The outside of the house is done.
Actually it's not done. But it's done enough for now, and both LC and I need a break from it.
She is restless and needs to walk more, needs to run more, needs to explore more.
She is as restless as her momma, who is feeling physically tired and emotionally drained.
After many weeks of endless and unseasonable warmth, the weather has again cooled down.
A reminder that we live in Idaho. At 5000 feet. And that the only predictable thing about the weather is its unpredictability.
A week ago I walked in town with my restless dog.
At the end of town we walked past the home of the elderly lady whose husband died in January while they were staying at their winter home in Arizona, and who returned to Atomic City a couple of days ago.
It was the day after a day filled with winds so strong that it was both impossible to walk and impossible to paint.
As we slowly walked by the womans home I stopped for a moment, looked at the front of her house, looked around the house, looked across the road and then looked at the empty lot behind her home.
She and her husband had left a camper topper laying on the ground in front of their home before they retreated to warmer climes in October of last year.
One day during the winter we had strong winds, and the next day we found their camper topper laying on top of their propane tank.
Pulling it off the propane tank LC looked at the tank and thankfully it was undamaged.
The same could not be said for the camper topper.
One entire corner was broken, it was bent and warped, and thankfully it was an old topper because it was obviously (even to my untrained eyes) unrepairable.
We laid it down on the ground next to the propane tank and it silently sat in that same place, broken and unrepairable, for months.
Until last week.
Again we had gale force winds that ripped through town for two straight days, making it impossible to walk or wander, and dropping the temperature like a rock.
When the winds finally receded and the dust finally settled I gratefully wandered with my dog.
And discovered that a camper topper was now missing.
I briefly searched the area, fully expecting that either the entire thing (or pieces of the entire thing) would be strewn over a wide area. It was gone.
It was not worth stealing so I quickly discounted that idea.
It was not until the next day that I found the camper topper laying on its back over at the raceway.
The wind had blown it beyond the house, across the road, up and over a fence, and 50 feet onto raceway property..............
On a warm and sunny day a few days ago, my Mountain Boy, my sweet puppy and I loaded into the truck and drove out onto BLM land for a short while.
Picking a lava rock field close to Cedar Butte that we had not yet explored, we parked the truck in the middle of a dirt trail.
Opening the door on my side, Kory quickly squeezed her long body between my legs and the glove compartment, and bolted out into the endless freedom of endless land.
She was already half way up a small hill before I had even climbed out of the truck...............
Winter was incredibly disappointing this year.
Little snow. Few days filled with frozen mist. Far too many warm days. No deer.
All the things that I loved so much about living in this desert place the previous winter.
LC was talking to a couple of guys in Arco a few days ago.
Four wolves have been spotted around Big Butte.
An INL worker left a storage building door open a month ago and came back to find a mountain lion inside the building.
Frankly I was stunned to hear such stories.
We have many coyotes out here in the desert, but wolves and mountain lions are serious business and I wonder how and why they have traveled so far from the mountains.
And I wonder if they are the reason that our town deer have disappeared..............
Kory constantly disappeared as we wandered over uneven lava rock.
She was happy. Prancing. Dancing. Chasing rabbits. Losing rabbits. Disappearing and reappearing.
We worry about her less now than we did a year ago.
She has no desire to run away, and even though she constantly wanders out of sight I know (from endless experience with her) that she knows exactly where we are at all times.
There is little snow left in the mountains now.
So many days from mid February until now, that have been above freezing.
The Lost River Valley is desperate for water - no frozen mist - so little snow...............
I thought a lot over the winter about the elderly lady in Arizona.
Wondering how she was doing. Sending her cards. Calling her often to offer support.
Knowing that she was tying up loose ends down there and selling many of her husbands things before she made the long drive back to Idaho.
Calling her frequently during the drive. Being a mother hen to a woman who was old enough to be my own mother.
Worried about how she would feel walking back into the house that she had shared with her husband.
She apparently is taken with a man down in Arizona who is my age.
After giving gentle warnings about rebound relationships, and men who may have ulterior motives, and after realizing that she also had told others in town about this much younger man, I quickly realized that my emotional investment in the well being of an old woman was misplaced......................
Looking down at one of many holes in the lava rock................
Berries of a beautiful, tall and full cedar tree..............
Walking the tracks back to the truck..............
Later the same day I walked alone with Kory.
The day had morphed into an increasingly beautiful afternoon and we wandered down the road, turned right and headed to the back of town so that pup could happily jump up onto endless hay bales.
The clouds swept across a blue expanse and looked as though some invisible hand had tried (unsuccessfully) to erase them from the sky......................