The Call of The Wild

Friday the front page news here in the Valley was that wolves had attacked and killed a dog in Burke.

WALLACE — Domestic dogs were attacked by four wolves around 6 p.m. Wednesday night on the 600 block of Burke Road, just outside of Wallace.

One dog died and another sustained a facial bite, said Shoshone County Sheriff Mitch Alexander, and there were many wolf tracks in the area.

Idaho Fish and Game notified residents in the area and informed them that it is legal to shoot the wolf pack.

Mullan resident Barry Sadler didn’t just have his dogs attacked by wolves a few years ago — they chased his daughter into the front door and came right up on his porch.

“They just can’t coexist with people,” he said. “It’s impossible … as long as they run wild, they’ll continue to kill everything until there’s nothing left.”

Sadler shot and killed one of the offending wolves. His wife, who was inside at the time watching out the window, said that while he was lying on his stomach shooting, one was watching him from about 25 feet away.

He said wolves just chew animals up a lot of the time without eating them, and called them “treacherous and filthy.” The percentage of what they kill versus what they eat is less than 10 percent, Sadler said.

Regarding Wednesday’s attack, he said people don’t realize that wolves would rather eat dogs than any other animal.

“They hate each other,” he said. “They’ll kill dogs any chance they get.”

And his dogs have killed wolves themselves — they’ll come up to the porch covered in blood, he said.

Sadler said he’s not a hunter, and at first, the thought of hunting wolves made him sad because they reminded him of dogs. But then he saw what they’re capable of.

“I know God doesn’t make mistakes,” he said, “but I tell you what — the fly, the mosquito and the wolf … I don’t know what He was thinking when He made those three.”

Calls made to Idaho Fish and Game official Josh Stanley about the attack weren’t immediately returned.

Kelsey Saintz, Shoshone News Press, January 13, 2012

At 4:28pm last night Spokane news station KHQ posted news was that there was another wolf attack on a chained dog in the same area. By 5:20pm they had revised the report to state it was “wild dogs.” Apparently Idaho Fish and Game had showed up and said there were lots of tracks in the area but no wolf tracks.

Saturday morning the front page had a correction: no wolves were involved in either attack. Continue reading “The Call of The Wild”

A Muppet Family Christmas

A Muppet Family Christmas is by far the cheesiest Christmas special I watch each year. But it is also one of my absolute favorites.


My family recorded our copy off of Nickelodeon in what must have been 1993; Muppet Wiki tells me that “Friday Night Muppets” occurred that year and I remember the intros well from our repeated viewings! The interruption of Dragnet into the storyline for about five minutes was even a bit of a tradition… Continue reading “A Muppet Family Christmas”

Welcome to the Valley

As I wrapped up graduate school in the spring of 2010, Forrest and I started brainstorming for real where we were going to live. We knew we wanted a small town but weren’t quite sure yet how we were going to make that happen. About that time, I read The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan. While I doubt that the fires of 1910 saved America although they certainly influenced the growth of the newly formed US Forest Service), it did introduce me to the existence of Wallace, Idaho. I put out some cover letters and resumes to EPA contacts working in the area but nothing much came of it and in July, after our adventures around the country, we found ourselves in Missoula, Montana. Fortunately, we didn’t stay in Missoula very long because I found a job in Wallace. We bought a house in Mullan (about ten miles from my work), population 692. (Census, 2010)

Mullan, April 2011

Mullan is located at the far eastern end of the “Silver Valley.” Headed west along I-90 from Mullan, one passes through the valley’s other towns: Wallace (pop. 784), Osburn (1,555), Kellogg (2,120), Smelterville (627), and Pinehurst (1,619). Along with the communities on the North Fork of the Coeur D’Alene River (Prichard, Murray) and on the St. Joe (Avery) Shoshone County is home to just 12,765 people, or 4.8 people per square mile. However, almost all of these people live within a mile of I-90, with 87% of the land area being classifed as “forest uplands” compared to less than 1% classified as “urban or developed.” (Shoshone County Forest Health Collaborative)

Shoshone County incorporated areas, Mullan is circled in red.

Periodically, I plan on blogging about various facets of Silver Valley life and history. I live in a unique little corner of the world and love to share it!

Weather Station

Last winter we noticed that the National Weather Service forecasts for Mullan, were actually for an elevation of 4,648′. We actually live closer to 3,200′. Generally last winter we could expect for the temperature outside to hover just above the predicted values. Really not a big deal but in a house that also obsessively watches Snotel and all its associated products somewhat obsessively it was sort of upsetting.

Forrest contacted NWS about volunteering to host a weather station at our house. They were very happy about the idea of getting another station in the valley. Mark from the Spokane branch of NWS paid us a visit in September to look at the site and was quite pleased. There were some siting criteria compromises but nothing that would prevent the use of data from our station to improve modeling of weather in Mullan.

Today, the weather station was installed!

Weather station. (Daily rain/rain water equivalent tube, total snow ruler, and temperature sensor.)
Daily snow measurement pad (and Forrest's skull collection)

We have to report the daily maximum and minimum temperature as well as the daily precipitation totals. I’m working on automating the temperature reporting and possibly including some sort of readout on 3UpAdventures.

Temperature logger

APW Book Club: How To Be A Woman

Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman showed up in my mailbox today after a long trip from England.

So far, I’m really liking it. It’s a mind stretch in places, in the best of ways. I spent the evening on the porch basking in the evening sun with a glass (or two) or wine and making notes in the margin of the book. (I haven’t made notes in the margin of a book since I was at Bates.)

Although Sprocket was good company to discuss feminist ideas:

“Uh, guys? I’m like, totally a feminist. For real. I love you ladies. We can talk about feelings, and stuff, anytime.”

he’s just not much of a match for wonderfully smart women. I’m really looking forward to book club next month. (P.S. Missoula girls! You better be up for something or I’m going to Seattle!)

Now, back to my book.

Nerdy Snowmelt Goodness

I’m pretty much a nerd.

A chemist by education (and now trade!), I’m a well rounded nerd. My nerdiness is not constrained by any given field. There’s a structural geology textbook on my desk (which I really want to get back to reading), someday I’ll have amassed a seriously awesome local history library, and I do thinks like make spreadsheets of our cabin expenses (we bought the place in partnership with Forrest’s brother and need to keep track of who spent what). It goes way deeper than that and I’m sure those who know me could continue to make lists of how absurdly nerdy I am (baseball stats!, geography!, NPR!) but you get the idea.

This morning, geeking out met melt-damn-snow-melt. And this is what I found:

I love the National Weather Service. Melt rate in inches per hour? Sweeetttt!

(Less sweet: snow water equivalent at Lookout is 329% of normal for June 2nd. Melt snow, melt!)