I wanted to start this letter off by saying a heart-felt thank you and sharing some incredible news. I’ve always been pleased with our distribution, but the last issue broke two records. It was the biggest print magazine I’ve ever made (76 pages), and it also ran out in less than two weeks. I received so much positive feedback about it, and that really meant a lot to me. Sometimes you wonder if you ever make a difference, you know? And my lovely readers, thank you for making me feel like I might be. That brings me to my next set of incredible news. You are holding the biggest (84 page!!!) magazine I’ve ever made. This is the golden page number that I’ve been working towards for years. The page-count is determined by the number of advertisers I bring on. I always try my best with making sales and I consider each advertiser a blessing. I have been humbled at the businesses who reached out to me, especially one individual in particular: a man named Paul Kimmel who works for Avista. He bought four ads to support local small businesses, just because he genuinely cares. I’m not sure I can keep up the page count for next issue but damn if we won’t celebrate it today! I feel it is so important to celebrate all of our happy news every day, but in these days it’s even more crucial. When I say, “in these days,” I know that you know what I mean. Tell me it isn’t bad news every day. As I write this, the fairs have been cancelled, no Huckleberry Battle for us. The air quality is at hazardous, and I don’t even need to go on because it’s an endless list. But I have something to share that can help with this. Years ago, I learned something that changed my life and I have really been revisiting the concept of it, especially since March. It’s called “Energy Vampires.” And since this is the Halloween issue, I thought the ‘vampire’ talk was perfect timing. An Energy Vampire is something or someone who sucks the life out of you. It can be a loved one, co-worker, or even something like the news or-most importantly- yourself. When I first learned this, I looked at a lot of exterior sources of negativity and vampirism to blame but it wasn’t until March that I realized that the most important vampire to watch out for is yourself. When I took a hard look at my diet in life, which included food, people, social media and news, I realized most of the reason why I was feeling so negative is because I was so negatively focused. Why was I reading Facebook comments on political posts? It made me feel depressed. Why was I eating terrible food that hurt my insulin, even after I said I wouldn’t? Why was I watching news programs that weren’t telling the news but their reactions to it? I wanted to be informed but I realized that getting my news though these channels acted more like entertainment- so no wonder I felt less informed but more reactive and alone. I decided to make a major change. I completely changed the way I use social media. News? No more political posts. Food? Well, I reached my goal weight and have lost 50 lbs as of last Wednesday. The last one was the hardest and took me two years. I share this with you because I understand more than most what a negative, energy vampire mind can do to you. I’ve always been open about experiencing anxiety and for those of you feeling it more than ever, I think it’s time to really take into account if you are, in fact, your own blood-sucker! You know, if you look on facebook or some of these protests, politically or other, you’ll see divided Americans. But if you look at for instance, the donations people made for the latest fires- you’ll see something completely different. Tons of food, clothing, money, and support came in from all of us- without a care in the world what the social or political ideologies of the people in need were. That’s how you know we are more united than we think. And it also helps to look at every individual for who they are inside- because some of the most violent, outspoken or cruel people are really just people who are scared and feel powerless. But what can you do about it? Realize that the most powerful action a human being will ever take is compassion. Especially if that compassion is given to another human being who is different than them. Being compassionate requires a level of strength, understanding and power that is truly the source of change, positivity, and the ultimate arrival of peace. It is contagious and sometimes seems impossible to do. But it starts with us giving up the addiction to negativity and saying goodbye to our inner energy vampires. To realize the two roads, act vs. react are more important than ever. Which one have you been taking? I always wish you all love. I always wish you all peace, happiness and contentment with your lives. Thank you for making me feel like my quest for positivity matters to you. Thank you for supporting my small businesses, and the small businesses who support me. And if you find yourself feeling low, remember to address your inner vampire. They only belong as glittering beings in the Twilight series, am I right? Happy fall and Happy Halloween! Love,
Heather Niccoli Editor-In-Chief Home&Harvest Magazine
editor|design|sales heather niccoli
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Contributors Gayle Anderson Keith Crossler Ashley Centers Joe Evans Mahlon Kriebel Diane Conroy Emory Ann Kurysh Annie Gebel Flower Aston Virginia Colvig Eric Hollenbeck Temple Kinyon Zachary Wnek Tony Niccoli Heather Niccoli
a need for trees
66 trick or treat
the big blue ox
fair P i g: champion biter
The old black and white snapshots drew me back, to a time when I raised pigs. Normally, The Palouse Empire Fair swine barns lead me on this nostalgia trip. The white painted buildings where I showed my own 4-H projects haven’t changed all that much in the intervening years. Young people still bring their hard work and dreams to share, except this year when we all adapt to a change we did not choose. Normally, the fair brings an opportunity to admire the projects presented by youthful members of 4-H and FFA. This year, I must appreciate their hard work from afar. Which brings me back to those old pictures, and the faded memories of my own fair pig who did not quite meet my expectations. My family raised hogs, so, when I finally turned ten, and became old enough to join 4-H, it was a big deal. I, too, would raise my own pig, skip school, and go to the fair. About six months before the big event, my new big brother, Greg, and I each invested in two ‘weaner’ pigs; twenty-pound piglets that are just old enough to leave their mother. I named my pair Porky and Petunia. Dad taught us that littermates, animals born of the same mother during the same farrowing, should be penned together. That’s because pigs often have a bad attitude toward those they perceive as “other”. Keeping pigs in familiar groups helps prevent the bloody injured animals which result from fighting. New additions needed to be limited, and added when everyone was still small. My pigs managed to be accepted into a family of nine or so newly weaned piglets and Dad gave me the responsibility for that whole group. The pen included a self-feeder which must always have food available and an automatic waterer. This acted sort of like a drinking fountain. The animals pushed a lever with their snout and filled the bowl with fresh water whenever they wanted a drink. Trouble free, except that pigs seem to fill their mouths before taking a drink. Their grain then spills into the water basin which soon becomes an icky smelly mush that needs to be cleaned out. One day, I squatted down in front of the low waterer and reached into the goo. Intently I removed handfuls of yucky, slimy rotten grain, only vaguely aware that my pig, Porky, cautiously approached from behind. Slowly, carefully, stealthily, he stepped forward, his snout drawing nearer and nearer to the hind end which blocked his path. And then - he bit me. Right on the rear. “Ow!” I cried, leaping into the air. The clearly delighted hog began to bounce. And, with each little jump he emitted short little woofs. It truly sounded like a pig giggle. He bounded quickly, chortling all the way, to the farthest corner of the pen.
There he turned, held his snout high, and looked at me happily with a bright twinkle in his eye. Clearly, I’d been the butt, quite literally, of a pig joke. And that’s how he earned the new name. No longer would my pigs be called Porky and Petunia, I announced at the family dinner table. Henceforward they will be Petunia and Champion Biter. “I’m calling my pigs Hammy and Porkchops”. My brother, Greg, chimed in. Good pragmatic language, designed to help laugh off and accept the inevitable. I recognized this even then. But I kept the names. I still made it personal. Or perhaps, Champion Biter just distinguished himself. He behaved well - most of the time. Both of my pigs looked very good; nice long backs to make plenty of bacon, meaty hams, cute curly tail, sparkly little eyes, the whole works. September, and fair time finally arrived. My brother and I both remember how we worried that our pigs might not weigh enough to “make weight”. One by one, we herded our animals off the truck, onto the scales, and felt so relieved when they were admitted. Next, we settled our animals into their tiny enclosures. We brought them fresh straw, food, water, and a sign to identifying the pig’s breed and the owner’s name and club affiliation. We took them to the washing station for a bath, and scrupulously cared for our charges throughout the fair. All four pigs won blue ribbons in the market competition. Then came fitting and showing, the event during which we humans would be judged on our performance. I chose to show Champion Biter. He chose to attack the first pig he saw after entering the show ring. I hooked my cane on his snout and pulled him away. My young swine looked around and found another target, then another, and another. All strategies failed. Chaos ensued. I struggled to end each fight. Everyone else tried to move their projects away from mine, but my Champion relentlessly pursued victim after victim. Adult handlers with big squares of plywood joined the fray. My pig put his snout under the obstacle, and shoved it away. The class faded into a blur of feverish attempts to regain control. I did, however, manage to keep a count. My dear little piggy initiated ten fights. That’s right, ten. Minutes, months, or maybe years later, the judge graciously bestowed a red ribbon upon my effort. But I felt my failure deeply, the lowest place white ribbon seemed far more appropriate. Soon, the Biter finally returned to his pen and rooted happily through his deep straw bedding. I, on the other hand, just wanted to disappear. I did not watch my brother show his pig, but I sure heard about it. “Greg won Reserve Grand Champion!” My mother announced. “Second place for all the fitting and showing classes this morning! “I never should have named him Champion Biter,” I muttered in a failed attempt at a joke, and some recognition of my own. “You should hang that up.” Mom responded spotting the crumpled ribbon clutched in my hand. “Your brother won Reserve Grand Champion. Isn’t that wonderful?” She probably wanted me to behave like a good sport or something.
The fair’s cacophony of sights, sounds, and smells soon drew my family members away. But for me, the wonderful attractions seemed distant. Golden straw and the softly grunted remarks of pigs called me into their small enclosure; a respite from the emotional onslaught within. My brother’s success and my mother’s adulation did not ease the misery of my own disastrous performance. But there was more. As a farm kid, I understood animals become food for people; my mom made wonderful breaded pork chops, and ham, too. Animal manure nourished the soil that grew the crops which fed the world, and produced income for my family. That knowledge did not make it easier to know what the future held. Eventually, I hung the crumpled red ribbon next to the two blues on my name tag. My mom and brother returned at feeding time. Greg grabbed a water bucket, and I followed with another. He opened the hydrant; I found the nozzle end just in time to get the flooding hose into the bucket. “After tomorrow they’ll be sold anyway. Then we won’t have to mess with them anymore.” He said. “That’s for sure.” I agreed, knowing it wasn’t his fault. “You know, I think it would have been easier to stay in school today.” He said with a devilish grin. “Full?” “Just about… okay!” Then, he s-l-o-w-l-y turned off the water. The water swirled out on my leg. I picked up that hose and pointed the business end his way. Just in time for the very last dribble to run down my arm. Again, that grin lit his face, and my heart lifted a bit. He picked up his bucket, I picked up mine, and together, we sloshed our way back to feed our pigs. One step at a time, into the future, where fairs maintain a very special tradition of learning and growth. Back then, I did not appreciate the richness of that experience much. My mother, brother, and I eventually left our pigs to their dinner. Then, winding our way through the maze of parked cars toward our own, I calculated. Champion Biter only had about four more meals, before he would become one. 1. This image was taken on the farm’s “hog floor”, we were probably preparing to load the pigs to take them to the fair. I think that’s Champion Biter in the foreground, looking impudent. Market weight hogs were smaller back then. To qualify for the fair, they had to weigh at least 180 and were supposed to be under 220 pounds. 2. That’s me, lying in the clean straw, in my pig’s pen at the fair. 3. My brother, Greg, stands near the edge of the square show pen. He’s the one in a dark jacket managing the black Berkshire pig. A judge, unseen in this picture, stood in the middle of the arena. See how intently Greg watches the unseen judge? Observe how gently his show cane touches the spotless pig just behind the right front shoulder. Notice how the curly tailed pig responds: head up, waiting for direction, just like a well -trained fitting and showing animal should do.
