Wednesday, April 26, 2006

For Pamela

For Pamela

For Pamela (his1desire)

Whom I never met, whom I never knew, if not for the words, thoughts and memories of many others. 

Having read but a slight handful of heartfelt tributes, I have been moved to tears; touched by the emotive saturation of affinity expressed by those fortunate enough and clearly grateful to have known her. 

Is it possible to be touched by someone without the benefit of meeting the person?  Yes, I now believe it is.  Click >here< to visit a special edition of CarnivAOL courtesy of Paul (plittle).

A life of depth...remembered.



My Quit

My Stats:
Your Quit Date is:  11/20/2004 6:00:00 PM

Time Smoke-Free: 521 days, 20 hours, 17 minutes and 16 seconds

Cigarettes NOT smoked: 13046 Lifetime Saved 3 months, 9 days, 15 hours Money Saved: $2,936.25


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A 'Wild' Birthday... :)

Thank you everyone who sent me Happy Birthday wishes yesterday!  :)

I decided to spend the day hunting...for wild mushrooms :) near our cabin.  It is that time of year.  I called my friend and fellow mushroom hunter Bona to see if she wanted to go with me, but she couldn't, so I loaded Rum and Allie into my Jeep to keep me company (which I will later regret) and off we went.

Watchful eyes...

The drive up was great.  Saw a wild turkey balancing himself on concrete pilings alongside the highway, an unusual sight with that long wingspan.  About half way into the trip, driving on the small rural road I saw a small herd of white tail deer grazing on a hillside.  Had my camera ready, stopped the Jeep and grabbed a couple of shots, keeping one eye on the deer and the other in my rear view mirror.  That's the nice thing about these rural backroads is the lack of traffic.  One thing I immediately noticed about these deer is how physically different they look compared to the deer that hang out near our cabin; these look so scrawny.  From the color of their coats to the texture, the cabin deer appear healthier than the deer living at the lower elevations near the small town of Orofino.  Click >here< to see pics of the cabin deer and you'll see what I mean. 

The deer watched me intently for a few seconds, then flashed their tails, trotted off a few steps and stopped.  I slowly followed while they watched.  Then one flashed it's tail and turned.  They didn't run off, just flashed, turned and trotted off a few steps.  But I needed to get going...I had mushrooms on the brain!

Arrived at the cabin and started my search.  Sam had been up during the weekend and said the morrels were out, but after an hour of searching several prime mushroom spots I was beginning to think he was just pulling my leg.  While I walked the hillsides, Rum and Allie apparently bounded down to a creek to play.  When I called them back to theJeep they were soaked and muddy; most of the mud in this area is clay which stains and is extremely difficult to get out of any type of cloth.  So I stood there, debating whether to stay and let them dry or just put them in the Jeep and move on to another spot...away from the creek.  Opted for the latter.

Drove back to the cabin to dry off the dogs, and search another area, and about the time I was ready to pack up and leave, I found one.  Continued walking, and searching, two hours later I had a very small bounty and it was time to head home.

Back home I cleaned the morrels and put them into salt water to kill the bugs.  Most people can't handle that thought, but they are wild mushrooms and it goes with the territory, and the mushrooms are sooooooo yummy!  Sam and I fixed a spaghetti dinner (which was delish); I was tempted to throw some of the morels into the sauce, but they really needed to soak a bit longer.

Family members showed up to celebrate the evening and I received some very wonderful gifts from each...all unique and I love them!  As everyone prepared to leave the little neighbor girl stopped in to wish me a happy birthday, as well.  I was surprised that she knew, but she admitted our youngest daughter had just told her outside...I was touched.  Sam and I saw our family off, then spent a little time with the neighbor girl and her very chatty friend.  :)  They left just before dark, and I settled into my jammies for a nice quiet evening.

I'll post pics of my gifts later, right now I have a very messy Jeep in need of some deep cleaning, and some annuals to plant.  Later I hope to visit Bona, and this evening I've invited Sam's mom over for dinner.  Seems my To Do list is growing longer and longer.

Ah, there you are!
Morel mushrooms


A very small bounty. During mushroom season we usually find enough to fill a quart size baggie. These would barely fill a snack size baggie. Soon, the coral mushrooms will pop up. Those are my favorite.


The following has been added, for obvious reasons...


