Good-bye October

It must have been the combination of sunshine, clouds, rain, lack of rain, barometric pressure, lining up of planets, fog, and harvest moons that created a most spectacular October. The flowers have never bloomed as well. The fall foliage has never been so diverse in color and texture.

The skies have never seemed so blue. Sunrises and sunsets have been breathtaking. November is usually a study in contrasts. Tomorrow we will begin more gray, early dark evenings, fog, bare trees, and the winding down of autumn. It all has it's own beauty though. Enjoy favorite images of October.

Dad Loved October

Today my dad would have been eighty-two years old. He died sixteen years ago . As I was organizing and reorganizing  pictures today I kept remembering Dad.
Dad loved October. Bowling season had begun. He got to enjoy the World Series, NFL games, and college football games in his easy chair with a can of beer. The weather was cooler to golf. He could watch the Kellogg Wildcats play from the porch of Dirty Ernie's. He could watch the leaves turn on Cameron Ave.
Sunsets were always beautiful in October as Dad sat on the front porch. He enjoyed all the leaves turning red, yellow, and orange.  He also  loved to burn leaves in the street. Although he didn't always like doing yard work, he seemed to like raking leaves and putting them in big piles. When he got a shredder he ran the corn husks through, then put them in the compost to enrich the soil for the next year. He stood around while his friend Donnie showed him how to trim raspberry bushes in October.

He always got out his flannel shirts and changed to a warmer hat. He loved a full moon and would belt out the lyrics to "Shine On... Shine On Harvest Moon." When we were small he would walk us up to Joe and Henry's for a root beer and took us around trick-or-treating hoping to get a cool one at some friend's house. When I was older him and Mom would come to Moscow to cheer on the Vandals. 
October meant canned goods from his mother in Spokane, roasts and homemade soups on Sunday, and later apples from the orchard below my house. He was so excited when the orchard owner told him he could take what he wanted. He drove his Chevy Lumina down the orchard road and loaded up.
October was that time before his knees started to hurt, his gout flared up, the roads got slick, and the sidewalk had to be shoveled. In early evening he could see his world from the front porch and later enjoy the warm light inside as he called it a night.

Another Magnificent Corner of My World

When our friends Joan and Dave were visiting last week-end we tried to decide the best places to take them so they could see the beauty that surrounds us in northeastern Washington state.

We couldn't have timed it better. The sun was shining. The leaves had begun to turn. Our friends paused to pose.

Everyone felt like hiking.

I had time to take many, many pictures.

We didn't have any schedule so we could take our time.
They agreed at the end of the day. It is a magnificent corner of the world.

(photos taken along the Sherman Pass Scenic Byway with a stop at the Sherman Pass Overlook)

Beauty Surrounding Me

 When the day has been hectic,

When I wanted some peace and quiet before preparing dinner,
When I wanted to surround myself in vivid colors,
And I wanted to celebrate glorious autumn,
It only made sense to walk around my gardens and say a little prayer of thanks for the beauty surrounding me.

Thank You Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sometimes it is hard for me to describe how beautiful the world is around me. I can always count on Edna to help me out.

God's World

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
Thy mists that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!
Long have I known a glory in it all,

But never knew I this;
Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart. Lord, I do fear
Thou'st made the world too beautiful this year.
My soul is all but out of me, let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

Capturing Images of Childhood

I couldn't wait to return to my hometown Friday. I had a feeling the leaves would have begun turning. They had and my camera was busy all week-end.

Standing at the sidewalk of my childhood home I realized how much the trees had grown since I moved away.

Driving uptown I parked at the corner close to the first home I remembered as a child. Some of the buildings look so much the same.

As expected, the trees are much, much taller like these behind Russel's house.

I realize why autumn is my favorite season. This is what my childhood looked like.

Blog Makeover Inspired by the Retreat and A Keeper from the Recipe Box

Recently I returned from a women's retreat at WoHeLo Lodge in Field Spring's State Park. It was so fun to see old friends and make new friends. Everyone had a different purpose for the retreat. There was no agenda, no set plans. That was perfect for me.

Everyone enjoyed gathering around the table for delicious meals and meaningful conversations. Outside people covered the picnic table with the bright colored blanket  for word games and mobile making.

In the evening we missed having a campfire (because of the high fire danger),

but time inside was spent getting henna tattoos, doing drama games, playing charades, and board games.
Some people hiked, others took pictures, a group drove to the river to swim, and most everyone got lots of good rest and relaxation.
 I also got to spend quality time with my sister and try a new recipe: Autumn Sangria pictured above.
( see recipe below)
One of my goals on this retreat was to rethink and revise this blog. This blog and I have been through many revisions, many looks, many style changes, and many template changes. Slowly I have been revamping it the last week. For now I like the look. I feel I have come full circle with many of the things I first liked about blogging way back in 2007.

Take a look around. Visit some of my favorite blog links. Revisit the sibling writing assignments and my favorite recipes. Give me feedback about what you think. I look forward to hearing from you!
Oh... and try the sangria!

fall sangria

3 apples
3 pears
3 clementines
2-3 cinnamon sticks
2 tbsp honey or agave syrup
6 oz triple sec or cointreau
2 bottles of red wine (something fruity works best)
optional: fresh cherries

1. core and cube all fruit and put into a pitcher or carafe
2. add 2-3 cinnamon sticks & 2 honey, stir
3. add liquor and wine, stir and let sit.

it's best if you make this drink a few hours or even a day in advnace and let the flavors marinate in the fridge.  Garnish  with fresh, ripe cherries.

Here is the link for the blog with the recipe:

You Begin

I know I have shared this poem before, but now that I am teaching art again, it had a whole new meaning. Enjoy.

You Begin
By Margaret Atwood

You begin this way:
this is your hand,
this is your eye,
that is a fish, blue and flat
on the paper, almost
the shape of an eye.
This is your mouth, this is an O
or a moon, whichever
you like. This is yellow.

Outside the window
is the rain, green
because it is summer, and beyond that
the trees and then the world,
which is round and has only 
the colors of these nine crayons.

This is the world, which is fuller
and more difficult to learn than I have said.
You are right to smudge it that way
with the red and then
the orange: the world burns.

Once you have learned these words
you will learn that there are more
words than you can ever learn.
The word hand floats above your hand
like a small cloud over a lake.
The word hand anchors
your hand to this table,
your hand is a warm stone
I hold between two words.

This is your hand, these are my hands, this is the world,
which is round but not flat and has more colors
than we can see.

It begins, it has an end,
this is what you will
come back to, this is your hand.