I’m planning on doing a scheduled shop update in early(ish) November.  The date and time are yet to be announced.  It might be big or it might be small, it depends on what I can make between now and then.  What I have will be what I have.  I did get a few emails over the summer from folks who prefer official, heavily previewed and scheduled shop updates so I’m trying to give lots of advance notice before everything goes live.  However, I will continue to stock the shop at random times, too.  Because I like it when you are able to peruse my Etsy shop calmly, and I like it when you write me notes about how serendipitous a purchase was for you.  I like that, also.


I’ve been slowly closing down my gardens at the strawbale house.  It’s amazing that another growing season has passed.  Sometimes I ponder on how many different ways there are to measure time — sunsets and sunrises, the coming and going of the growing season, full moons, clocks, bug hatches on the river…


Food I put up this fall:

-cardamom plum jam which is HEAVENLY — the farm has three types of plum trees and since this has been my favorite jam since I first made it at the Pocatello house years ago — REMEMBER THE GOLDEN TICKET GIVEAWAY???!!! — I can delight in the fact that my pantry will never be without this culinary miracle

-regular plum jam

-zucchini pickles

-cucumber pickles

-beet pickles

-cilantro pesto

-basil pesto

-and in the freezer I have an infinite amount of frozen chopped tomatoes which I will turn into fresh marinara sauces and restaurant salsas this winter, I used to can this stuff but simply freezing the fresh, vine ripened produce seems like such a better use of time these days

-also in the freezer I have stocked grated zucchini which is super to add to anything

I put up a fair amount of elderberry syrup this fall and it’s not too late for you to make this glorious stuff if you have access to fresh berries where you live.  That said, I have heard of people making this syrup with store-bought, dried elderberries so if you can’t pick them yourself, you can always glean some from the interwebulars.  This syrup is delicious on french toast or pancakes and I like to take a TBSP of it daily as a tonic for a delicious immune system boost.  I have read it’s a great alternative to cough syrup/cold medicine for kiddos, too.  It’s the easiest thing in the world to make.  Here’s the recipe I roughly used.

NOTE: I used fresh berries instead of dried berries that I picked myself along the Salmon River and Payette River (berry to water ratio is more like 1:2 if you go with freshies).  I used cinnamon sticks instead of powdered cinnamon.  Thumbs up to fresh ginger.

Now that you’ve read about my domestic conquests this fall, let me tell you about a major flop.  I brew my own kombucha because it’s delicious but also because it’s fun to have a quasi-revolting science project on the kitchen counter at all times.  I sprout for the same reason (except sprouting isn’t gross, it’s beautiful and simple).  Rob gave me a kombucha brewing kit for Christmas and I managed to keep it alive and well until the end of September which is when disaster struck.  I came home from a trip and somehow, a fly or two had crawled past the clothed and banded cover into the brewing jar.  Well.  This led to that and my poor kombucha mother was literally crawling and wriggling with maggots.  It was awful.  It was a scene from a horror movie.  I had to toss the whole thing and begin again.

Take note, young domestic goddesses: When brewing kombucha, ensure your muslin cloth is firmly secured to your brewing jar during the warm months or trauma will run rampant.


I’m just finishing up what has been a wonderful book about the rise and fall of the Comanche Nation.  I highly recommend Empire of the Summer Moon.

In the evenings we’ve been watching snippets of Anne of Green Gables because we always watch it once the weather is turning cool and Robert thinks Anne is hilarious and spends most of his time comparing me to Anne and then I agree with his comparisons and I laugh too.  It’s good to have an outside perspective when it comes to your personality and to be able to laugh at your quirks, shortcomings and idiosyncrasies.  If you can’t laugh at yourself, from time to time, all is (maybe) lost.

A friend introduced me to Angel Olson this summer and Burn your Fire for no Witness quickly became one of my favorite albums of all time.  I own it on vinyl now and take it for an afternoon spin most days.  Hear and love it, as I love it.


