Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping is a dreaded word in most mother's vocabularies.  It involves making a list and checking it twice, and still... knowing that when you get home from the grocery store... you still managed to forget that most important thing that you went to the store for in the first place.

Or maybe that's just me that this happens to...

Has anyone else ever experienced this? (I hope I'm not alone..I'll cry myself to sleep tonight ... ;)

You have it right there on top of your list.  Toilet paper.  It's quite important.  You'll have a lot of really upset people hollering if you forget it.  So you know it is quite important.

Don't forget the toilet paper.

But.... how did I get all the way back home without remembering to get it?

I'll never know.  The answer just seems to elude me. 

So, grocery shopping isn't real high on my list of favorite things to do, because almost always I forget something... THE ONE THING I needed to remember to buy.

And, in case you're laughing about my distress over forgetting something at the grocery store, let me remind you that while I can shop for items here locally in town, most of the time I end up paying three times the price for it that I would have paid driving to the closest big box grocery store.  So yes, technically, I can just run down to Safeway and get the item, paying way more for it than necessary.

Forgetting an item on the grocery list is not a fun thing. Not at all.  So grocery shopping tends to be a tedious experience, crossing, and recrossing, and rechecking... and sometimes... the one thing I KNOW I need to get, didn't get written down on my list..  You see...  I made a mental note of it because I knew I wouldn't forget it.  HA!  HA!

(Don't talk to me about old age... I'm not listening, I'm deaf right now... what's that you are saying?!!)

Note to self.... ALWAYS write things down! Always! Just do it.

Anyway, back to the business at hand.  Grocery shopping is a big deal here. About once a month we take a whole Saturday to go to TOWN and stock up on groceries.  This is when you just don't forget to buy toilet paper, or milk or bread or.... all those important necessities...

It is an all day affair because the closest big box store is about 35-45 minutes away, depending on which direction we go to town.  We have three different options to choose from, and generally it depends on what other errands we are trying to accomplish at the same time as to which direction we go for groceries.  My preference is Costco, because I can buy in bulk there and plus... they have free food samples! Who doesn't like that!

So recently on an all day trip to get groceries... we happened to be heading home at just the right time.  The sun was setting, and setting off a show for us as we drove. All of a sudden, all the weariness of grocery shopping all day slipped away.  My camera was not on my grocery list... but I DID remember to bring it!

These pictures are taken through the window of our vehicle, so not really that clear, but.... you get the idea.... it was a beautiful ending to an otherwise hectic busy day! 

I never tire of the light shows that Idaho skies and mountains put on!  It is a constantly changing and enrapturing landscape!

I will leave you with this final picture that I caught of the sun just slipping down to the other side of the world... It was a perfect ending to a busy day... but with this beautiful sight before me as we traveled home, it made the business of the day suddenly fade away!

(PS: I forgot toilet paper) 

(PSS:  But my DH remembered... what oh what would I do without him!)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Walking the Snowmobile Trails

A few days ago, my dear husband (to whom I will refer to as my DH) and I found some interesting snowmobile trails and decided to follow them.  The skies were overcast, a little bit gray, but the weather was relatively warm, in the high 30s, perhaps 38 degrees or so.  It made for great hiking weather. 

The snow was melting pretty quickly.  I'm sure a couple of weeks ago you wouldn't have been able to see these rock outcroppings.  It seems that the rock heats up quicker than the ground, and therefore when the snow begins to melt, it is usually the rocks that appear first.

The deer had been here before us, their trails were everywhere.

We followed the trails which led to a bubbling brook, still singing happily in the middle of winter.  Its banks were snow covered, but it still rushed on downstream with a sweet happy sound. I love to come to brooks, and streams! And ... the deer and moose love them for obvious reasons too!  The tracks were abundant all around the edge of the stream, and there were several favorite spots where you could see they had found the perfect spot to come in for a fresh drink of water.

The deer weren't the only ones inhabiting this beautiful place. We saw lots of evidence of other wildlife out here too... beavers!  Hard working beavers too!  We found quite a few really nice trees that these industrious creatures had chewed to sharp stumps left in the water.

Snow and ice didn't matter to these busy fellows!  It must be nice to have such a warm coat of fur as to be in and out of the cold icy water, and still survive! 

Here is the dam they had built across the stream using the logs they sawed down.  They had quite a huge backed up pond created by their dam!  We waited patiently hoping to get a glimpse of the busy beavers .... but nary a sighting of them... although their handiwork was abundant!

