Thank You Walt Whitman

 traveling north on Highway 395 at sunset
 "This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body." Walt Whitman

Leaves of Grass
Page preface, first edition
Published in 1855 
I have thought much about this quote over the summer.  I want it visible in order to reflect on it as I move toward another season of life. It will be reminder of what I shall attempt to do. 
I also think I will read Leaves of Grass.

Many Houses and Home

 "Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You'll find what you need to furnish it - memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.”~Tad Williams

He Has Lived In Many Houses

 furnished rooms, flats, a hayloft,
a tent, motels, under a table,
under an overturned rowboat, in a villa (briefly) but not,
as yet, a yurt. In these places
he has slept, eaten,
put his forehead to the window glass,
looking out. He's in a stilt-house now,
the water passing beneath him half the day;
the other half it's mud. The tides
do this: they come, they go,
while he sleeps, eats, puts his forehead
to the window glass.
He's moving soon: his trailer to a trailer park,
or to the priory to live among the penitents
but in his own cell,
with wheels, to take him, when it's time
to go, to: boathouse, houseboat

with a little motor, putt-putt,
to take him across the sea
or down the river
where at night, anchored by a sandbar
at the bend,
he will eat, sleep, and press his eyelids
to the window
of the pilothouse
until the anchor-hauling hour
when he'll embark again
toward his sanctuary, harborage, saltbox,
-Thomas Lux

Photo Opportunities

I work well when I have systems. I don't have a very good system for organizing my photos. I know what I need to do, but then just when I am about to do it, I take a hundred more photos. It was fun today to decide on photos to frame for display. It was also fun to take a tour of the last year in my life through the photos. I have taken some pictures I really like and I have taken way too many pictures of exactly the same thing. It is so hard to delete pictures. I know I have backed them up. I know they are on my blog, or Facebook, or in an online album. I still have to delete them. Here are some of the favorites I found today. The one above is of Shelby in the gazebo in the spring.
Lake Roosevelt in the spring.
Annie obsessed with squirrels.

snowy trail at Sherman Creek

Grayson and Junebug come home.

The Gardens of the Woolum Women

It was a joy to spend time recently at the homes of my mother and sister. I think everyone in our family has been bitten by the gardening bug in some way. It was a lovely tour of Silver Valley Girl's yard in the cool morning sun.
Her front bed is just growing so well!
 Her vegetables are doing just as well. I love her new roses and
this clamatis bloom that  popped up through the Japanese Maple.
She stopped to pose for me by the front. I also loved the deep colors of the Oregon grapes.
 Next I traveled around Mom's yard. 
Mom has no trouble like I do growing Russian Sage.
 Her flower bed in the front may cover the window if frost doesn't come soon!
 I love how her vegetables look this time of year also. The dill is drying ready to be put in pickle jars. The deck is surrounded by beautiful annuals.

Thanks Project Man

My husband has been the Project Man for most of the summer creating and recreating spots around our place. I just want to say thank you for

keeping everything watered,
expanding on the front porch,

raising vegetables,

lugging home rocks for a wall or path,

and  turning the garden shed into a guest room.... just to name a few.

Thanks Project Man... you are one in a million.

Sibling Assignment #135: The Last Days of August

Silver Valley Girl gave the assignment this week.
"What do you like and what do you dislike about the month of August?"

I really dislike wishing my life away, but as the stifling heat had the dogs and cats sprawled out around the house even with the noisy air conditioner working overtime in the living room, I silently wished for September as I headed to a cool room for a nap.
 What do I dislike about August? I dislike camping when there is fire danger and you can't build a campfire. It is difficult when all the camping spots are taken with huckleberry pickers just there to pick their quota, yet parking in the prime camping spots. I dislike all the bugs that seem to come alive in August.
 What do I like about August?  I have always liked vacations away from home in August. It was a treat to travel to Orofino growing up and swim in the Clearwater in hot August. The many Oregon coast trips our family has taken always were planned in August and the cooler ocean air was a nice break after driving through the desert air of the Columbia Basin.
 I like vegetable gardening in August because you can eat green beans fresh off the vine, take a bite of a first tomato, and rub your hands on the dill and carry the aroma back to the house.  You can savor fresh peaches and have a salad fresh from the garden. I don't like flower gardening in August. The flowers work too hard just to stay alive.  Blooms are scarce, the leaves droop, and a few of the shade lovers just give up during August. Bouquets don't survive in the house after fighting the heat and lack of water.
 What I dislike about August is that realization that the projects I set aside for school to be completed in August may not get done. What I do like about August is reading time. It is a month of summer beach reads, paperbacks that smell of coconut oil, flashlight on late into the night while camping. It is going to the library and grabbing a stack of new books, taking afternoon time to just sit and read. It is reading for the sheer pleasure of reading. No highlighting, no sticky notes, no reflection... just reading for pleasure.
 I dislike cooking in August. It is hard to prepare comfort food when the oven heats up the house to match the thermometer reads ninety-two degrees outside. It is even hard to stand over a grill perfecting a steak when a heat wave is moving across the yard. August is a month for melon, cole slaw, soft ice cream cones at Sandy's, and cold sandwiches at noon. It is tomatoes and cucumbers in vinegar and ice cold lemonade. It is a beer in a frosty glass.

