Hop, Skip, and a Jump

We live a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Laura Moore Cunningham Memorial Arboretum. According to my VivoSmart fitness band, the rows between the trees add up to two miles. A great place for Willa to run off lead, we go there regularly to get in two of her six daily miles.

On one such occasion, Willa—a few rows over from me—stopped abruptly, put her forearms on the ground, stuck her butt up in the air, and remained stock still except for her metronome tail. When I reached her, this is what I saw (click to enlarge):

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Desperately trying to blend in, this little fellow didn’t want to be seen; its only movement was an occasional blink. Willa and I left him alone so his most-likely racing heart could settle back to a normal rate.

Are you more of a blender-inner, or a stander-outer?

© lauriebuchanan.com

A New Kid in Town

Move over Jack and the beanstalk, there’s a new kid in town!

A few months ago we had a small, forgotten sweet potato that had “eyes” on it. I thought, Idaho is famous for potatoes, lets see what happens when I plant this little guy.”

A week or so into the experiment, this is what it looked like:

Laurie's potato experiement

Today, this is what it looks like:

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The sweet potato is the green plant with the long vines crawling along the window sill and the ground.

It has a daily growth spurt!

What have you nurtured that’s growing well for you?

There really is a new kid in town. Our son enjoyed his June visit so much that he relocated from the midwest to Boise this week. Woot woot!

© lauriebuchanan.com

A Bird in the Hand

Last week as I was heading out our driveway I enjoyed watching a deer across the street. Not in the least bit afraid of foot or vehicle traffic, it continued meandering on its merry way.

During our son’s recent visit, he had the opportunity for an even closer encounter with wildlife:

Bogus Basin is a mountainous area near Boise, Idaho particularly enjoyed for its recreational snow offerings, so in June it’s almost deserted. The heat that week — even at 5,000 feet — was triple-digit intense. During our hike we found a small bird exhausted from trying to flap its way out of a skylight in a shuttle stop. He didn’t realize it was plexiglass, and was too disoriented to simply come down out of the rafters and fly away. That’s when our son got involved…

Climbing up inside the shuttle stop, he gently got the bird in his hand and climbed back down. Staying in the shade, our son used Willa’s water bowl to bathe the little fellow with cool water and give him a drink.

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We didn’t think it was ever going to leave him. Once it started singing — and we knew he was going to be okay — our son placed the little fellow on a low-hanging branch and from there we watched him take off. A very cool experience for all of us.

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What was your last up-close-and-personal experience with nature?

© lauriebuchanan.com

En plein air

En plein air is a French expression that means in the open air and is usually used to describe the act of painting outdoors.

However, part of our son’s recent visit occurred in plane air as Len piloted us to one of the many adventures we had during his stay.

Aviation headsets allow us to communicate with the airport tower, other planes, and with each other.
Aviation headsets allow us to communicate with the airport tower, other planes, and with each other.

Cruising at an altitude of 9,500 feet and a speed of 140 knots in a Cessna 182, the whole family — including Willa — enjoyed a bird’s-eye view as Len flew us over many of Idaho’s gorgeous peaks and valleys.

Willa wears “mutt muffs” for hearing protection.
Willa wears “mutt muffs” for hearing protection.

Much of Idaho’s rugged terrain is threaded by blue ribbons of rivers — many of them tributaries of the mighty Columbia River — whose fresh water eventually makes it to the salty brine of the Pacific Ocean.

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What’s your most recent en plein air (in the open air) experience?

© lauriebuchanan.com

Geographic Bucket List

Our son is coming for a whirlwind visit — Woohoo! As we plan how we’ll invest our time together, we’re referring to the “Idaho Bucket List” we received when we met up with friends at “Story Story Night” in downtown Boise.

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Published by Boise State Public Radio, the lengthy list includes:

Spend the night in a forest fire lookout
Picnic at Shoshone Falls on the Snake River
Pan for gold
Bike the Hiawatha Trail
Catch an Idaho trout

What sights or activities would you take visitors to see or do in your neck of the woods?

