Friday, October 9, 2015


I gave a presentation at my P.E.O. chapter about my doll collection. Afterwards, a member (Mary) asked if I would like her “Toni” doll. My first thought was to refuse, not because I didn’t want the doll but because I knew I would be off on another tangent. But Mary told me that no one in her family wanted the doll. “You should see her hair,” she said. “I gave her a permanent and ruined it.” Her daughter called the doll “Chucky,” she said. How bad could she be, I wondered. [The photo left is of me and Mary prior to Toni's refurbishment.]

Some of you may remember the era of the home permanent. My mother gave me a permanent every three months from the time I was seven until I was fifteen or so. I hated it. Somehow the permanent Mother gave me didn’t make me look like those lovely models in the ads. But Mother said that without a permanent, my hair was unmanageable. So, a Saturday morning would be devoted to the process, and then my hair would be kinky (and smelly) for a couple of weeks. Everyone knew by smell as well as sight when a person’s permanent was new. Gradually the curl relaxed and grew out and Mother began to talk about permanents again.

Anyway, one brand of home permanent was the highly advertised “Toni.” And the “Toni” doll, manufactured by Ideal, was meant to promote the “Toni Home Permanent.” The doll was available in several sizes, the one in question being a 14-inch “P-90.” She came with a mock permanent kit, the solution being sugar water. Little girls everywhere gave permanents to their Toni dolls, saturating the wig with sugar water, and after that the doll wasn’t the same. (Really – I’m surprised the company got away with that.)

Despite this drawback, Toni was a beloved doll in the ‘50s, and I was totally hooked when I discovered the many patterns designed for her. Of course, all of those are now available as downloads through Etsy sellers.

So, last month my friend brought the doll to my house wrapped in a crocheted shawl. Yes, her hair was a little stiff and tousled and her joints were very loose due to the loss of elasticity in her bands. So, I first researched for instructions on re-stringing, and, gaining confidence, I ordered new bands. The doll pleaded for a new wig, so I ordered one of those, too.

The pictures here illustrate the re-stringing process, which I had never done before. I asked Mike to help me, but he offered the use of his tools and disappeared. I borrowed pliers and tweezers, but I didn’t need them. Instead, I used an open paperclip and a craft stick.

Then I tackled the wig. It was difficult to remove the old one. A little water helped. With great anticipation, I then fitted the new wig to her head. It’s elasticized and fits tightly, so I didn’t glue it down.

Isn’t she pretty? Next up – a new dress. (I already have three patterns.) KW

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Montana Sharptails

My nearest neighbor on the farm, Chris, who is just a little younger than my oldest boys is a hard core hunter.  He actually lives in Orofino but has land and a little building near our farm.  He probably doesn’t hunt more than I do because he has a job but he frequently takes multi day camping/hunting trips just for birds.  He often invites me to come along but I usually defer as my hands and feet just don’t do well in the cold any more.  However, when he invited me to join him and a friend on a Sharptail grouse hunt in north central Montana I couldn’t resist as I’d never hunted Sharptails.

He allowed me to bring my hunting partner, Ken, along but because of a family trip Ken was taking we would be joining Chris and Dave a couple of days later.  They were hunting five days.  After a 538 mile drive we arrived Wednesday afternoon and after unpacking at a motel we joined Chris and Dave for some delicious grouse fajitas that Dave had prepared at their camp.   

The next morning we drove east for another 70 miles to some state hunting sites.  At the first site Ken took the far right sweep and I was next to him.  Within fifteen minutes Bess was ranging far and wide and goes on point way over in front of Ken.  In less than five minutes Ken has three birds (thanks to Bess) and was thinking how easy this is.  He was thinking it was going to be a short day as the limit is four.  We hunted until noon and I eventually got one but Dave and Chris had no luck.  I should add that Ken and Chris have Shorthairs as do I and Dave a Vizsla.

The next stop entailed a long and a somewhat boring trek.  Ken and I hunted together and didn’t see one bird in about a two hour hunt.  We heard Chris banging away and found later that he had gotten three.  Our last stop was at a management area that required steel shot.  Ken and I had not brought any so we borrowed a few shells from our hosts.  We had hunted for about thirty minutes when I finally got into some birds and in less than five minutes had three which filled my limit.  Chris’s dog, Tick, had a sore foot so I was sharing Bess with him.  As we were heading back Bess made a beautiful point for him and the bird got up fairly close for a perfect shot.  Chris hit the bird on his first shot but not well enough to bring it down and he missed on his second.  Naturally he was pretty bummed out.  Dave had been skunked but he made up for it the next day.
Our bag after first day

Ken and I made the long drive back to the motel, cleaned the birds and had a delicious meal of lasagna that Kathy had prepared in advance for us.  We (including the dogs) slept well that night.

