Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Clark Fork, Idaho

Since my dad is here visiting, we have been having a wonderful time together.  My dad had put in a special order to the "Man Upstairs" for cooler weather.  Apparently he must have some special connection there, because it has definitely been cooler since the moment Dad arrived.  He landed on the ground, and shortly after a huge thunderstorm hit, and it really hasn't stopped raining since.  I think we've had maybe two days of partial sun since he's been here. 

However, this past Sunday, the sun put on her best attire and kicked the clouds far away into the horizon, and we were so very thankful for that beautiful day of sunshine! So, we decided to take a little road trip, and headed for the Scotchman Peak Mountains in Clark Fork, Idaho.  This is a road trip I've been wanting to take  for a while, but it seems we would always end up somewhere else along the way, instead of here.  But today, we set Clark Fork as our destination, and we arrived! 

As you travel on Highway 200 east of Sandpoint, the beautiful scenery is like eating pieces of sweet candy at every bend in the road.  The views of the pristine blue waters of Lake Pend O'Reille set the stage against the backdrop of the Cabinet Mountains

We stopped at a look out point along the drive  The view was incredible.  I could only imagine how wonderful it would be to be able to see this view every single day.  I hope the people who live in this area appreciate the beauty of the area they live in.   Incredible!

There was a train meandering along its way as we stood and drank in the views before us.

The smell of this native flower was intoxicating, a mixture of lilac and apples.  I do not know what this white flowering bush is, but I intend to find out.  I brought home a sample of the bush with me to take to a local nursery on my next trip to town to find out.  I NEED some of this in my yard.  The whole area around the bush literally smelled like lilac apple pie, and it was beyond heavenly!

 There were a few sailboats out on the lake catching the breeze.  What a life!

 Another picture of this amazing wild bush against the backdrop of the skies, mountain, water, and clouds.

Uh oh... someone was having a very bad day.  They had started out their day with great anticipation only to find themselves with mechanical failure.  They were being towed in to shore.  Not a fun ending to the day's adventures they had planned, I'm sure!

We traveled on down Highway 200 craning our necks as we drove.  The skies were fully of fluffy white clouds that added to the beauty and splendor around us. 

We arrived in Clark Fork and found it a very quiet, one Main street quaint little town.  There was a grocery store, a couple of gas stations and a few other stores in town. 

I forgot to take a picture of the actual town of Clark Fork. Well ... okay... I didn't forget to take a picture, it is just that the driver of our vehicle refused to stop and let me out to do the touristy thing of snapping pictures of Main Street... that said driver being my dearly beloved husband who despairs of the value of so many pictures being taken.... 

So, I did a little homework once I got home, and found this picture to show you the quaint Main Street of Clark Fork. 

And because I don't have my pilot's license... there is no way I'd be able to take a picture like this, so here is an aerial picture of the town of Clark Fork.

And just in case you want to take your own road trip someday to the town of Clark Fork, I thought I'd share this picture with you, just for your records.  Should come in handy, I'm sure.

We left the city limits of Clark Fork and headed out of town to find Johnson Creek.  We were pointed in the general direction by two girls who were strolling along the road, as we stopped to ask them where a nice scenic drive in Clark Fork was.  They pointed us over to the Johnson Creek area.

Indeed, what a lovely little spot it was.  It is a Sportsman's Access park with bathroom facilities only.  There were several families camped out there on its banks, enjoying the beauty of the area.  
We continued on the road past Johnson Creek, and it took us on a winding trail way up into the mountains.  Before long, some amazing vistas were laid out before our eyes.

We probably only climbed about 1000 feet or so into the mountain, but it was high enough to afford some pretty amazing views of the Clark Fork area.  For a minute there, I bet you thought I somehow jumped into an airplane and secured these pictures.... ha!

The road up the mountain was a well built gravel road, and it just seemed to go on and on and on and on.... You get the picture.  And then there are innumerable little mountain roads just with a crude number written on a scrap of wood, or, no sign at all, indicating that the roads up here could lose even the best woodsman in no time. We decided to turn around before we got lost ourselves.

And we got out and just took in the majestic views spread panoramically out before us.

Finally, we descended back down the mountainous drive to the low lands and valley below.

This scene of a red barn against the backdrop of the mountains caught my eye, and I asked the driver, my sweet husband to stop once again... he did oblige this time, although I did hear a large sigh as I jumped out the door to get the perfect angle for this picture.  Aren't you glad I did? 

Then we made a stop in town, and for the life of me, I don't know why, but I left the camera in the car.  I thought we were just making a pit stop, and a quick potty break. 

