Saturday, September 29, 2012

Juan-derful Market today

Juan from Shoemaker Farms is proud of his pumpkins.  It was a great day at the market this morning.  All the winter squashes were in abundance.  Shoemaker's was selling acorn squash 3/$1 and butternuts for 50 cents.  You can't grown 'em for that.  We'll have more Farmers Market photos tomorrow morning.

Harvest Moon

No wonder we were gleaning potatoes--we were feeling the affects of the waxing Harvest Moon.  It's full tonight at 9:18 pm MST and put on a show right down 12th Street.  It's quite rare for the full moon to be this visible right smack inside the city.  Usually we only see it when it rises above the urban forest here.

Here's one online explanation of how the Harvest Moon received its name:

In the days before electric lights, farmers depended on bright moonlight to extend the workday beyond sunset.  It was the only way they could gather their ripening crops in time for market.  The full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox became "the Harvest Moon," and it was always a welcome sight.

Unfortunately, we don't have a camera capable of taking decent low light photos.  We tried each of the remaining functional cameras on hand.  The batteries were dead in our good "long lens" Fuji and what you see here is the best we could do with what we have tonight.  It was a splendid sight.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Kids Love Water & Sand

I wish I could cue up a little Beach Boys tune here.  Somehow a riff of "I Get Around" rings in my head for these photos of Gage and Van playing around on the Oceanside Beach.

Round round get around
I get around
Get around round round I get around
I get around
Get around round round I get around


Aren't they all such Sweeties?  We've been remiss in posting up this classic Family Foto of Susun with her daughters and Grand Sons.  Such Sweeties!

Beach Boy & Super Man

These are two of Susun and my favorite photos from her California trip.  Each needs no further explanation.  Van's The Super Man and Gage is The Beach Boy.

Hanging around BLM State Office

Talk about a "blast from the past."  Check this out.  This photo was taken in 2004 or 2005, we can't remember when because, um...well...that's been a long time ago.  It was on National Public Lands Day sometime in September.  The Challis BLM sponsored a tree-planting gig at the Challis Bridge Recreation Site near, guessed it!--CHALLIS, Idaho!

We were out at Bowery Guard Station going a little stir crazy that late in the season so we figured we would volunteer for the BLM on their National Public Lands Day thing.  It was fun.

Our Volunteer Supervisor Jeff Christenson took our photo.  We smiled.  It was fun.  Time passed.  We forgot all about the details of the day.  Every once in awhile in the years since then as we whiz by the site on US Hwy 93 we say, "Remember that day we volunteered there?"  We both nod and whiz on., late in teh day, along comes this email from Jeff who is now with the BLM in Dolores, Colorado.  Here's what he had to say, "Hey John and Susun, Looks like your smiling faces are going to grace the BLM State Office hallways for a while, hope that’s ok.:)"

That's all he said.  Well, it turns out Mister Modesty, Jeff, won three awards for his photography while with the Idaho BLM and his photos are now going to hang on the foyer of the BLM State Office in Boise. He dug up this old photo of us and entered it in the Public on the Land category and it won 1st Place.  Who'd a thunk it?

The photo is grainy because it's a copy of a copy that was used in a collage of all the various winners in teh various categories.  Anyway, that's our story and we're sticking to it.

Tater Nation Benefit

One of the many great benefits of living in Tater Nation is gleaning potatoes each fall. The potato diggers are very efficient but no matter how fine-tuned those giant machines are, they always leave untold thousands of potatoes lying in the fields. We simply drive to the edge of the city and they are--waiting and hoping to find a home in someone's pantry.

 Very few people actually bother to glean potatoes. It's a bygone cultural activity that was once very popular in leaner times. About the only folks who actually glean potatoes any more are people who want to help the local food banks or soup kitchens. Those folks go out by the van load and fill trailers full of potatoes to donate.

