Home&Harvest Nov/Dec2022

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There really are no words to describe the amount of gratitude I feel towards you all for the outpouring of love I’ve received since my mother’s passing. I wanted to give you all a little insight to what goes on with this magazine and why it is proof that the world still is a wonderful place.

I’d like to start with giving thanks to my advertisers. Even with cost increases from inflation, they have remained loyal, pos itive and truly wonderful to work for. When my mom was in the hospital and I was on deadline, almost every email read like this: “Take care of yourself and let us know what we can do.” I know you’ve heard the term ‘support local’ and have especially heard it more these past few years, I can’t reiterate enough how important it is. You might think shopping online carries the weight of convenience, but the truth is these wonderful business owners are the ones who give to your boosters, fund-raisers and provide you with beautiful storefronts to enjoy. They are the heartbeat of your towns and the very reason this magazine exists. I cannot thank them enough.

I want to also thank my team of writers. So many times this past year I’ve been working from my phone at my mom’s bed side, often neglecting my email and having a hard time staying positive. I know everyone has been struggling in their own right with these times, and creativity with an open heart is always the first to go. My writers have continued to do their best and outdo themselves issue after issue. I am humbled by their talent.

I would like to thank every business that has one of our racks in it. Not only are they gracious enough to allow us to have our magazine there, they make sure they are safe and respected. It truly makes me beam with pride to do delivery with Tony and know that the magazine is received because they allow it to be!

I want to extend my graciousness to you, dear reader, for always picking this magazine up. For giving me grace when there are typos and mistakes. For being a part of this community who truly makes a difference. You are the reason I do this! You are the very proof that dreams to come true.

Lastly and most importantly, I would like to thank my husband and dedicate this issue to him. Throughout this year, Tony has continued to step up and help more and more. In fact, these past two issues have been mostly created by him! Throughout my role with my mother and then ultimately grief, I don’t know what I would do without his help. It was my dream to write for the magazine and be more creative this year, but with the added responsibilities it was all I could do to sell more ads and care for my mom. Tony was always at the ready to write an extra article, reach out to an advertiser, learn design and layout and show up for me in incredible ways- all while also running the floral shop. We have always been a great team but during this time he has stepped up and helped me through. Working on this Christmas issue was very hard for me and I would not have gotten through without him. He also loads almost all of the boxes and makes sure delivery goes smoothly. His actions have been nothing short of heroic. Thank you, Tony. I love you.

I wish you all a lovely, warm and wonderful holiday season. May you hold your loved ones closer, keep your hearts open with forgiveness, focus on the positive and become your best selves. May you celebrate the rest of this year with true won der, laughter and celebration. If nothing else, please know that you helped me get through this year. You gave me a reason to keep going when I was truly down. Never underestimate the power of kindness. You are a gift- the very presence of your being. Thank you for sharing your light with us- whether you’re reading this, advertising in this, or writing for this. Or you just happen to be the husband making delicious iced coffees while I write this. I’m looking forward to my renewed spirit after these tears dry. Thank you for seeing me through.

Home&Harvest Magazine
The Crash 8 If They Fit They Ship 12 Recipes From White Spring Ranch 18 Flank To Flame 26 Egg Nog Bread 32 Earl Grey Pudding 34 Old Fashioned Peanut Brittle 36 Hot Cocoa Cookies 38 Red Velvet Cheesecake 40 Chocolate Peppermint Whoopie Pies 42 Cozy Christmases 44 It's About Time 50 Whittington Center In Raton 56 Heidi's Top Ten 64 A Reading For You 68 Gift Giving 70 Grieving During The Seasons 78 People Of The Palouse 86 The Oh, Otis Shenanigans 90

TC he


I was still young in the fire department and trying to decide if I wanted to take on the new role of Rescue. The best part of being a volunteer firefighter is that you get to decide how involved you want to be. Rescue is compiled of up to 20 members that respond to any “rescue” type of situation. While vehicle extrication is the most frequent type of call to be dispatched to, we respond to all types of rescue scenarios (high or low angle rope rescue, entrap ments, confined space, etc.). Reaching out to other members, I was getting pushed to join, but still was hesitant on whether I wanted to sign up or not.

One cold, snowy winter night, the tones went out for a crash out in the county and I would soon know exactly how I wanted to participate.

“Moscow Rural Fire, Rescue, and Ambulance, emergency re sponse for an injury crash.” I jumped up and headed out to the station. I called in for the rural truck, but quickly realized the crew had been filled and they would be on their way long before I got to the station. I kept going to the station hoping to jump on the rescue truck. Sure enough, I was there in time and caught them just as they pulled out of the bay. Quickly dressed in my turnout gear, I scurried into my seat and away we went. Lights flashing, sirens screaming, we were slowly winding through the snow-covered county roads.

An update came across from our incident commander, “One ve hicle, on its wheels and halfway into a barn. We have one patient trapped in the vehicle.” Holy cow, this can’t be real!? I thought. Cars just crash on roadways, they don’t end up in the building, right?

We were still working our way to the crash and now thinking about how we would start our attack on getting this injured and frigid person out of their car and on to the hospital. Along with the other guys in the truck, we mapped out our plan and we pulled up. Sure enough, we see the car and only the back of it is visible. It looks like the barn just opened up and swallowed it. It’s been determined that we didn’t have a concern of any struc tural collapse so we started to lay out our tools: the Jaws of Life™, cutters, pushing rams, and a variety of blocks to make sure the car won’t move on us. Our plan was pretty simple- get it stable and start to cut our way in from the back. We quickly learned that wasn’t going to work. The way the patient was trapped-we had to cut them out from the front and with the side of the barn in the way- we were challenged with how to get access. Our patient was stable but was getting cold, so we needed a new plan and needed to get to it quickly.

The best tactic would be to somehow get the car out of the barn, at least enough to get to the patient. Our Rescue truck has a large winch on the front so we formulated a new plan with it. We care fully pulled the vehicle back so we could get access to our patient. It felt like an eternity getting everything in place. But, with res cue- you take your time and make sure no one gets hurt and you get it done right. The truck was now positioned and the winch was tight. We start pulling, ever so slow and steady. Inch by inch the car slowly starts emerging from the barn. Now that it was out enough for it to work, we shifted gears and started our-

-extrication. First we cribbed it up and made it so the car wouldn’t move on us while we started taking the front door. Being my first extrication, I wasn’t on the helm, but I was right behind the main rescuer, helping by watching and learning all I could. Now out comes the Jaws and they start stretching and tear ing the metal. All of a sudden, POW, the first hinge goes! He kept spreading the door away from the post, going and going until, POP, the second hinge lets loose! With a quick motion, the door swings down and all that is left holding is the pin by the handle. A quick reposition of the tool and the spreading starts again to release the pressure on the last pin holding the door. Just a quick second later, PING, and the door is off and ready to be hauled off. Our patients’ legs were trapped under the dash and mixed up in the pedals. We had to get the dash up so we could get their legs out. The cutters were brought in to make the necessary relief cut at the bottom of the front pillar to allow the dash to move up out of the way. Once the triangle cut was made, over comes the hydraulic ram. We got it into position and started pushing. The sounds are pretty impressive. Popping, creaking, and moaning are heard echoing through the night as the car changes into shapes it isn’t intended to be in. Plastic breaking, metal twisting and we keep pushing until we’ve got full access to their legs and we can get them untangled.

Our EMTs have been patiently waiting through this process. Now that we are done, they step in to continue the medical treatment and start packaging up the patient to be transported. Of course, we still need to get them physically out of the car so it will be a combined effort. The EMTs start the bandaging and controlling the obvious wounds as we prepare the backboard for the patient. As the EMTs move the patient so carefully around with holding neck precautions, they are now positioned to slide out onto the board. On three slow counts, a little at a time we get them moved onto the board and carefully onto the ground to finish packaging for transport. Once we have them strapped up and in blankets, we lift them onto the gurney and then wheel them over to the waiting (and warm) ambulance. Finally, the patient is safely on their way to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. A job well done by all.

Just like with the fire calls or any call we have, it is now time to clean up. Everything is loaded back onto the Rescue truck in its particular place. While winding our way back to the station we talk about how the rescue went, what we could’ve done better, or discuss things to consider for the next time. Once we are back at the station, we double check everything and make sure it is all cleaned up and ready to go for the next call. Wintry weather can keep the rescue folks busy and we want to make sure we are always ready to roll.

Now as this all started, I was on the fence about if I wanted to be involved with the Rescue side of the department. Though after this call, I was determined to become a member of the Rescue Company. I knew that this was just what I wanted to do to dig in a little deeper. As it turns out I would participate in many more crashes to solidify my choice to be a part of the Rescue Company, and I’ve been a proud member ever since.

Home&Harvest | Nov/Dec 2022 10

If They Fit They Ship

Its that time of year again. We start off by planning trips to see friends and family. For many that will mean crossing the country or even the world by plane. But far more often, it will simply en tail crossing the town or county by car. From Thanksgiving tables, to Christmas Eve parties, and near countless social gatherings in between, we take extra time to come together and share the holiday spirit. We enjoy the company of our favorite people, and reminisce on the highlights of another year gone by.

And for those whom we love, but are unable to arrange a visit, myr iad packages are carefully wrapped and dispatched for shipping di rectly to our intended recipients. Closer and closer to the end of the year, the crowds swell on the last of the shopping days, and the lines begin to snake across the entire post office. Packages are weighed and measured, often condensed to find a better rate, and even double boxed into the now all too familiar “if it fits it ships” option sizes. Dates are carefully checked, and specific timing arrangements made, with ever increasing alacrity. Right up to that last minute we shop, wrap, and post – trusting in the efficiency of an incredible system to deliver our holiday wishes via card, and our Christmas cheer via parcel. Knowing that while we can’t be there in person, at least our family and closest friends will know that we took a little extra time to think of them again this year.

And for us, in the blinding convenience of modern travel made easy, and guaranteed overnight air shipping, most of the stress and difficulty that remains is self-imposed. Additionally, its trivial to quickly decide if someone special is too far to get to, or just a hop and skip away and therefore simple to drop in upon in person for a warm hung instead of just a note. While we may balk at packing our bags to cross the entire nation, something shorter – like say a 75 mile jaunt – is taken on without so much as a single hesitation.

But not that long ago, and even in the well-traversed area where we currently live, the decision wasn’t always so easy. As near back as just over 100 years ago, travel through the mountains here in Northern Idaho was an unbelievably daunting task. With few, and remarkably crude, roads cutting back and forth up and down canyon sides, deep and entirely unplowed snow clogging narrow passes, and hardly any options to aid in travel outside of the diminished hours of winter’s scant daylight. If you were wealthy in the early 1900’s you might own a car, and even have a set of oil lanterns mounted to the front – but that certainly didn’t mean you could just choose to pass through snowy mountains at night. And for most people, with the car not appearing as a household option yet, it meant several days on a horse in bitter weather just to make it as far as we could go in a couple of hours today.

When grandma’s house was farther afield than the pro verbial over the river and through the woods, it normally meant that you just didn’t go. And if you did, it could be an enormous undertaking. That is, unless you could afford to travel by train, and were lucky enough to have two stations near the departure and destination. But the cost of even a one-way ticket on a short jaunt was often as dear as an entire day’s earnings for many families. So for the most part, you just hunkered down where you were for the winter. The traveling would have to wait until the thaws in the spring, and the Post Office would have to be trusted to get a holiday card out to any rela tives that were beyond what you could manage on foot, or in a sleigh pulled behind a horse or two.

That is, until the US Postal Department made some major changes to parcel post in the beginning of 1913. For the first time ever, you could mail something that weighed over four pounds. In fact, you could go all the way up to 50 pounds on a single item. And while there were already some restrictions in place, they were noth ing like the limits we are used to today. Most restrictions were vague, and before they had a chance to be revised and settled, there was a little bit of chaos, with the-

-postmen in different towns treating packages in unique ways. What might ship at one office, would be totally off limits in another town. This ability to sneak a few uncon ventional items between the rules gave some enterprising families a great idea!

Between 1913 and 1914 there are several records of families actually shipping children. All they had to do was weight them to certify that they were under 50lbs (including the weight of any items the child might be carrying with them) and then buy the proper number of stamps. Postmen labeled them as various different items on these journeys – but since it was already an estab lished category and relatively close in definition, several went with “baby chick” when sending a child.

The first known transport like this was a baby that was mailed approximately one mile to his grandmother’s house in Ohio. That family only had to pay $0.15 for the stamps, owing to the light weight of an infant, and it is recorded that they also opted for $50 worth of insurance. Gotta make sure Jr. gets safely to his end destination, right?

While there are some pretty fantastic photos online, most are thought to be a hoax, with mailmen posing with a baby in a mail sack after the fad had become known. In fact, most were just walking alongside the children during their route, carrying a baby a short distance, or helping the child onto a mail car rather than the more expensive passenger car that would be heading to the same location. And since so many people in small towns knew their mail carrier very well, it wasn’t such a scary proposition to consider asking them to escort your child to a relative’s house if you weren’t available to take them or couldn’t afford the standard ticket for the passenger train.

Here in Northern Idaho, in the winter of 1914, there was a young girl named Charlotte May Pierstorff that want ed to make the arduous trek from her parent’s house in Grangeville to visit her grandmother Mary Vennigerholz who lived in Lewistion. Remember that 75 miles I men tioned – today Heather and I love the view on that drive between Lewiston and Grangeville. We pass that way as we head down to McCall or Boise, making the journey at least once or twice most years. And the 75 miles of Lewiston to Grangeville is just once small scenic part of what we generally consider an easy drive to knock out in a day. But in 1914 it was something else entirely.

The only reliable way to make it across that distance was the set of train tracks that ran across the deep ravines-

Home&Harvest | Nov/Dec 2022 15

and canyons up on giant trestle pilings. So when little May wanted to make the trip to see her beloved grandmother that cold and snowy February, the train was the only possible solution. But with a passenger ticket costing more than her family could afford at the time, and the fortuitous situation of having her mother’s cousin as the mail carrier assigned to the train, her parents decided to just rely on the postal service.

May was weighed and found to be under the 50 pound limit even with the bag of clothes that she traveled with. The postmaster in Grangeville agreed to class her a baby chick and $.53 cents worth of stamps were stuck to the back of her coat. With Lewiston being the final stop for that set of tracks, her uncle was even free to walk her to grandma’s house before starting on the rest of his deliver ies.

After hearing about May, and having just answered anoth er request for mailing a child that someone had sent him a few weeks before, the head postmaster decided to officially change the rules. So as of early 1914 the loophole was shut and children were once again not allowed to be sent by US post.

It did however take quite a while for the regulation to spread and become properly enforced, and several more accounts of shipping children popped up in the next few years after his decree. Carriers might know that it was no longer allowed, but when presented with a stamped child they were left will little choice but to complete the delivery as requested to get the “package” there safely.

