Home&Harvest Mar/April 2019

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I’m not sure what caused this, but some time ago I got the notion that I should stop making my editor’s letter so personal, and stop sharing my thoughts on overcoming anxiety or things that I feel really matter in life. It’s funny, if there’s one thing I get the most feedback from, it’s this space. I have a drawer filled with letters, cards, photos, art and more from people who have appreciated my being so open and willing to discuss my own issues. In fact, many people even stop by our flower shop each week to give me a thoughtful gift or words, and almost every day I have an email from someone sharing their special thoughts with me. Which is why I have been so surprised at myself that I have been feeling ashamed to get personal with readers in my letters lately. The truth is I’ve been feeling embarrassed. See, the thing is, anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of. And opening your heart to people is a special thing. But I started to worry that people were judging me, or seeing me as less of a person. Of course, no one has ever said it to me, but still I worried. All of this has got me thinking about how fear stops us from doing the things we should do the most when we worry what others think of us. And I don’t know about you, but for me, knowing that I’m not alone with these battles helps me greatly in moving forward in life. This magazine is an example of why you should always follow your dreams and put yourself out there. Did you know that almost every writer I have was nervous about submitting their first article, or wondering if you’d read it and love it? Yet they did it anyway. Most of my advertisers are small business owners. Now THAT is a dream that takes facing serious fears. I feel very proud that I’ve retained almost 100% of my advertisers over the past five years and have gotten to know these people very well. It shocks me when I see people who I think are amazingly brave or talented or even well respected in the community have moments of humanity like the rest of us. And because I spend most of my time in solitude, I find the kindness in others I come into contact with especially inspiring. When it comes to this magazine, I truly believe it attracts the good in others and it humbles me. Last year, I had quite a setback with something I have never dealt with: depression. I didn’t know what it was at the time. I thought since I had anxiety I was immune to those other things. Ha! The logic of me is quite hilarious. And of course, none of this made sense because I am one of the most proactive people I know at practicing gratefulness, attending anxiety therapy, meditating daily, and I take medicine to aid my mental health. But the truth is, what I needed more than anything was self-love and acceptance. Tony is always telling me to celebrate where I’m at TODAY- not worry about anything else. It always makes me think of my writers, who I’ve seen grow before my very eyes even when they second-guess their talent. It makes me think of the people who have emailed me about advertising before they even opened their doors and shared their thoughts and worries with me on being a new business owner. All of this makes me remember the saying to always be kind to others, for you do not know the battle they may be facing. So while many of you can directly contact me and send me your thoughts, I can never really return the favor other than to use this space to share my support and love for you. I believe that the Palouse is a special, sacred corner of the world. And I believe that our communities are the way they are because each one of us possesses the divine and sacred talent of truly caring about each othereven though at times we all forget our manners or what’s truly important. And as for me and my writers and advertisers, we thank you, dear readers. We are all doing this for you. So that you may prop up your feet with a warm drink and read these stories with a smile on your face. So that you may see each page as a letter from your neighbor and each advertisement as an invitation made with love to visit their business and say hi. So that you may read my letter and know that behind it all is me, just a quirky woman who has too many retro dreams in her head and wears her heart on her sleeve. Who doesn’t always get it right and misses typos and makes other mistakes. Who is thankful for your kindness, your support, your acceptance. With love,

Heather Niccoli Editor-In-Chief Home&Harvest Magazine

10 a rock and a happy place 22 the only way to travel 34 rustic coconut bars 40 the steaks are high 46 one curious antelope 50 the other apex predator 58 you gave me life 64 the history keepers 68 and be proud

A rock and a

happy place



K inyon

It never failed. I always managed to smash a finger. It didn’t matter how hard I tried to be careful, my tiny, child fingers always got in the way. Forty-plus years later I still remember the quick-as-lightening pain suffered when a digit got pinched between two rocks. Wearing gloves softened the sting slightly, but not entirely, and I’d shake my hand to hurry the hurt out. The annual job of picking up rocks on the farm was one of the many tasks of spring, and as a kid, one I wasn’t exactly eager to perform. Growing up on a wheat farm in Lath County offered a built-in job helping Dad with chores. No matter what, he’d find something age-appropriate for me to do. I learned early on that hard work always paid off, even if I got a smashed finger or two. The little odd jobs I was assigned didn’t involve Dad breaking any child labor laws, but getting dirty and physical were usually on the menu. Before the official Rock Picking Extravaganza took place every year, spring had to advance a bit to make picking possible. The snow and ice melted, offering the promise of new life bubbling up from the land. Crops planted in the winter shook off the cold, almost bursting with pride they'd survived the harsh weather. The rolling hills of unplanted farm ground sat eagerly awaiting plowing and seeding. And the special secret of the crocus was always revealed, sometimes even before the snow melted entirely. When the crocus arrived, we knew spring wasn’t far behind. Spring definitely meant unpredictable weather and outside chores cleaning up winter’s residue. Inconsistent weather was the most consistent forecast. And if you didn’t like the weather, during springtime on the Palouse you’d just have to wait five minutes, and it’d change. One day you’d be mowing, the next day it’d be snowing. Spring brought longer days, which meant Dad was working furiously to ready the fields for another growing season. The flurry of spring work was a stark contrast to the slower days of winter. Spring made me melancholy for the winter months, coziness of the fireplace, holidays, and family. Upon reflection, that might be why I wasn’t especially fond of spring. Spring always seemed like a waiting room for summer. A few more months of the school year still loomed ahead. It stood as a blockade to the freedom summer brought, with sunny, long days and flip-flops. Sure, Spring Break offered relief in there somewhere, but that week just prolonged the remaining days of school and the fussy weather patterns of the Palouse.

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There were highlights of the early season, however. Springtime allowed for riding bikes. After the winter thaw and as soon as Mom gave us the go-ahead, my brother and I would haul our bikes out of the shed, dust them off, maybe oil the chains, and then take off for adventure. I loved our driveway after spring rains. No matter how hard Dad tried to keep it smooth and the gravel spread even, eventually the traffic from his trap wagon (farming pickup loaded with tools and equipment), tractors, and trucks pushed aside the rocks and left two smooth paths centered on the driveway. Water would seep into the low spots, creating puddles. Beautiful, rich, brown puddles just beckoning my brother and me. Starting far enough away to get good speed was key. We’d mount our bikes by the barn about 30 yards away from the smooth runways and awaiting puddles. When it was my turn, I’d go full bore, and when I hit those puddles, I’d lift my legs up, with only momentum and sheer joy speeding me along. The dirty water would gloriously spray all over. My brother and I would have races and contests to see if we could empty out the low spots. Our successful completion of the game undoubtedly left us mud-spattered, but deliciously exhilarated. Mom usually stayed calm when we traipsed in, filthy and soggy. Occasionally, she'd grit her teeth, but allin-all she probably expected it. She took slight revenge when she’d make us strip down to our socks and underwear in front of each other in the utility room. Another springtime highlight involved Mom’s tulips on the edge of the garden starting to poke through the ground. Seeing those little green nubs pop through the dirt gave me a thrill, almost like finding buried treasure. Sometimes I’d carefully brush a little dirt away, so they didn’t have to struggle to break free from their earthen-bound home. Mom planted dozens of tulips and daffodils, so the hunt for the signs of life turned into another adventure. Spring brought out the birds emerging from their winter refuge. They’d chatter away as they monitored the farm activities from the overhead power lines. The trees shot thousands of buds out of their branches that only days before were just black scratches against the grey winter sky. Everything woke up from a long winter’s slumber. Everything had something to show off. Sometime between mid-March and mid-May, spring work preparation took place. One of the major jobs Dad and Grandpa (before he retired) faced included readying the acreage designated for the spring crop. It all depended on the weather. I personally called the waiting around on Mother Nature to deal the perfect hand “Outdoor Gambling.” The soil had to contain enough moisture content to be crumbly or friable. If it was too wet, a consistency like cookie dough emerged, making it impossible to work. If it was too dry, the seeds wouldn’t germinate.