CAUTION:  Hunting for and eating wild mushrooms is fun, BUT remember, these are nothing like mushrooms found in the local grocery store.  Some mushrooms are poisonous, and even deadly.  Extreme care should always be used when planning to hunt or eat wild mushrooms.  Any misconstrued or preconceived notions gathered from this entry is the responsibility of the reader; warning: some mushrooms are poisonous, even deadly.  I make no representation nor do I offer sufficient information in this entry for a totaly safe mushroom hunt because some mushrooms are poisonous, even deadly.  Seriously, in order to avoid poisoning, I urge you to follow some simple rules:

1. Identify each and every mushroom you find, and only collect those whose identification you are positively certain of.  If in doubt, leave it.

2. Never eat:

  • any mushroom that looks like an amanita (parasol-shaped mushrooms with white gills);

  • all little brown mushrooms;

  • all false morels.
  • 3. Some people are allergic to even the safest mushrooms.   The first time you try a wild mushroom, it is important that you eat only a small amount and wait 24 hours before eating more.

    4. As with other foods, rotting mushrooms can make you very ill. Eat only fresh, undecayed mushrooms and eat those in moderation.

    5. Most wild mushrooms should not be eaten raw or in large quantities, since they are difficult to digest.

    6.  If you are a first time hunter, you should make your first hunting adventure with someone who knows what a safe to eat mushroom looks like. There are several types of morels, some edible and others poisonous.

    7.  Know before you go.  There is a multitude of information about wild mushrooms on the internet and published in books.  Take time to familiarize yourself with the object of your quest before you venture out, and be mindful of rule #6 above.

    Warning: some mushrooms are poisonous, even deadly.

    Portions of this warning have been incorporated from The Great Morel Site.  I thank them for their informative approach to one of my favorite spring activities.


    Going to the woods is going home. -- John Muir

    In the woods we return to reason & faith. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Sunday, April 23, 2006


    This afternoon while working in the tree farm, I saw the neighbor boy walk past.  I called out to him and we had a little chat.  He's been grounded, indefinitely, by his mother.  On his own, he told her what he had done.  He did the right thing, knowing full well there would be consequences he took the high road.  I told him that.  Maybe a part of him thought I'd speak to his mother, maybe not.  Maybe he's just that kind of person as a result of his upbringing.  And maybe his home life is better than I originally thought.

    After our chat I showed him how the trees are sprouting new growth and the various stages they are in.  One tree has a few new leaves coming in and he was fascinated by the sight.  I was showing him the rhubarb plant and the vegetable garden spot and he asked me if we grew dill pickles.  Huh?  Ah, no, but we do grow cucumbers, and dill pickles are made from cucumbers.

    Hmmm, that's a new one.  Kids.   

    Being There...

    Did you ever have a feeling about someone...a bad feeling so strong a part of you wished you were wrong and hoped your internal wires had crossed or misfired?

    So many times that feeling presented itself to me and I ignored it.  Regretfully ignored it.  Then time marched on and one day I realized for the umpteenth time that when I have those feelings and my gut speaks to me, there is a very valid reason for it.  Choosing to listen and heed the feelings is the right path to take; ignoring the feeling is not.  An internal struggle continues though, since I do want to believe people, all people, are intrinsically good.  But for some, things go wrong.  Horribly wrong.

    This entry has been boiling in my mind all week, and even now I am not certain whether I want to include this story in my journal.  But it's boiling and when things boil in my mind I know there is a reason.  My hesitation comes from a concern about making this journal too heavy; I am a seeker of beauty and yet I am a realist who does not deny the ugly side of human nature exists.  A part of me feels the need to write about this, to do a mind dump but my gut is telling me to maintain distance.  All things considered, this time I'm listening to my gut.

    If I am vague, I have my reasons. 

    Years ago I met a young man, a very angry young man, the son of my former boss.  At the time the boy was only 12 or 13 and from the start our meeting set me on edge.  The energy I sensed around him gave me cause for alarm and got the wheels of my mind turning.  He was so young, why was he angry?  What did he have to be so angry and hateful about?

    Given his age, at first I passed it off as teenage angst, ignoring the internal proddings that always made my thoughts come to a screeching and grinding halt.  Gradually over time I sensed something wasn't right about him.  The mother and father divorced when the boy was a small child and they now lived on opposite sides of North America; after the split the boy remained with his mother, who later remarried.  The split was a bitter one and my former boss spoke of it often, very often.

    He was a very lonely man and viewed his staff as his family.  He told us about anything and everything that happened to him, past and present, whether we wanted to hear it or not.  His luck with love and women was sad, and we all learned his childhood relationship with his mother was probably the root cause.  My heart went out to him, but he never demonstrated any desire or motivation to improve the quality of his life; he sought out pity and sympathy in everyone, never drawing the distinction between his personal and professional life.  One day he got a telephone call from his ex-wife, which happened frequently, but this call changed everything.  When the call ended we all learned his son was coming to live with him, because the boy was out of control and the mother feared for her life.

