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You made me cry! You made me cry at the salon, the gas station, on the street, on the phone and over email. Seriously, there hasn’t been a day that has gone by that someone hasn’t called, emailed or stopped me to say how much they loved Home&Harvest and it’s made me cry tears of happiness and joy every time. I can’t thank you enough for the outpouring of love and acceptance, not only from a new small business owner, but from a young woman who was a little afraid to publish her first print magazine. I need to call attention to our incredible advertisers. It is such a wonderful thing to have people believe in you and to do business with you. I hope you enjoy all of the fun, retro ads we’ve created for you- all designed to make you smile and think. It is so important for you to support the businesses that support us- they are the reasons this magazine exists and is free. I wouldn’t be anything without my advertisers and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for supporting this local gal’s dream. You are giving our community a wonderful gift and I hope you love this issue and seeing your ad in print! I also couldn’t do this without the support from my amazing husband. Not only does he work a full time job, he finds time on his days off to write articles, help with the magazine and keeps me smiling even on deadline. I also appreciate all of you who have helped deliver or hand out magazines (I’m talking to you, mom, Heidi, Shannon, Dawn, Jenifer and the fabulous ladies at The Bean Farm)! We’ve got some great reads for you this issue. Joining us is the famous writer Cheryl Reed, teaching us all something I personally knew nothing about: the history of Moscow Mountain! We’ve also brought on a new talented writer and you probably know her: Ashley Centers. She interviews an awesome local musician. We were lucky to get local aspiring pilot LJ Bake to spare her words on the view from above, Debbie Evans writes a touching story in the Vintage Palouse section about how she fell in love at the Varsity Café in Moscow, and Annie Gebel talks about why you should just “be” for your New Year’s resolution. And guys, take note of my husband’s article on picking out flowers for your partner. Valentine’s Day is coming and this is the perfect time to step up your floral game. We were also lucky enough to have some talented photographers and even a fine artist in this issue! All of our contributors work so hard to give you the gift of their work and I’m proud to print them. Finally, no matter what happens in our community, we are a loving, welcoming and positive force, and I’ve lived that every day of my life here. I created Home&Harvest to be a celebration of all of the good in our lives and in our hometowns. I hope you know how proud I am to call this place home and have neighbors like all of you. Thank you for reading this magazine. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for making me cry. I hope you love this so much you make me cry again!


Heather Niccoli, Editor In Chief, Home&Harvest Magazine

Ashley Centers|Annie Gebel|Dawn Evans Joe Evans|Cheryl Reed|Jessica Wall|LJ Bake Brandi Roberts|Ben Schoeffler|Rachel Miller Debbie Evans|Suzanne Johnson|Emory Ann Kurysh Tony Niccoli|Heather Niccoli

PHOTOgRaphERs Dave Dail Photography Amy McCall Photography

Andy Sewell


ublisher tony niccoli






heather niccoli


ales po box 9931 moscow, id 83843

Cell 208.596.5400 office 208.596.4434

vintage palouse

in this issue how to make the prettiest dessert

making macarons

how one woman found love in a local cafe

2 0 2 6

reloadin' joe

joe evans on the art of reloading your own ammunition

3 dustin sipes

why you should hit the open road

let it be

0 5 5

a super sweet and simple craft

diy deer plate

think you can’t decorate with vintage? think again

vintage decorating

a local musician who’s playing his heart out

2 9 32 3 6

ThatStill Air

words|photos by L.J. Bake


As we pass through the shortest days of the year, most of the natural world sleeps. Yet, we humans of the inland northwest trudge on as if the sun isn’t just barely skimming across the southern horizos. If you’re anything like me, your typical winter days begin with a pre-dawn awakening. You drive to work in the dim morning light and spend your day indoors under fluorescent lights. You leave after the sun has set, and go home to eat dinner, go to bed and do it all again tomorrow. You may feel like you’re just treading water. I, for one, don’t much enjoy water. If you read the last issue, you know my soul longs for the sky. But right now, even the longing feels like too much effort, and it’s been far too long since I’ve been aloft. Like her feathered flesh-and-blood cousins, John’s silver-skinned airplane sleeps, too. She’s waiting on an annual, which is like a plane’s yearly check-up. He recently transitioned to a civilian career in farming after ten years in the Army, and even winter work leaves free time for flying in short supply. When skies are clear, the air this time of year is actually excellent for flight. It’s cool and dense, which makes for great engine performance. It’s usually still, leading to less turbulence. Though we’ve been lacking in snowfall, the Palouse is still a sight to behold from above in all seasons. Of course, winter flying is not without risks, which every aviator knows to prepare for. We must watch carefully for weather conditions that can lead to ice forming on the plane’s surfaces or inside the carburetor. Proper preventative maintenance and pre-flight checks are a must. While that’s true for any time of year, a remote emergency landing in December may be significantly more dramatic than a remote emergency landing in July; the best way to deal with such emergencies is to avoid them in the first place. But, because even perfect preparation cannot guarantee a perfect outcome, it’s important to be equipped for winter survival in the event we have to wait on rescuers. Mental preparations are just as important as physical. Be aware of limitations induced by cold and darkness. Don’t race weather. Give yourself time to get where you’re going, and don’t let frustration get the best of you when your flight plan doesn’t turn out as intended. Appreciate winter for what it is, and remember that the long, warm days of summer are only a few months ahead. With them will come trips into the strips at Moose Creek and Fish Lake, flip-flops and swim trunks and fishing poles in hand. I’m reminded, as I tell you these things, that flying is the best metaphor for life I’ve ever found. Enjoy the best, prepare for the worst, and remember the next flight is a new start. Tomorrow is another day. By the time you read this, the Palouse will have slipped past the winter solstice. The sun will be climbing a little higher each day, and I’ll almost be leaving work before it disappears to the west. Most of us will have packed away our holiday decorations and may be getting a head-start on planning


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our spring gardens and summer vacations. Hopefully we all have a little more energy, a little more daylight, and a clear picture of where we want to go in 2015. If I may make a suggestion for your new year’s flight plan: Try something novel, preferably something that scares or intimidates you at least a little bit. Change from time to time and surmounting obstacles are how we grow! Of course, I’d recommend taking to the skies, at the very least as a passenger -- but better yet, as a student. Discover for yourself the unparalleled thrill you’ll experience the first time your instructor says, “You have the controls.” Just a few instruction hours later you’ll be making your first unassisted landing, and a few hours past that, you’ll reach the coveted first “solo” flight. I’m just shy of the solo, myself, but John tells me it was one of the best days of his life. His instructor hopped out of the lesson plane and told him to take two or three laps around the traffic pattern. He thinks he made nine before his instructor finally got on the radio and asked if he was ever planning on coming down. I know I need to stop just talking about it, and hurry up and make some calls and get penciled in for my next round of flight lessons. This still air won’t last forever!