How was I to know that the biggest ice cream cone of my life awaited us inside? 

I am not kidding about this.  I really wished I had taken a picture.  I ordered a one-scoop ice cream in a cup.  I promise that this one scoop was nearly a pint of ice cream, and that is no joke or tall tale.  My son thought he was in desperate need of a good dose of ice cream, and ordered two scoops.  Those two scoops just about did him in.  He never did finish them, although to his credit, an hour later, he was still eating that ice cream as it melted.  NO JOKE! 

So, if you want the most amazing local homemade ice cream cone of your life, you need to stop by the Monarch Market in Clark Fork, ID for the largest, tastiest and cheapest ice cream you'll ever eat.  One scoop of ice cream is only $1.99, and two scoops $2.99 in a large waffle cone to boot... how's that for a pretty amazing deal and way to top off a pretty great day already!

All four of us could have eaten that one scoop of ice cream (which was really like about six normal scoops) and had plenty... that is just how big these cones are!  Wow... Monarch Market knows how to do ice cream right!

After we had our fill of ice cream, and we were all in brain freeze mode, we started out towards the Scotchman Peaks on the Lightening Creek Road.  It wasn't hard for me to see why this creek was named Lightning Creek...

 It was moving at a fast and furious pace, thundering down the mountainside filling the air with its cool song of joy.  The ripples of water over the rocks, and the cool breeze wafting off the creek was music to our ears, beautiful peaceful, joy filled laughter of a creek full of water, and dancing to the song of the mountains.

Large smooth rocks lined this creek bed, having been smoothed out after years of pounding racing water covering them.

 Then there were the streams racing down out of the mountains, down, down, down to meet up with the creek to join the noisy song of joy. 

The wildflowers were singing too.  The abundance of daisies, and lupins among others were flinging wide their joy to the world amidst the fields of green. 

We came to a sign in the road pointing to a trail along Porcupine Creek.  So, we turned down this road, and hiked down a bit to the Porcupine Creek.  It was a lazy little creek meandering its way to Lightening Creek.  As we followed Porcupine Creek over to the Lightning Creek, a view of the Scotchman Peaks still covered in snow awaited us.

We had to dip our hands into the water, just to see.  It was cold, quite cold!  It wasn't as frigid as some water I've dipped into, but you could only leave your hand in the water for about 1 minute or so, before the cold drove you away.  No, I wouldn't want to spend any amount of time in these waters, but simply watching the way the water splashed over the rocks was enough for me!

 Someday we would love to come back and camp somewhere along this creek.  We met some four-wheel riders as we were down at the creek.  There was a lovely trail they had taken called the Porcupine Creek Trail, and it looked very inviting, and someday we hope to come back and do some more exploring in this area. 

I don't know what kind of flowers these are, but they were all over the mountainous region we were in. I've never seen them anywhere else.  I will have to do some research to find out what these white flowers are.  They are very stately and majestic, and usually only occurring in groups of three.

As it was getting close to dusk, we were descending back down the mountain, and my Dad spotted this momma deer back in the forest with her two baby fawns.  I'm sorry that this picture isn't that great of quality, but they were moving fast.  But, if you look closely, you can see the momma to the left and her two fawns behind her. 

It was a wonderful day of exploring with some beautiful sights, smells, and views.  I was so thankful that the weather cooperated for us.  Monday morning we woke up to rain, rain, and more rain!  Seems like there was just a break in the clouds for Sunday, and oh how thankful we were that the clouds had parted for today! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Gardening Update

Well, it's been a little while since I've had a chance to update you on the progress of my greenhouse garden.  I've been so busy outside lately because the weather has been too nice to be inside, that I haven't been able to get on the computer and post an update.  But... a huge rain system has landed in our area, and we have had massive amounts of rain (for this part of Idaho anyway) over the last two days, and I have finally gotten around to sitting down here to blog about the progress of my garden.

But first, a few pictures around the yard ...

Yard sales have been my best friend lately! I've found some really great deals.  I found six soup cup planters in a box for $5.00 recently.  The soup cups are pink, purple, yellow and orange.  They are fairly large and add a great splash of color to my outside decor. 

I planted some kale and spinach in this barrel in early spring, and they are just loving it!  We've already had kale for dinner several times, and it is wonderful.  The leaves are not hard like the ones you buy in the store, but they are soft, and you can use the whole leaf.  I am really enjoying all the yummy green vitamins I have growing here!

Annie begged to be included in my post.  So... I reluctantly agreed.

