Saturday, May 31, 2008


Hello from the Homestead! We drove here this morning fascinated by the high water of the Clearwater River. There were a few boats. I'm sure they were fisherman but Mike suggested they were hunting bodies. There was one unfortunate apparent drowning earlier in the week.

Nellie is with us, of course, and also Duke, who is just elated to be here after his weeks of confinement. He chases around the yard and rolls in the grass. His people will be back on Tuesday, the day we go back to town. So -- good news for Duke! -- he will go home instead of to "the place."

Interestingly, it's very wet here, so this area has had rain -- and quite a lot. The strawberries planted two weeks ago look great and so do other plantings. I'm always pleased if the critters don't eat my stuff. It's too wet to mow right now, so Mike has gone off to cut down a tree -- one that is a good candidate for firewood. It's also pretty wet under the clothesline, but maybe I'll wash anyway. The Yellowstone trip is mostly on hold until I get back to town. I hope you're enjoying those posts for their historic value. Future posts are interesting.

Friday, May 30, 2008


July 29, 1926 (Thursday) continued
We passed through Bliss, Hagerman, and Buhl, then began to watch for Twin Falls. Here we had our first experience of auto camps. A little kitchen with oil range, good toilets, even a tub and clothesline. There were shade trees, too. We boiled potatoes and expected a “feed,” but the sausage was bad, no butter, and Lynn didn’t like boiled potatoes so we were sort of grouchy but got to laughing and I thought of the corned beef hash and insisted on Lynn finishing the relish spread. Dad had bought doughnuts and so with tea and jam we made out. I found a cinnamon roll in a bag and was voted lucky. After supper the menfolks all went to hunt a bath and a swim and ice cream and the girls took the chance to write in the little cook house. When the men came back they were minus the bath and swim but had ice cream (Seal Right) and cookies and we all ate it out of cups and were the worse for doing so. Then we collected wash pans, etc., and went to the toilet room for a sketchy sponge bath and after that we bathed our underwear and hose and hung them on the tent ropes and benches.

A big car drove in late. We were treated to the spectacle in real life of what we all suffer from in dreams, i.e., two men trying to dress with people all around them. We made a little better time getting off here, but I soon found I had left the little bar pin you gave me, Ethel, in the toilet. I felt sick but at the next town (Burley), I wrote back to the caretaker to send it on home. There was only one car left there, a man and a woman, so I think she found it all right. [Hmmmmm! I have no info on whether or not her pin was returned.] To be continued . . .

Thursday, May 29, 2008


July 29, 1926 (Thursday)
We had the usual breakfast with everyone feeling fine. We were soon in desert country proper, looking like old times so much that I begged for two good pictures and got them, I hope. [I don't think the photos turned out. I couldn't find them.] We saw our first live jackrabbit but the highway is dotted with dead ones. It got very hot in the p.m. on the desert. We passed through New Plymouth, Middleton, Caldwell, Nampa, Meridian, Boise, Regina, Sunnyside, Cleft, Mountain Home. At Caldwell Shirley exchanged her glasses for a lavender-tinted pair which she liked better. Caldwell is in the Boise Valley and nice, Middleton small, Nampa fine. Through the valley was lovely but we seemed to be dodging out occasionally into desert country. In the suburbs of Boise, Irl had to tinker with the car so we ate lunch side of the road under shade of big trees. We had bread and butter, some minced ham, “relish spread,” pork and beans, lettuce and mayonnaise. We passed through Boise about noon and managed to see the capital building. It is beautiful but its only resemblance to the town of 43 years ago is its wide streets and shade trees. I couldn’t tell which way our old camp was but the country looked familiar. We drove out at 12:20 and were in for our hottest p.m. Finally we came to Sunnyside, a service station and small store. Here we went in and drank some kind of bottled cool drink which was very refreshing but we looked like anything but the ads you see of people drinking Coca Cola.