I will fill these last eleven days with weeding, inside organization projects, and a pile of new mysteries. I will squeeze in some naps, some trips back to my classroom, and art projects. I  yearn for cool nights, leaves turning, and the fall asters beginning to bloom.

Lessons Learned While Weeding

Garden clean up is a bit like house clean up. Just about the time you get the piano dusted inside  more dust appears. Just about the time you put away the gardening tools another marigold needs deadheading or a weed appears. It is the ebb of flow of domestic life I guess.
 I have learned that weed barriers don't always work to keep weeds out forever. Rugs work great though. I take old rugs and put them down and made a path over the weeds. It works especially well in places that the weeds wouldn't budge. JEJ took old carpet from the church and put it around the raised beds in the vegetable garden. The weeds stay underneath it is a more comfortable walk!
The weeds that come up through those little holes in the bricks are very pesky.  Sometimes lots of water from the hose will either unearth them, or drown them. Just try to keep the walkway intact!
 Kittens can be a big help while you are working in the garden. They jump around in the flower bed, thena dog digs around behind them. Eventually a weed gets pulled or a dead flower comes off.
 Oakleaf hydrangeas are perfect for the bed in front of the house. Their blooms turn from white to a beautiful mauve color and don't have to be deadheaded!
The best motivation for working in the garden is to have a goal in mind for the end of the day. Yes, I will sit at that table when the sun is setting and look at a patch weed free! It worked. We even had fresh peach pie!

Sibling Assignment #134: The Geography of Coeur d'Alene Lake

I gave the assignment this week. Three simple words: Coeur d'Alene Lake.  You can read Silver Valley Girl's here and Raymond Pert's soon.
I have always wished I could own a big speed boat for a day and travel all the shorelines of Coeur d' Alene Lake in northern Idaho. Perhaps it would take more than a day because it has 109 miles of shoreline. As a child I could never figure out how we traveled down the highway toward St. Maries and ended up at one end of the lake at Harrison, or turned at Wolf Lodge and arrived quickly at Beauty Bay. I took the Danceawanna from the town of Coeur d'Alene across the lake and ended up at Kid Island Bay at Camp Neewahlu and also remember heading to Worley to find Windy Bar. Those 109 miles are filled with names that have always been a part of my memory.
Arrow Point, Turner Bay, Blue Creek Bay, The Shady Rest, and the original Tony's are a few.  Squaw Bay, Camp N-Sid-Sen, Camp Easton, Templins, and Rockford Bay still rattle around in my memory. Some of the names were on signs we'd see while traveling to Moscow. Others were names friends would mention in talking about their lake places. We didn't have a lake place , but did visit a float house at Beauty Bay the day I learned to water ski.  TA's family had a tiny Terry trailer that was parked at Arrow Point each summer for vacation. CL went to Arrow Point and seemed to water ski every day of the summer. Arrow Point seemed like a mystical place when I was a child.
The natural beauty of the lake remains. It doesn't matter which mile of the 109 miles of lake shore I drive, a  beautiful photo image of the blue lake is waiting. Somewhere along the way the lake lost the rustic feel beyond the shoreline. People with money discovered places along the lake and put in gated communities . A guy named Duane decided to capitalize on the lake, the shoreline, and the tour boats and has turned the Coeur d'Alene end of the lake into a destination spot. Arrow Point is known more now for Derailers which are served in a  large white bucket with lots of straws. More people visit Worley for the casino or the golf course than the bays that surround it. Now Kid Island Bay is on the map again because Dennis Franz purchased the land.

When I returned to Camp N-Sid-Sen last summer for a writing retreat it was closer to what I remembered places on Coeur d'Alene Lake to be from my youth.  The Chaffee Chapel was there. The  lake shore was untouched by speed boats, mansions, slips for a hundred boats. There were still canoes and orange life jackets.  The same is true at Wolf Lodge Bay. The eagles still have places to feed because there aren't condos, resorts, and boat slips that fill the bay. I think some of the rustic float houses are still at Beauty Bay. Camp Easton, a camp for Boy Scouts, is still in the same spot, but expanded to both sides of the highway close to Turner Bay. I am always guaranteed of seeing One Shot Charlie's in Harrison. 

The Coeur d'Alene and St. Joe Rivers still spill into this massive lake. The native people still own the southern third of the lake.I still yearn for the smell of pine needles, lake water, and campfire smoke. There are still a few places untouched by progress that take me back to that rustic time as I continue to pull out the water stained map and study the geography of Coeur d'Alene Lake.

Appeciation for Geraniums

When the weather is hot, the air is dry, and August just limps along in the garden you can always count on geraniums to be the showstoppers this time of the summer season.

Collections on Film: Part 1

I love to take photos of stuff... things that are placed together in some form of collection. Whether it is a bunch of books on a shelf,
fruit on a platter,
cherries in the colander,

  flowers in a bouquet,
shiny ornaments,

or beautiful wine glasses at a friend's house.

Ten Things Necessary for a Successful Camping Trip

1. school supplies to play arts and crafts

2. a few fluffy summer paperbacks
3. Off mosquito lanterns... the best invention in the world for camping

4. campground to ourselves
5. good, hardy breakfast

6. a camera

7. an obsessed dog that can warn us of squirrels

8. another one that can alert us when cars drive by

9. hiking trails that aren't steep
10. a quiet place to read