Tag Archives: blogging 101

New Roots

macro new buds
New buds are starting to branch from this stem. Even so, it needs to be pinched off to shape the plant and promote root development.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “New.”

New Roots

I rather feel like there’s nothing new in the universe. But I’m not certain. Everything is connected or one thing leads to another, or so I’ve seen. Take this little Rosemary start for example. It began about 20 years ago when I bought a small plant in a 4 inch pot in Port Angeles (PA). I repotted it into a larger pot and brought it with me when we moved to Idaho in 1998. It nearly died of a white fungus while it was indoors for a frigid Rocky Mountain winter. I pruned more than half the plant to remove the fungus and let it live if it would. It lived indeed! It thrived from the pruning and when we moved back to PA in 2003 I planted it in our yard and left it alone. Plants do pretty well if left alone, the right plants at least.

yellow flowers over grown
One of my “little gardens”, a sidewalk runs through it. Gone for 2 summer months, this is the result of leaving plants alone. Sheers and a mug of Scotch soon fix it all.

That plant reproduced itself into 4 more plants and they all grew to be about 3 feet high and pretty wide. I found their starts in the soil at the base of the first one, propagated by a natural process called “mounding” in which a branch gets laid down and partly covered with soil. New roots develop and you can just snip the branch off from the original and plant the new start. When I moved back to my Idaho home in 2013 I had 4 big Rosemary bushes growing in my Port Angeles yard. The fifth had been killed by a peninsula winter.

That home has renters now so last fall I started 3 new little Rosemaries from trimmings when I pruned one of the large herbs to clear the sidewalk for safe passage. I popped the little cuttings into small pots of plain old potting soil, kept them damp at the risk of causing rot, and sure enough they began to show new leaves. When new leaves appear you know the roots are developing. I pinch off new growth and use it for aromatic flavors in the kitchen. Even little herbs do their jobs just fine. Removing new growth promotes root development and it prevents the plant from getting spindly, making it bushy.

tall rosemary start
New growth ready to be pinched off. Plants DO grow in winter.

The idea that plants are dormant in winter is not precise. I keep these starts in a sunny south facing window and they are producing abundant new growth. They are beginning to branch out so by late spring when it’s safe to put them outside, they will be nice little herbs to move into larger pots. Look at all the new white branches stemming from the brown trunk.

macro many branches

lop sided plant start
This start needs shaping. Obviously new roots are developing.

If plant life is so well connected, new roots emerging from old stems, how can our human lives not be interconnected, too? I’m not just talking about genetics here. I am rooted in the Pacific Northwest and have restarted myself more times than I can recall. We can nurture our own roots and use them not to anchor us to one place or one idea, but to set us out on new paths. We can nurture new roots in people we encounter, too, without even knowing it. Some people say I am the most grounded, rooted, person they know. If that’s so, it’s because I have learned that I can regenerate myself when I need to and I’m not afraid to take that risk. Well, a little afraid but brave. My daughter calls me spunctuous, a word she created. She asked if it’s OK to make up words. Of course it is.

sidewalk garden

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Tree house, garden house, round house, out house, all at Lake Ozette

The tree house that sleeps four, the round house with 2 stories, the garden house, the outhouse. I love the little houses at Lake Ozette in the Olympic National Forest on the Washington state coast. My friend, Don who played bass in my husbands band in Port Angeles, arranged to be the caretaker for the only privately owned dwellings on the lake. He pays rent at $99.00 a year. The owner can never sell to anyone but the National Park. It’s a win-win for all. And I love to go there with him and the band for days at a time in late summer.

path to Lake Ozette from the tree house

I showed you in a previous post https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/edge/ part of the board walk,  about 20 feet above ground, that gets you from the tree house to the lake. In the rainy season, anytime except summer, the lake is up to the boards. Otherwise tall brush grows alongside. You can just see 2 canoes in the brush in the bottom of the photo. Here’s the tree house cabin. I stood on its porch to make the crooked path photo looking at Lake Ozette. tree house and canoestree house east side

The cute little bunny looking out the window at us was left there by Don’s niece. I love the bay windows that look out to the lake. Inside are two sets of bunk beds, a chair, a wood stove, and something sort of like a kitchen.

tree house back door

This is the back door to the tree house, the way we get in after a long trek. Standing at the lake you can see the big old Spruce that supports the cabin.

path through the forest

boardwalk to tree house

It takes about an hour to walk from the garden house, at the lake’s edge around a bay, and most of the walk is high above ground on narrow planks. Don and his brother reconstruct parts of the board walk every year, not an easy task. It’s sometimes more sensible to canoe from one house to the other. Once is rained so hard when they were sleeping in the garden house they had to canoe to their car on the dirt road.I don’t have a photo of the garden house. It’s called that because the garden grows there. Its easier to get to, being near the road and having a little lane to drive on. We have to pack our food and bedding into the tree house, balancing on the planks and snapping at my German Shepherd, named Ozette, to keep her from running an knocking into us. Sometimes she jumps off and runs beneath the boardwalk until the dense brush confuses her.

round house

From the garden house I can walk along a creek back to the bend in the road to the round house. That little house doesn’t belong to Don’s property. It’s quite imaginative, having 2 stories and only as big around as a giant ancient Red Wood tree. There is a bedroom upstairs with a double bed. Down stairs is a sweet round cabin room with a stove, chairs, table, and kitchen. I’d like to sleep here where I could hear the creek.

new out house

The round house has the best out house, the newest one in the community of little houses. Even here we use a board walk. The rain forest has so much decaying ground that it’s easy to fall through the forest floor and land knee deep or even 20 feet below where you were standing. And the ground is almost always wet, often running in small streams. Isn’t that a comforting dry porch outside the door?

