Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Evening to the south, November 22

“I’m not looking forward to it,” I muttered to Mike as we were getting dressed Sunday morning. “I’m not either,” he said.

But it had to be done. The firewood at the farm, now split, had to be moved to shelter, or else it would quickly rot in the field. It would be a big job for the two of us “seniors.” Chores in town gave us a late start. We drove the “new” old pick-up with dogs riding behind the front seat of the expanded cab. (Bess loves it -- Nellie not so much.) We didn’t get into the wood project until nearly 11:00 a.m.

Mike positioned the old pick-up as close as possible to the wood piles in the north field. He tossed the wood into the bed and I stacked it methodically. Our first load was less than half the wood in that area. Then we drove down to the south side of the barn (the open door near the pond) where we parked near the door. (The lay of the land and lack of traction made it impossible to back into the barn.)

Mike leveled an area about 20 feet long near the back wall, which is constructed of farm rock. We soon developed a system. I climbed into the pick-up bed and moved the wood near the tailgate so that he could reach it. He then loaded the wheelbarrow and rolled it to the stack. The distance was only about 15 feet, but it was a lot of back and forthing over unlevel ground. 
With the warmth of the sun in the afternoon, the ground in the north field became muddy, and after the second load, Mike opted to leave the rest of that wood until early Monday morning. Instead, he picked up the pile in the lane. It was getting dark as we loaded it. By now we had abandoned all thought of neatness and just tossed the wood in the pick-up.

Moon approaches full
Work started at 6:45 Monday morning as we unloaded and stacked the wood from the lane. It wasn’t as cold as we had anticipated – only 29 – so again we had to work quickly to unload so that Mike could drive into the north field for that last load. We were finished with that work mid-morning. Mike calculated our firewood in the barn at two and a third cords (a double row 20 feet long by 5 feet high).

Then we moved to the woodshed. That wood had been stacked earlier in the season, but Mike decided to take the stacks down and split the wood with the rented splitter last weekend – a bit of extra work at the time for which he thanks himself now. We re-stacked and covered it. Then I picked up small wood for kindling while Mike cleared the grove of limbs that blew down in last Tuesday’s windstorm.

Of course, I say we were finished, but in actuality this firewood-making will continue for a while. A small pile in the gully is still there until the ground freezes and we can drive to it. And in the spring we will have to address the trees that are still standing. It might be a lifetime supply of firewood. KW

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Evening falls over the farmhouse at Gilbert (taken Nov. 14)

Goodness! Where HAS the time gone?

Quiet times – not much happening. Monday I worked to make a few things for the P.E.O. silent auction, which occurred on Tuesday. Yesterday I accomplished nothing more than shopping. Perhaps it’s been more interesting for Mike, who enjoys bird hunting every second or third day.

Nellie and Bess share the pillow
The piles of split wood at the farm are waiting for us to load, haul, and stack. Mike has a spot in the barn where we’ll store it for now – that is, if the barn is still standing. We had big wind Tuesday that caused damage around the region. And now it’s raining and a storm watch is in effect. And next week it’s supposed to turn quite cold. So, the plan is that we’ll get to the farm on Sunday or so to do our work and then we’ll probably have to winterize the house. I guess it’s good that we have those weather apps so that we can better plan our activities.

Maple tree in town
Now I’ve begun to realize that the holidays are upon me and I won’t nearly finish all I want to do before Christmas. Oh well. I mean – what can a person do? I try to stay in the moment, remind myself that I’m having a good time, and remember that Christmas doesn’t really change anything. Nothing stops because of a calendar date. I can still keep doing what I do, and above all, I regularly remind myself that I’ll get through it all just fine.

"Socks and Bows" and "Rocking Horse Border"
But just to show how distracted I can become, yesterday I hauled out some holiday fabric I purchased years ago (see photo left). I loved it then, and I love it now. I was going to make a dress and pinafore for granddaughter Annie, but the time passed. So, when Emmy came along, I thought I would make it for her, but Emmy is a contemporary gal whose style is “uncomplicated.” Let me put it this way – when it comes to my efforts, I think there are other things she’d like better.

The two fabrics were printed in the USA for Daisy Kingdom -- “Rocking Horse Border” (1996) and “Socks and Bows” (1995). I have 3 ¾ yards of each. Okay -- what shall I do with it? I agonized over this yesterday until I remembered that I’ve had this fabric for 20 years and using it is not on my “before Christmas” list. Realizing that I was acting on a whim, I carefully refolded it and put it back in storage.

