“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

[Annie Dillard]


I made it.  I made it through 2.5 of the most busy, most full, most wild months of my life.  Starting in April, I traveled for photography work, I zipped home to Canada to see my family, we made the transition into the fire season by moving the Airstream up to McCall for the summer, the transmission in our big Dodge blew up in the middle of nowhere putting us down to one vehicle between us (while living in two different places), we bought a car, we bought $500 worth of high quality poop for the gardens here, Robert planted a huge asparagus patch, I traveled for work, I slaved in the studio, I traveled for work some more, we began irrigation on the hayfield, the farm was a revolving door and we had rich visits with many friends, I traveled more…a couple of days ago we wrapped an enormous shoot in McCall and that was that — the end of the line!  I have been extremely cognizant about keeping my schedule uncluttered this summer because last summer nearly killed me, I was stretched so thin by work. Currently, I see my summer months looking relatively wide open, there’s a whole lot of white space in my dayplanner, and I’m thankful I’ve practiced saying no as much as I have to photography gigs and various other work trips.  I need my life to slow down, especially during these fire season months when so much of our life details weigh heavily on me.

It’s weird, this place I am in with work.  I like to go back and forth between the metal and my cameras but flipping back and forth between the two mediums causes so much life chaos.  I didn’t plan to work with my cameras in this capacity, but the experiences I’ve had through photography work have been grand.  I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to.  I reckon I’m in my 30s now, anyway, now is the time to have a cup that overfloweth…or in my case, many cups that overfloweth.

My grandfather passed away a few weeks ago now, right in the middle of the truck breakdown, the shift into the fire season (Robert was in the thick of the season refresher in McCall which entails lots of classroom work and practice jumps), we had a gaggle of baby animals at the farm and I was about to leave on a New Mexico shoot I was under contract for.  There was no way I could get home to his funeral and because of the speed of life here, I had to bundle up my emotions regarding his passing and shove them into some empty, echoing chamber of my heart, just to get by, just to get through the month and my work commitments.  It was difficult for me.  I felt emotionally taxed.  I am not repressive by nature.  I feel guilty for not getting home, I worry about what my extended relatives must think of me for missing the funeral, I feel thankful I was able to get home to Canada for a fast visit in March — to see him alive once more, to hug him and kiss him and tell him I love him…

Day by day I am pulling those emotions up, regarding my grandfather’s passing, and sorting through them.  I’m sure it will be a lifelong endeavor.

There’s a lake in McCall I love to go to.  I feel it’s generally overlooked by tourists and locals.  I go there because it’s empty and beautiful and I can be alone with the dogs and hear my thoughts.  The lake is edged by timber and snow capped mountains.  The shore is littered with tattered, water-washed driftwoods.  I often find myself hoping that my heart is like that lake, bottomless and blue and silken to the touch, framed with friendly timber and the enduring grit of granite.  I find myself hoping that the breeze on brilliant sunny days will keep the sapphire pulse of my heart free of debris, clear of log jams and winter killed trees — that those scruffy objects, bobbing and rotting and fading, will be pushed aside by winds and storms.  I hope that there, in the center of that blue heart-world, there is fathomless clarity, undiscovered depths and the sweet seam of mercy that stitches the water to the sky.


Gifts from McCall

The Chukar Eternal (and a brief service announcement)

7I9A3770 7I9A3772 7I9A3774  I’ve wanted to make a necklace like this since I began upland hunting, years ago.  The wishbone you see here is actually a wishbone from a chukar that our dogs hunted by scent, pointed, Rob or I flushed and shot on the wing so we could eat it — most of you know we consume mostly (like 90%) wild meat here, meat we have gone out and worked hard for the chance to harvest from our public lands in Idaho (and also in New Mexico this year).

Anyway, if you ever wanted a simple yet elegant piece of jewelry that is truly of the West, this is it.

The spirit of the chukar is one of resilience, strength and endurance but he also has a heck of a sense of humor.  My own spirit I attach to all the work I craft is one of independence, joy, curiosity, persistence, intensity, sensibility, whimsy and perhaps a pinch of “devil may care”.  I can feel all of these things in this little sterling bone.  It’s simply beautiful.

