Monday, October 31, 2011


Still looks like it could go either way on us tomorrow.  We're going to act like we're leaving tomorrow morning and return our cable modem this afternoon.  That means "no mo net."  That's why we've moved our Road Trip Twitter up to the top of yonder left hand column.  We will use our cell phone to Tweet there frequently this week.  It may be late Thursday or Friday before we get back online.  If we stay at Bryan's Place in Salt Lake, maybe we will do a blog post from there.  Have a great day, Happy Trails & Many Cheers, J&S

Delayed departure?

The weather forecast ebbs and flows.  Who knows which way the weather will go.  On the one hand, it might be snowing from here to Salt Lake tomorrow.  Or it might be raining.  Or maybe neither one of the above.  Odds seems to favor a pretty dicey driving day tomorrow so we are in a quasi-holding pattern right now.  We've put our water and power disconnect on "hold" until 8 am tomorrow when we will re-evaluate the situation.  If travel conditions look good, we will take off but it will definitely be later than the 9 am target time.  If travel conditions are truly terrible, then we will leave on Wednesday.  Every LBR knows how much we loathe driving in Salt Lake City traffic.  Throws wet or even icy roads into the mix and that gauntlet becomes a nightmare.  There's no point in driving through a mess like that if we don't have to.  And we don't.  So, we will just wait and see and leave when it's safe to do so.

This morning we took a nice "sanity break" and went to the Museum of Idaho to view a splendid exhibit on World War Two.  It's a one time exhibit and everything on display was garnered from military collectors in just four states: Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Montana.  It was really well worth the time to go see it all.

Yesterday's sanity break came when Houn Dawg called and begged to try to win his five dollars back.  So, we got together at 2pm and played a really spirited round of short course golf.  HD and I were tied after two holes but he took a two shot lead on Hole #3.  That's tough to make up with just three holes remaining.  I gained a stroke on Hole #4 and it came right down to the very last putt on Hole #6 when I tied him up at 27 each.  On our first overtime hole, we tied once again.  That  put us into the second overtime hole.  HD was sitting in position to record a four on the hole.  I had a really long putt to make a par 3.  It was a very tough putt because of the tricky sideslope.  Luckily, the putt was perfect and curved right into the hole.  HD graciously forked over another five dollar bill.  We told him we hoped he would have won but, in the meantime, we played to win.  Isn't that what you're supposed to do when you play for money?  THANKS, HD, you are a Great Golfer and a wonderful Mentor.

We're pretty well packed up and simply running last minute errands today.  Joshua's kayak now decorates the top of the Nissan.  All we can do it kick back and wait and see how the weather shakes out.

In the meantime, let's all have a wonderful day & Many Cheers, jp

Sunday, October 30, 2011

New Habitat Home Dedicated

Here's five photos from the many Susun took yesterday at the dedication of a really fine new Habitat For Humanity twin home.

If a tree falls in the forest

Sunday's a great day to roam 'round reading reports from online news sources.  We don't pay any attention to basic news fare of war, disaster, etc.  We look for the offbeat stories.  We found a great one this morning about a giant sequoia that fell in a forest of, well...giant sequoias, of course.  Normally, when a tree falls in the forest there's no one around to watch, let alone record the event.  In this case, wouldn't you know there was the ubiquitous German tourist who...yep, you guessed it...just happened to capture a portion of the epic fall on video.  Click here for the Los Angeles Times article.  And click here for the Visalia , California, newspaper that has the video clip and a story about the Germans.  It's definitely an interesting way to start your Sunday morning.

Each Sunday we entertain ourselves by reading the advertising circulars that come chock-a-block wrapped in the fat morning newspaper.  This time of year, various retailers are already jockeying for position as the Christmas season looms.  Yes, there's only 55 days until Christmas.  Click here for the Christmas countdown clock.  Anyway, Toys R Us put out a BOOK in this morning's newspaper.  No kidding.  Luckily, it's not a hard cover edition but it's a pretty good-sized book.  Yikes.  Leafing through this compendium of toys left me shaking my head.  If you haven't checked out kids' toys lately, you're in for a real education.  Naturally, there's several pages of Barbie stuff.  The Barbie Charm School, a Barbie Princess castle, all the obligatory Barbie bobbles.  Surprisingly, though, there's even Barbie camping stuff, including a pop top camper.  How cute.
We're still trying to guess what that blue thing is.  Perhaps it's a slide out hot tub to relax in after the rigors of Charm School.  Meanwhile, RV camping has seeped into the M&M collector culture.  For only twenty-nine, ninety-five, you, too, can own Red and Yellow in their very own travel trailer.  M&M's are named for their colors, kind of like gangs, only different.  Anyway, Yellow is bummed out because he (or she) burned the steak on their outdoor grill.
Yesterday morning at the range was downright windy and cold.  We stayed out there for about two hours.  That's how long it took to process the paperwork to get Mike and Son Chance signed on as official members of the South East Idaho Practical Shooters Club.  Congratulations, Mike & Chance.  The pair easily had the best and most righteous costumes of anyone in attendance yesterday.  Very dapper pair, wouldn't you agree?  The Vosk Family sure is fun and we will miss them much this winter.

Susun had a proverbial big day.  She did get to go out last night and "danced her booties off," as she said upon her late night return.  Little Yonni spent the remainder of Saturday securing and insulating all the basement windows as well as repairing the compressor and preparing the various apparatus necessary to blow out the pipes tomorrow.  Our pace picks up the next couple of days, that's for sure.

As noted, yesterday was the last of this season's Farmers Market.  Below are three final photos of our cherished Saturday morning pastime.  Photo 1: Market Manager Stephanie G. shares a giggle with Susun.  Photo 2: The most creative Corn Maze we've ever seen!  Photo 3: Why grow winter squash when you can buy them this time of year for 25 cents a pound?  Talk about a bumper crop, eh?

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Karen & Jimmy

We suspect most LBRs have an inkling about the identity of the Gentleman above.  Yep, that's President Jimmy Carter.  At right is Susun's Dear Friend Karen Lansing, Executive Director of the Idaho Falls Habitat for Humanity.  As you probably know, Mister Carter has championed Habitat for probably well more than half his long life.  Karen went back to Habitat HQ in Atlanta, Georgia, for some training last week.  She heard that President Carter often teaches Sunday School in his home town of Plains.  So, Karen went to Plaius and sure enough, there was the erstwhile octogenarian on hand.  He gracefully posed with Karen and she now proudly displays an 8x10 of this heirloom photo on her office wall.  Karen graciously agreed to allow us to use it on this blog.  Thank You, Karen.

