I’ve had a feeling I should write this letter for quite some time now. The truth is I’ve been putting it off. Sometimes it’s hard to share, to be open. Especially when the world feels scary. But I keep getting the feeling someone needs to read this: Don’t give up. How many times have you read that sentence, heard those words? I totally get it. But I will share with you something that helped me get out of my darkest days and give you hope that there is so much more to life than you believe right now. When I was in my own dark time a few years ago, I couldn’t see my way out. I felt like the only way out would be to end things. It got to be where I really believed it would solve or alleviate all problems. In the back of my mind I kept remembering this little piece of paper I clipped out years ago- “Most people give up what they want the most in life for what they want in the moment.” It was so hopeful but that sentiment would make me so angry. I didn’t understand there was another way but somehow I knew there was one. My first breakthrough moment was when I started looking at myself like the little kid version of me. Yep, the chunky, bullied, weird little kid. But that’s not how I really saw her when I forgot what everyone else saw and just focused on my belief of her. Heather- who sang at the top of her lungs every day. Heather- who was really funny and befriended everyone. Heather- a cool weirdo, the quirky girl you are rooting for in the movie. The only problem is I was treating her terribly. She was trying her best- but it was never good enough for adult me. Too fat. Not pretty enough. Not successful enough. Not a good enough singer. Doesn’t fit in. Yikes, it is really painful to recall how I would talk to her. It never dawned on me that this was called “negative self-talk.” I had no idea it was worsening my anxiety and causing myself a dark spiral. I thought I was holding myself accountable for not being good enough. And then any time someone or something would come along who poked those wounds, like an adult bully or not achieving a goal, or even something terrible would happen I would be like, YES. SEE? It just goes to show I am not good enough. The funny thing is, during this entire time it was SO EASY for me to encourage others and see the best in them. I thought of Robin Williams, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain- all people who were trying to be bright lights for others but were truthfully feeling dark within. I thought, this will NOT be me. Maybe I can change this conversation. I’ve tried this other way of living, of beating up on myself for so long. I would never treat another human being like this- so why not just try something new? My first goal was to get through ten minutes without a negative thought about myself. It’s so crazy to think how far I’ve come in such a short period of time. I remember that day- I felt like I was climbing a mountain to get out of that hole. But every time I pictured myself as young me, I thought I can be that friend to myself. And so can you. It was at this time that I learned life is happening FOR you, not TO you. It took me so long to truly grasp this. My therapist had taught me about dis-regulation. The concept about how when you are not centered so your thoughts and actions aren’t aligned with who or what is best or healthy for you. I decided I was going to stop letting my dis-regulated voice speak to me. Even if I was in a negative state most of the time, I stopped assigning my worth with it. Doing that alone helped to restore my energy and give me hope. It’s easy to type this now, but at the time it was in hourly or even ten-minute increments to practice this. When I’d feel hopeless, I’d picture myself on a treadmill. One day I’d be running but right now I’ve got to build up the stamina. I was proud of every minute I didn’t give up. When you realize you have given the key to your self-worth to others, an amazing thing happens. You take it back. You forgive everyone because you realize that no one can hurt you or make you feel like you don’t belong unless you give them permission. And that includes your dis-regulated voice! And who does that voice really belong to? I guarantee it isn’t yours. It doesn’t matter if you have made huge mistakes in life or have just backed yourself in a corner. It doesn’t matter if things are actually going relatively well but you just have a negative inner voice and it is seemingly in control. It doesn’t matter if you’ve “messed” up your whole life. I get it, you’re tired. Trust me, I understand. So instead of checking out- check in with your true self. The one worth loving, worth life. The one who is brave enough to try. You’re not a mess. You’re a human. There’s a difference. You didn’t come to this world to be perfect. You came to grow. So what if your chapters on going the wrong way have been written? As my therapist would say, “Good to know.” I love that. “Good to know.” It’s perfect for turning the page. No need to delve further. It’s time to get good at self-love and forgiveness. If you think you aren’t worthy of that, I have to tell you that this isn’t your department. You already know what can come of driving down that negative road. You’re not too far gone. I know you love that fresh movie popcorn. A summer thunderstorm. I know you love seeing the sunrise and the way a pair of fresh socks feel. The world is not too much- your reaction to it is just dis-regulated. You are not unloveable- your voice is just dis-regulated. Start small. Set the timer for ten minutes. I did it and you absolutely can, too. Every time you want to speak poorly to yourself, say something loving instead. You are learning a new skill and it’s going to take major practice and reassurance. At one point I could only say things like, “I am so glad I have this comfortable couch to lay on.” “Thank you, God that I have great eyesight.” And eventually it sounded like, “I forgive so and so and wish them the happiest, best life.” “I am a work in progress and one day I will help someone else. “I am so grateful to myself a year ago that I didn’t give up.” And look, you are holding the biggest issue of the magazine yet. 100 pages! And just to show how I’m still learning, I was celebrating that I had 70 ads in the magazine. But I made a mistake. I wrote “Huckleberry Battle” twice on my sheet. Right away I was like OMG only 69 ads. Tony was like, “Heather, seriously?” and he was right. So here’s the truth. I am so damn proud of you, myself, for every business still going and for every person trying their best right now. This is YOUR community magazine and I want you to know that I do this for you. We are all so much more alike than you realize. You are worthy, you are loveable, you are a human. If you ever find yourself in that dark space, know that you’re not alone. I have been there. Many of us have. But if we can all find the courage to shine our light a teeny bit- maybe even a ten-minute increment- maybe it can help someone else shine theirs. But this time I don’t want you to give your light away. Give it to yourself. Trust me on this because it’s so close you won’t see it but that light you are giving yourself? It’s the most beautiful, bright and inspiring thing I’ve ever seen. You’re just going to have to look inside to see it, too. #tenminutes Love,
Heather Niccoli Editor-In-Chief Home&Harvest Magazine
contents Welcome to Wallowa 8 F armers and Photography 16 Heidi's Book Review 24 T he End 26 Blackened Not Burnt 36 Strawberry Rhubarb Buckle 42 Blackberry Spice Cake + Cream Cheese F rosting 44 ABM Best Baked Macaroni and Cheese 46 Seedless Raspberry Ice Cream 48 Rhubarb Cake 50 Misbehavin' In Moscow 52 People of the Palouse 60 Airbag Appreciation 66 A Reading F or You 70 Reloadin' Joe 72 Best of the West ELR 76 Mentors 84 T he Oh, Otis Shenanigans 90
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There’s a story about Heather learning to walk, and in many ways it’s a perfect metaphor for a lot her personality. I first heard it from her dad, Joe when I initially met him on my very first trip to Idaho. It seems that young Heather had been a late bloomer when it came to walking. She would crawl at a pretty high speed, and she would get herself up onto two feet and hold furniture to keep her balance. But she would never actually take that first step and walk. It wasn’t dramatically late, just curious since she had picked up crawling and standing so quickly.
And if you haven’t made it down there yet, this summer might be just the perfect excuse to get away for a few days. When Heather and I decided to go a few years back, we found that it just kept getting pushed out farther as we tackled the seemingly endless to-do list that was governing our lives. But we always said that we definitely were going, just as soon as a weekend freed-up and our schedules for the shop and magazine aligned. Finally, last fall, when we just couldn’t wait anymore, we cleared out a few days and hopped in the car.
And then, one day when the family was on vacation down by Lake Wallowa, Heather was sitting on the grass as a few deer walked up. She looked over at the family, smiled, and jumped up to her feet. Before they even realized what was going on, Heather took off running for the deer. And Joe really made sure to emphasize this part – she didn’t walk, she actually ran for her first steps. Arms outstretched, chasing after a baby deer that waited until the last minute to turn and run. But if you’ve ever been to Joseph, Oregon and the Wallowa area, then hearing that a little family of deer was completely unafraid of an approaching human might just not sound as incredible as a sprinting baby.
The way there has almost a much to see as Wallowa itself. You start with the drive south, following the Snake River past Asotin, and through some absolutely gorgeous countryside on your way to the Rattlesnake Grade.
Now normally, when we take a road trip, I have a look at the map beforehand. Partially because I have always loved, and am still completely fascinated with maps – and partially to make sure that there won’t be too many switchbacks or curves on our route. If I do spot something that looks particularly windy, I take into account the fact that Heather can often get car-sick and try to find an alternate route.
With a quick glance at the map to Enterprise and Joseph I felt pretty certain that it was all smooth sailing, and just a comfortable straight-shot south. Nothing to worry about. So as we passed the sleepy little town of Anatone, Washington (you may know them as the place with a population sign that lists people, dogs, cats, and horses – all with pretty similar representations) I was just enjoying the chance to get out on the road and let a few miles slip by while taking in some of the beauty that we are so lucky to have here in the Pacific Northwest. And then it just crept up on us! Turns out, that straight line on the map is actually punctuated with an incredibly condensed set of turns going down one side of a steep canyon and back up the other. It’s just so tightly wound that on the map view it looks like a straight line. Zoom in a bit and you find one awe-inspiring drive that has views for days. Fortunately, Heather took it like a champ that day and wasn’t sick at all. And shortly after reaching the top were treated to a historical view out across the unspoiled land below at the Joseph Canyon Viewpoint. The signs there give you a great glimpse into the lives of the Nez Perce that used to call this area home, and the annual trek they made though this rugged wilderness. And then, just as we were ready to be done driving for the day, it was an easy cruise into Enterprise, and then onto Joseph where we stopped for lunch. A lot of the signs were calling to us, but we decided to just park in the middle of town, stretch our legs a little, and have a quick sneak-peak at the shops around Joseph while we let our noses point us to lunch. We looked in a few windows, but kept most of the shopping for later, and eventually passed by a place called Embers Brew House. I’m really glad that we stopped – the food was exactly what I was hoping for. An outside table, in the shade, with a huge list of beers on tap sealed the deal. I had a burger, Heather went for a wrap, and we started with some fried pickles. I loved all of it, and hope to get back soon to try some of the tacos. Our bellies full, and afternoon pressing on, we decided to check into our hotel and then go sit by the lake. Wallowa means winding water, and as the river gently flows into the lake you can easily see where it gets the name. Our hotel – the Wallowa Lake Lodge was exactly what we needed for a few days away. It’s a historic lodge that sits just at the south end of the lake and feels like you have traveled back in time. We loved everything about our stay there, but our favorite part was definitely the long yard out back that is full of plenty of chairs for lazing away the day, and leads all the way to the shores of the lake.
-lake together, both tribes witnessed the great serpent
The lake itself has some pretty cool mystique as well. First, it’s the final burial place for Old Chief Joseph. Though the Nez Pierce had already been forced out of the area by 1877, a few years after his death, its back at the head of the foot where his memorial sits today. When his first burial had been desecrated, some local residents lobbied to reserve a safe space there, and his remains were moved in 1926. He now sits on a little rise, just above the north bank of the lake with a view across the valley and the carved canyon sides that enclose the area. And the lake, originally dug out by glaciers in the last ice age, holds what might just be a relic from an even earlier era. Much, much earlier! Some stories claim that like its counterpart in Scotland, Loch Ness, here in Oregon we have a remnant from the Mesozoic era swimming about deep below, and skillfully avoiding our best attempts at detection. Nessie’s cousin – Wally – is said to be hump shaped and by some accounts as much as 20 feet long. The story of Big Wally originates with the tribes living in the area. One sighting remembers the love of young man and woman who had been separated because of their families being from the Nez Perce and Blackfeet tribes. After the two were united, and rowed into theHome&Harvest
rising out of the water and violently destroying the boat. Neither were ever found. In 1885 the local newspaper had an account from a prospector that was deemed to be credible but refused to give his name publically, and through the following decades the story spread. More sightings have been reported, the most famous being in 1978 when it was spotted as three humps rising out of the water as the creature swam. We took a good look out at the lake that evening on our way to dinner but ultimately weren’t able to spot anything. Still, I’d be just a little leery of paddling around there myself. The next morning, we got coffee and some breakfast and headed out onto the deck behind the lodge to watch the deer having their breakfast. I knew that this was just down the road from where Heather took her first run, and wondered if some of the deer might just be the descendants of the ones that patiently stood still all those years ago, letting her get almost close enough to grab one. When we walked by they picked up their heads for just a moment and then went back to grazing as I lined up a photo. We invited the deer to join us that afternoon for a little adventure but they seemed disinterested so-
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-we headed back into Joseph without them and ar-
rived just in time to load up with the Joseph Branch Railriders. We had our own little rail car – a tandem seating for two with a set of pedals. It looked a little like a lunar rover, but in this case the big rubber wheels were perfectly spaced to hug an old, out-of-service train track. The start of our journey was mostly downhill, and we used the break a bit more than the pedals, only occasionally giving it a little leg power after having to stop at a crossing to check for cars. The view is absolutely indescribable! You follow the mountain line, traveling across the valley from Joseph out to Enterprise, passing farms and plenty of wildlife on the way. And since the return trip is slightly uphill, when they turn you around in Enterprise, the guide starts up a little motor that keep you humming along at about the same pace you had been going before. It does require someone to keep pedaling but it’s still pretty laid back, and a perfect way to get to see more of the region that you would most likely miss if not for taking a break and passing by in a unique way. When we got back, we took a few minutes to ask around and see if any of the other adventurers in our group had a good restaurant recommendation and the clear winner was The Gold Room. We were really excited to try it, but parked a few blocks away on purpose and spent the rest of the morning shopping until we were ready for lunch. The entire main street is lined with really cool shops. We fell in love with the shirts and hats at Moonlight Graphics. Just like Heather does for our floral shop in Moscow, this place has a local family that designs unique illustrations and prints and embroiders them locally! You might have seen me in the Wallowa Lake hat I picked up there – it’s now one of my favorites. We also picked up some nick-knacks at assorted other stores, and a magnet to commemorate our trip before stumbling upon The Old Vineyard – you know we both love antique stores and this was definitely one we got lost in for a long while. Heather spotted a unicorn print skirt (that’s a dream find for those not in the know – and not a literal skirt with an image of unicorns, though I’m sure she would love one of those as well). And I came across my new favorite map! It’s three dimensional and has the US with the mountain ranges in topographical relief. I can’t believe how old it is, but the plastic is still perfect, someone must have really been gentle with this thing, and I’m honored to be the next one to take good care of it.
