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From the Mouth of the River

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A bountiful fall

We soaked summer up like we were in a hot tub full of margaritas. We sat there on the patio with our backs to the sun, mouths open, and eyes half closed, absorbing as much as we could. 

“I don’t know how much more of this I can take,” I said to Lovie. 

“You better enjoy it, she said, “the weather man said it would cool off tomorrow.” 

It’s not every year we have summer all day. You know, some years it rains on summer. While the rest of the world is burning up with excessive heat waves, floods, fires and other disasters we’re sitting up here just comfortably enjoying the world as it passes by. It’s enough to make you worry about what’s coming for us, or wonder how we rate this kind of treatment. It rained at least once a week so I didn’t have to water the lawn. Lovie’s garden is outstanding: sweet peas and young potatoes, large tomatoes and just look at them beans! 

Lovie’s a member of the Garden Goddesses and she had them out for a visit to show off her labors a few weeks ago. They all brought dishes of wonderfully prepared food to share. Some of the younger women soon turned the conversation from digging in the dirt too digging up dirt on how to keep their husbands from straying and sowing wild oats in other gardens. 

There’s an old saying we’ve all heard that says, “The best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” That’s an old saying written by an old maid. Another one states, “By the time the sex wears off the cooking had better improve.” I must say, my cooking has improved considerably over the years and the same could be said for some of the other men who accompanied the women to this garden party. These Goddesses, especially the ones who are on their second or third husbands, can really cook up a storm and they’re all probably pretty good gardeners as well. Unfortunately, they seem to be heavy into eating dessert first, middle and last, but there was plenty of everything and a good time was had by all. 

Some of these Garden Goddesses are also part of the Mountain Goat Hikers Club that go for hikes every Monday. So we invited them out one Monday to take a hike on the Trestle Creek Bypass (it’s all downhill). That was when we found out that Fish and Game had been stalking them. It seems a certain game warden had picked up their tracks one morning and followed them into the woods while out looking for poachers. He was sure he had these poachers red-handed and just as he thought he was closing in on them here came this group of little old ladies and men back down the trail they had just hiked up. Then to save face he had to quickly explain that he just happened upon them while out patrolling for poachers and wasn’t really tracking them. 

The Mountain Goats have split into two groups: those who can and those who don’t want to hike to the tops of all the mountains in Idaho and beyond. Lovie and I fell into the category of don’t want to and found out we fit right in. The camaraderie of this group is amazing. Once they got themselves organized and on the trail they sounded like a bunch of magpies on a road kill. The game warden doesn’t have to concern himself about protecting this bunch from a grizzly or any other wild animals. They make enough noise just trying to talk over one another to scare off anything within a mile of their trail. They were all good hikers, though, and some even went further than what was planned so they could stay a little longer.   

September seems to be a good time to report on the wildlife and related happenings on Trestle Creek since last spring. First off, Avista has acquired the old Trestle Creek campgrounds area from the state of Idaho and it’s now open for day use only. The gravel pits in the area are now closed to shooting because of the noise and danger. Sighting in a rifle for hunting is one thing, but some guys like to make an afternoon event out of shooting with every big gun in their arsenal not realizing that just because they are off the highway, they are not on forest service property and people might actually live nearby. Besides, the lower end of Trestle Creek from mile marker one down to Highway 200 is the habitat for a lot of wildlife. 

The Bonner County schools along with Fish and Game use the campgrounds for educational purposes, especially during the kokanee spawning season in September.  After one young student pointed to the creek full of fish and asked what those two fish were doing, the field trip turned into a sex education class. Trestle Creek is also one of the major spawning grounds for bull trout. While the Fish and Game put up a huge sign that declares Trestle Creek is closed to fishing for bull trout they neglected to mention that Trestle Creek is closed to fishing of any kind. You gotta wonder sometimes.  

Our birds got the worst end of a wet spring this year. Not many young survived it seems. Even the pair of ravens who live up on the south facing slope had no young this year and we are down to only four hens and two tom turkeys. The hummingbirds seem to have done okay as we had our usual swarm at the feeders last spring and then again starting in July. It was also a good year for elk and deer. Seemed a little late with the birthing, but it looks like every female old enough to produce new life did so. Saw young mule deer, whitetail, elk and moose. Even the bears showed up with cubs. The old black sow had twins and the young blond sow had a little red cub, but we believe the big boar disposed of all three cubs as they disappeared soon after he showed up. Mother Nature can be a bitch sometimes. With the lack of huckleberries this year, but with the abundance of grasses and clover, the bears have stayed fat and are finishing up with the plentiful service berries to round off their year. I don’t know what they’re going to eat between now and snowfall. Apples, bird feeders, and garbage cans, I guess. 

We’re all looking forward to a long Indian Summer which will allow the fishing season to extend on in to October and maybe as late as November or even to Thanksgiving. And speaking of fish, I will say this, the kokanee are swarming up Trestle Creek thicker than they have in thirty years and have even been seen up past Huckleberry campground, which is about five miles up Trestle Creek road. It’s very exciting and not easy to admit that the Fish and Game might have actually succeeded in bringing them back. 

We’re not the only ones enjoying all the kokanee as the osprey spotted them and were diving through the tree tops to pick up a spawner or two. Lovie and I even drove down to Granite Creek to see kokanee so thick in the pools you could almost walk across the creek on them. It was quite a drive down there, but more than worth the effort to see that many beautiful, bright pink fish in one place. In fact, the coyotes down there have picked up on what the grizzlies in Alaska do with the salmon and are feeding on the spawning kokanee. And the summer feeding of yours truly is on big, vine ripe tomato sandwiches from my Garden Goddess’s Garden. It just doesn’t get much better in North Idaho.

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Boots Reynolds Boots Reynolds The "internationally-renowned cowboy artist" Boots Reynolds has moved his comedic interpretation of life into the writing field with his regular column in the River Journal - From the Mouth of the River.

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humor, hiking, kokanee, gardens

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