In March of 1871, Brothers Asbury and Noah Lieuallen came upon a serene, undisturbed valley sprawled below a 10-mile long mountain range. They were so impressed with the rich soil and picturesque scenery, they staked a claim and built a home. Natives of the area called the place Tat-kin-mah, or “Place of the spotted deer.” The Lieuallens’ lush valley didn’t stay a secret for long. Soon the area became known as Hog Heaven, then Paradise Valley, and later Moscow. The first mail route to the area was established in 1872 by horseback from Lewiston, and in 1875 the first store was opened on Main Street. In 1877, Samuel Neff, reminded of his hometown of Moscow, Pennsylvania, filed for a postal permit using the same name, and 10 years later Moscow became incorporated. A year later, Latah County became the only county to have ever been created by an act of Congress, and in 1890 Idaho became the 43rd state of the Union. Through all these rapid changes, the distant mountain range stood fairly undisturbed, its dense forests and secrets safe—until the discovery of ore. By the time the town of Moscow became incorporated, gold and other ores had been discovered on Moscow Mountain, attracting swarms of people to the area with hopes of wealth. Moscow Mountain is the westernmost extension of the Bitterroot Mountains, extending from east to west and looming 4,983 feet at its summit. The summit affords an amazing view as far away as the Seven Devil Mountains on a clear day—more than 100 miles away. Today, locals know Moscow Mountain as a treasure trove of recreational opportunities, even though through the years the area has been ravaged by logging, mining, and occasional vandals.

staking claims

For years, gold was taken from the ledges of Moscow Mountain by the arastra process, a system built from local materials that pulverized the ores using large blocks of stone attached to beams. A 1900 edition of the Mining American reported that workmen had struck a gold vein 3 feet wide at the White Cross mine of “the richest ore ever found on Moscow Mountain.” The White Cross Mining Company’s capital stock divided into 1,000,000 shares of a par value of 10 cents each.


Jan/Feb 2015


Moscow mountain tfaces he manyof

by cheryl reed

The property of the company on Moscow Mountain assayed from $10 to $50 per ton in gold. The Gold Bug mining claim on the east side of Moscow Mountain and the Silver White mica mining properties were eventually deeded to the Gold Creek Consolidated Mining Company, which sunk a 100 foot shaft on the Belmont claim on the east side of the Mountain. Because of the gold rush, the population of Idaho increased from 14,999 in 1870 to 161,772 in 1900. The first quartz mill in the country was operated on a ledge on Moscow Mountain, owned by Dr. Worthington and D.C. Mitchell, and in 1881, mica was also discovered near Moscow by J.T. Woody. In a short time a number of other mines were staked. A 1900 edition of Mining: Journal of the Northwest Mining Association states, “The Moscovite Mica mine has a carload of mica at Troy awaiting shipment. The mine is being worked steadily, and large quantities of mica are being taken out. A new tunnel is being run to tap the vein about 300 feet below the present workings, which will place the mine in a position to produce large quantities of the finest mica ever mined in the U.S.� Although mica was once rare and expensive, today it is used extensively in building compounds such as gypsum wallboard, drilling fluids, automobile fascia and fenders, and asphalt shingles—to name a few. Because of mining, Moscow Mountain would never be the same. Over time, most of the mines would be depleted, shut down and boarded over and the quiet, serene life of the Palouse would return. Residents would forget the riches that were once mined from the mountain and would again learn to appreciate the richness of its beauty and serenity.

the lookout

At the summit of East Moscow Mountain is the site of a former lookout that was built in 1934 to help the Forest Service detect forest fires. The 40-foot round tower was the site of a demonstration in 1956 of the then high-tech use of television and microwave radio delays to detect forest fires.


Jan/Feb 2015


“A 1900 edition of the Mining American reported that workmen had struck a gold vein 3 feet wide...�

The conference was sponsored by the University of Idaho colleges of forestry and engineering and about 50 people were invited. The lookout served its purpose for many years and was eventually abandoned to become amusement to visitors, who longed for a more spectacular view of the Palouse. Many local residents can probably recall climbing the ladder to see the view. In 1981 the lookout tower was sold to a private party and removed—although some lingering parts are still clearly visible if you search closely.

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the ski area

My family moved to Troy in 1965, and in 1966, land was cleared for a ski area on the east/southeast slope of Moscow Mountain. From our house on Orchard Loop, I watched through binoculars as trees and brush were cleared and equipment put in place for Tamarack Ski Area. A three-story, A-frame ski lodge was built, along with a T-bar and a rope tow. After Tamarack opened, I delighted in watching skiers on the mountain, just small specks from my perspective on Orchard Loop several miles away. The site was open intermittently for several years because of varying snowfall. The city of Troy owned the land, but with an elevation of only 3,800 to 4,400 feet, the snow depth was often unpredictable and the leaseholders had difficulty making the business profitable. The ski area eventually shut down and sat abandoned for many years. In 1992, Latah County seized the equipment and buildings because of unpaid back taxes and put the property up for auction. There were no takers, so the leaseholders agreed to pay back the taxes after the sale of the T-bar lift, which was purchased by Cottonwood Butte Ski Area. The A-Frame lodge was later demolished, but the parking lot is still used today for hikers, bikers, and cross-country skiers. For a few years, the old ski area was a great, although treacherous, sledding hill, but today it is overgrown with brush and trees and probably only apparent to those who knew it was once there. Moscow Mountain is a sacred place of many wonders. Palouse residents value all she has to offer, and welcome her gifts to newcomers and visitors, hoping that they, too, will appreciate and protect her serene beauty.

photo credit: Alison Meyer original artwork : Andy Sewell


latah county historical society

Butts at the Varsity Cafe

By Debbie Evans


In looking through the pages of the newly released Home&Harvest Magazine I came upon a picture of downtown Moscow with the paragraph below asking to share your memories. I thought yes, indeed. Old downtown Moscow and I was fresh from New York in the early 70’s. Moscow felt so quaint and I enjoyed walking around and talking to everyone. One place in particular I loved was the Varsity Cafe! My first time there was on a date, as a young handsome man had asked if I would like to get a cup of coffee with him. You bet, I told him. I can remember so clearly as we entered through the back door of the Varsity Cafe. You could see the old soda counter and the leather booths, just the right size for a young couple to snuggle in. The waitress asked, “What ca I get ya?” My date smiled and said. “We will have two butts and two coffees with cream.” My, I thought, what’s that? As we were waiting, I noticed the small jukebox tucked into the back wall of our booth and it was full of tunes. We put in two bits and made a few selections – what fun! Just then the smell of coffee filled the room and as I looked up I was being served a cup of coffee along with a round pastry with just the right amount of melted butter on it. The aroma was heavenly! As I enjoyed every bite of my butt (which I learned was the local lingo for butterhorn…) and never having one before all I could think of was yum! We spent many wonderful hours and ate many meals at the Varsity, especially that winter, sitting in the round front booth overlooking Main Street in all of its Christmas splendor with snow falling so softly. That handsome man and I planned our wedding for that next spring, always enjoying our two butts and coffees. p.s. That young man and I? We’ll be married 40 years this spring!


