Tag Archives: #wanderingkeri53

Moving onto Boise Time


My “Up Early” in Council is about 7 a.m. and means a saunter up the rails to trails, while the sun rises, the dog chases tweety birds, and what the day brings is generally a surprise.  But, when I’m on Boise Time it’s up at the sun crack of dawn to start my Get Off My Butt and Get Something Done list before I have to hooch up and hide out from solar activity (right now the temp is hovering mid-ninety and climbing). The past couple of days the list included finally planting the patio flower pots, moving & fixing the drip system, thinning the peaches and apples, hunting weeds, weeds, weeds and Virginia Creeper taming … you know, vines up and not down the arbor posts. The grapes, peaches, blackberries, apples and pears still need to be put under  camo netting to keep the crazy bird lady’s battalion of voracious beaks  from devouring the fruits of the mini-orchard’s labor.

2017 Garlic Harvest

For the first time this season the dehydrator is off the shelf and I’ve started the first batch of winter’s mint teas.

This year’s garlic harvest is drying out and I’m pleased to say the bulbs are big and healthy. They weren’t part of February’s Great Greenhouse Apocalypse, but were snug in their beds enduring this winter’s snowmageddon.

Garlic & Clam Sauce anyone?

Speaking of the Great Greenhouse Apocalypse you might be interested to know that 8 tomato plants, 8 peppers, and one basil plant survived … we had to breakdown and buy a spaghetti squash, San Marzano tomatoes, a roma grape tomato, and a couple more basil plants. They seem to be taking well to their new home and are already flowering.

Next week I think new potatoes may be ready to debut on the dinner table … along with some fresh peas and a maybe a steak?

I’m psyched though and hard work has a reward! Tomorrow the shovels, rakes, hoses, and ladder are going back in the shed ’cause “We’re Going Fishing”!! Yeah! Fishing Time! Finally the snow pack has melted enough that most of these western rivers are actually not flooding, so maybe, we won’t get swept away. At least I hope not.

These are my slow wanderings … where my wandering doesn’t always mean I need to be going to some great, distant adventure; sometimes it’s just a bit of gardening, a good book in the shade, checking a few items off a list or an evening standing in a river with my Sweetie.

For all of my blessings, I am thankful … Life is good and I am blessed.

This is a taste of Council Time …  where I plan my next adventures and wanders.  

So, What’ll You Do with Your Poop in an Emergency?

That's a '53 Chevy under that blanket of snow!

That’s a ’53 Chevy under that blanket of snow!

How are you holding up with the snow and rain and sleet and freezing slush blanketing the country? Here in southwest Idaho it’s been a bumper crop of snow … with a few breaks between storms to take advantage of the ski hills or nordic tracks.  We’ve been feeding the quail which are hunkered up under bush boughs  … the birds of prey are on the prowl (hawk and bald eagles). Their winter feed sources are under 3 feet of snow here in the out fields.

I went to the grocery the other day to pick up a some milk, eggs, and fresh greens … I have never seen the parking  lot spaceless before, nor the store so full of people with overflowing shopping carts. It felt like a run on a bank when the stock market collapsed. People were ‘preparing’ for the snow siege … the school district has called snow days 5 times this week and church was even cancelled last Sunday. Then I looked down at my little carrying basket with the 3 or 4 items in it and I realized that I wasn’t among the panic’d. While I was standing in line looking at the packed carts I said to myself, “Keri, you didn’t have to stop, you could have gone without these few things in this basket”. I’ll have to remember that and just be content at home where I have sufficient food, water, emergency lighting and heat to get through a snow storm or …

One thing I hadn’t thought of, but now I am … what about (stage whisper) if the toilet facilities fail. I don’t know about you, but I take that convenience for granted.  So what IF it failed? It could gross a person out thinking about it, but really? It’d be more gross when it happens, which it will when we least expect it to happen. Hopefully not today.

