Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What lurks in the woods? Only the game cam knows!

We tend to run into interesting game up here once or twice a year. The occasional moose or a black bear trying as hard as possible to get away from us. We thought it would be fun to put up a few game cams to see what we were missing.

How many mountain lions are in this picture?

How many grizzlies are in this one?

This young buck did some nice posing.

The mountain lions and grizzlies were a nice thing to see. Usually the photos are all deer with the occasional coyote sneaking by.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Welcome to the American Banana Republic

The result was never in question. Especially after the President endorsed her a week earlier and the Attorney General had a private meeting with her husband on the tarmac in Phoenix. Of course the laws don't apply to the privileged class. They only apply to us serfs. We knew this when there were no prosecutions of Wall Street Bankers for violations of black letter laws during the financial crisis. Direct SEC rules were violated, Sarbanes-Oxley was ignored, GAAP rules violated, and yet our Justice Department had the nerve to tell us there were no grounds for prosecutions....of anyone for anything.

Now we see it most recently with Hillary Clinton. 

The FBI's announcement that it won't recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton is yet another repudiation of the rule of law. What's so noteworthy is how far the FBI went out of its way to make it clear that while Hillary Clinton is above the law, the rest of us remain very much at its mercy (like serfs in a kingdom or a Banana Republic).

The American implementation of the rule of law has several principles, including:

1. because the law is supreme, no one is above the law;
2. there isn't one set of rules for some people and a different set of rules for other people; and
3. because the same laws must be applied equally in all cases, factually identical cases from the past determine how the law applies in future cases.

The FBI's announcement openly mocks all three rule of law principles, as FBI Director James Comey made clear. In each and every instance, Comey bends the law around Hillary Clinton, exactly as a dutiful civil servant of the king, due to receive their full government pension benefits in 2017, would do.

Destroying the principles one at a time:

1. No one but, in this case, Hillary Clinton is above the law

FBI Director James Comey made out a clear case that Hillary Clinton violated 18 U.S.C. 793(f):
For those who want to review the full law themselves

2. Gross negligence is the Legal Standard for Ordinary People; for Hillary Clinton, the Legal Standard is "Intent to Violate Laws."

By the express terms of 18 U.S.C. 793(f), criminal culpability exists where there is a finding of "gross negligence." However, James Comey informed us that the legal standard is different for Hillary Clinton and her coterie. "we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information".

(sarcasm on) Gee wiz officer, I didn't know the speed limit was 35 mph when I was driving 45 mph. Gee wiz ATF official, I didn't know the barrel on my shotgun was 1/8" shorter than allowed by law.  Hey guys, how about giving me a waiver based on the Clinton Rule? (sarcasm off)

3. Precedent be dammed, Hillary Clinton is free to break national security laws because she's special, you aren't.

James Comey: "To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who is engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now."

Maybe this is what we get and deserve as a nation for failing to teach civics in our schools. Anyone who votes for Hillary Clinton is shameless partisan (i.e., a moron). Anyone who votes in a national election, period, is a moron. Your vote does not matter. Not voting is a legitimate choice. It is a form of civil disobedience and a vote of no confidence in a system that has failed. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Everything is Growing

"In this world you're either growing or you're dying"
   Lou Holtz

Luckily for many, growth comes in assorted shapes and sizes. Growth can occur throughout the year, but now is the prime season.

The plum and cherry trees are going like gangbusters (planted just two years ago). 

So are the peach and the fig trees (who says you can't grow peaches and figs in Northern Idaho!).

The strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries always seem to grow and set a good crop.
We're getting a bucket a day out of the little strawberry patch.

The one year old blackberries will give their first fruit this year

The two year old raspberries are getting a little too aggressive.

The mushroom harvests has been unusually "growthy" this year.
Morel Mushrooms

Puffball Mushroom (texture like mozzarella cheese, slice thin and saute in butter with salt and pepper)

The Kootenai Tribe has been busy for decades trying to get the sturgeon population growing again. We helped to release the this season's yearlings. These one-year-olds won't be sexually mature for 30 years and they'll live to be over 100 years old. A truly prehistoric ocean fish trapped by glacial dams and converted to an inland fish. They grow slowly, but they're still growing.