 As for ourselves, we simply enjoy gathering perhaps 50-100 pounds depending on our mood. Today, we picked up another maybe 40 pounds to go with the 30 pounds we gleaned earlier this week. We will probably pick up another 30-50 pounds over the weekend.

 Bear in mind, we walk over hundreds of small potatoes while looking for the "keepers." We want the Number One's--and the bigger #1's the better. Every now and then the potato digger machine has a "hiccup" and drops some real nice #1's in a group. That's what the top photo shows. It's a potato windfall! The bottom photo shows Susun with her own #1's that she found one-by-one. It's way more fun than Easter Eggs!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lest We Forget!

We have been doing a lot of "filing" lately.  No, that doesn't mean we are sharpening files.  That means we are inspecting digital and hard copy files and discarding archived items that are no longer relevant to our lives.  Naturally, when we came across these great ancestral photos from Bryan Brown, we simply couldn't hit the delete button.  They accurately show our life as it was 32 years ago on The Colorado River through Grand Canyon, the Rio Grande and Cataract Canyon.

Memorial Memories

Some of the DR & LBR's here know how much we love to document a construction project.  Well, here's one for the ages.  It's going to get even better as the years roll into the future.  This is one of the most prime locations in The City.  We're going to overlay what takes places here with this photo for years to come.

Farmers Market

As all of you know, we dote on our Idaho Falls Farmers Market.  So much so that we organize our annual migration around the opening and closing dates for what Aficionados simply call "The Market."  Each week when we go there we take our obligatory photos.  We can't remember when we took this picture but it's been within the past 2-3 weeks.  We love the bib overalls contrasted with flowers instead of vegetables.  What a great juxtaposition!

Lost Lincoln

We have been remiss in not telling how we Lost Lincoln Last Week.  Yep, Houn' Dawg kicked our anatomy and took back one of his long lost Lincolns last week on the kiddie course at Sand Creek.  Here, he shows off his repatriated Lincoln a the 6th Hole cup.  Way to GO, HD!  Meanwhile, DR & LBR Terry M. just returned from Outer Mongolia and the Gobi Desert and we are trying to entice him on the golf course so we can beat him while he is still suffering from jet lag.  It's amazing what golf will do to a guy.

And, if you think that is bad, we're going BOWLING Sunday!  OMG!  What's next?  Wheel of Fortune?

Neighborhood kayaking

SURF's UP!  Well, at least if you consider a small wave in an irrigation canal a surfing wave.  This feature is about 3 blocks from our home.  We've heard it was once an actual quasi-whitewater-park-in-the-making.  We've watched it closely for years and (until today) never observed actual REAL kayakers playing in the wave.

Bear in mind this irrigation canal runs bigger than The Verde River 24/7 all summer long.

When we caught a glimpse of a flashing paddle rising into the setting sunlight, we did a break-neck u-turn to go back and see "whazzup."

Wouldn't it be great if we could resurrect this play spot and turn it into a mini-whitepater park?  That would mean I could actually WALK to a kayak play spot from our home on 12th Street.  How good would that be?  VERY GOOD!  Indeed.


I had a very emotional day today.  I got misty-eyed not just once.  I got misty-eyed twice.  Here's how it all unfolded.

First, I wrote a heartfelt "Thank You" to the Halstead Fire managers saluting them for meeting their stated goals posted August 2nd when the fire was a baby.

Click here to read my "Thank You" and analysis of how fire managers met their goals:

Then, I clicked off to the InciWeb site and was stunned to see my photo standing front and center on the front page of the official government fire website.  That's when I got misty-eyed the first time.

After regaining my composure I sent another Thank You note to the Fire Information Public Information Officer Madonna (one name only) for putting up my photo.

Then she replied with this note of her own:

"We all thought that was the perfect photo to leave this fire with!  Thanks for sending it. Everyone has wanted to take the file home.  Beautiful day here in Stanley -- crisp and sunny!  Yahoo!  Alas, I am headed to Mustang to do info up there for about a week, think it still has some smoke issues.  Was great to keep you up to date with info.  You are providing a great service keeping all the Salmon Country people informed.  Take care and have a great fun fall!  Madonna"

That's when I got misty-eyed the second time.  Today is the two month anniversary of when lightning started the fire.

