Charlie the Dog goes Walk-About

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Last Friday I went skiing … the snow was so-so and after a few runs in the fog I headed home. Well, that’s not too unusual in my world, but that day would turn out to be nothing like the chill bucolic day I was planning.

When I headed out that morning I took my mother’s dog Charlie (the little white house dog we’ve been fostering) down into the Sweetie’s shop so he

“Aren’t I Special”? thinks Charlie the Dog

could hang out with Mala our Pudelpointer. After about half an hour of his scratching on the door Sweetie let him out to wander in the front drive area … which he’s done for the past 7 weeks.  Nothing unusual there either … except … Charlie decided to “go walk-about’.

When I walked in the door Sweetie said, “I lost Charlie”.  Oh no! I thought, my mom is going to have a stroke or something. So off go the ski boots and I went into I’ve got to find Charlie mode.  You should know though that Charlie is his own dog (read SPOILED) … when you call he goes the other way … like catch me if you can ….   You also may remember that here in Council the shop is in the middle of 97 acres of burnt dirt, rocks, and sage brush and rolling hills.  At this time of year, with unusually warm weather the ground is swampy from snow melt.  I climbed hills, took the binoculars out and scanned the hills for movement of any kind, I called, I walked looking at snow patches trying to see if there were Charlie prints anywhere.  Nope.  Quail prints, horse prints, man prints … big dog prints … no Charlie prints.

Then I drove up and down Highway 95 … well, if the little guy could make it that far (1/2 mile) to the main road, maybe someone picked him up. I drove up and down the highway a LOT .. sloooowly with my emergency flashers blinking while I was on look out for  “a body” … Nope! No body. Wheww! Home I went and made up lost dog posters and plastered them at all the gathering spots around Council. I put info on Facebook, I called veterinarians in a 60 mile radius (like Council is in the middle of nowhere so 60 miles is a good circle).  I messaged found animal services.  The result? Nothing, notta, nope, no sign of the little white house dog that doesn’t listen. And I prayed. I called my mom, I called my sister I said, pray .. and they prayed, and friends prayed and sent good thoughts.  I prayed every time I thought of that “stupid” dog.

Saturday I was all in a twist about him … it had rained the night before. I was sad, I was worried because my mother was heart broken. As I was praying, driving again down the road, I had a sense of peace calm me down and I felt that Charlie was okay.  Thinking he had been found and that someone would see one of the adverts and contact us. Talking to my mom she said she felt the same way.  No news Saturday, or Saturday night, or Sunday … someone called and said he may have been at a vet in Weiser.

… that’s 3 days of praying and watching for a gathering of crows (the body thing again), but no news is good news? I continued to feel that peacefulness and figured, well, he’s okay.  He’s either with God and he’s okay or with someone and he’s okay. Fast forward to Sunday evening (3 days after the little white dog took a powder) and 2 minutes before the end of the Superbowl.

I thought i heard a scratch at the door … we were screaming for the Eagles in those final minutes and I wasn’t certain I’d really heard anything. I went downstairs, but didn’t hear any scratching or noise. But, a thought came to mind to just open the door.

After 3 days walk-about … “Kibble! I’ll eat kibble”!!

I opened the door and that little white dog dragged himself though and stood there, head down and shaking. Some how, where ever he had been he found his way back. I yelled upstairs, “Charlie’s back”! Total shock echoed throughout the group … I picked him up, carried him upstairs and had Sweetie take a picture of him to send to my mother. He was shaking and sighing (yes, a dog can sigh). I put him down and the dog who doesn’t eat kibble unless bribed ate 2 plates of kibble, some chicken jerky, and some philly cheesesteak and probably drank a quart of water.

Where he went, how far he walked or ran, how he avoided being a coyote appetizer, or giant barn owl dinner we’ll never know. What stories he could tell. His feet are still sore and he’s sticking pretty close to the front door when he has to go out.

His return is a miracle. Charlie’s safe return is a testament to sincere prayer and faith in a loving Father in Heaven who is always aware of each of his creatures, no matter how small.  God is Wonderful.

On a separate note: Charlie will be heading back to live with Mom in a few weeks, she’s decided to return home … she says the people at the independent/assisted living apartments are OLD and though she won’t say it out loud … I don’t think she trusts us to keep Charlie  close so he won’t go walk-about again.

Life is good, isn’t it?