As for May, they say it was a complete surprise for her grandmother. She didn’t even know that May would be coming, and the two got to enjoy a wonderful visit. Most of the old trestle bridges and train tracks she crossed can still be seen today between Lewiston and Grangeville – especially in the section that crosses the Lapwai Canyon region. They offer an incredible view into a mode of trans portation that was so vital just a few generations back.

The post office still has parcel post, and accepts even heavi er loads these days. Just remember, that even if you can get your children stuffed into the “if it fits it ships” boxes, the modern postmasters are never going to fall for it. Better get out your snow chains if the kids want to travel 75 miles to see grandma this winter.


from White Spring Ranch

Here they are, in original form, designed to create on a 1919 Majestic Wood stove in the c.1873 Kitchen of the White Spring Ranch historical farmhouse in Genesee. We haven’t yet added the missing information, the exact temperatures, the exact timing or alternative ingredients but it’s a great test to your baking skills. Here are some the most loved recipes of the Holiday Season that we have found in the Farmhouse cupboards so far!


Boil with a large cupful of hot water, half a teacupful of but ter. Stir in one teacupful of flour during the boiling. Set aside to cool, the stir in four eggs at a time without beating. Drop on tins quickly and bake in a fairly hot oven. (1919 wood Majestic) When baked fill in with cream whipped. This is just delicious.


2 C sugar

1/2 C Karo syrup

1/2 C water

Chocolate to suit taste

1 C nuts


3 eggs

3/4 C powdered sugar

Beat whites very stiff. Mix with a knife the sugar from a tsp. Drop on paper. Put on a board. Bake in moderate oven 3040 min. Close door until colored. When done stick together with powdered sugar!


2 yeast cakes

1 pt milk

1 tbsp butter

3 eggs

1 tbs sugar

2 qt flour

1 tsp salt

Scald milk and let cool. Soak yeast cake in 1/2 C luke warm water. Put flour in bowl, add sugar, and salt. Rub butter into flour, and add eggs, milk and yeast. Bake 10 min. Set to rise in moderate warm place. When risen to top of dish, work down and form into biscuits, the put in greased pan not touching each other and let rise until three times its size. Bake in a hot oven 20 minutes. Grease before cool.


1 C sugar

2 1/2 tbsp butter

3 eggs

1 C milk 4 tsp B.P.

Enough flour to make a soft dough Add the soda to the molasses and beat thoroughly, add the milk, shortening, ginger, salt and flour. Enough flour must be used to make the mixture of the right consistency to drop easily from the spoon. Allow the mixture to stand until thor oughly chilled. Roll about 1/2 of the mixture out at a time to 1/4 in. thickness. Shape with a round cutter first dipped in flour. Bake on a buttered sheet in a moderate oven.

“Gee! Iwouldliketocomehometonightandmidnightgo intothecellarandhelpmyselftothemilk,butter,cream, eggs,jelly,applesauce,sugared-doughnutsandgoodold home-madebread. Ihaveactuallyforgottenwhatbutterand caketasteslike-ha-ha!forIhaventbeenawayfromcamp.”



2 C sugar

1/2 C syrup

4 tbsp boiling water 2 tbsp vinegar 1/2 C butter

Boil until brittle, pour in buttered tins.


1 1/3 tbsp gelatine

1/2 C water

1 1/2 C boiling coffee or fruit juice

1/2 C sugar

1 C whipped cream

Dissolve the gelatin in the cold water add the boiling coffee and the sugar and when it begins to stiffen add the whipped cream. Turn into a mould to cool.


Fat naturally exists in milk in little globules almost 1/1500 of an inch in diameter. When fat or oil is suspended in this way in a liquid, it is said to be emulsified. The fat globules being lighter than the rest of the milk, tend to rise to the top as cream. If cream be vigorously churned, the globules stick together and form butter. Some of the casein clings to them, but this is usually washed out.

“Butterissaltedtofurtherprotectitfromspoiling.Sweet buttercontainsnosaltandsellsathighprice.”

Home&Harvest | Nov/Dec 2022 20

Shop Downtown Moscow D O W N T O W N S T A Y M O S C O W


To 1/2 C butter creamed, add 1 1/2 C white sugar

1 C cold water

2 egg yolks

2 cups flour

Beat this for five minutes, then add 3 tbsp of the syrup.

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp B.P. in 1/2 cup flour sifted 3 times. Lastly add 3 whites of eggs, beaten not to stiff and bake. Syrup for Cake + Filling: 1 cup brown sugar. Set this over fire, constantly stirring for at least 1 min. Then add 1/2 C boiling water, boil 1/2 min. Beat till it has color of molasses. Let cool before putting in cake.


Put into a baking dish 1 pint cooked peaches, with juice. Make a rich dough by taking 1 C flour, 1 tsp B.P. and 1 in cube of butter. Mix well together. Add enough milk to make a soft dough. Roll out, and cover the peaches. Put small piec es of butter on top, and bake 20 min. Serve with cream. May be served with whipped cream & nuts if desired.

“Inthefall,italwayswasabeautifulsightwhenthepumpkin vinesfrosteddownwiththeyellowonthehillside...Iknow thatwehadalotof pumpkinpies.”


1 C mashed pumpkin butter, size of a small egg

1 tsp nutmeg

1 C milk

1 tsp cinnamon

1 C sugar

1 tsp ginger 2 eggs

4 tsp flour salt to taste


1 pt milk

3 eggs

1 tbs sugar, spices

1 small pinch salt vanilla

Beat eggs and sugar stiff, add salt, flavoring, milk. Put in top of oven until custard sets then bake the crust in bottom.



1 qt milk

1 C sugar

6 eggs

1 tsp flavoring (vanilla)

Nutmeg Bake in Cups.

“In the fall of the year, we stocked up on sugar, sacks and sacks of it for the winter. We also had sacks and sacks of flour. We had a special tight closet where they were kept. I seem to re member it at the top of the stairs off of the washroom. Mother baked bread which was made with a starter. She used some of the starter and kept the rest of it for the next time. She also made raised doughnuts, coffee cake, cinnamon rolls, cake doughnuts, jelly rolls, and the most flaky pie crust I ever ate. There was one pie I especially liked - a lemon pie - in which she also put the rind of the lemon. It was delicious - sweet, but tartie.”


1 lemon (grate the rind and squeeze the juice)

2 eggs

2/3 C of sugar

1 1/2 C water

Mix yolk of eggs and lemon together, mix in 1 1/2 teaspoon of corn starch in a little cold water and stir into the other mixture. Beat whites to a stiff froth and spread over pie after it is baked, Return into the oven to brown-may put a little butter in also. Amen.


11 yolks beat 15 minutes, a cup of sugar, One C of boiling water. Put in the beaten yolks, next one cup and 1/2 of flour, with a rounding teaspoon of baking powder. She bakes it in layers. -Mama (Mary Lorang)


2 cups sugar

1 Cup milk

3 to 6 eggs

Cups flour

1 Cup Cream

3 tsp B.P.

Fill in with Cream


1 cup sugar

2 eggs 1 cup shortening 4 tsp B.P. 4 tsp milk

3 C flour

3/4 tsp salt

Sift dry ingredients together, add them and mix with the hand. Roll into small balls, size nut (nut size), Place in pan 1 inch apart, brush over with well beaten egg, sprinkle with sugar. Bake in quick oven. Coconut or fruit can be added.

“...IthinkthecookieswerethebestIhaveevereatenand Ireallymeanit.Iknowyoumustbeafinecookaswellas abaker.Doyouliketocookandbake?Itakeaftermydad whenitcomestohavingasweettoothforcookies,pies, cakes,candy,etc.Ihopeyoudidntsacrificeanyrationof sugarforyourselfinordertomakethecookiesforme.”



3 C of starter of potatoes Put 1 yeast cake in a little water for 10 min, then put into potatoes with a teaspoon of sugar (in the evening). In the morning, make a stiff batter with a little water until it forms LOTS of bubbles over top. Let stand, about 3 hrs and mix it real stiff with your salt.


1 1/2 C white sugar 1/2 C butter 1 C molasses 3 C flour 3 tsp baking powder 5 eggs 1 C milk 1 C flour

cinnamon, allspice, cloves Loaf cake

Thanks to Idaho Humanities Council there is a book, White Spring Ranch Recipes, available at local libraries. Moscow, Lewiston and Genesee. Our Archives at the White Spring Ranch include over 130 years of recipes preserved on site by the Lorang families that lived here. It is an amazing collec tion that you are welcome to see anytime, but we are also having a Christmas Open House on December 4, Sunday. You are always welcome. We are also having a “Family Dinners Display” at the Moscow Chamber November 1st to 23rd.

Editor’s note: If you test your skills with one of these great reci pes, please share it with us!

Home&Harvest | Nov/Dec 2022 24

Hey there grillers – are you ready for your final challenge? This issue I’m going to give you the ultimate trial of everything you have been learning.

If you have been following this column for the last 8 years you know how incredibly far we have come and just how many dif ferent techniques and recipes we have covered together. And for anyone who has been with me for at least the last year, you know that I decided to dedicate all my articles in 2022 to doing a series on my definitive, top level grilling system – something I call the 3-T Technique.

With 3-T we want to start planning long before the proteins and sides hit that grill. Prior to even starting to heat it up, we want a clear vision of the final results and how our three most important variables will work together. Using this approach there isn’t any item that you can’t master, and make your own! And because they are all interdependent, starting with temperature, texture and taste as a foundation makes sure we get the most amazing possible results.

Flank to Flame

~by Tony Niccoli~

Trippin on that Triangle Tip

Lets take a quick review of those 3-T variables. First the tempera ture, meaning not only the safe-cook temp if we are serving a meat dish, but also the temperature we want when it hits the table. This takes into account our rest time, plating, and the temperature we use for the cook. Some items need to be served very quickly after they leave the heat with a short hold, others need a longer rest, and our table setting and side should be planned around this accord ingly. The second T – texture – is an examination of the interior and exterior consistency. Usually, when grilling we are hoping to get some great char lines, and on proteins like beef a crusty, barked exterior that still allows for a tender center. Our seasoning, the mopping or flipping technique, and the grill temperature will all be essential to control this facet of the cooking plan. Finally we have taste, our last T. Taste is the flavor you experience when you take a bite, it is extremely dependent on the texture and cooktemp so it goes far beyond a simple choice of marinade, brine, or dry rub. Taste starts by getting your cook right, avoiding any burned or over-done sections, and getting your starring food to the table on time. Miss any of these and even a perfect sauce or seasoning won’t save you. Visualize that first bite. Focus on the-

-mouth feel, heat, and flavor. Then backwards plan to get you to that moment, laying out every step from the butcher to the cutting board and heat zones on the grill. That’s 3-T at its finest and it takes you to a whole new level of cooking. And now, without further ado, I give you my last test of the series… (que the ominous background music and lightning flash) Tri-Tip on the grill!

So, roll up your sleeves, keep the cover on your smoker, ignore the oven in the kitchen, and get ready to turn out a perfect tri-tip roast using only your grill and a little ingenui ty (and that sweet 3-T technique you have now perfected). The tri-tip, which has in the last 10 or 20 years gone from being an obscure cut that was often left attached to larger roasts to being a show-stopper that is now recognized by fans everywhere when it appears on a menu, can often seem like a really challenging piece of beef to cook properly. I’ve seen many people try to take the easy route by cutting it against the length to create a long series of little triangular steaks that can each be cooked separately. To me, this loses the best parts of the tri-tip nature and will never match the perfection of a traditional steak cut. So I always cook them as an entire tri-tip roast cut.

The full tri-tip roast which comes from the bottom of the sirloin, is essentially triangular in dimension and long in length verses the thickness of the triangle. And because it’s a unique cut it likes two different techniques for the best cooking results. Its thickness – much greater than any steak you will ever take on, and its low-fat to high fibrous muscle ratio want a much longer and more luxurious cook at lower temperatures. But in truth, it isn’t best done like a tradi tional roast because it won’t hold up as long, and becomes overcooked before it becomes easily shredded and pulled. And if all you do is cook it like a roast – with slightly higher heat and shorter time, you miss the second requirement of getting a bark on the exterior. Crusting it outside like a good steak is what really drives the flavor profile we have all come to love from this unique slice of meat. So the best option is a mix of the two, starting with lower heat and finishing on a very hot grill.

The last few times that I’ve done a full tri-tip I’ve done almost all of the cook in my smoker. Once I have it close to temp, I fire up the grill to high heat and throw a reverse-sear on both sides. It’s called a reverse sear when done at the very end of the cook instead of the beginning as you would with something like a steak or chop. This results in a flavorful, rare to medium-rare center, a nice pink smoke ring with bursting flavor just below the surface, and an incredible crusty exterior that pops with a salty bark. But the truth is, you won’t need to spend all that extra time with the smoker to get tri-tip perfection at home. And if you don’t already have a smoker handy, you don’t need to spend all that money either. So lets dig in on the process of 3-T for tri-tip when using only a grill.

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Start with a trimmed tri-tip roast. This is the most common form you will find, but if you end up with a full one, just go ahead and cut off the fat cap. Pat that exterior dry, and liberally season with an equal mix of salt, black pepper, and onion powder. You can add anything else you want here but remember that this is a very large cut of beef and you need a lot of that salt and pepper to season, so keep them in high ratio even if you add a little paprika, garlic, cayenne, or any other flavor you enjoy. Less of those will go a long way, but that salt is key.

Mix up a little mopping liquid. First time doing this? Fine, a beef stock is all you need. Ready to take it up another level, then throw equal parts red wine and olive oil in a bowl, and mix in half as much red wine vinegar as you used oil and wine. Stir in some crushed garlic, and remember that once that mop goes into the bowl for the first time and touches the meat we can’t use this again, so only make a little for this one cook.

Get your grill up to temperature at around 325. This would be considered medium heat for grilling and is much hotter than the 225 to 250 you would be running on a smoker. Put your tri-tip roast on with the thinner edge away from the heat, and that thick peak faced directly towards it. We want to be on the indirect side of the grill, no over the heat source as we slowly work our way up to the 120 degree range. Expect this to take about 30-40 minutes if you keep that temperature consistent and use a nice 2-3 pound cut. Check on it every 8 minutes and give it a flip and a generous mop ping each time you have the lid open for your check. There is a little stall in temperature mid-way through the cook, but when you get close to the end those last degrees tick off quickly, so be ready.

At around 120 we want to change the cook and really amp things up with that reverse sear. On gas, its easy - just crank it up to the max and rock out. On charcoal you need to time your reverse sear with a few flips left and get more coals on there to up the heat. Try moving the roast away a little as they catch, and then directly over the fresh pile once you get to the sear. Our goal is to get to 135 for medium rare, or higher if you prefer it a bit more cooked inside. Remember that this needs a long rest period, and will get a little “carry on” cook of a few additional degrees once it leaves the grill, so time your meal with that expectation in mind.

Twelve minutes to table should be perfect. Slice against the gain and serve as a main or on crusty bread for the best sandwich of all time.

I’m proud of all of you amazing tri-tip grilling gurus!

