Reader and photographer Stephen Barnard kindly invited me to visit his home on Silver Creek, Idaho, near the Silver Creek Preserve of the Nature Conservancy. This is sunrise from his backyard, with the creek only a few feet away. If you sat watching it, you’d see a cool bird (harrier, hummingbird, yellow-headed blackbird, and so on) every five seconds or so.
Deets, Stephen’s famous sheepdog.
Yesterday morning we went for a walk in Stephen’s aspen grove, hoping to get some good photos. You can see Stephen with his huge lens (and Deets), and although the walk was bracing, we saw little to photograph.
Then we had a two-hour canoe trip on Silver creek. Before we put the canoe in, I photographed these tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor). Matthew Cobb loves swifts and swallows like these.
I paddled in the lead, but of course Stephen was much more experienced, and I provided random propulsion while he provided both propulsion and direction. The river was lovely, with no other canoeists and only a handful of fishermen (Ernest Hemingway, who lived—and died—in nearby Ketchum, often fished this creek). The water was shallow, clear and cold, and large trout lurked beneath the boat. Affronted kingfishers scolded us from the banks.
As we rounded a bend in the river, I saw the beasts below. So motionless were they that I thought at first they were statues of moose. But they were the real thing (Alces alces), eyeing us balefully from the bank. Stephen told me to stop paddling as we glided by, a mere twenty feet away. Later he told me that moose in the rutting season (male to the left, female to the right) are nasty and sometimes dangerous. I didn’t know that as I snapped away.
After a short nap, it was time to go to the annual pig roast and massive feed of the local fishing club. The pig was roasted (minus parts used to make pulled pork) in a homemade drum:
A porcine dissection. I think they overcooked the skin, which should be the best part but was too tough to eat. The meat, however, was tender and juicy.
There were lots of great homemade dishes: potato salad, cole slaw, beans, guacamole, tortillas (if you wanted to make a pulled pork tortilla), and various salads. The picture below shows only about half of the table. There were far too many dishes even sample even a bit of everything!
And a lot of delicious fruits too, which I couldn’t abjure:
For entertainment they called on the local Hispanic community. There was a nice mariachi band, but also two local lads who did rope tricks. The younger one was adorable, but also quite talented. Sadly, they performed in front of the Port-A-Potties:
The little guy; he was great! Notice the cowboy boots.
And a gorgeous sunset in Paradise. What a place to live! Many thanks to Stephen for his gracious hospitality, which I could never repay. (Seriously, my crib doesn’t have sunsets like this!)