“Milk Money” Art Collection on the Auction Block

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Heritage Up for Auction

Cache Valley Utah perches in the far northern end of the Wasatch Mountains. It’s roots were and are fairly rural and Logan, the county seat and largest metropolis is the home to Utah State University, once Utah State Agricultural College (Go Aggies!).  Cache Valley was named for the fur stashes hidden there by many Rocky Mountain Fur Company trappers.

It’s still a relatively quiet and very picturesque valley with small towns scattered in the high mountain valleys.  If you take the exit east through Brigham City, through narrow canyons you’d love to visit the American West Heritage Center in Wellsville, or drop in to the Cache Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum in Logan, or take a hike up to Naomi Peak. All things I’ve loved to do.

This quiet valley isn’t too quiet right now. In board meetings the Logan City School District has decided that it is in their financial interest to divest themselves of 11 of 42 paintings purchased by the children of Cache Valley for their education and edification, the proceeds to be used for “student travel”.  Many of these artists lived in or had roots in Cache Valley.

Alice Merrill Horne, was the Utah legislator who passed the 1899 “Art Bill” which created the Utah Art Institute and pushed for the “Milk Money for Art” program. Her idea was that, “as far as possible, children should be exposed to quality art without having to have rich parents”.

By James Harwood. One of the Cache Valley School District paintings up for auction.

Children all over Utah donated nickles and dimes (their milk money)  through the 1930’s to purchase fine art from local and regional artists. The art was displayed in public schools throughout Utah. I recall paintings in the hallways of my own elementary school in Utah County. Humm, I wonder if they’re still there?

Our history & heritage should not be for sale to the highest bidder. It disrespects the sacrifices made to procure these works of fine art by children and their families while in their poverty during the Great Depression.

Please sign this petition to stop the auction, which may allow local and state groups an opportunity to work to keep the collection together, protect and preserve it and keep it available to the public.   http://www.utahculturalalliance.org/lcsd-art-collection

Link to view Milk Money Paintings

For more complete information, both pro and con, please take some time to read these excellent articles.

Logan City School District’s Plan to Auction Paintings Meets with Concerns

Controversial Auction of Works from Logan City School District Collection

Logan School District Superintendent Commentary on School District Art Decision

 

One voice can start an avalanche … be heard.

Today’s Tribute is to Newton’s 1st Law of Motion

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Christmas holiday company left 45 minutes ago … though they’re out the door the ions, electrons, neutrons, atoms, & quarks are still spinning all around and bombarding me. There is definitely active energy excitement going on here.  Even the silence feels like it has weight.  My mind doesn’t want to generate thought, my body doesn’t want to do much but remain stopped. The past week(s) we’ve proven Newton’s 1st law of motion: that a body in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Well my body wants to work on the other half of Newton’s first law of motion – sometimes referred to as the law of inertia that an object at rest stays at rest until acted upon by an unbalanced force.

Charlie; our foster dog … he misses his real momma

Was I being mean or what?

The 4500 miles, a new dog member to our family, then our annual 5 course plus dessert Christmas Eve dinner (carb overload) and wonderful friends, Christmas dinner and more wonderful friends (less carbs), Sweetie’s daughter & husband spent a few days successfully getting us onto the X-C ski tracks around McCall for the first time this year (like we’ve had nooooo snow to speak of) and so now the biggest unbalanced force that will be acting upon me will be the combined efforts of the dogs at my feet for a walk … later … much later.

And with that statement I am closing up the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Seventeen with a sigh of contentment, a heart full of gratitude for uncountable blessings, and a prayer of thanksgiving in my heart for all the days of this year. All the days of love, days of friendship, days of pain, days of sorrow, days of hope, days of joy, days of tears, days of failure, days of success, days of shadow and days of sunshine.

Thank you for joining me on this year’s journey around the sun. I’ve loved every minute of it I hope you have too!

 

Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.  Psalms 106

4,530 Miles & Popcorn Crack

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Oven-Baked Popcorn — Beware! It’s Addicting

I’m eating oven-baked caramel popcorn (aka popcorn crack). A nibble becomes a taste, becomes a handful, becomes three handfuls, then what the heck! I’ll just eat the whole dang bag full. In lieu of eating the whole dang sack of popcorn and randomly wandering through the never-ending pages of Pinterest (which is as addicting as my popcorn crack) I started counting Wanderingkeri  miles … it started when I noticed the Escape-mobile turned 45,000 while driving to Council last night.

