Hot, Hotter, Hottest!

I returned home today and watched the temperature climb as I headed north through Spokane and on up to Kettle Falls. When I stopped in Colville it was 105 degrees. I experienced a wall of heat that hit me and made me go limp. When I arrived home this is what our deck registered out in the sun. A few hours later it dropped a bit. It is now 8:10 and it reads about 90 degrees. I mustered up the strength to take a garden tour to see how the flowers were doing. Lilies must like the heat because they are showing their bright colors. I was surprised to see a shirley poppy spout up in the rose garden. You never know where they they might show up. I think if I plan to enjoy the gardens tomorrow I will have to get up about 4:00 a.m. For right now I am going to get a cool drink and let the small a.c. blow on me.

Rural Roadside Resting Spot

Today Bev and I left McCall after a five day retreat and a Writing Project Rural Sites Networking Meeting. The weather turned very hot today. When we stopped for a break at White Bird, Idaho it was 95 degrees. As we traveled through the Clearwater Valley toward Lewiston the car thermometer hit 105 degrees. When we saw the sign welcoming us to Uniontown, Washington we decided to stop for a break. When you leave Uniontown and head north toward Pullman, Washington it is easy to notice The Barn. The fence around this old dairy barn is the first thing that catches the eye. The Dahmen Barn is a dairy barn which was built in 1935 by Jack Dahmen. In 1952 Steve and Junette Dahmen bought it. She was an artist and he decided to create the fence. As he began building this border of wheels people began contributing more and more unique wheels. The fence goes around the entire property. The dairy barn has been renovated and it now called Artisans at the Dahmen Barn. The restored barn contains three floors of booths and displays of a variety of artisans. This week on the second floor is an amazing display of photographs of the wheels outside. When people stopped to take pictures of the wheel fence the owner would go out and ask them to send her a copy of their best photo image. She chose her favorites and asked these photographers to frame and display theirs for this show. The collection ranges from black and white photos of the wheel fence in winter to photos of the wheels framing the landscape of the Palouse hills around the barn. Bev found a small surprise on the first floor as we meandered through the rooms of art. On a bulletin board was the ad for the retreat we just coordinated in McCall. It was nice to see our poster among such beautiful works. We did decide to take it down since our retreat was over. Driving south of Pullman, Washington toward Uniontown is where you find The Barn. It is a perfect resting place on a hot journey. You can find out more about it here.

Wordle: Visual Cloud of Words

I loved learning Wordle today. You can find it here.

Photo Hunt: Bright

The table in the cabin I am residing in this week is the perfect place to display this bright collection of limes. For other photo hunts on bright go here.

Wondrous Words: Winding Down the Writing Retreat

Our writing retreat ended this morning. After open mic last night and this morning I am convinced the participants will continue writing wondrous words long after they drive off today.Our visiting writer and my brother Raymond Pert inspired people to "let it rip" and they felt safe and supported doing just that.
HT said good-bye to the lake with our group mascot Dexter playfully following close by.
It was a good week. To keep wondrous words flowing our writers had a quiet setting, time, an inspirational visiting writer, support, campfire smoke, great camp food, tears, laughs, examples of good literature, songs sung by LR, reader's theater,hikes, fresh air, s'mores, camp dogs, and gorgeous sunsets.

Photo Images by Thea: Postcards from McCall

The area around our retreat center in McCall is breathtakingly beautiful. One of our participants Thea Carter took this series of photo images and gave me permission to post them.A group did a guided walk around the area yesterday and she captured some of these images.
I love the combination of textures in this photo.
The lake here is a deep blue, but here the beach along the shore creates quiet beauty.
I love how simple things like steps up from the beach can be an incredible creation of light and shadows. I will close with this postcard-like picture and let the beauty speak for itself.
photo collection by Thea Carter, June 2008

And This Is Life

A crust of bread and a corner to sleep in,
A minute to smile and an hour to weep in,
A pint of joy to a peck of trouble,
And never a laugh but the moans come double.
And this is life!

A crust and a corner that love makes precious,
With a smile to warm and tears to refresh us,
And joy seems sweeter when cries come after,
And a moan is the finest of foils for laughter
And that is life!