Here is the official government InciWeb link:

Just in case the InciWeb photo "vaporizes," I am curating a screen clip of it below as well as the original photo.
Above is the way it looked on InciWeb today.  Below is the original photo we prepped back in early September at the peak of drama of the fire.  We sent it to Fire Info then and they liked it so much they printed it and took it to the communal dinner for almost 600 fire crew members.  Madonna hadn't seen it so we sent it to her yesterday and the rest is history.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Four Months

So, where are we?

We started the Salmon Thing on May 16th. A couple of days ago the four month anniversary blew right past us.  Here's a short summary.

The website itself has over 19,000 page views and will hit 20,000 in the next 2-4 days. The Halstead Fire article is pushing toward 7,000 page views. Our Google Search Ranking (as shown in the screen clip) is now #6 on the first page of search results. We're sandwiched between a National Geographic website and ranked above the Salmon-Challis National Forest. Amazing but true.

We went from zero Facebook Friends to over 170 and counting.

We did a great article on the new Stanley Library and received kudos from Idaho's main National Public Radio and Sun Valley Magazine. A rumor about the Halstead Fire took off this morning and the Fire Information Public Information Officer called us to ask for advice on how to quell the rumor. We have established our credibility.

We've received over $300 in trade value for whitewater trips and $485 in cold hard cash money for a total take of $785 so far in four months. The cash receipts covered a little more than  2/3rds of our expenses for the four visits to Salmon Country this year.

Not only that, but we took Josh on a whitewater trip and five other days of paddling; plus we were able to spend a total of nearly four weeks this summer in Salmon Country.

We've made a lot of new friends; learned a lot of fun new stuff and are well situated for the future. Although we certainly didn't envision such success in a mere four months, this is precisely where we would have wanted to be if we would have dreamed it to be possible.

We are entering the "off season" in great shape and are well poised for a productive and exciting 2013 Salmon Season during the May-September peak. Meanwhile, we have a full plate and are ready to run the table with a menu of some great upcoming stories. This winter we have already set the stage to compile and review a comprehensive Salmon River bibliography.

We have a robust following of fishermen who visit the website through thick and fin. Currently we are catering to their whims with obsessively Type A detailed coverage of the migrating steelhead as they make their way from the Pacific to the tiny tributaries of the Upper Salmon River to spawn next spring.

Four months after we cranked it up, The Salmon Thing is a Success. Indeed, Life is Good!

Many Cheers, jp

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sarah, Peter, Gage, Van

A Fine Family Photo!
Peter holding Gage.  
Sarah holding Van.
Thanks, Stasea!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My ICORE Buddies

These are the guys I shoot with on the third Sunday each month.  Last year, this was us.  This year, our numbers have grown from 11 to 19. But the guys you see above are still the same guys I shoot with.  Elden Dalley (far right) is the Match Director.  Rex Hansen, kneeling at left is the fastest shooter each month.  The rest of us just "do our best" and call it good.

This morning was only the second revolver match I have been able to shoot this summer.  ICORE matches are only conducted on the morning of the third Sunday each month.

I sent out this email below describing the today's match to my Arizona shooting buddies this afternoon.

"Howdy, Dear Friends, The revolver people only shoot once a month here--it's called ICORE.  ( )
I missed the May and June shoots.  I shot in July and then missed the August shoot.  So this was only the second match of the season for that S&W 625 .45 ACP pistol.  I went out yesterday and my intuition told me to practice shooting "long" but I ignored it and only practiced at short distances.  Big mistake!

