July 21 Saturday
The weather forecast had indicated that showers would occur overnight, but when the three hibernating bears in the coach awakened from their long night's slumber, no one had heard the sound of even a single drop. A quick check outside showed no evidence of precipitation, plus the overcast of last evening was gone, replaced with bright sunshine dabbed with big, fluffy clouds. It looked like it was going to be another great day.
With everyone awake, it was time for breakfast and while Linda and I were going to have an egg omelet, meaning one egg each loaded with chopped Walla Walla onion, Zachary announced he was a very hungry boy this morning and wanted three waffles. Sometimes things aren't always as they seem and I wondered if his need for an extra waffle might be due to something other than ravishing hunger on his part. You see, there was a fun thing that grandpa has started to do with the waffles each morning. Zachary is at that age where if he were to try and put the syrup on his pancakes would most likely end up causing an environmental disaster in the coach, or at the least, a major syrup spill cleanup, and because of this he had enlisted my help to prevent the waffles from drowning in syrup.
That was how we came up with the alphabet game, where grandpa would put the sugar free syrup in the little square holes in such a way as to make a letter. Zachary would guess what the letter was, eat the waffle and the game would repeat. It was a good way to get him to eat a fairly healthy breakfast, what with the sugar free syrup and the whole wheat waffles. He even managed to correctly guess all the letters, a task that took some serious imagination given my inept job of syrup sloshing. The once breakfast was over, he and Linda retired to do some reading while I worked on the Daily Journal.
One of our little pleasures has been the hummingbirds we have gotten to watch during our travels and of all the places we have been, Benewah campground where we currently are, has provided hummingbird antics in abundance. It has now reached the point where we have three of them constantly changing places at the feeder, meaning that they can drink it dry in one day. Linda's biggest delight in all this is that there are hummingbirds even in the forest.
Hummingbirds weren't the only wild things we saw today, thanks to the sharp eye of Zachary. His loud cry, "There's a deer"' had both Linda and me snapping our heads up and looking where he was pointing. There, standing in the woods about 75 feet in front of the coach was a deer, it's head up, staring as intently at us as we were at it. Slowly two cameramen, Zachary and I, crept out of the coach, cameras at the ready. Zachary wanted to take a photo to show his mom, so he cautiously moved in closer and closer. We watched as the deer stopped chewing, eyes focused directly on Zachary, it's white tail flying back and forth. Zachary's problem was the high bank at the edge of the road and he opted to not try and climb it, fearing it scare away the deer. He finally positioned himself in the perfect spot, took his photo and keeping his eyes on the deer backed toward the coach. The deer never did run and Zachary had a great time taking its picture. Grandpa also tried to get a picture, one of Zachary taking his photo, unfortunately Zachary was so close and the deer so far away that only the top of Zachary's head and a little bit of the deer show..
Some days you can sit around and relax, but when your grandson is staying with you, its time to do things. One of those things was to improve the condition of the fort we had built. When a little boy walks up to you and somewhat wistfully asks, "Grandpa, can you help me build the fort better?", what else can you say but, "Sure." In short order Capt. Zachary was leading an expedition of wood gatherers off into the forest. Several trips resulted in enough sticks to adequately do the job, and the resulting reinforcement met Zachary's approval, meaning he decided it was now strong enough that no bear could get him if he was in it.
One of the things Linda has really encouraged Zachary to do while he has been with us is to read. I think it also helps him to see grandma and grandpa reading so much because his mom, with all she has to do probably has almost no time to just sit and read. The other thing Linda has taken upon herself to do is teach Zachary how to play some card games, with the evening game of Pounce having already become a staple. Practice makes perfect, so what did I see when I stepped outside the coach in the warmth of the afternoon, but the two of them intently going through the cards playing a game of Pounce. As I learned later, Zachary was definitely improving, but grandma was just a little bit better, but he knows that some day he's going to win.
Later, grandma showed him how to play solitaire, something which should help him do better at Pounce, then it was time for dinner and by special request we were having chili once again. Zachary wants to be sure he knows how to make chili exactly the same way that grandma does, so tonight he made it once again. I'll tell you, I've never had chili that had the onions and peppers so perfectly chopped, nor any that tasted so good. I wasn't the only one who thought so either as grandma ate three bowls, grandpa ate four bowls and our grandson ate five bowls. He actually wanted more but grandma cut him off, unsuccessfully explaining that if he ate any more tonight there wouldn't be any left over for tomorrow night. That was where his eight year old logic contrasted with his grandma's. His position was that it was okay if he ate it all tonight, he and grandma could make another pot for tomorrow night.