If you visit the Washington coast in Olympic National Park, I hope you will drive to the Ozette trail head. You’ll pass these sweet little houses but you won’t see them from the road. At the trail head you can hike 3 miles to the beach and the site of Ozette village which was covered several times by mud slides and rebuilt in the same spot for centuries. Then you can turn around and hike back, or walk 3 miles down the beach and take a different trail back, making a nine mile hike, easy to do in a day. I’ll tell you more about that hike in another post.

I feel lucky and grateful to have a friend like Don who takes me to such interesting cabins.

The Leibster Award

 

Thanks so much http://photographywithwords.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/photographywithwords-the-leibster-award/ for nominating my blog for the Leibster Award! They thought my photography is awesome. Ah, gee. Goes to show you never know who is watching your blog and how your posts effect them. Leibster is German for lovely, appealing, nice, that sort of thing. I was asked to respond to 11 questions and then nominate other blogs for the award. Here are my responses and my nominations for more wonderful blogs.

1.) Why did you decide to start to blog?

I missed writing features articles for a newspaper and I wanted to share the culture and environments of both fabulous places where I lived, one in Idaho Rocky Mountains, and one on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula at the coast. I wanted to move beyond journal writing, notes. I have 45 or more journals. Like performing music, writing needs to have an audience some of the time.

2.)What is your favorite memory?

So many wonderful memories collage in my mind. I’m sure the outstanding ones place me outdoors skiing or at a lake or beach. Or maybe cruising the San Juan Islands on our boats. And doing everyday things with family like shucking huge open tubs of corn in my grandparents’ garage with my extended family.

3.) Who inspires you?

Uncle Clarence. He began writing letters when I moved away in 7th grade and we exchanged letters from then until he passed at age 90. He typed his letters on a Royal from the 1920s. I started keeping his letters in the late 80s and I have a wealth of his concise writing style and stories to share on my blog.

4.) What is your current goal in life?

I want to learn to say no to working except for small contracts that relate to my art and writing. I want to commit to stay focused on my art and writing. I want to clear out the clutter in my studio by using all the “found objects” and fabric until I have space to collect and use more. And to get some projects ready to sell.

5.) How would you describe yourself?

Calm, energetic, sincere, balanced.

6.)How much wood could a Woodchuck chuck if a Woodchuck could chuck wood?

Enough to stay warm all winter and share with others in need.

7.) What do you do for Fun?

Ski, kayak, hike, write, draw, photograph, lead kids in children’s theater, landscape and garden.

8.) What is your dream vacation?

I want to spend some weeks or months exploring Montana and really catching a fish with my fly outfit.

9.) What is your favorite Quote?

Anywhere you are, there you are.

10.) Do you enjoy running a blog?

sure

11.) What do you plan to do now?

After I finish the post I will read some other blogs, knit a while on a scarf, organize my studio for a while, and write the next piece for the Cat Rock letters on my blog.

Now it’s time that I nominate blogs that I think are fantastic, but they must have less than 500 followers. I scoured the earth for the longest time and found these unique blogs:

http://thecraftyladyincombatboots.wordpress.com/ A retired Air Force lady, her blog really came alive for me when she took up the photo a day challenge. Wow!

https://dwaycrafts.wordpress.com/ His crisp photos always surprise me. He makes a point quickly in his writing and photos. He shows me an urban nature I had not expected to see in a huge city. He makes me think. He makes me feel.

http://whiteoakcottagedotcom.wordpress.com/ I love cottages and cottage gardens. Hers are beautiful, and her photos and posts appeal to me on a deep level. She writes about sensitive issues and enlightens me.

http://cookingwithawallflower.com You’ll like her professional photos of food and recipes, plus her down home talk about her travels and her life. Waiting for a job as a dental hygienist, she might as well write an on-line cook book. Yum.

http://thestorytellersabode.wordpress.com/     A Fairy Mind lives in this blog. Quite creative and a photographer who posts photos of intrigue.

 https://cartervail.wordpress.com/ says she’s one wicked writer, dark and twisted. She has a love for the strange and unusual, as well as a curiosity for the unknown. She believes anything is possible. She blogs about sci fi, macabre, and fantasy.

http://behindthewillows.com/ I connect with her posts and photos about rural life. She can tell a story efficiently with appeal.

Show Me a Writer Actively Practicing the Art

On a coffee break today, I reviewed my list of blog followers. I wondered when you each started following me and why. And I really want want to know who you are and how we connect.

I scrolled down the list and began exploring profiles behind the gravatars. Many of my followers are also writers and photographers. Alieen Hunt’s “about” page shows me a writer actively practicing the art. She lists her literary submissions and publications. She also has links on her “about” page, one for Tumblr. I know practically nothing about Tumblr so I clicked her link and found such a wonderful new experience, I want to share it with you.

The photos hooked me right away. Below them I became engaged with her list of 12 Essential Essays for Writers. I recognize the authors Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen King, Elizabeth Gilbert, and many more. I can’t wait to read these essays and apply their wisdom to my own writing.

Today, I want to share Aileen’s “about” page and her Tumblr page with you. If you are a writer I think you, too, will be interested in the essays for writers. It will take more than a coffee break for me to read all the essays. I doubt I can understand how to create my Tumblr account over a cup of java, but it looks like it will be worth a try.

Here are links to Alieen Hunt’s “about” page on her blog, and to the 12 Essential Essays for Writers on her Tumblr account. 

