Home&Harvest May/June 2023

Page 1


FEB | Moscow Winterfest

FEB | Palouse Cult Film Revival

APR | Moscow Hempfest

APR | Kino Short Film Festival

APR | Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

APR | Pour Company Rare Beer Fest

APR | United Way Brewers Fest

MAY | Moscow Renaissance Fair

JUN | Camp Moscowanna

JUN | Artwalk Season Finale

JUL | Rendezvous in the Park

JUL | Pour Company Artisan Grain Beer Fest

AUG | The Block Party

AUG | Moscow Mountain Music Fest

SEPT | Moscow Comedy Festival

SEPT | Pour Company Farmhouse Beer Fest

OCT| Moscowberfest

w , idaho E X P L O R E

I wanted to take this time to dedicate this issue to anyone who feels like they don’t fit in. Be it at a nursing home, in school, or even in their own family- it doesn’t matter. I want to share with you what I’ve learned about being yourself, and what your environment can reveal to you.

Would you believe me if I told you I was the most unpopular kid all through elementary school? It’s true. I was bullied badly. I always thought I was a nice girl but I just didn’t seem to fit in. My family would always get these great boxes of hand-me-down clothes from my aunt who lived in Florida. The pants would be spectacular… cool styles you couldn’t get from our local mall. The pants would always be just a little too small and rose above my ankles so they nicknamed me “Highwater Heather.” It made me ashamed.

As I continued to grow up in this small town, I experienced bullying in the workplace and even today, being a small business owner. But I now have some insight that has taught me that fitting in has nothing to do with other’s approval or treatment of you. You see, when I moved away to Germany and then California, I learned many things about what your environment can do to and for you. The benefit of living in a small town is that you’ll find some of the kindest, most genuine people there can be. But it’s also like an aquarium that needs its water changed. Some people have never grown beyond their fish tank and being cruel is the only way they feel they have accomplished something or that they can hold on to what they think they have power over. Sometimes this runs rampant in environments because people start to become defined by who they think they are in relation to others. Just like a clique in school or religion or politics. You can let this get you down, or you can realize it’s teaching you something amazing and will set you free.

I’m a self-proclaimed weirdo and I’m finally at a place where I can say I love myself, or at least I’m learning to. I love retro stuff. I love weird crystals and snow angels and 1990’s Mariah Carey still rocks in my opinion. I sing soul music and I can’t kiss my cats enough. I’m a highly sensitive person and I can see the good in all people. They might have called me Highwater Heather back then but I now rock neon cigarette pants with shiny vinyl heels and I get compliments every day. But, being different also means you attract cruelty. I’ve had people make fun of my blond hair, my clothes, you name it. The best part is I no longer care. Because what if I went with my original desire to fit in? I never would have become my true self. And anyone putting someone else down is just a person who wasn’t brave or supported enough or loved themselves enough to believe that they are worthy of self-acceptance as well. So anyone not living the way they wish to and being cruel to others isn’t about you- it’s just a sad ripple of jealousy- which is why I always send them love. Chances are, if they are bulling you they are majorly bullying themselves, too.

This world is a kaleidoscope of rainbow. That is why it is mandatory that you shine your own light. If you are different in any way, (and you are) celebrate the gift that it truly is. And if you’re actively being bullied or feeling like you just wish you could be different so they would like you- just remember what I said about aquarium water. You can swim in it as much as you want, but my dear friend, you might just be too fabulous for that tank and it’s time to grow. There’s a big world out there and you will absolutely, unequivocally, authentically shine. Not everyone will be happy for you but you know what? Not only will you have shown yourself that you can be who you dreamed you could, you might just be shining the way for someone else to love themselves, too. Someone has to go first, why not you?

For anyone currently behaving like a bully: it’s ok. There’s enough in this world for you and it’s never too late to be kind and shine, too. There will never be a shortage of doing the right thing. I believe in you.

Editor-In-Chief Home&Harvest Magazine p.s. I didn’t even plan this, but look to the left. Those are neon blue cigarette pants and vinyl heels. I love you. Go be YOU!
8 The Joke’s On Me 12 Celebrating The Civic Work Of Women’s Groups 20 Flank To Flame 24 Hummingbird Cake 26 Easter Cinnamon Rolls 28 Honey Cornbread 30 Fudge Brownies 32 Potluck Perfect Cucumber Sandwiches 34 The Lost Art of Reading 42 Spring On The Farm 48 A Reading For You 50 Seasons, Cover Crops And Rest For The Soul 56 New Year, New ELR Rifle 60 People Of The Palouse 66 Seeds Of Personal Growth 72 The Oh, Otis Shenanigans Contents

The Joke’s On Me

I recently saw a cute little infographic with smiling clouds and a rainbow. It talked about how children laugh hundreds of times a day and adults barely hit double digits on average. And I realized that I, an adult, was bringing down the average.

It’s just that adulting feels so heavy sometimes…most of the time…maybe even all the time. And I’m guessing I’m not alone, since I couldn’t drag down the average that much on my own. Right?! How often do you laugh? Giggle? Chortle? Guffaw? Any of it?

As I sat with these thoughts, I remembered something a mentor had told me a long time ago. When kids have a hill to go up - they run! They take pleasure in it, probably laugh while doing it, but they run. And when they’re winded, they’ll pause - maybe even lay on the grass and share a story from school with their friends. Then they’ll jump up and shout, “I bet I can beat you to the top!” And they’re off again!

What do you do when you see a hill in front of you? I know what I do. What if we remembered what it was like to be a kid? Laughing and running and even making chores into games? Adulting could be just a smidge more fun, right?!

So, why do we stop laughing? Well, some of it is taught right out of us. We’re shushed and told to stop making so much noise. We, in turn, remind our kids to focus on the serious in life and leave that ‘childish nonsense’ in the past. And, remember, we don’t have to actually say or hear the words to get the message. Eventually the kids who race and laugh and run up the hill notice that the way the adults all do it is with a lot of grumbling and sighing or maybe they don’t even tackle that hill at all.


I think I’m calling myself out in this article - so if you’re feeling that too, just know you’re not alone. I have definitely done more than my part in bringing the laughter average down. I ban April Fool’s at my house every year. My viewing history, for both television and movies, contains thrillers, mysteries, and dramas- not sitcoms or rom-coms. I stifled my own laughter when I had children (who are hilarious, by the way) because I didn’t think I should be laughing at their jokes. Let me say that again. I thought, as an adult, it would be inappropriate for me to giggle at anything more than a knock-knock joke my kids made. I didn’t want to let on that I understood their potty humor or, especially, the more daring innuendo humor stage they went through. Why? I’m shaking my head in disbelief at myself. What’s done is done, though. In the words of Maya Angelou, “When you know better, do better.” One of my mentors talks about getting stuck in seriosity, which I honestly thought was a made up word until I just looked it up! It’s real! Y’all, seriosity is real. And we do get stuck in it. Dude, I think it might be a little like quick sand. And I was in deep, yo. Recognition of that fact was knowing better…and it took some time to really get it.

A few years ago, another mentor got me thinking about summer as a season of joy, play, and pleasure - plenty of all of that! I was like a deer in headlights at first. I thought maybe I was too old to be lazing away the hazy dayz of summer. Pleasure meant something else to me and that was a different discussion altogether. Joy was something seen in the faces of children when they got gifts - I couldn’t imagine how to find that in my own face. And play? What did that even mean?

I was absolutely stuck in seriosity. A sledge hammer was in order. And, just for kicks, my life seemed to be falling apart around me with medical issues, marital issues, marital issues related to medical issues. Looking for a way to have fun wasn’t even on my radar. I was seriously focused on paying bills, making appointments, and keeping myself from becoming too depressed to care anymore. You could have put the sledge in my hand and I wouldn’t have known what to do with it. All I could see, feel, do - was serious.

Slowly, though, gently, I recognized the need for mental breaks from the heaviness of my day to day. At first it was naps - so many naps - and television I didn’t need to concentrate too hard to watch. (Thank goodness there are so many seasons and versions of Law and Order. Dun-dun.) Eventually I was able to ask myself every morning what I could do to start my day off feeling centered. Some days that was a walk or even dancing to a song or two. Other days it was 20 more minutes of sleep or a hot bath. A friend, who recognized the space I was giving myself but felt, rightly so, that I still wasn’t playing or finding joy, which she felt, -

- rightly so, was important to balance all that was heavy. (My friend is right a lot.) So, we went to see a Christmas lights display and she got me a little snowman wand that has fiber optic lights on it - in different colors! I giggled. I laughed. I played with it throughout the drive through the light show. I still have that wand and it’s proudly displayed in my office! It was a breakthrough. It was the sledge hammer that started cracking the hardened seriosity I was stuck in. I started intentionally picking humor to watch instead of such intense shows. (Sorry Dun-dun.) I slowly started laughing at memes, the kids, and especially at myself. I played with wit and sarcasm. I laughed out loud more than I had in years. I stopped saying I didn’t have a sense of humor and started figuring out what I truly do find funny. I’m still not a fan of some things, but I definitely find other things hilarious!

At the same time all of this was going on, another mentor introduced me to laughter yoga. What is that, you ask? It’s laughing! It’s intentionally laughing to increase those feel-good chemicals in your system, helping manage stress and allowing for your body to relax. There are different techniques but they all simply ask that you voluntarily and purposefully laugh for prolonged periods of time. And it can’t hurt and probably helps…so why not?

All it took was a lot of mentor and friend intervention and a light-up snowman wand for me to really begin to know better…and then do better. I laugh often now. I don’t know if I’ve reached hundreds of laughing episodes in a day, yet, but I’m definitely in the double digits more days than not. After all, there’s so much to laugh about. Some of my favs:

Cat videos - there’s a reason they’re so popular!

Text autocorrects

Every time someone says ‘do do’ - potty humor makes a comeback


Math jokes

Toddlers and people who act like they’re toddlers How mature I thought I was when really I wasn’t actually living but just surviving, and barely that at times.

So, do what you gotta do to get your laughter on, friends! Help me raise that adult average. Help yourself balance out the less than funny things we have to process as adults. Play - games, jokes, music! Or maybe even take a crack at running up a hill.* (*I’m not a doctor. If it’s been a minute since you’ve run, start with a very small hill.) Don’t forget to collapse in laughter when you need to catch your breath. Among other things, laughter is the best rest, at least for that over-thinking brain of mine…and maybe for you, too!

Celebrating The Civic Work Of Women’s Groups

While trying to determine what topic to write about, I thought it would be a good idea to look within the LCHS archival collection. I discovered an archival box titled “LC Eromatheon Circle.” Having never heard of the organization, off to search digitized newspapers I went. The newspapers proved to be a wonderful source to explain what the club was and what it did during the early 1900s. After the realization that it was a local women’s group, inspiration finally struckwomen’s groups within Moscow. With this topic, I figured what a great way to celebrate Women’s History Month through the contributions and accomplishments of women on the local level. Although popular women who come to mind for Women’s History Month might include Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, or Ruth Bader Ginsburg for their work that placed them in the national spotlight, most often forgotten are the women who contributed on a local level.

During the 19th and 20th Centuries, society and laws forced the concept of the cult of domesticity, which reinforced the notion that women needed to uphold true womanhood by maintaining the house and taking care of children. The ideology, consisting of four pillars - purity, piety, submission, and domesticity, was inherently rooted in sexism and the belief that women are inferior to men. However, not every woman in society was meant to participate in the cult of domesticity, as it primarily aimed toward white women within the middle and upper class. Most women abided by this concept, but some eventually began to rebel against needlework, house chores, and societal norms. The nonconformity to the ideology was an influence towards a larger movement for women’s rights at the time, which is now viewed as the first wave of feminism. That’s a topic for another time.

