HH SeptOct 2021

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve been having a hard time getting into the romantic season of fall and winter. I try to focus my thoughts on gratitude and positivity, but I find lately that I’m getting a little fried. One day I was scrolling through the news, thinking to myself- I can’t do anything. People are too divided. The world is too much. I’m getting tried of it. And then I stopped myself with a ‘whoa there.’ I took inventory of my state. Scrolling. Not looking out the window. Not enjoying life. Reacting to news instead of creating good vibrations. And then I got to thinking- what do you do when the world seems so big and you seem so small? The answer is so simple and empowering, something you might not have seen coming. It’s to make yourself happy, and THEN give the world your best self. What do I mean by this? Well, chances are most of you have been in a state of stress for quite some time now and self love and self care have become an afterthought. You’ve been in survival mode. And even if you swear you’re not affected by everything going on in the world, just knowing there’s strife is enough to run some background stress. And when we’re stressed, we’re not our best. And as simple as it sounds, that is a reality that needs some tending to. When you focus on truly loving yourself and making yourself happy, you become the best version of you. And when you are your best self, chances are even you can feel the difference a genuine smile and laugh make on others. So how can you become your best self- even when it seems there’s too much going on? How do you make yourself happy? For me, it’s these effective things: Quiet time. Doing something creative just for me. Watching funny shows. Getting out in nature. Wearing clothes I really love. Redecorating my house and flower shop. That’s it. I’m sharing this with you because I can see in my daily life and conversations just how frazzled people are. The talking points are the same. So I’m encouraging you to retreat from it for a little while. Stay off the comment section and instead focus on your inner voice- the only comment that matters. Find a way to laugh- discover yourself again. Make your home more loving and inviting in ways that matter to you. Personally, after I finish this magazine I’m going to redecorate my bedroom. I’ve started my fall candles even though it’s early. I bought myself some orange lipstick that I’ve wanted for so long. I stopped watching shows that were filled with drama and now watch comedies or renovation or travel shows. It’s up to you what you want to do, so long as it truly makes you happy. Not entertained, but happy. This is the season to let anything not serving you fall away. If you wish to be the change you seek, remember that you must become that very change first. When you retreat into your world, you’ll be surprised by the genuine happiness you’ll find. Suddenly, the world seems like it needs you instead of you feeling overwhelmed by the world. All it takes is to look within and to let the rest fall away. I wish you, during this season of gratitude and reflection, love. I wish you true, laughing, loving self love. I hope you know that myself, my writers and my advertisers appreciate you reading this magazine, sharing it with others, and finding ways to make the world better. You are the reason we do this. You are the reason I do this. Thank you for inspiring us to be our best selves in a time when the world needs it the most. Love,

Heather Niccoli Editor-In-Chief Home&Harvest Magazine

he l l o

editor|design|sales heather niccoli

heather@homeandharvestmagazine.com 208.596.5400 | 208.596.4434


tony niccoli tony@homeandharvestmagazine.com po box 9931 moscow, id


gayle andersoo chad kinyon joe eeans keitt crosslee eeidi edeeeoo diane cooroy hayley noble jjcqqeliie ccccee aanie gebel sara raquet eeory ann kurysh temple kinyoo tony iccoli


10. there’s room for it all 14. challenging changes 18. homecoming hoopla 26. people of the palouse 32. fins to flame 36. gluten free pumpkin bread 38. vegan pumpkin pie tarts 40. lane cake 42. apple pear cake 45. apple dapple cake 46. costume your character 48. heidi’s book review 50. a venture into long range shooting 60. picking up the pieces with letters 66. river journal vol. 3 72. reloadin’ joe 74. the oh! otis shenanigans 80. finding fall

there's room for it all WORDS: ANNIE GEBEL A few decades ago I got married and moved from New York state to Washington state a month after graduating from college. It was a lot. There were a lot of emotions to sift through. Many tears were shed. So much laughter was shared. There was room for all of my emotions, feelings, struggles, and joys. Thank goodness, right?! Can you imagine how much more difficult that whole process would have been if I couldn’t mourn the fact that one of my best friends couldn’t be at my wedding because she couldn’t get leave from the Army while being so excited that her mother was making my dress? What about the emotions of our wedding day itself, when my little sister and my college friends laid in the grass and shared how much they’d miss me and how happy they were that I was marrying this man I loved and starting our own adventure together? That certainly helped them process sadness and joy all at the same time. I remember a similar working through of grief and happiness when family members have passed away. Looking through pictures, sharing memories, smiling through tears. Holding the extremes in life isn’t reserved just for weddings and funerals, though. It might seem like it because those are two emotionally charged events that present very real opportunities for us to embrace the extremes. If we look, though, there are chances daily to feel the good and the bad, the heavy and the light. And for some reason, this time of year speaks to me as a really great time to feel it all! I think it’s because in the fall we harvest what has grown and watch fields die. There’s a beautiful balance to it, especially in the way the trees change and release, preparing to rest. Nature, as always, leads us by example. Following her lead, we can find joy in pumpkin spice, apples and cinnamon, and warm mugs of hot drinks. At the same time we settle down from all the fun of summer - camping, rafting, all the s’mores - and find the routine that comes with school, sports, and cooler weather. I know people that love the summer and are sad to see it go and those who are more excited for sweaters and hayrides than sunny beaches and umbrella drinks. And there’s room for all those feelings.

"It's life to have really hard days and really great moments"

I think the holidays of fall also lend themselves to this idea of feeling in different directions at the same time. Halloween is a holiday that offers fun for kids and kids at heart as well as scares of every size! (For the record, I’m on the no scare, lots of fun part of the Halloween scale!) Among all the ghosts we see, we might even connect with the spirits of our ancestors - remembering and celebrating them. This is part of the celebration of Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, which takes place right after Halloween. And I remember celebrating All Hallow’s Eve in church growing up, when we learned about the saints. And any time you’re connecting with those who’ve passed before you, there are unanswered questions and things left unsaid (or maybe just conversations you’d like to have if you could sit down with St. Francis or St. Margaret or Saint anyone else). And those things lend themselves to both heartache and comfort. So, why is this something to recognize and talk about? Because it’s life. It’s life to have really hard days and really great moments. Living with extremes is easy to see when those extremes are, well, extreme - such as getting married and moving thousands of miles away from everyone you know. Truth be told, though, we do it every day in all sorts of little ways too. Sometimes when I’m driving and have to go slow behind someone and get annoyed by it, I see a deer eating or a hawk flying and am reminded to enjoy the simple things in life. Sometimes when the kids were little, they’d throw a fit and I’d want to yell, but they’d also be really darn cute and I’d remember to literally embrace and love on them. Sometimes in the hectic day to day I notice the laundry that’s never done, the food that always needs cooking, the floors that don’t vacuum themselves and get overwhelmed, but also find time for a nap or a movie or a chat with a friend and remember that there are reasons to smile. We have extremes all throughout our lives. Differences help us notice the opposite and appreciate the joys even more. Take a moment and be thankful for that. Another reason it’s important to remember that there is room for it all, but sometimes it’s hard to see it. When you’re feeling the happy or the sad, the devastating or the blissful, it’s easy to feel like you’ll be stuck in the muck forever or not want to come down from the high. In these moments, especially, it can be uber helpful to remember that there is, in fact, room. For it all. If you just got married and are fully head over heels in love, living on cloud nine, and all the other cliches and a friend confides her marriage struggles to you, it’s really nice to be able to hold all those emotions. If you’re the friend confiding her struggles with painful tears in your eyes to the friend who is all doe-eyed, it’s also really nice to be able to hold all those emotions.

The same can be said with fertility issues and pregnancies, job losses and promotions, or any number of big ticket life situations. It’s probably important to note that the same set of circumstances can impact people differently too... and there’s room for that as well. A recent example of that is COVID and all that it brought upon us. Some worked more, some lost jobs. Some homeschooled their kids for the first time and loved it, some didn’t. Some worked from home and want to keep it that way, others can’t wait to go back to an office. All the extremes and everything in between and there’s room for it all! So, I guess the biggest reason of all to write about this topic is that we live and exist with and around extremes - everything from differences of opinions to differences of experiences. We can live in discord and hold ourselves back from sharing our feelings and sharing in others. That’s one option. Or we can try to find a certain harmony that comes from opening a space that allows for your joy and your pain, their pain and their joy. Perhaps, this time of year encourages that harmony because it lends itself to the perfect background noises - like children jumping in piles of leaves or screaming at scary movies. Maybe it’s fall is about impermancy and that can help us realize that the pain will change over time and the joy won’t last forever. Maybe it’s because we’ll soon settle into processing all the things from the previous year, hibernation, and getting ready to do it all again in 2022. Whatever the reason, whatever you’re feeling, expressing, or living with - there is room for all the emotions to be felt fully. The seasons themselves support you in this. Embrace the extremes.

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Challenging Changes


Keith CrOssler

The one thing that can make or break a volunteer organization are the people in that organization. I’ll tell you that when I first started in the MVFD, I never would have imagined the changes that have occurred in the last couple of years. I truly think that, as a young person starting out anyway, that you have trouble seeing forward. What would it be like in 10 years, 20 years, etc? Most of us put on the cruise control and think that you don’t want the change. You get dependent on your peers, lean on each other to grow, and ultimately want to continue the goodness of the organization together. Unfortunately, change does come. The guy you went through basic with moves on to something different and can’t volunteer anymore. Or, that cruel reality of growing older. The folks you looked up to and learned so much from, retire. It’s a good thing. Until it isn’t.

The last couple of years brought some large change. The reality is the department has become full of younger folks. I was completely content with how things were going. I had taken more of back seat trying to focus on other areas of my life. Kids, my business, family. I still go on calls when I can, though it’s not that often. The change has been a 180 from what I knew of the organization. I’m trying to roll with it, but the truth is I’m struggling. My friends are disappearing, there is a huge divide, no communication. It’s tough. What keeps me here is my love for the department. My love for being a volunteer firefighter. Plus, I feel like I’m pretty good at it. I find that when we do have a call, and I can go on it, we can still come together and do the job. We do it well. I just hope we can pull through this tough time and continue to be here. To serve. To protect. To volunteer. To be the best that we can for our community and for each other. The call went out on an early summer evening. I just sat on the couch for the night. Kids were in bed and the chores were done. My phone rang out for a structure fire just outside of town. I looked at my wife and said “I’m going to go help out on this one”. I took off for the station. I remember feeling excitement. Not just because I caught the first truck before it left, but because even after 21 years, my adrenaline still pumps when it’s time to go on a call. I love it. Pulling up, the crew was anxious to go. So I grabbed my gear and ran over. I jumped up in the back seat and started pulling my gear on. The truck rolled out. Lights were reflecting off the road signs and the siren rang out. As I look around at our crew, I realize we had a pretty damn good one. Over 50 years of experience in that cab. We all quietly got ready. Boots, pants, coat, protective hood, air pack, gloves, and helmet. Then we get the update that you want, but know the excitement is just a little less. The fire is extinguished at this time. We roll up and park where instructed. As our crew gets out, we go and take a look. Well color me excited, there are still flames rolling out under the porch. It wasn’t extinguished completely. Time to go to work. Disclaimer: I truly don’t want someone’s home to burn. I’ve experienced my own fire and I wouldn’t wish that feeling/experience on anyone. Not anyone. It sucks. As a firefighter, you have a passion and a draw for these types of events and you tend to get excited. We don’t have fires like we used to, so when there is a real fire, you get a little pumped up. Let’s be honest here, that’s a good thing. An excited firefighter in a real fire situation will suit up and get the job done quickly and efficiently. We pulled a line and tried to get a quick knockdown on what we could see. It was showing from the exterior, but we knew it was interior at that point. It wasn’t fast moving and we could tell it was small. We pulled in some salvage covers (tarps) and covered all we could in the laundry room. That’s where the door led to and where we would do the most work.

on’t plan to D retire. P lan to live.

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We needed to pull the ceiling and look for extension. There was a small access point where the fire had burned through. I dumped a bunch of water in the attic space to slow any progression. The crews outside set up a ventilation fan to blow the smoke out in order for us to see. Next we had a small ladder brought in so we could access the attic space and see what we were really up against. After a quick look, I knew we would have our work cut out for us. The old heavy wood construction with sawdust insulation would be a challenge. One of the other guys pulled out more ceiling while the other one got a chainsaw to open up the walls more. The sawdust insulation is a smoldering mess. It’s quite difficult to get extinguished. You really have to be careful to make sure you don’t end up with a rekindle situation. We opened everything up the best we could with making the least amount of damage as possible. Then we soaked it. Then soaked it again. Working together, we would take turns going through the roles. Pulling insulation, stirring it, soaking it. With some small smokers still showing up, we found a new problem. This house had big, rough cut timbers. They also will hold the heat and be difficult in getting the fire out. In an effort to minimize damage, we tried using some foam. Foam is basically a really soapy water. All our engines, at this point, have onboard foam educators. With a simply flip of a switch, you can add foam to certain lines. Usually the smaller hand lines and not the large diameter lines. The trucks are equipped with around 20 gallon tanks that are all plumbed in. It truly makes it a really easy and effective tool. The soap from the foam can penetrate the wood and help hold moisture to obtain extinguishment that just water may not be able to. My low air alarm began to sound, so out we went. We updated the next crew with what we were doing and what was next. They went to work. Turned out that the foam did the trick. It knocked out our little smokers that we could see. So, we started to pick up while still watching the fire area. After giving it a few minutes, we checked the area again with our thermal cameras and felt confident in our job. We cleaned up and headed back. Something I experienced on this call that I don’t think I really ever have before, was our ability to go to work and know what we were doing. We didn’t have to talk much. We had our tasks and we accomplished it without problem or conflict. That’s what I mean when I say lean on your peers. Each one of us that night had that experience to go to work, to get the job done. We leaned on each other in a way to grow each other without even realizing we were doing it. We kept calm and got the best result we could with the circumstances presented. I’m proud of those guys and proud of what we did. Here’s to the next 20 years. Change comes, and we’ll have to embrace it and do the best we can to keep on keeping on. I just hope we can all get along enough to get there while embracing these big changes.