Aileen Hunt’s “about” page.     http://aileen-hunt.com/

Aileen Hunt on Tublr       http://aileenhunt.tumblr.com/

12 Essential essays for writers.         http://tetw.org/Essays_for_Writers

Pacific Northwest Travel Journal October 2014

I traveled to Port Angeles, Washington, USA, in mid October after living away for a year. I lived at the sea port for many years, with a home in Idaho, too. Here are selected photos from my autumn trip across the Pacific Northwest. You can see more in my post about a little almost-ghost town where we stopped for lunch on our trip home. “Washtucna, No Town for Old Dogs”     https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/washtucna/

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Where the heck is Washtucna?  https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/washtucna/

 

The Haunted Palace

old shack near Lapwai
What is your vision of a haunted palace? Illusion, reality, memory? Photo by Kay Addington MacDonald

by Edgar Allan Poe

In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace—
Radiant palace—reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion—
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!

Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow,
(This—all this—was in the olden
Time long ago,)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A winged odor went away.
Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically,
To a lute’s well-tuned law,
Round about a throne where, sitting
(Porphyrogene!)
In state his glory well-befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.
But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate.
(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed,
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.

And travellers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms, that move fantastically
To a discordant melody,
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever
And laugh—but smile no more.

LaWrynn Answers the Proust Questionnaire

red haired imp
I inspired the LaWrynn character. (snort)

LaWrynn and her stories were inspired by this illustration created by Lorie Davison http://loriedavison.blogspot.com/

Look for stories with LaWryn on Sky Blue Daze’ blog, right here, emerging soon.

I started writing stories about a tiny fantasy spirit inspired by Lorie Davison’s fantastic image. Today LaWrynn answers the Proust Questionnaire. You can get a link to the questions and interview yourself of anyone you know or create. It’s at the bottom of today’s post. Enjoy!

LaWrynn answers the Proust Questionnaire

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

What a perfectly stupid question. There is never true perfection in anything. I feel happy when things are in harmony, in balance. No, wait, is that more like content than happy? There’s a difference.

What is your greatest fear?

I fear getting stepped on by a non-mindful range cow. I’m afraid The Great Horned Owl will swoop me up, too, when I am not being mindful. I’m afraid I won’t ever find the portal back to the other side and I’ll be stuck in this material world forever. Yuck! That’s my greatest fear.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Letting things happen. I can’t control everything, but I might try harder.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Meanness.

Which living person do you most admire?

Well, I don’t know very many living people so I can’t answer this, having only lived on this side for a little while. I admire a lot of people, spirits, really, on the other side. There are so many living people in the world to admire, so I’ve heard. What is the world population now anyhow?

What is your greatest extravagance?

How can I be extravagant? I don’t own anything. I did decorate the mouth of the mound I live in, so that might be extravagant. But I have to keep it camouflaged for protection, so even that is not really what I call extravagant. Perhaps the pile of leaves I sleep on is extravagant with the colorful fleece cover. I borrowed some hand dyed wool from the lady of the farm’s knitting basket. Really warm and pretty.

What is your current state of mind?

Oh! Crap!

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

                Cleanliness. Let’s face it, when you live in a badger hole how can you really be expected to keep your clothes and hair dirt free all the time? That would just take way too much time. So inconvenient.

On what occasion do you lie?

If I tell you, everyone will know when I am lying. Duh! (giggles till she snorts)

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My size. Being small enough to fit in a cow’s ear is a pain. People don’t take me seriously. And my feet are too big.

Which living person do you most despise?

There’s this deranged man that lives up the road from the farm where I nest. He’s just mean for no good reason.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Really?

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Non-competitive loving sisterhood. Period.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Oh, man! Really? What’s that about? Right?

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

You mean this life or a past life or the next one in line? I love roasting marshmallows. Right? (sniggers or snickers?)

When and where were you happiest?

I was happiest on the other side, always. Living has so much drama, annoying drama. On the other side, it’s all cool. We don’t have emotions there, we just exist, let it be.

Which talent would you most like to have?

It’s not really a talent, but if I could fly it would sure help. And I wish I could know things like how to get back to the portal I used to enter this side.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My size. Whose idea was it to put my spirit into such a small body? It’s just not working. Sheesh!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?         

In this life, I haven’t achieved it yet. I think it will be when I can find the portal to the other side again and get outta here.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

Which time? I’ve been a fish, a dragon, a sunflower, a spider, an amoeba, and many more mortal life forms. I’ve been a human, and I never want that curse again. I’d be anything but that. So much drama. If I come back again, could I just be a cloud?

Where would you most like to live?

On the other side again, but if I have to live in the material world, I liked living in the ocean once. I like living on the farm at the edge of the woods. I don’t like living in the badger hole but it’s pretty safe.

What is your most treasured possession?

 My smarts. If I didn’t have intelligence, I’d be dumbfounded living on this side. But for real things, like things, you know, you’ll find out when you read my stories. OK, a hint…I need a key and I need to find out what it unlocks. I need clues. There. Don’t tell anybody. Don’t ruin the stories.            

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Loss and extreme loneliness. Like you lost a relationship that was feeling good, and then it’s gone. You’ll never get it back the way it was. It’s like smashing a wine glass in a trillion jillion pieces, you can’t ever put it back as good as it was. Or someone you love, or a place you love, it leaves or you leave, or even someone or a pet dies and you are left here, in the finite material world to go on without it all your days and nights. That’s loss. That’s loneliness. That’s misery.

What is your favorite occupation?

What I like to do, to occupy myself, is go to a river bank and just be there. Look at what’s around me, even if I’m not at a river. Notice and pay attention to where I am in the present moment. That occupies me. If you mean occupation like a job, that pays people, I think I’d like to be a waitress at a ski resort.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I’d say my size, so minute. Others remark about my wild hair or my long pointed ears. I wish they didn’t stick out so far. If I could fly with them….And I have a nice smile. It just happens.

What do you most value in your friends?

Fun and loyalty. They have to be loyal, and they have to like to have fun.

Who are your favorite writers?

I like Kay Addington MacDonald. She’s the one writing this interview and my stories. I also favor  A. A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh) and Lewis Carroll (The Walrus and the Carpenter) and Kurt Vonnegut.