Do you need a list of 75 things you can do for self-care while juggling all the different spinning plates in your life? Probably not. If you do, though, you’re going to have to google that, because I’m not providing that list here. What I am giving you is some definition for this term that has some people oohing and aahing and others scoffing. When we think about self-care as a massage or spa day, we limit it. Why it’s taken on only this restful bent, I’m not really sure, but it’s that box that we’ve put it into that makes some people say it’s not for them. I’ve heard people complain about self-care being too expensive or too luxurious, and if it’s only about mani/pedis it might be. Another complaint I hear is that it takes people about from their families and some people don’t like that. When this term is taken as one word, and is in this particular box, it’s out of reach for some people or doesn’t feel like self-care. So, we’re going to break it up into its parts, today. Self. Care. Two things. And we’re starting at the end. CARE. I was pretty sure I knew what this word meant, but I looked it up to be certain. Merriam-Webster’s website defined the noun as, ‘a state of responsibility,’ or ‘watchful attention.’ As a verb it can mean, ‘to feel interest or concern,’ or ‘to have a liking or fondness.’ The top two synonyms on thesaurus.com were ‘pay attention to’ and ‘tend.’ Here’s what I take from that quick search – we have a responsibility to be attentive to, interested in, concerned for the things that we like and are fond of. If we care about it, we should tend to it. If we care about ourselves, we should tend to ourselves. It’s our responsibility. And nothing says anything about how much to spend or how frilly that care is to be. How can you be attentive to your needs? How can you show interest in yourself? How can you show that you’re concerned about your own dreams and goals? If you’re not sure of the answers, replace yourself with someone else you’re fond of in the questions. How are you attentive to your partner’s needs? How do you show interest in your friends? How do you show your children that you’re concerned for their dreams and goals? Those questions might have been easier to answer, which just proves how important self-care is! If you stumble over caring for yourself… if you push back against the idea… if you tear up realizing that you know and support all your kids’ dreams but can’t identify your own… that all points to a need for self-care. Let’s bring on the SELF part of self-care, shall we? I don’t think we need to look this up, but we do need to wrap our minds around paying attention to self. For many of us, we tend to everyone else first and if there’s anything left in the energy bank, we might think about something we like. You’ve probably heard the whole thing about putting your oxygen mask on before helping others with theirs. The sentiment is not wrong. If we leave ourselves for last all the time, we’re not tending to ourselves very well at all. So, yes, it is important to care for your self. Not first every time. Yes, first some of the time. I want to reiterate this point because I think it’s easy to gloss over and I truly want you to see that you are worth caring for. Loving others doesn’t make you more lovable. You are worthy of care because you are. Period. Not because of how many people you put before yourself. Not because you bring home the bacon or plan all the meals or work all the hours. You are worthy because you are. And, that means that you are worthy of self-care.
Think of how many times you’ve given the advice to someone else, someone you care for: “You need to take some time for yourself.” Or some variation of that. I’m not saying to take your advice. I’m saying to include yourself on the list of people you care about and would give that advice to. So, if we can all agree on the definition of CARE and the meaning of SELF and the importance of SELF-CARE (even if it’s uncomfortable at first), there’s only one thing left to discuss. What is self-care? This is the piece I think people miss when they put it in a spa day box. And I love a spa day! I’d get a massage a week, if I could. Why? Because that feels like caring for myself. If it doesn’t feel like it to you, then it’s not and it’s time to take self-care out of that box and make it meaningful to you! Ask your SELF. Spend time thinking about what feels special to you. Maybe you like date nights with your partner or girls’ nights with friends. Maybe you like quiet mornings with a book. Maybe you like long phone calls with your mom or game nights with the kids. Maybe you like a day or two a month when you can spend the day in the kitchen creating multi-step masterpieces. Or maybe you like window shopping in antique stores or skydiving. The options are endless. Self-care doesn’t need to cost a lot of money, but it might. It doesn’t need to separate you from other people, but it could. It doesn’t have to be the same as my self-care, unless it fits you too. SELF-CARE is personal and all about caring for yourself. So, ask yourself if you need to google a list of ideas. Or maybe you already know, in your heart, what would be included in a “how to care for YOU” manual. Before I just set you loose into the realm of self-care, I have just a few more notes. In my opinion, people who give up on caring for themselves even when they believe in their worthiness, understand the responsibility of tending to the needs of what we care about (ourselves), and seem to know how they personally define self-care do so for one of these reasons: (1) It feels unusual to put yourself first or (2) it’s adding to your stress. If you haven’t been one to buy into the self-care movement or you’ve put yourself last for so long thinking your worth was tied up in how much you can give, this might feel weird. Asking for ten minutes to drink your coffee in the crisp fall air might seem odd. Making Saturdays be a day for you (and the family if they want to tag along) to explore all the trails within a two-hour drive that you’ve wanted to see but haven’t ever gotten to might seem hard at first. I want you to really tune into those feelings and notice whether it’s awkward because it’s different or is it adding stress to your life. Be honest. It can be easy to just dismiss things as ‘not for me’ because they don’t feel quite right. But, tune into your SELF, and see what really feels off about the situation.
Maybe things need to be rearranged because you normally clean the house on Saturday mornings, but you really want to get out and hike. I’d say it’s worth it to rearrange the schedule, delegate tasks, come up with a plan that allows for you to care for your needs and those of the household. That’s not a reason to throw in the towel. It might also seem like a nice idea to drink your coffee in your coziest sweats on the porch in the morning for ten minutes, but you’re a single parent and the kids won’t stop hitting the glass on the door. Maybe in this situation, it’s just adding to your stress. You feel your anxiety go up and find that your temper is even shorter than before you tried this. For the record, this is also not a reason to throw in the towel, but feedback to factor into your next attempt at self-care. Maybe taking time to reflect on the day once you’ve tucked those little ones into bed is a better option for you. Maybe it’s worth it to you to set your alarm ten minutes earlier to enjoy the morning before they get up. I know someone who does a five-minute meditation in her car before picking the kids up from day care. You can find a solution! Keep tweaking details and find the little piece of peace that feels right for your situation. The one last thing that might be worth mentioning is that if self-care is grating on you rather than soothing the rough patches in your life, check back in with yourSELF. I know, I keep saying that. Maybe ten minutes to drink coffee in the morning or reflect on your day sounds great but in practice it isn’t. Maybe what you were really going after wasn’t the peace and quiet, but the peace. What if you started your day with the kids differently? You could try moving bath time to the mornings instead of at night. You could eat breakfast in your pjs but with fancy hats and make it a tea party. You could put paper on the bottom of your dining room table and start every morning by laying underneath it and drawing pictures on the paper and talking about everyone’s dreams. There are literally so many variations of self-care. So many! Hopefully you have a better understanding of why it’s important (hint: because you are) and you’ll be creative in finding the variations that work for you. As promised, I didn’t list 75 things to do, but I did give you almost 20 ideas! So, google whatever you need, but remember that the one thing that should be first on every list about selfcare is SELF.
a need for trees
Diane Conroy Empty and very fertile grassland, without any trees, was a calling card for farmers tired of logging just to create a space for their families to settle. The pioneers found this Palouse topsoil to be many feet deep. Later it was discovered as one of the best 5 places in the world for fertile land. John Lorang of White Spring Ranch in Genesee missed his trees. There is an 1890 photograph of the Farmhouse where John’s family and cousins are holding up small trees they were about to plant around the house. Many people in this area began planting trees after they settled. It was a long way for some to travel to Moscow Mountain for wood, and fruit trees provided food and income. Though many people planted orchards, John documented it all, step by step. He began by planting apple trees and created a 5 ½ acre orchard of just the apples. Peaches were also planted and when those were in, John began grafting better varieties onto trunks. He developed an apple that was so big you needed two hands to hold it and used one to decorate the base of his Christmas tree. He then continued planting. John’s obituary from the 1926 Genesee News reads: “In Mr. Lorang’s garden, or park, he had gathered and preserved for the pleasure of his friends and visitors—for all his visitors at once became his friends—several varieties of oak, hickory, ash, sycamore, bass wood or linden, elms, nut trees, haws, persimmon, sassafras, and scores of other varieties such as grace the forests, which are rarely to be met with in this country. Nearly every shrub and flower to be found within the state, I mean the unusual and rare ones, were to be seen and admired.”
The Lorang place was a stopping point on the Highway as a beautiful shady spot with a spring for water. Many travelers would stop to water their horses and get a meal from Mary Lorang. In 1905 a meal was $.50, but for the whole package visitors would pay $1.25 for a meal, watering and feeding your horses and an overnight stay. By 1911, John had planted an entire grove over the hill north of the Farmhouse, containing his orchards and all kinds of berries. The trick then was to gather all this fruit. Here, his children became the ones to depend on. From the age of 6 or 7 all the children gathered apples, cherries and berries along with the potatoes and green beans. There are many stories of these times. John’s son Charles, the youngest, would eat more apples than he picked until he was finally a little bigger. His daughter Viola wanted to wear overalls while climbing the apple trees and her lecturing father John disapproved. 1911 was too early for pants on women, but the girls won out, wearing overalls for all their chores, probably with mother Mary’s help. Apples were sold and traded for goods in stores and all the receipts preserved. If there was a trade, “By Apples” was written on the ticket. All extra fruit was used for feed for the animals. The children loved to preserve the leaves and flowers, pressed in books. This story was passed down through many of my cousin’s families. I learned it from my grandfather. That John would train the sapling trees into all kinds of fanciful shapes for canes, into a heart or for joints for his chairs that he made. Two wooden wheels were found that were made of sapling grafted spokes. John carved wooden frames and even a puzzle that we have not yet solved. One hot summer seems to have gotten to John because we found that he had planted 40 willows in the yard of the Farmhouse. Someone was impressed, since we found a photograph of these trees. The way to the barn was planted with trees and when there was a coal shortage in Genesee in 1919, John was able to cut down the oldest tree for firewood, rather than traipsing with his lumber wagon to the Moscow Mountains. The trading of produce continued on through the Great Depression, when Henry Lorang, John’s son, was trying to raise a family. In 1931, Henry wrote that during the height of the Depression in this area, no one had any cash, all was barter. Apples, cherries, berries, potatoes, pigs, eggs anything someone would trade. Many of Henry’s children were born in the White Hospital or St. Joseph’s in Lewiston. The receipts that we found show that eggs were traded for the hospital birthing bills. In later years, Henry’s son, Dan Lorang had to cut down many older trees for farmland again. Dan carefully tallied each tree he cut down and this is how we learned of the once upon a time 5 ½ acre apple orchard. Though not the same trees as in John’s time, today the trees provide wonderful shade for hot summer days. The woods are listed on the National Registry as part of the history of this site and we hope to recreate anew John’s fanciful garden someday. The small birch limbs are perfect for making wreaths. Limbs and planks make benches around the fountain and even the elderberry clippings were saved for the student volunteers to make a musical instrument. There is still a small woods with a trail created, until recently maintained, by U of Idaho and WSU students. The trail is very pretty in the Fall, but if you visit, you may see it in a little wilder state this season. Maybe you’ll see the grandma moose we found resting under the oak tree one day or the young deer wandering through the poplar grove. It’s a magical place and you are welcome. Check out our new website at www.WhiteSpringRanch.org P.S. Have you heard about an incredible new museum in Genesee? It is Karen Schoepflin Hagen’s Quilt gallery. Amazing! Quilts that can be seen through, quilts that look like they are blowing in the wind, quilts that open up, quilts that have dimension from above, quilts that have dimension looking in, quilts with plays on words, quilts with stories, quilts that can be only perceived from a distance, everything she can imagine. Karen’s Quilts gallery is truly worth a visit to Genesee.
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The call went out in the early hours, around 3 AM. “Moscow Fire, emergency response for a structure fire”. I quickly jumped out of bed and into enough clothes, grabbed my keys, and I was out the door. Surprisingly close, I found myself pulling up as one of the first ones there. The entire front porch of this place was glowing and I could see heavy, black smoke pouring from the second story. Our on-duty Battalion Chief pulled up as I finished pulling on my turnouts and we started talking about how to make the attack. Along with the first in engine, we grabbed our first hose and got it flaked out and ready for water. As it was getting charged, the second line came off to establish our backup line once we were ready to go in. First, we worked on the front porch. It was one of those old style, wrap around porches with the white posts from one side to the other. Now, the posts were acting like dividers, cutting the flames as they blew out and wrapped up over the roof of the porch. At this point it looked like the bulk of the fire is what was visible from the outside, but we soon found out that is not so true.
Keith Crossler We started our defensive, exterior attack on the porch and quickly knocked it down. The order came to transition to an aggressive, interior attack and try to stop the fire before it spread any further. The porch had two doors and the first one we went to came with a surprise. My partner swung open the door, took one step, and went down. I quickly grabbed for him and as I reached for his arm, he stopped. The door was actually just a closet with a rotted-out floor. Fortunately, only his one leg went through and he stopped before he went into the basement. I helped him up and out and we notified Command that this was NOT the entrance and to make sure no one else tried to go in that door. While we were both a little shaken, we checked each other and went to the other door. This one looked a lot better, a standard door with a screen. We opened it to find a stairwell that lead to the second floor apartment, and it was completely full of fire, pushing us back with the heat and smoke. We dropped to our knees and began shooting the straight stream in sharp bursts to the ceiling (this is also known as penciling). By penetrating the thermal layer, it keeps the hot steam from becoming more than we can handle. Slowly, we made our way, a few steps at a time, up to the first landing. As the water powered into the ceiling, I noticed that debris was coming down on us. Ceiling tiles. The old cardboard-like tiles were weakened by the fire, then destroyed with the water. One came off the back of my helmet and I thought it had just brushed away, but that wasn’t actually what happened. The space between my air bottle and helmet is a nice catching hole for debris and unfortunately this time it caught a piece of tile that was still burning! Being behind me, I didn’t know that it was still burning though. After a few minutes of transition at the landing, trying to get to the apartment door, I started to feel the heat on the back of my neck. I turned around and it seemed that most everything around us was out.
