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VOLUMES 173 - 182 -------- NOVEMBER 2016 through AUGUST 2017

August 4, 2017

Well, here we are again!  Finally trying to get back in the groove with my website and newsletters!

As reported months ago, my being drafted into the Lodge Secretary position at the Elks Lodge, became more or less a full time job.  This, along with some health issues, kept us quite busy there for a few months and I simply got way behind with this project.  I can report, among other issues, that having a couple of kidney stones removed was not the 'funninest' thing I've ever experienced.  ('Funninest' was Rick's term for deciding what activity would be the most fun when he was little.)

So, I'm going to try and catch up in one jump.  With the assistance of Little Heifer's daily journal, I hope to remember most of the Family happenings for the last several months.

I can recall without the journal, that both Rick and Jennifer recently had birthdays.  Rick turned 54 May 31st, while Jennifer hit the milestone of 21 on July 31st.

Rick's birthday would have normally meant a trip to Texas Road House for a celebratory dinner, but this year it occurred in the  midst of getting ready for an out of town funeral as well as a number of other matters that needed handling.  Thus, his birthday 'dinner' was a quick trip to Hudson Hamburgers in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho along with Jennifer, Ann, and I.

Hudson Hamburgers received some national attention a few years ago as they turned 100 years old under the ownership of several generations of the Hudson family.  It is wildly popular, but has limited counter seating only, so the wait can be fairly long for a place to sit for those who are eating 'in.'  Should you patronize this establishment, be aware that they serve burgers, pie, and drinks.  Don't bother to ask for french fries!  Burger add-ons include cheese, pickle, and onion.  Other than the three sauces strategically placed along the counter, that's it!  Burgers are delicious though!

August 6, 2017

As I continue to try and catch up with the website, I will take a minute to report on a strange and sad coincidence.  I had no more than finished the above paragraph when I went upstairs to watch the 10:00 o'clock news.  One of the lead stories reported the untimely death of Todd Hudson, one of the co-owners of Hudson's Hamburgers and great-grandson of founder Harley Husdon. 
At age 53, Todd had recently been diagnosed with stomach cancer but kept manning the grill up until just a few days before the end.

Saturday morning's edition of the Spokesman-Review newspaper included a more in-depth article about the death and details of some of Hudson's history.  Hudson's was founded in 1907 in a lunch tent that was called the 'Missouri Lunch,' serving ten cent burgers.  Hudson's has been a fixture in Coeur d'Alene ever since.  Todd and brother Steve inherited the business from their father, Roger in the late 1990's.  A number of city leaders were unanimous in their comments that, "Todd will be sorely missed."

Our trip to Hudson's was preceded by a quick gift opening at our house where Rick was presented a few small items.  It has become somewhat of a tradition that Rick's main birthday gift is his Washington hunting license along with deer, bear, cougar, and elk tags which he received a few weeks earlier.

Here's Rick with some goodies for his birthday

Note the 'Whoppi' bag in the picture.  This has been passed around in the family for more than 20 years with at least one gift for whoever's birthday is being celebrated.  If you were to go back and look at newsletter pictures celebrating family birthdays, you would see the Whoopi bag many times!

Next we jump to Jennifer's birthday.  She now lives in an apartment in Pullman, Washington attending WSU, and has a part-time job as hostess at a Mexican restaurant.  Her work schedule delayed her trip home for birthday dinner until August 3rd, when she requested a meal at a Red Robin restaurant.  Red Robin is a self proclaimed "gourmet hamburger" establishment.  (Seems there was a burger craving this summer.)

Both Jennifer and I have a favorite menu item at Red Robin.  A burger called the 'Royal Red Robin.'  This is really nothing more than a bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg on top.  Ann and Rick both poke fun at us with, "Who wants an egg on their hamburger?  Yuck!"  So what, Jennifer and I like 'em!

Jennifer at Red Robin in Coeur d'Alene with a legal beer.

This time the gift opening occurred after we returned to our house.

First gift was one of those fidget/widget spinner dohickies that are all the rage

What's in the envelope?

A few $100 bills will bring laughter to most any college student!

Jennifer returned to Pullman on Friday in time for her work shift.  Fall classes start in a couple of weeks.