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Over the five generations who have worked my family’s farm, the judgment call when to plant—based on the soil—was referred to as the “Grandpa Factor.” My Dad learned from his dad the complex process to gauge the optimal time for planting, and his dad learned it from his dad, as so on. My brother, who also farms, probably learned the “Grandpa Factor” at an early age with both Dad and Grandpa overseeing his education. Once the “Grandpa Factor” hit, it was all hands on deck at our house. Dad performed the spring tilling to shove the residue and stubble from the previous harvest’s crops into the soil to squeeze out every last nutrient. Using a harrow (or spring-tooth harrow) and/or a cultivator, he’d masterfully work the ground smooth. The resulting dirt clods were insignificant in size when he finished his labors. A sea of beautiful, rich, brown dirt stood ready for planting and to receive the blessings from Mother Nature. Then, with furious determination and hope for the perfect crop, seeding commenced. In the hustle of spring work, crops planted the previous fall started to wake up, too. Mom always described spring work as exciting because the weather started warming up, and the mystery of how the fall wheat survived the winter was revealed. As many times as she witnessed spring—both as a kid on her family’s farm and after marrying Dad—Mom always held a sense of anticipation and eagerness to watch the tender, green sprigs of fall wheat grow bolder and stronger. The rapeseed and canola, also planted in the fall, shed winter from their broad, leafy foliage and started to thrust out their blooms, later to become massive carpets of brilliant yellow blossoms. During the weeks of spring work, Dad toiled away with Grandpa and Mom’s help while the three of us kids attended school, which was probably a blessing for my parents, so we weren’t underfoot or complaining. But on the weekends, they asked us to help out sometimes. I don’t remember specifics of every request—it may have just been to clean my room—but I do remember the horrendous task of picking up rocks. Every spring, without fail, we had to rid the planted fields of rogue rocks. I bet a few of you just let out a little chuckle because you picked up rocks on your family farm during spring work, too. But some of you might be scratching your head, wondering why in the world we’d have to pick up rocks out of a field. I’ll tell you. Simply put, rock picking served as preventive maintenance. Dad always tried to avoid planting short crops, like peas or lentils, in rocky areas, but sometimes it couldn’t be helped due to his crop rotation. Short crops meant setting the combine headers low to the ground during harvest. Removing rocks helped avoid damage to the farm’s pricey equipment. Catching even one rock and sending it through the machinery inevitably broke something. Why not try to avoid the situation by scouting out the rocks and extracting them ahead of time? On those “special” days, I swear Dad and Mother Nature schemed with each other to make rock picking days the cloudiest, windiest, coldest days since the previous year’s rock picking stint. My sister and brother remember it differently, however. They both assured me rock picking days offered the warmth of a bright, happy, springtime sun. I beg to differ. Of course, the soil wasn’t too wet or muddy and allowed us and a wheel tractor access without leaving ditches or damage to the seeded crop. But Mother Nature sometimes thought it was funny to sprinkle a smattering of rain just for a good old-fashioned lesson in persevering through adverse conditions. Sometimes we had to bundle up, but on rare occasions we only had to wear a light jacket.

I remember, however, that Mom always made us—or at least me—wear a hat because the wind blew every year without fail. One year I “forgot” my hat, and she tied a scarf on me, cinching it just tight enough to educate me that a hat is always necessary when one is outside during spring work. The family affair usually commenced in April, sometimes with Grandpa, but in later years with Dad and Mom. Whoever drove the wheel tractor usually let us kids ride in the bucket until it got full with rocks. My sister, brother, and l plucked the rocks, usually the size of a baseball or larger, sitting on the smooth, freshly seeded soil. However, sometimes larger, boulder-type monstrosities appeared. As a slight child, those larger rocks seemed as big as me. I’d suddenly pretend I was the Bionic Woman and the rock an evil nemesis to conquer. Usually, my sister or brother would nab the larger ones—for show, of course, because we were raised with a competitive spirit. But at times I’d face a large rock and grapple, fight, and struggle it into the bucket of the wheel tractor, feeling victorious and strong. Looking back on those spring days of my youth, I know how lucky I was to be a farm kid. I witnessed and understood the amazing process of producing food for the world. And even though the process included some not-so-fun jobs, like picking rocks, what could be better than spending time outside with my family? I may have slightly exaggerated how undesirable rock picking was, but I know I would get 100% consensus that none of us kids looked forward to it. Yet, that important job held a place on the spring work to-do list every single year, and still does. There’s a never-ending supply of rocks. The simple act of rock picking made all the difference when harvest rolled around. That task, however, also made a difference in me. Maybe removing the most massive rock I could manage in any given year saved the farm thousands of dollars in equipment damage. When I think of it that way, the memories of rock picking leave me with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I learned a few pinched fingers served as badges of honor representing work ethic and family values. And let’s not forget the important lesson of wearing a hat—or sporty scarf—on a windy, spring day.

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T N E C S A 9 1 20


There are only a couple of words that anyone in the fire service never wants to hear while being dispatched. One of those words is 'rekindle'. The word itself is defined as to relight when used to describe a fire situation. It gives you an overwhelming sense of defeat. Something you were supposed to accomplish to then find out you weren’t successful and you need to go do it again. Of course this also means further damage to a home, too. Unfortunately, sometimes these situations do happen. Not because we aren’t capable, or missed something, but because of the types of construction. Or, how a building burned and the way we are able or not able to get to all areas that are effected during the fire. Building codes and construction is much different now than it was years ago. Balloon construction is a type of construction that was very common in its time. Essentially you can have a space in the wall that extends from the bottom floor into the attic. If hot embers or burning material were to fall into that void, it could conceal the fire and then cause that rekindle to happen hours or even days later. Other construction challenges come with remodels. Older homes that are remodeled to give bigger spaces with additions onto the home. I’ve seen it when working in a closet or bathroom. Opening up a wall to find the old roofline with shingles still intact, inside the wall. Large voids that are just covered up because that’s easier or cost saving during construction. But, it leaves a huge place for the fire to hide or stay concealed to long after we are gone. It was around Thanksgiving. I remember seeing the call out for the structure fire and was unable to go. This would mark the original call for the fire. It was dispatched as a chimney fire with fire in the wall. I was told that the fire was stopped within that room and the crews felt like they did a good job with the stop. They used the typical tools looking for extension. Opening walls until the burned area was gone. Using the Thermal Imaging Camera and a heat temperature gun to see if they could spot anything that was unnoticed by the naked eye. All good to go. Then a call comes in early the next morning for heavy fire showing from the second story. At the same address. This is the second call out for the fire. I was also not able to participate in this call, but after talking with those that were there, the fire was in the same room that it was before. They must have missed something or had a concealed hot spot that wasn’t caught. Unfortunately, this time the fire was much bigger than the first call. Flames were blowing out the window of that room. The crews hit it hard and fast. They managed to stop the fire mostly to that room. It had extended out to a portion of the second floor, but most of the other damage was from smoke and water. Again, and more diligent than the first call, everything was combed through. Checked multiple times with all the available resources looking for extension or hot spots. With the all clear, the crews left. Now it was almost three days later, I was in my driveway loading my kids up for school. It was Monday morning after the holiday weekend and we were ready to get back to our daily routine. As I was strapping my oldest into his seat, my pager rang out with the tones for a fire. “Dad, what’s that noise” he asked me. I answered back, “Sounds like there is a big fire going on”. I looked up as I pulled out of the driveway and could see the smoke realizing at that moment, it was again at the same house from the earlier fires. Home&Harvest

Mar/April 2019 19

The third call for this fire. It seems unbelievable at this point. This home, however, had the construction challenges that I mentioned earlier. It provided many difficult areas to access and most likely had concealed a hot spot that wasn’t detectible. The fire was on the way to the kid’s school, so I drove that way to get a closer look. As we rolled by about a block away, I could see that the entire second floor was engulfed in flames. We worked our way to the school and I dropped off my boys. Of course, my oldest wanted me to take him back to the fire so he could watch, but I made sure he stayed at school so I could go back and help at the fire. After the drop off, I made a quick check in with my office as I drove back to the fire. By the time I got there, our Chief was on scene along with two engines. They had knocked down the fire from the exterior and had just sent the first crew in to make the interior attack. I slipped into my gear and grabbed an air pack. I waited for an assignment and was paired up to go in as the first crew came out. There was still active fire in most rooms of the upstairs. We were to go in and try to knock out as much fire as we could to slow progression, then transition into looking for the areas it had extended to. We topped the stairs and turned to the left. This was the room the fire had been in during the original call out. We quickly worked what was visibly burning and checked on a back closet. Knocking down what was there then turning back to the hallway to check the other rooms. Keep in mind, at this point the roof was pretty much gone and there was a ton of debris on the floor. I sounded the floor as we went to make sure it was still solid. There were two rooms ahead of us. One to each side. The bigger one on my right was mostly out other than a front corners. We hit those spots then looked to the room on the left. Once we got into that room, we were able to hit those spots and work the roof line that was still there. There seemed to be quite a bit of smoke, but not much for active flames. We had our work cut out for us at this point. There would be a lot of digging and spaces to open up. My crew dug around for a bit as our low air alarms started to sound. Time to head out. The next crew would come in and take over as we go to rehab and get checked out. On our way out, I gave an update to the new crew and they take over our operations. Rehab. It’s either quick or you end up sitting for a while. We drink some water, the EMT’s take our vitals and we either get cleared to go back in or you wait until your numbers come down. My blood pressure and my pulse were a little high, so I would have to wait a few minutes before getting checked again. It actually took me about a half hour, but got cleared to go back in. I paired up with one of our Division Chiefs and two of our Battalion Chiefs and we headed back in.

This time our assignment was to find where the last part of the heavy smoke was coming from. Back upstairs we worked down the hallway. We checked the main burned out area again and couldn’t see where the fire was trapped. I followed the hallway to the end and found that I was looking at mostly smoke damaged area. The fire hadn’t burned out this area of the upstairs. I turned to my right and found a small bathroom. Being full of smoke, I first took the window out to ventilate the room. Next was pulling down the ceiling. Found it. The fire came rolling out as I began to remove the ceiling. I called out for a chain saw as I could see the fire was also in the wall. It was solid wood and there was no way I could do that by hand. As I waited for the saw to come up, I finished out the ceiling. It was getting pretty hot and above my head was mostly consumed with fire. I turned to Justin who was at the door and he asked if I was ready to have him cool it down. With a nod, I kneeled down right in front of him and he hosed down the room. He told me later that it looked really impressive as the fire came down while he pumped the water into the room. We made a cut into the wall and found what we had expected.