I was at a total loss of why my neck was so hot. Turning back to my partner, I saw the look in his eye like something was horribly wrong. “What’s up, what’s wrong?” I holler to him. “Dude! You’re on FIRE!” My stomach dropped and I started freaking out. In a panic I started swatting at the hot spot and then it hit me, we have a hose. After a quick spray-down and debris removal, we were ready to go back to work. I should mention that my equipment worked exactly how it was supposed to. I wasn’t burned at all and my jacket and hood protected me perfectly. They didn’t even suffer any damage that warranted them being replaced. We continued our pattern up the stairs to the apartment. The door was checked for excessive heat and with a swift swing of the axe, we were in the apartment. Much to my surprise, it was quite clear that there wasn’t much going on in there. And there wasn’t much for damage in this unit yet. We lay down the hose and did a quick search to make sure nobody was in the apartment and got the windows open. Now that we knew the fire was mostly contained to the stairwell, we went back to making sure it was completely out. Ripping open walls, pulling down the ceiling, whatever we needed to do to make sure this thing was stopped in its tracks. Things were looking good, but it seems like there was still too much smoke for what we had accomplished so far. In old houses like this one, a conversion into a multi-unit apartment building can mean void spaces that don’t always have an easy access point or are even noticeable at all. The smoke was coming from the bottom so that is where the search began. Another crew found the access to the basement apartment so we could start searching. Over by where the porch closet was that we had our earlier encounter is where we started looking. We started pulling the ceiling and sure enough, behind where the closet was, we found the void. It was suspected that the closet was originally an entrance to the basement that was closed off in a remodel probably because of a small stairwell. The new entrance was nice and wide and provided all the correct building and fire code features. Older ones are usually quite narrow, steep, and not friendly to navigate at all. We finished pulling it apart and doused the flames and hot spots. When we came out, another crew was working on the eaves around the roofline and pulling the remaining hot spots out from where the main stairwell had burned up into the attic space. It seems that we are often “ripping” apart something, making a hole in a wall, or just using extreme force to get somewhere. Know that this is done with the total intention of stopping the fire and destruction. If we didn’t, the fire can hide, or a hot spot can flare up. It sure doesn’t feel great when you get called back to the same place to put out the same fire you didn’t get taken care of the first time. It happens, sometimes you think you’ve got it, and it succeeds in hiding. We will come back. We will stop the fire and do our best to save your home and your possessions. We’ll be there.
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Finding clarity and focus through volunteerism By Eric Hollenbeck, advisory board member, Northwest Cancer Foundation of Hope It was a week out from our largest event of the year. After months of hard work, late-night meetings, planning sessions, and countless phone calls to donors and supporters, Northwest Cancer Foundation of Hope (NW Hope) volunteers were set to throw the largest and most anticipated Bunco party on the Palouse. For those who have never played, Bunco is a fast-paced dice game played in groups of 12. Our Bunco party draws hundreds of players. Pair the action of Bunco with costumes and noisemakers, then throw in a catered meal, door prizes, raffles, and live and silent auctions, and you’ve got a recipe for a raucous and joyous time, all while helping others in the community. The annual Bunko for a Cause fundraiser was supposed to happen on March 13, 2020, which now seems so long ago in this new, more socially-distant world. More than 200 guests and volunteers were expected to attend, and we were on track to raise thousands of dollars for people who have cancer. In hindsight, I guess we should have known better than to schedule our event on Friday the 13th. In that week leading up to event, we kept close watch on the news of an impending shutdown as COVID-19 cases in western Washington continued to grow. We faced a difficult choice: cancel and abandon all those months of hard work, or continue moving forward as planned? Even though stay-at-home orders had yet to be issued in our region, our advisory board decided with heavy hearts to act preemptively and postpone the event. We knew it was the right thing to do for the health and safety of everyone participating.
Recognizing the courageous fight against cancer Since 2011, the Bunko for a Cause fundraiser has drawn thousands of bunco players from around the region. The event is the brainchild of NW Hope co-founders Debi Dockins and Becky Chavez and started as a fundraiser for Gritman Medical Center’s Light a Candle program—a cancer support program the two friends founded while both were employed with the hospital. In 2018, NW Hope took over hosting the event and Bunco for a Cause became a cornerstone fundraiser for the program. We celebrate those who are fighting a courageous fight while honoring friends and loved ones we’ve lost to a horrible disease. It’s people coming together for a common purpose. Afterall, isn’t that what community is all about? Unity through service to others When I was asked to write a piece for Home&Harvest magazine about Bunko for a Cause and the work of NW Hope, I wasn’t quite sure of the best approach. As I jotted down notes and ideas, I kept thinking about the work of NW Hope and how even though so many businesses had to close or reduce operations over the past six months, nonprofits and other charitable organizations around the country still needed to fulfill their service missions. With all the uncertainty going on in the world these days, one thing is for sure: there will always be opportunities to give back to others. For NW Hope and our mission, cancer doesn’t go into slowdown mode just because the world might.
People are still being diagnosed, and we are still engaging in our communities, welcoming new people, and checking in on those currently in the program. When it seems the divide within our country is growing, and tensions are escalating, it’s important to remember the strongest communities are the ones in which people strive toward a common goal despite their individual differences. NW Hope is a grassroots operation in the truest sense of the word, which I believe brings people together in ways you often don’t find in larger, more bureaucratic organizations. The advisory board members represent communities from around the Palouse—all coming together to support our friends, neighbors, and loved ones. It’s not driven by political or religious ideologies but rather a more altruistic purpose: helping others during difficult times. It’s showing humanity and compassion for others. You know, basic stuff. It also serves as a reminder to pay attention to the good things that are happening right in your own backyard. Making it easy to give back Since its founding, NW Hope has distributed more than $40,000 in cash directly to cancer patients in Latah and Whitman counties. And thanks to the generous support of the NW Hope community, the fund raised just over $125,000 in the past two and a half years. The overwhelming support from the NW Hope community is humbling, to say the least. In an interview with the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Dockins talked about the purpose of the organization’s fundraising efforts. “We don’t want to keep any of this money,” she said. “It not our goal to have a bank account with hundreds of thousands of dollars in it. It’s our goal to raise it and give it.” This view on fundraising, and the simplicity of joining the program, are other points of pride for our organization. With only a few requirements, we make it easy for someone to join the program and start receiving funds. First, the applicant must be in current treatment for a cancer diagnosis, and second, complete the single-page application form and have it signed by a cancer care provider. Once approved, we mail out a $500 check. It’s that simple. There are no restrictions on how recipients can use their funds. Some use it to buy groceries, pay bills, travel expenses, daycare, or anything else they see fit. We’ve even had people use their funds to buy flowers for the nurses and physicians who provided their care. Generosity has a way of being reciprocated, and we can never have too much of that. A driving purpose for a stronger community To date, NW Hope has provided monetary gifts to people fighting cancer in every town and community in Latah and Whitman counties. But with all the success so far, the board didn’t do it alone. Our organization developed strong fundraising partnerships with local businesses, organizations, and individuals. Fostering community partnerships has been one of the keys to NW Hope’s fast growth and ability to serve as many community members as it has. Reflecting back on service to the board, I thought I’d just be volunteering my time, doing a little good, and that’s about it. But the work has rewarded me in ways I never considered. Most of all, it’s helped me refocus on what’s truly important—the relationships we build and how we treat others—while also seeking out more ways to give back. The more we do that, the stronger our community becomes. Follow the work of NW Hope on their Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/NWHope or contact the organization by email at email@example.com
farm life by Gayle Anderson
being open to life
Normal. Everyone has a definition of what it means to them. When my daughters were growing up, I know that they didn’t think I was normal and wished that I acted more like other moms. Jen, my oldest most likely thought it - but her quiet sweet nature wouldn’t have let those words pass her lips. Her younger sister Kaitlyn, however, was a different story and felt it was her duty from the age of three to give me fashion advice and regularly declare that I wasn’t normal. (That may have been the start of my having a nightly beer! Lol) Anyway, my standard reply would be, “in my world normal is only a setting on the dryer.” And that is still my view today. As a side note, today both girls as adults appreciate their momma and their childhood, although they have made mention more than once that they are going to buy a t-shirt that says “having a weird mom builds character”. Best compliment ever! Now they see the beauty of living life in their own unique style. We all have different standards of normal and in today’s world it is a challenge trying to keep some assemblance of saneness in our everyday life. And if truth be told, what I miss most are the unremarkable ordinary moments that I took for granted. I’m guessing you feel the same as we yearn and want restored what normal looks like in our world. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought how excited I could get and feel my heart soar the first time I caught sight of brightly colored umbrellas that appeared on an outdoor deck at a local Moscow watering hole and the sign that said “open”. It just made me happy to see life slowly unfold and seeing people gathering for an adult beverage and a burger. Simple pleasures of life. My family and I have started cautiously expanding our social outings and now add in a few others every once in a while. And it feels better than good. Adding in that human connection does the soul good. For me, coping in a chaotic world is all about slowing down, practicing gratefulness and taking the time to see, really see the world around you. Right now as I’m writing this article, the Palouse is in full wheat harvest mode. And living in the country you really get to hear life happening. And the smells are the best where it just makes you want to gulp in big breaths of that earthly fragrance of wheat chaff and dirt. (okay I know what you are thinking… her girls were right, she is weird! lol) Working from home with the windows open, I can hear the low rumbling of a combine and hear the trucks shifting down gears as they rumble past on their way to or from the fields. It’s a soothing sound as it means the farmer is bringing in his paycheck which in turn is what you and I purchase on the shelves of a grocery store isle. Guess that is why I’m partial to bread, baked goods, pastas, crackers and chips, And as my Mr. Right (Rod) puts it, we also like to support the barley and hops farmers as well as the grape farmers. Back when I was a farm-wife, I truly loved all aspects of harvest, despite the hard work, it was my “personal pause” from my normal off-the-farm job and daily life. I knew that in those 2 frantic weeks when I drove the trucks from the field to the grain terminals that I had the opportunity to enjoy some mental downtime.
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This meant that I gave myself permission to read my books and magazines in the truck while awaiting it to get filled and that I was blissfully unavailable to the world outside of harvest mode. Plus, I loved seeing the comradery of the farming community as a whole as we all put in long hours. We had a common goal, to get the crops harvested and safely into the grain terminals. There was an immense sense of awe knowing that what we were doing was feeding the world. One of my favorite memories was getting rained out (not what you want to happen, but we can’t control Mother Nature) and the air smelling fresh and clean. And then hopping in the truck and heading home in the late morning to surprise the little kiddos that mom was home before dark. After the babysitter left, the girls and I made chocolate chip cookies, then we sat, snuggled and munched on cookies on the deck listening to the rain. The smell of freshly baked cookies, little bodies sitting next to you, and the fresh scent of the rainstorm created a little bit of magic that day. And from then on, I realized the value of creating a little bit of magic each day and being truly present, not only for myself, but for my family. This was a hard concept for me to commit to doing as I was one of those type A people. I saw the value of slowing down but I also saw goals to accomplish and let myself fall into a rhythm of being driven, focused, over-scheduled, stressed and too tired to see the beauty of life. And I did it to myself, I had set standards for myself that I never would have placed on anyone else. Fast forward a few years and after a few life changing events and some thumps on the head from the good Lord, I am a work in progress to slow down and enjoy life. (Lets just say I’m hard headed and a slow learner). Now almost always, my day starts out with coffee, reading some kind of daily inspiration and taking a moment to thank our Creator for granting me another day. If I miss doing that, my day is just off. During the week, I try to make sure I do the things that feed my soul, such as create messy magic by baking, writing, reading a book or magazine, or just taking a walk and taking in the sights, sounds and smells. That is how I re-set and refresh myself. And now-a-days, Rod is usually right alongside me as he too learned those hard lessons of working too much, being too stressed and lost out on valued family time. And when you have lost someone close, it’s a reminder to cherish this day and the people in your life and make time to reach out to them. We both have been down that pathway, and realize we have been granted a second chance on health, life, love and the special people in our lives. We keep each other in check so we don’t lose sight of enjoying those simple pleasures that help keep us calm amidst life’s chaos. When normal returns back to our world, the “pause” we all encountered will hopefully serve as a reminder that we were made for more than crazy over-scheduled days and doing things that the world said we should do, rather than listen to the quiet words from our soul that whispered slow down, see the beauty in life, enjoy your family and know how blessed we are. I for one know that I am changed for the better, it has made me walk closer to the Lord and to place an even higher value on quality time with myself, with family and friends and to daily seek out what brings joy to this farm-gal’s heart. And when the struggle to “do it all” tries to seep in as it always does, it will get a well-placed boot in it’s you know where. And with that, my hope for each of you, is that you are safe, healthy and find your blessings that will enrich your life. If you feel you are off course in your life, now is the time to find your true North – just know that you may have to make a few life course changes along the way. And take it from me, “normal is just a setting on the dryer”, so define what your normal is and start working to make it happen. It’s a second chance for you. All my best, Gayle
BATTLE by Heather Niccoli
Well, as you may have guessed, there was no Huckleberry Battle this year. We were both heartbroken and relieved, as we felt so excited but scared with safety concerns due to Covid. But, I’m happy that I can still report our winners from last year, as it was our BIGGEST and BEST battle yet! It truly has become harder and harder to judge this, as every cake and confection is a work of art. The winners were Luann Scott from Moscow for the Adult Category and Maddie Seweit from Viola for the Youth. I’d also love to give a special shout-out to the contestant who crocheted coffee cozies with an ‘H’ on them! It was hard not to keep them. It’s obvious that there is some serious talent in our area. The winners succeeded by creating succulent, tasty and unique coffee cakes, and we are so proud to share their recipes with you. I’d also really love to thank Ampersand Oil & Vinegar Tap House for their sponsorship of the gift baskets! It’s so wonderful to shop and support other local business owners, but they really bring out the inner chef in all of us. I want to thank all of our contestants because this has truly become something we look forward to all year. When we see the goodies lined up, it makes my heart soar. And speaking of entries, I always try to enter things in the fair, because not only does it get you out of your routine, it makes the fair more exciting! Sometimes I feel like we all forget to put ourselves out there, so it truly means a lot to Tony and I that you bake us such incredible entries. If you’ve wanted to enter something in the fair but something is stopping you, don’t let it. It doesn’t matter if you win or not, it is truly something to be proud of.