I already reported that our 2016 deer tags went unfilled, and here we are only a couple of months from the next season!  Licenses and tags have already been purchased and Rick, Ann, and I applied for several special hunts.  A moose tag allowing the taking of either a cow or bull and a second deer tag are our most sought after items in the drawings, but alas, none of us drew anything!

September 1, 2017

Now we'll back up to previous happenings beginning last October.

The first weekend in October is our RV Club's 'Last Roundup,' when a number of us pull our rigs into the Elk's RV Park for an end of season get together.  In addition to the camaraderie, there is a dinner and auction to benefit the Washington Elks Therapy Program.

Our Therapy Program funds fifteen full time therapists throughout the state, who provide a full range of free therapy services to children who would otherwise not have access to such care.  Therapy is provided for a wide range of disabilities and is available from birth to age twenty-one.  Our fundraiser auction funds a part of the approximate two million dollar annual cost of this program.

For several years now, Rick and I have provided the auctioneering for this function, with my unique version (read very amateurish) of an auctioneer chant and Rick cajoling bids from the crowd.  Besides the fun we have with this, the money goes to a very good cause.

Christmas was again celebrated at our house on Christmas Eve.  Rick and Jennifer showed up with their appetites turned on for the now traditional Chicken Bisque soup that Little Heifer modeled after that served at Curley's Broiler in Missoula, Montana.  I've reported on the Chicken Bisque several times in the past, so suffice it to say the 'super secret' Curley's recipe has now been bested by much experimentation by a girl hillbilly from Missouri!  Ann now guards her recipe as closely as the secret one that Curley's would never share!

Another interesting observance on a trip to Missoula earlier this year, Curley's Broiler is no more!  The site had been leveled for apparent expansion of some other businesses in the area.  No word on whether there will be another Curley's at a different location at this time.

Here are some photos of our Christmas:

Lots of goodies under this tree!

Tablescape for Christmas

The Missouri Hillbilly Girl that makes it all taste good!

The Stockings were hung . . . . . etc - etc- etc

Jennifer beginning to distribute the loot

How about those WSU slippers?

What's next?

What a mess!

The emojies that Jennifer used to decorate our gifts.  As a side note, one of our local newspaper columnists, who resisted cellphone technology as we did, confessed to sending texts early on with the poop emoji thinking it was a cupcake!

Ann and I celebrated New Year's Eve at the Elks Lodge, as we do each year.  The Elks celebrate what we call a 'New York New Years Eve.'  Since most of us are getting a bit mature, we ring in the new year along with Times Square!  Nine o'clock our time!  Festivities are generally over by 10:00 so everyone can get a good night's sleep.

Jennifer went back home to WSU in Pullman on December 31st, so she missed our New Year's Day dinner.  That dinner consists of prime rib prepared by your's truly on the Holland Grill, with the rest of the 'fixin's' done by Ann in the kitchen.  For both Christmas and New Year's, Ann also brings out some of the morel mushrooms that were gathered the previous spring.  The morels are fried and frozen when gathered, then a few minutes in the oven brings them back to original goodness for those special occasions.

On January 9th we reported to Holy Family Hospital at 7:00AM for removal of my kidney stones.  A large one in my left kidney was to be zapped via Lithotripsy and another from the left ureter by other means.  Not my most enjoyable experience, but 'nuff' said about that.  All turned out OK, and I was soon back to snow removal with the Kubota and snow blower.

Last winter happened to be one of the snowiest in several years, so the snow removal equipment got quite a workout.  Rick helped a lot while I was not feeling well, and 'roaded' the tractor the four miles to his house when the snow got too much for his snowblower.  (Don't think it hurt his desire to use the tractor since it has a heated cab and stereo music.)

The snow was gradually sliding off the shop roof

Another view of the snow

We had a problem with a telephone line during this snowy winter.  The first junction box in the system is low on the side of the above building.  After this batch slid off the roof, another soon took its place.  I removed the snow from the junction box area with the tractor on the morning the service tech was to arrive and then went to work.  Of course the next batch of snow fell off the roof before he arrived and he had to dig it out by hand.  Doubt he was real happy with the situation.