I went into Google and Pinterest search mode and found LOTS of ideas, plans, and pictures.  It seems a lot of people are worried about poop and are prepared to do something about it.

What did I find? If you have space and money you could buy a portapotty and put it on the shelf, but those need water … do you have enough water stored for just using the toilet?   For longer term waste management how about a composting toilet? Did you know you can purchase a toilet seat & lid combination that fits on a 5 or 6 gallon bucket? The lid locks down so it doesn’t slip at that awkward moment. Then there is the duct tape a Heavy-Duty garbage bag into your toilet bowl plan (after turning off the water pipes), just put a few cups of kitty litter in the bottom to help with smell & absorption. Or you could buy a case or two of Travel John bags … these I’ve used camping when I didn’t want to take a midnight streak to the outhouse and vouch they are maaaavelous!

So here’s my plan … buy Travel John Bags (a case I think), and that lock top toilet seat dohickey. I have everything else around the house. Wheww, that’s a weight off my mind.

Don’t laugh … well, at least not too much.  So, what’ll you do with your poop in an emergency?

Today's footwear ...

Today’s footwear …

It’s still snowing. Maybe I’ll go brew up some wicked hot chocolate, stoke the fire, and put together my annual January puzzle.

Life is Good folks!! Stay warm!!





The Great Christmas Tree Hunt of 2016


I wasn’t going to put up a Christmas tree … I decorated the house, the mantel and chandeliers, but I wasn’t going to put up the tree. We were going to be gone, in and out, all month. What was the point?

Well, Dang! I missed the smell of pine in the air (and not from a scented candle). The corner where the twinkling lights warmed the winter evenings was dark … I missed it! Then I realized I was missing something else … my Christmas spirit.  I was missing my traditions! The tree … I needed to put up a tree … I needed my tradition of choosing and decorating that tree; watching It’s a Wonderful Life  while adding the lights, bobbles, and glitter to it’s branches and sipping eggnog from a crystal goblet. That tradition sparks my Christmas engine.

img_3963Yesterday, a few weeks later than usual , we stopped at our local Forest Service office and purchased tree hunting tags (10$ each, a bargain anyway you look at it). At home we layered up,  looking a lot like Ralphie’s brother after we pulled on knee-high rubber boots, jackets, snuggy gloves, and hats (beside being winter  and cold … it was snowing).

Up Pole Creek Road we drove, a few white knuckle slides until Sweetie put the truck into 4-wheel drive. Peering through snow crusted windows we searched for the perfect trees, close enough to the road we wouldn’t need a search party to find our way back, but far enough away to meet the 50′ from the road rule.

We spotted two little trees not far apart off the side of the road, well, down the hill off the side of the road. Excitedly I stepped from the cab where briefly I was on top of the snow before I abruptly dropped  through to the ground below … up to my knees (and my boots weren’t tall enough either).  Blazing trail Sweetie dropped off the road, carrying the bow saw and even following in his footsteps I was  pushing through thigh-high velvety powder (where were my skis?).

You know of course the rule that a very small tree found outside grows like Alice taking her 2nd pill and fills every available space once it enters the room. After forgetting this rule numerous times we attempt to err on choosing the smaller of small when on the hunt for our Christmas trees … even then we generally lop off branch ends to fit.

With little effort the trees were  down … actually Greg cut and hauled them … I took pictures.  Back up hill we went, Sweetie dragging both trees to keep from tipping over.  I had one thing to do … pull one tree 10 feet up to the road …  I dragged and slogged, and dragged some more grabbing whatever short branches poked above the snow to pull myself forward … near the top I floundered … I slipped, one leg beneath me and if a quickly thrust bow saw handle wasn’t within reach I would have tumbled head over tookus … me and the tree.img_3970

It was a very successful Christmas tree hunt … bagged, tagged and back to the house in under an hour … the snow inside my boots didn’t even have time to melt.