Adult Winner: Luann Scott Youth Winner: Madison Jewett Huckleberry Kuchen by LuAnn Scott 1 Egg, well beaten ½ Cup Sugar ½ Cup Milk 2 Tbl oil 1 Cup Flour 2 Tsp Baking Powder 1 Cup Fresh Huckleberries (thawed are good, too!)
Huckleberry Coffee Cake with Aloha Streusel by Madison Jewett Cake: 3 cups flour 4 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract 4 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 eggs 1 lemon, zest and juice 3/4 cup of milk + 3/4 cup of sour cream 5 oz huckleberries Filling: 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup flour 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon 1/2 cup of butter (softened) (Reserve half of the filling for the topping) Strudel topping: 1/2 of filling (from above) 1/8 to 1/4 cup pineapple tidbits, chopped 1/2 cup of pecans 1 quarter cup white chocolate chips. Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Involve electric mixer, cream together sugar, almond extract and, butter. Add eggs, lemon juice and zest, mixing until well combined. Add flour mixture add milk / sour cream mixture alternately to sugar mixture. Fold in huckleberries. Pour half the batter into greased 9x13 baking pan. Mix all filling ingredients together. Bread half over the cake batter. Then add the second half of the cake batter. Sprinkle streusel evenly over top of cake. Bake for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. When cool, drizzle some icing if you want.
Topping: ½ Cup Flour ½ Cup Sugar 3 Tbl Butter Preheat oven to 375 degrees Combine egg, sugar, milk and oil; mix well. Sift flour and baking powder and stir into egg mixture. Pour into greased 8” pan. Sprinkle huckleberries over batter. For topping, in a small bowl mix sugar and flour. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping over huckleberries. Bake 25-30 minutes until cake tests done. Best served warm.
Whole Wheat Angel Food Cake Kitchen: Flower Aston Recipe: adapted from food.com
¾ cup whole wheat flour ¼ cup cornstarch 1 ½ cups sugar, divided 12 large egg whites room temperature ½ teaspoon salt 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar 2 teaspoons vanilla or 2 teaspoons almond extract
Preheat oven to 325°F. Sift the flour and cornstarch together. Next, whisk in 3/4 cup sugar. Place the egg whites in a separate bowl and add the salt and cream of tartar. Beat until you achieve soft peaks. Slowly fold in remaining 3/4 cup sugar and chosen extracts gradually and beat until mixed. Then fold in 1/3 of your flour mixture, repeat till all is folded in. You are ready to bake! Pour batter into angel food cake pan. Bake for about 1 hour or until cake is spongy when poked. Let cake cool completely before removing from pan. Top with fresh whipped cream and strawberries. Yum!
Haunted Halloween Brownies Emory Ann Kurysh
Makes 18 squares Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup granulated sugar 1 cup brown sugar, packed 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tbsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 1/4 cups water, boiling 3/4 cup oil (I used canola) 4 tbsp butter, more to grease 2 1/2 cups icing sugar 8 tbsp milk 36 chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, add all of the dry ingredients. Mix well. Next add 1 tsp of vanilla, boiling water, and oil. Stir or beat until well-combined. 2. Grease an oblong baking dish. Pour the brownie mixture evenly into it. Put in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes. 3. While the brownies are cooling, prepare the icing. Follow the directions listed on the icing sugar, making sure to use approximately 2 1/2 cups. You will also want to make sure that the icing is a little on the runnier side, as it needs to be poured onto the brownie. (If it’s too thick, you won’t see the marshmallow ghost.) 4. Top each brownie with one marshmallow. Pour the icing over the marshmallow and onto the brownie. Then give each one two chocolate chip eyes. Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Enjoy your boo-tiful brownies!
Apple Berry Breakfast Bars Emory Ann Kurysh Makes 12 squares Ingredients: (For the filling:) 2 cups apples, any kind, peeled and chopped 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey 1 tsp ground cinnamon Squeeze of lemon juice 1 cup berries, any kind (I used Saskatoon berries) (For the bottom and topping:) 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed 1 1/4 cup large flake oats 2/3 cup all-purpose flour 4 tbsp seeds, any kind (I used Super Seeds by Blue Menu which included sunflower and pumpkin seeds) 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1/3 cup butter or margarine (I used vegan), more to grease Pinch of salt Steps: In a medium saucepan, combine the apples, maple syrup, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until apples are soft and ingredients are well-combined, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside. Preheat oven to 350Â°F. In a medium-sized bowl, add the brown sugar, oats, flour, seeds, remaining cinnamon, butter, and salt. Mix until itâ€™s all blended together. Pour half of the crumble into a well-greased, square baking dish. Press down until even and flat. Then add the filling, distributing evenly as well. Spread the berries on top. Finally, top evenly with the remaining crumble mixture. Place in oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container.
Public Education | We must protect investments in the schools that prepare the next generation Young Families | Increasing access to childcare to help support a vibrant workforce Equal Opportunities | Improving infrastructure and technology to close the rural-urban broadband gap Supporting Rural Life | Creating jobs in areas such as agriculture and timber, to boost economic development in all areas of the state dulceforidaho.com
Health for All | Advocating access to medical care, pandemic response, and mental health networks across Latah County Rural Families | Improving rural internet access and collaborating with local mayors to solve specific issues affecting our rural communities Economy | Promoting local businesses and regional agriculture through access to workforce training, licensing, and investments tomlamar.org
Education and Idaho’s Workforce | Improving funding for education at all levels, and creating a fair living wage Healthcare | Increasing access to quality affordable healthcare and improving access to mental health care in rural areas Taxes and a Strong Economy | Reducing property taxes and helping small businesses from main streets to farms
Education | Investing in K-12 and higher education to create the workforce Idaho needs Infrastructure | Maintaining our roads to enable transporting crops and forest products to market and bringing fast, reliable internet to rural Idaho Healthcare | Protecting and funding Medicaid Expansion
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Easy Egg-Free Thyme Rolls Emory Ann Kurysh Makes 2 dozen Ingredients: 2 cups warm water 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast 1 tsp salt 1/3 cup oil (any kind), plus more to grease 4 tbsp ground thyme leaves 6 cups all-purpose flour (or if adding whole wheat, make sure the two flours equal 6 cups) Butter Steps: 1. In a large bowl, combine the water, sugar, and yeast. Mix well, and cover with a damp tea towel for 10 minutes. 2. After mixture has bubbled, add the salt, oil, thyme, and flour. Knead in the bowl or on a floured surface until well-combined. Dough should not stick to your fingers. Grease another large bowl. Cover once again with a damp tea towel and let rise for 1 hour. 3. Preheat oven to 350Â°F. Punch down the dough and separate in two. Then cut each section into 12 equal pieces, totalling 24 eventual buns. Grease 2 12-cup muffin pans. Roll each piece into a ball and put in a muffin cup. Cover all 24 again with a damp tea towel and let rise for 30 minutes. 4. Once risen, put in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove when tops are golden brown. Brush with butter and serve warm! Store in an airtight, room-temperature container for up to 7 days. Can be frozen, thawed, and eaten as well.
2 cups all-purpose flour 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup unsalted butter, frozen 1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons (105ml) heavy cream, divided 1 large egg 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree 1/2 cup light brown sugar 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract optional: coarse sugar for sprinkling on top before baking and fresh cranberries Preheat oven to 400Â°F. Adjust baking rack to the middle-low position. Line 1 or 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat(s). If making mini scones, I use 2 baking sheets. Set aside. Or if you have a scone pan, coat with cooking spray. Make the scones: Whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together in a large bowl. Grate the frozen butter (I use a box grater). Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and combine it with a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers until the mixture comes together in pea-sized crumbs. Set aside. Whisk 1/3 cup heavy cream, the egg, pumpkin, brown sugar, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Drizzle it over the flour mixture and then mix it all together until everything appears moistened. With floured hands, work the dough into a ball as best you can and transfer onto a floured work surface. Press into a neat 8-inch disc and, with a very sharp knife, cut into 8 equal wedges. To make smaller scones, press dough into two 5-inch discs and cut each into 8 equal wedges. Place scones at least 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet(s). Using a pastry brush, brush scones with remaining heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired. (Gives a nice crunch!) And add fresh cranberries. Bake the larger scones for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. If you made 16 smaller scones, bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
FLANK to FLAME by
Out in the corner of our backyard there are some creeping vines that spend the summer stretching farther and farther out into the grass. It starts slowly, first just a little push over the rail and out of the garden. Just one, and then a friend. By August, they have fully taken over, by September its near impossible to mow the lawn in that area. By October we have spent months enjoying grilled and roasted gourds and squash, and we are harvesting our own Jack-o-Lanterns right in our own backyard. Its been a lot of fun the last few years to watch them grow. There’s a mix of orange, green, and mottled shades. Some are huge and smooth-sided, others misshapen or bumpy. I thought it was a little crazy when Heather first pitched the idea of creating a backyard pumpkin patch, but every year I love the idea a little more. And this year, many of the beauties growing behind my grill are grown from seeds that came from last year’s crop. Its really a marvel and joy to watch them sprout, stretch out and push all those giant leaves up trying to greedily gobble up as much sun as they can, and then to slice them up and throw them on a hot grill. Oh, you didn’t think they were just for carving did you? If I’m going to take the effort to grow it, I’m definitely going to cook it over fire. That just goes without saying in our garden! But Tony, I’ve never even heard of grilled pumpkin you might be saying. And that fine. But at our house, grilled pumpkin is just as well known as grilled ferns, or peaches, or even doughnuts. But since this issue is already packed, and Heather only gave me a little space to work with I’m only going to have time to lay out pumpkin grilling in this article. For peaches, doughnuts, and many other oddities you need to travel back in time to some of my previous editions of Flank to Flame. And for ferns … well that’s just a story for another day.