Homecoming Hoopla by Hayley Noble


LCHS 01-08-390

LCHS 01-08-244

played at eastern universities in the late 19th century and the Harvard-Yale games, which had called alumni back to cheer on their schools since 1875. The concept quickly spread west, with the first homecoming in the Northwest taking place on November 8, 1913 at Washington State College versus UI. The University of Idaho followed suit two years later on October 30, 1915 for the Cougars - Vandals match. UI already had a few other rituals in place, including Campus Day and crowning the May Queen, by the time they added homecoming. That first year the UI newspaper, The Argonaut, called alumni to campus, boasting fraternity and sorority open houses, greeting parties at the train stations, and holding the first “Pullman Rally,” in which anything flammable was tossed onto the pyre for a bonfire the night before the game. The Gem of the Mountains 1915 (UI yearbook) described the rally as beginning with speeches and “culminated in a night-shirt parade around the blazing bonfire and then through the streets of Moscow.” Homecoming parades became an annual event in Moscow, with floats related to sports, local- -businesses, Greek chapters, and the marching band. By 1978 the parade had become such a big deal that 17 local high school marching bands across Idaho and Washington traveled to perform in the parade. Today it remains the largest and most anticipated annual parade through the streets of Moscow. As time passed, dances, crowning homecoming royalty, tailgating, and other traditions were often added to the annual festivities at high schools and universities, with already established bonfire rallies, parades, dress-up days, and the return of alums back to campus. Shenanigans were and still are-

There’s something about autumn that many people find special. The crisp weather, changing leaves, football games, and back to school energy hold a nostalgic place in hearts throughout the nation; Latah County is no exception. The many area high schools and universities make school spirit easy to find. Events such as homecoming remain stalwart traditions to some and bring the community together: both seasoned alumni and current students. Depending on where and when you went to school, your homecoming experience can take many forms. This is my first fall in Latah County, so I can’t speak to local first-hand memories, but according to photos and UI alum, homecoming is something that almost everyone celebrates. My own experience growing up in a small town with one high school was that homecoming was an entire town affair since there was only one team to root for. Businesses decorated their windows; the week of the homecoming game involved dress-up days and events like karaoke night, pig wrestling in bentonite mud, and powder-puff football. The Friday night game was usually against a rival, with a half-time ceremony-that involved crowning homecoming royalty, rodeo queens on horseback carrying flags, presenting the grand marshal with an award, plus the homecoming dance on Saturday night. Occasionally there was a parade squeezed in there somewhere. Homecoming encompassed a lot of pomp and circumstance, as I imagine it does in many college and small towns. To my surprise, attending college at Boise State meant a fairly lowkey homecoming. Yes, there was a small parade and tailgating before the football game, but as a whole it was not like my high school ex-perience or what I’ve heard of the University of Idaho homecoming hoopla. Thinking about homecoming made me ponder how these traditions began. We see an evolution through newspaper articles and yearbooks, detailing the development of the familiar traditions that we know and love today. Not surprisingly, most homecoming festivities center around a football game and school spirit. The first university to host a homecoming is contested, with multiple universities beginning traditions around 1910. The general consensus is that the University of Missouri originated the modern homecoming complete with a parade, bonfire, and football game in 1911. Most early homecomings took cues from alumni football games

"Today it remains the largest and most anticipated annual parade through the streets of Moscow."


-expected to ensue. Many associate the words “air raid” with the Cougar football offense just over the border, but in 1925 a few Wazzu boys took on the term literally. Two students convinced a pilot to fly them over the UI campus to drop phosphorus bombs on the homecoming bonfire pile set to be ignited later that evening. The plane got within ten feet of the assemblage and the boys dropped their bombs, but to no avail. The Latah County Sheriff, who just happened to be on campus that day, pulled out his shotgun and fired upon the plane. It crash-landed just outside Pullman with no injuries and no names uttered to reveal the pilot’s accomplices. According to The Spokesman Review, the raid was enacted in retaliation after UI

Sept/Oct 2021 21

Photo, Right:: The Spokesman Review headline on Oct. 17, 1925 after the attempted “bombing run.”



Photo, Above: LCHS 01-08345 – Moscow High School Old Clothes Day ca. 1920. Photo, Right: LCHS 12-11032 – Potlatch High School football practice 1935.

k Photo, Left: LCHS LC Green, Francis Fam 2 – UI Student Dorothy Green kept this homecoming flier from her college days in the early 1930s. Photo, Right: LCHS SC GEN-4.01 – The Genesee High School football team from “The Pow Wow” 1921 yearbook.



VANDAL HOMECOMING 2021 October 3-9 Sunday, October 3 Vandals vs. Southern Utah soccer game Monday, October 4 Vandalize Moscow window painting on display Canned food drive bags distributed locally Wednesday, October 6 Vandalize campus office decorations on display Thursday, October 7 Vandals vs. Univ. of Montana volleyball game Canned food drive donations picked up


Friday, October 8 Vandalized living groups decorations on display Brave. Bold. Kickoff. A promise for Idaho’s Students Vandal Rally Serpentine, Bonfire, Royalty Crowning Idaho Central Credit Union & Best Western Plus University Inn Fireworks Extravaganza Saturday, October 9 Moscow Volunteer Fire Department Pancake Feed Moscow Farmers Market 113th Annual Homecoming Parade Vandal Tailgate Vandals vs. Portland State football game Vandals vs. Montana State volleyball game

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-students “vandalized” a few of the Cougar fraternity houses with yellow paint the night before. Latah County high schools also embraced the homecoming spirit, although their beginnings were slightly different. Many of the high schools had numerous clubs that would host dances and banquets throughout the year to promote school spirit. Moscow High School began serving an Alumni Banquet in 1910 and by 1921 Old Clothes Day was an annual dress-up occasion that included contests, speeches, a pep rally, and the occasional parade. Because many of the high schools were small, at times they had trouble finding enough boys to field a full football team. Bovill High alum, Dix McDonald, remembered having to forfeit a game to Potlatch after an injury forced the eleventh player off the field. He claimed that at 115 pounds he was the right guard, while Robert Denevan was the left guard at 95 pounds. Many smaller high schools, like Bovill, were committed to sports and homecoming, even if that meant sending scrawny boys to the line of scrimmage. By the 1960s homecoming was a much-anticipated institution. Throughout the 1970s and beyond, articles pepper the autumn newspapers with football scores and royalty crowning announcements from the local high schools. Various schools continue to carry on their homecoming rituals, regardless of how strange they may seem. In my googling I came across Maudine the cow, who was crowned homecoming queen (winning the title over a person, mind you) in 1926 at Ohio State University. The Jordan High School (North Carolina) marching band has been donning costumes since the 1980s after homecoming fell on Halloween, and the boys’ water polo team at Cupertino High School (California) charges across the football field at half time in nothing but their speedos. The University of Missouri throws the largest student-run blood drive in the country, while University of Central Florida students frolic in the campus reflecting pond once a year. Brigham Young students in Provo, Utah ignited the “Y” on a nearby mountain until electrical wiring was installed in 1985 to give a similar effect. Lastly, Texas State has hosted soap box derby races every year since 1967. I’m sure there are many more, but these are just a few I ran into when scouring the web. UI and surrounding high schools continue calling former students “home” and carrying on homecoming traditions for the next generation. In one of the most recent Argonaut editions, I saw that in 2019 the UI marching band celebrated its centennial by inviting marching band alumni to perform with the current members. That same homecoming week, UI showcased its volleyball team, set off fireworks, and decorated Moscow, in addition to the big game. Rituals like these foster a sense of community and give people a uniting common ally to cheer for. Homecoming is also a rite of passage for many. The yearbooks and articles I consulted were rife with comments on homecoming initiation for underclassmen and classic rivalry language like “cougar meat.” Homecoming also plays upon nostalgia.

LCHS 17-08-72

Many yearn for a time when they weren’t quite adults yet; homecoming can be a form of escapism where one can be transported back to college days. But I also recognize that high school and/or college experiences were painful for some. Homecoming can be a reminder of negative memories in a time or place one would much rather forget, or it can romanticize partying and destructive behavior. Homecoming can further be analyzed through an anthropological lens, looking at “stadium culture,” gender expectations, impacts of rituals in communities, and other fascinating aspects - but those are all topics for another day. In any case, homecoming is something that most of us went through and are familiar with. It is a distinctly American tradition with an interesting history and evolution. And it is a sign that fall is truly upon us.

LCHS 01-11-138

Cover Photo: LCHS 01-08-390 – University of Idaho marching band in homecoming parade ca. 1970s. Second Photo: LCHS 01-08-244 – Moscow Chamber of Commerce ambassadors and Congressmen White and Jordan salute the UI homecoming queen ca. 1960s. Photo, Above, Top: LCHS 17-08-72 – University of Idaho students setting up the bonfire ca. 1930s. Photo Above, Bottom: LCHS 01-11-138 – Moscow High School cheerleaders ca. 1961. Home&Harvest

Hayley Noble is the new curator for the Latah County Historical Society. Look for a companion exhibit at the Latah County Courthouse curated by Hayley. Sept/Oct 2021 25

people OF the palouse by

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

Nicole Flansburg Maybe it was my time of having once lived in Genesee that gave me an appreciation of the beauty of small-town living. And that is probably why I have been enamored for so long with Palouse, Washington. Anytime you see a thriving and vibrant small community, you know there are active, committed people behind the scenes, the movers and shakers who give of themselves to create a better place for others. If I could put a face in the dictionary of what community spirit looked like, it would be a picture of Nicole Flansburg . With that let me introduce you to a woman with a mission. I met Nicole at their farm on a hot July day and which happened to be the first day of wheat harvest. Her husband, Aaron was off in the distance on a combine, bringing in the crop that ends up in some form or another on most American’s dinner table. As we chatted in their farm shop, which by the way I now have “shop envy”, Nicole shared the two things outside of family that she loves, plants and community activism. Growing up in a farming community, it wasn’t the act of farming that inspired Nicole’s love of being outdoors and growing things, rather it was her time spent with her mom gardening and bringing beauty in the form of plants to their home. She recalls going to a couple of nurseries in Spokane that were game changers of what kinds of exotic plants were available and ways to incorporate nature into artistic landscape settings. Farming seems to bring out the practicality in people and despite the love of nature, Nicole graduated from college with a double major in Human Resources and Business Management. This seemed a good pathway to being able to enter into the business world. During her senior year, Aaron proposed, and during that time his 5th generation farm had recently acquired more leases which means in “farmer talk” that he now had a place in the family farm operation that could support him and his new wife. So instead of ending up working in a large urban area, she and Aaron settled in Pullman as newlyweds in a rented apartment. In hindsight this was a blessing as Nicole’s mom was diagnosed with cancer and being close to home, Nicole was able to help care and spend quality time with her beloved mom before she passed away.

Nicole landed a job with the Pullman Chamber of Commerce, and as she tells it, one day she felt like she was just the girl in the breakroom and the next she was lunching with the mayor and eventually held the title as Director of Tourism and Special Events. Her behind the scenes work with the ever-popular National Lentil Festival and the Cabaret inspired a new passion. Creating public events and fundraising. Little did she know these skills would help transform the City of Palouse. A few years of being the face behind the Pullman Chamber events, Nicole stepped down to tackle the new role as a momma. And despite the demands of being a farm-wife, mom to three kids who today range from 8 to 13, Nicole is co-chair to the Tony Kettel Skate Gardens, Haunted Palouse and Distinguished Young Woman program. They are also remodeling an old farmhouse themselves with hopes to be completed by late Fall, sell their home in Palouse and move…. and if that isn’t enough, Nicole is a Master Gardener and Landscape Designer, wherein she has several clients. (Seriously does this woman even get to sleep?) After we left the farm shop, she and I went to the skate park so she could show me what 20 years of a vision looked like. When I asked her how the project began, Nicole explained that her husband Aaron loved skateboarding in his youth and there was no place to do it. So, he wanted the youth in the community and surrounding towns to have a place to safely practice the art of skateboarding and a place where families could gather. Tall order in a normal world, but in the Flansburg household, this was a doable goal and with many, many other committed individuals and regional partners the dream became the reality on June 2, 2018. It began in 2015 when a small tract of land was donated to the project. The donors only had one condition which was that a garden also be created along with the skate park. The site was overgrown and was the place where items were dumped. Countless man hours, many of which were given by skaters & contractors outside of the Palouse community, began racking up. Years of fundraising and lots of hard work went into the project. As we drove up to the skate park, there were a group of young boys resting with boards in hand. They see Nicole and wave. She greets each of them by name and then I ask if I can take their pictures doing their moves. Nicole points out one young man and says earlier that he was helping her pull weeds at the skate park. She proudly tells me that the kids have been involved firsthand in fundraising, parts of construction, and now upkeep of the park. They are taking ownership very seriously and it shows. The site of the concrete park has a steep hillside and on top is where the transformed garden space sits. I was expecting a garden, such as rows of corn, beets and potatoes….and what I saw was nothing short of enchanting. Obviously, my version of a garden is limited and-

“the doers are the visionaries

to a better world”

“ her enthusiasm

for making the world a little better place was infectious

” Home&Harvest

Sept/Oct 2021 30

-Nicole and her trusty committee’s view was nothing short of spectacular. Being a writer, words failed me as I was introduced to their vision. All I could mutter to a beaming Nicole, was “this is magnificent and stunning and amazing”. Nicole went on to tell me that every Tuesday morning she and a group of volunteers tend the garden to weed and continue working on its completion. She also mentioned that volunteers inspect the garden several days a week to ensure that the water system is working and tend to anything that needs immediate attention. The plants selected by this committee were based on their low water capacity with a nod to xeriscape design. Drip lines installed ensure the plants thrive while conserving the precious city water resource. As we leisurely make our way down the pathways, where most were dirt, some were covered in black landscape material, we end up on the concrete walkway where several donated benches are placed for viewing the city and looking below at the youth doing those crazy hair pin turns on their boards. Nicole pointed out the bird sanctuary area and a patch of sunflowers that commemorated a woman who recently passed and who was a mentor to Nicole as well as integral part of this committee. She continues on giving me a vivid description on how the skate garden will look like when it’s completed, wherein it will be a place for gardening talks, perhaps acoustic music gatherings, and where nuptials could be performed in the circular area towards the end of the park. Nicole describes again with pride the community support of man-hours, materials and regional partnerships that built the skate park and garden. If this would have just been contracted out, the cost she guesstimates would have been in the range of $300-400,000 instead of the $70K plus spent. That alone speaks of the commitment by her fellow project supporters and young adults to bring a 20-year-old vision to fruition where families come and kiddos of all ages delight in swirling around the concrete park while parents enjoy the garden and often end up picnicking and enjoying the space. As our two hour plus visit was ending with Nicole, her enthusiasm for making the world a little better place was infectious and I decided that just because I don’t live in Palouse, doesn’t mean that I can’t help with a few volunteer projects and become a Palouse wanna-be. So, when I got home, I happily informed my sweet man, Rod, that I was going to be a volunteer/helper and I was dragging him with me! If you see me working around Palouse, just know that if you catch the enthusiasm for community spirit from Nicole or her committee, know that you have been forewarned and I’d be happy to work along side you. And in Nicole’s words of wisdom, “the doers are the visionaries to a better world”. Amen to that my friends.


