Tag Archives: Palouse

Rainy day aspirations

Wheat

Rain is falling, and Effie temporarily cedes her dominion turf in favor of the indoors.  She promptly licks every granule of Effieland mud from her tummy, haunches, and toes, before settling into her hammock for a nap. After an hour or so, the sun regains control, and Effie will doubtless sense this and demand to return to her patrol. The bugs and birds of Effieland must be stalked; the grasses must be eaten.

Effie does not wonder, as I do, whether the July rains will affect the wheat harvest. Rain in July is unusual; so are temperatures below 60°. We are having an unusual July. I saw a brief outtake from an an article that mentioned that timing, rather than volume of summer rain, affects wheat harvest, but that most Palouse wheat was already harvested before the rains came. Nevertheless, it is considered a bad year.

I aspire to become a better wheat jock. Effie’s aspirations are more attainable: things like catching grasshoppers in mid-air, and napping profoundly.

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Filed under Action & Being, Cats, Effie, Nature, Reflections, Seasons, Weather

Wawawai in winter

Winter in Eastern Washington is not always readily discernible without a calendar. Today was such a day, and I found the sunshine at Wawawai County Park notably brisk, having left my gloves in the car so they would not hinder my handling of my camera. My husband and I always enjoy walking at Wawawai; every season has its distinctives, and I find them all beautiful. The trove of the day was probably worth the frozen hands it took to shoot these photos.

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Filed under Action & Being, Nature, Photo Galleries, Photos, Places, Road Trips, Seasons

Tuesday evening

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July 29, 2015 · 7:07 am

Thunder! Lightning! Wind! Dark sky! Just not much rain. . .

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July 10, 2015 · 4:15 pm

Pullman-Moscow run

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It’s a holiday weekend and we weren’t up to anything particularly major, but we kind of wanted to Do Something–nothing too energy taxing, but not completely prosaic either. My husband suggested a road trek along the scenic canyon route to Moscow for things we’d been waiting for to go on sale at Macy’s (we have a perfectly competent Macy’s in Lewiston, but that would deprive us of a road trip), and it seemed a perfect excursion for the hot, clear Indian summer day.

Macy’s was fine and we accomplished our errand’s motive in a somewhat festively perfunctory manner before hitting Starbucks for our free coffees (using empty Starbucks bags from the grocery store). We looked in on Tri-State (self-dubbed “Idaho’s most interesting store”–meh; maybe) and ate something at Safeway before heading home.

What I enjoy most on our jaunts to Pullman and Moscow is the wheat fields. Even though I have gluten intolerance, there is something wonderful to me about fields of wheat in every season–seeding, growth, harvest, and the contours of the fields of stubble. Wheat is the beauty of the Palouse; it has an intrinsic primal beauty that I am unable to associate with anything anywhere else. I don’t know why wheat seems so elemental to me that it causes me to feel as though this were somehow my ancestral home, but it does.

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Genesee of the Palouse

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Filed under People, Places, & Things, Photo Galleries

Anniversary road trip

Today is our 15th anniversary, and it seemed a special one to celebrate, especially because we moved less than a year ago to the very area we fell in love with on our honeymoon. My husband worked in his office this morning; I worked on some projects for our stormwater allies, and we reserved the afternoon for a road trip to Palouse, Washington, a small town — a very small town — about 50 miles away.

Before deciding on Palouse, we considered going to Pomeroy for coffee. Pomeroy is about 40 miles away, but we have been there several times, and have never been to Palouse that we could recall. I had asked a friend who is actually from Pomeroy if there was a place there he would recommend for coffee. The only place he could think of was Myers Hardware, but he said their coffee was very good. Since we left in the mid-afternoon, coffee no longer seemed like much of a priority, and seeing Palouse for the first time did. We drove up through Pullman, and came home through Moscow.

College towns have become dull: they are full of chain stores, chain restaurants, chain architecture. Moscow and Pullman look just like Bozeman did in the 80s.

Our conversation along the way spanned all sorts of topics, from social engineering to soil chemistry. We noted a marked shift in soil color to a redder tone as we headed north of Moscow, due probably to red shale present in the parent material of the soil. We noted also, as we proceeded to a slightly higher altitude, that the winter wheat was not as far along as the wheat in the Lewis-Clark Valley, where farmers were able to plant earlier in the fall.

It was an extremely relaxing time, away from computers and away from duties to which we are called through our computers. The colors, the contours of the hills, the productivity of the farms, all enveloped us in a homey comfort, while the sight of the blunt edge of decrepitude in the towns made us thankful for our Valley’s resilience and beauty.

We were as attentive to colors of houses and roofs as we were to the colors of the hills, the wheat, and the soil. While virtually every combination of roof and house colors seemed pleasingly compatible — whether or not it was considered correct on decorator websites — we found that we indeed favored red roofs with houses in the buff-to-brown range, and reaffirmed our decision to roof and paint our house accordingly.

Palouse itself had little going on; one café was open, but the window sign announced that it had music, and we concur with Hemingway, that a good café must not have music. It’s just a thing with us. The world is full of noise and there are no limits on conversation-diluting interruptions, and a café should of all things at least be quiet. Our preference for a clean, well lighted place, quiet and with good coffee, means we generally stay home. Palouse has a couple of rows of pastel-gingerbread businesses: yellow, green, lavender with a cliché Victorian flair, but most of them are for sale or rent. A few antique shops attempt weakly to lure tourists.

I took no pictures; I looked without incentive to capture; and what I would have enjoyed photographing, I knew was beyond the limits of my camera, and I simply didn’t care to be disappointed.

As we crossed over the Red Wolf Crossing Bridge into Clarkston to head home, my husband wanted to look around the marina at an RV park. We walked around, and saw a man piling up driftwood that had washed up during all the storms of the season on the beach, and burning the wood in a grand bonfire. He turned out to be Jock, the park’s owner, and we chatted a while, discovering in him a kindred political and maybe poetic spirit.

So now we have seen Palouse. Palouse is ponderosa pine country. I like trees, but I prefer the open country. The wheat around Clarkston is very green now, and the hills are becoming emerald. Somehow the town is as vibrant as the hills. We chose the right place.

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Wind

The high Palouse hills owe their contour largely to wind. The wind of the high Palouse does not enter my pre-dawn consciousness with a howl, nor does it whistle; it fairly rumbles, like boulders hurtling over a waterfall. Its ungentle force must surely deter flight and breath of flies. Another boon of the wind is the loess deposits that make the Palouse a significant contributor to the world breadbasket. If I may coin a local axiom, loess is more.

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