    And so the boy arrived as planned and from the start he was trouble, and much more than his father could handle.  Weekly calls to the father from school became common, but my former boss politely fielded the calls and with the hanging up of the phone the matter was forgotten.  I'd seen this behavior in him for several years; any time a problem or situation requiring his attention flared up in the office he ignored it with the hope it would just go away.  He was a hopeful man and spent his days waiting patiently for someone else to create and provide solutions for everything.  Lucky for him he had a highly skilled and talented staff who did just that; had we not, the organization would have folded years ago.  Our actions afforded him the opportunity to spend his days doing essentially nothing, except talk. God that man could talk.  During the years I worked for him, I acquired the skill of selective listening.  I had to, otherwise he'd spend hours (seriously) at my desk, talking on and on, without any clue or consideration for my time and committments.  Truth be told, most of the problems the staff was forced to deal with were caused by him and his mouth.

    Back to the boy.  Within months of his arrival we soon learned both the father and son were spending time at the office during weekends.  The boy wanted to play games on a computer and the father wanted to please him.  Lacking the financial resources to purchase a computer for his son, my former boss decided to give his son full access to the office computers.  Except mine, as I had set a power-on password to the machine from the start, a precaution designed to protectthe integrity of the accounting data.  Funny that my cohorts all laughed and scoffed at the notion that it was even necessary given the small size of the office, but within the accounting arena it is expected.  When important documents started disappearing and games like Mortal Combat mysteriously showed up on their computer hard drives the sound of their laughter was soon replaced by their compelling requests to set power-on passwords on their computers.

    The father and I were never on common ground, with anything, and on this ground we bumped heads over and over.  Why the fuss over a few computers?  Because those computers were paid for with grant dollars, dollars which originated from taxes; the appropriate stewardship of those funds and their use is a critical matter.  What he did was wrong, plain and simple, and I put on my fiscal/human resource manager hat to express concern and question his motivation.  But his need to please his troubled son was greater than his responsibility to his staff and my words fell on deaf ears; selective listening is a two-way street.  Power-on passwords became the norm for all desk tops, so the father packed off a lap top so he could "work from home."

    There was another side to the boy, a good-natured side.  A co-worker with children his age welcomed him into her home and often included him in family plans; through her acceptance of him the boy's behavior settled down some.  At one point I asked my former boss if his son had always behaved the way he did.  The father recalled his son as being gentle and caring, always doting over his little sister, and showing concern for those around him.
    On the days the boy visited during office hours, I tried to reach out to him by engaging him in the topic of music.  His replies were short and most times he showed up plugged into a set of earphones; clearly he wasn't interested in conversing with anyone.  Then I had an unsettling vision come to mind; I saw myself working at my desk in the back office, I saw him stride into the building toting a gun, angry and ready to express himself.  I was cornered with nowhere to go and no place to hide.  The vision came on strong and hard...repeatedly.  I never mentioned the vision to anyone, and told myself I was being over reactive.  His father possessed guns, this I knew since his work space touted that fact.  My former boss even brought a rifle into the office once, much to my dismay.  He did this just two days after an office shooting in the mid-west, and I was appalled at his complete and total disregard for common sense.  I politely but firmly asked him to take the gun outside.  He explained a staff person was interested in purchasing the gun and he was just showing it to her.  I insisted the transaction could and should take place outside, at their homes, any place but the office.  Again, I asked him to remove the rifle from the office.  He reluctantly complied.  Still, to this day I can not believe he thought he could just do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, as he pleased, without the slightest notion of how his actions would affect the staff.

    To relate every complexity, every trait of this man is equal to wrangling an iceberg.  There is so much more, so much that happened during this time.  Staff came and left, because of him, but something within told me to stay.  I dug in my heels, resolved to reach a goal of making it ten years in this place.  Eventually my former boss worked his way out of his job, which I wrote about at length in 2004.  Sometimes I think about him and wonder what became of him.  He was diagnosed with cancer a year before he left and I wondered whether he beat it, if he had gone on to be a cancer survivor.  I knew some of my work associates kept in touch with him, that he left the area and returned to his home turf, but I hadn't heard any news about him or his son for a while.

    Until Wednesday.

    First thing Wednesday morning at work I was asked to take a telephone call; the caller wanted to speak to my current boss, but she was unavailable.  The call was about my former boss, and the caller was a journal-ist seeking information.  By the time I hung up the phone I learned the son...that angry young man...had killed two 'monsters,' and then himself, with his father's guns.

