Thursday, May 28, 2020

It's the end of May, which meant the arrival of Memorial Day, the un-official start of the summer vacation-season!
It was a beautiful weekend and we decided to make a start with our Idaho 'bucket-list', aka things we want to see while we're in this neck of the woods. 

Since we also wanted to play some golf, we went for a destination close to Grangeville, and choose to drive down into the corridor of the South Fork of the Clearwater River.

Down below there is the river and that's Highway 14 right next to it ..
After driving down the windy and steep road we parked next to the river and had a tailgate coffee-break (complete with some leftover apple-pie).
The river was swollen with snow melt-off and roared down the canyon .. we could barely hear each other!

That's me there on that rock.  It reminded my mom of the Lorelei at the Rhine River in Germany. I wasn't singing though (probably a good thing)!


The road twists it's way along the river through rocky hills and outcroppings, all the way to Elk City ..


We didn't go that far though, since, although beautiful, the scenery really didn't change much along the way, so when we arrived at the (ghost) town of Golden (don't blink) we decided to turn around and head back.
There are quite a number of (National Forest) campgrounds along this road, but only about half of them were open due to the Corona virus.
I guess they don't want too many people flooding the area just yet.

We made a short stop at one of them and walked up to the water's edge, where we spooked a couple of Canadian Geese and their babies into the water ..

All in all a pleasant drive, although nothing too spectacular. I guess we are spoiled!

Unfortunately we didn't end up golfing that day since there was a tournament going on. Oh well .. James practiced a little on the driving range and since he joined the men's golf league for the season, he golfs every other Wednesday so me thinks he gets enough golf in .. but that's just me ..
We had lunch at the Mexican restaurant in town. Yes. Inside. No restrictions. No masks. No nothing.
                                   Virus? What virus? 

The Canola fields around Grangeville are flowering at the moment, that yellow really packs a punch!
It's also time for the Camas Lilies (where the Camas Prarie here gets his name from) to bloom ..

Closer to home we finally might have some grass coming up where they hydro-seeded 8(!) weeks ago:

Do you see what I see?
We'd already half given up hope that anything would come up, but there you have it .. not much yet but it's a start!

Due to the nice weather, we were able once again to have our 'traditional' Memorial Day BBQ outside:

We'd kept it simple with some hamburgers, potato salad and corn ..

Merlin couldn't wait to get his share, I think he sat on that table for over half an hour before it was even ready!
He's not getting any corn anymore though, last time he got some (at Cinco de Mayo), his blood-sugars went sky-high!

As long as he gets something, he's a happy camper!

In the meantime work on the house is at a stage where the drywall could be going in, but we need a metal (water-proof) roof first. 
And although we finally have a decision on color and material, and the order has been made, it appears the machine that cuts the sheets is down and won't be repaired for another 2 weeks!
Bummer, always something!

Oh well, James is creating 'other' work for the guys now, and they are going to make a start with the mantel and fireplace.

Fortunately, we're down to 2 workers right now, since Austin is working for Miriam at the moment, one of Sam's 'partners'.
Sam had been looking for a caretaker for the property for some time now and James recommended he'll give the job to Austin. They've all agreed and he'll be moving into the 'old' house this coming weekend.
He's getting a sweet deal as a barter; a house with utilities paid, use of the truck (gas included) and the ATV, and a salary for the maintenance work he'll do on the property/houses, barns, tools and vehicles! When needed he'll also work for the 'girls', helping with the cows, spraying the fields, etc.
Needless to say he's excited! (I would be too) 

And look! The new water-heater has arrived! All new and shiny!


It's half installed right now since James busted an (old, plastic) valve while working on it .. hopefully he'll get it done this weekend.
It will be nice to have warm water again!


OK, another blog done. Another week behind us.
Life goes on .. despite broken valves .. missing roofs .. broken down machines .. and, oh yeah, Covid 19 .. 

I guess we'll see in 2 weeks from now, if this busy memorial weekend has had some effect on spreading the virus or not!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

We've had quite a rainy week, although fortunately no big, flooding downpours, but after today it looks like it's going to be clear sailing for a while. 
Looks like next week Saturday it might get to 87F?!


In between rain-showers I still managed to get some walks in, and was able to get a few shots of the pretty little birds that have returned from the south.


I love these Lazuli Buntings, blue is such a special color on a bird isn't it? They'll (hopefully) have 3 or 4 eggs and will hang around until September.

This next bird that's hanging around the rivers edge, is a Bullock's or Northern Oriole:


They also winter in Mexico and come here to breed around May. 
Funny enough I took a picture of a nest this winter and didn't know from which bird it was:


I now realize it's theirs! 'Deep, pendant baskets' says my guide .. check! (complete with some incorporated fishing-wire!)
Besides insects and seeds these birds love fruits, including oranges and sometimes grapes.
Apparently they will readily come to a dish filled with grape jelly, so when I go grocery shopping this afternoon I'll pick some up!

'My' screech owls and their brood have been a thrill to watch for the last couple of weeks, but I'm afraid they have 'flown the coop' (or barn in this case) because I haven't seen any of them for a couple of days now ..


