Liile Shop of Florals
I have always loved to sing. Before I discovered soul music, I’d sing to my mom’s records and then learned all about Paula Abdul and Mariah Carey. Good gravy, I loved Mariah Carey. I would sing her tapes for about 4 hours each day. I was such a legit fan, I asked MusicLand in the mall if I could have her 8 foot large cardboard cut-out to put in my room. I would study every little inflection in her voice and dream about being a singer just like her. I bet my parents used to have to budget for Advil for how many headaches they had during the 90’s, when I would play my stereo on top level from 6:45 am to 7:35 am, then rock out in my 1985 Dodge Charger on the way to school, then later that evening till it was bed time. Every day. They never once asked me to turn it down. In fact, legend has it that once my mom successfully went into my room while I was singing (using a furniture polish can as my microphone) and got something she needed, all without me ever noticing. It was my dad who finally gave me a talking to- but about something I didn’t expect. “Heather,” he said, “You need to turn it down if you want to be a serious singer. You can’t hear yourself or develop your own style with Mariah Carey busting out your eardrums.” If you don’t know, my dad is an extremely talented trumpet player who could’ve gone the fame route if he wanted to. I remember considering his advice but being too afraid to try, at least not with the possibilities of my sisters listening at the door. That Christmas, he gave my mom a CD called Etta James: Love Songs. I’ve been long forgiven for this now but the first time I heard my mom play that CD I stole it and I still have it to this day. I never heard anything like it. When I also first heard some legit vintage Aretha Franklin, I expanded my definition of God. I then spent so many secret hours wishing and dreaming I could wail like they could. I practiced every day. When I finally could wail… well… I was too shy to do it in front of anyone. I remember asking one of my friends if they would listen to me sing and tell me if I was any good. I sang some quiet Adele and he was nice about it. But then he said, “Heather I know for a fact you like Etta James and sing it everyday. Why don’t you show me?” I remember singing “My Dearest Darling” at the top of my lungs to YouTube Karaoke and my friend said, “Heather, don’t ever sing anything but what you’re meant to sing again.” Fast forward many years and I was still terrified to really sing in public, even though I was totally doing it. I was living in Southern California and was performing almost every night, either at a blues jam, or being a guest singer at a special event. I remember being asked to perform at a fancy event and when I said I didn’t have a band, the host hired one specifically to learn all the songs I wanted to do. I remember this band in particular was cruel to me- they were famous in their time and I think they hated the idea of being hired just to learn my set list but they were being paid really well. The evening of the show came and sound check was rough because one of the band members got super excited and had a big ego... he decided that he would try to take over and do a lot of the singing. I was super polite about it, I have never developed an ego this way so I tried to deal with it the best I could. While this was going on, a downright FABULOUS woman was behind the bar watching us- or rather, me. Quite intently. I stepped down from the stage and thought I’d drown my sorrows in a Diet Pepsi and asked her for one. She had this huge pink wig on- she looked like Dolly Parton, if Dolly had tattoos and thick eyeliner. She gave me my pop and said, “You need to listen to what I tell you. Those guys? They are intimidated by you and you let them treat you badly because you’re too nice to do anything. You need to stop it.” I was like, dumbfounded by her intense advice. She went on, “I’ve heard a lot about you and that’s why I hired you to sing at my establishment tonight.” I thought she was the bartender! She grabbed my arm and practically lifted me off the stool. “Get back up there and do what you came here to do. And don’t let anyone ever try to dull or silence you again, do you understand?” And I swear she vanished in a cloud of glitter but really she just went about her day. Later that night, I saw her from afar, surrounded by people just trying to get her attention. But she was watching me. This time I was wailing soul- just like she told me to. It’s been years and I think of her almost every time I perform. My own glamour and gritty version of Dolly Parton who believed in me. I share this story with you all because lately I have been reminding myself why it’s crucial that you step into your truth, and own your life. To do as my dad said and turn the noise down so you can hear your own voice. Don’t let those who are intimidated by you lessen your shine. Make this year yours to inspire yourself. I may not be a huge pink-wig-wearing, tattooed glamazon, but I’m here to lift you off your stool and tell you to get out there and make me proud. I’ll be watching. Love,
Heather Niccoli Editor-In-Chief Home&Harvest Magazine
P.S. The fate of the 8 foot tall Mariah Carey cutout? It found refuge in my parent’s creepy basement because there was no socially acceptable way to stuff her in the garbage. I think Mariah scared the hell out of all of the Culligan water softener guys when they went to change the water each month. I regret nothing.
Editor|Design|Sales Heather Niccoli 208.596.5400 | 208.596.4434
Publisher: Tony Niccoli PO BOX 9931 Moscow, ID 83843
Gayle Anderson Keith Crossler Joe Evans Diane Conroy Aline Gayle Temple Kinyon Dawn Evans Emory Ann Kurysh Annie Gebel Zachary Wnek Tony Niccoli Heather Niccoli
people OF the palouse photos: aline k photography interview by: heather niccoli This is the first of a new Home&Harvest series! Let’s get to know our neighbors, those like us and those who are different from us. I’m proud to feature our first interviewee, Tina Delph. Not only is she a beautiful, down-to-earth soul, she is the creator of something called “Humans United.” Let’s read all about what makes her such a special person and in fact, the inspiration behind this very series.
Tina Delph HN: Tell us about yourself. a lifetime resident of Potlatch, other than a couple of T.D. “I’m years that I spent in New York working as a nanny, I’ve always
been in this area. My grandparents and great grandparents were here and so we have a large family, a lot of them still live in the area. Family is a huge part of my life and we’re all close. For the last year, we’ve had 4 of our granddaughters living with us and we will be adopting them next May. They keep us on our toes! Growing up, our family liked camping and outdoor stuff. I still do to this day. I love to travel, but, don’t get to do it nearly often enough. The ocean is my favorite place to go but someday I hope to go to Ireland and visit the castles. It’s also on my bucket list to drive Route 66, just to say I did it. I know it’s mostly just a ghost highway of what it once was but I think it’d still be a fun road trip.”
HN: What is the backpack program you created?
“Our official title is ‘Humans United.’ It started out when I just felt called to do something to help our veterans. I knew I couldn’t help every single one, and the thought of trying to was overwhelming, so I set out to just help a few. I started putting together a few backpacks for my daughter and I to go hand out. I had searched for a homeless veterans shelter to deliver them to and found one in Spokane. There were 20 guys there at the time and so we delivered all we had to them. It was very humbling to meet them, talk to them, hear their stories of when/where they served and hear of their lives now. After that first delivery, my daughter and I wanted to do it again, as soon as we could. I started a FB page and asked our community for help and support and they stepped up in a big way, and continue to do so! They’ve donated everything from food, to personal care items, to cash. It’s why we’ve been able to do this for the last 4 years. It’s grown from just backpacks to, now, delivering a truckload of food and needed items to the guys a couple of times a year. We also continue to put together backpacks for those we see on the street who are without shelter.”
HN: Describe what it’s like to hand a backpack to a stranger in need.
“One evening, it had just gotten dark and my daughter and I took a load of backpacks into the veteran’s shelter. On our way out, there were several men who had appeared on the street. There was a church nearby and they said that a lot of them would eat a meal there. We approached the first man and he turned out to be a veteran as well. He was very open and talkative and we spent some time listening to his stories. The one that really stands out, the one I’ll never forget, was the other gentleman on the street that night. He was standing about 20 feet away from us and wasn’t making eye contact with anyone and was just really withdrawn. I took a backpack over and told him what we were doing and asked if he could use a backpack. He accepted the backpack and when I offered my hand, and shook his, his whole face and demeanor changed. It was just an experience that I’m not sure I can even put into words but it just reminded me that our homeless population is invisible to us a lot of the time and when we stop and actually ‘see’ them, it means a lot to them.”
Serving the Palouse
• Short-term rehab • Physical therapy • Occupational therapy • Speech therapy • Long-term care • Respite services • Palliative care avalonhealthcare.com 1310 NW Deane Street | Pullman, WA 99163 | Phone: 509-332-1566 | Fax: 509-332-0909
HN: What is the feeling of the people in need? What do you see in their eyes?
Most of the people we meet are very open and friendly and it’s just a truly great and humbling experience to get to meet them. Some of them though, you can see the hopelessness in their eyes. While I know I can’t change their circumstances, I feel like it’s still important to let them know that we see them. For our veterans, it means absolutely everything, for me and my daughter, to let them know that we honor their sacrifices and that we haven’t forgotten them. The veterans are honestly just happy to see us coming and they are so appreciative of the food and necessities that we bring them.
...we stop and actually ‘see’ them
HN: What does it mean to you to help others?
“Being able to help others is just a truly humbling experience for me and my daughter. It means a lot to us to be able to do, even just the little bit that we do. It’s so easy to take for granted the things that we have in our own lives, and so to be able to help others, also helps us to be thankful for what we have. The state of the world, today, can be overwhelming and it’s easy to feel helpless and to feel like we can’t make a difference but by helping out when we can, helping who we can, it’s shown me how important to make a difference whenever we can. We can’t change the world, but we can definitely show kindness where we can, help where we can, and it really does matter. That’s important to me.”
HN: How do you feel the world and our community could be better, and what is something you actively do every day to achieve that?
“If people would just be kinder to each other and treat everyone as human beings, the world would be a much better place. It’s so easy to get behind a keyboard and forget that there are human beings on the other end of the line. I think too many people forget that. Honestly, I just try to practice kindness as much as possible (I’m not perfect, I have my days) and when I see someone struggling, I try to help if I’m able to.”
HN: What’s the best piece of advice you have for someone struggling?
