Saturday, November 28, 2015

Boise Trip Report, Expanded Edition

A lost Vermeer
The mini-break to Boise was pretty fabu. We were gone only a few days but it feels much longer (in a good way) and that's nice. It was, our hostess Tish and I agree, one of the best Thanksgivings ever. Possibly I've reached the age where the interjection of eight college-age adults, and two slightly younger children at a gathering is a good thing. They're so darned lively, those kids, and they play so nicely together. When I was at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival last year, Yvon Chouinard said something about how "maybe this younger generation will fix things; we sure won't!" and while I occasionally shook my head internally at things  they said (Amazon! Walmart! NO!!!), in general the kids are all right. So that was good, as was dinner, as was the company of those at the grown-up table. Tish makes a mean Brussels sprout too. It was all good.

Of course, I was predisposed to be happy on Thursday after happening across a great horned owl in the park between Tish's place and the Boise Guest House on Wednesday. As we were walking en route to the Flying M I had noticed, from across the street, something large that seemed to be holding something in its talons. A thorough look around revealed the owl, posing obligingly, atop a building. Sadly, I didn't have my camera with me. When I returned fifteen minutes later, now equipped with camera, the owl had shifted to a less ideal tree--and now visibly had a dead squirrel in its clutches. Photos such as the one posted a few days ago resulted. Not brilliant lighting, partially obscured by branches, often with its head turned but still: clearly a great horned owl with dinner. So that was pretty cool.

My Man Shipton
Scott and I delayed our start on shift at the Thanksgiving Kitchen by tromping through a snowy bit of land where the many white-crowned sparrow photos were taken. We also watched a couple of hawks, most likely Cooper's, swooping about the area. Happily we did not see them take any of our sweet little sparrows. It was a fine expedition which had us referring to each other as Shipton and Tilman after we decided to complete the circumnavigation regardless of the possible danger. It was grand. (Holden Caulfield disapproves of the word "grand." It's the sort of word used by phonies. I've  just completed my latest re-reading of Catcher In The Rye. That is one fine, damned odd book, if you want to know the goddam truth.)

Some frozen leaves at Barber Park
Bottoms up mallards in the freezing Boise River
On Friday we went out to Barber Park where, oddly, I'd never been before. We didn't stay that long, since it was so damned cold, but I loved it and am now ever so eager to return. We saw  many kestrels, for one thing, none of them close enough for a decent photo but all of them close enough to admire through binoculars. The place was also thick with red-tailed hawks. It's no wonder we saw so few songbirds. Sadly, no owls.
  Later on Scott and I took a walk to visit the bookshops of Boise, visiting the always excellent Trip Taylor (Hemingway, Kingsolver, Simenon, Browning, and god knows what else purchased) and the also fine Rediscovered Books. I was pleased to see some familiar covers at Rediscovered.

 We flew back home this morning, stopping en route to the airport at the truly excellent Janjou Patisserie. Mmmmmm.


  1. Though I never washed out your socks, if you were Shipton and Tilman, I was definitely some version of the camp crone (see: conversations over the weekend), as I opted several times not to venture into the arctic-type icy cold...and it was me who pushed the return to the warm car from Barber Park. S'anyways, dear Tilman, it WAS a fine visit and a damned fine Thanksgiving. Come again, there's a luv. (I really like this back photo.)

  2. Scott complains that he looks like an old man in that photo but I think it's quite fine. I don't think Shipton and Tilman ever worried about having their socks washed. You might be the sensible person at home, however, who realized that hypothermia, frostbite, and other cold injuries are not to be trifled with. (The smoke is still dissipating here, should you wonder. With enough gravy, the potatoes were edible.)