Hidden Treasure


The story of next winter begins with this picture.  How does one pass a long winter in the Pacific Northwest where the heaviness of sodden, somber days weigh down the spirits?

The answer might be:  Remembering a quaint thrift store that has an ambiance somewhat like this art piece from PhotoPin.   It’s one of several in the Colville area, where the narrow aisles are crammed with clothing racks, and the back of the store fills the multi-tiered shelves with books of all varieties.

But, there’s a book collection that’s not in those main areas.  It’s tucked off by itself in a seldom visited spot.   The books on those shelves are meant just for a reader like me.

The person who donated the books, many with publishing dates years ago, on these selves, has to be someone with great curiosity and a discerning taste for quality prose.

Recent acquisitions:

Queen Noor,  the memoir of the young American woman who loved, married and mourned the loss of the King of Jordan.  A remarkable story that explains the Middle East, her trials and challenges as mother and step-mother, the upgrades and changes she makes possible in Jordan

Cleopatra, historical fiction that won the author a Pulitzer prize, and one that has been passed on to my friend who married an Egyptian when she was traveling with the Ship of Hope in Alexandria at the Building of Property.  Now Cleopatra is a woman not only capable of presiding as a court judge, creating plans for her nation, planning military campaigns, but imaging romantic ways to snare Roman leaders, Caesar, then Anthony.  A realist, she knows she will soon to be killed but plans to do so her own way, leaving life with grit and glory.

Into Africa,  non fiction that reads like a novel.  Unbelievable escapades through the middle of Africa from l840-1880 with key explorers of that time, especially Dr. David Livingstone and the New York Herald journalist Stanley.

It’ll soon be time to push a chair next to the fire to read more stories that have been hidden away on a shelf in this local thrift store.  Reading how others have met great challenges makes passing through a heavy-feeling winter more pleasure than pain.

Where is your treasure?


Wow! I Met Him!

smiling girl
Dave Kerpen is one amazing guy!

He’s chairman of Likeable Media, a social media firm which helps people better leverage social media to become better engaged businesses.  He’s author of The Art of People, 11 Simple People Skills that Will Get You Everything You Want. 

I discovered he is a man who has his professional life beautifully organized.  In “The Art of People,” he explained how he helps people.  He has so many requests for help from readers that  he suggests if you want his advice e-mail him at :

http://www.facebook.com/facebookmedia/bestpractices/live, or at


to request a phone appointment.  These are given several months in advance and are well worth the wait.  Mine was Sept. 14th at l p.m.  Because I felt I knew him already from his underlying author’s voice in “Art of People,” I fully expected him to call, but I wasn’t going to be terribly disappointed if he didn’t.

But, he did.  Sure enough, right at l p.m. he called me from Massachusetts.  Dave let me know right away he’d looked up the web links to my books.  He suggested several things:  l) Give 20 books to the first people who will write a review for my new, yet-to-be released novel next year: Casanova Cowboy.  (If you let me know that you’d like to write a review on Amazon and Goodreads, I’ll send you a  review copy when  it is published.)

Dave is a frequent speaker around the world and a contributing writer for LinkedIn, Huffington Post, Forbes, Washington Post, and has been featured on several TV shows.

As a fellow author, he also shared a secret.   So with special thanks, Dave, it’s been a pleasure to meet you.  So, following Guru Dave’s advice, if anyone would like to write a review for Casanova Cowboy, please e-mail me @: budinger.bender@plix.com  to sign up.  (You can too, Dave.)



Bounty Hunter Needed

woman thinkingOnce upon a time in the Old West, a poster would state the facts:

Wanted – Bounty Hunter

Any Age – Young or Old

Professional or Not

Male or Female


Queries to find a solution to today’s problem end up the same way.  Even a professional service such as Guardian, said, “We tried.  We can’t catch them. Or, if we do, they’re back again.”

There may be bounty hunters in the Seattle area; but that’s miles and miles away from the Lazy Bee.  Even University of Washington’s Extension Service said they had no idea of who to turn for help, other than these are varmints that must be trapped underground where they live.

They are vicious.  Eat vegetables, flowers, shrubs by pulling down the plants into their burrows.  There are many here now.  The first to come were the Columbia Ground Squirrels.  Then, the gophers arrived and decided our lush meadows were just the place to live.   (Do such critters have an underground Internet service to learn the best places to live?)

The local extension service did suggest trying Coyote urine.  It is sold in crystals or spray.  Comments from those who have used this method report the stink isn’t worth the effort.  Reportedly that doesn’t work either.

Perhaps posting a reward for a bounty hunter next spring may help save plants and such souls as we who plant and care for them.  Can’t do this now.  Have to wait until spring.  The varmints are now in hibernation.

There really are professionals who do this work.  When I was researching Rusty Springs, a novel about a blackjack dealer in Winnemucca, NV. to collect authentic conversations at tables, I met a couple of cowboys.  They had been out in farmers’ fields shooting gophers from the top of their trucks.  The job apparently pays well. They were celebrating, winning at the blackjack table, too.  (If all else fails, I could return to Winnemucca to become a bounty-hunter.)

(Thanks for the photo – PhotoPin)










A Drone May See You



It’s not a bird.  It’s a drone.  Chances are that’s it’s just another thing that will be soon be part of your life.

One flew over the Lazy Bee lawn recently filming a wedding ceremony.  Years ago, drones were common nearby as they flew through our valley sent by the government to film who knew what.

Data produced by these vision-system sensors is enormous.  There’s also ultrasonic listening, vibration, rain, light and other radar sensors, too.

