Warding off the Ghouls and Goblins: Sheriff McDuff

Our cat McDuff has affectionately been named The Sheriff because he always poses in protection mode.

Today was no exception. I was glad I caught him on the fence post with the plumes of grass tops around him. I also liked the way the sun appeared on his fur.

Later on McDuff grew weary of the photo session and took a stroll. He decided to give his Deputy Kit marching orders for Halloween night. "Remember.... no ghouls, raccoons, goblins, skunks, or black cats. Can you handle that?"

Kit was off to be on duty. Ah.... another safe night at Martin Creek!

Our Own Guitar Hero

As students worked away in class I had to catch their many "looks" for the day.  I couldn't help but wonder  if my Afro looked like this one when I went through my Afro phase in the seventies.

Yes, you have to do classwork today. In fact....  a double assignment!!

What ate your homework? You have to do better than that.

The three rooms in the middle school building are always the "happening places" when we gather for our afternoon holiday festivities. Our own students plan the party, but our former students from the high school walk over knowing there will be treats, dancing contests, and fun to be had by all. This year was no exception.

All it takes is an iPod with speakers and rock music, a former student, a yardstick, backup singers, and a classroom table then we had our own rock concert.

GG did not want to be outdone!

 The final encore!

 Then it ended. All was quiet, the room was clean, I found my stashed Vanilla Diet Coke, popped it open, put up my feet, and listened to a little classical music on my iPod!

A Side That is Beautiful

Today was our first snow.

"Things looked at patiently from one side after another
generally end by showing a side that is beautiful. "  

Robert Lewis Stevenson

I left for school before light, but JEJ was out with his camera at daylight to catch some snow images.

A Leaf Bouquet

It is always a pleasure to be surprised with a bouquet of flowers. I enjoy a bouquet picked fresh from the garden the best. Yesterday JEJ presenting me a special bouquet. It was a bunch of unique,colorful leaves brought in from the yard. Each leaf represented a different tree, vine, or shrub in our garden.

Here is one view of the bouquet.

Here is another arrangement of the leaves  laying atop the runner on the table.
I love autumn and the splendid beauty it brings us.

Saturday Road Trip: The Northern Lake Tour

We had not taken a twenty-mile road trip for months. We went further yesterday, but still kept with the ritual of loading up the dogs, lunch, and cameras with plans to stop at anything worth photographing. It was a long trip! The fall beauty was apparent as we drove over Sherman Pass through snow, headed north at Waconda to visit the northern lakes, and looped back around to Curlew and Curlew Lake State Park. Here are some of my favorite images of the day. (Actually my favorite is above on the banner.  I caught the beauty of the bright yellow tamaracks set off by the snow-covered mountain in the background. )
The trees lit up the hillside at Bonaparte Lake
The shimmering water was lovely at Beaver Lake.
Lake Beth was shadowy and calm as we drove further to view the lakeshore.
Heading down the highway toward Curlew we again saw blue sky and clouds.
 A scenic view  at Curlew Lake State Park
This doe didn't hang around for the sunset.

A hundred and forty-two pictures later I was a happy traveler, but glad to get home so I could put up my feet and enjoy a warm fire.

Autumn Morning Leaf Tour

Friday Night Ritual: Pioneer Macaroni and Cheese

Reflecting back on my younger days Friday night meant meeting friends after work, making plans to see a movie, or having a game night at somebody's house.
Friday night is different now and it is just the way I like it. I usually stay a bit later in my classroom Friday to reorganize after a busy week and frontload the upcoming week. When I arrive home I am ready to regroup and rest. Friday night dinner at our house is a quiet affair. We gather to eat outside front of the fire or catch the last evening light on the deck. Now more of these Friday night meals will be inside at the table.
  Somewhere along the way homemade Macaroni and Cheese became a ritual. I think this happened mostly because it is a favorite dish of JEJ. I usually have the ingredients available and it is very easy.
JEJ also reminded me last night that "it is such a comfort food". Who doesn't crave comfort food after busy week. Last night I added a green salad with blue cheese dressing and I was in comfort food heaven.
 I have experimented recently with a variety of cheeses that I happen to have in the refrigerator. Last night it was cheddar, a bit of cream cheese, and shredded parmeson on top.  On another recent Friday I used Pepper Jack cheese which made it very yummy. The basic recipe is the old favorite from the original Betty Crocker cookbook. I have adjusted the amount of macaroni and make other adjustments along the way.