Bravery and Branzino By Tony Niccoli

A few weeks ago, as I was closing the shop on a Friday evening, I got the sudden impulse to grill some fish! This is a pretty common feeling for me, and a summer evening or afternoon is the absolute perfect time to enjoy a few hours in the backyard cooking and eating something that Heather and I both love. A quick text to the wifey to confirm that a Saturday afternoon of putting some Fins to Flame would work with our weekend schedule, and I was on my way to the local fishmonger to get two cuts of salmon. Fridays are the best, because we have a little local pop-up that comes to town with amazingly fresh cuts and tons of choices. For me, salmon is just a no-brainer. I love to work with both the steaks and the fillets, and I range anywhere from directly on the grill grates with just some oil and salt, up to cedar planking with complex sauces and marinades at times. It’s the kind of thing I can just run on autopilot without needing to look up a recipe or cook-time, and there is never a day that I don’t have a few planks of cedar ready to go. Salmon to me is a staple like some other people go to hotdogs and hamburgers for a last minute cookout. So there I am, Friday evening, mouth already watering, walking up to the counter and reading the boards that show their daily catch. Salmon ... lets see ... wild caught Chinook! Oh wow, they have Kings on this week, the big daddies - and I know that these are the richest and fattiest of the salmon types. A true luxury ... but wait ... looks like he’s putting a line through it. 86 the King Salmon. No problem, I continue to scan the board. Alaskan Sockeye. Next on the board after the Chinooks. They’re my favorite! These beauties are so flavorful, and I know that they are wild and sustainable. A nice juicy Chinook fillet is going to be perfect on the grill! Deep red color, skin that crisps up to a decadent flakey texture, and plenty of rich fat to season the meat. I’m so excited about the idea of drizzling on a little oil and hitting them with some salt then cooking directly over the grates that my brain just refuses to process it. Already out for the day.

I get to the front of the counter and just sputter. “Are you guys out of the Chinooks? Anything left at all?” I know the answer but I’m just hoping they somehow crossed it off the board before I came but still had two big cuts lurking in one of these coolers held back for me. I don’t think I even heard the reply, and my mind was now trying to quickly adapt and scan the rest of the boards. Trust me, salmon isn’t all they have on any week - there are always tons of choices of amazing fish and various types of seafood. But now I’m feeling a little unsure. I had my mind set, but normally I’d show up early on Friday and not late in the evening. I read past at least 10 other types of fish that I’ve had experience with and my thoughts go back to salmon. What am I going to cook this weekend?

Flame to

One of the best parts of finding a great local source for your grilling goods, be it vegetable, animal, or doughnut, is getting a little advice from an expert when you make the selection. I scan the boards one more time and then just blurt out, “I wanted to grill this weekend. I had been thinking about salmon.” And then he went and said it. And that simple sentence shook me to my core. “We have some incredible whole Branzinos!”

I could have just said I wanted the Rockfish. I’ve grilled those a ton of times. Simple fillets, maybe even tacos! Why didn’t I just ask for Rockfish! Or shrimp! Oh, just imagine the skewers with buttery, savory grilled shrimp that could have highlighted my weekend. Shrimp are so easy to grill! But no, I asked for advice, and I got the whole Branzinos. My brain goes into panic mode. I don’t do whole fish. I don’t know a recipe or have much experience. My dad and I used to foil wrap trout with a little bit of lemon and onion, but Branzino is Mediterranean and fancy and full of bones, and probably really hard to cook. Okay, he’s looking at me. I write an article about grilling. Can’t show fear here. “Ya, Branzino ... that sounds ... “ Oh no, he definitely knows! I should have just said Mahi Mahi, or Tuna steaks, or even Oysters! Now I’m about to have to buy a whole fish, I can’t back down here. And then when I get home, what am I going to tell Heather? I can’t just leave it in the fridge and hope it cooks itself at some point. My hands are starting to sweat a little. “Ya, Branzino ... “ I think I already said that - am I repeating myself? They definitely know. And then he tells me. This is no-fear fish grilling. This is easier than Salmon. This is like training wheels for cooking whole fish. Cool - I mean, I already knew that! But it’s just nice to hear how he would do it. And how he would deal with all those bones. So here it is. A simple and delicious Branzino recipe and technique. Go ahead - act like you always knew this and were never afraid. Invite over a few friends, or just show off for the family.

MOSCOW 519 S Main 208.883.3866 LEWISTON 609 Main 208.743.3232 ampersandoil.com

Whole fish on the grill? Of course that’s already in your skillset! Make it look easy and amaze them. Obviously, start with a whole Branzino. It should be just over a pound, and so each fish will be perfect to serve two adults. Get it gutted, gilled, and have them remove the scales. You can leave the fins, but it is fine to ask for those off too. Buy it fresh and cook it fresh! A night or two in the fridge is okay, but it’s best used as quickly as you can. Put a few slits across the flanks to allow heat to circulate below the skin, and then generously season with salt and pepper (inside and out) and drizzle plenty of olive oil on the outside. To pack the inside, slice up some fresh lemon and add any aromatics and flavor you want. I used some sweet Walla Walla Onion, and a little sprinkling of Italian seasoning. In a separate grill pan, I also got a little char on a few more lemon slices and some extra onion so we could season them to taste after the fish was served. Get the grill nice and hot, then make sure it is well oiled. If you have a hotter zone, point the head and thicker side towards it with the tail facing away. 5 minutes on the first side with the lid closed is all you need before the flip. I used a spatula and tongs, working the flat blade delicately under the skin to make sure it would release easily as I used the tongs to lift and support the weight of the head. If you oiled the grates, didn’t peek under the lid, and had high heat it should easily release. Undercooked fish will stick and need a little more time. The second side gets another 5 minutes, and since I had the grill open for the flip I gave my basket of lemons and onions a little stir to expose new surfaces to the heat. After the five minutes for the second side, the fist was at a perfect 140 degrees, so I knew I could safely pull it and get up to that magic 145 as it was continuing to cook during the rest on my serving board. I took the few minutes it needed to rest to snap some photos for you and run into the kitchen to grab my sides. Moment of truth! Time to separate the portions and pull the bones. With a sharp knife, I cut off the head - you can easily sense and feel the joint there - and then I scooped out the fillings in the cavity. Next take off the little line of fat along the belly side, and cut off the very top along the spine where the fins are located. I then ran a little cut at the tail to separate the upper fillet, and finally, starting at the head I gently ran my knife under meat along the bones. That first fillet lifted off almost perfectly! It did break into two pieces because I got a little excited and went too fast moving it to the plate. Now, grabbing the tail, and pretending to be a cat in a cartoon, I very delicately lifted the tail, and all the bones came with it! Left on the bottom of the board was the second fillet in perfect condition and I gently put that on Heather’s plate (I wanted full credit for my skilled cooking and pushed the two pieces of my broken fillet together to make it look restaurant-quality). So there it is - approachable, delicious, whole fish coming off the grill to delight the people you love. Go ahead and skip the salmon this week - conquer your fear and grill those gills!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread Sara Raquet 1 (15 ounce) can organic pumpkin puree 4 eggs 1 cup unsweetened applesauce ⅔ cup unsweetened vanilla Almond Milk 1 1/2 cups Monkfruit Baking Blend (I use Lakanto Brand) 2 tsp Vanilla 3 ¼ cups - Gluten Free Cup for Cup flour (I use Namaste Brand) 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 ½ teaspoons salt 3 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice Step 1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 2- 9x 5 loaf pans with parchment paper. Step 2 In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, applesauce, almond milk, monkfruit and vanilla until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the GF flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans. Step 3 Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Add Ins: 1 cup chopped pecans or 1 cup chocolate chips depending on your preference. If you aren’t concerned about sugar you can use 1 ½ cups cane sugar in place of the Monkfruit. Home&Harvest

Sept/Oct 2021 37

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Tarts

by Emory Ann Kurysh

(Full disclaimer- this recipe takes awhile to prepare. It is my Halloween promise though, that it is so worth it! Having fresh ingredients always makes a huge difference. As always, you don’t have to make this dairyfree. Simply substitute vegan butter and almond milk for those with lactose.) To begin, start with a large pie pumpkin. Cut it in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and stringy bits. Using a large spoon, remove the inside flesh. Then place it in a food processor or blender, and blend until it becomes a smooth paste. (This took me upwards of 20 minutes in a blender. Be sure not to add water! It will get there eventually.) Prepare the tart crust. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease the muffin trays and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and butter. Mix well at first, then knead by hand in the bowl. Slowly add the water, ensuring that it is well-combined before adding more. In the end the dough should be somewhat sticky but mostly crumbly. Transfer dough to a floured surface. Continue to knead until it is ready to be rolled out, cut into 24 circles, and place in the muffin cups. Once you have completed those steps, it is time to fill them. Prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, almond milk, eggs, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and ginger. Beat over medium speed for 2 minutes, ensuring that it is completely combined. Then scoop the filling into each tart, filling no more than 3/4 full. Place the tarts in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until filling has firmed up and tart shells have turned golden brown. Remove, let cool, and top with your favourite dairy-free (or not) whipped cream or ice cream! Or, just eat them as is.

(For the tart crust) 4 cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp salt 1 cup vegan butter, room temperature 1 1/4 cup cold water (For the filling) 2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, mashed 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk 2 eggs 1 cup brown sugar, packed 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp ground ginger

Makes 24 Home&Harvest

Sept/Oct 2021 38

Lane Cake Sara Raquet

CAKE LAYERS: 2 1/4 cups sugar 1 1/4 cups butter, softened 8 large egg whites, at room temperature 3 cups all-purpose soft-wheat flour 4 teaspoons baking powder 2 tablespoon vanilla extract PEACH FILLING: Boiling water 16 ounces dried peach halves 1/2 cup butter, melted 1 cup sugar 8 large egg yolks 3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut 3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans 3/4 cup bourbon 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

a Fun Facts

PEACH SCHNAPPS FROSTING: 2 large egg whites 1 1/2 cups sugar 1/2 cup peach schnapps 2 teaspoons light corn syrup 1/8 teaspoon table salt

Created in 1898 Made famous in “To Kill A Mockingbird” Alabama’s Official Dessert

Prepare Cake Layers: Preheat oven to 350°. Beat first 2 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add 8 egg whites, 2 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together flour and baking powder; gradually add to butter mixture alternately with 1 cup water, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract. Spoon batter into 4 greased (with shortening) and floured 8-inch round shiny cake pans (about 1 3/4 cups batter in each pan). Bake at 350° for 14 to 16 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 30 minutes). Prepare Filling: Pour boiling water to cover over dried peach halves in a medium bowl; let stand 30 minutes. Drain well and cut into 1/4-inch pieces. You should have 2 cups of peaches. Whisk together melted butter and next 2 ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, 10 to 12 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, and stir in diced peaches, coconut, and next 3 ingredients. Cool completely. Spread filling between cake layers (a little over 1 cup per layer). Cover cake with plastic wrap, and chill 12-24 hours. Reserve ½ cup of filling for the top of cake . Prepare Frosting: Pour water to a depth of 1 1/2 inches into a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Whisk together 2 egg whites, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and next 3 ingredients in a heatproof bowl; place bowl over boiling water. Beat egg white mixture at medium-high speed with a handheld electric mixer 12 to 15 minutes or until stiff glossy peaks form and frosting is spreading consistency. Remove from heat and spread immediately over top and sides of cake. Spread reserved filling on the top of the cake. Decorate with chopped pecans and/or coconut on the sides. Home&Harvest

Sept/Oct 2021 40

Apple Pear Cake Emory Ann Kurysh

(For the cake) 1 cup apples, peeled and sliced 1 cup pears, peeled and sliced 1 cup brown sugar 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 2/3 cup butter, plus more to grease 4 large eggs 3 tbsp vanilla extract 1 tbsp lemon juice 4 cups all-purpose flour 2 tbsp baking powder 2 tsp salt 1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup canola oil 1 tsp cinnamon (For the topping) 1 cup icing sugar 2 tbsp butter 1 tbsp milk (or until desired consistency) 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 tbsp walnuts, chopped


Ingredients & Steps

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two round cake pans. Peel, cork, and slice the apples and pears. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, butter eggs, vanilla, and lemon over medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the dry ingredients next- the flour, baking powder, and salt. Then add the milk and oil. Continue to mix until well-combined. Pour batter into cake pans. Top one of the cakes with the apples and pears. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake in oven for approximately 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove, let cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the icing. Once cool, remove the cakes from their pans. Stack the cake with the layer of fruit on the bottom, and the non-fruit cake on top. Ice the top layer of the cake and sprinkle with nuts. Finally, enjoy this sweet, moist, and comforting fall cake.

Palouse Pride 2021! October 8-10 Join us for a stellar weekend featuring: •

Pride Kick-Off Drag Event, 7 p.m., Oct. 8, WSU Cultural Center (Details pending as we await COVID protocols )

Pride in the Park, 12-4 p.m., Oct. 9, Moscow East City Park—come for food, vendors &

fun! •

Pride Drive-in Drag Show, Oct. 9, time and place TBD

Pride Brunch. 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Oct. 10, Inland Oasis Center, Moscow

This is also an excellent opportunity to help support Inland Oasis’ West Side Food Pantry, which supports the entire Palouse community, with donations of food, personal hygiene items, small appliances or money.

Special thanks to our early sponsors:

a.l.p.h.a., Aquasha DeLusty, Blaine Fleece and Fiber, Grocery Outlet, Home & Harvest Magazine, Inland Eye Care, KLEW, Rico’s Pub, Safari Pearl, Sam Dial Jewelers, WSU GIESORC For the most up-to-date information on Palouse Pride, the West Side Food Pantry or other services Inland Oasis offers to the community, please go to www.InlandOasis.org. For questions or to get more involved, please email Palouse Inland Oasis@gmail.com

Sara Raquet

Apple Dapple Cake Cake:

Butter, for coating the pan 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon fine salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon nutmeg 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar 1 1/4 cups canola or vegetable oil 3 large eggs, at room temperature 3 teaspoons vanilla extract 3 cups peeled, cored, and medium-diced Granny Smith apples 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans


3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into large chunks 1/3 cup heavy cream


Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Generously coat a 10-inch tube pan with butter (the pan should have a removable bottom), and set aside. Place the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl and whisk to combine and aerate; set aside. Place the sugar and oil in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the reserved flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, stir until just evenly incorporated, being careful not to overmix. Stir in the apples and nuts until evenly distributed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until the surface of the cake is golden brown and a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 60 to 65 minutes. Place on a wire rack while you make the glaze.