And there you have it – with a mastery of 3-T you are ready to create all your own recipes and take on any new item you want to grill. Thanks for sticking along with me on the tour, and I hope you’ve had as much fun along the way as I have! Keep those grill fires going and get that flank to flame!



egg nog



2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 3.4 ounce box instant vanilla pudding

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon dark rum

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup eggnog

For the Rum Syrup and Glaze:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup dark rum

1 tablespoons water

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of two 8 x 4-inch loaf pan, dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, instant pudding, baking powder, salt and nutmeg; Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla and rum and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, beat to combine. Add eggnog and mix on low speed until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 40 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing loaf to a wire rack on top of a baking sheet. Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the warm loaf. Mean while while the bread is baking, bring granulated sugar, rum, and water to boil in small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Whisk in butter until smooth. Cool rum syrup to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Reserve 5 to 6 tablespoons of syrup to make the glaze. Brush warm bread with remaining rum syrup and cool completely, about 2 hours. Whisk confectioners’ sugar into 4 tablespoons of reserved rum syrup until smooth. The mixture should be thick but pourable. Add up to 2 tablespoons of rum syrup if the mixture is too stiff. If it is still too stiff add eggnog to mixture one tablespoon at a time until the correct consistency. Pour the glaze over the top of the loaf and let it drip down the sides.Let the glaze harden, about 15 minutes, before serving.


KITCHEN emory ann kurysh


2 large eggs

4 cups milk

4 tbsp cornstarch

6 tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 tsp salt

5 Earl Grey tea bags

1 1/2 tbsp butter

2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Whisk eggs in a medium saucepan. Add milk and continue whisking.

2. Turn heat to high. Add cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Keep whisking. Next throw in 4 tea bags. Cut open the 5th one and pour it in the mixture. Whisk until it boils.

3. Once boiling, turn the heat to medium and continue whisking for 2 minutes to get out all of the clumps. Then remove the 4 tea bags and add the butter and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.

4. Pour into a bowl and place in fridge. Cover, but give it a stir every so often in order to prevent a film from forming. It will take approximately 2 hours to set before it is ready to eat. Strain once through a strainer in order to get out any remaining lumps and serve chilled. Enjoy!

Home&Harvest | Nov/Dec 2022 35

peanut brittle



2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

½ tsp salt

½ cup water

2 cups salted peanuts or honey roasted peanuts

4 Tbsp butter

1 Tbl vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda


Spray your cookie sheet with nonstick baking spray; set it aside. Using a large saucepan, mix together the sugar, corn syrup, salt and water. Stir until well combined. Place your pan over medium heat and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until sugar has completely dissolved. Check the temperature often with a candy thermometer. Once temperature reaches 280°F, add the peanuts and butter. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until temperature reaches 300°F. Remove your pan from heat. Stir in vanilla extract and baking soda. Your mixture will bubble! After all is well combined, spread it into the cookie sheet. Let it cool completely. Snap into edible pieces! Want to make it even more delicious? Melt chocolate in a double broiler and dip your peanut brittle. YUM!

Home&Harvest | Nov/Dec 2022 36

cookies HOT COCOA



(For the cookies)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 large egg

emory ann kurysh

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature

3/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

(For the filling)

2 cups icing sugar

2 tbsp butter

6 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mini marshmallows


1. For the cookies- Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, add the beat the egg with the butter and sugar until fluffy. Next add the milk and vanilla extract. Once mixed, pour wet mixture into dry and stir until well-combined.

3. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using a large spoon or ice cream scooper, drop 12 portions onto each sheet. Place in oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove, set aside, and let cool.

4. For the filling- Prepare the filling by adding the icing sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla. You want the icing to be on the thicker side for the filling, so you may need to adjust the milk ratio in order to achieve that. Flip over 12 cookies and top them with icing. (The cookies are on the softer side so you may want to pipe them instead.) Then take another cookie and place on top. Save some icing to drizzle on the cookies. Add a bit more milk to thin it out, then drizzle and finish off with marshmallows!

Home&Harvest | Nov/Dec 2022 39





Crust: 34 chocolate cream Oreo cookies, crushed 1/4 cup butter, melted 1 tablespoon sugar


4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened 1-1/2 cups sugar

1 cup sour cream 1/2 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons baking cocoa 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 5 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten 1 bottle (1 ounce) red food coloring


3 ounces cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup butter, softened 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Preheat oven to 325°. Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan. In a small bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, butter and sugar. Press onto the bottom of prepared pan. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, buttermilk, cocoa and vanilla un til smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in food coloring. Pour over crust. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. hot water to larger pan. Bake until center is just set and top appears dull, 70-80 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around inside edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight, covering when completely cooled. Remove side of pan. For frosting, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Frost top of cheesecake. Refrigerate until serving.



chocolate peppermint WHOOPIE PIES

KITCHEN sara raquet



2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large egg room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk room temperature

Filling: 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

2/3 cup room temperature unsalted butter

1 cup marshmallow fluff

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips


For the cookies:

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Sift into another large bowl. Beat the granulated sugar and butter together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Alternate adding the dry mixture and the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Mix until just incorporated. Refrigerate the dough until chilled, about 1 hour. Preheat to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop tablespoonfuls of batter about 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets (about 6 cookies per baking sheet). Keep the remaining batter chilled. Bake until the cookies puff up and the tops are no longer glossy, about 7 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. Let the baking sheets cool, then repeat last step.

For the filling: Beat the confectioners’ sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add the marshmallow creme, milk and peppermint extract and beat until light and airy, about 5 minutes. Spread a heaping tablespoon of the filling on half of the cookies. Sandwich with the remaining halves, pushing down slightly to move the filling to the edge. Put the Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips on a plate and roll the sides of the whoopie pies in the candy.

Home&Harvest | Nov/Dec 2022 43

Cozy Christmases

It’s that time of year once again where we begin to make holiday plans. Whether its staying at home or traveling, many are already stressing about the hectic holidays to follow Halloween. My suggestion is that we all take a page out of Dr. Frederic Church’s book, literally.

Dr. Frederic Church was the McConnell Mansion’s last private owner. He was a roomer at the Mansion under ownership of the Adair and Jackson families. Church moved in when he was hired as a European history professor at the University of Idaho in 1921. Accounts of how he acquired accommodations differ-

Christmases in the McConnell Mansion?

Hayley Noble

-slightly, depending on whom you ask. According to Ione and Berna dine Adair, living at the Mansion in 1921, Church walked by the house, admiring the garden. Losina Adair, Ione and Bernadine’s mother, was out tending the yard when she struck up a conversation with him; by the end of the discussion, Church paid her $20 rent for a room. The other story is that as Church arrived by train into Moscow, the Univer sity President’s wife met him at the station. He had arranged to stay at a cheap motel but was instead taken to the McConnell Mansion as it was a more suitable accommodation for a faculty member. He lived as a roomer from 1921 until he decided to purchase the home from the Jacksons in 1940. He was the last private owner of the home. Upon his death in 1966, he gifted the Mansion to the county for use as a muse um.

As the holidays approach, I often wonder how Dr. Church spent his holidays in the McConnell Mansion. He kept a diary, noting his activi ties, his opinions on movies, the weather, and his correspondence. His diaries detail holidays spent among friends and sometimes in solitude. Christmas day 1935 included a party at Marjorie Adair Lyon’s house with guests Ione and Lula Adair. Most of his Thanksgiving and Christ mas plans involved dinner at a friend’s house or a party. One humor ous Christmas Day 1940 was spent drinking Tom and Jerry cocktails and smoking a cigar on an empty stomach which “spoiled him for Christmas dinner.” He often baked pies to bring to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners and enjoyed the pleasant company of his friends. He also wrote and sent cards to many, many people. Before attending the dinners, Church noted his mornings spent catching up on writing letters or reading the newspaper, with the lists of cards sent kept in-

-the diaries. A few of his Christmas cards in the Latah County Historical Society’s collection include poems writ ten by Church, with sometimes cryptic messages. Another constant protagonist in Church’s diaries was the cold of the McConnell Mansion. Whether sitting in front of the fireplace or next to one of the radiators, he was constantly trying to find warmth in the house. Most often he also had a book in hand or was napping on the couch. He was an avid reader, frequently consuming books at a rapid pace, often noting the rain or snow outside. I can just imagine a pie baking, with Church reading a book by the fireplace as it snows outside – any booklover’s cozy dream. Even after coming home from dinners and parties, he would take time to read whatever novel he was in the middle of, and jot down his progress in diary entries. Very few times did the McConnell Mansion and Frederic Church host holiday meals, but when they did, it sounded like a peaceful occasion. Thanksgiving 1944, Church host ed “his boys” - former students he stayed in touch with. He invited Richard Wilson, Paul Reimers, Charles Nesbit, Roy Whitacre, and Don Irish for the Thanksgiving holi day. They gathered by the fireplace, talking, before singing around the piano. Church even documented the occasion with photos, which we are fortunate to have. Five years later for Thanksgiving 1949, Church detailed that this was his first Thanksgiving spent at home in several years, writing, “It’s wonderfully quiet – no radio, no children in the street.” He even made himself waffles. Then on Christ mas Day 1960 he noticed “Real Sunday quiet to begin this Christmas morning. No sunshine, but a feeling of peace.” His afternoons of naps, reading, writing letters, and en joying the company of friends, escaping the wet weather, sound like heaven to me. And yet, many of his statements in his diary denote mel ancholy tones. Christmas Eve 1939 had the first snowfall of the year, but he writes, “Christmas holidays are appar ently always shaded by unfinished business.” I’m unsure to what he is referring, but other similar sentiments can be found. He also wrote on Christmas Day 1943, “I made tea and ate some cake with it; and at 9 o’clock I went to bed, there to read for an hour, still under the spell of the depression which I suppose I always have at Christmas.” Christmas away from family can be difficult. Even now with facetiming, texting, calling, etc.; it can still be lonely to be without your siblings and parents as a single person. I cannot fathom the loneliness Church might have felt away from his sister in Pennsylvania. It is very evident from his diaries that he had many friends and people who cared about him, but when you return to an empty, cold house at the end of a long day, it can be disheartening, and I wonder if this is the depression he wrote about. While I did not find the many holiday gatherings I expect ed from this beautiful house hidden away in Dr. Church’s diaries, I did find a kindred spirit in him for our love of books, long discussions among friends, and a love of-

Home&Harvest | Nov/Dec 2022 47

-baking and napping. All this is to say, that the holidays documented at the McConnell Mansion were few under the ownership of Dr. Church. He preferred to spend those occasions in the company of his adopted families, return ing to the house for peaceful evenings reading by the fire. But as a museum, the McConnell Mansion has a long tra dition of being decorated and open for the Christmas holi days. From LCHS parties to the Victorian Christmas open houses, the splendor of the Mansion is on full display. Of course, I would expect nothing less, knowing that the ac tual Victorians under the reign of Queen Victoria originat ed many of our treasured holiday traditions. Decorating a Christmas tree, sending festive cards, and gathering to play games and feast on large dinners are all thanks to the influence of Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Al bert. As more and more Europeans emigrated to America, their holiday traditions were transported across the Atlan tic. Another cultural influence was that of Charles Dick ens’ A Christmas Carol, published in 1843. The Christmas allegory captured and helped transform Christmas into our modern understanding of the holiday. It is remarkable that the tale is still told, in many forms. Last December, I even attended a University of Idaho theatre adaptation of the novel, illustrating its continued relevance.

So mark your calendars as the Latah County Historical Society prepares to once more host the free Victorian Christmas open house on December 17th from 1-4pm at the McConnell Mansion. Come enjoy delightful com pany, cookies, and the radiance that only the Victorians knew how to capture in Christmas decorations. I also want to take this opportunity to announce that LCHS has launched a fundraising campaign to restore the wood around the windows in the Mansion. Weather and animal damage have taken a toll on the house, and we are now raising funds to restore this community treasure to its former glory. Unfortunately, the Christmas decorations can only hide so much. So please help us celebrate this Moscow jewel with the Victorian Christmas tradition and many more events to come.


The McConnell Mansion dining room all ready for Thanks giving 1944.

Christmas card from Dr. Church in 1941.

Christmas card from Dr. Church, unknown year.

Christmas Card 1928.

Dr. Church’s Christmas Day 1935 diary entry. Christmas Card 1928.

Thanksgiving 1944.

Dr. Frederic Church in the McConnell Mansion.

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Home&Harvest | Nov/Dec 2022 49

It’s About Time

We think of this time of year as an ending to the calendar year. Personally, I am not fond of endings of any kind. I have never liked the end of the day, the end of a hike, the end of a proj ect or the end of a book. The changing seasons in the natural world are continuous and do not always reflect the turning calendar page. They do not really act in accordance with increments of time. The squirrels hiding their treasures do not know what month it is. It is simply time to prepare for the next season. Only humans divide and measure time into min utes and hours, days and weeks. Time is a manmade construct and we structure our lives by it.

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back”


an American author and columnist

It seems to change tempo in relation to our enjoyment of it. It speeds up when we are enjoying it and drags when we are not. I think our regard for time changes in the different stages of our lives. Isn’t it funny how you cannot see it but you can imagine changes? Some may see time as aging, but philosophers may argue that is not accurate. What we perceive as aging is merely the progressive and collective damage to our bodies and functions. Aging is visible maturation, as in mushrooms that grow in a few days or a fine grained wooden table darkened by hundreds of years of use. Knowing that we cannot avoid mortality is what shapes our very thinking. I think the increased awareness of spending time in nature as a prescription for stress relief, may reflect the fact that time can be forgotten when you step out into the quiet places. My steps become as fast or slow as I wish them to be. My breath ing becomes slow, relaxed, in . . . and out . . . The sun is slowly moving, so my senses are aware of the passing of moments but I do not count them. Rose Kennedy was quoted to say, “Life isn’t a matter of milestones but of moments.” I try to appreci ate my wealth every day.

Take The Time

We have created time, so we must navigate our path through it. It is a useful tool. If you are a musician, you need to keep time. If you are a cook, you need to watch the time. If you work from home you must become good at structuring your time. However, if you were a fan of Cheech and Chong in the sixties, you’ll remember the quote, “I’m not into time, man”. I think this too, is occasionally useful. It is difficult to learn to be in the moment. Being too concerned about time has caused me to hurry and miss many important things. I have passed countless interpretive historical highway markers on vacation road trips. I have missed opportunities to visit with important people in my life as I hurry to another destination, and I missed many precious conversations with my children, silenced as I hurried out the door to lesser priorities. I want-

-to share that thought when I see a parent reprimanding a little one to “HURRY UP!” with no apparent reason. Life should not be spent dominated by this constant pressure.