    First, let me make something clear...I'm not saying games like Mortal Combat caused or incited him to cross that line.  Second, I was raised in a home with guns.  I grew up in the Los Angeles area during the 1960s and my step-father kept a pistol, a shot gun and a b-b gun in the master bedroom closet.  To this day I still remember hearing him and mom sternly explain to me and my older sister that we were never to touch those guns.  The gunswere hands off and we understood what that meant.  When I was old enough, my step-father took us out to the mountains and taught me how to handle a gun.  He'd set up aluminum cans and we'd shoot them, or try to; it took several sessions before my sister and I could actually hit the cans.  I remember attending trap shoots at a local gun club and my introduction to shooting clay pigeons with a shotgun.  The first shot almost knocked me off my feet, but I shattered the third clay target.  This I did in front of several pre-teen boys, all the while listening to them laugh at how I was a girl and girls can't hit the broad side of a barn.  After the third shot, they became remotely silent.  I once disobeyed my parents and took the b-b gun out of the closet without permission but the consequences were swift and just.  It was a stupid thing to do and after that day I never touched the guns again.

    Times have changed since those days and I now live in a region where guns and hunting is a way of life.  And yes, we do have guns in the house.  When not in use the guns are kept in a locked metal gun safe which is bolted to the concrete floor and the wall.  The ownership and responsibility of these possessions is taken very seriously.  My husband is a sportsman and when we go on four-wheel rides or walks at our cabin he always packs protection, as a safety measure.  I grew up around guns and am not opposed to their existence.  I believe there is a lot of truth in the words Guns don't kill people, people kill people.  But it is a very fine line, a line I have been on the wrong side of.

    So here I sit.  Recollections of the visions I once had about that angry young man playing in my mind.

    After hanging up the phone, and conveying to my co-workers what I had just learned about the son of our former boss, I returned to my desk.  Stunned, and yet, not really surprised.  He was screaming out for attention, wanting someone to notice him, looking for a way to stand out in an endless crowd and now it seems he found a way.  In a raging blaze of gunfire his name became a household word.  The news hung over my head, distracting me with a million unanswered questions, begging for my attention in the myriad of duties and responsibilities.  Why?  What happened?  Echoes of long forgotten words such as "Some day that boy is gonna go over the edge." thundered in my head.  Unable to focus on the work in front of me, I telephoned my husband, needing to hear the steady sureness of his voice.  He listened and then said, "Well, that's what his father groomed him to do."

    He hit the nail on the head, but based on everything I relayed here, it would be easy to blame the father.  But for all his faults and short-sighted inabilities, I can't place the blame totally on him.  Right now I wouldn't wish whatever he must be feeling on anyone.  Yes, he is the boy's father, but he wasn't the root of the problem.  The  behavior was already present when the son came to live with him.  I think something happened to his son, something terrible.  Why else would he be so angry?  Why else would the boy's mother toss him out so callously without first finding out why the behavior changed so drastically, and then make the investment to help her son?  What happened?

    The local newspaper carried the story on the front page the past two days.  Someone interviewed one of the boy's local friends, and according to the friend at the age of 15 the boy expressed very strong feelings about certain predators in society, and how they are the lowest form of life.  At an age when the ego is focused on the self, and forming the identity, he was focused on the damage inflicted by these predators.  Right now investigators seem focused on the father, since the boy used his guns and his truck to commit the crimes.  But, I don't believe the father is the root of the problem; an enabler for sure, and he is guilty of being an idiot, but he is not the stressor that set the boy off.  The papers claim prior to the crime the boy was residing with his mother and step-father, again.  I suspect the stressor and the thing that set the boy on the path of being judge, jury and executioner is the step-father.  It's pure speculation I know.  But I suspect the answer to all this lies with the step-father.

    A few minutes ago I was looking out the window, lost in my thoughts.  I noticed the two boys who live down the street walking through the tree farm.  These are the same two boys with whom Sam and I have become friends.  The eldest, who is maybe 12, was packing a b-b gun and the youngest, who is 7 was silently trailing his brother.  They stopped in plain view and I watched as the boy raised the gun to his face, pointed it at something toward my house and then pulled the trigger.  I heard the 'pop' and watched the youngest quickly bring both hands to his mouth in shock while his older brother took off running.  I got up from my chair as the youngest ran toward their house.  I went outside and saw two mourning doves standing in the street; my first thought was 'Oh great, he's shooting small creatures.'  I stepped onto the street and saw the youngest boy in front of his house; the moment he saw me he pointed to his brother just out of my view.  I watched the doves for a moment, but both took flight and landed on a telephone line just over head, uninjured.  I don't know what he was shooting at, but I wanted to talk to both of them.  As I approached I heard their voices, nervously sputtering away.  First both lied and said they had just thrown a rock at the trailer, but when I recounted what I saw they each hung their heads and apologized, with total remorse, for shooting at our travel trailer.  I firmly told them pointing any gun at a home, or anywhere near a home is not the thing to do and will cause trouble.  I feel for them, because their parents are having marital problems and are alcoholics.  Right now, the parents are gone, leaving the three younger children to be supervised by several older children, who really don't supervise them at all.  The three youngest (there is a girl right in the midde, aged 9) are good kids, really, and I often spend time on our front porch with them, just talking and petting the dogs. I can see they are confused and their confusion manifests in ways that concern me.  I worry about them sometimes for it seems the odds are stacked against them and I hope the friendship and comfort I offer helps to ease their little minds.  It is so easy for children to take the wrong path in life, but I hope with a positive influence they can keep their balance, stay on track, and lead happy lives.