The most beautiful conifer in the world is the Idaho White Pine. It was nearly wiped out by a disease introduced from Europe in the early 1900's called Blister Rust, Disease resistant trees are making a comeback in Northern Idaho. We keep planting a few hundred seedlings every year to see if we can reintroduce them to our property. They are growing fast and putting on long leaders.

Even the size of the tractors is growing.

And in a classic example of burying the lede, our boondocking forestland paradise is growing.

We seized the opportunity to buy a neighbor's adjoining parcel this spring, increasing our preserve to a robust 120 acres.

This gives us some new elevations and views, forest habitat types, soil types, more privacy, and another convenient easement in and out of the property. There will be some forest restoration to do and a funky/rustic old home site to resurrect. All of those University of Idaho forestry classes will come in handy (and a tractor).

Western Red Cedar and Larch trees  don't usually co-habitate, but they seem to enjoy each other's company on this parcel.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Out of Arizona

With the mild weather this winter, we were able to spend much more time in the high elevation grasslands of southeastern Arizona. Even though every place should be appreciated for its own uniqueness, you can't help but compare this place to the grasslands of Africa.

Sarengeti Grassland

SE Arizona Grassland

Of course, the wildlife we saw is far different from the African continent, there were some striking similarities there as well.

African Grassland Wildlife
Image result for pictures of african antelopes

SE Arizona Grassland Wildlife

Even the grasslands leading up to the mountains share a common look and feel.

African Mountain
Image result for pictures of kilimanjaro

SE Arizona Mountain

We gravitated towards this region because for most people it is just too cold. A snow birder will look at you in horror if you told them you were wintering in a spot where it drops below freezing at night and rarely gets above 70 during the day (even if it is relentlessly sunny every day). Unfortunately, we missed that this year. With the mild weather, we spent the whole winter sleeping with our windows open at night. Regardless, the region is still almost deserted when it comes to snow birders, and we've been able to find dozens of new secluded boondocking sites that aren't blabbed about anywhere on the Internet or other common RV sources. We plan on spending a lot of time here in future years!

African Bird Flock
Image result for african grassland bird flock images

SE Arizona Bird Flock

It's almost time for us to start our northern migration. We've decided to try out the colder, higher elevations of central Arizona next. Normally, the weather wouldn't allow it, but maybe this year, the Mogollon Rim and forests around Show Low, AZ will be open to us in March. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Four Years in the (Super Bowl) Wilderness

In our four years on the road, it seems we always end up in some remote spot for the Super Bowl. From a sky island in the middle of a Florida to a high desert plateau in Arizona, we end up watching the game in private. The spots are good enough that we spend anywhere from 16-24 days in the place. 

The Super Bowl camping spot has become our own pseudo Walden Pond. What's more quintessentially modern-American than combining the Super Bowl with self-reliance, independence, solitude, and nature?

Thoreau probably wouldn't agree, but what's wrong with inviting the "modern" world into your own personal Walden Pond for one day each year? We always have a food theme. In the past it's been dishes such as elk stew and oyster/smoked turkey gumbo. This year its Carolina Pulled Pork and Panther Pierogis with a Russian River Zinfandel. Go Blue!

Super Bowl 47
Ravens 34, 49ers 31
Ocala National Forest, Florida
The lights went out, but the Ravens still held on for the win.

Super Bowl 48
Seahawks 43, Broncos 8
Mittry Lake Wildlife Area (BLM), Arizona
It's hard to find a private, secluded spot at Mittry, but we managed. The Broncos didn't fare so well.

Super Bowl 49
Patriots 28, Seahawks 24
BLM, Why, Arizona
Helped by dumb Seahawk play calling, The Patriots lucked out in the Deflate Gate Bowl.