Step one – cringe at pumpkin-spice-proliferation happening all around you in every conceivable retail outlet. “Sweater-weather” they often call it, but fall turning into a scorcher more and more often we will just call the season pumpkin spice overload. You know, about one month before Halloween, and a little over 8 days before people start rolling out early Christmas decorations? Yep, October! The perfect time for firing up a grill and getting some fall feeling with what otherwise would just turn into another candle or latte. Everything you love about pumpkin pie and pumpkin lattes can shine through on the grill. Pumpkin is rich, sweet, and just a little savory, especially when you pair it to warm spices. So as soon as you master two simple grilling techniques, you will be able to dress your grilled pumpkin up as anything from a simple veggie side that adds some autumn flair to your main dish, a succulent dessert to impress friends when making an entire feast all with the grill, a delectable snack that can stand on its own, or just elevated to the main event as served as the star of your meal. As always, we start with salt and focus on getting our temperature dialed-in. Long-time readers may have been playing a drinking game waiting for me to drop that line, but experienced grillers know that salt starts the seasoning process for anything we cook. So, lets take a look at that pumpkin that we are about to put on the fire. You want to stay away from carving pumpkins and get a pie-pumpkin. Trust me there is a very big difference, not just in flavor but in the texture as well! A nice medium sized one will work well for either technique I’ll describe. So, once you have it at home get the sharpest knife you have and cut it down the middle from the top to the bottom. You should end up with two equal sides, both topped with half of the stem, and both showing the inner cavity. Before you make any more cuts, get a spoon and scrape out all the seeds, and stringy innards until you get cleanly into the flesh of the pumpkin. Seeds should definitely be saved for roasting, or hosting pumpkin seed spitting contests in your backyard (enjoy growing your own pumpkins the next year if you go that route). If you want to serve up a truly impressive, roasted pumpkin that can be pureed later, or carved at the table in front of guests, you are done cutting. For this preparation, we just liberally salt and then drizzle olive oil on the interior and grill on indirect, medium heat – around 350F. Put it on skin side up with the interior faced down to the heat but not directly over flame so it won’t burn. Keep the lid closed, and check it about 35-40 minutes in. To serve as a side or dessert, it should be soft and easily pierced with a fork, but still a little firm. If you want to make a puree, keep cooking for another 15-20 minutes until its very soft throughout. As it comes off the grill and takes a few minutes to rest, hit it with any other seasoning or spices you want to add for flavor and serve after about 5-10 minutes. If you want to serve slices as a side dish or the main star, you need to keep cutting after you have the interior clean.
Just try to cut from the top again to create crescent-moon shaped wedges that are about 1” thick. And to keep them looking great, run a veggie peeler down the inside to get a smooth surface for presentation. Again, salt and oil, and go over indirect medium heat. These will obviously cook much faster. Lid down, at about 350F they should be ready in 8-12 minutes. Check at about 5 minutes and flip to make sure you get a nice set of sear lines on both sides. Pull after another 3-4 minutes if you want them to be a little more firm, or go out to the full time to be really soft. Remember not to peek! For these, if you have anything sugary or alcohol based in your glaze, go ahead and brush some on the top when you do the flip. Those last few minutes at this heat will allow for some caramelization without any risk of acrid scorching. As always, let them rest a little before you eat. The 3 minutes it takes to get everything plated should be enough for a shorter cook like this. So now you have two great ways to grill up a fall favorite! But what about the seasoning? Well, if you really love pumpkins, just stick to the salt and oil for your first try. Let that natural flavor shine. If you only bothered to read this article because its latte season and you’re ready for anything pumpkin spice, then just try to emulate those flavors with some cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice, and ginger, or go a little simpler with just the cinnamon and nutmeg. To sweeten it up a bit, add brown sugar and back off a little on the salt when prepping.
Want to go savory, then try cooking down a little bourbon with cinnamon and any other spices you want to bring in, and make your own signature glaze. Or just dust them with a little mix of brown sugar and cinnamon and serve with a nice healthy scoop of whip cream to make a deconstructed pumpkin pie! But my favorite for serving as a side dish is the hit the pumpkin with a little pepper, paprika, and just a tiny bit of either rosemary or garlic salt. With something this universal, and easy to season you can’t go wrong. So, if you see me starting up the grill, and heading into the back yard with a machete, you know its fall and I’m going scouting through the dense vines for a perfect little treat. Enjoy!
Home & Harvest Tarot Reading Tarot cards are a tool that give us intuitive guidance and care. After the last six months or so, I think we could all use a little of that. Today, we’re going to check in with three cards from The Wild Wood Tarot to see what direction we can divine. In the last issue, I gave you the opportunity to choose one of three cards whose meaning spoke directly to you. This time let’s look at all three cards together: Two of Vessels, Two of Bows, and Five of Bows. Since this reading isn’t specific to any one of you, I’ll try to cover a few angles and ask you to read with an open mind and heart and simply take in what speaks to you most. Before we get into what the cards mean individually, let’s take a moment to notice a couple themes that jump out to me first. There are two twos and two Bows.
Card 1 Two of Vessels
Card 2 Two of Bows
Card 3 The Five of Bows
Having the number two show up twice in this reading could symbolize a balancing act that needs to take place. This first thing that pops to mind around that is the balancing that must be done by so many with parent/teacher roles and work/school roles as we tackle the 2020-2021 school year and all the conflicting asks it makes of all of us. The meaning of having two twos show up could also have to do with the layering of relationships. For example, a romantic couple has certain elements to address and maneuver, right? But that becomes even more complicated when another relationship is added – the couple now both work from home and share office space or the couple finds out they’re expecting and now have the parent relationship too. Cards from the suit of Bows have to do with philosophical and/or scientific pursuits. They have the energy of the element of fire – passion, strength, determination. Having two of the three cards in this suit suggest a focus on creativity and development is worth pursuing this fall. Believing the situation will resolve itself with calm and steady effort will help you see it through to the end. Choose to achieve more. Wishing is not enough. So, with those themes in mind, let’s look at all three cards together. The first card, the Two of Vessels, is about attraction. This might be those little butterflies that fill us when we meet a potential romantic companion. Or it could be the easy flow when two people in a longtime partnership simply click after not quite being on the same page for a bit. Attraction could refer to a new job that you feel just perfect for or the joy of meeting a new friend who really gets your humor. This card could even refer to your connection to a place that feels like home to you. Whatever relationship comes to mind for you when you look at the Two of Vessels or as you read the ideas I put out – that’s what this reading is about for you. Considering that relationship, there is some decision to be made. The second card, Two of Bows is all about having to choose. You’ve been putting off making that decision or trying to balance everything. Is it all wearing on you? Are you losing that initial spark of attraction? Sometimes, like the man on the card, we are so scared to let go of one choice because we’re not sure which is the right choice and we don’t want to choose the wrong one. The problem with this is that we burn out. You’re giving energy to both choices. When you let go of either of them, you’ll be able to put your focus, all of your energy, into the second. If you remember, the suit of Bows encourages creativity and determination. When you think about the choices, which gives you butterflies, just like the initial attraction from the Two of Vessels? Trust your intuition and let go of the other. Believe that you can create a thoughtful path forward with the one that lights you up! How? Well, that’s where the third card comes in. The Five of Bows is about empowerment, which means that when we’re needing to believe in ourselves a little more, keeping our focus narrowed on one goal can truly empower us. Think about how you feel when you hone a skill or improve an ability. You’re no longer powerless when you can overcome a struggle and create for yourself. Overcome the fear of choosing the wrong option by pouring your energy into growing your talents, skills, and gifts that support the option you are choosing. Trust yourself, believe in yourself. The cards support you completely. Hopefully you’ve found direction and insight in this reading. Looking forward to the rest of the year again, that seems like something we could all use.
Local Author Showcase Grapefruit Parlor: An Interview with Local Author Ginger Rankin By Ashley Centers Each year 40.3 million people are trapped in slavery and sex trafficking around the world. Hundreds of thousands of those sales or trades occur in the United States. Ginger Rankin, outraged that this story is one with no end, has dedicated her life to speaking up and out against these outrageous acts of violence and those affected by it. Her latest book, “Grapefruit Parlor,” brings attention to the modern slave trade through the life of Dolores, who undergoes a search for self-worth and meaning. When we first meet Dolores she has returned to the island where she spent the first six years of her life, in an initially unguided search for self-discovery. Dolores’ life, this far, has been full of disappointment, bad luck, poor life decisions and their unfortunate consequences. Although she doesn’t say it directly, she subconsciously blames her mother—who abandoned her as an infant—for much of her problems, eschewing personal responsibility until much later. “Grapefruit Parlor is written with a kind of passion that included my putting myself in the mind of the protagonist and actually feeling the chaos, anger, lack of attachment and deep sadness of a young woman who was desperate to know who she was and why she should go on,” Ginger said. While living in the Caribbean, Ginger spotted an old wooden sign reading Grapefruit Parlor, when the van she was in turned a sharp corner. Although she took immediate interest in the sign she said she didn’t have the story until years later. And quite a story it is! Not only does Ginger use Dolores’ story to broach worth and not having a sense of belonging in this world but she also addresses slavery, alcoholism and addiction, and sex trafficking. These issues, especially slavery, have outraged Ginger since childhood, so she channeled that energy into this book. To write “Grapefruit Parlor” Ginger put herself in the mind of the protagonist, Dolores, and let herself feel the chaos, anger, lack of attachment and deep sadness of a young woman who was desperate to know who she was and why she should go on. She did this so well that as I was reading I found myself in Dolores’ head and living her struggles, joys, defeats, and ultimately her triumph alongside her. Dolores’s story is unfortunately a very common one and something that Ginger is passionate about bringing awareness and change to.
“I see it as a story of a very common occurrence in the lives of women who have not felt connected to a loving family, group or individual in their early years,” Ginger said. “They often become attracted, vulnerable and open to offers of attention and flattery from people who do not have their welfare in mind. Many young people’s stories tell of being tricked into believing life will be better with the trafficker. Inevitably drugs, alcohol and entrapment and taking the victim away from their former lives occurs. Dolores is an example of a child who grew into an adult without the feeling that anyone truly cared about her. She was convinced that her mother left her and everyone after her birth took care ‘of ’ her but never cared ‘for’ her. She filled the gaps of what she knew about her mother with negative thoughts. At the end she feels that her mother, Angel, left her with her sister because she herself was trafficked. She finds her purpose in that realization.” Like Dolores finding her purpose in helping women and girls who’ve been caught in sex trafficking and slavery along in their journey to safety, Ginger has found her purpose during this phase of her life in writing and speaking for the respect and dignity of all people. She has volunteered extensively with the Latah Recovery Center, which opened September 2015. She has taken their Mental Health First Aid classes and the suicide prevention seminar as well as other classes that certify her as a coach. She has also run a Positive Affirmation Class and worked one-on-one with individuals to help provide the support they need to better their lives. She has always felt that she receives much healing and support in return.
As a way to continue serving the Latah Recovery Center and the wider community, Ginger paired with fellow writer and LRC volunteer Nancy Casey to create a study guide that can be used by individuals or groups struggling with addiction or mental health issues. This study guide allows for deep reading of the book as well as open ended questions that allow readers to relate to issues in their own lives. The interactive nature of the guide should allow readers to think critically but also appeal to their creative side. Pre-COVID, Ginger planned to use “Grapefruit Parlor” in her volunteer work with women in recovery. For now, several copies of the book and a study guide are available at the Latah Recovery Center. You can also find “Grapefruit Parlor” on Amazon. Working through the book and your thoughts regarding it and the sensitive topics within with another person or group of people is a healthy way to discover more about ourselves or explore parts of our lives that may be traumatic. “My research for the book opened windows for me,” Ginger said. “I have always looked at life as stories. But I realize that there will be no end to the human trafficking story, that involves 40.3 million souls globally and hundreds of thousands in our country alone, unless more of us see it for what it is and find ways to stop it. I have a new sense of urgency for the young people used and abused, drugged and sold in sex trafficking, for the families caught up in forced labor and for all others who are lost behind walls and fences.”
Left: Ginger Rankin, author Above: Ginger, husband David, Penny and Copper Home&Harvest
Trick or treat
10-11-021 - Kendrick children in Halloween costumes, circa 1898.
Halloween has always been a holiday full of mischief, whether it is children dressed up as ghouls asking for candy or considerably older children pulling pranks on one another to get a good laugh. Earlier in Latah Countyâ€™s history, many people pulled pranks that were so outrageous that they remembered them many years later for the Latah County Historical Society Oral History collection. I have done research through our oral history archive and pulled out some of the best Halloween pranks that I can find to share them with you. I am certainly NOT hoping that these pranks get repeated. I am simply recalling these pranks to add some levity to our lives and where we have come from. Enjoy. As my three boys (ages 7, 5, & 3) will tell you, poop is funny. Heck, their favorite word right now may well be diarrhea. Now I was a bit concerned about this development until I began to read more about the rich history of our region. You see for some reason pranks, poop, and laughter go hand in hand. I went searching through the LCHS archives for stories of hilarious pranks on Halloween night. All I found was poop. With that in mind, I hope you indulge my sons, and our youthful sides, and feel free to laugh and snicker at the Halloween pranks of years gone by.