Congratulations are in order for Karen and all of those who work and volunteer for Habitat for Humanity here.  This afternoon, Habitat will cut a ribbon and dedicate completion of their latest home here.  It's always a touching and emotional moment for everyone involved when keys to the house are handed over to the family.  Tears usually flow, many hugs are exchanged and hearts and spirits swell with well-deserved pride.  Susun has been assisting Karen this week in preparation for this afternoon's ceremony.  Susun will once again serve as a de facto party coordinator for the event.  We'll be there, too, to take a few photos and feel the electricity in the air.  Everyone knows how much we love and respect volunteers of all shapes, sizes and stripes.  Well, when a few thousand hours of really rugged, often down and dirty volunteering come together to create a genuine, honest-to-gosh home it's a really special event.  THANK YOU, Habitat Volunteers!  You are AWESOME!

Moving along to more mundane meanderings, yesterday was one of those days.  We've grown up to believe that misfortune runs in threes.  Luckily, all three unfortunate events were very minor and we're glad we escaped unscathed.  In the first drama, Susun's cell phone got locked up and we spent far too long attempting to deal with people in India who speak very poor English and don't know the meaning of customer service.  You all know how that goes.  Luckily, a local cell phone person helped Susun unravel the obscure, invisible fouled-up threads of a near debacle.  Next, while mowing the yard, we ran across a cast iron sprinkler obscured by leaves.  It exploded like a hand grenade, spewing shrapnel every which way.  Luckily, none of the flying metal met our flesh.  It nearly destroyed the law mower but we were able to limp the machine through the last mowing of the season.  Finally, the lawn mower decided to smite the air compressor as we were retiring the mower for the last time this year.  Yep, the mower snapped off the air hose.  As you know, an air compressor is a vital piece of our migration equation--we need it on Halloween to blow water out of our pipes.  So, trick or treat came a little early here to our bungalow.

We finished packing pistols yesterday.  Yep, we are taking our entire shooting sports gig south with us.  Just in case there are any nefarious readers, we will not be leaving a single firearm or any related item in this structure through the winter.  In fact, there will be nothing of value left in the house over the winter.  It's comforting peace of mind to know we won't lose anything even in the highly unlikely event someone actually figured out how to break-in.  Way back over four years ago, one of the things that attracted us to buy this place was the fact that all potential points of entry are well exposed to the keen eyes of our neighbors.  And besides that, we armor all those doors and windows from the inside.  You'd really have to work up a genuine sweat breaking into this place and then you'd leave empty handed.

We finally have a real flight plan for our journey south.  We will begin the boarding process on Halloween and taxi out to runway EYE ONE FIVE SOUTH about 8 am Tuesday.  We should be cleared for take off by nine that morning.  We'll definitely spend Tuesday in Salt Lake with Bryan.  (215 miles).  We will spend Wednesday at Lake Powell's Lone Rock Campground north of Page.  (400 miles)  Then we should be able to land in Rimrock Thursday afternoon between 2-3 pm (185 miles).  We will get off I-15 at Nephi and take the slow road down through Salina-Richfield-Big Rock Candy Mtn. and Butch Cassidy Country to rejoin our normal route through Panguitch, Kanab, etc.

Looks like we're getting a lucky break on the weather for this trip.  It might be spitting some rain Wesnesday morning in Salt Lake but nothing serious.  A much bigger low pressure will sweep Utah just after we skee-daddle through Dixie's Color Country.  Likewise, it looks like we're getting to Ol' Airy Zonie just ahead of a pretty significant piece of cold and wet weather that will develop shortly after our arrival.  This time of year weird weather can pop up seemingly out of nowhere--just ask folks back on the East Coast about that today, eh?

Speaking of today, it's the last of this year's Farmers Market so we will have one last ritual visit there to bid adieu to Manager Stephanie and all the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed vendors.  What a great group of people and what a great asset to this city!

The final big hoopla shooting match of the season takes place today.  It's an annual event and most of the shooters show up in Halloween costumes.  We'll be going out to the range.  We won't be shooting today as everything is packed up nice and tight.  We will be taking photos and also helping complete the paperwork so Mike and Chance can join the club.  Yep, the club very tight on paperwork for new members.  You have to shoot in three matches, have witnesses, sponsors, an orientation and more.  And then existing members have to take a face-to-face, show-of-hands voice vote on your admission to the club.

Susun will be enjoying a lunch with Dear Friends Teresa and Lee.  She might be heading off to a bistro evening as well after her Habitat gig later this afternoon.  Me?  It's more of the same: mess with stuff, stuff and more stuff.  Stuff never ends it just morphs into more stuff.

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Daze of our lives

Sometimes the daze of our lives moves by so quickly...whew...we get dizzy thinking about it.  Looking at our blog, we realize we haven't posted here since Monday and now it's Thursday morning.  Hum...that's three full daze.  Where did they go?  What did we do?  Those are good questions.
Yesterday, at least, we can remember some of what we did.  The morning was a rush-rush deal as Susun and Dina attacked The Hilda Garden with their typical fervor.  I had been complaining about the lack of early spring color there.  The Garden Boss Delbert agreed to buy 70 daffodil bulbs.  Since I'd been the one complaining, Susun and Dina said it was only fair that I should help plant those blubs.  It was a "gotcha" that I couldn't weasel out of.  Anyway, those two bright spirits behaved like their typical whirlwind selves and, poof, all the bulbs were planted in less than an hour.

Afterward, we each went our own way.  I went off to see the traveling World War One exhibit entitled "Honoring Our History."  The exhibit is set up inside a custom semi-trailer.  A very small part of the trail replicates a pseudo feel of an actual trench from the era.  It was interesting but not overly so.  Susun got her hair done--that's always a big day around these parts.  You can see her "new do" in the photo with her Dear Friend Teresa.  Teresa stopped in last night to say "bye" to Susun.  Susun's Dear Friends here have been calling of visiting to say how much they will miss her cheery spirit this upcoming winter and spring.  We will miss THEM as well!  Other than that, our days have been pretty much the same as we tackle all the mittle minutia necessary to button everything up.

We have changed our travel schedule once again.  Remember: "Plans are made to be changed."  We will still leave early Tuesday morning.  However, we're no longer driving straight to Marysvale or Circleville, Utah.  Nope, we're eddying out in Ogden about lunchtime Tuesday to meet one of DR & LBR Gary's friends there.  Right now we will call him Ogden Bob.  Ogden Bob did us a huge, giant, incredible favor Tuesday night and we owe him Big Time.  It's a long story and a very good story, too, but it's too long to tell here.

Anyway, after we meet with Ogden Bob we're going to Ogden's Union Station for a long overdue visit there.
After that we will make our way into Salt Lake City to spend the night with Dear Friend Bryan B. in a beautiful old residential area near the U of U.  We may leave the following morning or we may not.  If we do leave Wednesday morning, we might still try to get to Circleville but we doubt it.  Chances are we will take our normal route south.  That part of the trip is up in the air, so to speak.  In any case, we would like to be in Rimrock no later than Friday.

This month is shaping up to be the month with the least fewest blog posts since we started this growing tome in January 2010.

