Monday, January 31, 2011

What Bear Has Taught Me....

What Bear has taught me...

Bear has shown me this land is rich.
.. It is a fine place to forage and get fat,
.... and a comfortable land to curl up for sleep.

Bear has an annual cycle for foraging;
.. succulents, roots and chipmunks in spring,
.. roots, larvae and early fruit in summer,
.. fall is for fattening with lots of fruit, roots, and meat.

I have watched Bear sweeping juniper berries
.. (they are really small cones) into his maw...
.... and they are indeed, amazingly sweet.

While Black Bear has short recurved claws,
.. suitable for climbing trees and shredding logs,
.... long gone Great Bear had stout straight claws.

I learned to duplicate Great Bear's technique
.. for digging couse, allium and yampah's.
.... Far more efficient than individual digging.

Some of Bear's proclivities are too much
.. for my more delicate sensibilities, though
.... I am fond of meat too, I am a bit pickier than he.

Perhaps Brother Bear is closer kin than seems,
.. for surely he lives richly off this same land
.... with foraging and adventure and down time too.

--r.anderson 31Jan2011

An Old Orchards Experience...

An old orchards experience...

I've participated in reclaiming old orchards
.. sweet cherries, pie cherries, wild black cherries
…. and assorted sordid apples and pears.

Bear still visits here, in season
.. and hovers close elsewhen for skunk cabbage
…. and space and ferns, gophers and grubs..

Black-tail deer help with the pruning,
.. stealing quietly between canes of salmonberry,
…. blackberry and indian plum.

Coyote forages freely, predating windfall,
.. delicately nibbling berries he can reach,
.... terrorizing chipmunks, squirrels and cottontails.

An ancient beast steals occasionally
.. from the ferns and brush surrounding here,
…. once common, sewellel has become rare.

This old orchard yields more than memories
.. for the humans that claim this place,
…. though that too may part of the orchards yield.

--r.anderson 31Jan2011

sewellel -- 1806, Americanism ; Lower Chinook š-walál robe of mountain beaver skins, understood as the animal itself (

In Between Seasons

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Season Shift

Season shift

In the air no dandelion seed,
and the scent of fir will never
shift to the scent of fire…
and winter will not come again.

We wait for bugs to find
the tomatoes, deer to go to
someone else’s garden,
and all lawns to grow perfectly.

It’s another long wet spring
that never ended. Birds sing,
children play, hikers hike.
In the town, yard-salers circle.

And this becomes another summer day
like any other - with countless,
countless more on the docket.
How real is this story?


How Well Do You Know the Place You Live?

How well do you know the place you live?

It is an act of bonding and of gratitude
.. that leads me to nibble my way across the landscape.
A flower here, a leaf, a bulb or two...
.. here's a grasshopper, a juniper berry for flavor.
Then there is the bounty of fruiting seasons
.. a long period suitable for glut and storage.

There's something essential, something that binds me
.. when I eat of the place I am... perhaps I belong.
Perhaps there is an integration... when I eat of pine tree,
.. or cattails, chew spruce gum, sample white-bark seed.
If... it was merely physical sustenance,
.. I would be more economical, more efficient.

My dog has a similar relationship with place...
.. though he lives in a broader world full of smells.
His reading of place has deeper intricacies
.. often requiring careful reading and peeing on it.
Maybe, if my olfactory senses were more developed
.. I, too, would be obligated to "pee on more of it."

r.anderson 30Jan2011

Allium Redux: Her Civilized Palate

allium redux: her civilized palate

the first time I nipped a wild onion flower
a juicy taste of herbal richness
watered my tongue.

the first time I tasted a wild onion leaf
fresh and green, tears started
in my brain and my eyes lit up.

the first time I tried a wild onion bulb
the flavor of pepper and galvanized nail
overwhelmed - no lettuce-y dainty, this!

the second time I bit into a wild onion bulb
old from the sack, and washed of dirt -
the hard metal rocked my brain.

girly-girl, she says, stick with
with the flowers well-surrounded by greens.
and bulb, she says - stay put, put forth.