February 4th marked Little Heifer's and my 55th wedding anniversary.  While we usually trundle off to a nice hotel to celebrate each year, this one consisted mostly of removing the 9 or 10 inches of snow that fell overnight!  We did go out for dinner at Texas Roadhouse in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.  The Roadhouse has a roll-around saddle that they bring around for celebrants of birthdays and such.  Ann ended up on the saddle and instead of the birthday song, it was a rousing chorus of 'Ball and Chain!'

In addition to her good looks, this lady must have the patience of Job to have put up with me all those years.

You Go Cowgirl!

My tour of duty as Lodge Secretary at the Elks officially ended March 31, 2017 at the end of the Elks fiscal year.  My friend Lynn Hurd took over the Secretary job at that time.  I did stay on for another few weeks until our rush of membership renewals and dues collection was winding down.

Another duty that was accomplished before my departure was the selection of Elk of the Year and Officer of the Year for fiscal 2016-17.  I was pleased to have a hand in selecting Kathy and Gene Sink as Officer and Elk of the Year.  On April 26th Kathy and Gene were presented their certificates and honored at the Lodge meeting.

Gene and Kathy along with Esquire Dennis Hurd and ER Chuck Blake

After my Elks Secretary job ended and our lives calmed down a bit, I again joined the folks in the Elks taco band playing vintage country tunes for Taco Tuesday each week.  I must admit that playing in the band is somewhat more enjoyable than working in the office!

Rick and I have also decided that we are taking a bit of a sabbatical from Hunter Education this summer.  We plan on doing a small class or two in late September or early October, but have turned the bulk of the classes we used to do over to our fellow Northwest Sportsman's Club members.  They have done four or five classes this summer and all is in good hands.

Unfortunately, we have attended two funerals of relatives this year.  The first, in early April, was in Grant City, Missouri.  Buford Weddle, a cousin, passed away after a long illness with a number of ailments.  Bufe had called me around thanksgiving last year, knew he probably didn't have long, and asked me to do the eulogy at his funeral.  New and scary experience for me, but we got through it.  That trip was via Delta Airlines to Kansas City and then rental car.

We turned in our rental car the evening of April 5th in Kansas City and reported for our flight via hotel shuttle early next morning.  About 5 minutes before check-in we were informed that our flight was canceled.  Delta's Hub in Atlanta had been hit by severe storms the night before and their entire schedule was all screwed up.  We were booked on a flight out the next day traveling through LAX to get home.

So here we are, no car, no room, and a long wait ahead.  We did manage to find a room near the airport and spent the day reading.  Next day we boarded a flight about noon and did make it to LAX with a long layover time ahead of us.  The gate for our flight to Spokane was changed three times, along with three delays, so we finally made it to Spokane a little after midnight!  The only positive was, we did see some friends and relatives that we hadn't seen in years in some cases.

In May we received word that Aunt Faye Pritchard had passed away in Colorado.  With the memorial service not until June 3rd we elected to drive the Yukon to Colorado.  We left on May 31st and arrived in Parachute, Colorado on June 2nd.  Returned home on June 6th.  Again, the sad occasion was muted somewhat by seeing relatives that we don't often see.  In fact, we were able to spend quite a bit of time with my Brother Ed and wife Nancy, catching up with happenings with both our families.

After our winter of near record snowfall, spring came in with rain, rain, and more rain.  Thankfully, nothing like the recent Texas and Louisiana disaster, although Washington and North Idaho did have their share of flooding along streams and in lowlands.  Then suddenly, the rain stopped!  We have had no measurable precipitation since June 23rd!  The fire danger is very high and several fires are burning in the Northwest.  Some of those will no doubt burn until snowfall.  Lucky so far in that none have been close to the ranch, although we have lived with several days of unhealthy air due to smoke from the big fires all around us.

Ann and I are still playing golf at least twice a week.  She at Trailhead GC in Liberty Lake, and I at The Links GC near Post Falls, Idaho.  We even sneak in a round or two elsewhere when we travel around here with the RV.  For some reason my handicap is quite a bit higher than it has been in recent years.  Suppose age has anything to do with that?