You could see all over the pond where the beavers had been very, very busy.  It was a really amazing thing to see the quiet life and stillness of this pond. I'm sure the activity here is quite profound, if you get here at the right time, probably dawn and dusk. 

This is a hill overlooking the pond.  What a beautiful spot it was!

There had been many, many animals here before us!  The whole area was covered with tracks of various animals - and I can't say I blame them... the water was amazing!

As we followed the trails, we caught a glimpse of the Selkirk mountains off in the distance.  The cloud cover was pretty heavy today, so we didn't get a really clear view. 

The deer tracks took off in various directions through the woods. I would like to come back and follow some of these deer tracks.  They always lead to such interesting places!

 Someone had erected rocks here so that vehicles couldn't come up here, it is a road only meant for off-road vehicles like snowmobiles. 

Another picture of the brook as we were leaving. The trail crossed over the brook as we were leaving.

We had a great workout on this hike.  The snow was melting, which meant that every step you took, you kinda ... just... sank.... This puts a lot of strain on muscles you don't even know you have. It is quite similar to walking on the beach barefoot.  You put your foot down, and nothing there to support it and it just sinks, and sinks and sinks... sometimes up past your knees. 

We felt refreshed after visiting this beautiful place via the snowmobile trails.  I tell you.. you just never know WHERE a trail is going to take you!  If  your heart and muscles are up to the excitement... there is no better way to really get some exercise, and just enjoy the beauty of nature, God's creative designs presented at their best!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Just Another Corner

I told you that I would be back with more pictures from another adventure on the same day as  my daughter had any icy slide off the road.  The sun had pushed most of the clouds off the horizon, and the blue skies were just an amazing thing to see!  It turned out to be the perfect day for a hike that I had previously arranged with a wonderful friend of mine a week or so ago. We had no idea that the weather was going to cooperate with our plans so well! 

We began our hike after driving up part of the mountain road where we wanted to start.  This whole area is owned by a local logging company.  They have no problem with people utilizing their land, as long as they leave it the way they found it.  There are wonderful logging trails that run randomly all through the woods.  We had no map, and no compass, and this time, no dogs.  We left our dogs home just because we weren't sure where exactly we were going to end up... next time, we will definitely bring the dogs.  They would absolutely love every minute of it! 

So the three words that I could use to describe our adventures today would be....


.... Just  another corner! 

It seemed like there were endless corners in the logging trails.  At times, slogging through the snow, you think about giving up, turning around, and heading back... but then... there's just one more corner...

and you keep going!

 Except when we came to the bends in the road.  Now THOSE are really tricky.  We each took turns peering down the road as far as we could, trying to determine which path we should take, up or down... There are no signs out here indicating any kind of direction to take.  The choice is completely up to you.

Kind of reminds of me books I used to read when I was a kid.  You would get to an exciting part in the story, and then you were given several options, and told to go to page __ to find out the next adventure in the story. You could read these books for hours, trying to navigate your way through every adventure to be found in the book.  Sometimes in the storybook you would die, as you chose the wrong path.  I sure hoped that this wouldn't be the case today!  And sometimes you hit the jackpot... and I think we did today!

Well, so much for that trip down memory lane.

But decisions... and corners ... and bends in the road... they all make for a very interesting hike! 

Especially when you have no compass, no signs, and only the sun - thankfully! - to enable us to know which direction we were headed in.

We almost felt like real explorers....

Then we found some interesting tracks.  They seemed to come and go.  Sometimes you'd see them, and then all of a sudden, they'd disappear... and then we'd call..."Here kitty, kitty, kitty!"

Oh yes.  We had a nice warm furry friend out there with us.  We never did see him, but the tracks were relatively fresh, as (I'm sure you remember) it had snowed the night before, or early that morning. So, our large kitty friend had been out early traveling.  We think it was a lynx tracks, but as we are not experts, we won't say for sure. 

But we did spend some time gazing into the tops of the trees ... just to be sure.

And we talked really, really loud and laughed A LOT.  Swapped stories, and shared about the goodness of the Lord.  We had such a good time together that we really had no need to be concerned about where "Kitty Kitty" was.

Do you what these tracks are? 

Just checking up on your tracking skills.  

Since I'm such an "expert" here... just thought I'd ask... ;)

Another bend in the road.  More decisions. 

We continued downward.  I prefer to walk downhill than uphill, so that was a natural choice for me. 

The logging company had done some serious logging here with a huge pile of brush, and had some really great logs just thrown on the huge trash pile.  I thought it would be nice if they would let us haul some of that off for them!  I would certainly volunteer for the job.  But they don't ask me about these things.

