we photographed everything and made an online slide show documenting the kit's contents.  You can click here to see it.

It's been years since we put any time into our first aid kit.  Back when we spent those four summers 90 minutes from medical care out at Bowery Guard Station, we put a lot of time into the first aid kit each year.  We didn't want to get caught short out there in MOAN Country.  Since we moved to the city four years ago, we have become very lax in maintenance and revision of our first aid kit.  This is not a good thing.  Likewise, we aren't as diligent about carrying the kit with us.  This is also not a good thing.

Yesterday's mishap with Chuck luckily turned out OK but it was a real wake up call about both the condition and the location of our first aid kit.  The kit now lives in a highly visible, easily accessible location.  No longer will we have to call out, "Where's our first aid kit?"  Likewise, the kit will go to the range on each and every visit from now on.

There's really only one way to prep a first aid kit and that's to devote 100% of your attention to it until it's finished precisely the way you wish it to be.  It's not one of those things were you can peck away at it a little today and a little tomorrow and maybe a little next week or next month.  What happens in that scenario is that the kit never gets finished up to snuff like it should be.  There's always going to be something missing and it's usually what you need when something goes wrong.  Nope, the only way to tackle prepping a first aid kit is to buckle down and "git 'er dun."  Luckily, yesterday was a perfect day for doing just that and now the kit is in tip top shape once again.

We're hoping our River Friends and LBRs will take a long look at the way we have the kit configured.  We hope they will also provide spot on ideas, criticisms and suggestions as to how to improve and better organize the kit.  At this point in our lives, we'd really like to be very well equipped once again to better handle whatever situation may arise.

(NOTE added at noon Saturday)  Based on the great comments below by SB & GH, we've decided to switch to the larger box right away.  It is shown beside the existing box for comparison.  The extra space will allow us to add many (if not all) of the good ideas brought forth below.  THANKS, SB & GH!

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Thursday, August 18, 2011

GO Cougs!

Time once again Sports Fans for our annual testimonial to how much We Love The BYU Cougars!



Yeah, there's a ba-zillion sports teams of all kinds out there.  They range the gamut from professional MLB baseball to NFL football and everything in between.  But there is only one COUGS!

Why do we keep coming back to The Cougs?  Because they play with honor and dignity.  They play for the pure Love Of The Game.  Each and every player has to sign an Honor Code agreement.  If they violate this code, they are automatically removed from the team.  BYU doesn't just recruit young men from the LDS Faith.  Nope, they recruit any capable athlete who is willing to prove up and sign their Honor Code and be true to his Faith.

BYU is the LAST college team left standing that adheres to Old School Values.  Every other team in American has sold out for the Almighty Dollar.  This year BYU is going its own as an Independent.  As such, they face an impossibly tough schedule.  They open up against Ole Miss and Texas in AWAY games. Yikes!  And then they come home to face arch-rival Utah in their very first home game.

If that's not what we rubes call a "tall order," then we don't know what is.

I am PROUD to be a BYU Cougars fan.  VERY PROUD!  I am proud of their players and their fans. I am proud of their coaches and their administration.  They personify to me what college football SHOULD be all about but somehow got forgotten on the unholy road to the Money Grail.

As long as BYU football exists, I am a Happy Camper.  As Brigham Young said so well himself back in 1847--This Is The Place!


Wayne's World

'Tis time once again, Blog Fans, to put in a plug for Wayne's World.  Yep, DF & LBR Wayne Ranney has been having a mighty fine time.  He and Helen enjoyed a perfect rainbow over their Flagstaff home a few days ago.  That's as it should be since he's always finding the proverbial pot o' gold at the ends of rainbows everywhere.  Nobody we know has chased and caught as many rainbows as Wayne.  WAY TO GO, Wayne!  Well, actually, the occasion of this shameless plug for Wayne's blog is all about his latest post.  It was put up yesterday.  The post describes Wayne's latest river trip deep in the heart of The Big Ditch.  Nobody writes better River Reports than Wayne.  He makes it possible to take a river trip vicariously and we love it.
Click here to read his latest River Report.  THANKS, Wayne!

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! NO! It's Flying Pigs!

I was out west of town at 6 pm yesterday when one of the members of the shooting club shouted out--LOOK!  We all turned with eyes to the sky and, LO, over above a neighboring alfalfa field--there they were--the dreaded Flying Pigs.  Oh Boy, as Hank The Cowdog would say, Oh Boy indeed.  Well, we are now searching for a crow to eat today for lunch.  Turns out the temps just kissed the 90 degree mark for perhaps a few minutes at 6 pm yesterday.  Nevertheless, the fidgety pigs had been practicing for just such an occasion and they burst into the air upon the delightful news that it was 90 degrees once again.  Meanwhile, the blog author attempted without luck to find a hole to crawl into.  Them darn pigs!

