Monday, November 24, 2014

Make Memories

Make the kind of memories that you can sit by like a warm fire.

Gratitude is an attitude that is cultivated. If you need to start by making lists, go ahead. There's no wrong or right way to be thankful.

Sometimes it's the big things I'm grateful for--my husband who says he loves me in between talking in his monster-truck voice and pestering me for pancakes when I'm trying to write.

Other times it's the little things, like that last roll of toilet paper tucked behind the spare towel in the sink cupboard when I forgot to pick up more in town.

Always, I'm grateful for the memories I've made with my children at the Thanksgiving holiday. It's a collective effort, something we all have contributed to. And it's been enhanced by the years when the Hub's sister drove up snowy roads from Kansas to Minnesota with our nieces and nephews. Or the years that we had new friends of the children around the table, and gained a son-in-law and his family.

Elmira Pond has smelled the aromas of the turkey and sides wafting from the house over several Thanksgivings now. We have neighbors--new friends--coming over in a few days.

For the first time in 26 years, we will not have any of our three children at the table. But it's okay. It makes me grateful for extra turkey and pumpkin pie!

And, it makes my thankful for those warm memories that I can light up in my heart and still enjoy. I'm happy for my children who have strong wings to fly so far from the nest. I'm happy for our memories of Thanksgivings past and happy for the ones to come.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: November 19, 2014

November 19 is UNICEF's World Toilet Day. The message is that we can't wait while 2.5 billion people lack access to the improved sanitation we take for granted.

To spread awareness of this cause, I'm posting photos of the outhouses next door to Elmira Pond. The Elmira Schoolhouse had one for boys, one for girls and one for teacher.

Millions of girls in the world today are denied access to school because of the lack of basic sanitation. THINX is an innovative panty company helping to overcome this deprivation.

Truly, we sit on porcelain thrones every day.



Student Privies

Teacher's Private Toilet

View of Elmira Pond From the Student Privies

Linking up with Abracabadra for Wordless Wednesday. Photos by Charli Mills.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Empty Winter Pastures

Frozen Over
Snapper Follows Todd Like a Puppy
The Horse Whisperer
No Accessible Water
A freeze has come early to Elmira Pond.

Todd crunches across the frozen blades of grass with a two-by-four to try and pound out a hole so the horses can drink. Already the ice is too thick for that.

Plan B has Todd hauling buckets of water to the mares. Each horse empties a 5 gallon bucket. They are thirsty, the grass is going dormant and their owners are mid-divorce each claiming the other is supposed to pick them up.

It's frustrating because we have no feed and now no water. Finally, one side shows up with a horse trailer and they are gone to a winter barn with water and hay.

Already I miss their presence. Grendel has sat at the window, looking for them. The pastures are empty and we await winter.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: November 12, 2014

The descent of winter upon Elmira pond comes in killing frosts, a dusting of snow and a southern slant to the sunset.
Sunsets Shift South and Goes Behind the Ridge by 3:30 p.m.

Water Won't Be Open Much Longer
Horses Will Go to Winter Barns

Their Coats are Thick for Winter

First Snow on Elmira Pond

Foraging for Grass That Will Now Go Dormant

Linking up with Abracabadra for Wordless Wednesday. Photos by Charli Mills

Thursday, November 6, 2014

War Wagon in the Rain

War Wagon Hitched to Travel (April 2014)
Bus for Workers After the Live Long Day
One of Many From the War Wagon
Fall Colors
Calling in the Workers
Lining Up to End the Day
War Wagon Spread Out
The men have been working on the railroad all the live long day, despite torrents of rain. Elmira, Idaho was once a railroad town where workers lived between the tracks with their families. Many were Italian immigrants.

Today, BNSF hires workers at various hubs with Spokane and Missoula being the closest ones. When the rails need to be repaired or simply maintained, the hubs dispatch the War Wagon. The first photo in today's line up is from April and shows what the War Wagon looks like all hitched up for travel on the rails. Not only does it have the equipment needed, it also trails outhouses.

When the workers come to northern Idaho to work on the tracks, they stay in Sandpoint and bus from there to here. The War wagon stays in Elmira across the road from my house. It's fascinating to watch the equipment and seems how it distracted me on this dark, rainy day, I thought I'd share a look with you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: November 5, 2014

The heavier the mists, the soggier the ground. The pond expands, the grass wavers between greening and yellowing and the tamarack needles are bright as pumpkins on a white porch. The crab apple outside my office window is full of autumn hues; it looks like my own burning bush with flaming leaves. The round red apples continue to delight dogs, horses and people and a creamy rose buds as if taunting snow-dusted peaks. Life on Elmira Pond in northern Idaho is colorful.

Flaming Crab Apple, Burning Bush

And Still There Are Apples

Almost a Rose in Winter

Linking up with Abracabadra for Wordless Wednesday. Yes, I was wordy. Photos by Charli Mills