“I don’t know that I’m the person to offer advice but if someone is struggling, financially or emotionally, it’s always best to remember not to hold those struggles in. Reach out for help. Sometimes, people can’t help in the way that you might need, but talking to someone can help you sort through it and maybe help you find the resources you need. We all struggle at times, off and on throughout our lives. Just keep going, keep moving forward, and remember that a bad day, or even a bad year, does not equal a bad life. Just keep going and don’t be too proud to ask for help.”
HN: Why is it important to consider others?
“To me, it seems obvious why it’s important to consider others, so this one is a hard one for me to put an answer to. How can we not consider others? We’re all connected. That person that you help up off the ground today, may be the one who helps you tomorrow. It’s easy to get caught up in our own little world and not venture outside our own bubbles but what kind of world does that make? It’s amazing how even just a kind word can change someone’s entire day. Maybe that person was contemplating suicide before you stepped in and offered them a kind word and a glimmer of hope. Maybe the next person was considering committing a crime to feed his family before you stepped in and offered to pay for his groceries. Every interaction we have with another human being has the potential for good, as well as for harm. Political beliefs, personal beliefs, life choices, etc are things that we have to choose for ourselves but it’s not something we should ever judge other people on. My parents taught us that we all put our pants on one leg at a time and it doesn’t matter if you’re the President or the janitor, if you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. It’s important to just take a second and think of other people and think of how our own attitudes and behaviors might affect someone else. None of us is perfect, but, we can choose to be better.”
HN: You have two + jobs. Tell us about your work ethic. Where did it come from? What do you think is lacking today that you could positively teach others?
“My parents are the reason that I have the work ethic that I do today. We were brought up knowing that if you wanted something in this life you had to go out and work for it, earn it, it’s not going to be handed to you. My mom and dad both worked very hard their entire lives. They worked at the Potlatch Mill until it was shut down and then moved on to other careers. My dad was always working around the house too. He didn’t sit down for long. There was always a project that needed done. My parents are probably the two hardest working people I’ve ever known and they modeled by example. We didn’t go without, ever, but they also made sure we knew the importance of work and earning our own money. I don’t know that I can teach others that same ethic (though I did in my children and I’m going to try in my grandchildren) because it was a different time when I was growing up. (I just sounded like my parents there!)”
HN: Who inspires you? Who do you look up to?
“Honestly, my family is my inspiration. They are such a large group of people, all with different beliefs, interests, backgrounds etc. They all work very hard and love even harder. I can’t think of a single one who wouldn’t help another person in need, even when they’re going through a tough time themselves. I look up to a lot of people, for a lot of different reasons, but the person that I’ve looked up to most, my entire life is my dad. He passed away in September, and it’s a hard adjustment to make, him not being here, but I still always remember his words of advice and his laughter, and so I still feel like he’s the one I’d say I still look up to. He is my hero.”
HN: Anything else we should know about your story?
“I can’t think of anything else that you might want to know about me. I’m honestly just humbled by the fact that you’d choose me for this article and even want to hear what I have to say. When I started the backpacks, and then continued to do it, it’s simply because I felt called to do it. Not for any sort of recognition or anything. I just believe that we should all be doing our best, in this life, to be kind and to help others when we can.”
To follow or join Tina with her compassionate movement helping veterans in need:
Raising a Photo Album Family
in an Instagram World By Annie Gebel
My grandmother made such lovely photo albums. She scrapbooked before it had a name, cutting quotes and flowers from cards and thoughtfully placing them with the pictures she took. I remember many times sitting in front of the cabinet she kept them in and looking through pictures of things that happened before I was born. I would ask about my Aunts’ wedding dresses or which babies were which cousins and Grandma’s sun-bronzed fingers would point to the pages. I can hear her laughter as she recalled stories she hadn’t thought about in ages. If cell phones were all the rage then that they are now, I’d probably have pictures of us looking at pictures. “Smile Grandma, we’ll take a selfie to remember this moment by.” Instead, I have memories and that’s ok. In fact, it’s more than ok in my opinion. I have a sneaking suspicion that we click pictures left and right on our phones and whatever else, but don’t connect with the photos the same way. Many people don’t print them, put them on their walls, or into actual albums the way we used to. And I believe, like Grandma might have, that the story telling is really what’s important – the pictures are merely starting points. Texting something funny or sharing a moment on social media may assure its life in the great yonder of the internet forever and ever, but it doesn’t encourage sharing of stories the way sitting together and flipping through pages does. Now I’m not saying that technology is a waste of time, or anything that crazy. My husband’s cousin was telling us once how he’d show their grandmother pictures on his phone and tell her how her great grandkids were doing. She had dementia and it was a wonderful way to spend time with her. That’s definitely using tech for connecting with others. It certainly doesn’t need to be one or the other. The new-fandangled gadgetry of tomorrow has a place just as the tried and true methods of yesterday do. That’s the message I want to pass on to my children, no matter how much they beg for go-pros for their bike helmets. This goal begs the question of how we keep our kids connected to the traditions and stories of our pasts. The short answer is that we share whatever we can, whenever we can with them. The long answer follows… Before they had phones, our kids had actual cameras to capture moments that will hopefully bring back memories for them some day. Those sometimes-blurry pictures are part of our albums, which show that their skills have improved through the years and the moments that were important to them. The kids also take part in helping to pick the pictures we print for our albums and walls. They get to choose pictures for their rooms, personal albums, and to share on their social media sites too – again using both old and new together. We look at our albums together. My daughter, especially, loves this, but as the kids have started dating it’s become even more fun for everyone! Who doesn’t love an adorable baby picture of their boyfriend? I try not to turn down a chance to sit with someone and hear their memories or share mine. Sometimes it even reminds me of my own childhood memories… like how my grandparents used to get the same gift in different colors for cousins that were similar ages. One year my cousins Kristi, Kelly, and I each got a set with a brush, comb, and mirror. Mine was mint green. I loved it so much! I’m know my kids think stories like that are simply fun to laugh at, but for me they bring back the feelings of childhood gatherings. I can even remember the sounds of laughter, the coziness of everyone collected in Grandma and Grandpa’s living room, and the taste of traditional family favorites! Mmmm.
Speaking of food, I cook and bake with the kids. We’ve rolled galumpkis (Lithuanian stuffed cabbage rolls), baked birthday cakes, and stirred up lumpy gravy. (Just strain the lumps – a little family secret.) All three kids have enjoyed standing on the step stool next to me at the counter and occasionally can still be found in the kitchen with me, or, better yet, baking Grandma Gebel Cookies on their own – a recipe I got from Grandma herself, sitting at her kitchen table! My husband and I grew up near each other. We’ve spent our entire adult lives moving around the country, though. So, whenever we travel ‘back home,’ we take the kids to the many different places we have memories of and share those stories with them. Sometimes they get to make their own memories in much the same way we did, in the same places. Once, when we were home and the sap was running, our oldest got to go into the woods to collect it and we all got a lesson in how it’s boiled down into syrup! They’ve picked blueberries at Granny Goff ’s. They’ve sledded the same hills and climbed the same trees. But, even if you can’t get to the same places you enjoyed as a child, spending time with the people is a perfect way to pass on traditions. When the kids have the chance to hang out with their grandparents – I highly encourage that! There are always cookies to be made, fish to catch, wood to pile, lawns to mow, cards to play, four wheelers to ride, books to read… Whether the kids are helping around the house or enjoying some fun time, nothing encourages story-telling and reinforces tradition like generations spending time together. We also write letters to friends, family, and occasionally strangers who ask for them on social media (not wackadostrangers, mind you, more like sick children)! I think writing letters is a lost art and one that I would love to see make a comeback. So, we write notes to say hello, to share gift wish lists, and to say thank you after holidays and birthdays. What brightens your day more than a handwritten address amongst the junk mail and bills in your mailbox? Exploring ancestry is another way to fill out stories and find questions to ask parents and grandparents. By making a family tree we can not only see what was going on with our relatives a generation ago, but we can make guesses about what might have been going on centuries before any of us were even thought about! It’s a great way to teach history, be creative, and show that people accomplished impressive things (like escaping WWI Eastern Europe in a hay wagon, which my grandmother’s family did) before the age of handheld computers. We appreciate current technology and our kids have tablets or cell phones, but, they’re also learning about the roots of family, tradition, and storytelling. After all, I credit my grandmother with my love of photo albums and their associated stories. And if it’s Grandma-inspired, you know it’s worth practicing and protecting. So, pass it along.
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Feel the Rhythm, Feel the Rhyme (Come on ‘Yall its Sledding Time)
Spolier alert – Rosebud was a sled. The fascination and love is real. Sleds are amazing and every kid out there knows it. Evidence of sledge designs for moving heavy loads across desert sands goes back thousands of years. Yes, the mighty sled may have helped the build the pyramids. Sleighs pulled over snow and ice by dogs, horses, and oxen are equally ancient. They may have even had a significant influence on early human migration. Early European settlers learned to manufacture the toboggan by watching Native Americans, and Canadian First Peoples. Long, thin planks of wood were tightly bound, and the front was curved up to allow better lift over snow drifts. Trappers and hunters used them for ground transport during snow winters, but for many years they remained much thinner than ones we would recognize today. By making them 8 to 10 feet long they were able to better disperse weight over soft now, and by keeping the width at 1 foot or less, they could follow in snow-shoe tracks without risk of flipping over by catching higher banks snow on the edge. A chest rope was used to pull them – or dogs if there were trained ones available. French Canadians adopted the word they heard local tribes using for the sleds and spelled it tabaganne. By the late 1800’s it had become popular as a recreational sport, and the sleds got wider to allow more comfort for riders. Eventually the name was changed to Toboggan, enthusiast clubs were formed, and people began building long custom chutes to run their toboggans faster. At the same time, in Switzerland, sleds with ski attachments were being run down curved chutes and the sports of bobsledding was born. They were originally called bobsleighs because of the sleigh style design with a small cockpit to protect the riders, and the way their crews all bobbed back and forth at the start line to increase the speed. In 1925 famous dogs named Togo and Balto lead their sled teams from Nenana to Nome, Alaska to save a town suffering from a diphtheria outbreak. Doctors needed to get their serum from Anchorage to the Nome quickly, but the only plane that would be capable was frozen and would not start. So, they decided to use a sled. First a train took the medicine from Anchorage to Nenana, and then teams of mushers took over, running a relay through a blizzard with strong winds and temperatures worse than 20 degrees below zero. In total, there were 20 mushers and 150 dogs used to cover over 650 miles in five and a half days. Radio coverage of the successful run quickly made the dogs and their human companions celebrities throughout the US, and their run became know as the Great Race of Mercy.