The defiant women formed organizations, groups, and clubs to fight for community involvement, civic reform, and political action. All these groups served as a way for women to utilize their current skillset while developing new ones outside of the home. As smaller towns and cities throughout the country began to form their own women’s groups, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs was developed by 1890 to provide guidance to the groups and for the groups to exchange information about their successful projects. The number of women’s groups continued to grow over time, and by 1910 there were over 800,000 women actively participating within one, with the number continuing to rise over the years. By this point, the groups were gradually becoming more inclusive as women in the excluded populations, primarily religious, racial, money-earning, and ethnic minorities became involved.

Moscow was no exception when it came to having strong-minded women who wanted to serve their community. The city was the home to several women’s groups, including the Eromatheon Club, Pleiades Club, Moscow Historical Club, Women’s Faculty Club, and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Although these groups had varying beliefs, sometimes opposing ones, their end goal was the same: to improve the lives of those within the community.

One of Moscow’s first women’s groups was the Pleiades Club. The club originated in 1892 when seven faculty wives met at the home of Jennie Gault, wife of University of Idaho President Franklin B. Gault, to form a book review club. The primary objective of the group was to read and study Shakespeare. The women were unsure of what to name their group until Mr. Gault suggested Pleiades, based on the seven star cluster part of the Taurus constellation. The following year, the club produced the Silver and God book to be displayed at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The book, made of Idaho metals and semi-precious stones, was placed in the Administration Building at the University of Idaho upon its return, where it was almost destroyed in the 1906 fire. It is said that the book is now back on display in the President’s office at the University of Idaho.

It was not unheard of for the groups to work together on larger projects that required wider outreach. One of the well-known projects two of Moscow’s women’s groups collaborated on was the construction of the Moscow Public Library. It began when the Moscow Free Library and Reading Room was established in 1901 and held meetings on the second floor of the Brown Building. The organization held an extensive library that continued to grow. Two of the local women’s groups, Pleiades Club and Moscow Historical Club, took notice of the lack of space and that there was a need for a public library in a central location. Three members from each organization, along with a city council member, formed the library board and set their sights on fundraising. Although the community was donating to the cause, there were not enough funds for the new building. To reach the fundraising needs, the Carnegie Library Endowment Fund was contacted in 1903. After a building site was purchased, as suggested in the reply, Carnegie provided $10,000 as promised. In 1905 the city voted in favor of a permanent tax to support the library by at least $1,000 per year. Construction began the same year, reaching its completion in 1906 for under $10,000. Plans to move into the new library were thrown awry when the University of Idaho’s Administration Building burned down and the-

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-University needed to utilize the new library space for the 19061907 school year. Over the years, the library has been through a few renovations, but the original Mission Revival-style building still stands today. The work that the two groups began 120 years ago has benefited thousands of individuals within the community and will continue to in the future.

The collaboration described above is not the only moment the women’s groups within the community joined forces. In early 1917 Professor H.T. Lewis provided a lecture to the Moscow Historical Club on delinquent children and noted that Moscow was in dire need of a recreation center so children would not become misguided. After the lecture the Moscow Historical Club decided to create a unique fundraiser for a youth recreation center. Not too long after, the other women’s groups in town heard about this project and decided to assist. Five groups, the Eromatheon Club, Pleiades Club, Women’s Christian Temperance Union, Moscow Historical Club, and the Women’s Faculty Club, organized a fundraiser that would entail the community donating scraps of paper within their home, which then would be sold. The community had one week to find any unwanted paper and bring it to the local schools that served as drop-off sites. It is unknown how much money was raised through the fundraiser, or if the recreation center was ever built.

The push for the recreation center could have potentially been linked to two movements on the national level: the War Camp Community Service and the Playground Movement, both of which were led by the Playground and Recreation Association. The goal of the War Camp Community Service was to provide a social and recreational environment for soldiers to engage in during their time of service. Additionally, it was a way for the community to give thanks to soldiers during World War I. In terms of the Playground Movement, its goal was to target children who were poor, immigrants, or homeless in hopes to remove them from the close quarters living of tenement housing. By 1918 the Playground Movement worked to assist the War Camp Community Service to provide a well-rounded community experience.

These civic acts by a few of the women’s groups barely scratch the surface of the work that has been accomplished on the local and national levels. Looking back, it’s amazing to see what these groups were able to accomplish while openly challenging social norms and knowing the potential risks involved. Many of these Moscow’s women’s groups have since dissolved; however, the Pleiades Club still holds meetings in the McConnell Mansion, and the Moscow Historical Club combined with other local groups to form the Latah County Historical Society. As the weather warms up and you start to get out and about, make sure to visit the Moscow Public Library to admire the hard work put in by the women’s groups.

Flank Flame -to-

There’s more than one way to stuff a mushroom!

If you caught our last article in the series, you already know that for this year I’m taking a cherished birthday gift, crossing it with a love of cooking outside on open flame, and doing a six issue dive into the fantastic world of Dutch Oven cooking.

Sure, for some of you this might just be easier to pull off inside using a ceramic coated cooking vessel in the oven while you stay warm in the winter or cool in the summer. I don’t begrudge that decision. The beauty of running a few recipes that work great in an enclosed pot is that they are more versatile than just throwing a steak on a bed of charcoal and might appeal to a greater number of cooks out there. With any luck, it could even be the gateway grilling that leads you into a lifetime of camp cooking and outdoor adventure with charcoal, smoke, gas, and flavors that are beyond the scope of imagination. And for you purists out there, the die-hard grillers that have always loved Flank to Flame and expect to get outdoors, just remember that I’m doing all these recipes outside, in a vintage cast iron Dutch Oven using only lump charcoal and my grill as a safe cooking base. This is 100% campfire or backyard kettle grill approved, and in my opinion far more exciting and rewarding if you do choose the extra challenge of cooking that way.

So, what is a Dutch Oven anyway? Well, if you aren’t familiar yet, trust me when I say that you have seen them time and time again. Ever watch a classic Western movie or tv show? “Cookie,” or “Tex,” or whatever he may have been called was running that chuck wagon, and serving up hot beans, maybe some braised rabbit, or even fresh biscuits out on the trail using a little bit of wood and a good old-fashioned Dutch Oven. Take it back even farther, and you have seen them in stories of the early settlers and Founding Fathers of our country. A simple, maybe even one room home, centered around a hearth where the fire heated the home and provided the only cooking area. A large metal cauldron with a lid – possibly attached to swing hook – was positioned directly over flame to produce recipes that we still use today and feed a family of 8 or 10 a few meals a day. Long before any sort of oven, people were pulling off amazing and versatile cooking in simple ways that are a delight to bring back today. Jumping to the modern era, I’m sure you’ve seen those colorful French models-

-with the enameled paint. Fancy cookbooks always show photos of high-end recipes being baked, broiled, seared, fried, braised, or sautéed in those so it may come as a shock to learn that they are cast iron under that cheery exterior, and still cooking the way people have for many hundreds of years.

Double, double, toil and trouble.

Fire burn and cauldron bubble. (ya dig?)

So now that you have the coals started outside, lets run back in to prep our mushrooms. I’m going to throw a few suggestions in here, but keep in mind that there’s always more than one way to stuff a mushroom. And for the readers who practiced and perfected our 3T method last year, get ready to create your own recipes and have fun finding balance in the taste, texture, and temp.

As a quick review, or explanation to anyone that didn’t catch those previous topics, 3T is something I’ve come up with for creating new recipes on the grill. You start from the finish – picturing the perfect bite. How is it cooked – both the safe temperature of meat or how well done you like it, and the temperature when you serve it. Do we want a specific texture, like a bark on a steak or char line on some veggies? And what is the flavor profile? Taken separately, these are the main components of anything we cook. But realizing that they are all mutually dependent sets us up for success on a whole new level. Getting to medium rare, with a perfect crust, while using a dry rub on a steak is what separates the pros from the amateurs.

The reason that I went with a stuffed mushroom for this article has been slowly evolving at our house over the last year. Recently, Heather has gotten much more into fairytale, natural, and whimsical design. This has spilled out from clothing, to decorations, and even just the overall vibe around the house, and I have been loving it. It has such a fun 70’s/modern aesthetic and inspired me to make something creative and playful that worked off this theme. With mushrooms being on of the elements that have been popping up in this new style, I thought it would be the perfect element to work with on the grill and in the Dutch Oven for this issue. The fact that mushrooms also happen to be one of Heather’s absolute favorite ingredients just added to the fun. When I pitched the story to her I got to see her eyes light up. And then, when I started working out recipes and letting her sample my creations the excitement was over the top!

What all of these will have in common is good, fresh mushrooms. Cremini will work great, but anything that you can stem and stuff will do in a pinch. Buy them just before you use them. If you do need to store them in the fridge, only do so for a few days, and get them out of the plastic, wrap them in some paper towels and drop them in a lunch sack. To save the hassle, I try to just buy them day of or day before so they are fresh.

To start, gently press the stem and pop it out of 20-25 mushrooms. This should leave a clean break with a wonderful fillable cavity in the top of the mushroom. Chop and save those stems, we will be using them in the stuffing mix.

My first two recommendations are vegetarian takes, and the last two ideas will have some pork sausage or bacon. Any of these is an easy starter recipe, and great for someone still learning the timing and technique of using their Dutch Oven. For all four, and anything you invent on your own, remember that we will be making the filling first. Allowing it to cool so that the cheese or cream cheese won’t melt on contact, and starting from a cooler temperature once we stuff will make sure that it all finishes on-

-time with a perfectly cooked mushroom top serving as the bowl to melty, gooey goodness above. I make this filling in the Dutch Oven directly over coals with the lid open when cooking down the onions and stems, but you could just as easily do it in a pan on the stove inside. Just wipe clean the cast iron before the final cook if you are trying it all outside on flame. Invite over some friends, because you will want to serve these showstoppers up and then sit back to enjoy the compliments that follow. At a backyard cookout they also make a perfect starter, leaving the grill now open and clean to cook your main dish. Meow!

Garlic And Parmesan

Sautee the mushroom stems in 2 tbs butter until most moisture is cooked out, then add ½ tsp salt and ½ yellow onion finely chopped. Cook until browned and cool. Add ½ cup of grated cheese (parmesan or any other hard variety) ½ cup chopped pecans (or bread crumbs), ¼ cup chopped parsley and 4 ounces of soft cream cheese. Fold together and spoon into the mushroom tops. Cook until browned, melted and gooey.

Mexican Melt

Cook the stems as above and cool, then add 1 sliced green onion, 4 ounces soft cream cheese, 1 tsp taco seasoning, ½ tsp salt, and ¾ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Fill and cook mushroom tops as above then drizzle with red enchilada or taco sauce after cooking.

Pork and Stuffing

Sautee stems with 1lb pork sausage, and when nearly cooked add 1 diced onion and ¼ cup celery. Cool and mix in 1 box of pork stuffing mix (6 oz if you make it yourself). Stuff and cook until tops are browned and soft.

Bacon Blue Cheese

Cook stems as before. Add 4 ounces cream cheese (chive and onion for extra flavor), 4 ounces blue cheese, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 sliced green onions, and ½ cup of pre-cooked bacon, chopped. Cook in the tops and sprinkle on more bacon as soon as you pull from the heat.



Cake Layers

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

1 ½ cups vegetable oil ( or coconut oil)

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice

2 cups chopped bananas (about 4 medium bananas)

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup butter, softened

2 (16-oz.) packages powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Additional Ingredient

1 cup pecan halves, toasted


Prepare the Cake Layers: Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, bananas, and toasted pecans. Divide batter evenly among 3 well-greased (with shortening) and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely, about 1 hour. Prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high, and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Assemble Cake: Place first cake layer on a serving platter; spread top with 1 cup of the frosting. Top with second layer and spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with third layer and spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Arrange pecan halves on top of cake in a circular pattern.