Who is your hero of fiction?

Tarzan, for today. But he’s be nothing without Jane. Or Lemuel Gulliver (Gulliver’s Travels). He’s dorky.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Queen Hatshepsut the first woman pharaoh.

http://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/hatshepsut

Who are your heroes in real life?

Bridgette, my badger friend, and Mayhem, my Stellar Jay friend. You’ll find out why when you read my stories. Oh. Do you mean this life or those in my past and future?

What are your favorite names?

The names of emotions and good things to have like Hope, Faith, Happy, Penny, Treasure, Jewel, Summer, Autumn, Dawn, Wag, Mayhem. Like that. And Max. If I had a brother, I’d name him Max. But would that be up to me?

What is it that you most dislike?

Right now I most dislike how long this interview is taking. How many more questions are you going to ask me? And I dislike confrontation. I bet you couldn’t guess that.

What is your greatest regret?

Once, a long time ago, I lived in the material world, one of my lives. I had a swell beau and I let him go. Another girl snatched him away and I didn’t try to get him back. See what I mean about how I sometimes let things happen when I could take more control? I just hate the drama of life on this side.

How would you like to die?

Are you kidding? Really? Oh, man! What’s that about? Right? Who likes to die? I’m seeking a way to get back to the other side without the pain of death again. So, if I have to die again, make it not painful this time. And let me feel that the people I love know I love them. I just want to feel that it’s all good next time I die, whether it is or not. That’s a good way to die.

What is your motto?

 Oh! Crap! I don’t have one. You mean like, “to infinity and beyond”?  Ask me again after I’ve experienced a few stories about me. Maybe I’ll have one by then. You are going to read my stories aren’t you?


Read more LaWrynn stories here:

Chapter 1, In which LaWrynn pokes through the portal  https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/lawrynns-portal/

The Proust Questionnaire:     http://thewritepractice.com/proust-questionnaire/

David Bowie answers the Proust Questionnaire: http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/07/10/david-bowie-proust-questionnaire-vanity-fair/

White Lady

I am happy to promote a new book. You have a chance win it. Here’s the deal.

http://www.jessicabellauthor.com/white-lady-blog-tour-participants.html

And here is Jessica’s blog site where you can find all sorts of interesting reading and inspiration for the writer in you.

http://www.thealliterativeallomorph.blogspot.com/

I found a book. It hasn’t yet been written.

old letter in cursive
The first letter, exuberant after the dance.

I found a book. It hasn’t yet been written. But it has begun. And I am the writer. After Mom died in 2006, I emptied her house and put it up for sale. She had tons, really tons, of clutter. Sorting took months. She kept everything! I found some treasures in the slow thorough process.

In her basement I uncovered her desk, the one she used for her church secretary work. It was heaped with papers and file folders and books, a knitting project, plants, and too much more to remember. Inside a deep drawer, in an unlabeled folder mixed with church papers, I found photocopies of letters.

They were written in 1918 and 1919 by my grandfather, courting my grandmother. I found the beginning of their relationship right up to the day he married her. I found the story of families living in the Pacific Northwest during World War 1, haying with horses, building the railroad, and joining the army. I found a book to write, based on the courting letters.

The letters document the influenza epidemic, boats stuck in the river by deep ice break ups, barn dances, a locomotive derailed by a mud flood and much more. Most importantly, they reveal human hopes and struggles, concessions, forgiveness, and celebrations.

The storyline moves along the tracks of the traditional plot diagram. It has complexity in its conflicts. The action rises to the turning point and ends with resolution. It’s so ready to write.

My problem is how to develop the details, how to bring the characters and setting to life for modern readers. How do I write the story so readers will care and get a deeper understanding of their own lives from the book? Each letter gives enough information to inspire creative writing. What is really the story behind the story? How can I tell it?

I am a storyteller, a performing storyteller. I know a lot about folklore weaving magic into tales. I teach writing, literature, and history. Now, I have a book to write, one letter at a time. I’m scared. Can I practice the crafts I teach? It’s a challenge I give myself, to write creative non-fiction. How do I even categorize the genre? Could it be a novel of poetry telling the story like Out of the Dust? Will I write chapters? How about short vignettes? How will I link the ideas together? How long will the book be? Will anybody be interested in reading the story, the little stories within the stories?

I have a lot of research to do. How did men work hay fields with horses when tractors were just emerging into the industry? What was the sphere of devastation by the influenza pandemic in the Pacific Northwest? What was transportation like then? The letters stand in place of telephones and texting.

How can I show, don’t tell, the depth of humanity revealed within the letters? I’m going to need a lot of feedback as I progress, a lot of help. I am asking you to follow my postings as I write this story. Please tell me what you think of my writing, what changes I should make, what’s written just as it should be. How is the story affecting you?

I posted a first draft of the first page yesterday in Cat Rock, the First Dance. One blogger, gave me powerful feedback in her comment. Thanks Wendy! http://wendybarronwrites.wordpress.com/

That’s what I’m looking for. Will you help me?

What do you think right now about this story idea? Please tell me.

Cat Rock, the First Dance

This is the first piece for a book. When my mother died, I found a series of courting letters from my grandfather to my grandmother. The letters began after their meeting at a dance. They end with their marriage. I am using each letter to inspire vignettes of what Grandpa wrote about. I use their real names for the book. Cat Rock is a rock formation that resembles a cat overlooking a river. Grandpa worked and lived at the railroad section house at Cat Rock when he wrote the letters.