Love the clouds and the pictures they paint by the millions in the skies above us.  Between calling "kitty kitty" and looking at the tops of the trees, and looking at the clouds, and then climbing up the side of this hill... I was breathing so heavy, I betcha could've heard me all the way to Texas...


Or at least a plateau, ridge, or outcropping...whatever you wanna call it... but it was absolutely wonderful, amazing, spectacular... and worth every breath!

A gorgeous view of Mount Spokane over to the west.  

It was great to sit and rest at this particular plateau and enjoy the view. 

The logging road by this time had become rather muddy.  After we rested, and drank some water, and just enjoyed our view, it was time to head back down the mountain.  At this point, we had been hiking for about an hour and 15-20 minutes, or so.  Not bad.

We were already making plans to come back, and explore further... because you see... there was just another corner...

But this one had to wait... until the next time.  The sun was melting the snow, and it was very boggy traveling. 

And because of the bogginess of the mud... we began to play hide and seek.

I didn't mention to you that I had lost a glove earlier in the hike.  It had just fallen off the zipper I had it attached to.  So the game began.

Then as we began to descend the boggy mountain trail, my ice tracks on my boots came off.  No problem.

I found a nice rock to sit on and put them back on.  My friend had lent them to me, and I think she has slightly bigger feet than mine.  That's not saying much, because I have really small feet.  Anyway, I think the ice tracks were having trouble staying on my feet because the sun had been out melting the snow, and it was turning to mud. 

Slippery, sticky, squishy .... ploppy mud. 

And my ice tracks wouldn't stay on.

But I didn't know that.

That's why we played hide and seek going down the mountain.

We happily turned downward after I "thought" I had gotten the snow tracks securely reattached to my boots.  We laughed and swapped a few more stories, and stopped to look at a beautiful tree, when I stopped staring upward, and looked downward...

And my snow tracks were both gone!

So, we had to retrace our steps all..... the..... way..... back..... up..... that... hill..... Yup.

They had fallen off shortly after I had put them back on. 

So, I decided after that hide and seek event, that I was just going to carry them the rest of the way.  So I did. 

(The snow tracks lived happily ever after.  I didn't lose them again... just so you won't worry...)

More deer/animal tracks.  We were close to a little creek, so I'm sure they were traveling down to the creek for some water.

In fact, speaking of water, I was getting really thirsty myself.  So glad we brought along water.

You would think that with all the snow around that you could just eat snow.

Have you ever eaten snow?  It's very cold and slushy...

But it just doesn't quench your thirst.  Not at all.  I've tried it before, and it doesn't work.

In fact, you can fill a cooler full of snow, and let it sit and melt. When you open that cooler, all that you will see at the bottom of the cooler is about an inch of water, if you are lucky enough to have a really big cooler.  That's how much snow has to melt to actually return to a usable liquid form.

And I didn't feel like eating a cooler's worth of snow just for a drink or two... 

So.... water is a very good thing to bring on a hike, even in the winter!

So we pulled out our water bottles and quenched our thirst. 

But snow is really, really, really good for other things.... like a snow bench! We plunked ourselves down in the above pictured snowbank, and had a wonderful rest.  My legs thanked me for it.  I told them they were welcome.  

We had a few more scenic views of the mountains before we left.  What a gorgeous day it was!

And, as we were leaving, we saw a white-tailed deer watching us.  By the time I turned my camera on... he had already turned too... to run away.  Oh well.  I wanted to get a picture of him watching us, but he wasn't interested.

And that, my friend, was the end of our adventure. 

We hiked for about 2-1/2 hours, give or take some.  Throw in a few hide and seek games, and maybe it could've been shorter. 

But looking on the positive side of things... the fresh air, exercise, and just the beauty of the day... things couldn't get much better than this! 

In closing, I would like to leave you with a poem I read not long ago. 
It spoke to me, and I hope it does to you.

Take Time

Take time to smell the flowers
And hear the bird's sweet song; 
Take time to watch a rippling stream
And the coming of the dawn. 

Take time to watch the bluebird
Flash his colors on the wing;
Take time to hear the crickets
In the evening as they sing. 

Take time to see the rainbow
Stretch across the sky;
Take time to say "I Love You"
Before another day goes by. 

Take time to watch the sunset
At the closing of the day;
And then take time to thank the Lord 
For all His many blessings today. 

Ruth M. Gilmour

May you have time today to stop to enjoy the blessings of the Lord and to think on His goodness that He shares with us each and every day!