Unable to hold off feasting for a single minute longer, we walked over The Gold Room and ordered one of the best pizzas that we’ve had in years. I was so happy we picked this place after all the recommendations, and was even more elated when I discovered that they had Calabrian chilis in an authentic preparation to put on the pie. The wine was-great, the pizza was perfect, and the outdoor seating was the icing on top. Well, there wasn’t any actual icing – for dessert we went with a chocolate-chip cookie. You know, just to hold us over until we could make it back to the lodge and head over for some ice-cream. Wouldn’t want to pass out from hunger on the way. As our day was coming to a close, we walked up to the Wallowa Lake Tramway. They have a gondola that takes you up the steepest vertical lift in North America to the top of Mt Howard. Up there at over 8,000 feet you are treated to 360 degree views, a series of hiking trails, and Summit Grill for lunch or dinner. They call this area the Switzerland of America, and having been to both places, I’d skip the flight and pick Wallowa again. We didn’t get the chance to head up top, but decided to put it first on our list for the next trip. (Editor’s Note* Truth is I had anxiety about going up there but Tony was super nice about it. I vowed to face my anxiety and ride up there the next time we went to Wallowa!) At the base of the gondola, we got ice-cream at the Matterhorn Village. We sat on some benches next to their put-put and looked out at the mountains across the street. True to form, I went cookies and cream and stole a few licks of Heather’s chocolate-peanut butter. As the night was growing dusk we walked back to the lodge, grabbed a few glasses of wine and played board games by their fire as we had the lobby almost entirely to ourselves. Did you know that Trivial Pursuit has a few cards with wrong answers printed on them? The next morning we went for a long walk in Wallowa Lake State Park, and then grabbed some lunch at Glacier Ridge Grill just across from the park and our hotel. Another great choice. We both had order envy after hearing the other’s selection, and decided to just split the Tri-Tip sandwich and Fish and Chips. The deer were still there across the road, busy eating, and wondering if Heather was the crazy running baby that is still remembered in their family legends. They can all expect us back this fall if not sooner. But we might just pick a different route down there!
Farmers Photography BY Diane Conroy
I want to talk again about the photography here at the White Spring Ranch, in Genesee. Not only did John Lorang, of the pioneer generation, take artistic photographs, but so did his son Henry and Henry’s sons Jim and Dan. Some of these photographs will be on exhibit at the Moscow Chamber lobby in September, but many more are available on Facebook, on our regular site at www.WhiteSpringRanch.org and here at the Ranch. They not only recorded their history in Genesee, but recorded it well and often. The preservation here was for a specific reason. I seem to keep mentioning that the 1873 section of the Farmhouse was covered with foam when I got here. It was an audacious and amazing attempt to preserve this older section of the farmhouse and it truly spoke to me in a way that I will never forget. When we tried to remove this foam during the restoration, it was more difficult than we thought. Part of the kitchen wall had been punched in when an old car ran away from Dan one year and hit the wall. When it came time to foam this area Dan simply added more foam. Underneath it all were well preserved boards of the 1873 farmhouse. The punched in wall was pulled out again. I very soon began to realize why this preservation was so important. This part of the Farmhouse is about 1873, but had been added on in 1890. It was an older home moved from the farmland just purchased and brought up by horses to add a kitchen and washroom to the original homestead. These kitchen and washroom additions were at least 10 years older than the 1884 Homestead, because this newly purchased farmland was patent in 1875.
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Inside this foamed home were card boxes with notes. Dozens and dozens of notes, describing the collection in each, why it was preserved and a background story to go in each note.
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“This is my World One mirror that I carried in my left breast pocket all during my 16 months service-1 year overseas. Steel mirrors worn that way have saved lives but it so happened that I wasn’t near the shooting until the Armistice although I was in France on Nov. 11, 1918 (just missed going into the trenches). I suppose it could be brightened without ruining it. Hy Lorang” Then not only did Henry preserve his WWI artifacts, 200 letters and 3 journals, but he also photographed his time in England and France. He photographed his children at home during the 1930’s, 1940’s and later. Henry was trying to raise 11 children, 100 chickens and several hogs to keep everyone alive. Making it through the Great Depression he paid for supplies with apples and eggs. Surviving through the winters, he had to keep the fires going for both family and stock. But he also had his father’s camera. A 1909 John Eastman Kodak No.2A Folding pocket Brownie, among others. And he continued to journal, preserve letters and leave notes for whoever would find these in the future…. “You’re an oldtimer if you know how to play “Loo”, Flinch & Euchre & Pedro or “High-five”. If you can remember when men parted the hair in the middle, when they wore peg-top pants & button shoes & fancy white vests, pleated-bosom shirts without collar & cuffs which were separate from shirt & were made of rubber or celluloid. The collar stood high under the chin and a lever button at back of neck and front so as not to break the celluloid when putting it on. The cuffs were round and about 4 inches wide with levered grips to hold on to sleeve and levered cuff-links inserted through eye-shaped holes. Where neck-ties were worn a real wide scarf hung-down or a real narrow bow-tie about ½ inches wide and a classy tie was made of two different colors in each half of the tie (Cuff buttons were usually heavy so they would rattle when one shook hands.) The coat –not jackets- were long and when buttoned, only top button was used so that the heavy watch chain & locket could be noticed as it crossed from a vest button hole to a vest pocket where the watch was carried and later the watch was carried in top of pants at the end of a watch fob hanging out. A plug-hat derby was a must and pinc-nez glasses with just plain window glass that were kept on with a pincers that clamped on the nose at the inside corners of the eyes & had dainty gold chain fastened through a small hole in the outer edge of a lens & the other end had a hook over an ear to keep glasses from falling and breaking. Women of course wore real long skirts & one didn’t dare show an ankle & the waist line was so laced that a man who had long fingers could girth the smaller ladies waists. (They had to wear girdles and invariably starved themselves almost to illness to attain the desired effect.)
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Their blouses or waist were usually white and starched with ruffles down front & on the cuffs & many wore collars & ties & cuffs with links. If the whole dress was of the same material there usually was a balloon puff at the shoulder & the rest of the sleeve was skin tight. A handmaid or handy husband was needed to button the dress at back. Hats in winter had great ostrich plumes imbedded in simulated beaver and come Easter one didn’t dare not to come out in the spring hat made of light straw or white fluffy material with broad brims and all of last summers dried flowers- or a facsimile thereof on top of brim all way round. Coats varied but were long-fur signified riches. Shoes of course were buttoned and sox who knows?” After recording these notes, Henry would go out and photograph. He found the first airflight from the Kelso Airline in 1930. It was taken at a Clarkston landing and a copy was given to the Kelso Airline recently. He photographed the children. We have a wonderful Summer photo of six of the children in the Clearwater River with a housekeeper that was giving a hand, 1932. When son Jim left home after enlisting in 1942 for service in the Pacific during WWII, Henry photographed him, hoping he would return after this War was over. When son John left in 1944, he photographed him too. John carved his initial and date in the wooden cabin garage door. “J.L. ‘44” In 1946, John and Jim returned. Henry’s oldest son Bob did not. We remember him here. While on leave, John picked up a souvenir for his Dad that you couldn’t find today. “A piece of cracked window-pane from the ‘tiara’ of the Statue of Liberty just below the ‘rays’ of the crown about 260 feet from the base. About forty persons could stand in the head at one time. The right arm is 42 feet long and 12 persons can stand in the torch. John got this glass specimen when he visited in N. Y. on New Years & the following few days in January 1946-on leave from Navy Base in Miami. “ On July 9, 1956 Henry wrote, “Hogs Moscow-haul Hay.” He was 68. Henry then continued to write memories of the early days and costumes… “Under the dresses the women wore as many as 3 to 4 underskirts & they were starched, so that when a woman came walking along you could hear one even before you saw her, on account of the ruffling of the skirts.” Henry Lorang continued this until he passed in January 1968. Writing journals, preserving his and his parent’s letters, making notes and taking photographs. We are trying to post more of them at www.WhiteSpringRanch.org. Stay tuned for more…
book REV IEW
by h e i d i
“Female fireflies draw in strange males with dishonest signals and eat them; mantis females devour their own mates. Female insects, Kya thought, know how to deal with their lovers.”
W here the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens Home&Harvest
In late 1969, a popular boy named Chase Andrews is found dead in the small, quiet fishing village of Barkley Cove. Kya Clark quickly becomes the main suspect. Nicknamed the “Marsh Girl” by the locals, Kya is barefoot, wild and unfit for polite society. Her mom left home when Kya was 6 and her dad was an abusive alcoholic who drove the other kids out of the house, leaving Kya to fend for herself. Kya is a born naturalist who takes all her life lessons from the land., she is not what the locals say. With one day of school, she learns the ways of the world from dishonest signals of fireflies. She could live in solitude forever with her skills, if not for two young men who are drawn to her wild beauty. As Kya becomes older she yearns to be touched and loved. She begins to open herself up to a new and startling world, until something unthinkable happens. A story told during the 1950’s and 60’s, Owens does a great job touching on the political issues of the day, racism and sexism, while still telling a beautifully engrossing story. This book is about love, the natural world, mystery and how our childhood can have profound influence on our adulthood. This book is like a snowball going downhill, starts slow and then picks up speed and takes off. The descriptions of nature and the character development made this book so engrossing. Nature is a character of its own taking care of and nurturing Kya. Owens does a great job of telling a very character driven story, using nature and Kya as the central characters. What happened to Chase Andrews? Did Kya really have something to do with it? What does the marsh know and the environment Kya grew up in know? What do the people of the town know? All these questions kept me turning pages until 1am. This is a great coming of age story. I rated this 5 out of 5 books. I was so invested in Kya. The ending of this book will be one you remember for a long time. I only hope the movie version of this book coming out in July does it justice. Until next time fellow readers. Happy Reading!
The End the beginning, the middle, the end.
by Annie Gebel
That’s where it starts, whatever it is. It begins with the end of something else. It’s part of the cycle of life and a part that we often try to gloss over and maybe even ignore. I mean, if a person actually dies, then maybe we’ll allow a short mourning period…but then we expect people to get on with their lives. We expect this of ourselves. (And truth be told, no matter how we mourn or get on with it, we’ll never do it the ‘right’ way according to some concerned party. Alas, that’s a topic for a different day. I’ll just remind you that you can’t please everyone nor control anyone other than yourself. So, you do you, boo.) No matter what, though, if there is a beginning to celebrate, there is an ending too. If there is a beginning to fumble through, there is an ending too. If there is a beginning to face bravely, there is an ending.
If summer fun is beginning, then the school year has ended. If a graduation occurs, then some level of schooling has ended. If a new song starts playing, another has come to an end. If it’s time to harvest, then that time for growth has ended. There is always an end and I want to talk about it. How can we embrace the full cycle more authentically? How can we be more compassionate with ourselves and others during the endings? Let’s chat. Probably because of what the words mean (silly definitions), we tend to identify the beginning as the thing that happens first. I want to challenge you to throw caution to the wind and think about the end as the thing that happens first. The end is the thing that creates space for a new thing to happen, to begin. The end is the bit that breaks us down and, if we make it through the end, we find a way to gather our wits and begin again. The end is essential. Let’s not gloss over it. I think one of the reasons our culture has a habit of rushing through endings or focusing on the new beginning to come is that we’re not comfortable with grief. We think we’re doing the right thing by focusing on the positive, but… Okay, I’m going to come clean with you all right now. As a Navy family we moved often, not as much as some, more than others, but more than enough for our incredible children. As the constant in their lives, I tried to help them each time by getting excited about what we were going to get to experience in some new state. We’d talk about the zoo, the activities to meet new friends, and the chance to see some famous tourist trap in person. I acknowledged it would be sad to move away from everything and everyone we knew, again, “BUT, you can email and call and send letters and aren’t you excited about…??”
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I meant well. I thought I was doing things right. Yet I was actually teaching my kids to swallow sadness, pain, and grief (every. time.) in favor of the easier emotions of excitement and new joy. I was absolutely glossing over the endings to rush to the beginnings. It turns out, that’s not good for our mental health. Theirs, mine, yours. Until we see this, though, we’ll just continue doing it. Trust me, I know. We’ve moved more than a handful of times. So, a few things…grief and the word but. Let’s start with the little conjunction - but. What if you could simply start by replacing ‘but’ with ‘and?’ Does that open a little more space for seeing the ending, feeling it’s feels? Another option is to leave it out altogether along with everything that follows it. Let’s look at examples.