“The future is something which everyone reaches at the same rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”

Know The Time

Cell phones have accurately calibrated time sources and provide access to aps if you want to be even more precise. Whether the hours are counted with a 24 hour clock known as military time or a twelve hour clock that is most com monly used, there are 1,440 minutes in a 24 hour day to be asleep, and to be awake. The world regulates clocks and time by UTC, which means Coordinated Universal Time. I have recently laid awake several nights questioning this term and its function. The neighborhood in which I live is situated within the zone that receives a very clear amplification of very good, I must admit, music from a house that prefers 3 am for their listening pleasure. They have the previously mentioned time telling devices, so clearly this problem is not solved by coordinated, accurate timepieces, but knowing what time it is.

If you watch the signals of the seasons, when the elderberries are good and plump for the birds, you know it is time to get the snow shovel out of the basement. It is time to prepare. Nature is my way to keep track of the changing seasons but I must depend on my watch to tell the time. I hate to buy batteries so I wear a wind-up watch. It is the size of a smart watch but not. When I forget to wind it, I set it by checking my phone. But phone batteries will go dead with the extend ed power outages that we can expect in winter. Ahhh, the car jack charger! One can drive around and utilize the car charger unless the streets are impassable due to ice which is probably what has caused the power outage. Do not remain in a closed garage with the engine running to charge your phone. It will charge but you will die. A better action to take would be to follow that urge to run out into the street and scream, “Is anybody out there?” until you see real faces in real time, attached to real bodies. If it is very late at night and you have awakened the neighborhood, they will be aware of you and loudly tell you to be quiet. This will confirm there are other survivors and you will be ok. If the power does not come back on soon and you are in your down sleeping bag but still cold, look around the neighborhood for the telltale wood stove smoke of any of your neighbors. If you have a prior history of waking your neighbors after hours and have not made friends with any of them, you may have to con sider putting in your own wood stove. I suggest you at least introduce yourself to ask them from whom they buy their wood.

History of Time

Archeologists have deduced that methods of timekeeping began with ancient Babylonians. It is believed that they counted by sixties in their system for mathematics and as tronomy. This might be the reason for the amount of seconds to a minute and minutes to the hour. The ancient Egyptians are credited for first using the sundial before 1500B CE to mark units of time. It was calibrated to a water clock for night hours and for days that were cloudy. Each week has seven days, dating back to Babylonians observing seven celestial bodies. The Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are named after a collection of Norse and Roman gods, each controlling a day of the week.

As the world continued to become more populated, adopt ing a unified calendar became useful. Early calendars reflected the changes of nature but were made to fit the constructs of society.

Agriculture has very deep roots (pun intended) going as far back as the 27th century BCE according to Britannica.com. “The Summerian administration also needed a time unit comprising the whole agricultural cycle: for example, from delivery of new barley and the settling of pertinent accounts to the next crop. This financial year began about two months after barley cutting. For other purposes, a year began before or with the harvest.”

The original Roman calendar began with March, leaving the two months of winter as dead time when the military and the government were not active. This explains why October, November and December do not reflect the proper sequence of their latin base of eight, nine, and ten today. January and February were not put into place until 452 BCE. The names of our months are based on a mix of numbers, emperors, Roman gods and goddesses. Most sources agree the calendar we follow today was started around 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII. It therefore carries his name as the Gregorian calen dar. It is both the civil and Christian ecclesiastical calendar. There are still many other calendars that remain in use worldwide for religious purposes. Different cultures have based their calendars on different cycles; the moon, the sun, the first fruits. A few countries still use theirs exclusively and some alongside the Gregorian version which has been slowly embraced over the years until most countries have adopted it. Ethiopia has remained using the Roman calendar of a 13 month year and it is in fact 2014 there today!

Earth Time

Geological Time is the measurement of earth’s timeline by the layers of its crust. It records units of time in ages, epochs, periods, eras, and eons. The Meghalayan age began 4,200 years ago. The Holocene epoch began 11,700 years ago. According to National Geographic.org geologists are dis cussing a new unit of geologic time to describe the most-

Home&Harvest | Nov/Dec 2022 52

-recent period when human activity began to impact ecosys tems. Stay with me, I am not spouting political slander here on climate change. I am only sharing thoughts about the challenges of geologists as they attempt to identify units of measurement by layers of the earth’s crust to record the plan et’s history on a timeline. Conversations began decades ago between geologists and researchers about how a dramatic increase in human activity has affected the planet. Adopting the term Anthropocene epoch will continue being discussed as a different time period from the Holocene epoch until the conclusion is reached of “when” it was reflected in the rock strata, the basis for geologic time. It is being debated if it was the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution 12,000 years ago or as recent as the 1960’s, the 1800’s when the Industrial Revolution dramatically increased the carbon and methane levels, or the first atomic bomb testing in 1945 and then the use of them resulting in radioactive particles detected in soil samples globally. There has also been mention of the impact of our global economy impacting the Earth systems about the time it began in the 1950’s. I imagine it will not be successfully negotiated before the end of another age. This is fascinating to me to think that humans may have notably altered a measurement of time. It also allows one to perceive how time marches on into infinity and is in fact astronomical in relation to our brief time as inhabitants upon the planet. Whew. That is lofty thinking. Let’s come back to the moment and something more simple.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien -The Fellowship of the Rings

Saving Time

As domestic engineers, once known as housewives, we performed all of the things necessary to keep a household running in the hours allotted. It is a myth that as more labor saving devices were introduced to the home, that the amount of labor decreased. It was proven that the labor actually increased as MORE work could be performed in a day. One can imagine the first self cleaning oven. Yay, I just have to wipe it when it is done, so now I can mop the floors while it cleans! The robot vacuum went off on its own expedi tions around the house, and required to be emptied at least ten times more than the upright. The dishwasher in every home did not load or unload itself and the garbage disposal needed repair often, in addition to replacing the spoons that it chewed up. I did not and have not ever had any of the above. This is not meant to sound as though I am in judg ment of those who have utilized techniques to manage their time as they wish. Time can be spent with purpose at a pace that allows us to be in charge of it. But time cannot be saved. Hiring household help is the only method I think that allows you to spend less time performing your household chores.

Sixty years ago Bob Dylan wrote the song, The Times They Are A-Changin’ to echo the frustration of youth who felt ex cluded from society. This was a protest song and not viewed completely favorably worldwide. I suspect the message that the youth were ready to take over and for adults to get out of the way had something to do with the song being met with some ire. I was that time’s youth, today I am the one being asked to step aside, because history repeats itself. Time is unlike other concepts. It does not change. Guidelines that represent shifting popular opinions can mysteriously seep into our thoughts unnoticed, altering our patterns. These social norms then create our changing times. We structure a part of our life by it but then the trend mysteri ously fades away, evolving into the next one. One example would be women’s attire in public. Long dress es slowly gave way to shorter ones until one day social norms allowed the more casual look of pants. Unfortunately for me, prior to public schools revising the dress code I was repeat edly sent to the principal’s office by the playground teacher for wearing cutoffs under my skirt. I celebrate the acceptance of my jeans and fly them proudly on my clothesline. I do not celebrate a trend however, that I am surrounded by today. I recently returned to a lunch stop that had a nice ambiance and every table was seated with expressionless faces staring at the phone in their hand. So, I am wonder ing if we are witnessing a trend of preference for artificial intelligence to human interaction. Is this the end of intimate gatherings of smiles, eye contact and enjoyable conversations in public settings? Before this trend becomes the foundation for the future, let me please comment that it has been proven through time, that we need each other. Time is a silent ele ment but a powerful means to reveal things. If you want me to get out of the way or get on board with this concept of disregarding human presence, I am afraid I will not go quietly. I will enter the said, lovely lunch place quietly then I will jump up on my table yelling, ”I will not support a movement that basically disintegrates social connection, the vital characteristic of community” to divide your attention from your devices at the cost of embarrassing myself, to get you to move your phone away from your face so I can see it and you can see mine. This will also cause you to complain to your table mates, thus engaging you to one another. Mis sion accomplished. Be here now.

Your Time

…is this moment, this minute, this year. Be present. Live. Engage. Care. Love. These are verbs. Check that box…I am NOT a robot and prove it. Today’s date does not repeat itself. Let me repeat that. Today’s date does not repeat itself. Have a delightful date with today. Yahoo, I’ve got a date! What has happened to that dang dating pool anyway?

Changing Times
Home&Harvest | Nov/Dec 2022 55

Whittington Center in Raton

by chad Kinyon


I left my home in North Las Vegas, NV, at 11:00pm to pick up Joe for an adventure to a series of long-range shooting competitions held at The NRA Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico. There will be three matches with varying distances between 1036-3700 yards (.58–2.1 miles). The first match carried a weight and caliber restrictions that separated it from the other two. Due to the requirements of the first match, I was be taking two rifles. I will use my 7 SAUM to meet those requirements (light gun) and my 375 EnABELR (heavy gun) for the remaining two matches, which don’t car ry much in the way of restrictions other than total weight.


Arriving at The Whittington Center around 2:00 pm the following after noon, having been on the road for about 15 hours. We could have made better time, but we knew we couldn’t check into our cabin until 2:00pm, so why get in a big hurry. We checked in at the gate and secured the keys to our accommodations and a map of the facility so we could find our cabin and the sight in range. The Whittington Center boasts 25 separate ranges on 33,000+ acres for archery, pistol, shotguns, rifles, or basically anything that “shoots” from 5-1200 yards. They have 175 full hook-up RV campsites, 20 cabins, and a museum with a gift shop. This center and its patrons bring an estimated $7,000,000 to the economy of Raton, a small community of about 6,000 people that sits nestled in the mountains just south of the New Mexico/Colorado border at an elevation of 6,680’. The altitude made for a refreshing change from the summer heat of Southern Nevada which this time of year is just stupid hot. When we arrived, it was in the mid-60s and had just rained.

The ranges we will be using for these three matches that will be held over the next week are “off the reservation,” so to speak, as they are not always available and, for the most part, are not open to the public to shoot at ex cept in the case of special events like these matches. This set of matches are being put on by Randy Powell, the owner, and operator of Thunder Ammo and Arms, specializing in .50 cal bullets, bullet design, and loaded ammu nition.

About the time we wandered onto the sight-in range, the shooters started rolling in from all over the country, and before long, it was getting crowded with old friends and not-yet friends. Zeroing shots went without issue, and everything was about where it was expected to be, except for a gentleman’s debate on the proper way to zero a rifle in a ballistic calculator. One school of thought is to zero at 100 yards and then enter an offset reflecting where your bullet hits at 100 yards. The second school of thought is to take that information and adjust your zeroing distance to the distance that your impact would be back down to where the crosshairs in the scope are. Both methods accomplish the same thing; I must admit I was in the second camp. Brian Wink and Stanley Cutsforth won me over to running an offset. When the season is over, I will change my scope mount to remove the 40MOA cant. I no longer need it since receiving a 29.2 mil Nightforce-

Prism Wedge in the nick of time for the trip. As for the zero ing debate it would rage on for the next few days.

We then left the sight-in range in search of our cabin. We were being housed in what are called the founders’ cab ins. Back in 1973, when the center was established in the remnants of an old coal mine, the NRA and some of the shooting sports leaders stepped up and had cabins built that would bear the founders’ names. We just happened to be staying in the Leupold cabin on this trip. Basically, each cab in is 4 hotel rooms with bathrooms that share a full kitchen and living area. They are very comfortable even though ours didn’t have A/C. Due to the altitude, cool evenings, and fre quent thunderstorms, we made due with a box fan and were quite comfortable.


Match #1 Raton Thunder Light Gun 1.13mile Challenge

This match will take place on the 1000 yd range in the sense that we would be firing from the 1,000-yard range firing line. The targets, however, are placed well beyond the limits of the range. The targets will be in select clearings on the mountain behind the furthest berm. Placing them at 1036, 1389, 1800, and 1990 yards. Each target will be engaged once in the morning session and then again in an afternoon session for a total of 32 shots to complete the match. These distances are pushing the limits of the 7 SAUM cartridge, but you have to dance with the partner you brought. When the firing order came out I was listed in the fourth shooting position.

I didn’t shoot particularly well in the first round with the 7 SAUM, completely outmatched by the larger 33XC cartridge, which is what my partner Joe shoots. This cartridge domi nates the class. I only manage two hits in the morning round @ 1389yds. Did slightly better in the afternoon with hits on 1800 and 1990yds targets which place me 18th. Hard for a hunting round to keep up with the larger, heavier, and faster rounds that make up the light division of the ELR class. Joe placed 2nd with an outstanding performance in the after noon, where he went 4/5 at 1389, 1800,1990 and only missed three shots in the afternoon session.


Between the morning and afternoon sessions, I received an email from Alex Cordesman that I had qualified for the 2022 Global King Of 2 Mile Championship. That meant that a “Bucket List” item was in play. I had earned my chance to compete with the very best in our sport. Everything I was doing this weekend took on a new level of importance to me since this is the venue where the KO2M match will be held. So stick with me as we will be heading back to Raton in late September for the crown jewel of the ELR community. I wonder if this is why I shot so much better in the afternoon session?

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Match #2 FCSA Record Match in Spring Canyon

This match is really designed for the .50cal crowd that shoots 500-800 gr bullets. The distances for this match are 2560, 2465, 2775, and 2915 on day one and 2560, 2775, 3155, and 3700 on day two. I am slated as the second shooter on the line for day one, which is nice, or at least I thought I was. The air would be cool at about 60 degrees, and the wind will be calm at the shooting position. I guess I should have known it at the time but with the rain from the night before, the ground was wet and would offer no indication of any bullet that missed the target. It was a little like flying blind in a snowstorm and trying to use “The Force” to guide the bul lets onto the target. The course of fire would be a CB (cold bore) shot at 2560yds for a world record attempt. If you hit it, you would have the opportunity to send two more for the world record. The official record has to be CB+two on a 36” plate, on video, with a minimum of 10 witnesses that need to sign an affidavit about the event. Sadly, I’m not the new world record holder; however, I’m proud to say that a man I call my friend is, Stanley Cutsforth. Yeah, Stan went on to win this match, and not just by a little. He nearly doubled the second-place finishers, Lindsey Paul’s (Queen of 2 Mile 2021) score. Yes, a woman beat the rest of the field in the match. This sport is dominated in numbers by men, but the women that come out, play to win. Personally, I only man aged to extract one hit in this tricky little canyon at 2775yds on day two for the whole match, which tied me for 16th out of 20 shooters. I could hear the bullets landing on the moun tainside from the camera system behind me, so they were at least in the vicinity of the targets. Not my proudest moment, but at least I didn’t come in last. Because the targets are set up on mountainsides, as you can imagine, the areas around them are mostly rocks, and the little bit of dirt that was there was wet and very hard to get a read off of my smaller 377gr bullets which had lost most of their energy by the time of impact between 1.53 and 2.10 miles. Lessons were learned for next time but my confidence had taken a significant blow, and I was questioning everything.