The very first stage had six targets at 20+ yards.  Oops.  I did horrible and was assessed a total of 32 seconds worth of penalties just on the first stage alone.  Man, I sure felt like slinking off into the sage brush.  So, after that, I figured, heck, I've got nothing to lose and I started shooting really well.  In one of the stages I was the only shooter out of 19 participants today to get zero points down.  So, after all was said and done, I finished 9th out of 19 shooters.  If I hadn't done so badly on those 20-yard targets, I probably would have finished in the Top Five.

It just goes to show in a pistol match, it ain't over 'til it's over and you can still be competitive even if you totally blow one of the stages.  As Tom Bonomo has said many a time, "90% of it is mental and the rest of it is in your head."

I have to admit, though, it was pretty tough to step up to the firing line on the second stage knowing I had blown the first stage so badly.  All I could do was wonder if it was a fluke and if I could somehow get it out of my head.  Luckily, I went from the outhouse to the penthouse from one stage to the next and didn't miss the bullseye once in that 24 round second stage.  Go figure.

The shooting schedule here diminishes pretty rapidly now.  There's a couple more informal IDPA Wednesday matches until the end of September.  Then there's an IDPA Classifier in October, followed by the final ICORE match of the season.  After somehow surviving today to finish in the top half of the shooters, I feel danged fortunate."

Birthday Boy

Who's having more fun?  Tough call.  Let's just say the fun in this foto is split 50-50 between Mema and Van.  We haven't yet had a full report on Van's 3rd birthday party yesterday.  We know there were supposed to be about 50 people attending, roughly split 60-40 adults to kids.  We will update with more photos and "the rest of the story" later today.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

You Know You're Old When...

...You really know you are OLD when you finish Happy Hour and think it's a good idea to "settle in" for the night to read a half-inch thick publication entitled "Medicare & YOU."  Yeah, that's when it finally catches up with you and then you know you really are OLD.  Oh, my.  What's next?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Vista One 2012

We finally just received some photos of Susun's visit to Sarah's Place to be with her Grand Sons.  Although the quality of the photos is dubious, it's the thought that counts!  Thanks, Stasea for taking the time and effort to send some pix!!!  AWESOME!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I'd like to tell you a story about Disneyland.  Everyone on Earth knows about Disneyland.  My Mom kept really good track of stuff and she learned about Disneyland long before it became a buzz word of the American lexicon.  Being a little kid at the time, I have no recollection of how my Mom decided Disneyland was going to be a Great American Icon/Shrine.  Looking back, I suspect she knew it was being constructed and laid in wait, kind of like a two-legged cat hoping to pounce on Mickey and Mini Mouse.

Well, whatever the case actually was, there was no doubt that when Disneyland finally opened up, WE had to GO there.  According to Wiki, Disneyland officially open July 17, 1955.  I think it was 1957 when we finally got there.  I know my Mom had been jones-ing to get there for a long time.  I can't remember exactly how we got there but I know it was through Yosemite National Park and back along Old Route 66 through the Grand Canyon and then Mesa Verde. But I digress.

Anyway, when we finally got to Disneyland, of course, we all went nuts and thought it was the finest thing ever made and put together by human beings.  We spent hours upon hours there and, naturally, it changed my entire life.  I fell victim to the idea that Disneyland was reality.

Eventually, my parents tired of being in such a fantasy land and they made the cardinal mistake of saying, "You can stay here, we will come and pick you up later."  Well, that wouldn't have been much of a Big Deal except that they had purchased for me some sort of unlimited "E" ticket ride card so I could go on the "E" tickets rides like forever and forever as if they would last forever.

Naturally, I lost total track of time, as a young kid would be wont to do under such circumstances.  It turns out my Dad had to mount the equivalent of a search and rescue mission to find me that day.  I will never forget all the men who finally found me and surrounded me and sort of took me captive.  Perhaps I had momentarily gone feral.  It was like they were sort of roping me in.  Luckily, I didn't get thrown down on the ground and tied at the ankles like a roping steer.  That's how far "out there" I was that day---WAAAY out there.  My Dad wasn't happy at all and proceeded to tell me so in no uncertain terms.