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Flank Flame to

Or “the marvel of marinating misconceptions and their myriad mistakes”

by tony niccoli

I lit my evenly spaced coals and the half bottle of lighter fluid ensured a quick flame. After about 30 seconds of waiting for the grill to get to temperature, I pulled the pork chops out of a bowl full of barbeque sauce and threw them on the grates. I turned them every 1-2 minutes and made sure to pour extra beer on so they wouldn’t dry out. No one starts life as a grill master… The scene above – all true – comes from one of the first times I ever attempted to harness the incredible power of flame for cooking. The mistakes (too many to even count) all led to severely burnt pork chops that were somehow both dry and horribly undercooked. Today I want to talk about one of those many mistakes. Why did I have the pork chops sitting in a bowl of barbeque sauce to begin with? It all started with a misconception of the principles of marinating. So let’s take a close look at Marinades, Brines and Rubs – their purposes and their fundamental components.


These are primarily based on acid. The real purpose of a marinade is to change the proteins in your meat and make it tenderer so a marinade is best used for tougher cuts. They work great with beef, lamb, any game and even vegetables. I prefer to use citrus, vinegar or red wine for my acid base and then add oil or honey and any herbs or aromatics I plan to use. Always remember to separate out some of the marinade if you plan to use it as a glaze or sauce later – once the raw meat goes in a marinade it should never be reused. Add your glaze in the last 3 minutes of grilling and you have just enough time to caramelize any sugars into a crispy coating without allowing them to burn. Marinades can tenderize tough meat and impart bold flavors but don’t overdo it – minimum 45 minutes for smaller cuts and maximum 24 hours for very large items. Always marinate or brine in the refrigerator.


Jan/Feb 2015



These are designed to prevent leaner meats from drying out during cooking. All brines are salt based. At first they seem very counter-intuitive; it’s easy to assume the salt water will dry out the meat, and in the beginning that’s exactly what it does. But as more water passes out of the cells, equilibrium is reached and then the water in the cells of the meat and the flavorful brine intermingle and flow freely. This causes the flavors of the brine and some of its salt to pass into the meat. The end result is subtle flavoring and meat that stays tender and moist when you cook it. You can keep it simple with 1 cup of salt to one gallon of water and add sugar, spices and aromatics. Fully submerge for 1 hour per pound. Remember to rinse and pat the meat dry after you brine and allow some time for the moisture to be sucked in from the skin or surface. This is your go-to for poultry, pork or hearty fish like salmon.


These are all about adding surface flavor and texture. A simple rub can go on just before the meat hits the grill so there is much less prep time required. It can impart flavor and aroma and will also allow you to develop a crust. Try to avoid high concentrations of sugar as it is more likely to burn quickly on the extreme heat of a grill. A little moisture will allow the rub to stick to the meat, but is not a necessity. I like to use a tiny drizzle of refined peanut oil or extra light olive oil (they have very high smoke point which is essential for grilling). The most basic rub is just salt and pepper, but you can throw in almost any dry, ground spice from coffee to cumin to chili powder or coriander. Now it’s up to you – experiment with brines, marinades and rubs to take your grilling to the next level. Just remember that when you are grilling, you should never pour beer on any meat. Unless that meat is your tongue. Enjoy!


Jan/Feb 2015



JAM MUFFINS 2 cups all-purpose flour 3 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup white sugar 1 egg, beaten 3/4 cup milk 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 cup any flavor fruit jam Preheat oven to 400 degrees F Stir together the flour, flou baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a hole in the center of the batter. In a seperate bowl beat egg, milk and oil together. Pour all at once into the hole in the flour mixture. Mix quickly and lightly until moistened, do not beat. The batter will be lumpy. Gently stir in jam. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 25 minutes or until golden.



Photos + Kitchen:

Rachel Mil er

1 cup of powder sugar 3/4 cup of almond flour 2 eggs whites 2 1/2 Tablespoons of sugar

>>>DiReCtIoNs>>> Sift almond flour and powder sugar in a separate bowl. In another bowl whisk egg whites and sugar into a meringue until you achieve stiff peaks. Add meringue to dry ingredients in thirds until all the dry ingredients are saturated. Fold until the mixture reaches a lava like consistency. Pour batter into a piping bag and pipe 1 inch rounds on to parchment paper lined baking sheets. Bake at 300 degrees for 7 minutes, they should have formed a “pia,” or a fluffy cookie foot, and then rotate, bake for another 7 minutes. Once the cookies are easy to remove without sticking they are done! Let cool, pipe a filling of your choice between 2 cookie halves and eat!


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Jan/Feb 2015


diy deer plate supplies

toy reindeer plates crazy glue paint (spray or acrylic)

MY CARE MY WAY who IS experts understand me

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Coat the toy deer with paint. Once dry, add crazy glue to the bottoms of their hooves. Stick deer to the plates, and let dry once again.


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Make it Mod heather niccoli

If I had a nickel for every time my husband said I couldn’t spray paint something, I’d probably earn at least $5 to take to the thrift store and find something else to spray paint! Giving a new look to something is so easy with the new line of plastic-friendly spray paint. They barely drip or run and the local hardware store always has tons of colors to choose from. Right now I’ve got at least 20 cans of different colors and I’m always picking up more. Here are some truly simple, easy projects for you to enjoy. If you haven’t noticed, I really love that retro, saturated mod color look. Here’s how you can get it, too!

Vintage bread baskets


These vintage bread baskets are always at the thrift store and cost roughly $2 each. Make sure you clean them with soap and water and dry thoroughly. Most people insist on using spray paint primer and lightly sanding your item before painting. Primer is a usually a good idea, but most of the time sanding is not necessary. Let each coat of spray paint dry completely before the next coat.

With hundreds of Rust-Oleum products to choose from, we have a solution for any project!




retro coffee table

the tOy rOOm...


After Rust-Oleum Spray Paint (Flat & Gloss); Rust-Oleum Crystal Enamel

...eveN fOr the OutdOOr mINI bar!

I am usually not a fan of painting retro mod furniture, especially anything Danish from the 1960’s. The mod look is all about simplicity and restoration. This was a $5 laminate coffee table that had deep gouges and scratches on it that couldn’t be restored no matter what I did. A little bit of light sanding to prime the laminate and remove the candle wax and voila! After a few coats of turquoise you have a new mod end table.

Rust-Oleum Dry Erase Paint Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Tint Base

Take a simple wine rack and turn it mod by choosing any retro-esque color. I chose orange and hand-painted the insides with gold paint. The result? 1960’s fab!