Place all of the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often until the sugar has completely dissolved. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 3 minutes more. While the cake is still warm and in the tube pan, pour all of the glaze over it. Let sit until completely cooled, at least 2 hours. To remove the cake from the pan, run a knife between the cake and both the perimeter of the pan and the tube. Arrange a sheet of aluminum foil so that it’s directly touching the surface of the cake, making a hole in the foil to expose the tube. Flip the pan over and push the removable bottom and cake down onto the foil. Remove the sides of the pan and the removable bottom. (If the cake sticks to the bottom, run a knife between it and the bottom) Invert a cake or serving platter over the cake. Flip the cake and platter over and remove the foil. Sprinkle chopped pecans over cake. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Costume Your Character

by Annie Gebel

I’ve been playing with my closet lately. Okay, let’s be honest - I’ve always played with my closet! When I was in highschool, I loved super feminine sundresses. I also wore an old vest my dad tried to get rid of and confiscated one of his ties too. In college I found that clothes bought in the pajama section were silky and soft and could easily be worn to class without too many eyebrows being raised. I also liked faux velvet and pleather, but we won’t worry about those mis-steps right now. The point I’m making is that I’ve always found clothes to be an extension of my personality. If we’re being honest still, function wasn’t as important to me as the way I could express myself with various colors, styles, patterns, and textures. Then I married a man in the military, went to grad school, and had children. Not only did function become important, but I also felt a certain need to look like I was put together, whatever that means. But you might know exactly what I mean. I didn’t think a real adult should wear silky, loose fitting pajama pants to family support nights. I didn’t think a therapist in training should wear slip dresses and flip flops. And I did think new moms needed real shoes and not fuzzy slippers for those trips to the grocery store and park. It took me a few decades to realize - that’s all rubbish. Clothing IS about expressing ourselves. So, I’m hoping this message gets to a few of you before you’re in your 40s, but even if you’ve left that decade behind - this is one of those messages that always arrives at the perfect time. Now! I recently heard a former costume designer talk about how the director would give her details about the character and she’d have to create or pick clothing that would let people watching see those traits. Brilliantly, Melanie Kluger, turned this idea to her own wardrobe and the closets of others in her book, The Confident Closet.

Now, I’m thinking about how I want to portray myself in my clothes, what I’m doing in them, and how to combine those thoughts into a wardrobe that I’m excited to wear! I thought I’d share a few nuggets with you that might help you bring some of that personality that you bring into your Halloween costume (you know what I’m talking about, don’t you?) into your daily costume. Questions to ask yourself: Whose style inspires you and why? What activities do you do day-to-day? What words describe your style? What do you feel good wearing? How many different ways can you wear the items in your closet? Can you accessorize them differently to use for different occasions? How would a character like you dress for a business meeting, a child’s sporting event, lunch with friends, a date? Things to keep in mind as you answer: Our bodies are always changing, don’t focus on the number on the tag. Our needs change, what we need as a college grad is different from our needs as a new parent which are different from our needs as a retiree. We change. As we grow and expand and live our lives, the person we are is ever-evolving. So, what did you come up with? It’s really okay if you don’t know yet. In her book, she works through these ideas over weeks, not the short time it took to read this. So, take your time and give yourself permission to really dream about looking the way and feeling the way you’d like in your clothes! And, for Halloween’s sake, think about the costumes you go to every year. Do you wear the same thing year after year, and if so, why is that appealing to you? Do you play up the flirtatiousness or sexiness at this time of year but feel like you can’t in your daily life? Is that true? Do your costumes follow a trend, like heroes or heroines? Make-believe characters? Real people you admire for their citizenship and character? Or maybe just funny, quirky, or scary? So, get to it! Play with your clothes. I’m going to keep at it and see what I come up with. Will I bring back primetime pjs? I don’t know for sure, but I do know that I recently saw a silk jumpsuit that looks much more comfortable for lounging on the couch than sleeping in! Time will tell, but honestly...yes, honestly again, whatever I wear will represent the authentic Annie, and that’s what matters most.

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Bag Day Every 2nd + 4th Thursday of Each Month

heidi’s review


Heidi Pederson

My name is Heidi Pederson. I am a single mother who works and lives in Pullman, WA. I grew up with a grandma who was an English teacher and volunteered at the Moscow Public Library. Through my grandma I gained a passion for reading. I hope to instill the same passion in my daughter. Over the last year reading has really helped me get through the pandemic. Through reading I have been able to dive into an alternative universe and become part of the book, at times helping me clear my head of the challenges the pandemic has presented. I will read just about any type of genre. Some of my favorites are thrillers, mysteries, criminal, law, and historical fiction. I was recently gifted a membership to Book of the Month Club that provides a wide selection of books to choose from. Through this membership I have been able to read books that I wouldn’t normally read and have found some of my favorite books. I look forward to sharing reviews of various books with you and who knows, maybe you will find your next favorite book through one of them.

Half-Hidden forest, threatening peaks, abandon sanatorium turned five-star minimalist hotel, high up in the isolated Swiss Alps is where we find Elin Warner in this whodunit Gothic Thriller. Elin Warner is currently taking some time off from her job as a detective, when her estranged brother, Isaac, and his fiancée, Laure, invite her to Le Sommet to celebrate their engagement. Elin decides she has really no reason not to attend and accepts. When Elin arrives on the midst of a threatening storm she immediately begins to feel on edge. There is something about this hotel that is making her nervous. The next morning when she wakes up to discover Laure is missing, and the storm has closed off all access to the hotel, Elin must trust her instincts if there is any hope to finding her. Little does anyone know, there is another woman who has gone missing and has yet to be reported. If you are looking for a haunting thriller to read during the fall/Halloween season this is it. From the first sentence to the last Sarah Pearse leaves you wondering what you just read. With vivid descriptions of the hotel, surrounding atmosphere and weather, you will feel like you are sitting in the hotel watching the whole story unfold. Elin is an amazing character with her own quirks and you grow to really become invested in her and what she will do next. Sarah also does an amazing job of making the hotel become a character on its own. You grow to wonder what secrets it holds. If the walls could talk would you want to know what they had to say? Or would you be scared? Short, fast paced chapters help this plot-driven story move quickly. You won’t want to put this book down. Where is Laure? Why is this hotel so creepy? Who are these other people missing and what do they have to do with the hotel? The Sanatorium is very plot driven in that the overall theme is solving the mystery of where Laure is, but starts telling things from different character views and makes you really start to wonder what is going on in this Hotel. Where is Sarah taking us on this wild story? I rated this 5 books out of 5 books. I have been in contact with the author directly about when she plans to release another book and can’t wait to read future writings of her. She is truly an amazing author and human. One of the nicest I have ever talked with. This book is fast paced and a good “whodunit”. I have shared this book with my friends and plan to continue sharing it with anyone who is looking for a good, keep them up at night book. With Fall and Halloween almost upon us, grab this book, curl up on the couch and be prepared to stay up all night. Until next time fellow readers. Happy Reading!

Are you a local author who would love to be considered? Send your information to: Heather@HomeAndHarvestMagazine.com

My wife, Temple, and I were on our way to North Idaho from Las Vegas and had about 15.5 hours of drive time to think, talk and reflect. I got to thinking about my journey into long range shooting. I thought about my successes and my failures. It has been a long journey that began one day while cruising YouTube. I stumbled across a video from Long Range Shooters of Utah (LRSU) where they were shooting milk jugs full of colored water at 10001760 yards. They were having a ball! It intrigued me since at that point in my life, I had maybe shot 300 yards with one of my old 30-06 hunting rifles and most likely missed the target completely. I started playing around with a few ammunition load combinations trying to figure this stuff out on my own. It became apparent fairly quickly that the road I was on wasn’t going to lead me to the place I wanted to go. Everything was wrong. Wrong cartridge, wrong scope, wrong stock, wrong barrel, etc. So I started researching my options and reading everything I could find. It became my obsession. On one fateful day, I stopped by a local gun shop in Las Vegas on my way home from trap shooting at the Clark County Shooting Park. There it was, a brand new Ruger RPR chambered in 243 Winchester. I had read about these rifles, and they were promoted as affordable, match-grade rifles right out of the box. For the most part, it boasted positive reviews. To this day, I don’t think my wife had any idea what this purchase would set in motion. When I arrived home with my new shooting iron, I started looking at scopes. Glass for a long range capable rifle gets VERY expensive, and it gets there fast. I ran across a cool guy on the internet by the name of Aaron Michaud. He ran a sporting goods store in the midwest and was selling a new scope brand, Athlon. After much internal debate, I ordered one. It wasn’t the NightForce I wanted, but it fit the need and current budget. Over the next month, I pieced together my first long range rig on a fairly tight budget.

A Venture Into Long Range Shooting By Chad Kinyon


Proven Results! Outstanding Service!


With guidance from a couple of internet friends, William Berger and Eugene White, I started to put together a load to run in my new rifle. This was a somewhat long and drawn-out process with several setbacks. After I got my new rifle zeroed in to shoot a dime-sized hole at 100 yards, I headed out into the southern Nevada desert with my lovely wife. Did I possess the skill to smack a target at distances I never even considered possible? A friend had told me about a popular place to shoot NE of Vegas. After a few shots, I was able to calculate a bullet speed using bullet drop. Ok, let’s give 400ish yards a go. Everything at this point was a best guess. I look back at this time in my life and just giggle. No range finder, no chronograph, inadequate spotting scope. Regardless, even despite those hindrances, Temple and I beat the hell out of a metal can at 400+ yards. It’s like we couldn’t miss. Armed with an exaggerated sense of self-confidence, I entered the 2017 International Milk Jug Challenge (IMJC) in Price, Utah. For the next several months, we would go shooting every time I had days off. Temple had unknowingly become the spotter on Team Kinyon. I continued to change and improve the load I was feeding my RPR and, before long, was hitting steel at a mile. Temple was, too. We were having fun but at the same time experiencing frustration. Golf is a lot like that. As I drove to Price, Utah, I kept going over everything I thought I knew about long range shooting. It never really occurred to me that I didn’t know much. As luck would have it, I was about to meet a group of guys that could teach me a thing or two…maybe even three or four. After a five-hour drive into the unknown, I arrived at the North Springs Shooting Range. Enter Scott Olson into my tribe. He runs the range in Price and is one of the nicest, most helpful people you will ever meet. If you travel there and are ex-military, take him a unit patch; he has quite the collection. Scott ran down the range rules and pointed me in the right direction. As I walked up to the firing line, I spied a guy with what looked like a really big rifle. Playing the odds, I asked if he was there for the IMJC. He was. Enter Doug Ritter into my life. We became good friends over the weekend. He was kind of new to the long range game as well, so we hit it off. As we shot and visited, more guys came rolling into the range. Enter Bruce Baum and Nick Morrey. The four of us hung out and spotted for each other. We bonded over a shared passion. Friendliest people you could ever want to meet. Of the 20-some-odd guys I met that weekend, I am still in touch with most of them today and consider them all lifelong friends. We are currently considering a reunion shoot, but that’s another story. On the first day of the competition, I was so nervous I couldn’t sit still. I’m what my wife calls very competitive, and I could feel it boiling inside me. Up first was the 1200-yard challenge. I can’t say I remember what round hit the mark, but I was successful thanks, in a large part, to the “Wind Talkers,” Mike Meyers and Michael Langston of LRSU, a.k.a. Mike’ n Mike. These two dudes can read wind as well as anyone I have met to date. I dialed my elevation and best wind guess, listened to what Mike told me to hold for wind, and squeezed the trigger when he said. Michael reported the results. This is actually working! On to the 1500-yard jug! Again, I followed the same recipe that yielded success at 1200, and it worked. I was now 2/2 and gaining confidence by day’s end. Tomorrow, two more jugs, fingers crossed. As luck would have it, I was 17th in line to attempt the mile jug. I had a good amount of time to stew in my competitive juices, which was good and bad all at the same time. Finally, my turn came, and I was ready to wreck a jug. Turns out, hitting a milk jug a mile away in wind is a real challenge with a 243. Who knew? I followed the recipe that had led to success on day one. As I pulled the trigger on the last round, I realized that it wasn’t meant to be. I hit the 16” backing plate six times, all around the actual jug without rupturing it. I had failed. That feeling sucked.

As I collected up my gear for what I felt was the walk of shame back to my pickup, Mike Meyers pulled me aside. He said, “I’ve been doing this for quite a while, and I can honestly say I’ve never seen anyone lay down a consistent pattern like that at a mile with a damn 243. Good shooting.” I’m certain he didn’t know what those words meant to me. Maybe I don’t suck? Maybe I was expecting too much of a 243? Maybe I was asking too much of a production rifle off the shelf? I finished up day two with success at the 1000 yard distance. Final score 3/4, so, you guessed it, down the rabbit hole I went, head first at full steam. I can’t even put into words the basic knowledge that I came away with from that weekend. Lou Smith IV introduced me to a computer program called Quickloads and the whole concept of Optimum Barrel Time (OBT). My mind was blown. I couldn’t even wrap my mind around it entirely for another couple of years. Mike Meyers taught me the importance of chamber temperature and pressure, as well as the basics of shooting in rhythm with the wind. Jim Mehl—decisively, the best actual marksmen I have ever met—taught me not to overreact to a missed shot and that the next shot deserved more attention than the last one. I left for home with a whole host of new folks I call friends. I’ll go back, and when I do, I’m going to get that last jug. After what seemed like exhausting research, I decided that I wanted to have a custom rifle made and wanted MasterPiece Arms (MPA) to make it for me. I was on the phone with Al Oliver of MPA in Georgia, and we hatched a plan to build a “switch lug” rifle. This new rifle would be chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor and 7 SAUM. It would require two interchangeable bolts and barrels, made possible by a locking split nut between the action and the barrel. The two calibers would share the remaining components. Just one question, how to sell the idea to Temple? As it would happen, she wasn’t a hard sell. She asked what I wanted for my 50th birthday. Well, since you mention it, check this out. She went for it. When my new rifle showed up, I was beside myself with excitement and the possibilities. I started looking at Precision Rifle Series (PRS) and planned on taking in some events with the 6.5 setup. This notion was fairly short-lived. As an old guy with a bad hip, sketchy knees, and a herniated disc in my back, the yoga positions they wanted me to shoot from just weren’t my cup of tea. At times, they were just painful. I still believe that there is a market for a PRS style competition without the positional stuff. Let us old brokedown guys shoot either prone or from a bench and be done with it. I digress… Through a friend of my brother’s, I secured a new NightForce ATACR 5-25x56 scope with the Tremor 3 reticle. This was the scope I had only dreamed of owning to this point. Lou Smith IV introduced me to this reticle, and once I understood everything going on in that little glass, I fell in love with it. This rig is really starting to come together. This new gem was superior to anything I had ever looked through.