Right now, behind me, one of the trees is looking over my shoulder, wondering how the heck it ended up inside this tiny room when yesterday it was part of time and space .  It must be in shock! But it’ll be happy to know that once it shares our Christmas celebration it will grace our field sheltering quail from predatory birds.

Hey! I just realized I can tradition twice this year! Once in Council, and again in Boise … how can a girl get so lucky? Especially one who loves a good goblet of eggnog!

May your traditions lighten your heart and home with joy and happiness in this Christmas season. The celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. (Luke 2:1-20) … the greatest gift of all.

Merry Christmas!

How to take the Perfect Free Form Road Trip

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

We did it! We fled our day to day and hit the road in the Escape-mobile.  Taking a free-form, take a break, go somewhere different road trip … Sweetie and I had only one fixed destination point and time that was Willow Creek California to spend a few days with an old smoke jumper friend of Greg’s. To and from there we had no idea where we would end up …

We may not have know how and where we’d end up, but I’d put a couple of I’d like to do’s on the list: First was an item from my wanna do list ‘experience the giant redwoods’, then maybe some time on the coast, we wanted to find roads that we’d never driven, before we wanted to have fun, and I wanted to flee from the madness and negativity being generated by “the” election … banning talk radio and news reports.

In remembrance of our last spring’s no power, food, or fuel experience in Moab, I promised myself, no more road trips with out a bit of emergency preparation on hand so into the Escape-mobile I tossed our faithful camp-in-a-box, a sleeping bag, a couple of chairs and our pillows. Of course, 2 gallons of water and foodage … snacks and power bars, and several books on cd.

But in all that preparation we forgot … maps.  At the first fuel stop Sweetie bought more maps … maps of states we already had in our map case, at home … guess a back-up could come in handy … at least if we remember them.


Crater Lake National Park in the snow … Nov 2016

All trips from Boise, Idaho start off East or West on I-84 … for us that means turn left and head west. Ontario to Vale to Jordan Valley then a right turn onto and onward through Christmas Valley on our way to Crater Lake National Park.

I love coming to a fork in the road, consulting the trusty map and sometimes almost tossing a coin for directions … we finally made it to Crater Lake; beautiful, deep blue, and snow covered.

Dropping off the mountain hunger overtook us and we stopped at a little spot called Becky’s Cafe in Union Creek. It’s been there since 1926 and is in an old and quaint log building … I had their excellent chili …

But as I sat there, I kept looking around, and then … “I think I’ve been here before”. Déjà vu .. shivers! …it came to me, driving back from a fire assignment in Grant’s Pass, a friend and I had made a detour to Crater Lake and had actually stopped at this place for dinner  years before …

Headin' South

Headin’ South

On to Medford Oregon our first night’s stop … I tapped booking.com for a place to stay … and found a nice place downtown, the Inn at the Commons from the list and booked it.  When we pulled into the parking lot and walked inside, Sweetie looked around and said, “I think I’ve been here before … it used to be a Red Lion. I was here on a fire assignment.” Laughter and  another Déjà vu!

Gold Beach Oregon

Gold Beach near Gold Beach Inn

From the mountains to the coast then north to Gold Beach, we embraced a storm so strong rain was sheeting from the windows when we stopped for lunch … the surf was high, doing a fine imitation of a 767 revving to take off. From our ocean side beach view room at the inviting Gold Beach Inn we slept with the balcony door open to the storm.

Headin' South

Headin’ South

Next morning the sun  shone bouncing off of puddles and asphalt … I was psyched … it was visit the redwoods day … Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and a pleasant walk around the Simpson-Reed Memorial Trail … stretching as tall as possible and feeling as tiny as Tom Thumb against their magnificent hugeness.  Perfect! and another … Cliche warning … breathtaking!

Bottom Pic ... that is ONE tree Greg is standing against ...