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Mod wine rack

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vintage decorating by brandi roberts Decorating! It is a lot of fun but can be a real challenge at times. You can get so wrapped up in making sure that things match and that they are from the same color family or the same era. Does that go with my curtains or my couch? Who cares if it matches! I say you should decorate with what you like. It really doesn’t matter if it is new, old, or used- or should I say “vintage.” I love this word. It is probably highly over used but it is a great way to describe so many things. Typically when someone uses the term vintage it refers to at least a decade ago, but this can vary widely! Vintage decorating can be named “shabby chic,” or “French glam.” Personally, I’ve been decorating this way for as long as I can remember. So, here are a few ways to get that classic and romantic farm look without having to buy new stuff that can break your budget. Our area is a goldmine for vintage, you just might not know it yet. First, look around your house and find 10 or 12 things that you have had in your house for a long time. Actually don’t limit yourself to inside of the house, check outside by the garage, your barn, or your yard. Common items you may find are a great old frame with no glass. This is perfect! You could take 3 vintage wire flower frogs that were your grandmother’s and arrange them in the center of the frame on the wall for a great display of the things you love. Found an old cowboy boot? Plant yourself some pansies in it! That beautiful vintage vase that you never use makes a great toothbrush holder. Just because it is not meant to sit, hang on the wall or from the ceiling doesn’t mean it can’t. The best part is you get to be creative and your home will be full of lovely vintage touches.


Jan/Feb 2015 32

See how easy it is? You really don’t have to rush out and buy all “new” items. When you visit your local antique or thrift store you will have a different perspective. You’ll understand why you’ll see old horseshoes used as hooks on the wall or old wooden crates attached to the wall and used as shelving. Use these ideas and always pick up an item or two to add to your collection. It’s so much fun to swap things out to freshen things up. Remember, vintage is for everyone, you just might not know it yet!

Roses are red, violets are purple a guide to getting her flowers...

by Tony Niccoli

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching – but don’t let that be the only day of the year you pick out flowers for your wife of girlfriend. Knowing a little about bouquet selection takes most of the uncertainty and fear out of shopping for flowers. The dozens – if you have never gone with the classic “dozen roses,” make sure you do at some point. This has been the quintessential Valentines gift for years and is said to perfectly convey love and desire. Closed buds are best, and you want them to last so feel the bottom for give. Look for tightly closed buds, not a fully opened flower. Try something new this year if roses are old hat or just aren’t your style. A simple, handpicked bouquet will let her know you put in the effort to customize the gift to her. My wife had previous experience as a florist so I was pretty intimidated the first time I tried, but it’s really quite easy and most shops are happy to help. Start with a plan for the vase. If you know she has a favorite, or you are going to buy one, try to get enough buds to make it look full without being crowded. You could pick her favorite color and get several different types of flowers that all share that color theme and then add some filler or one or two off-colors for depth. Let the different shapes, sizes and textures of the flowers be the variation here. You can also go the opposite route and try to have an explosion of color. Mix flowers of the same type in varied colors, or all different types of flowers in all different colors to make something both unique and cheery. You can have them wrapped as a simple bouquet that will need to be clipped to size and arranged later or have the florist do the full arrangement if you are buying the vase there. If you go with the bouquet be sure to let the florist know if it will be a while before you get the flowers into water so they can provide tubes. Grocery stores are also a great place to look if you are on a budget. If the florist is in they will usually remove the plastic bag and wrap the flowers in paper for a more finished look. There is no wrong selection, and knowing that the arrangement was picked out personally to match her taste or favorite colors will make it even more special.

Dustin Sipes words | photos Ashley Centers

The first time I met Dustin, 23, I was facing down the biggest hill on campus trying to figure out just how I was going to get to the bottom safely when he walked right up to me and asked where I was going. He seemed so at ease with himself and the world that by the time we made it to the bottom of the hill I not only knew I had a new friend but a new friend with impeccable taste in music. It wouldn’t be much longer until I realized that Dustin was a talented musician in his own right. His sound is pretty familiar but comes with just the right twist. “It’s kind of a weird mashup of sounds. It’s really hard to nail down, because performing live all I can really do as a one-man show is acoustic stuff,” Dustin said. “So those are the renditions everyone hears and that I’m most used to playing; but in my head I can hear versions of the whole song coming together, and it’s all so complete in there that I often see my sound differently than others do. I also draw from such an eclectic variety that the sounds I see myself doing in the future and even the sounds I’m starting to write up now are a challenge to solidify.” The Seattle native said as he’s grown so have his taste in music and songwriting capabilities. Heavily sheltered as a child, he was only allowed to listen to opera and select Christian artists but after moving to Payette, Idaho his father introduced him to Guns N’ Roses and from there, Dustin developed a deep love for music that he will carry with himself for life. Dustin started writing music in high school with his longtime friend Anthony and said he doesn’t see the musical journey or personal growth stopping anytime soon. He’s definitely busier now, with his wife attending classes at University of Idaho, their two toddlers, and a full-time job, than he was in high school but said he finds time for music because it’s the most important thing in his life besides his family. “Things never get easier; I’ve learned that about life. Things never get easier but as things get harder my tolerance goes up and I can deal with more. So as things get harder I plan on working as much as I can and living as much as I can,” Dustin said. He doesn’t have a lot of extra time to devote to music but the first time I heard him play I was convinced that he needs some more exposure. He could be famous. That is, he could be famous if he wanted to be. Family comes first for him. He said he wants to be around to watch his children grow up and help support his wife on her journey through school. He couldn’t allow himself to make it big or leave to go on tour if it means leaving his family behind and the road isn’t the right place for his family. Dustin said he does enjoy playing local venues though and wouldn’t pass up the opportunity for another show.

“What little time I have (before a show) I usually spend around at least a friend or two,” he said. “Their support usually helps me calm my nerves. Aside from that, I just try to think about why I’m doing what I’m doing, all the reasons that I love my music and need to perform it for people, otherwise I get so caught up and terrified in the idea of performing that I fail miserably.” Writing his own music and performing covers of everything from Fall Out Boy to Ed Sheeran to Bastille to The Decemberists, Dustin said he also makes it a point to cover lesser-known indie music artists because he relates to their struggle and enjoys their music. He’s all about helping others, musicians in particular, in the pursuit of their goals.

Approximately every other Wednesday he promotes an indie musician on his YouTube channel by covering one of their songs. Besides covering other musicians he’s is working on two different EP’s that will be released within the next year full of his own music that he’s been writing, refining, and polishing since he first began playing guitar and singing in high school. Dustin said that music will always be a part of his life in some form or another. “To chase my dream, all it’s really going to take is time,” he said. “And dedication obviously, but time mostly, which there never seems to be enough of. My definition of chasing the dream evolved pretty rapidly from high school on, as my wife and I got married a year after I graduated and we had our daughter the year after that; obviously it’s not as simple as dedication and practice and putting myself out there any more, and it hasn’t been since our daughter was born. Now it’s evolved into finding the time and practicality for those things among my big boy responsibilities, and I hope that one day that becomes easier to do. I don’t think what it takes for me to chase the dream will keep evolving so much as what the dream IS and what the dream means to me and my family and my music and the people I want to reach with it will keep evolving.” What I think? Go to one of his shows. If it’s the last thing you do, go to one of Dustin’s shows and let his smooth voice serenade you into a place of pure bliss. I know my world is better with his music in it and I can almost guarantee yours will be too. You can find Dustin’s music on YouTube, Soundcloud, and Facebook. Happy listening!