July 5, 1918

The First Dance

Edith reached for her paring knife from a group of them behind the sink. This one fit her left hand the best.  She began skinning a large lumpy potato but her mind was not on her work.  She was reliving last night’s dance, twirling and reeling cross the hard packed barn floor. Her chore was familiar and the brown peels flew into the wash basin while her heels and toes tapped the kitchen floor boards. Bouncing, jigging, hopping, she danced to the lively rhythm  that pulsed in her mind. Dancing made life spin by with abandonment. When she felt the music and let her body move with it, she knew she was in tune with all that gave freedom to that moment. She tossed the slippery peeled potato in the air, caught it and flipped it into the bowl with a thud. She picked up the next potato and took the knife in her other hand.

She hummed and swayed in time with her peeling. What was the song? The fiddler had played it as if the instrument was dancing with her, guiding her moves. She heard it for the first time at the dance but it seemed like she had always known it, had danced to it often. And the fiddler. The fiddler. She knew he watched her swinging to the music he played, the jigs, waltzes, fox trots, and reels.  Something in the way she caught him looking at her, when she had tried to steal glances at him, made her smile as she worked at preparing dinner. His name was Frank.

He had brought her home after the dance with his brother, Tom, on a big hay wagon drawn by two sturdy black horses. The wagon was packed full with her two chatty sisters and their husbands and a party of people who were staying on for the long ride home to Middle Valley. It was late when she got off the wagon with her family at her father’s farm. Tonight she would make his favorite fried chicken dinner to thank Papa for staying home with her baby.

From the Backside

I am drawn to making portraits. I create them with words and pictures. Photographing and drawing people challenges me. Portraits that are not face on call me back to reflect deeper. I look longer at people pictured from different view points, especially from behind. Let’s consider point of view, the perspective of the camera or sketch pad. Here are some pieces I am working on, probably going to draw them. Below these samples are links to other blogs with inspiring portraits from uncommon viewpoints. If you have some samples for me to see, please leave your blog address in the comment. I’ll check in.

man portrait
unfinished lesson to draw eyes, charcoal and prismacolor
Ricky & Phil fishing
Looking from behind , I feel like I’m back stage of my subjects
Nathan bike Loon Lake
I’m there with the men, gazing at the landscape, and at them gazing at the landscape.
my back walking down trail
When a far away friend saw this she commented, “I’m walking with you.”

Inspiring art blogs I follow

I follow these blogs for art inspiration. Take a look.

Scrapbook portraits. I’m not a scrapbooker, but Lori Davison creates kits that I’ll probably start using. Why not put my subject in from a back view? If only my studio were as roomy and organized as the one in this portrait.

Here’s Lorie’s blog address. You can see her kits on the sidebar, and link to her sale site. She has some pretty darned good landscape photos at the top. Scroll down about halfway to see how people have used her kits for portraits, some from the backside.

http://loriedavison.blogspot.com/

The Goat that Wrote. The backside of The Goat That Wrote. Here’s hiker who definitely gets down, or up, a lot more trails than I’ll ever see. And he posted a photo from the backside, in his pack, of course. Now how do you get a selfie like that? Check out his blog with writing and photos from walking on several continents. Really worth the read.

Your turn. In the comments please share a link to your art showing people from the back side. Happy Trails!

 

 

Hugh’s Sour Dough Starter

sourdough starter
A little jar of starter ready to make a sponge.

Hugh Addington, born in 1894,  began cooking sourdough biscuits and hot cakes for his family’s sheepherding trips in Idaho’s Seven Devils Mountains when he was a boy. He continued using sourdough all his 84 years. A staple in the camp box, and later in his kitchen, he kept his starter fed and ready. If he ever ran out he made more with this recipe.

I am his grand daughter and I won’t tell you how many years I have been making more than biscuits and hot cakes with his starter. If you want some of my favorite recipes for what to do once you have the starter, just ask.

What you need:

small glass jar with lid

pot for boiling potatoes

small crock or glass mixing bowl

1 or more potatoes

1 cup reserved liquid from boiled potatoes

1 cup flour, all purpose flour will do but you could try whole wheat flour or bread flour

What you do:

Boil the potatoes until soft, making sure you will have at least a cup of water left when done. Leave skins on if they are organically grown. Drain, reserving liquid. Use the potatoes for any recipe you like. Cool to room temperature the reserved liquid that the potatoes have been boiled in.

When liquid has cooled to room temperature, measure 1 cup of it. Stir the cup of liquid into to the cup of flour in a small crock or glass mixing bowl. Don’t use a blender or mixer for this, stir by hand.

Cover the crock or glass bowl with a paper towel or light dish cloth and let it sit on the counter for 24 – 48 hours. It will gather yeast from the air and begin to ferment. You will probably see the hooch form on top of the batter. Hooch is the fermentation, rather ugly and brownish.

Gently stir the starter, pour it into the glass jar, put on the lid and store it in the fridge until ready to use.

To use the starter, take it out the night before. You have to make a “sponge” or “freshen” it. Put a half cup of starter in a crock or glass mixing bowl. Stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup warm, not hot, water, cover it lightly and let it sit for 6  hours or longer.

Feed the starter every week or two. I feed mine almost every time I use it so I don’t run too low. Add 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water to the starter, stir it in to mix. Or take some of the sponge and stir it back into the starter. Store it in the fridge until you are ready to use it again. If you don’t use the starter within 2 weeks, add flour and water to keep the little yeast organisms alive.

Here is my recipe for whole wheat sourdough bread baked in a 3 quart cast iron sauce pan.

The story of sourdough, and all the recipes, fascinates me. I could write too much about it. Search the web and you will find plenty of help. Here is my source for learning more about starters and recipes. If you click the link at the very bottom in this source, you will find really good easy recipes.

 

Mining the Red Ledge, an Oral History of a Life in Idaho’s Seven Devils Mountains.