Home&Harvest | March April 2023 25

EASTER cinnamon rolls


(For the dough)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup milk, warm

3 tbsp unsalted butter or margarine, melted

1 tbsp active dry yeast

1 large egg

(For the filling)

3 tbsp unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

(For the icing)

3/4 cup icing sugar

1 tbsp butter or margarine, room temperature

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

4 tbsp milk (or more or less, depending on desired consistency) Sprinkles


1. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.


emory ann kurysh

2. In another bowl add the warm milk, melted butter, yeast, and egg. Mix well. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the same bowl. Stir until it resembles a dough and then once it’s no longer sticky, begin to knead in the bowl or on a floured surface. Form into a ball and put into a new greased bowl. Place in oven with the light on for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a small bowl, add the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Mix well. Remove dough and place onto lightly floured surface. Roll out into a rectangle. Spread filling onto dough, leaving a 1” untouched perimeter. Starting on the longer side, roll up into a log. Cut into 12 equal pieces and put each one in a greased oblong casserole dish. Cover with aluminum foil and let rise in a warm location for 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 375°F. Once cinnamon rolls are roughly doubled in size, place in the oven with the foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5 more minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and make the icing.

5. In a bowl, combine the icing sugar, butter, vanilla, and milk. The frosting should be on the runnier side in order for it to drizzle nicely over the rolls. Pour over rolls and top with icing. Happy Easter!

Home&Harvest | March April 2023 27



heather niccoli


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tsp salt

1tsp cinnamon

3 tsp baking powder

1 egg

1 cup whole milk

½ stick of butter, room temperature

¼ cup honey


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line your cupcake pan. Combine all dry ingredients and fold in the wet and stir well, careful not to over-mix! Batter will be slightly lumpy. Fill cupcakes ½ full. Bake 15 minutes or until done! Serve with warm butter, honey butter or honey!




KITCHEN sara raquet


1 cup flour (you can substitute a cup for cup Gluten Fee Flour)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoons espresso powder

1 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar

2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Line an 9x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Spray lightly with non-stick baking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. Set aside until needed. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, oil, and 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until butter is completely melted. Remove from heat. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and remaining sugar. Whisk until well combined, about 30 seconds. Slowly, pour the warm butter mixture into the egg mixture, adding it a little bit at a time and whisking constantly until completely combined. Add in the dry ingredients and chocolate chips and, using a rubber spatula, slowly stir until just combined. *Do not over mix! Over mixing will give you cakey brownies. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges are firm and the top is shiny and slightly cracked. Place pan on a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.


cucumber sandwiches KITCHEN

It’s no secret I love retro recipes! I had my first cucumber sandwich at a work function years ago. While the original recipe called for a seasoning packet, I have found fresh herbs really create a pop that nothing else does! I hope you love this cute little recipe as much as I do.


8 ounces cream cheese

4 tablespoons mayo

1 Tbl dill

1 Tbl chives

1 tsp thyme

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp parsley

salt & pepper to taste

1 long English cucumber thinly sliced

1 loaf white bread, crusts removed


For best results, use fresh herbs! If not, dried is ok, but feel free to add more depending on your taste preferences. Mix them into the cream cheese and mayo, blend well. Spread the mixture onto your crustless bread. Add your thinly sliced cucumbers and top with another piece of bread. Pro tips: Are you serving at a potluck? Pre-cut your bread into desired pieces BEFORE you put the cucumber topping. If your sandwiches won’t be served for awhile, lay your cucumber slices on a tea towel to absorb the moisture first so your sandwiches won’t get soggy. Feel free to add or subtract any herbs you love. The key is to have fun! Sometimes I top them with a cornichon, baby tomato, fresh herbs, even a little piece of cheese. Refrigerate and serve right away.

Home&Harvest | March April 2023 33

Once upon a time…The beloved beginning to stories has been around since at least 1380, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Humans are storytellers. The first stories were told and retold, down through generations—oral tradition—perhaps around a crackling fire that puffed smoke into the cool dampness of a cave or perhaps at the feet of a respected elder on a wind-swept prairie. After written language was created, stories were read and re-read. Even in our digital age, stories are an integral part of our lives. They may take the form of family history stories, beloved children’s books read on the comforting lap of a parent or grandparent, an impossible-to-put-down story snuck under the covers with the requisite flashlight, or an action-packed movie on the big screen. People love a good story.

Reading has always been a wonderful, fulfilling, and special part of my life. I was the iconic child, reading as late at night as I could without getting in trouble for not going to bed on time. Speaking of once upon a time, I have a poster in my classroom that says, “Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved books. That was me. The end.” That pretty much sums it up. I have thousands of volumes on multiple bookshelves- both at home and in my classroom. My students ask me if I have read every book on the shelf, and I have to admit that I have read almost every one. Some of them twice, or three times. One of my favorite books is Watership Down by Richard Adams. I think part of the reason it holds a special place in my heart is that I received it as a gift from my best friend when I had to move away, which is a devastating event for a middle-schooler. On the surface, it appears to be a mesmerizing tale with rabbits as the main characters, but it is actually a very intuitive study of human nature. When I was in sixth grade, I didn’t realize the depth of the theme, but was thrilled to be reading about my favorite animals, one of which I left behind with my best friend. It was a connection we had and helped lessen the loss of pet and close friendship. The novel has over six hundred pages and took me a while to read it at the time. Many years later, it sits on my bookshelf, tattered cover taped back together, the picture of Hazel, the main bunny, worn in spots, and edges of pages crumpled and yellowed with age and use. The book is a sort of Velveteen Rabbit for me. Great stories stay with us, speaking to our hearts at different points. Sometimes they whisper in our hour of need, sometimes they thrill with shared adventure, sometimes they flood our hearts with emotion, and sometimes they deliciously scare us.


Unfortunately, not everyone is a reader. As an English teacher and a published author, I have noticed some trends directly related to how much a person reads. On the benchmark evaluation I have students take at the beginning of the quarter, one of the questions I ask is if they enjoyed having someone read to them when they were younger. Most students who answer “no” or “somewhat” often answer “IDK (I don’t know)” or “I don’t have one” when I later ask about their favorite book of all time. This makes me sad. Some of my favorite memories, cloaked with the warm feelings of a soft and well-worn blanket, are of reading with my mother, snuggled up on the couch near the fireplace. Or, when I was older, oblivious to the world for a few hours while I tried to solve the mystery Trixie Belden was investigating as a teen sleuth. Or, as a mother, reading aloud from a Louis L’Amour book to my week-old daughter at midnight. Or, doing a read-aloud to my family as we roll along on a road trip. Reading is a great way to connect with the world and others.

Sadly, today’s culture seems to be drifting away from those reading bonding times. Reading together is a time-honored, traditional practice. Reading out loud to the whole family on road trips brings everyone together with shared experiences in a way that could never be accomplished with everyone focused on their personal screens. Students who spend hours playing video games or having screen time are missing out on those connections and on developing essential reading skills related to vocabulary, fluency, and spelling. Reading has been shown to improve brain connectivity, whereas prolonged television viewing may change children’s brains in unhealthy ways. Reading is like any other skill. The more you practice it, the better you become and the more enjoyable it is. One thing I see over and over again as a teacher is students who read for extended periods of time have better overall focus abilities—increased concentration and attention spans—which is so important as a life skill. A reader creates imagery (pictures in his or her mind) as he or she reads the details of a character or a setting, or a vivid action scene. Other media—videos, television, and movies— create all of that for us, so our brains don’t get the exercise it needs. Reading allows a person to experience places and people and activities that they may never have gotten the chance to otherwise. As we read, it creates empathy for the characters, which translates into our own lives. Reading can also be a great way to save money on entertainment. A library card is inexpensive but can be the ticket to a world of adventure.

As a person reads, one sees things about language: how words look and how certain sounds are put together. The reader is introduced to new vocabulary and learns to use context clues to decode meaning. Handy skills like noticing how something doesn’t look right when a word is spelled incorrectly are developed, and it’s almost as if by magic, simply because one has read a lot. I remember as a kid, getting the latest Scholastic book order pamphlet and pouring over each book description, circling all I wanted, then having to go back and narrow down my selection to fit my allotted budget. I agonized over which book to pick and which one to leave for next time. This company shares some amazing statistics. If a student reads twenty minutes a day, he or she “will be exposed to 1.8 million words per year and score in the 90th percentile on standardized tests.”

Reading can reduce stress and studies have been conducted that concluded book readers have an advantage to longer life than non-book readers. Unless I have some papers that urgently need grading, I take a book with me to lunch and read as a way to calm myself before my afternoon classes. Reading a book right before bedtime is a great wind-down from a busy day. Reading helps people feel connected and elicits hope, which is a positive predictor of mental health. Reading is a form of self-care, which is at the forefront of mental wellness these days. I now know I don’t need to feel guilty about snatching some moments in my busy day to read.

I believe so strongly in the power of reading that when students come into my classroom, the rule is that they put their iPads away. They are required to read a good old-fashioned book for silent reading time. Some students thank me, explaining they are on their devices in every other one of their classes and need a break, and some are frustrated because they can’t try to sneak and play a game. These are actually two different types of reading: screen versus print.

There is something to be said about the reading experience at home, not just in the classroom. My husband and I had a lot of fun reading with our daughters—in the evening, on a road trip, or on vacation. Make it fun. It doesn’t have to be seen as a chore. Parents can enjoy the stories as much as the kids. Laugh along with Hank the Cowdog and his sidekick, Drover as Hank’s nose swells up from what he insists is a bee sting. When the dogs realize it is a rattlesnake bite, Drover resorts to his supposedly bum leg as an excuse not to help perform their duties as heads of ranch security. Cry along with Billy in Where the Red Fern Grows when tragedy strikes his beloved dogs, and grip the edge of your seat as Jim Hawkins is captured by the pirates in Treasure Island. Hearing fluent reading helps kids learn to be better readers.

William James (psychologist, philosopher, historian, and considered the Father of American Psychology) said it so well: “So it is with children who learn to read fluently and well: They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young birds take to the sky.” If you are feeling unsure on how to begin this reading journey, in the next issue look for an article on tips for helping children become readers, and remember, “Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light” (Vera Nazarian).

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light

Spring on the Farm

Welcome spring, after a hard-fought winter. The weather is sweeter. The roads are gentler and the wild variety of birds will begin singing again. I’ll be planting more daffodils next fall; and tulips and all kinds of beautiful hellos for spring. Our apple tree will be growing taller. The crab apple and dogwood, lilac and wild roses will be adding new branches. In preparation for this article, I just entered spring into our database and it is still surprising to me what comes forward. This collection encompasses over 160 years, day by day, so the variety is amazing.

The earliest is a photo of Mary Lorang, wife of John Lorang, trying out the new bicycle he had bought in 1898. There wasn’t any pavement to try it on, so the only choice is the grass. Her oldest son, Peter rides the bike while the next youngest Barney Lorang tries to hold up the back of the bicycle. Mary herself tries to hold onto the handles; and all three try to make it across the grass. Not sure how successful this was, but they preserved the 1895 bike plate. There is a note attached to the plate that says, “From a $100 bicycle bought in 1898 by John Lorang.” The plate itself says “The 1895 Lindsay Road Racer. Lindsay Bros. Milwaukee, Wis.”

In the next item, we find John Lorang, building his home additions to the old Homestead and doing the spring planting at the same time.

Building the 1904 Home - Excerpts from the 1904-1914 Journal record (written by John Lorang):

April 6, 1904 (Wednesday) “ we dock(dug) up trees in the morning, I ben to town and ordered lumber for house, 32-rough west wind all day-40”

April 21 (Thursday)“Maid fence along the road, ordered actstracks of an agent, 40-rainy all day-55”

April 22 (Friday) “Seting posts along the old road, 35-cold rain in the morning-60”

May 3 (Tuesday)“They put the telefon in & I been to town after noon, 32-nice all day-64”

May 6 (Friday) “The assessor has ben here. Seeded beardles-barley, 40-tedend to rain with cold w. Wing-54”

May 10 (Tuesday) “ I ben to church & bargend for the lumber for the house, 42-windy in the morning, fair after. -75”

May 18 (Wednesday) “Cleaned the grainery & cut down around the house, 42-rained in the forenoon-60”

Genesee News- April 8 (Friday) “John Lorang has plans drawn for some very extensive improvements about his farm residence. When carried out they will represent an expenditure of about $2000.00 and the Lorangs will have one of the finest homes in the country. The proposed additions to the present residence will be 16’x28’ and 16’x24’, two stories in height.”