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If you’re sick of seeing airbrushed models in magazines who represent only one size, age, and shape, I’ve got something special for you. If you’re tired of reading negative articles about why your husband cheats, or how you can lose 20 lbs in a week, I understand. That’s why I created HaveHeart. Haveheart is one of the world’s first and only meaningful media, all-women-are-beautiful magazines. Our cover women are everyday ladies doing extraordinary things with their lives. We don’t remove fine lines, wrinkles, or alter photos of women’s bodies. Yes, we do occasionally filter like hipsters gone wild, but that’s because we happen to love the retro look! I launched HaveHeart magazine in January of 2014, and it’s free, you only have to visit us online. I’m including a special excerpt of it in Home&Harvest Magazine for two reasons. First, I feel this is a great step to empowering women and redefining beauty. Secondly, many of HaveHeart’s writers and cover women are from our local area! Please enjoy these articles and feel free to join our facebook group: Not All About Beauty, follow us on twitter, pinterest, instagram and facebook: HaveHeart Magazine. Enjoy!

-Heather Niccoli, Editor In Chief

Be By Annie Gebel

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. A few years ago a friend suggested picking a theme to live by instead, one word to saturate my thoughts and influence who I was for a year. This idea completely appealed to me. I chose the word “be,” which has helped me bring my life into focus for the last four years and become a way to define myself – to myself, you know when I’m having great conversations about life in the mirror. Anyway… be. At that time in my life I was a bit overwhelmed with everything, multitasking much too often and feeling like all the plates I was juggling were going to crash in a loud mess any day. I thought about the word simplify, but I was so entwined in all that I was doing that the idea of stepping out of anything seemed like it might also unravel me. I couldn’t even put into words why everything was so important to me, but in my heart and my gut, I felt like I was where I needed to be, doing what I needed to do. I just needed to find a way to do it all. I thought about what I wanted in my life, how I could create changes. If I wasn’t willing to simplify, how could I improve my mental health in the midst of the chaos? I found myself thinking about how I wanted to be more loving, be more thankful, be more joyful, be more intentional, and be more present. The common thread was “be more.” In my friend’s challenge I was only allowed one word so I shortened it to “be.” Such a little word with so much potential. I found that this tiny word could impact my life in great ways (which is why I’ve kept it as my theme all the years since) and that by being I didn’t need to be more, what I was being was enough.


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I know that resolutions work well for some people, but they never did for me. They created undue pressure (yes, I know it was all in my head, applied by me) and I always felt like I was focusing on the negative in my life and trying to fix it. That didn’t sit well with me. So a decade or so ago I stopped making resolutions and started creating goals. I did this (and still do) year round, though. My goals are always in the positive. I focus on enriching my life, reaching some new height, rather than doing less, weighing less, eating less. I try to see my life as one that can always use improvement, tweaking, and encouragement instead of wasting my energy feeling like I’ve failed all year long and NOW is my only chance to fix it – that’s how resolutions left me feeling. I know that’s not the case for everyone, though. And if you find success in resolving to improve some aspect of your life – yay! Don’t let me stop you! If you’re like me, though, why not stop beating yourself up? I still make goals when I see that I need to. But I now center myself around the word, my theme, be. I find that if I’m not enjoying life it’s because I’m not following through with being present in the activity at hand. For example, when I’m contentedly clicking away on the computer and the kids ask me to play a game. Sometimes I say, “Not right now, I’m in the middle of an article,” but I set up a time to put the computer down and pay them attention. Other times I ask them to get it out and set up while I finish up a sentence or paragraph and then I put the computer down and give my presence to my kids.

Every now and then I’ll say, “Fine, just a minute,” and shut my laptop and huff into the kitchen to play. And everything they do and say annoys me. My daughter’s laugh, my son’s sarcasm. If I notice this behavior and mindset, I realize now that it’s because I’m not being present. I still want to be writing and thinking about that task rather than enjoying time with the kids. So, if I catch myself I take a deep breath or three and work on being joyful in my play. Now, I’m not perfect and I still get overwhelmed or frustrated, but I think I notice it more often and can better balance my moods. I enjoy being a work in progress. I enjoy being. Maybe this theme strategy can work for you too. I’d love to hear what word you choose as your theme for your year on Not All About Beauty, the Facebook discussion forum associated with HaveHeart Magazine. Maybe you’ll choose love, simplify, family, or happy. Whatever you go with, maybe you’ll find freedom in a theme, like me, and simply be.

coffee &tentacles by jessica wall


My daughter Abby had it all. She and I used to spend hours rocking in the rocking chair, reading books together, making cookies, swinging at the park, going for walks, and painting her tiny little toenails. We went out for coffee (me- a coffee, and her- her own little handmade chocolate milk with whipped cream and chocolate sauce), went shopping all the time, and generally enjoyed a fun and carefree lifestyle. Then something happened… something that ROCKED her world. Her baby brother was born. My husband and I read every piece of literature we could get our hands on to prepare her for the arrival of her new sibling. We scoured the Internet and talked for hours about what life would be like with two kidsand how things would change for the youngest member of our family. We explained things to her in the best way we knew how to, and read her children’s books about new siblings when we were at a loss for words. We knew it would be tough at times, but we had no way of knowing just how incredibly challenging those times would be. Some friends of ours watched Abby while I was in the hospital with the baby. She had a great time at their house, playing for hours with their kids. When they brought her to the hospital to meet her baby brother (the day after he was born), we sat down on the floor with him in our arms and had her sit down with us and look at him. She was grinning from ear to ear, and kept saying “baby brother” as she gave him kisses on the forehead. We couldn’t be happier. Our hearts were overflowing with love and joy, and that moment will always be one of my all-time favorites. Fast forward a little bit: I now have a two year old who does not understand why I will not let her climb into my lap with 20 books for me to read her while brother is nursing- it’s as if she simply cannot comprehend that baby brother does not want to be covered in books while he tries to eat. She has never had to share her toys before, and now brother wants to play with them. Once brother started becoming interested in solid foods, giving him a bite of her cookie or a drink of her chocolate milk has resulted in a complete meltdown. While this is all part of growing up with a sibling (and clearly needs to be addressed as she is learning how to deal with her emotions), it has been extremely difficult as we try to navigate our new family dynamic. It’s not just chocolate milk and cookies- the issue here is the same for every child in a similar household- she now has competition; for her things, and for our attention. This is not only hard on her- but immensely hard on my husband and me. There are only so many hours in the day. There is housework to get done, errands to run, jobs, and countless other things that consume our lives- in addition to our children. Life gets a little bit hectic sometimes, and sometimes it feels as if we’re simply going through the motions without actually being connected to one another. That attention that she is looking for, sometimes feels impossible to give or maintain. I can’t tell you how many times a day I say “no/not now” or even “maybe later,” and just how often I wish I didn’t have to mutter those very words. It’s always another book that I cannot possibly read, or another game that I do not have time to play. Despite my best efforts, a toddler has such a small capacity for understanding the why behind many of those responses. Unfortunately that’s life however, and we all must adapt. I understand the necessity of teaching children patience, but sometimes there has got to be another answer. In an effort to reconnect with my little girl, we have recently instated “mommy daughter days.” Daddy takes care of little brother (Logan), and Abby and I go out and spend some much-needed quality time together- no yelling allowed, no shifting my attention between the two kids, just pure 100% Abby indulgence. One might