There is some debate today as to which dog was really the greatest runner and hero of that campaign, but the importance of the run itself and the danger involved will never be disputed. In 1973, the Iditarod began running its now famous course from Anchorage to Nome. It celebrates that amazing part of Alaska’s history, when the discovery of gold led people to make the amazing trek inland in search of fortune, and dogsleds made the otherwise impassible wilderness open. It was a brief moment, before the end of the gold rush in Alaska, and the surge in popularity and availability of airplanes and snowmobiles to transport people, mail, and essentials. But in that moment the sled was absolutely essential to survival. The Sweedish tradition of kicksled racing started in practicality and transportation. A kick sled is basically two long runners with a seat attached. One person (the lucky one) gets to sit comfortably – while the other stands behind the chair with one foot on each ski like a musher on the back of a dogsled and kicks with one leg to get up to speed. Before skiing took off in popularity, people would actually race the sleds – usually without the burden of carrying a lazy rider in the seat. It was popular in the older Nordic Games, and even featured in the Winter Olympics after coming back into fashion. But it was a farm equipment manufacturer in New Jersey that produced the sled we all know so well today. He built them as a fun and controllable alternative to the toboggan, and also as a way to keep his employees busy outside of farming season. He patented the design in 1889, but the rage didn’t really take off until much later when his Flexible Flyers became a house-hold name, and American tradition. So the sled definitely allowed people in frozen northern climates a means of transportation for thousands of years. It has been found in buried Viking ships, and painted in ancient caves. And jolly old St. Nick would be hitchhiking or relying on the Post Office without his reindeer-powered red beauty. Yes, the sled is universally recognized and still used for labor in many parts of the world on ice, snow, and even sand. But I fell in love with mine for purely recreational reasons. My thrill is found in “going for a new amateur, recreational saucer sled land speed record” like good old Clark W. Griswold Jr.. No utility or survival – just sledding for joy. The first one I remember was a Flexible Flyer with Dad at the helm and me on his lap. We would walk up a little hill by the middle school and then go racing down in absolute glee. Poor Dad would pull double duty, carrying me and dragging the sled all the way back to the top. But eventually I had enough seasons of experience, and was old enough to go down on my own, and even walk all the way back up. Headfirst runs quickly followed, and then a round red saucer sled with more speed and absolutely no control. Later, we would go to a larger hill with the parking lot at the top. This really changes the psychology of the “last run.” I remember plenty of days where I was absolutely exhausted, and just barely made it back to the top – only to decide that one more time down would be too good to pass up.
A few hoots and hollers later I’d find myself back the bottom of an enormous hill looking up at the top and wondering if could just spend the night at the bottom and sled again tomorrow instead of having to trudge all the way back up. The next sled I remember was orange and had a little molded seat, two groves for your legs, and little black plastic handles on both sides. The idea was that you could use them like a rudder or oar and get some increased directional control. That sled was a rocket when you let it run straight down the hill. And if you tried to lift both handles together you could even slow it down a little. If you raised just one at a time, it would bite into the sheet of ice that was inevitably lurking just below the surface of the snow and jerk the entire sled into a lightning-fast 90 degree turn that spat out the rider at break neck speed. But that was pretty fun, and so I used the handles a lot. I started standing up on that sled, because it seemed like a thing to do. And it was only marginally more dangerous that pulling on one of the handles. I’d almost gotten good enough to make it all the way down a run without being thrown violently in a random direction at the seemingly least likely-
time... and then Christmas arrived, and I got my first snowboard. It was a plastic Black-Snow model with little foot loops that you could jam a boot under. It you wedged yourself in pretty good, you stood an excellent chance of remaining attached to the board even after you crashed. But you pretty much always accelerated way beyond any ability to control it and crashed. It was perfect! And I’ve been happily standing sideways on sleds ever since. To this day I smile and get a special feeling when I see kids racing down hills on a sled, and parents helping them pull it back up. And the Palouse was made for sledding! I can almost visualize a stuffed tiger riding on the back and urging Calvin on. Always trying to go faster, and always hiking up for one more run. I hope this issue finds you snowy. I hope you get a few days off school. I hope you don’t try to avoid the jump, and I hope you love every part – even the crash. Who knows, maybe my last words will be Flexible-Flyer or Black-Snow.
I’ve written many stories of my experience with the MVFD. How things got started, big fires or crashes I’ve been on (or in charge of), along with family and department history. Something that I haven’t talked much about is the training we do to be prepared for those events. Just last month, the Rural District was donated a house to use for training. It was set to be demolished and it gave us a perfect opportunity to have live fire training inside a structure that we ultimately burned to the ground (under control of course). Today, we don’t see that many real fires, so training is important. Realistically, we likely see around two to three real fires per year. We do have cooking fires, which can progress into something larger, but most of the time, they stay contained to the device. So, we train. We become as prepared as possible for any event. In this service, you ultimately can’t be prepared for everything as each event is different. But, you train, train, and then train some more. Live fire training is a really fun event. We have a burn facility out at Station 2 (by the fairgrounds). While this building will allow us to have a controlled burn experience. It truly is nothing like a real fire in a structure. The heat is different, the fire behavior is different, and the experience in the structure is different. Most every home would not be like another. Floor plans, construction, etc. While a training building will give you the basics, it’s nothing like the real deal. The house we just burned was a great training burn for us. To give a little background on it, the owner had completed the construction on a new home on his property and was ready for this one to be gone. It was an old farm house that had been run down and was tired. There was no need to try and fix it up. Plus with it gone, it saves on the property taxes. He willingly donated it to us and with his help, it was prepared for the training day. There are quite a few hoops to jump through for this to all take place as well. It’s not as simple as throw in a match and watch it burn. Our Training Officer, Scott, and I worked together to get all the paperwork in line. Approval is needed from the Department of Environmental Equality. They are usually really easy to work with and as long as we cross the “T’s” and dot the “I’s”, we can burn for training.
Of course there has to be an actual training aspect to this. We aren’t allowed to just burn because and call it training. This structure was great because it gave us the ability to have the live fire evolutions inside before we let it go. In this case, the home owner did all the prep work for us. All the carpet had to be removed, all the electrical outlets need to be covered with sheetrock, dead end access points are blocked off, windows need to be removed then replaced with plywood, and all items need to be out of the structure. There are other safety things we look for too as far as egress goes. The morning of the burn. We met early that day and had a short briefing on what to expect with the house. Discussions of assignments, burn tactics, evolution process, and set up for the burn. We then ventured the 6 or so miles out to the home and started to set up. Two pumpers were set up. One with the initial attack line and a backup line. The second had one line off for the ignition team. This is done to insure a separate water source. If one engine failed, then we have a secure backup. Training events like this are full of redundancies. No matter what, everyone goes home. If anything looks to be going south, everyone pulls out and we walk away. Not one single life is worth an empty building. Being in the Rural District, we don’t have a water supply. We staffed all four of our water tenders. With the water we had in the pumpers, this gave us a grand total of just under 13,000 gallons. If for some reason we need to extinguish under full fire conditions, the water tenders would have then needed to perform a water shuttle operation. This would continually truck water to the scene as long as we needed. Now that everything was set, we started the live fire evolutions. I was assigned to the ignition team with my good buddy Devon. It was agreed to start upstairs and work our way down. The upstairs had one large room we were able to burn in. We picked out a corner and laid out our pallets. After stuffing it with hay, we use a torch to get the fire started. The other crews were lined out and we lit off the first fire. Believe it or not, it actually took about 15 minutes to really get the first fire started. Being in a big room, it took some time to get the heat built up for the fire to really grow. Once it started hitting the ceiling and dropping the thermal layer, we called in for the initial attack crew to advance. They knew the fire was upstairs, and they progressed up the old narrow stairs to the fire. Because this is training, I held them at the door of the room. We talk about the fire behavior and what it’s doing. How it grows, rolls across the ceiling, spreads out and down. Now we don’t let the fires get too big so that we can continue the evolutions as long as it allows. If it gets too big, then we risk losing the structure early. The crew knocks down the fire and they back out. The ignition team stays in, stokes the fire and builds it back up for the next crew. Just about the time the crews switch outside, we radio in for the next advancement.
