both sides now

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Friday evening sky.

“I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now…”

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Friday morning sky. This is the smoke from the Washington fires.

And then the winds blew the smoke out of here, a lovely break that lasted about 18 hours before returning.

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It was so good to see the sky and the mountains again.

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do you hear what i hear?

I hear thunder.  Big, booming, cracking, stormy thunder.

Do you have any idea what a great sound that is?

It means we might get rain!!!!

We need rain so badly.  The smoke from the fires east of here and north of here is thick and miserable.  We’ve grown used to tasting smoke, which is strange.  Friends in Montana are dealing with evacuations on the Bull River Road.  Others are storing valuables in safety deposit boxes or packing treasured possessions in boxes, close to doors and easy to grab on the way out.

But I hear thunder.  And when I was outside a moment ago I even felt a drop of rain.

We don’t want a “dry” storm.  We don’t want dry lightning.  We want pouring, thick, heavy, soaking, beating-on-the-roof rain.

Especially in Montana.

I’ll keep you posted.

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red sky in the morning

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Remember that old adage, “Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning, red sky at night, sailor’s delight”?

It’s a similar story here, far away from the sea.

This photo was taken early one morning a few days ago.  That eerie red glow means a forest fire to the north.

It is not what anyone wants to see at dawn.

It’s a tough summer for forest fires.  There has been no rain for months, and the next forecast for rain is September 22nd.  There are restrictions for those who work in the woods now, and more will be coming, I’m sure.  It has not been a summer for campfires or roasting marshmallows, obviously.

Smoke from Washington fires (100+ miles away) is thick in the air, obliterating the views of distant mountains.  There are small fires north of here, west of here, east of here and far south of here.

Everyone is a little on edge.

About forty years ago, during a dangerously dry summer like this one, Banjo Man saw someone toss a lit cigarette out of a car window in our little neighborhood.  He chased them down, made the driver pull over and proceeded to educate the tourists inside the car about fire danger.

He was very, very stern and very, very upset.

I doubt they were ever so careless again.

So all of us in north Idaho are holding our breath, waiting it out, hoping for rain that is weeks away, watching for smoke plumes, cursing the thankfully infrequent flashes of dry lightning.

I’ll keep you posted.


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Son #1 called yesterday and told me that my grandson, while having a tiff with his mother, declared he was leaving and “going to Idaho”.

My daughter-in-law replied, “Fine with me.  Good luck getting there!”

I didn’t blame him for wanting to return.  After all, it’s paradise for young and old and in between.

Water blasters!

Water blasters!

Helping to make brownies.

Helping to make brownies.

Shucking corn with Grandpa.

Shucking corn with Grandpa.

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Finding strawberries in Dancing Mandolin Player’s garden.

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Looking for fish.

Looking for fish.

Discovering huckleberry ice cream.

Discovering huckleberry ice cream.

And then there was his social life….

He was invited to the neighbor’s beach party and ate his first Twinkie.

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Party, party, party…

He met two new best friends, both in town visiting their grandparents.  2015-08-03 002

I can't believe she brought me a huckleberry cinnamon roll!!!!

I can’t believe she brought me a huckleberry cinnamon roll!!!!

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Our Dads acted like this, too!

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Let’s chase each other around the woods for a few hours and then go build a fort.

But the highlight, according to my grandson, was this:

Sitting in for two songs with the Cougar Creek band.

Sitting in for two songs with the Cougar Creek band.

Who can blame the little guy for wanting to skip school and return to “Grandma’s lake”?

I miss him.

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Posted in family, grandmother stuff, lake | 2 Comments

porch chatter

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This says it all.

Last Thursday it was time for the annual gathering of the Montana ladies & friends. We had a lot to talk about: summer company, grandchildren, children, food, families, travel plans, etc.

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Chilled wine and frozen champagne grapes in 2013.

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Here we are looking spiffy in 2012.

We skipped the Housedress Dress Code and the dock (it was close to 100 degrees, according to Accuweather) and set up lunch on the porch. Under the fan. With wine, vodka, tequila, iced tea and lots of food.

I even made the OMG peach cake.
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 We sat around the table for almost six hours.

Obviously there was a lot to catch up on!!!

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viva roma

2015-08-12 004It is time for my annual Tomato Bragging Post.

Yes, I know that all of you who grow hundreds of tomatoes every year think that this is pathetic but I don’t care.

