Posts Tagged ‘The Palouse’

My book’s rank is rising!  I’ve been inside of the top 50 since May 19–a great wedding anniversary gift.

I’ve written three books, all realistic teen stories with a Christian theme.  I tried writing them not to proselytize, but to provide an example of how a person in a relationship with Christ would react to the events in the story.  I teach students from all over the world.  They often ask questions that tell me they want to know more about how Christians behave and how they make the choices they make.  I tried to write with this audience in mind.

If you have time on this peaceful Memorial Day weekend, I’d be grateful if you could have a look.  I’d be especially grateful if your teenage daughter could have a look.  If you create an account you can leave feedback to help me improve the book.

I currently have sixty ‘backers.’  This means that 60 members of the site have decided to ‘shelve’ or support my book.  If you like my book, please consider creating an account and then placing my book on your shelf.


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Today marks the anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, a volcano in Western Washington.  Here’s a video (no sound) that gives you an idea what the landscape looked like at Washington State University in Pullman in the days following the eruption.  Most colleges closed early or allowed students to go home as we had no idea what the ash might do to us.

You can find more footage of the eruption here.

And I got a free T-shirt from a guy who was organizing the first “Non-Polluter Commuter Week” in the Spokane area.  It was scheduled to start May 18, 1980.  The shirt was a great conversation starter.


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The picture at the top of my blog is a photo of an area called The Palouse that extends from central Washington to northern Idaho.  It’s essentially the silt left behind by the ice age.  Unlike the stark cliffs and coulees in other locations, The Palouse features rounded hill after hill after hill.  Surely beautiful in their unadorned state, these hills now produce wheat and lentils in topsoil twelve feet deep.

Wheat farmers plant their crops in tidy furrows created by the mechanized cultivators and planters that revolutionized farming.  These furrows imprint on each hill a dreamy, mesmerizing pattern, visible in deep cocoa brown after planting, then frosty white as precipitation, which falls in the form of snow, nourishes the crop, then an impossibly bright green as the winter wheat pokes through the ground, and finally, a vivid, proud, and waving gold ready to be harvested.  Even the stubblefields retain the pattern, scruffy and disheveled after the harvest.

The sun alters this scenery in a million different ways.  In the early mornings, you’d swear the wheat glows as the sun burns off the dew.  Late afternoons turn the brown fallow fields marvelous shades of purple and magenta, and when the sun disappears entirely the contrasts intensify between land and water, nature’s gifts and man’s embellishments, angular fence posts and curved hillsides.

I attended Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington, and from my dorm window watched the wheat mature over five growing seasons.  If I stayed on campus in the summer, my allergy-prone eyes and nose announced when harvest began; the air filled with dust and humidity and tiny molecules of wheat.  Then the cycle repeated.  Today, my husband and I love to drive along the back-roads of this region, where we see hawks perched on fenceposts as they seek an early morning meal, barns of every style built by farmers of old, who hitched forty horses to early combines, and silver grain elevators rising tall among the hills.

Over a million acres of fertile silt hills make up The Palouse, and these acres produce an astonishing amount of dryland wheat.  It’s the home of two land-grant universities, The University of Idaho and Washington State University.  Photographers and painters, such as Z.Z. Wei, flock to The Palouse to capture the undulating gold, green and brown hills, the enormous cobalt sky, sometimes dotted with wispy white clouds or obscured by gray rainclouds, and the big red angularity of the combines and barns.

I think it’s beautiful.

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