Thursday, June 25, 2020


The Summer Solstice sneaked up on me this year! At least the 'official' date did, which was last Friday, the 20th, but it was obvious we were getting close by the days getting so long, and the temperatures rising steadily ..
At 80-85F it's already getting too hot for me, but according to the locals this is nothing yet, it'll get up into the triple digest in a couple of weeks from now! Yikes!

The dominant color in nature seems to be yellow right now .. as in Canola on the prairie around Grangeville above .. and Wooly Mullein and Yellow Salsify below ...


Even the birds are yellow ..


The weather finally cooperated enough (in the weekend) for another sightseeing trip, and after an early round of golf in Grangeville we first drove to the town of Cottonwood to grab a bite of lunch at Ro(nnie)Donna's:


They had just re-opened their 'inside' dining and had adjusted their seating arrangement by spacing the tables 5' apart. I guess it's the new 'normal' ..
We split a delicious Reuben with crinkly fries and saved room for desert .. a large piece of Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie a la mode!

From there we drove across the Camas Prairie towards Kamiah.

It's beautiful country, with softly rolling hills under wide open skies ... there were still some patches of Canola flowering, although most of it had been harvested by now, and the corn is coming up fast!

Kamiah is your typical small-town-america kinda-town .. not too spectacular but cute enough, with a small 'historical' downtown area and, most importantly, .. a bakery!


Leaving town, we crossed the Clearwater River ..

.. and picked up the (Lewis & clark) NorthWest Passage Scenic Byway towards Kooskia on the other side ..


This beautiful route is Idaho's longest byway and follows the route Lewis and Clark took through North-Central America. 
It begins at Lewiston, on the US12 and traverses the winding Clearwater River Canyon for 202 miles.

At Kooskia the South and Middle forks of the Clearwater River, combining to become the main river.                     

Another bridge brings you back to the other side of the Clearwater and onto the US 13 which, after following the very windy southern river bank for a while, brings you eventually back to Grangeville.


It was quite a beautiful little drive, very similar to the one we took a couple of weeks ago, when we followed the same river further up-stream towards Elk City.
Work on the house is steadily progressing, this week very visible for a change. The roof has been completely wrapped now:


And within 2 1/2 days a 3-man crew dry-walled the whole house!

What a difference!

It almost starts to look like a house now!


The living room ceiling is getting a wood ceiling so it didn't need drywall

And today the steel for the roof and the siding was finally delivered. 
Since the truck couldn't make it up the steep driveway, he parked at the turn-out on the other side of the highway:

James and James (yes, we have another James) used the tractor and a trailer to move it up to the house.

It was quite the job, and it took them almost 3 hours of sweating their butts off in the hot sun, but they got it all done!

It looks like next week they will make a start, roof first, to put everything on. I bet that will make a huge difference in appearance!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Regal Fritilary

We don't have too many butterflies at the moment and this one's a little unusual even for here. He certainly is a beauty though! 
Too bad, for pictures sake, that they insist in landing and sitting on piles of sh*t!  What's that about?
I looked it up (of course) and found out that this behavior is called mud-puddling where they suck up fluids from soil, dung or carrion in order to gain extra nitrogen and sodium which are needed for reproduction which flower nectar lacks.
Aha! Now we know!

Let's see, last Saturday it once again was Idaho's free-fishing-day. 
It rained practically all day, and last year's results didn't really inspire us to try it again, but when it cleared in the afternoon I thought we should at least give it the E for effort.

Since we broke 2 poles last year (don't ask), we only had one fishing pole left, but it was still rigged with all the necessary 'stuff', so we were quickly in business ..

We took turns standing on this rock, looking for all the world that this time we knew what we were doing, but it didn't make a difference .. because once again .. nothing, nada, zero, zilch, nothing. Not even a nibble!
Which is so frustrating, since this river is supposed to be full of salmon! It's even named for it, for heaven's sake!

Talking about rain, we had several days of a steady drizzle this week, and some good downpours accompanied by the obligatory gusts of wind ...