say that this is perhaps spoiling her, and I can easily understand the sentiment. However, I believe fully in occasional one-on-one time. I believe it has the power to renew and rejuvenate both of us, as well as erase the frustrations that so can easily consume our time together. Recently, I had the opportunity to spend the day with Abby, and every second was bliss. We started our mommy-daughter-day by going to coffee, where we sang “the wheels on the bus” over chocolate milk and cookies. There was no screaming infant in the background, and I was able to concentrate on simply being there for her. Next I took her to the local aquarium where she got to explore every nook and cranny on her own time and agenda. She especially loved pointing at the octopus and squid and counting their suction cups and tentacles. It was so simple, yet so perfect. I could see her eyes filled with wonder, every time she said, “look mommy, look!” After spending the day watching penguins, petting stingrays, and watching fish, we left and went to get some ice cream. We finished the day by watching the sun go down over the ocean and running in the sand by moonlight. As I tucked her into bed that night, she gave me a big hug and kiss. My husband came up and said goodnight to her, and afterwards he came into our room and told me that the last words she uttered were “mommy daughter day” before rolling over and closing her eyes. She still had a smile on her face. I went to bed that night with tears of happiness in my eyes, and a new perspective. I vowed right then and there, that I would make this consistent. Our “dates” didn’t have to follow a specific schedule- I would just know when we needed to get away. Reconnecting with our kids is important. There is so much that absolutely consumes our lives, and oftentimes we are not even aware how distant and unattached we can quickly become. It seems like every other day, there is a new study being released about parents being too busy- too consumed- to really be present for our children- and they’re paying for it. Sure independence is important, and so is learning how to share and interact with other kids, but there has to be some give and take in the process. We cannot expect our children to easily understand the complexities of major changes when all they know is that their lives have been turned upside down. All those emotions- big and smallmust be addressed as they present themselves.

That day I spent with my daughter was so refreshing and so very, very needed. It gave me the renewed spirit I needed to be fully present and understanding. Something as easy as coffee and watching sea life truly had the power to bring our hearts back together in a meaningful and profound way. To see her genuinely smile, and to actually be able to sit there and truly listen to her stories and babble- without distraction- was exactly what I needed. We all learn to adapt in our own ways throughout life, and the foundations we can lay now as parents of little ones have the power to shape how our children deal with adversity- both now as children, and later as adults. As we move through life, often merely going through the motions, it is vitally important to remember that we must slow down and take a deep breath. Take a day together. Invest the time to truly watch your kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; faces light up again. Spend some time tuning out the rest of the world, and simply be. Share coffee (or chocolate milk), and listen to their laughter. Sing songs. Just be present. As our lives become more and more scattered and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re torn between more and more obligations, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the least we can do for our children- and ourselves. People are always telling me how fast these years go by, and I am certain that there is infinite wisdom in that sentiment. These are fleeting moments, and we will never have them again. As I try my best to be the best mom I can (to both of my children), I must consistently remember the importance of spending quality, oneon-one time together. I must be willing to put aside the daily distractions on occasion, and show my children that they truly are special to me- regardless of how busy our lives are. Sometimes all it takes is something as simple as a day of coffee and tentacles to show our children that they really are the most amazing things in our lives.

photo credit: Dave Dail Photography

How to make your resolutions last By Ben Schoeffler

t Home&Harvest

The first minutes of New Years are celebrated with champagne, kisses, hope, and reflection. Often times this reminiscing leads to the desire to make a change in your life. You might have gained some weight over the holidays, maybe you are struggling with health issues you want to get control over, or perhaps you have some sort of routine that is just holding you back. “What better time than the new year to start a change?” you think. Unfortunately, you may be unknowingly setting yourself up for failure. There are a few ways to avoid some of the pitfalls of making resolutions so you can start 2015 off right. If you have to make a resolution, DON’T TELL ANYONE! You’ve decided that you want to lose that extra weight or stop smoking and you are so excited that you want to tell the world! The bad news is, if you follow that instinct you will be less likely to follow through and complete your goal in the long term. By telling people your goal, that triggers you to feel successful even though you haven’t actually done anything yet. Your brain then releases all of those great natural chemicals like dopamine and serotonin to make you feel good for your accomplishment. That’s like getting the reward before you put in the work, which makes you less likely to actually carry on during the difficult times. If you want to be successful, keep your goal a secret. Make ridiculously small changes (so small you would feel embarrassed to tell people!) The secret to making BIG change is to start small. Stanford psychologist BJ Fogg researched how people create habits. He found that by asking people without a habit of flossing to start by just flossing ONE tooth per day, they were more likely to develop a daily habit of flossing all of their teeth.

Jan/Feb 2015


That’s because flossing one tooth is so easy it seems trivial. But by flossing one, it’s easy to floss the one right next to it, and the one after that. Because the barrier to success is so low (just flossing one tooth), it’s easy to do it every day. This methodology can be applied to any area of your life if you want to change a daily habit. The key to it all is to celebrate your victory after completing that small habit. That builds the momentum, which leads to big success. Are you running from the bees into a burning building? People are motivated in one of two ways: Motivation away from something & motivation towards something. One is fear based. If you are being attacked by a swarm of bees you will run anywhere in order to get away from them. That is motivation AWAY from something. The problem with doing that is you may find yourself running into a burning building just to get away from a few stings! The better method of motivation is towards something. That way all of your resources are headed in the right direction. Don’t try and run away from the chocolate cake, instead, move towards health. When you are moving towards health, not only do you automatically begin to eat better, but other supplemental habits like exercising and meditation also move you towards your goal because they are a part of full body health. If you take an action, make it booking an appointment. If you absolutely have to take some sort of action right away, book an appointment with a hypnotherapist, counselor, or life coach. Having an appointment with someone who will help you work through the mental hurdles and keep you accountable can really increase the odds of you making permanent and lasting change. You may think, “I don’t need a counselor” to help me lose weight. But often times habits appear as a way to cope with the stress, trauma, and other emotional factors you may not be consciously aware of. A mental health professional can give you new ways to handle anxiety while at the same time keeping you accountable when you feel like giving up. Sometimes asking for a little help is the smartest thing you can do.

photo credit right: Dave Dail Photography

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Let it Be By Heather Niccoli