Paul Lawrence Dunbar
I enjoyed this poem recently in a novel I was reading. The ideas matched well with what we learned in our writing workshop today. Raymond Pert explained that the basic thing every writer needs is"to be awake". We need to pay attention, open our eyes, and listen. I was reminded of this poem as I reflected on my learning later. Whether it is thinking of a corner to sleep in , an Ode to Socks, or a favorite childhood food writers need to be awake to it. It is so simple.
Dexter pictured above is a perfect example a creature that enjoys life. His owner works at the camp and this dog pays attention to the lake, the squirrels, the guests, and just wears a smile that says, " I am awake."
I had to take a series of pictures of him because his face reminds me so much of my dog Annie. Dexter is a Springer/Chesapeake Bay Retriever mix.

Open Mic night

Tonight we had our first open mic night at the Writing Retreat. People had the opportunity to share their own writing. This is my friend Bev that coordinates the retreat with me. She shared a piece she had composed earlier in the day. LR, my brother-in-law's sister sang two beautiful gospel songs she had written and recorded as part of her sharing for the evening. The lyrical words and the melodies brought tears to my eyes.
Our classroom is a yurt. We have lots of natural light and a view of the lake. It doesn't get much better than this!

Filling the Vase: A.M. Writing Workshop

In our workshop this morning Raymond Pert had us compose a piece that associated writing with activities we do that bring us pleasure. Here is the first draft of my poem:

Filling the Vase

Writing is wandering through the
garden path harvesting morning flowers.
Gathering leaves, finding fillers,
snipping blossoms as they begin to open.
Pausing to reflect and even observe
while paying attention to the smells.

Gold, chartreuse, and deep purple become the wondrous words,
thorny stems phrases cut too deep.
The combination of textures sort the sentence variety
over powered by the sweet scent of similes.

The violet vase is the vessel of form
Aligning the sentences, arranging the words,
Taming texture with attention to audience.

Place the bouquet on the farmhouse table,
or away for a spell to let the contents settle.

inland empire girl June 24, 2008

Gathering for Writing: A Perfect Setting

The participants in the writing retreat arrived today. We began our retreat with a short session, and were able to enjoy this lovely sunset as we gathered around the campfire.
People had some time to get acquainted and enjoy some relaxation before we begin our writing sessions tomorrow.

Our visiting writer is my brother Raymond Pert. He participates in the weekly sibling assignments and his blog can be found here. His car broke down this morning after he was halfway here. Finally he found a rental truck and was able to arrive in time to meet the group at the campfire. I look forward to a full day of writing and discussion tomorrow.

Postcards from Lake Payette

Today we arrived at the Field Campus of the U. of Idaho in McCall. Those of you that have been reading my blog for awhile know that I facilitate and participate in an annual writing retreat here in McCall, Idaho. The camp sits on the shores of Lake Payette. The lake calmed down as the sun began to set this evening.
BW and I opted to come a day early this year so we could have some time for setting up and relaxing before the other participants arrive tomorrow. We built a campfire and enjoyed a peaceful evening with the whole place to ourselves. I look forward to a good week of writing, reading, and relaxing.

How Do You Say "Great Meal" in German?

Tonight I am staying in Pullman, Washington with my friend BW. We coordinate the writing retreat together and are off to McCall, Idaho tomorrow. I was very fortunate to attend a German dinner tonight put on by the brew club her husband belongs to. The rules were simple. Every dish that was served had to have beer as an ingredient. The meal was based on a German theme. Some of the brew club members brought their own home brewed beer, while others just brought favorite kinds that went with each course. Where I grew up a Lucky Lager could go with chips and dip, a hamburger, and a piece of apple pie! No aluminum cans at this gathering. This beautiful salad had a wheat beer added to the dressing. The soup was made with a pale ale and Cougar Gold cheese, made right at Washington State University. BW's husband brought homemade sausage he had ground and filled before we left. They were grilled and very yummy! There was also German potato salad, pork dishes, cabbage, sauerkraut, soft pretzels, and beer bread. Desserts ranged from gingerbread to prune cake to the two cakes above. Each had a distinct taste and all were delicious (or so I heard.. I just couldn't sample everything). Now who knew about chocolate beer... I mean stout? One guy that brewed his own beer brought it out after dinner. I loved his pink sticky note label. I know IPA means something to the brew club members, but I can't quite remember what. It was a big learning curve for me tonight. I was amazed at how many delicious ways the group found to use beer for this dinner. Now I better go Google IPA.
Okay... I am back.... IPA... India Pale Ale. It is coming back to me now.