Wet Meadow Blues

wet meadow blues

it takes all kinds to
...................................................... make a whole
...... some holes .................... take
....................................................... their
.......own sweet time to fill:

..... best walk
the long way...................... it's around here somewhere

......we don't have to leave ......................any footprints


Using the Keys

using the key

it’s a good day
stuff in the post office box

and not just bills!

mystery box at the counter
I get mail, therefore I am

Kathy Bowman

Completely Nonconfessional Journal

delete key not needed

sneak up on the keyboard
stuff in the inbox

the spam filter works, or mostly

no million dollars a week,
just personal notes worth gold

Kathy Bowman (new)

Allium sp...

Allium sp. . . .

Several local species of onions,
.. sometimes called chives, leeks or ramps,
..... some small with white blooms,
...... others larger with showy purple blooms.

I find the blooms a welcome addition
.. to salads for color as well as flavor
..... and a treat to simply browse.
....... Bulbs are often too strong for civilised palates.

r.anderson 30Jan2011


Claytonia perfoliata...

Once called Montia sp. or Miner's lettuce
.. this lush succulent is often one of the earliest
..... and one of the latest depending on micro-site
....... and always welcome in my salads...

Claytonia lanceolata...

Lanceleaf spring beauty or candy-flower
.. I love these greens with their blooms
..... and when ambitious dig the small round corms
...... like fresh ground water-chestnuts...

I have collected pounds of these corms
.. from pocket gophers' subnivean caches
..... as the snow melts off, clearly storeable fresh
....... and excellent boiled, baked, dried and ground

r.anderson 30Jan2011

Coffee Table Books for a Foggy Day in the County

coffee table books
for a foggy day
in the County

books on big birds or at least
big books on birds

two books about funerary art
on the far side of the world
a scatter of poetry books
yes someone does buy them!

a stretch of yoga books and
recordings for letting go ...
and then there’s one
trash novel just for fun

and an empty tea cup
with a coffee table exemption

Kathy Bowman

Your poem about the Wallowa Country
can be published here. Send a note to
livethelifeulove (at) for details.
And we're not snobs - you don't
have to live here to write!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Countless Chores

countless chores

crisscross wires old ..... fashioned

roses old ..... prairie house

spanking new..... mower idles


Dreaming of spring . . .

Dreaming of spring . . .

I count spring well advanced when
.. it takes only 10 to 15 minutes to pick
...... a gallon or so of salad gleanings,
....... wandering over Wallowa meadows.

A bit of Miner's lettuce from livestock beds,
.. Spring beauty greens from lightly shaded ground,
...... Oregon sedum from the open, water-leaf
........ leaves, fritillary blooms, big-headed clover.

Perhaps some tumble-mustard rosettes,
.. a few spring beauty roots, a handful of violets,
..... a few mint leaves and a handful of onion blooms,
....... a bit of vinegar and oil and a meal is presented.

'Tis a fine season to go camping with no more
.. than a pocket-full of supplies. Though surely
..... to add a handful of mussles or crawdads,
....... to roast a squirrel or bunny, makes a feast.

A fine spring morning's foraging
... can often add a plethora of morels or boletes,
..... or cauliflower mushrooms some puffballs
....... or a bears-head-hydnum to roast with your squirrel.

r.anderson 29Jan2011

A Hoot, Sans Owl

A hoot, sans owl
in evening dark. Table
for two, seating for one
in serge with star.

Cougar at large.