The old roofline and burning shingles concealed inside the wall. Low air again and we headed out. We really had the fire on the run at this point. We instructed the incoming crew what we found and what to proceed with in that room. The other crews were now working on digging and removing debris from the upstairs. We used ladders to access the tops of the walls and poured water on any smoking areas. With lots of digging and using the same tools as before, we checked and rechecked to make sure it was out. Again, after not finding any other hot spots or smoke, we packed up and cleared the scene. Rekindle. They are horrible and not anything we want to deal with. In my career (19 years this March), I can say that I only remember two or three. They do happen, but we always try our absolute best to make sure they don’t. Tools that we can use today really do help us to locate any hidden fires. Sometimes, circumstances can change what we see and one concealed ember can give us a result that we truly never want to experience.

the only way to travel


tony niccoli

100 years ago, the success or failure of a city was often tied to its location on the rail lines. If you were lucky enough to have a railroad stop, you could go from a tiny town to a major city. Having the rail lines pass you by and stop somewhere else could lead to ruin and decline. Luckily for Pullman, there were multiple railroads that made stops downtown – the two biggest were the Union Pacific and the Northern Pacific. With an incredibly fertile area providing farming land that produced goods that needed to get to market, and a land grant university that depended on the larger populations of western Washington for its growth, it was the rail lines that allowed Pullman to go from a small town of 200-300 people in the late 1800’s to the major destination we know today. And though he never lived there, or built his famous sleeper cars there, the fact that the city of Pullman is actually named for one of the rail road industry’s most famous figures makes it even more endearing to the town’s history that it was the locomotive services that allowed this success. The two main lines had terminals only a block apart – and they can still be seen flanking Grand Ave in downtown Pullman. The old Union Pacific Railroad depot was a small wood building that was torn down after its replacement was built in 1939. The newer depot sat directly next to the original, and was used as the terminal for many years until it was donated to WSU and became the Cougar Depot in 1988. It was the school’s official visitor center until the newer facility opened in 2014, and was then sold to Umpqua Bank. The building today looks just like it did in the 1940’s. Home&Harvest

Mar/April 2019 24

Originally, they had the Northern Pacific terminal a little farther way, but travelers were complaining about all the mud on the walk out to the tracks for boarding. A new facility was built closer to the actual stopping point in 1901, and then replaced with a larger brick building that still stands today. Imagine traveling from Seattle to Pullman for only $7.70. Now picture it on a train – full of no one but college students, and the occasional faculty member. Overnight (of course chaperones were also provided). That was the Cougar Special, and it ran on routes from Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane, stopping along the trip to pick up more students on their way back from vacation and ready for a few rounds of cards, or a few rounds of drinks. They had an upgrade available for a sleeper car, but most students just stayed up all night catching up with classmates, or meeting new friends. When the train pulled into town, the population surged as almost an entire college disembarked together and walked up the hill or caught a ride from a local friend lucky enough to have a car. There was a time when nearly all the students at Washington State College (now WSU) would travel on the Cougar Special every fall, spring, and on the special 10 day Christmas break routes. Those vacation trains would depart Pullman at 5pm on a Friday and reach Seattle at 8am the next morning. On the last day of winter break, they would pull out of Seattle at 4pm and make it to Pullman by 7am the next morning so students could walk to their 8am class and get back into the routine. What a way to spend syllabus eve! But eventually the interstate highway system made travel by car more popular, and students stopped using the trains. The 1965 Cougar Special was the last. And by 1966, with the ending of the “BUG” (a one car train that carried 96 passengers on a route from Moscow, Lewiston, Spokane, and several other small stations) all passenger train routes had stopped running through town. But the two main depots remained across the street from each other as a reminder of the dueling competitors that had allowed for the tremendous growth of the town and university. After the trains left town, the Pullman Depot found a new life as offices and retail space. In the early 70’s Northern Pacific sold the depot to the freight line Burlington Northern and they rented space to the Department of Agriculture. In 1988 it was purchased by Dan Anton. The depot became a home for his real estate company, and a literal home as Dan built living quarters there in one of the train cars he had parked on the auxiliary tracks next to the depot. The Spokesman-Review and the Vehicle Licensing Bureau rented space in the main building, and assorted other businesses came and went over the years. After Dan passed away, his daughter was looking for an opportunity to find a buyer that had interest in preserving the historical nature of the depot – and she found the perfect group with the Whitman County Historical Society.



They purchased the depot in 2018 and already have a museum area up and running, with ambitious plans for serious renovation and repurposing to get the depot ready for the next hundred years. WSU’s Rural Communities Design Initiative has been helping to create models of future floorplans and layouts for the Historical Society, and the project has been named the Pullman Depot Heritage Center. It will include a museum area with both fixed and changeable exhibits, videos and programs telling the story of the depot along with the history of Pullman and the Palouse region, an outdoor play area, a café, gift shop, and a multi-use space that can be configured for lectures, banquets, or other community needs. They will be creating outdoor seating areas, planters, and changing the traffic flow through the parking area to cut down on the speeders. Several of the train cars are being moved to allow for more space next to the depot building, and the moved cars will become more exhibit space – with a restoration to show what the original passenger cars and cabooses were like inside, and conversion with a movie theater built into another. The original waiting room – which had separate facilities for a men’s smoking room, and a women’s waiting lounge – will get some major restoration. This section of the building still retains some of the best preserved original features. The Whitman County Historical Society has plans to restore much of this area to its original splendor, with detailed oak woodwork, terrazzo floors, and extensive tile work on the walls. The waiting room area can still be viewed today at the entrance for the driver’s education school that currently rents space on that side of the building. And the Historical Society has their museum already operating out of the original freight room on the other end of the building. They are open Saturdays from 10am to 4pm. With the depot located next to downtown Pullman, and directly on the Chipman Trail system, it’s an ideal location to continue serving as the heart of the community – long after the trains have stopped. It keeps the town anchored in the memory and knowledge of its past, but the revitalization and new uses for the space will definitely provide a huge benefit for Pullman for the next hundred years and more as the city continues to grow. If you are interested in donating to the restoration efforts, or contributing time to the committees and projects, you can contact the Whitman County Historical Society at pullmandepot.org.





Farm Life


Gayle Anderson

There is a picture, which to me, captures the essence of rural farm women celebrating mutual friendship, kinship and gives a peek into what life looked like on a Sunday morning. The photo was probably taken in the 1940s, and ever since I laid my eyes on it, it is one of my most favorite pictures… ever. It hangs in the kitchen of the small, quaint and picturesque church just outside of Genesee. It’s strange because sometimes I think my soul keeps coming back in the form of a farm-wife. Same soul, but reincarnated in a different woman, so maybe that is why I can feel what that picture radiates. I came upon this photograph when I began attending this church with my mom and step-dad back when I was a single mom in my mid-20s with a 2 ½ year old daughter. All the people in the congregation were either my parent's age or my grandparent's age, yet I felt completely at ease with these newfound strangers. On my first visit I followed everyone down to the basement kitchen for coffee, cookies and conversation after the service. It was there that I spotted this picture and was memorized. It truly wasn’t anything special, but it spoke volumes to me and I could feel the love and friendship between these women as they are gathered in that same church kitchen sharing a laugh. I recognized most of the ladies in that snapshot as the same ones in the congregation now, only in a much older version of themselves- probably 25+ years later. And then life or destiny stepped in and little did I know that in about 2 years I would join the ranks of becoming a Genesee farm-wife in that very same church. And for 28 years I looked at that photograph and felt a kinship with the local woman of agriculture, both present and past. Those experiences of being involved in agronomy and wholly embracing a rural lifestyle have helped shape me in ways I never could have imagined. Maybe it was because I didn’t grow up in it and my fresh eyes took in the day to day routine which held an appeal to me. Maybe it was because I understood the magnitude of the profession and was in awe of it. How could you not be, when you realized that each farm together with everyone else’s were actually putting food on dinner tables all across America? And that no other profession could have such an important and integral part of our nation’s well-being. Farm life was a collection of so many emotions, such as joy, pain, sheer exhaustion, determination, commitment, and always doing your best as good enough just doesn’t cut it. Trust in something bigger than yourself was probably the hardest life lesson for me, as you have to put compete faith in Mother Nature with our livelihood. I learned patience as well as perseverance and the beauty of living in a small town and how common shared experiences with people are truly some of life’s greatest blessings. And like crops, our lives have cycles, too. Many that I knew and loved have passed away or are transitioning out of farming and letting a younger generation step in to take over. Times change, we change and go different directions. And I’ll always cherish what I learned from those truly wonderfully hard years of life on the farm. It helped prepare me to forge ahead when an unexpected new path became my new normal. And through trial and error I’ve redefined a new life that I now embrace and enjoy. And as crazy as it is, I welcomed a dear man into my life and as it turns out who grew up on a farm in Ritzville. Although Rod chose a different profession in life, he genuinely loved being a farm kid. And looking back almost two years ago when I first met him, I now understand why I felt immediately comfortable around him. He had rural Ag roots that somewhere deep down I must have sensed… guess it’s kindred souls.

