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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Week at the Spring

You're too close. Step away from the camera.
Last fall, we bought a trail camera at Cabela's to capture some of the wildlife ranging on our north Idaho property. During the months, we've moved it around, finally settling on the spring below the house. It's the closest we've got to a watering hole.

The first day we had it up, we got a bear. But since then, mostly turkeys and deer - but, they're everywhere - and my Brittany, Pepper, on one of his rambles.

But last week...

OK, the ubiquitous deer
Neighbors Dave, Theresa and their two masfiffs (Australian out of frame)

Karen on a search-and-destroy mission to uproot mullein

Probably one of the dozen cow elk that were up at the house earlier in the week

And a young moose that Dave and Theresa had seen near our back fence line

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Flying the Flag

2012 Tour de Cure Finish Line
I'm something of a serial donor. When I had cancer, I donated primarily to cancer research. When I developed kidney disease, I donated primarily to kidney disease research. Those are both in deep remission, but I'm always going to be diabetic. So, since 2010 I've donated primarily to diabetes research and education. This year, I've also started to do volunteer work for the American Diabetes Association, marrying  it with my love of cycling by supporting the ADA's Tour de Cure.

Last year, I rode in the Tour and was fortunate that quite a few friends donated to the ADA in support of my ride. I'm riding again this year but I've also canvassed local bike shops and fitness centers to encourage their support of the Tour. This morning, I staffed the Tour information booth at Spokane's Bike Swap.

Flying the flag, wearing my 2012 Red Rider (cyclist with diabetes) Tour jersey.

Flying the Flag at Spokane Bike Swap
The tour was one of several charity rides, all of which competed for attention with area bike shops, cycling-related small businesses, and folk who were selling old bikes and parts. Quite a few folk of all ages were interested in the Tour, and several took entry forms and brochures they could use to enter via the Internet. The Tour has three routes this year, one of 20 miles, one of 50, and one of 100. By the time my shift was over, all the 50-mile route maps had been taken - as had a couple of dozen TdC water bottles. It was good visiting with fellow cyclists and encouraging them to ride the Tour de Cure.

Beautiful Steel Pinarello

I also managed to find a great cycling jacket for my     stepson's 42nd birthday. There were a slew of nice   bikes, but the real beauty was an 1990s steel Pinarello with a gorgeous pearlescent fade paint job. If only it had been in my size.

The Days of Real Head-tube Badges

Winter Training - Yuck!
After a week of setting fence posts and braces and cleaning up deadfall and slash, I'm going to get back on the bike this week. We're due for some nice weather after an early cold and rainy spring. I've got to get a lot of miles back into my legs before the 2013 Tour de Cure.

Helping to find a cure for diabetes is motivation enough for me, but I'd sure appreciate your support for my ride, the Tour de Cure, and the American Diabetes Association. If you can, please make a donation to the ADA at my Tour de Cure Web page

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for your help and friendship.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Something to Bark About

When we started building our new house, Karen was concerned that it might disrupt existing migration patterns, particularly for elk. Apparently, that isn't a problem. This morning, while catching up on BBC America's adaptation of Alan Furst's Spies of Warsaw, I saw out of the corner of my right eye, a patch of light fur. A deer, I thought. No big deal. Until Pepper started barking as if the world's largest flock of quail wandered past the sliding-glass door. Not quail. About a dozen cow elk, following their path from the meadow behind our old barn, past the house, stopping for an early breakfast in a small meadow just south of our house.

I found a camera and stepped out onto the front porch. They saw or smelled me, and ambled toward our southern neighbors' place, over the fence line and into their meadow.

I'm still trying to find out about the mouse. Last night, Geordie spent the night in our mud room on a very important mission - to find the field mouse he'd brought in from an evening's stalk in the garage and then brought in to the mud room when Karen let him in for the night. Geordie, who's about seven and came to his mousing heritage later in life, seemed confused about what to do with it, dropped it, picked it back up, dropped it again, and watched it scuttle behind the washing machine. We kitted up the mud room with a sand box and a bowl of food for Geordie and went to bed.

This morning, I opened up the mud room and found no evidence of mayhem; no corpse, no blood, no signs of struggle. I propped open the door from the mud room to the garage, opened the garage door, and let Geordie back into the house. Maybe the mouse will take the hint.

It's been a cold and rainy spring, but we're making progress on the place, consolidating burn piles, sinking corner posts and clearing brush for new fencing (a handyman's coming to string the fence on Monday), and ridding ourselves of Lake Stratford. Last Tuesday, the sink hole near our heat pump was filled and re-graded. On Thursday, the excavator brought up, dumped, and spread a load of gravel. The next day, our Stratford representative came up to survey the work and take a look into the crawl space, where we'd had water off and on since the autumn rains. And what did he find? That neither the Foundation Kings nor the the plumber who installed the water line, sealed up the space around the water or electrical conduits, providing a sluice way for rain and snow melt. With any luck, we'll start having some dry weather, and soon Stratford will be able to seal up the spaces around the conduit with non-shrink grout or elestomeric concrete. Then, he can replace the ground tarps and we'll be done until the one-year warranty repairs.