Hugh Addington, born November 24, 1894, was the mine mechanic at the Red Ledge mine on the Eagle Bar in Hell’s Canyon, Idaho. The Red Ledge and associated mines, Landore, Peacock, South Peacock, and the Blue Jacket, operated for about two years in 1926 and 1927. Hugh was one of the first men into the mining area, setting up camp and the machinery. He was one of the last to leave, closing up the operation. A map is at the end of this post.

portrait
Hugh and Olive Addington in a wedding photo, 1916.

He was married to Mary Olive Emery Addington for more than sixty-five years. Olive coordinated education and taught at the only school the Hell’s Canyon had then. The one-room-school house, along with the mining camp and other buildings, are now under water backed up by the Hell’s Canyon Dam.

school in canyon
Olive Addington’s school at Eagle Bar.
group photo
Hugh Addington on right with students and parents from Olive Addington’s school on Eagle Bar, 1927

Here is Hugh’s account of the mining operation as told to me, his granddaughter, in November, 1978. Tape recordings of this and other accounts of the mine and early life in Idaho are archived at the Adams County Library in Council, Idaho.

SEPTEMBER, 1926. HORNET CREEK ON THE EAST SIDE OF PECK MOUNTAIN:

Hugh: “They sent me up on Hornet Creek on the East side of Peck Mountain to set up an engine and compressor up there. I was supposed to be workin’ for the Red Ledge and my checks was comin’ from the Red ledge. I thought there was something spooky in it but I stayed there and worked and then they sent me up to the Peacock to go to work.”

They skidded all their groceries and supplies to Snowline, a dry camp, by way of six horses pulling wagons on skids.

“See, there was no road in there at all. Morrison Knudson was buildin’ a road along the edge of the river. It was a regular Klondike deal. We lived in tents for dog-goned near a year before we got any building set up and…heh…fifty men…and I’ll tell you, when you house up fifty men, and they can’t get away from each other, you better be careful, you could get a fight any time you wanted one. Oh! They get cranky! Holy Jesus, they get cranky and ornery.

Miners built the steep narrow road up Deep Creek to the mnes.
The steep narrow road up Deep Creek to the mnes.

They was fifty of us there. Heh, heh…something funny happened. The man that was buildin’ the trail down there, Jess Ward, sent up to the Peacock for a gallon of oil. Frank Louzon, the superintendent at the Peacock, went up to the cook shack and went out behind there and found a Rosebud Syrup can and he took it down to the compressor house and he filled it up with Mobile A oil and sent it down there. Well, the darn thing got tangled up in the groceries somehow. So along in the winter…heh, heh…the boy that was waitin’ the tables and takin’ care of things there ran out of syrup, oil,  and he didn’t know; it looked like syrup. He filled up every dog-goned pitcher with that oil. Well then, it was pretty dog-goned touchy, I’ll tell you.”

Olive: “They didn’t take it as a joke, did they?”

Hugh: “They didn’t take it as a joke! I’ll tell you they didn’t! I was sittin’ right by the superintendent eatin’ breakfast. We always had hot cakes for breakfast and, of course,  I poured a whole lot of it on my plate. I heard somebody down at the other end of the table…they was three tables, long tables…say, ‘It’s oil!’. Well, I took a bite and the minute I took it I knew it was oil and I spit it out! I was sittin’ there with the MP and he took a mouthful of it and he swallowed his! And then he threw down his knife and fork and out of the tent he went. I thought, ‘Damn you. If you can eat that, I can too!’ and I tried another mouthful but I couldn’t go it. I spit her out. Finally they was just about to hang the superintendent. [ Hugh broke up laughing here.] There was an awful rumpus. Jess Ward, the mine foreman, he come to his senses and he said, ‘I made that mistake. It was a can of oil that I was supposed to have got and it got in, tangled up, in the groceries.’ Jess got the men settled down. I’ll tell you, they was about to hang the superintendent! Heh…heh…heh.

Red Ledge 1978
The Red Ledge 1978

RED LEDGE MINE ON THE EAGLE BAR 

“We started to tunnel into that tunnel there. Instead of startin’ that tunnel in the rock they started it into the dirt and we went a hundred and seventy-five feet into that hill. It was an eight-foot square tunnel and I’ll tell you, that dirt was heavy, before they hit solid rock. But when they hit solid rock, it was just a wall, just like a cliff. They came down in the night and got me out of bed to start the compressor and they started drillin’.

Well, we had good machinery, good drills. We had English Sawl Rand water liners for drills and they was some good hard rock miners. They set those up and put up three drills on a bar. Now, a bar is a thing that reaches across a tunnel and it’s kinda like a screw jack and you screw it into the wall good and tight and hold it. Then you set your drill on top of that. Then they run air and there’s water that goes right down through the center of ’em and down through the drill. The drill is hollow, right down to where the bit is because you’re not allowed to run a dry drill through a tunnel because you get that rock dust in your lungs. It doesn’t make any dust. It comes out and it’s all kind of a mud. They set three of those on a bar and started drillin’. That rock was hard. I tell you, that rock was hard, that old diorite. The fire would just fly when they started drillin’.

mine tunnel 1926
8 foot square tunnel into Red Ledge mine 1926

They was drillin’ twenty-four holes in the face of that thing, in that tunnel. They couldn’t pull it at first. They was pullin’ around. Now, pullin’ around is blastin’ it out. They was drillin’ five feet holes, five and six feet deep. You know, them electric caps are in what they call ‘lays’. One bunch’ll shoot. Then another bunch’ll shoot. Then another bunch’ll shoot. They was a shootin’ it with electric caps. So they drove, drilled, this wedge in there like this, in a ‘V’. Now, those are ‘best holes’; the first or the middle holes are ‘best holes’. And, then, they drilled their uppers and then they drilled their lifters. They’d shoot the best holes out first. They’d shoot that ‘V’ out and then down would come the uppers, would blast, and then the lower ones would blast. There’d be a big pile of muck there then, and they’d shovel it out. That was the only way they could pull that ground, it was so hard to pull.