In the Spring of 1910, John and Mary Lorang were in Europe with a national church group who had organized a trip. They had sold the hogs and saved money for this for many years. Henry Lorang and his older brother Barney were left in charge of the farm while the parents were gone.

Here is what Henry Lorang had to say about the 1910 Spring planting and other escapades:

“June 2, 1910

Dear parents –

At Home

The others have written all the general news, so I’ll devote my time to personal affairs.

Not having been here when the others wrote that letter to Rome, I didn’t get to write, but, it is just as well, for you didn’t get any mail, anyway. I have been working at Bill Ingle’s and I like the place fine-better than the one last year – and am getting a dollar and a half a day, but they do not do my washing.

So I made a contract with (sister) Christine to do my washing and it doesn’t cost quite as much as in the laundry.

I am laid off for a few days so I came home and have been hoeing in the garden and also worked off my poll tax of four dollars. Everything certainly is looking fine all over this country and there will be a lot of potatoes if nothing happens. Some are still planting and Joe Bershaw will finish a twenty acre piece this week. I fear they’ll be cheap again this year. Well, otherwise, I don’t know anything well I am feeling fine and everything is OK. As I hope it will be with you both all the way around. May God’s blessings rest on you for a safe return.

I am your affectionate son, Henry.

Last Saturday May the 28th I went with the train to visit at Uniontown and Colton. (sister) Amalia got permission to stay-

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(cousins) Mertes overnight and so we had a good time – also went to a show at Uniontown.”

The early photos that show up next are one of John Lorang planting potatoes in 1912. He thought this would be his last year in the field, so he had photos taken throughout the 1912 season with a variety of machinery from the era. We also have a 1912 book in our collection with details and descriptions of 1912 Farm machinery. Next is a 1916 photograph of Genesee Baseball team playing the Lapwai team, when it was still sometimes called Base Ball; during the 1916 Genesee Horse Show. We also have a wonderful photo postcard of someone from the Lapwai team that John Lorang had collected.

For the 1920’s, 1930’s and beyond, several magazine covers pop up in the search. The 1930’s especially has some beautiful covers. We are not sure why we have so many magazines from the 1930’s, as Henry Lorang was only bartering at the time and quite destitute. It is possible though that his father-in-law, parents of his wife Marguerite were able to help out the family. Marguerite Tobin was from a railroad family and they had done quite well in contracting railway work. So, we do have several titles of magazines from the 1930’s; all still preserved. And available for reading in our library.

In 1943, I see a letter from the USDA to Henry Lorang. Apparently, during WWII, it was necessary to formally request any tool made of metal, since the metal was seriously considered important for the “War Work”. Here Henry Lorang is requesting a tractor wrench needed for his Spring work on the farm.

“United States Department of Agriculture


Mr. H. M. Lorang, Genesee, Idaho

Dear Sir,

This will acknowledge receipt of your application on PD-1A, for the tractor wrench, also, to advise that the Latah County USA War Board has reviewed this application and have forwarded it to the District Priorities Specialist, WPB, with the recommendation of your approval.

Very truly yours, Clarence

And in 1966, we see something that Henry Lorang would have had found on his kitchen table. This 1966 Genesee News, with his friend Bert Gamble’s poem about Spring. A little poem to brighten the day. Another sample of how the Palouse farmers often found time in their day to create something artistic.


I love the lengthening days because they hold me, To nearer, dearer, things that are to be; When winterness no longer shall enfold me, And wildflowers come to vale and upland lea. In lengthening days I find no note of sadness, As buds of promise back to me they bring; To make this great big world just ring with gladness, And rapture that returns with every spring.

—Bert Gamble, 1966


A Reading For You

I got a new deck! I love getting a new oracle or tarot deck - taking in the images, feeling the energy of the cards, getting to know its messages. So, let’s play! Allow me to introduce you to three of the cards from Lainie Love Dalby’s SACRED (R)EVOLUTION® ORACLE. Isn’t this a dynamic deck?!

As you look over these three cards and take in all their imagery, colors, textures you can almost feel - think about a message you need as the seasons are changing from winter to spring. Which of these cards holds your attention with that in mind? Which invites you to look longer, deeper? Which holds the beginnings of something new, like spring does, for you?

The first card - #29 | Sacred Play & Synchronicity

Well, first of all, if you haven’t read the article I wrote in this issue yet, maybe check that out. I wrote that first and then drew the cards for this piece. It’s beautifully aligned that they both speak to play. Magical!

Secondly, the message of this card is to remember and reactivate play in your life as a sacred practice! Creating beauty and joy in your life help heal many of the wounds so many of us feel. If you’re feeling unworthy, lonely, separate, unwanted, or less than - try curating time for simple joys. Dance or art can give you something that to connect to and that is a part of you, as you are a part of it. You might remember that you’ll never ‘fit in’ with everyone everywhere but also that you aren’t meant to. In this life you’re meant to shine your light and attract and be attracted to those that benefit from and support that shining light!

Home&Harvest | March April 2023 48

Be open to the connections that playtime can bring to your attention. Who attends that class with you every week? What memory pops into your mind every time you pick up your paintbrush? What opportunities could be there for your consideration? Synchronicities aren’t just cool - they often are nudges onto our path or at least toward the next right step. Are you ready to joyfully and playfully dance down your path?

The second card - #21 | Life, Death, and Rebirth Mysteries

This card reminds you to live this life fully alive! That can seem obvious, but so many people aren’t doing it. Being fully and humanly alive is about recognizing the full cycle of life, including all the feelings and emotions that go along with it. There’s a lot we don’t understand about death and a lot that we fear. So, we rush through it. We want to hold onto the more pleasant parts of the cycle for as long as we can, though, right? I’ve heard the saying, “And this too shall pass,” many times over the years, but recently someone pointed out that it refers to the good and not-so-good times. Both shall pass. Life is meant to pass.

So, for me, I feel the recognition of the life, death, rebirth cycle is one message of this card. The other is the importance of sitting with each phase - embracing it fully. Truly, every death experience contains a rebirth and vice versa. Feel it. Rushing through our feelings often means stuffing them down and not releasing them from our systems, which causes undo stress on our nervous systems. What if, though, we recognized that joyous occasions like weddings, births, and graduations also contained the breakdown of a known way of life and held uncertainty that could be both exciting and scary all at the same time? What if we mourned the death of a loved one, a job loss, or a financial setback as the end of something and the beginning of something else? How could our lives be different, feel different, if we accepted and honored the cycle of death and rebirth in and around us all the time? How alive could you be?

The third card - #46 | Sovereign Thrones

What a beautiful card for the beginning of spring, the start of something new. This card is about sovereignty, but not the loud proclamation of it to the world…not yet. This message is that you first have to recognize it in yourself.

Imagine that your caterpillar days are over and you’ve dissolved inside your chrysalis and reformed into a butterfly. You’re almost ready to spread your wings, but you’re still gently realizing that you even have wings. Use this last bit of protected time in the chrysalis to tell yourself how incredible you are, how brave and curious and brilliant your soul energy is. Your essence is true and unique. You have authority over yourself. You can use your voice to stand up for your truth, to share your opinions. When this chrysalis cracks open you will be born again, original and creative and powerful unto yourself. Get ready. Feel the excitement. Just like the seed’s sprout pushing through the ground to emerge into the open air, you will be stretching out to feel the sun on your skin. You will be growing stronger, being nurtured in the ways you need and desire, showing yourself fully and authentically.

This is the time just before, right before the breakthrough. You’re ready. You’re anticipating. You can fly! Your wildest caterpillar dreams are coming! Believe your truth. Feel it. Know it. You’ll know when it’s time to break out and go because that’s part of your sovereignty - it’s time that you play by your rules. You choose. You choose you. ***

Mmm, mmm, mmm…good stuff in these cards! May spring bloom in and around you in ways that revitalize. May you see the cycles of life in your own life and grow along with them. May you always pause and breathe to take it all in, and let it all go.

x b
Home&Harvest | March April 2023 49

y the time Home and Harvest’s spring edition is available to readers, some of us in warmer regions will be ushering carefully-nursed plants from greenhouses or local vendors into prepared garden spots. Or, longing for early crops such as peas and kale, we will have done the careful work of tilling and planning. Those in higher elevations will have to wait a few more weeks unless you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse. With our work and care, our annuals, or even carefully-preserved perennials, will begin their work of producing healthy vegetables, fruits, or flowered beauties we can share with friends and family. As the business of this happy toil in our gardens builds, along with the realization of important tasks we must accomplish as diligent gardeners, our plants in turn undertake their own work on a microscopic level. There are complex tasks performed on an unseen molecular scale through photosynthesis and cellular respiration. These and detailed processes far more complex than just converting carbon dioxide and water into energy are dependent on many microscopic elements that are unseen. Our plants’ successes in many ways have been predetermined by the investment we have made in our soil months ago. Micronutrients, healthy soil microbes, and the balance of soil components are greatly affected by the gardener’s understanding of cycles of growth, harvest, rest, and rejuvenation. And dormancy! Seasons of rest and rejuvenation precede seasons of growth in life and in the garden. We can learn from these seasonal cycles of rest to not only promote a better garden harvest but also for protection and rejuvenation of our souls. Thus, it is not only profitable to explore the concept of using cover crops during times of fallow to help our gardens and flower beds succeed, but to also give us wisdom in allowing seasons of rest and dormancy in our busy lives. Yes, I said it. To actually rest; take a sabbatical, not stuffed with other types of productivity demands but rest that gives back into what makes us able to produce more, produce better, and produce in seasons that are right. It helps us learn ways we can manage the stormy cold elements that will come and would strip our lives of the ability to renew, grow and meet the demands of life with joy and fulfillment. As you read on then, a tip; you can exchange soul for soil most anywhere as we explore cover cropping and garden health.

Dormancy is often misunderstood. In our garden soil, it is more than just resting or asleep to functional activity but is also enduring a time of vulnerability. As wind, rain and snow pelt exposed garden areas, we may tend to put them out of mind as we read a good book by a cozy fire. In the ground outside, cycles of freezing and thawing, drying and drenching are having an effect, especially if the soil is fully exposed. It is now understood that bacteria, fungi, and nematodes—small soil workers, some good and bad—are fighting to survive and undergoing their natural cycles. Pests are also struggling to survive during winter dormancy. Also of great importance is the state or movement of water-soluble nutrients which can easily be washed out of our soil, leaving garden beds depleted when the sun shines again. It turns out gardening is not that simple and understanding seasonal cycles it important. Increasingly, hobby farmers and “urban homesteaders” are realizing that ground rest is important. I am glad gardening is catching on again as urbanites and descendants of past farmers circle back to their ancestral roots. Let’s face it, not that long ago, most folks had a garden and chickens out of necessity, not as a hobby or out of a realization that this is a healthy lifestyle. Historically, homesteading meant something else entirely. So, to all the YouTubers, Tik Tockers, and garden Instagramers finding an immediate following and purpose in this “new-

the real estate market

-fad,” welcome back. And welcome to the idea of garden rest and cover cropping.

So it is that soil is alive. Helping it rest and rejuvenate well is important. During growth cycles bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and even helpful nematodes not only break down decaying plant matter, fix nitrogen in the soil for plant uptake, assist plant roots in absorption of critical nutrients, and much more. Soil bacteria produce natural antibiotics that help plants resist disease. Protozoa, in turn, feast on and control bacteria to keep them in a healthy balance. Fungi assist plants in absorbing water and nutrients. Crop production depletes soil and unhealthy tilling practices or the overuse of chemicals may further unbalance beneficial cycles. A good way to help restore balance during seasons of garden dormancy is the use of a cover crop.