She hasn't been a very good girl lately.  She and I have had some talks about things like rolling in soft dirt with tender plants growing in them, and chewing up pots whenever she takes a fancy to.  After we have the talk, it seems that she has assured me she will never, ever do such a thing again... well... one can only hope!

My beautiful pansies that I planted back in mid April, when we were still getting frost every night, and I was having to water them every morning to keep them alive and un-frost bite them. 

They are just loving this warm weather we are having!

Ahh... my majestic purple columbine! You have stolen my heart! This beautiful plant is a perennial, which means it will come back every year!  The blooms produced by this beauty are simply magnificent, stunning, and stately all wrapped up in one beautiful flower. 

And here is my greenhouse...more on the greenhouse below...

Some yard art I've created with odd and end finds from yard sales and thrift stores.

 We've got a touch of Idaho and Texas here with old license plates from both states...

I found this old rusty high chair that was left here from previous renters.  It has been recycled into a plant stand!  I found this old wooden shoe at a local garden store.  The old red pot has been recycled into a pot as well with some alyssum planted in it.

This is an old tackle box that I found at a yard sale for the whopping sum of 25 cents!  It has been repurposed into a planter as well.  My geraniums are loving their new home!

I've moved my ivy plants from indoors to outdoors with northern exposure to keep them cool and away from the heat of the sun.  They have really perked up, and just love being outside with the lovely weather we've been having.

 A rusted iron arrangement out in our front yard.  I found these at a yard sale as well for a song and a dance.  The planters had soil in them too, so all I had to do was add the flowers.  They are enjoying their full sun location, and blooming up a storm.

This is my compost pile that has grown.  At first I had just a clump of compost in a small pile, but then I decided to make it larger, and created the area with some old bricks that had been thrown in a scrap pile behind the shed.  It is nothing fancy, but I am hoping that in about six months or so, I'll be rolling in some black gold! I've been saving all my vegetable scraps, egg shells, and coffee grounds to throw in the pile, and we've added fresh horse manure, as well as grass clippings.  I started with a layer of cardboard on the bottom, added the horse manure, vegetable scraps and then have added grass clippings on top.  Every so often, I turn it all over with a shovel, and add some water.  I'll keep you posted on the development of my compost pile!

Wild roses grow everywhere here and bloom like crazy in June.  Someone planted one in our front flower bed, and it is huge.  It mass produced some amazing blooms just this week.  I love the delicate rosy pink flowers that these wild roses produce.  Gorgeous I tell you!

I've got some purple cabbage growing also in the front of my house with northern exposure, and they are really coming right along!  You can see how the cabbage leaves are beginning to form a tight head, and it won't be long, and I should have a few heads of cabbage to enjoy!

 This is the inside of the greenhouse.  I've got five rows of veggies and herbs planted.  Everything is doing wonderful...  even the weeds.  Because this garden area was previously overgrown with crabgrass, it is an ongoing battle with the crab grass in here.  I've hoed and pulled crabgrass roots, hoping to stop the growth of this very invasive weed, but it no doubt will be an ongoing battle all summer. 

This  is the okra we planted from seed.  It is doing great.  It loves the warmth of the greenhouse, and you can almost watch it grow day by day!

My peas are blooming, and beginning to form pea pods.  I can't wait for my first taste of these sweet peas!

My peppers are doing great as well.  I've got some good sized green peppers growing, and it won't be long before I'll be harvesting them. 

The squash bloomed today! Yeah!  I've got some huge blooms on the squash, and so now, I'll have to be on the lookout for those awful squash beetles.  I sure don't want them destroying the potential squash crop I've got coming.  I am hoping that my zucchini and squash plants will produce enough zucchini and squash to last us through the winter, but it is doubtful... as the greenhouse isn't really large enough for that, but... we'll see!

And that is my garden update for now!  I will post an update sometime next week. 

This week we are getting some much needed rain, and my Dad is here visiting, and so things are quiet around here today.  We are relaxing inside, and enjoying the rain, yet hoping that the sun will shine again soon!  My Dad arrived late Monday night and shortly after he arrived, we had a major storm move into our area, and it has rained ever since he got here, so we are blaming him for the rainy weather ;)  He lives in Texas and it is hot and burning up there, and he said he wanted to come enjoy some cooler weather... well... he must have inside access to the Great Weatherman because the weather has been very cool and rainy ever since he got here.  I'm hoping he can have a talk with the Great Weatherman again, and let Him know we now need some sunshine! LOL!

Have a blessed day and don't forget to stop and enjoy the beauty around you!