Bottom Pic … that is ONE tree Greg is standing against …

I love checking places off my wanna do list … but I also love finding ‘that’ spot, the one I didn’t know about that just tickles me to the bones.

Like the Siskiyou Smokejumper Museum (It was cool … and we found Greg’s name on a jump log from his days smoke jumping out of La Grand Oregon). Or the It’s a Burl wood shop … I felt like I was in Rivendell.


Our last big stop was in Willow Creek to visit a friend and fellow smoke jumper, Dick Kirsh and his wife Judy. Leaving town we stopped to check out what is billed as the largest collection of Bigfoot memorabilia in the world, but just our luck the museum was closed … and we had no sightings, fleeting or otherwise, of the creatures on our way through the mountains either. Sigh.

Willow Creek California ... Bigfoot Capital of the World

Willow Creek California … Bigfoot Capital of the World

The last couple of days of our never-drove-that-road trip we took a lot of dirt roads (which kept Greg holding his breath, fearing a flat tire).

We passed through the Hart Mountain Antelope Preserve where despite being told there were 1000’s of them … the sightings of antelope were more frequent than Bigfoot, but not by much.

Onto Frenchglen, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and stopping to see John French’s Round Barn before the miles and miles and miles of long, clear, vistas and horizon hiding roads before finding ourselves back on I-84 blacktop and home.

I’ll take a free-form, asphalt free (at times) road trip  anytime!  A couple of stats … 1500+ miles, 6 days, one 14 hour audio book, no flat tires and uncountable laughter.

I love travelin’ with my Sweetie.


John French’s Round Barn … he was shot and died … the shooter was acquitted. Mr. French, he had a temper, so the sign says.

Until next time …


Just a Bit off Kilter …

At Dawn's First Light - Alton, Utah

At Dawn’s First Light – Alton, Utah

It’s a cuppa fresh mint tea brewing and the sun heating the sidewalk promises heat high enough to melt crayons in the car day. It’s a wake earlier and take a walk morning. It’s a Mr. Rogers, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood”, kinda day.  One of those days that have small plans, not unimportant ones, but those plans that fill a day with contentment.  Much like yesterday when my mother and I picked blackberries from the bush in my back yard, a day with enough hours before the heat I weeded and cleared garden beds and trimmed back the wildness of Virginia creeper ivy taking over the west arbor. Today, visitors will get a glass of Italian basil-lemonade over ice and we’ll chat without me looking at my phone for a text or a call from expanded dispatch.

Yes, it is the first summer in 20 years that I am not living in anticipation of blasting off to the wilderness, or hooching up in a tent while fires threaten small and large towns USA. It’s the first summer I haven’t read the National Situation Report while eating breakfast or wondering where we’ll be headed next roll out. Seems a just bit off kilter … but oddly I’m liking the new kilter … a lot!

Mount Rainer in the sunshine

Mount Rainer in the sunshine

So if you’re zipping through Boise, heading home or on a layover between assignments …  drop by, we’ll sip some lemonade and chat … in the meantime I’ll be hangin’ with my mom, my sweetie, the kids & gkids, the sisters & & & the neighbors, or strangers on a trail … who knew summer had so much variety?  (and I’ve only slept in a tent once)

So that’s how I put 10,000+ miles on my new car in 4 months!!! I Love My Life!!!

Dakota ... long boarder surpreme! Grad 2016!!

Dakota … long boarder surpreme! Grad 2016!!

Alexus ... the Fireball! Grad PG High 2016

Alexus … the Fireball! PG High Grad 2016

Jim, Paula, Karen, Bob, Me, Greg Wire Pass Gulch

Jim, Paula, Karen, Bob, Me, Greg Wire Pass Gulch

View on our morning walk

View on our morning walk

The NW Family in the Meadow

The NW Family in the Meadow

Ah .. Italian Lemonade ...