Apparently, by getting lost in the delirium of Disneyland, I had violated an unknown rule of the Parsons Family that one could NOT have TOO MUCH FUN!  (Having SOME fun was OK--just not too much fun.)  Having too much fun was totally against all know rules of my Family History.  I was the first person, apparently, to grossly violate this unseen rule and was made to feel very guilty about it for quite some time in my life.

Looking back, I think my parents realized they made a gross mistake by letting me go feral in Disneyland that day in the late 1950's.  I know in my heart they always regretted that parental mistake.  If they would have kept me in check that day, perhaps I would have been a Good Boy.  Perhaps I would have married early, had a baker's dozen babies like my Uncle Bunny and grown old and been buried in the family plot.  If only they would have kept me in check that day.

But they didn't.  Once they let me go, I realized that Life could be Disneyland and I've never looked back.  Indeed, Life IS Disneyland for those who can see and grasp the fantasy and imagination it takes to lead an "E" ticket life.

I will never forget moving to Tucson, Arizona on Valentine's Day of 1979.  I got off the plane and was walking across the tarmac of that old relic of an airport and I looked at the guy next to me and said, "Wow, this place is an "E" ticket!"  He looked at me like I was an idiot.

But, you know what, it's been an "E" ticket ever since and I am danged proud of having jump started my life at the original Disneyland in 1957, 55 years ago.

Now it seems that Disneyland is harking back to its roots.  Susun gets the "O" magazine, the one with the same woman on the cover every month.  I didn't have anything to read tonight so I began leafing through all the self-help, dietary and beauty tips that make up 99.999% of the "O" magazine.  Imagine my surprise when I spied a multi-page centerfold touting and pimping "all things Disneyland."

I ripped those pages right out of the slick magazine and scanned them in for this blog post.  Based on what I see here, Disneyland's reach and pull on the human imagination is just as alive and well today as is was 55 years ago.  VIVA DISNEY!

I have annotated each of the photos with captions below.
 Do you see how they are marketing to Baby Boomers here?  "You Disney Memories are waiting?"
Well, I really like the one above with the light in the limestone cave on an unknown seashore.  Perhaps I am the lizard waiting to live Mark Twain's words:

"...So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." 

 Ah, read the title of this Jack Black photo carefully.  Are they marketing to the moribund?  But I love the one below the best.

Where Memories take hold and never let go.  Is this not rich or what?  Queen Latifah in the grips of the tentacles of an octopus. And look at her glee!

As I close this tome on Disneyland tonight, I want to share another quote I found today:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do..."  

We may not be able to revel today in Disneyland's debauchery, but we all still have the power and the will to do whatever it is we want to do and become.  Will we sit and wait as life passes us by or will we ride the gilded horse around the Merry Go Round to perhaps grab that elusive brass ring?

The choice is uniquely ours.  
Every day can be our "E" ticket ride.  
Disneyland is right around the corner 
where memories take hold and never let go!  
Hang on for the ride of Our afterlife--  
Our memories are waiting!

Many Cheers, jp

Sunday, September 9, 2012

6000 in one month

We wrote the first Halstead article on August 9th.  Tonight at 10:15 pm, that single article logged its 6000th page view in a single month.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Family & Friends

While we've had our head buried in the ashes of the Halstead Fire, Family & Friends have been having a fine time.  Here's some partial updates on some folks we know and love:

Daughter Stasea left Hawaii last Sunday and spent a few days in the San Francisco area before flying to Norfolk to visit a Dear Friend in Cape Hatteras.  She will visit the Big Apple (AKA: NYC) before flying to San Diego for Van's 3rd birthday party.

Daughter Sarah has been busy getting her place ready for Susun and Stasea's upcoming visits.  Susun flies out on the 10th of September and returns the 20th.  Stasea arrives September 13th and leaves the 16th.

