Our Live Christmas Tree

I used to be the Christmas tree enthusiast in the family. I’d drive around Seattle for hours looking for the perfect tree, set it up, decorate it….

Grumpy Bears Unite

I feel like a grumpy, old bear this holiday season. I don’t want to put my energy into decking halls. I avoid shopping as much as possible. I have no idea what to get anybody, and the muzak playing everywhere makes me want to poke holes in my ear drums….

Celebrate the Solstice with Laughter

I began blogging a year ago by reflecting on the challenges of Balancing Work and Play. I still haven’t figured that out, but I know what helps with that and with surviving this dark season: humor….

The pardoned potato
The pardoned potato

On Thanksgiving, we couldn’t bear to slice and roast this huge homegrown potato face. Nor could we boil and mash it….

More recent successes in publishing my literary nonfiction: The Raven Chronicles has accepted a condensed and modified chapter from my ethnographic memoir, Sacred Threads, for publication.  “Meeting my Future in…

Literary Rejections I'm Grateful For

It’s easy for an emerging writer like myself to become obsessed with rejection. That’s mostly what comes back from all the packets I mail or documents I upload with a hopeful, electronic click….

Fuyu Persimmon
Fuyu Persimmon

I love how persimmons hang on the tree after the leaves have fallen.

Ama: My Greatest Teacher

Growing food this summer in northeast Oregon, I relied on all that I’ve learned over the years from books, conversations, observations, and personal experience. But I probably heard Ama’s voice more than any other….

Scary Critters

I’m miles from town, so there will be no trick or treaters for me tonight. Instead, I’ve decided to mark the day by highlighting some posts I’ve written on creatures that tend to be maligned, misunderstood and caricatured on Halloween….

Ancient Lessons in Food Storage

One of the things I loved best about teaching high school social studies was shaking up students’ perceptions of history. And one of my favorite lessons was in Ancient History. I’d bring in a a jar of beans and a potato with so many sprouts it looked like an octopus (the fact that I always found one in my cupboard could have doubled as a cautionary lesson in the domestic arts)….

Looking towards apple orchard and canyon
Looking towards apple orchard and canyon

A photograph of the first snow of the season in eastern Oregon mountains.

Five Lessons From My Inland Northwest Garden

The cool, clear nights that make autumn so beautiful here in the Blue Mountains also bring frosts that kill tender vegetables. With the harvest spilling over boxes and racks around our tiny yurt, it’s a good time to reflect on what I learned this summer….

Fermented Pickles

My mom made sauerkraut when I was a kid, and it was good. But during the years I lived in Nepal, I discovered a fermented world that went beyond cabbage….

On Opium

My lyric essay, “Three Signs of Maturity,” has been published on Opium Magazine’s online edition. Parents of grown-up children might find it particularly interesting….

Building the Yurt

It’s easy to be impatient at the pace of progress of in our yurt living adventure. We still need indoor plumbing, shelving, walls on the porch….

Electrified Yurt

Okay, I’ll admit we had some electricity before. With Jerry being an electrical engineer, we’ll always have electricity. But we’re enjoying major improvements now: bigger solar panels and a more centralized system with wiring (still pretty funky) into the yurt. We even have a light switch (more on that in another post)….