Have a great day & Many Cheers!  jp

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bye-Bye 60's

The little graph at left shows the amazing weather we enjoyed during the past week.  Yesterday's official high temperature as a surprising 66 degrees.  Wave bye-bye.  Although today's high is till progged to be 60 degrees, the winds of change will be gusting close to 40 miles per hour as a low pressure system blows in and drops the daytime highs down into the mid-40's.  Tuesday morning's low could be in the 10-20 degree range if the NWS weather wonks have this one right.  Although a modest high pressure will return after this low moves through, daytime highs will struggle to get back into the 50's.  It's been great to enjoy such phenomenal late October weather and we're sad to see it go.

The weather was perfect this weekend for all the outside chores Susun tackled.  She was a whirling dervish both days.  Yesterday, she practically sprinted around the property while buttoning up the flower beds and pots.  She was pretty amazing to watch and she didn't stop until it was all done and totally tidy.  Good thing she had that level of energy as conditions are going to be anywhere near as friendly in coming days.

We made real good progress on a variety of tasks but our productivity paled in comparison to her's.  At least we did get those pop-top zippers lubricated during the heat of the day and they work much better now.  The camper rig itself is very close to being feng shui and ready to roll.  Although we both have no doubt we will have everything rigged and ready come 11/1/11, we hope next year to have all these chores done far more in advance.  It would have been really great to be able to take off and enjoy the great weather this weekend.

Ah, well, 'tis the price we pay for being migratory.

It was a fine surprise to see a blog comment from DF & LBR Nemac this morning.  Thanks, Nancy!

Not much else to report.  Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Sunday, October 23, 2011

LBR Rainbow

DF & LBR Maggie & Hubby Steve went up to fish and camp out on Lake Powell this past weekend.  They left Friday and have just settled back into Home Life in Flagstaff.  Since the fishing wasn't all that good, they went off and visited the world famous Rainbow Bridge.  It was Maggie's first time to that World Heritage Site.  We suspect Steve has been there a few times prior.  Anyway, don't they look positively great?  I mean this is a Classic American Photograph.  Way to GO, Maggie & Steve, for "gettin' out there" and enjoying the very BEST Arizona has to offer.  We salute you.  Carry on.

Many Cheers, jp

Looking ahead

Today's the beginning of our last full week here in Idaho this year.  We're starting our semi-annual countdown phase now.  We have a mere nine full days left before pulling out on to I-15 for the 800-mile journey south.  Halloween is our last full day--how appropriate, eh?  Trick or Treat!  That's sure going to be a busy day what with turning off the utilities, blowing pipes and all the rest of the ritual.  Each of the upcoming days is pretty well going to be packed with a seemingly endless array of tasks and chores far too small to mention.  From past experience we know the "daze" ahead will go by in a high speed blur.  It seems to be one of the fundamental laws of migrating that the days go faster the closer you get to departure.  Luckily this year, we are way ahead of our game and have hope that this week will not be too wildly hyper.  Cross our fingers.

The weather looks great for travel the first week of November--relatively warm and probably dry.  Snowfall looks highly unlikely at this time. No worries there.  Temps in Rimrock should be in the 60's and no higher than the 70's when we arrive--typical blissful fall Arizona weather.  Overnight lows have been in the 30's there already and those conditions are forecast to continue in early November.

We're toying with the idea to depart from our normal I-15 travel route at Nephi so we can take the two-lane highways down through Salina, Richfield and Big Rock Candy Mountain to Marysvale the first night.  We ought to be able to get that far.  Under this possible plan, we would stay in a Marysvale RV park for two nights. On Wednesday, we'd take SuziQ up into the Tushar Mountains on some sweet old mining roads.  That neck of the woods is considered by many to be ATV Heaven and many of the ATV trails are actually suitable for and shared with vehicles such as the Samurai.  In this scenario, we'd probably arrive in Rimrock rather late on Thursday afternoon. We definitely need to arrive no later than Friday so we can use a work week day to tidy up loose ends.

Saturday we're heading over to Cottonwood for Bob Rothrock's 60th birthday party.  (Bob's heading this group now.) Anyway, our first couple of days in Ol' Airy Zonie are going to be pretty hectic.  Hopefully, we can get at least one ceremonial camp fire up and flickering prior to Saturday night.  Things should settle down the following week.  Kate Blevin's birthday bash will be a biggie on 11-11-11.  She and her husband Brock helped Spudboater and we celebrate the famous 7-7-7 party out at Bowery Guard Station.  We expect the 11-11-11 event to be at least as memorable.

By mid-November, we will be down in Mesa so Susun can fly out on the 19th for a long overdue session of hugging and playing with her grandsons.  Mom Sarah sent the photo at the top of this post yesterday.  Gage and Van are feeding a young goat at one of those Pumpkin-themed events so popular with the kiddies.  Susun sure misses them!

Before we know it, November will be over.  That's what generally happens this time of year--time flies faster than normal.

This morning looks perfect for a Sunday bicycle ride.  We sure will miss this weekly ritual of pedaling 'round the Greenbelt.  The colors here now are magnificent.  Only a few trees have started dropping leaves.  Driving back and forth through the tree-lined streets here is akin to a psychedelic journey through a kaleidoscope.

Have a great day & Many Cheers!  jp

Friday, October 21, 2011

Slogging and blogging

Whenever we're getting ready to migrate, it always seems like every day of the last couple of weeks before departure is essentially the same.  You just slog along trying to get as much stuff done as possible each day while knowing full well there will ALWAYS be a few things you forget to do.  You typically remember such things when you are at least 200 miles away from home.  It's one of the fundamental laws of travel.

It never ceases to amaze either of us just how many little nit-picky details are involved in preparing to leave for a few months.  Looking back over the past few weeks, we are amazed at the amount of work we've accomplished.  However, looking forward as the next 10 days tick down to departure, we're equally amazed at the amount of work remaining to be done.  At least we know our prep work will end the morning of 11/1/11 when we fire up our caravan and head south.

No matter how many times we do this drill, it never becomes any easier.  In fact, a case could be made that each time becomes slightly more difficult, perhaps because we gain new knowledge about other stuff that needs to be done.  There will always be things we wish we would have brought with us but there's no way to know what those things are until we are 800 miles away.

Perhaps three of the more interesting things we tackled yesterday were: zipper lube, resealing Gore-Tex and buying fresh rechargeable AA batteries.  You'd think all three would be real easy chores.  You'd be wrong.  We're guessing our combined time spent on all those dinky tasks approached three hours yesterday.  That's just an example of how much time gets wasted on seemingly menial chores.  Luckily, the three hours actually did result in finding appropriate products to fill those pressing needs.