For once we didn't have a campfire, opting to attend the Ranger program instead. It was a repeat of the one we had heard the last time we were here, but it didn't matter as Zachary really enjoyed it, especially getting to touch all the different kinds of animal fur. When the Ranger asked if anyone had seen any wildlife in the Park, Zachary wildly waved his hand and said he'd seen a white tailed deer. Later we enjoyed the chocolate zucchini cake Zachary had baked, then after a brief time of reading we ended, what indeed had been, another great day.
July 22 Sunday
Just another beautiful day in the Idaho Panhandle, a place that we have really come to enjoy. As happens so many times, it's one thing to travel through a place, it's an entirely different thing to stay for a while. It also appears that while we are staying here, the natives are enjoying us more than we could have ever imagined.
One or other of our three hummingbirds seems to be at the feeder at any given moment from morning to evening. We've tried to determine who is who without much success, though we think, because of their coloring, at least one and possibly two are juveniles. The way they get along, or more properly, don't get along is also a thing to behold. We see one flying by and just a second later another zooms into view. Then one of them hovers near the feeder darting quickly this way or that, suddenly a missile comes directly at the hovering bird and in a blur we see them flash off in the same direction, one immediately followed by the other. Almost instantly another one is at the feeder, hungrily feeding for a few seconds until the process starts all over again. Every once in a while we will see one of the hummers perching, rather than hovering and on occasion a second bird will hover at the side of the feeder and they will both feed at the same time. What value can you put on this?
We really didn't have much planned for today, so I did my best to get the Daily Journal completed for the days I'd missed earlier this month, something I actually succeeded in accomplishing. Meanwhile Linda and Zachary relaxed outside, getting some reading in, Linda enjoying Sacajawea, while Zachary devoured The Wizard of Oz. There is only so much reading an eight year old can do before the itch to fish gets him and that's what happened to Zachary, so while I continued to type, grandma and Zachary headed off to the fishing dock. Some days you catch lots of fish, then other days you're lucky to even catch a fish and today proved to be one of the latter.
It did have it's moments, especially when two other boys came down and also tried their hand. It was interesting watching and listening to them, though their activities and their talk did not seem to coincide. Everything Zachary talked about doing the boys immediately said they could do better. When Zachary mentioned he had caught a 16 inch Pike, one said he had caught a 24 inch Pike, then the other said he had caught a 32 inch Pike. They talked about using different types of lures, and that they didn't fish with worms like Zachary did. After about a half hour without catching anything they left. At which point Zachary came over to where Linda and I were sitting and Said, "I don't think they were very good., they didn't catch anything and they couldn't cast very far." We had to agree with him because for all their talk about how good they were we never did see them cast any further than about 5 feet. A good lesson for Zachary about how it's what you do, not what you say.
In the afternoon Zachary decided it was time to go swimming, so he and Linda headed off for Rocky Point, which had a swimming beach. When they described it as not having a sand beach, but rather a beach of little round rocks that hurt your feet unless you were wearing your sandals, I piped up with something about maybe that's why it is called Rocky Point. From the look I received from Linda I decided it was a subject best not pursued. They did have something which made up for the rocks, which were several logs floating in the water for the kids to play on.
While Zachary was having fun on the log, Linda found a different type of fun, something she often engages in, which is people watching.
To understand why she was having so much fun watching this couple, notice that they are facing each other and that they are also sitting way down in the raft, meaning they could barely get the paddles into the water. The result was they splashed a good deal of water everywhere including on themselves, but the only progress they made was around in circles. As Linda watched she got a good laugh because they really seemed to not have a clue as to how to make the raft do what they wanted. While all this was going on, Zachary was having his own kind of fun, which was catching baby catfish in the shallows, something that all the kids were doing.
This was something that brought back memories of my childhood, growing up where there were two lakes and sometimes seeing the tumbling ball shaped mass of baby catfish near the edge of the water. How neat that Zachary should get to do the same thing that I had done when I was his age. While it was fun catching the baby catfish, there was something that proved to be even more fun, which was having one of the roller logs all to himself.
Evening was once again back to our usual regimen, roasted hot dogs for dinner, playing Pounce, then just before turning in for the night, making Somemores. It was just another great day.