Rain had been predicted for a long time so we were expecting it the next morning.  I donned a light rain jacket and some motorcycle rain pants.  The first field we visited had lots of birds in it but they were very wild.  Chris and Dave were banging away so Ken and I figured they may have limited out.  As it turned out they didn’t get any.  We had taken a couple of long shots at ones passing by but they were pretty much hope shots.  As we were heading back an unpointed bird got up near Ken and he dropped it.  When we were about 50 yards from the truck the same thing happened for me.  

By this time the rain had stopped but of course the fields were wet.  (At the end of the day I was the only one with dry feet so I was impressed with my Irish Setter boots.) Our next stop was at a big alfalfa field.  Ken and I hunted together and it wasn’t long before Bess hit a point.  A pair flushed far out with one turning back and I almost took a shot but it was just a bit too far for me.  The exact same thing happened again shortly but this one was just a little closer in and I was able to drop it.  Bess made a nice retrieve.  As we approached the corner of the field 13 birds flushed but they were at least 150 yards out.  We heard shots from the others so hoped they had had some luck.  As we got back near the truck both dogs got very birdy and Pepper hit a hard point with Bess backing.  A single flushed at close range and Ken dropped it.  He said he didn’t know whether I was going to shoot and I told him I wasn’t about to shoot until he had had a crack at it.  So now we each had two birds.  When we got back to the truck we found that Dave had broken his dry spell and picked up two birds but Chris had not fired a shot.

Bess with 2nd day's limit
The last field was another alfalfa field and this time Ken and I were not hunting together.  Bess make and couple of nice points and subsequent retrieves on two singles following my shots.  That made my limit so I was back at the trucks by 1:50.  I took some pictures and began cleaning the birds.  The rest of the group arrived an hour later and Dave had bagged two more, completing his limit and Chris had picked up one.

We stopped at another field where just Ken and Chris hunted while Dave and I cleaned birds.  They had no luck and it began raining again.  By the time we got back to the motel the parking lot was a series of small lakes.  I was really glad I had gotten all the birds cleaned beforehand.
Dave, Chris, Ken and me

Bess eyes bird falling off bucket
It rained all night and predictions were for rain all the next day.  We had originally planned to hunt three days but decided to leave well enough alone.  For the two day hunt the final bird score was Young Guns - 8, Old Codgers - 13.

Rogers Pass
  We got a fairly early start and encountered rain, hail, snow and high winds.  By the time we got to Orofino it was sunny and 80 degrees. Total miles back to Clarkston was 1,238.  I found out later that Chris had actually hunted a couple of hours that morning and picked up two more birds.  As I said, he’s hard core.  All in all it was a great trip and one I’ll never forget.  M/W

Monday, October 5, 2015


The Kenmore refrigerator, delivered in August, seems to be working all right. We agree that it’s better than the previous one, which we believed wasn’t cold enough. However, the cooling seems inconsistent.

Actually, we had another Sears event relating to the new dishwasher. In loading it one day, I pushed the top rack into place and a thingamabob fell off the runner. (They call it an end cap, but it’s really a thingamabob.) I discovered this little plastic piece is very important. It keeps the rack from sliding off the runner.
So, Mike called the customer service number and was referred to the parts people who readily agreed to send a replacement thingamabob. A couple days later I found it in the mailbox.

Subsequently, I received an email asking me to complete a survey with regard to this transaction. “Your experience is important to us,” read the message. “Please tell us how we did.” I had to laugh. For weeks Sears had shown no concern for our satisfaction with the $2000 refrigerator, while the parts division wanted to know if we were satisfied with a little $10 plastic part. Clearly, the parts manager and the customer service manager are not the same person.
No, I didn’t complete that survey, nor did I complete it the next time they asked. As for the end cap, it wouldn’t stay on. Mike suggested a service call, but I was afraid it might count against us if we need other service within the year. So Mike crimped the arm a bit to keep the thingamabob in place. So far so good. But again, although it’s a small issue, it’s still a new appliance with a problem. KW

Friday, October 2, 2015


How quickly the time slips away! I took the pictures posted here on Thursday, Sept. 24, which is now more than a week ago. Seems like yesterday. Much has happened since then, though. Mike spent two days packing for a hunting trip to Montana. Now he and Bess are enjoying said trip while Nellie and I are staycating.