You know that old saying, “once you go ________ you can’t go back.” Yep, that applies to rifle scopes, too. NightForce will top any and all of my future rifles. Whenever possible, I always support the guys back “home” in Idaho. Back to Price I went with my buddy, Doug, in 2018. We had both retooled and upgraded. Due to the number of competitors that year, we only shot the 1500 and 1-mile. I was successful on both counts. The mile jug that had eluded me the year before fell on the 16th shot. I was the only shooter to hit the mile that year. I had completed all the Milk Jug Challenges. That was a good feeling. What’s next? My friend Michael Langston had been pushing the 7 SAUM cartridge well past 2000 yards, which got me thinking about and researching Extreme Long Range (ELR) as a discipline. This is where I belong, no yoga. Time to find an event to test myself and see if I have the skill to make it happen. I started practicing with Temple out in the desert and made shots out to 2600 yards. It wasn’t a slam dunk, but a hit is a hit, right? I entered the 2019 High Desert ELR Challenge in Oregon. It’s really just an additional thousand yards…right? My first experience in ELR was VERY educational, to say the least. The majority of the shooters were sporting these massive shoulder-fired cannons based on the Cheytec and 50 BMG cartridges. They separated the shooters into two groups, making 338 Lapua Mag the dividing line. My little short action 7 SAUM put me in the light gun class, but hands down, mine was the smallest cartridge in the entire group. Sometimes size does matter. The night before the shoot, we all sat around discussing our rifles. Enter a new bunch of friends into my tribe. I met a guy that actually lived in southern Nevada like me by the name of John Rawlings. We were visiting over a couple of beers. He invited me to take in the monthly match in Boulder City, Nevada. I remember telling him I met a guy from that club a year prior but couldn’t remember his name. I described him as Phillipino or Latino, bald, and just the nicest guy. John quickly spouted, “You mean Joe.” Yep, that was his name. Enter Joe Cabigas into my life for the second time. We’ll circle back to Joe. The day of the shoot came, and, you guessed it, the wind became vicious. I remember that the last target I hit was at 2400ish. I also remember that my scope elevation was maxed out, and the windage was maxed out to the right. I had to hold an additional eight mills of elevation and six mills right wind. Pu-ting! I was surprised by the hit. I ended up with a second-place finish in class and seventh, overall. Maybe I don’t suck? Maybe I just don’t have quite the right equipment to win…YET. Wait. What do you mean there are prizes? Hey, I like this deal. Sure the prizes are donated by manufacturers and generally require you to spend some money to use them, but not always. Usually, they are nice discounts on shooting products you wanted to buy or try anyway. And, as I’m sure you already guessed, I went shooting down that damn rabbit hole again. I had a certificate for 50%-off on a Peirce custom 10X action in my hot little hand. Shoulder-fired artillery was now on my agenda.

I made some good friends that weekend. Kasey Jones, Stan Cutsforth, and Terry Fisher (who makes THE best tri-tip steak in the world). I learned what I needed to be competitive in the ELR game and set the wheels in motion to make that happen. If you’re going to play, you need to play to win, or at least I do. When I returned to Las Vegas, I used FaceBook to look up Mr. Joe Cabigas. True to his nature, he invited me down to Boulder City, Nevada, to take in the monthly long range match. This would be the event that changed the course of my endeavor and made Joe one of my very best buddies and a true lifelong friend. When I arrived at the Boulder range, I got the rundown of how the match worked and thought, This shouldn’t be that hard; I’ve hit a milk jug at a mile, after all. Boy, was that ever an example of wrong thinking. These crazy buggers were shooting at these tiny, little targets. The targets were 1 MOA, which, if you don’t know, that means you get 1” of steel per 100 yards. In short, an 880yard target was 8.8” square. I think I hit something like 3/25 that day and started questioning everything I had learned plus, don’t bet lunch with these guys. Bad idea. These guys were banging the heck out of those “fun-size” targets, in the wind, no less, and with someone talking smack right behind them. For the most part, they were unshakeable rocks when behind the rifle. Now, that’s not to say that if you got ‘em laughing, that it wouldn’t mess up their shot. This behavior was strongly encouraged. This environment makes it so you can block almost anything out. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had fallen into the fold of some of the absolute best marksmen in the entire Southwest. I arranged my schedule so if possible, I would make this shoot at all costs. Over time, I became one of them. This portion of my journey was probably the most significant due in large part to Joe. He taught me that my hand loads were crude, at best, and only slightly better than factory ammo. I have to admit it kinda hurt. After all, I had enjoyed a certain amount of success in the last couple of years. I can’t be that messed up, right? Joe is a generation older than me and has been shooting competitively most of his life. I learned the basics of reloading from my dad and had refined what he taught me into what I thought was a pretty solid process. I was doing things right, but Joe started explaining how I could do better. Consistency is the name of the game, folks. Each round you chamber needs to be precisely the same as the one you just sent and the same as the next one in the box—if you want the same result, anyway. Variations will kill you in this game. I learned that my reloading press was crap, my scales were altogether sub-par, and my case prep was flawed. It became a running joke with Joe that continues to pop up. “Just listen to Old Joe,” he will say. Home&Harvest

He was usually right, and I started winning. I like this feeling. The Boulder match and a similar match in Arizona become my concentration over the next year. But the Covid-19 thing reared its ugly head and ruined everything. Those two matches were closed down, as well as almost every match for a period of time. I started to climb the walls. Time to circle back to the shoulder-fired artillery. Covid forced me back into research mode. Upon further analysis, I determined that the 375 EnABELR cartridge from Applied Ballistics (AB) was the correct cartridge for me. In a nutshell, AB took the 375 Cheytec cartridge and made it shorter and slightly fatter. This alteration made it feed well out of a magazine, something that those hot-dog-sized cartridges struggled with and something I couldn’t ignore. That, along with a snazzy four-ounce hair trigger, a recoil-eliminating muzzle brake, a sweet adjustable scope base, and NighForce optics (of course), all added up to my dream configuration. And although it blew past my intended budget, Temple agreed it was time to go big or go home. As I write this, my gunsmith Klayt Kinyon (I call him “cuz” even though we can’t figure out how we are related, but I know we are), is waiting to receive my 36” barrel from Kreiger and my chassis from Cadex to help “birth” my new “child.” I should have my long-awaited “baby” by this fall. Then that whole load development thing will start again. In the spring of 2021, Covid restrictions were lifted enough to allow the High Desert ELR match in Lexington, Oregon, to take place. Stanley Cutsforth and Kasey Jones, along with several awesome and generous sponsors, hosted. These guys did an excellent job and put on a good shoot. But as luck would have it, my artillery piece wasn’t done yet, so the 7 SAUM got the call again. My dad came along for fun, and we camped out at the shooting site and got to spend some father-son time together that was well overdue. I should note that the range sits smack dab in the middle of hundreds of windmills. That tells you a lot about what weather conditions to expect. And did you know those windmill lights all blink at the same time? Blink. Blink. Blink. All. Night. Long. But I digress… Everyone shoots in the same class for this match, so I didn’t enjoy any protection from competing with those really big rifles shooting enormous bullets. The targets started at 1574 yards and went all the way to 3556 yards. I knew going in that my rifle would be struggling at around 2600 yards, even with a new and longer barrel.

Sept/Oct 2021 56

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If I do my job at the closer targets, I’ll be ok. I needed to shoot clean starting at 1574, but due to target location, I couldn’t tell that I was shooting over the target. I ended up with only a couple of hits. I’ll still be ok, on to the next target.

I rolled onto my side and calmly replied, “Are you sh#$*n me?” “Let me go check the video feed!” he chimed and ran off to the trailer to check. He roared back a few seconds later and confirmed that I had indeed hit the 2810 target. In fact, I was the only person to hit that distance for score at that point, with only four shooters to go. “Do you want to move onto the next target at 3372 yards? “he asked.

I engaged six targets with a hit here and there, ending at 2503 yards with a total of 23,499 points. That last target proved to be tough. My scope was maxed out, and I couldn’t see any indication where I was hitting—a tough pill to swallow since we would return on day two to shoot even further. I finished day one in 10th place out of 17 shooters. I had survived but held little hope of making a move on the leaders.

Well hell! I hadn’t any kind of a plan for that and didn’t have time to come up with one. I mean, I would have to aim somewhere up in the sky, and that certainly wasn’t going to work because clouds move. No aim point. So I elected to take my new personal best of 2810-yards, sack the bats, so to speak, and call it a day. The last shooter of the day hit the 2810 target with his personal artillery piece, and that was it. No one hit anything further.

So there I was on day two, in over my head again, trying to figure a way to make a move. I just didn’t see any way I could continue, so I sent a message to Kasey to withdraw from the firing order. I do NOT like this feeling. It feels like a bad case of heartburn, bitter and acidic.

Maybe I don’t suck. Man, I wish my new rifle would have been ready. Think of what I could’ve done with THAT. But my good old 7 SAUM came through again (I love that rifle), and yes, I moved up one spot with that lone hit worth 2810 points. I finished a respectable 9th place. Even if it was a small one, I had managed to make a move in a situation that seemed impossible. Next time, hopefully, I’ll be better prepared to put some pressure on the leaders.

When Dad and I arrived at the firing line, I explained to Kasey and Stan that I was maxed out and had absolutely no idea where I was hitting. Stan looked at me and said, “You mean you drove all the way from Vegas to Lexington, and you aren’t going to shoot?” Peer pressure doesn’t usually work on me, but this time it certainly did. Within minutes, I was putting my rifle back together and doing the math to figure out how in the hell I was going to engage a target at the next distance, 2810 yards. I needed about 50 mills of elevation, but I only had 29 in my scope adjustment. So I hatched a plan to back the power off in my scope and use the reticle to measure the other 21 mills. After all, a scope reticle is just an extremely expensive tape measure. I just needed to find the right aim point once I had the elevation and 12.5 mills of right wind. The math says it’s possible. I first lined up the scope so the target was positioned correctly in the reticle. Then I started looking for an aim point somewhere near the top of my reticle so I could turn the magnification back up. And there it was, like a beacon. Right on the ridgeline was a damn bush, all alone and sitting right under my left 6 mil mark. All I had to do was put the left 6 on that bush, and I should be close if my math was correct. My turn to fire. I let out my breath and squeezed off the first round. After a six-second flight time (1.6 miles), Stan relays to me, “You’re a plate and a half high, and your wind was dead on.”

So what’s next, you ask? Well, there is this competition which is the crown jewel of long range marksmanship, King of 2 Miles in Raton, New Mexico. Hold on, here we go in 2022. I will qualify, I will go, and I will compete with the top ELR shooters in the world. And I will beat some of them. Maybe all of them. At least that’s the plan for Joe and me. Hopefully, if you are interested, you’ll follow along on my adventure.

Wait, what? You mean I was close? Maybe I can do this. I made slight adjustments and kept feeding the rifle in rhythm with the wind. On shot #5, Stan yelled, “Impact! You hit it!” Home&Harvest

Sept/Oct 2021 58

Picking Up the Pieces with Letters

by Diane Conroy In the last issue of Home & Harvest magazine, I wrote about how the Lorang family responded, as did the rest of the United States, when they were called to war. World War II was not kind to the Lorang family. Many of them ended up being flung far and wide. But it was with letters that they stayed in contact and those who were left returned again and again to their first home, the White Spring Ranch. Two of the brothers and sisters of Henry Lorang passed away in 1945. His younger sister Mollie Lorang Whalen was in California. She had married in 1913, then she lost one of her young daughters, Marie and then she lost her husband, Charlie. Mollie ended up going to California to be with her other daughter, Monica, who had become a radio singer. The bright light at the time was that Monica Whalen was a wellknown singer who actually sang with Bing Crosby for a bit. Mollie supported her daughter in the beginning of her career, then passed away in 1945. Henry’s older brother Peter Lorang also passed away in 1945 from a heart condition. He had moved up in the banking profession and had been working as a National Bank Examiner in New York City. This is a 1942 letter that Peter’s wife Charlotte wrote during the war and it shows the conditions they were going through. “Dear Joan (daughter of Henry): We received the announcement of your Commencement Exercises, and want to congratulate you on your accomplishments, which undoubtedly were made under difficulties at times. I wish so much it were possible for me to make this occasion with some nice gift to you- however that isn’t possible so we must extend the will without the material gift. I am sending you by parcel-post a few things I have gotten too Fat and too Old to use, and you probably can use. I do want to tell you that it is fun to share with you, and hope you will enjoy using the things. The pictures on the other side of this note are pictures of the building we live in out on the Narrows, which is the channel leading in the East River and the Hudson River from the Ocean. All ships to and from the Atlantic pass here. It is a pleasant place to come to after a difficult day in the Too Big City – it clocks about 9 miles from the downtown (Financial) district of the city. This is Memorial Day so we are at home. Uncle Peter necessarily spends most of his time at home in bed, because of his heart condition. He can’t ride street cars, subways or buses any more. so always has to go work in his car. Parking space in downtown New York is 70 cents a day now- so you imagine what it takes to drive a car to work here. He is not permitted to walk more than a couple of blocks at a time, so we have to park very near his work always. No cars are allowed on the streets at all anymore, since the declaration of war. Peter has been working in Newark, New Jersey, during the past three weeks. That is a 20 mile drive morning and night in heavy traffic; however that job has finished yesterday, and we leave for work out in the district, (too far to commute) so will have to stay out for a month or two. I do not leave him alone nights in those towns, so have to go along. I spend my days in those towns working at Red Cross every day, so the time doesn’t hang on my hands. Again congratulations and a happy and successful future to you. Fondly Charlotte + Peter”

The 1940’s had several difficult days. In 1946, Bob the oldest son of Marguerite and Henry Lorang made it through the end of the war but he didn’t make it home. Bob died in a plane accident in 1946, when the fuel line did not switch to the 2nd tank in an A26. Bob and his co-pilot crashed into the Sea of Japan May 16, 1946. Henry Lorang was in the hospital again at the time and survived with the help of his kids and friends and letters. Mother Marguerite Lorang also had a very difficult time since Henry was in the hospital in 1941. She she was completely overwhelmed with 11 children and the Ranch to run. With all of the animals to take care of, all the eggs to sell and the older boys gone to war it was too much for her and she ended up spending four months in the hospital for a nervous breakdown. The children wrote her letters and she wrote back very loving motherly letters. Marguerite though still had difficulties after leaving the hospital and had to be helped with the Catholic Daughters Association to gradually get back into a nursing position, which she had done during WWI. Marguerite and the children continue to write back-and-forth for several years in very sweet letters. “April 9, 1942

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Dear Mother, How are you? We got the yard raked Saturday. We have a lot of spinach now. Some of our flowers are in bloom. Rita went to school Tuesday. Good by. Lois Dear Mother, Rita got a buggy full of candy from Aunt Bert. Jean gave me a basket for my birthday. We had spinach for three days. Mary Alice Dear Mother, I halled a box of ships in. And a big pile of wood. I picked a lot of spinach. I got 90 in our spelling test. We all hope to see you soon. Albert Dear Mother, Yesterday Mary Alice and I played house. We kids made a flower garden. Joan made a real pretty cake for Easter. It had green and red cake decoration on it. Good-by Rita” “Sunday April 19, 1942 My Dear Little Honey Bonnies, Mother was sure happy a week ago yesterday to get such lovely letters form you kiddies. Lois dear, I do hope you were not too disappointed, not having your coat for Easter. I am sure Joan or Pat could finish it there is so little to do on it just finish tacking the lining and the buttons.