In my new life here on my little farmette, I found a new kinship with my neighbors who are also part of the lovely landscape that create a nurturing community of friendship and caring. To give you an example, every time I see my neighbors, Ram or Lakhi, each one always tells me if I need anything or any kind of help to please let them know. And I’ve had to take them up on their offer of help once. Then before Christmas this year, neighbors Connie & Dennis threw a holiday party and changed the time of the party in order to accommodate my schedule, so they could all meet Rod. Is that pure sweetness or what? When I went to the neighborhood New Year’s Eve party, Norma, the hostess told me one of the other neighbors had driven to her house earlier that day to check on her when she didn’t answer her phone. It’s about people looking out for each other and being good stewards of kindness. A few months ago there was a small article published that caught my attention about a popular trend underway wherein urbanites are opting to live in “Intentional Communities”. Basically, it sounded a lot like small town living to me with perhaps a bit closer contact with their neighbors. The article talked about neighbors helping each other, group dinners, and feeling connected to others. After my trip to New York City last November, I can understand people’s desire to re-create a community closeness that I’ve taken for granted by living in Genesee and now Moscow. As I sat down to write this article for the March/April edition by a cozy fire and in my PJ’s, I was relishing living in the country. I was also overjoyed at the thought of being snowed in, as a huge snowstorm had dumped several inches of snow the night before and schools were closed, including where I work. County living does pose some challenges, but for me there are more pluses than minuses. I was confident my neighbor, Monte would come by sometime and plow out my drifted-in driveway, as he came the day before (and then several days after that). When it snows, he shows up with his farmer-grade big tractor and plows everyone’s driveways out. We all pay him a small fee to reimburse him for his diesel and time for his generosity. Snow days are a thing of beauty, but I have to admit I do look forward to spring. I can’t wait to smell that heavenly scent of freshly turned dirt. And even better to go play in it, get my hands dirty as I plant flowers and start seedlings in the greenhouse. For the last couple of years I’ve been tempted to drag up a lawn chair into the green house, grab a book, something to drink and just sit in there on a cold but sunny day. A mini tropic escape. But humidity fogs up my glasses so I just linger in there for a few moments and wonder if I could run away to Mexico.

Although it’s hard to imagine farmers starting spring work right now with the world outside looking like a marshmallow landscape, I’m hoping that by the time you are holding this magazine in your hands that it is a glorious warm day as the farmers are out playing in their tractors. Lastly, I wanted to share an excerpt a couple years ago from one of my blog posts: “Enjoying the quiet beauty of the fields, I started noticing the tractor tracks in the fields all around my farmhouse and ideas started forming. Farmers leave all sorts of tracks in their fields from the initial seeding of the fields, to doing the maintenance of the crops, and then there is a flurry of many tracks when it is harvest time, and again ending with more tracks when seeding winter wheat in the fall. The tracks left in the fields are necessary. Depending on the stage of the plants, usually they will recover from being heavily trod upon, but sometimes not and their growth will be affected. It depends on much they are driven on. If it is often (for example for a road through the field) then the plants will die out, but if it is once or twice, they will usually produce a good wheat head but their size may be stunted and the difference between rows of hard use and untouched are markedly different. Just like in life, people all leave tracks in our hearts and souls, sometimes tracks are barely noticeable, sometimes deep rutted tracks get left when going through a trouble spot (just like our personal lives) and then those kinds of tracks leave deep impressions, other times the tracks are noticeable but not problematic. I want to tread lightly and leave only the tracks that leave good imprints in the minds, hearts and souls of people I come into contact with. And as I pull on my cowboy boots each morning, I realize some of the tracks I have left on people were not the ones I intended, so sometimes I have “repair work to do” to mend those ruts, but hopefully the tracks that I leave are ones that will evoke fond memories of life and laughter from family, friends and those I come into contact with knowingly or unknowingly." And in closing, just as farmers are good stewards of the land, we in our own lives can cultivate and sow the seeds of kindness and goodwill.

All my best,


Rustic Coconut Bars Makes 12 Ingredients:

Kitchen: Emory Ann Kurysh

Bread dough: 1 cup milk, room temperature ⅔ cup cream, room temperature 1 large egg, room temperature 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour 1 cup cake flour ⅓ cup white sugar 1 tbsp active dry yeast 1 ½ tsp salt

Steps: Combine all bread dough ingredients in order into a large bowl. Mix well. Transfer dough onto floured surface. Knead until smooth. Put dough into clean bowl and cover with a towel for 1 hour. Bread should rise to 1.5 times its size.

Filling: 6 tbsp butter, room temperature 3 tbsp white sugar 3 tbsp cake flour ¼ cup coconut milk, hardened (at top/bottom of can) ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes Topping: 2 tbsp white sugar 2 tbsp hot water Home&Harvest

Prepare filling in meantime. Combine all ingredients in order and set aside until dough is ready. When dough has proofed, remove from bowl and place onto floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes then cut into 12 equal pieces. Flatten each piece with the palm of your hand and spread filling evenly onto each surface. Then roll into a cigar shape, finishing by tucking the ends under. Place buns onto a greased baking sheet and cover with a towel. Let rise for approximately 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare topping. Put buns into oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and brush with sugar topping. They are ready to eat once cool.

Mar/April 2019 34

Vegan Easter Sugar Cookies


Emory Ann Kurysh Ingredients: ½ cup dairy free butter, room temperature ¾ cup white sugar 4 tbsp almond milk ½ tsp vanilla extract 1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour 1 ½ tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt sprinkles

Steps: In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, almond milk, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Stir until well combined, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove cookie dough from fridge and roll onto floured surface no more than ½” thick. Using any shape of cookie cutter, cut and place onto large cookie sheet. Top with sprinkles. Bake for 8-10 minutes then remove from oven. Let them cool down before eating. Happy Easter!

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies Kitchen: Gayle Anderson 1 ½ cups all purpose flour ( or gluten free bread mix can be used) 1 ½ tsp ground ginger 1 tsp cinnamon ¼ tsp cloves ¼ tsp nutmeg 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) of butter or vegan butter ½ cup brown sugar (packed) ½ cup unsulfured molasses 1 teas baking soda 1 cup chocolate chips Raw sugar (about ¼ cup) to roll cookie in Directions: Preheat oven to 325. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar, then add molasses. Mix well. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Dough can be refrigerated for about 20 minutes but not necessary – it will be a little bit sticky though. Roll dough into golf ball size balls and roll in raw sugar, place on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake about 10-12 minutes or until the surface of the cookie cracks slightly. Let cool 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Yields 2 dozen!

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by tony niccoli Welcome readers – both old and new. Pull up a chair next to the grill, open a cold drink, and let’s start the discussion about improving our cooking techniques just where we left off in the last issue. In case you missed that one, I’ve decided to use 2019 as a 6 step course in grilling 101 that will get more advanced as we go. Last month started with the most basic items possible – brats and sausages. I included some ideas for precooked varieties, how to work on your timing and temp, and how to do the cook in liquid on the grill. For a more advanced griller I hope you found at least one or two tricks you didn’t know or knew for years but forgot. And for new grillers who want to improve, or even timid grillers that leave the cover on unless someone else is willing to cook, I hope you did try at least one method (without freezing to death) and found that it really isn’t all that hard. So where will we go this time? A classic burger perhaps? Flakey and delicious fish? Maybe some amazing chicken thighs? No – we are going to take one more small step and keep it simple. But you may be shocked to find out that we are about to tackle one of the kings of the grill. The top dog. The favorite of all the varieties. Today we grill the steak! Stick around, learn to get it right, and forever more be the hero of cookouts and the champion of any summer soirée. The steak is our next step for one simple reason. The preparation is basic and the patience, trust and techniques learned will help you progress to the harder steps in grilling. So lets start with the steak itself. We have a lot of choices here, and some will work better than others on the grill. For full disclosure, my favorite is the ribeye, and Heather’s is the strip. These are two of the very top contenders on the grill and for similar reasons, but you can also use sirloin, tenderloin, t-bone, porterhouse, and even eventually build up the skill to try things like flank, skirt, or flat irons. But for this article, we will stick to the techniques that are interchangeable for the strips, ribeyes, sirloins, t-bones and porterhouses. They will all have similar timing and are a great place to start. I like the ribeye (or even the chuck eye) because it has what I consider the best flavor of all the grillable cuts of beef, while still retaining tenderness. Heather loves the strip (KC, NY, Top Loin – delicious by any name you choose) because it is usually a little more tender and luxurious than the rib steaks. Its honestly hard to choose here, and you can’t go wrong with either one. And for a first timer, I would recommend one of these or the sirloin. You will find the sirloin and top sirloin to be just like the strip but usually a little less expensive. They come from farther back on the primal cuts but share that flavor and tenderness you get with the strips. Home&Harvest