#3 The Raton Thunder 1.65 Mile Challenge

This match will best fit me and my rifle so I expected to place a little better. The early morning air is a crisp 60 degrees with fog/clouds hanging in the target area up on the side of the mountain. The sun keeps peeking out of the clouds, so it seems like it will move or burn off reasonably soon. I have drawn the ninth position in the firing order, so I will have about an hour and a half to assemble my gear and prepare. I started my round by missing the cold bore target by a few inches, but this gave me a better read on what the wind was doing down range. I made a slight adjustment to the wind age and elevation turrets and moved onto T1 at 1390 yards. T1 yielded hits on four out of five of the shots. Now we are-

-talking! I then moved onto T2 at 1800 yards. T2 wasn’t quite as friendly, only giving up three hits out of the five shots. On to T3 which was set at 1990 yards where I only managed one hit. So for day one of this two-day match, I was at a 50% hit ratio. That’s not going to win but at least, to me anyway, it’s respectable.

We retired to the cabin and spent the rest of the day having adult beverages and playing corn hole which I had never played before. It’s a fun and somewhat addicting game. In-between games, we continued discussing the finer points of this ELR game we play. Nothing was definitively settled, even though discussed at great length.

Dinner tonight would be at The Ice House BBQ in Raton with the tribe, as it will be our last night in Raton. Eight of us gathered around two tables pushed together to break bread and enjoy each other’s company one last evening before heading home the following afternoon. I had the brisket platter, which was smoked to perfection. An interesting twist to the establishment is they had this BBQ sauce that was blueberry based. I won’t say it was my new favorite but it had an interesting flavor that made me want to dip my brisket in it. Had they used the beloved Huckleberry, I’d have been in it to my elbows. I will miss these guys when we all head home and back to our lives, but as luck, or fate, would have it, some of us will be back here at the end of September 2022 for KO2M.


The Raton Thunder 1.65 Mile Challenge Day 2

The match is delayed by almost 2 hours because the targets are covered by low-hanging clouds again. These are thicker than the ones from the day before. We can’t even see the targets as they are further up the mountainside from the target positions of day one. Since the firing order is reversed from day one, I’ll be 15th in the firing order, which meant that I will shoot much later in the morning. By the time I made it to the firing line, it had heated up about 10 degrees with the humidity somewhere north of 70%, making the air feel thick and sticky. Today the cold bore target is set at 1800 yards. Just like day one, I missed it by a couple of inches. No sense in dwelling on it. Just move onto T4 which is set at 2268 yards. I hit three out of five and will chalk one miss up to a miss communication with my spotter. He called my im pact point instead of my correction, so I made an incorrect adjustment due to this information, causing a second miss even further off target. I moved my aim even further up the mountain to T5, where I managed to miss ever so slightly on all five shots. Time to finish strong, I thought and moved my aim to the top of the mountain and T6 at 2878 yards. T6 de fended itself well, but I did get one impact on it. So I finished day two by hitting four out of sixteen for a 25% hit ratio. My point total for both days is 51,902, which put me in 13th-

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The match winner was Stanley Cutsforth of Team Le upold, with John Snodgrass spotting. He had made 21 shots in a row and was clean until his second shot on day two at 2650 yards. He finished the match having only missed six shots out of 30, all of which were on the last two and furthest targets. An impressive accomplishment, but that’s why he’s the current world record holder and sits at number 18 in the KO2M world rankings. I think that number will be changing after this week’s events. I’ve known Stanley for about four and a half years. We met at the inaugural Best of The West shoot in Oregon back in 2018. Given his position in the shooting community, he could choose to be arrogant if he wanted. He would have earned that right, but not Stanley. He is the most helpful and humble person you could ever hope to meet, with a laugh that can only be described as infectious. Don’t get me wrong, when he lays down behind that 416 Hellfire rifle of his, it’s game on, and make no mistake, he’s not trying to beat anyone personally. He’s trying to beat the course. He wants to hit every single target with every single shot. In the course of doing that, chances are he will probably beat you, but it’s not personal with Stan. That’s what makes him such a great ambassador for our sport; he will do his best to help you beat the course, as well. I honestly believe he would be happiest if everyone he helped tied for 1st place, having hit every target. With Stan, you aren’t the enemy to be beaten, you are a brother. He has started giving instructional training and advice on building ELR rifles. He runs OC Training and Gunworks in Lexington, OR. If you wish to get a hold of him, let me know, and I can put you in touch with him.

Our next stop in this adventure will be right back here in Raton, NM, for the Global King Of 2 Mile Championship, September 23-25, 2022. So if you have been following along for the last year and have enjoyed these adventures, hang in there, and we will see where this thing ends up in the next issue of Home&Harvest.

• 31,343 pts Best of the West

• 25,392 pts Spearpoint Ranch June

• 14,917 pts Light Gun Thunder

• 2,567 pts Spring Canyon Heavy Gun

• 51,902 pts Heavy Gun Thunder

• 126,121 pts Season Total

• 162nd in KO2M rankings

• Current Global ELR Ranking 167th and holding.

December 3 - 5

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HEIDI’S holiday TOP 10

heidi pederson by

Happy Holiday’s fellow readers! This Holiday season I am doing something a bit different. I have rounded up the top 10 books that appear across numerous “Top 10” lists and have made it into my own list. All of these books have come across my lap at some point or another and all are amazing reads. I should also note that none of these are in particular order. It is hard to rate any book as a favorite, it is almost like choosing your favorite child at times. With out further ado, Heidi’s Top 10 Holiday Books.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus -- Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.

But science and life are both unpredictable. That is why a few short years later Elizabeth finds her self a reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six and a single mother. Her approach to cooking is proving revolutionary (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”). As Elizabeth’s following grows, not everyone is happy. She isn’t just teaching wom en how to cook, but daring them to change the status quo.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry --- Nora Stephens’ life is books. But she wouldn’t say she is a heroine of any kind. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, who she is a ruthless literary agent for and her beloved little sister Libby, which is why when Libby begs her sister to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for a month away in August as a sisters’ trip she agrees. But instead of the typical picnics in the meadows, or run-ins with the handsome bar-keep, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor she already knows from back in the city.

If Nora knows she’s not a heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again, the soon come to realize that what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.

Verity by Collen Hoover -- Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she lands the job of a lifetime from Jeremy Crawford. Jeremy is the husband of bestselling author Ver ity Crawford, who is too injured to finish the remaining books in her successful series. Lowen’s job is to finish them for her. Lowen arrives, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines in her chaotic office, hoping to find enough material to get started. Lowen soon comes to uncover an unfin ished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. One with bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s own recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.

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Lowen decides to not tell Jeremy the contents of the man uscript or show him, as she knows it would devastate the already grieving father. As time goes on Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify and she wonders if she could ben efit from showing Jeremy the manuscript after all. Especially if the horrifying truth would make it impossible for Jeremy to love his injured wife.

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan

-- Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life was upended when her husband re vealed a darker side. She never imagined she would end up back in her sleepy hometown in New Hampshire, with her son Asher, living in her childhood home, taking over her father’s beekeeping business.

Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start. For a while Olivia & Lily are getting what they need. New Beginnings. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school and Lily can’t help by fall for him too. Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in him, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.

Full of suspense, love and a moving and powerful explora tion of secrets we keep and the risks we take in order to be come ourselves. This story is told only the way Jodi Picoult with the assistance of Jennifer Finney Boylan can tell it.

Blake Cake by Charmaine Walker -- We can’t choose what we inherit. But can we choose who we become?

Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves behind a puzzling inheri tance for her two children, Byron and Benny. A black cake, made from a family recipe with a long history and a voice recording. In her recording, Eleanor shares a tumultuous story about a headstrong young swimmer who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder. The tale that un folds, the secrets Eleanor holds and the mystery of a longlost child challenge everything Byron and Benny thought they knew about their lineage and themselves. Can they reclaim their once-close relationship? Piece together their mother’s true history, and fulfill her final request? Will their mother’s revelations bring them closer or leave them feeling more lost?

Charmaine Wilkerson’s debut novel is a story of how the inheritance of betrayals, secrets, memories, and even names can shape

and history. Deeply evocative

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-beautifully written, Black Cake is an extraordinary journey through the life of a family changed forever by the choices of its matriarch.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin -- On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t pro tect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.

Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles -- In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Ne braska by the warden of the work farm where he has just served a year for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother and head west where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future.

Spanning just ten days and told from multiple points of view, Towles’s third novel will satisfy fans of his multi-lay ered literary styling while providing them an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters, and themes.

A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham – Chloe Davis was twelve when six teenage girls went missing from her small Louisiana town. By the end of summer her dad has been arrested and promptly put in prison for being a serial killer. Chloe and the rest of her family were left to pick up the pieces, grapple with the trust and try to move on. Twen ty years later, Chloe is a psychologist in a private practice in Baton Rouge and getting ready for her wedding. When a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another,-

and the terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is Chloe being paranoid? Or for the second time in her life, is she about to unmask a killer?

Extremely suspenseful from the start, this book is unforget table and spellbinding.

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen – Avery Chambers is a therapist who lost her professional license. Still, she isn’t stopped from her unorth odox methods of counseling those in a crisis, as long as they adhere to her methods.

Marissa and Matthew Bishop seem to have it all, until Marissa is unfaithful. Their perfect relationship is driven by work and a lack of intimacy. Marissa wants to repair things for their eight-year-old son and because she really does love her husband. Marissa hired Avery Chambers.

When this perfect couple enters Avery’s room all three are set on a collision course. Sometimes the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden and it’s no longer simply a mar riage that is in danger.

The Maid by Nita Prose – Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the in tentions of others. Her Gran used to interpret the world for her, however since her Gran died a few months ago, Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself.

Molly throws herself into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette make her an ideal fit for the job. Until one morning when Molly’s orderly life is upended.

Moly enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find his room in disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Because of Molly’s unusual de meanor the police target her as their main suspect. Molly finds herself in a web of deception and has no idea how to untangle it. Fortunately, friends she never knew she had, unite with her to search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black. But will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

The Maid explores what it means to be the same as every one else and yet entirely different at the same time.

These are just some of my favorite books this year. Hope you find one on the list you may enjoy or want to gift. You can never go wrong with gifting a book. When out shop ping this holiday season be sure to support your local stores and shop local. From my family to yours I wish you all a Happy Holiday season and a safe New Year. Until next time fellow readers. Happy Reading!

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A Reading For You

As we get into the deep winter, it can be easy to feel some kinda way about it, right? Some people love the snowy sports and/or the cozy winter nights in front of a fire. Others really struggle with less sun or feel tense physically with the cold chill in the air. And, of course, there are all the other feelings you could have too. So, what to do about it all? Here, in one or more of these three cards, there is a message for you about something to do with deep winter and your experience of it. Take in the cards, looking them over carefully to see what imagery draws you in, and read the descriptions for your message from The WildWood Tarot.

Ace of Stones The Foundation of Life

This card carries a few potent messages today. The first thing I notice when looking at it is the tangle of trees behind the standing stone, which must be massive if it’s been standing upright for long enough to gain all these carvings. And there don’t seem to be any other stones in the picture, just dirt and old, tortured trees. So, what does that say to me…for you? To me it tells a story of a backdrop of chaos, perhaps pain or trauma, and resil iency when all you wanted was peace. And, in the forefront, peace. A solitary rock coming up from deep in the earth. It’s been shaped by the winds that have turned and tangled the trees behind it, leaving it pointed and tall. I imagine it being just taller than a person, although it could be 20 feet, who am I to say? But I imagine that you can trace the markings easily, almost meditatively, whether sitting or standing in its presence. Perhaps you can lean against it, looking upon the forest of your past or on this side of it, gazing into what could be. Maybe it’s coolness startles you or maybe it helps you remember some important piece that you needed to recall that you hold the ideas that create YOUR foundation for life.

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Another, less spiritual and more practically nudging message this card shares is that the foundation is essential and, yet, it is just the foundation. What does that mean? Well, we’ve all heard that for a building to stand well and tall for a long time, it needs a solid foundation. The same is true for any project or plan. It’s not super helpful to just start going at something when you’re not sure what you’re going at. The idea or concept is the spark that starts the wheels turning. The foundation is bringing that idea into realityplanning, details, brainstorming, fidgeting with facts and figures. That’s all part of your foundation. The things you put on paper, record with your voice app, or type into your notes app. Foundations. And, not all of them will become anything more. Some of them will. So, what are your foundations, your ideas you’re intrigued enough with to bring into reality? Can you spend some time with them and begin figur ing out the wonderfully wild or highly practical ways (you pick!) they can be built into more?

Seven of Arrows Insecurity

Mmm…if you read the notes on the first card, or maybe you noticed this too, there’s another tangled, gnarly background to this card! And, while that’s something they share, the woman in the Seven of Ar rows doesn’t feel at peace. She’s definitely at risk of being tripped up or caught in the thorny vines, not to mention the arrows that are piercing her. What’s that all about?!

Well, sometimes we get in our heads. Sometimes we listen to naysayers or even people who mean well (but should probably keep their opinions to themselves) and begin to wonder if we can do it, whatever it is. Do I know enough? Will I make enough? What if she doesn’t like me? I don’t want to let anyone down. I’m afraid I’ll fail. I probably won’t finish anyway.

Not with that attitude! Maybe you’ve heard that or felt any or all of these fears before. There’s some truth to having the right attitude being super-duper helpful in helping us keep going. If we listen to the niggling worries in our heads, we will probably fulfill them, intentionally or not, consciously or unwit tingly. However, if we recognize them as the very arrows piercing us and the exact vines trying to trip us up…if we open our eyes to the situation and choose to step away from the brambles, well then we stand a chance.

No part of this is beating yourself up for the tangled hedge behind you, even if you made mistakes. Judging yourself isn’t part of what’s happening here. Forgiving yourself might be, but definitely treating yourself with compassion is. You do what’s best for you - then and now. And now, perhaps, that means looking your fear in the eye and telling it that it cannot control you. You are enough to take the next step (no matter how big or small). You are enough to let your insecurities fall to the ground and step over them in pursuit of your dreams, goals, and desires. You are enough.

Queen of Bows Hare

The Queen poses in front of this silhouetted castle, quite regal indeed. And as the Queen of the suit of fire, she absolutely encourages you to follow through with whatever sparks your passion or ambition. Yet she is also a kind, warm, and wise matriarch, willing to mentor and quick to remind you not to get burnt up in the flames!

Her message to you is to seek balance in your life. Think not only about how you can help others or how you can help yourself, but where can you do both? Think not only about being recognized for your pas sions but how can you use them creatively to spark the next fire for yourself or for someone else? Think not only about how to strengthen your resolve but also how to soften your drive or broaden your view or open your heart. There are so many ways to be in balance, or to be out of it. When you start to feel the flames flicking at you, look at where you can make subtle changes to keep the fire burning yet reasonably so. The goal is rarely an all-consuming blaze.

Hopefully you read a message here that you can take to heart. Remember to keep Home&Harvest nearby to pick up and look to the cards anytime you need a message that speaks to you. May the deep winter bring you deep understanding and preparation for what’s to come.