Super Bowl 50
Las Cienegas National Conservation Area (BLM), Arizona
One of the quietest spots we've ever been in, and the grasslands are easy on the dogs' paws.

Prediction: Panthers 31, Broncos 17

Panthers cover the spread.
At 45 points, take the over.

Broncos 24, Panthers 10
The Broncos take care of business decisively and Peyton Manning gets to go out on top. A true fairy tale ending.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tails from the Back Seat: Our Idahome

Summer in Idahome actually starts in April and goes through October...
that's 7 months of FREEDOM!!!
Boy, oh boy, oh boy, is it ever FUN!!  And this past summer was even FUNNER because Lucy visited with us for more than a month.  
Word-up!  She lost over 2 pounds going on adventures with us--that has to be at least 10% of her body weight!!  Maybe we can start a puppy health spa resort, we can help keep the treats at bay :-) 
Another spa secret, a shaggy doo can add phantom pounds to an otherwise svelte lad, er, Golden Retriever.

Light and breezy, that's the way I like it
It's a long winter looking like this

Karly just doesn't seem to have the same grooming issues, but this past summer she tore her nail and found herself in a bit of a bind.....literally!

With the addition of something called The Viking in early summer, we were able to go on even more adventures...although it took Karly some getting used to.

We went to some of our favorite swimming holes...

Smith Creek

Boundary Creek

Kootenai River 

Although there seems to be a trend here, we like to go on walks too, especially if there are sticks to retrieve.

And bigger IS better...

Not sure why, but sticks in a pile are off-limits...

we can look but not touch...

or we can just ignore them....

But just in case, I'm always ready for them.....

Another new treat for us this summer, but also on a look-but-not-touch basis, were turkeys!!!  We hear that our neighbors eat turkeys so they don't live very long around our 'hood, but there is hope for the future!!!

A family of turkeys in our "backyard"
Turkey eggs just hatched...hope for the future!!

It was quite a hot and smoky summer so there were days it took all the cleverness we had to keep cool....

Perhaps Jake is more clever than Karly???

Nah, Karly found the deer trough...do I look like I'm keeping it a secret from Jake??

Awwww, I love our neighbor's pond!!

And the cool breeze through my ears is not bad either!!

Clever is an understatement when it came to the apples that John and Susan put out for the poor parched deer, what are we, chopped liver???!!!  Until we learned about something called a Game Camera-----Caught, red-mouthed!!

Well, this is going to be easy...

For goodness sake, Jake, pretend like you don't care...

Where'd you go, Karly, you're missing the snatch

It's like they were never there...

You snooze, you lose, you lousy deer...

There's so much fun to be had in our Idahome, sometimes we just get plumb tired out.

But the pièce de résistance of our summer was the visit from Lucy and introducing her to our Idahome.

Small dogs don't rule, we're just being nice to our guest

Well, maybe small dogs rule...

Fine, small dogs DO rule!!

At first there was a bit of getting used to each other....

What do you mean?  This bed fits me just fine....

HELP!!!!!   PLEASE!!!!

OK, then I'll just make myself comfortable here

This bed was made for sharin' and that's just what we'll do

We took Lucy swimming...

And hiking....

And even to visit our pals, April and Suka....

How many humans does it take to get five puppies to pose???

We may never know....

We played....

Ha Ha, I'm over here, Lucy...perhaps I'm more svelte than I thought?

And sometimes we just took it easy.....

And enjoyed the view.....

Lucy was especially fond of watching our neighborly cows, we think she actually thought she was guarding us.

A small dog with big intentions...,

Stylin' coat though

She also liked to guard Jerry's beer, which we allowed since it was a "light" beer, we had a reputation to uphold at our puppy health spa resort!

Speaking of beer, there is a cool brew pub in our Idahome that allows dogs but not children, imagine that!!!  Something about not serving people-food so children aren't allowed.  But they do serve dog treats so dogs are allowed.  We are especially tickled by the name and the logo.....

Overall it was an awesome summer and we always look forward to Idahome.
But having Lucy visit us made the ordinary...


Because you're mine, I walk the line