Ah .. Italian Lemonade …

Nothing this high in PA Horse Mountain Lookout Viewpoint over Snake River in Hells Canyon

Nothing this high in PA
Horse Mountain Lookout Viewpoint over Snake River in Hells Canyon

That's right! That's the gaggle :) Council Idaho 4th of July

That’s right! That’s the gaggle 🙂 Council Idaho 4th of July


love these girls!

Moon rise over Bryce Canyon

Moon rise over Bryce Canyon






2 Trillion = Me

Most of us ... missing ... Steve, Aarin & Bayla ... Pam & Jeff, Clayton, & Breena ... & Chris' wife Cindy

Most of us … missing … Steve, Aarin & Bayla … Pam & Jeff, Clayton, & Breena … & Chris’ wife Cindy

Kings, Princes, Paupers, Explorers, Indian fighters, Indians, Pilgrims, Pioneers, Plague Survivors, Artists, Authors, Mariners, Dreamers and Adventurers’ … through them I exist.  The number of our ancestors is mind boggling. Just back 40 generations = 2 Trillion, yes Trillion, ancestors to make me or you. Of course, that is not 2 Trillion unique individuals … the further back one goes, the more redundancy in family lines and people. If only 10% of Europe’s population survived the great plagues, well, you can see the further we go back in time the fewer unique ancestors we have and in the end … we are all family.

Out of the 2 Trillion ancestors I have (we have), I know few of them.  I’ve known those near me, generationally speaking, my parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles. The connections to their parents and grandparents lost as they died and they left a few stories and fewer photographs. Their parents and generations back have for many years been forgotten and are generally only a name and a date in a book on a shelf.

However,  their stories are calling to me, find me, write them down.  Some five years ago I wanted to share with my family their ancestors. I spent six months and prepared for two family history weekends; one in which we told stories of our Utah Pioneer heritage and did a road trip throughout Utah and Wasatch Counties.  The second weekend we caravaned to Wyoming and spent three days reenacting a part of our family’s story, through a pioneer handcart trek in Martin’s Cove, WY.

As I started searching for stories of the people in our family who first came to America, and then found those that brought our family to Utah … (I started by taking the genealogy books off of the shelf) they came alive … they became real people who lived through turbulent times, loved, had families, gave up their lives, their homes, left family and friends to step onto a new land … to live something new. A new beginning, a fresh start.

Five years later, I am being prompted to find more  stories … and to share them. Those few stories I found for our My Heritage, My Legacy weekends have only whetted my desire to learn more about my ancestors and also to write my own story.  I’m an adrenaline junkie and when I read from a personal journal or recollection my heart starts thumping a bit harder, I hold my breath and sometimes the tears can’t be held back … it’s like finding buried treasure.  When I read or write about them, once again these ancestors live. At that moment, sometimes I think, someone hasn’t said that name out loud for years … and now they aren’t forgotten any longer.  Our stories may be only a short sentence in the scheme of history; but that sentence is everything … without our ancestors we wouldn’t be  where we are and without us our posterity can’t be all they are meant to be.

My question today is the same as it was five years ago … I have a wonderful heritage … What will be my legacy?



25 People 5 Days 2 Bathrooms

That's right! That's the gaggle :) Council Idaho 4th of July

That’s right! That’s the gaggle 🙂 Council Idaho 4th of July

25 people, 5 days (120 hours), and 2 bathrooms … One of the Best 4th of July’s ever! It’s rare that family and friends load up 4 multi-passenger vehicles, and a utility trailer filled to the brim to motor up to Boise, but when they do there is a smile on my heart that doesn’t go away. It’s heaven.

Our ‘peeps’ arrived staggered in stages; the beautiful daughter and 6 kiddos mid- afternoon Thursday … we ran the grocery gauntlet … menus designed to be easy to prepare and just as easy to clean up. The next bunch arrived around 10 p.m. or so with 8 more and finally around 12:30 five  more arrived. Where do you sleep 17 kids? Sleeping out under the stars in hammocks or in a sleeping bag spread out on the lawn.IMG_2586

Just hangin' around

Just hangin’ around

Friday Morning the pack the fun in started … the last 4 partiers pulled in the driveway just in time to head to Barber Park and a Boise River float.