I have two pots.  A fully grown, ripe tomato is a victory!!

This year Wal Mart was out of cherry tomato plants, so I had to settle for an “Early Girl” tomato plant and a “Roma” plant.

The Roma won the coveted blog-post spot.

I also grew mint, basil and parsley.

It’s all I can handle.

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Posted in food, just for fun, lake | 2 Comments

banjo man’s mountain birthday

2015-07-31 006Banjo Man wanted to hike into his cabin for his birthday.  So we packed a picnic lunch and, after piling into Sarge’s 4-Runner, we set off up the mountain with our son, daughter-in-law and grandson.

Our grandson was thrilled because (a) he did not have to use his car seat, (b) he counted 14 “No hunting without permission” signs, (c) he had never been on a mountain before, and (d) there was a possibility that he would see a bear.

He did not see a bear.  I told them they were way up high on the mountains picking huckleberries.

This is true.

Banjo Man was ecstatic because (a) he was at his cabin in the woods, (b) there was lunch and plenty of it, (c) he could show his grandson his land, and (d) there were no bears.

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It’s good to be home.

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Discussing how to build a fort.

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Lunch on the porch.

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Checking out Uncle Sarge’s May campfire.

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Just another afternoon in paradise.

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Checking out the woods and an old road.

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“Grandpa, can we spend the night here?”

Part 2 of Banjo Man’s birthday included a trip to town and a fancy birthday dinner at Trinity on the lake, serenaded by Retired Mountain Lady’s band “Running With Scissors”, along with Dancing Mandolin Player and her Boyfriend Bob.

From morning to night, no one was happier than Banjo Man.

Which is the way birthdays should be.

Posted in family, grandmother stuff, lake | 3 Comments

broken eagle

2015-07-12 008A few weeks ago we had a visit from what we thought was a hawk, but turned out to be a juvenile eagle.

Who, sadly, had a broken wing.

Calls to wildlife rescue organizations were futile.  He stayed in our front yard, hopping and low-flying from rock to rock, all afternoon and evening.  A few days later he shocked a neighbor by dropping down in front of his truck, then scooting off into the woods.

There is an eagles’ nest near us.  We watch them fish, flying over the lake and dipping down into the water to snatch their dinner.   We used to have ospreys as neighbors, too, but the tree where they nested for years was blown down in last year’s powerful summer storm.

I don’t want to think about what happened to this young eagle.  Nature is cruel, I know.  It’s just that when I watch the eagles soar and swoop over the lake I feel comforted.

Because of all of the crazy, horrible, evil things happening in the world, at least there are still eagles doing what they have always done here at the lake.

And I am lucky enough to get to watch.

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jammin’ with john

2015-08-06 003My daughter-in-law warned me:  He wants to learn how to make jam.


It seems my four-year old grandson had seen a cooking show on television where a woman made jam and he had been totally, completely fascinated.  His mother told him that Grandma More Pie made jam and that was all he needed to hear.

I think he told quite a few Texans that he was going to Idaho to make peach jam.  In fact, he told me that shortly after we picked him up at the airport.  I promised him that we would indeed do that.

No one has ever asked me how to make jam before.  That’s what grandchildren are for, I suppose.  To ask you questions and make you feel old and wise.

I told him that scooping out the sugar by cupfuls was just like digging dirt.  He liked that.

He liked stirring.

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And he loved the magnetic stick that pulled the hot jar rings and lids out of the boiling water.

We didn’t make peach jam–I had 2 quarts of processed apricots in the freezer–but he didn’t know the difference.  He was cooking jam and that was all that mattered.

We listened for the satisfying “pop” each jar made when it sealed.  We high-fived each other for a job well done.

He ate his own jam on his toast every single morning.

And he took all 8 jars–wrapped carefully in bubble wrap– home for his peanut butter sandwiches and for gifts.

He also did a different kind of jammin’, but that’s another story….

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i have company

2015-07-29 035Here is my 4 year old grandson surveying the lake for the first time.  He’d arrived fifteen minutes earlier.  After a very long ride (2+ hours) from the airport–and after a very early flight from his home in Texas–he and his parents were very, very happy to be here.

But he was the only one who, after a quick glance at the house and his new Star Wars quilt, stripped naked in the kitchen and demanded his swim trunks and water sandals.

He hustled down the hill and right into the lake.  And to think we’d wondered if he would be afraid of the water….

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