Sibling Photo Assignment #2: Coeur d' Alene River : Surprised

I gave the photo assignment again this week.
"There is nothing more useless than a sharp picture of a fuzzy concept."
                                                                     -- Ansel Adams
Pick a particular mood or feeling (cheerfulness, sadness, anger, nostalgia,mystery, suspense, starkness, tranquility, etc. ) and take a series of photos to illustrate that mood or feeling.

You can find brother Bill's photo assignment capturing images of the Brookside Gardens here.
Today when we filled the tank with gas,  loaded up the dogs, grabbed the cameras, and enjoying lunch at the Hum Dinger  I thought I was going to take tranquil pictures of the Coeur d'Alene River. Everett had never driven along the Old River Road so we meandered up the river amid rigs picking up and dropping off floaters, fishermen in boats, and campers and RVs returning home from a week-end up the river.

The theme that was created was surprise. I wasn't able to stop much to get tranquil pictures of the river because of the parked vehicles along the shores and so much traffic. I wasn't able to practice my manual settings because of time, dogs being impatient, and batteries not working right. I was pleased at what we did discover today. These pictures were not what I expected to take. I was surprised. My first surprise was the daisy field with a mountainous background along the Old River Rd. at the top of the post.

 I was surprised by two daisies, looking like twins.
 We finally found a place to turn off and we were surprised to find a small cedar grove.
 It was so cool and inviting.

 I was surprised Tucker found a piece of garbage he wanted to pick up. I love the green moss.
 I was surprised I actually caught one beautiful view of the river, without floaters or fisherman.
 I am always surprised at the beauty of the Prichard Bridge.

We did learn a lesson today. When we want to do a photo drive up the river, go during a quiet day during the week. We still enjoyed it and loved to see all the people enjoying the river whether floating or relaxing along the shore.


Sibling Assignment #181: Retreating By Water: The Last Resort

Brother Bill gave the sibling assignment for this week. 

Write about a specific place,but NOT the Oregon Coast, that is powerful to you where there is water. Do your best to describe this place is some physical detail -- you could also include pictures! --, explain why it is powerful to you, and reflect upon the power of water as it relates to this place and to your life in general. 

I have been blessed to be surrounded by water my entire life. In my youth I swam in north Idaho lakes, floated the Coeur d'Alene River, water skied at Rose Lake, waded in Jacob's Creek, and drove often along the Spokane, Clearwater, Snake, and Columbia. Recently I discovered the Clark Fork River.  I have never  tired of the natural beauty of water whether it is in north Idaho, eastern Washington, or Montana. 

Everett and I started a tradition about ten years ago. We searched for quiet vacation rentals that we could get away either on a long week-end or that time right before school started in conjunction with our anniversary. Most of the time we were by water. My first introduction to the Clark Fork River was in August of 2013. We found a comfortable cabin The Last Resort on the river right outside of the town of Clark Fork. It was a powerful retreat at a time we needed a retreat. We had worked hard outside all summer and I was involved with school activities much of the summer. I remember arriving at the lovely cabin, knowing it was going to be perfect. The river was quiet and peaceful. The clouds were spectacular. There were no people around. We had a beautiful view from the porch.  Water has a way of helping me slow down. When I am stressed, worn out, or depressed, water has a way of bringing me around. It holds that power. A sunset sure helps also. 

There was an added bonus on this trip. We were close to a cedar grove across the border into Montana. Just as water provides a way for me to slow down, so do cedar groves. I love to wander among the shady trees with creeks trickling, and the air filled with an earthy smell. I think as you view the pictures throughout the post you will see why this was a perfect retreat for two tired people. Water has constantly reminded me to slow down and relax. I am fortunate to live close to water again in my new home.

Another added plus. The dogs loved it and I got to practice my photography.

Sibling Photo Assignment #1: Summer Color

I came up with idea of adding a second project to our Sibling Assignments. Each week we will do a Sibling Photo Assignment. I want more opportunities to practice what I learned in my photography class in early April. The biggest challenge is to keep the camera on manual setting. 

Assignment #1: Summer Color. Take four pictures that depict summer to you. Focus on color by creating an arrangement of colors that are pleasing to the eye. When done we can compare colors we chose and what stood out in the arrangements taken. Brother Bill' s magnificent collection of photos were taken at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and the National Arboretum in D.C. You can find them here. I will post sister Carol's when it is complete.

I did a photo walk around my own front and back yard. Everything I was surrounded by depicted summer. It is my first summer season in this new house and I can't be more thrilled with the beauty of the flowers, vegetables, trees, and shrubs so far. At first I focused on the lilies and roses, but kept going back to the lush green of the leaves of vegetables and one geranium. I  love to capture textures and colors in leaves and these plants didn't disappoint today. The beautiful leaves in the top image are beet greens. 

cabbage leaves
variegated geranium leaves

swiss chard


Sibling Assignment #180: Smelterville, The Wayside Market, and Penny Candy

Sister Carol gave this sibling assignment:

 Neighborhood grocery stores used to be quite common in Kellogg as we were growing up.  Think about the neighborhood grocery stores that used to be in Kellogg, and write about some memories associated with these stores.  Pick only one store to write about, or several.  If you have a photograph of the store, or where it used to be, share a photo as well.