As you can see from the official temperature graph below, it wasn't like it was 90 degrees for very long.  It simply had to be Flying Pig Karma.  Dang it.  Well, let's move on to other fun stuff now.  OK?  OK.
First off, how can we resist putting photos of Miss Susun here on the blog?  We can't resist.  Besides, her daughters love them as much as Susun loves seeing photos of her grandsons.  It's a Family Thing.  Susun was having her typical "Smile Time" at Habitat For Humanity yesterday.  The guy in the photo is Shawn.  He's the new manager of the ReStore.  Karen L. snagged a big grant to hire Shawn for three years.  The idea is that a dedicated ReStore manager will increae cash flow to a point where the retail operation can actually help subsidize construction of additional Habitat Homes here in River City and its neighbors.  So far, Shawn is getting great reviews and he's talked with us about volunteer recognition ideas.  Anybody who cares enough about their volunteers to discuss how to recognize them scores high with us.
'Twas a very busy day for pistol shooting sports.  We finally took delivery on our new Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm at 12:50 pm.  We were out at our home on the range to test it out at 1:50 pm and then back into town by 3 pm.  We decided to change all our plans and use the new pistol in the match last night.  The Match Director loaned us two competition magazines and we were off and running.  The pistol performed perfectly, however, the pistol operator still needs some more practice.  Meanwhile, Shonda and Matt Q. arrived at the range on Matt's fine motorcycle.  They stayed for three full stages and talked with a lot of the participants.  it was wonderful having them visit and we made some tentative lunch plans for late summer. THANKS, Shonda & Matt.
Today's a "regroup" day.  With any luck at all, we will make more headway on sealing the courtyard fence and other pesky chores here.  The next few days promise to be quite interesting.

Have a great day & Many Cheers!  jp

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Susun and Dina met this morning before 8 am to dance down to Hilda's Garden to deadhead.  Does that make them deadheads?  Nah, they would be deadheaders, don't you think?  They are deadheading this morning.  We shall leave it to the Blog Grammarians to sort out.  This was nice cool morning--the low shows as 43 so it had to be in the 40's when they showed up at Hilda's.

Susun entertained JoAnne yesterday so I scrammed so the Ladies Who Lunch could have some quality time together.  Susun's Daughter Stasea sent a nice email mast night that supposedly originated at Stanford.  It's all about how women visiting with their lady friends is actually a health thing.  The email said "spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym....and... every time you hang out to schmooze with a girlfriend, pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health!"  Guys apparently get no health benefits whatsoever when hanging with other guys talking about guns, trains, planes, lawn mowers, boats and 401K's.

Speaking of guns--yesterday as a real big red letter day as far as firearms go.  I received notice that the new Smith & Wesson M&P I ordered last Saturday will be delivered today.  Meanwhile, DR & LBR Tom Bonomo proofed out the custom 1911 down in Arizona and said it is fine and dandy.  He shipped it out and it will be here tomorrow.  Meanwhile, I spent 3 hours at my "home on the range."  (Trivia Alert:  Did you know the song "Home on The Range" was written in the 1870's and is the official state song of Kansas?  Yep, it's true--read about it here.) During my time at the shooting range, I was actually able to greatly improve my accuracy with a favored revolver--a classic 1970's Smith & Wesson Model 6868 .357.  The small thumbnail at right shows my last 23 shots from 30 feet. Sweet.

The day ended with a real bang (pun intended).  I bought a really nice lever action .357 Rossi carbine at a local auction house at 9 pm last night.  Yep, no Happy Hour yesterday!  It's a long story but we won the bidding and the rifle is now ours to cradle as we patrol the perimeters of our Home on The Range-- "Where the Deer an the Antelope play, Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, And the sky is not clouded all day."

Today will be more of the same, culminating in the weekly shooting match this evening.  Meanwhile, of course, Susun will log another four hours at Habitat For Humanity's ReStore.  Hey, we might have a visitor show up here soon.  None other than DR & LBR & Neighbor Gary W. from the legendary, fabled metropolis of Rimrock, Arizona, might arrive here Thursday or Friday.  He and his buddies do an annual hike each year.  In the past, they have tackled wildly remote places in the Heart of Yellowstone, the Wind River Mountains and other obscure spots.  This year, the high elevation snow precludes going into such places.  Sooo...they are having social trip into the Sawtooth Wilderness over in our old stomping ground in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area near Stanley, Idaho.  Gary has decided to come here and roost prior to leaving to meet his buddies over in Stanley.  He's taking the S&S route.  (S&S = Scenic & Social)  Believe it or not, it's less than 40 miles out of his way!  Amazing, but true.