“Mama, I don’t want to leave my friends again.” “I know, but aren’t you excited to meet new friends and see the Grand Canyon and see your grandparents when we move?” “Mama, I don’t want to leave my friends again.” “I know, and there’s room for that and excitement about what’s to come.” “Mama, I don’t want to leave my friends again.” “I know.” Subtle differences that allow for different emotions to remain present and get processed. Something to think about, for you and me both. And why does it make a difference? Because it gives us a chance to grieve, so let’s move on to that. Grief. It’s a doozy. We can experience the emotions that are contained within that small word for many reasons and if you feel angry, sad, numb, depressed, guilty, fearful, or any number of other things you might be grieving something. Maybe not. Either way, these emotions are often considered less than desirable yet they’re so vital to our overall well being and we need to learn to feel them and let them go, to express them appropriately and let them move through and out of our systems. This is how we, as humans, grow. It’s also a way we care for our mental and physical health. If we don’t process them and, instead, stuff them deep down or ignore them, they create all sorts of issues in our lives. We can develop physical problems like tight muscles (that, in turn, pull on joints and other muscles and compound the issue), stomach aches, or headaches. We can develop mental health problems like anxiety or depression. We can pass on stress-related struggles through nature or nurture as trauma and continued stress (which is what undealt with grief is) actually changes our DNA, which we give to our children and we teach what we know. So, grief is a doozy, but what do we ‘do-zy’ with it? Did you get it? See what I did there? Did you giggle or guffaw or roll your eyes? Humor is one approach to dealing with pain. There’s that old saying that laughter is the best medicine and even if it’s not the answer to every problem, it probably doesn’t hurt either! A few years ago I taught a class for a homeschool co-op about alternative therapies and learned about a guy who had a rare pain disorder. He was in so much pain that he couldn’t sleep for more than a few minutes at a time, which isn’t great and leads to even more issues. He found that if he laughed for ten minutes, he could sleep for about four hours! Ten minutes is a long time to laugh, but I’d give that guy a round of applause for figuring this out. And, the bonus is that you don’t need to truly find things funny. Your body and brain don’t know the difference between fake laughter and real laughter. What?! Nice, right?
Photo Credit: Laurel Bake
Other than laughter, how else can we process the emotions of an ending we’re struggling with? Talk about them, write about them, cry about them. Memorials are a great way to remember people, places, or anything really and can be scrapbooks, posters, Pinterest boards, gatherings. If you have a physical memorial, it’s also something you can look at and sit with when the waves of hurting come back. That’s right, folks, grief comes back even when we think we’re done with it. Songs, smells, seeing something familiar to the time before whatever end you’re grieving - it can all bring back a swell of hard feelings and it doesn’t care who you’re with or where you’re at. Grocery stores, dances, the dinner table…grief will do what it does and every time you need to find a way to do what you need to do so that it doesn’t get worse. Whether you deal with it or not, it’ll come back. If you embrace the feelings and let them be felt, the waves will become more doable, less frequent, and you’ll feel more capable each time. If you don’t allow the feelings to get processed, the waves will still come and each time they’ll get harder to push down, more forceful in their demanding to be dealt with. You can imagine that’s not healthy or good for you. So…grieve, my friend. Dance it out, exercise the anger away, talk to a counselor, have people over to hear about the ending you had to go through for this new beginning to take root. What if your ending is a joyful one or a relief? We’ve all had that, ‘I’m so glad that’s over’ feeling before, right? And, in true societal form, we want to rush past that ending as well. I’d like to suggest that even the endings we’re glad about deserve some attention. Do you all remember when Marie Kondo was everywhere and she talked about thanking items and letting them go? That’s such a healthy way to process the end of something that was awful or hard or traumatic and that we’re so glad is over. Even if the situation wasn’t worth gratitude, something about it was. “Thank you to my body for holding me while I healed from that accident.” “Thank you for the lessons I learned about patience, compassion, and recovery.” “Thank goodness the sun kept rising every day to provide one stable thing in my life over the last month of chaos.” In this way, by acknowledging and showing gratitude for what is ending, you’re cueing your nervous system to let go of the stress associated with it. Again, that’s key. When we rush to put something behind us, we’re really just storing it in our bodies. We have to feel the feels. I know, sometimes that sucks. And, as my therapist likes to say, “This is hard and we continue anyway.” There are also endings that might hold extra umph for you but that same experience isn’t shared by everyone. Let’s be honest about this…these can be extra tough, especially if it’s not only not the same for everyone and they don’t understand why it’s so hard for you. In those cases there’s not only a larger cultural pressure to get over it and move on to the new beginning, but there are often people who will say that directly to you. And they’re so well meaning.
“It’s not that bad, just focus on the next game.” “You should consider yourself lucky. So-and-so had it so much worse.” “In five years you won’t even care about this.” These situations might be more sensitive because people we care about and that care about us are telling us to swallow our endings. Again, I am guilty of this. And I’ve been on the receiving side of ‘thoughtful’ comments that really just make me feel like I’m doing everything wrong. So, take a deep breath and don’t assume I’m coming for you to put you in your place. I am hopeful that we all, myself included, take a moment to think first about how our help comes across and I’m concentrating more on being a recipient and processing in a healthy way. So, another deep breath won’t hurt…and then listen up if you’ve felt the sting of someone telling you your ending isn’t worth the attention you’re giving it. Only you know how significant something is to you. Only you can honestly identify the feelings you experience when something ends. Only you can determine if your processing of those feelings and that significant something is enough. If you’re anything like me, that can feel a little overwhelming and like a lot of responsibility. Good news, though, none of this means you can’t get help! I’m an advocate for therapy for almost any reason, but especially in these cases. Counselors are there to help you figure out your stuff! Their education teaches them how to help you untangle the threads that can feel knotted up and confusing. They can help you when it seems everyone else is already past whatever you’re not past yet. Of course, you may be able to move through this on your own or have someone trusted that can help, but don’t assume that just because people are telling you it’s not a big deal that that’s the truth for you. Trust yourself. Love yourself enough to work to recognize and feel the hard things, and then to let them go.
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I know that endings aren’t usually fun, but not everything in life is. And endings are as much a part of life as new beginnings and they deserve a little more attention. YOU deserve for the endings in your life to get a little more attention and be processed and let go from your body. And with that thought, I’ll let this be where I end. Take one more deep breath in…and let it go.
BlackenedBurnt! T NO It’s honestly embarrassing to admit how late in my grilling life I discovered the truth behind blackening seasoning! For years and years I used the term blackened as though I had any idea what it really meant. I couldn’t have been more wrong – and maybe you have been in that place too.
Cover chicken with sugary BBQ sauce before it goes on the grill, only to have it burn to a crisp, creating a hard charcoal surface that tastes like sweetened coal? “It’s blackened – I really love that char.” Open the lid too often, and continuously flip a pork chop, causing the exterior to be a solid rock of carbon long before the inside has moved past red/pink? “Oh, that’s the best part of grilling – the blackened flavor!” But on the rare occasion that I would go to a decent restaurant and order something that was blackened by a proper chef, I would notice an immediate disconnect. Flavor that held heat and spice, a char that wasn’t ruined but instead imbued a perfect crust, and the taste of the protein shining through without being hidden below what could only be described as the aftermath of a three alarm fire. But after finishing the meal I would forget about it, and call my next mistake on the grill “blackened.” Even long after I learned temperature control, timing, and proper seasoning, it was still years before I went back and made an actual scientific study and experimentation with the best ways to create the perfect blackened exterior and flavor. And today I’m going to share it with you – either as a reminder for those who have already mastered it, or a massive improvement to anyone still left confused. “Blackening” is a seasoning. Full stop. It’s not about burning something or getting to a point of char. It’s spicy, aromatic, and complex in flavor, and the heat of the grill brings out the black color – but only in the spice rub, and not in any way as a scorching of the protein. And with the theme we have been working in all my articles in 2022, mastering a blackening rub is the perfect step to build on our 3-T grilling techniques. Home&Harvest
So let’s break down 3-T quickly for anyone that missed the last 3 articles in this series. Taste, Temperature, Texture – the three components that all work together to create a perfect grilled meal. You can’t focus on one alone, because they are completely interdependent. And once you take the time to think about how each variable will affect a particular meat or veg, you can grab new items that you have never cooked before and create your own recipes on the fly! This is next-level cooking but it’s surprisingly easy for even the most novice grill-master. Look at that example of burnt, ruined mistakes. The texture would be horrible because you have to bite through the hard, black exterior. The taste would be acrid – you can cover it with more sauce, but it’s still always lurking in the background. And the temperature will be nearly impossible to hit. When the outside is ruined before the inside is cooked safely, you keep meat lingering on the grill, getting worse with every passing minute. Shoe leather that tastes like coal and can chip a tooth is never something to pretend to love! What we want is juicy, succulent chicken or fish with a crusty exterior that offers just a little hint of a firm bite, and a flavor that delights and keeps you coming back for more. To get that perfect balance, we need to plan our 3-T approach and keep each aspect balanced.
So we will start with that enigmatic blackening seasoning. In reality it’s quite simple – a perfect mix of Cajun and Creole zest. I want give you a simple base and you can tailor it from there. Start with paprika – I like to use smoked for a little extra flavor. Mix together 2 tablespoons paprika, 1 tablespoon ground cayenne powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon thyme, ½ teaspoon dried basil. This will make enough to grill for a large party, or for several sessions for a smaller group. Just remember not to ever dip you hand in after touching meat, and keep the extra spice mix in a ziplock baggie or spice container. It holds as long as any of the dried spices themselves, and you can always add a little more cayenne or other pepper once you try the first batch if you want to up the heat a little. Go slowly – it ramps up pretty quickly in intensity from here! Let’s do a nice firm fish for our example – but this would work just as well with chicken, or shrimp. Something like a tilapia, sea bass, catfish, grouper, mahi-mahi, or cod. Last weekend, I visited the local Friday fishmonger here in Moscow, and found that they had fresh rockfish! You can’t even imagine how excited I was. It had been too long since my last blackened fish experience!
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Instead of using oil, and salt first like we do with most recipes I share, we are going to do something really unique here. Heat some butter – I used about ¼ stick for the two large fillets I made us – and thoroughly dredge the fish first. Once you have that base, go ahead and sprinkle on the blackening rub, then spread it and pat it in by hand. You can go directly on the grill, but if you have a cast-iron pan that will produce absolutely perfect results! I let mine get scorching hot for about 12-15 minutes over direct high heat with the grill lid closed. That intense heat and the butter base will produce the perfect taste and texture in the rub almost as soon as it hits the pan! Cook with the lid open so you have time to work in that blackened perfection before the inside comes up to temp. For my good-sized rockfish I found it to be about 3 ½ minutes on the first side, then flipped and ran around 3 on the second side. They came out sizzling, succulent inside, blackened outside, and at a perfect 145 degrees. I left the fish on a plate to rest for about 5 minutes total from coming off the grill to cutting our first bites. That gave me perfect timing to get the sides ready and plated and get Heather and I to the table to say grace.
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We served ours with a little cooling sauce – just a simple mix of heavy whipping cream (we didn’t have any crème fraiche), lime juice, and garlic powder. You could use Greek yogurt, sour cream, or a combination, and add other flavors like avocado or cilantro. The idea is to drizzle it on like a taco sauce to provide just a little relief from the spice with a piquant, cooling zest. Our fillets went directly onto some slaw, but they are also amazing in tacos or topping a salad! Just think about how you want to serve your blackened fish – knowing that you can master this easy technique! Picture the perfect bite and take a moment to consider every detail of the flavor, the feel of biting into it, and the exact temperature of the cook, and the temperature when served. Once you have the end in mind, work backwards to plan the exact cooking technique, how long it will take to hit safe temperature, the texture you want to form in the process, and how the taste will complement the rest of the meal. Suddenly blackened goes from being an excuse to cover mistakes to an excuse to invite family and friends to marvel in your grill skills. That’s 3T! The easiest way to insure that everything you cook on the grill will come out restaurant quality. Its summer, so fire ‘em up and get your new family favorite out on the flames today. Happy grilling y’all!
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STRAWBERRY RHUBARB b uc k l e INGREDIENTS || FILLING
1 1/2 cups strawberries, diced 1 1/2 cups rhubarb, diced 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 tbsp lemon juice 3 tbsp water 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
KITCHEN e m o ry a n n k u ry s h
INGREDIENTS || CAKE
1/2 cup butter plus more to grease, room temperature 2/3 cup granulated sugar 2 large eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 cup milk, any kind 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt INGREDIENTS || TOPPING
2/3 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/3 cup unsalted butter
Prepare the filling. In a medium saucepan, add the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice, water, and flour. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to low and cook for another 2 minutes. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar over low speed until fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and milk and continue to beat for 2 minutes. Next stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt until well-combined. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 8” or 9” inch cake pan with butter. Then pour 2/3 of the batter into the pan. Top with the filling. Add the remaining 1/3 of the batter. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter together by fork or by hand. Once it’s a nice mixture, sprinkle it onto the cake. Place in the oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before slicing into! Home&Harvest
spice cake with cream cheese frosting
KITCHEN s a ra ra q u e t
INGREDIENTS || CAKE
3 cups fresh blackberries 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided 1 cup butter, softened 1 ½ cup sugar 4 large eggs, room temperature 2 teaspoons baking soda 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 1 1/2 cups buttermilk INGREDIENTS || FROSTING
1 pound (4 cups) of powdered sugar 1/2 cup butter 8 oz. cream cheese 3 teaspoons of vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°. Toss blackberries with ½ cup flour; set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Beat in eggs. Combine baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves, allspice and remaining 3 – 1/2 cups flour; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Fold in blackberries. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9-in cake pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Once completely cooled, frost with Cream Cheese Frosting and Garnish with Fresh Blackberries and mint. Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a mixer until blended. Add powered sugar a cup at a time and continue to mix until sugar is incorporated.