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Gift Giving {more than perfect presents}

I had an experience a few days ago that really got me thinking. We were getting ready for Miss Lillian’s 9th birthday and Heather and I – in our roles of loving aunt and uncle – offered to go shopping with Heather’s dad as he was looking for a little help connecting with the perfect gift to show a cherished granddaughter just how much her doting grandfather was thinking of her.

The entire process, and the final results were heartwarming.

We kicked off the evening with dinner on one of those first rainy nights that started to hit us in mid-October and the conversation quickly turned to Joe’s adorable desire to align with Lillian’s current life and interests. As you may know from the dedication in the begin ning of the last issue, Debbie, Joe’s wife and Heather’s mom, recently passed. So Joe now found himself in a new role – out to do the shop ping that would normally be planned and led by his beloved wife, and desperately wanting to have that same curated and thoughtful impact that her gift giving always had.

“Well, Dad, you’re going to have to learn about a certain store that might seem a little overwhelming.” Heather was ready to help as we all ordered dinner and she then quickly gave her father the run-down on what to expect when we went out shopping.

To be fair, shopping with the nieces can often be just as daunting as shopping for them. The last time we were out at the local mall, and in Lillian’s favorite store I felt like we ought to pay for a cot in the back, and take up residence. Her little sister, Annabelle, was much quick er at that particular stop, and had landed on her most desired item about 30 seconds after walking in the door. But Lillian, surrounded by costume jewelry of every size, style and form stared with glee and hours later finished near a panic of self-doubt and anxiety. She had touched every single item in the store at least twice and was deter mined to make the perfect choice to the “one item” rule Heather had established on our way in. But how was that possible for an 8 year old in a store so full of beauties and baubles galore? As Annabelle sat pa tiently hugging her squishy stuffed unicorn, Lillian’s head spun from-

-left to right and top to bottom, scanning every rack to make sure nothing was missed. She pondered the lasting ramifica tions of failing to choose wisely until the process had ceased to be meaningful and fun for her. Luckily, Aunt Heather was there with a quick save and some sage advice. A coin was flipped, a frown detected, and that item that had been about to be put back was carried up to the counter for purchase. All was well with the world and the two girls were laughing and showing off their perfect finds to each other. A few stores later, as we entered Annabelle’s favorite spot, the tides reversed. Lillian made a quick and confident choice while her little sister filled the remainder of our shopping ex cursion pondering the comparative joy that could be derived from each possible selection. This time we were quicker to act after having seen the dilemma at the previous stop. The anxiety of picking the perfect treat was standing in the way of the purpose of the activity itself. Once that simple hangup was removed, the process was both fun and meaningful again. And this isn’t reserved for “treat-yo-self” day, but is even more pronounced when we get out ahead of ourselves shopping for that perfect gift for others.

In the end, it was the day together that mattered the most, and once the worry about self-care present shopping had faded, it was lunch together to brought out the most smiles. So, now ready to take Joe fearlessly into the depths of the interests of children of today (long removed from anything recognizable from his childhood a few generations past) we made the process the focus and not the item. It worked wonders, but turned out a little unexpectedly. Heather started with some questions about what he hoped to find. And any specific type of gift that made the most sense to Joe along with budget. Since he was totally open on type and just wanted his granddaughter to feel delighted, we had a blank canvas to paint, and an evening to spend hunting for treasures together. And where I expected Joe to be a bit out of his element, and unimpressed with the fancies of this young set, ready to grab something that looked appropriate and scoot to the checkout knowing that he had landed with in the parameters of what we described as her set of favor ites, it was actually the exact opposite thing that happened. I wasn’t running a clock on it either day, but I would estimate that Joe spent about the exact same amount of time as Lilly, beginning in a fit of joy and optimism just as she had – and ultimately descending into self-doubt and worry at the pros pect of coming up with something less than ideal. His heart was so in it, that this old crusty coot was actually crouched down in front of a revolving rack of little girl’s earrings saying some of the exact same things his granddaughter had been saying a few months before. “Oh, look here – these have really cute penguins on them! Oh, no, would it be bet ter to get this set that comes with different colors of dough nuts. These are dangly, but might be a little to long, do you think? How about pairing those silver ones with that bracelet we saw back there.” He was on lap three, had touched ever item in the store, and was looking to Heather for some-

-advice. I was grinning and laughing. I would have easily un derstood so much attention to detail in the hardware or auto parts store, but this was mall shopping for a 9 year old and Joe was hooked! Heather expertly brought us back into focus on what really mattered, and took away the stressful part. Joe admitted that a few of the items didn’t make a lot of sense to him – that times certainly were a-changin’ and that he was glad he had a little inter-generational assistance. But in the end, he stuck in there, finding a big, squishy pillow that looked like a rainbow suspended between to fluffy clouds, some perfect tropical floral hair clips, and even daisy earrings, along with a supporting cast of wonderful little accents.

A few days later we were all at the party, had finished our cake and ice cream, decorated pumpkins, punched ghosts, colored bats, spiders and owls, and had even pinned the eyes on a zombie. It was finally time for the presents, and Miss Lillian had Joe’s bag in her lap as she sat on the floor sur rounded by her classmates. Tissue was torn with a furry and the squishy pillow emerged. I have one of those!” came the shouts from the excited onlookers. “Those are the best!” Immediately, and without exception, everyone was in love with Joe’s first gift. Some thing that none of us in the older generations could possibly understand or cherish was the hit of the morning with all the kids.

And then came the earrings and hair clips. Each little item was precious and loved – with Miss Lillian taking the time to stop in the fury of rapid present unwrapping and study the details of every single tiny piece of new jewelry. Her eyes lit up and she shot the most adorable gaze across the room at Joe. “Pop Pop – you got me flower earrings?”

“I picked them out myself” Joe was beaming with a smile spread ear to ear.

The difference between going out and getting the largest or flashiest present, or falling back on something that made sense to the giver instead of the recipient is easy to miss if you aren’t watching. Getting on the person’s level and taking the time to study their life, hobbies, interests and experienc es was something that Debbie had done well every Christ mas and birthday for years, and now Joe had fully embraced it and succeeded in carrying on the tradition that he said was so important for him to foster.

And the perfection in giving doesn’t necessarily stop with gifts that you can easily wrap and place on a presents table or tuck under a tree.

When we chose to give from the heart with total regard for the recipient, home-made gifts and acts of service sudden ly become so much more valuable as well. The bunny suit might have been the largest present that Ralphie got, but it was that Red Rider that stole the show, ocular calamities notwithstanding.

Everyone knows at least one person that is “impossible to shop for.” I myself have used that little phrase often, and have even heard it applied to yours truly more than a few times.

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“Well, there’s really nothing I want or need,” they say. But you know that doesn’t let you off the hook for Christmas shopping. “You don’t need to get me anything,” is less con structive as it is a blatant challenge. Like, “figure me out!” The truth is, you might not have to get them anything. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t want to. The best part of presents is truly in the giving, and that can be a crushing defeat if you can’t seem to hone in on what they might most appreciate. Afterall, its not simply an obligation of consum erism, and a fuel for capitalist ideals. You aren’t out shopping to shop – and as time draws ever closer to a deadline like a birthday or Christmas – you aren’t having as much fun battling that ticking clock and possibly the other last-minute procrastinators. So maybe this year, make a point to reverse it. Remember that you aren’t out shopping to find the perfect item, or to fill a gap in their life.

Another great place to start looking is with their individ ual Love Language. These tests, and simple to understand brackets have become very popular in the last few years, so odds are most people are already familiar with the concept and have possibly even taken a little online quiz to help sort them into their predominant category of expressing and accepting love. If in doubt you can ask them if they already know their love language, and they might be able to quickly enlighten you. And even if the idea is novel to them, you can get to know someone a little better just by discussing the varying classes and sharing with each other how you feel you do or don’t associate with each type. The easiest to recognize, and most directly linked to what we are talking about here is actually “gifts.” For many people this is the primary way they are able to express love to others and show their concern and devotion. These are tangible, visible tokens that are symbols for the love people feel. It can be picking out that perfect gift for you, or knowing that you poured over all options and spend valuable effort to find something uniquely suited for them. For most people in this category its definitely not the dollar assignment that matters – quite the opposite. The perfect gift isn’t huge, expensive and shiny, but rather thought provoking, well timed, handmade with love, or perfectly attuned to them. It shows the lengths you went to and therefore the value you place on the relationship. In turn, they put that same attention to detail into everything they chose to give. Knowing that its not about their taste but rather something that reflects your values and love language.

Another type is referred to as “quality time.” For people that are most comfortable in this column, a day fishing together would be far superior to a brand new rod and reel. They would be happy to go at it with aged and dated equipment for years to come if it meant that you would be there with them sharing the activity. Take the time to attentively listen to them, with your full and undistracted attention and then display the ways you want to spend more time together. By revealing that the shared moments are special to you, you let them know how much your relationship means to you both.

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And the last one of the five types that deserves a bit more discussion here is acts of service. This is the “actions speak loudest” set, who notice every little extra effort you make to help them through the day. They are tuned into simple actions that can help them have an easier or more enjoyable day, ways you took something off their plate when they were feeling overwhelmed, and your expression of wanting to help them and be supportive. This isn’t always the easiest to throw a bow on and tuck under a tree, but it still has a prominent place in gift giving. Get out ahead of an upcoming task and show them you have it handled. Maybe wrap up the final piece to something you’ve already made for them so they didn’t have to, or give a set of coupons that are tailored to their needs. You’ll recognize this language easily when you think back on the ways they have been there to throw a little assistance your way in times of need, so just up that to a grander scale if you want to gift in a way they truly prize. For the last two love languages – words of affirmation and physical touch – it gets an extra step harder to convert to a gift. But if you put in the time and effort you can get some thing together that extends out into their realm. For physical touch, getting a little fire pit or new set of lawn chairs might not seem like the gift that is tailored to them directly. But those hours cuddling under a blanket and watching the fire, or holding hands as you stare at the sky in your new chairs will deliver exactly what they have been wanting. For words of affirmation, look to create a scrap book together where you can tell them how much they mean and what their past interactions have done to better your life. Write a special letter to express how much they mean to you. Or hunt down a book love letters, or positive self-praise if you think you can’t write your own. Read it with them and let them know when any lines really strike you as a mirror to the beauty you see in them. As with any of the other types of expressing and receiving love, it comes down to your exertion of care more than expenditure of money. A few of my all time favorites when shopping for Heather have come from local stores, or deep, deep down the rabbit hole of Etsy. And they have always been things that she never knew she needed, like a perfect rose quartz necklace to help clear negative energy and reset her heart and throat chakras when she was saying that she needed help with emotional healing. Or a pie-bird. Yep, that’s a thing! It was a little glass bird that sits in the middle of your pie and relieves the steam and pressure so you can do a full crust without all the lattice work when you want more of that flavor. Apparently these have been around since the middle ages and grew in pop ularity again in the 50’s and 60’s. When I remembered that she was wanting more flakey crust on a particular pie, but worried about not enough slits in the top to vent, and a dis covered that there were actually mid-century mod ones still out there looking for a home I knew I had to find one! Ex plaining it to her and seeing her reaction (along with eating that first test pie and the scores that have followed) was what made it such a fun present for me. Something she didn’t-

-really every know about or ask for, but that fit perfectly with her current interests and had a cute story to boot. She still has it displayed proudly next to the Blendo cocktail serving set I hunted down on a different occasion. Both times, I had been told “I don’t need a thing – all I want is you!” And both times I got to hunt down something that brought me just as much joy to give it as she got receiving it. And both lead to more of what she wanted – us together. Whether having cof fee and a slice of pie, or out on the patio while I was grilling and she was serving up lemonade from a funky 1960’s spot ted orange pitcher with a big glass stir stick. Sometimes the gift can be about seeing where the other person is and letting them know you understand, or just creating an excuse to spend more time together enjoying something you both love. A pitcher is just a pitcher, a kitchen tool is just another tool. But timed with their current interests, and intended to create memories together, they become a real gift. Something completely practical like socks or a garden hose is best given on a random Tuesday with out any paper or card. To make that a real gift for someone, hunt down what they are missing, or just wrap up your own garden hose, along with a promise to come help them plant some seeds when the ground breaks. Maybe wrap a fork, and once they open it let them know about that special cake you made. You can still have fun with the unwrapping without having something truly tangible to discover as the present. We had decided that we needed some cloth napkins one year, just after we purchased our house. So I decided instead to get a few vintage Bakelite napkin rings, and gift them with the promise to help pick the perfect set of fancy, “we are adults now” cloth napkins. A set of napkins would have been like a pack of socks, but instead we got to create an adventure and memory together. And if they give you the classic, “all I really want is to be with you,” lean into it. Way into it. Don’t just show up for the afternoon to have cookies and open gifts. Give a few handmade gift certificates for adventures and memory making activities together to be redeemed at their discretion. Then follow up to make sure they get to use them all.

Miss Lillian is an exceptional reader, and I have no doubt that she is proudly reading this aloud to her family right now as she wears a precious set of flower earrings. And knowing that her Pop-Pop spent hours carefully planning that sur prise is something that will be around to make her smile for many birthdays to come.

Happy shopping y’all! But know that it will be the effort, attention to detail, and loving care that you put into gift se lection that produces the best results on both ends – not just the money you spend.

Don’t wait till that last second – you might just need a few extra hours to crouch down in front of the spinning earring rack this year.

Grieving During the Gratitude and Giving Seasons by Annie Gebel

Holidays bring out all the emotions, don’t they? They can be filled with excitement and wonder, joy and laugh ter. They can also feel overwhelming, exhausting, and be overstimulating. And that’s all before we throw in some curveballs like missing loved ones who’ve passed away, divorce or separation, dementia or terminal illness. Yup…I just went there - straight to it. Grief. It’s a punch to the gut and it’ll double you over in the best and worst of times. So, let’s talk about it, shall we?

At its core, grief is stress. It’s a unique stress in that it’s often hugely complicated, often unexpected, and incredibly personal. And it can’t even be that simple (and, again, that’s not actually simple) because there are different kinds of grief. A little searching will find you anywhere from a handful of different types of grief to more than two handfuls.

Complications upon complications when the subject is an incredibly stressful and personal one. Whew. Let’s take a breath, shall we?

I mean it. Take a deep breath or two…these words aren’t going anywhere.

So, let’s start with some of the different kinds of grief. I want to begin here because not too long ago I thought grief was a term reserved for the death of a loved one, a family pet, or a big change in life (moving, a break up, etc). That’s what I used to think. Now, I know different ly.

What I used to think of as grief is commonly called general or normal grief. This is what happens when you suffer a loss that you feel physical, emotional, behavioral, mental, or even social reactions to. General grief could refer to other examples than I gave, and there is such a range of symptoms associated with it, yet if you talk to others about your grief, most will understand or validate it, at least for a time. (I’ll talk about time later on.) With validation comes a normalcy that allows us a mourning period to grieve and let go of some of that stress.