It was an eight-foot-square tunnel. We were really goin’ into that mountain. We got in there seven hundred feet when she shut down. They bought a lot of street car rail in Boise and hauled it down there for rail. We had forty-pound steel and six by sixes for ties. They had an electric locomotive and eight three-ton ore cars that were on Tempton bearings and everything was a workin’ just wonderful.

They had two Butler muckin’ machines. Now, these muckin’ machines, they’d run one in, in front of the train, and then they would wedge it to the track so as to hold it. That muckin’ machine would reach out nine feet and then it would double right up and it would spin right around, it run by air, and dumped it into the car behind it. It was awful fast. The man that run it, he strapped himself to it to keep from getting thrown off.

A compressor house for one of the mines, Claude Perkins name on the door
A compressor house for one of the mines, Claude Perkins name on the door
1978 mine compressor house
The compressor house from Deep Creek 1978 near the Hells Canyon highway.

We had two of those and two machines on a bar and two jack-hammers runnin’ outside and I could hold a hundred pounds of air with that compressor. We had a wonderful compressor. We had a two stage compressor that had high and low cylinders, low compression on one side and high on the other. A big flywheel was in between. It weighed seven tons, that compressor, and the engine weighed nine tons that run it, a diesel engine. The fly-wheel that run it weighed a ton. The belt pulley on the engine was four feet in diameter and the one on the compressor I think was seven and it was an eighteen-inch leather belt. Boy, I’ll tell you, they had a fine bunch of machinery.

Harold Burns with Hugh Addington hauling diesel engine to the Eagle Bar mine 1926. Horses behind are pushing on a pole.
Harold Burns with Hugh Addington hauling diesel engine to the Eagle Bar mine 1926. Horses behind are pushing on a pole.

They brought it there on a loggin’ truck with six horses. When they took it up the mountain they had six horses in front [pulling] and four horses behind pushin’. They had them hooked up to a pole pushin’ on the back. They were pullin’ but we called it pushin’ because they were behind, shovin’.

Men walked behind to drive the horses and keep them on the narrow road. A hot and dusty job.
Men walked behind to drive the horses and keep them on the narrow road. A hot and dusty job.

[Photos illustrate two pairs of horses behind the truck harnessed to a pole that ran between them. The horses pulling on their harnesses forced the pole to push the truck. To turn the sharp switch backs on the steep grade the crude road had a flat stretch at each corner where the truck would stop. The horses were unhitched and turned around. The harnesses and the pole were reversed so that the rear of the truck now became the leading wheels and the teams started up the grade again.]

horses resting with wagon
Rest stop while hauling diesel engine.
hauling hoist drum
Hoist Drum going to South Peacock Mine

That country is a pocketty deal. There’s no ledge. Those mines all through the Seven Devils and up there were in what we call kidneys. They’d find a body of ore and dig it out and they’d have to hunt for another one. There was no continuation of a ledge.  That’s all that Red Ledge is, is a great body of ore sittin’ there. It’s been spewed up from down underneath in the makin’ of the world. All that whole country, Landore, Peacock, Blue Jacket mines and around there, they was all in pockets. [He explained that the Red Ledge is like a layer cake, layered with rich ore, then none, then ore, and so on.]

The man that was runnin’ the diamond drill there, Lindsey, he was paid five thousand dollars a month to diamond drill. He was down about four hundred feet and the diamond came off the end of his bit. He couldn’t drill anymore. He had to get that diamond out of there or drill another hole. He tried and tried to get that diamond out of that hole. He finally went down to the cook shack and mixed up a batch of dough, a heavy, thick chunk of dough. Then he put that on the stem to the drill and he shoved it down that hole and brought ‘er up. There stuck that little ol’ diamond right on the end. (sourdough starter) and (sourdough whole wheat bread recipe)

 

color mine tunnel
Red Ledge mine tunnel, 1978

BLUEPRINTS FOR THE TUNNEL

That tunnel was to be nine thousand feet long when it got under Deep Creek and Deep Creek was to be nine thousand feet above it. They were goin’ to bring that water down through a shaft, bring it out and make their own electricity. Kennedy, the engineer, told me, ‘We’ll never get back under Deep Creek. That ledge is on a dip. We’ll get ore in about four thousand feet and we’ll have all the ore to run for years and years’. They had surveyed out where the mill was gonna be just about a week before they shut down.

SHUTTING DOWN THE MINES

The mines shut down because of a lawsuit. The Peacock, the South Peacock, which was never any good… We shipped only two carloads out of there in the two years that we run it. They were sellin’ stock in New York on the Peacock to develop the Red Ledge. Butler was a smart old cuss. Everybody lost their money. I never bought any stock in it at all. I was afraid of it. They got into a lawsuit and he beat everybody out of it and got away with the money. They didn’t sell stock on the Red Ledge because they didn’t want it to get tangled up. There was too much money in it.”

[According to Hugh, when the lawsuit came about, mostly mail and stock fraud, the Red Ledge was hardly involved. The mines were only open about two years. The Red Ledge is supposed to be rich in copper ore still but Butler (who may be dead now) is supposed to be so rich that he doesn’t want to waste his time with it.]

BLASTING FOR STURGEON 

several sturgeon hanging on a rod
Mining foreman Jes Ward with some of the sturgeon mined by the night crew.
cleaning sturgeon
Cleaning 19 sturgeon caught by the night crew at Eagle Bar mine.

[The night crew threw 40 sticks of dynamite into the Snake River at Eagle Bar and captured 19 sturgeon as a result. They ate what they could and took the rest up and down the river to share with other mining camps. Hugh did not eat sturgeon because they are scavengers, “hanging around the bottom of the cliffs where we threw our garbage”.]

