To Autumn

To Autumn


SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.


Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.


Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

-John Keats

Sibling Assignment # 75: Just Standing on the Radley Porch Was Enough

This week's sibling assignment came from Silver Valley Girl. Without reading hers I almost wrote a similar post about the same teacher and a similar lesson. We often agree on things and both of us remember the poetry teaching of Mr. Bachman. You can find her detailed post and video here. Raymond Pert has reentered the blog world after being away. His will soon be found here.
"Look back on your years as a student at Kellogg High School, and write about a memorable moment in one of the classes you took. This could be a postive or negative moment, but it has to be a very vivid memory, and one you can retell with much detail."

Instead of my experiences with poetry I wrote about a memorable moment with a classic novel. The spring of my sophomore year we had a student teacher. We held class in the cafeteria after lunch and she had a podium she stood behind as we sat at the lunch tables. Classic literature in junior high and high school so far had included Great Expectations, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, and Silas Marner. That was what I thought you read in English classes. Our student teacher taught To Kill a Mockingbird. The book was one of those Literary Guild books that came once a month for my mom. I remember it on the bookshelf in the bedroom.

One thing that stood out with reading this novel was that it wasn't in a poor part of England and the characters didn't speak in verse. To Kill a Mockingbird had characters that hung out and played in the summer. They lived in a town in rural American that I could relate to. In reading this book I understood that a novel in class could be about common people dealing with uncommon events. Many of us knew some man that created mystery like Boo Radley. I could believe I might find trinkets left in a tree. It was a rare occastion that anyone saw an African American person in Kellogg, but I knew the difference between families that lived in Okieville, Little Italy, or the big houses by the Bunker Hill Office Building.

Maybe it was having a different teacher that was also someone I had admired in our neighborhood growing up. Perhaps it was those spring afternoons when the sun shone in and we listened to her read passages of this book aloud to us. The memorable moment in that English class was when she read the last chapter. After Scout walked Boo Radley home she spoke my favorite passage from the book.
"Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough."
Something shifted inside of me that day. That quote from the book and movie stayed with me.

The next year as classmates learned of the deaths of their fathers, brothers, uncles, and grandfathers in the Sunshine Mine fire I tried to walk in their shoes. A few years later when my brother was in an accident at the Zinc Plant I tried to walk in his shoes. It took many years to understand the impact and consequences of those events.

Today I reflect on this passage when I hear students taunting one weaker than them. I help them understand empathy. It is especially difficult when our native students travel to a rural town to play basketball and they are called insulting names or people shake their fists at the bus. Can these young adults really stand in those shoes?

This book and movie are two of my all-time favorites. Our students read this book as freshmen so my last year's class is reading it right now. As they carry their copies to class I get excited and ask them about their experience with the book.
" Hey... who names their kids Jem and Scout and Dill, '' one joked.
"Stay with it," I replied,"trust me... you will love it."

I loved watching clips this week-end of my favorite scenes from the movie. Just hearing the theme song reminded me of Scout and Jem and Dill and summers and the trial and the night Boo Radley came out. If you haven't read the book or watched the movie do it before you watch this clip. It may be a spoiler!

A Day of Work: Fall "To Do" List

the greenhouse waiting to be filled again

I felt at peace this morning reading Silver Valley Girl's post called A Day of Rest here. It is such a contrast from my day yesterday. My sister deservingly took a day of rest and slept, did some reading and writing, plus attempted to get over her cold.
I was energized to have A Day of Work. Our school honored Native American Day on Friday so I had the gift of a three day week-end. Friday I toured our gardens and captured a photo catalog of how plants looked, what needed to be divided, and what perennials needed to be moved.
Yesterday we decided to knock off a "to do list" of fall chores. Even though frost hasn't hit, JEJ decided it was time to move the plants into the greenhouse. I love this fall ritual of saying goodbye to the empty summer greenhouse and filling it once again with the plants that winter over. These geraniums will continue to grow and bloom as they adapt to their winter home. In a few months we can begin to propagate new starts of many plants to have ready in the spring.Our cat Sweet William is in there somewhere. He has already found a spot to sleep among the pots. It is his favorite spot in the winter.
It was also time to make use of the raspberries and zucchini that had a summer rest in the freezer. There is nothing finer on a sunny fall morning that the smell of raspberry jam bubbling on the stove. I have heard it is okay to use a canner on a ceramic top stove and then heard it isn't. I didn't take a chance and used the burner on the barbecue. I felt a bit like a pioneer woman out canning my jam over a hot fire (in this case propane!)
The frozen zucchini was made into bread, but I ran out of ingredients so the rest will be baked today. Now my canning shelf and freezer are once again full of goodies for the winter.