As the second crew arrives and achieves the knock down, our air alarms sound and we all exit the building. After a sit through rehab (vital checks), we get fresh air bottles and start the next round. Our best set of evolutions came from a main floor bathroom. It was a small space and was easier to get the heat we really wanted out of the fire. We got some great rollover out of the bathroom into the living space. We ran three crews through while just maintaining the fire. Once those evolutions were done, it was time for letting the house go. In this moment, we realized that we were truly better firefighters than fire starters. We went back upstairs hoping for one last big burn to watch and then just back out of the building. After a solid 30 minutes of trying, we still hadn’t gotten the fire started. Fortunately, we had burn the main level bathroom hot enough, we were now noticing that the fire was burning up in the ceiling and was advancing on its own. It was decided to spread out some pallets in different rooms and try to ignite and just walk out and see what happened. And that’s all it took. It was really cooking right after that. The fire department is always looking for great training opportunities. These type of events give us some valuable lessons that aren’t always achievable in a classroom. It’s also exciting for the members to get this kind of hands on training. We really don’t see as many big fires these days due to fire prevention. That’s a good thing. It just means that training along with experience, is more important than ever. Be prepared. I learned that in the Boy Scouts growing up. It holds to be even more true today. Learn at every opportunity. Teach others so they can be better. This reminded me of two sayings that I think about and I wanted to share.
The Census by Zachary Wnek
Historians LOVE when our calendar rolls over to a new decade. Why? It is that time of year when we get to participate in creating new historical records for our descendants. I don’t know if you caught it or not but I’m talking about the decacentennial Census. The Census, which is outlined in Article I Section 2 of the United States Constitution, is an accounting of the residents of the United States of America. The main purpose of this exercise is to better understand how many people live in each area of the country for the purpose of determining how many representatives are granted in the United States House of Representatives. Representation in the House of Representatives is important to ensure that the popular voice is heard in the United States Congress. However, that’s not why the census is exciting to local historians. I lookup and use historical United States Census data nearly daily in my position. The census, at the very least, tells historians who lived where at a given time. It is a single record that answers three of my five favorite questions (who, what, when, where, & why). That’s the making of a great historical record. One of the most interesting facts about the census is how it has changed over time. The government has expanded the reach of the census from telling us what county & state a person lived in (1790 & first U.S. Census) to telling us a host of information about the residents of the United States of America. While many questions have changed over the years some have remained rather constant.
Photo Information Right, full page: Naylor-J-04 - J.L. Naylor family, 1906. - Back row: Roy, (John) Ralph, Ruth. Front Row: Mother (Rebecca E. Naylor), Nippa, Dad (John L. Naylor) Article Cover Photo: 25-02-244 - Turnoff to Estes Road - Original (Naylor) House in back orchard. Circa 1920 Photo, above: 25-02-237 - Harvest crew on the Naylor Farm. Previous page, photo right: 1940 Census Poster - Library of Congress https://www.loc.gov/item/92503698/ Photo, left: Have your answers Ready - Library of Congress https://www.loc.gov/resource/cph.3g08370/ This is a 1917 Military Census poster...an interesting representation of a census
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These common questions and themes are Name, Address, Sex, Race, Marital Status, Occupation, Education Level (literate vs illiterate, & what their primary language is), where they were born (country or State), whether they rent or own their house, and the birthplaces of their parents. Wow, that’s a lot of information. The census is taken every 10 years and provides historians a snapshot of the population at the time. The Census is a great way to see where someone was and where they came from. In Latah County, like much of the USA, people immigrated from other countries and other parts of the country. The census helps us to track these movements. It is also interesting to watch the occupation of people change as they move geographically or perhaps change their livelihood by shifting careers. Is all of this information out there in the public domain? I’m not safe. I don’t want you to know (or be able to look up) my wearabouts, profession, education, family, etc. The Census Bureau understands your trepidation. That’s why individually identifiable Census information (anything with a resident’s name on it) is sealed for 72 years. After 72 years the Census records are opened for research. Currently the 1940 census is the most recent Census that we can draw from as historians. But, mark your calendars. In April 2022 the 1950 US Census is officially open for research, HOORAY!! Some of the unsung heroes of this whole process are the enumerators who work to ensure the data that they are collecting is accurate and truly represents the population within a given area. Enumerators used a very methodical technique and seemingly walked down the street (in urban areas) with their census ledger containing the questions and information that they were gathering. Therefore it becomes rather easy to determine the neighbors of your research subject as well. When looking at census records it can be very interesting to examine the enumerator as well. Let’s take a look at one such enumerator in 1910 who performed the Census for (at least) the North Moscow Precinct. In April, 1910, J Ralph Naylor. John Ralph Naylor was born in October of 1886 in Idaho, one of four children of John L. Naylor and Rebecca E Naylor. The Naylor family lived on North Polk Street in Moscow, Idaho. By the age of 13, John Ralph Naylor was able to read and write in the english language. John Ralph Naylor first appeared in the Census in 1900, due to the 1890 census being lost in the fire. On April 23, 1910 John Ralph Naylor enumerated himself and his family. In 1910 John Ralph Naylor and Helen M Naylor had married and were living on a farm which they owned in the North Moscow, Idaho precinct with John’s brother: Roy Naylor. By 1920 Roy Naylor had moved off John & Helen’s farm and in his stead their two children, John C. (age 7) and Lois M Naylor (age 4 ½ ), were living with them. By 1930 their family continued to grow, adding Carol Naylor and Earl Naylor to the family. In 1930 John Ralph Naylor must have needed some help on the farm. Edward Neal was hired to work on the farm and lived with the family. Throughout the 1920s-1940s the Naylor children are being listed as students in lieu of employment. Although John Ralph Naylor’s profession was still listed as a farmer in 1940 John & Helen Naylor were no longer living on a farm. In fact at this time they were only living with Carol and Earl Naylor. Their home was located at 510 S. Monroe Street in Moscow, Idaho. We also learn that the family lived at the same address in 1935 and that John Ralph Naylor worked 52 weeks in 1939 and that he had alternative income rather than simply working for pay. This is all we know about John Ralph Nalor, based purely on census data, until April of 2022 when we get a glimpse into the next decade in the Naylor family. All of the above information comes directly from the Census. As you can see these questionnaires serve many purposes but can be an amazing resource for historians and genealogists. Please keep in mind how important these public records are while you join me by promptly responding to the 2020 Census.
S-Wheat FarmLife Gayle Anderson The weirdest inspiration for this article came to me at exactly 1:08 am. I guess I should have known my mind would be active in the wee hours of the night as earlier in the day a courageously written obit I had saved fell out of a book I had tucked away. Then later that day I randomly read the most inspirational, yet funny obit that had gone viral. And for the record, I’m not the kind of person that is usually drawn to reading obituaries. I’ll chalk it up to the fact that as the New Year has rolled in, I like to set a few goals and resolutions and sometimes I even keep them. So here it was, I was inspired by two amazing obituaries on people whom I have never met. The first one was this young woman’s desire to remind all to live life to the fullest, to serve others & your community, and to relish each day. She knew she wasn’t going to grow old and watch her kids grow up, and wanted to urge those around her to not waste a single day and see the beauty in life. Then the other one was written by the daughters for their dad, and it talked about how it’s okay to be the “weird one”, to be unconventional, to value your standards and most of all to bring humor into daily life. Both obits had the same overtone of remembering to enjoy the gift of each day. What hit home with me was the fact that various parts of the man’s life, (known as Joe Heller) somewhat were a mirror mine to a degree, only now I see I have more intentional living to do, as sometimes I am on “auto-pilot” and forget to enjoy the day! The view from my eyes is I think I’m fairly ordinary, but sometimes those around you have a very different opinion. Not long ago in a conversation with my mom, I was sharing some antidote that involved some kind of mess I had made either in my shop or kitchen, I don’t remember which as both are subject to my latest projects. And the word I use for being messy is “exuberant” and I’ve used this word for years. Anyway my mom said in a matter-of-fact tone, “Dear, you have lived your whole life in an “exuberant manner!” I’m pretty sure that she intended that to be a compliment and I took it that way. (Even though I’ve been permanently banned from cooking in her kitchen because of my “exuberance” and to defend myself, I do clean up after myself. But I know she does love me lol). I like to think that I mostly try to enjoy life and know that a true happy life doesn’t look like a perfect snapshot posted on social media. Sometimes you just have to create a bit of a mess to get a good end result. Baking and painting are prime examples of that theory in this girl’s world. And from my many years on this earth, life is a lot like that, too.
My chairman and I talk a lot about life, and when it gets stressful at work, we remind each other that life is short and to try to practice some self-care. And thankfully wherever I have worked, those in charge have learned to put up with my sense of humor. Oftentimes, they along with my co-workers, are the ones who end up the victim for my good natured tormenting and practical jokes. I just can’t help myself. What I’d discovered at a young age was if you do an exceptional job, strive to become almost indispensable, create (if possible) a good rapport with your supervisor that you can usually get away with some well-timed practical jokes. My very first foray in tormenting a boss was when I was sixteen and working in a local grocery store. I boxed groceries and the women checkers all liked me as I put 110% into the job and it made their life easier. I didn’t realize I had a warped sense of humor until one day it just so happened that this habitually cranky male boss was working on a fruit display at the front of the store directly in front of the check-out stations. He spent a couple hours arranging the fruit in a bowl so it looked just right. It must have been for a promotional thing and anyway, he left to go get his camera to take a picture and in an instant I say to one of the checkers “watch this!” And I run up to the front of the store and grab an apple from the carefully arranged display and take a big bite out of it, then place it back in the fruit bowl with the bite of the apple in full view. All the checkers, along with the customers are watching me and trying not to giggle when Mr. Cranky Pants comes back with the camera. Of course he is furious and asks one of the checkers who did that?! They didn’t rat me out and brilliantly placed the blame on some imaginary eccentric older customer. And that was the beginning of my lifelong history of creating humor in the workplace. Fast forward several jobs and many years later and I’ve collected a whole arsenal of creative fun to launch on unsuspecting targets. In my current job, I get a new chairman each year, which is the fun part. In fact, I had one chairman who when I would introduce him as my boss, would state that he was not my boss, rather he and the other executive officers were my victims. (think: rigging office doors to spill bouncy balls & paper confetti on top of the person entering their office to placing an air horn under an office chair- just to name a few). As I usually have worked in high-profile and fast-paced positions where often times there is stress, long hours and sometimes very difficult situations to get through – humor is the common ground where the true rapport begins. You create a work family based on trust, being a team player, giving your 110% and knowing someone has your back, as you have theirs. But you can’t be all hard work and no play. When you have that kind of atmosphere, I have found that humor brings people together in a way that is like the glue that creates lasting bonds of friendship. And even after all the tormenting, I am still good friends with so many past chairmen. It probably helps that I would also bake them their favorite cookie almost weekly when they were in office.