Some other types that you may or may not already know about are anticipatory grief, ambiguous grief, and traumatic grief. Anticipatory grief is when you know the stressor is coming and you may even process some of your grief ahead of the actual loss. This is the type of grief that relates to terminal illness or possibly moving. Anticipatory grief can be long lasting and exhausting, yet also reveal time for forgiveness, saying goodbye, and even making plans for life without the person/people or place you’ll be missing.

Ambiguous grief is when the person you’re grieving is either physically present or emotionally present, but not the other. To be physically present and not emotionally present occurs with dementia or drug abuse, for exam ple. These are situations when the physical body of the person you care about and knew is still living, present, around…but the behaviors, actions, and moods are dras tically different. On the other hand, military members who are missing in action or kidnapped victims who are never found leave physical holes in people’s lives but family members often keep the emotional presence alive. Grieving ambiguously can be guilt-laden, misunder stood, and feel very lonely.

Traumatic grief is exactly what it sounds like - some vi olent, sudden, horrific event is associated with the grief. Natural disasters, strokes, or car accidents could be some examples that could lead to this type of grief. In any type of grief you can feel like the world has flipped on its side, however with traumatic grief you may not even recog nize the world at all. So much changes, so forcefully, that disruption to daily life is common with the symptoms of grief making it too much to handle daily chores or activities.

As I said, these are just a few of the types of grief and you can probably see where these (and other types) can be layered on top of each other - which is known as cumu lative grief.

So, grief-ridden curveballs and the holiday spirit…do they even go together at all? Sometimes, no. Sometimes, it’s just too much to hear people being thankful for so many wonderful things when you’re feeling angry or sad or frustrated or blech. That’s okay. It truly is. Some people will try to cheer you up or tell you to look on the bright side (don’t be those people, wink, wink). It’s okay to clearly tell well-intentioned folks that you’re just not up for the full turkey spread and the food coma to follow. It’s okay to say, “Thank you, but I’m actually going to cuddle up with a Hallmark movie and a pizza this year.” Don’t automatically say, no, though. Maybe you do want to feel a little more connection. Maybe it would be nice to hold your newest nephew or play cards with your crazy aunt. Only you know what you need. And if no is what you need, that’s the right answer.

Other times, grief and feeling grateful go hand in hand. Perhaps you’ve lost the love of your life, yet you can sit and share stories of your time together with others and feel the swell of those memories in your entire body, filling you with more gratitude than you knew possible. That’s part of grieving too. And you can certainly go for-

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-it if it’s helpful to you! In fact, it might be lovely to not only share memories, but even to share items. Whether you’re passing along tokens with specific meanings to grandchildren or donating clothing that you know will help someone else feel good rather than hang in a closet in an empty room, giving can help you process sadness and create a space for a little joy too.

Sometimes the impetus of our grief is in the past and we believe we’re past it or have control over our emotions and then - BAM! A song, a voice, something reminds us of who we miss. And if you shared any number of holidays with a loved one, celebrating them without that person could easily jolt you from the stability of ‘moving on’ and throw you back into full-on grief. There are the dreams you had that can never be realized. The jokes you shared that no one else gets. The quirky way they acted out all the lines to your favorite Christmas carol or how they settled your nerves when Uncle Chuck started droning on and on about how easy your generation has things. You might just simply feel like everything is off kilter this holiday season. And that is okay too.

It is more than okay to feel off and still celebrate. It is more than fine to move on and grieve. Grief is always okay. Sure, breaking down in the aisle at the grocery store isn’t always ideal, but I’ve been there. I get it that screaming in your car and pounding the steering wheel isn’t awesome when you look up and someone is just coming back from a hike but you thought you were alone, but I’ve been there too. I’ve had eyes swollen from crying so long and still cheered on the soccer team. I’ve had days where I sank to the floor in the kitchen and just let the cat curl up with me rather than get up. I’ve had unsuspecting teenagers sing the first song that popped in their mind only to be one that stabbed me deeply and tried to turn my pain into something funny. “Too soon, dude, too soon.” Grief is like that - everywhere and nowhere at all. It’s expected and out of the blue. And it’s okay.

So, let me get really real for a hot minute. Grief also sucks. It sucks the air out of your lungs and you’re not sure if you can remember how to breathe. It hurts some where that you can’t even identify and don’t know how to help. It’s rage at cute older couples who have done noth ing to you at all but you want to yell at them to go home and stop being so adorable. It’s anger at yourself when you realize you were having fun. It’s sadness and mem ories. It’s moments forgotten but suddenly remembered that are tinged with smiles both bitter and sweet.

Grief sucks.

And, you can get through it. My current favorite thera pist said to me every week for many months, “This sucks and we go on.” And that’s the truth.

So, during the holidays, when we gather with people we both like and barely tolerate, that bring out so many emotions, memories, and tears from laughter and pain… grief will tag along too. You don’t have to bear it alone. You don’t have to share it with everyone. You don’t have to do anything. But life does go on. So, think about what you want, who you want to hold your hand or check in with you, how you want to move through a sea son so laden with gratefulness, giving, and certainly now grief. The way that YOU want to approach things is the right way. And just because your Aunt Berta has some opinions, you can politely and firmly tell her thank you, but no thank you. “Aunt Berta, you’re a peach, but I have to do this my way. If I want your help or opinions, I’ll be sure to ask. Thank you so much for thinking of me.” And walk away. Last word. Mic drop. I’m sure there’s pie to be eaten somewhere!

And that’s my take on that. Having spoken to the people feeling the heaviness of grief, I think it’s only fair to check in with the ones trying to help. And, let’s be hon est again, shall we? If someone is grieving, most people who would be close enough to step in and help are prob ably impacted by the situation as well, with their own grieving to do. So, everything I’ve already said probably applies. Yet, I’m going to say some more.

There are no timelines. Let people feel their way through their own grief according to whatever timeline they see fit. Sure, you can offer support, suggest counseling, or encourage a visit with a doctor if you’re worried about them physically or mentally. Absolutely. Those things might help even before you get worried. But be sure you’re always suggesting from a place of love for them not because you’re done grieving and want to move on. I get that sometimes it’s uncomfortable to be around someone who still cries at that one song or whatever the ‘hang up’ seems to be, but that’s your deal, sis. If you are uncomfortable with someone else’s timeline, perhaps you can take that extra time to look at your own hang ups and/or simply ask how you can help.

And when it comes to offering help, most people don’t like to ask for help or accept it. We’ve got some crazy notion that we should be strong enough to do everything on our own. I’m super thankful that I’d already been working on that because when grief knocked me down, it was imperative that I accept help and ask for it. But, even knowing that, it wasn’t easy. So, ask more than-

-once. Don’t be pushy or rude, but check in a week later and reiterate, “Are you sure there’s nothing you need?”

If you pick up clues in talking with the grieving person, simply act on them. “I’m just going to grab you a gift card from (fill in the blank). Use it now or later, but you’ll have it when you need it.” And sometimes you can simply act without clues - go with your gut. Some ideastake the person to do something they wouldn’t normally do (a hike, a spa day, dueling piano bar, sledding), gift a cleaning service or invite yourself over and vacuum for them, bring the popcorn and settle in for movie night to release the pressure for a few hours.

There are so many things you can do to offer help, give time and space, and simply let a grieving person know you care. I have to say, though, that for me, the most im portant and truly helpful thing was just knowing people realized I was still struggling. Be the cousin that goes the extra mile to get the phone number and text once a week. Be the friend who sends ridiculous memes that start out as annoying but end up being something looked forward to. Be the child who says it’s totally okay to eat ice cream as a meal and offers to make dinner. Be some one who drops a note in the mail, sends a coffee mug and hot cocoa unexpectedly, drops a social media message that says, “I’m thinking of you.”

It’s true that grief is, at its core, stress. And it’s the kind of stress that rocks you again and again. It’s like an earth quake of some huge magnitude and the aftershocks don’t seem any smaller until they do, and even then there’s aftershock after aftershock. You may want to take the phrase ‘new normal’ and shove it down someone’s throat, and yet, after a while, even those aftershocks will become part of your normal life. Maybe you intentionally craft your life without daily grief or maybe it happens because you keep getting up every day, but it’ll come. And along with it, you’ll hopefully notice that you’re grateful for how you made it through and who you are now. And you might even notice that the biggest gifts of this new season are the possibilities that lay ahead of you.

Grief, giving, and gratitude, not always so easily related, but when they come together, the experience is great, grand, even glorious. It’s a dream come true for some one who loves thesauruses and alliteration! And, it’s important to know that your life can, in fact, be good.

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Let’s get to know our neighbors, those like us and those who are different from us. Please send any introductions to: Heather@homeandharvestmagazine.com

OF the palouse Tom & Ruby Stroschein

With the cold weather and short days, for me, pure indulgence is snuggling down and watching a movie. My favorites kinds are an inspirational film about someone overcoming hard times and of course, I want the story to end well. Don’t we all? Well, I can assure you that this story ends well. It’s a story about two people who each had their own personal setbacks and found new beginnings as well becoming icons in their own right. With that, let me introduce you to Elk River residents, Tom and Ruby Stroschein, who have shared a part of their lives that most people probably don’t know about.

Both Tom and Ruby grew up in humble rural homesteads in Southern Idaho where hard work, sacrifice and determination were the cornerstones of their character. Ruby was raised in a Mormon household and was one of eleven children growing up on a rural farm in Juniper Valley, which is close to the Idaho-Utah border. Tom grew up in a third-generation sheep ranching family in Sterling, Idaho. Both wrote books about growing up working on their parent’s farms where daily life was filled with getting crops in the ground, harvesting, taking care of animals, overcoming hardships to the extent that in today’s modern world most people wouldn’t have lasted. These are the life lessons that forged each into the people that they are today. After high school, Tom moved to Moscow wherein he helped start the FarmHouse Fraternity at the Uni versity of Idaho and graduated with a degree in animal husbandry. After college he came back home to start his own sheep operation, got married and had two children.

The 1980s was brutal as the farm recession severely affected farmers and ranchers throughout the United States. Infla tion created interest rates as high as 21%, farmland values were down, crop prices were in the toilet and ranchers were facing record low prices for their animals. Many in the agriculture industry across the country couldn’t face losing the family farm and sadly, many took their own lives. This grim era was often compared to the Great Depression. For the Stroschein Sheep Ranch, it wasn’t faring any better and Tom said the defining factor to sell off his sheep operation was when he was getting .40 cents a pound for his sheep and it cost him .60 cents a pound to raise them. It was the end of an era and a life he would never know again. Tom sold the sheep in December of 1983. This also cost him a marriage as he and his wife divorced in 1985. Around the same time, Ruby had married, had three kids and some where down the line she left the LDS church and ended her marriage. To support herself and her kids she was selling real estate and doing some appraisals, mostly specializing in farm ground. She recalls being told that “women don’t sell agriculture real estate”… but that didn’t deter her. When the bleak reality of the farm recession was in full swing, Ruby created a consulting business to help farmers/ranchers get emergency loans from the government as banks were not lending operating funds during the 1980s. She was on a mission to help her fellow agrarians.

After Tom sold his sheep, he focused on raising potatoes, wheat and legumes rather than alfalfa on his irrigated crop land in Sterling. Tom was also hired on to be an agriculture consultant to U.S. Representative Richard Stallings. The congressman was working on the farm bill in Washington, DC and Tom’s Ag expertise was vital. Tom was involved in the 1985 Food Security Act and 1987 Farm Credit Act. Ruby knew she needed the ear of someone higher up in the government to help her with her quest to secure funding for the farmers. And she explains that she and Tom knew of each other from their early farm/ranching days, so Ruby contacted Tom to ask for his help to pitch the idea to Con gressman Stallings for federal funding to start up a “guar anteed loan program” geared to help farmers and ranchers. Tom agreed and Richard Stallings asked Ruby to testify in front of the congressional committee to successfully secure federal funding.

Ruby recalls that she was often paid in “meat” by the farm ers whom she was helping as they had no money. Once again Ruby reached out to Tom to ask if he would attend a presentation she was hosting for the bankers regarding the “agriculture loan guarantee program”. She felt Tom’s show of support would be crucial. Tom came and after the meet ing the two started chatting and a friendship blossomed into dating. They married in 1990.

After the marriage, Ruby and her kids moved to Tom’s farm. Ruby continued her work as a real estate appraiser until Tom leased the ground in 1997 and they moved to Moscow so Ruby could get her master’s degree in agricultural eco nomics at the University of Idaho. Tom wasn’t one-

-to be idle. He first drove the Link shuttle bus and then was tapped on the shoulder to once again help farmers/ranch ers migrate into other careers when Senator Larry Craig secured funding for a program called “Alternative Careers for Idaho Farmers”. This was a program designed to help the farmers/ranchers who had lost their livelihood during the farm recission get trained for a new career. The funding helped pay tuition, gas, childcare and anything associated with costs to help towards career transition. Tom says he mainly worked with farmers/ranchers in the southern part of the state and literally went through three pick-ups put ting on miles between Moscow and southern Idaho. After that program ended, Tom was elected as a Latah County Commissioner and served twelve years. During his time as commissioner, he initiated the development of Idaho Behavioral Health Recovery Centers, starting with three centers and growing them to nine centers across the entire state of Idaho. Tom retired in 2015. Meanwhile after Ruby graduated, she also got her MAI designation which is basically a PhD in the appraisal world. She also developed a sophisticated software program that addresses everything from water rights to soil composition. This detailed appraisal then assists brokers with the data needed to help establish land values. Today her daughter, Sarah is now the owner of the appraisal business and Ruby is a consultant and works as a private contractor for the company.

In 2018 they moved to Elk River where they both enjoy the small community. Tom is Board Chair of Elk River Recre ation District and Ruby keeps busy with her appraisal con sulting business and her software company. But it isn’t all work and no play, they love to travel to see their 5 children and 7 grandchildren. After the interview, we all walked outside so I could take a few photos for the magazine. After finishing and as I was packing up my equipment, I turned and saw Tom and Ruby holding hands walking off. And I thought to myself, yep the heroes of this story are walking off into the sunset, just like a great story should end. Simple beginnings… extraordi nary endings.

So let us take a page out of Tom and Ruby’s playbook to remember to be kind, help your fellow man, and while life may not turn out exactly as you planned, know that you can overcome setbacks and move forward and work towards your own beautiful story.~

And a personal note from me to you, as the holiday season approaches, I hope you will join me in taking a moment to reflect on the true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christ mas. I know it’s easier said than done. Gratitude and hope are powerful life changers. So let us all remember as we sit down for these holiday meals, that every single ingredient used came from a farmer/rancher. And that we are beyond fortunate to have the quality food that we enjoy every single day, thanks to the 2% of the population whose occupation feeds America. Finally and most importantly, let us all re joice in this wonderous season celebrating the birth of Jesus.

The Oh! Otis Shenanigans Episode 14 - Tuck & Roll

Friday’s basketball matchup was a furious rivalry. The score remained close the entire game. Doris yelled her lungs out with the other cheerleaders, and Glad ys blasted the fight song on her trumpet with the pep band. Chuck and Otis hollered with their friends from the bleachers. Deanie, Cletis, and the rest of the team played hard and, thankfully, nailed the victory.

