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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Welcome to Shenanigan Valley

They say you can’t go home again, but I have, and I’ve brought my husband along with me, and my adult son. I grew up in this Idaho valley in the 1950s and 60s, and then came back every year.  Toots Ferry, the old rascal, who lived across the valley with his ancient mother, called it Shenanigan Valley, and so it is.  Something is always going on here. 

There are layers of time here, also.  The valley had been part of the Coeur d’Alene Indian reservation until it was opened for homesteading in the early 1890s.  In 1951 my parents bought these 66 acres from William Cable, whose parents had homesteaded a larger piece of our side of the valley.  He sold off sections through the 20th century until, in his 80s, he and his old wife were surrounded by this single piece of land and fruit orchards.

My parents lived here for many years. Dad died in 1994 and Mom continued to live here until November 2007.  She is still alive, but lives in assisted living with advanced dementia.  Still, she dominates my memories of this place.  And so, my husband, Jay and I will write about our part of this beautiful valley -- the meadows and woods, the springs and the creek, the wildlife.  Times now and times before.

Wildlife Symbiosis

Seems as if it's been snowing forever. About 5 inches on the ground, with deeper drifts up in the hills. We're expecting another 4-8 inches today. The snow has driven wildlife down to to our house to forage for food. Outside our living room, looming above our propane tank, is an apple tree that bore heavily this fall - we picked three boxes, which I'm now using for pies. The local critters are taking care of the rest of the harvest for us. Right now, I'm watching four doe shuffling around in the snow, looking up from the ground to the tree, taking care not to step on the wild turkeys milling around their hooves. There are also eight turkeys, some Toms, some hens, up in the branches, pecking at the apples or trying to swallow them whole. Most of the apples wind up on the ground, to be gobbled by the deer and nibbled or speared by the milling turkeys. The grounded turkeys are fighting over the apples; the deer are taking it all in stride. Everyone wins.