Category Archives: 2015-03, March 2015 (Carmen)

Death of the Forest Cabin

I’ve lived my whole life in Camas County, which is almost exactly the size of Rhode Island but has long had a population of around one thousand. The county’s single east-west valley has an elevation of about five thousand feet above sea level, while to the south are low mountains, and to the north are peaks that reach higher than ten thousand feet. Extremely cold winter temperatures (1990 saw an official low of fifty-two degrees below zero) and deep snow discourage everyone except the hardiest individuals from living here.

The farmers and ranchers who settled this area in the 1880s scratched out a living. Mining was a major effort and the remains of dozens of small operations—gold and silver mines, although lead and other trace minerals were present—can be found in all parts of the county. No major strikes were made, but some wealth was taken out of the earth. Many “prove-up” shacks were built as farming homesteads, and even in the highest mountains, every mine had some kind of shelter. A hard rock mining claim I own at 9,400 feet has a typical shack that housed miners early last century. Decades ago, the weight of ten or more feet of snow caused its collapse. Continue reading

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Posted on by Clell G. Ballard / Leave a comment

March 2015 Map

IN THIS ISSUE! American Fall, Boise, Camas County, Carmen, Coeur d’Alene, Filer, Garden City, Nampa, Potlatch, Sandpoint, Swan Valley, Wendell This content is available for purchase. Please select from available options. Register & Purchase  Purchase Only

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Posted on by Ann Hottinger / Leave a comment

Stage Fright at the Follies

The first time I read one of my own poems in front of a live audience, my cheeks burned bright red, my eyes filled with tears, and I thought I would need an oxygen tank to breathe.

Needless to say, the experience overwhelmed me, and for three years I refused to stand in front of a microphone. My daughter, DaNae Aguirre, and my mom, Rhoda Sanford, continued to inspire and encourage me. They had this show-woman thing down. They didn’t need oxygen tanks.

Eventually, I returned to college and majored in communications, where I was required to give numerous speeches in front of live audiences. Picturing them naked didn’t ease my unease, but I practiced hard, and the added incentive of making a good grade helped me stop crying every time I stepped in front of a crowd. Continue reading

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Posted on by Desiré Aguirre / Leave a comment

Come on, Sub-Zero

Ahh, finally eighteen below zero and beautiful. I have been waiting for a day like this for months. Sadly, winter temperatures too often hover between twenty and thirty-five degrees above zero, much too warm for the magic of arctic cold.

You draw in that sub-zero air and it’s more refreshing than a mouthful of peppermint with a dash of dry ice. Air so crisp it seems it could snap at any moment. The moisture in the air freezes and falls in a sparkly, slow-motion dance to the ground. This miraculous and dynamic gift from the North facilitates art for those willing to fetch it. Continue reading

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Posted on by Daryl L. Hunter / Leave a comment

Carmen–Spotlight

I drive north four-and-half miles on Highway 93, the only paved road from Salmon, until I reach the Lemhi County community of Carmen. In 2015, its population is an estimated 392, and almost every corner seems to hold a house, yet the community is still secluded enough to provide plenty of space between the homes. Most of them are situated behind trees or down dirt roads, creating the illusion that Carmen is empty, maybe even uninhabited. The neighbors keep to themselves in this quiet place, yet they welcome newcomers with open arms. The residences extend along the highway, known locally as the Big Flat, which looks just like its nickname until the land reaches the hillsides and the cliffs, used long ago as buffalo jumps by the people of Sacajawea, the Lemhi Shoshone, also known as Agni Dika (Salmon Eaters). Buffalo jumps were cliffs over which tribal members would drive the animals, while others waited below with bows and spears. Nowadays, the cliffs are much admired by tourists and by residents like me, who drive past them often. Continue reading

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Posted on by Annette Lewis / Leave a comment

The Water Thief

I’ll wager few things were or are more important to Idaho farmers and ranchers than their water rights. Cattle might be stolen, or money, even wives or lady friends, but water theft has often carried dire consequences, including death. Following is a case in point from my own family history.

My father grew up in Lund. Although he moved to Utah, started a business in Salt Lake City, and raised his family there, he often said, “You can take a kid out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the kid.” He dreamed of moving back to Idaho one day and buying a farm or small ranch. After almost twenty-six years in Utah, he enlisted the help of my mother’s uncle, who was then living in Hagerman, to locate and purchase a small ranch on the bank of the Snake River west of Wendell. Continue reading

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Posted on by Bill Strange / Leave a comment

A Stitch in Time

If you could go back in time three years and give yourself a piece of advice, what would it be?”

The family, ranging in age from one to ninety, had gathered for holiday games. Those of us in the middle, the fifty-somethings, were stumped. Yes, we had lived through cancer, the loss of loved ones, and a couple of toothbrushes each. But what counsel a few years ago would have made our lives better today?

A few years ago, my son was an unattached college student. Today he is a graduate, a husband, and a daddy. He could’ve spent a week writing advice to his past self, knowing what he knows today.

My pencil turned cartwheels between my fingers. Continue reading

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Posted on by Steve Carr / Leave a comment

The Greatest of Ease

The second time I spotted him lolling about on the top of the feeder, I grabbed a broom and rushed out the door, waving my threatening wand and yelling like a mad dog. The squirrel rather curiously observed all this until I actually started to swing, at which point he quickly and rather casually jumped down to run off. Sure, I pulled my swing, because I didn’t want to bash apart the feeder or actually hurt this talented squirrel, but I figured the near-miss and my angry scolding would teach him a lesson.

Silly me. Teach a squirrel a lesson where food is involved? Instead it only seemed to make an alarm of the back door latch. Now the squirrel had time to saunter off. Continue reading

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Posted on by Dean Worbois / Leave a comment