Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Retired Mountain Man has been doing a scientific study the past couple of weeks.  He is very good at them.  Our friend Joe brought him a couple of strips of bark that contained Cedar Borers.  Jon identified them as Semanotus Ligneus, which was confirmed by a USFS Entomologist.

Cedar Borer

 A couple of weeks later he opened the container with the six unopened pupal cases and lo and behold two wasp types had hatched out of two of the cases.  They had bored small round holes out of the cases.

You can clearly see where the holes are in the cases.

Also in the container were two small, desiccated  bugs that he assumed were the victims of the wasps. 

After considerable amount of time on the internet Retired Mountain Man has  decided that they must be Orussidae but after looking a dozens and dozens of pictures he could find nothing quite like them. (orange abdomen)

He has sent the photos off to the entomologist once again to find out -   from what he has read it appears that the Orussidae are rare. 

I will let you know what he finds out.

Friday, June 21, 2013

I am certain my piano skills have improved dramatically by just looking at it and breathing the air around it.......

 It has only taken me a year to make the decision, but it has finally happened.  My new keyboard has arrived and it has amazing acoustic piano sound.  I have only just begun to explore all of the voicings and styles that can be played. 

I need a "Yamaha Keyboard for Dummies" manual to help me figure out all of the technical gadgets and what it can do. 

All I can say is it sounds like I have a Baby Grand Piano.   Amazing.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The year of the iris.

I haven't had time to blog as I have been trying to get the last of my vegetable plants into the garden.  The cucumbers, a few more broccoli plants, zucchini, and a few more corn plants went in yesterday.  Almost everything looks good this year.  I have already harvested two quarts of broccoli.  I think that is a record for me.  June 16th.  

The weeds, of course, are way ahead of me.  It doesn't seem to matter if it's rainy and wet or hot and dry, the weeds keep on coming.  I did take some time out to snap some photos of my iris before they are gone.

When my iris are blooming it usually pours rain here, which ruins the blossoms.  Not this year. 

My wave petunia is waving at you!   It wasn't long ago when it was just a tiny seedling. 

I hope you have a great day!

From hot to cold.

There's a cold front moving in this morning.  This storm went up the Trestle Creek drainage.   Yes, I know it's 5:00 a.m. but once I saw the clouds moving in I couldn't resist taking some photos.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Lake Pend Oreille Smoked Kokanee. It's been 19 years since we tasted any of these wonderful fish!

The Little Chief smoking away. 

Here they are!  Yes, they actually have a very beautiful golden color.  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Return of the Kokanee

You are looking at a photo of some of the first Kokanee caught out of Lake Pend Oreille since 1994.

Yesterday Retired Mountain went fishing on the lake with Trav.   They caught their limit and Trav and Lester Bug went out again today and caught 12 more.

Retired Mountain Man has them in his Little Chief Smoker today.  He is as expert at smoking fish.  In my opinion Smoked Kokanee are the best smoked fish.  Their flavor is sweet and the texture is firm and not too dry. They are ten times better than smoked salmon.

We will be enjoying a treat later today.  It takes about six hours to smoke the fish.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Whoo Hoo! YES! Totally awesome!

The nurse called with my blood test results this morning.  As you know I have been working to reduce my cholesterol and blood pressure for the past six months.
After some research  I decided the best to use the DASH diet recommended by the American Heart Association.   It has turned out to be a good choice.

Dec. 2012 to June 2013:
LDL - the bad stuff went from 144 to 126  
HDL - the good stuff  from 48 to 57
Total - is now 204

LDL Cholesterol LDL-Cholesterol Category
Less than 100 Optimal
100 - 129 Near optimal/above optimal
130 - 159 Borderline high

HDL Cholesterol HDL-Cholesterol Category
60 and above High; Optimal; associated with lower risk
Less than 40 in men and less than 50 in women Low; considered a risk factor for heart disease

Total Cholesterol Category
Less than 200 Desirable
200 - 239 Mildly High
240 and above High

And one more thing - I lost another pound today.  I will be continuing with my new healthy eating plan.

How are your numbers?  Do you know them?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

King Boletes!

Our good friend, Billy, and his son Darren, who is a chef, stopped by for a visit last weekend.  They brought us these!

Boletus edulis

 These are considered to be one of the best tasting mushrooms.  They are right up there with morels.

As you can see, I have almost four trays of dried Bolete Mushrooms. They have a nutty flavor and can be ground and added to soups and sauces for flavor.