Map

color map
Red Ledge, South Peacock, and other mines are in white, private lands.

Red Ledge and South Peacock mines are west of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area (dark green) and east of the Snake River. Eagle Bar and the Red Ledge (horizontal marker, the triangle) are closer to the Snake River. Blue Jacket mine is southwest of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. The 1978 photos were taken when I hiked down Deep Creek with my dad, Bruce Addington, to visit the Red Ledge mine. We actually started our Deep Creek hike from the Peacock mine. Deep Creek runs from Smith Mt. to the west.

Campfire Spuds

Potatoes can be cooked lots of ways over a campfire or your grill at home. At Boulder Lake (near McCall, Idaho), Linda prepared the night before our hike and packed the foil packets up the mountain next day. For each packet she sliced a potato thin, added sliced onion and a dollop of mayonnaise and then sealed the edges and stored the foil pouches in a zip lock bag for the hike. Problem is the packets leaked and made a messy puddle in the bag. Hard to handle at the fireside when Deb removed them to put them in the coals.

My recipe is different, maybe healthier and less messy. You can make them at the campsite or the day before if you are going hiking or paddling to your lunch site. Each hiker could make their own. Let kids help!

What you need: You can eat these right out of the foil. Remember to take a fork.

For each person:

1 quart sized zip lock bag, if you are going hiking or kayaking. Otherwise use a small mixing bowl.

Tin foil large enough to contain the ingredients and have room to seal the edges.

1 medium sized potato diced or sliced thin

1/4 cup onion diced or sliced thin depending on how you cut up the potato, add more or less to taste

2 tsp. olive oil

Seasoning: a sprinkle of your favorite herbs or seasoning plus salt and pepper to taste. Try any combination of these: chopped chives, basil, rosemary, garlic, cilantro, jalapeños peppers, celery, curry powder, or premixed seasonings. Experiment to find the taste you like. You can season each bag differently or for each person’s choice.

What you do:

If you are doing this the day before put all the ingredients in a quart sized zip lock bag. Seal it and gently massage the bag to lightly coat the potatoes and onions. Add more oil a little at a time if needed. The oil should just coat the food, not puddle up in the bottom of the bag. You could use a larger bag and mix and store enough in it for several people if you like. But if you will be on the move, I like each hiker or paddler to carry their own weight.  Refrigerate until you are ready to leave. If you are doing this at your campsite, not on the move, you can use a mixing bowl instead of bags.

If hiking or kayaking, each person carries their own bag of ingredients and the foil to wrap it in. I suggest putting the small bag and foil in a gallon sized bag to double your insurance against leaks along the way.

Time to cook it:

When you are ready to eat, make a cooking fire that has coals, not much flame. Massage the bag again or mix the ingredients in the bowl to be sure everything is coated with oil. Then spread the foil flat and gently squeeze the ingredients out of the bag onto the foil. Seal the edges by folding and rolling them to keep the good stuff inside. They cook faster if the foil packet is rather flat and the spuds aren’t heaped together too thickly. Set the foil packets among the coals, not in the flame. Don’t crowd them too close together. Keep the sealed edges on top. If you are using a BBQ grill try this on the rack with the hood down. Check them in 20-30 min. depending on how hot your coals are. When the potatoes are as soft as you like them they are ready. Eat them right out of the foil.

Share the joy in your comment. Let me know how this works out for you and tell me where you were when you made them. How did you season your?

A beach belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest.

sea weed or beach
I had claimed the cries of sea birds, the flashes of silver sided salmon leaping in the surf, and the tremble of waves as tall as trees crashing powerfully on the beach. I had claimed the place hard.

“A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, and loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.” – Joan Didion

The beach belongs to me, or more accurately, I belong to it. I lived for only a few fast years at this place, but it claims me forever. My attachment is so strong that I mourned months after the loss of that home when it was sold and I had to move. I had claimed the cries of sea birds, the flashes of silver sided salmon leaping in the surf, and the tremble of waves as tall as trees crashing powerfully on the beach. I had claimed the place hard. Now years since walking that beach, smelling the kelp decay, and listening to the tide fall back into the strait sounding like bacon sizzling in the pan, I know that place is inside me making me who I am, pulling me back there, and increasing my senses as I walk here in the dry Rocky Mountains.

I’ll share the first pages from a journal I carried when I lived on The Place Road at the mouth of the Elwha River on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Through my journals, I feel the sense of place again. These entries were made in the first year I lived at the seashore.

April 18, 1987

On the horizon float puffs of light colored as if by an unseen artist, pink and yellow-orange. Dark grey fog sits heavily around them and over them. The surface of the strait glows pinkish-yellow in some spots. The sky is overcast. Today Vancouver Island has seldom been visible.

April 28, 1987

Tonight I found fresh kelp washed up on the beach. Spring brings the sea vegetation back in abundance. All winter there has been only dead or old kelp.

Sunday I watched seals playing in three different places. Then three sea lions swam by. They are huge, very huge. They swim like porpoises.

Thursday I left very early for a meeting in Seattle. Four submarines floated in the strait. Whenever I see subs, it is always in the morning. There was news that a Russian sub was in the strait recently.

Last week a 256 pound halibut was caught in this bay. I have counted as many as 65 fishing boats at the mouth of the river. I am reading The Old Man in the Sea. Hemmingway is explicit about life in the sea.

Ricky and I water-skied at Lake Crescent Sunday with Dwyane. We showed up in swim suits and were put into sweats and “dry suits”. I could not keep hold of the rope behind the inboard motor. Dwayne said next time he’ll go easier. Ricky got right up while Dwyane held the rope to take up the slack. He gave Ricky excellent coaching!

May 6, 1987

I think this is an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Enormous ants are crawling into the house along the floor!