Mar/April 2019 41


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The porterhouses go for the price of a midsized car at some high-end steakhouses but they only cost a fraction of that when done at home. This is actually two steaks in one! You’re having a NY Strip and tenderloin filet at the same time with a little bone running down the middle. They have the amazing tenderness from the filet side along with that flavor from the strip. And they are huge! I’m talking meal for two huge. But fun to try on a special occasion. Remember to keep the filet side off the flame so it comes out with a little less cook, and doesn’t dry out. The little brother to the porterhouse is of course the T-bone. They are basically the same cut, but taken from a little further forward on the short loin. They are a little smaller, and have less of the fillet. The thickness is usually pretty similar and the cook will be the same. Don’t let that lean side dry out! You may want to perfect a few cooks with a sirloin steak before you tackle something like the T-bone or porterhouse. So now that you have a steak picked out, lets get it out and let it rest just a little before we start the cook. I keep mine in the fridge, and then pull them about 30 minutes before I cook, leaving them out on a plate to come closer to room temp. If I have to thaw from frozen, I always do so slowly in the fridge on a plate at the bottom to prevent any drips. As a beginner, you are going to season your steaks with two ingredients. Salt and Pepper. As a pro you are going to go back to just salt and pepper. But for most people, there is an intermediate phase where they try every herb, spice, marinade, brine, tonic, and meditation possible to get a little extra “flavor” in their steak. You’ll hear them swear by their personal concoction of coffee, sugar, chipotle, and love, but in the end you’ll realize that no flavor can ever trump the flavor of STEAK. If you still enjoy drinking coffee flavored coffee in the modern era of caramel-frappa-strawberry-guava-chinos, then you know what I’m talking about. We want our steak to taste just like…well, steak. How much salt should you use? Way too much. Seriously, watch a youtube video if you doubt me, but the amount of salt needed to grill is steak is approximately 17.642 times greater than the amount that a rookie griller thinks is needed. So salt liberally. Then pepper to taste. I use a lot of pepper because I enjoy the flavor it brings out, and I like the addition of crusting it makes when we sear. But you could use a just a little (which on a steak is twice what you would call a little on any other type of food). We are going to lose a lot of the salt and pepper to the grill anyway, so don’t be alarmed. Is your steak rested? Good. Are you rested? If not have a beer and relax. Steaks cook in only a few minutes, so you have plenty of time here if you are trying to get a steak to the table at the same time as a side dish. Okay – let’s begin.

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The grill should be hot. Really, really, really hot. Preferably with two different temperature zones. On the gas grill you can do this by simply turning one side to high and leaving the other on the coolest setting. For charcoal you can keep the coals stacked to one side of the grill. The steak goes on the hot side. HOT. The lid gets closed and you sit down. Time to discuss the dilemma of excessive relief pitchers slowing the game of baseball and creating less hits, or the succession of emperors in the Roman Republic, or maybe your favorite supercar from the 80’s. No politics or fishing. You don’t have that kind of time. You just need to kill a few minutes. Lets assume you got steaks that are about 1 inch thick and call it precisely 4 minutes. “Make them stay in for at least one full inning, also I miss small-ball. There were no emperors in the republic, and that’s why it worked. And I’ll take the Lotus Espirit please. Pass me another beer – oh looks like its time to flip the steak.” You can actually do anything you want with this time EXCEPT PEEK! Do not lift that lid. The steak is still there where you left it and will be until you go for the flip. Relax and wait the 4 minutes. Pros don’t even make eye contact with the grill during this phase. As you flip, keep the steak directly over the heat. Close the lid and wait two more minutes. Just enough time to sear the other side while you concede that relievers do actually add something, Ceasar was still in the republic the day he became emperor, and sure the Countach was pretty cool as well. What grill? We aren’t even looking. Now open the lid again and move the steak to the cooler side of the grill, but still close to the heat. Close the lid and wait two more minutes. That’s it. You’re done. At the end of those two minutes pull the steak if you like medium rare. Leave it another minute for medium. Its really that easy. Since every grill varies in held temperature, you may want to use a meat thermometer here as you practice, but once you learn to time your grill, it just takes knowing how many minutes you have been patiently waiting with that lid closed. Now pull the steak and rest it. Do NOT cut this steak unless you want all the delicious flavor to run all over the plate and make it seem like an undercooked bloody mess. Those juices will be reabsorbed by the muscle fibers if you just wait a few minutes and allow it to rest. Trust me – this is the most important step to get from rookie to pro. And for bonus points throw a little pad of butter on there while it rests. You just made a steakhouse quality steak at home. The sun will shine, the birds will sing and all will be right with the world. And if not – at least you get to eat an amazing steak. Enjoy, practice, and be ready for something just a little more challenging next issue.


curious antelope


Christopher Bancroft

Antelope populations in Wyoming are just shy of overtaking the number of citizens within the Cowboy state. These speed demons inhabit the treeless plains, thriving on sagebrush and 91 octane gasoline. Due to this, hunting opportunities are vast and challenging, for both residents and nonresidents. We loaded up the truck at 5 a.m. on a foggy fall morning, with the caffeine in my coffee only worsening the symptoms of buck fever. On this particular hunt, I set out with my brother, limited to an area in southern Wyoming. Unfamiliar with the land owners in this region, I scoured online maps for public land options. I was able to locate a 7,000-acre parcel of state land after a spending a significant amount of time behind a computer screen. We drove for an hour in complete darkness until reaching the county road that led to our hunting grounds. The chilly morning wind in combination with an eagerness to set out, hindered my dexterity and I fumbled feeding bullets into the magazine. Once I was locked and loaded, I swigged the last bit of my ground filled coffee, slung the rifle over my shoulder and quietly closed the truck door. We approached a barbed wire fence and climbed through it, still chewing the coffee that we had just finished. As we crested the first hill with hopes of seeing a herd, we met the empty vastness that Wyoming is famous for, but the only life focused in our binoculars were a couple of scavenging crows. The hills of southeastern Wyoming can be compared to the heavy swells that occur in the Atlantic Ocean, ascending to rounded peak then descending into deep troughs. Each trench potentially giving safe haven to a record breaking buck. My brother and I sweated up one more hill as the horizon removed itself from the sun into a beating hot day. We stopped to glass the land and as my binoculars swept the sea of grass, I passed a white speck. White is a hard to come by color on the prairie, so I focused my optics and was able to identify the figure. It was a lone, buck antelope. I sat quietly from a great distance, making sure not to move, investigating the buck’s movements and demeanor. He continued to chew prairie grass in ignorant bliss, until something made him uncomfortable. His head shot up in my direction and his eyes locked onto mine. At this moment he knew something wasn’t right, as did I.

He began to trot lateral to the hillside, away from us. Uncomfortable but curious, he slowly started to turn in our direction, eventually disappearing behind a hill as he followed an inexplicable path across the landscape. This was my opportunity to close the gap. I picked up my gun and took off at a full sprint in his direction. I ran 100 yards to level ground, laid down, extended the tripod and waited. Eventually, the uniquely shaped head silhouetted the blue sky, inquisitively staring directly at my brother and I. At this point he was within 150 yards, leaving little doubt that he wasn’t aware of the ruse. I was incorrect. He began to sprint at us, stopped at 60 yards, turned broadside and put his head down to feed. My finger squeezed the trigger until the firing pin punched the primer. All four legs leapt into the air in reaction to the fatal lung shot. In one last noble display of life, the buck sprinted 40 yards and toppled. My brother and I approached the expired animal, took a picture and made quick work gutting him. Wanting to reduce any wasted meat, we carried him out whole. The buck hung in the garage by his hind legs for one night until we butchered him the following day. Nearly everything was kept, heart and tongue included. The lean meat is delicious despite its gamy reputation. The curious nature that consumes antelope provides a much different hunt compared to its elk and deer counterparts. Permit opportunities are vast but there is no general season, therefore a hunter must enter the Game and Fish raffle in May to be granted the privilege to hunt a Wyoming antelope. If successful in drawing a tag, you will spend your fall stalking these lean, buggy eyed beasts.

the other Alright, I know what all of you are thinking right now when you read that title. A healthy majority of you think wolves are beautiful creatures with haunting howls and gorgeous coats and a close-knit family unit, while the other almost half of mankind feeling the exact opposite who view wolves as vile, disease-ridden killing machines. I’m sure there’s a few people who don’t have opinions either way. And while I’m not here to discuss the politics of it all, I am here to tell you what I have seen firsthand, which has led me to see these creatures in a light that is for most certain, not a positive one. I have had the pleasure to hunt in North Idaho my entire life. Being able to fill my freezer every year is extremely important to not only myself but a good majority of people who I know. It’s something that we look forward to, and some of us of view as a right and necessity. Not only for good, organic meat, but as a hobby and a test of physical endurance. Friends and family bond over this sport. Memories are also created to last a lifetime and then some. For the longest time you were assured one way or another that the good Lord would provide for your freezer. Non-hunting friends expressed joy over the cornucopia of big animals Idaho has for them to enjoy viewing. Then life changed. And in my opinion, no way for the better. A few years back the gray wolf was re-introduced to North Idaho and many other places. At first I had the view that they belonged here just like any other creature. We were the ones who extinguished them in the first place. And after living with them now for this long I see why that was done. I very much believe in the balance of Mother Nature. But unfortunately as our cities grow, our needs for food grow, especially in the farming department. We have changed ecosystems to suit us. Whether anyone likes that or not it is what it is. I don’t think anyone can argue that us, the human race has grown exponentially and is impacting our planet quite dramatically.