ABM’s Best Baked
I first used this recipe when I was in need of a meat-free meal that would be big and delicious enough to feed my family. There are so many recipes out there claiming to be “the best” and while I haven’t tried them all, I feel as if this one is one of the great ones! It has been slightly modified from Emma’s recipe on her website: A Beautiful Mess. Feel free to try it out for yourselves!
2 cups macaroni noodles, cooked 5 tbsp butter 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup milk 1 cup vegetable stock 2 cups cheese (any kind), shredded Salt Pepper 1 cup breadcrumbs 1/3 cup green onion, chopped
e m o ry a n n k u ry s h
Prepare large pot with water and salt for boiling the noodles. Cook, strain, and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F. Using the same pot, add the butter and garlic and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the flour and continue to cook for another few minutes. Then add the stock and milk. Whisk. Next incorporate 1 1/2 cups of the cheese until it melts. Finally, add the noodles back in, turn off the heat, add salt and pepper to taste, and mix well. Pour the macaroni and cheese into an oblong baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese, breadcrumbs, and green onion. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Then remove foil and continue to bake for another 10 minutes. Remove and enjoy! Home&Harvest
RASPBERRY ice cream
I bought a used Kitchen Aid Ice Cream maker from my friend Corina years ago and I have LOVED making homemade ice cream and custard in it. Here is one of my favorite summer recipes.
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream 1 1/2 cup whole milk 6 cups raspberries 1 cup sugar 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Create your raspberry puree by blending five cups of raspberries in the blender. Strain slowly! You will create roughly two cups of puree. Add your lemon juice, set aside. In another bowl, mix whipping cream, milk and sugar. Fold in the puree until well incorporated. Add to your ice cream mixer on low until well formed. Transfer to your favorite ice cream contanier. Freeze and top with fresh berries. Happy summer!
BARB cake INGREDIENTS || CAKE
½ cup shortening 1 ½ cup sugar ½ teaspoon salt 1 large egg- room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon for baking soda 1 cup sour milk 2 cups sifted flour 3 cups diced rhubarb INGREDIENTS || TOPPING
¼ cup sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon STEPS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x9 cake pan. Add baking soda to sour milk and set aside. Cream Shortening and sugar. Add egg, salt and vanilla. Beat in sifted flour alternating with milk mixture. Fold in diced Rhubarb. Place batter in pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar topping. Bake for 45-50 minutes. You can add raspberries or strawberries if desired!
KITCHEN s a ra ra q u e t
previous employment at the Old Idaho Penitentiary means that certain crime stories stick with me. One of the favorite tales to tell in Boise involves Ida Laherty. She is fairly notorious at the “Old Pen” for her antics, young age, and subsequent incarceration. With that, I was surprised when I moved to Moscow that her story is not as well-known as I would have thought. So, buckle up for some local true-crime; here is Ida’s tale. Born in 1887 in the Washington Territory to Charles and Mary Ann Laherty, Ida Belle grew up on her family’s homestead in Whitman County, established in 1884. Charles died in 1898, and with six children at home to feed, Mary Ann remarried in 1899 to John Bertholf. John proved to be an abusive stepfather, often beating Ida and her siblings. Working as a farm laborer, John moved the family to Saint Maries, Idaho, shortly after their marriage. To make things more complicated, Ida’s sister, Emma Henrietta “Etta” married John’s brother, James Bertholf, her step-uncle, also in 1899. Ida, fed up with her stepfather, left home at fifteen years old and settled in Moscow in 1902. While there, she met William Lewis of Reardon, Washington. Convinced of his love for her, Ida agreed to commit a crime for William-
-that guaranteed a big payoff. William planned for Ida to steal a team of horses and a buggy from the Holliday Brothers of the Commercial Livery in Moscow and drive the team into Washington. William would meet her in Sprague, Washington, and the pair would sell the horses for a large sum of money. On October 2, 1902, Ida did just as he had planned and waited for William in Sprague. After he failed to show up, authorities arrested Ida several days later in Creston, Washington. It’s believed that she never saw William Lewis again after he stood her up. Idaho state law enforcement transported Ida back to Moscow to stand trial in Latah County. Her trial began on November 8, 1902, charged with grand larceny. Latah County Court found Ida guilty and sentenced her to one year in the Idaho State Penitentiary. Incarcerated on January 10, 1903, as #901, she was just sixteen years old and one of the youngest women to ever serve time at the Idaho State Penitentiary. Not long after she entered prison, public outcry stirred the possibility of reforms for juvenile offenders. A petition presented to Governor Morrison called for the parole of all imprisoned children under the age of eighteen. Without a reform school or institution, prison was the only option for punishment; an option that some felt was an extreme measure. Eventually nothing came of the petition effort, but Ida had other allies. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)-
One of Moscow’s livery stables, ca. 1900. Latah County Historical Society Collection 01-03-723.
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-pleaded for Ida’s release, due to her age and lack of separate living quarters for female prisoners. The WCTU sent three petitions containing over three hundred and seventy-six signatures to the State Board of Pardons. Just the sixth female prisoner, Ida befriended Josie Kensler #565 in prison for second degree murder after killing her husband. Guards described Ida as an “ill-mannered” child and her scowling mugshot shines with defiance. With so few women in the Penitentiary, there was no separate dormitory for females incarcerated there. The prison’s solution was to section off one of the male cell blocks in an attempt to keep men and women separate. This arrangement did not fool many, and immediately there were issues. Josie mysteriously became pregnant, and scandal followed after she claimed the warden forced her to have an abortion; but Josie’s story is a tale for another time. Ida gained the attention of Fred Marshall #701, incarcerated for assault with a deadly weapon. Fred, a known member of the Marshall Gang, got mixed up in a disturbance at Gallagher’s Hall, a Boise dance hall on February 6, 1901. Fred and his brother were in a fight with James Peterson. Fred clubbed James in the head with the butt of his revolver. Fred claimed that James had a gun, but that was later proved false. Fred was found guilty and entered the Idaho State Penitentiary on July 2, 1901, sentenced to serve two years. Married with two daughters, Fred’s wife divorced him not long after he went to prison. The warden recalled finding Fred speaking to Ida through her window. Officials boarded up the window, but that did not stop Fred. He continued to pursue her and wanted her to marry him. Warden Perrin wrote, “The child was kept in a separate cell, but allowed to take daily exercise in the company of Mrs. Kensler.” Fred’s behavior, Josie’s scandal, and public outcry forced prison officials to remove women from the main penitentiary walls. The women moved into the warden’s house, with his wife acting as matron. The women were isolated, and the warden got a new house. Then in 1906, walls went up around the house and the still-standing dormitory was finished in 1920. This new arrangement meant that the female prisoners kept to themselves, cooking, cleaning, sewing, gardening, and doing other domestic chores. Despite the new living situation, many continued to protest Ida’s confinement. Her young age was still a concern and petitions were steadily presented to the Board of Pardons. After three months in prison, Ida was pardoned and released on April 21, 1903, and sent to the Florence Crittenton home in Boise. Established throughout the country in 1892, Florence Crittenton homes were meant to serve as reform houses for “fallen women.” Permeated by Christian evangelism, these homes preached salvation and provided shelter for unmarried, pregnant women to combat prostitution. Ida, having previously garnered the attention of the WCTU, would have been a prime target for the Crittenton-
The Idaho Daily Statesman headline April 24, 1903.
The original Latah County Courthouse, ca. 1900. Latah County Historical Society Collection 01-06-292. Above and below: Ida and Fred’s mugshots, Idaho StateHistorical Society.
Above: The Spokesman Review headline on April 24, 1903. Cover Photo: Downtown Moscow, ca. 1908. Latah County Historical Society Collection 01-02-099 Home&Harvest
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-house’s reform efforts to dissuade further criminal activity. Ida was to stay there until arrangements could be made to send her back to her family. Not long after Ida was released, Fred was paroled and released from prison. His infatuation with Ida continued as he wrote letters to her signed “Jennie Davis” and his own name. Those letters contained words of assistance and sympathy. Later, Fred called the home posing as Ida’s uncle, “Mr. Davis,” describing that he and his wife would like Ida to come live with them. Fred explained that Mrs. Davis was ill and could not speak on the telephone herself and that his two daughters would come fetch Ida and take her to the Davis home. Fred indeed sent his own daughters to lure Ida away. The matron of the Crittenton house, suspicious, interrogated the girls and Ida about the plan. Ida confessed that Fred was behind the plot. She divulged that he was just released from prison and wanted to elope with her, but Ida was adamant that she did not care for him and had only spoken to Fred once, through her window in prison. When pressed, Ida surrendered Fred’s letters, which had his return address on the envelopes. Upon investigation, Fred and his daughters were located at the address on the envelopes. He insisted that Davis was a real person, with whom Fred was acquainted. According to Fred, conveniently, Davis was a neighbor down the road who had since moved and could not be located. Fred went on to say that he was in Caldwell the day of the incident and that his daughters were in Pennsylvania. He further-
-stated that he was due to be married the day of the investigation and that he would never dream of luring Ida away. Needless to say, most do not believe Fred’s story. After the ploy was discovered, Ida’s attorney came at once to Boise to take her back to her family, now residing in Washington. According to the 1910 census, Ida did return to live with her family. By then her mother and stepfather had bought a farm between Greer and Fraser in Clearwater County. John died in 1913 and Mary Ann married a third time to Samuel Eby in 1915. Unfortunately, beyond that, I was unable to track the events of Ida’s life. The popularity of the name “Ida Belle” with girls born in 1887 makes it difficult to verify which “Ida” specific documents are referring to. One lead is that she might have married a man with the last name “Smith.” But between both of those common names, researchers without anything else to go on run into a dead end. Some websites claim that Ida died in 1938, but in fact, it was her sister Emma who died at that time. The rest of Ida Belle Laherty’s life remains a mystery. Three other women were sent to the Idaho State Penitentiary from Latah County, the most famous of which is Margaret Hardy, who committed second degree murder in 1895. The other two women’s crimes were forgery and attempted robbery. You can learn more about the 216 women who served time at the Idaho State Penitentiary in the book, Numbered, adorned with Ida’s defiant scowl, or by listening to the prison’s podcast, Behind Gray Walls.
Walls around the house the women moved to before an official dormitory was built, Idaho State Historical Society.
people OF the palouse Let’s get to know our neighbors, those like us and those who are different from us. Please send any introductions to: Heather@homeandharvestmagazine.com
by gayle anderson
carol and keith
FELDMAN There are two things that I hear quite often about the People of the Palouse section. The first is when I reach out to someone to interview and they reply with “I’m not really very interesting”, and my usual response is, everyone has a story, and we are all unique in what we bring to the table. The other thing that I hear is when people will come up to me to say, the just LOVE reading about other people because they are SO INTERESTING. The stories that unfold showcase people’s passion, creativity, courage and zest for living. From each interview, I feel like I either learned something new or had a refresher course in how to live a better or more grateful life. My hope is that you, the reader also feel this way. When I received the suggestion to interview a woman who is a prominent member in the banking industry during the day and who trades in her business suit for jeans and cowboy boots to help on their cattle ranch located just outside of Troy, I knew I needed to give you a glimpse into her world. And with that, let me introduce you to Carol Feldman. And as a bonus, you also get to meet her husband, Keith Feldman. Carol shared that she grew up in Wisconsin and the two things she loved most was getting to go with her father to collect milk from the dairy farmers on Sunday and then deliver it to the dairy processing plant where it was bottled or made into the ice cream. While being around cows was okay, her real love was and still is horses. Fast forward a few years and after high school Carol married, had 2 sons and their family lived all over the country due to her husband’s job. When her boys were school age, she knew she wanted a more permanent lifestyle for them, and that Troy was a great place to raise her sons as a now divorced mom. As in most small towns, school sports are often coached by volunteers, and it is there that you get to know people in the community as you share common interests and friends. And little did Carol know that the divorced father of two, named Keith Feldman, who took time out of his schedule to coach basketball would later become her husband. She shares that they were first friends, as both their kids were the same ages and played in the same sports. And then one day he walks into her office and said, “I think we should go to dinner and dancing afterwards”. And the rest is history and they have been happily wed for 27 years. Home&Harvest
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When I first spoke to Carol, she mentioned they were going to move cattle on a Sunday morning from their home pasture to another pasture down the road and if I wanted to take pictures, then come on out. When I arrived at their rural piece of heaven, Keith explained that they had to separate some of the cattle due to some faulty feet and that they needed to keep them closer to the house for observation. Both Keith and Carol were in the large pen wearing what I call my “muck boots“ that I use on my own farmette. It was late May and the pens were very soggy and muddy from all the recent rains and looked hard to maneuver around. As I watched in fascination, I would hear Keith hollering to Carol, “Hon! Cut out number # (such & such) and get her in the other pen. Both were working in tandem with a rhythm of opening one gate from one pen into another and selectively convincing that certain cow to move from one area into another. Not an easy task but one that I’m sure took years to hone to perfection (or as near perfection as possible given the nature of rebellious cows). Once that task was completed, the horses were gathered and saddled to begin herding the cows down the road. Neighbors, Mike & Denise showed up to assist by blocking driveways along the route and traffic control. Once back at their house, Carol served up a delicious warm blueberry crumble and we had a chance to chat. I asked if she had any amusing early farm-wife stories to share while she was learning the ropes on “cattle wrangling 101”, but none came to mind other than saying it was a long learning period. She did say if Keith got a bit terse that she would say, well “just fire me if you don’t like how I’m doing it”. That would usually ease the situation and as Carol puts it, they just work well together most of the time. A true partnership. During the summer months, they both spend many hours on horseback checking on cows that are grazing on leased US Forest Service ground as they are part of the coveted Kendrick Cattleman Association. A bit later Keith joined us, and it was there I learned that he and his dad had built their A Frame home and that the tradition and love of ranching was passed from father to son. As Keith jokingly describes it, it’s a sickness. He says he loves this lifestyle despite all of its challenges. I knew what he meant from my own time in the agricultural arena. There is a true love of growing the food that America puts on their dinner table, whether it’s wheat or beef. And there is a whole lot of behind the scenes work that the regular person never sees. For animal Ag, this is a 24/7 kind of job and Keith explained that during calving season that both he and Carol split the task of checking the momma cows every 2-3 hours. Calving season usually lasts for 2 months and begins late January/early February.