Just before reaching this place there was a sign which said, “Speed limit 100 per hour.” Shirley says Sunnyside reminds her of “Desert Edge” – no – “Date City.” It was just a building – old, dirty, dilapidated – but some caged in young trees showed they had hopes. The man hauled his water from a distant well. Oh! It was desert all right. I found I could pin my duster to the frame so as to shut out the sun pretty well, but oh! Girls! My hair!!! I tried to keep it on by wrapping auto veil around it but the veil would slip off and hair go all directions. Well the heat was fierce, but we grimly endured it and presently came to Mountain Home. We passed through Cleft but it was too small to notice. Mountain Home was a nice little place and here we decided to come by Pocatello instead of the shorter, harder route. We passed through Hammet but I have no recollection of it. [Probably because she was too busy writing.] The next place was Glen’s Ferry. Two cowgirls came in and Vance by merely looking at them got a smile which spread all over their faces. Here Dad purchased the hamburger which proved bad and forgot the butter. This p.m. we passed what is called the “1000 Springs Ranch” on the Snake. From a bluff across the river numerous waterfalls descended apparently coming out of a rimrock. We were not on the desert all p.m. but occasionally dropped into the river valley, then it was nice and big trees and green fields.
[I hope you can appreciate the above pencil sketch which appears in this letter. I don't know if Ina sketched it or someone else. I had a lot of trouble scanning it -- the paper has yellowed and the lead is faded. It shows a man pumping a tire and is captioned, "Most familiar scene on Hiway."]

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Mike continues to attend NAIA baseball games -- three yesterday and two today. LCSC lost last night, which was certainly a disappointment for the locals; however, they won this afternoon. He rides his motorcycle to and from Warrior Field. His shoulder seems to be improving steadily.

I've stayed close to home. I'm making two scrap afghans to use up yarn on hand, but you know how it goes -- I expect I'll come out of those projects with even more yarn on hand. One is a big granny square in bright colors; the other is medallions trimmed in off-white. Yesterday was a big phone day for me: I talked to Hallie, Milo, Joni, and Harriet.

Milo said that T., their daughter, has double pneumonia and will not be attending the last week and a half of school. She is convalescing at home on medication. She will have to make arrangements to take her finals during the summer months. He says she can only watch t.v. and "text." Milo also provided that T. will graduate from Borah High School June 3, 2009. Milo says he's considering the possibility of making a bicycle into a mo-ped.

The dates have been finalized for Jack's visit -- July 7 - 13. Mike has been waiting Jack's lifetime (10 years) for this visit. We would love to spend more time with the grandkids.

Mike and I were walking Nellie recently -- our usual neighborhood route which takes us on a "non-road" through a grassy hillside. Suddenly an unmistakable rattle at my feet sent me flying in the opposite direction. Yes, it was a rattlesnake -- probably 18 inches long. It coiled and stayed coiled, holding its ground. A friend once told me that he couldn't believe that anyone would want to live in this area because of the snakes, but that's the first one I've seen here. I'll be watching now!

Mike saw two muledeer in our street one morning this week. The deer have been enjoying the petunias that Mary Jane planted in her yard.
[Top photo: the "non-road." I met the rattlesnake toward the top. Bottom: this afternoon's view from the top of "non-road." KW


July 28, 1926 (continued)
We passed through Midvale, Weiser, Payette. Had our first glimpse of the Snake near here. We pulled onto the Payette River to camp but found poison oak, flies and mosquitoes were too bad, so pulled out again and drove on through Fruitland, where Julian Brown taught and about 4 ½ miles further on camped at a farm where they had things to sell. It was a free camp and they even allowed us to drive in on the nice lawn, but we wouldn’t. It made us a fine bed, though, and so the tent was pitched there. Everybody was grouchy over our trouble finding a camp, but we had a good supper of fried potatoes, bacon, bread and butter, tea fresh, tomatoes, cantaloupe. Vance bought three quarts of milk for 30 cents but it proved blinky so was a total loss. When supper was nearly ready, a kitten walked onto the table and dragged off two slices of bread. After supper we all felt better but I blew up while Irl and I were making beds. He was chewing gum violently and the bedding was such a mess.

Right here let me say that Lynn and Irl are official strikers; Dad, official fire builder and water getter. Vance officiates at fire, Bernice at dishwashing, Shirley sets tables and packs up grocery box, grub box, and lunch box. I am mayor and domo, by common though unexpressed, consent, of course. We all work at other things.

We made about 127 today and are about 500 from the park. [more tomorrow . . . ]

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


We got off at 7:45 a.m. From Goff to a few miles past Pollock we had the old road about 15 miles, found them working on the highway then. We struck the Little Salmon at Gouge Eye (Riggins). It was very beautiful, growing more wooded and picturesque toward the summit and broadening into meadows which looked to me nearly ½ mile wide in places. The river curved and flowed slowly and with low wooded mountains surrounding was wonderfully beautiful. What surprised us was to find little ranches in pockets along the river, or on benches, some dreadfully burned-out looking. Some had run irrigating ditches and had gardens and we passed a place or two with lovely green lawns!