In August a news source announced that the U.S. Secret Service was planning to test a special unmanned aerial device to track our President.  Those custom drones use a 360-degree camera to send secure data back to operators through a tether.

Drones provided security for the Boston Marathon this year four years after the terror attack to give law enforcement the perspective over crowds.

Cyphy Works, a Boston company, is putting drones on the battlefield to save lives of soldiers and civilians.

In Australia, a company called LittleRipper will monitor beaches for sharks because their views are superior to humans.

Drones are super-snoopers.  Discreet, inexpensive, upgraded easily, or switched out for maintenance, they can be tethered to a power source and stay aloft for days.

They offer solutions for law enforcement at prisons, asset protection, firefighting, border surveillance and special ops. operators.

I’ll never have one, but, then again, I didn’t think I’d ever have or use a smart phone or computer.  Once you have one, you wonder how did you ever lived without such a device.

How could you put a drone to work?  Hum.  For instance, if you were a detective, wouldn’t it be easier to work from home instead of collecting data from a car or up in a tree.  Maybe there will be a drone for attachment to a car to see where it goes.

(Thanks to PhotoPin for the above picture of a drone coming in for a landing.)


Sam’s a Hero

cow stuck in mud

Sam Fisher runs cattle nearby in the valley.  Once in a while there might come from that area their contented sounds.  But, early the other morning, cries of a cow in trouble pierced the air with its desperate pleas.

Was it a cow, or, it was it a cougar having a love feast?

No, it was one of Sam’s cows and Sam was head to toe covered in mud.  He and his wife and their parents who were visiting had struggled to push, pull and tug to try to get a 750 pound cow out of the mud from sodden, hidden spring.

Sam is a practical country farmer.  He ran to find boards.  Somehow he got them under the cow’s feet so she could get some “purchase” as he called it.  This is a good trick on it’s own if you can figure out how to do this under a terrified heavy animal.pulling out old carThanks to PHOTOPIN for this photo.  It depicts how tough some jobs might be for those of us who choose to live in the country.  Unfortunately, there were no pix taken of Sam or the cow.  We wonder: How did he manage get under the cow to put the boards under her huge feet without either hurting himself, or, getting both of them deeper in the mud?

An Expensive Hobby

Marlin fishing tournament

I know a guy who’s fishing; for the biggest White Marlin he can find l00 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean this week.

Oh, Porter Stansberry won’t be fishing alone.  He’ll have a professional team with him.  They’ve have won twice before competing in the white Marlin Open, the World’s most expensive fishing tournament every August in Ocean City, Maryland.

He’s an investment guru.  He wouldn’t waste money.  Perhaps he thinks he can win three million dollars in prize money when he brings the biggest fish to one of the tourney weigh stations where it will be weighed not once but four times.

“Obviously,” he tells me and others, “this is an expensive hobby.  It’s done in the big deep water canyons off the east coast.  That means the biggest and faster boats are required just to get to the fishing grounds.  Most of the winning teams have come from the professional fishermen from North Carolina.

“While you could get lucky on your own, it’s far more likely that a professional crew will win the big money.  Entrance wagers cost more than $50,000, plus there’s the cost of fuel, the crew, and gear.  This year more boats than ever are entering, some 400 instead of the normal 300.”

I wonder if the Marlin Open Tournament is catching on if more boats than ever are in the contest.  Or, is this contest something like marathon dance contests once were in the Great Depression, just specialty events in their time period.

However, Porter is a savvy investor.  He’s dedicated and has been practicing.  He and his crew were just out fishing in the Washington Canyon and caught five white marlins and a one-ton tuna.

You can follow the action this week by following TWO SONS on his community page on Facebook.  (And, thanks to Photo Pin for the above photo.)

Sweet Handwriting


A document written by hand comes rarely these days.  Other than a handwritten greeting in a Christmas card, can you recall the last time you received a letter written by hand?

Last week my brother, Joseph Packey, took the time and made a special effort to let me know he was thinking about me.  His two-page letter came so unexpectedly that I know I’ll remember the joy it brought when I saw his hand writing.

“Something has been bothering me for years now,” he wrote.  “Maybe you can help me out.   When Dad came home on Friday, he would leave you and me and brother Jack a one-dollar bill for our allowance.  Who got the extra quarter?

“Not much going on here in Los Angeles.  It’s been too hot to go outside.  Luckily we have A/C.  We put it in two years ago.  Prior to that a fan or two was enough.  Each year the temperatures get worse and worse.

“Our main activity is playing cards.  Jan and I each play bridge two times a week.  Jan and I play pinochle, gin, bridge and Kings in the Corner.  We watch a lot of movies with Netflix with both streaming and individual selections.”

E-mail may be fast and more efficient, but it can’t show the person’s handwriting.  And, that’s the key to communication: handwriting.  Because you can’t disguise it!

Admit it.  The first thing you really that notice of  is a person’s handwriting.  Subconsciously or not, you do.   The sad thing is that your penmanship suffers if not used regularly.  Brother Joe’s writing appeared the same as always.  Not a bit shaky, fine-tuned really.

Even sadder is the fact that grade school children aren’t learning to write cursive.  If a grandparent sends a gift with a handwritten note, they can’t read it.  It’s become a foreign language.  To them handwriting appears something like Chinese art or Egyptian hieroglyphs.

If you happen upon an old letter or a recipe written by hand, you remember the person and feel closer to them.

Technology has made the handwritten letter a thing of the past just like many fine things which have disappeared: ironed shirts, aprons, fine china and silver, antiques, and line-washed dish towels.

(Thanks Photo Pin for another fine photo!)