    Isn't it ironic?  That those two would choose this particular time to play with a gun in front of my home while I am sitting at my computer grappling with the story of another young man and guns.  The children in our lives are important and as adults we have a responsibility to them.  I believe one person can make a difference in another person's life.  Call it the ripple effect, or the butterfly effect, or whatever you want.   Be a positive influence in a child's life; be there as a guiding light, be there as a healthy example of how good choices can lead to good things.  Find a way to burn brighter than the light shining on many of the negative outside influences.  

    Just be there.


    Addendum:  After I posted this entry I went to the gym to go for a swim.  I was sitting in the hot tub, thinking.  A song by Elvis Presley kept playing over and over in my mind...He'll grow to be an angry young man some day...  Then it dawned on me; prior to hearing the news a local radio station had been playing that song several times a day.  A couple of weeks ago I sat at my desk, noting the sudden frequency of hearing that song on the radio.  I thought it was odd and wondered why.

    Since taking that call on Wednesday, I hadn't heard that song played again...until this morning as I sat in that hot tub with those lyrics floating through my mind.


    "A child's self-image is more like a scrapbook than a single snapshot.  As the child matures, the number and variety of images in that scrapbook may be far more important than any individual picture posted inside it."  --Lawrence Kutner


    There is only one way to lead a child down the right path...that is to go that way yourself.  ~Unknown


    Friday, April 21, 2006

    In retrospect...

    A handful of days lie between today and the beginning of my 49th year.

    49 years.  In that time I have ventured beyond my own expectations, waited for moments that never came, and held on to life while letting go of dreams.  I have seen and felt heartbreak cut so deep the open wound never healed.  I have tasted the salt of tears so sweet I floated with hope and yet so bitter I swore I'd never shed another.

    I have learned so much from so many is it any wonder I feel the compelling need to dive heart-first into the depths of reflection?  Many gifts have found their way into my life, some fleeting, so fragile they crumbled into dust and blew away, while others weighed in with strength so solid they stand the test of these passing years. 

    49 years.  I have outlived my mother by 8 years and it has been 28 years since her voice last filled my ears; even more years since I felt her reassuring arms supporting me.  Still her words ring loud and true through time; I hear the words today, just as I heard them all those days not so long ago; days when I didn't believe them and yet, in this time and place I feel the meaning resonate within my heart and soul.

    I have received many gifts in my life.  Gifts of wisdom...of truth...of life.

    From my mother...

    I learned to believe in angels, and demons.  She told me life is never a bowl of cherries served just for me on a silver platter.  If I was going to make it in this life I had to be my own best friend; no one will ever know me better than I do, nor will they care about me as much as I care about myself.  I am number 1, I must always take care of number 1.  I can still see the iron resolve magnify in her steel blue eyes during those times.   There were days when, after a difficult shift at work, Mom warned me there is an asshole in every crowd and no matter where I went, I would always have to deal with one.  Whining about such things did no good, she insisted I find ways to cope with, and deal with that person.  I knew what she meant and I knew what coping skills were as I had acquired them early in life, long before my first day at kindergarten.  From my mother I learned about love, family love.  Friends will come and go, but family is always there in your life.  And then one morning I woke up and she was gone.  From mother, I and my sisters learned it is possible for a person to die from a broken heart. 

    From my step-father...

    I learned blood is thicker than water.  Every man has a weakness and for some it is alcohol.  Wisdom and intelligence are not the same thing.

    From my older sister...

    I learned how to stand up for myself.

    From my younger sisters...

    I learned the gift of love can brighten even the darkest days.

    From my ex-husband and his mother...

    I learned love from a wallet is not love at all, but for many people it is the only kind of love they know.

    From my father...