Mary Alice, Mother was so pleased that you were praying for her. Honey you can wear that rose colored silk dress and your white stockings for good also that blue knit coat. Any of your work dresses for school. Albert, Honey you sure are a good boy to help so much with the work. I know how better it looks with the wood and ships halled in. (wood chips) For you to pick the spinach must have been a big help for the girls. 90 is a good grade in a county spelling test. Albert you can wear that suit in the drawer in my bedroom for good. Mother’s little Honey Bonnie Rita, how I would love to have you here so I could love and kiss you. I know you are a good girl and help a lot with the work. I hope your flower garden grows, and that you will have some pretty flowers. Now all be good kiddies and eat lots of spinach. Lots of love and kisses from Mother. I have been worrying about the Prom. I do hope you children were able to get your clothes so you could go and have a good time. Pat if you did not get to go I will be terribly disappointed. If it is ever possible I sure will make it up for you. I planned so much on making and seeing you in your first formal. There is so little I can say, and I guess it is just as well as it does no good any way. I would love to hear from Bob. Love to All, Mother”

Joan and Mary Frances (Pat), the oldest daughters, helped out quite a bit and the older boys, Jim and John, helped out when they could, but they were all getting old enough to go off to school or return to school. The younger children grow up connecting with their Mother with letters and seeing her whenever they could. The children began to be flung far and wide, with marriages and school, but they continued to connect with letters and for years later returned to see each other at White Spring Ranch. I know somehow that since the beginning of our Restoration in 2003, some of those people that really care seem to have been helping us. Hopefully they’re looking down and enjoying what is happening now. Every once in a while something happens then it makes us wonder. One time we found on Facebook that somebody needed a pink peony for a photo shoot. When they showed up to shoot a picture of the peony it turned out that it was the same person that had just gotten a position at the U of Idaho in the volunteer department. And we needed volunteers. One day last Spring, WSU volunteers showed up and even though it was a little chilly, one student said he wanted to work outside. He turned out to be an excellent carpenter and works for us a while doing some amazing things. When we needed the boom truck to take down the gearbox of the 1930’s windmill for restoration, one of the cousins saw a boom truck south of Moscow parked in the Lowell tree service parking lot. She ran in to inquire about the use of the truck. It turns out that her husband’s brother, her brother-in-law, had just started working for the Lowell tree company. We were able to use the boom to fix the windmill, because they knew who we were and knew it would be handled well. I hope they keep smiling down on us. We could use the help. We have now found on site, 4,300 letters and counting, with several pages.

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River Journal part 3: the conclusion

(Our travels to Alaska had presented a new dimension of leaving the grid and creating self-sustaining lifestyles in more remote locations than what we had ever imagined. After the three of us returned to our comfortable retreat in the Washington Cascades, conversations regarding the investment of time, funding and the amount of labor began to reveal a widening divide in our sentiments of the challenges of life in the Alaskan bush.) Fall There was a woman standing across the river from our side. Just standing there being wet on a typically dripping late fall day. I was helping Pete split the last rounds of a tree he had fallen near the landing. Pete determined she was not looking for us, since we had not heard a horn. I hesitated quite a while after he had turned and hiked back up the hill. She seemed to be looking at me but there was no wave or confirmation of her desire to interact. Her profile did not resemble anyone I knew, so I assumed she was merely looking at the oddity of the cable and was checking out the recreational cabins on that side of the river. I was to learn later that she was the granddaughter of the family that had originally homesteaded our parcel and constructed the cable crossing. By mere chance, I made the acquaintance of the person who revealed this to me in the nearby small town of Index. She was, shall I say, possessed by hundreds of photos of the early development of the area between 1909 and 1936. The collection depicted, among other things, the logging of giant Douglas fir trees with springboards and crosscut saws, and the railcars used to transport them down to the lumber mill circa 1910.

A photo of the first county road punched through leading past our property landing in 1912 showed it to be a muddy mess and quite impassable. The group photos of oddly dressed loggers and lumber workers revealed a river settlement of almost a thousand tenacious people existing on the constantly soggy mountainside. Dorothy was a historian by default, being the deceased photographer’s fourth wife. She was in the process of getting the photos safely boxed and transported to the University of Washington historical archives, many years after his passing. She shared photo stories with me of boardwalks and bordellos, hotels and school rooms, fires and floods. The viewing took an entire fascinating day. She was familiar with our piece of land across the cable because a woman had once come to her looking for photos of her grandfather’s homestead fitting that description.




My recollection of my visitor’s faded carrot colored hair and approximate age from the slump of her posture made a good case that it was her. The memory of her just gazing across at me through the rain haunted me. I wished I could have met her. Just rolled across and brought her over. I would have asked her where the original house sat, was it connected to the two remaining walls of a root cellar? Was their garden in about the same place as ours? What did they grow? What kinds of animals had they kept in the big gambrel roof barn? She would be saddened to see it stripped of its shakes and most of the floorboards. And why was it built hanging over the side of the bank, supported by large timber posts? Had there been a slide or was it built like that for the extra storage space beneath? She could have answered so many questions. I was so mad at myself that we would never have these answers. I had not listened to my intuition that day. I remained hopeful that she would return, but she did not.

After that, I became the one to go down to greet visitors if Jim was not down at his cabin. It was always enjoyable to see friends, walk them up the hill to my cabin for coffee and conversation and hear what they were up to. Even in summer months the rain would sometimes demand a morning fire, so coffee was pretty much on tap. One such morning a distant car horn sounded just as I removed a pan of cinnamon rolls from the cookstove oven. Looking out to confirm that no one emerged from the other cabin, I shut down the stove flue and grabbed my leather gloves. Waving across the river I could see Jim wave back and a dark shape next to him, dwarfed by his tall frame. Introductions to the beautiful raven haired Rachel, coming to see Jim’s river roost, were followed by a promise to come up for rolls after the tour. She was quite taken by the whole set up, and I was hopeful she would become a new part of the trio. When I returned them to the landing, our words were interrupted by gunshots back up the hill. Jim shrugged it off, not wanting to alarm Rachel. She was actually excited when we mentioned there was an area for target practice. Her dad had taught her to shoot. Jim was gleeful hearing this news. This one came with gun safety training. Returning back up the hill, the last cinnamon rolls were cold but I delivered them over to Pete’s place since he had not joined us. I left them on the table and heard several more gunshots jarring the silence. The shooting range was over by the large doorless outhouse we had constructed with a superb view of the river. Knowing not to approach either pursuit unannounced, I called, hearing his reply of “all clear” from the target area. The cool shade that was ever present on that north facing slope of cedar and alder trees still had a serious chill for mid-day and so did the look on Pete’s face. He was not interested in hearing about the new visitor, or engaging in chatter with me. He shoved his piece in its case and started ripping down his targets from the bullet riddled posts. Taking the hint, I popped over to the privy to check the t.p. supply to be adequate. I was startled to see multiple bullet holes in the wall of the outhouse and several more ventilating the floor. His only remark was one we had recently been hearing a lot from him, that we should stop bringing people across. He zipped up his soiled blue down jacket and headed back toward his cabin. My journals recorded the patterns that repeated in the wonders of nature. The day that I noticed the ferns emerging, the date the fish seemed to sense the river temperature too warm to bite, the first sign of the spawning salmon returning, the week the mosquitos hatched, even the time the ants were visible doing their busywork seemed to be on a schedule. Every day was an entry of what my senses were hearing, smelling, feeling. Every night was free of light pollution and the deep dark starless ones gave the sensation that my eyes were closed when they were indeed open.

I had been afraid at first and worked through the fear. Lesson learned. “Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision” is a quote by Winston Churchill. I had evolved, embracing a security not present in the existence I had come from. The very first sign of animosity was earlier in the summer when Jim and I had taken jobs as supervisors for a trail crew conveniently just eight miles up the river. Pete really seemed inconvenienced to have to ferry us across the cable daily to allow him to keep the cable car available. We really didn’t give it much thought since we were really excited about the job opportunity. It was a Forest Service contract to improve a primitive camping location and overgrown trail that led to an impressive waterfall. The project was very unique. The organization that hired us was supplying the tools and would be selecting youth for the labor crew who wished to study and obtain their GED while housed in tents in this remote location. I enjoyed meeting the diverse group of teens, and the role of camp cook seemed to suit me. We supplied all of the meals to six young people and occasionally to a tutor that came to offer guidance, for the duration of the project. It was anticipated to take four to six weeks. Jim spent his workday teaching the crew how to use the tools and demonstrating the back-breaking labor needed to keep the project on track. The two young women excelled in using the tools and showing the guys what a good day’s work looked like. I will pause here to interject that two of the students developed a relationship at that job site that resulted in their marriage and three children, I learned by running into the couple in a department store some five years later. They believed the positive direction their lives took was a result of that opportunity to get their GED and realize the positivity of implementing a good work ethic. I was grateful for the insight. It helped balance the fact that I had learned earlier that the difficult person of that crew had been convicted and sent to prison soon after. Nineteen years old. He was also the prime suspect of the theft of all of the tools provided for the trail job, ending it before it could be completed. Life is a series of choices. So returning to choices. About the time Jim met Rachel, he decided he was not interested in becoming a partner in the homestead in the Alaskan bush. I was not aware that he had notified Pete of his decision about the time I had declared the same thing. Pete wanted the challenge of something new, and nothing could stop him from signing on the dotted line to obtain the Alaskan homestead. We thought he would solicit new partners to take on the opportunity in Alaska with him, but he did not even try. He became lost in his contempt for us. The behavior I witnessed at the shooting range was the new norm for Pete as he wrestled with his own decision process. Within a very short time, his silence closed down communication, his availability for any work projects dwindled and chaos replaced the cooperation that we needed for things to run smoothly.

He began locking up tools. He would vanish without notice and leave the cable car on the opposite side, leaving the only option to exit to lift a fifty pound block up onto the cable and sit on a looped rope to get across. We waited for his disdain to diminish but our partnership was not returning to anything even close to amiable. He then announced that he was the one that found the property we were on, so he would be the one to keep it. In the chilling afternoons as the golden maple leaves dropped to the dark and saturated ground, we all seemed to be treading water in our own little pity pools. The only solution was to appease Pete and take our leave.

They witnessed the Northern Pacific Railway extend through those mountains in the early 1900’s. Literally. Photos of the first train emerging through the nearby tunnel were in that local photographer’s collection. Lee Pickett was the official photographer for the rail line, riding all of the routes to capture history in the making. Once those first rails became transcontinental, supplies flowed west and so did most of my early relatives, relocating to Washington state, from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas. After Jim and I vacated, the Forest Service land surrounding the twenty acre triangle that Pete held was helicopter-logged, no doubt impacting the peace and quiet that we cherished so much. Many more floods swept past, creating islands and drastically changing the shoreline each time. Thus demanding constant revisions to the cable route. The river itself showing signs of aging with the rest of us, as the width has shrunk like an old man, no longer resembling the stature he once held. If we would have stopped to think about it, we had become a part of the evolution of that piece of the mountain, part of the winds of change. The ghosts of the early logging days remain in the rusted pieces of the old logging donkey engines left peeking out of a moss covered bog, and in the notches of the giant tree stumps. The sounds of the long and heavy crosscut saws float on the breeze through the cool dripping tree branches. Stumbling upon splintered timbers of the old trestles in a pile at the bottom of a ravine, one can hear the rail cars carrying the giant logs or mined ore on a rattly ride calick-calacking down the mountain and along the river. And on those special days when the clouds do not blanket the entire setting, the birds come near, nature’s reporters, perch on a mossy snag and fill the air with news of old and new. But the one who remained there longest never had heard them, never had listened. He did not connect with the history of the place. That is the element that Jim and I determined to be the source of our lingering resentment. I finally found solace when I acknowledged that we had indeed left part of our spirits there to join the rest of them. I smile now in reminiscence of those incredible days that nature allowed us to linger awhile, and mingle with her great mysteries.

Jim and Pete could not come to an agreement regarding tools or a dollar amount of money invested over the years since books were not kept. The lesson learned was brutal and the outcome was a tug of war, winner takes all. Jim lost, being the nice guy. Jim packed his cabin into a camper trailer. He found a place to park it up the mountain, convenient to the ski area. The season was about to start for instructors and lift crew employees and Jim welcomed the boisterous camaraderie that would have to replace his dream of building a round log house for now. I re-read my journals and realized they were the only piece of this paradise I was going to be able to take with me. Even Phaedrus, a ward of the partnership, would remain where he was most familiar. I simply signed my name off of the title and removed myself from bickering over how much was mine, his or theirs. Determined to remain in the area, I found a loft to rent. My landlord was the new Mountain Manager at the ski area and his wife. This acquaintance led to taking a job as a ski lift operator, and by the end of the second season led to my marriage to a ski patrolman. But that is a story for another day. Other destinations called us and the peaceful mountain settlements retreated to my file of memories. I wandered the river property in my dreams for years, picturing it vividly and with sweet longing. Jim also left the area, carrying with him the bitter taste of hard feelings. Epilogue

When the property was eventually sold in 1995, it was advertised to have a two story home, solar power, gravity fed water system, woodshed complete with a five year supply of split and (meticulously, if we knew Pete) stacked firewood, multiple outbuildings, a helipad and a pedal powered cable crossing. Price: half a million dollars. Pete returned to wherever he came from.