-- A. Gibbs

How It Happened

How it happened
(riff on for the record 12/29/10, Chieftain)

So she wrote a
bad check at the grocery
at 9:45 - made off
with a big chicken, potatoes
two cans of green beans
a skillet and
salt and pepper
Then she wrote a

bad check at the liquor store

at 11:10 - made off
with two bottles
of bad bourbon
cheap tequila
and novelty glasses

The law guy wrote a

pair of summons -
one for each draw on her ex’s account
and politely declined
dinner and
a postprandial drink, for
neighborliness has limits

even here


Friday, January 28, 2011



Perideridia gairdneri or common yampa
.. is wide-spread in this Wallowa country.
A desert parsley that smells like carrot
.. and a choice staple wherever it is found.

Late spring blooming, often where cous
.. and camas grow. This trio of plants
provides awesome abundance and nutrition,
.. bounty from natures' garden.

I know some high meadows on Snake
.. River divide that are almost overpowering
in their scent when yampa comes to bloom.
.. Tall white waving inflorences and lacy leaved.

White cylindrical carrot-like roots
.. mildly nut-like and strongly carrot-flavored.
Yampahs like deep soil and are often
.. abundant in rocky thin soils.

Eaten raw, baked or boiled, dried and ground
.. these roots are a treat... and their seed
makes a fine caraway-flavored seasoning.
.. Yet, few today even dare to try them.

--r.anderson 28Jan2011

A Neighborhood of My Own

A neighborhood of my own
(For Hazel Hall)

Let’s say I were stuck here
And all the interest in life
Was out my window.

I would become
Particular gossips with robins
Did you see how that dove just moved in?

I would make stuff up
As well as any neighbor…
Well, I would, you just wait and see.

Chickadees, upside down, AGAIN!
The party the sparrows had sure was loud
Drunken dawn chorus every day.
I’d never, ever shut the windows.

Zumwalt Girl, Inside With Computer, 2010

Your poem about the Wallowa Country
can be published here. Send a note to
livethelifeulove (at) for details.
And we're not snobs - you don't
have to live here to write!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Passing School Buses in Joseph

Passing school buses in Joseph

half past gold on that young cottonwood
it is as surely a new season

as anything I know. day after day
the changes come bit by bit but

not so slow you miss it.
how many times
has it been

just another drive by?
for now the stars shine on gold -

I have never believed
I must tramp on wilderness for it to be beloved

yet I am so grateful I can see all this
for myself each rare day

Kathy Bowman (Zumwalt Prairie Poetry Cache)

Holding Your Mouth Right

holding your mouth right
garnets, feldspar, geodes – all
dusty rocks,
just as fir and pine and spruce
are all Christmas trees --
if you hold your mouth right.
the more detail, the more the fascination;
a thousand grasses grow
in intricate distinction. yet a name
is not strictly necessary, except for you.

Zumwalt Prairie Poetry Cache, Kathy Bowman

Just Because You Don't See It

Just because you don’t see it

there’s a hunter’s moon tonight.
I know it’s there, somewhere
under the horizon or over the rain.
it plays hide and go seek behind

the single incandescent bulb
in the lamp on my desk. you’ll find
it nestled under the thunder of
crabapples dropping on the roof.

hunters, I can guarantee that all
the deer will come seeking dessert
tonight in my yard, though they may
bound away should the neighbor dogs

moan; then stop quick: like that. it’s said
in the dark the woods kitty strolls right through
our town, though the safely acclimated
house cat doesn’t care. she simply opts

for self-hypnosis through pure comfort
in front of the log fire. we take turns pretending
not to hear even the dazzling, scratchy tracery
of rodents making rounds in the cabin walls.

Z Grrrl eyes the moon, Oct. 2010
Zumwalt Prairie Poetry Cache


Camas . . .

A late spring showy lily
.. turns Wallowa prairies and swales
..... a deep purplish hue . . .

Elk often snip heads
.. yet across Zumwalt prairie
..... the bloom seems vast.

Easily dug, often harvested,
.. the raw bulbs are edible,
..... a mucilagineous and starchy bulb.

Long slow cooking
.. as in a pit oven, overnight
..... converts starch to fructose.