k And in fair play, every once in a while, I am the intended victim, and rightly so. And the best joke ever played on me was the morning I walked into my office on my birthday (think April Fool’s Day give or take a day) and there were at least over 100 gift bags of all sizes and shapes strewn all over my desk spilling onto the floor along with one gigantic 6’ stuffed purple animal. When I started opening up the anonymous gift bags, it was the equivalent of getting the junk drawer contents from over 100 people. I laughed myself silly the entire hour it took to open every single bag. And I have to admit, I deserved the payback. I still giggle when I think about it. And to sum it up, in trying to live a live a life that matters, I take my cues from our Creator. In order to grow and thrive it takes the proper amount of the basics to exist. But I want to do more than simply exist, I hope to continue to focus on being the slightly warped but sweet kind of person who tries to focus on enjoying the gift of today. And when it’s my time to turn in my “earthly time card” I hope that what people would remember about me is not only the crazy antics coupled with daily purposeful acts of kindness (think of your fav sweet/sour sauce!) and that maybe I helped you laugh, that I was the person who held your secrets and gave insight when asked on how to navigate the road bumps in life. When you wonder what people will think of you when you are no longer around, it basically makes you reflect on what you are doing today to create that kind of life. So hopefully you and I will remember to live life like a Friday night instead of a Monday morning. And a quote that I love is: Being normal is not necessarily a virtue – Aunt Frances. And with that, I hope you seek to enjoy this year ahead of you with so many possibilities. Be “exuberant” and add in a bit of “enthusiastic” for good measure in all you do! All my best, Gayle
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Raising Flavors in Dropping Temperatures by Tony Niccoli If you’ve been reading along with me for the last 5 years, then you know I grill in the winter. And I think you should, too. My walk to the front of the house gets shoveled less often than the path to my grill. The cover is always free of snow drifts, and I make adaptations to the recipes and techniques I use in the winter to get the most out my grill, while getting the least amount of outdoor exposure for me. Sometimes that means bundling up and going for quick recipes that are on and off in a few minutes so I can be back inside warming up, and sometimes I go for much longer cooks that only need an occasional check-in so I spend most of the cook time inside under a blanket. It’s just snow and wind. Deal with it and continue to enjoy your grill. But I admit, even I have days I just don’t want to face it out there. And I know from the glacier sized snow mounds on grills around town that many of you are currently waiting for this yearly ice-age to pass. So let’s take it back inside this issue and talk about some ways to get that outside flavor with an indoor cook. The first option is to cut a hole in your roof and create a fire pit in your living room. Using this method, we will be building large, open fires with real hardwoods and producing high levels of smoke for perfect seasoning. All you need are some river rocks, a saw, some determination … Alright, I hear you. The indoor fire pit isn’t an option where you live. Landlords can be fussy, and spouses don’t always see the vision before the before the carpet is torn out and the and roof pierced for ventilation. That’s okay! I’m here to help with a few ticks that will meet their approval. First, let’s talk about the sear. A few years ago, I did an article about grilling steaks inside but those techniques will serve you well with burgers, or chicken or any other grilled protein or side. One of the best parts of cooking over flame outside on gas or charcoal grill is the sear marks on the food, and flavor in your crust. And you can get pretty close indoors as well. First, we want to make sure we aren’t putting any food into a cold pan. It’s really important to be all the way up to heat on your cooktop, or in your stove, and to have your pan hot as well. My top recommendation here is cast iron – you’ll get a much better sear and more flavor be it burgers, steaks, or chicken. And if you really want to replicate the diamonds you get outside, try a grill pan. The ridges will mimic the grill lines you love and the openings between them allow better air circulation and heat transfer. Finishing in the oven – or even doing your entire cook there is also possible. If you started in a pan on the stove top and got your sear before the inside had time to cook you can finish off in oven to hit the perfect temperature. Just make sure you are using a cast iron or oven safe pan that doesn’t have any plastics or coatings that can’t handle the heat.
Have the oven pre-heated as a backup before starting your pan sear, and then go directly in for the finish with the burgers or steak still in there. For chicken you will find this makes it much easier to get a crisp outside but still keep it moist inside. You can have the oven anywhere from 375 to 450 to finish off a steak. Going at the higher heat leaves you less margin for error, but keep them moist inside. At the higher temperatures, you will be under 8 minutes total cook time to get to a medium rare or medium temperature. As you are learning your exact timing for your oven, just flip at 4 minutes and then check temp after another two minutes in there. Like grills, no two ovens will be exactly the same so check a little earlier than you may expect. Many restaurants actually do their steaks under a broiler from start to finish. Theirs might be a little more industrial than the broiler feature on your home oven, but they essentially work the same way. If you want to use yours to cook a steak, put the rack in the highest possible position and set a pan on a lower rack to catch the drippings. With the steak directly on the rack you get great circulation and great searing from the broiler. Check first to see if your oven has an option to keep the broiler permanently heating. You may need to stand by to monitor and keep the door cracked a tiny bit to keep it from turning off during the cook. Flip steaks at 4 minutes and check temperature after another 2 minutes. For chicken, you will need to go directly in a pan, but can still get pretty good results here – though I prefer to always start in the pan on the stove. For that smoky flavor you love, the indoor grillers have a few options. One is to go with liquid smoke. Another is to try some smoked seasoning – it won’t give as much flavor as the liquid smoke, but for a purist that considers it cheating to turn to the bottle, try a little smoked paprika in your dry rub. Or if you are going to use a barbeque sauce after cooking, choose one with a really smoky flavor. And finally, remember that the restaurants that cook indoors have a secret trick that you should try. Butter! I even use this for my outdoor grilling – but when cooking in the house it becomes even more important. Whether cooking in a pan and butter-basting the entire time, or just searing and cooking in the oven, finish your grilled steak or burger with a little pad of butter. While you allow the meat to rest, the butter melts over the top creating a rich and cream layer over the sear. And if you went a little too far in your cook it will help mask any char or overly crunchy texture. Luckily for me, Heather loves to make her own seasoned butter so I usually have some ready in the fridge for resting steaks and chicken. Make rosemary and garlic the stars – along with some salt and a little pinch of any other seasonings you enjoy. If you don’t have time to grab fresh herbs, you can also mix in some Italian seasoning or dried rosemary and garlic powder with the butter and get pretty close. It’s a friendly reminder to people that like to rush at the end and cut a perfectly cooked steak too early just to watch all the wonderful flavor run out on the plate. Don’t touch that burger, steak, or chicken until the entire pad of butter has melted over it. Trust me – it’s worth the wait.
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12 ounces strawberries 1/2 cup sugar substitute divided 1 1/2 cups full fat sour cream 1 tbl vanilla extract 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
Instructions Place the strawberries and 1/4 of the sweetener in blender. Blend until smooth, with some chunks remaining.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, vanilla extract, and strawberry mixture until thoroughly combined.
by HEATHER NICCOLI
In another large bowl, whip the cream with the remaining 1/4 cup sweetener until it holds stiff peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours. Can also be consumed right away as more of a trifle, or soft yogurt.
by Heather Niccoli Ingredients 1/2 cup butter melted 2/3 cup sugar substitute 3 large eggs ½ teaspoon vanilla extract ½ cup almond flour 1/3 cup cocoa powder 1 tbsp gelatin ½ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt 1/4 cup water 1/3 cup sugar free chocolate chips Slivered almonds + pecans for garnish
Make the yum Preheat the oven to 350F and grease an 8x8 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, combine the butter, sweetener, eggs, and vanilla extract. Add the almond flour, cocoa powder, gelatin, baking powder, and salt and whisk until thoroughly combined. Stir in water to thin the batter. For thicker brownies, use heavy whipping cream. Lightly fold in the chocolate chips. Spread the batter in the prepared baking pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges are set but the center is still moist.
Bacon | Leek | Parmesan | Quiche Heather Niccoli Ingredients:
Premade pie crust 2 tbsp butter 2 cups leeks, chopped 1 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup milk 5 eggs 2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme Pinch freshly grated nutmeg 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese ½ lb bacon, fully cooked and crisp, crumbled Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll out dough and place pre-made pie crust in pie pan. Melt the butter in small pan over medium-low heat. Add the chopped leeks and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browning, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
Keto? Go Crustless! Home&Harvest
Whisk the heavy cream, milk, eggs, thyme, nutmeg, parmesan cheese, and about 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined. Spread leeks evenly over the base of the quiche shell. Pour the cream and egg mixture over the top. Bake at 375°F for 50 to 60 minutes. Top with the crisp, crumbled bacon. Serve while still warm. Refrigerate uneaten portions.
Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Emory Ann Kurysh
Enjoy diving into this decadent dessert that is not all that bad for your health! Hello New Year and new healthy body!