Susun's brother, Roger, had a knee replaced last month but was down in Yuma this week dove hunting.  He says he can stand for about 90 minutes before having to sit for a spell.  He bagged eight of the fast-flying birds.

Wayne Ranney announced some really Big News on Labor Day--the second edition was released for his award-winning book "Carving Grand Canyon."  Wayne sold 27,000 copies of the first edition and there's every reason to believe the 2nd edition will be even more successful.  CONGRATULATIONS, Wayne!
You can click here to read all about the new book and the five awards garnered by the 1st edition.

Speaking of the Grand Canyon, Kate W. has been dreaming about traveling the Colorado River through The Big Ditch since she was a young Hopi from Moenkopi.  Well, Kate finally realized her dream come true in late August when she took a motor raft journey with mutual Dear Friends Susun and Jeff.  Here's two photos from the trip.  Kate's at left in the top photo and fourth from left in the back row in the bottom photo.

Kate's hubby Goatherder is dealing with a vexing bobcat.  The couple's son, Josh, is back at school taking 17 credit hours.  Not all those hours are brain-numbing science, the lad has lap swimming and art appreciation courses in the mix this semester.  He's now living in one of those nice, quiet, historic Old School dorms at NAU instead of the Animal House co-ed freshman dorm he had last year.

Dear Friend Maggie really rolled out a major Red Carpet celebration of her Mom's 90th birthday in Sierra Vista last month.  Maggie spent weeks preparing for the milestone event.  You can look at the Happy Faces in the photo below and know the proverbial Good Time was had by all!  Mom Florence is in the middle of her Loving Family.  Maggie is at right in the middle row and Maggie daughter Kelli is at right in the back row.  GOOD WORK, Maggie!!!!  You really gave your Family a Great Gift with all your hard work on this party!
Gary W. finished up his epic hike along the Teton Crest Trail in late August.  He spent a few days visiting here in Idaho Falls and has long since settled back into his routine down in Ol' Airy Zonie.  After returning to the Grand Canyon State, Gary had time to process the elevation profile of his hike.  Anybody say "up and down"?  Gary rarely hikes on flat ground.  It's always either straight up or straight down and this jaunt was no exception!

DF & LBR Terry M. left Friday for Outer Mongolia.  You know, the Gobi Desert.  Terry is a real world traveler and likes to get far, far away at least a couple of times each year.  Well, he picked a really FAAAR AWAY place to go this year.  He will be gone 17 days so we suspect we will see him toward the end of the month.

Tom Bonomo and his wife, Pat, will be coming today for a short visit.  They recently bought a travel trailer and took off early this week to head to Glacier National Park.  We sure are looking forward to seeing them. Tom last visited here almost 3 years ago to the day.  Tom also once visited us out at Bowery Guard Station. We'll never forget that one--he left Cottonwood one afternoon and showed up at Bowery the following morning, only roughly 1000 miles away!  Tom's a real high speed traveler but we suspect he's moving at a much slower pace these days.

Dear Friend Kirsty is excited about going to South Africa for two weeks this fall.  She and her Family are always in the thick of things.  No matter what they do, they all do it with class, style, energy, enthusiasm and a genuine zest for life.  As usual, it is a true delight to read Kirsty's "Momedy" blog.  A visit there never fails to bring a warm smile and a glow to our hearts.  THANK YOU, Kirsty!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Jenny Lake - GTNP -2012

  Here's some photos of our short trip to Jenny Lake this year.  At least we kept our annual tradition alive!  This was the sixth trip in a row.
Susun positively GLOWS when she sits beside Jenny Lake!
And glow she does when riding from the campground to Dornan's and back!
Her she celebrates a smoke free morning with fresh coffee.
Bicycling to Dornan's for lunch is one of the finest things we can do here.  It's our duty to do so.
Ah, camp.
A Teton sunset as seen from our campsite.
The magic of Jenny Lake.
If we could bottle that magic and sell it...ah, well!
Susun in her element--reading the newspaper in camp.  We LOVE YOU, SWEETIE!