Thursday, March 31, 2016

First Snows Of Winter

The first half of these pictures were taken way back in early November during our first snowfall of the winter.
It was cold and windy and the snow was only light and steady, and we knew that it wouldn't amount to much but we were both excited anyway.
As excited as small children as we always are every winter...........

The above and below pictures are two of a large number of whimsical, cheap and colorful, metal decorations that we hung from our fence last spring in an effort to decorate.
Something to add life and color to our yard until flowers and bushes began to grow (which is hard to do with rabbits and deer chewing up everything I plant).
I joked with LC one day that we should buy stock in the Dollar Store because that is where I bought everything, over the course of a few months.
But the metal and smiling suns, the orange and yellow sunflowers, the bright green frogs, the bright red lady bugs look good strung along the wide expanse of our front fence....................
 Yesterday we had snow blowing in sideways and 35mph sustained winds.
This time last year we had just finished painting the outside of the house after unexpectedly warm temperatures and sunshine that lasted through the entire month of March.
Such a change from one year to the next...........

Neither LC nor I had thought about where to go next, once we had finished the huge task of painting the outside of the house.
Once it was done we looked at our new, light brown home, smiled at each other in satisfaction at a job well done, and then thought "what now?"
Good question.  We hadn't thought that far..........

We toyed around with new white boards around every window (since the existing wood was all rotten and needed to be replaced) and then finally settled on natural wood.
It looked great but there are still a couple of high places that need to be finished off.
Finally by the end of March the house was all painted, the windows were all framed out with new wood and so was the front door.
We had a great looking blank slate.
So what next?
Again we had no idea.  What to do to dress up a boring looking, blank slate?
We had two things that ended up being a jumping off point for decorating the outside of the house -  a black metal cowboy riding a horse and a bear welcome sign.
From there we painted old metal stars black, and did the same thing with horse shoes and a couple of other metal objects that we had.
And then did the same thing with a metal storm door.
Finally I got the bright idea to have someone draw and cut out a horse on plywood.
After bringing this 8 foot behemoth home we painted him black and he now stands on one wall of the house.
I like him.
A theme of black, metal, horses and cowboys and bears developed without a whole lot of planning.................
A couple of pictures taken during a walk in town with Kory after that first light snowfall of our winter.................
A week later winter arrived in earnest and from that point on we were wonderfully buried in snow in Atomic City.
Overnight our town transformed from an isolated desert town into a silent winter wonderland, and it stayed that way for months....................
Our snowboard bench covered in snow.
Across the yard sat our ski picnic table....................
Our upside kayaks silently waiting behind the shed for spring to arrive....................
In the summer the trees between our yards are so thick that we can barely see our neighbors and their home across the fence.
In winter, their home looks beautiful in the snow....................
The 16x12 shed that we made almost entirely from salvaged wood.
Upright posts discarded by one of our neighbors.
Framing lumber scrounged from a dump site owned by another of our neighbors.
Plywood that was discarded by a bar in Blackfoot during a renovation project.
The roofing panels taken off our old greenhouse in the morning and installed on top of our shed by afternoon.
It's not perfect but its solid, paint hides a multitude of sins and it holds what we need it to hold.
The man who cut out our 8 foot horse had enough plywood left over to cut out two small horses as well.
Using the small horses as templates we cut out a few more, painted them black, and our herd of horses now graze on the side of our shed.......................
One of my most prized possessions.
The treasure chest my son Chris salvaged from the bottom of a creek for me.
I can still remember my 6 foot, 13 year old son, struggling to pick it up off the floor of the creek, and then struggling to wade his way back to me while carrying this heavy object.
He really wanted to give it to me.
I really wanted to have it.
I love this thing very much..........................
I painted, white and blue and stuck it in the ground in the back yard last summer....................
More salvaged posts used for a fence in our side yard.
We did have to buy the metal fencing though........................
Puppy running in the back yard.
She loves the snow....................
One more look at our horse...................
And one last look at our bear..................

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Joyous Dog Doing Joyous Things

While roaming around picture files the other day I realized that I may not have shown a picture of the truck that LC finally bought a few months ago.
A good, sturdy beast of a truck that rumbles when it starts up, is better on gas that we had hoped for or expected, is in better condition cosmetically and mechanically than our previous truck and one that we got for under $2000.
For an occasional vehicle (for those times we need occasional power) the weeks of non-stop searching were worth it......................
Pictures taken a couple of months ago (yes.............still catching up with all the pictures I took this past winter).
By this time in winter there was so much snow on the ground that we could no longer power our way through it on trails in the Suburban, and I could no longer walk easily with my sweet pup out on BLM land.
By this time I was walking on roads with her.
Heading down empty roads that travel for miles out of town in the directions of both Arco and Blackfoot.
On this particular day LC, Kory and I drove out of town for only a mile, before turning right onto Big Butte Rd.
A mile down the snow covered gravel road and LC pulled the Suburban as far over to the side of the road as he could, and parked.
Eagerly we all clamored out of the truck, and wandered down the middle of the empty road as though the road belonged entirely to us.
On that particular day (and many other days this past winter) Big Butte Rd DID belong only to us...................
Stretching to reach her nose deep into the snow in search of elusive bunnies.
Look at that beautiful, lithe, athletic body.
She is a beautiful dog......................
We took a bumpy back road the last five miles back to town one day, in search of the elk.
They had been out on BLM land a few miles from town, all winter.
We saw the elk every time we drove that way (they did not wander far) and each time we slowly drove that bumpy, snow covered gravel road, I hoped that the elk would have moved closer so that I could take some decent pictures of them.
They never did.
My little digital camera could never compensate for the distance and so the elk pictures I took all winter simply looked like sage bushes in the snow-covered desert.
Regardless, I took nice pictures of a huge butte in the desert completely buried in snow...................
Part of the back yard as the sun was beginning to set..............
I love this picture...........................
This weird little town is filled with things that are never............
This tiny building has never been occupied or even entered into as long as we have lived in Atomic City (which is 2 1/2 years now).
This old-school tractor (that sits outside the mobile-home-city-hall-building) has never moved in all the time we have lived here.
Everywhere I walk in town (all 2 miles of roads if I walk every road) there are trucks that never move, buildings that never open, hoses that sit in the same place season after season after year).
If my name was Stephen King I could easily write about this town in whispered tones replete with nuclear-scarred-zombies and hastily abandoned homes (with half eaten sandwiches still laying on plates on the kitchen tables) and tumble weeds that become tangled webs in trees and the haunting bark of coyotes that wander through town after dark but always remain hidden in the frozen mist................
I have no idea what Kory was so interested in, but each time we wandered down this road she would go to the same hole that she had dug, and make the hole a little bigger and a little deeper.
Every time we walked this way.
I half expected Jimmy Hoffa to be buried in this spot, but no.
No Hoffa, once the snow had melted.
I watch her day in and day out, joyously doing all the things that joyous dogs do, and the sight of her greatly pleases me....................
Kory loves the snow.
She loves being able to wander freely in this quiet and isolated place.
She loves having the run of town and the run of all of the public land behind her home.
She wasn't meant to be a dog that lived in the overwhelmed and overburdened confines of a city such as Tampa, Florida.
She was meant to roam with me in Atomic City, Idaho.................. 

Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished...............Dean Koontz