So as you and I are in our warm cozy beds at 2:00am, Keith or Carol are on the 4-wheeler checking on the pregnant mommas despite the winter weather. Once the calf is born, it gets moved into the “maternity barn” to get it dry and warm before getting turned out 24-48 hours later. As I listened, they both spoke about the care & diet regimen that is given to each cow. Occasionally, twins will be born and sometimes the heifer won’t accept both babies. That means the orphan needs to be bottle fed and that is where their 9 year old grandson comes in. Carol tells the story that the first time this happened, their grandson took the calf, named it “Joy” because he felt it didn’t have much happiness in its current young life after being abandoned by its momma and that it needed a special name. The handwriting is on the wall… and both proud grandparents see the love of animal Ag in their young grandson’s eyes. This is what the next generation of a rancher looks like. Sometimes you are born into this lifestyle or sometimes you marry into it. Either way, these dedicated people we call producers truly are the backbone of America. And before I close, I know we all feel the sticker shock at the grocery store regarding the 16% increase on beef from last year. And while there are some people getting rich, it is not the rancher. According to the recent “White House analysis” published December 10, 2021, “As we noted in September, just four large conglomerates control approximately 55-85% of the market for pork, beef, and poultry, and these middlemen were using their market power to increase prices and underpay farmers, while taking more and more for themselves.” New data released in the last several weeks by four of the biggest meat-processing companies—Tyson, JBS, Marfrig, and Seaboard—show that this trend continues. The consumer’s not winning and the ranchers are actually getting less than anytime in the last 20 years as they have to pay the higher costs of cattle feed. And it’s those dealing in the middle that have been the huge winners.” All I can say, is we truly are fortunate that we have the dedicated men & woman who come from generational farm families who keep Americans fed. And I am happy to put a face on where some of the food you are purchasing comes from. And my hope is that this story gives you an inside view of what these interesting and extraordinary people do day in and day out, the love they put into the job, the sacrifices they make, and their commitment to providing the safest and best product they can produce. Farming/ranching isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle. So if you know a farmer/rancher, tell them thank you for their hard work and I’ll add, may God bless them.
Airbag Appreciation By
I’ve written a few articles about car crashes. These days, it seems we don’t have the amount of calls for crashes as we used to. I guess that goes for fires too. All good things, of course. Fire prevention measures have decreased the amount of fires while technology in cars has made them withstand the crash better than their predecessors. Today, it seems we are turning a page with all electric vehicles. Those bring their own differences and challenges when it comes to the fire service. Back when I first joined up, it seemed that air bags were the big, up-and-coming thing. Going beyond the standard airbags in the front dash, we were now seeing the side curtain airbags and seatbelt tighteners. It was 2001, I was attending the Idaho State Fire School which was being held in Burley that year. It was a fun and exciting experience. Vehicle extrication was the class I chose to take. This class was mostly hands on, so I was excited to get started on cutting some cars. The instructor was a Fire Captain from the Los Angeles Fire Department. He would tell us stories during the class of multiple car pileups and how they would decide which ones to cut on first. They had designed their techniques in an effort to rapidly extricate patients knowing they would have a dozen or more at a time to take care of. We learned quick windshield cuts, how to pop the front doors, or remove the roof with the least amount of work. It really was fascinating to see the differences between what I knew to how they did their work. On one of the days, we talked about and learned the power of airbags. One of the first things they would do at a crash is cut the battery cables to completely cut the power source to the bags. In some occasions, the bags won’t deploy during the crash, but then randomly go off while the car is being cut on due to battery still being connected. For a demonstration on the force the airbag has, they had five of us sit in an old car we were about to cut up. The airbag was placed between the transmission and the ground. When they forced the bag to go, it lifted the loaded car about six inches off the ground. From that day forward, I had a whole new appreciation for what those things are capable of. Home&Harvest
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A few years after I took that class, we had a call for a one car rollover on our infamous Reisenauer Hill. Our update was for a female patient with non-life-threatening injuries. But she was trapped in the car as it rested on its side, off the roadway. We rushed out the door in the rescue truck and hurried to the scene. Upon our arrival we did a quick size-up and found that the update was accurate, and we went to work. We spread out our gear and first stabilized the car. With it on its side, we needed to make sure it wouldn’t roll over on us as we worked to remove the roof. Once the car was stable, the windshield was cut at the roof line for a clean separation. We were able to cover the patient with a blanket so the debris wouldn’t get on her. Then, we removed the rest of the glass from the rear of the car. Our plan was to cut the upper portion of the posts and lay the roof down to the ground. We were struggling to get the cuts down with the standard hydraulic cutters. Imagine holding a 30-pound weight just above your head for a few minutes at a time while trying to make a somewhat precise cut. It wasn’t impossible but was turning out to be more difficult than expected. After a couple of failed attempts, we chose to use a different method. A Sawzall was our next choice. It would be a bit easier to hold and cut with and hopefully make the cut a bit more precise. I went to work on it in hopes to have our patient on the way to the hospital in a few minutes. I had cut through the front post and the rear post only having the main center pillar left to go. I noticed as I was ready to cut that there was an unusual looking round tube in the top rail of the car. I remember not thinking much of it at the time. It was probably just some type of a roll cage or reinforcement as it was a main support portion of the car. Squeezing the trigger to cut, I then found out what it really was. A gas cylinder for the side curtain airbags. BOOM!! Never have I been so shocked and awestruck at the same time. I took a step back and we all regrouped. The others made sure I was okay, and I went back to work on the cut. We needed to get our patient out. And we did just that. After that last cut, we laid the roof down as planned. With our now gained access, our EMT’s came in and made sure our patient was stable and we then worked together to package her on a backboard and remove her from the car. Transport to the hospital was complete so we started to pickup our gear. The fire guys made sure the car wasn’t leaking any fluids before they left. Back to the station and we then had an impromptu de-brief of the call. Overall, we completed the task. I kept going through my head all the things that were done right or wrong. We had never seen the side curtain airbags like that before, so it was definitely an eye opener for us. We talked through different scenarios, what if ’s, to better prepare ourselves for the next call. Training is always great and a necessity, but it will never beat the real-life experiences of the call.
A Reading For You by Annie Gebel Hey, y’all, it’s summer! So often readings can feel big and heavy and packed full of important details to scrutinize. Let’s get a little crazy and have some fun with this one! These cards are from the Work Your Light oracle deck, by Rebecca Campbell. The soft and beautiful artwork was done by Danielle Noel. And the messages are all about the light that you have in you and how you can let it shine - which seems perfect for this summer reading! Choose a card, based on an intuitive nudge, the picture, or even the words on it. If more than one calls to you, that’s okay! Let’s see what sunshiney messages the cards will reveal today.
Card 1 SISTERHOOD OF THE ROSE Beauty and devotion. Priestess. Mystic. Teacher.
x b x
This card pulls from the teachings of several ancient lineages, all of which talk about beauty. You are being asked to recognize beauty all around you and within you. Take an extra minute in the mirror (yes, maybe a full 60 seconds) just to look into your own eyes and appreciate your beauty. Make a practice of rubbing your own feet or that of your children, friends, or partners and appreciating the profound beauty of how these little toes work together with all the muscles, bones, and whatever else is in our feet to support us day in and day out. Buy some flowers. Walk through a park. Really see the world around you through the lens of beauty. Create beauty too. Clean and simplify. Rearrange and move things around on your walls and shelves. Pick up trash along the street or in the parking lot. Sew something, paint something, build something! These are the offerings that truly make magic in the world - appreciating beauty through, seeing it, doing it, and being it.
Card 2 DANCE WITH LIFE Do something to change your energy. Sometimes we get stuck in the drudgery of habit, repetition, and schedules. These things can be helpful, even essential, in life but they can also be boring or feel limiting sometimes. If you’re feeling stuck, dance! Change something, move your energy in a different way, dance! Think about taking a dance class or simply wiggle it just a little bit down the grocery store aisles. Put on a great playlist as you get ready in the morning and maybe kick up your heels before settling down to be all serious at work. Or at the next picnic or park day, pump, pump it up! I mean…turn up the jams! You’re definitely not the only one who needs a change of pace. Essential drudgery will be there when the song ends, but for a few minutes, throw your arms in the air like you just don’t care!
Card 3 AWAKENING Energetic upgrades. A new way of being. Integration.
You know what can be great about summer? Doing nothing. I know that we can’t all laze the days away, but usually people try to put their feet up at least a little bit in the summer sun…and that’s a perfect way to let all the energetic changes you’re feeling or have felt to settle in and be integrated into your system. I don’t know about you, but it’s been a long year for me, and there are a lot of changes in my world and in ‘the’ world to process. This card is saying it’s time to do just that. Now, be prepared that oftentimes when we fully process change and feel ‘like a new person,’ we can experience a bit of an awakening where we don’t want to conduct business as usual the way we used to. That’s great. It’s good. Yes, it can be a little scary, and it’s completely normal. We can’t live one way and one way only for all of time. There will be new ways to be - and right now you’re awakening into a new way of your own. So, soak up some vitamin D and watch the stars at night and simply BE. There’s nothing you need to DO right now. Be.
Accuracy Counts! By Joe Evans It so seems that long to extreme range rifle accuracy has come to the forefront. This is an endeavor which has blossomed since the first Gulf War. There has been a tremendous amount of development in long range rifles, ammunition for them, optics, and honing of shooters abilities to, quite literally, go the distance. In the 60’s and 70’s most sporting rifles off the shelf would average between 1 ½ to 2 inches for 3 shots at 100 yards. Varmint rifles would usually average ¾ to 1 inch at 100 yards. Yes, there were some that would do better, but this is what you could count on. Today, precision rifles will do much better. Some off-the-shelf specimens with the right load will put 5 shots into ½ inch and 3 shots into ¼ inch! Exciting times for shooters! However, most if not all of these items are pretty pricey and really not all that portable for a day’s trek in the woods. So, if you have a normal average sporting rifle that shoots into that 1 ½ to 2 inch range, what can be done to make it better? The first thing to take a look at is the shooter. Can you shoot well enough to take advantage of what the rifle can do? Case in point, in 2005 I was developing loads for 7mm Remington Magnum and shot a group of 1 3/8 inches. My notes stated that I was not holding particularly steady that day. Next time I tried it, I must have been a little more steady as it shot into ¾ inch. Don’t always blame the gun! Along these same lines it should be stressed that the rest be rock solid. Sure, you can shoot reasonably well, sometimes, over a vehicle hood but you are only kidding yourself to perform any serious work thusly. There are any number of portable benches out there and rifle rests. Most of the portable benches I have tried are just a little too wobbly for me. Actually, I have gotten my best, most consistent results by shooting prone with bipod and rabbit ear toe rest. Nothing is more solid and movement free than good ole terra firma! And make sure you squeeze, pull gently or otherwise release the trigger in such a fashion as not to jar the weapon off target. Sometime in the 1970’s until a few years ago, good triggers in American rifles were virtually non-existent. Before then, good triggers were quite common. The best I used was on a 1966 Remington 700 in 6mm Remington. Absolutely great! The worst two were a mid-eighties vintage model 70 Winchester at about 8 pounds and a quite recent Weatherby Vanguard which was indescribably bad. The Rugers I am familiar with had reasonably decent triggers. If you do not have a good trigger on your rifle, either have it worked on by a decent gunsmith or replace it with an aftermarket trigger. I’ve always been happy with Timney triggers. Affordable and easy to adjust. By the way, if you have a Ruger 10/22 with a rough trigger, Ruger has the replacement trigger for you! While we are on the subject of triggers, it should be emphasized that most all new rifles can be dry fired indefinitely. This is really a wonderful way to get to know your rifle better and is the only way to properly train your trigger finger. Practice makes perfect! On to scopes and mounts. Although the Picatinny rail and corresponding rings are the current rage, the Leupold-style lone piece base as well as two piece Weaver-style rings are still quite good. Of the two, the one piece base system is a little stronger and a little heavier. If you have one of these make sure that all mating surfaces to the receiver are clinically clean. Secure the one piece base to the receiver with Loctite Blue as these screws cannot be accessed once the scope is mounted.