Then I thought of the miles I’ve driven just since November … from Boise to Riverton, Utah (baby shower 358 x 2), Boise to the gas station at Sweetzer Summit (meet Mom 1/2 way 193 x 2), Boise to Highland Utah for Thanksgiving (367 x 2), Boise to American Fork, Utah (funeral 369 x 2), Boise to Orem, Utah (help Mom move 378 x 2). Of course this includes the trips from Boise to Council (at least 5, I think @ 120 x 2) but not the miles around town, or the miles within the trips. (that’s just too OCD for me right now).

So the major legs of travel, point to point adds up to:  4, 530 miles and December isn’t even over yet!!

What to do these miles mean besides calluses on my rear end ? They mean LOVE, they mean FAMILY, they mean TRADITIONS …  a perfect trifecta. Better than this popcorn, but not by much! BTW  this is a great travel snack (you’ll want to bring extra – make a double batch).

Oven-Baked Popcorn aka Popcorn Crack

Pop 1 cup of popcorn & set aside

Melt 1 cup (2 cubes) butter

Add 2 cups brown sugar

Add 1/2 teaspoon salt

On medium heat bring mixture to a slow boil, then boil for 5 minutes

Remove from heat

Stir in 1/2 t baking soda

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla

When mixture becomes creamy, but still hot, gently pour over popped corn mixing as you pour (I put popcorn in a tall sauce pot so kernels don’t spill out)

Once popcorn is evenly coated, spread out onto a roasting pan or cookie sheet(s)

Place in Pre-heated 250 degrees F oven

Bake for 1 hour

Every 15 minutes using a spatula carefully turn popcorn over and separate kernel clumps.

Once out of the oven, tip onto the counter-top to cool, continuing to separate kernel clumps.

Once cooled store in large plastic storage or paper bags.

 

Merry Christmas my friends!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 KJV #lighttheworld

 

Livin’ in the Boonies … Crackin’ Ice

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Perks of Rural Life

Holiday preparations … started. We headed for the hills on our annual Christmas tree hunt. What is so cool about that? First, the permit cost only $10 and, well, we had ours already staked out.  You see, it’s like this, while we were elk hunting  we kept saying “that’d be a great Christmas tree”, “Oh! Look at that one” so Sweetie said let’s do this …  out came the Garmin Montana and he way-pointed the trees.

On a sunshiny blue sky Saturday last Sweetie tossed the saw into truck shell, Mala into the backseat, and I filled the old Thermos with hot chocolate before we hopped into the truck cab and turned on the GPS … easy peasy.

One & 1/2 hours later, 2 trees cut & tagged and we were sitting on the tailgate drinking chocolate & tossing logs for Mala to chase into the still running not frozen stream below the road. There are some very nice perks for living in the boonies.

Which makes for days where it doesn’t take much to keep me entertained … this was my afternoon the other day. Ice crackin’ and listening to ice melting. Living near a town of less than 800 people situated in the middle of a beautiful view on a pile of burnt dirt and rocks in the high desert with snow covered mountain tops (snow covered now, sort of … not enough to ski yet) … what else to do but go ice crackin’ and watch drippin’ icicles.

It’s the season my friends … get out there and crack some ice!

 

 

Denial to Acceptance … Really

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Last week … Indian Summer

Each seasonal transition I have a mini meltdown … I become so invested in the current season that I never want it to end.  Tuesday last I moved from foot dragging, whining denial that fall is giving way to winter and Indian Summer won’t last into acceptance of winter’s charms. Icy winds and night frosted branches, snow dancing down and sun peeking from beneath clouds to glitter on said frost.

This week @Cascade, Idaho … yes, in November … like 3 days ago

It’s here … although on the calendar we may have more days of Indian Summer which I will revel in … winter is coming, snow is falling and plans for the winter months are starting to bustle to the front of my brain. They are the indoor, quieter activities, interspersed with days of mountain shusshing skiing (alpine & nordic), a trip or two south of the snow meridian, and maybe I’ll get the first chapter of the life story of my Great-Grandfather Hyrum Chase Nicol outlined if not completed.

What’s on your late fall and early winter want to do list? I hope it includes giving Thanks with family and friends, and giving secret service where it’s least expected. I hope your list contains stuff that will make you break out in bubbles and giggles of laughter, and trying recipes that will waft great smells from your kitchen, and will your list contain projects to actually be completed before (like me) your mind wanders away?

So my friends, I’ll keep wandering, even if it’s only in my mind and soul and finding that perfect run, on the perfect snowy powder day … you’ll join me, won’t you?