That's the wind whipping the trees .. (and the light from inside the nice and dry and cozy RV)
Most of the spring-wildflowers are starting to slow down now, and the more 'summery' ones are opening up ..

That's White Horehound (sjeez, imagine ending up with a name like that!), and     on the right.

 This is      and White Campion
Along the river I came across an unknown apple tree, whose (small) fruit is already getting some color, and the apricots on 'our' lonely tree here in the canyon are getting a little bigger also ..


This adorable little Wren (Rock? House?) did not want me anywhere close to his/her nest! It was bobbing up and down and yelling like a lunatic ..


It was so pissing mad at me, I thought it was going to have a heart attack!

Imagine being so tiny, but willing to take on what would be nothing less than a giant for us!

I'm not seeing much of any other wildlife around at the moment,  other than some Raccoon prints near the dumpsters ..


And what's with all the snakes at the moment! Jeez, they're everywhere! We've counted about 8 Bulls and 3 Rattlers so far!
I'm not that afraid of them anymore, but they scare the bejesus out of me each time I come across one .. if that makes any sense?

OK. Let's not dwell on that, let's talk about the house a little.
The stone-work is coming along nicely and looking great ..


The AC and heating and ducts are all in, and it is working too (always nice) ..


And the insulation couple Alan and his wife (I'm spacing on her name right now), are making great progress:

In between the rain and wind, there were some drier and warmer moments too, and I enjoyed sitting outside for some spinning and reading ..

Look at those white feet!

And although I still suffer many days from not feeling like doing anything at all (compliments of the continuing depressing news of the virus), I have my moments of suddenly wanting to bake things
(and I have to keep James into enough 'sweets' to get him through the day):

I baked an up-side down pineapple cake in my new brownie-pan, which made these awesome individual little cakes. So cool!

Holland (Europe) has opened it's 'borders' for inter-european flights, but is still closed for non-essential international airline-travel, so it's still a waiting game ... there's nothing to be done about it.
 It's starting to get old though!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Doumecq Road, with the Salmon River down below ..
Last Friday afternoon we went for a drive up into the mountains, all the way to our last year's stomping grounds at Joseph Plains.
The wildflowers were out in full, and the views were just as stunning as we remembered ..

Despite the height, the cacti were blooming here as well ..

After dropping off a new water-tank to the Brust lodge, and a short conversation with Marian (we would have loved to see the inside of the house to see what they have done with the place but, as usual, we were not invited .. they're weirdly secretive that way), we headed out for what was the main reason we were up there .. collecting rocks!

A neighbor of Sam/Marian up there in the mountains, has a large area of the type of rock on his property that Pat and Sam like for the base of the outside of the new house.

He agreed on letting them have as much as they want, so the guys had already been up there that morning to collect a truck (and trailer) full, and now we were there for a second run. 


We loaded as much as we could (weight-wise) but we probably need to go back several more times.
Unfortunately, the road up to this 'quarry' is little more than a donkey-trail, steep and narrow and in very bad shape so we're really not looking forward to do so!

Derrick, the mason, thinks he knows a more accessible area for the same size and color of this particular type of rock, so we'll probably check that out next week or so.
Anything better than driving that trail again!

We tried for golf on Saturday although the weather-forecast didn't look very promising, and sure enough when we arrived in Grangeville it was raining, so we blew it off.
We went for a nice coffee at Crema instead, after which James did a material run, while I stayed behind for some relaxed reading and people watching ..                                               

James has a new phone, he cracked the other one, and this pics are made with that one. I couldn't figure out how it worked (what else is new), so James looks a little weird ..


As far as this weeks birds sightings go, here's a shot of a Western Tanager:

And a very cute, puffed up little Titmouse on the left here:


                               ... and a young Say's Phoebe there on the right.

No news on flying to Europe from here yet, but inside Europe they're slowly relaxing the flying restrictions, and will open up al traffic by the 15th of June:
                               (Telegraaf 6/4)

There's talk that international flights will follow, bit by bit, from the 1st of July on .. we'll see!