Good-Bye October!

"The leaves fall patiently
Nothing remembers or grieves
The river takes to the sea
The yellow drift of leaves."

- Sara Teasdale

Crazy Teacher on Crazy Hair Day

When you work in a K-12 school everyone gets to enjoy the special events surrounding Homecoming, Halloween, Veteran's Day, the school carnival, and Christmas . As we wind down Homecoming Spirit Week with the football game and Halloween parade and program tomorrow, I must admit it has been a week full of nutty outfits, goofy props, and crazy hair. I think some learning has also gone on. I usually display a conservative dress code at school... except on Crazy Hair Day. This teacher went a bit crazy today. At least my wig comes off. I wouldn't want to be FC tonight as she tries to get this hair back to normal!!

August Photos Earn Honorable Mention

I learned of the annual photo contest sponsored by the Friends of the Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge when I stumbled across their website after spending time at the refuge last summer.While enjoying the quiet beauty and a perfect camp site I took lots and lots of photos. After matching categories with photos, I entered five pictures. I had never entered photos in a contest before. Four of my photos were awarded honorable mention. Seeing my pictures posted on the web site with the other winners was exciting. If you click here, then scroll down below the moose picture you will see a link to the photo contest pictures. If you missed my posts from my visit the the refuge you can visit them here and here. As I mentioned before, if you live in the Inland Empire it is a worthwhile road trip. I look forward to taking pictures during other seasons now for the contest next August.

Here are my honorable mention photos:

Dad...This One if For You!

I am remembering my dad today on his birthday. If he was with us today he would be ecstatic over the idea that we could bring the singers he loved into the living room on a computer screen crooning his favorite songs. This one is for you Dad... I will play "Misty" for you.

The River Mile

JA is studying the ecosystem of her native land on "The River Mile".

The National Park Service sponsors a program on the Columbia River called "The River Mile". A school is given a mile of shoreline on Lake Roosevelt that is used for an inquiry based science project. Our middle school students have a mile north of the ferry that provides a hands-on site for study of water quality.

"This is a systems approach to water quality. Looking at ecosystem health in relation to water quality we will utilize habitat, wildlife, geologic features and other contributors as indicators of
overall health of the Lake Roosevelt ecosystem

Today was the fall visit to "The River Mile". Even though the sun was shining the location was cold. A bonfire at lunch for students to huddle around as they roasted hot dogs helped a bit. Once they studied the shoreline in the afternoon it warmed up a bit. I joined the group of science teachers, parents, and students for lunch and caught a few pictures.
A highlight of my visit to the big lake was watching the boat push the net-pens up the bay where Hall Creek flows into Lake Roosevelt close to our "The River Mile" . The net-pens are brought in October with rainbow trout that are raised in the pens until spring, then released into the lake.
Even though WS was having a great day... he just didn't feel like having his picture taken.

Making Grape Jam in Record Time

We had harvested our grapes over a week ago and knew we needed to get some jam made soon. I discovered yesterday we didn't have enough of the supplies so today when I got home from school we were ready to take on the task!JEJ was a big help when it came to cleaning the grapes off the stems and running them through the food mill. I work well with the cooking and canning part. We didn't get concord grapes when we first began growing grapes, so I have learned to put just a cup of 100% grape juice in with the reddish colored grapes and it gives the jam that deeper, richer color and flavor.

Together we were quite a team today. We were able to finish 30 jars of grape jam in two hours today! One more task to check of the "to do " list. I love the way grape jam smells as it is bubbling on the stove. The jars also look so pretty when the light catches them on the counter. Maybe I will just leave them out for a few weeks and enjoy the colorful display!!

Sibling Assignment #79: Well... Scratch my Yahtzee!

I assigned the sibling assignment this week. " Many hours of our childhood were spent playing games. Share a memory that involved playing a game(es)." You will soon find Raymond Pert's here and Silver Valley Girl's post about childhood memories is here.

Games were a competitive sport at our house while growing up. There were a few angry stares when someone was sent back to home playing
Sorry. Many times I never got out of first grade in Go To the Head of the Class. Some family members were known to hide a dictionary in the bathroom during a Scrabble game and would need to go quickly to the bathroom during the last few plays with a Q, Z and X on their letter tray. Whether is was dreaming of being Miss Scarlett in Clue, or always getting the hat as a mover in Monopoly many summer afternoons and winter evenings were spent playing games.