Soils are complex ecosystems that need rest. Our souls are also complex ecosystems that in the same ways need to rest and replenish. We would be wise to look to nature for clues in health and rejuvenation. Farmers have known for centuries that good practice to maintain yields includes allowing the ground to lie fallow with no crop production for a season, covering the soil for protection, and planting simple rejuvenating crops. These crops are not for harvest, but because they support fragile microbiomes necessary for soil health. Our lives are the same.

In review, healthy soil is teeming with bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoa, nematodes, and other tiny creatures which are diminished in extreme heat or by cold. By planting a crop that will germinate before these stressful times we offer a medium for these organisms to sustain life during garden down-time. Cover crops are annual plants, or even perennial grasses or grain—usually a combination thereof. They are often hardy winter varieties that germinate quickly in the last few weeks of fall’s waning sunshine before the first hard frosts and as daylight hours shorten beyond a sustainable growth capacity. Typically, cover crops can be planted after fall harvest but before winter’s chill. They grow until you plant your next crop in the spring or can even be allowed to grow for a year’s time in the case of fallow. These crops are often tilled into the soil. Once established, it is expected that they will die back, but established roots and organic matter have created a great mat of organic material to prevent erosion and support soil microbes. They also may crowd out weeds, discourage pests and diseases, increase biodiversity and even have anti-pest capabilities.

If you are a committed cover-cropper, kudos to you. I now appreciate the extra work it creates, and admit I am a latecomer to the idea. As a youth I diligently, and often not too optimistically, helped my dad shovel leaves and compost on our gardens from the back of our old Chevy work truck. If I was lucky, he would let me drive. I used care to avoid our covered orchard sprinklers as the leaves of the adjacent locust and walnut trees turned yellow and fluttered to the ground. We would cover up unharvested plants, but I was not sure why. Of course, mulching and throwing good composted manure onto the garden plot before winter strikes is not the same as planting a cover crop, but it is better than nothing. After taking master gardener classes, I better understood what my dad and his father before him had been doing. I renewed my commitment. So it was that last September, amid the bustle of starting a new job, harvesting garden vegetables, orchard fruit, and juicing grapes, I finally found time to plant a real cover crop. I dug through notes from my master gardener class, did some further research on the Internet and ordered what I deemed to be the best option for my garden goals. I received the seed mix, broadcast it by hand, and raked a little-

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-dirt over most of the seeds of various shapes and sizes. Fall days were still warm enough to let the mix of legumes, grains and mustards sprout. I did have to lay ranch panels over the bare soil to keep the chickens from excavating most of the new seed. About three days after the first good fall rain, the bare soil of my three garden plots transformed into a lush green mat of fresh growth.

Now, if you have not planted a cover crop, don’t panic. It is something to think about for next year but do think about it. There are other solutions to preparing your soil for spring planting. A tempting solution might be to buy bags of garden soil or hastily till in some bags of fertilizer before planting. I must admit in my rush and ignorance, I have done this too many times. The number and types of products we see at garden centers with their marketing strategies for soil health attests to how rushed and neglecting we can be regarding our soil. And yes, we can replace nitrogen, phosphate, and potash in various portions as represented on a bag of granular fertilizer, and this does work. However, taking this approach ignores micronutrients such as magnesium, boron, copper, iron, and others that are better preserved through the seasons with good preservation tactics. What if we could preserve or “fix” these nutrients in the soil before winter overtakes us? This is the concept of the cover crop.

When the time comes, choosing a cover crop has never been easier. Specialty cover crops are easy to find. You may choose pollinators that will flower early and support local bee populations that are desperate for the first nectar after a long winter, or mixes or cocktails that will provide graze for animals such as triticale, -

-legumes and clovers that fix nitrogen into the soil. You can find seed that help restore native grasses. All will build soil organic matter, smother unwanted weeds, and even disrupt pest cycles. Rooting actions decrease soil compaction, and the deep-growing root systems of ryegrasses and radishes are used for this purpose. Nitrogen fixers, clovers peas, hemp. Annual vs. perennial. Some die in winter, others may need to be tilled into the soil before they can go to seed. The point is, do your research to see what fits your climate, planned garden goals for your soil rest time, and give it a try. Now let us think about the seasons of life and taking rest. I recently heard a local speaker make the observation that being “crazy busy” in life is the expectation for all of us. Work, parenting and even recreation demands more and more. If we were to ask a friend what they were planning over a week’s vacation, and they said, “Nothing, really,” we would pity their lack of motivation, but who is the wiser of the two? Social media multiplies the pressure we put on each other to perform and produce more and more, not only at work but also when at play or at rest. Many are breaking under the strain, and we are tragically passing this high-speed mentality to our children. When will we make the simple correlation between our phrenic activity and skyrocketing levels of anxiety and depression? We must allow seasons of life to provide us rest without guilt or embarrassment. We should find “cover crops” to fill our lives with simple activities that support family roots and social networks. We should allow the soil of our lives to rejuvenate and renew its growing potential to nurture through simple but critical tasks that quietly preserve and protect us in preparation for new seasons of growth.

Home&Harvest | March April 2023 54

New Year, NewELRRifLe

As I start into the 2023 ELR season, I have decided to make a few changes to hopefully move my finishing place up the list from #45 to somewhere in the top ten and push myself to be more competitive in the light gun class. I don’t want to imply that finishing in 45th place is a hang-your-head thing because it’s not. I know I can do better, and I believe I have met the reasonable expectations of the .375 caliber cartridge. I know the cartridge could do better. I’m just not sure it can with me shooting it.

So where do we go from here, you might ask? The 375 EnABELR cartridge is already the size of an uncooked hot dog. It launches a 377 or 402-grain solid copper bullet at about 2915-2950 feet per second, depending on the load. Well, you know how a hot dog plumps up a bit when you cook it? Let’s do that and see how that works out.

When you look at the data collected at the King of 2 Mile championship, trends start to jump out at you in the way of patterns. The first thing is caliber. Seven of the top ten are all shooting a variant of a .416, and of those, the Hellfire claimed just over half of the top ten spots, including first and second places. These heavy .416 bullets carry the distance and buck the wind better. The second thing that jumps out is, with the exception of one person, the top 40 positions all use the same ballistic calculator by Applied Ballistics. The third thing that shows up as an overwhelming pattern is the bullets. Of roughly the top 40 shooters, all but three were shooting the same model bullets from the same manufacturer Cutting Edge Lazer. Nightforce claimed 26 of the top 40 spots. Not as lop-sided as the bullets, but still a trend we can track. The last item is the stock/chassis. Thirty-

-two of those top forty were shooting a stock over a chassis. Of those, the vast majority are made by Manners. It is my understanding that the championship has never gone to anyone shooting an aluminum chassis.

In the weeks that followed the KO2M championship in Raton, NM, There was some soul-searching around my house. I either need to make some changes to better compete with these guys or let it be just a fun hobby. If you have been following me through this adventure, you already know how that went and where we are going.

You guessed correctly. I got on the phone with my buddy Jim Nordoff at Pierce Engineering in Lansing, Michigan, to see what he could do for me. Jim treated me well as a repeat customer, and I placed an order for one of their 20X actions. The 20X is a monster when compared to a regular Rem 700 action or even the 10X action that I shoot now. It is two inches in diameter and a full ten inches long, weighing in at a robust six and a half pounds with the bolt and scope rail. This action has the strength to handle anything I can realistically throw at it.

In staying with the “tribe mentality,” I felt like I needed to make the jump into the 416 Hellfire. This decision would mean that we would be able to share data better and therefore help give us (me) a better competitive edge. Along these lines, the other decision being made was bullet choice. Again, we would all be shooting the same bullet, the 525-grain Cutting Edge Lazer. Last year, Cutting Edge moved to the Boise area, so this was an easy choice. I try to support my friends first, The Palouse second, and Idaho third whenever possible.

I better get a barrel in the works because those things can take forever. I met Ken Johnson at the KO2M Championship, and he seemed like a stand-up guy with K&P Barrels out of South Dakota. When you look at the equipment list, K&P barrels are probably on more rifles than any other single manufacturer. After visiting with Ken for 15 minutes on the phone, he had me all lined out. I would get a 36-inch barrel that was 1.75” in diameter at the chamber and would be straight for five inches. Then the barrel will taper to 1.375” in diameter at the muzzle. This would leave plenty of metal to put a massive T5 muzzle brake on. Ken informed me that he would be making 4 of these barrels at the same time. These barrels would be for John Beloit, Robert Vestal, himself, and me. This was good news and meant these would be done quickly. I was correct, and the barrels we off to the gunsmith in 3-4 weeks. I better figure out what I’m going to do for a stock/chassis because things are moving faster than I expected.

We ran into this before when I was building my 375 EnABELR in that the choices are somewhat limited when you move into these oversized actions with long, thick barrels. Manners Composite Stocks makes one that is absolutely gorgeous in carbon fiber and is a direct fit for the 20X. I ordered one, but there was one slight problem. It looked like an 18-month lead time. That meant I wouldn’t see the stock until mid-year 2024. I left the order in but immediately started looking for options. I was visiting with Stanley Cutsforth on the phone one day. He mentioned that he had a Cerus wood/carbon fiber laminate stock that had never been touched and was sized appropriately to hold what I was planning because that was what he was planning on doing with it.

He sent me a couple of pictures, and after some negotiating, we struck a deal. I gave him money, and he sent me the stock. I have mentioned these stocks before in a little different context in that, in my option, they qualify as art. The fact they are made right there in the Boise area of Idaho was a definite plus for me. The outside of the stock is instrument-grade Birdseye Maple, then Black Walnut, another layer of Maple, again with the Black Walnut, and then a center section of Brazilian Cherry. Each layer is reinforced with a layer of carbon fiber, eight in total—absolutely a piece of functional art.

I tapped into the ever-expanding “Tribe” to amass everything I would need to give this project life. Scotty McRees of McRees Precision hooked me up with a custom scope rail to make sure I was able to use all the adjustment my scope had available. Mark Fitzpatrick knocked me out a set of custom .416 Hellfire dies, which in their own way, qualify as art. Richie Young of Bertram Brass got me lined out with a hundred pieces of brass right off the boat from Australia. Stanley Cutsforth had become a dealer for Cutting Edge Bullets. He hooked me up with an order of 525-grain solid copper bullets. John Beloit, though a buddy, had found a stash of the right powder at a small reloading shop in Boise. My buddy Dennis ran over there and bought what I needed, no questions asked, and is storing it in “the closet” until I get up that way to pick it up. Amber and Derek of DNA Custom Engraving just happened to have an overstock case left over from KO2M that was just the right size with a belt in thermometer /hydrometer. I will still need a case for transport and optic to complete the project. For the short term, the new rifle will have to share optics with another rifle. I don’t think I would have ever had a chance to put this all together in such a short time without all the friends I have made over the last few years. The Tribe will always rise to the occasion when challenged. As I write this, at the beginning of February, everything is in place, and I’m just waiting for the barrel to be chambered, fit, and shipped. That should take place in the next few weeks.

Once the barreled action arrives, the ball is in my court. It will be time to dust off the woodworking skills instilled in me by my father so many years ago. I have elected to do the inlay of the action into the stock and then bed it myself. With some assistance from some very close friends, I think when it’s all done, it will be something I will be proud of because I had a hand in building it and finishing it, not just dreaming it up.

So what is going to happen to the 375 EnABELR? Well, a friend down in Texas, Jay Monych, has started a pro-am kind of thing to try to grow our sport. He is pairing an experienced shooter with a rookie and scoring them as a team. The concept was very well received, and the match sold out in under 2 minutes. Hopefully, there will be more of these types of matches coming. To do my part, I will loan out my rifle to people who want to try this ELR thing before investing the time and money into gear. Under my direct supervision, of course, I’m not crazy. My nephew Ty Kinyon will be the first victim, as he will use it in The Best Of The West shoot this spring in Lexington, OR. Of course, this is all contingent on getting the new 416 rifle up and running. I will continue to do this for a few matches. When the barrel is finally shot out and the bullets are all gone, I plan on changing it to a 338 EnABELR to compete in the light gun class of ELR. But that is another adventure for another time.