Before we get going I would like to address the youth reading this article. Some of you have never used an outhouse before. Think of a portable restroom made of wood. The biggest difference between the portable restrooms of today (made of plastic) and outhouses is one thing: permanence. Outhouses were not portable and therefore had very different waste collection systems. Instead of a waste collection tank inside the structure, the structure was built on top of a hole, which would collect the waste. All of this context is to say that it is likely that while the following events would have been surprising, uncomfortable, and perhaps infuriating, the person would (most likely) not be covered in feces. Albert Pierce was a resident of Deary, Idaho and recalls one particular Halloween prank above all others: “And then right in the town of Deary one time, the editor’s wife was setting in the outside toilet when some of them fellers come- they didn’t know she was in there- probably he or she might have thought afterwards, but they didn’t. I don’t remember who it was at all now, but they turned that thing over! (chuckles) I don’t know what position she was in, but, she went over. So there was a lot of funny diddioes [sic] pulled them days.” Walt Benscoter and Norla Callison of American Ridge took some time in their interview to talk about Halloween. Norla Callison began: “‘Course on Halloween, well sometimes he’d upset a privy or something. But that’s excusable on Halloween, you know.” Melvin Carlson recalls Halloween on Burnt Ridge: “the man went out and he sat in the outhouse. The door opened out, most all of them the door opened out. So we got together and got a rope and went up there and ran a rope around it. Tied the rope and pushed it over with him inside (laughter).” This situation was not unique. Apparently using the outhouse on Halloween was risky business. Theodore Sundell was asked in an oral history interview, “What kind of stuff [Halloween pranks] did you do?” To which he answered: “What didn’t we do? Well them days, All outside toilets. Well there wasn’t a toilet standing the next morning [November 1st - day after Halloween].” Keep in mind that Latah County, Idaho was (and is) an agricultural-minded community. Theodore Sundell recalled more than one of these pranks that he and his mates pulled with local farmers. Nearly all of the pranks involved livestock in some variety. One particular instance caught my attention:
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Photo, above: HABS MT-104-C - William & Lucina Bowe Ranch, Outhouse, 20 feet northwest of House, Melrose, Silver Bow County, MT. Photograph from the Library of Congress Collection. Photograph was taken from HABS Survey Photo, below: HABS WY 91-B - Pfeiffer Homestead, Outhouse, 90 feet north of Homestead Cabin, Moose, Teton County,WY. Photograph from the Library of Congress Collection. Photograph was taken from HABS Survey WY-91-B -
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“Another Halloween night went over to Carl Anderson’s and he had a calf. Pretty little calf. And the barn, it was a big barn and the slope on the back side against the back sloped the way it does now. And he had a bunch of, what we call rails, them days, they used to build fences out of. We taked them on top of the barn and made a platform. Put some boards in there. And we built a corral around it. Got the calf in this corral. … Way up on the roof. The next day, it was about ten o’clock, nine o’clock, the telephone rang over home. Said he asked pa if it rang four longs. He wanted everybody to listen. That Carl Anderson was giving a party for all of the young folks. When they all got there mother said before we have anything to eat, we have got a little problem.” Walt Benscoter was sure to deny responsibility while recounting another Halloween prank: “Yeah, they even put a cow inside the schoolhouse one time. A steer. Did you ever know who did that? (laughs.) I won’t tell till they’re all dead. (Laughs.) I wasn’t in the prank, I wasn’t even there.” …. “That was what you might call a shitty trick. (laughs.)” Halloween was not simply outhouses, livestock, and poop. Halloween was a time to socialize for children of all ages. The Kendrick Gazette reported two Halloween socials on November 3, 1905. The headline rang: “Hallowe’en Pranks and Parties A Decidedly Active Night - Old and Young, all Sizes and ages and Previous Condition of Servitude joined in Making The Evening a Merry One.” The article continues to describe the two parties: “The Ladies of the Presbyterian Aid Society gave a very pleasant social in the rear of the bank building… Here charades, games etc. were indulged in by all, the elders throwing off some 30 to 40 years and again becoming children.” The other party was held at the Lauterterbachs was a black cat affair. With black cats throughout the house the party guests played games and reveled in the “ghastly light on the table, that made everyone look a pale and blue and give that ghostly effect. It was one of the events of the season.” In 1909 the Halloween social tradition continued in Kendrick: “The Presbyterian parlors were filled with young folks and those who felt young, who found their entrance by ghostly directions through entry or on ladders through windows.” The 1909 party was agas with party games from the familiar bobbing for apples to the perhaps less familiar like the revolving wheel of fortune that contained revelations from the spirit world. The evening was a blast. The only reported shortcoming was: “when the hour for ‘Home-Bird’ was called the evening seemed only too short.” Regardless of how it was celebrated, Halloween has been a time to blow off some steam and relax. Norla Callison summed up the holiday best when she said: “Well I’ll tell you I think the kids in them days, by golly, really, I think they really really enjoyed themselves.”
Photo, above: 17-12-023 - University of Idaho School of Agriculture: four dairy cows with their student handlers, cicra 1953. Photo, right: 10-06-018 - Presbyterian Church, Kendrick, Idaho. Cover Photo: 06-02-045 - Stock show, cows lead in single file in Genesee, Idaho - circa 1910.
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An Era Past Mahlon Kriebel Turning towards a crashing through underbrush we watched a bull elk trot into the glade. He paused, then walked towards us, eyes bulging, antlers laid back. The bull was in rut and expected to see another elk, not three apparitions. “Should we run?” Whispered my grandson Niko. “No, we wouldn’t get far. He sees we are not elk; I explained, trying to keep cool. At forty yards, with mouth foaming and flaring nostrils he stopped. “He smells us;” I whispered. “Do they always charge towards a bugle?” Asked Niko’s friend Andy. As the bull turned and walked back towards the canyon; I answered; “I’m not sure. This is the first time I tried to bugle during a rut.” I brought the boys to the Blue Mountains of Washington State where I had hunted with my grandfather, dad and relatives fifty years ago. Bugles wafted over the rim of Cotton Wood Canyon creating an eerie, primordial atmosphere. We saw several elk herds. I explained, “the strongest bulls collect cows to pass their genes to the next generation. A bull bugles to inform lone bulls that his cows belong to him. However, he can be challenged to a duel.” The charging bull returned to his harem and we walked along a dirt road following the glade. I couldn’t help but reminisce, “my Great Uncle Clarence invited me in 1950 to join his hunting party when I was fourteen, your age. These hunts were after the rut so we seldom heard a bugle. When I was sixteen and eligible for a hunting license Dad presented me with a new Winchester model 70 .30-06 with a 4X scope.” Unfolding a topographical map I continued, “look, here we are on the map, near this unnamed spring. Years ago, springs like Hostetler, Indian Tom, and Seven Sisters served as campsites for hunting parties who returned yearly before opening day to scout canyons and renew friendships.” We continued along Little Butte Road. Pointing to an open glade I said, “that’s where Dad dropped a bull with his .30-40 Krag rifle. “Can anyone hunt?” Inquired Niko. “Yes, no permission is required in the National Forests.” “What is the Krag rifle?” The boys asked. “Well;” I answered, “the .30-40 Krag was used by Teddy Roosevelt’s Volunteer Rough Riders in storming San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War of 1898. The Krag-Jorgenson was developed in Norway. It replaced the single shot US Army .45-70 trapdoor black powder Springfield rifle.”
“Why didn’t the U.S. Army buy an American rifle?” the boys wondered. Knowing that these boys loved guns I answered; “I’m sure Dad will let you shoot his old rifle. Then you’ll see why the army procurers of 1896 picked the K-J rifle over forty contenders. Its side magazine can be ‘topped off ’ with single cartridges; and, the chamber can be reloaded by flipping a ‘magazine cut-off ’ lever before retracting the bolt. Thus army officials believed that a soldier would conserve ammunition on the battlefield. During the Spanish-American War, Spanish troops carried a Model 1893 7mm Mauser that is loaded with clips which gave the Spanish an advantage in fire-power.” Niko questioned, “who won the war?” I replied, “the Americans won because the Spaniards ran out of ammunition.” Niko responded, “that means that the Krag was a better weapon than the Mauser because the Americans didn’t run out of bullets.” “That’s a good analysis, and the Americans had a Gattling gun.” I responded and continued, “the Krag was replaced by the American Springfield .30-06 which was used in World War I.” “How did your dad purchase the Krag?” The boys wondered. I know that in Germany it is very difficult to purchase a rifle so I explained, “in the early 1900s the common hunting rifle in our region was the .30-30. Thus, the larger .30-40 Krag had appeal as an elk rifle. The US Army surplused thousands which made the Krag cheap. Roy Hill, an outdoor writer, called the 1898 K-J Rifle the ‘Great Depression Meat Gun’.” “What does that mean?” The boys asked in unison. “Before I was born, my relatives could only afford surplused Krags.” “If your relatives were poor, how did they find time to go hunting?” Asked Niko. “Good question;” I replied, “the hunting season was after fall farm work. Uncle Clarence’s and Granddad Jig’s attraction to hunting elk came from their brother, Charlie. He was one of the cowboys who rounded-up an elk herd in Yellowstone. These elk were sent by rail to Dayton, Washington as part of the ‘Blue Mountain Elk Recovery Program’. The elk we see today are descendants from the Yellowstone herd.” Walking back to the unnamed spring I outlined a 16 by 16 foot square with my foot explaining, “this is where our cook tent stood.” The boys joined me in the square saying, “this would be too small for everyone to sleep in.” I replied, “that’s right. Starting in 1939 Dad and Uncle Clarence cobbled a tent onto farm truck beds by draping an oiled canvas over 2x4 frames. There were no custom-built campers and few four wheel drive vehicles. “These elk are big. Did you use a ‘four wheeler’ to bring an elk to camp?” Asked the boys. “When cousins Don and Dick managed to catch a couple horses known as ‘knot-heads’ we used them as pack horses. Even though Granddad Jigs and Uncle Clarence had farmed with horses, they had no inclination to wrangle pack horses. Our horses sometimes slipped hobbles so we spent more time hunting horses than elk.” Ha, snorted Niko, “you missed school.” I elaborated, “Yes. I learned years later that Dad had convinced the school principal the value of family experiences.” “Where did you sleep?”