The women ... ready to float

The women … ready to float

The river flows were reduced just the day before  (thank goodness, ’cause it was HOT) …  renting four 6 man rafts we donned life-jackets and split out … a crew of beautiful girls, a crew of rowdy boys, a family boat with the littles and an adults boat.  Perfect.

First safety lesson of the day

First safety lesson of the day

Saturday morning after putting Boise back into order we headed the 2 hours north to Council, Idaho for the remainder of the holiday weekend … fire-pit, joining the 22 caliber rifle training session on Sweetie’s shooting range (Council Mountain Gunworks, LLC), floating the swimming hole  and bridge jumping on the Weiser River.

Sunday afternoon ‘they’ all headed to McCall to spend the afternoon under the Ponderosa Pines on the beach by Payette Lake ; paddle-boarding, tubing and lounging while my Sweetie and I did some snoozing and movie watching (yep, old folks recouping). When they returned we had the fire roaring in the clay oven and it was pizza time!  IMG_2701

Anticipation ... PIZZA

Anticipation … PIZZA

For a small town, Council does the 4th of July just right.  Our day started when the adults snuck out and left the kids sleeping and enjoyed the American Legion’s Pancake Breakfast at the Peace Park, (no misnomer there) and staked our spot on main street (well, actually our chairs took up about 40 feet of prime sidewalk space) for the parade. You do know that the parade closes Highway 95 for 20-30 minutes? We know the parade is over when the 15 wheelers turn the corner.

World Championship Porcupine Races 2016

World Championship Porcupine Races 2016

After the parade the middle kids took umbrellas to stake a spot high in the grandstand at the High School football field so we’d have a perfect view of the World Championship Porcupine Races … this year there was plenty of space … the races weren’t as heavily attended as they usually are.

Later, back at the ranch, we grilled Italian Sausages and spread the tables with cold salads and hot baked beans and corn on the cob … pop cans covered every nook and cranny.

With every get together it’s the little things that build our memories and forge stronger bonds of love and friendship … like practicing for the zombie apocalypse … afterwards, we headed back into town at dusk for an evening under fireworks!

Splash targets ... ooze green when you get a head shot ... only place to kill a zombie, don't 'cha know?

Splash targets … ooze green when you get a head shot … only place to kill a zombie, don’t ‘cha know?

By early Tuesday morning we were alone … well, almost. We have a couple of grand-kids with us for a couple of weeks, with another flying in Saturday. When I take them home I’ll bring a couple more up for another week.  My whole July will be family and grand-kids … Grandma Keri Heaven!!

The only smudge on the weekend? I wanted to share … my thoughts and feelings about how much I love my country and how grateful I am for the determined men who gave all they had to build a new nation of laws and freedom.

I wanted to tell them to Be Grateful for this country we live in. Be Grateful for the freedoms  we enjoy and that we have a duty to stand with the millions before us that up have stood up, fought for, bought with their blood and hearts all that we have  today; the lives we live. in this most blessed of all nations.   I wanted to encourage them to remember that our freedoms have never been free, and that they will last only as long as we do our duty to stand up, stand tall, speak up, and act,  and fight the good fight to keep our country free.

I wanted to share John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, not only his oft quoted “ask not what your country can do for you …” but the hope, vision , and faith he offered … a true vision to follow … and which we can strive to reach … But sadly there was loud, lovely, organized chaos … and I didn’t have a chance … maybe they’ll read this post.

How grateful I am for God’s blessings of family and friends!! My Life is Good … and I am Blessed. Happy July my friends, Happy Summer.


The Morgans


The Poduskys


The Taylors (minus 2)



The Calls

The Calls (minus 3)