The Farewell Tour

I did the farewell tour of the gardens this morning. Later today I will load up to head to the annual writing retreat I attend each year in McCall, Idaho. This is one of my favorite times of the year in the garden, so I tried to capture some images to remind me later of this June blooming time. The lavender is just beginning to bloom.

This late blooming iris was hidden in the shade. We definitely need to move it out where we can see it better next year.

The pink Iceberg,

Unforgettable, Livin' Easy,and Honey Perfume. I will miss the sweet fragrance of this gorgeous rose.

Isabelle walked the tour with me, but now is trying to convince me I need to stay home with her by giving me this look of distress. I am eager to spend a week on Payette Lake with other teachers and writers, but I will miss home and our gardens.

Sibling Assignment #67: Jukeboxes, The Perch, and "Hello, It's Me"

I gave this sibling assignment this week:
What songs take you back to a summer growing up? Share the song and the memories that are attached to it. You will find Raymond Pert's here and Silver Valley Girl's here soon.

Growing up in Kellogg songs tended to be popular for two reasons. They were played over and over again on KWAL in Osburn at night, or were played on the jukeboxes in different restaurants and cafes around town. When I think of the early seventies many songs that hold memories blend together into jukebox songs. These were the songs people could call out the number by heart and everyone would yell "Yeahhhhhh" and play that song. In high school the jukeboxes I loved were at Sunshine Inn or The Boat where we would go hang out and have fries on a summer week-end. As we moved to college, jukeboxes were also a big part of our favorite hangouts in Moscow when we returned early before classes began.
Songs we loved from the jukebox had to be ones you could belt out loudly with your friends. They also had to be songs that if you heard the first few bars everyone would know the song. This was when Dick Clark still had hits every Saturday. This was long before MTV. This was our karaoke back then. These were songs that remained on the same jukeboxes, waiting for you to return at winter break.
You could sing to "Tie a Yellow Ribbon "by Tony Orlando and Dawn. Everyone knew the lyrics and tune to " Billy Don't Be a Hero " by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods. In 1972 the top two favorites for all of us were " Alone Again Naturally" by Gilbert O'Sullivan ( the anthem for the "no-date wonders" on Saturday night) and "Brandy" by Looking Glass. I think so many of these songs stayed with us because they never left the jukeboxes. When we were old enough the next year to go into a bar, Tony's had our favorite hits just lined up at the jukebox. We could sway and croon to "Precious and Few" by Climax, " Betcha By Golly Wow" by the Stylistics, and "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon.

Now there was other music going on during this time period. We loved Chicago, the last songs by the Beatles, Bread, Elton John, and America. Hard rock had a following also. Elvis was still hanging in there and the Carpenters were always good for some perfume bottle microphone harmonizing, but the songs that always remained were those sing-along jukebox songs.

When I left home in August to return to the U. of I. we loved to walk to The Perch. It was a small store, deli, cafe mix. The Perch had jukeboxes that seemed to have the same songs I remembered singing back home. There was a familiar feel to The Perch. When Madge served hot chocolate topped with vanilla soft ice cream we could listen to our old favorites.

The quintessential jukebox song of all time for me was "Hello, It's Me" by Todd Rundgren. It was always on a jukebox somewhere, particularly The Perch. Even when I listen to the lyrics today it takes me back to a time of summer romances that you thought might last, saying good-bye yet hoping to hook up again, and regretting later what you had or didn't have.

The Perch is still there in Moscow, but I doubt the jukeboxes remain. Todd Rundgren performed "Hello, It's Me" on Wolfman Jack's show "Midnight Special" in 1973 and here is the YouTube video. Whether this is your first time listening or you are enjoying a blast from the past.... here is "Hello, It's Me."

Combinations That Light Up the Garden

With the honeysuckles really taking off this year I love the combination of golden orange with the deep pink Betty Prior roses.
Green always sets off red, especially with these Olympiad roses.

Yellow and yellow work nicely with the Golden Showers climbing rose.
Take white, a bit of pink with a deep green background and it creates a lovely combination with this peony. Any color of rose goes well with McDuff, especially these early blossoms on the First Prize rose.