Well, that's about all we have for this fine Dog Day Summer Morning.  Have a great day & Many Cheers! jp

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pigs didn't fly

It was nip and tuck yesterday.  The pigs gathered and began practicing to fly but they had to stand down.  The temp only reached 88.  One of these days, we will tell you all about how it is that pig go about preparing to fly.  It's quite entertaining, actually.  Today we have a weak cold front moving in.  I'm not sure what an August cold front is all about,especially since they say it's going to be in the 80's all week.  Some cold front, eh?  The Climate Prediction Center says the whole Western US will have above average temps for the next couple of weeks.  If the trend continues, we will have real nice weather for the annual tent-camping tradition at Jenny Lake Campground.

We enjoyed a fine summer Sunday.  The bike along the Greenbelt was great and breakfast at Bella Villa was a real delight.  Our neighbor Kenyon came over for a long evening visit.  It looks like we might take him out to the shooting range this morning. We feel the golf itch coming on in the days ahead and we're looking forward to dusting off the canoe, too.  The river has been far too high for far too long here to even think about canoeing.  Now that it's back to normal and nice and low and lazy, we need to get some "paddle time."

Have a great Monday & Many Cheers, jp

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tall tale

Here is a short note about our garden.  It's a tall tale because it's REALLY TALL!  The tallest hollyhock is slightly over nine (9) feet.  The tallest sunflower is slightly shorter than the tallest hollyhock so it is pushing nine feet and will probably get there soon.  Meanwhile, what corn survived the wind is a lot taller than Susun.  And those tall squash plants hide some real lunker zucchini.  The one shown in the photo increased considerably overnight.  This is about the time of year when the plants reach their tallest reach.  The sunflowers might sneak in a few more inches but the hocks have pretty well finished reaching for the sky.  Their flowers are still attracting lots of honey bees but the sunflowers have yet to begin to bloom.  These plants are T-A-L-L and that's our tale for this morning.

Many Cheers, jp

Saturday Night Specials

Ah, the joys of blogging.  Sometimes we will go along struggling to squeeze out a single blog post now and then.  Other times, we seem to churn out blog posts like a cotton candy machine spins sugar into fluff on a stick.  So it was last night when the blog posts just couldn't seem to stop rolling.  We enjoy such evenings.  Of course, all of last night's posts lack any sort of real substances--they are just the blog equivalent of cotton candy and far less appetizing for that matter.  However, they were fun to write and we had a merry little time here at the our m-less keyboard.  This keyboard has been missing it's "M" key for months. It's just a stub where the "M" key once resided.

It was fun watching the duck deal yesterday.  They had a lot of trouble opening the dumpster door and had to lower the container to fiddle with the latches and so forth.  By and by, the ducks poured forth and joy reigned once again in River City.  It was a fun day.  The Farmers Market was delightful as always.  We even went to lunch at Stockman's and had split a giant hamburger.  We're both eager for this morning's Sunday Bike Ride.  We're planning to enjoy our breakfast down in the Bella Vita coffee house at Snake River Landing.  Life is good.

Have a great day & Many Cheers! jp

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sunset switcheroo

Above is REALLY what tonight's sunset actually looked like.  Trust us.  This photo is freshly posted, dated and completely verified by Roger P.  You can click here to see it for yourself.  To tell the truth, we became impatient for Roger to record tonight's sunset so we cheated and robbed a photo of the August 7th sunset.  It's a terrible thing to do, we know.  But we did.  Anyway, we got lucky and Roger bailed us out of plagiarism jail tonight.  THANKS, Roger!

Tonight's sunset

Thanks, Roger!

Nors Approves

Our New Gnome has been named Nors.  He has been in his probationary period.  Gnomes must be on the very best behavior while on probation.  Nors has been a model of politeness during this difficult time period for him.  Tonight he had his first chance to perform in front of a camera here in our household and we think he behaved well, if not dutifully.  He is inspecting the flower bouquet brought in by Susun from our garden and he clearly approves.  We were gratified to see the look of approval on Nors' face.  The probationary period of Nors is coming to an end.  We will soon introduce him to our Gang of Gnomes plus the two Troll Gnomes who have chosen to live in the basement.  Nors, it's OK!  You will soon be accepted.