Home&Harvest | March April 2023 58
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of the palouse Sally Fredericks

Expectations, what does that word mean to you? I recalled something from my very early past in that I remember very distinctly the moment that I realized girls were treated differently from boys. While I don’t recall the circumstances that led up to that realization, all I remember is that it hit me like a ton of bricks. That there were two standards of accepted behavior, one for girls and one for boys, and I didn’t like that. And I remember that I didn’t think I had the choice to change it, and therefore, must accept the status quo. This memory was triggered by my conversation with an exceptional 90-year-old woman, named Sally Fredericks, with whom I am pleased to share her story and the “aha” moment when she didn’t let expectations of being a female limit her career path.

Sally was born in March of 1933, where she and her brother were raised by their hard-working dad and mom, who was also a teacher. Back then married teachers weren’t allowed to work as the thought was that their husband should support them. However, the father wasn’t always in the picture, and she needed to provide for herself and her children. Thankfully, the rural school system was more accepting of female teachers regardless of their marital status. Sally recalls her mom taught in a one room schoolhouse in Prichard, Idaho. The school had no electricity, that there were kerosene type lights and a potbellied stove for heat in which her mom was responsible for building a fire before she could teach her class. As a 2nd grader, Sally said her mom didn’t want people to have the impression she was favored since her mom was the teacher and thus, she was very strict with her. Sally and her mom lived in a small place in Prichard, and Sally loved playing outdoors and that life was peaceful.

At 17, after moving back to Kellogg after second grade, Sally’s mom passed away. Sally was invited to live with her aunt in Seattle after graduating from Kellogg High School. Sally looks back on this as “a gift” in that it afforded a different opportunity she never would have realized had her mom been alive and that she most likely would never have left her rural hometown. Sally recalls it being a very lonely year and that she focused very seriously on her studies at the University of Washington, which were general studies and biology. In 1951, it wasn’t common for women to go to college and only about 1.2% of women did attend a university. And society’s view of women furthering their education was often associated with them looking to get a husband. As a result many faced discrimination as the accepted role for young women was to marry early, have children and be content as a homemaker. So going to college with the goal of becoming a nurse, while it was deemed an appropriate job for a female, it was still unusual for women to pursue a higher education especially in the field of science.

Then one day a friend of her father’s stopped by for a visit. When he learned Sally was contemplating nursing school, he asked her a life changing question. What he asked was, “do you really want to take orders from doctors and carry bedpans the rest of your career life? Why not become a doctor and give those orders!” Sally recalls that she never would have questioned her chosen field and role in life. And once she did, well the expectations of what a woman should and shouldn’t do were lifted, this included her career path as well as hobbies. Sally applied and was accepted to University of Washington’s Medical College. She was 1 of 4 women in her class. When I asked if she felt any discrimination from her professors or the other males in her class, she replied no. That they treated her and the other women just like one of the men.

In college, she lived in a female dorm and says she and the other female residents tested the patience of their house mom. Sally said they were a lively and frisky group of like-minded women. Her roommate along with her boyfriend introduced Sally to mountaineering. And together they climbed Mt. Rainer and Mt. Baker. Again, not a common activity for women. But Sally loved the challenge as well as being outdoors.

Being a woman in the field dominated by men, she caught the eye of a fellow medical student, named Dick. Sally overheard-



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-Dick mentioning that he was a hiker and loved walking the ship canals when he wasn’t in school or studying. Besides being cute, this outdoor aspect intrigued Sally and eventually the two began dating. Their first date was…. you guessed it, walking the ship canals. Love of medicine and hiking in the outdoors led to marriage during their 3rd year of school. After gradu ating a year later, they both were accepted for an intern ship in Philadelphia at the Philadelphia General Hospital.

After that exciting year back east, they got on at Northern State Hospital in the Skagit Valley, which was a mental hospital. Two-thirds into Sally’s residency in psychiatry, the hospital closed and they moved back to the Bellevue area where Sally finished her third year. By this time, they had 3 children and during the second year of Sally’s residency, she stayed in Seattle and came home on weekends. Dick, her husband, worked full-time at Northern State, was “Mr. Mom” with the help of a housekeeper/nanny and they made it work until they all moved to Bellevue for Sally to complete her residency, while Dick worked for Public Health at Pioneer Square. In 1974, Dick accepted a position at WSU Student Health Services and the family moved to Moscow. Sally worked at the Whitman County Mental Health Center in Pullman where she also established a private practice in Pullman, as well as accepting a part-time position at the U of I Student Health Center. Back on the Palouse, the family of 5 spent many hours of camping, hiking, snow skiing and whitewater rafting. Having enjoyed many Bloomsday races, Dick and Sally also began running in Seattle, Spokane, CDA., and Portland marathons.

Dick retired in 1999 and Sally retired in 1997. Their retirement years were spent enjoying their rural home stead, traveling with friends to see their grown children whose careers took them all across America as well as other countries. And on one such trip, Sally spent 6 months traveling alone to India and Thailand as a meditative adventure wherein she did volunteer work in villages. Dick passed away January 6, 2020, and today Sally continues to live at home and enjoys her family and friends who stop by.

As we wrapped up the interview, I again mentioned to Sally what an extraordinary woman she was. And how I marveled at how one observation from a family friend could change the whole prospective of a young woman to buck “ the normal standards for a woman’s role” and how it carried over into her personal life. One that was rich with challenging society standards, making a mark for herself and paving the way for other women to follow rank. By giving herself permission to step outside the box not only professionally but also personally she lived life on her own terms. Simply said, I was in awe getting to peek inside the life of someone whose inspirational story will hopefully give rise to any young woman (or man) to not let the norms of what society’s expectations should dictate, but rather for each person to have the freedom to be able to seek out a path that inspires a true passion for living.

The first day of spring had come and gone and I was coming out of my hibernation like a snarly bear. I was isolating in my room with my door closed and had told my mom not to bug me. Alone in my moodiness and sprawled across my pink ruffled canopy bed, I read my Mad magazines and wrote letters to friends ranting about the injustices of my pampered young life with my little black and white television providing background noise. The weatherman on the news wore a gray plaid winter scarf around his neck as he predicted more rain, wind and cool temperatures while waving his little baton across the map of the western states, gyrating like he was the north wind himself. It was late March, 1967. The evening headline news began showing footage of over one hundred and fifty riots protesting racial inequality and censored photos of a war on foreign soil. I turned the channel to Gilligan’s Island where the problems were basically limited to frolicking happily in a tropical paradise while waiting to be rescued then to Leave it to Beaver with Mrs. Cleaver wearing her best dress, heels and pearls while preparing dinner and dusting the house. They seemed to be realistic versions of my future as an adult but turned out to be a cruel ruse of early television.

My 13th birthday was in a few weeks and I was going to finally be a teenager. I was convinced that my whole life was about to change. The party list was to include girls and boys. The roster became so large, there was no way my mom’s budget would be able to take a group that size out, so it would have to be at our house. I pictured a grand yard party but April in Seattle almost certainly promises rain, so our creepy low-ceiling basement would be the only solution.

The party took place in the cement dungeon with the traditional banners, balloons, streamers and tablecloth covered punch table. The birthday cake was decorated with a plethora of pastel frosting flowers and personalized with “Jackie” written in pink letters. (I never liked that nickname or the color pink). I refused to allow my mother to put up the Pin the Tail on the Donkey game. It remained hidden away forevermore. Was my mom ever a teenager? Geez. We weren’t going to play spin-the-bottle, although I think someone did suggest it. I played records on my portable stereo but didn’t have very many of the songs being requested. The audience was bored and made it clear with eye rolling and side glances. There was no interest in playing childish party games so we were just standing around aimlessly in the brightly lit room in full view of our immaturity and lack of social graces. In fact, we demonstrated we had not developed past hurtful teasing, whispering behind one another’s backs, and pretending we knew things that we did not. I could sense the weight of the awkwardness we all shared like a mushroom cloud filling the room. We desperately wanted to detach from our identity as children but were helplessly dangling somewhere between the innocence of Peter, Paul and Mary singing “Puff the Magic Dragon” and the realism of “The Ballad of the Green Berets“.


After that birthday my life did change but not in a way I could recognize at the time. I was determined to reinvent myself to become cool in the eyes of my peers. My mother was not going to know me as well from that day on. My teenager attitude closed, no, slammed the door and I thoughtlessly alienated her in my attempt to embrace maturity. My quest was to become more independent and govern myself. But that is not what happened. I had merely joined the game of follow-the-leader as I narrowly focused on fitting in. I continued reinventing myself at each new school, at each new job, and most painfully in each personal relationship. I concealed my true self, changing like a chameleon to be liked, to be accepted, to tirelessly determine who I needed to be over and over again. In a sense I continued that awkward dangling feeling I had at my birthday party between naivete and awareness. After many years passed, I tripped over a question that I was not able to answer. “Who am I?” I had rarely felt comfortable expressing my true desires, emotions or opinions and had locked them up for so long I was not sure what they were. I was forced to realize there was a colossal difference between reinventing myself and knowing or being myself and I knew I needed to figure it out. I had very low self-esteem and had basically told myself I did not matter. I over-compromised to please everyone and I had let the opinions of others hide my truths, thus concealing my uniqueness. This is a killer of creativity, innovation and self-worth. My growth had stopped and I was invisible. The seduction of the status quo sometimes just needs to be challenged or at least questioned. It wasn’t until I was in my mid 20’s that I figured out that we compromise ourselves when we refrain from being who we are. This is true in our personal lives and in the workplace.

I had taken a job in an upscale downtown store as a cashier and after several months was unexpectedly let go in a private meeting with the manager. She had some of my closing receipts in her hand and cited I had not included all of them in the till so since I couldn’t follow the protocol to close the store, she could not trust me. I knew for a fact I had not withheld any and had wondered about the discrepancy myself. I left her office with a red face and a sinking feeling of failure. As I passed the assistant manager, I noticed what only could be described as a blatant smile of victory. I shoved the thought into the darkness to silence it. It would mean facing up to something awkward and uncomfortable so I wanted it to stay hidden. I was the only one that knew that one Friday night when several of us employees had gone out pub hopping he had gotten me aside from the group so they would be unaware of his inappropriate behavior. When I declined his advances and refused to leave with him, he turned into a very rude person. We had not had any exchanges at work until his presence at my firing. I will never know if his tampering with the till caused me to be fired because I was afraid to speak up. I rewind that scene occasionally and see me standing up for myself and voicing my suspicion in spite of the consequences. The fact was I had not yet found my confident self so I had no voice. Some of my biggest mistakes were made from not feeling confident enough to express my opinion about important things that directly affected my life. I recall another awakening as I was at the end of my rope, literally. My recreational-

-rock climbing had brought me to Moosedog Tower in Joshua Tree National Park . I was agile and lithe in those glorious days and comfortable with my first 5.6 climb. The California sun was stunning on a cool spring morning and the climb went better than I expected until my downclimbing proved I was not so spider-like. This is a good thing to become aware of, but not at 800 feet up a climb. After the unnerving free rappel on the backside and much heroic coaxing, coaching and belaying by my experienced and calm climbing partner, I finally made it to the ground to be greeted by the scowling faces of climbers waiting patiently for access to the popular route. I apologized to them and to myself. I had gone beyond challenging myself, I had challenged nature. I found the truth that I did not want to test my skills against her. I wanted nothing from her but to be allowed to savor her majestic beauty. My bliss was found lying on the ground and quietly taking in her magnificence with my senses. I had no misgivings about retiring my climbing shoes and harness, which confirmed I had made an important self-discovery.

