Monday, May 21, 2018


Mike and I went to the farm yesterday (Sunday, May 20), and despite the warnings of Big Mike the Contractor regarding mold danger, we entered the house through the kitchen door.

As Hallie and I were painting the kitchen in 2002, we decided to paint our names in a corner before the cabinets were installed. Frankly, I didn’t expect to ever see it again. I thought maybe she would, or that perhaps a new owner would see it and realize the love that we had for “the dear old place.” It was a time in which the three of us could work together to accomplish this work, and now that time is past. Seems like yesterday, but in reality it was years ago and much has changed.
I took pictures so that you can understand the extent of the devastation. Putting the sadness behind and looking to the future, Mike and I are discussing changes / improvements that we can make. I still don’t know for sure if the cabinets will be salvageable. I assume that they won’t be, but they are still sitting in the house.

And I was right – the crew has removed ever so much more of the household contents than I could initially imagine, including from rooms that I didn’t think were affected. In fact, Mike went upstairs to make a repair on Bess’ collar with his leather-working tools only to discover that they were gone. The master bedroom is open and bare of furnishings except for the toilet, which sits in the middle of the room. The other bedrooms and main bathroom have been closed and sealed. We obeyed Big Mike’s request that we not enter those rooms.
Despite all the removal, the pantry cupboard remains intact. I didn’t think to take extra crates this trip, but with the one I had, I again packed up food that I can use in town. I noticed, though, that cardboard packaging has absorbed moisture. I’ll toss pasta products.

We focused on our outside work, and that’s another post. KW

Saturday, May 19, 2018


Yarrow at Chief Timothy
Common yarrow
Brother Chuck said he didn't know what yarrow looks like, so I've been taking pictures everywhere we go. Yarrow is everywhere here.

Its scientific name is Achillea. Common yarrow is a weed, and its blossom head is white. Because it is a weed, some people don't allow it in their garden beds, but Mike likes it, so we leave it alone and let it spread. After all, it's better than some other weeds. But since yarrow does do well in our drought-tolerant landscape, I've also attempted to upgrade our display by planting hybrid yarrow, which comes in lovely colors.

Yarrow blend
Here's what High Country Gardens has to say about yarrow:
"Achillea (Yarrow) is a beautiful perennial, easily grown and suited to many climates and soil types, including clay. Yarrow has feathery foliage and long-blooming flat-topped flowers that attract butterflies. Achillea is a perennial well-suited to wildflower gardens and is drought resistant. Yarrow makes excellent cut or dried arrangements and has excellent resistance to browsing deer and rabbits. Named after Achilles himself, legend has it that yarrow was used to treat Greek soldiers' wounds. First aid aside, we just think it's a great cornerstone to any perennial garden."

I have ordered yarrow from High Country Gardens as well as Breck's and have found it hardy and easy to grow. This year I'm attempting to plant it at the farm as well.

Yarrow in my garden

Monday, May 14, 2018


Bess and Nellie at the pond
Daughter Hallie and grand-dog Primo came to visit this Mother’s Day weekend, arriving Thursday evening. Friday, we exercised, hiked, shopped, and met son Clint and Elisha for dinner. The highlight of Hallie's visit was a day trip to the farm on Saturday. Of course, the original plan had been that she would visit us at the farm, but with the damage to the house, we had to stay in town.

Since we had rain in town last week, I imagined that it would be quite wet at the farm, but instead it was very dry. In fact, even the usual wet places were totally dry. Strange. It was a good day for planting.

Planting laurels
Plenty of compost
Hallie brought four laurel trees with her, starts she potted and nurtured from her yard. As an experiment, she wants to see if they will grow at the farm. Just looking at them, I’m concerned that they won’t. There’s quite a difference between Seattle weather and the farm, and we struggle to get any tree to grow. But – she prepared the holes last fall, and she planted the laurels with plenty of compost, fed and watered them. Now Mike and I will water through the summer – and we’ll see. If they make it through the summer, will they make it through the winter?

From the grove over the north field toward Plank's
I carried along five of the yarrow plants I potted. Hallie helped me clear a spot on the bank behind the house, and then we planted them. She went to the barn for rocks (no dearth of rocks at the farm) and embedded them in the same area.

While Hallie and I planted, Mike puttered along at this and that, until he decided to load the chokecherry wood into the back of the Dakota. And then, when we arrived back in town, he brought out his new splitter and split it. It worked well, and he was pleased.

Kitchen into dining room
Living room
Perhaps you’re wondering about progress on the house. The crew started work on Thursday, and our furniture and possessions have been stored. As I anticipated, much more was removed from the peripheral rooms than I would have thought. The original woodwork in the dining room has been removed for restoration. Demolition will begin this week.

The prospect of putting the house back together is as daunting as it is exciting. It’s tough to make decisions, but starting from what I know, I’m making lists. KW

Wednesday, May 9, 2018


A beautiful spring day at Gilbert, Idaho

Mike and I loaded the dogs, our lunch, a few empty crates, and headed to the farm. We were there by 9:00. The grass was wet when we arrived, but by the time Mike was ready to mow, it was dry enough.

Our work crew will start on Thursday, so Mike called and had our internet turned on for their benefit. Apparently connected devices are now important to the work.

Rhubarb -- ready to pick again
Old pear tree in bloom
While Mike mowed, I worked in the house. In the vintage sewing room I packed up fabric, yarn, thread, etc., and cleared off the ironing board so that space could be maximized in that room. I gathered up magazines for recycling, and into the remaining crates I packed food from the cupboards. Some of it was so outdated as to be embarrassing, so I’m calling this venture “The Big Start Over.”

Mike and I both noticed the humidity in the house. A clean folded towel on the table felt damp, and I gathered up more textiles to be washed and stored in town.

Snow on the distant mountains
Round and round he goes
When Mike finished mowing – it takes several hours – we sat on the front steps and ate a snack lunch. It was a lovely day and the forecast was for rain tomorrow, so Mike wanted to head right back to town for an afternoon bike ride. That happened, and if you think that was quite a lot for him to do, after the bike ride, he washed windows – interior and exterior – though he didn’t quite have time to finish.

The view toward Plank's
And of course, I had all that stuff to unload, sort, wash, dispose of, store, etc. I hated to take it on just now, since I have other pressing housework this week, but it had to be done. Thank goodness for that little storage shed, and it probably doesn’t surprise you that the time has come to get rid of stuff out there, too.
Bess is napping

Nellie and Bess always enjoy time at the farm. They roamed for several hours, and then Nellie retired to her pillow in the living room while Bess sacked out in the back of the pick-up. They are both tired today as well.

It was a lovely day at the farm, and we wished could stay. KW