Aren't they the cutest? I'm so happy all three have made it!

The guys are still working on the last of the electricity and other small bits and pieces. 
Since this doesn't take all three of them, Austin could start working on trimming trees together with Sam (the owner), who's still here.


They were working on the bottom branches with the tractor and makeshift 'basket' and Don took the tops with his big boy toy.

This all gave James time to figure out how much roof and siding he needs, and trying to get bids from suppliers.
It's quite expensive stuff so you don't want to make a mistake in ordering ..

He could use a bigger 'office' for all the paperwork, 
but he's making it work!

And than there was this:

He so badly wanted his treat, some chicken baby-food, but that flame ..

Our sweet baby turned 17 last Friday! Who'd thought? Deaf and diabetic, he has traveled all over the US, lost some teeth, got his ear ripped and is a little stiff in the hips, but he's still with us.
He's fun, sweet and a trooper and I hope there will indeed be 'many more'!

The RV by the way has him beat and is 20 years old by now, and not too surprisingly every now and than something 'bites the dust' ..
This time the water-heater sprung a leak, or a crack, or something, and water found it's way down and out, and started dripping below the RV.


Yeah, unfortunately that's not patch-able, and a new one has been ordered already. $425, cha-ching!
It'll arrive somewhere next week, and although we still have (cold) water, I'll be happy to have my warm water back! Maybe we'll be lucky (nah, we?) and it'll get here sooner ..
Fortunately we can shower and do laundry in 'the house' next door.

And last but not least .. it's official now:

My flights to Amsterdam for June have been cancelled.
I guess we all knew it was coming, but it's a disappointment nevertheless.
Delta still flies to Holland from Atlanta and Detroit but you have to have a 'legit' reason to enter the country (either a deadly illness or death of close family. Let's knock on wood!).
As long as I didn't hear anything, and with things changing almost every day, restrictions easing up and even being lifted, I still had some hope .. oh well ..

I'm now hoping for August or September .. we'll just have to wait and see.
In the meantime I think I'm going to ask for a refund instead of a voucher, that way I can fly with any airline when things are opening back up.


Thursday, May 14, 2020

Here's some local wild flowers, well, mostly wild but all local,
just in time for mothers' day!

 It definitely was a mothers' day to remember:

Oh yeah, that one ..

On Saturday we drove to Grangeville where we met with Pat and Sam, to visit yet another property they own over there.


The canola fields were starting to flower. In a couple of weeks this whole 'prairie' will be a bright yellow!

The reason for going, was the fact that there's a lot of old 'stuff' laying around the property, and they'd like to preserve some of it to use as accent features in the new house.


There's a lot of old wood from collapsed barns and rusty metal from some old cars ..

 Faded glory ..

Wagon wheels, door handles, old farm equipment, anything is fair game!
I think the plan is to move some of the wood fairly soon, but to wait with the metal until Ronnie will come over in August, since he's the one who has some specific ideas about using it ..

So far we had beautiful weather, but we're having a little more rain at the moment and according to the forecast we're going to have a lot more of it in the coming 2 weeks.
It's probably a good thing since we're a little on the dry side ..

These are apricots, from the only such tree on the property. 
It is heavy with fruit but dropping some also, and I'm afraid that is because it is too dry. Let's hope enough stay on!
I've bought some tomatoes, zucchini and cilantro, which are looking great but of course I'm watering them:

I sowed some (leaf) lettuce in all of these pots too, right next to the plants.
Hopefully some of it will come up!

I also couldn't resist buying a beautiful hanging basket with trailing pink surfinias, and the wild rose next to the RV has exploded with hundreds of yellow flowers, like it does every year according to Pat!

The birds are busy defending their territory and, I expect, sitting on eggs or maybe already having chicks ..

A Chuckar (partridge), such a beautiful bird! They can have up to 40 (!) eggs over the summer, laid in clusters ..

A Lazuli Bunting and a female Lesser Goldfinch (I think).

Lately I've been reading about a disturbing side effect of the Covid-19 virus ... Corona-kilos. 
It's a thing!
No clue though as where they're coming from ..

It's a mystery!?

Like I keep saying, my brain is still too befuddled at the moment to do anything too intelligent, but besides reading and going for walks I manage to do some puzzling.
I just finished this one, it's a fun one .. except for that cotton field at the top!


James, of course, is totally not affected by anything that's going on (he doesn't really think about it, or so he says), and has been productive as usual.
It doesn't look as spectacular as any of the previous work, since a lot of it is done under the floor and/or in the walls, but the electric is mostly done, and the water lines and the plumbing pipes are almost in ..

Tomorrow the AC/Heating guys will be here to start working on putting in all the ducts.

In the meantime, Pat and Sam have been collecting some stone and rocks from the back of the property, which are going to be used around the fireplace.
You can see some of them in the picture below ..

It's going to be a puzzle  .. but fun to do!
Also, Don has delivered a load of freshly milled wood, that he cut from an old tree up in the canyon, which he took down last Fall. 
It is going to be used inside as well, but needs to dry a little more before it can be used ..

Well, there you have it, another exciting week in the live of the Hess's! 
To be continued