Now we’ve pushed animals into far corners of our forests or make them try and acclimate to our cities, these critters have learned to adapt or die. Biologists study them and make regulations in hopes of the best interest of not only the animal, but everyone involved. These wolves, for example, have been eradicated for many years. There has been millions of elk, deer and moose born that have no knowledge of this Apex predator. And then one day the wolf is released into the wild to do what they do best. Some of these ungulates used to be plains animals have now been pushed into the mountains and therefore have no good defense against the wolf. All the while, the similar amount of tags for hunting season have been given out, hitting these herds with two versions of the mightiest of hunters.



by dawn evans

I remember the first time I saw a wolf. And it wasn’t one, it was a pack of 14. We were driving up the mountain to go grouse hunting and they stood in the middle of the road, not afraid of us at all. I always thought wolves were beautiful until I saw one in the wild. It was incredibly tall, very skinny and lanky. Their fur was incredibly matted like a pound dog that never got a bath. Right after I saw that I saw a coyote and it was literally a quarter of the size. Biggest dogs I’ve ever seen. One year later I was almost chased down by a mule deer doe and her fawn. In toe? A black wolf. At this time they were on the protected list so we could not hunt them. Hunting season went on like normal for the first few years for me after these wolves were introduced. Until the last. Every time I walk in the woods, I can count on spooking countless whitetail doe, blasting out of their snorting until out of ear shot. Not anymore. My parents hunted with me this year and asked if aliens sucked all the wildlife out of my forest! No deer track, very few elk tracks. No moose track or sightings. No coyotes in the night. But I heard those wolves.

People I know who spend time in the forest during winter share stories of finding moose kills close together with very little meat eaten, just to turn around and find another one dead. With the same amount of meat eaten. Upon returning to these carcasses, not an ounce more was eaten by the wolves who killed it. Many stories and photos circulate social media of the damage these wolves do to not only our limited wild game, but attacking household pets, and farmers livestock. The common theme is they only eat partial, sometimes even eating their quarry alive. And since wolves have no natural predator, the numbers have exponentially exploded, leaving us sportsman no choice but to try our best to fight back. Since wolves are incredibly intelligent, hunting them poses a daunting feat. Trapping seems to be the most effective way to manage their numbers. Along with a group called The Foundation for Wildlife Management, who’s mission is to actively help in the restoration of the elk and moose population that the successful re-introduction of the gray Wolf is destroying. One of their quotes is, "Whether you hunt or not, the way we enjoy the outdoors is at stake and we are asking for your support in helping to restore the predator/prey balance so the future Idahoans and our children still have wildlife resources to enjoy." I had the privilege of attending their banquet a few weeks ago. There was a huge amount of supporters that showed up, not only participating in the auctions and raffles but also donating a lot of their products and services as well to the cause. It is my understanding that this foundation contributes to hunters who harvest a wolf, while you keep the pelt. Depending on the means of take, you can be reimbursed anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to $1000. But you have to be a member. After watching the game in my backyard dwindle tremendously I believe in their cause as well, because wolf trapping and hunting is extremely expensive, time-consuming and tedious. I most certainly am not here to debate this topic. I know many of you feel very passionate about this on either side of the fence. But one thing I do think we can all agree upon is that we want to see all creatures succeed. And in order to do so we must manage this re-introduction or the next time we will see elk, moose and deer of all kinds will be in a zoo. These creatures are killing machines much like the unlawful poacher. Well we have rules set in place for those types of people, there are no rules for these wolves who kill without regard. They bring with them a parasite that can be transferred to our wild game and to our domestic animals. They breed at a very rapid rate. And I for one will always have a wolf tag in my pocket.

Joe Evans by

The sport of long range target shooting with the rifle has become extremely popular. I do believe that our involvement in the recent desert conflagrations in the Middle East and the importance of snipers in these conflagrations has really stimulated much interest in long range shooting. Since the Revolutionary War, snipers- shooters skilled at hitting at a long distance- have been important in our military history. It just took the openness of desert and mountain country for many people to understand the importance of long range sniping. I almost forgot to mention the importance of long range shooting in cities such as Falluja. Well, all of this interest has spawned the development of an incredible array of improved equipment. If you can think of it, it is out there. There are even schools you can attend to learn the fine art of long range shooting. Competitions are always good and stimulate new products, however, a lot of weird products can result. The sport of so-called practical pistol shooting has spawned the development of some really weird guns and light cartridges to use in them. The same is true in the long range tactical rifle competitions. I just hope we can keep the “practical” in these rifle matches. Ok, since I am a little limited in how long an article I can write, I must move on. I’ve never been a fan of the 300 Winchester cartridge but I finally decided to give it a try and since have acquired some experience with two 300’s. I’ve packed a 300 for most all my big game hunting the last two years and have used it in competitions. It is for these reasons that I decided to take it to New Zealand in April. Say what??? I will be taking my 300 to New Zealand in April to pursue the mighty Red Stag and Tahr. Hopefully, I’ll also get a chance to take advantage of some of the world class fly fishing for trout while I’m there. The 300? It is a Sako A7M, stainless action and barrel which is also fluted. Stock is metal reinforced fiberglass. Scope is Nightforce 3.5x15 on Picatinny Rail. Spirit level in rear rings. Harris bipod helps keep the tremors down. This weapon is at the upper limits of weight I would consider for a steep, rough country hunt.


Mar/April 2019 55

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Since 1939.

The handload I will be using for both stag and tahr consists of a W-W case, 69.5 grains, IMR 4350 Federal 215 Magnum Match primer, topped with a Hornady 178 grain ELD-X hunting bullet. Velocity is 3036 and accuracy right at .5MOA off bench or bipod. Plans for this hunt came about during last fall’s hunting season. I do have a history of shooting poorly at times and I wanted to practice but did not want to fill the woods with gunfire during open season. Cast bullets to the rescue! I quickly developed a good load utilizing the SWAG method (don’t ask) for use at the local pistol range, which enabled me to get some practice in at about 40 yards. This load consists of a Federal case, WW primer, 25 grains IMR4895, cast 165 grain flat nose with hard Blue Lube. Velocity is 1393 fps and groups are a slightly elongated hole at 40 yards. Other nice things about this load is it does give a touch of realistic recoil and just does not lead. Sometimes you just get lucky! This load did what I wanted it to in providing a vehicle for practice which I badly need. Lastly, this bullet, originally designed for use in the 30-30 with its large flat nose meplat feeds flawlessly from the magazine of my Sako. I sorta got out in left field with this New Zealand hunt, which I am really excited about! So now I will get back on track with the long range rifle shooting topic. It so seems that even smaller calibers will gain a following. We have a 6MM Creedmoor (.243 caliber) and it would not surprise me to see a fair amount of work in developing a 22 caliber for this sport. The gamesmanship aspect will eventually take over this sport and the smaller calibers will be the winners. I do feel that we should be careful in applying all these advances to the hunting fields. I see no problem as far as most varmint hunting is concerned, but big game is another matter entirely. I have a 300 magnum and a 340 Weatherby, both of which are capable of taking game at extreme or insane ranges but I have my own self-imposed limits on shooting. These range limits are quite modest! This business of taking big game at extreme ranges is sketchy at best and will be the subject of a future article.

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may not have given you life but

you gave me

Words by Ashley Centers | Photos by Aline Gale Moscow’s infamous drag queen Aquasha DeLusty (real name Gordon) was on stage hosting the 2017 Palouse Pride event when a booth in the back of East City Park caught his eye. Gordon said he lost care for what he was doing at the moment because he was consumed with finding out what that booth was about. Gordon passed off the microphone as soon as he was able—“here are the belly dancers!”— and “bee-lined” it for the booth where his husband Rob joined him. The Fostering Idaho booth, and the conversation they had with Recruitment and Retention Coordinator Katie McPherson about fostering and adoption, were the catalysts that set them on the path to parenthood. The couple, who met at Palouse Pride and have been together for 15 years and married for the last five, have always wanted to be parents but weren’t sure how to get there. Parenthood is expensive, but surrogacy and adoption both have added expenses—about $20,000 per child. Enter Wednesday’s Child, a program the Idaho Child Welfare Research and Training Center (a collaboration with Eastern Washington University) administers for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. These are children who have suffered from abuse and neglect, who are needing what the Center calls a “Forever Home.” “We were talking and they brought up Wednesday's Child,” Gordon said. “So, we're like, okay, adopt only. Adopt only.” A more than two-hour conversation with a friend, Margaret Zysk, followed, with her asking why they wanted to adopt. Rob and Gordon told her, “We don't believe that blood makes you family” and that the actual DNA parentage doesn’t matter because “there are plenty of kids out there who need homes.” Margaret told them that this attitude also described foster care, which could serve as a natural path toward permanent adoption. Home&Harvest