Emerging black gooey lumps
.. taste awesomely sweet
..... a treat in sugar poor environment.

Camas baked with couse
.. combines the sweetness
..... with potato-like starchiness.

Combined camas-couse
.. bakings, shaped and dried
..... make stable long-term staples.

Vernal wetland restoration,
.. garden-stock for comestibles
..... and showy garden color, today.

Ancient ethnobotanical traditions
.. with neoteric applications
..... offer multiple rewards for foraging.

-- r.anderson

In Flight



One of the earliest evidences of spring,
.. colors south-facing slopes and prairies,
..... green and then yellow with a very low blush.

Peppery garnish for salads,
.. its corms are a perrenial staple food,
.... raw like a filbert flavored water-chestnut.

Baked or boiled, Lomatium couse
.. becomes potato-like in taste and consistency
..... and mixes well with a bit of venison.

Peeled and dried couse lasts long,
.. ground fine makes a hypoallergenic flour,
..... available whenever ground is not frozen.

--r.anderson 27Jan2011

An Anomalous Wallowa Winter...

An anomalous Wallowa winter...

Late January in this place
.. and the ground has become mostly clear,
.... revealing... live green grass
...... that failed to freeze before snows fell deep.

Geese speak with relief,
.. for the early deep snow and long cold,
.... caught them not nearly fat
..... and yearning for nutricious green graze.

My dog informs me,
.. the foxes have been working these fields
.... and voles are rare to absent,
...... where he often caught a tasty snack before.

A neighbor handed me a dead hawk,
.. seen during the deep cold haunting her bushes,
.... scaring dark-eyed juncoes.
..... A male sharp-shin caught in mid-migration.

Finches are scarce this year,
.. despite regular feeding by many town folk,
.... and reports follow the disappearance
...... of goldfinches from a wide regional swath.

Despite the local wolf watch,
.. pecuniary seasonal events continue;
.... dog sled races, snowmobile gathers and play,
...... cross country skiers crowd alpine cirques.

Where a land once rested,
.. nurturing ecological resiliency
.... on behalf of dependent and associated species.
...... we all wait... with expectancy.

--r.anderson 27Jan2011

Found Poem: For the Record

For the record

suspicious persons and barking dogs haunt the county:
(along with the ghosts of decisions past, present and future
they show their faces at the most inconvenient times.)

they go in your window, at your door, out in public -
or stay just stuck by the highway as you choose yet one more time
whether to be good or whether to be kind...

or whether to drive on by, bye bye, baby, bye bye?

From Lucky Talk Journal - a creative
riff on a "found poem" in For the Record:
10/28/10, Wallowa County Chieftain, KB

Your poem about the Wallowa Country
can be published here. Send a note to
livethelifeulove (at) for details.
And we're not snobs - you don't
have to live here to write!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Khouse Eaters . . .

Khouse eaters . . .

Nimi'ipuu, before they acquired horses
called themselves Cuupn'tpel'uu
….. people who walked...
…… out of the woods and mountains

Neighboring bands, Tukuaidika and Agaidika,

.. called them "eaters-of-kouse"
….. and "those-who-live-under-tules".
Shoshokie were "eaters-of-roots" too.

Lomatium couse grows abundantly
.. along canyon walls and in biscuit scabland
… . throughout Wallowa country,
… …. comprising a staple crop.

Khouse keeps abundant crop company,
.. camas, yampahs, onions and lilies,
….... a veritable grocery store
…….... for those with a stick and knowledge.

Staple crops, annual gathering rounds,
.. game and fish in season and abundance,
…… left "the people" time for enculturation,
.......... a rich heritage of tradition and practice.

Today, we reach, curious and hungry,
... for those stories lurking in their holes,
…..... waiting for the day when "the people"
……..... may invite them to live, again


Some notes: in this one... the reference to "the neighbors..."
... the first simply means "sheep-eaters" and the second means "salmon eaters"
..... in the Uto-aztecan language of the shoshone....
... "Shoshokie..." is the shoshone term for root eaters
.... often used to refer to what we now call piautes (or Numu)...