The rains have come and I wish I could write down how the sagebrush, rabbitbrush, bitterroot and thirsty earth smell.  The scent of the autumn world overwhelms me.  As I run in the evenings, I can’t help but smile at the sound of our massive quail coveys on the wing and their distress calls as they try to regroup in the brambles.  The aspens on the other side of the river are 14 karat.  The rapids are as constant as ever, booming in the night, folding over themselves and then running free.  The coyotes have been mingling with the stars in the witching hours.  There’s the spur rattling gallop of the pheasant roosters as they flame brightly in the Russian olives.  And how could I forget Tater Tot’s eyes when he locks up on a point…

It’s the best time of year.




7i9a20477i9a2640 7i9a2650 7i9a91547i9a26777i9a2029 7i9a20387i9a4270 7i9a4274 7i9a42881.  That’s our new mouser, Sugar Baby.  I originally named her Bronte because she came to me from the moors, cold and alone.  But since then, her name has transmogrified into something else and it suits her. She’s a handful.

2.  We moved the Airstream home from McCall yesterday which means we are now living in two places at once instead of three!  We’re slowly simplifying our lives here (in some ways) but for now, it just feels really nice to have made it through another fire season, safe and sound.

3.  We still have not moved into the farm.  Robert will begin a kitchen demolition tomorrow and since we have some travels planned, we’ll be scurrying here and there and everywhere until December which is when we hope to finally move into our new place.  I’m homesick for our new house.  I’m homesick for my studio.

4.  We picked almonds today which involves climbing a ladder and shaking the branches until they let go of the fruit.  Almonds are beautiful.  So many folks don’t know what an almond looks like before it winds up in a trail mix with cranberries and peanuts.  Well, they come dressed up in a thick skin of chartreuse velvet.  I kid you not.  They’re exquisite.  We have a whole orchard of the darn things.  A fresh almond tastes like a squeeze of fresh marzipan.  The flavor is off the charts and the nut meat moist and lovely.

5.  That’s our weeping willow.  That’s our trout pond.  That’s our irrigation working hard.  That’s our hay field.  That’s our reaped hay cut and drying in a lovely swath.  That’s me, making a hay angel, because how could I resist?


Shepp Ranch

I was at Shepp Ranch, up the Main Salmon River of Idaho, in the middle of May and I fell unrepentantly in love with the place.  How I was lucky enough to get connected with this place is no mystery.  Idaho is like a really big small town and it shrinks down even smaller if you’re part of fire culture and then, if you’re related to smokejumping, it’s about the tiniest little universe you could imagine.  Long story short, I have a friends who are friends with the managers of this ranch and suddenly, I found myself headed up river in a jet boat to meet those lovely managers and photograph the ranch.

Shepp is remote and currently operates as a guest ranch, fishing destination and hunting outfitter.  It can be reached by jet boat or bush plane; one could also hike in or ride in with a pack string.  It’s located 30 air-miles from Riggins on the banks of the Main Salmon River, up in the Gospel Hump Wilderness which is attached to the Frank Church Wilderness.  We all know how I feel about the Frank so I won’t blather on about it until I cry in this post but in short, this is the heart of Idaho.  This is the untamed, roadless, fathomless heart of Idaho.  Go look at a map of Idaho.  The massive green patch of space in the center of the state that remains undivided by highways, that’s what I’m talking about — wilderness area, public land.  It’s for the animals, the trees and us.  With that said, let’s talk for a moment about Idaho’s Salmon River.  This river is designated as wild and scenic.  This river canyon is deeper than the Grand Canyon but slightly shallower than Hell’s Canyon.  The break country that rises up from the water is exquisitely rumpled, creek cut, steep and woolly with conifers.  This territory is owned by the elk, managed by the wolves, surveyed by the sheep and prowled by bobcats and lions.  It’s terrific.  You can feel it in your bones when you look up at the granitic towers that frame the waterway, a massive sense of paradise, the sharp edge of humility, true fairness — this wilderness treats everyone and everything the same.

