2013 Favorite Images: Month by Month

 I have spent time recently reorganizing photos, rereading posts, revisiting calendars, and reflecting on the last year. I saw some beautiful places in 2013. I captured some favorite photos in 2013. We spent quiet time close to home also which I really enjoyed. It was hard to do, but here are some of the favorite images of the year. The one above is a lovely flower at the Gaiser Conservatory at Manito Park last January.
 February found us around the fire in the gazebo.
 I love this image in March. Two of my students Stan and Kobe competed in a three-legged race. The weather was warm and I loved how the students enjoyed simple fun outside on the field.
 Nothing lovelier in April then the flowering plum tree.
  I love this image of my student Hannah Blackcrow before our school pow wow.
 A visit to a friend Jane's house provided this lovely blooming tree image.
 Our class reunion was a high point of the year. I was so pleased to capure an image of two of my oldest friends Kathy and Gail at Mom's deck on Saturday.
 August took us on a beautiful trip to the Clark Fork River.
 I love this photo of my niece Cosette playing soccer in September. She is a energetic, spirited player.
 The middle school undefeated girls team before a game.
 The undefeated middle school boys team before a game.

 The year ended with a holiday gathering in Kellogg that included a Scottish Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day dinner. and brother Bill's birthday dinner. I got to spend all of it with my siblings above. This picture is brimming with happiness and good cheer. Happy New Year!

Remember December: Favorite Images

My brother has arrived at our childhood home and is helping our mother prepare for the Christmas holiday. As he describes the preparing of food, decorating of the tree, and all the busyness that goes on at 516 W. Cameron, it reminded me of images I have collected of holidays in the past. He texted me to reassure me that this favorite ornament of ours has been placed on the tree for one more year.

 I love this image of my sister preparing a holiday dinner at her house. Below is a priceless image of brother Bill with his dear dog Snug looking through the window at Mom's house. The last image depicts a favorite ornament of mine I place on the tree each year. Christmas is full of images that remind me of times back in childhood, and better times in adulthood.

Remember December: Inside Recess

As the weather gets colder plans are made at our school for inside recess. Okay. Silver King and Sunnyside alumni.... did we ever stay inside at recess? I have no recollection of staying inside playing board games, reading , or playing a quiet activity at our desks. Today our students play games, watch videos, or go the gym for " free gym." I remember wearing lots of clothes and making snowmen and stuff in the winter. Were we just tougher? Is is colder now? You will all have to help me out on this one.

Remember December: Baby, It's Cold Outside

I have often written about the beauty I find in living with four seasons. There are rituals attached to each of the seasons, especially if you live in the country. Even though winter, according to the calendar, isn't upon us yet, it looks and feels like winter. Tonight it is supposed to be down to below ten degrees. By Friday down to minus temperatures. I am blessed to have a warm house, warm clothes, and a warm car that gets me to school each day.

 I know growing up in Kellogg it got really cold also, but I never remember feeling really cold. We had a warm house  (well... maybe a chilly bedroom upstairs, but we had electric blankets) and good winter clothing. After sleigh riding on Chestnut Hill I do remember coming home cold, only because I was wet. Mom believed in wearing layers before L.L. Bean made it a business and what I do remember are times I could hardly walk because of socks, leotards, pants, and snow pants I had piled on. We never left the house without a hat and mittens.

I warned my students yesterday the shorts may have to go by the end of the week. I also suggested that some may need to wear a coat instead of the usual sweatshirt. I know these students have lots of heavy clothes as they hunt and snowmobile the cold land of the reservation. They just leave them home on school days. "We never get cold!" they exclaim.

Today the faucets got covered, the hoses wrapped up, the hydrants got insulated, and the leaves remain on the ground to protect all our plants. The cats are moving in, the firewood is stacked, and the heaters are ready in the greenhouse. Winter is a time to be prepared also.

December is also a time of beauty. Some of my best photos have been taken in the cold months.

Remember December: White Christmas

This month I hope to share a post each day that brings to light memories of the Christmas season. So many parts of the celebration of Christmas hold dear memories: family gatherings, foods, music, traditions, gifts, and friends. December is always a time to remember for me. The images seem more vivid, the smells more fragrant, the sounds more full and harmonious.

There are so many songs that conjure up memories of Christmas. In our house it was Bing Crosby and his rendition of "White Christmas". I don't know why. I am sure Dad loved him because he was local to Spokane. He was Dad's kind of guy. I have never seen "Holiday Inn", but  I know there were so many times we saw the second film "White Christmas" when Bing performed this song. I grew up believing that Christmas just couldn't be right without snow. How would Santa pull his sleigh?


My way of ending a very special Thanksgiving day is to share this favorite poem.


with the night falling we are saying thank you 
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings 
we are running out of the glass rooms 
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky 
and say thank you 
we are standing by the water thanking it 
smiling by the windows looking out 
in our directions 
back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging 
after funerals we are saying thank you 
after the news of the dead 
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you 
over telephones we are saying thank you 
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door 
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you 
in the banks we are saying thank you 
in the faces of the officials and the rich 
and of all who will never change 
we go on saying thank you thank you 
with the animals dying around us 
our lost feelings we are saying thank you 
with the forests falling faster than the minutes 
of our lives we are saying thank you 
with the words going out like cells of a brain 
with the cities growing over us 
we are saying thank you faster and faster 
with nobody listening we are saying thank you 
we are saying thank you and waving 
dark though it is


From Migration: New & Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2005). Copyright © 1988 by W. S. Merwin. Used by permission. All rights reserved. 

