Vivid Color Album

I experimented with the vivid color setting on my camera while camping. Here are some results.


Sibling Assignment # 153: Summer in a Jar

I gave this week's assignment. "Share a memory that revolves around preserving food. It can either be a memory that involved you preserving or the enjoyment of preserved food."

Names of relishes fruit spreads, and pickled foods were household names growing up, especially when the gardens of my grandmothers and other family members were in full harvest. I loved to hear the sounds of picadilly, chow chow, bread and butters, sweet gerkins, and dilly beans. Adding to the list would be conserve, preserves, jam, and jelly. I can still taste mincemeat, applesauce, and Grandma's famous dill pickles and green beans.

Preserving has been a part of me since I was a child. As soon as I moved into my first rented house newly married I started making grape jam. I have continued to preserve the same traditional things for thirty years. I have added some new recipes, honed some old ones, and challenged myself to create my own signature canning recipes such as Christy's Salsa and Pear Mincemeat. As long as Mason makes jars I will continue to pull the dusty, rusty canner off the shelf every summer and put that harvest in a hot water bath. I then can fill my pantry shelves with Summer in a Jar.



Burst of Blooms Mean Bouquets

Now that the weather has cooled a bit the annual flowers have recharged also. It was a joy today to gather flowers and arrange them in bouquets.



This week-end we spent time recharging and relaxing at one of our favorite camping spots.

We practically had the place to ourselves. I played around with the vivid color setting to capture the fall colors.

I love how the combination of meadows, cedar groves, pines, and the pond provide such a tranquil setting.

Everett and Shelby explored on the road along the pond.

Honoring Ancestors

Tomorrow we have a day off of school to honor Native American Day. Today the staff and students enjoyed and appeciated the work of our tribal members.









and headresses.

Glimpse of Beauty

Recently I was learning more about my camera during a camping trip. Here are images I captured trying new settings.Location: Canyon Creek Campground, Ferry County, northeastern Washington state

Lost in Hobo Cedar Grove

When I recently toured the cedar grove I remembered this poem.


Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

David Wagoner

Sibling Assignment # 152: The Queen of Facebook Without Ever Logging In

For those of you new to my blog the sibling assignment project started back in 2007 as a writing prompt each week between myself and my two siblings. Each week one of us chooses the prompt. You can click my first blog to find the first 151 assignments.

Sibling Assignment #152 given by my sister Carol:

 Share how the social network Facebook has affected your relationships with other people. You will find brother Bill's here and sister Carol's here soon.

Facebook as been an amazing way for me to reconnect with relatives, find college friends, rekindle childhood friendships, find former students, and find new friends. As my brother said in his blog post "I never saw it coming."

One of the joyful surprises of Facebook is the presence of my mother. My mother doesn't have a computer, has only been online when we work with her, has never logged on to Facebook and doesn't really get it yet when I shared the photo album of her 80th birthday party the comment thread went wild with best wishes to my mom.

Any time I share a photo, story, or event that has to do with my mom, my Facebook friends come out of the woodwork. My mom taught school in Kellogg and if she didn't have my Facebook friends as a teacher, she knew many of them as parents of students or relatives. If my mom had a Facebook profile page, she would have more friends than my niece Coco. Coco has topped out at 682. All of us don't go very long without hearing from someone that has a story to tell about how my mother left an impression on them, taught them well, put up mailboxes on Valentine's Day, or went to Washington D.C. for National History Day. Perhaps my next move is to make a Mary Idell West Woolum Fan Page on Facebook to see how many people would " Like" it.

 The picture above was taken at her birthday party last January. Even without Facebook Mom has been able to sustain long friendships the old-fashioned way.  Recently with much sadness we said good-bye to her friend Doris standing with her. I just love how I captured their friendship in this single picture.

Summer In a Jar

 I remember glass Mason jars, a canner, and the smell of dill at Grandma Woolum's house. Jars full of pickles, relish, and green beans were wrapped carefully in old newspapers and packed in boxes for us to take home. Our family got to enjoy  those canned goods on special occasions. I don't remember learning to can. In my first house I had lots of grapes and bought a book and figured it out. I love to fill shelves with glass jars full of the summer's harvest. I enjoy giving jars of jam or pickles as gifts. On a cold, snowy day in January I love biting into a dill pickle preserved in September.