In my 30’s I was called Momma. This role puts the whole self-awareness thing on hold as you slide to the back of the line for the demands of everyone else’s needs, but that chapter improves and they eventually join you in the quest to find inner truths. My sons, like a large percentage of recent generations, understand the importance of a goal of self-actualization. This is a term referring to gathering enough self-knowledge to allow a person to be able to reach his or her true potential. I have watched as my sons have to date, pursued some dreams and have met mostly successes. According to Psychology Today writer, author, and expert on well-being, Tchiki Davis Ph.D, most of us are on autopilot and not aware of why we succeed or fail and only self-reflect when something goes wrong. I find this believable. I think taking time for introspection is just not a priority in the midst of the pressures of today’s world. But if more people did, they would know more about themselves and experience more growth, confidence and success. Self-awareness can be found in people of varying ages, backgrounds, and income levels. It is easily attainable to anyone who finds the door.

It is a personal trek to pursue self-knowledge and practice wellbeing. I am only trying to shine a light on some of my observations as I continue to increase mine. The overwhelming excess of blogs, podcasts, twitter posts and the like seem innocent, however they may lead you down a maze of rabbit holes that will only complicate your search for the door to self-knowledge. Please remember that these sources are still strangers who do not know you. The questions we have and the forming of our thoughts should be handled with care by only those we know and trust. If you are shopping online for answers, I think it is best to to seek professional counselors, psychologists and therapists who are trained to help understand our complicated minds. Granted, I am a stranger, and not one of those experts whom I have indeed gotten counsel from, but I thought I would share some small crumbs that helped me find my way to a better relationship with myself. In addition to long solitary walks, meditation, readings of great philosophers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and (my favorite) Henry David Thoreau and journaling,

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I also consider the I Ching, astrology, tarot cards and Dr. Seuss to be very useful tools.

Improving one’s perspectives and self-awareness is not a new concept. Man has always searched for paths to enlightenment, fulfillment, love and success. Thousands of years ago the tossing and reading of I Ching coins provided insight to a person about situations, dilemmas or relationships. By reading a complex hexagonal diagram, a different way of looking at things could be revealed, or at least open the door to begin conversations with oneself.

What do the stars tell us about ourselves? Astrology was once linked to astronomy but following the monumental advances of science in the 17th century, it was dismissed. The familiar zodiac signs are Sun signs according to where the orb was positioned on the day you were born and even more traits can be determined by the hour you were born. Be it accurate or be it nonsense, when I look at a list of traits for my sign of Aries, I experience feeling good about my strengths like self-assured, brave, and honest and become mindful to improve my weaknesses like impatience, impulsiveness and bossiness. And no, I did not list those last three in my eharmony profile. Zodiac readings have no science backed evidence but they have helped me look at myself and my relationships with others by offering prompts to recognize our very real human tendencies. Here is an example of one that led to self-reflection and improving a relationship. A friend was really upset when she and her adult son were having increased difficulty getting along. In passing, she happened to ask me if I knew what tendencies a Gemini was known to have. When we did some reading we found that his moon in Scorpio causes him to always feel he is disappointing everyone and his sun in Gemini fortifies his need for privacy. To minimize the conflicts it seemed logical to tone down the constant nagging and stop attacking his self worth. We still bruise as grown ups, and mothers are likely to ride that mothering nag around and around the arena and all the way back to the barn. Her tendency to be domineering, a trait of an Aries, was another good topic for their discussion and it helped her to recognize that the power of love has nothing to do with the power struggle of being a dominating parent. She was able to shift to being more respectful and supportive and he saw that he could try to express his need for boundaries with less aggression. In honest self-reflection we can detect fibs we have told ourselves, like casting the blame on anyone but yourself. After you become aware of your ownership and share those truths with others, there will be forward motion in understanding both perspectives. Honestly speaking about our vulnerabilities is not easy, especially in the maintenance of family ties that are constantly strained by the inevitable drama of life. But if there was a book, Family Relationships for Dummies, I would hope to find a helpful list of human traits that we need to be aware of and have caring discussions, starting with which ones are our own. Operator manuals would be helpful, you know?

Tarot cards are linked to astrology. Once thought of as mysticism with ties to the occult, it has been discovered that their innocent beginnings trace back to being a card game developed in Italy in the 1400’s. Tarot cards are a very accepted tool being used by legitimate psychologists and therapists to help us reflect and begin important conversations.

It can also be a captivating group activity or even done in privacy by yourself. I do this. Don’t judge. The cards lend insights because you draw conclusions of the descriptive meanings of each card from your own self-knowledge, pulling those thoughts from within you. You are getting guidance from a wise sage that you can trust. It is you. I hope you have not turned past the tarot card readings that Annie Gebel offers. I always find her collection of beautifully illustrated cards such a delight. The messages she printed from the Wildwood Tarot collection in the November/December issue were my very favorite, depicting nature’s gnarly trees and vines and woodland creatures. Speaking to my naturalist spirit they of course jumped from the page, cutting right through my daze and were so helpful getting me through those dark months. The lone standing stone spoke to me, saying trust in myself and remember my solid foundation. I have enchanting markings like this weathered stone only because I have allowed myself to brave the elements of the many seasons swirling around me leaving unique markings that show the lessons I have learned. It was a calming reminder that I finally know who I am. Please hear my sincere Thank You, Annie. Reading children’s books to kids was a go-to in my self-searching while raising my sons. The advice is simple and usually worth remembering and no one will know you are collecting information for yourself. I rarely found anything but good advice.

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”. -Dr.

Right now, near the Spring Equinox if you consult your sources, they will likely advise you to discard toxicity, make positive changes, activate new possibilities, and solidify healthy relationships as you feel a renewed energy to express yourself at this time of rebirth and growth.

I am feeling it! I am feeling reborn. I want to roar with my new voice. I recognize the self-knowledge I have been collecting is evident in my improved self-confidence and stirrings of contentment. I step out into nature and breathe in the sights, smells and sounds of this new spring and feel I am connected and integrated in the system of earth, plants and animals. A force that has emanated since the early indigenous peoples existed in balanced harmony with nature. This harmony has a name in the Navajo language. It is Hozho. To be “in Hozho” is to be one with the world around you. Similarly, the word Mana, found in Polynesian, Hawaiian and Maori cultural beliefs, refers to a spiritual energy and healing power flowing through the universe in people, plants, objects and places. If you have spent time in these islands, you know the beauty of their language and culture.

Kahuna Nui Hale Kealohalani Makua - Love all you see, including yourself.

It is planting time. If we were able to plant seeds that could grow this kind of self awareness, it would be a garden of love, harmony and inner growth. The abundant harvests would return balance to all of the earth. This garden would not grow condescension, hate, greed, or domination. Those are the weeds that continue to need gentle pulling. Let’s imagine the rebirth and renewal that would be possible if we all set out to manifest such a peaceful garden.

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The Oh, Otis! Shenanigans

Nose-Nose to

The two fifth-grade boys stood nose to nose, glaring, fists clenched, identical snarling resolve.

“If you think you’re tough enough, go ahead, Chuckie-Poo,” one provoked.

“Oh, I’m tough enough,” Chuck Swan retorted. “I’m just deciding if I should give you one black eye or two.”

“BOYS!” a shrill voice carried across the playground. The group of grade schoolers huddled around the two would-be boxers took off. Nothing dispersed a crowd of youngsters quicker than a voice of authority. Mrs. Lingle stormed across the playground where Chuck and his nemesis stood. Neither had backed down. “STOP IT NOW!”

Chuck took a step back. “Sorry, Mrs. Lingle,” he mumbled.

The other boy took a step forward and shoved Chuck with his shoulder.

“Martin, that’s enough!” Mrs. Lingle shouted. “Charles stepped away and apologized, and I suggest YOU do the same.”

All the kids in town called him “Skull.” Only grownups referred to him as Martin. Skull’s best friend’s nickname was “Crush,” and most kids steered clear of both of them. The news of Chuck Swan facing off with Skull would race through the playground like wildfire.

“Apologize,” Mrs. Lingle ordered.

“Sorry, Skull,” Chuck grumped.

“Sorry,” Skull said in a taunting way.

“If I have to say anything to either of you for the remainder of-

Episode 16

the week, that’ll be an invitation to Principal Armstrong’s office,” Mrs. Lingle barked. “Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, ma’am,” the two boys muttered.

Chuck glared at Skull and stormed off toward the group of friends waiting on the other side of the basketball court.

“What happened?” Chuck’s friend, Paul, asked.

“Skull said something crappy about Otis, so I told him off,” Chuck stated, cheeks red and nostrils flaring.

“What’d he say?” another friend, Steve, asked.

“He called Otis stupid,” Chuck announced. “Something about the kiss tag thing and how the third-grade girls were smarter than Otis. Skull was being mean, and it got to me, so I said something.”

Bro Code stated you always defend your brothers, even if it gets you in trouble. *

Two days later, it was the Friday before Spring Break. Every year, the teachers and students convened on the playground for a day of friendly competition and pizza. Principal Armstrong and P.E. Coach Lee had outlined various games and sporting events to fill the day and occupy the K-6th graders who were already mentally on vacation. They divided everyone into several teams with a mix of students and teachers to make things fair.

Otis, Fertis, and Clark miraculously ended up on the same team and, along with the rest of their teammates, beat all the other teams in the first competition: kickball. Then, Otis’s team came in fourth overall in the sprinting races. It was almost lunchtime, but before releasing everyone to the cafeteria for pizza, the teams had to compete in a vigorous game of Red Rover.

In Red Rover, two competing teams each form a long line facing each other with about 20 yards between them. The teammates held on to each other’s hands, creating a barrier or chain. One team would yell, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send *insert student’s name* right over.” Whoever was named became the runner and had to charge as fast as he or she could toward the opponents facing across from them to break their clasped hands apart. If the runner didn’t break the chain, he or she would have to join that team. If the runner broke the hands apart, he or she got to choose someone to bring back to his or her team. The game was over when one of the teams was down to one person.

Otis wasn’t fond of Red Rover because he rarely broke hands apart. He’d tried various maneuvers over the years and found his best luck involved kids smaller than him. He, Fertis, and Clark wanted to situate themselves across from some smaller kids but, in the flurry, ended up standing across from Skull and Crush.

“Oh, man,” Clark groaned. “We can’t bust through them.”

Fertis suggested, “Let’s scooch down a little.”

The three amigos tried to finagle themselves into a different position, but not one student wanted to stand across from Skull and Crush. Otis, Fertis, and Clark were stuck.

“We can do this,” Otis said. “They probably won’t even call our names before the lunch bell rings. And if they do, we can just fluffball it and end up on their team. No big deal.”

Clark and Fertis agreed.

“Red Rover, Red Rover, send OTIS right over,” the opposing team’s captain yelled.

“You’ve GOT to be kidding me.” Otis rolled his eyes. “I’m the first one?!”

“Just barely run into them,” Fertis whispered. “We’ll see you over there soon enough when it’s our turn.”

Clark nodded in agreement.

Otis sucked in a big breath and took off. But something about halfway to the menacing and fierce glares from Skull and Crush made him mad. Those two had tormented him ever since he was in kindergarten. Most recently, they’d taken to calling him stupid because of that horrible kiss tag incident. A spark inside him ignited, and a fire bloomed in his belly. He could do this. He would do this. He would break those hands apart for his dignity and the dignity of all the kids they’d ever teased. He’d show Skull and Crush that good guys do win, even a scrawny third grader who lost in kiss tag.

This must be how Rocky felt running up those stairs, Otis thought. The words to Bill Conti’s Gonna Fly Now filled his head. And he would fly! Fly into those stupid boys’ hands and show them the power and might of Otis Swan!

He kicked it into high gear and ran as fast as he could. He lined up to bust through with his chest, thinking the momentum of his sprint would yank apart those fingers. Almost there…almost, almost…

At the last fraction of a second, Skull and Crush ever so slightly lifted their hands to realign with Otis’s face.