Just before reaching New Meadows we passed a beautiful field of grain. They were cutting it. We took two pictures of those lovely meadows. They seem to raise hay mostly. New Meadows is small but up and coming in quite a large valley, in fact from there the landscape began to be Southern Idaho. Bertha, one stretch of road looked like the old Slash. There was a distant range of timber mountains to make it seem more natural and the country on both sides looked just the same as slash.

We didn’t strike any more surfaced highway till after we left Cambridge, but the roads are wide and smooth and look almost as though surfaced. The country was rough and sagebrushy. I got out and got some for a fire and will put in a piece of the leaves for you to smell. It was awful hot at Cambridge and the countryside depressing. Our next town was Midvale (small), then to Weiser, which is a nice town but we couldn’t get lettuce there and no hamburger, which caused us to be disgruntly. We ate lunch “1000 feet” from the Starkey Hot Springs Hotel – bread, butter, cheese, jam, cookies, hardtack. [To be continued . . . ]
[I couldn't find pictures of the meadows she mentions. They probably didn't turn out. The photo above is of Vance in the 1920s.]

Monday, May 26, 2008


July 28, 1926 (Wednesday) -- continued

At Cambridge. Waiting while Bernice looks up a friend. Vance says “tell ‘em it’s better than hot.” We camped at Gouge Eye last night. We had one hilarious time arranging our beds. We put, from the front of the tent, Lynn, Vance, Irl, Bernice, Shirley, and self. We soon found we had too much cover and first one and then another were sitting up making adjustments, and we were not quiet before 11:30. Then a dog came along and growled over a bone, then two dogs started a fight. Then I heard Shirley begin to snore and Lynn started off and Bernice began to giggle. Dad slept on the cot.

The bed was hard with a gentle (?) rise just where our hips came and we thought the night endless, but all felt quite good, though, on rising at 4:30 a.m. Vance took a picture with the sun touching the hills and another of us at breakfast. Two other cars were camped there and one had two dogs. One, a little smooth puppy, came over and wriggled himself into the middle of our spread table. We all laughed, of course.

Irl said he’d bet we would not be laughing the next night but “cussing.” For supper last night we had fried potatoes, bacon, coffee, bread and the remains of our butter and strawberry jelly. For breakfast this morning we had bacon, eggs, toast, coffee, jelly and Himalayal [?] jam. [To be continued . . . ]

[The two photos in this post are those mentioned as taken by Vance. The group at breakfast are, from right: Shirley, Bernice, Lynn Dryden (Bernice's brother), Julian, and Ina. Somehow it doesn't look like she's having as much fun as she says she is. I'm sure the photo of the mountains does not do justice to the beautiful scene. On the back of the photo Ina wrote: "The sun-tinted bluffs border the main stream." KW]

Sunday, May 25, 2008


We soon crossed the mountain and dropped down into the Salmon River country and canyon – 3,000 feet in 12 miles [the old White Bird Grade]. The highway is very scenic, a good deal like Lewiston and Uniontown, but the canyon itself is magnificent, such high rugged bluffs or mountains. The river is beautiful – green mostly. Dad could show us the old road he and Charles P. came over on. White Bird is 18 miles from Grangeville and is a dilapidated little town. From there to the Meadows is 72 miles and the road is fine though not graveled.

It is now 5:45 p.m. and the boys still mending that tire. Bernice says to tell you we have just been investigating an old house. It is a nice shanty but there were quite a number of clean-looking glass jars with bright covers, a little old bed in the corner and a little old table. Bernice has just come along again to tell me to tell you that we plan to camp at “Gouge Eye” tonight. She keeps laughing over it. We are all feeling fine. It was pretty hot for a while along the river but a cool wind is blowing now. I’m getting hungry.

We thought we’d make it to Cambridge but Dad says we will about make Pollock. We see many cars loaded much as ours are. I have already thought of many ways to shift the load and contrive more convenience.

We are off -----
Wed. a.m. Had a blowout just after this and had to camp at Gouge Eye. Had lots of fun – more later. Made 127 miles.
Love, Momma
[The photo above of the old White Bird Grade was taken by Vance. It's actually a good photo but did not scan well due to the hazy appearance of distant mountains.]

Saturday, May 24, 2008


July 27, 1926 (Tuesday), 5:10 p.m.
Gouge Eye [Riggins] on the Salmon River

Dear Girls,
Shall write my first to you while Irl and the boys mend a flat tire. We stopped to gaze at some wonderful bluffs and Irl discovered a flat and a nail hole.