I’ve been calling this necklace the Chukar Eternal but I suppose it’s a part of the series of jewelry I have been working on for years that I have always called Honoring Remains.  I have been wearing this necklace and while it’s beautiful on (the curves of this sterling wishbone echo the curves of my own wishbone, also known as the clavicle in the human body), it truly does hold a sense of the holy and echos the Voice that I hear when I am out on the land here — it is the wind, the sage, the spring creeks, the lava flow, the river, the snow, the lichen on the canyon walls, the clear blue sky, the squall, the very heartbeat of Idaho and my own heartbeat too, since this is as much my habitat as it is the habitat of the elk, mountain lion or chukar.

In short, it’s special.

I have run out of studio time and must help Rob haul the Airstream up to McCall to get settled for the summer but I will be offering these necklaces in the shop in the next couple of weeks.  Stay tuned for them.  I am also chipping away at getting a big batch of bison skull rings made for you.  Things are coming, time is tight at the moment, I appreciate your patiences so much.  I guess I just want you to know I am working hard for you and that these coming pieces are going to serve your beautiful souls so well!


I wanted to also let you know, in brief, what this summer is going to look like for us:

The move to McCall for the fire season is a little move.  We have been jimmy-rigging the Airstream this week with a kitchen set up, a wall table and we’ve been tearing our hair out when it comes to a bathroom plan.  I don’t think I’ll have a place to shower this summer but I’ve lived in a few spots with Robert where I had to do my bathing and shampooing in rivers and lakes so I’m not stressed about it.  I’m an old hand at this kind of stuff and being a little grubby never seems to hinder my twinkle.

I will be in McCall when Robert is in McCall — when he is not deployed on long-term fires or boosting other smokejumper bases.  I will also be in McCall when the weather is very hot because the high elevation will be a lovely respite from the heat of the high desert.

I am NOT moving my studio this summer.  Yay!!!

My studio will remain at the strawbale house here on the river.  I will work in the studio when I am here at the strawbale house.  I’m going to be coming and going all summer so I can tend my veggie garden here, make jewelry, pick up mail from the PO Box here and make sure the cat has kibbles in his auto-feeder.

When I am in McCall, I will not have WIFI service unless I am in a coffee shop.  This means my ability to answer emails will grind to a bit of a halt this summer.  Forgive me for that.  When I do get a chance to do computer work, I will be taking a triage approach to my inboxes as I did last summer wherein I answer what is absolutely urgent and necessary.  Once those emails are taken care of, I will carry on to less urgent emails.  I am sorry, in advance, if you write and I fail to get back to you in a timely manner or if I fail to respond at all!  I always feel awful about my inability to keep up with the email inbox which gets especially backed up in the summer months.

I do hope to do at least one shop update a month over the course of the fire season.  I have many beautiful ideas in my heart right now that I cannot wait to work on!

If you pass through Boise or McCall on your travels this summer please give me a holler!  I’d love to go swimming or fishing or iced tea sipping with you!

Ok.  I think that’s it.  Oh, I’m going to post a giveaway here and another on my Instagram account tomorrow so stay tuned for that!


My Flame

IMG_3673I suppose this is how I see him.  Exactly.  Rugged, capable beauty in a wild shower of flame and sparks.  Or perhaps this is my perspective of us; the earnest but volatile nature of who we are independently and corporately.  We are a pair of glorious, clashing and blending flames.

We just spent a full week together, which is something that NEVER happens during the fire season.  I came home from Alaska and we galloped to Pocatello to close on our house, pack up our life and stuff it in a storage unit.  We sold or gave away over half of what we owned and once the money was in the bank from the sale of our home, we drove and fished our way across Idaho until we parted ways in Spokane.  He headed back to Winthrop and work while I buzzed over to Montana to stage for a backcountry trip.  When we crossed over the Idaho-Washington state line we looked over at each other and said, “We have to get back.  We have to get back to Idaho.

I miss him.  I miss dreaming aloud with him.  I miss the tangible flame that has burned between us for over 11 years now.  Godspeed, babe (and soft landings), until our soul bones rest side by side once more.