From: Meridian, ID:

Later today our company from Michigan will arrive. At that point, the all-powerful pre-visitors “to do” list will be retired, whether every item has been crossed off…or not. At which point, the “to do” list for things to do during the visit will be activated. Almost all the items on that list have to do with either scenic and/or historic sights and places. But of course that’s normally what is done on trips to strange and exotic lands…one doesn’t fly halfway across the country to watch TV and go grocery shopping. Right? As I’ve mentioned previously, I do plan to take Steve Jr. out to the whistlepig fields, and also to one of our nearby lakes for some Kokanee and/or trout fishing. But it’s difficult to designate those days, specifically, ahead of time, thanks to a kind of “unsettled” weather pattern in effect for southwestern Idaho this week. In weather parlance, “unsettled” generally means showers and wind. Blast!

Ah, well, neither the possibility of rain nor the actual falling of rain can much dampen our enthusiasm at having Ellie, Barbara, and Steve with us for a week.


 Aside from crossing things off the aforementioned list, I’ve been spending some time – too much time, I’ll admit – messing around with online ammunition sellers. I truly do have all the rimfire ammunition a person needs…even a person with three different calibers of small bore rifles. But because the shortage of rimfire ammo continues, the tendency to hoard the stuff continues to grow. I’m definitely not the only one. In fact, nearly everyone I know (who has guns) feels the drive to buy more and more and more. Over the course of this past year (and, actually, the four years prior) as the perceived (if, indeed, that’s what it was) shortage was transformed into an actual shortage. And as the actual shortage became more apparent, the tendency for all shooters to “stock up” when they could, exacerbated the situation. I certainly don’t believe for a minute that ammunition manufacturers are sitting on their hands. Most are saying just the opposite, i.e., they are running extra shifts, expanding capability in existing plants, and a few have publicized plans to build new plants. In short, there is more ammunition being made than ever before. I’m not one of those who believe it is all being bought by our government as part of the “Master Plan” to eventually disarm Americans. Oh, there are plenty of people who would espouse such a plan, but I don’t think their number is yet sufficient to put it into effect. No, when push comes to shove, I think it is we gun owners causing the ammunition “shortage.” Wait…wait…that’s not right! It is the whistlepigs that are the root cause! Yeah, yeah…that’s where the blame truly lies! Dang whistlepigs!


Next Day

The Michigandians arrived on schedule…even a few minutes early, actually. All were a little beat from a long day of travel (beginning at 4:30 AM, Michigan time), so once we all got back to our home in Meridian we stayed put, snacking and “catching up” throughout the afternoon and evening. Although the day had dawned somewhat cloudy, it was quite nice during the PM. Oh, if I wished to be picky, I’d have to say that we didn’t need the rather strong breeze…but you should know by now that I do hate to be picky.

Steve and I made a plan to go “plinking” today, weather permitting. And so far the weather is definitely permitting. (But again…more wind than we need or want.) I assured him that it is not important to go looking for whistlepigs early in the morning, but it is now a little past 8:00 AM…and I’m still the only person in the house who is out of bed. I may have to go in and rattle Steve’s cage in a few minutes. It’s true enough that one doesn’t have to get to the whistlepig communities early in the morning…but it’s also no good to wait until sunset. We’re looking for a reasonable compromise, here.

I’m not sure what the girls have in mind for the day’s activity. They should be able to come up with something, though.


As I mentioned above, Jan and I have been kind of busy getting our place ready for company. One of the chores high on the list was mowing and trimming the lawn…and cleaning the driveway. “Cleaning the driveway of what?” you may well ask. The answer: Chinese Elm seeds and, to a lesser extent, under-developed “helicopters” from the maple tree.

(A "drift" of Chinese Elm seeds.)

(A “drift” of Chinese Elm seeds.)

The elm seeds are a particular nuisance. For one thing, each tree – and there are 5 or 6 of them (volunteers) along the barbed wire fence dividing our lot from the field behind the house – grows about a kazillion seeds. The branches are absolutely thick (and laden down) with them. The seeds have no weight…they fly as well as the silken strands that spiders will sometimes launch to the sky. And the seeds will grow anywhere! (I have seen tiny little elm trees, nearly two inches tall, growing on wet concrete in our driveway. I swear it!)

(Look closely. Do you see the "snowflakes?")

(Look closely. Do you see the “snowflakes?”)

So Janet and I swept them from the driveway and front porch (and back patio) on Sunday, Monday…and yet again on Tuesday morning (before driving to the airport after lunch). When we returned from the airport with the travelers, the drift by the front porch was nearly three inches deep! The walkways of Hell must be lined with Chinese Elms! Here are some pictures:




(Given the chance, every stinking seed will become a tree!)

(Given the chance, every stinking seed will become a tree!)

It is an annual battle we have with the seeds. Frustrating, but (thankfully), we eventually win. Janet is good about yanking the small trees from here flower beds and of course those that begin to grow in the lawn get cut back along with the blades of grass with each mowing. You’re probably thinking, “Why don’t those fools just cut down the nasty trees?” Trust me, we have seriously considered it…many, many times. But the thing is, our back porch faces westerly. During the spring, summer, and fall, the afternoon sun beats down relentlessly on the patio. Fall all the mess of seeds, twigs, and leaves the trees generate, they also make precious shade. And at this point, the shade is worth the work involved with keeping the mess at bay during the seasons. That equation may someday change, but for now we are sparing the trees.

I hope the week is going well for you.



4 Responses

  1. Ron Boy says:

    You are such good hosts, I am sure all will have a lot of fun. 8 AM seems late to you, but remember, each night begins a new day for a cowboy. Stay up late and party, makes for sleeping in the early morning and enjoying the late nights. Always been my ideal day. Hope you have a great time with your guests. Love ya, Ron Boy

    • Bud Larson says:

      Hi Ron, So far, so good. I stayed up last night all the way to 10:00 PM. Hoo Boy! Today Steve and I proved that it is actually possible to hit whistle pigs in a gol-dang HURRICANE! It was a windy day…but otherwise nice enough. It made any shot over 50 yards or so pretty difficult. Even so, my .17 HMR did pretty well. See you soon! Ol’ Bud

  2. Jerry Howard says:

    Save some pigs for Ron Boy and I. Have a wonderful time. Grandpa Jer

    • Bud Larson says:

      Hi Jer, We got out amongst ’em a little after 10:00 AM…temperature was just barely above 40 degrees and there weren’t many of the little rascals braving the chill. By noon it was 54 degrees, but even more windy. A few more pigs began moving around. Steve wasn’t able to get comfortable with the .17, but began improving after he switched to the .22 Mag. We visited one place and stayed there a couple of hours…on the way out, we stopped and set up on the field where you and I spent two days. All told, I suppose we shot 40 – 45. (I got the lion’s share.) As we were getting ready to leave for the day, a small delegation of the squirrels came out of one of the closer holes waving a tiny white flag. Of course I shot the one that seemed to be in charge. :-) I think there will be plenty left in June. Later, Ol’ Bud

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