Why is zipper lube so important anyway?  Well, our Skamper pop-top camper is 25 years old.  There's two sets of really, really LOONG metal zippers for each window.  One zipper for each screen and one zipper for each vinyl window.  That means there are ten total huge, long zippers.  Each zipper is probably six feet long so that means there are about 60 feet of total zippers in that rig.  Trust me, a 25-year-old metal zipper can get pretty cantankerous.  Now if you get impatient and try to force one of those zippers, you can permanently destroy the zipper--it can't be fixed.  This has happened to us before and we live in fear of it happening to us again.  Hence, the Hail Mary plea for effective zipper lube.  We think we've found the correct product to save these zippers but such research takes gobs of time.

Susun attended the Idaho Falls Beautification Commission meeting Wednesday.  DF & LBR Terry M. invited her so she could consider whether she might actually want to apply for official membership on the group.  Well, Susun loved the meeting so today we're going to put together her letter of application.  The group has no problem with Susun being gone all winter long.  She would be a perfect fit for such a Commission.  She's excited and we are, too.  THANKS, Terry!

DR & LBR Maggie J. returned recently from taking her elderly 80-something Mom back to Cleveland and Chicago for a visit with her Mom's relatives and childhood friends.  Maggie sent a glowing account of just how perfectly the trip went--no problems whatsoever and a good time was had by all.

Have a great day with Many Cheers, jp

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

City of Rocks Reprise

Spudboater went through well over 300 photos and picked out a mere 15 of them to add to her blog.  They are all classics and we love them dearly.  Thank You, SB!  YA DUN GOOD!  Click here to go-see-um.


What can we say?  When the trees here start to "fire off," we all just stand around total "shock and awe" just like we do the night of July 4th when the fireworks kick off over The Snake River at John's Hole.  There's no way a photo can do this tree justice.  To see it person is almost a transcendental experience.  It glows and pulsates in a way that we humans dearly loves.  "SWEET!"  (As Napoleon Dynamite would say.)

We talk a lot about what we do each day these days.  We fiddle with this and that and it just goes on and on and on like the Energizer Bunny, only slower.  Being Official Neo-Tropical Migratory Human People, we have a lot of stuff to do to get ready to go from hither to yonni. Each of our days is mostly consumed with minute details such a shift in geo-locations entails.  At left is my "TODOS" list for tomorrow.  I'll be lucky to get half of it done but at least that many items will be off :the list.  By the way--we pronounce "TODOS" as this: "TOE-DOZE."  Some people would pronounce it as in a "To Do List" only plural. Nah, Toe- Doze works better for us and is vaguely Spanglish in a good way.  Susun thinks it's way too esoteric.  It works for me.

Because we have been fertilizing our yard way too much this year, it is still growing like it thinks it is on steroids.  YIKES!  It's grown as at least two inches since we last mowed it.  It's a beast that won't stop growing.

We played another round of Junior Golf today.  Houn' Dawg simply couldn't resist being called out on a $5 bet.  Last year he smoked our fanny when we bet him five bucks we could beat him.  He put on a show last year. This year?  Not so much.  I carded 27 and he had to live with a final score of 31, four strokes down.  He pulled out a five dollar bill and handed it to me.  I could tell it pained him greatly.  I did have to acknowledge I took advantage of him and he agreed I did.  I tried to apologize but he told me, "You're not sorry one bit, you loved kicking my arse."

Well, yeah, he got that right.

It's the nice thing to do to say you are sorry--even if you aren't.
Sorry, Houn' Dawg, I loved every minute!

Have a great evening & Many Cheers, jp

Peak O' The Season

'Tis fall at its finest here in Idaho Falls.  The colors are gorgeous. The weather is perfect.  Life is good.  Monday and Tuesday were largely spent doing the usual "get ready to go" kind of chore.  DF & LBR Terry M. and I played a great round of golf yesterday.  There was nobody else on the little short course and surprisingly few people on the big course.  Conditions simply couldn't have been better.

We received an email from DF & LBR Deano B. up in Oregon a couple of days ago.  This past weekend, he and Lora played a version of extreme croquet with a group of friends.  They finished first and Deano said it might have had something to do with their exposure to our mildly extreme croquet set up there at Second Chance Ranch.  The rules of the game they played sound positively wicked.  Here they are:

Marquis of Queensbury Rules

This is NOT your parents’ croquette game, though the process of passing through the hoops in succession and touching both the far and home posts is the same.

Two persons, a runner and a hunter comprise a team. The runner moves his/her ball through the numbered hoops in sequence and strikes the first post on the opposite end of the field. It is the hunter’s job to protect his/her runner while inflicting the maximum amount of havoc on the opponents’ balls*. Upon striking the far post, the runner and hunter change roles. This is called, in polite circles, dimorphism. The new runner must return, through the hoops, to the first post.
The hunter seeks out the balls of runners of the opposing team or those of unrepentant rogues (see 4 below). The hunter tries to “whack” the other balls after first touching (hitting) them. To execute a “whack”, place the hunter ball next to the touched ball, foot on the hunter ball and smack the hunter ball, sending the touched ball into orbit. The hunter, flush with victory, gets another free turn.
Upon reaching the first post, the runner, fed up with being whacked, becomes a hunter. Revenge is sweet. The hunter of the same team suffers a twinge of conscience at inflicting wanton destruction and havoc and becomes a runner.
The unrepentant rogue is a person who starts the game attached to no team. He/she lives only to “whack” any ball within range. When a runner of any team hits the first post, the unrepentant rogue sees the error of his/her antisocial behavior and becomes a devout pacifist. The devout pacifist becomes a runner who starts at the far post and tries to make it back to the home post. The devout pacifist becomes dependent on the good will of the hunters not to smack him/her into oblivion.
If there are a large number of players, two simultaneous games can be run together. Teams playing different games begin at opposite posts. When the teams meet somewhere in the middle of the course, a Cry Havoc! occurs. This is generally a free-for all where runners can attack members of the opposing-game teams. Rogues, having no scruples whatever, attack everyone.
The first runner or devout pacifist to move back to the home post and tap it is the winner! It might be noted that during the long and illustrious existence of the game, there have been very few survivors.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Yesterday was our last ICORE pistol match of 2011.  The acronym means "International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts."  There really aren't too many people who shoot revolvers these days.  Everyone wants to shoot automatic pistols. Revolvers?  Not so much. The group you see above is about all there is in Eastern Idaho--at least those who care to compete with each other.  It's a lot of fun to shoot with these guys.

Yesterday was very special because Mike and his son, Chance, participated in a competitive pistol match for the very first time.  Bear in mind that basically NO young people want to shoot old-fashioned revolvers.  How passé, as they say.  The guys who shoot in ICORE like to boast that the group is only for Old Fat Guys because they are the only ones left who care about revolvers.  So, having Mike and Chance show up to be viable competitors was a huge breath of welcome fresh air.  There probably hasn't been a 13-year-old shoot in the Eastern Idaho ICORE in its entire history.

