Sunday, April 20, 2014

A VISIT TO BOISE



Friday, April 18 (Good Friday) – The day of our trip to Boise had finally arrived, and somehow the dogs knew. The dogs weren’t going, and somehow they knew that, too. Mike took them to the boarding facility where Nellie seemed to accept her lot and the uninitiated Bess questioned that he would leave her there.

As we traveled, I remarked to Mike that I’m glad to be out of the celebration of Easter through the whole Easter egg thing -- though I admit that I enjoyed some jelly bean eggs during the season.

Our time in Boise – just a few hours, really – was spent with son Milo and our grandsons Mason and Gage. Milo’s time with the boys had been set with their mother, so we picked them up at the appointed hour Saturday morning with the idea of spending time at a park. They chose Kleiner Memorial Park, which actually lies in Meridian.

Kleiner Park is a large, well-planned facility for family activities, BUT – what we failed to take into account was that Saturday was the day before Easter and a huge event, an Easter egg hunt and family day, was in progress. That wasn’t the atmosphere we needed, so we opted instead for the quietude of Ann Morrison Park in Boise proper.   

Grandpa Mike and Gage tossed a baseball back and forth, then kicked the football for a while, and then rolled the balls on the bocce ball court. (Too bad we didn’t have bocce balls.) Meanwhile, I set out the snacks and made sandwiches. Mason is recuperating after surgery to repair his left foot and ankle, so he gets around on a scooter. He and Milo went for a quiet walk.

Ann Morrison is a mature, well-established park now, and Mike reminisced about moving to Idaho those 45 years ago and taking his two little boys to a Boise city park – perhaps this one – and pushing them on the swings.

With the aid of this new-fangled technology, I included Aunt Hallie in our gathering by means of a text message. She sent a “selfie” of herself making a face and challenged the boys to do the same for the phone camera. They obliged. Those photos will lie forever in the privacy of the family photo archives – at least until my cell phone fails.


Our few short hours were over all too soon. Or were they? I think Grandpa Mike got pretty tired – and maybe Mason as well.

And then it was time to take our leave – first of the grandsons and then of Milo – and return to our valley. Parting is always bittersweet, but at the same time we have never been so connected, thanks to our electronics. KW

Thursday, April 17, 2014

OF DOGS AND NAPS IN THE GRASS



“We need to watch the dogs for ticks,” I casually observed.

I don’t remember what Mike said. Perhaps he just grunted, or snorted derisively, or maybe he said it was too soon.

At any rate, I was scratching Bess’ ears for her on Sunday after our trip to the farm when I found a tick on the underside. Then I found one crawling on the wall in the bedroom.

“Are you sure?” asked Mike. “Maybe it was a little spider.”

I assure you -- I know the difference between little spiders and ticks.

The next tick I found was crawling on Mike’s biking shorts as they hung in the bathroom. I don’t know where all these ticks came from. Perhaps that nap on the lawn at the farm had something to do with it.

Then, on Monday, as I was again scratching Bess’ ears, I picked another tick off her.

“Oh yeah?” said Mike. “I haven’t found any on her but she has a wart behind her left ear.”

“No, she doesn’t!” I answered, knowing full well that that was a tick, too. I dug deeply through her thick fur and confidently pulled the “wart” off.

“Okay,” said Mike. “I’ll treat her.” Out came the Bio-Spot and little Bess had her first tick-repelling treatment.

We haven’t found any ticks on Nellie, but when we go back to the farm, she’ll get a treatment, too.

Bess is such an energetic pup. Nellie is a bit of a “pillow potato.” Even in youth, she appreciated her morning nap on her pillow and extra recovery time after a hunt. Not so Bess. She’s excited to get out and participate in whatever is happening. If she gets a little tired, a short nap will bring her back to life. KW


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"In your Easter bonnet . . ."



Last weekend at the farm, while Mike was outside hard at work on his spring chores, I was focused on making an Easter bonnet “with frills upon it” for granddaughter Emmy’s American Girl doll.

I finished the dress last week from a pattern I purchased through Pixie Faire called “Jennifer and Kate” from Jelly Bean Soup Designs. The pattern is simple and the design flattering to the doll's rather blocky shape. I used scraps of cotton fabric for the bodice. The ruffled skirt is an eyelet border. I loved that the bodice is lined and all seams enclosed.
 
