Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What day is it?

I woke up this morning very confused about what day it was and even after looking at the newspaper I still kept thinking it was Saturday. 
After taking the car down for a tranny flush I still thought it was the weekend. My brother probably started it all by saying recently, "I can't wait to retire, then every day will be Saturday"! (Thanks Joe)
Actually, if you think about it, being retired means you no longer have any days off?

Last fall, I neglected to mention my argument with a large metal pipe protecting the diesel pumps at one of our local gas stations. It was a total "brain fart" on my behalf as I pulled in to top the tanks off before storing the motorhome for winter.

Do you ever get that queasy feeling in your stomach when you do something so stupid and so easily avoided? That's exactly how I felt when the motorhome came to a shuddering stop as I rounded the fuel pumps. I kept muttering to myself "Oh, Tom, oh Tom"! It's such an ugly scar and not being washed in last 10 months didn't help the looks of our 12 year old baby.

So, this morning (being whatever day it is) we have decided to take the motorhome down to Spokane in two days to have it repaired...but first a little weeding before it heats up.

A nice bath after 8 months is a welcome sight for the old girl. She could use a good wax, but I'm not up for that much work at the moment.

Wow...for 12 years old, she's a beaut. Tomorrow will be "cleaning the wood floors" day for me before we take her to Spokane.
I for one hope we don't have to put her in mothballs again this coming winter, it would be a real shame. 

Donna helped me back the motorhome out of its winter shed and when I parallel parked the beast on a dirt road, Donna was in my mirror waving me to the back of the coach. I'm like "oh, crap...what's wrong"
"Look at our license letters"? I'll be damned if it wasn't the initials of her illness, acute myeloid leukemia, or more commonly called... AML! Feaky to say the least.
Tomorrow is another day... which day that is I don't know, but if the sun comes up and goes down 16 hours later, I'll be satisfied.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Fishing in the company of wild animals.

I have fished for years in California and never once did I have to carry the equipment you need to here in Northeast Washington.

A well equipped outdoorsman in Stevens County always needs to be prepared for the worst. 1... The best hat available is the Canadian Tilly for protecting your eyes and skin from the harsh northern sun that never seems to set this time of the year. 2... A tie-dye tee shirt in case you happen upon an illegal marijuana patch...this would indicate to a nervous grower you!
3... Fishing pole, of course. 4... A .40 caliber quick draw with a 14 round clip and an extra clip in case you are attacked by a multiple of cougars or wolves. 5... Last but not least is a can of bear and moose spray. Everyone up here explained to me that the .40 caliber Smith and Wesson will only piss off a bear or a moose whereas the spray is very effective if you can stand your ground...not too sure about the last part.
It has been awkward for me to wear all this paraphernalia, but as I have been told..."better to have it, than need it" many times.

Just within Stevens County there are literally hundreds of miles of good dirt back roads through the forests and more lakes than I could count...I feel like I am in heaven exploring the "primitive roads". Sure, we have been stopped once or twice by fallen trees, but the adventure around every corner is boundless.

My goal was "Little Twin Lakes" about 15 miles outside of Colville for my first fishing outing.
Fishing most of the lakes in the area require some sort of floating device such as a tube, float or boat, of which I had off I go wildlife hunting. (with my camera of course)

While walking around I found this rather large fallen tree that was clearly brought down by a beaver.

I just wonder how long it took the guy to chew his way through such a large tree. Most of the trees around the lake were this size so he really didn't have much of a choice. I met Robert who was camping on the other side of the lake and he told me a few years ago folks complained about "beaver fever" (whatever that is) and the forest service used that as an excuse to kill the Little Twin Lakes beavers. This guy had escaped capital punishment, but unless a female happens along he will be the last.

At one end of the lake was a tree with a huge growth near its top.

With a closer look I found a rather large Osprey nest and one of the adults sitting on top of the nest.

After leaving Little Twin Lakes I go aside a large pond and experience some movement...MOOSE! A couple of females browsing for water plants.

This is one of the females who might have been wondering what I was up too.

That night I told Donna what I found and of course, her being a moose lover, wanted to go with me the next afternoon. I was more than game for another try because the photos I took weren't very good.

We failed to see any moose so of course there was always time for a few selfies. Donna was sure she was the cause, being the Moon Moose Mush! We went over to Little Twin Lakes to say hi to Robert and came back to the pond about 3/4's of an hour later.

To our surprise, when we got back to the pond there was a large bull moose foraging in the water. I believe it was the same male I saw the night before, but could not get a shot of. Donna was of course ecstatic.

"Submerge...submerge! I can easily open my eyes underwater and I would imagine most moose do too, but what would happen if a moose just didn't like opening his eyes underwater as some humans don't like? Mmmm

I walked down a little closer to the pond in order to capture some better shots, but as I did the moose made a series of grunts and groans so I felt like I might be stressing him out and backed off. 

As he headed off to the center of the pond our day was coming to a close. Donna had expended all her energy just getting in and out of the car so it was time to head home...too.

Did I mention lately how much I love this part of America?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Colville Dominion Meadows Golf Course

The golf course here in Colville is managed by the local Elks lodge and 9 of the 18 holes are still owned by the Elks. The city built the other 9 holes during an expansion a few years ago...thus Colville owns half the course.

We Elks just pitched in $3000 to seal the recent asphalt paving onto the property, yeah!

The front nine holes (the original 9) are more of the American traditional holes with elevations and many trees.

The back nine are called "links" holes that are for the most part very open, beautiful meadows and in a pastoral setting.
The afternoon rate starts around 3PM @ $25 with cart and that allows you to golf all you want until it's too dark to see the ball which is around 9:30PM.