... it is interesting to note that the genetics, language and relations
..... of piaute and shoshone are virtually the same...
...... and speakers of basque... can understand much of the language
...... and vice versa . . . .

perhaps you were already aware... the comanche were a band of shoshone
..... that traveled south out of the Wind Rivers... in about 1600... and grew
..... into the classic plains-bison-indians. R.A.

Sacajawea was of the Agaidika (Salmon Eaters) often called the Lemhi Shoshone

Prairie Creek in Winter

Zumwalt Note

Zumwalt note

The Aschenbrenner place,
new green roofs and all, is over there -
though just one original building still stands.

Now it sports new green roofs. You can see
them from this spot, where the
Zumwalt school house once stood.

That school - by day, that's where
my father and his siblings went: though
English was their second language.

Over there at the homestead, the family
German (Volga) Russians all -
"only talked German" at home.

from Zumwalt trivia from Gail West.

Post-Holiday Tradtion

post-holiday tradition

clack your beak, O eagle
over fresh placenta
in the fields -- january
is the season for calving
here, and steaming
fresh delicacies abound

The Game Nowhere

the game nowhere

paper, scissors, rock; humus, scythe, stone -
a game of chance in the back country.

take one step the next, another –
then leave or don’t leave your mark – if you can.

however invisible or inevitable, you take
your chances, where pristine's a state of mind.

in a million years, how many footprints
human, animal, mythical came before?

paper, scissors, rock; humus, scythe, stone -
your foot makes the next guess.

Kathy Bowman

Afraid to Look (Waking at Two in the Morning)

Afraid to look
(Waking at two in the morning)

It has come to this. She’s afraid to look
at the stars alone -- even though they aren’t
known for eating you. (You may or may
not know, that’s the job of the moon).
Thus: another reason to stay put
by the fire tonight and swallow the smoke
wherever it finds you. The littlest dogs howl and whine

in a weird harmony trio, right until they suddenly – Stop.
Then something big and dangerous slinks through town.
It’s nothing that hasn’t always been here.
Your nightmares know that. And your neighbors talk
big, speaking the names. Bear. Big Cat. You know.
No one passing through here is unknown
to this place, nor, if you think on it, ever has been.

You may now close your eyes; hum into
your ears, and find your sleep ever so lightly

Kathy Bowman, Joseph, OR



sleepy fall ripples,
frog calls from cracks in the wall

winter is coming; you knew?


first freeze,
second cold snap –
all the horses drip, drip: melt from hoar frost

in seasonal orange they tell
a transitory story
the tiny target, trembling invisibly by the road


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dancing to the tunes of "chaordic leadership..."

Dancing to the tunes of "chaordic leadership..."

traditional hiererarchical, crisis-driven,
.. control ordinated organizations
..... coerce followership, stifling creativity

the mere presence of coercion
.. and implicit or explicit imposition
..... of "the golden rule..." disposes true leadership

fostering direction in an artful community
.. may indeed be much like herding cats
.... leading to lolling, gagging and escapees...

perhaps... modeling creative energy,
.. supporting folks with the verve to produce,
.... and artfully stepping-out-of-the-way

cultivating chaordic leadership,
.. an increasingly productive model for organizations,
.... may be a learnable rural art


Your Wallowa County Poem... Here

Submissions go to blog manager Kathy Bowman
at livethelifeulove (at)

Last Minute Shopping (hunting season)

Last minute shopping
(hunting season)

t'is the night before opening season - the store
closes in five. look at this: the last can on the shelf
is past the pull date. grab it anyway. tonight at camp,
take a chance. open it, nestle it crooked over half
ashed campfire coals; then stir in untreated springwater.

as all good last-minute backwoodsmen know,
giardia and salmonella are for sissies; and bad whiskey
cures all. take the shopping cart for a spin,
tough guy. you may yet bag a good campfire story.