One wonderful thing about autumn is that we can walk in the fields, so while Mike was off on his bicycle, the dogs and I walked down the lane and into the fields north of the house and above the draw. I love to see and take pictures from places I don’t ordinarily access. Our destination was the top of the grassy patch you see in the center of this photo.

Of course, the dogs had a blast! Bess ran and ran with the energy of the pup she is, while Nellie ambled and sniffed and pondered the meaning of life. They both seem to enjoy getting off the road as much as I do. Nellie prefers walking in dirt to walking on gravel.

Here you can see the lane which lies on the boundary between "June's place" (left) and ours. This is behind the burned pines which sit where the road turns into the lane. Note the haziness -- smoke from controlled burns.
 Here the house and grove are tiny in the center of the picture above the north field. The trees are in the draw.
 A closer shot of the burned pines. Something will have to happen with those, but they aren't on our land.

And below perhaps you can spy Nellie as she investigates one of her favorite spots among the pines.

An interesting point is that while the house appears to sit on a hill from this angle, the bigger view from the south east shows it's actually in a bowl. One neighbor called it "that Dobson hole." KW

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


When daughter Hallie and Nick visited over Labor Day, Hallie was concerned that old dog Nellie didn't appear to be comfortable on the worn out old dog pillow. She said she had seen a memory foam dog pillow and wondered if Nellie would like it. So, I ordered one from Amazon. 

Two days later, Jeff (the UPS guy) delivered our memory foam pillow. Shopping by price tag, I had purchased one that wasn't big enough for two dogs at one time, but both Nellie and Bess tried it, depending on who got there first. As temps cooled a bit, Nellie began to make herself comfortable at the foot of the bed where I keep extra pillow in shams, leaving Bess to stretch out on the new dog pillow.

Yesterday it occurred to me that Nellie was really saying she didn't care too much for the memory foam pillow. It just doesn't have that cozy "give." I suggested to Mike that we bring down one of the big Costco pillows in storage. We did that, and Nellie immediately curled up on it for a nice long afternoon nap. Last night, Bess got to the pillow first and Nellie was a little put off by that, but eventually she pushed on, too. There's really room for two dogs on the big pillow.

This morning, Nellie opted to nap again on the big pillow instead of going for the morning walk.

So, I think it's clear that Nellie prefers that big Costco pillow. 

[The picture shows Nellie napping comfortably on a large Costco pillow. Also shown are the new memory foam dog pillow and one of the memory foam rugs the dogs used during the summer.]

Saturday, September 26, 2015



There’s something about the old homeplace that sparks the imagination. Perhaps it’s the remote location, the old trees, or the abandoned barn. Or maybe it’s something left of the personalities that shaped the place or the bustling activity now swallowed up in quietude – quiet like a house after people leave. Or maybe it’s the landscape, essentially the same after hundreds of years, give or take buildings and trees.

The fire burned the area I call “the park” -- the head of the draw just off the lane. Mike and I have cut some wood there. It’s a lovely area, but I don’t explore it because of tall grass. The fire made it accessible, and for now, it’s been wonderful to investigate the enchantment there.

This tree, apparently a chokecherry, sits in the middle of the park. Mike thinks it will survive the fire damage it sustained. I hope so. Other choke cherry trees were not burned. Last year I discovered cherries on these trees, but not being certain of identification, I didn’t use them. Now that I know they are chokecherries, I regret missing the opportunity because they often don’t bear, probably because it’s too cold in the draw during the spring. Now that I’m reassured as to identification, I’ll watch them more closely.
Here’s another sight that lends enchantment – a fir tree apparently growing out from the trunk of a downed tree. Interesting. We aren’t sure where its nourishment came from, and it’s probably over now since the host tree is cut on both ends. Too bad.

Something in us loves a wending pathway disappearing around a bend. The fight against the fire caused new trails to be built and old trails to be revealed. Before they disappear again in undergrowth – because they will – I want to walk along them. It won’t be far.

And sometimes I just make my own enchantment. As we were fertilizing the trees at the pond last spring, Mike suggested we should string a certain pine with solar Christmas lights. We could see it from the house, he said. (Now he tells me he doesn't remember saying it.) I found the idea inspiring and couldn’t wait until Christmas to try it. Taking advantage of my newly fenced garden, I purchased “fairy lights” and strung them along the fence. [You can just make them out in the picture at the top of this post.] Then I established “Pixieville” inside the fence in a couple of old pans we found at a dumpsite on the property.

And here’s a picture of the top of the old pine tree that fell, all decked out for Halloween. KW