Ingredients: (For the cake) ½ cup canola oil ¾ cup almond (or any dairy-free) milk 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup white sugar 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tsp baking soda ½ tsp salt 1 cup zucchini, shredded dairy-free butter, to grease (For the icing) 1 ¼ cup icing sugar 2 tbsp dairy-free butter 1 tsp vanilla extract 6 tbsp almond milk (or more depending on desired consistency) ½ cup dairy-free chocolate chips
Steps: 1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8”x8” (or thereabouts) baking dish and set aside. 2. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, milk, vanilla extract, and sugar. Mix well. 3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold in the wet ingredients, adding the zucchini last. Stir until just combined. 4. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and put in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 5. Meanwhile, prepare the icing. Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until melted. Stir often and do not burn. 6. Once the cake has cooled thoroughly, top with the dairy-free icing. Yum!
Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
Emory Ann Kurysh Ingredients: (For the bubbly starter) 1 cup whole wheat or whole rye flour ½ cup cool water 14 cups all-purpose flour (For the dough) 1 ⅓ cup milk 8 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature 2 large eggs 1 cup bubbly starter 4 tbsp sugar 5 cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp salt oil, to grease (For the filling) 2 cups brown sugar, packed 4 tbsp ground cinnamon ⅔ cup unsalted butter, melted Glaze optional
Disclaimer: the final pictures are of the cinnamon rolls that didn’t turn out. I’m going to start out by saying that I’m 99% positive that this recipe will work. When it does, they will taste delicious. Mine didn’t go that way, and rather than spend another 6 days of my life making them, I decided to go ahead and share the recipe, explaining what I did wrong. Mistakes in the kitchen happen! All we can do is learn from them and try again! Thus, I am writing it down now in a very long but much less confusing format so that you and I can attempt them for a more successful result. Like most of my recipes, I get inspired by one and then research and combine three or four just to make that one thing. It annoys my husband to no end, but I tend to treat recipes as a general guideline rather than a step-by-step manual. The rest I leave up to creativity, curiosity, and taste. This one was no different (although my results were disappointing). When I first came across these cinnamon rolls on Pinterest, I was so excited because I have never made anything with sourdough before. When I saw that the starter took 6 days, it only heightened my excitement. So I dove in, and everything went smoothly until that final day. The morning of the 6th day was a hectic one around my house, and the one recipe that I was largely inspired by online was just so incredibly long and confusing. What I should have done was take the bubbly starter that took 5 days to make and turn it into dough for the cinnamon rolls that morning. What I did instead was accidently skip a paragraph and used the entire starter to form the rolls (rather than only using some of it to make the dough that formed the cinnamon rolls). Hence, they looked as they should but when they did not rise in the oven, it was then that I realized my mistake. If I would not have skipped that final and crucial step, I am positive that this recipe (which is made up of several recipes) would have worked. This is my longest one yet, but I think that the results will be worth it. Good luck!
Steps: 1. You need to first make a bubbly starter that will eventually go into your Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls. This takes nearly a week to prepare. I recommend starting in the morning. Day one: Mix 1 cup of whole wheat (or rye) flour together with ½ cup water in a medium non-reactive bowl. This includes glass, food-grade plastic, stainless steel, etc. Stir thoroughly, cover with a tea towel, and let rest at room temperature for 24 hours. 2. Get in the practice of discarding most of the bubbly starter. The original recipe called for throwing half of it away on day two. Meanwhile, the end result was to yield less than 10 cinnamon rolls. What I did instead was keep both halves of the starter on the second day, thus doubling the recipe. So, day two: Divide the bubbly starter into two, placing each half in a medium non-reactive bowl. Add 1 cup of all-purpose flour and ½ cup of lukewarm water into each bowl. Mix well, cover, and leave for another 24 hours. 3. Day three: Today you should notice some bubbling and a fruity aroma. Today also signals the start of two daily feedings, each one 12 hours apart. Separate 1 cup of bubbly starter from each bowl and throw out the rest. Put that cup of starter back into the bowl and add 1 cup of all-purpose flour and ½ cup of lukewarm water. Mix well, cover, and repeat again in 12 hours. 4. Day four: Repeat the steps for day three. 5. Day five: Repeat the steps for day three. 6. Now it is time to prepare the dough. Again I recommend starting in the morning, only to let it rest for approximately 12 hours. Then that evening you will be able to make and bake the cinnamon rolls! Day six: Using a large bowl, combine 1 egg, ½ cup of bubbly starter, and 2 tbsp of sugar. While stirring, add ⅔ cup of warm milk and 4 tbsp of room temperature butter. Next add 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour and ½ tsp of salt, forming into a rough dough. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rest for 30 minutes. Repeat steps in a separate large bowl, thus make 2 rough balls of dough. After the dough has rested, flour your countertop and knead for approximately 6 minutes. It should be soft and somewhat tacky. Put the dough in a medium bowl that has been coated with butter. Cover with a damp tea towel. Repeat with the second batch of dough. Set both aside for 8-12 hours at room temperature. 7. Once 8-12 hours have gone by, it is finally time to roll the dough. On a lightly floured countertop, drop one of the dough mixtures. Stretch it as best as possible with your hands. Then using a floured rolling pin, smooth it out into a 12”x16” rectangle. Combine 1 cup of brown sugar, 2 tbsp of ground cinnamon, and ⅓ cup of melted butter in a medium bowl. Spread onto the rolled out dough, leaving a ½ inch border along the edges. Then starting from the longest edge, carefully roll to the other side. Cut in 1 ½” pieces with a serrated knife in order to yield approximately 12 cinnamon rolls. Place onto well-greased 9”x9” baking dish and set aside for 1-2 hours. Repeat with the second dough. Preheat oven to 350°F and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. Remove, let cool, and add glaze if desired. Finally, it is time to enjoy your amazing, mouth-watering Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls that hopefully turned out better than mine! (I can’t wait to attempt this recipe again now that it is written down in a clear and concise manner!)
Writing hunting articles can sometimes trigger various degrees of emotions from your audience. Regardless of how you feel about any topic, I hope you keep an open mind and read my adventure to see that sometimes these highly controversial topics aren’t terrible at all when properly practiced. Quite a long time ago I wrote about a mountain lion I shot, ten feet behind me while elk hunting. While I have no idea what her intentions were, that close of contact with a predator of that magnitude would have anyone reaching for some sort of self defense. I heard of a few human, cougar interactions over the years, some ending in death of the person. The mountain lion is made to be a perfect killing machine. Extremely powerful muscles, pinpoint sharp claws, and huge canines, topping it off with unbelievable camouflage. Silent and patient, you would never know one was watching you until it was too late. They seem most interested in deer, and elk, and have heard they can target quite a few fawns in the spring. Cougar don’t really have a predator other than us. When they become more populated, the game decreases in an area and they will travel to eat, sometimes coming after easier targets, such as your pets or livestock. In extreme cases, people. Hunting these creatures is very difficult to say the least. One technique is to use our best friends: dogs. Just a few days ago I was asked if I wanted to try and shoot a cougar with my bow. My fiancé, (yes, I did just say that! John gave me a ring for Christmas amongst a box of skulls he had cleaned for me! He certainly knows how to romance this particular lady!) has friends who runs hounds on bears and cougar. Of course I was up for another hunting experience. Purchasing my hound hunting permit and cougar tag, we waited for the call that these guys had found a nice sized track in the snow. Early one morning we awoke to the phone ringing and a cat had been located! Stumbling around getting dressed and quick cup of coffee, we were on our way to meet up with them.
Upon arriving, I learned one of the guys walked out the cougar track to make sure it was fresh and did not double back. When he indeed found it was very fresh, three hounds were released after being shown the path for a few yards. The dogs were more than raring to go! Baying and barking and pulling their owners lead, so incredibly intent on finding this animal. The hounds all had collars on that hooked up to a controller of sorts that two guys had to watch these dogs path. The baying got farther and farther away until you couldn’t hear them anymore. Watching pretty close on the controller, the guys new exactly what their dogs were doing and why. We all stood around for about an hour, listening to any change in the dogs super faint baying, or a standstill on the remote. Finally, the guys, who were just all standing around shooting the bull, all just split and headed to their trucks and headed down the mountain. Even though I think these guys have done this a million times, the excitement was palpable!