© lauriebuchanan.com

Over the River and Through the Woods

And while we didn’t actually go to Grandmother’s house, we did use part of Labor Day weekend to drive to McCall. Boasting mile-high elevation, we followed the Payette River through Boise National Forest where brightly-colored life vests dotted the winding river with kayak and white-water enthusiasts.

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At Lake Cascade State Park we stopped to enjoy our homemade picnic lunch and a quick dip in the chilly water — just enough to get our feet and paws wet.

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Entering Ponderosa State Park on the north edge of McCall, Payette Lake sparkled like a sun-dappled jewel; it’s sapphire surface ruffled by passing houseboats, sailboats, and speedboats.

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Sleepy in spots, white-capped with turbulence in others, we stopped one last time on the return trip for a closeup look at the Payette River. A great way to enjoy the Labor Day weekend, our day trip was filled with breathtaking beauty.

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Where do you find breathtaking beauty?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Carriage House Journal

You may remember our recent relocation from Crystal Lake, Illinois to Boise, Idaho. Upon arrival we enjoyed a three month lease — a stepping stone to find a home to purchase, or lease long-term. Last week we had the move-out inspection at the previous address because…

…we long-term leased the carriage house of one of the mansions in the Warm Springs Avenue Historic District. It perfectly suits our needs! We even donated our yard maintenance equipment because everything — and I do mean everything — is meticulously cared for.

Office View

My writing space is phenomenal! In addition to nonfiction work, this gorgeous view has triggered a spurt of fiction writing. My work in progress is titled Carriage House Journal — a series of short stories told in first person through the eyes of a mail carrier.

Office Windows

If you wrote a fiction story in first person, who would the main character be?

© Laurie Buchanan

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All that Glitters is Not Gold

Riding my bike on the Boise Greenbelt, I’ve peddled farther from home than I’ve been before. The day is hot, flirting with 100 degrees. In the distance, mirage-like, I see light glinting off what looks like — from this distance — a ginormous set of braces.

Maybe it’s the heat inside my helmet, but my mind conjures visions of a lemonade-type stand with ice-cold beverages for sale. (I’m wearing a one-gallon CamelBak full of cold water, but this makes for much better reading)

Hard-packed dirt on many long stretches, the greenbelt is not all smooth blacktop. Streaks of sweat trail my dust-covered calves and ankles as I pedal closer to what I’ve confidently determined is a sanctuary for refreshment…

…only to discover that the shimmering flashes of light I’d seen earlier are from sun ricocheting off razor wire surrounding a storage facility. Oh, the disappointment!

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Like fools gold, just because something looks alluring doesn’t mean it’s genuine or valuable.

Have you ever experienced “all that glitters is not gold?”

© Laurie Buchanan

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Capital, Capitol — It’s all Good!

As a writer, I love words! A slight change in spelling can mean a world of difference. A recent walk to the Idaho State Capitol building in Boise triggered my thought-process for this post.

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Capitol — with an O in the last syllable

  • The building in which a legislative assembly meets. I love this spelling tip: the o in capitol is round like the dome of a capitol building.

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Capital — with an A in the last syllable

  • A city that serves as the seat of government
  • Money, property, asset, or advantage
  • A capital letter (i.e., used at the beginning of a sentence or someone’s name)

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My personal favorite is when Capital is used as an adjective — That’s a capital idea! — Meaning excellent, jolly good, or spot on!

What was the last capital idea you had?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Hitch Your Wagon

Established in the mid-to-late 1800’s, we live in the Historic East End of Boise, Idaho where many relics of days gone feature prominently in the current landscape.

Back in the day, it was customary for a horse drawn carriage to pull up parallel to a perfectly spaced hitching post and set of steps. Once the reins were secured in the iron loop on the hitching post, the driver would open the carriage door and the occupants would descend the steps.

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Hitch your wagon to a star” — the famous quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson — means to aim sky-high and follow your dreams, with the implication that you can achieve anything!

What have you hitched your wagon to?

© Laurie Buchanan

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