I wiped my mascara away from my eyes, turned up the Aretha Franklin cassette and hit the road in my 1985 Dodge Charger. Don’t let the year of that car fool you, it was a still a sight to behold back in 1998, and not just because of the fading paint or the five 6x9 speakers that I thought made for a bitchin’ sound system. What was I driving toward? Release. That moment when the end of town hits and the pavement meets gravel, when the sight of traffic lights gives way to towering trees, blue skies and nothing but peace ahead. I wish I was writing this in the summer when I could guarantee there won’t be snow on the open road (wait a minute- it’s the Palouse and I’ve seen it snow in June) but right now I think all of us could use a blast of positivity. We all have those days- the days when it seems all we hear is bad news. Maybe our own anxieties are running high, heartbreaks are looming or maybe its just Monday. Whatever it is, I know the cure: our open roads. When is the last time you went for a drive… an adventure? Let me tell you, it’s one of my favorite things to do in this area. The best part about it is you never know what you’re going to come across. Abandoned houses? A herd of elk? An old cemetery? A cool old town? A historic schoolhouse? Absolutely. Sometimes, all you come across is nothing but pure Idaho beauty. The key isn’t to really think about where you’re going but to lose yourself in music and thought. To celebrate this positive, meaningful pastime of adventure- I’ve decided that with each upcoming issue of Home&Harvest, I’m going to add a new series about my little local adventures on only a tank of gas. Chances are, you haven’t been to Uniontown, visited the old Blaine Schoolhouse or strolled through historic Wallace, Idaho lately. Well, neither have I. These little tidbits of localism are the #1 reason I wanted to move back home, the reason why Idaho tugs at my heart. My ’85 Charger might be long gone, but I’ve got a (newer) rig that has plenty of space for camera equipment, my Aretha Franklin cd’s (a total upgrade from a cassette player but don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten my roots) and is ready to hit the road! If you know of a cool place that needs exploring, please email me: and I’ll check it out!

reloading 101 | by joe evans Winter is here, so shooting and reloading must wait until spring. Well, not quite. There is a winter shooting game that quite a few people take part in. It is called trapshooting. The club competition that folks participate in is called The Ten Week Shoot. It would be very difficult to imagine a winter endeavor that encompasses both indoor and outdoor activity as well as trapshooting. Age is not a barrier; I have seen both very young and very old shooters at the line. Physical condition poses few problems as well. Gender? Female shooters are more than welcome and can be fearsome competitors. Let me tell you about Matilda. Matilda (not her real name) is the quintessential little old lady with her hair in a bun, walks with a slight limp, and has a fetching, grandmotherly smile. The type of lady you would expect to bake the truly superior pie or cake. The gentlemanly, experienced shooter who is on the same squad as Matilda is tempted to miss a few targets on purpose only to not make her feel bad. Do not be misled! Matilda will flash that grandmotherly smile at you after she cleans your clock at the line! Been there – done that. The diversity of walks of life at any meeting of shooters is amazing. Plumbers, mechanics, farmers, truck drivers, educators at every level, students, house wives, loggers, you name it – it can be there. You will see nothing but wonderful, quality people at the range. Go see for yourself. I followed the advice of a son-in-law and took the game up in the winter of 2002 after doing some poor shooting on grouse that previous fall. I was reluctant to trapshoot because I had the notion that trapshoters were nothing more than elite, stuck-up snobs. Boy, was I ever wrong! As far as skill acquired, the next fall I went grousing I bagged 9 grouse with 8 shots. All were airborne – no ground sluicing here. Don’t be bashful about turning in a poor performance at the range. You won’t be made fun of. All of the hotshots have missed every conceivable target 100 or 1000 times in their quest for fame and fortune – and still miss regularly. So… don’t take my word for it – be open minded, get off your duff, go to the range and find out for yourself.


Jan/Feb 2015


No specialized equipment is required, but protective eyewear and hearing protection is mandatory. Bring a reliable 12 or 20 gauge shotgun with modified or full choke. Most times, modified is all you will need at the basic single course in which targets will normally be broken at 32 to 35 yards. I currently shoot a 12 gauge Beretta A400 auto in singles and handicap, switch to a Beretta O/U double in doubles events. I use light modified (Skeet II) or modified choke for 16 to 24 yard events and full choke for longer ranges. I mess with the load more than the choke at the shorter handicap yardages. In the double I use skeet II in the lower (first) barrel and improved modified in the upper barrel. The basic trap load is the 1 and 1/8 ounce 1145 fps shell with 7 ½ or 8 shot. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard to beat this load at shorter ranges, but many shooters are switching to 1 ounce loadings to save money and reduce recoil. The people I have talked to cannot see a difference and I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t either. But, to date I am old fashioned and stay with the 1 and 1/8 loads. Here are my two favored 16 yard loads and actual chronographed results. Factory Winchester AA 1145 fps 1 and1/8 ounce (1170 fps actual); AA case, 17 grains Titewad powder, WW209 primer, Windjammer wad, 1 and 1/8 ounces shot (1156fps actual). For handicap ranges of 20 to 23 yards here is my current recipe: Federal Gold Medal case, 17.6 grains Titewad, WW209 primer, WWAASL wad, 1 and 1/8 ounces #8 shot. Chronos at 1127 fps. Why do I use such a light load at short handicap? Measured velocities were very uniform from shot-to-shot which translates into a uniform amount of target lead. Also, target breaks are very uniform with little or no vaporizing or chipping of clays noted. While we are here, please note that no pattern percentages are given here. These loads are my favorites- not because of a percentage count, but because the target breaks are uniform and scores are good over the long haul. To me this seems to be far more appealing than counting 300 or so small holes in a 30 inch circle 100 or 200 times. I have nixed many loads in my guns using this method and had a lot of fun along the way. For medium and long handicap of 24 to 27 yards I prefer a AA factory duplicate load as follows: AA case, 20.9 grains Super-Handicap powder, WAA12 wad WW209 primer, 1 and 1/8 oz #8 shot. This loads 1273 fps. I also like the factory AA load which is rated at 1250 fps and actually runs 1249 fps.

For turkey shoot shootoffs which start at 27 yards, buddy shoots, etc. I like the R-P Gun Club case, 32 grains Longshot powder, WWAA12 wad WW209 primer and 1 and 1/8 oz #8 shot. This flies at 1475 fps. This cannon shell is loud, kicks hard, and produces results for me. The following is an important consideration for new and old shotgun shooters alike. We rely largely on bushings to dispense a given amount of powder. Elaborate tables have been produced by various sources as to how much powder a given bushing will dispense. Use these tables only as a general guide to get you close. I have found at times a significant difference in what is published and what actually occurs. Weigh your charges and verify! Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a pain but I like to check a minimum of 25 charges to obtain an accurate average. Duplicate actual loading procedures for best accuracy. What is accurate? I personally like to see no more than 2 or 3 tenths variation at the 17 to 21 grain powder charge weight range. I consider a baffle in the powder reservoir to be an absolute necessity. Not all presses are so factory equipped. The baffle will reduce bridging and compaction as powder enters the cavity in the busting. On one of my presses without a baffle I have noticed an occasional load with Titewad dropping as much as one grain higher. With Super-Handicap: as much as 2 grains higher. If you do not think this is of any great concern, give the Hodgdon tech rep a call and ask him what my factory duplicate handicap load might turn pressure-wise with an additional 2 grains of powder! Consistent, accurate powder charges are but a part of making top quality ammunition but this is often overlooked. Be inquisitive, open-minded, disregard Internet chatter, believe only what your powder scale tells you. You do own one, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t you? My pet loads certainly will raise some eyebrows, but that is how the cards lay. Certainly a number of topics to be discussed in the future, but next column will deal with the rifle and/ or pistol crowd. Maybe something on the fabulous 270 WCF! Questions? Topic ideas? Email me at:

