Wednesday, May 4, 2016


“We saw the first rattler last year on Mother’s Day,” I reminded Mike as we drove along to the farm this morning. We had 22 rattler sightings in 2015.

Bess and Nellie insisted on a late afternoon constitutional today, and as we proceeded down the lane, little Bess danced on ahead while Nellie poked along behind us. We could see that Bess was cautiously interested in something on the west side of the culvert at the bottom of the lane. Then she commenced to bark and we hastened to get to her.
A large rattlesnake

Sure enough! The first rattler of the season. And only feet away from this large one was a smaller rattler that tumbled over the rocks to the bottom and disappeared. I wasn’t fast enough to get a picture.

I was glad we had reminded each other about the rattlers. It pays to be alert. KW


108 identical blocks with edging

On Monday (May 2), I finished Hallie’s wedding afghan. Yay!!

I started this afghan – actually a small coverlet – probably in 2009 when Hallie and Nick got married. I couldn’t find the yarn (Red Heart Soft) in the local market, so when we visited Denver, family there helped me find it. (That was before I learned to shop online.)

When I started it, I thought I'd have this coverlet finished in no time. I like “granny square” projects because they’re so easy to carry, and I did take it with me on various trips and crochet the squares as Mike drove. However, a “buffalo” developed in the form of my varying gauge. So, when I resolved to finish this coverlet, I first measured the squares and re-did the “looser” ones. Actually I cheated. I just re-did the outer rows.
I actually like to crochet loosely. I like the softer feel of the yarn. However, I came to see that an afghan will stretch under its own weight unless the gauge is tighter.

Well, once I had finished the coverlet, I washed and dried it. Even though I don't expect my work to fall apart, I'm always gratified when I take it out of the dryer in one piece.

Anyway, it's on to other things. I try not to crochet more than one project at a time, again because of gauge issues. KW

Sunday, May 1, 2016


The other day I finished Gigi, one of my oldest unfinished projects. Perhaps I shouldn’t have, though. I have “cutter’s remorse.”

Gigi is a panel doll. I purchased her through an ad from “The Chocolate Soup,” a shop in New York City. The envelope was postmarked August 5, 1971. I had visited France that summer, and I guess this French maid struck my fancy. However, when she came, I looked her over, carefully refolded her, and put her back in the envelope, a practice I would repeat from time to time over the next 45 years.

You see, back in the day, I cherished expectations that one day I would be a good seamstress. With time I would gain experience, I thought, and so I put things away toward that day when I could do a really good job. (Dream on!)

And now, from this perspective, things look different. It occurred to me that it might be better to leave the panel uncut. At the bottom it says, “Made and hand-screened in Ireland,” and “Designed by Alice Wadowski-Bak 1967.” A little gold sticker on the fabric reads, “Warranted Genuine Irish Linen – Made in the Republic of Ireland.” It would be interesting to see if it would sell online, but I don’t do that. I also thought of framing the panel as is.
At any rate, Gigi was mine – and the decision was also mine. I had always intended to make the doll, so I went for it.

And now it’s done. I cut the doll from the fabric and sewed her. Then I stuffed, restuffed, and restuffed again. (A stuffer I am not.) Then I stitched her opening by hand – “et voila!” – here she is.

Here’s the translation of the instructions on the fabric:

Pretty Country Woman (or Farmer’s Wife)
Good day my friends . . . . Cut sweet little
Gigi out by following the dots. Join the
two right sides of the pattern. Sew following
the lines around the dress. Don’t
forget to leave the hem of the skirt open
for stuffing. Turn inside out and press with
a hot iron. Then stuff Gigi from head to
toe with old rags. Fold the hem inside.
Then sew in very small stitches on the
black line. Goodbye.

Si jeunnesse savait; si vieillesse pouvait!
(If youth only knew; and age only could!)


Saturday, April 30, 2016


Late Tuesday afternoon (April 26), I took Bess and Nellie for a walk around the north field. I wanted to see the vegetation, and besides, I get tired of hiking up Plank’s Pitch. Maybe the dogs do, too, because when I called, "Let's go this way,” they seemed only too glad to move into the field.

The picture above was taken from behind the apple trees, looking towards June's place. These trees are recovering from the scorching they received in the fire last summer. They are old trees and we don't pick the apples. Still, it means something that they are there in the lane. The deer and the dogs like the apples.

The tree in bloom is a large apple in the curve of the lane. These apples are beautiful in the fall but inaccessible -- at least for me. Bess and Nellie love to eat the apples off the ground and so do the deer. The other tree is a black hawthorn. We have lots of hawthorn trees. The birds love the berries. The jelly is sweet but not flavorful.

 This tree is a plum, and we have quite a number of them here. We're still experimenting to see what we can do with them. The fruit is good dried as long as you don't over dry.
Now this is a good-looking elderberry bush. Last year the berries on our bushes were small and dry. This year I'll try to make jelly even if the berries are sub-par because we're totally out.
Wildflowers among the rocks on the west edge of the field.
Bess on point in west field (behind house). She's above me here as I return to the house.
 Nellie, also in west field.

I think this tree is a service berry. I like service berry jelly. I tend to forget that the berries are ready in June and overlook the season. KW

Friday, April 29, 2016


WSU, Pullman

Mike had a few hours between projects last Monday (April 25) and suggested we drive to Pullman to view a litter of German Shorthair pups belonging to an acquaintance. The sire of these pups is a litter  mate of our Bess.

It was a big litter. Count ‘em – nine! I was only able to get this one picture of all nine.

The pups are five weeks old, so the owners see the light at the end of the tunnel. They said it wasn’t so bad now that the pups are sleeping through the night. They raised this litter because their son wanted a dog out of their female. Naturally, he got first pick. Eight have been spoken for, and they anticipated that the ninth would be gone soon.
The pups had just finished their play session in the pen when we showed up. As you can see, it’s naptime.

Well, it might have been us with a litter of pups, but Bess would have nothing to do with the suiter Mike chose for her, so that was that. (Thank goodness!) KW