(I requested and received a picture of Emmy's Easter dress (right) so that I would have some idea as to style. I would love to have more nearly matched the fabric and colors but couldn't find that in this limited market.)

Well, after I finished the dress, it had to have a bonnet. I get these ideas, and then nothing is right but that I follow through. Sometimes I forget that these are issues only within myself. Is that what it means to be obsessive?

Anyway, I couldn’t find a hat pattern that fit my conception of a little girl’s Easter bonnet in my rather extensive pattern collection. What came to mind were the thread hats that my mother crocheted as Christmas decorations. What would happen, I asked myself, if I used one of those patterns with cotton yarn (such as we use for crocheting dishcloths) and a bigger hook?

Mother’s collection of thread ornament patterns is stored at the farm, so as soon as I could get to it, I sought them out. Yes – there it was – a fine example of a frilly bonnet. (This instruction pamphlet is “Victorian Accents” from Annie’s Attic, 1993.) I grabbed my cotton yarn and a size F hook and started to crochet. I had to know if this idea was going to work. I crocheted now and then and it didn’t take long, as projects go. By Saturday morning I had finished the bonnet.
 
Come Monday, the dress, the bonnet, and a pair of shoes and socks were addressed to Emmy and mailed from Gramma’s Scrap Bin.

Oh – I could write a sonnet
About this Easter bonnet . . . KW



Sunday, April 13, 2014

FIRST OVERNIGHTER AT THE HOMESTEAD -- 2014



The plumber repaired the pipe on Wednesday (April 9), and the farmhouse was good to go. So, Mike and I headed there on Friday (April 11) with enough stuff to make ourselves comfortable overnight. That included t.v. but not internet. (Yes, I did have “connection withdrawal.”)

We worked hard those two days, and when I say “we,” it was mostly Mike. Mike’s work was well-defined, as usual. He turned on the water and made sure it was okay after the repair work. The water line to the refrigerator was leaking, so he identified the problem (a crack in the pump). We found the manual, located a phone number, and he ordered the new part with a phone call to “Greg.” He tried to repair a toilet, but that will also require a new part. He serviced and lubed the lawnmower. I helped him pick up limbs in the grove, and he hauled them to the burn pile. (Some limbs were large enough that he cut them up for the fireplace.)

My work pales by comparison. I unpacked what we brought, cleaned the kitchen sinks and counters, prepared our meals and ran the dishwasher to make sure it was all right. (If it isn’t okay, I prefer to know in the daytime rather than at night.) I washed the interior of the refrigerator, and that was probably my major overall accomplishment. My efforts to pick up the house and put things where they belong involved many trips up and down the stairs. I dusted the master bed and bath, made the bed, set the clocks, etc. As evening approached, I made a fruit cocktail cake for dessert. I had no nuts for the topping – at least, none that I found until the next day -- but I threw in a handful of dried cherries, and that was a nice addition. And – I must have my little diversions, so I found a crochet pattern and began a project. (More about that in another post.)

I also assessed the pantry and started our list for the next trip – groceries and supplies we need to bring. We both add to the list as we discover or think of things we need. We keep the list in a steno notebook which (hopefully) travels back and forth with us.                                         

Saturday morning, the dogs were up at 6:00 and whining for attention at the door. Bess is a very vocal dog, but when it comes to whining for entry, she lets Nellie do the work. Later Mike discovered their sleeping accommodations probably weren’t as comfortable as they should have been. When he checked the dogloo, he didn’t notice a bag of extra wood shavings stuffed in there. We don’t know where they slept, but they didn’t complain until 6:00. Nellie did seem extra tired but Bess, being a young dog, was ready for anything “fun guy” wanted to do.                                                                                                     
Saturday Mike lubed the windmill, sprayed the lane and the drive to kill/inhibit the weeds (several hours of real work), and spread gravel where the wash in the lane occurred. 
 



We also transplanted some “Crown Imperial” frittalaria and hope that our work will be rewarded. We won’t know until next year. 
 
Yes, it’s true. What Mike accomplishes always sounds much more impressive than what I do. On the other hand, I do the packing and unpacking, the meal prep and clean up, and when we get home, I’m still have the unpacking and my evening chores to do. But – I have resolved that this year the house will get a good cleaning and that will start with the next trip.
 
Mike was so tired Saturday afternoon that before we left for town, he took a nap on the lawn. The dogs kept him company. KW