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When I Was Hunted by Dawn Evans

Many years ago, I was told nine times out of ten that when walking through the forest, a mountain lion is watching you. The sixth sense we all have kicks in from time to time to let us know we might not see what’s standing right there. I’ve hunted for many years and never before seen the elusive feline. But I know I’ve been stalked. One simply doesn’t hunt a mountain lion. Cougars, pumas, catamounts, and mountain lion are all the same and hunt prey by stealth and ambush. They kill with a powerful bite at the base of the skull, breaking the neck. A lion will kill just for the sake of killing. Just a year or so ago, I had the opportunity to see a very large cougar at a distance. Raising my riflescope to see it closer, she had to be around seven feet long. Not in possession of a cougar tag, I lowered my rifle and it vanished silently. I stayed there for quite awhile staring in all directions. I vowed that from there on out I would always be in possession of a mountain lion tag every season. This cat probably weighed close to 160 pounds! Easy as it gets to kill me and drag my carcass up a tree. Or bury my remains in a pile of brush and leaves. Just thinking about that gives me chills. Out of all that lurks in the forest, the cougar is what I fear the most. Most warnings state that when confronted by a cougar, always keep your eyes on it- never turning tail, exposing your vulnerable head and neck. October 2014, elk season was well under way. Dawn till dusk I hunted until exhaustion. Right behind the elk was I, but never was connecting. The woods were alive with many hunters, so I decided to go to a far away clear cut that always gave me the heebie jeebies. I was armed with the trusty .270 Winchester, .357 Smith and Wesson revolver, backpack and determination to find that darned elk herd. Praying that God keep me safe from being eaten and or lost, I slowly made my way up the overgrown logging road to my most hated clear cut. It was beautiful and sunny so I went real slow to not get all sweaty and uncomfortable. Two young grouse trotted in front of me for quite a ways keeping their distance but I was careful not to make them fly to alert potential critters I had tags for. Time and time again I saw very fresh scat- dark brown almost black looking… a lot like dog turds. Oh good! Bear sign! I thought. Finally after about two hours, the road spits me out into a huge clear cut. Looking back to remember how to get out of there, I stumbled upon the motherlode of elk scat, matted down grass where they slept, and the smell of elk was heavy. Oh man! I just missed the freakin’ elk party! Over by a tree, white feathers were everywhere. A bird poof is what it resembled. Oh yeah I thought, coyotes. I scanned the whole open area to find I was all alone. So I sat my rear on a stump, took my backpack off and munched on some jerky. Please elk- come running through this way I prayed. Something very close caught my peripheral vision. I turned, catching a glimpse of a long tail. Looking quickly to the left there she stood. A full grown mountain lion. Full stalk mode staring straight at me only 20 feet away. One pounce. Turning, grabbing the loaded weapon off my lap, I aimed and fired right into her brisket. Doing a backflip she went down immediately, and off ran one of her full-grown cubs. As so much happened in a second it was hard to comprehend what just occurred. Unholstering my .357, I cocked the hammer and slowly walked to where she lay, never ever taking my eyes off from where the offspring ran. See, the first tail I saw was her first kitten. The second ran when I shot her. My father’s voice rang out in my head loud and firm. “Always poke a predator for at least 30 minutes before getting close and keep your eyes out for anything approaching.” Her kittens were almost as large as she was and I would be a liar if I didn’t admit to thinking about taking them too as they ran. But I only possessed one tag and they weren’t sticking around. Thank you Jesus. Weirdly enough- I had great cell reception, so I called my mom. Poking the lion with a really long stick and watching the timber everywhere: the cougar was dead. I put the long awaited tag on her gorgeous tail, admiring how huge this cat was. Her teeth were chiseled into perfect points. Her claws were thinner than a bear’s, but came to a needle like tip. She was so soft for being a wild animal, probably because cats like to groom. I took some pictures of this great fortunate adventure with a happy outcome. But still I felt very uneasy about the kittens part.

photo credit left:

Did I choose a stump right next to a den? What just happened here? Why didn’t she hear or see me coming and run? I mean, I sat right next to these animals. I assumed they didn’t hear me until I unzipped my pack. So I looked around where her body lay and lo and behold, there was a fresh, mutilated, buried mule deer doe carcass. The intensity and severity of this situation that I was spared from hit me like a ton of bricks. I thanked God intensely that all my shooting practice paid off. All the things I’ve learned about hunting came together in one instant, saving my life. Even old trusty .270, she’s zeroed in at 100 yards! I shot her at 20 feet! Plus it was loaded for thick skin big boned game! It was a miracle everything happened the way it did. Briefly speaking to my father about skinning cats, I carefully separated the hide from the carcass much like I have a bear. Having taken this wonderful creature off this planet, I wanted to take the meat as well. I’ve had cougar before and it is almost exactly like pork. Remembering cougars, like pigs and bears, carry a parasitic worm called trinchinella. This can be passed to animals and in humans is called trichinosis. So be sure to cook it well for that kills the larvae. Rolling the hide and head together and tying it to my pack, I put the meat into double game bags for I had a really long walk and I had to drag her. After getting all my things together and putting the pack on, I was guessing I had about 75 pounds of mountain lion on me. Starting the familiar walk back, I turned to look once again where I almost lost my life. Nature kept on going, not even seeming like an amazing event occurred here at all. I shouted to the offspring that I was sorry and they still had that carcass to eat, and walked out. The pack out was slow as I was so careful not to ruin the meat as it drug beside me in the grass. Occasionally I would hear crashing behind me, wondering what was following, so I’d stop quickly and unloaded the pack with my hand on the revolver. Nothing ever showed, but I know I was being stalked. Finally the last stretch! I saw my truck and knew there was a beer there to celebrate. I gently unrolled the hide in the bed of the Dodge and swung the game bags beside it. I safely admired this animal while drinking my hard earned beer. This is the moment everything hit me. I could have been buried up on that clear cut with nothing more to find me but my iPhone. Right next to her young and freshly buried kill. The most dangerous place to ever be is around mountain lion. I never even knew they were there. Being a mother myself, I admired this beast for giving her life for her kids. Almost full-grown and viable these kittens were, I checked the regulations to make sure I did everything right. Females with spotted kittens cannot be taken. These lost their markings a long time ago. They will survive I’m sure for me to once again make the journey to the clear cut that only by the grace of God, almost took my life.

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