After the final buzzer and before he headed into the locker room, a sweaty Dean ie ran over to where Otis and Chuck were moseying behind their parents, Mavis and Marvel, on their way out of the gymnasium. “Hey, Mom and Dad,” he asked when he caught up to them. “Doris, Cletis, Gladys, and I want to steal Chuck and Otis for a little while. We want to take them uptown for a soda to celebrate the big victory.”

Mavis and Marvel exchanged somewhat surprised glances. The older siblings rarely wanted to be seen with the younger siblings in public, especially on a Friday night.

Otis and Chuck stood, stunned at the offer, but kept their lips zipped. They didn’t want to chance saying something wrong to make Deanie rescind his offer.

“Uhh, sure,” Marvel replied. “That sounds like a lot of fun for all of you. How about bringing them home in an hour or two, though. Don’t want them out late. Remember, we’re going to go hunt for a Christmas tree tomorrow, so maybe you don’t need to stay out real late, either.” He winked at his son, knowing Deanie would likely deposit his younger brothers at home at a respectable hour and then go back into town without them until his midnight curfew.

“No problem,” Deanie smiled. “Otis, Chuck, wait right here while I go grab a shower.” He trotted off to the locker room.

Otis and Chuck nodded, still shocked at the turn of events.

Marvel smiled at his two youngest kids. “I guess you’ll need some pocket change to buy a soda.” He handed each son a $10 bill. “Now remember…” he started.

Chuck and Otis jumped in before he could finish, “Yeah, yeah, we know; we don’t have to spend it all tonight.” They giggled as their dad rolled his eyes. It was the same routine anytime Marvel served as the banker.

“Have a good time, boys,” Mavis said. “Be good. No shenani gans.”

“Okay, Mom,” the brothers promised, not really knowing what their older siblings had in store for them, so not really know ing if there was even a chance at stirring up some shenani gans…but they were both hoping for some. ***

The Swan children converged in the gym parking lot—Otis and Gladys jumped into Deanie’s yellow ’65 Ford Falcon (for merly Otho’s car before he left for the Air Force), and Chuck and Doris joined Cletis in his tan ’68 Rambler Revel station wagon. They serpentined behind dozens of cars headed to Carter’s Main Street Tavern for a celebratory soda. The bar was divided in half, separated by the kitchen. The front half of the establishment was for people younger than 21 years old; the back half was for people 21 and older. Both areas would be packed because of the basketball team’s win, plus it was Friday night.

Deanie and Cletis pulled into the massive parking lot at the center of town, and the Swan siblings disembarked from the two jalopies. They crossed the slick, snowy, somewhat plowed streets and walked into Carter’s behind several other high schoolers and a few adults. The pinball machines circling the walls and the pool table in the middle of the floor were all surrounded by loud and rowdy youngsters. So many people packed in the front part of the tavern; it was standing room only.

The Swans weaved through the crowd, chatting with friends. Otis was in awe that he was part of the revelry, especially with out his parents. It was a rare occasion Otis was allowed out with just his siblings. He inspected the noisy mob; parents and kids mixed and mingled, everyone wound up about the victory over the treacherous rival.

A hint of holiday excitement also swirled in the air as bright colored bulbs hung in strings crisscrossing the ceiling above their heads, and sparkly tinsel decorations fringed every table and counter. It made Otis excited for the tree-hunting expe dition planned for the next day. Tradition called for the Swan men to seek the perfect trees for Mavis’s and Grandma Helen’s living rooms. Otis wasn’t ever clear on why the females in the family didn’t go, but it had been a tradition for several gen erations that it was “men only.” Each year, the Swan children were allowed to help decorate both trees if they promised not to fight.

Otis wormed his way between people and bellied up to the counter. He bought his own soda, a Mountain Dew, of course. He slurped on the straw as he watched everyone laugh and chatter. He recognized almost everyone he saw; it was a small-

-town, after all. He took notice of a boy named Steve talking to Doris and made a note to tease her about it later. Just as he was noisily sucking the last drops of sunshine yellow soda out of the bottom of his cup, Deanie came over. “Okay, Otis, it’s time to go.”

“Awww, Deanie, come on! We’ve only been here for half an hour,” Otis whined.

“I know, but you’re done with your soda, and we have a sur prise for you.”

Otis immediately felt apprehension. Nine times out of ten, when one of his siblings said that phrase, it was a trap involv ing some sort of physical punishment or tomfoolery. He was not in the mood for a purple-nerple or wet willy. “What kind of surprise?” he asked warily.

“You’ll see,” Deanie replied. “It’s no joke; you’re going to love it.”

Otis watched as Deanie tossed his car keys to Doris. She gave him a knowing wink and looked over at Otis, giving him two thumbs up. Otis then took notice of Cletis and Chuck walking ahead of them. He glanced over at Gladys, who smiled and waved as he hesitantly followed his brothers out the door.

What the Sam Hill is going on? The girls are staying here and obviously know what’s going on. Where are Deanie and Cletis taking me and Chuck?

The four boys scooted across the street to the parking lot and piled into Cletis’s Rambler. Chuck sat next to Otis in the back seat. They had a silent conversation. Otis looked at his brother as if to say, “What is going on here?” And Chuck shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “I don’t know, but I’m a little scared.”

Cletis carefully made his way on the somewhat slippery December roads back to the high school gym parking lot, where Otis could see silhouettes of three other cars sitting with their lights off. The engines must have been running, though, because exhaust clouds puffed out from the tailpipes, giving the night an eerie feel. Cletis pulled next to the other cars and turned off his lights but kept the Rambler running with the heat blasting.

Cletis and Deanie got out of the car and indicated Otis and Chuck should, too. Otis still didn’t trust this ominous lit tle meeting in the parking lot. He knew Deanie and Cletis’s three friends standing outside their cars with their younger brothers—Randy with his brother Brian, Ed with his brother Arthur, and Howard with Jason. The younger boys wore a mix of curiosity and anxiety plastered on their faces, much like Otis and Chuck.

“Fellas, you’re here tonight because it’s time for your first of many masculinity tests,” Randy stated formally but sporting a smile. “Deanie, Cletis, Ed, Howard, and I decided you’re all old enough to participate in some of our extra-curricular activities. We decided we would give you an early Christmas present.”

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The younger brothers all exchanged skeptical glances.

“Gentlemen,” Randy continued, “this chilly evening, with the December moon high and bright, we will initiate you into the super-secret, super-fun HB Club.”

Otis and Chuck looked at each other with alarm. They’d both fallen for Deanie and Cletis’ schemes before. Initiations involving older brothers tended to be serious affairs and not anywhere even close to being fun.

“The HB in the HB Club stands for hooky bobbing,” Deanie explained.

Otis, Chuck, Brian, Arthur, and Jason again shared nervous glances.

Deanie continued, “The five of us older brothers go back a long time. We decided it was time to pass some things down to our younger brothers and concluded the first lesson will be in the sport of hooky bobbing. Now, the first rule of HB Club membership is don’t tell the parents about this because we’ll get into trouble seeing as it could be misconstrued as some what dangerous.”

Otis gulped hard.

“Let us first demonstrate the fine art and stylings of hooky bobbing so you get the idea,” Cletis said as he got into his Rambler, slammed the door, and rolled down his window. Deanie, Randy, Ed, and Howard walked behind the vehicle, situated themselves in a squatting position, and grabbed onto the bumper.

“Observe the placement of the feet,” Ed pointed to the eight feet facing forward, parallel, flat on the sheet of icy snow coating the parking lot. “This is key for proper and successful take off.”

“Make sure to hang on to the bumper as tightly as you can,” Howard demonstrated with a solid grip. “And lean into the turns a little.”

Cletis looked out his window and shouted back at the four some, “Are ya ready?”

Randy slapped the back of the car and yelled, “Ready!” signal ing Cletis to begin the hooky bobbing demonstration.

Cletis slowly accelerated, pulling the boys as they slid behind the Rambler on the slick, packed snow. Their Converse hightops were perfect “skis” with mostly smooth soles, making sledding behind the car easy.

The five younger boys once more exchanged looks, this time with an air of, “Hey, this just might be fun.”

Cletis gave it a little more gas and hauled the four high school ers around the parking lot as they held fast to the bumper.

The jocular laughs, light cussing, and minor warnings to “watch for that rock” or “dodge that pothole” filtered into the crisp air. Cletis finally pulled up next to Otis, Chuck, Brian, Arthur, and Jason with a Cheshire Cat grin plastered on his face. “Your turn!”

The older boys stepped away from the bumper, allowing the five younger boys to assume their positions. Otis and Chuck ended up squatting next to each other in the center-bumper area. They gripped the cold metal as if their life depended on it. They looked at each other and giggled, which resulted in all five thrill-seekers bursting into nervous hysterics.

“Boys, you need to focus,” Ed laughed. “You can laugh once you get the hang of it. Remember, safety first!” He couldn’t help but join in the fits of giggles that erupted from the five crouching boys.

“Don’t forget to avoid rocks and asphalt if you can,” Randy instructed. “If your sneaker loses contact with the snow, you’ll most likely go flying. Keep these words in your head: tuck and roll!”

“And be sure to let go if you get scared,” Ed added. “No judg ment; you’re a man in our eyes just for attempting to hooky bob; we don’t need anyone getting hurt.”

Cletis leaned out his open window and yelled, “Are you guys ready?”

With sheer exuberance, Otis broadcasted for the bunch, “Let ‘er rip, tater chip!” His excitement over being included in such a secret society made him giddy and confident. I guess we did manage to find the shenanigans, Mom.

Cletis slowly rolled forward. He peered into his side mirror. It was 10 o’clock at night, but he could see well enough with the full moon that if anyone went flying, a dark blur shooting out from behind the Rambler would show up in the reflection. He didn’t want to scare them on their first hooky-bobbing excursion, so he carefully drove the parking lot in a slow circle to start. He gradually gained speed with only the smallest of the youngest brothers, Brian, letting go after three passes—a respectable showing for a kid who only weighed 65 pounds, including his winter boots and coat.

Finally, Cletis got up to a speed he didn’t necessarily consider dangerous per se but would give the four remaining newbies a test of will, skill, and hand strength. Much to his surprise, they held fast. So, doing what any self-respecting older brother would, he spiced things up a little and turned onto a different trajectory.

Otis and Chuck looked at each other again with mixed emo tions. Cletis was headed for the back of the school, where there were two large speed bumps breaking up the long, straight stretch of pavement along the entire back of the building. Deanie, Randy, and Howard ran behind the menagerie, shout ing instructions.

The Rambler gained a bit more speed, and just before the four pairs of perfectly aligned Converse sneakers hit the incline of the first bump, Deanie shouted, “Go into it like you’re jumping your bike!”

Call it beginners luck or, more likely, the basic instinct to survive, but Otis, Chuck, Jason, and Arthur slightly pushed off as they went up the slope, pulled their feet up as they caught air at the crest of the bump, and stuck the landing on the other side. It was a slippery and awkward landing, but the young boys held that bumper with all their might.

Impressed and somewhat incredulous, Cletis faintly increased his speed, thumped over the second speed bump, and looked in his rearview mirror as the foursome hit the hump. This time their landings didn’t stick. Arthur and Jason jettisoned off in opposite directions, with Deanie, Ed, and Howard running behind, yelling, “Tuck and roll! Tuck and roll!”

Otis and Chuck somehow remained attached to the bumper, even with their feet sliding in every direction. Cletis stopped the Rambler, got out, and stood admiring his two baby broth ers. “Otis, Chuck, you impress me. Wanna go again?”

“YES,” the boys immediately shouted.

Cletis climbed back into his car, gently turned around to avoid losing his precious cargo, and gunned it. They weren’t that precious; they were his younger brothers. He bounced over the first speed bump and checked the side mirror. He saw no detaching children, so he gave it just a little more oomph to hit the second speed bump, laughing at what he expected to see in his rearview mirror.

But no dark spots appeared against the glistening white snow. “Son of a…,” breathed Cletis. “They’re still hanging on!” He’d never been a prouder big brother.

He skidded around the corner of the school to the front parking lot, where there was a lot of room and few hazards. He knew this would be the deciding factor. He hit the gas hard, then slammed on his brakes, causing the beast of a car to turn into a wild fishtail. The backend flipped around with enough centrifugal force, not even the Hulk could hang on to that bumper.

Cletis’s eyes shot up to his rearview mirror. Two dark spots popped out from behind him. Otis and Chuck shot off the bumper and orbited into the moonlit air, arms and legs flail ing.

Chuck rocketed slightly left, Otis somewhat right. Chuck land ed with a thud and spun around three times on the icy-

-snowpack, finally coming to a rest inches away from smack ing into the fire hydrant on the edge of the parking lot.

Otis’s momentum sent him soaring. He hung suspended high enough in the air that he took a brief glimpse to marvel at the beautiful display of Christmas lights many of the homes in town boasted. His descent sent him speeding toward the mas sive 18’ pile of towering snow created after the lot had been plowed several times over the past few weeks.

Tuck and roll…

Thankfully, kids were built tough in the ‘70s. He hit precisely at the peak of the pile, which had enough give to slow him down a little. He tucked as he rocketed down the steep slope and rolled a good 30 yards across the parking lot before coming to a glorious stop in front of the flabbergasted HB Club members watching the spectacle.

Otis looked at the group standing tall above him. There was a moment of silence, an unspoken nod of respect.

“I tucked and rolled,” Otis said before bursting out laughing. The rest of the motley crew joined in with raucous jocularity.

“Men, I think we have five new members of the HB Club,” Randy hooted.


The magical moment of wintertime dusk created a wash of purple, pink, and orange across the sky, lighting the sparkling snow into a blaze of color. Marvel stood on one side of the Rambler while Deanie stood on the other. They were just sinching down the Christmas tree for Mavis. Grandpa Ed, Otis, Cletis, and Chuck had just finished tying off Grandma Helen’s tree on the back of Ed’s truck.

“Well, fellas,” Marvel smiled. “Another successful tree-gath ering mission complete.” He winked at Ed. “Say, you wanna swing by the high school parking lot?”

“Why I think that sounds like a fine idea,” Ed smirked.

“Why are we going to the high school?” Otis asked.

“Yeah, there’s no games or anything tonight,” Deanie added.

“Precisely,” Ed replied. “It’ll be nice and deserted up there.”

Deanie, Cletis, Chuck, and Otis looked at their elders in bewil derment.

“Guys, come on,” Ed chuckled, “As members of the elite and long-standing HB Club, you ought to know it’s a perfect night and conditions are optimal to do a little hooky bobbing before we go home to decorate the trees.” He paused, taking in the astonished looks on his grandsons’ faces. “Just remember to tuck and roll.”

“Hang on!”
“Pay attention to your feet!”
“Don’t forget the TUCK AND ROLL!”
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