You can read brother Bill's thoughts on another favorite store in our neighborhood here . I remember trying my first ice cream sandwich at Don's Market. I will like sister Carol's when it is complete. 

Today I am stretching my Kellogg boundaries and writing about the Wayside Market in Smelterville, a small town west of Kellogg. Before sister Carol was born Bill and I spent time at a babysitter's house in Smelterville while Mom taught school at Silver King. Our babysitter's name was Margaret Gallaher. 

I think I stayed there all day while brother Bill was in kindergarten in the morning and we also went there a few  times in the evening when Mom's PTA meetings and Dad's bowling night landed on the same day. Kenna and Stu White were often there also. Somehow they were related to Margaret, which made them a step higher on the cool kid ranking. 

There are many fond memories of staying at her house. We loved her dog, her sparkling eyes, her warm smile, and playing outside in the yard with some of the other neighborhood Smelterville kids. The most vivid memory of staying at Margaret's was going to Wayside Market after lunch. I don't know if we did anything to earn the five cents she gave each of us, but all I know is that when she lined us up and put a nickel in each of our hands, it was an invitation to walk across the alley and shop for penny candy at the Wayside Market. By the counter were so many choices of candy. The checker would give us each a small brown bag that we could fill with our five pieces of candy. It was hard to decide whether to have a licorice pipe, wax juice tubes, Bazooka bubble gum, a Tootsie Roll Pop ( even though they cost two cents), Kits, and so much more.

For a four  or five year old, it was a feast. We couldn't wait for the moment when we could go shopping. I don't think it ever occurred to us to get a nickel candy bar. We wanted penny candy. Back to her house we would go and enjoy our afternoon snack. My brother probably had to read the Bazooka comic to me. Soon Mom would be picking us to return home.

This was over fifty-five years ago. Time has marched on, but we have endured. My brother may not still eat penny candy, but he has memories of all kinds of places he enjoyed in Smelterville. Kenna is still my friend. The Wayside Market is still there, Margaret still lives in the same house and is over ninety years old. A while back I saw her shopping at Wal Mart and she still had those sparkling eyes and kind smile. She remembered me. Mom and I both decided we should go visit her. 

Now that I am living back in my hometown I love memories like this that have come full circle. Places are still there, people remember, and I feel a warm glow when strong, happy memories can sustain through our lives. Next time I drive to Smelterville I am going to go inside the Wayside Market and see how much candy costs now. I better bring my debit card.


Sibling Assignment #179: Gardening: A Lesson in Patience

I gave the sibling assignment this week:

"As spring lurks somewhere around the corner, it is time to think about gardening. Each of us have had different experiences with gardening at different locations. What we have all learned is there is a huge learning curve when it comes to gardening. What lessons have you learned from gardening? Share about a particular plant, gardening as a whole, or whatever you want." You can find brother Bill's post here. I will link sister Carol's when it is completed.

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace." May Sarton

When I first began to garden I wanted instant gratification. I was an impatient garden. It was only fitting I planted big, bright annuals around the outside of the house, filled pots with more colorful flowers, and shoved way too many flowers in each bed I planted. What I did at my first house was probably really not gardening. It was more curb appeal. It all looked pretty, but then the flowers died in the fall and I started all over again the next spring. What I did learn was how to pick out healthy annuals, what color combinations worked, and how expensive it all was.

I had more of a plan at my second house, but then that impatient gardener, instant gratification need crept in also. I had more area to garden. I needed to do much more to amend the soil, What I did do different with my second house was read and research. I attended a class on home landscaping, I studied plants native to my area, I explored perennials vs. annuals because I planted and tended to the flowers more and Everett did the vegetable gardening. In the nineteen years I lived there I learned from trial and error. I killed lots of plants. I learned how to grow roses, I learned how to propagate and winter over plants, but I still didn't slow down and exercise patience. It was often hard for me to appreciate what we had created, because I thought I needed more in a spot, or another burst of color, or some interesting foliage. I still wanted every inch of the flower beds blooming. I didn't want to wait for plants to mature. The trees and shrubs overtook each other because we didn't space them like we should have. 

I did walk away from that gardening experience with much knowledge. Whether it was dividing flowers, starting then from seed, or buying them at the nursery I learned species that were successful, ways to create pots of containers that worked, and how important location was. We learned that maple trees were a beautiful addition to any yard. The most important lesson I learned was to focus on four seasons of interest and color while gardening. This was the part I liked best. If a shrub is going to bloom in the spring, what would it look like in summer? Did it have colorful branches to brighten up a gray time in winter? If you are investing in plants for the long haul, you want them to provide more than one season of beauty.

I am now retired and planning gardens in another home. I was forced into patience last summer because the house wasn't ours yet so I couldn't jump into my frenzied pace of planting flowers, plus it was later in the summer, it was very hot, the smoke from wildfires was bad, and we were exhausted from moving. We did  bring lots of containers with us that helped add color for the remainder of the summer.

I slowed down. I walked around with paper and pencil and took notes, I tried to visualize what I wanted my garden beds to look like. I read and researched again. I saved money by shopping fall sales. I thought about specific color schemes. We planted bulbs in October so we would have color greeting us in the spring.

As the snow still falls and the days are cold and gloomy, we are ready to move forward. New vegetable beds are being prepared, some plants were wintered over, and I have plans for what to add for annual color when the time comes to plant. I will continue to practice patience as best I can.