Arriving to an access road, we all grabbed our gear and headed out quickly to find the dogs. Walking close to a mile, the baying got louder and louder till there they were surrounding a medium sized tree and like 20 feet up was a nice sized cougar! Not seeing a good shot with my bow anywhere, they tapped the tree to get the cat to reposition. Still no good shot. Tapping the tree agitated the cat immensely until it decided to either jump trees or get down. Balancing on its perch the lion leaped to the other tree, missed and fell, almost falling on one of the hound hunters! Immediately the dogs were on its tail. All of them swallowed by the thick timber around us. The chase starts again. This time it doesn’t take but of all maybe half hour before the hounds had him in another tree! Down the mountain we all head quickly towards the baying. Right next to a steep hill leading to a rapid small river, there they were! Alas again, no shot with the bow! Limbs and the way he was wrapped around the tree, presented very limited shot opportunity. Tapping the tree yet again trying to get him to reposition still didn’t give us a bow shot, meanwhile the hounds steadily barked and bayed. I had two choices. Either to get the cat down and re-tree it, possibly losing the cat, or take him with the lever action open sight 30-30. So I chose to use the rifle. Resting on a makeshift shooting stick, I was taught where to aim when you have to shoot straight up. Not feeling super confident for I hadn’t shot an open sighted weapon since my first deer with a 30-30 when I was 16! Resting on my stick, breathing out while the guys had hold of their dogs, I squeezed the trigger. The lion hunched up, leaned over, and fell out of the tree! I was told with great emphasis reload!! Reload!!! Away we slid down the hill and the cat was in the stream holding on with the last bit of life. Placing the bead again on the animal, I shot again. And down he went. The whole stream ran red. It was incredibly intense. The guys made super sure it was dead and helped get it out of the slippery, half frozen river. Followed by a celebratory shot and beer, we all stood around and took pictures. The hounds would not keep their attention off that cat even in death. To say I felt blessed to have been asked to go on this hunt is well, an understatement. I was honored to say the very least. The respect these guys had for their animals was remarkable. The drive these hounds had to find this cat was so difficult to understand this kind of obsession. These dogs would be happy to die doing this. Each time the cat was treed, the hunters gave their dogs unlimited praise and love. When the hunt was over, the dogs were allowed to bite and play with their prey. They were all so incredibly happy! I never knew all of this. As we packed out this cat, all of the hounds walked faithfully beside their owners obediently. Not to mention silently. Their job was done and they were proud! While hound hunting most certainly poses different challenges and potential terrible things that could go wrong, these dogs live to do this. Not to be on a bed on the floor. In a kennel. Or on the end of a chain it’s whole life. There is the possibility of the cat turning on the dogs. Or wolves eating them. Getting hurt in general while chasing. While these guys love and treat their hounds very well, they know the relationship they have with these dogs are not your typical house dog. These animals are a form of tool that have a drive to hunt that none of us people will ever understand. Which is why some people can’t understand hound hunting because of the type of love they have for their house dogs. Hound hunters love their dogs, but for what they really are. I have house huskies and I don’t know how to let them run and pull, I just give them a good life and big area to run. But these dogs get to live their best life. Which is what we all aim to do while on this earth. I was blessed to harvest a 120 pound tomcat this year, and do my part in predator control.
I would like to pass on some ideas and thoughts regarding what I did right and what I did wrong on my New Zealand adventure chasing red stag and Himalayan tahr. This was a totally grand adventure and the memories created will remain in my memory banks forever. Most of this adventure went extremely well and most equipment selection and preparation cannot be faulted. First off: physical preparation. I spent several months walking and jogging up to two miles per day. This is essential on a trip of this nature as walks can be long and terrain can be and was steep at times. Nothing like poor physical shape can ruin a hunt. Even though your guide will promise that he will get you out even if he has to make several trips, it is far preferable for you to make it out in one trip under your own power! This, I did! The weather was great with no rain or snow and temperatures were very moderate. Light camouflage gear was all that was required. Boots? Now this is a real sore spot, quite literally. For many years in my job as a pesticide applicator I have relied upon Goretex, 400 grain Thinsulate leather boots with Airbob cleats. This is a dynamite combination which I found could not be beat. I always had great traction- never fell on any rough, steep terrain and my feet always remained dry and pesticide-free. I almost neglected to mention that I always used Obenauf â€™s boot grease (which is by far the best I ever used) and I used all available on the Palouse. You do have to be careful on oily metal truck beds though- pretty slick, here! At any rate, quality Airbob soles were not available on my last pair of Danners. The Danners came with some type of yuppy, high-tech soles which I did not care for and quickly wore down. I was told that Airbobs were not available so had I had my boots resoled with the original Vibram sole. Not bad, but not in the same class as Airbobs. Well, on the last leg of my stalk for tahr, I was on some extremely steep terrain and lost my footing. I caught myself and avoided rolling to the bottom of the mountain by digging in the buttstock of my rifle. In doing so, I pretty well did in the rotator cuff on my left shoulder. I am told the look on my face indicated that I was in extreme pain. You bet, Jim Bob, I was in extreme pain. I do not think this would have happened had I been wearing my proven Airbobs. Surgery, which I have had, and a year-long painful recovery followed. Lesson? Select your footwear carefully!
On to rifle selection. My Sako 300 Winchester magnum equipped with Nightforce scope was to be the weapon used on this hunt. The various 300 magnums have been a top choice worldwide for many years and this reputation is well founded. Actually, I feel that many standard and magnum calibers from about 25-06 to the several 33 calibers would do just fine as well. However, as it turned out, I left my 300 at home due to the current political climate in New Zealand. This was a good decision but did lead to some problems on the hunt. The weapon I used belonged to the guide and was a Browning A Bolt in 300 Winchester. It was blued steel, composite stocked and equipped with a Zeiss Vari X 20x scope, and had a suppressor and bipod included. It was a very fine, accurate piece of equipment. The ammunition was factory Hornady 150 grain Whitetail Hunter. It was a very accurate combination at 100 and 200 yards as I discussed when we sighted in. I couldn’t run any exhaustive texts but I believe this is capable of well under 1 MOA accuracy. At any rate, I missed two shots with this combo at about 200 and 380 yards on stag. I did finally relax and connected on the second shot at 380 yards. Why did I miss? I held the rifle in a fashion which induced much forward pressure to the barrel and caused the misses to be high. I checked the clearance between stock and barrel when we got back to our hunting house and found the barrel really was not as free floating as my 300 is. Two morals to this story. First, use your own equipment. (My 300 is seriously free floated) and hold the rifle very relaxed. Duh! I didn’t have this problem on tahr as I shot over a soft backpack, which did not affect point of impact. Both shots connected, one at about 200 yards and finisher was at 350 yards. Ammunition choice is another matter. I am a little ambivalent about this and there are two sides to almost any argument. We’ll talk about this down the line.
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Newly Married Pioneers by Diane Conroy This area of Idaho was settled by many Civil War Veterans and newly married pioneers. John and Mary Lorang of White Spring Ranch in Genesee are just a sample. There were several early settlers who lived here and died and carried their stories to the grave. Fortunately, John and Mary were very serious historians and we have all the stories. From the time John was courting Mary in Wisconsin until now, we have records of almost every day of their lives. Sometimes both morning and afternoon, from his point of view and hers. The children chimed in too, with journaled thoughts, so as not to be forgotten. Here are just a few quotes from the overwhelming amount of letters and journals found on site. Mary Gesellchen Lorang: “Dearest Children and all! Today I will write a few lines to you that maybe you don’t know, and after I am dead and gone, you can’t ask me anymore or anyone else. My mother’s name was Gertrude Mertes... She came across the Ocean when she was 16 years old....” “Dear children... I wrote this I was afraid you would forget...” John Lorang: (John and Mary’s first language was German) “At 8 o’clock am we started for Rome, and arrived there at 1:30 am. ” “On this day, this book was presented to me by Isaac Stephenson, for whom I used to work 39 years ago in a lumbering camp on twin-kreek, Wis. ” “This chair was made by myself in Feb. 1914... it is constructed of four different kinds of wood...” “Then I made one arm-chair out of one apple-tree for myself and it just fits me. They are both better then I expect theam to be.......” “Dear Son Henry, Yesterday we have received the good news that the war is over with...” Martha Lorang (child of John and Mary): “Mother said that in Genesee Proper, ‘There were tents all over the place and all was blooming, it was thought Genesee was going to be a big city” “One of the springs was piped to the house and barn in 1911. Dad had never had any engineering experience, but it worked....” “Dad was always at some Farm Bureau meeting or another to promote this or that and once was asked to run for Representative of Idaho. He put out cards but would not solicit, so of course he wasn’t elected. Governor Alexander thought a lot of Dad and for what he did and stood for. Gov. Alexander appointed him to represent Idaho in a World meeting of Farmers. He had to stand up and give a talk, and he said, at first, his knees shook, but that he got the courage and did very well...” “The buggy had a top on it and a one-cushion seat that carried three by squeezing in together....” “We had many large gatherings at our house... one year, the Fourth-of-July was held at our farm. We had foot races, sack races, and a Merry-Go-Round with horses.” Charles Lorang (child of John and Mary): “Barney Timmel worked as a hired hand on my Father farm in Genesee when I was a very small boy, but I remember him. I especially remember him when gave me the lines of a four horse team.....”