    I learned the meaning of a father's devotion, and faith.  Happiness comes from within and can not be measured by or for another person.

    From the 'Great White Hope'...

    I learned no man has the right to bind me in chains (the 'Great White Hope' is a cynical moniker I use for a very bad person I left many years ago).

    From numerous co-workers and bosses...

    I learned self-worth is not measured by dollars, but by sense.

    From Sam...

    I learned love is enriched and empowered by overcoming trials, together.

    From other family members...

    I learned unconditional love is given...without measure or any expectation.

    It's been an unusual week, some things unfolded on Monday, and then on Wednesday.  Things I need to sort out; work place stuff.

    The photo of the clouds I took outside my office Monday morning, the other photos in this entry are from my backyard.  Sometimes it is my escape and a peaceful retreat.  Right now it is wearing the signs of neglect and is quite overgrown.  Spring has definitely sprung...and SPRUNG...and SPRUNG.

    "I used to think that being nice to people and feeling nice, was loving people....

    Now I know it isn't.

    Love is the most immense unselfishness and it is so big, I've never touched it."

    ~ Florence Allshom

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    Unsportsmanlike conduct

    Sometimes bringing attention to watchable wildlife is not a good thing.


    Culdesac mourns death of Rufus

    of the Tribune

    Jacques Spur's favorite fowl didn't even survive the opening day of hunting season.

    Rufus, a knee-high wild turkey who made his home at the Jacques Spur Junction Cafe, was killed by a cheap shot on Saturday afternoon.

    "Everybody is pretty sad around here," said Paula Heinzerling, an owner of the cafe that sits on U.S. Highway 95 near Culdesac. "(Sunday) was a tearjerker. The customers looked terrible when they heard the news."

    At about 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, waitress Sarah Berna was sitting in the empty cafe waiting for customers.

    "I heard the shot and got up to look down the street and saw a guy wrestling with a turkey," she said. "I knew it was Rufus."

    The man, who Berna said was older with a big belly, drove an older model red Chevy Blazer with Idaho plates. Berna couldn't make out the license number.

    He was parked about 50 yards from the cafe across the highway, between 10 feet and 20 feet from the road near the grain towers. Rufus was still alive and fighting.

    Berna said it looked like the man was trying to grab the turkey by its head, but got only feathers. Then he grabbed Rufus by one of his legs and threw him through the top hatch of the Blazer.

    "He was still alive, so I hope he scratched up the inside of that Blazer," Berna said. "It was all over in about a minute."

    Rufus was part of a five-bird flock that appeared in the area in October. His kin fell victim to passing traffic, and Rufus was adopted by the cafe and its neighbors.

    He was known for miles as the cafe's unofficial greeter. When diners pulled into the restaurant, Rufus was right there at their vehicles to say hello.

    And he was inarguably well fed.

    Diners often got "turkey bags" to go, and gave Rufus their leftovers. Neighbors routinely fed him grapes, seeds and other snacks, but he didn't have a taste for broccoli or cracked corn, one neighbor said previously.

    Berna called the Nez Perce County Sheriff's Office to make a report, but deputies said Monday there was no evidence a crime had been committed.

    In Idaho, it's illegal to hunt from a vehicle from or across a public highway, said Mark Hill, an Idaho Department of Fish and Wildlife conservation officer.

    Nez Perce County doesn't have an ordinance outlining the distance hunters must remain from residential areas, Chief Deputy Guy Arnzen said.

    "It's a matter of common sense and ethics," he said. "If you're shooting near a house, don't shoot at the house."

    After the man drove away, Berna went to the site where Rufus was shot and found a small amount of blood, some feathers and an expired shotgun shell.

    "The man was quick about it," she said. "It was obvious to me, watching, that he wanted to do it and get out of there."

    Jean Ballard, who lives near the cafe and gave the handsome tom his name, said some people have said the gunman should be shot if he's found.

    "I know it's hunting season, but I know we're going to miss Rufus," she said. "I hope the guy is proud of himself."

    Rufus' outgoing nature could have been his downfall, Berna said.

    "He was pretty habituated to humans," she said. "He probably went right up to the (man's) door."

    Heinzerling said she had figured Rufus was more likely to be hit by a passing vehicle than be shot.

    "We never even worried about this because he stayed so close to the houses," she said. "We didn't think someone would shoot near the homes. What he did was just mean."

    Berna said she knows it's turkey season, but called the shooter's actions unethical.

    "People are pretty disappointed," she said. "He was kind of a pet to some people, and a neat part of their lives. Nobody wants to see Rufus go.

    "It was so close to the restaurant and the houses. It wasn't safe or sportsmanlike."

