Saturday, August 30, 2008


What amazes me most about this time of year is how fast the the year has gone. How can it possibly be that I'm now in the full canning season when it seems that the garden was just planted?

Today we drove to Island Park so our daughter could join her friend's family camping. As we came down the Ashton hill and I looked out into the valley, I couldn't believe the sharp contrast in colors. Just weeks ago, it seems like, everything was green and fresh and beautiful. Today the valley was full of golds and dust from the harvesters cutting grain. Once the grain is cut then it is potato harvest and then its over. Life gets a sudden jolt as the snows begin to fly. I'm not ready for that.

Cooler temperatures aren't all that bad. In fact, I believe we are right at the ideal temperature season in East Idaho. We are still about 85 degrees during the day but the nights cool down to the low 40s. That makes for very pleasant sleeping. However, my classroom is still reaching the mid 80s before the students leave. I can't wait for the new building and its central air.

Got the cast removed this week so we went swimming at Fall River. Katy immediately jumped right into the water. She popped out of the water with the biggest grin on her face and her giggles were loud enough to echo off the rock walls. That was a great moment. Sure glad I was there for it! The water is still quite high. In fact, it is higher now than I've seen it at the end of June or beginning of July. Besides being high it is still freezing cold. That means there must be a lot of fresh runoff still coming. AMAZING!

This is a picture of our swimming hole on the Fall River. It is always beautiful.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Interesting to Think About

I have often wondered how many people have my same name. I once did a google search. I found a person with my name in prison; a doctor in England; but not myself. Then yesterday I stumbled upon a website called It tells you how many peope in the US have your same name. There are 220 of me. You can give it a try. It's kind of cool.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Final Big Splash

Last Saturday I decided to take my mother-in-law (a one-time kayaker), sister-in-law (a real-novice), two teenagers, and another sister-in-law kayaking down the Teton River just above the dam site. I had done the run one time previously and thought it was really fun but not too difficult. Knowing that we would have company I thought this would be the perfect place to kayak. I learned a lot that day.

One my mother-in-law is very young for her age and the coolest grandma around. I think she mentioned along the way to be sure it is stated in her funeral that at 73 years she kayaked down the Teton. Yes, she fell out and nearly froze to death (ok not really but she was very cold) but what a trooper she was. After she was told to keep out of the water she didn't fall in again. I guess I should have mentioned that earlier.

The other lesson I learned is that depending upon your point of view the very same thing can look entirely different. As a mere participant and kayaking for fun, without any responsibility, the river seemed very easy and fun. When I was in charge and responsible for everyone's safety, the river seemed to change completely. I began looking for the easiest passes - not the most exciting. It was quite dangerous.

I also learned to wear my life jacket. There are some rivers that I have always thought didn't require the jacket. I could swim to the side or stand up without any difficulty. But, I felt very strongly that I should wear the jacket on Saturday's trip. I hadn't thought I needed it on this river before. But, when I began diving into the rapids to save people and equipment I realized that the safety device wasn't just for me, but it was for others too. I would never have stayed afloat without it. It was exhausting to be the rescuer and without it the results of the trip would have been very different.

Now that a week has passed, the bruises and scrapes are healing, and I can't remember all the trauma, I see it as a great adventure. The view is fantastic. Once again, a blessing of kayaking is seeing the sights not viewed from the road.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Summer Winds Down

Summer was really just beginning for our family in mid July. The waters were receeding and were just becoming perfect for swimming. But, once again, one of our children fell and broke her arm. This is the third year in a row that we have had a broken arm in July. That little break has really dampened our summer spirits. The first two times weren't so bad, but this one has taken a real emotional toll. We can't leave her behind and take the rest of the family to the river. We can't bring her along and have her sit on the banks. Either way she feels very left out and alone. She is our adventurous one. She's always the first in and the first to jump off a cliff. Anyway, we haven't done much since then. We will get the cast off in about three weeks. Hopefully the snows haven't begun to fly (you never know here in East Idaho) so we can still enjoy some swimming after school and on Saturdays.

Summer is ending now and school begins in two weeks. I noticed today that the colors outside are beginning to fade. The flowers are beginning to droop. The grain is turning that gorgeous gold that waves as the wind brushes over its heads. It smells like back to school. We've been picking zucchini, cucumbers, peas, and even chokecherries off our little tree. The fair has begun and so that summer project is coming to a close for many children. This summer has gone so fast.

So, as summer winds down I only have one hope and that is to enjoy Winter as much as summer. I don't know if that is possible, though.