Looking at the page from my Grandma Woolum's cookbook, I think we have both have left a few food spots on this page.

The Yurt of Martin Creek

What does this look like to you? Last week-end I thought it looked like a very large wrapped hot water tank .  JEJ came up with a great idea to wrap our gazebo with the side material from the portable carport. It is amazing how warm it is inside.

Next he took a few blankets and hung them up inside, moved in more chairs, built a fire, and it was very cozy.

Shelby had to agree as she tried out the loveseat.  I liked my friend SueDean's suggestion of calling it our own personal yurt.  We now look forward to enjoying the warmth in the Yurt of Martin Creek.

God's Country Part 2

 JEJ took the dogs for a hike to Lake Ellen today. The weather was perfect for catching the colors of autumn, reflecting sun on the water,

and some peace and quiet. JEJ said he was the only person there.

The dogs loved their quality time at the lake.

Yes, I think he found God's Country Part 2 today.

God's Country

I gave the Sibling Assignment this week: "What do you consider 'God's Country' and why? Raymond Pert's will be here and Silver Valley Girl's will be here.

God's Country
an area or region supposed to be favored by God, esp. a naturally beautiful rural area.
an isolated rural area.
one's native region.

 I would consider many parts of the Inland Empire of eastern Washington, northern Idaho and eastern Oregon God's Country. When I surveyed my photo files recently, Lake Chelan displayed its beauty in the early spring of the year in 2008 as an area I am sure is favored by God! It is also one's native region. JEJ grew up in the area.  We even took a rural road and found the land that he lived on as a child. The house was gone, but he remembered the location.

Annie loved Lake Chelan and it was her God's Country because it was a country full of squirrels for her to be obsessed over. The sunrise reflecting on the early morning lake was a beautiful sight in the early morning from the campground.

Lake Chelan in the early spring is quiet and untouched. When we were there snow was still melting and there were five of us at the campground. Two people on bicycles showed up later. We could walk the shoreline, sit by the fire,and  photograph sunrises and sunsets.It was a place I would consider God's Country. I look forward to returning again during the early spring or fall of the year.

Traveling Through Time With The Photo Box

My sister Silver Valley Girl is visiting this week-end. I asked her to bring up two photo boxes from Mom's house. They are photos I organzied a few summers ago. I wanted to begin a scan project so I would have them to use for a variety of purposes. The picture above was taken in Orofino when we spent Christmas there one year. We are posing with Grandma West.

When I posted a few photos on Facebook earlier today my cousin Cyndi commented, "It's amazing how photos can trigger so many senses. The pictures of Grandma's house and flower beds remind me of so many different things." These pictures reminded me of so many different things. I never remembered seeing the picture above until today. Mom still uses the clear chip and dip bowl set she is opening that was a Christmas gift one year.  My mother is famous for saving everything.

The coat I was wearing was very special and here I am wearing it as I stand in the doorway of the first house I really remember.  Seeing I have those fancy shoes on in winter, we must have been headed to church.

This is the front porch of the same house above, but I was too young to remember what was going on when the picture took place. Again, my Grandma West was at our house for a visit. I never remembered Raymond Pert wearing suspenders much. It must have been hot.

Beautiful October Sunrise

The day has begun on Lake Roosevelt with a beautiful sunrise.

Sister Week-End

SVG at Grandma West's house

Tomorrow Silver Valley Girl is arriving at our place. It  has been quite awhile since she has visited here without other family members. She will stop at the orchard down the road to pick up apples and pears and arrive in the afternoon with supplies to can and preserve food. I am looking forward to relaxing, visiting, drying fruit, and taking SVG to our favorite restaurant. I am also preparing a new elderberry syrup to help with the fight against colds and flu. JEJ will harvest elderberries and pick up local honey tomorrow as a base for the syrup.

My sister is a favorite person in the lives of my dogs so they will be smiling and wagging their tails when they see her drive up tomorrow.