Otis’s nose smacked into the two hands bonded with the glue of meanness. The hands didn’t budge, but Otis did. He abruptly flew backward, feet leaving the ground, and sailed a good ten feet before landing flat on his back with a tremendous thud.

“Oooooph!” The wind rushed out of him, and pain seared through his nostrils, up his forehead, and into the back of his skull. He saw stars, then opened his eyes to what he thought would be the bright blue sky staring down at him, but something was clouding his vision. He reached up and touched his face.

* *
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Warm wetness. Blood. Lots and lots of blood.

He could hear dozens of people shouting. “Oh, Otis!” “Otis is dead!” “What an idiot to run into Skull and Crush!”

Fertis squatted next to him and squeaked, “Otis? Are you alive?”

The alarm in his voice alarmed Otis. “Yeah, but my face hurts, and I’m bleeding,” he moaned.

“Stay still,” Clark had joined them while the rest of the students from the two teams circled around in stunned silence.

“Move out of the way!” Coach Lee bellowed as he made his way through the frenzy and knelt next to Otis. He extracted a large hankie from his back pocket. “Here ya go, buddy,” he said, putting the kerchief over Otis’s nose. “Hold that there and pinch your nostrils closed.”

Otis did as he was told. Pain throbbed in his nose and face. “Is it broken?” he asked Coach Lee.

“I don’t know,” Coach replied. “Think you can get to the nurse’s office?”

“Yes,” Otis said, sitting up and noticing all the kids staring at him. His face hurt, but he wasn’t going to go all crybaby. He’d never live that down.

Coach Lee offered his hand, and Otis took it, hoisting himself up. The blood continued oozing into the hankie and started to drip down Otis’s hand, then his arm, then off his elbow. He blinked several times and gathered his wits. And that’s when he saw Skull and Crush laughing and pointing at him. No one but Otis was paying attention to them. He could read their lips. “Otis is a baby!” Over and over, they said it, laughing and pointing. The fire in Otis ignited once again.

“Shut up!” he yelled toward them. “You did this on purpose! You jerks!” Blood spattered and spittled from his mouth, and he could feel the throb in his nose pulse faster. He felt a hand on his shoulder and whirled around.

It was his older brother, Chuck. “Dude, calm down,” he said. “I’ll go talk to them; you go to the office and get cleaned up. Are you ok?”

Otis felt a lump rise in his throat but quickly swallowed it down. His brother was on his side. “I’m fine other than I might be bleeding to death,” he whispered. “Those jerks did it on purpose. I just wasn’t fast enough to correct my course.”

“I know. I saw it,” Chuck whispered back. “Why do you think they call it ‘RED’ Rover?”

Otis thought for a second. “Geeze, I never even put that together,” he responded.

“Otis, come on,” Coach Lee said. “You’re getting blood everywhere. Chuck, why don’t you come with us?”

“I’ll be there in just a second,” Chuck replied.

Coach Lee guided Otis into the school through the cafeteria, where some students were starting to shuffle in for pizza. Someone yelled, “We love you, Otis!” The floodgates opened with encouraging remarks. “Feel better, Otis!” “You almost had ’em, Otis!” “At least you didn’t pass out, Otis!”

Otis smiled. Usually, he didn’t like to be in the spotlight, but this made him feel a little better.

Coach Lee escorted him to the nurse’s office connected to the main office. Nurse Fosberg was waiting, ice pack in hand. “I heard you had a little trouble with the Red Rover game,” she smiled.

“Hi, Nurse Fosberg. I smashed right into Skull and Crush’s fists,” Otis said. He smiled, but it felt funny. His lip was starting to feel fat.

“I’ll take care of you,” she said, indicating he take a seat on the medical table. “Lay down.”

Otis stepped up on a small stool and then sat on the crunchy white tissue paper spread over the black Naugahyde cushion on the long medical table. Carefully, he laid on his back. Nurse Fosberg and Coach snapped on blue latex gloves and walked over to Otis. Nurse Fosberg took the saturated handkerchief out of his hand, and Coach Lee assisted by throwing it in the trash.

“Otis, pinch your nose together up high,” she instructed.

He did so, and the pain shot up through the center of his forehead and down through his upper lip. “Is by dose brogen?” he asked as best he could with a pinched-shut and quickly swelling nose.

Nurse Fosberg gently felt around his nose. “Nope, it’s not broken,” she soothed. “But it’ll be sore and swollen for a few days, and it looks like you’ll have two black eyes. All the girls will love you with your tough man look.” She carefully cleaned the blood off his face while he kept the pressure on his nostrils. “I got most of it,” she smiled. She observed Otis for about a minute. “Hmmm. The bleeding doesn’t seem to be stopping. Or slowing down much.”

Otis squirmed a little, worrying at her comment.

She gently placed the ice pack on Otis’s nose as Coach Lee tapped her shoulder and motioned to step outside the nurse’s office.

“Otis,” Coach instructed, “keep pinching and icing your nose.”

The two adults stepped out and closed the door, making Otis panic. Where’s Chuck? After about ten minutes, the two adults stepped back into the room.

“Otis, this is an old trick I learned when I boxed in college,” Coach smiled. “This will help stop the bleeding real quick. It might hurt just a little.”

Otis stiffened and turned his head away. Anytime someone said, “it might hurt just a little,” it resulted in it hurting like the dickens. He wanted no part in whatever scheme they’d concocted. “I’mb fineuh,” he stated.

Nurse Fosberg came around the other side of the table and bent down to eye level. “We’re going to put some cotton up your nose to stop the bleeding. I’ll be gentle.”

“C’mon, Otis,” Coach urged. “You got this, champ.”

Champ? Ha. No champ ends up in Nurse Fosberg’s office.

She was about an inch from Otis’s face and smiled. She was beautiful and nice and smelled like flowers. “Fineuh, bud be gendle,” he relented.

“Ok, when I say go, move your hand, and we’ll put the cotton up your nose,” she instructed.

“Ok,” Otis agreed. He slammed his eyes shut. Maybe if he didn’t see it happening, it wouldn’t hurt.

“Ready,” Nurse Fosberg said, removing the ice pack. “Go.”

Otis pulled his hand away and felt pressure as something went up one nostril and then the other. He opened his eyes. Nurse Fosberg and Coach Lee hovered over him.

“You good?” she soothed.

“Yeah, I juss can’d breathe through by noseuh,” Otis said. “It doesn’t hurd. By lip does, though.”

“Your lip is swollen, but it’ll go down if you keep icing everything for the rest of the day,” Nurse Fosberg explained. She quickly wiped the remaining blood off Otis’s face and gently replaced the ice pack. “Rest a minute.”

Suddenly, Otis heard a ruckus and Chuck’s voice in the main office area. “I’m fine. It’s no big deal,” Chuck said. “I need to see how Otis is doing.”

Otis pulled the ice pack away and looked at the doorway as Chuck walked through. They looked at each other and said simultaneously, “What happened to you?”

“Whadda you bean, whad habbened to mbe,” Otis shot back. “You saw what habbened to mbe. What habbened to you?!”

There Chuck stood, also sporting a bloody nose. Nurse Fosberg immediately grabbed a towel for Chuck and told him to sit in a chair and tip his head back. “What is up with you Swan boys today? What happened, Charles?”

“I had a meeting of the minds with Skull and Crush over what they did to Otis,” Chuck admitted. He laughed and finished, “I guess it wasn’t a meeting of the minds. It was more of a meeting of the fists.”

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Otis rolled up on his elbow. “Doe way!” he breathed. “You gotd inna fight with themb over mbe?”

“Dude, what is up your nose?” Chuck started hooting hysterically.

“Coddon,” Otis replied. Chuck howled and looked at Coach Lee and Nurse Fosberg. “Is that what I think it is?”

“Mind your business, Charles,” Nurse Fosberg shushed. “It’s the only way we could slow and hopefully stop the bleeding.”

“Whad’s so fundy, Chuck?” Otis demanded. He carefully sat up and touched his nose. He felt the ends of the cotton. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary to him, but if Chuck was laughing, something was way off. “WHAD’S SO FUNDY, CHUCK?” he yelled.

“Otis, shush,” Nurse Fosberg instructed. “We used what we had on hand to stop the bleeding. And by the looks of it, our plan is working.”

Only minuscule red dots showed at the ends of the “cotton.”

Otis’s spied Coach Lee in the corner, chuckling. “I can see you laughink, Coach,” Otis stated. “Whad. Is. So. Fundy?”

“Nothing, son. You be still while I go call your mom,” Coach said. “I think you and Chuck deserve to go home early. And Otis, keep the cotton in your nostrils until later today. Let your mom remove it, ok? Don’t want the bleeding to start up again.”

Otis nodded his understanding.

Chuck’s nose had quit bleeding, and Nurse Fosberg gave him some dampened towels to clean up. “I’ll be right back,” she said, following Coach Lee out to the main office.

Once the boys were alone, Otis grilled Chuck about his bloody nose.

“I just told Skull and Crush to leave you alone,” Chuck explained. “I was defending you.”

“Sorry you gotuh creambed,” Otis said.

“Oh, Otis, you’re not seeing the whole picture,” Chuck smiled. “Crush hit me in the nose, but a bunch of kids gathered around us before Skull could get to me. Then a couple of sixth-grade boys told Skull and Crush to back off. It was James and Aaron. They said if either Skull or Crush touched you or me, they would be sorry. Then Mrs. Lingle told me to come here, so I did.” He smirked and winked at Otis.

Otis’s eyes got huge. “Whoaaaa,” he said. “Jambes and Aaronuh defended mbe and you?”

“Yep,” Chuck smiled. “I don’t know why or how, but you have a fan club, Otis. I think it has to do with the kissing tag thing. Every guy in school knows what that’s like. I guess you’re what-

Dad calls ’a relatable fellow.’”

Otis rolled his eyes. “Oh, brother.” He thought a moment. “Thad’s pretdy cool we hab backupb.”

“It’s definitely cool,” Chuck stated. “All because you lost at kiss tag. Whoda thunk?”

“So, why were you and Coach laughingk at mbe,” Otis asked.

“Dude, you have, uh, well, uh…,” Chuck trailed off. He didn’t know how to explain things to Otis that didn’t require an extensive conversation that he was not interested in having with his younger brother. “They, uh, used some, uhhh, uh, female items to save you.” He saw it was over Otis’s head, thankfully, so he changed the subject. “You’re going to have two black eyes. That’ll look kinda cool.”

“Durse Fosberg said the girls would lub it,” Otis snickered, causing Chuck to giggle.

“Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat, what the hell happened to you two?” Grandpa Ed’s voice bellowed into the nurse’s office, making Otis and Chuck jump.

“Grandpa Ed!” Chuck exclaimed. “Why are you here? Where’s Mom?”

“She and Grandma Helen took off for the big city to shop,” Ed smiled. He walked over to Otis and inspected his nose. “I see they took extraordinary measures to shut down the bleeding.” He laughed and looked at Chuck, giving him a wink.

“I think we should get out of here before the whole school sees him,” Chuck suggested.

“That’s a good idea,” Ed smiled. “Nurse Fosberg and Coach Lee said I could take you home. How’s about we stop and get some burgers, fries, and ice cream for our lunch?”

Otis and Chuck wholeheartedly agreed.

“Will peoble laugh ad bme when they see bme?” Otis asked as the three Swan males exited the school and headed for Ed’s pickup.

“Possibly,” Ed smiled. “Would you rather go home and just have a bologna sandwich?”

“Nobe, I wandt a burger, curly fries, a carambel milgshage, and a scoopb of choggolate ice creamb.” Otis exclaimed and scooted ahead of Ed and Chuck. “I call window!”

Ed smiled at Chuck and rested his arm on his grandson’s shoulders. They walked a few steps, and Chuck commented, “You know, Grandpa Ed, Otis is going to deserve a double scoop for showing himself in public with those things up his nose. At least they cut the strings off.”

Ed snorted, “Oh, Chuck, this is definitely worth a triple-scoop.”

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