Having shot with Mike and Chance a few times this summer and having known Mike for four years now, we knew Chance would do very well.  However, the other guys didn't know what to expect.  You could almost hear everyone hold their breath when Chance stepped to the firing line for his very first stage.  As soon as he started shooting, you could hear a collective exhale and see everyone relax and smile and nod to each.  Chance is a young male Annie Oakley and at the end of his first stage, one Old Fat Guy (not me) yelled out "WAY TO GO, KIDDO!"  Many of them actually went over to Chance to slap him on the back or shake his hand or say something real nice, at least as much as Old Fat Guys know how to make nice.

The second stage was a real whopper--42 shots--by far the longest stage I have ever shot in a match.  Shooting forty-two rounds in a single stage is basically unheard of and it requires a lot of logistical management, razor sharp focus and attention to lots of details.  Chance performed flawlessly, as well he did on the remaining two stages.  Altogether the pistol match consumed about 120 rounds.

Chance was shooting a very heavy, long-barrel .357 revolver and he didn't tire out--his aim held straight and true throughout the five hour event.  When the results were emailed out later last night, Chance ranked fourth overall in terms of his accuracy.  His accuracy was better than  people there who have been shooting three or four times as many years as Chance has been alive.  Chance actually beat his Dad's time on two of the four stages, too.  (Accuracy and time are measured separately in an ICORE match.) Mike did real well, finishing ahead of me by 17 seconds and impressing the ICORE regulars.

The fellow at left below is Elden Dalley.  He's the Match Director and also the founder of the Eastern Idaho chapter of ICORE.  He's one heck of a pistol shooter and routinely finishes first as he did again yesterday.  He would make Wyatt Earp slink off the OK Corral playing field.  Elden gave Chance some hearty congratulations at the end of the match and said later in an email, "Chance is a great kid that will undoubtedly make all who know him proud."  Mike was practically glowing after the match and sent an email later in which he said, "The most important thing to me though is several times on the way home Chance told me 'I had a LOT of fun today...I mean REALLY a lot of fun!'."  It was definitely a Dear Diary Day experience.  THANKS, Elden, for making this sport possible and THANKS, Mike & Chance for giving it your best shot!

Many Cheers, jp

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Our corn has three strikes against it this year.  A) WAY late start from seed; B) A windstorm blew it over; and C) There were too few plants for viable pollination.  Despite all of these drawbacks, we did manage to actually get six ears of decent looking corn.  The Mother Ear that provided seed was all a uniform dark red so we have no idea how this corn evolved.  There was no corn anywhere nearby.  It's beautiful corn and we love it, of course.  Notice the interesting radiant pattern in some of the kernels in the bottom photo.  If those kernels remain viable over the winter and test ok with a controlled germination next spring, they will be the ones we plant. Wouldn't it be great to have some uniform ears with such a spectacular pattern?  Maybe we will ever try to find a piece of ground in the country where we can get permission to seed several rows of such corn EARLY next year.  This corn barely had time to get its act together before the growing season ended with a thud.

Happy Mid-October

Seems odd that half of October is history now.  We have barely two weeks left here in Tater Nation where King Tot rules from a french fry throne.

Susun really enjoyed the symphony last night and had all sorts of tales to tell this morning.  She will miss all her social and cultural opportunities when we head south but she sure is excited to visit with her many Arizona Friends soon.

Goatherder had an uncommon day yesterday.  He actually performed as a real live Minister and officiated at a wedding.  No kidding.  Here is an account of his exploits in his own words via email:

"I did a wedding today. Real big deal. Lotsa rich persons.You think of a name in the old Verde, they were there. Tavasci, Mulcaire, Mongini, Groseta, all them (Sons of The Italian Pioneers)* who settled here first.  Big tent, catered food, twinkling lights, vineyard below the house. (Pretty woman)* marrying a real nice kid. His mom used to be my boss. I worked out a whole wedding ceremony with 7 blessings, Hopi prayers and the whole nine yards. They loved it. an old lady called me "reverend" and asked me what my church was. I told her Our Lady Of Dubious Miracles. She said "oh, how nice". A good time had by all. I charged the newly weds a case of Guinness. Life is darn good."

*Words in parenthesis are not Goatherders.  We had to substitute our own words suitable for a family blog.  Our apologies, GH.

By the way, GH made a comment yesterday that explained how sixth graders are all dialed into undersea volcanoes.  Who knew?  Speaking of volcanoes, there's one rumbling in Iceland right now that could be a real game changer.  When it erupted in the 1780's it changed the climate so profoundly that the Mississippi River froze at New Orleans!  King Vulcan rox.

Our shooting match went well yesterday.  We qualified at the Marksman level with one of our pistols and we were very happy.

Today's yet another pistol match while Susun goes for our Sunday bike ride with Dear Friend Teresa.  Later  we will continue tinkering with trip preparations and take out the last of our garden.  Stay tuned for photos later today of some really nice looking, colorful October corn.

We've been swapping some emails with Verde Valley Historian Bill Cowan.  He has a book coming out December 5th on Verde history and photos.  We are excited to actually be there when his book debuts.  Bill has been trying to pinpoint the location of The Wales Arnold homestead near our straw house.  We plan to work with him soon to finally determine exactly there the Arnold Place was situated.  Should be a real interesting project.  It was the very first, original homestead in the entire Verde Valley!

Not much else to report--the trees are only days away from their peak of fall color.  We'll roam around soon and hopefully produce a photo album.  We've learned the trick to getting photos up here is to only take a FEW photos--not a lot of them.  Somehow, we get overwhelmed trying to process giant quantities of photos and then none of them ever see the light of day. 

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Busy Saturday ahead

As each of recent days have neared their beddie-bye end, we remark to each other, "Another nice day, eh?"  However, what actually transpired to make it a nice day?  Not much really.  We both have been out and about, doing this and that and presumably getting a lot of stuff done.  Such stuff is probably important to each of us but would bore the socks off anyone else.  One of our Arizona Friends calls it the "stuff of life." 

Playing golf the other day was a great highlight to this fine week.  Carrie & Terry are really fine golfing partners.  After our outing Thursday, Susun and I began a discussion on a new way to keep score: "Laughs Per Hole."  The person who generates the most laughs per hole wins.  We all shared a lot of great laughs that afternoon.

Susun has a busy day ahead and will be going to the season's first symphony tonight.  There's a new conductor at the helm and he received a real positive review in this morning's newspaper.  We're sure she will have a great time there in the Civic Auditorium.  The blog author doesn't do symphonies so we will be left to our own devices tonight.

So whazzup for Little Yonni?  Well, it's a shootenanny today.  It's what is called The IDPA Classifier.  The Classifier is normally staged only once a year.  The first classifier was held the weekend in June when we went out to the East Fork to visit Heather's Dream Ranch.  Luckily Doug McK., the IDPA Match Director, decided to conduct a second Classifier today.  Basically, participants shoot tightly choreographed "strings" of targets.  If your time is less than a certain level then you are classified according to various skill levels.  I will have to shot 90 rounds at the assortment of targets in roughly about three minutes in order to make at least the Marksman classification.  I will attempt to classify with three different pistols so that means we'll have to shoot 270 rounds total today.  We tuned up yesterday by shooting 300 rounds in practice for today's event.  Because of the length of the stages and strings, we will be out at the range for at least 5-6 hours today.  Long day!  And there will be another pistol match tomorrow, too. 