It so seems that some of the Japanese small engine makers use a non-hardening gel on their screws to combat vibration. This is some really cool stuff and would be absolutely great to prevent loosening of all your firearms screws. The only problem is this stuff is made of unobtanium. I’ve tried the local supply and auto parts stores and when I inquired how I could get some of this stuff the reply consisted of a blank, open-mouthed stare accompanied by the classic line – “beats the s--- outa me.” So much for that! Maybe someday… Make sure your scope is of an adequate power to see your bullseye well. ‘Tis truly a great confidence booster to see your crosshairs firmly planted on your target as if it’s only fifteen feet away. Use only a reasonably good quality scope. A 2 ½ x 8, 3 x 9, or 4 ½ x 14 scope in the $180 to $240 range is kind of a bare minimum. You get what you pay for! Make sure all screws are properly torqued to the proper specifications. Do not rely on your Uncle Fudd or Internet Iggy for proper torque, use the manufacturer’s data only. Secrets of the bed. First, make sure the magazine box is free floating in its channel. You may have to grind a little of the bottom of the box. You don’t want the magazine box to be part of the bedding. Second, the bottom of the action as well as the back of the recoil lug is what contacts the stock. Bottom of recoil lag should not contact stock. Check for any cracks in the bed area. One time I found a nasty crack between the trigger and magazine box in a sour shooting Ruger M77 338 Win. I double cross-bolted the stock and this solved that problem. Some wood stocks are stable enough to perform their duties well, but I am a firm believer in glass bedding. Synthetic stocks can benefit as well. I’ve never done it or messed with one but pillar bedding would probably do the best, most reliable job. Barrel bedding is a controversial matter at best. In all cases I suggest bedding the back portion of the barrel (chamber portion) for an inch or two. The rest of the barrel can either be free floated or pressure point bedded. Most current gurus suggest free floating. This works for a really good barrel. However, it has been my experience if you have a light barrel contour, stiff wood or synthetic stock pressure point bedding will drop your group size and sometimes make different bullet weights shoot to the same point of impact. You will just have to experiment. We will talk about this a little more in the next issue. Clean barrel or fouled barrel? I am a firm believer that clean is the way to go. However, clean and oily often times sends that first round way left of center. Clean is good as well as it keeps rust out of the barrel. That being said, many barrels need to be fouled for five or ten rounds before they shoot their best. Each barrel is different. Lastly, don’t expect a weapon with a large bore and shell reminiscent of a frat boy’s beer keg to shoot tiny groups. We are only made of weak flesh and blood! Next time I intend on going into detail on some of the points involved in accuracy. Good – no, great shooting to you!
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4/7/22 19:34 Joe and I arrived at our hotel in Hermiston, OR, and after meeting up with a couple of my tribe for a quick slice of pizza and a single bottle of beer, we crashed, exhausted from the 13.5-hour drive of 864 miles through three states. We would zero our rifles in the morning and then see if we could be of any assistance setting up for the competition. The weather guessers were calling for high winds all weekend which could make things interesting. 4/8/22 06:00 Joe Cabigas, Mark Miller, Bruce Baum, and I met in the hotel’s breakfast area. During a hearty breakfast of biscuits and gravy, sausage, eggs, waffles, and fruit juice, we discussed the upcoming event and formed what I would describe as a battle plan. It’s always good to have a plan when you’re going into battle. We arrived at the “sight in” range reasonably early. As we pulled up, I noticed a Dodge pickup was already sitting there idling, most likely waiting for someone else to arrive. I parked and walked over to the vehicle introducing myself to John Beloit (the newest member of my tribe). He was waiting for Kasey Jones to arrive and make the final tweaks to a brand new rifle so he could partake in the Best of The West ELR event in the morning. We all took turns shooting for the next hour, making last-minute-
Best of the West ELR ~by Chad Kinyon
-adjustments. We all had reasons for needing to shoot that morning, mine being I had just cleaned my rifle before leaving Vegas. I wanted to foul the barrel by sending 4-6 rounds down it and double-check bullet speeds by radar. It seems she likes to be just a little dirty but not filthy. Mark, Bruce, and Joe mostly wanted to check that their rifles were hitting where they wanted. Meanwhile, John was having difficulty even getting the bullets into a group. Kasey was giving some advice, and John was trying, but it wasn’t working. Finally, Kasey got down behind the rifle and took a few shots. “You have something loose, I don’t know what, but something,” he stated. We started looking the rifle over to find the culprit. As we gathered the tools needed to take the rifle apart, John proclaimed, “Well, I’ll be damned, bet that the problem is right there.” As we gathered around, he pointed to the bipod mount on the forehand of the rifle. And there it was, a large crack in the stock right where the pic rail holding the bipod bolted to the stock. As John lifted it up, it simply fell off in his hand. That’s another reason I’ve never been a fan of fiberglass stocks. Short of a new stock, his shoot was over before it started. We all felt terrible for him, but there was little that we could do. Let’s face it, who carries an extra stock with them? If any of us had one, he would have certainly been welcome to it. Something most will find odd about the competition shooting community, nearly all of us want to see people do well and will loan equipment and give advice to help anyone to succeed. Ultimately, we areHome&Harvest
-all just competing against ourselves, the range, and the weather to be better than we were before. You can’t control what others do, so concentrate on your job, and your scores will reflect it. Satisfied with the rounds we had shot at 100 yards, we moved up to where the competition would take place the following day to see if there was anything we could do to lend a hand. Upon arrival, we found Stanley Cutsforth and Terry Fisher feverishly clearing tall grass off the firing line with a line trimmer. The firing line consisted of two wide black rubber belts staked to the ground. These worked to keep the muzzle blast from kicking up too much dust. Carpets were then rolled out over the belts and staked down for the shooters to lay on as +95% of shooters shoot from the prone position. We all pitched in, and the majority of the prep was done in short order. The only task left was to give the targets a fresh coat of paint. Who wants to get some lunch? A side note to the current subject that you will thank me for later. If you are ever in Hermiston, OR, and looking for some delicious food, Nookies is the place to go. We ventured there on a local recommendation from John. The food was fabulous. I had a prime rib french dip sandwich, and it was, hands down, the best I’ve ever had in my 54 years. The flavor was out of this world, and portion was perfect in that I wasn’t overly full, yet I was full to the point that I didn’t want anything more. The rest of my tribe had half-pound burgers of various types that looked delicious, and they all seemed very happy and quite full and content. “What do you guys want to do now?” I asked. “Let’s go find the local gun/sporting goods stores and see if they got anything good,” chimed Mark. So, off we went to stimulate the local economy. We drove a short distance to Pendleton, OR, to a little mom-and-pop shop called Garner’s Sporting Goods on a recommendation from Terry Fisher. That was where we met Rick and Tammy Hadden, the owners and operators. Super nice folks that greeted a mob of out-of-towners like they were family, as soon as I told them Terry had sent us. I love these kinds of places. We wandered around that small store for probably an hour or so while each of us formed a pile at the check-stand. Everyone found something they had been looking for but couldn’t seem to get their hands on back home. We got things we needed for ourselves and friends back home, while at the same time, supporting the little guy trying to make a living. After that adventure, I needed a nap. The rest of that afternoon we spent reviewing data and trying to predict how the weather would affect the event the following day. It became evident quickly that wind of 30+ mph would separate the men from the boys in relatively short order. We were sitting in the lobby area of the hotel, and everyone’s phone went off simultaneously, and we all went directly to the message from Kasey. The firing order-
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-came out via group text message. It’s a funny analogy, but it reminded me of scenes in the movies where a military unit is notified of a current situation and is called in for deployment. Not the same thing, in any way, just that it’s what it reminded me of. We knew where we would fall in the firing order; Mark was first, and I was second in the heavy gun division. Joe and Bruce were second and fourth in the light gun. Experience told me it was the time to make my final plans. If you don’t think of these things beforehand and form a solid plan, your mind will be up all night trying to do it for you. Once you make your plan, it’s time to put it to rest and get some shut-eye. 4/9/22 05:00 The morning of the match started with what I would call cautious optimism. The heavy breakfast we had the day before was replaced by cereal and a piece of fruit. Not sure why we all did that, but it was an interesting observation. We all felt we were in control of our equipment and abilities, but the weather became the major player, acting up like a screaming child. When we arrived at the range, the weather guessers had nailed it. It was cold, in the mid 40s, and the wind was howling from right to left in relation to the range. This combination would quickly chill most of us right to the bone when exposed to it for much time. As I stood at the rear door of my pickup, assembling my rifle from travel packing into shooting configuration, I sensed someone walk up behind me. I turned to find John-
-standing there with a big grin. “I’m back in this thing,” he proclaimed. As it turned out, they had taken his stock back to Stan’s shop and put some farmer engineering into it. They had mixed up a batch of JB Weld and stuck the bipod mount back on. It looked like a first-rate fix-it job to me. I tried to get him to throw a couple of zip ties on it just for visual effect, but he wouldn’t go for it. Like I said before, we will always rise to help our tribe. After a quick safety briefing and explaining how the event would run, the firing line went hot. From this point on, if we weren’t inside a vehicle getting warm, we better have hearing protection on. The scoring would use the King of 2 Miles scoring system. First-round hits carry the most weight and would be 5X the distance, second-round hits would be 4X distances, and so on, with the least valuable, fifth-round being 1X distance. I honestly believe this is the fairest scoring model at this time. We would shoot two distances and five rounds at each target with a time limit of four minutes for all ten rounds. The heavy gun class would shoot targets at 1798, 1937, 2143, 2300, 2503, 2810, 3381, and 3556. My windage turret would be maxed out by the 2143 target. After that, I would be using that fancy tape measure in the scope reticle to hold off. My elevation turret hit the stops at 2810 yards. I knew this would happen during the planning stage the day before. Mark Miller had offered to let me use his Nightforce Prism Wedge for the final two targets.
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Visit Us Online: palousehabitat.org Call Today! 208 883-8502 A prism bends the line of sight from the scope, adding a pre-set amount of elevation. You might think the image would be distorted, but you’d be mistaken. The image was just as crisp and clear with the Wedge Prism as without it. The borrowed equipment was the 50 moa/14.5 mil version. That meant I would still have an additional 7 mill hold over at 3381 and a 14.5 mil holdover at 3556 yards (2 miles). I wrote these numbers on my hand with a Sharpie along with the additional wind holds. I thought, I really have got to get one of these prism things, but in the 29 mil version. That would be better for the way my rifle is set up. Shortly after the lunch break, my new tribe member John came up to me and said, “I’m done.” Naturally, I figured the bipod mount had finally failed, but I was mistaken. “My turrets are maxed out, and I can’t dial the next set of targets, and I don’t have enough in my reticle to hold off,” he said with disgust. “Hold on a minute; we aren’t done yet,” I told him. I went on to explain how to use the reticle to find another object to aim at that would allow the bullet to land not where he was aiming but where the target was. I will tell you the same way I explained it to him. We were standing on the ramp of Stan’s toy hauler at the time, so I used it as an example. “Say you needed to measure this ramp, but you only have a three-foot tape measure; how would you go about it?” I asked with a grin. “Well, you’d measure out the first 3 feet and then make a mark, move the tape and measure the remainder,” he explained. “How is using your reticle any different?” I asked. “Just use that very expensive tape measure to move your reticle onto something substantial that takes the elevation and wind into account and aim at that. You don’t have to actually aim at the desired target, you just need to hit it,” I explained.
I could literally see the light come on as a big grin spread across his face, and he proclaimed, “I’m back in this thing!” Off he went to form a plan. The wind couldn’t make up its mind, blowing between 8-35+ mph, making it really challenging to calculate the wind drift. Bullet drop is reasonably straightforward as it is the constant force of gravity, which can be calculated. One can only guess at a variable wind. So, for this day’s event, the best wind guesser would probably prevail. I won’t go into hits and misses because that would get tedious and boring. I had a slight bump in my path when I had a case head separation on the first shot at 2143 yards. If you don’t know, that’s when the case head separates from the rest of the casing, leaving it stuck in the chamber. As you can imagine, that can be tricky to remove. Drawing on my MBA in “Figure It Out” and a Ph.D. in “Common Sense” (advanced degrees my sister gave me), I took a cleaning rod and stuck it down the barrel from the muzzle end. I then attached a 20 gauge shotgun brass brush to the rod.Then taking a firm hold on the rod, gave it a yank back up into the chamber. This caused the brush bristles to go up into the stuck case with no head. Now that the bristles were in the case, it was time for them to change directions by smacking the handle end of the cleaning rod. The bristles expanded upon changing directions, grabbing the case, and popping it right out. Success, and I was back in the fight. When the dust cleared, I wound up getting second place with my 375 EnABELR, 6,414 points behind Mark Miller and his 460 Styer. He made a third-round impact on the two-mile target, worth 7112 points, and that made the difference. A very impressive feat, to say the least. My first shot at that same two-mile target went left by seven mills, with my fifth shot being my closest but missed by 8 “-10” off the top right corner. Mark was really on his game that day. We were the only two shooters with impacts past 2810 yards. Kasey Jones took the third-place spot with a 416 Hellfire, a rifle he had literally put together two days prior to the shoot. To be honest, I felt honored to be standing there with the second-place plaque, getting my picture taken with two top-tier shooters that I respect more than I have words. Maybe, just maybe, this small-town kid from Genesee, Idaho, will get the chance to rub elbows with the best of the best in this beloved sport. Along the way, I will make more life-long friends, and perhaps, I can help out some more shooters like John, or even you, for that matter, who are just getting started in the wonderful sport. •Best of the West ELR match chalks up 31,343 KO2M points, for anyone keeping score. •Hopefully, our next stop will be Spearpoint Ranch in Lincoln, Kansas, in mid-June. •Current Global ELR Ranking 167th and on the move. Author’s note: After seeing firsthand the failings of an adjustable scope base, like an Ivey, I can no longer confidently recommend any such device. For additional elevation beyond what the scope turrets allow, the best option is a prism mounted to a rail in front of the scope.