Being Thankful: Annie, Shelby and the Cat Kingdom

Yes... every day I am thankful for our dog and cat kingdom at Martin Creek Gardens . Most of the time all of them live in harmony. They provide companionship, devotion, and entertainment. All the cats were rescued or adopted. Shelby came from a famous litter on Summit Valley Rd. in Stevens County and Annie is our only registered pet.... from a great set of parents in Garfield, WA.
 Here is Lily, sister to Sweet William. She had been adopted at the feed store by our friends, but when Sherry died, we adopted the two of them.
 Annie, our springer spaniel. She loves solitude.
 Shelby, our Australian Cattle Dog ( red heeler) that loves to "be with."
 Junebug is sister to Grayson. She came from a lovely litter in Inchelium.
 Here is Grayson. When my student Victoria told me she had a litter, I had to go look. The rest is history.
 Isabelle is a loner now that she lost her brother Lucas. The litter was left out in the Colville National Forest, but a couple found them and adopted them out. We brought two home.  She is the one that loves to sneak up on our bed.
 Then there are the kittens, adopted in June. they also were left out in the Colville National Forest, but brought to an adoption group in Newport, WA. I found them online.  Meet Gracie and Winnie.
 Sweet William is a brother to Lily.
We have quite a collection of animals that each have a story. We are blessed with them every day.

Being Thankful: Updike, Poetry, Loveliness

There are so many poems that express the process of late fall. 
Even though we are not quite at this part of fall,
 I love this poem because if does display a certain loveliness. 


by John Updike

The stripped and shapely
Maple grieves
The ghosts of her
Departed leaves.
The ground is hard,
As hard as stone.
The year is old,
The birds are flown.
And yet the world,

In its distress,

Displays a certain Loveliness---

Being Thankful: The Beauty of Apples

 While exploring  the Methow Valley last week-end we discovered apples everywhere.

They were still remaining on trees where we were staying.

Others hung on trees along the road like Christmas ornaments.

Some appeared ripe while others seemed to be left on the tree after an early frost.

We know the deer will find much to feast on until the snow piles up.

Being Thankful: Aspens

I don't ever remember aspens being around when I grew up in Kellogg. I remember maples and elms, but no aspens.  I don't know when I first noticed the beauty of this tree. What I do know is when I have my camera and I am surrounded by these white-barked trees, I could take hundreds of pictures. The marks like eyes always intrigue me. Here are some aspen images from Mazama, Washington last week-end.

Being Thankful: Three Traveling Partners

We always try to plan a week-end getaway on Veteran's Day week-end. It is that time after first quarter, grades, and parent conferences. It is a good week-end to take a break. For the second year I loaded up with my three traveling partners and traveled to the Methow Valley of north central Washington state and enjoyed a quiet stay at a rental cabin. We didn't really care that it was foggy and rainy. I was still able to photograph my favorite aspens.

My traveling partners were JEJ, and our dogs Shelby and Annie. We rested, read books and magazines, explored,took pictures,walked the dogs, had good food and great coffee, and slept in. I think in this photo Shelby had just seen a very large buck along the river road.
We took a drive up the Chewuck River and appreciated the beauty enhanced with a sprinkling of snow.
We stopped at a SnoPark along the river for the dogs to take a run. All I needed was my traveling partners, my Idaho Vandal coffee cozy with a cup of hot coffee, and my camera. I was set.

Being Thankful :Billy Graham

Tonight we sat in our living room and were moved by thirty uninterrupted inspiring minutes of the ideals of  Billy Graham.  We both came to the conclusion that Billy Graham has never wavered from his same message. For six decades he has believed in forgiveness and the significance of the cross.  He said, 'With all my heart I want to leave you with the truth that He loves you and wants to forgive you of your sins."  My grandmother heard the same message with her black and white television in her house many years ago that we heard today. He delivered the message of hope we all needed to hear.

Being Thankful: Billy Collins, A Table, and a Poem

I  Ask You 
by Billy Collins

What scene would I want to be enveloped in
more than this one,
an ordinary night at the kitchen table,
floral wallpaper pressing in,
white cabinets full of glass,
the telephone silent,
a pen tilted back in my hand?

It gives me time to think
about all that is going on outside--
leaves gathering in corners,
lichen greening the high grey rocks,
while over the dunes the world sails on,
huge, ocean-going, history bubbling in its wake.

But beyond this table
there is nothing that I need,
not even a job that would allow me to row to work,
or a coffee-colored Aston Martin DB4
with cracked green leather seats.

No, it's all here,
the clear ovals of a glass of water,
a small crate of oranges, a book on Stalin,
not to mention the odd snarling fish
in a frame on the wall,
and the way these three candles--
each a different height--
are singing in perfect harmony.

So forgive me
if I lower my head now and listen
to the short bass candle as he takes a solo
while my heart
thrums under my shirt--
frog at the edge of a pond--
and my thoughts fly off to a province
made of one enormous sky

and about a million empty branches.