Spudboater put up a real nice post about her daughter's birthday.  You can click here to read it.

Well, in closing, we'd like to muse about something we saw at the WINCO Spa & Relaxation Center this week.  The exit area from this mega-grocery has several vending machines that are kid magnets.  They are the type of machines that have been around for decades.  Each machine is filled with a big pile of dolls, gee-gaws and all the sorts of goofy stuff that sends kids into a frenzy.  I've lost count of kids throwing fits in front of those machines. There's always some silly little thing inside that they just have to have or they go into tantrum mode.  We suppose you well know the type of machines we are describing.

OK, so we saw something in one of those machines this week that caused to laugh out loud and we've chuckling about it ever since.  It's an "Undersea Volcano."  No kidding.  A real, live Undersea Volcano.  You can push a button on it and it glows and rumbles and it acts like it's getting ready to spit out magma.  I kid oyu not.  Now, class, the question here is this:  What kind of a kid is going to glue his little runny nose to the window of this machine and throw a tantrum if he or she isn't allowed to attempt to win the Undersea Volcano?  Have we perhaps missed a new trend in childhood education?  Have Undersea Volcanoes somehow outpolled Justin Beiber?  When did Undersea Volcanos suddenly become the apple of the proverbial childhood eye?  I am really at a loss to determine anything at all about the popularity of Undersea Volcanoes in Kiddie Land.  Perhaps one of our LBRs know more about this than we do.  We sure would appreciate some insights into this puzzler.  And, in the meantime, heck, I might even drop in my quarter and try to fish me out my very own Undersea Volcano!

Many Cheers!  jp

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fearsome Foursome

The Way We Were!


There's more--we just wanted to get this photo up for Susun's Daughters to enjoy.  WHOA!


No, not THOSE "Sixties," we're talking temps in the sixties here for the next few days.  Time for some fall frolicking!

Susun was her busy butterfly self again yesterday.  She and Dina went to see Delbert and he approved a plan to plant the blooming bulbs.  City workers will also cut the perennials back by at least half--some of them are threatening to take over the flower beds.  The whole garden will be a different palette when we return in late April.   Susun spent a long lunch with her friend Joni, Jana's Mom, at the Mi Pueblo on First Street.  We're sure going to miss that little taco joint.  They have the best fish tacos in town for a mere buck seventy-five.

For our part, yesterday was one of those post-full-moon days where nothing seems to go according to plan.  We did manage to check a lot of tasks on the Skamper off our list.  We've found that there's really only one way to mess with menial minutia--buckle down and "git 'er dun."  If we defer such tasks, they never get done.  If we attack them right after a trip, we make great progress.  However, on a day such as yesterday, every task takes twice as long as normal.  We also made some City of Rocks photo CD's and mailed them off to Spudboater so maybe she can chill out now.

The whole mailing process was interesting enough to describe here.  Our main Post Office is an antiquated artifact of the 1960's that's woefully understaffed to handle the typical crush of customers.  Sure enough, when we arrived there was a long line and every one in front of us appeared to be mailing large packages overseas.  Yikes.  Meanwhile, when we entered the building we noticed a relatively new self-service kiosk in the lobby.  What the heck?  Might as well try it.  The whole process was incredibly painless and FAST.  In fact, it was even easier than dealing with a real person at the counter.  Payment is blazing fast--much like using your card as a gas pump. Not only that but the machine printed out a label which included space to address the envelope to Spudboater.  The label has all sorts of cool bar codes and such on it meaning that it would scan far faster than an ordinary envelope.  We were very impressed and decided the self-service machine is now our "go to" gig whenever we head off to ye ol' PO.  The whole process was a bright spot of positive energy in our day.

Speaking of menial minutia, have you ever tried to find PAPER hot cups lately?  Well, good luck.  We went to several stores looking for them and came up empty handed and puzzled.  It seems that all hot cups these days are foam--the paper ones are dinosaurs.  Susun and I really dislike using disposable foam cups, plates or bowls so we refused to buy the foam cups. None of the major stores sell paper hot cups.  After we'd actually given up, we stumbled into some of them in the dollar store.  They must be cast off artifacts or something.  Sign of the times we suppose.

Dear Friends Kate & Brad (AKA: Goatherder) celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary this week.  Congratulations, Kate & Brad!!  Naturally, Goatherder wrote a poignant blog post about their anniversary dinner.  You can click here to read it.

Kirsty has been having the same "photo problem" on her blog that we've been experiencing on this blog.  In her latest post she says, "And then I take all these zillions of photos and I can’t decide which to share. Ridiculous. So I share none of them? Ludicrous!"  Aye, we sure understand that one, Kirsty.  Anyway, Kirsty managed to "get over it" and posted up tons of photos of her Family's really cute baby girl.  As Kirsty said in concluding her post, "I wonder how many times I used the word 'cute'?"  Probably not enough would be our answer.  You can click here to read Kirsty's the post entitled "Can't Handle The Cuteness."

Meanwhile, Yeoman blogger Wayne Ranney has hit a temporary speed bump in his blogging.  His computer won't cooperate.  Bummer, Wayne, throw some Coconino Sandstone at it, maybe that will help.

Looks like a golfing we will go today.  Have a great Thursday & Many Cheers, jp

PS--All blog comments will once again be moderated. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Granny Grins!

Here's Susun's two Beach Boyz Grand Sons at Oceanside today.  A photo like this brings BIG Granny Grins!
Thanks, Sarah,  for posting up this beautiful picture.  (Van is at left, Gage at right)


The trees are going about their business now.  They are beginning to turn colors.  Some areas are becoming quite bright in their fall foliage.  Others are laggards.  We're less than three weeks from departure.  The peak of colors will undoubtedly occur while we are still here.  The leaves won't be dropping in time for us to deal with them.  We're going to "leave" that chore to others this year.  We'll find out next spring just how good of a job they did.  In the meantime, watching the annual Rite of Fall take place is one of the things that makes Idaho Falls so special.  It's as if the Midwest gets imported onto the Snake River Plain for a few weeks.  We become an oasis of showy color in a giant sea of pale sage green stretching far beyond the lion-maned barley stubble.  People here are now talking about whether we will have any good weather windows and, of so, how many there might be before the curtain drops and fall's finery disappears into another dusty Kodak moment gone by.  There's definitely going to be a few days this week when we can enjoy our local Great Outdoors.  We might even play golf on Friday--Susun, Carrie, Terry and me.  Meanwhile, there's shooting matches both days this weekend and (cross your fingers) the nice weather might even hold out for them.  More blustery fall weather is expected to return later Sunday.  That's the way it goes this time of year--wee windows of wondrous weather placed between periods of high wind, rain, freezing temperatures and all the rest of the nasty stuff that serves are a precursor for the onset of winter.