Today I made my Summer's End Pickle Mix. I just take whatever is ripe and mix it together. This mix today was zucchini, crookneck, green beans, cucumbers, and dill. I bought the peppers, garlic, and onion.

Learning What I Love

The things we learn by heart are those that stay with us long after they were first learned. What was the first poem you learned by heart? Can you remember learning the alphabet, a Bible verse, or perhaps the days of the week.? Though life is hectic I want to learn more about what I love. This blog will be my way of chronicling the learning.

“Was there no safety? No learning by heart of the ways of the world? No guide, no shelter, but all was miracle, and leaping from the pinnacle of a tower into the air? Could it be, even for elderly people, that this was life?--startling, unexpected, unknown?” 
― Virginia WoolfTo the Lighthouse


Sibling Assignment #151: God's Handiwork in the Cedar Grove

Again we are rolling with our sibling assignments. Raymond Pert assigned this one. "Write about a particular thing that happened on our Sibling Outing that was especially enjoyable.  If possible, include an image, but not required."
 On Saturday, August 27th we took a sibling outing that began in Kellogg and led us through Wallace, Avery, Calder, Clarkia, the shadowy St. Joe, the Hobo Cedar Grove Botanical Area, Fernwood, St. Maries, Medimont, Lane, Rose Lake, Cataldo and more places in between. SVG came up with the idea of going to Avery after a trip she made there a year ago. Good choice!
 The whole trip reminded me once again of the spectacular beauty of my home state of Idaho. It is hard to believe that after fifty-six years I continue to still find places in north Idaho that I had never discovered before. The whole day was just a blast as we laughed, remembered, reminisced,learned, relearned, laughed more, ate, talked, and snapped pictures. Yes, we always do snap pictures!
The most enjoyable time for me was finding the Hobo Cedar Grove Botanical Area at the top of a steep gravel road north of Clarkia. Being immersed in one of the most beautiful places in the inland empire and maybe even the Pacific northwest was humbling. Just realizing how long this grove had stood here was hard to believe. The trees were seedlings in 1492.
 Leaving the hot sun and dusty road we were enveloped by the cool air and darkness of the cedar grove. At first the only sound was my sister narrating the tour with notes she found at the start. As she taught me about the birds and animals my brother was catching image after image of the grove through the lens of his camera.
Later we located a creek that provided a soothing sound as we rested by a bench.
We also took some time to pose. We had plans to meet Mom for dinner or we may have stayed there even longer, just the three of us. It was a place we didn't need stories of our youth,laughter, or smart remarks. It was a place we could be in harmony with nature.
 As I meditated on the awesome beauty of God's handiwork, I also caught images with my camera.It was the best day.

Sweet and Savory and a Keeper from the Recipe Box

I don't know if it started at Sunnyside School when we ate chili and cinnamon rolls together for hot lunch, but I love the savory tastes in beans with something a bit sweet. After camping part of the week-end we decided to use the ham bone left over from our party the other night to make a bean soup.

I also had a large zucchini just crying to be used, but I didn't want a sweet zucchini cake. I found just the right recipe online. This coffee cake is moist, delicious and not very sweet. There is a note you could add cream cheese glaze to sweeten it up. After our "camp food meals" we were ready for something simple and homey. Here is the recipe for the cake.

Zucchini Oatmeal Cake
Bake this in a 10 or 12-cup Bundt cake pan or in a 9x13x2-inch pan.
Cook Time: 70 minutes
Total Time: 70 minutes
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter (6 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
Grease and flour a 10- to 12-cup bundt cake pan. Heat oven to 325°.
In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices; set aside. In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; beat in the vanilla. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir in shredded zucchini and nuts. Spoon into the prepared baking pan.
Bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes; invert onto a serving plate to cool completely. Glaze or dust with powdered sugar or make a cream cheese glaze.