There is that balance between work and rest. My sister leads a very busy life and that day of rest was exactly what she needed. It was my time for a day of work and I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment as I ended the day with bowl of homemade chili, a warm fire, and a good book.

Camera Critters: The Incredible Journey Through the Garden

I call this The Incredible Journey because usually Lily doesn't let Annie get this close at all. I just followed them around as they ventured through the grapes toward the field. Click the second picture to get a closer view of Lily making sure Annie is keeping her distance as they do the tour. For other Camera Critters go here.

Photo Hunt: View

Here is a view through the trellis as I prepare to walk the garden path. To find other photo hunts using view go here.

A Garden Tour and Just Being Friends

The ripe,red apples hang over the front entrance of my friend Elinor's house, forming an arch.

Just Being Friends

"Friendship happens in that special moment
when someone reaches out to another,
trusts, comforts, believes in another,
and makes a special difference
that no one else can make". Anon.

I love this creamy yellow and white dahlia that was blooming in the back yard.

Last week I spent time with my friend Elinor as we celebrated her retirement from the Northwest Inland Writing Project. I also joyfully toured her gardens on Saturday and captured the beauty of her late summer flowers and one special tree in some photos.

I got to enjoy double hollyhocks,
single hollyhocks in a beautiful pink,
brightly colored daliahs,
and Mr. Lincoln himself.

Idaho and Our Famous Potatoes

Being a native of the state of Idaho I always remember the postcard above as a child because we were famous for potatoes. I think there was a time that I used to see that postcard and really believe potatoes that big grew somewhere other than the Silver Valley.
Since the time I could read I also remember the license plates that said FAMOUS POTATOES. This is still printed on Idaho license plates. The odd thing is that it is actually hard to find large, authentic Idaho "baker" potatoes when I live so close to my native state. Last week-end I received an amazing gift from my friend BW from southern Idaho. It was a small bag of FAMOUS Idaho POTATOES. These were real bakers!
This picture helps you realize the size of the potato compared to a quarter. JEJ and I had one of these baked the other night. It was great tasting, but we didn't need anything else for dinner. Here are some interesting facts I learned today about Idaho potatoes.
The origin of Idaho potatoes:

  • Potatoes were first introduced into Idaho not by a farmer but by a Presbyterian missionary named Henry Harmon Spalding. He established a mission in 1836 at Lapwai, in the state's northern panhandle, to bring Christianity to the Nez Perce Indians. He wanted to show the Nez Perce how to provide food for themselves through agriculture rather than hunting and gathering.
  • The Indians were probably the ones who made the first commercial sale of Idaho grown potatoes when they traded fresh potatoes for clothing and other goods to settlers traveling west in the wagon trains.
  • Even though Spalding's and the Nez Perce Indians' potato crop was eventually successful, potatoes are no longer farmed in the Lapwai area.

Moments in a Life

I read this meme on GreenishLady's blog today. I thought I would give it a twirl.

Here we present a list. Highlight those tasks that you have accomplished in your life . Then add a new task to the list of something memorable that you've done that isn't on the list yet.
01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s nappy
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten tipsy on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse of both the sun and moon
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had/Have amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted a river
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in a Rocky Horror Picture Show
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over ( well.. not a city... remote area)
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a TV game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept 30 hours in a 48 hour time frame
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read “The Iliad”
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life
151. Organized a HUGE event!
152. Seen something you can't explain with science
153. Had a book published

and my addition is
154. Drove four hours in a snowstorm to choose Annie (above) from a litter of puppies

Give it a try and leave me a comment so I can come visit your blog and read yours!