One game that was a favorite at our house was Yahtzee. At least with this game it was more a game of chance. I didn't have to name all the countries in Europe to get out of the First Grade in Go To the Head of the Class or know every word you can use with a Z and a Q to make a play in Scrabble. It was the shake of five dice. There was some strategy in where to place your points which let to high anxiety or anticipation as our family sat around the table and played.
If you couldn't fill a slot as the game was getting closer to the end, you had to scratch one play. That is where the infamous line "Scratch my Yahtzee" came about in our house. We loved it when our dad played games with us. It was a rare event that he had time or the patience to sit around the table with us. He used to play serious. No dice rolling on the floor, no do-overs, just pure and simple dice shaking. He would light a cigarette, pour himself a beer and get serious about his game. He used to make us laugh when he would blow on the dice container or rub it under his armpits for good luck. As the game progressed he was always famous for yelling " Well... scratch my Yahtzee". We thought that was hilarious. That tradition has passed down to the next generation in the family. The nieces joined us playing this game around the same kitchen table at my Mom's house. We soon had them reciting our famous family line. One time when all of use played The Princess started a new routine by putting up her hands up like she was holding up the roof chanting, " The Roof, The Roof, The roof is on fire." That evening everyone chanted that phrase. Whether is was shaking dice under the armpit, scratching Yahtzees, or being crowned the winner of the game, many hours have been spent playing games in our family. It still continues with the Apples to Apples, Scattegories, and UNO being family favorites. For us the family that plays board games together definitely laughs together. We have all at one time or another had to scratch our Yahtzee.

Z2 On To State!

Congratulations to my niece Z2. She started cross country this year as a freshman at Kellogg High School. Friday she qualified for the State Cross Country meet in Boise next week-end. The picture above is Z2 competing at the meet in Potlatch the week before.

Here is part of Silver Valley Girl's blog post about Z2

"This northern A3 District could qualify 8 girls, and Z2 came in 8th. She ran a time of 24:12, doing over one minute faster than she ran at last week's meet in Potlatch.

It was so exciting watching her gain momentum throughout the 3.1 mile course. She started out in about 12th place, then kept gaining on the girls ahead of her, until she finally passed two of the Bonners Ferry girls, (or maybe it was Timberlake. I'm not sure, because they both wear blue).

She finished good and strong with great form, and was very surprised she qualified.
But once she realized she made it, you couldn't get that beaming smile off her face. "

We'll be cheering you on in spirit next week Z2. Keep running like the wind. To read Silver Valley Girl's full post go here.

26 Things Challenge

I found a photo challenge on this site here called the 26 Things Challenge. Each participant is to take a picture for each letter of the alphabet. I found this challenge an excellent way to revisit photos I have taken over the last year.

A is for apples from Sherman Creek Orchard up the road. B is for the beach at Priest Lake. C is for my church on Lake Ellen Road. D is for dog... this time Shelby our Australian Cattle Dog.

E is for evening on Highway 395 by Kettle Falls.F is for flowers that always make a colorful bouquet. G is for greenhouse which keeps our plants blooming through the winter. H is for hydrangea and in this case an oak leaf with its leaf color changed for the fall. I is for iris, a vivid memory from late spring. J is for Jack Frost who hit our garden vegetables a few weeks ago . K is for Kit and you can find him just about anywhere around the house.L is for lily that filled the air with beauty and fragrance throughout the summer. M is for morning glory, which illuminated the garden with its vivid blue hue. N is for nieces as they posed at Grand Coulee Dam is August.
O is for orchard that grows many varieties of fruit close to home.
P is for the Palouse during the harvest when the combine dusted the highway.

Q is for quiet, which is why we enjoy the hike around Swan Lake in the spring.
R is for rainbow, which appeared over Lake Roosevelt east of our house.
S is for Sullivan Lake with views that always provide many photo ops on a road trip over Tiger Highway.

T is for Tiger Store, an interesting historic place we stopped on our road trip a few weeks ago.
U is for Uniontown, Washington where I stopped to visit this Artisan Barn on a trip home in June.

V is for vine and in this case the strong ones that hold grapes.
W is for winter, that has a tranquil beauty all its own.
X is for an "xtreme" sunrise I caught at Lake Chelan in April.

Y is for yellow sunflowers that brightened up the cutting garden late in the summer.
Z is for Z2, my niece that taught me a few lessons on photography as we went on a photo trip in July.