    Article courtesy of the Lewiston Morning Tribune


    It's the last quote that pretty much says it all.  And I find the waitresses description of the man interesting, since it basically fits about 60 percent of the local male population.

    Sam and I have heard and seen a flock of wild turkeys living in the tree farm across the street.  But, shhhhh, don't tell anyone.  Maybe if I'm lucky I'll be able to snap a photo or two.  If so, I'll post them.  But that's a really big if.  :)


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    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    From Holland, With Love

    I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection.

    Excellence I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.

    ~ Michael J. Fox ~

    The double daffodils are looking especially feminine this year.  :)

    And so are the tulips!  Soon my two favs, Shirley and Ballade, will be up; wonder what kind of show those two will put on...

    If you are all wrapped up in yourself, you are overdressed.
    ~Kate Halverson

    There are two kinds of people in life.
    Those who go around bragging about their ability to get something done,
    and those who simply go ahead and do it.
    Be a doer.
                                                There's not so much competition. 

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    Sunday, April 9, 2006

    Mission: You've Got To Be Kidding

    Next time you feel like beating yourself up about this or that, remember one thing.  There is always someone worse off than you.  Now, that works on many different levels, but for me the point was recently driven home.
    Sometimes I get down on myself because I'm not as organized as I'd like to be.  Or at least I feel I'm not.  And I've spent enough time around judgemental people that I make a conscience effort to not judge others, having heard the sounds of bitter minds  and their tongues wagging with discontent.  But sometimes..
    I was watching the tv show "Mission: Organization" the other day and the focus of the show was the kitchen.  MO is a HGTV show about getting organized around the house; tackling chaos and making sense out of disorder.  Getting organized and staying that way, which given the number of episodes I've seen, is a hot topic since there are a lot of people who need the services of a professional organizer, and a lot of people who saw organization as a profitable career path.
    This show never fails to amaze me.  I've been in a few messy, unorganized kitchens in my life but the one featured was jaw dropping.  The wife is a SAHM who is a web consultant and states her kitchen is so unorganized it is the source of stress for her every morning.  And her kitchen is a disaster.  It wasn't really dirty, it was just crammed with everything under the sun as the homeowner also uses the dining room as her home office.  The counter was covered, every square inch had something on it, every cabinet was overflowing with stuff.  So the team of the husband, wife and organizer get to work clearing out the mess.  Things are going well, and then they reach the oven.  The organizer opens the door, at which point it becomes clear that the housewife doesn't cook (or bake at least), given the massive number of plastic items being stored inside the oven.  Momentarily shocked by the sight, the organizer bends over and pulls out a small object from inside the oven.  She then turns to the wife...
    Organizer (holding a small piece of fabric in her hand):  Can you tell me about this?
    Wife (nervously tucking hair behind ear):  It came with a gift and it was so pretty I wanted to keep it but didn't know where to put it.
    So, she put it in her oven.
    Now...just think about that for a second.
    Apparently I missed the lecture in Home Ec which discussed how the oven, when not in use, can be repurposed into a fabric storage container.
    Clueless.  Completely and totally clueless.  They didn't show the husband's facial reaction to this, but it didn't sound like he was too affected by the discovery.
    The thought that there are people like this, possibly living in my neighborhood, just gives me shivers.
    Really puts a new twist on diversity.  One man's castle is another's fire hazard. 

    Thursday, April 6, 2006

    Into the Wilderness...

      I've been playing again!  Snaggable if you like.


    Boring tree farm paragraph follows...
    Taxes and trees.  The past two weeks that's all I've seen it seems.  Taxes are done...thank God!...but I'm still working on the trees.  Seedlings, actually, for the tree farm.  We want to plant 100 seedlings this spring, but finding the right wholesaler has me spending a whole lotta time in front of this computer.  Just when I find one with the right species and prices, they hit me over the head with minimum order requirements that put our little farm way out of their league.  This is getting old, real fast.
    End of boring tree farm paragraph.

    We've spent the past three weekends up at the cabin, and this year the deer have been out in numbers I've never seen, ever.   Sam's been going up to this area for over 30 years and even he commented that he's never seen so many deer hanging around.  It's comforting...for awhile we rarely saw any and I was growing concerned about their welfare.  Not to worry it seems as the deer population is thriving.  :)  And that makes me happy.

    There is this one doe, I call the cabin doe, because she always hangs around the cabin.  It's almost like she knows she will be safe if she stays in the area.  She's been hanging around the cabin for over ten years.  Every year she has a fawn, and last year she had twins.  She doesn't look pregnant this year; if she was her belly would be much wider since the time for fawns to be born is just around the corner.  But she looks healthy.  This photo was taken from our porch, with my telephoto zoomed to the max.  I'm definitely going to invest in a more powerful lens so I can get close-ups while maintaining a respectfully safe distance.