These stories are wonderful and heartbreaking both. I would like to share some of them with you, since John and Mary Lorang’s journals were repeated in real lives all over this part of Idaho. This story will begin to tell of the White Spring Ranch, established in 1885 in Genesee, Idaho by these two young and creative lovers. John Lorang was born in 1858; Mary Gesellchen in 1860. Both were born in Wisconsin just before the Civil War in the United States. Both of their parents had emigrated from Germany; John’s family in 1854, Mary’s in 1846. John’s father had been born in France. In 1879, John Lorang, age 21, went out to the woods to make his fortune in order to travel West to Idaho. His parents Bernard and Angela Lorang had nine children. Too many to pass on enough land for all and John’s older brother Theodore was sharing many tales of fertile Palouse farmland in Idaho. John began “working in the woods” logging trees and squaring logs, in Wisconsin and Minnesota. In 4 full years, by 1883; he had amassed what was a small fortune for the time, $500. John had been writing letters to his sweetheart Mary Gesellchen for the entire 4 years in the woods. And here is one letter John wrote to Mary, after she said “Yes”. “Today September 17, 1880 Oh dear Mary, I was over joyed yesterday to get your letter which I had been waiting for a long time. I had hoped with much pain and almost give up hope and I dreamed every night last week that I would get a letter. Finally your letter came my dream come true. You can believe me that you couldn’t have made me more happy. For three weeks I have been away from the old place where I worked. Now I am about 20 miles away from my old place. Here I make square beams out of logs and get paid $20.00 a month. I am not so far in the woods like I was last winter. I am only one mile from the church so I can go to church every Sunday. Now I will close my letter. Many greetings to you from your always happy lover. John Lorang, Collegeville, Stearns, Co. Minn.” On Feb. 19, 1884, he married her and just two weeks later, still the middle of winter; John and Mary boarded an emigrant train from Wisconsin to Riparia, WA. This was the closest stop to their destination. They weren’t traveling alone. They joined a small group of 11 friends from Wisconsin also interested in the Palouse farmland. It was a stark boxcar that carried these immigrants West. They were to carry their own food and cook meals on a small stove at the end of the car. After ten days on the train, the group of 11 landed at Riparia, WA and boarded a steamboat for an all day trip East, a few miles, to Lewiston, Idaho. One of the women remembers picking flowers on the banks of the Snake River in Lewiston on March 15, 1884. From Lewiston each family used a wagon to travel up the steep Silcott Rd., the first pioneer road on Lewiston Hill towards their new home. (To be continued…)
Temple BY Kinyon The distinct metallic taste filters into my mouth as I suck on my index finger. It’s bleeding, and I’m a bit timid to look and see just how bad. I pull my injured digit out of my mouth and inspect the gash. It’s deep, but probably not in need of stitches. Fat drops of red begin to drip again slowly from the slash. I rummage around in the drawer with my good hand and find my prized llama band-aids. Their extra sticky adhesive makes them perfect for busy adult hands, even though they’re made for kids. I carefully wrap the purple bandage around my finger, making sure to cover the laceration with the tiny, white gauze. I focus back on the project I was working on when the incident happened. The plastic package sits on the counter, still containing the light bulb I need. It taunts me. Open me. Go ahead, Temple. Try it. Before receiving the cut on my finger, I attempted to open the seemingly innocent lightbulb package by merely trying to pull the cardboard backing loose from the plastic bubble around the bulb. After several failed attempts, I decided to attempt to separate the plastic from the backing using my fingernail. Nothing. “Surely, I’m smarter than a plastic package,” I had muttered. My next effort involved a tiny, ceramic blade manufactured specifically to “slice right through any plastic.” I slid it across the front of the package. The plastic was thick, however, and I only managed to create a hole about two inches long. The light bulb needed at least double that to pop out of its hold. Once the ceramic blade made its first cut, it wasn’t as effective, though. The plastic now had some give because of the hole, and all the tiny blade could do was make a dent. To heck with it,” I had exclaimed. I ripped at the plastic with both hands in a savage burst of defiance. “This package will NOT win.” In an instant, a piercing pain seared through my left index finger as the sharp edge of the cut plastic sliced into my skin.
At that point, I was furious, bleeding, a little sweaty, and still had no light bulb. All I wanted was a stupid light bulb. Nothing fancy, nothing of any real value to make a plastic package with security equivalent to Fort Knox. Just a flippin’ light bulb to screw into the lamp and go on about my day. I refused to give up. I needed the bulb, and the rest of the bulbs upstairs were encased in plastic just like this one, so no easier solution existed. Jan/Feb 2020 67
Finger bandaged, I take a huge breath and release a long list of cuss words that would make even my more indiscriminate friends blanch. I’m filled with heated determination. THIS round will go to ME. I retrieve scissors from the drawer, thinking I’ll just finish cutting the plastic and free my prize. Only it doesn’t go like that. The scissor blades buckle and leave only a white mark in the plastic. I try again using both hands on the scissor handles to exert enough pressure to force the blades to cut. Nothing happens. Fury boils inside and ticks time off my life; my blood pressure is at least 200/125. The struggle with the scissors brings on another round of cussing, but this time I direct it at every single plastic package manufacturer in the world and the sadistic humans who engineered this monstrosity. I curse them, their families, their past generations, their future generations, their bosses, and I finish off by nailing the guy who invented plastic in the first place. (Google says it’s Leo Hendrik Baekeland, a name now burned into my memory bank for future reference). With my breaking point in the rearview mirror, I fling the scissors aside, muster all the energy I have, grab the plastic, and pull as hard as I can. If my hands end up shredded, at least I’ll have the bulb to screw into my lamp and actually see if the sure-to-happen cuts warrant a trip to the ER. POP! The plastic encasing immediately and easily pops free of the backing. Out rolls my bulb. How come that didn’t work the first time?! I scramble to catch the bulb before it rolls off the counter and shatters into a million pieces. My hysterical shrieks and whoops fill the room, and I dance the jig of a winner. YES! I AM THE WINNER. I BEAT PLASTIC PACKAGING! My jubilation soars as I screw the freed bulb into the lamp, only feeling a slight heartbeat in the cut on my finger. I click on the lamp, and beautiful light floods the room. I sense my blood pressure return to normal and my negative energy ebb. I decide to reward myself with a snack, Yes, just a simple snack for the winner. I march triumphantly up to the pantry and spy an unopened box of crackers. The cardboard flap at the top of the cracker box pops right open and reveals a plastic bag of yummy delights. With little thought, I grasp the bag out of the box and try to pull it open. The seal holds fast. I try again, thinking if I just yank a little harder, the seal will give and reveal the buttery, crispy goodness. But it doesn’t. Beady sweat starts to form again on my brow, and I utter a cuss word. This can’t be happening again. I wipe my sweaty hands on my pants, thinking they might be slippery against the plastic bag.
“That ought to do it,” I pronounce to my trusty sidekick Pippa the Bulldog. She gives me a sideways cynical glance with the message, “This is going to be rich,” but I ignore her and start pulling once again. I wrestle and tug, and eventually, feel the bag’s stubbornness start to give a little at a time. Ever so slightly, the seal begins to surrender. I exert a bit more muscle, my hands pulling in opposition. Just one more little bit of pressure. . . Suddenly, the seal breaks apart, and before I can stop it from happening, the entire bag from top to bottom rips wide open. Dozens—maybe hundreds—of crackers, freed of their prison, launch into the air in a confetti-like burst, landing in my hair and all over the kitchen floor. I stand, dumbfounded. I look down at the mangled bag in my hand. There’s nothing left of it but two pieces of plastic, held together by the fraction of glue that didn’t give up. Pippa hungrily dives into the unexpected treasures littered all over the floor. It takes me a moment to shake out of my disbelief that once again, the plastic packaging in my life seems to have some sort of vendetta against me. The devastation is complete. No survivors. No crackers. I fetch the broom and dustpan and clean up what mess is left after Pippa’s feeding frenzy, dejected the crackers are ruined for me. Pippa, however, smiles…wait…it’s actually a smirk of triumph brought on by my ugly loss to something so trite as plastic packaging. I smirk back at her, thinking it’ll make me feel better, but all that accomplishes is nothing. She’s a dog with nary a care in the world now that her tummy is full of crackers. My stomach growls and finger throbs. This must be what Howard Cosell labeled as “the agony of defeat.” I open the trash can lid and brush the crackers and the shreds of the plastic bag from the dustpan. The mess lands on top of the mangled light bulb package. I swear I hear echos rise out of the receptacle—Lucifer himself laughing that the plastic got the best of me. I glare at the evidence of the morning’s chaos and vow the next time a light bulb goes out, I’ll sit in the dark for as long as it takes until my husband can fight his own bloody battle to retrieve a bulb and bring back the light. I’ll keep my llama band-aids handy. Since this is Home & Harvest Magazine, Temple has offered some insight on the subject of harvest and felt offering a look inside her home would be appropriate. As a non-decorator, mediocre cook, and less-than-creative landscaper, she usually experiences adventures such as this one when wearing her homemaker hat. She hopes some of you can relate to simple frustrations of life eventually morphing into jocular conversations. Sometimes all you can do is laugh.
Souls of Sojourners’
“Using drugs to me was like skimming on top of life.” This stunning metaphor has stayed with me since I first heard it spoken. He was answering my question, “let’s think back to the beginning. Why did you start taking drugs?” How many of us would like to be able to remove ourselves from the situation we sometimes find ourselves in? Or perhaps the one we were born into, or never asked for? I remember my son as a four year old in a rare existential moment for his usual sunny outlook. I felt the same kind of appreciation for his impressive clarity when he said: “Mom, I want to start my life over. This one’s turnin’ out stupid!” Although his dilemma was soon settled with a hug and a conversation, it has stuck with me all these years because it was so important to us both. It was seriously how he felt at that moment, and not to be dismissed. How many of us have felt that same anxiety, disappointment, and discomfort with what’s happening in our lives right now? How many have found the release they seek by “skimming over life’s demands and challenges with the help of alcohol and/ or drugs.” More Times than not the skimming leads to a diminished life of non-feeling and losing of self and independence. In this interview, the young man told me of the choices he realizes he made - the wrong crowd, the partying, buying drugs, skipping court, and several weeks in jail, and trying to “get away from life”. Then came the second chance.
Why is Mental Health Court working this time? “...Because I’m sober. Have been for a year. I’m sober. When you’re sober, the structure of Drug and Mental courts work. When you’re using, the structure of Drug or Mental Court is something to ‘work around’. I know that now. I have a job. I work sixteen hours a week. The rest of the time I live here at Sojourners. Steve and the staff helped me understand that recovery is yours if you have the real desire to change. It’s been a long time for me. When I was 13 I was put in the children’s home. That was actually the hardest thing for me.” Why was that so hard? “I missed my mom...” He pauses, “But pretty soon I’m graduating court and I’m getting my own apartment.” That means you have fulfilled all of the requirements. You have proven that you can meet the challenges that have been court ordered for months, that you have attended counseling, kept up with your meds, followed the rules of Sojourners Alliance, probation officers and AA and NA meetings and sponsors. You have got to be proud... and if you ever feel like romancing the old life...? “I can’t imagine that, but if I do I have lots of people to call on. I have made a lot of connections and I know where to get hold of them. Their doors are open.” Special thanks to Ginger Rankin and Sojourners’ Alliance, this facebook series will be published in each issue of Home&Harvest.
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