There was always a generally shared deep sigh as the eighth grade students shuffled into Mrs. Paige’s 5th period algebra class. It was not audible, but just seemed to hover somewhere up near the grid that shielded the ceiling lights. Why we entered the room with this biased distaste for the subject is not evident to me even now. The sincerity and dedication that this woman exhibited was over the top. She would go through two entire pieces of chalk and end at the far side of the double chalkboard with her fingers white with the talc and her chiseled, dark bangs drenched with sweat. Her back toward us, there were always antics in play around the room that were distracting and hard to ignore. As she turned to face us, revealing white smudges on her nose or cheek, the snickering was then directed at her. I cannot imagine the depth of frustration and disappointment that she endured daily in her attempt to educate young growing minds. On one sunny June day, with the end of the school year fast approaching and my mind wandering, I turned my gaze from the cheerful sunlight flooding the nicely landscaped breezeway to the note being passed over my shoulder. Reading it, I was unaware of being the focused target of Mrs. Paige’s glare. The note inspired a giggle and I scribbled a response in kind. Reaching back to deliver it to my comrade, I saw that his eyes were averted to the front of the room. Slowly glancing around, I was greeted by every pair of eyes in the room including the teacher’s. My face grew hot like a flush of boiling water and no doubt became the color of beets. Mrs. Paige’s finger, the very one completely covered in chalk, pointed to the door and I heard my name attached to the order to remove myself and make my way to Mr. Keller’s office for the remainder of class. My memory is vague following the crime that I committed. Apparently a call or letter resulted in scheduling a meeting to take place with the Principal, a parent and myself. That particular meeting however, to this day is crystal clear. Seated in a cubicle with a floor length window facing the large concrete hallway outside of “the office” I sit with my head hung in shame. My mother in a chair right next to me is prepared to defend me, as I do no wrong in her book, but her comments to me do not even relate to what is about to be discussed. My thoughts are circling around the image of Mr. Keller who has not arrived yet. I am a student of Seahurst Junior High School and it has a very well respected commander and chief at the helm. He is compassionately engaged in our clubs, our student body meetings, our diverse sports program, our musical and artistic enrichment, our academic achievements and is unquestionably there to be supportive of our goals and direct us in making wise choices. He is liked by both faculty and students, which suggests that he is successful in this demanding position, good at his job. He is a man of integrity and can make you feel good just smiling at you. Note that my household was without the role model of a father figure which probably added to my desire to please this authority figure in my life. Voices outside the stuffy cubicle signal he is on his way to opening the door to our meeting. I become uncontrollably nervous. I am soaking the armpits of my blouse and hoping not to cry. His tall suit and tie entered and he closed the door with a long arm, turning and addressing me before even introducing himself to my mother, immediately instructing me to “Sit up!” As he briefly shook my mother’s hand in greeting, his gaze turned back to me and had a firm but caring way to keep my attention. I was unquestionably the focus of this exchange. “You need need to sit up and face this. You need to be accountable for your actions. Is it true that you were disruptive and disrespectful in Mrs. Paige’s class?” Drawing myself together, I answered with a clear voice, “Yes, I was.” He paused again, letting my words-
-resonate, then added with just the right amount of sincerity, “ I would not have expected that from you”. Silently I was thinking of how rude I had been saying quite hurtful things about this teacher for most of the quarter and hoped with all my being that Mr. Keller did not know how many times I had behaved badly. In earlier years, in grade school, I had found myself put out in the hall for disturbing others and labeled a troublemaker merely in the attempt to gain favor with my classmates. I could have resigned myself to believing that was just who I was but In this moment of my growth, I was able to relate to the person being mistreated with empathy and recognize I had been responsible for not respecting her. I regretted disappointing Mr. Keller. The meeting was brief, and my mother offered very few words, but what I took from it was how important it was to act in a way to gain the respect of YOURSELF. He had held up my actions for me to really look at them and SEE them as mine. Mr. Keller’s interest in me as a student that he did not believe to be of the character in which I was behaving, allowed me to become that better student, that better person. It was a bridge toward a new perspective that allowed me to change and move in the direction of maturity. As we create the patchwork quilt pieces and fit them together to become our life, it is revealing to look at those parts of our fabric that have been printed with indelible ink. I am speaking of the parts of us that reflect our moral fiber. There are parts of our character that define who we are that we can better understand by doing some self-reflection to determine who or what has influenced our thoughts, opinions and actions. Who have we looked to for guidance? Who acted as a mentor to us in our formative years? Have we found teachers who could cut through the fog and instill the hunger for knowledge? Some people emerge with the ability to see everything as their favorite color, or that everything is just waiting for them to experience it. When I meet these folks, I wonder who their mentors were. Who convinced them they held the tools to succeed at anything they desired? “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we can be.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson So, I recognize two earlier inspirational characters if I re-read the chronicles of my life. I will give you a short biographical profile of each. Spoiler alert; I have become a strong female force today because of these two women. Grandmother Julia was married to a german speaking man named Paul and they resided on a farm in North Dakota in a german speaking community. I know this only because my father’s birth certificate is in German as I presume the other four brothers’ and one sister’s were also. My mother spoke fondly of taking him for rides in the car but he only would nod his head and exclaim “Dat’s good, Margie” when she spoke to him. Julia had lost her-
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-husband about the time I was to enter the world. She lived with a sister that I recently learned was the nearest of ten siblings. I also only recently learned that they were immediate descendents of the North American Indigenous tribes, perhaps from Canada. This fact was not of common knowledge and I assume it was a secret protected through her life that would bring disgrace in a world of rash discrimination. The photo discovered on an ancestry website of her mother, was of a frail woman in a high neck black dress circa 1900, with long black braids framing her high cheekbones. The photo of her father in a very aristocratic suit and sporting a fine mustache, stated his given name in french that translated to ‘Modest Bird’ Cardin. Julia’s sons, with the exception of the youngest who was my father, were all difficult to get along with in my eyes as a child. Being an audience to these brothers always arguing as a core language, I think they were all quite rebellious in their youth. I could read the look in their mother’s eyes that said, “Come here child and ignore those loud unruly boys, they just need to be boys”. But I observed at these large family gatherings that the degree of respect held for the matriarch was extraordinary. The hosting daughter-in-law would call the loud group together and when all eyes rested upon Grandmother Julia at the head of the table, she would deliver a blessing in her raspy, tired voice that reflected her years as the wisdom keeper and four generations would unite in her watchful sight. I was given many chances to be in her company because my father was the one to extend himself to care for her needs as she became increasingly dependent. He would run errands for her and I would be left in her care in her quiet house in south Seattle with her quiet sister, Anais. I must have been quite small because I can remember falling asleep as she sang to me wordless songs and held me to her strong and enveloping warmth. Her company remains a physical memory. I do not recall a lot of talking. I think her language was inferred and just transmitted as love. Grandmother Rose came from Wisconsin, and was also from German heritage. She was one of many sisters and they all had a commanding presence. She came to Washington to marry Ralph Stanford, a carpenter and farmer. In addition to the farm, they became storekeepers when their two children were young. My mother and her brother watched as most of the farmland became Sea-Tac airport. My grandparents built again on Seattle’s west side and my grandmother entered the workforce. She held employment in a business that delivered sandwiches to laborers, making dozens of sandwiches even as I recall, with a broken wrist. She did not drive a car. She knew the bus routes to every place in the city. She was active in her woman’s lodge, taking me along as a toddler to meetings and card parties where I was allowed to be invisible under the tables shrouded by large linen tablecloths. She held positions of honor and attended many conventions. She carried herself as though she were of the elites. She -tailored all of herHome&Harvest
-own clothes and never began the day without making herself presentable. Before I was born, I am not aware of exactly when, but sometime prior to women being granted the vote on equal terms to men, she was publicly marching for the cause. I think this behavior of a married woman was not taken lightly in 1920 and I wonder what my grandfather thought about it. I can attest with all of my conviction that the relationship I witnessed between my grandparents was a window into mutual respect and a strong partnership between two very independent people. On occasion she could be heard banishing him to his garage where he would only exhibit contentment sharpening tools on his big pedal-operated stone, or finishing the roof on a birdhouse. There was an unspoken rule that no man was ever to clutter the kitchen and impede the progress of the meal unless invited. They had their places. They performed their skill sets unhindered but for the best interest of the partnership. My favorite memory from my days with them as a small child is a background sound. Waking in the morning, or sometimes from an afternoon nap I would hear the low murmur of their voices mixed with the radio coming from across the kitchen in the small breakfast nook. I could not decipher their words. Well, unless it was an afternoon baseball game and then the excitement they shared was clearly enough to wake me up. But on those calm mornings when I could barely hear them, I would lie there listening to the slowly flowing and hushed tones that seemed to be a beautiful duet in the key of love. These stories of my past are always in my pocket. I am aware it is not good to live in the past and I have left that tendency behind with other habits that become barriers to our happiness in the here and now. What I filter out from these stories of my Grandmothers is an explanation of some of my strengths that I may have misunderstood and called faults had I not indulged in a little self-reflection. I cite the influence of these women simmering inside of me as a young girl of six who could hold my own in a dirt bomb fight and later take the boys on in knock-down dragout fights if they verbally assaulted me or my friends. I hold these two women in honor as I recall explaining to a playmate at seven years old that her grandmother was someone to respect and if she was nicer to her she may find less visits to her behind by her big wooden spoon. I call up to them in gratitude when I am told by my adult sons that growing up under my roof, when I spoke, they knew they needed to listen. I could not have rode on into these battles without the cape they bestowed upon me with the inspiration of their example. Above all else, the love of growing my own foods and carefully maintaining the rich soil is what I hold dearest of the teachings of these hardy farm women. As a toddler always with them in the rows they tended, with unspoken language I developed an intimate connection to Mother Earth and what she can provide. Our spirits mingle when I am digging in my gardens.
The Oh! Otis Shenanigans Episode 11
A Chicken, A Bed, and Some Scoop Shovels
Temple Kinyon “That’s a really bad idea,” Otis stated righteously. “Oh, Otis, you’re no fun!” Otis’s cousin LeRoy laughed. “I’m pretty sure it can’t swim.” “It’s a bird!” his other cousin, Bertie, retorted. “Birds can swim. Ducks, swans, geese...” “But it’s a chicken,” Otis interrupted. LeRoy and Bertie looked at Otis, and for a moment he thought they would chicken out. Instead, Bertie nudged LeRoy in the ribs with her elbow. “Do it! Do it!” she urged. An impish smile curled onto LeRoy’s face. He casually walked up behind one of the stray chickens pecking about Ed and Helen’s barnyard. He bent down slowly and enveloped it in a big bear hug. The chicken offered no resistance. Otis’s cousin didn’t live on a farm, yet he knew how to catch a chicken. Impressed, Otis took note for future reference. Otis’s youngest cousin, Charlotte, stood next to him; they were several feet away from LeRoy and Bertie. They watched LeRoy holding the chicken walk nonchalantly up to the large watering trough typically used to quench the thirst of Ed and Helen’s horses. “It’s hot,” LeRoy pointed out. “This chicken will feel so good after she has a little dip.” He made a good argument. Mid-July always brought on a haze of heat and a hint of extra humidity to the Swan farm. It also brought on a family tradition that dictated all the Swans, near and far, converge at Ed and Helen’s during those in-between days of after haying and before harvest. This particular weekend also boasted the town’s annual Community Days. With 8 more adults and 17 grandchildren congregated at Ed and Helen’s, there was bound to be some chaos. But even Otis knew that a chicken drowning crossed the line between shenanigan and catastrophe. In one last-ditch effort to save his bacon—and the chicken—Otis firmly stated, “Grandpa Ed and Grandma Helen are going to get mad if you let that chicken drown.” “Yeah!” Charlotte added. Home&Harvest
LeRoy looked at Otis and Charlotte, smiled, and stretched his arms out. The chicken hung suspended over the trough, oblivious. (No one ever said a chicken was a quick thinker.) LeRoy let go and dropped it into the watery abyss. It sank. After a beat, a small string of bubbles floated to the surface, but nothing else happened. LeRoy and Bertie looked at each other, shrugged, and bent over to peer closer to the underwater fowl. Finally, the hen figured out what was happening and somehow managed to flail its way to the surface in a frenzy of feathers and water, showering the two would-be assassins. It flapped and flopped, trying to get out of the trough to no avail. LeRoy and Bertie stood slack-jawed doing nothing. “What in Sam Hill is going on here!” Grandma Helen roared around the corner of the barn, rolling pin in hand, hollering at the top of her lungs. LeRoy and Bertie jumped and whirled around as Otis started to dart off in the opposite direction. Charlotte was nowhere in sight.