    This past couple of weeks I've taken many photos and selecting just a few to include in the journal is always a test for me.  I have many to share,  but now, this will have to do.

    Two other deer wandering at a nearby cabin.   The deer on the left might be a buck; look closely and you will see what appears to be the nubs of new antlers growing between his ears.

    The wine selection for dinner.  How do you like my pine cone wine glasses?  :)

    Ever heard of Walton's Mountain?  Well, this one is called Williams Mountain; when the Williams boys first put up the sign it was decorated with three geese, now only one remains, perhaps it is Mother?

    During our four-wheeler ride, we came across some wind fall across the trail.  While the guys removed the trees, I found some interesting fungus growing out of another tree.


    On an unrelated note, I've noticed an immense increase in television advertising by Hilton Hotels.  Could it be that Paris' celebrity status is actually hurting the family business?  Pity.  One generation spends a lifetime building a respectable empire based on hospitality, only to have another generation drag the family name through the mud of stupidity and ignorance.



    Forget not that the earth longs to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.  ~Kahlil Gibran

    Let's Talk Turkey

    It's official.  I've long suspected anyone can be a celebrity, now I know it's true.  Perhaps you've seen it too...


    April 4, 2006

    Vain Wild Turkey Seeks Leftovers at Cafe


    Filed at 10:22 p.m. ET

    CULDESAC, Idaho (AP) -- Rufus the wild turkey has discovered the parking lot of a restaurant is a good place to get a meal -- as long as he's careful not to become one. ''He doesn't come inside,'' cook Kristie McDaide told the Lewiston Tribune. ''I'd throw him right in my pot.''

    Rufus is the last member of a five-bird flock that appeared in the area in October, eating grain that blew off semi trucks. He eventually discovered that food was easier to come by in the parking lot of the Jacques Spur Junction Cafe.

    Rufus' pluck and boldness apparently carried him through Thanksgiving as diners feasted on turkey while watching Rufus in the parking lot. Now, area residents consider him something of a pet.

    ''He's a vain bird,'' said Brian Heinzerling, co-owner of the restaurant. ''He's not shy either. The other day, I practically had to shut his beak in the door or he would have followed me in.''

    Rufus' reputation has spread far enough to make him a tourist attraction.

    ''People have heard of him in other towns, Heinzerling said. ''They stop in all the time to check him out.''

    ''I've never seen a wild turkey you can pet before,'' said Mary Ann Mathison of Craigmont, who stopped in for a cup of coffee with her husband, Ralph.

    Rufus checks them out as well, walking up to car doors to look inside, beguiling restaurant patrons into sharing their leftovers with him when they leave.

    Rufus, however, is a discriminating eater, turning down broccoli and cracked corn, but accepting grapes, sunflower seeds and leaves.

    ''He's a naturalist,'' said Nancy Coleman, who lives next to the cafe.

    French fries are OK, though.

    ''Not too long ago, a kid ordered French fries to go,'' Heinzerling said. ''I asked if he wanted ketchup or napkins. He said, 'No, thanks. They're for the turkey.'''

    Rufus looks both ways before crossing the highway, waitress Karah Armstrong said. But locals are a little more concerned for Rufus when turkey hunting season opens April 15.

    ''Well, we've certainly got no plans for turkey dinner,'' said Paula Heinzerling.


    Information from: Lewiston Tribune,

    The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, New York Times, and Washington Post are among the papers nationwide carrying a story about Culdesac.

    Our boss observed this is called 'Wildlife Watching' and cited the community of Leavenworth, Washington as an example of a city created around and because of local wildlife.  She then wondered how long Rufus would last.  One of my co-worker's replied, "Rufus will last until the day that some unsuspecting customer pulls in to have lunch, returns to their car to find the turkey has scratched their paint, and then finds out that the restaurant owner has knowledge of the turkey’s habits and has encouraged the turkey to remain."  Hopefully the customer will have a sense of humor, and take it all in stride by fixing the scratch himself.  And the restaurant will gain some national notarity and business will boom beyond the owner's wildest dreams.  Or, this will no doubt lead to a law suit filed by the customer against the restaurant owner for damage to his precious vehicle.  After which point the restaurant owner broke and penniless, his entreprenurial spirit crushed, will be forced to lay off his employee's, and shut down his restaurant, all because of some turkey

    Okay, maybe that's a bit extreme.

    Or maybe I'm just getting too cynical these days.