What happened to all of our City of Rocks photos?  Yikes!  There's so many of them, we are overwhelmed.  We will try to post up some of them but it's such a time-consuming chore.  We guess it's best simply to move on and hope we can get a "round to it" soon.  Meanwhile, it's back to the checklists and go-go for our GO on November 1st.  That's right.  We've picked a definite departure date--Tuesday morning, November 1.  The only thing that will keep us here is a serious snow storm or freezing rain on the interstate.  Otherwise, we're outta here.

Susun spent her morning at the dentist getting all sorts of marvelous new things done.  Too bad dentists don't have something akin to frequent smiler miles or whatever.  She's been so good about enduring all of the various procedures.  Nary a complaint has been heard from her throughout the protracted process.  Some would call it an ordeal but to Susun it appears it's just part of life and she goes on with a beaming smile to light her way.  Way to Go, Sweetie!

Susun hosted Dina for lunch yesterday.  The two covered lots of topics but the one of most interest to this blog is Hilda's Garden.  They will go meet with Delbert soon to see if they can plant a lot of tulip and daffodils before we leave.  There's no springtime color in that garden and some blooming bulbs would be a great addition.

Susun spent the evening with some of her other girlfriend's at Lee's house.  Apparently, the highlight of the evening was a dancing contest harking to Dancing With the Stars.  Oh, how the ladies love to dance!

Little Yonni spent the day running errands all across our fair city.  He spent the evening loading ammo for the upcoming shooting matches this weekend.  Today will be largely a mirror image of yesterday--lots of merely mundane meanderings.

Have a great day & Many Cheers!  jp

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rock On

The rather famous cartoon canine Scooby Do has a two-word pet reprise he repeats often in his TV and movie roles: "Rock On."  Echoes of that doggy ditty rattled 'round my brain over the weekend as Susun, Spudboater and Little Yonni soaked up the splendor and basked in the beauty at City of Rocks.

It was almost precisely two years to the day when we last visited this strange and wonderful granitic garden. Once again on this trip we promised each other we would do an annual Columbus Day weekend trip there every year forever (at least as long as our own "forevers" allow).  We sure hope we keep that promise!

The word "enchanting" is often used in rather specious and dubious contexts.  What really IS enchanting?  Well, we can tell you without doubt that The City of Rocks is clearly enchanting.  Use of the word "enchanting" to describe City of Rock is actually somewhat of an understatement.  There are really no apt words to portray the look, feel and collective impact of City of Rocks.  It is a place practically without peer.  Yes, there are many magical and often mystical landmarks and landscapes spread out across our Glorious Globe. Although City of Rocks is but a tiny little gemstone in Earth's glittering crown of such places, it sits alone in the sheer strangeness of its rock spires and skyscrapers.

A visit to City of Rocks offers a renewal of our awe for Earth's power and prowess to daze and dazzle the eyes, hearts and spirits of mere humans. Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Yosemite and other such majestic icons are obviously bigger and more overwhelming in the scope and scape of their own charms.  Yet City of Rock's small size becomes somehow more up close and personal while still connecting the visitor with thoughts of time eternal and primal forces beyond our feeble imaginations.  City of Rocks is endearing and enjoyable in ways that the larger landscapes lack.  This trip brought all of the above thoughts home to heart once again and reminded us of what we love that little place so much.  City of Rocks is to Earth's gorgeous geology what a news bulletin is to a breaking story of global interest--a nano-glimpse into the vastness of our world.

Back when America was digging its way out of The Great Depression, the federal government paid legions of writers to prepare a book about each of the 48 states.  Idaho's edition was published in 1937.  We love an anonymous writer's description of City of Rocks back then: "The whole chaotic, drunkenly fantastic region runs through such a variety of erosive change..."  Aye!  Chaotic, indeed!  Rock ON!

We left Idaho Falls about 8:30 Friday under a heavy, foggy overcast with a light rainy mist in the air.  The farther south we drove, the better the weather became.  It was easy to see that it had rained hard the night before, sugar beet fields were mud bogs with large pools of standing water everywhere.  Soon the overcast began to turn beautifully blue as puffy clouds pranced amid the sunshine.

We drove up to the City of Rocks Visitor Center about 11:30 and within less than 60 seconds, Spudboater drove right in behind us.  Our mutual timing was perfect and we three knew right then and there that we had embarked on a perfect weekend outing.  We drove up the wet and sometimes muddy road into "The City," as it is called by the locals.  The place was surprisingly busy.  Rock climbers dangled here and there like earrings on the granite lobes.  The main parking lot was nearly full.  As we drove higher, we hit the snowline and some snow it was.  The first campsite we pulled into sported a picnic table covered with six inches of snow!  Brrr....

While Susun held that chilly spot, we drove off in search of the perfect campsite and actually found it--Site #37,  about a quarter mile downhill from the Bath Rock parking lot and, fortunately, well below the snowline.  Although the ground was saturated, at least it wasn't covered with cold snow.  SB proclaimed the camp site the best drive-up car camp site she had ever seen.  Susun and I easily agreed.  Everything about it was wonderful and it easily provided one of the finest camp site views any of us could remember.

After setting up camp and relaxing for awhile, we went off hiking along the Creekside Towers and then down South Fork Creek to The Stairway.  Happy Hour was a delightful occasion.  Spudboater brought six boxes of the finest cured camp fire wood and we enjoyed some of the best camp fires we've had in a really long time.

We had a great time setting up Scooby Doo, Wholly Cow, Mickey, Minnie, Nors, Greta Garbo Goat, The Four Potato Heads and Jack and Seren Dippity.  Oh, how our mascots frolicked this weekend.  The Potato Heads were the stars of the weekend show and behaved admirably as "scene stealers" throughout the trip.

Sunday developed into one of those rare, pristine, absolutely knock-out fall days we all so dearly love.  After a lazy morning, we set off on a great 2.5 hour hike simply milling around on the short Disneyland-style trails that honeycomb to and fro amid the granite's grandeur.

Spudboater fixed a tremendous Sunday evening Thai dinner.  She fed us most of our food on this trip and really went the Extra Mile to being a smile to our happy meals.  We tried to play some extreme croquet but it proved to be extremely extreme and we gave up after one of the balls went over a cliff and dived a couple of hundred feet into oblivion.  Perhaps there really is actually a limit to where you can play extreme croquet after all.

Rocking On in The City is not just soaking up the scenery and pondering the pluton, it's all about history, too.  You see, City of Rocks is place where you can peek at a pivotal chapter of our Nation's past.  Untold tens of thousands of pilgrims plodded past on The California Trail with dreams of golden riches fueling their futures.  One can look out across the horizon and see ghostly imaginations of their long and dusty wagon trains.