As natives of the Pacific Northwest, Jim and I both recognized connections to our heritage there on that special river property. Jim had once found a very old broken stove piece on the property while kicking through the wet underbrush. Attached by one rivet was an ornate plate with the words Everett Stove Works. He sat down on a wet stump (the only kind we had there), marveling that his grandfather had been employed at that very place. My own grandfather was a carpenter building schools throughout the quickly developing western part of the state about that time. Our grandparents’ generation built houses, schools and hotels from the timber that had been logged on those mountainsides. Home&Harvest

The homestead in Alaska, never visited, returned to the state. That blank sign next to the Corbet’s is painted with the letters of someone else’s name. The distant ringing of bear bells, panting devoted sled dogs and shrill blast of train whistles proclaim the reality of someone else’s choices.

Sept/Oct 2021 70

Joe Evans The amount of over the campfire battles regarding the relative merits of the 270 Winchester verses the 30-06 Springfield is beyond belief. To a much lesser extent, the 308 vs. the 30-06 debate is also hotly debated. After seeing or using all these cartridges for many years, I can only say that all of them work very well. In a good rifle, all of them are very accurate and any animal hit will go down quite expeditiously. No clear cut winner is found in these battles. To this fray I would like to add another two to battle it out: the 338 Winchester and the 340 Weatherby. I’ve used both these cartridges on a variety of game for a lot of years and have a good idea of their relative pluses and minuses. I have a favorite and will let you know which I prefer at the end of this opus. The 338 is a standard length belted magnum while the 340 is a full length magnum introduced several years after the 338. Sort of a, “take that- I am king” measure by Weatherby. Both can be used on medium-sized game up to as big as they come animals. The 338 and 340 both have their roots with Elmer Keith in his 333 belted OKH and 334 OKH belted rounds. Elmer basically said that bigger is better and eventually settled on the 338/378 as the ultimate. This is the 378 case necked to 338 and shortened a quarter of an inch. Velocity of this cannon is 3000 fps with a 250 grain bullet. The war surplus 4831 was the propellant. So what velocity can we expect from the 338 and 340? I’ve never chronographed any factory load in the 338 but I believe the 200 grain factory load was rated at about 2950 fps. This can be duplicated with 73 grains of IMR 4350. The 225 factory load was rated at about a little over 2800 fps. I settled on a charge of 72 grains of RL19 with a 225 grain Barnes Original X. Velocity is 2865. The 250 grain bullet in the 338 is a great heavy grain bullet. The factory loads are listed at about 2660 fps. This can easily be bested by loading 76 grains of RL22 to obtain 2816 fps. All this being said, my favorite load in the 338 is 75 grains IMR 4350, 210 Nosler partition, WW case, CCI 250 primer. The velocity is 3035 fps and accuracy is ¾ to 1 inch at 100 yards.

This load has proven itself to me both locally and in Alaska. Before we leave the 338, I should mention the great 275 grain semi-spitzer, Speer. Supremely accurate, I used this bullet over 72 grains of war surplus 4831 at 2500 fps to take my first six point bull elk. The range was less than 50 yards and the bullet basically went stern to stern. Penetration was at least 40 inches. Too bad Speer discontinued this bullet as it really is in a class by itself for heavy game. Good to over 300 yards or so, I don’t think it sold to a velocity-crazed public. The 338 I have used is an early model Ruger M77 with tang safety and was Magna Ported. Factory barrel is 24 inches long. Now for the 340. Bigger is better! Well, this can be debated. Ballistics for the Weatherby factory ammo are usually quite close. No inflation here. In a 26” barreled Accumark Mark 5, the 200 grain factory load went 3204 fps. The Weatherby factory load with 225 Hornady went 3112! 250 grain Weatherby with 250 Hornady went only 2845. Hand loads have to be loaded to the max to equal these results. I have not tried to equal the 225 factory load but were able to beat the 250 grain factory load by a considerable margin. 92 grains of RL25 with a 250 Sierra averaged 3026 fps and this was not a maximum load. I’ll give more handloading results in a future article. It is my belief the pressure data found in the reloading manuals is accurate, but a lot of the propellant choices leave a lot to be desired. So which one of these howitzers is better? Actually, both have their respective strong and weak points. The 338 is available in more rifles and can be used in standard 30-06 length long actions. The 340 requires a true magnum length action. So what, you say. The 340 with its longer bolt throw can nick your nose with the bolt of you do a fast reload with the rifle properly shouldered. The 338 doesn’t do this to me. Accuracy is basically equal and depends on the individual gun. Ammo availability is definitely an advantage for the 338. With the 340 you’d better stock up when you can find it. The recoil? I find both to be pretty nasty. I Magna Ported the 338 and had Williams put their guide brake on the 340. These actions tamed both these weapons to tolerable levels. The advent of laser rangefinders largely negated the trajectory advantage enjoyed by the 340. Back in the day we tried to get as much velocity as possible to minimize our personal range estimation errors. Now you know exactly how much you need to hold over. Power advantage? The 340 gives you about the same advantage over the 338 that one of the short 30 mags give you over the 30-06. All of the above properly loaded, of course. So which one do I prefer? The 340. Everything hit with the 340 has gone down right now but I have had to chase a few critters hit with the 338. I think this might be due to luck of the draw, but I like to use what has worked for me. Still, I will not stay home if forced to use the 338 and will be quite confident it will do any job asked of it!

The Oh, Otis! Shenanigans By Temple Kinyon

Episode 7 The Dark Stretch 
Doris stood and inspected her work. “Oh, Otis!” Otis scrambled to inspect himself in the mirror on Doris’s dresser. Once again, his sister had taken his face and transformed him into his Halloween hero, Dracula. His costume was a repeat from the previous year; it was just too good to only use once. “I vant to suck your blooood,” he whirled around, bringing his cape up to his face, covering all but eyes. “Come here leetle girl, muuhuuuhuuuwaaahaaaa!” Doris let loose one of her famous blood-curdling, hair-raising screams that rivaled any horror movie goddess’. Her ability to invoke shivers and fear with her high-pitched shriek was legendary in their county. The loud wail made Otis jump to the point his fake teeth fell out of his mouth. Otis and Doris looked at each other and busted out laughing at her ability to startle anyone within earshot of the scream. “Man, Doris,” Otis laughed. “Your scream could wake the dead.” Suddenly, Mavis rushed into the room, wiping her hands on a towel and out of breath. “What the Sam Hill is going on in here?!” Doris and Otis howled even louder, causing Mavis to put her now-dry hand on her hip and give them The Look. “Ha. Ha. Laugh at Mom because she thought someone was dying,” she rolled her eyes. “I see you’re ready for your Halloween party, Otis?”
 Otis stood up and grabbed a tissue off Doris’s dresser. He carefully dabbed the corners of his eyes to wipe away the giggles but was careful not to wipe away the white make-up making his face the color of vampire death. He whirled around, pulled his cape up to his face once again. “Yes, dahhhling, I’m ready to go to my parteee. But let me suck your bloooood first!” He jumped at his mom, who busted out laughing.
 “Get going to your party, there, Count,” she smiled. “Ok, I’ll see you later! Thanks, Doris, for making me look so good!” He raced out of the house, oblivious to anything but getting the Hot Rod out of the shed and heading to his party. No one else from his family would be there, and that was a rare occasion, indeed. Of course, the real action of the season took place on Halloween night with the community parade and party at the school gymnasium, but that wasn’t until the following Thursday night. But tonight, Friday, a.k.a. Fright Night, would be all about the area kids under the age of 13 converging at the Smenk Farm for festivities in the barn. Attractions included bobbing for apples, pin the stitches on the Frankenstein, pumpkin donut eating races, and contests for the best jack-o-lantern and most frightening scream. Otis was allowed to take the Hot Rod the five-minute drive down the gravel road, past the Mountain Home Grange Hall, a right at the four corners, and a short motor to reach his friend, Fertis Smenk’s, house for the Annual Halloween Kid Party.

Otis made his way down the dusty road, the sky turning beautiful shades of oranges, pinks, and purples as the autumn sun dipped below the freshly-planted field horizon. A darkness, however, soon enveloped him as he drove between dense pine tree patches on both sides of the road. The trees stood tall, old, proud, crowded, allowing no light through them even on the sunniest of days. All the area kids played there, including the Swan children. Hide-and-seek, cops and robbers, tag. It was spooky and shadowy, but Otis was never alone there, and when it started getting dark, they’d all head home. NO ONE wanted to be in those trees after the sun went down. 
 Relief flooded over Otis as he came out of the dark stretch, and the grange revealed itself, white, welcoming, and not scary at all. He arrived at the four corners, turned right, and motored his way to the Smenk’s. Several friends came out to greet him as he parked the Hot Rod by the weathered, grey barn. “Oh, Otis! You look so spooky,” Carla, dressed as Little Bo Peep, cooed. 
 “You look good, bud,” Fertis slapped him on the back. He sported a hobo costume, complete with coffee grounds Vaselined to his cheeks and chin. “Even though it’s a rerun.” Laughing, he ran back into the barn before Otis could slug him. “You do look pretty good,” his friend, Clark, draped his arm over Otis’s shoulders. Clark was dressed like a mummy. “Mom took forever to wrap me up, and I’m not sure how I’m going to go pee, but I guess I’ll figure it out.”
 “Gross!” Carla barked. “Leave it to you boys to turn a cool costume into something disgusting!” She huffed off back to the barn, but not before turning and sticking her tongue out at Otis and Clark. 
 “She likes you, you know,” Clark teased. “Talk about gross,” Otis shoved his elbow into his friend’s ribs. The pair jetted into the barn, where Otis took in the whole spectacle. His tummy did a flip flop with excitement. White twinkle lights hung every-which-way above the display of games, food, and all his friends. Dozens of ghosts, princesses, cowboys, Army men, farmers, and various other costumed kids tangled in a mass of laughter and friendly competition at the carnival-type games. 
“C’mon, Otis,” Clark urged. “Let’s play darts!”
 They scurried over to take aim at balloons attached to an enormous cork board. Otis hit five in a row and got a package of candy cigarettes; Clark nailed seven in a row and got three packs of Black Jack gum. Other friends joined the two, and soon, the small mob of pals worked their way through the games, winning trinkets along the way. They eventually took their place at the large table to carve their chosen gourds.
 “I wonder what prizes they’re giving this year,” breathed Carla, who had sidled up next to Otis. She smiled at him, all teeth, some covered in bright red lipstick. 
Otis smiled back to be polite but inched closer to Clark to place some distance between him and Bo Peep. His mom always told him to be polite to girls, but she was so pushy.
 The group finished their masterpieces and turned them into Mr. Smenk, the jack-o-lantern keeper until the big moment at night’s end when the prizes were announced. “Let’s apple bob,” Carla announced, and the group agreed.

“Mom suggested I not bob for apples this year,” Otis stated when they all circled around the enormous, galvanized steel tub filled to the brim with floating red and green apples. “Doesn’t she know it’s like breaking a Halloween law if you don’t?!” Clark asked incredulously. “She said the water is filled with germs,” Otis pointed out. “She’s not wrong. Plus, it’ll wreck my Dracula face.”
 “Hmmm,” Clark contemplated. “I never thought of it that way. It is kinda gross.”
 Their friends dove into the tub, each coming out with an apple in their mouth like a roasted pig. They stood munching and began taunting Clark and Otis for not participating. Peer pressure prevailed. Otis quickly dipped in the least amount of his face as he could and snatched a Granny Smith. Clark gingerly dipped his mouth into the water and nabbed a Red Delicious. The two boys gave each other a knowing look; they were consuming massive amounts of germs, no doubt. But to say anything so practical and adult would reverberate through the entire friend network and leave them as social pariahs, so they chomped on their apples just like their friends.
 Finally, the evening’s grand finale arrived. “Everyone gather ‘round for the jack-o-lantern and scream contests!” Mr. Smenk stood on a raised platform at the far end of the barn, surrounded by the carved creations. He and Mrs. Smenk had placed candles in all of the orange autumn rounds, revealing glowing cut-outs of spooky grimaces, smiling faces, and quirky designs. “Let’s start with the pumpkins, shall we?” Mr. Smenk shouted. The crowd of about fifty children whooped and hollered. They were, indeed, ready. “Alrighty, then!” Mr. Smenk hollered back. “The scariest pumpkin award goes to Louie Nyler!” The crowd roared in appreciation for Louie’s fanged-faced jack-olantern. Louie stepped up to receive a new basketball. He took a bow, which sent the crew into a frenzy. “The prizes are good this year!” exclaimed Clark to Otis. “Hope we win something.” Mr. Smenk ran through a relatively long list of awards, most likely trying to ensure at least most of the kids went home with something more than candy and dollar trinkets. Otis’s friend, Butch, won a new football for his carving that looked like a cat with an arched back. Another friend, Shirley, won a pair of roller-skates for her rendition of a duck and ducklings. Both yelped with glee upon receiving their prizes. Otis was happy for all his friends who won something but felt slightly slighted because he stood empty-handed. He knew his pumpkin wasn’t anything special. But it’s hard to not be a winner standing among winners.
 When Mr. Smenk exhausted his list of pumpkin awards, he shouted, “It’s now time for the screaming contest!” Like a rockstar, his bellows erupted the kids into a wild mass, but most likely, the frenzy resulted from all of them sporting a sugar high. 
 The rules for the screaming contest were simple. There were three categories: loudest, highest-pitched, and scariest.

