Saturday, February 5, 2011

I swiped the picture obviously, but it is shows such a poignant moment when parts that are supposed to be behind the driver are seen passing by. Not a good moment for calm.


Everyone loves greenbelts.

OK, almost everyone.

Boise has a greenbelt that follows the Boise River from Lucky Peak dam down past Eagle, 20 or 25 miles. It is well used and seems to be well accepted.

But propose a greenbelt and all sorts of people rise up and scream. Property values are one rallying point. Crime is another and others are invented on the spot. Some of these may even have some relevance.

I live near the local YMCA. Our rear property corners meet in the middle of an irrigation canal!

Long time ago there was a move to make a “trail” mostly using existing streets and walk ways, from the downtown area to the Y, some 3 or 4 miles. Since I am on the route, I paid attention.

Several options were offered. One was to run the trail right down the middle of my place, using a federal right of way along a waterway. One was to go on the side of my property, but the one won out is on the other side of the irrigation canal that is my NE property line.

Last week a road grader was working on the roadbed. The grader put in half a day moving plant materials and leveling.

I do not appose the project, it seems it might be a good way for the kids on our end of town to get walk to the Y for some exercise (there is a bit of irony there).

Still I wonder how it will all work out.

Guess I will just have to wait.

Friday, February 4, 2011


It is hard not to be affected by what is going on in the world, even on the other side of the world.

We are witnessing the end of something and the beginning of something else, and the terrifying thing is that no one but no one knows what or where all of that will end up.

Once you unleash the wild animal, no one can know exactly what will happen.

In art history we spend a lot of time studying ancient Egypt. For centuries Egypt was the center of the educated world. Art and culture flourished, even as the life of the average Egyptian was not so good.

We have to respect those who want to change things for the better and we have to understand those who believe that the current way is the best. When those can only communicate through shouting and screaming and violence, things can only get worse, and that includes our own dear country.

America, it seems, is usually (some say always) on the wrong side of these things. If our motives and our needs were simple it would be easier to categorize them and do the correct thing, but our needs and wishes are often at cross purposes. Sometimes we support governments we should not support, but they help us in our short term needs. We suppress ideas and people we should defend. And it is easy to determine all of this, decades later.

At the same time, we wish all countries could have good government. Some would say “like we have.” Others, myself included: “like we could have.”

Right now there is not much we can do but watch and bite our fingernails, and hope and pray.

The world is full of people who are basically good, but follow courses that are self destructing. Countries do that too.

Right now the Muslim world is shaking, as well it should. They, like us on occasion, have been led or pushed by the zealots who are only intent on their own narrow agenda.

You and I are basically powerless. We just watch.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


While Miriam gets around pretty well now, one day she won’t.

This week she slipped on the steps going upstairs and fell, not hurting herself, but giving me a bit of a scare.

We sleep upstairs in our weird little house. When the house was new there were bunk beds in that room and two daughters shared the space. The smaller bedroom was home for one daughter. The 4th was away at college at the beginning, and got married soon after that. But that was a lot of years back.

The up bedrooms have nice windows that look out onto our back yard. In the summer, if you sleep late, the sun can shine through that window. Our house is one of the few of its size to have two bathrooms, one on each floor.

The down bedroom once had a closet against one wall and the bed (on castors) rolled under the closet, making it a day bed. There is a 6’ wide door that opened into the living room, so the space could be used as an extension of the living space, when there was a lot of company, which there often was in those days.

The closet is gone, and in it’s place is a window. But, now there is no place for clothes.

My idea is to use space that is not used (originally the house was to be solar heated, hence the greenhouse on the S side of the house. The solar part worked best in July and least in January. So I retired the space). That space would make a great walk in closet for that down bedroom. In fact at 5 1/2 by 16’ it would be a huge closet for a house this size.

The other end of what was once a long skinny space, will become the “pantry” with shelving for food we buy in bulk, canning supplies and equipment and the shelves for the fruit and juice jars.

When I told Miriam of my plans, of course she did not like them at all. In words that left no doubt to her feelings she said she “DID NOT” want to sleep downstairs. I told her it would make a better place for company, and maybe someday we just might need it too.

Said that way, she agreed.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


The power company called.

Courtesy call, the computerized lady informed me.

Don’t remember ever getting a call of any kind from the power company, so I listened carefully.

Thursday morning, the voice said, power would go off at my house about 10:30 in the morning and it would take them about 5 hours to do their work.


Since we heat with a wood burning stove we would stay warm. I could even cook lunch on the stove.

Our house does not have a lot of windows in the right place for good lighting without the power. I could go over to my studio, but that heats with an electric heater and it will be cold. or I could take a nap!

But I think we will go grocery shopping, maybe shop for something else and just take a few hours to do it.

Why not.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

This is one reason I have a full sized pickup.
My fleet includes 4 trailers and this is not the largest one!
Oh for the old days!


Once we had one small car and it was good.

When we were in Texas we had a compact car (Chevrolet Cavalier) and a small two wheel trailer, and we did pretty well with that combination.

Often i long for the old days when one car would handle all of our transportation needs. That car that would get 30 mpg most of the time, just hook on a trailer for the trip to Home Depot.

Now we have a very good pickup that averages 15 mpg and an aging car that averages 25 mpg. That combination has served us well for a long time.

But now we drive less than 9000 miles a year and it is simple arithmetic to show that driving just the pickup is cheaper than driving them both. Figuring license and insurance along with some basic maintenance (not the biggies that blow the budget) and we can save a couple hundred a year by driving the 15 mpg monster.

I used to drive 30 to 40,000 a year just doing my work. But gas was a bit cheaper then!

My head is messed with all of this. It conflicts with my basic instincts. It also conflicts with my ideas of conservation and stewardship but the numbers don't lie. (Remember when we said "Pictures don't lie?").

So, I guess we will drive big and drive comfortably with heat and cool and tunes.

And, we will enjoy it!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Gothic Arches


I remember once making vegetable stew.

We were working out of town and were staying in our travel trailer. 1 medium potato, 1 smallish carrot, 1 stick of celery and so on. It worked well for the two of us.

Since I have taken over the cooking here, I have worked to make just the right amount of food for a meal. For instance if I take 1 1/3 cup of flour I make enough pancakes or waffles for the two of us with none left over. One round cup of rolled oats makes cereal for us and so on.

So yesterday, I peeled and diced a half dozen medium potatoes, two good sized carrots, added similar portions of celery and put it on to cook. Later I added other veggies including a can of diced tomatoes and a can of garbanzos. When I finished I had close to a gallon of pretty decent stew.

I don't mind eating the same thing for two meals in a row, but that would be about right for a week. So, this time I spooned the correct amount for two servings, into quart ziplock bags and put them in the freezer..

The freezer has not been my best meal making tool. Not the machine's fault, but I have not been using it as affectively as I could.

But this is all an adventure and a learning experience, so I keep trucking!

Tonight I think I'll make half a batch of biscuits and use them as dumplings on some of that stew, but get the stew to temperature before adding the biscuit dough. Just heard that one on the radio last week.

I am learning slowly at times, but I am!