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“HOLD IT RIGHT THERE, OTIS BARNABAS SWAN!” Grandma Helen only shouted middled names when a situation reached code-red critical status. Otis stopped short, took a gulp of air for courage, and slowly faced his grandma. He noticed the rolling pin in her hand and prayed it was because she had been making pies in the kitchen with his mom and aunties. “I didn’t do it, Grandma!” “I don’t want to hear a word from you, young man,” she admonished. “Go save that hen!” Otis darted over to the trough and flailing fowl, unsurewhat to do. He’d never had to save a drowning chicken before. He attempted to lean in and apply the bear hug maneuver like LeRoy had, but these were very different circumstances. The chicken gurgled and emitted an alarmed cock-a-doodle as its wings flapped wildly, splashing about. Otis quickly jumped into the trough, put his hands under the chicken, and launched it out of the water. It landed unceremoniously next to the trough in a soggy heap of ruffled plumage. “I think it’s alive,” Otis feebly offered, hoisting himself out of the trough. Ed raced full speed around the corner of the barn and, in an expert swoop of his arm, grabbed the chicken and hugged it to his chest. Its eyes bulging told him all he needed to know. He scowled at the three Swan grandchildren, and ominously said nothing.
“The three of you march your fannies up to attic and think about what you’ve done,” Grandma Helen barked. “Your grandfather and I will deal with you later. Now git!”
frames. Otis had spent enough time sleeping over at his grandparents to know which bed made which sound. He snuggled back down, ignoring the noise. Creak-ah, creak-ah, creak-ah. Otis’s eyes flew open. He knew LeRoy was awake and on the move. Squee-EEK, squee-EEK, squee-EEK joined in the rhythm, which came from Bertie’s bed.
Otis, LeRoy and Bertie sulked their way into the house. Otis’s mom, Mavis, along with the aunties, stopped working on pie fillings and crusts to eye the damp, naughty children.
Creak-ah, creak-ah, creak-ah, squee-EEK, squee-EEK, squee-EEK. Without even rolling over to see, Otis knew what his cousins were up to. He let it go for a about a minute. Creak-ah, creak-ah, creak-ah, squee-EEK, squee-EEK, squee-EEK. Repositioning himself, Otis confirmed his suspicions by eyeing his two cousins bouncing on their beds, facing each other.
“Oh, Otis, what did you do?” Mavis groaned. “I didn’t do anything, Mom!” he wailed. “I told them it was a bad idea!” The screen door slammed shut as Grandma Helen entered the kitchen. “You stood right there and let it happen, Otis, and that’s just as bad!”
Here it comes, Otis thought. And he was right.
“But I didn’t…” Otis’s pleas to save himself fell on deaf ears as the Swan women stood, arms folded over their chests, daring the trio to utter any more defenses.
The two Swans launched themselves into the air, crossed next to each other mid-flight, and landed on the other’s bed, never missing a beat. Creak-ah, creak-ah, creak-ah, squee-EEK, squee-EEK, squee-EEK. Their bouncing momentum allowed them to spin in the air and face each other again, never stopping. Creak-ah, creak-ah, creakah, squee-EEK, squee-EEK, squee-EEK. They silently acknowledged each other once more and jumped back to their original bed. Over and over this bouncing from one bed to the other continued. Creak-ah, creak-ah, creak-ah, squee-EEK, squee-EEK, squee-EEK.
“Attic!” Grandma Helen ordered with a stern finger pointing the way. Defeated, the three marched up the stairs to the attic, which held a conglomeration of twin, full, and bunk beds set up for all the grandchildren to sleep when visiting their grandparents. Otis took his usual spot when he visited, in the twin bed under the window. He curled up in a ball with his back to LeRoy and Bertie. They had taken residence on twin beds in the corner.
“Uh, guys,” Otis interjected. “You better knock it off. Grandma Helen doesn’t allow us to jump on the beds.” Creak-ah, creak-ah, creak-ah, squee-EEK, squee-EEK, squee-EEK. “Oh, Otis,” LeRoy said. “They’re busy downstairs; they can’t hear us. They’re pie making.”
“Thanks for getting me into trouble,” he grumbled. “Sorry, Otis,” LeRoy offered, “but Grandma Helen was so mad I didn’t dare say anything.”
Every year the Friday before Community Days, Helen and her daughters-in-law made several pies to raffle off for the church. There would be flour misting the air, rolling pins flying, fruits and creams mixed with gusto, meringues whipped into a frenzy, and a stream of golden-brown delights coming out of the oven for hours. Another layer of noise from the attic would only mingle with the baking din, the women chatting, and Grandma Helen’s radio playing just loud enough to fill any gaps in the ruckus. Every now and then one of the Swan ladies would sing along with oldies from Hank Williams or Patsy Cline. LeRoy was spot on—there was no way in God’s green earth the women would hear the creak-ahs and squee-EEKs.
“I’ll tell Grandma that you really did tell us not to do it,” Bertie piped up. “It wouldn’t help at this point, but thanks,” Otis replied. The three laid in their respective spots, quietly contemplating the afternoon’s happenings. The room was a bit stuffy from the July heat and lack of air conditioning. The whir of a fan that stayed on continuously to keep the room from getting stagnant lulled Otis to sleep. He was awakened by a distinct sound. Creak-ah. No one knew how old the beds in the attic were, but they definitely weren’t new, and they all had their own distinct noises that emitted from the aging bed springs andHome&Harvest
“C’mon, Otis” Bertie invited breathlessly. “We could jump to your bed, too. It’ll be fun!”
Otis contemplated. Jumping on the bed was against the rules, but the odds of getting caught were slim. For a split second, he tried to add up the possible infraction of getting caught jumping on the bed added to the impending chicken-drowning punishment. He couldn’t imagine it would be that big of a deal to jump on the bed, so he recklessly scrambled to his feet. He began with a slow up and down motion without his feet leaving the mattress. He had to get his legs ready to jump. Creak-ah, creak-ah, creak-ah. Squee-EEK, squee-EEK, squee-EEK. Otis upped his tempo and joined the ensemble. Eeee-ERR, eeee-ERR, eeee-ERR. The three hopped on their respective mattresses, looking at each other in sheer bliss. The thrill of the actual activity was only matched by the naughtiness of it all. “Ok, on the count of three, we go,” LeRoy instructed. “Bertie, you come to my bed, I’ll jump to Otis’s bed, and Otis, you go to Bertie’s bed. Got it?” “Got it!” Otis and Bertie chimed in unison. Creak-ah, creak-ah, creak-ah. Squee-EEK, squee-EEK, squee-EEK. Eeee-ERR, eeee-ERR, eeee-ERR. “One…two…THREE!” The cohorts flew into the air with enough momentum to propel them to their landing pads. Success! “Let’s see how long we can do it without stopping,” Bertie suggested. The giggling and jumping combined to create a circus-like atmosphere in the attic; three youngsters in perfect rhythm, the harmony of their box springs generating a concert of old metallic tones. They leaped and landed with the precision of a synchronized swimming team. “Let’s go faster!” Bertie squealed. “OK!” Otis and LeRoy squealed back. Around and around the jocularity continued, creak-ah, creak-ah, creak-ah, squee-EEK, squee-EEK, squee-EEK, eeee-ERR, eeee-ERR, eeee-ERR, over and over again, faster and faster, each rotation more furious than the last, again and again, creak-ah, creak-ah, creak-ah, squee-EEK, squee-EEK, squee-EEK, eeee-ERR, eeee-ERR, eeee-ERR. Home&Harvest
KKKKUUUURRRRRWWWHHHUUUUUUMMMPPPP! The bottom half of LeRoy’s bed slammed to the floor with tremendous force, careening Bertie off sideways toward the wall. The unforeseen disaster happened so swiftly, LeRoy—in midair bounce—couldn’t course-correct. He landed in the middle of the cattywampus mattress and smacked into Bertie as she ricocheted off the wall. They dropped to the floor like two lead balloons, landing in a heap between the busted bed and wall. As if in slow-motion, Otis hung in the air, already headed to Bertie’s bed, unable to take his eyes off the calamity. He refocused on his intended target too late, however, and the miscalculation of not watching what he was doing made his touch-down connect on the edge of the bed rather than the center, which hurtled him into the air in an unintended direction above nothing but the worn, woven rug covering the open section of wood floor in the middle of the room. He rocketed down toward the rug, his velocity causing him to hit the floor and take a bounce, crashing into one of the bunk beds. He ended up flat on his back, out of breath, staring at the ceiling. But what caught his attention wasn’t LeRoy or Bertie groaning on the opposite side of the room. It was a wailing coming from under the annihilated heap of mattress, box spring, and bed frame. A combination of pain, fear, and despair poured out in waves. “Holy hell, it’s Charlotte!” Otis scooted over to the portion of the bed still resting in its frame. He peered under the bed and saw little Charlotte laying on her back, sobbing, and blood gushing from above her left eyebrow. Otis reached for her hand and yanked, the wooden floor offering a slick surface for her to effortlessly slide out from under the wrecked bed. She’d stopped crying for a moment and looked at Otis, wide-eyed. “What happened?” she squeaked LeRoy and Bertie regained their wits, grabbed a handful of tissues from the box on the nightstand, and rushed over to render aid to their injured cousin. Bertie pressed the pink wad to the oozing gash. They each wore battle scars of their mischief—Charlotte was bleeding, LeRoy was developing a black right eye, Bertie had a rosy lump forming on her forehead, and Otis, well, his injury didn’t show, but his rump sure smarted from his collision with the floor and the bed. “Shhhhhh!” Bertie commanded in a loud whisper. “Maybe they didn’t hear.” “Maybe they didn’t hear?!?” Otis hissed. “The bed broke! They’re not deaf!”
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The gang of four heard it at the same time, several sets of feet barging up the wooden stairs in a flurry. Grandma Helen led the charge as she burst through the bedroom door, Mavis, and Aunt Patty hot on her heels. They stopped abruptly to survey the scene. “Just what in Sam Hill is going on up here?!” Grandma Helen demanded. “Isn’t it obvious?” Otis muttered under his breath, unfortunately, a little too loudly. “OTIS BARNABUS!” Otis cringed as his middle name erupted from his mother’s mouth. Mavis marched over to her youngest son and grabbed him by the ear, hoisting him immediately to his feet. “Don’t you dare talk back to your grandmother like that. Apologize this instant!” “Sorry, Grandma,” he looked at the elder in complete surrender. He’d never been more busted in his life. “I’ll deal with YOU later,” Grandma Helen huffed as she stomped over to inspect Charlotte’s cut. She glared at LeRoy and Bertie, and they took their cue to scurry out of the way. Aunt Patty barked, “What in tarnation were the four of you thinking, jumping on the bed? That’s never been allowed!” Otis took a step away from Mavis and clustered with his cousins in a “band of brothers” gesture. Unlike the swimming chicken incident, he was knee-deep in this one, a willing participant in the unbridled fun—and it had been fun. Grandma Helen, Mavis, and Aunt Patty led Charlotte toward the door to the bathroom for medical attention, and the three offenders mumbled their sorries to her. “It’s ok,” Charlotte smiled. “You didn’t know I was under the bed.” “What were you doing under there, anyway?” Otis asked. “I saw what was going down with that chicken and scrammed before Grandma saw me,” she smirked. “I hid just in case.” “She’s the youngest, but maybe the smartest,” LeRoy muttered. Otis, LeRoy and Bertie stood for a moment looking at each other. Bertie made a tiny, almost imperceptible snicker. Then Otis snorted. Then LeRoy sniggered. Deep belly laughs spewed from them. Tears ran down their rosy cheeks as they gasped for air and fell into a pile of fits andHome&Harvest
-giggles. “THIS IS NOT FUNNY,” Grandma Helen stormed back into the room. “I’m astonished you find this so amusing. Poor Charlotte might have to get stitches.” The threesome continued their uncontrollable outburst. The Swan adults had made that threat a kajillion times to every Swan child at one time or another, and only ONE time did someone have to get stitches due to a careless flick of a pocketknife resulting in a deeply cut finger that wouldn’t stop hemorrhaging after three hours and eight bloodied hankies later…Grandpa Ed. “March yourselves down those stairs and out to the barn,” Grandma Helen ordered, pointing the way. “Your Grandpa Ed will give you something to laugh about.” The three amigos clumped their way down the stairs, no longer trying to stop the merriment coming out in fits and bursts. A severe punishment was coming, so why not enjoy their last moments of freedom. Helen strode ahead of the kids, making sure to be the one to tell Ed and the rest of the Swan males what had happened. The men had started out with serious intentions of actually “cleaning the barn” that afternoon while the women made pies, but with a little nip here and a little sip there of Ed’s homemade elixir, they hadn’t gotten far. Upon hearing the tragic tale of Charlotte and the Broken Bed, Ed assured Grandma Helen that he would handle it. She gave the children a satisfied, “humph,” and went back to the house and pie making. Ed looked at the children with a grandfatherly sternness. “Seems the three of you can’t seem to stay out of trouble today.” The three delinquents stared back, but again, hilarity took hold, and they orbited into another fit of wild hysterics. Their antics in a time of facing potential trouble shocked the men, who started laughing at the audacity of it all. Soon, the entire barn was filled with great gusts of hooting and howling. After several minutes of jocularity, Ed finally composed himself. “I think an almost drowned chicken, a broken bed, and some bloodshed calls for some stall cleaning,” he stated with a smirk on his face. “Noooooooo,” Otis, LeRoy, and Bertie moaned. “Yep, yep,” Ed giggled. “Grab a scoop shovel. Those horse stalls aren’t going to empty themselves.” The three cousins slowly made their way to the first stall, heads down in defeat, each dragging behind them a pooper-scooper as the Swan men continued to snicker. It was now time to face the music…and the manure. Ed followed behind Otis, LeRoy, and Bertie. “And after you finish the stalls, we’ll take a walk over to the chicken coop…then there’s the cowpies in the front pasture…Gus’s kennel needs attention…and the pig pen…”
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