Anyone could participate. First, ten youngsters lined up and spewed out their loudest caterwaul. Everyone in the barn ended up in fits of laughter and determined Fertis, in fact, achieved the loudest scream. A ghost standing outside the barn confirmed the results. Since Fertis’s parents hosted the party, he somewhat reluctantly gave up a new baseball mitt to the second-place finisher, a Frankenstein-clad Truman Carmichael. Next up, highest-pitched. Nineteen kids crowded the elevated stage area, eighteen females, one male. Clark nestled amongst the girls, a Cheshire-cat smile plastered on his face. He winked at Otis, and Otis laughed. Clark had always been a big flirt but not necessarily much of a screamer. The competition was stiff. Ear-piercing shrills filled the barn rafters, and when it was all said and done, Clark actually won. His prize? A set of bright red Walkie Talkies. “Dude, we can definitely use these!” he punched Otis in the arm. “Yeah, but all those girls are mad at you,” Otis snorted. He stood dejected, however, and his friend took notice. “What’s up with you?” Clark asked. “I haven’t won anything but candy and stuff,” Otis lamented. “I don’t mean to be a baby about it, but I want something cool, too.” “Well, get up on the stage for the last screaming contest, ya dork!” Clark shoved Otis toward the riser. “I can’t scream,” Otis tripped toward the stage. “Then I guess you’re a loser for sure,” Clark shrugged. Again, peer pressure flirted with Otis’s ego. With reckless abandon, he jumped up on stage. Only six other kids felt confident to belt out their scariest holler, one of which was Carla, who made sure to stand next to Otis. Real close. 
 Placed at the end of the line, Otis would go last. He flashed back to Doris letting loose of her prize-winning scream that afternoon. She’d won several years at this very contest when she was younger. Could he duplicate his sister’s hair-raising, blood-curdling shriek? He was jerked out of his thoughts as Carla let loose an un-holy roar that sent shivers up Otis’s spine and shook the rafters above. Holy Sam Hill, she could wake the dead with that! Carla turned to Otis and again flashed her lipstick-stained toothy smile. “Beat that,” she snarked. He saw her in a different light for the first time. She had a mean streak, a competitive snarl. He retorted back, “Listen to this.” Otis closed his eyes, pictured Doris in her room that very afternoon, took in a huge breath, and unleashed everything he had, starting from his toes and conjuring a hair-raising reverberation that would scare away even the hungriest zombies. He let the wail continue until there was no air left in his lungs, which added an unplanned but effective dying croak at the end. The entire barn stood silent, including a stunned Otis. He had no idea he had that in him. Then the applause and shouts of admiration flooded the room. Carla glared at Otis, knowing he’d bested her, and stomped off.

“Otis wins!” Mr. Smenk shouted above the hubbub. “Congratulations! Another Swan screamer in the house!” He patted Otis on the back and presented him with an Ouija Board. Otis absentmindedly took it, focused on enjoying his momentous win. 
Clark rushed over to him. “Dude! I knew you could do it!” he laughed. “And it looks like Carla is mad at you for beating her, so you’re a double winner!” Otis giggled, “I’ve never done that before. I can’t believe I won!” When the clock struck 9pm, everyone’s parents arrived to pick them up. Otis stayed until everyone left and then climbed aboard the Hot Rod. He fired it up, flipped the headlights on, and waved goodbye to Fertis. Moseying his way down the road toward the four corners, Otis started to take in his situation. He was alone in the darkness, the Ouija Board perched on his lap. He knew his mom would freak out if she saw the Ouija Board. A lot of spooky stories swirled around those things, and Otis had heard Mavis scold his siblings for even mentioning the word in the confines of the Swan home. “They’re evil,” she’d chastised Otho and Deanie when they admitted to using one with friends one Hallows Eve. “Go upstairs and say extra prayers tonight. You’re grounded!” Otis turned left at the four corners, and the grange came into his sights. One lone yard light stood by the little wooden structure, giving off a halo of illumination. It made Otis feel safe; he loved the grange and all the wonderful memories he and his family shared with other grange members. Soon it would be time for the annual Christmas pageant. His mind drifted to happy holiday thoughts as he passed the grange and entered the ominous cold stretch between the tall, dark trees. He shivered, maybe out of coldness, but probably more out of fright. I didn’t think this through very well. I shouldn’t be here. Why didn’t I have Mom drive me? I wanted to show off the Hot Rod. I wanted to be like a big kid and come alone. He kicked himself for letting his ego once again get in his own way. But he couldn’t do anything about it now. He urged the Hot Rod to go faster, but it was topped out at max speed, 5mph. At times that felt fast to Otis, but not tonight. He focused ahead, watching the headlights reveal the gravel road and not much more. I’m almost there; I’m almost home. He leaned forward, knowing it wouldn’t help the Hot Rod go faster, but feeling better by doing it. Just keep looking straight ahead. Don’t look at the trees. Don’t look at the trees. But he looked. Every bone in his body went cold. His stomach lurched. And the blood-curdling scream that won him the Ouija Board was nothing compared to what his body threw up into the ebony of the night. Two red eyes leered at him from amid the dense forest. Glowing. Unmoving. Staring. The hair on Otis’s neck stood up. He began to sweat and shake. He launched his newly-found scream at the crimson dots again. Usually, the Hot Rod’s loud roaring engine scared animals away. But those unblinking eyes didn’t flinch. It’s this stupid Ouija Board! It’s bringing out the devil!

For a flash, he thought about ditching the Hot Rod and the Ouija Board and making a run for it but figured then he’d really be a target to whatever creature—or being—stood just yards away. He didn’t run 5mph, so he held tight to the steering wheel, glanced back and forth between the road and those eyes, and, for good measure, let out a few more of his horror-movie cries.

“I think in town for a movie?”

It took an eternity, but finally, he hit the dividing line between forest and farm. He could see the warm, welcoming lights from his house and hoped he’d live to see another day there. Glancing behind him, he scanned the tree line for those devilish points of light.

“Go clean up and get to bed, Otis,” Mavis instructed.

Not knowing if the being was coming for him or not, he took the corner a little too fast into the driveway, tipping the Hot Rod to its limit. Careening into the shed, he bailed off the Hot Rod and rocketed with all he had toward the house. He purposely left the Ouija Board sitting on the seat, not wanting to touch the evil it held anymore. He found himself agreeing for the second time that night with his mother’s logic. But creepy monsters conjured by an Ouija Board were, by far, worse than apple-bobbing germs. Hitting the comfort zone of the porch lights flooding the yard, Otis slowed to a normal pace, sucked in a big breath, trying to calm himself down. He didn’t want to alarm his parents. He wasn’t sure if he’d tell anyone about what lurked in the woods. The familiar creak to the back door opening, followed by the warmth of the kitchen blasting him in the face, gave Otis an overwhelming sense of relief. Home. “How was it?” Mavis asked as Otis walked into the living room. “Huh?” he stared at his mom.

Neither parent seemed worried simply because there was little to worry about in the small farming community. If trouble were to occur, word would hit Mavis and Marvel before the child involved arrived home.

“Ok, good night,” he leaned in and kissed his mom. He then strode over to his dad for one of his bear hugs. Otis held on a little longer than usual, taking in the comforting smell of Marvel’s aftershave and the safeness of his strong arms. Marvel pulled away, “You ok, Otis?”
 “Yes, sir, I’m fine,” Otis pulled away, starting to feel safe in the presence of his parents. “Good night.” He bounded up the stairs to avoid any more questions from them.
 After cleaning up, brushing his teeth, and saying extra prayers— thanking the Big Guy for getting him home safely—he stared up at the ceiling in his room, which was illuminated by the outside yard light casting its glow through his window. He shivered out the last vestiges of fear and tried to calm himself down to sleep. I’m going to ask Grandpa Ed to take the Ouija Board. I don’t care what he does with it. I know I saw something in the woods. I just don’t know what. But that dumb board had something to do with it.
 *** Otho, Cletis, and Grandpa Ed walked down the gravel road past Marvel and Mavis’s house toward Ed’s shed, laughing hysterically at the night’s antics. 
 “Oh, man, and his screams!” Otho roared. “Who knew the kid could belt it out better than Doris?!” “I feel kinda bad we messed with him,” Cletis giggled. “But BOY, was it fun!”

“The party? How was it?” Mavis asked again. “Oh, the party? It was a lot of fun,” Otis smiled to hide the terror he’d felt from those demonic, red eyes. “Glad to hear it,” his dad, Marvel, piped up. “Did you win anything?” “What? Uh, yeah, I actually won for the scariest scream,” Otis related, not wanting to mention the sinister gift still perched on the seat of the Hot Rod.

Ed felt a little bad, too. He’d assisted in terrifying Otis to the point of probably leaving a mental scar. Who knew an old car battery hooked to a couple of tail light bulbs covered with red cellophane would elicit screams from his youngest grandchild, rivaling only a distressed Fay Wray in King Kong? “Now, boys, let’s remember to keep this to ourselves,” he warned. “Your Grandma Helen would frown upon such shenanigans.”

“What?!” both Mavis and Marvel laughed in unison. “Yeah, who knew, right?” Otis chuckled, trying to focus on the conversation. “I thought about Doris, and it just came out. Where is everyone?” “Oh, out and about,” Mavis flipped her hand nonchalantly. “I think Chuck, Doris, and Deanie drove over to the away football game. Gladys is making cookies at your grandparents’. And I have no clue where Otho and Cletis are. Marvel, you know?”


Sept/Oct 2021 79

Finding Fall

by Tony Niccoli I remember the bleachers. Long before the school had built the new stadium and installed those wretched metal abominations, the cause of burned thighs in August and frozen jeans in November. Long before the hill was built up behind the press box to block the crosswinds. When the wood would flex just a little as you first sat down, and bounce like an earthquake every time the home team scored. I remember those bleachers, and every time I do, I smile. It would be years before I was old enough to be out on the field, and so I spent my fall in a steady progression of layers, a transition from Pepsi to hot-chocolate, a season whose success was measured by the length of play. Seeing the last game in a tee shirt or windbreaker almost never happened, but everyone has a rebuilding year now and then. Making it all the way to winter parkas and pom-pom hats meant a trip to state. I grew up on those bleachers, and to this day nothing feels more like fall. I remember the drive to the games. Burgundy station wagon, brother’s car seat with me in the back. The back roads in Ohio felt like a Technicolor tunnel that time of year. We passed under outstretched branches that started with a rich abundance of greenery. It would be light out, the shade welcomed as it blotted the late summer heat. By late September, those same branches would be just beginning to show some signs of change. That same drive in mid-October was made just before sky began to soften, but the remaining light bounced beautifully off those orange, red, and yellow polka dots that blurred past closed windows on crisp afternoons. I would stare out and watch the season pass before my eyes, one trip at a time. I didn’t realize then that we were cutting through a National Park to get to the games. We just called it the woods back then, and I guess I must have assumed that every area looked this way. It was a good year when you still made the drive in November. The leaves had given up any hope of hanging on. Their yellow and brown carcasses scattered along the side of the asphalt as the car whirled past in the evening dusk. In November the bleachers would bounce and the cowbells would clang. Every pass was a party by November, every score a symphony echoing across an otherwise silent town. Even through mittens, the clapping of a few hundred hands could almost out-sing the wind.

A few years later, I started watching it from a lower perspective. Looking up at those new metal bleachers, then realizing that if I stopped running, even for a moment, the wind was going to punish my stillness. I used to wonder if the sweat would freeze on the side of my face as I watched my breath billow and cloud.

But then I remember the bleachers. And how they were fall. Maybe for you it was different. A certain candle, a smell of cooking, a hand-me-down beanie, or that first day of warm wool socks. Maybe for you it was an alternative sport or tradition. A feeling in your heart. Whatever it was, and wherever you found it – it was fall. The changing, the winding down, the point where a school year was feeling now well established and no longer novel and fresh. When the closet got shifted. The first time in months that you had dug to the back of those drawers. The last day of driving with the windows cracked, or the first day carrying a scarf. Fall is where it always was.

And now, it seems to come a little later every year. It could be my disconnection from the traditions that used to frame my season. It could be the marking of Halloween and Thanksgivings shifting my perspective away from the gradual march that was prescribed by the passing of game-days. And, in an ever-changing world, it just might be the incessant cycle of late summer fires, unprecedented heat waves, perpetual droughts, and uncertainty of autumn timing. Sweater weather seems to be a thing of the past. I turn off the AC at the end of October and immediately feel like I need gas up the snow blower. I sweat on our after-dinner walks for as long as the sun remains in the sky, and then move directly to a winter coat and gloves by the time we get our first evening walk in the dusk. The autumn equinox, no longer the harbinger of crisp mornings, and fuzzy flannel has become to me the day we put away the bathing suits, and wax the snowboards. I remember, and then long for that special something that used to come between.

Uncompliant weather patterns be darned. Autumn will always be, and where it lives best is in the heart. The memory. The tradition, the commemoration. This year, I’m taking back my fall, and I’m starting it early. Slowly easing in, and savoring every moment. I don’t want to rush the end of summer. In fact, I still have a few adventures left in me this year. But I’m ready to face the start of fall even if it isn’t ready for me. With a simple reminiscence, I’m back there. In the old station wagon, puttering along the twisted lane. Burnt-orange leaves releasing their grasp in the wind of our wake. The window half down – as far as back seats would allow those days before the plastic crank hit the end of its travel. The sleeve of my wool coat flapping as I cup my hand and surf the waves of the oncoming fall breeze. I know where we’re going tonight, and I know that the old green thermos on the seat next to my brother’s booster is full of rich, creamy chocolate decadence. The home-knit beanie from grandma atop the heavy grey blanket that starts the night as a seat pad and ends as necessary wrap. I see the trees breaking as we pull onto the main road on the other side of the woods. I can feel the bounce of the old wooden bleachers; hear the stomping of the feet.

If it wasn’t for the annual societal screaming of “Pumpkin Spice” I would be lost. You might ask me when fall happens, and I’d point to the calendar page for March as I shrug in disbelief. We had a saying in Ohio, and for years I thought it was clever and original. I later came to find that they have that saying everywhere on planet earth, and possibly written into the operating codes for the rovers we send to Mars. It goes something like, “if you don’t like the weather in [place] just wait five minutes and it will change.” It’s a trusty staple of small talk the world around, and an altruism that is stunning in both is simplicity, accuracy, and comedic longevity. But here I sit, astride the final days of summer, patiently watching scores of five minutes pass. The weather just doesn’t change. Sure, it intensifies. It ebbs, and it alludes. But I’m once again writing an article for September-October publication in the dreamy hum of chilly, conditioned air. My windows closed to hide away from the smoke. I remember the days of soft autumn breezes. The excitement of the first light jacket. Being able to wear a flannel over a tee shirt and still feel just a touch too cool. I remember waffle print long johns. Warm apple cider fresh from the farm. Gourds growing in side-yards. I pine for my autumn and feel my hopes fall.


This is how I want fall served this year. Slow and steady, one game at a time. Hoping that the feeling never ends, or at least goes on until mid-November quarterfinals. And so you might just see me next month, wearing a flannel in 80-degree weather. Following on a week later with mittens and coco even though I’m starting to sweat. If fall won’t come find me anymore, I’m setting out to find fall. Maybe I should just give in to the pumpkin spice. This year, I think I will.

Sept/Oct 2021 82

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