One recent trip, was our annual excursion to Wallace, Idaho for the Huckleberry Festival.  Ann and I went over on Wednesday August 16th and pulled into Wallace RV Park about 2:00 PM.  Rick joined us with his trailer the next day.  Both Ann and Rick did the 5K run/walk on Saturday morning.  Ann received a gold medal in her age division but Rick didn't place this year as he has in the past.  After examining the results board, it appeared that Rick should have received the bronze for third place in his age group, but not worth arguing about.  I haven't done the 5K for the last two years.  I'm told I need a knee replacement as my right one is worn out.  Probably will schedule that for this winter some time.  Yuk!  Old Age Again!

Rick and Ann awaiting the start of the big 5K race

As a 14 year breast cancer survivor Ann is always proud to show off her 'Save Second Base' shirt

Rick crossing the finish line.  He doesn't even train for this race and still finishes in around 30 minutes!

And here's Ann a little later

Off with the electronic timer tag

Awaiting the awards ceremony

Getting that Gold Medal!

Ain't it 'Purty?'

The Wallace trip was the first outing with our new GMC pickup pulling the trailer.  What a delight to utilize the massive power and other tools for towing that have been developed over the past few years.  When in tow mode, the exhaust brake saves wear and tear on wheel brakes, and the transmission gears down automatically to reduce speed when descending steep inclines.  We like it!

To reverse a little, I asked Ann back in June if she wanted a new car.  Her GMC Jimmy
has less than 90,000 miles on it even though it is 16 years old.

She replied, "I would rather you get a new pickup.  I've never liked that red Ford anyway, and it's older than my car."

How could I pass up approval from the War Department and not act on that?  Long story longer, we traded for a 2017 GMC Sierra Denali Heavy Duty Diesel on June 29th and picked it up June 30th.  We procrastinated about whether to get a canopy or go with a tonneau cover for the bed.  Ultimately the canopy won out so we ordered one from Custom Truck in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.  They installed it on August 7th.

The new truck naked

The new truck dressed up

As if we hadn't spent enough money already, our well pump began failing to deliver enough water to keep an irrigation hose running for more than 15 minutes.  So, checking that out revealed that the pump was weak, plus there was a hole in the pipe that was leaking back into the well.  We had feared that the well may be failing to produce, but thankfully, that wasn't the case.

Water Recovery Services (
www.wrswater.com)tested the pump, pulled it up out of the nearly 500 foot well, and replaced it.  Since one of the galvanized pipe sections had sprung a leak, and others were rusted badly in spots, we also replaced the pipe with a new plastic piping that is rated to hang a deep well pump as far down as 1,000 feet!  Now we have both a new truck and plenty of water.  How could it be better?

Rick's job at UTS, formerly Goodrich Corp., has changed to spending much of his time on the shop floor making sure that the various parts are where they are supposed to be throughout the manufacturing process.  Commercial airplane brakes sure have a lot of parts and many manufacturing steps from start to finish.  When a new pallet jack came on the scene his co-workers did a bit of decoration and provided a designated parking spot!

I'm sure this was accomplished during break time instead of work time

I can't close this without at least one gun related item.  We have joined the plastic age (credit and debit cards) along with the younger folks, although we did so kicking and screaming!  Our credit card of choice is a Visa through Cabela's Club.  One of the benefits is accrual of 'points' based on purchases.  So far, those points have bought a Savage Lady Hunter Rifle in .308 Winchester caliber for Ann, and now I spent a bunch of them on a new Sig Sauer P938 semi-automatic pistol in 9MM Luger.  Haven't shot it much yet, but will be doing a wring out when we sight in our guns for deer season, coming up shortly.

One thing I disliked early on is the stiffness of the magazine springs.  I found it impossible for me to get more than 3 or 4 cartridges in a magazine using only fingers and hands.  A universal magazine loader assist by UpLULA solved that problem.  I'll get into more detail about that later.

Sig Sauer Model P938

The American Eagle ammo is full metal jacketed stuff for pratice, while the Winchester hollow points are kept in the magazine for carry and defense purposes

My original intention was to buy a Kimber micro in 9MM Luger, but Cabela's had none with an ambidextrous safety.  Note the safety on the right side of this pistol within reach of the left thumb.  After handling both pistols, this one seemed to fit my hand better anyway.

Hillbilly wisdom for these multiple month's issues comes from a quote from Arthur Christopher Benson:

"Very often a change of self is needed more than a change of scene."

Well, it's time to shut down here, so. . . . .
'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!

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