“I slept in the cook tent with Granddad Jigs and Uncle Clarence. They bought the WW II officer’s tent for ten dollars. They spread buffalo robes over wheat straw and used wool blankets. I had a modern sleeping bag and an air mattress. Now, at my age I understand why Granddad used a ‘pee can’ at night.” “Where was the klo?” Andy asked. I chuckled at this question, because in Germany, in most forests there are little soup and sandwich kiosks with toilets, and responded, “our privy was a trench under a pealed log. Being the youngest, I was the brunt of practical jokes like sitting on the log smeared with honey.” “Stupid joke,” the boys sighed, “how did you keep warm?” “Granddad Jigs made a stove from an oil drum which he cut length-wise onto which he welded a steel plate for a cooking surface. He recycled a furnace door”. As we walked memories flooded back, “we had an old drop-leaf kitchen table for eating and playing cards. I woke to breakfast of fried bacon, ham and eggs which were eaten on a toast plate. Ham and bacon were smoked in the family smoke house and, of course, eggs were from free ranging hens.” “What’s a toast plate?” they asked. “Eggs and bacon were fried on the stove top and placed on slices of bread that were also toasted on the stove top. Sometimes Granddad Jigs made pancakes. Pancakes and toast plates kept breakfast dishes to a minimum. I was the dishwasher. Uncle Clarence took pride in making lunch sandwiches with home-made bread and thick slices of smoked ham garnished with Aunt Grace’s horse radish sauce. Her dark breads with heavy crust lasted without molding.” The boys stopped to suck from their water bottles and I couldn’t resist a derogatory comment, “you boys would have been laughed out of camp. We didn’t carry calf bottles with nipples. We slaked thirst at springs or creeks.” When we reached a muddy depression, I stopped by an enormous Ponderosa Pine and continued to reminisce, “this is the frog pond. We would leave camp before sun-up to a stand. Uncle Clarence or Dick bagged an elk every year from this tree. They enjoyed hunting but I think that elk meat was important because it justified the hunt. In those days, farmers weren’t supposed to have fun.” “Why not walk around to find the elk?” Andy inquired. “Good question;” I responded, “elk have such keen hearing, smelling and sight that it’s virtually impossible to stalk them. When spooked elk will jump and run for miles.” Near the giant ponderosa pine I gathered fallen limbs explaining; “Uncle Clarence showed me how to lay limbs from the fire towards this tree trunk which served as a back-rest in order to feed the fire without standing up.” We found a game trail and I gathered some huckleberry branches explaining, “elk browse at night, bed down before sunup and remain in a thicket unless disturbed. Uncle Clarence reminded me every morning to stay at my stand but I seldom had the perseverance. I jumped elk but never saw one. Now, it’s my turn to sit.” “Then we would be the guys crashing about in the brush,” commented Niko. I chuckled, “today the woods are noisy when compared to the October and November hunting season. In a light snow there-
is no heat like an early morning fire making shadows jump from trees. I managed to stay at my stand only once because I fell asleep. I awoke to a great crashing. I got ready for elk to dash across the glade. A few minutes later, cousins Don and Dick came running to the fire asking, ‘did you see the elk herd?’ No, I didn’t see nothin’. I pretended that I had not been asleep. Don pointed to fresh tracks not 50 yards from my fire leading towards Chimney Ridge which falls into Devil’s Canyon. ‘We’re too tired to follow’ they explained as they plunked down by the fire. Well! I wasn’t tired and tookout after the tracks. I got to camp late that night to much laughter and hooting. While I had been sleeping by the fire, Dick made the tracks with hooves from an earlier kill.” The boys laughed, I continued, “it is dangerous to hunt ‘till dark five miles from camp in the canyon. “Today, I understand why my granddad Jigs only hunted the canyon rim. He was blind in one eye and couldn’t see ‘out t’other’. His brother, Uncle Clarence, kidded him that even at their childhood homestead on the Cherokee Strip in Oklahoma and as a young man homesteading in Montana, Jigs couldn’t find his way home with two good eyes. When Jigs found himself lost while hunting, he shot three times. The search party would find him sitting by a burning snag. Jigs never saw an elk, but he loved the adventure.” “Why did Jigs have only one eye?” They asked. “In the horse and buggy days there were lots of one-eyed farmers who had been kicked in the head when harnessing horses. There were also fatalities from horse kicks which tended to occur in clusters.” “What does that mean”, the boys asked. “It means that the number of deaths in a given community follows a Poisson Statistic.” The boys looked perplexed so I continued. “A Poisson Statistic means that the number of deaths due to horse kicks in most towns was zero and some towns had one, maybe two, but surprisingly there were a few towns with five or eight deaths. The towns with five or eight are known as a cluster.” “That doesn’t make sense,” the boys responded. I continued, “to be relevant, Sir Bernard Katz, Noble Laureate in physiology and medicine, found that deaths in the Prussian army resulting from horse kicks and sometimes synaptic activity in your brain follows this Poisson Statistic.” “Ah”, they responded, is this statistic relevant today,” I replied, “the percentage of hunters who bag an elk is small. This means that the number of elk killed in hunting parties would also fit Poisson Statistics! This also means that most hunting parties would bag no elk, some parties would have one or two elk and a very few camps would have several hanging carcasses.” “Still doesn’t make sense,” the boys said. “You’re right, Poisson statistics does not seem normal and the reason is that the distribution is not bell shaped but one reflecting the phenomenon of clustering.” As we ate our lunch I thought of camp food; “Great Uncle Clarence was our cook and took pride in stews made with chucks of home raised beef which simmered for hours in a two gallon cast iron pot. He would add green beans, carrots, onions and potatoes, all from his garden, when stoking the stove mid-day.
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Other meals were steaks, boiled potatoes and turnips with onions fried on the stovetop with strips of smoked bacon. We had fresh liver and heart after a kill. Granddad Jigs made apple pies with King Apples from our orchard. He would place the pie tin on a trivet resting on the stove top and then cover the pie with an old milk pail to make an oven.” “After supper, it was time for the card game of Pedro which was the only game that Jigs and Clarence knew. Dick purchased a white-gas lantern to replace the kerosene barn lantern so that Jigs could see the cards. Even though the game was simple I can’t remember the rules except that one eyed jacks were wild. Arguments by the two brothers over rules livened the evenings.” “That game sounds boring,” whispered one of the boys. “Well! The conversations weren’t trivial. They talked about presidents and the price of wheat. Serious stuff;” I said. “Still boring,” said Niko. “I was probably bored too and with a stuffed stomach, I never lasted long before falling into the sac. One morning I awoke to laughter as I had slept all night on several pieces of cord wood.” “That’s a corny story,” the boys responded with a fake laugh. *** After the boys and I returned from our trip I invited Dad, Don and Dick for dinner. While swapping stories, I had Niko sneak out and bugle from a small grove of trees three hundred yards from our home. Dick excitedly responded, “did you hear the elk bugle?” They piled into a pick-up and circumnavigated the Butte behind our house. An hour later, they returned to report they didn’t see the elk. At the door, Niko bugled again. The looks on the faces of Dick and Don were sweet revenge. Post script: A few years ago, I read Cousin Dick this story. He was eighty-eight, shriveled, only skin and bones. Dick was racked with pain, dying of cancer. I watched his eyes mist, then sparkle. A man once so robust he could carry an elk quarter out a canyon. Dick’s humor had persevered. He said; “Dad and Granddad Jigs would say ‘you write like a school teacher’. Jigs would be pleased to know he belonged to a special class of one-eyed farmers. You called them poison statistics. Ha ha.” Fifty years ago, I traded my .30-06 for an Indian corn husk bag. I was in my anti-hunting mode. I love the bag with corn husks twisted over native Kamiah fiber but I had hurt Dad by trading his gift. Now, Dad, Granddad Jigs and Great Uncle Clarence and my cousins Don and Dick are gone. I’m left with memories of an advantaged childhood full of adventures. It is a pleasure – nay a duty – to pass hunting traditions to the next generation. A few years ago, Niko who has immigrated to the US and now lives on the family farm, bagged a five pointer with Dad’s .30-40 Krag. The rifle still has a broken stock held together with a bolt, just as Dad bought it surplus in 1936 - the year I was born - for $8.00.
8Image 123 Image 8123: Four photos of 1959 hunt. (Photographer Don Kriebel) Top left: Inside army surplus tent. Great Uncle Clarence has gained some weight. Cousin Dick is washing dishes. Stove built by Granddad Jigs from a steel plate welded to a 50 gal. oil drum. Note cast iron recycled door. Top right: Dick in front of surplus army tent which was used for 30 years. Lower left: Dick sharpening knife. Note large coffee pot in foreground. Lower right: “Dick’s elk.” Little Butte Road was no more than two “cow paths.” Image 8121: “Oct. 25-26, 1939.” Proud hunters Victor & Clarence with their surplus .30-40 Krag rifles. Truck is standing in front of Clarence’s barn. During this era, elk heads were tied to front fenders to signal a successful hunt. These hunters have dressed for photos because Clarence has his hunting hatchet and knife attached to belt. (Photographer Aunt Grace) Image 8119: “Hunting Outfit Oct. 1939.” Note the ‘Under 10,000 Gross’ for license weight. The truck could carry 100 bushels of wheat. The canvas was stretched over a 2 x 4 frame nailed to the racks of the truck-bed. The hunting camp is only 80 miles from the farm but there is a steep 1,800 ft, serpentine grade from the Palouse Prairie to the Snake River at Lewiston, Idaho and a 3,000 ft. climb out of the Snake River Canyon to the Blue Mountains. These grades taxed these trucks. (Photographer Aunt Grace) Nez Perce Indian corn husk bag: Author traded his .30-06 rifle, a 16th birthday gift from his Dad, for this bag. Strips of corn husk were wrapped around native Kamiah fiber (hemp) to make the weft which was then twined over a Kamiah warp. The strips of corn husk were dyed with aniline dyes. Design was probably inspired by Saltillo Spanish rugs. But, now, when I look at this bag, I’m sad that I don’t see my Dad’s gift, my first rifle.
Big TheBlue OXJoe Evans by
takes a deer takes a deer takes a deer
Raising children can be a most interesting endeavor. In the course of my life I have raised four daughters, all now adult, and no sons. I consider myself an expert at raising daughters, at least I think I am! I’ve already told the tale of daughter number one- Dawn, so it is time to move on to daughter number two. This one goes by the name of Heather Niccoli, the editor of this magazine. Well, Heather- since the time she was a rugrat has always been involved in interesting or strange endeavors. The first episode occurred shortly before she learned how to walk. I am/was a business owner and this meant an endless load of paperwork and billing to be done regularly. I sat down at the kitchen table one afternoon and soon was engrossed in my paperwork. I almost forgot to mention that my outside work required wearing heavy boots. I removed these clod hoppers and socks and let my aching feet cool down and relax. I did not notice that Heather had crawled under the table. All at once I experienced a sharp pain on my right big toe. I retracted myself and saw Heather on all fours grinning at me. She might not have been able to walk yet but she certainly knew how to sneak up on me and take a bodacious bite of my toe. I now know what a fishing play feels like after an attack by a hungry bass! Why she did this I will ever know and can only say it was a ‘Heather’ thing. At any rate, my big toe does not bear the slightest resemblance to any type of candy. Several years pass and Heather became enthralled about a television show about Paul Bunyan and his Big Blue Ox. She would gather herself up, take a big breath, drop her voice as low in pitch as a little girl can and proclaim, “Ho, ho, ho, I’m the Big Blue Ox!” And this is how her nickname came about. To this day she is “The Big Blue Ox.” When Heather turned 12 years of age she, like her three sisters attended Hunter’s Safety training and received a good grounding in all hunting related topics. The first time out we still-hunted and I saw at least 15 deer all within easy range. I was pretty frustrated as Heather could not see them. I finally realized that she was a little shorter than me and could not see the deer because of intervening brush. It was kind of a “duh” moment for me. Next time out we switched areas and worked an old skid trail. I knew this was a good area because a week or two previously I took a nice buck there with my Smith 44 handgun. Okay, Heather took the lead and I fell back about 50 feet. Suddenly, she stops, looks to the left, then took a couple steps back to me. Her eyes were very wide open and pointed to the left. I couldn’t see anything so I took a couple steps ahead and lo and behold- a juicy branch-antler buck was staring at us from about 40 yards off. Heather was looking for my approval and I slowly nodded my head and mouthed “yes.” Heather took the cue and placed a 100 grain Hornady Interlock at close to 3200 fps from her 6mm Remington into a vital spot. Instant kill. I drug the deer back to our pickup and all the way felt proud of the Big Blue Ox. We had the head mounted and it now resides in Heather’s home. A wonderful memory of a wonderful time. The Big Blue Ox did well! Stay tuned for “Squirt.”
The Oh, Otis! Shenanigans Halloween Hot Rod Temple Kinyon Otis was making plans. Epic plans. He was now eight years old, which presented opportunities. His favorite day of the year besides Christmas was Halloween. This year, 1978, he would be old enough to be in the town’s Annual Halloween Night Lighted Parade. His plans started with pestering his mother, Mavis, into buying him a new costume. In the Swan family, that rarely happened since Halloween costumes never wore out and could be handed down from kid to kid. Otis didn’t want to be “The Ghost” or “The Werewolf ” or “The Hobo” yet again. “Mom, please!” he begged. “I’ve never, ever had my very own new costume. I promise I’ll clean my room and do the dishes, and I won’t get into any trouble from now until after Christmas. Promise.” “Oh, Otis,” Mavis replied, “there’s plenty of good costumes in the trunk. Just get something out of there.” “But Mom,” Otis insisted. “I’ve already been all the things in the trunk. And I’m finally old enough to be in the parade. Please, Mom. I’ll never ask for anything ever again. I already have it picked out at Minnie’s Department Store, and she said there was only one. Only ONE, Mom! I’ll be the only one in town!” He flashed his big sad eyes and sincerest of looks, and Mavis melted. “Alright,” she smiled. “I guess this is a big deal for you. We can go get your costume at Minnie’s.” Otis burst with joy, jumping up and down and grabbing his mother in the tightest of squeezes. “Thankyouthankyouthankyou!” he shouted. “Oh, Otis, stop!” Marvel laughed. “Go outside and run around the house three times, and then we’ll go.” Otis dashed out of the house and did exactly that. *** Two weeks prior, Grandpa Ed had presented Otis and his brothers, Otho, Deanie, Cletus, and Chuck, with a momentous gift: an old Craftsman riding lawnmower. In the interest of safety, Ed had already removed the mowing deck. The boys were over the moon ecstatic when Ed bestowed the treasure. “You have to pull-start the engine,” he’d explained. “It’s the Briggs & Stratton she came with, so she’s got some miles on her. The tires are hard rubber so you won’t have to worry about any flats. She runs most of the time and should offer some fun for you hooligans.” All five boys stood in awe of the new-to-them implement. “Can we take it for a spin?” Otis asked. “Sure, I’ll help you guys figure it all out before I leave you alone with it,” Ed smiled. “Your mother and grandmother would never forgive me if I didn’t teach you some safety rules.” Each boy had a turn on the mower, roaring it around Ed’s barnyard, testing its speed and agility. No one wrecked, and everyone’s sheer joy made Ed laugh with glee. He’d taken the time to explain how to pull-start the motor, and the boys figured out quickly that sometimes it didn’t work well, and you had to tap out to let someone else pull. “If you flood it,” Ed explained,” this is how to remove the lone spark plug and let it dry off.” He showed them how to remove and reinsert it. Unbeknownst to the boys, one of Ed’s goals with the mower was to educate them on the workings of the internal combustion engine. Ed also warned that the brakes were a bit unpredictable. “They work, but not all the time,” he advised. “They’re good if you’re going slow, but once you speed up, it’s hit and miss. And if the motor dies, you’re outta luck completely. Keep it in good working condition like I showed you, and you should be ok.” After each grandchild had several turns pull-starting and driving the beast, Ed felt confident they knew what they were doing. “How about you load up and drive it home?” The boys scrambled to all fit on the contraption. Deanie drove, while Cletis and Chuck stood on the side steps, Otho crouched behind the seat with his feet wrapped around the spring that the seat was attached to, and like an ornament, Otis sat on the hood. Ed shook his head and smirked as he watched the five youngsters putter out of the driveway, knowing the escapades to come with the mower would bond them for life.