One of the reasons I golf alone is because some golfers get a little irritated when I stop every 50 or 100 feet to photograph something I see. It's ok though, I love being out there on my own with no one giving me dirty looks.
This doe on the third hole was unusual to me because this is the first doe "nipple" I've ever seen. We are in the fawning season so either she just dropped a fawn (which I believe) or she will soon do so.

A few of the Elks that volunteer to help maintain the course use electric golf carts that are armed with shotguns to do as much damage to the ground squirrels as possible. The squirrels dig holes and create dirt mound all over the course but the shotgun patrol does a great job of keeping them in the rough and off the fairways.

This little critter is lucky that I was only armed with a long iron and all my golf buddies know I have trouble hitting anything with my "long irons"!

The back nine has provided me with bald eagle sightings every time I have golfed here so there must be a nearby nest. This one went unnoticed on the 11th until he, or she, cried out to the another sitting on a electrical pole near the 15th.

I'll assume this one on the 15th was not the mate of the one on the 11th, because unless they didn't lay any eggs, they are unlikely to leave the eggs unguarded and in open air.

In the distant is one of the eagles scouting for a absentminded ground squirrel.

There are Red-Winged Blackbirds...

Red-Winged Blackbird females...

 Yellow-Headed Blackbirds...

worm gathering American Robins...

and all of the birds mentioned are very effective at "aerating" the greens for free! 

It would be remiss for me to leave out the Canadian Geese that willingly leave their peanut sized droppings either on the tee box or the greens, but I've heard they are quite tasty. ( the geese of course, not the droppings...yuck) 

After a grueling 18, 27 or 36 holes how do you not kick back with an "Arnold Palmer" drink and enjoy the beautiful view from our small town golf course? (Ok, maybe this day no one did, but I'll bet on many days they would!)

So much for now, until later.....

Monday, June 16, 2014

FIRST FAWN OF THE YEAR....and Landscaping and Gardening 301

I recently had a complaint that no update on our garden has been posted for a while. I agree and apologize... but with other things going on I have been absent minded the last few months and will try to keep things updated more often.
Here are the latest photos of the garden and some landscaping to boot. (and a special surprise and the end)

One of my pride and joys have been the potato plants to the right. They must be easy to grow because they are looking the best. Today I back filled the potato plants with more soil, otherwise the tuber will be green when harvested or so says the garden book.

Our tomatoes plants are, some good...some not so good! I ripped out three plants this afternoon which I suspected had verticillium wilt, two of which were my biggest and had small fruit already.

The banana, crookneck and zucchini squash are slow growing in my opinon. The large one on the right was just bought this afternoon but the rest were seeded squash that broke ground three weeks ago and still look small or stunted to me.

The Leyland Cyprus that I yanked out a week ago have been replaced with four colors of Potentilla's and at a maximum of 4 foot tall, they will never block our view.

It rained most of the night but cleared early today with lots of sunshine to dry out the lawn. This was a good chance to mow the front and back seeing that tomorrow is another iffy day.

This is a contrast between our lawn that is cut, and the section of land I have left fallow. The uncut portion is about 18 to 20 inches tall. I might need something other than our mower if I ever decide to trim it.

As advertised, the first fawn of the year. I was just pulling out of the driveway to see if I could photograph a cougar I saw about a mile from the house, as it crossed Gold Creek Rd. Not knowing if they are creatures of habit I thought I'd spend the evening hours staking out the spot when my neighbor Christie called. Christie said a new fawn (could barely walk) and mother went from their yard across the street to ours.
I got excited and drove to the back of the property and saw the mother skedaddle up front. I did not see where the baby was but Donna spotted the little one holed up at the very far end of our yard. I know they have the instinct for laying low and not moving regardless, but I still didn't want to push or stress her out so I just used my telephoto lens.
The mother has been browsing the yard for two hours and the baby is still like a statue where this picture was taken.
My lawn cutting was just in time for our new visitors.

Sister to Sister

 Trisha came up for her first visit to see her only sister here in Colville this last week.

Just by coincidence, Trisha's flight into Spokane was on her "29th" birthday. So we put up some happy birthday flags over the doorway to surprise her. 

I didn't take very long for Trisha to get into the "Northeast Washington Groove" that Donna and I have grown accustomed to!

The weather cooperated with Trisha's visit...mid-70 degree days and cool nights, unlike the last three cool days and over an inch of gentle rain.
I found it interesting listening to the girls talk about childhood remembrances.

Donna and I, both being excellent hosts, had Trisha cook her world famous lemon meringue pie for her own birthday, haha! The girls both did the deed. A while back Trisha asked me what she could give me a break in the kitchen...of course her meringue pie came to mind. They were worried about our altitude disrupting the baking process, but I assured them that we are less than 2500 feet.
 It tasted as wonderful as it was beautiful.

We gave Trisha a tour of some of our surrounding little towns. This one is Onion Creek, really, this IS the whole town. Grocery store, hardware store, town library, gas station, post office, restaurant and community park all wrapped up into this building.

We went to Onion Creek mainly because on the weekend the store has an outdoor slow cooker that produces some very good "pulled pork" sandwiches. The ride and surrounding beauty of the area more than made up for the measly amount of BBQ sauce supplied. They were very good about my request for more, so no biggie.

The next day Donna and Trisha took off for Crystal Falls, not far from the house. I asked Donna "where's your sisters picture"?
They forgot of course to take one of our special visitor, Donna is such a camera hog!
Trisha left the next day but we hope to visit her in Sacramento this winter or next spring.