Kathy Bowman

Cow Parsnip/Poison Oak

Cow Parsnip
Heracleum maximum

What cows?
asked the elk

Contemplating the tender green
the fat ribbed pod

It swelled
day after day

And cracked open
an umbrella against the sun

White bouquet
prairie nosegay

Then came the bees

Susan Whitney for Zumwalt Prairie Cache

Poison Oak

I am in love with you
I know you’re not for me
Glossy, shimmering in the grass
Your bright greenness
Already in spring edged with maroon
You’re wearing the tiny green berries

Clumps gregarious
Clumps along the trail
Under the oaks
Up the hill
Between the rocks even
and then again
In the fall you are brilliant
The deepest deep maroons that make
Me long to hold
You as bouquet
Take home
But wait

There is something we know about you
We’ve been told
We’ve read the interviews

Q. When did you first realize you had such power?
A. I’ve known since I was a seed, I felt it in my roots
It’s in my very oils

And some, they say
Eat you, delicious they say
Your young shoots in spring
A regime of increasing doses
until they are immune
And can walk through your communities unafraid
But I prefer to believe what I have heard
What I have learned through pain
I admire you and hope to remain

Susan Whitney for Zumwalt Poetry Cache

Salix exigua

salix exigua

Dense splash of green/knifelike leaf on the waterway…

coyote willow

sandbar willow

generally narrow-leaf willow

Claiming the western four parts in ten
of the NorthaMericanContinent.
Creeping and sprouting ten feet in 20 years.

Today an ornament with employment --
stopping runoff – mostly.

previously: part of a sweat lodge;
medicine for a cold, laryngitis,the rheumatiz;
fever bark (Original Aspirin);
tea for V.D. or other uneases;

ritually: a ceremonial drink.

day to day: fodder for critters;
mat and basket fixin’s;
makin’s for clothes.

practically: kindling;
tongs and tools to cook;
parts for hunting gear or
fishing weirs.

for fun: sticky sweet treats and
tobacco wrappers; toys for the old,
toys for the young.

Willow exigua –
Versatile for any exigency.

--Kathy Bowman

Waging Peace - Wallowa wolves . . .

Waging Peace - Wallowa wolves . . .

Every morning in the valley's coffee shops,
.. most evenings in the rural saloons,
.... the topic of wolves stirs local passions.

That popular western refrain...
.. "ma git the gun... they're coming agin..."
.... rings with its clarion call to arms.

There is a so-called popular mantra...
.. for dealing with the pesky and troublesome,
.... 'shoot... shovel... and shut up."

Locals often still speak boastfully,
.. about grandpa flaunting indian scalps,
.... or grizzly hides, claws and skulls.

Oregon paid bounty on lions, porcupines
.. and other unwanted varmits 'till late,
.... ensuring dominion over the land.

Perhaps the guvmint, revenooers, Californians
.. and liberals were spared quite the same,
.... though the virulence is still here.

Environmentalist is a dirty word, here,
.. until you start looking in detail,
.... at how some actually care for the land.

There is another brand of wolves these days,
.. that simply evokes a rolling of eyes and sighs,
.... bankers and brokers and real estate dealers.

Though casualties are often hidden from view,
.. lost dreams, homeless, addicted and
.... abused evoke a wide range of responses.

Personally, I would rather share this place
.. with the four-footed wolves whose kills
.... are never wasted, covert or abused for sport.

It is interesting to note that wolves and men
.. are co-evolved, co-dependent and co-exist
.... in many of the places where life is simpler.

Perhaps, in time, both individuals and communities
.. can come to view a balance of perspectives
.... for something as wild as each other.

For... in the end... given the technological capacity,
... would wolves consider allowing men to live
.... as poorly redeemable as we have proven to be.