Sibling Assignment #74: Saying Good-bye to Summer

I gave the sibling assignment this week. " As autumn approaches think of a perfect fall day you have experienced. Using words and pictures recapture that day." Raymond Pert's will be here and Silver Valley Girl's will be here soon.

Today was the eve of another first day of fall. What made it a perfect fall day?
The weather had cooled down with a recent rain, yet the vegetable garden is still flourishing.
The leaves on the maple in the garden has begun to turn orange.
It was the first time this summer it was wet enough to build a fire and eat dinner in the gazebo. It was also the first time we didn't have bees or flies or both!
Isabelle sits closer because she likes the warmth of the fire also.
What else made this a perfect fall day? After being gone for three days I got to sit in a cool, peaceful setting with JEJ, the dogs and the cats. Happy First Day of Fall tomorrow everyone!

A Surprise Evening of Wondrous Words: Part 2: Sesitshaya Marimba

Another wondrous part of last evening(see below for Part 1) was being entertained by The Sesitshaya Marimba Band. Our guest of honor Elinor is part of this group. It began in 2003 when Tendekai Kuture came to the University of Idaho as a student pursue a graduate degree in music. He brought a set of Kwanongoma marimbas and then established this community band. Even though he left in 2005,the group continues to play throughout the Pacific Northwest. The CD above is their first, and a new one will be released soon.
Here is our guest of honor Elinor taking time out from the celebrating to perform with her band.

A few years ago when they gave a workshop at the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival at the University of Idaho high school students described them as "really cool chicks!" Their lively songs got people up and dancing last evening . It was a perfect addition to a night of celebration.
Elinor's husband Walter is dancing next to her during a traditional number. I have to agree. This marimba band is a group of "really cool chicks!"

A Surprise Evening of Wondrous Words: Part 1

I have often written about the Northwest Inland Writing Project on this blog. Since last April a group of us have been planning a surprise celebration for our outgoing director Elinor Michel. Keeping a gathering like this a secret was a challenge. We pulled it off and an amazing evening in Moscow included great food, music, sharing, laughing, dancing, and wondrous words.
Tom Fox from the National Writing Project honored Elinor with a proclamation from the national office. She has directed the Northwest Inland Writing Project at the University of Idaho for over 25 years.

Elinor then spoke about the accomplishments of the numerous teachers involved in this project. April and Elinor share a quiet conversation during the evening.
I felt so blessed this evening to have such a circle of amazing friends. As we all honored our outgoing director we reflected and reminiscenced about the years of working at summer institutes, doing workshops, taking road trips to conferences, and participating in our writing retreat in McCall.
As the cake stated so well " Write On Elinor"!

Sunset and Harvest Time

The area south of Spokane, Washington is called The Palouse. Surrounding the central towns of Moscow, Idaho and Pullman, Washington are miles and miles of farmland and small communities that rely on these crops as their livelihood. Any season of the year the drive takes on its own beauty, but last night I caught a harvest sunset and images created by combines in the wheat fields at dusk. The crop dust created an eerie, foggy look as I headed south on the highway. Another true sign we are heading into the new season. Darkness is falling so much earlier again!

Sink Full of Flowers

This is why I love this time of year. I decided to harvest flowers from garden beds around the gardens today to create some bouquets. In September the sunflowers are vivid yellow, the asters begin to bloom, the Autumn Joy sedum brightens up the yard, and today I even found a sweet pea that came up from seed in a planter!

That is also why I dread frost. So many of these blooms will wither up and die quickly. This harvest of flowers cooled in the sink in preparation of arranging them. In my haste to clean up, I forgot to take pictures of the final displays... I better do that tomorrow before they are carted off to school.

Close to Harvest Time

Every season hath its pleasures;
Spring may boast her flowery prime,
Yet the vineyard's ruby treasures
Brighten Autumn's sob'rer time.
--Thomas Moore