Mar/April 2019 59

Gordon, a hair stylist who is rather well known in the community for his participation in the drag and theatre communities, and Rob, a farm worker, completed the application to become foster parents in September 2017 and were licensed on January 10, 2018, a surprisingly fast turnaround on a process that normally takes six months or even up to a year. They accepted their first placement just over a month later (February 12) with the intention for the placement to be permanent. Half-siblings Brylee (6) and Dekker (2) came to live with them on March 18, 2018. Less than a year later—January 16, 2019—they legally became family. While the ultimate goal of foster care is reunification, Katie said, sometimes that isn’t possible or in the best interests of the child or children involved. Roughly 65 percent of children eventually reunite with one or both parents, but the rest— about a third overall—cannot go home. In these cases—such as Brylee and Dekker—the goal becomes to find a safe, loving home with a foster family or another adult previously in their lives. Gordon said they got a crash course in time management upon Brylee and Dekker coming to live with them. The first three weeks were especially chaotic as they adjusted to life as a family of four and learned how to balance appointments, schedules and communication with their support team. Communication and boundaries are especially important when a child is in the foster care system or transitioning from foster care to being adopted. Rob and Gordon said that while they don’t know everything on Brylee and Dekker’s past they do know that the two children have been in foster care since Dekker was an infant and that Brylee especially had reason to be placed into foster care, but since being in their care she has mellowed and started feeling more secure in her surroundings. In the foster home previous to Gordon and Rob’s, Dekker was completely nonverbal. “Dekker was actually in speech therapy when they moved in, Rob said. “And he had very, very limited verbalization. We were actually, for a while there, having to use the baby's signing books with him because he barely talked but within three weeks he tested out of speech therapy. He was just a little chatterbox.” Rob said both children are very outgoing and boisterous. He said that even before placement Brylee was described as “rambunctious, very spirited, and a whole lot of fire” and that she definitely has a future as some sort of performer. She and Gordon have bonded over drag and dress up. He made them two matching outfits and Brylee has picked out her drag name: Isabella Rosé. “I don't want her to ever be ashamed of her fierceness,” Gordon said. “I just want her to know how to properly use it. Everyone's like she's going to be such a handful. No, she's not. She just needs to be taught how to properly use it. I made her costumes. Her and I have two matching outfits.” Friends, family and the wider community, Gordon said, have all been very supportive of their decision to become foster parents and throughout the adoption of Brylee and Dekker. He said the hardest part of their journey to parenthood so far has been negotiating relationships and boundaries with all the new adults in both their and their children’s lives including social workers, counselors, resource peer mentors, teachers, doctors and others. As of adoption day they no longer have a social worker because Brylee and Decker are no longer under state care, however, Rob said their social worker is still unofficially around in case they need anything or want to invite her to anything. The hardest part is that from caseworker to caseworker files get lost or misplaced or things aren't written quite right. And so, you don't always know everything. Gordon said they’re discovering they still don't have every piece of information. Gordon said Brylee and Dekker have helped them put their lives into perspective and see what is really important, but they didn’t give up their own interests and hobbies. Gordon said he went from drag queen to drag-queen soccer mom. They married their before-kid and after-kid lives together and wouldn’t have it any other way. Brylee and Dekker have come to every Drag Bingo with Rob and Gordon and are adjusting well to and loving the drag world.

“They crack you up,” Gordon said. “They make you cry. They astound you with how smart they are. Oh, my God. There are a lot of moments where it's like ‘Holy cow’ or when your friends are like ‘Oh, my gosh, they're so well behaved.’ You're like, Wait, what? They are?” Gordon said they’re open to expanding their family in the future because they’ve learned through this process that you can’t really give a definitive answer to those sorts of questions but that they probably won’t have their own sports team or take a child younger than 2 years old because it would be a disservice to a kid that age with both of them working outside the home full time and active in the community. Home&Harvest

When asked what they hope that Brylee and Dekker know regarding their adoption situation, Rob replied, “We bought them necklaces and it has the best statement: I may not have given you life, but life gave you me. We chose to adopt them because we love them.” Brylee and Dekker were one of approximately 1,800 children currently in foster care in the state of Idaho, 90 of whom reside in the five counties of North-Central Idaho (Latah, Nez Perce, Lewis, Clearwater and Idaho counties).

Mar/April 2019 62

Unfortunately, Katie said, the number of children in foster care throughout North Central Idaho has been on the rise, with the area’s 65 foster families—many of whom are specially licensed relatives of specific children in the system— inadequate to meet demand. Most children are placed in foster care because of neglect, meaning their parent or caretaker has not been able to meet their basic needs—housing, food, education. Katie said other common reasons for foster care placements include physical abuse and sexual abuse. Applying to become a licensed foster parent is free, but requires going through a five-step process. All prospective foster parents must first attend an informational meeting. If they decide to continue, the next three steps are the official foster-care application, a criminal history background check, and being fingerprinted. After this documentation is out of the way, applicants complete PRIDE, a foster parent training curriculum, followed by completion of a home study, making them eligible for placement, a process that can take time depending on immediate demand and legal proceedings on the children’s side of things. “Families receive a monthly reimbursement for each child placed in their care,” Katie said. “This is intended to offset the costs of groceries, gas and other basic utilities that increase with adding a family member. Families also have the support of Homes of Hope, a local non-profit, that provides clothing, scholarships, tangible need items for families, and respite care reimbursement. These financial supports are important because foster families are asked to take on the tremendous responsibility of parenting a child, the financial responsibility should not fall on their shoulders too. Foster families have support through groups, trainings, and mentorship as well.” Katie said foster families are the ultimate volunteers and are heroes for opening their homes and laying their hearts on their sleeves, all for the chance to help a family heal. She continued on to say that it’s incredibly humbling to walk beside these families every day and that she’s never met a better community of people. She also said that caution or fear can keep some people from becoming foster parents, but that’s not a good reason to not get involved. “I hear families say that ‘now is not a good time,’” she said. “While I believe families need to be prepared for this journey, my answer is that there is never a good time to be a foster child. Foster care is beautiful, and it's painful. It is a journey unlike any other. But, you have an opportunity to forever change the life of a child and their family for the better. If not you, who? If your heart is calling you to foster, listen! Don't be afraid to learn more.” For information on foster care and adoption in Idaho, visit www.FosteringIdaho.org or contact Katie at 208-699-1749 and mstinson2@ewu.edu. For information on the Wednesday’s Child program in Idaho, visit www.icwrtc.org or call 1-800-745-1186. The Northwest Adoption Exchange, www.nwae.org, also covers Washington and the greater Northwest.


Many people know the Latah County Historical Society (LCHS) as the keepers of our historic house museum, the McConnell Mansion. Folks are familiar with the McConnell Mansion because of our extensive school tours or our multiple events including the Victorian Christmas and the Ice Cream Social (last Sunday in July is coming up soon, mark your calendars). Did you know that LCHS operates a separate building specifically for historical research? In this building, LCHS houses all archival materials that are not on display and makes them available for researchers across the world. What do you mean by research materials? Great question! The Latah County Historical Society houses two full rooms of textiles, over 80 historic quilts, approximately 15,000 photographs, a documentary archives housing primary resource materials, and an entire basement of physical artifacts encompassing Latah County history. All of these things are available for researchers to study Tuesday through Friday from 8am-4pm at the Latah County Historical Society Centennial Annex, 327 E 2nd Street Moscow, Idaho. A few times a week in the winter and nearly daily in the spring/summer LCHS gets requests from researchers to access these materials for their projects. Many of these requests come via email or in person (however we are available by phone as well). I genuinely enjoy helping people find what they need, yet most of the time what they are looking for is photographs. I’m sure you’ve heard it before - a picture is worth 1,000 words. Many researchers in today’s world not only want to look at photographs but they are interested in taking home a digital copy of the images. Most of the LCHS photograph collection is positive prints of negatives stored at LCHS. To best serve the public and our researchers LCHS began looking into digital preservation of these photographs to make them more readily available to the public. It is rather easy to say that LCHS would like to digitize the photograph collection. However, it is much more difficult in practice. LCHS began by researching platforms to present digital collections and found them to be cost-prohibitive. After a few years of studying options, LCHS saw what was then called the Google Cultural Institute. This was a consortium of museums and cultural organizations across the world that had partnered with Google to present their collections online. LCHS used the attached form to apply for membership to the site. For the last few years, I have been taking courses through the Society of American Archivists Digital Archival Specialist program to learn more about how to accurately digitize and preserve artifacts in preparation of our future large-scale digitization process. Using what I learned, I created the Latah County Historical Society photograph metadata standards, the most pertinent Dublin Core metadata elements were selected to describe the LCHS collections best. About six months after the form to the Google Cultural Institute was submitted, LCHS received an email from Google explaining that we had one week to fill out the membership form and get it back to Google to be a partner in this work. LCHS filled them out on time and became official partners with Google (righteous!).