My inspiration board
But – the question remains, what shall I do with it? It feels like I should use it for something “special.” The fabric design might not lend itself to a quilt. Or, I could just make aprons, pillowcases, or table runners. I kind of like the apron idea. Suggestions? KW

Saturday, November 14, 2015


Dawn at Gilbert, Idaho

It’s been several weeks since Mike and I were here at the farm. We had hoped to be finished with splitting and stacking the firewood by now, but weather caused delays. The temp today is quite mild (around 50). Earlier in the week, colder temps and snow were predicted for tomorrow (Sunday), but now the weatherman says it will be too warm for snow. The “Champion” tomato bush still looks strong and healthy, though tomatoes are not ripening. I picked three small yellow crook-neck squash before pulling out the bush.
Son Clint is here today to help his dad. This morning they made a brief hike south of the house, but seeing no deer, they returned for breakfast. Then they drove to Orofino, rented a wood splitter, and set to work in the wood piles.

Note limb leaning on woodshed
Mike counted 92 rings on the tree that fell from the grove into the north field, meaning that it began to grow around 1923. The house was built in 1917, and I don’t know whether the grove existed at that time or if trees were planted.

And speaking of trees, the limb that dangled from the pine beside the woodshed finally slipped to the ground without incident.You can see it leaning against the woodshed in the photo right.

Pencil Tree
Wood splitting in north field
Today I’m putting away Halloween decorations and setting up for Christmas. I know – it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but anything I can do now to get ready is all to the good. I ordered a new Christmas tree – an 8-foot, unlit pencil tree – and had it delivered to the farmhouse, so today I took it out of the box and set it up. I decided I wanted to try a taller but less bushy tree, and I’m considering one for the townhouse as well. So, I’ve worked along at pulling the twigs into place, and it’s shaping up nicely – for an artificial tree. KW

Saturday, November 7, 2015


As will happen to one who plays with yarn, my stash had grown to a proportion that was infringing on my inspiration. I wanted more yarn – new yarn in today’s colors – but my accumulation was pushing me out of my sewing room. Something had to be done – either use it NOW or pass it along.

At the same time, I began to see that afghans are now being crafted in larger sizes to be used as blankets. Perhaps it’s because we can’t find good, warm blankets at a decent price. I’ve always made afghans as throws, but now enlightened and having lots of yarn, I decided to see if I could make a blanket.

I started this “scrap afghan” with a basic rectangular granny block (pattern here) just after Labor Day. I remember because I discussed it with Hallie, and we agreed I should use the dusty shades and forget the brights for now. I began with dark blue 4-ply worsted and added five more colors to the rounds, one round each – gray, light slate blue, burgundy red, off-white, and dusty rose pink. Shading occurred within those colors depending on available yarn.  Two months later, the result is this blanket large enough to cover a bed.
I absolutely would not let myself abandon this project until it was finished. As the blanket grew and grew, it took up more space than was practical in our small house. Nevertheless, I persevered and finished. Now it’s stored in the linen closet instead of my yarn tub.

Several years ago I noticed that my wrists ached when I crocheted, so I had all but given up bigger projects. A while back, I bought some ergonomic crochet hooks offered on Amazon, and these seemed to solve the problem. A lot of crochet time went into this afghan and the finished product is heavy. Mike laughs that it must weigh seven pounds.

Up next – a plethora of small projects for Christmas. KW

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


It seems early, but it must be late. Or, is it late but seems early? The first week after a time change is the worst. I wake up at 4:00 a.m. – 5:00 a.m. the previous week – ready to get up and start my day. Mike is hungry at 5:00 p.m., which is really 6:00 by the digestion clock, and we agree to wait until 6:00 by the real clock for supper. (Mike eats at regular intervals. I suppose it’s that Dr. Pepper training – 10, 2, and 4.) Returning from shopping yesterday morning, I thought it was 11:30 when the clock said 10:30. I waited until 4:00 to walk the dogs and it was nearly dark as we returned. I’m ready to sleep at 8:30 but we stay up so that it can start all over again at 4:00 in the morning. And so on . . . that’s the way it goes until we get used to it.

Since my list is very long today, I don’t have a lot of time to visit, but I did want to share a couple of pictures. I planted the “burning bush” at our front door when we moved here ten years ago. It was bare root stock and it’s taken all these ten years for it to become beautiful. Oh well. 
The big maple in this picture was also planted when we moved here. The smaller is a volunteer which looks to be from another maple family. So glad it showed up to be pretty for us. 

Top photo: I didn't think it would be an especially beautiful autumn in our region because of the hot, dry summer. However, looking out over the Lewis Clark Valley yesterday from the home of a friend seems to deny my theory. So glad I remembered the camera! KW