Susun entertained us at the Sunday campfire with her own version of DWTS--that's "Dancing With The Susun."  She used a few of those glow-in-the-dark light wands to put on quite an entertaining show.

After such a fine weekend, we all packed rather slowly on Monday morning and drove back out of The City about 11 am.  The trip back to Idaho Falls went quickly.  It seemed like in no time at all, we were home and facing our own City Chores here once again.  There was stuff to unpack, a lawn to be mowed, errands to run and more.  Susun quickly reverted into her Social Butterfly self and flitted off with Shirley G. to attend "The Muslims Are Coming" show at the Colonial Theater with about 250 other eclectic souls.

The rain began falling not long after we mowed the yard.  Somehow, we managed to squeeze into two days wonderful at The City between two big storms--one on Friday night and the next one on Monday night.  Somehow, we knew it was going to be a perfect weekend when we both arrived within seconds of each other at the Visitor Center Saturday.  And, you know what?  Somehow it was!

Thanks, Spudboater, for getting us "out there" and Thanks for doing so much in so many ways to make some magical moments in The City.

We will be posting photos--we took hundreds of pictures--sometime soon.

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day Late

We're heading out early this morning.  Took all day to rig--didn't finish until 6:30 pm.  Spudboater went to visit friends in Rupert and will meet us around noon in Almo, home of the famous fictional massacre.  We moved the Twitter to the top once again in case we simply HAVE to say something.  Click here for our 2009 City of Rocks blog to learn more about the place.  The National Park Service has some fabulous photos of City of Rocks.  You can click here to see all of their various online albums.  We'll see ya Monday.  have a great weekend & Many Cheers!  jp

Friday, October 7, 2011

Frigid Friday

If we thought it was cold yesterday morning, it feels a lot colder today.  The temperature has had only a 3 degree range since 11 am yesterday, staying between 32 and 35 degrees.  And, yes, it snowed some more overnight.  In fact, only three hours out of the last 48 have been officially "dry" at the NWS weather data recording station near the city's airport.  Our total precipitation for this event is now over an inch.  Normally, an inch of water produces a foot of snow.  The snow that fell overnight and yesterday probably tallied only six inches of snow which means it was about as heavy and wet as raw concrete.  Since not a single tree in the city has yet dropped its leaves, that heavy wet snow wrecked havoc on the beautiful trees of Idaho Falls.  The local newspaper's morning Page One banner headline today screams, "TORN LIMB FROM LIMB."  As we peer upon the Currier & Ives wintry scene from inside the warm, cushy confines of our bungalow, we wonder precisely how to go about rigging for this camping trip we're attempting to embark upon today.  Everything appears to be frozen solid outside.  It fills us with The Big Chill just looking at it, let alone working in it.  Once again "Brrrrr...." is the word of the day.  Remember that goofy song "The Bird is the Word."  It had a catchy melody to it.  Here are the simplistic lyrics. Just change the word "Bird" to "Brrr..." and then please sing along with me!  (Our weekly blog stats are below the lyrics.)  Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Well everybody's heard about the bird !
Bird bird bird, the bird is the word !

Everybody's heard about the bird !
Bird bird bird, the bird is the word !

Don't you know about the bird?
Well everybody's heard about the bird !

Bird bird bird, the bird is the word !
Bird bird bird, the bird is the word ! Yeah !

Well everybody's heard, about the bird !

Everybody's heard, about the bird !

Everybody's heard, about the bird !
Everybody's heard, about the bird !

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Thursday, October 6, 2011


The Oswald Family got into auto repair right after World War II ended.  They've stayed here in the same location for three generations going on at least 60+ years.  Nobody in the Oswald Family exactly knows when they started.  Times change.  They built a new auto repair shop and they are moving there within a week or two.  It's only a block away as they are stick true to their roots in Downtown Idaho Falls.
When we were having the Big Truck (Annie) fixed the other day we got to talking with the The Third Generation of the Oswald Family.  We said, "Hey, how 'bout we come down and take a couple of hundred photos of your Old Place before you move to your New Place?"  Kevin said yes.  We waited for a good weather window but none showed up so we went down today in the worst of weather and took 101 photos.  We will take another 100+ pictures next week, too.

Kevin and the guys are very excited to move into a brand new, spacious shop.  We are taking all of the photos so someday they can look back and remember their "roots."   The soon-to-be-vacated old shop is a total throwback to the 1950's, long before vehicle repair became sanitized, corporate and computerized.  The photo below shows one of the artifacts on their wall and, believe it or not, the 1950's thermometer inside the faded bubble still actually works!  It was a lot of fun having free rein to photograph their shop on a snowy day.


Four years ago, we moved into this house on September 21st.  On October 4th that year, we were walloped by a big, wet heavy snow storm.  Thousands of limbs were ripped off trees.  We had our own mini-epic here we will tell later.  Anyway, today is a near repeat of that incident four years ago, almost to the exact day.  It's been snowing like crazy here and the limbs are popping like corn in a movie theater lobby.  We've lost one big one so far (bottom photo) but we've been real lucky compared to a lot of other people.  We will post more later on today.  Much to do at the moment. Be forewarned will probably lose our internet access here very soon as our service provider is the cable company and our signal comes via wires that wind through streets and alleys.    It's only a matter of time before a tree takes down the wire that connects our house to the outside world.


It's really coming down.  There's limbs snapping all over the city.  The snow is weighing on the leaves.  I had to dodge a lot of limbs running errands already today.  SOme people are already shoveling the snow and it's almost deep enough to think of using the snow blower.  This is wild.

Goin' campin', huh?


As predicted, our local temperatures dropped with a resounding thud.  Boink.  A few days ago we were well above 80 degrees and now here we are sitting below 40 degrees.  As we noted before, somebody upstairs sits beside a switch laughing a sinister laugh.  When the time comes, that "somebody" gets a glint in their eyes and they flip the switch and laugh hysterically.  When the temperatures fall as far and as fast as they have in recent days, it always seems a lot colder than what the thermometer actually says.  In the middle of winter, 39 degrees would be a veritable tropical heat wave here.  Kids would be prancing around in shorts an t-shirts and flip-flops.  Heck, down in Arizona, we yawn at 40 degrees around our winter evening campfire.  We've stayed out by that campfire down below freezing.  However, 39 degrees coming on the heels of 83 degrees on October 3rd (and 87 on October 1st!) is a real shock to Ye Ol' human thermostat.'s COLD outside!  We've been sitting between 38-41 degrees for almost 12 straight hours.  Susun even remarked this morning that some heat in the house would feel great.  She's got that right.  It's 63 here inside the house right now and that's only 3 degrees away from flipping our own switch--on the gas forced-air furnace!  Time to bundle up, dress warm, sip hot soup and wiggle toes in heavy, warm socks.  We actually, truly really do love the sudden change of seasons here but it DOES takes some "attitude adjustment" to go from hot summer to cold fall in less than a week.

Have a great day & Many Cheers,jp