Mar/April 2019 65

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Before LCHS got too far into the digitization project, LCHS decided to write a digitization policy, which was based on my studies, research, and the Google Arts & Culture (as it was now called) standards. With the plan in hand, LCHS began scanning parts of the collection for inclusion on Google Arts & Culture. This scanning process started with images from recent research requests and has now morphed into a systematic approach through the LCHS photograph collection. The LCHS photograph digitization project has two significant steps. The first step uses flatbed scanners to produce digital copies of the LCHS photograph collection. The second step takes the existing LCHS metadata from our current software (called PastPerfect) and updates it using the LCHS and Google metadata standards. Metadata describes the collection to make it easy to find using text (or voice) searching. This process (which can be taught to anybody) makes our collection accessible to the world. Why is LCHS doing this (other than access which we have discussed)? Making the LCHS collection digitized opens a new chapter of use here at LCHS. Now researchers at the LCHS photograph archives can flip through digital folders to conduct research. Images can be quickly emailed to assist in their study of the collection. People will also be able to see the collection portrayed on Google Arts & Culture and browse our images at home, in their underwear (naturally). Another reason to digitize is that once digital the collection can find new use by digital artists who re-imagine archival digital images bringing a new life to old photographs. Home&Harvest

Digitizing images also reduces the handling wear and tear on the pictures. This way people can sort (and search) through collections digitally instead of holding them (many archival documents are accidentally damaged through tearing, dropping, stepping on, etc.).For these reasons and a plethora of others, we are working hard to get the photograph collection digitized. You can have a part in this. We are looking for people to assist in scanning and creating metadata. These are the ‘boots on the ground’ type of jobs that play a MAJOR role in moving our collection from storage to online. If you can use the internet and have good eyesight, I’m confident that I can teach you to write metadata. If you have further technical skills (or would like to learn), I am happy to explain the scanning of photographs. To find the Latah County Historical Society Google Arts & Culture page navigate to: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/latah-county-historical-society Or go to www.latahcountyhistoricalsociety.org/resources and select ‘Online Collections’ All history enthusiasts and beer lovers are invited to join LCHS for "Suds with a Scholar," a fundraiser for our organization. Northwest author Randy Stapilus will present excerpts from his book Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in Idaho History and Hunga Dunga Brewing Company will be serving up tasty beverages and food. Tickets will be available at the door of the Latah County Fairgrounds at 4:00pm on Saturday, March 30th. Find more details about the event at www.latahcountyhistoricalsociety.org.

Mar/April 2019 67

...a children's tale By tony niccoli

Summer had finally arrived in the valley. The sun was shining brightly, the grasses were hearty, beautiful new flowers had appeared, and the snow was quickly retreating up the craggy tops of the Rocky Mountains. In the goat tribe, everyone was a flitter with excitement and anticipation. And none more than Little Nino. Nino knew that the day had come when the everyone made their way up the mountain to the newly exposed summer pastures. It was a trip that he had been preparing for his entire life. And Nino became more excited by the day as he saw the sun getting higher in the sky, the cool breezes fading away, and the arrival of various other animal families in his tribe’s valley. This was the time of year Nino had heard so much about – and he was anxious to show what a great climber he had become! All spring, the young goats had been playing – but in a way, they were also practicing. Nino and his cousins would butt heads and stomp their hooves. They would challenge each other on rocks and on top of logs. They would pretend to proudly stand their ground and push the others away just like they would when they were older. But most importantly – they were practicing climbing. And Little Nino was the best! He could scamper up rocks faster than his cousin Robbie. And he could jump much farther than even his older sister already! Sometimes he could jump from one rock to another and back faster than most young goats could notice that he had even done it. And best of all, Nino could climb up the very steep face of rocks next to the start of the summer trail. None of the older goats could believe how quick and sure footed he was, and some were already saying that it would only be a few years before Nino got to lead the tribe up the summer path, just like his dad and his grandpa before him. But when the day came, and the excitement built, Nino started to have new feelings. His excitement was turning into worry. And the worry became light-headedness. That eventually turned to an upset stomach, and finally he was dizzy and pacing around at the base of the trail. When Nino’s mother asked if he felt ready to start the climb, he panicked and tried to find an excuse to stay in the valley for the summer. Or at least for a few more days! “I’m sick, Mom!” Nino exclaimed. “I better go back to bed. Maybe we should wait. It still looks pretty snowy to me. And with a trail this steep, we wouldn’t want anyone of the older goats like grandpa to slip and get hurt. Maybe in another week the conditions will be better.” But Nino’s mom wasn’t about to let him stay by himself in the valley. And today was the day to get moving. The entire tribe was starting to assemble at the base of the trail, and Nino’s dad was already checking to make sure everyone was ready by getting them lined up and organized.

“I’m not sure Nino is going to be going with us,” his mom said to Little Nino’s dad. “Maybe you can stay with him for just a few hours until his stomach starts to feel a little better and then meet us on the trail?” And she gave his dad a funny look that said she already knew just what to do. “Oh, sure. We can wait a little while,” Nino’s dad told her. “I don’t mind staying with him until he feels ready. And he’s such a great climber, I’m sure we can catch up with the group before you make it up to the summer pasture.” Nino sat down facing away from the path and tried his best not to cry. He was really scared to go up the trail now that the moment had arrived. But he was even more afraid to let all of his cousins see him upset. “Make sure to tell Robbie how sick I am, Mom, or else I’d be there leading with Dad.” “Okay, Nino,” his mom said, and she started walking up to the trail while his dad sat next to Nino in the grass. “It’s okay, son. We can wait as long as you need,” said Nino’s dad as he watched the rest of the goat tribe starting up the winding path that would lead them to the top. His dad waited until all the rest of the goats were around the bend and out of sight and then asked Nino if he wanted to play a few games while they waited for the stomachache to pass. Before Nino knew what he was doing, he was up and running around the valley with his Dad chasing him, and he didn’t even notice his stomach or head! They played chase. They stomped their feet. Nino’s dad got down low so they could gently butt heads, and he even let Nino push him back on a few. They had a great time playing for hours enjoying the summer sun. And then Nino’s dad suddenly ran past as they were in a game of tag, and instead of tagging Nino, he jumped up on the steep rock at the base of the trail. Without even thinking about it Nino jumped after him. Nino’s dad leapt to the farthest side of the rocks. And a second later Nino was there next to him! It was the longest jump Nino had ever made and he had done it without even thinking. “That’s pretty good,” said his dad.

“Maybe we should go sit down until that stomachache passes unless you want to try a few more.” And before he even finished the sentence Nino was already bounding up the rocks. Faster and faster! He was going directly up the steep rocks and he didn’t even notice that he had just completely jumped past the start of the trail. After a few minutes of the steep climb, Nino looked around and realized what he was doing. He was going straight up the mountain to the summer valley and he wasn’t even scared! He looked around to see the rest of the family but they were nowhere in sight on the trail above Nino and his dad. What Nino didn’t realize was that the summer trail wound back and forth, slowly climbing the mountain. It would take his family the entire day to get to the top on the slow, winding trail. But Nino and his dad were already more that half way there because they were going right up the mountain the fastest way. “I can’t see them, dad. I don’t think we will catch up today.” “It doesn’t matter Little Nino” said his dad. “You don’t need to worry about where they are, just do the best you can and then be proud of what you can do.” “But Robbie and all the others will get up there first. And they’ll make fun of me for having worries about making it to the top. And people will wonder if I was really sick. And…” Nino was starting to get flustered again, and just thinking about everyone else judging him was bringing back the stomachache. But Nino’s dad knew that they had already passed the group. Few goats could go as quickly as they had been, and even fewer could make it up this rugged cliff. Nino’s dad was one of the only ones in the entire tribe that had ever tried before, and he knew to look down for the family and not up. Way below them, at a bend in the trail he could see all the other goats slowly making their way up the path. “Don’t worry about them or the weather or the other things you can’t control and just think about the next jump, Nino,” his dad said.

“Make just one more jump and if that’s as far as you can go we will stop – or if you can do one more after then we will do just one more. But only focus on this next jump. Do the best you can and then proud of what you’ve done.” And so Nino took another jump. And then another! And again. He was racing his dad up the cliff and his dad could hardly keep up. Nino had barely settled in the landing from one jump when he would smile, quickly think about how well he had just jumped, and then jump again. And each jump got bigger and faster until they were nearly at the top. With just two jumps left, Nino could see the top. It was the summer pasture the older goats had described. And he was there! One more jump now! He leapt as far as he could and landed in the soft grass with a triumphant smile. “I did it, Dad!” “You sure did Little Nino. I’m really proud of you. I’ve never seen a young goat make it up the cliff, most just take the trail with their grandparents until they are much older than you.” Suddenly Nino realized that he hadn’t seen a dirt trail since they started. He looked down to the valley far below and saw that wide, gentle trail that slowly wound back and forth across the side up the mountain. And there, far below, and tiny from this view, he saw his family and the rest of their tribe walking the path. “Its going to be a long time until they make it up here,” laughed Nino’s dad. Maybe you should rest a while and then we can practice butting heads a little more. I have a feeling you’re going to be leading the group up the trail next year!” Later that evening, when Nino’s mom finally came around the last bend with the rest of the tribe behind her, he ran over to tell her how well had he done.

“I wasn’t sick, mom. I was just afraid. But then I did it! I went up the cliff just like dad can!” “I know,” said his mom – we were all watching you go in the beginning. Every time the trail came back around the bend we could see you higher up. It was amazing Little Nino, and I’m very proud of you. Now just remember to do the best you can in life and then be proud of what you have done.” “Hey – that’s just what dad said!” “I know” said his mom. And she gave his dad that funny look again.

And just like Nino, you, too must remember:

“You don’t need to worry before you’ve begun. Just do the best you can and be proud of what you’ve done."