Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Wayback Machine #1 – Indian Valley, April ‘97

Hey, a brand new series! Fellow Rocky & Bullwinkle aficionados will recognize the reference to the Mr Peabody & Sherman cartoons (tho strictly speaking it should be spelled “WABAC”). I was a huge fan of the entire Rocky & Bullwinkle cosmos, but Sherman & Mr Peabody were favorites among favorites. Now thru the magic of photography & a scanner we’ll be taking some trips back in my personal history—not as "wayback" as Mr Peabody & Sherman, & without “historical” characters & events. But we’ll hope it’s fun nonetheless.

One of my main worldly assets, along with umpteen guitars, ukes, & banjos, & enough paperbacks to keep me going for the duration, is a lot of photos, & they’re a resource I’d like to share; & I’ve spent considerable time over the past year trying to come to terms with various moments in my past; I’ve moved a fair amount in my life, & sometimes
my life in Virginia or Vermont or even San Francisco seems a separate existence from which I'm disconnected. Part of the intent behind Robert Frost’s Banjo is healing that sense of disconnection, & this intent also I think was an underpinning for the poems I wrote last spring & the current ghazal series.

On a lighter note, the Wayback series may also prove to be a way of marking certain significant events; for instance, I first came to visit Eberle in Idaho in April of 1997, just about 13 years ago. The pictures I’m posting today were taken on that trip.

Hope you enjoy them:

Our old house (& of course, the only house in '97)
taken from a vantage that would be in front of our current house. The small building to the right is the pumphouse; it's no longer extant.

This shot was taken from the top of the exterior spiral staircase that led to Eberle's old writing studio. The large outbuilding with
the open doors & the smaller building to its left are pretty much where our current house stands. These buildings, as well as the pumphouse in the forergound, all were demolished in 04 in preparation for the new house. The little shed to the far right is still extant, however - simply because I never got around to tearing it down! Note the raised beds; that's all a flower garden at this point.

The aforementioned steps to the aforementioned studio. You get a great view from
up there, but they're pretty rickety now.

Eberle on the eastern slope of "Weird Hill" - it's been years since we climbed this; n
ow there's a barbed wire property fence that splits the hill almost exactly in half, which is a drag. In 97, the large Whiteman Ranch hadn't been sold & split up into 40 acre parcels. Note the abandoned farm machinery; there was (is?) quite a bit of this on the eastern slope.

Me at the summit of Weird Hill amongst the sagebrush & rudbeckia (the yellow flowers). Rudbeckia is probably the most prominent spring wildflower in these parts. Who the heck was my barber in San Francisco? Yikes!

Eberle on the front porch - her old smoking hang-out (she quit about a year & a half later)

Yours truly, with cats, on the same porch. Th
e tiger cat (aptly named, tho very sweet with Eberle & me) was Romeo, a particular friend my first few years in Idaho. The black cat was named the Black Cat (we also had the White Cat & the Grey Cat at various points). She was our current cat Weenie's grandma.

& yours truly by
the pond - a favorite spot right from the beginning. There were a lot fewer cattails then!

Eberle in the pasture. It was a working pasture even back then, before the llama era. Eberle had a leasing agreement with some ranching neighbors who would pasture their cattle there for a period of time each spring. Idaho provides tax benefits to folks who lease pasture land to ranchers in this way.

Hope you enjoyed the trip!


  1. Hey, cool blog - from another Frost afficonado.

  2. Hi Lonne:

    Thanks for stopping by, & glad you liked it. I checked out The Maverick's Diary & looks like you have an interesting thing started there as well.

  3. I enjoyed the trip "Wayback", John. "Summit of Weird Hill" made me laugh.

    Hey, don't forget Boris and Natasha!

  4. Hi Willow:

    or "Fractured Fairy Tales!" Glad you liked it.

  5. Cool flash from the past!

    LOVE Rocky and Bullwinkle! And Boris and Natasha, too, of course. A few years ago I saw a couple of those cartoons - I was truly amazed at how sophisticated they were. Fractured fairytales were excellent, too.

  6. It's funny, I was going to Google "Wayback machine" because right away it had meaning for me, but I couldn't place it. Thanks for explaining - I was a big R & B fan too and Mr. Peabody was great!

    I loved these photos (of course I'm partial to the ones with the cats).
    Why is it called, "Weird Hill"? Did I miss that?

    Great new series. I'm looking forward to the next photos.


  7. P.S. I've been absent for a few days, so I caught up below.


  8. Hi Kat:

    Glad you liked it-- I think this has come up before, but "Weird Hill" is Eberle's name for it-- because if you see it straight on it really is kind of weird-- a large mound in shape. The official Forest Service map name is "Sage Hill," which is also reasonably descriptive.

  9. ...healing that sense of disconnection...I wonder how many of us are out here for that very reason.

    I look forward to the new series. What do you mean, "without 'historical' characters and events"? It's your history, isn't it? Your events? Ask Eberle. She'll tell you. History isn't all made in war rooms and the halls of power.

  10. Hi Sandra:

    No, you're absolutely right on that one-- I, too, believe that those "halls of power characters & events" are much less real than personal ones. Glad you mentioned it-- the remark was intended to be tongue-in-cheek, but may not have come across that way.

    Interesting that the "disconnection" theme rings true; I imagine you're right about that one being common amongst the bloggy crowd. Thanks!

  11. Such wonderful photos. What is familiar to is truly extraordinary to someone from a distant shore like urban OKC!

  12. Hi Jen:

    Thanks-- glad you enjoyed the Idaho landscape-- I always enjoy your OKC pix.


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