My neighbor and friend, Scott Swearingen, identified the photo in last week’s article: It’s a stand-up weed puller. No instructions required. This morning my thermometer read 9 degrees! Sunshine during the day brings cold, cold nights this time of year.

A fire just off the Selway Road up Swiftwater Road burned Tom Kennedy’s house clear to the ground, nothing left but ashes, so say the neighbors. Two men, and perhaps more, have been arrested by the Idaho County Sheriff Department for a series of burglaries at the same time, in the same area. Sources say the men had been upriver from New Year’s Eve, Monday, until Wednesday of that week. The helicopter loggers came forward to add they had some vandalism at their job site, and a few local cabins were also broken into and burglarized. One close neighbor here in Lowell ran into several men and a woman at the dumpsters and said they were pretty rough.

Happy New Year from Lowell and Syringa! We have snow, and ice, and a bright year ahead. Everything up here is closed up tighter than a drum. As always, we have gone into hibernation. The cougar hunters are out and about, the logging crew is still active on Coolwater, ITD trucks are clearing Highway 12 each morning, and the eggnog is gone. Lots of events last year including Three Rivers Resort and Rafting under new ownership. It will open in a couple of months for a great 2019 season.

1,000 snowflakes fell from above in Lowell on Sunday, Nov. 11, and so begins the winter of 2018/2019. And then it stopped. The rivers are up, the helicopters are stacking logs off Coolwater Mountain every day now and the leaves have fallen. I’ll try to get information on the Lowell: Syringa EMT Christmas party in December and report back next week.

Big blowout at the creek that comes in across from Johnson’s Bar on the Selway River, Goddard Creek. Fires caused a lot of damage these last few years and any rain causes muddy creeks. Hail and wind topped some trees in Lowell as well.

In the air there’s a feeling of fall. Also, there’s about 10 different species of bugs flying all about us. The regular, which includes flies, yellow jackets, bees, wasps, and horse flies, plus beetles, those black ones that smell like vanilla, the skinny brown ones with long antennas, and a few ladybugs. Then a new little white bug just showed up along with grasshoppers. The salmon fly is still here and not to mention the flying ant. My windowsills are pretty buggy right now, and it’s not a pretty sight!

The thermometer on my front porch says 37 degrees this morning at 7 a.m. Not too bad, no broken pipes yet. A skiff of snow on Lolo pass, according to the Internet.

Breaking news: Highway 12 resurfacing project on hold until 2019, except maybe for turnouts. It snowed on Lolo Pass Sunday, so all surfacing stopped. They will be back. Got an e-mail from John Wolcott. Here’s what he said, “Hi Marie, I am a former Idaho ranch kid who lives in Astoria, Ore., now. We enjoy your column. The other tool in the picture [from last week’s column] is an emasculator used for castrating young bull calves.”

Football last week: Seahawks won, Kamiah won; Clearwater Valley won, that’s all good! In this little Lowell community with a permanent population of about 22 people, not counting summer second-home folks, it’s pretty quiet. I can count the incoming phone calls on one hand.

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