Shepp Ranch is off the grid but isn’t self-sustained…but it’s pretty close and from what I understand the ranch owners are trying to switch the property over to solar power.  For the time being, all electricity pours forth from a generator which is turned on for a short while in the morning and again in the evening (and occasionally during the day).  It’s a quiet place.  Work begins before dawn and when the sun disappears, work winds down for the day.  There’s a lovely, natural life rhythm at Shepp, a rhythm I have always associated with living rurally, ranching and farming.

Christina keeps an enormous garden, various berry patches and an orchard.  She cans and preserves continuously throughout the summer.  They have a donkey stallion they are hoping to breed their own mules with as well as a couple horses (fabulous mountain horses) and a string of mules.  Hens free range and are regularly knocked up by the roosters so new born chicks free range too, whenever they happen to hatch and show up on the property.  Wes is always busy with something — preparing for the trapping season, cutting firewood, tinkering with whatever is broken, helping out neighbors.

One of my favorite things about the Main Salmon is the way ranches and farms are spread out over a big distance but there’s still an incredible sense of community.  People who live out don’t think twice about helping each other out.  The kind heart of humanity is very alive in this place and it’s beautiful to behold.

I think about Shepp all the time.  Shepp is basically my dream ranch.  It’s 104 acres and wilderness space rolls away in three directions giving the place a sense of infiniteness.  I’m headed in again, in a moment.  My summer season will be officially bookended with trips to this place and I’m completely delighted.  Tomorrow night, after journeying by truck, jet boat, horse and mule, I’ll find myself with my friends, sleeping in the wind and stars at their high hunting camp.  It’s going to be grand.

Until I return, I leave you with some of my favorite pictures from my last visit.


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The Words To Go With

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It occurred to me that I failed to share the write up for this series in this space so I’m going to do that now.  Also, I’m about to disappear into the backcountry for a stint and while I am excited for this trip I’m taking, I just can hardly wait to get home again and sit myself down in the studio once more. More specifically, I can’t wait to make a few more pieces from this series.


It’s difficult for me to not adore the jackrabbit. Last winter, the jackrabbit population in the desert of Idaho was unbelievable. The sagebrush seemed to be crawling with them. Their large feet cut packed highways in the deep snow that made it much easier for us to walk when we were out crossing big country on foot. I was grateful for their swell in population last year — rabbits come and go, you know. But last winter, it was a hare-a-palooza and how lucky for the owls, coyotes and birds of prey to have so much food on hand.

A brother-in-law of ours shot one for dinner while we were out quail hunting and I’ll never forget the stillness of its eyes in death or the plushness of its fur. I said to myself, “Never again. We can eat something else.”

We didn’t let that hare go to waste, he made a beautiful stew, but his memory lives in my heart. I’ve never shot a jackrabbit to eat and I promise I never will.

While hunting quail in New Mexico in February, I was hiking back to camp when I noticed a rabbit skeleton strewn about the sand dune I was crossing, I leaned my shotgun against a yucca, bent at the waist and collected a couple handfuls of vertebrae that I brought home to Idaho with me.

One of those vertebrae you see here, cast in solid sterling silver. The shape of it is beautiful, natural, and so splendidly symmetrical. I’ve flanked this sterling bone on one side with a bouquet of hand fabricated ferns — these beauties are incredibly dimensional and textural. They, themselves, almost look like castings. An old stock, deadstock turquoise cross links this sizable pendant to a study chain.

Stay peaceful.
Stay fast.
Keep an innocent light lit in the deep pools of your eyes and in your chest, hold an ever steady heart.


7i9a2708 7i9a2711 7i9a27157i9a2725I’m home for a couple days and I’ve been rounding up loose ends in the studio.  I have five of these necklaces made and I plan to list them in my shop tomorrow morning at 10AM, MST.

Built of: solid sterling jackrabbit vertebra,nugget-y turquoise and an opera length chain (which is adjustable).

It’s a beaut!