(Sadly,the tomatoes on the counter are the last of my first crop of Red Robin's.  The plants are starting to blossom again for the next crop.)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Take a Seat at the Table Fundraiser

 This post is for a woman who I admire greatly, Mandolin Ann.

Local artists painted chairs to be auctioned at the event
 For the past three days I have been helping Mandolin Ann with the preparations for the  NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Far North banquet and fundraiser.  

Ann has worked tirelessly for this organization, and in 2009 she set up the first CIT (Crisis Intervention Training) Academy in Idaho.  The CIT Academy is a 40 hour training for law enforcement about mental illnesses and how to recognize them.   It takes hundreds of hours to setup one of these trainings and she has done many of them.  She has also stayed with it even when everyone else jumped ship and cancelled at the last minute.  

It is true that she did not do it alone.  There were many others involved, but as with most things, there is always a core group of dedicated people who keep the wheel turning.  NAMI Far North is one of those.

NAMI Far North consists of a small group of people who did an unbelievable amount of work for the fundraiser. 

Local businesses donated dozens of items for the silent auction.


All of the chairs were donated to be auctioned off at the event.

I want to share photos of some of the very creative chairs painted by local artists and also several of the school art classes.

This paper mache' was created by the Lake Pend Oreille High School art class.

My small role was to take a 4' flowering plant and make it look like a 12" centerpiece without spending a lot of money.  We had 36 to create.   

Ann talking over the final details. 

To top it all off, Ann volunteered to bid on a chair at the auction for me.  It's not one of the painted chairs, although there were many of them I would have liked to have bought.  

It's an antique so it was not painted.  It actually almost matches my dining chairs. My chairs do not have the filigree at the top, but the woodwork on the arms and legs match. 

 the seat would need to be reupholstered in a blue fabric.

This afternoon Mandolin Ann will be at our Cougar Creek Band practice after having raised thousands of dollars for NAMI Far North last evening!  
What an amazing woman Mandolin Ann is! 

Thank you, Ann! 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

To all phone users. Yes, that would be you.

 If you are a Verizon customer, all I can say is that you should have taken a warning from my post last week,  Don't Say My Name.

Dr. Johnny Fever had it right all along!

My guess is that even though no one is saying anything about the other phone companies, but they probably have those records too.

Let the paranoia begin.

Altocumulus? 5:15 a.m.

This was the cloud formation over Green's Ridge this morning.   It was only about five minutes and the sky was clear.   


I need a member of the the Cloud Appreciation Society to confirm the cloud type.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Breaking news!

I don't know about you, but I am just about to give up watching the news, reading the news or listening to the news.  It's not news anymore and to get to the truth of a story requires digging too deep and takes too much of my time.  

I used to love reading the newspaper.  It was always a very enjoyable part of the day to sit and have a cup of coffee while reading the paper.  I have done that my whole life.  The daily newspaper has become pretty slim.

Nowadays the newspapers have been replaced by 24 hour TV "news" and the Internet news.  Both of them conveniently leave out pieces of stories to make them more interesting or to support their political leanings. 

Which story would you like to read?

Bieber to be launched into space.

Geraldo Rivera's big decision.

Or how about?

Tattoo Secrets:  You may poop.

Need I say anything more?


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Don't say my name! They're coming to get me!

My latest garden decor project has been at the front corner of our house.  There used to a giant rose bush there that covered up Avista's very ugly meter box.  Unfortunately, the rose bush died and I have been forced to look at the meter box every time I drive or walk up to my house.

I have been trying to figure out how to cover it up for quite some time and have finally started to tackle the project.

I have added a bird bath planted with Hens and Chicks.

And I have been looking for a banner or flag to hang over and cover the meter box.  I finally found a flag but it's not quite working for me.  

Too much ribbon and not enough flag?  Maybe it needs another flag behind it?  
It is still a work in progress.

Retired Mountain Man says the Avista Cops are going to come to arrest me for covering up their very ugly meter box.  Something similar to the Phone Cops, who were coming to arrest Johnny Fever on WKRP in Cincinnati. 

In the episode, a bomb threat from Black Monday forces the staff to evacuate the station. Johnny and Venus go on the air from the old transmitting tower, cut off from the world after Dr. Fever smashes the phone in frustration over placing a bet on a horse race. They do not know that Black Monday has placed a bomb at the tower and there is no way to contact them.

 I hear sirens! 

 (It's also possible that I could be arrested by the Garden Art Cops for displaying garish garden art)

 The banner has part of this quote printed on it. 
“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

Personally, I think it's a miracle that I haven't been arrested.