*** “Let’s paint it,” Cletis suggested. “Yeah, we can use the leftover spray paint in Dad’s shed,” Deanie agreed. The boys had traversed the short distance between their grandparent’s place and their home, first down the long hill and then up the next. They were terrified, yet exhilarated, when they realized the brakes were iffy at best at high speed, just as Grandpa Ed had instructed. And they were impressed that although it was somewhat slow pulling up the hill, it had carried all of them and not missed a beat. They’d wheeled it into the last stall in the shed where their dad, Marvel, stored the generator. Marvel’s shop produced several leftover cans of spray paint. Deanie instructed where and what to paint and with what color. Soon, the new mode of transportation and amusement took on a patriotic vibe, with red, white, and blue stripes and yellow stars all over. They popped the hood, cleaned what they could, checked the oil, inspected the spark plug, and carefully filled it with gas. Otis shined up the seat, a butt-shaped metal round with no cushion and the spring offering only the slightest of suspension. Mavis came out of the house and walked toward the boys. “Uh, oh,” Otho whispered under his breath. “I thought Grandpa Ed said it was ok we had this.” “Be cool,” Cletis uttered, “and for God’s sake, don’t mention the brakes.” “Hello, boys,” Mavis smiled. “I love the new paint job.” “We figured it was ok to use left-overs from Dad’s shop,” Otis offered. “Sure,” Mavis agreed. “I’m excited you boys are excited about your new mower.” “The Hot Rod,” all five said in unison. “Oh, pardon me,” Mavis giggled. “I’m excited you boys are now the proud owners of The Hot Rod.” They all smiled, happy their mother was apparently glad for them, but also somewhat mystified that she was apparently glad for them. Mavis thoughtfully smiled. “I know this is a big deal to you, boys, especially those of you without a driver’s license. But you have to be careful, especially if you’re out on the road because other drivers won’t be expecting you. You’re to go slow, use arm signals when you turn, and never drive it anywhere but between here, your grandparent’s, and the grocery store.” The boys stood stunned, looking back and forth at one another. “We can take it to the grocery store?!” Cletis asked in astonishment. “Sure, but you have to follow the rules,” Mavis stated. “This belongs to all of you, so remember, if one of you screws up, you’re all in trouble. And if you don’t do what I ask, you’ll not only lose the privilege of having The Hot Rod, but you’ll all be grounded for a month.” In all reality, the boys were still stuck on the fact they could take The Hot Rod to town, but they all agreed with gusto to whatever else Mavis had said after that. *** The next two weeks, the boys tinkered with The Hot Rod any spare moment they had. Being older, Otho and Deanie didn’t do-
-much with it since they both had their driver’s license and football practice and homework filled after school hours. But Cletis, Chuck, and Otis were consumed with the new toy. After homework and chores, they’d rev up their precious Hot Rod, chauffeuring themselves to the store on several occasions at the blistering top speed of about 7mph. Even after dinner one night, they were allowed to venture to the store before closing at 8pm because The Hot Rod—at their mother’s insistence—had been modified. It now sported a large flashlight duct-taped cyclops style to the hood, and an old “ah-Ooga” horn bolted near the steering wheel. They were the envy of all their pals, even though they couldn’t give rides—one of Mavis’s most important rules. No one but the boys and Grandpa Ed knew the brakes were about as reliable as the weather forecast. ** * For days Otis begged his brothers to let him take The Hot Rod through the Halloween parade. Otho and Deanie didn’t care, but Cletis and Chuck resisted at first. Finally, they relented when a better offer came from friends to ride in the back of a hay truck with bags of candy…and fellow female classmates. Halloween night, Otis’s sisters, Doris and Gladys, helped him get dressed in his new costume: Dracula. He’d seen all the movies— the old ones with Bela Lugosi and John Carradine and newer ones with Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and Jack Palance. His favorite was Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, with Lon Chaney, Jr. playing Dracula. In Otis’s opinion, he played the best, most scary Dracula. Doris buttoned Otis’s crisp white shirt and white vest and then placed a white bow-tie around his neck. She then adorned him with the pieces of the purchased costume: a thick, red satin ribbon with a gold six-pointed star medallion and a thick, flowing black velvet cape both tied around his neck. “You’re too cute to be a vampire,” she quipped and kissed him on the forehead. Gladys greased Otis’s hair back with a massive glop of Dippity-Do, then sprayed it with enough Aqua Net to hold for hours, somewhat resembling a helmet. She used face paints to enhance the black widow’s peak of hair on Otis’s forehead and then used white for his face. She carefully painted black eye-liner around his eyes, added blood-red lipstick to his lips, and finished by giving him the fake teeth that came with the costume. Otis took the teeth and popped them in his mouth, fitting his own teeth into the molded ones. The fangs were impressive. “I vant to suck your blood,” he said. All three kids cracked up laughing. “Oh, Otis!” Doris smiled. “You’re the best Dracula I’ve ever seen!” “Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if you won best costume at the parade,” Gladys agreed. “You’re adorable but scary, all at the same time.” Otis flaunted about, grabbing his cape and covering up everything but his eyes. “Come closer, leetle girl. I vill give you treat.” He lunged at his sisters, and they all again were sent into fits of laughter. “Ok, we better let you get going so you can get The Hot Rod into town and line up for the parade,” Doris said. They walked outside to where the rest of the Swan family stood. Everyone was dressed in regular clothes except Cletis as “The Ghost,” Chuck as a football player, Gladys as a princess, and Otis as Dracula. “We’ll all follow you into town, Otis,” Marvel said. “We want to make sure you get in there ok with The Hot Rod. Deanie and-
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Lewiston, Moscow, Post Falls
-Otho can help get you lined up in the spot they assign you.” Deanie and Otho got into the ‘65 Ford Falcon they shared, while the rest of the family piled into the station wagon. Otis scampered to the shed, fired up The Hot Rod, and lumbered out ahead of everyone. Earlier that day, he and Gladys had decorated The Hot Rod with orange and black streamers, covering up the patriotic paintjob. Three obese, carefully carved jack-o-lanterns sat on the hood, heavy enough to stay put at cruising speed. With the “headlight” on and streamers floating behind him, Otis proudly drove into town for his first Halloween parade. *** As everyone lined up for the parade, Deanie checked with the coordinator and helped maneuver Otis to his spot behind the high school band. Otis took in all the people wearing costumes, the floats, and the crowds that lined Main Street. Deanie and Otho waved at Otis as they headed to go stand with their friends. “Have fun, Otis! We’ll see you at the bottom of the hill!” Otis smiled and waved, “I vill suck your blood!” Suddenly, Otis heard the MC shout out over the PA system the welcome and indication to start the parade. A large float with fake black cats and the town’s Jr. Miss started the festivities, followed by the band, and then Otis. Behind him, there were dozens of lit-up floats, vehicles and trucks with kids on them (Cletis and Chuck were back there somewhere), and business owners and others all dressed in either spooky, cute, or funny costumes. Otis’s tummy did a flip-flop. This was the BEST NIGHT EVER! The band struck up the school fight song as the first float made its way down Main Street, then the band started to march. The parade coordinator told Otis to wait until the tubas in the back passed the intersection of First and Main, then he could go. He gave her a hearty ok, and she went on to the rest of the parade participants, leaving Otis somewhat “alone.” He quickly pulled five extra-long sparklers out of the handy pocket sewn on the inside of his cape—those costume designers thought of everything—and stuck them behind his seat. In a flash, he lit the candles inside the three jack-o-lanterns resting on the hood using the lighter Deanie got him for his birthday. He then torched all five sparklers, scooting forward in the metal seat to not catch his cape or hair on fire. He then put The Hot Rod into gear. As he crested the hill, it struck him that the sharp slope could create problems if the brakes didn’t show up to perform that night. He said a quick prayer in his head, never thinking to abort the mission, and started down Main Street’s steep incline. He honked the “ah-Ooga” horn, waving as he passed the clapping spectators. I’m going to win a prize tonight, he thought to himself as he smiled his big Dracula toothed grin. Who else looks as good as me? His mother and grandmother had always taught him vanity was the devil. And just like that, the brakes gave out, and The Hot Rod picked up speed. Otis was used to this, though. It happened a couple of other times as he’d made his way down the hill between his house and his grandparents’. He’d also gone down this particular hill in town a few times with his brothers and had no problem. But this time was different. The Hot Rod boasted no speedometer, but Otis knew he was most certainly going faster than the 7mph max. He was closing in on the band fast, so he honked his horn to warn them. Several tuba play-
ers turned, only to see the sparkling Halloween Hot Rod barreling toward them. “Get outta the way,” Otis shouted! He knew he was in for the ride of his life. Especially because at the bottom of the steep Main Street, an almost-ninety degree turn awaited him. He grasped the steering wheel as he resigned himself there were no brakes, even though he pumped them furiously. The mounting speed and vibration started working against him, and Otis dodged left, then right to avoid being smacked by his three beautiful jack-o-lanterns as they flew off the hood and hurtled toward the crowd like flaming severed heads. The band parted like the Red Sea, giving Otis a pathway. Suddenly, the streamers flowing behind him met up with the sparklers, and POOF, a trail of fire flared behind the fast-moving Craftsman. Otis honked, but with little time to react, the lead float barely got pulled over as Otis screamed by the screaming Jr. Miss. Marvel, Mavis, Grandpa Ed, and Grandma Helen stood in utter horror, witnessing their Otis streaking down Main Street in a flurry of fire, sparklers, and flowing black cape. “Hold on, Otis!” Grandpa Ed shouted as his grandson whizzed by him in a blur. Dozens of people, including Otis’s parents and grandparents, rushed behind the Dracula-driven inferno, shouting and praying aloud that the vampire would successfully negotiate the bend. Otis wasn’t sure what to do, but his instincts took over. He gripped the steering wheel with all his might, stood up, and leaned into the curve at the bottom of the hill. The flaming Hot Rod cleared the corner balanced on two of the four hard rubber tires. The flames died as the streamers disintegrated, and now that it was on flat ground, The Hot Rod slowed to a moderate speed. Marvel and Mavis caught up with Otis, and Marvel reached over to steer The Hot Rod to the side of the road. Otis pushed on the brakes, and of course, now they worked. The Hot Rod gave a big shudder before the engine died. “Oh, Otis!” Mavis smothered him with kisses all over his face and head. “You’re ok!” “Mom, stop it!” Otis muttered amongst the kisses. “You’ll wreck my Dracula make-up! I vant to look good for the party!” The parade commenced without further complication. After, the community gathered at the gymnasium for a night of apple-bobbing and Monster Mash. The Parade Committee hastily added a new category to its awards. Otis Swan was the first to receive the prize for Best Use of Pyrotechnics with his Dracula’s Flaming Hot Rod. He was presented with a small fire extinguisher, which was clamped to The Hot Rod the very next day. As a kid, Temple Kinyon mowed her parent’s lawn with a Craftsman riding lawnmower. It was never a Hot Rod, but she just happens to know a certain someone who owned a (The?) Hot Rod that inspired this story.