Saturday, May 18, 2019


Mike drinks iced tea year-round, and I have used a Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker for more than 20 years. One of my sons teases me that it’s the most useless appliance ever. However, it works for me because within ten minutes I have iced tea brewed to Mike’s liking. So, when I saw a brand new in the box iced tea maker at the rummage sale a couple of years ago, I bought it. All the parts were there, still wrapped in their original plastic bags. And as a bonus, this was the deluxe edition with TWO pitchers! I figured if nothing else, I could eventually replace my old unit with this one. We stored it at the farmhouse, and as we moved in after remodel, it resurfaced.

I decided that rather than store it longer, I should use it, but when I opened the box, the stench was horrific! Oh yes! It was mouse smell all right, only in was REALLY bad. Obviously, mice had congregated in that box, but why?

I was a little freaked and wished that I wasn’t working alone. Ever so cautiously, I began to remove one of the pitchers from its plastic bag. Then I removed the lid, and the smell exploded. Putrid! But wait! The pitcher was filled with something. What have the mice done now? Investigating further, inside the pitcher was a large plastic Ziploc bag filled with dried onions. And under that was another large bag filled with mustard powder. Naturally, I immediately carried these bags to the garbage. The mice might be exonerated in this case, but it was still weird.

Honestly, that iced tea maker had never been used, so what was the scenario that put dried onions and mustard powder in Ziploc bags inside that pitcher? Perhaps mom and dad visited their daughter for Christmas and received the useless iced tea maker as a gift. Before they left for home, daughter said, “Mom, I have dried onions and mustard powder. Wouldn’t you like to take some home with you?”

“Oh, yes, that would be great!” said mom. And as dad packed the car for the trip home, he put the two Ziploc bags inside one of the pitchers in the Iced Tea Maker box. Once they were home, the box was stashed in the basement, both the maker and its contents forever forgotten. Twenty years later, when their children arrived to move them from the condo to the facility, the boxed iced tea maker was donated to a local P.E.O. chapter for their rummage sale.

Or something like that.

Do you know how long it takes me to use up a jar of onion flakes? Forever! And mustard powder? I used to have some.

Incidentally, the coupons included with the unit expired in 1996.

Thursday, May 16, 2019


Monday began with a visit to the contractor’s office. As the business of renovation winds down, he provided documents for our records. We mentioned a few needed finishing touches and a few things we can’t find, like the toaster.

Back at the farmhouse, Farmer Kyle’s operation was just finishing in the north field. Mike was right, of course – we missed a lot of dust. On the other hand, a smaller tractor is going over the ground again, so we’re still getting plenty of dust.

Once we were settled, the next order of business was to look after the needs of the hummingbirds. We had many here last week, but we apparently lost momentum when we left. We were gone less than 48 hours, but we see only a hummer or two now and then. The new feeder we brought with us didn’t seem to appeal to the hummers, but more to the point, we questioned its design, so we rehung the old one, which is a little small. We still need a larger feeder.

As we walked to the mailbox late in the afternoon, we found Farmer Kyle’s operation at a standstill. He said a deer antler had punctured one of those gigantic tractor tires. A service tech from Les Schwab Tire was there to install a new one. A neighbor wondered if Les Schwab would have changed the tire for free if Farmer Kyle’s wife had been driving.

We’re still putting things away, and as I continued to consider how I could conserve space, I was startled to realize that everything is pretty much put away. I can now reassess and rearrange as needed, but I’m not challenged to find more room.

Mike and I have been hanging pictures, etc. – basically trying to put them back where they were before. I was so pleased to see that this little shelf, purchased some years ago at Pier 1, blends so well with the new kitchen colors. The old color scheme – red, green, white and brown – were fun for a while but limiting in the long run. I’m loving the change.

Mike said he saw bear scat down by the pond. I questioned his identification, but he was certain. After our walk Wednesday evening, as he was playing fetch with Bess, the bear appeared, heading toward the yard. Mike called me and I ran to the front porch with the camera. I managed to just catch the bear as he/she was loping away. If you look closely, perhaps you can make out the cinnamon fur of its face and shoulders. KW

Monday, May 13, 2019


Taken Monday, May 13
Remember Mother’s funnel cake pan that I discarded the other day? I couldn’t do it. I removed it from the donation pile and put it back in the cupboard where it belongs.

Hallie planned to leave at 9:30 Friday morning but just kept working and working, cleaning the living room floor on her hands and knees. I came up with a set of glass casters, now collector items, and we positioned the dining room table and set those casters under the rollers. I like it!

The pear tree in spring finery
Hallie left before 11:00, and then Mike went to the attic. He vacuumed up a year’s accumulation of the awful stuff that gathers there. Then he pushed the old Xmas tree out and handed down his Dracula Halloween costume. “Do we have to do this now,” I screeched. I guess there’s something to be said for getting rid of stuff while we’re making trips to the transfer station and other donation centers. He says we need the space.

One tired puppy
Mike did all he could to eliminate boxes in the den, most stuff going back into the closet. Now we will have to deal with the big box of pictures removed from the walls. We have no place to store them, so we will have to re-hang them soon. The sun porch is now his priority, and before Hallie left, he had her help him move the bookcase into the den. He has questions as he goes along, which means he needs me in close proximity. Late in the afternoon, I finally replaced the books on the upstairs bookcase, emptying three big boxes. As I worked, I eliminated a dozen books and will probably eliminate more.

In the evening, Hallie sent a message that she was home and that it was 80 degrees in Seattle. That may mean that we’re in for some hot days here.

Saturday, we again discussed the fact that the key is missing from the master bedroom door. You see, the doors here are the original solid wood with brass knobs. Each door has its own key. Also, the knob on the stairwell door had corroded, so Mike replaced it with an extra.

The goal today was to empty as many boxes as we could. I finally tackled those in the master bath, sorting and putting away toiletries and linens. Mike has the sun porch in pretty good shape now, and he worked along at various chores until late morning when he began to collapse boxes and load them into the Dakota. He crammed a lot in there, including most of the trash. Then he and Bess made a trip to the transfer station. She made a bid for the driver’s seat, but Mike insisted on driving.

Hallie sent a message that Primo’s spots are not ringworm but a bacterial infection for which the vet prescribed a shampoo. We are relieved.

The scene as we left on Saturday
After lunch, Mike packed more cardboard, trash, and the old Christmas tree into the Dakota along with a few things for our brief stay in town. As we left, Farmer Kyle’s equipment was parked on June’s place at the top of Plank’s Pitch. I was disappointed that he will likely plant our fields while we’re gone, but Mike was more philosophical. “We’ll miss a lot of dust,” he said. “Except for that which settles in the house,” I said to myself.

We stopped at the transfer station in Orofino and dropped off the old Christmas tree and the remains of our trash. We arrived in town about 3:00, and it was 91 degrees. I exchanged my winter pajamas for a lighter set. But – this is Idaho. It could be cool again. In fact, it’s predicted. KW