To begin you must imagine our keen delight in being really off for the Yellowstone at 7:45 at June’s. The breeze was coldly keen and Vance soon put on a sweater and Bernice pulled up her collar. We noted that at least half of the fall grain was in the shock and/or being shocked. We saw a threshing machine this side of Russell and several combines farther out about Nezperce. The grain looks wonderful and we saw several pieces badly fallen. Just at the Catholic church Irl stopped because the engine began to sputter but only for a minute. Then we proceeded on to Nezperce. We put in 35 minutes there. Bernice got a dandy pair of tweed knickers in brown mixture ($3.00). Dad got two new shirts and a pair of regular pants ($2.00), but he had to take blue in shirts. We couldn’t get lettuce there so got bananas. I got this tablet there and 10-cents worth of gum.

The engine “bogged” to Craigmont, then Irl got it looked after and we were there nearly an hour. Bernice found one of the Tweedy girls there in the garage office. She is married, of course. Dad and Lynn went on to Cottonwood and waited there. We saw Charles Strick there and he told us Mrs. Hill is cooking in the hospital in Ferdinand and Abe is baching at home. Charles is running a combine and looked thin. Bernice had time to look up an old friend she hadn’t seen for 11 years and Irl tinkered with the car while Vance and Shirley got a hair cut, for I had forgotten about Irl’s outfit being in. We were all starving by that time and drove out this side for a way and stopped where some big locust trees hung out over the road. We set the box on a bank and proceeded to fill up. Everybody enjoyed the creamed cheese and voted the salad dressing fine. We got two big heads of lettuce in Cottonwood. We also ate the corned beef hash and thought it good, but oh! the flies were terrible. We were near a barnyard and some nice young “dominicks” came out to eat our crumbs. [“Dominique” is a breed of chicken – black and white speckled.]

We got to Grangeville in due time and left there at 2:00 p.m. We got paper towels there and some postcard views and Dad told us where the corner was where he and June ran sorghum. He says it looks to him like it [Grangeville] is twice as big as 20 years ago.

To be continued . . .
[The above photo is not clear but still gives a picture of their travel conditions better than words. The car to the left belongs to Lynn Dryden. Lynn drove, of course, and it seems that Jack was his passenger -- at least most of the time. The back appears packed with camping supplies. The car on the right was Irl's and he appears to carry passengers more than provisions. Note the running boards.]

Friday, May 23, 2008


There’s not much going on here in town – at least not for me. So I’m planning a trip to Yellowstone Park, and you’re invited to come with me. It won’t matter that you just came back from Philadelphia or that you plan to spend creative time with your sewing machines. Nothing will interfere with this trip – not your job, your responsibilities, or gas prices. You don’t even have to pack a bag. And I’ll do all the work.

You see, our trip takes place in 1926. We’re going to ride along with the Dobson family on their road trip from the homestead to Yellowstone and Teton National Parks. I recently found tucked away in a little cedar chest the letters Ina wrote during the trip. Those letters served as her travel diary and will now serve as our guide. The paper is yellow and worn, attesting to the fact that in years long past they were much read and enjoyed. Now it’s our turn. We also have corresponding photos and some postcards. And if we want info about Yellowstone Park in 1926, we can refer to the official Haynes Guidebook. We’re all set to leave tomorrow.

Included in the travel party are Ina (55) and Jack Dobson (62), their son Irl (30) and his wife Bernice, son Vance (22), daughter Shirley (15), and Bernice’s brother Lynn Dryden. They took two cars, one belonging to Irl and the other to Lynn. Daughters Myrtle and Ethel stayed at the farmhouse and the correspondence is addressed to them as well as to Ina’s sister Bertha. Ethel has a new baby, Shirley Jean.

Here's a family photo taken in 1926 to help us establish the players. From left: Irl, Shirley, Bernice (Irl's wife), Vance, Pearl Dobson Sanders with Stanley, Ina, Ernest and Ethel Robinson with Shirley Jean. Between Shirley and Bernice you can just make out Julian.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Here are photos pertaining to last weekend’s activities on the farm. Photo left shows the new septic tank cover Mike installed. The old one stood above ground -- rather dangerous and in the way of mowing. This installation felt so good just because we've needed to do it for a long time.

The photo right is the south side of the house where I do a little gardening. I planted strawberry plants along the border last Saturday. The royal imperial frittalaria are fading away. They emit an odor that is supposed to repel rodents. There was no rodent activity in that bed, so perhaps it works. The iris I transplanted last summer from the Hazel Wright place which was torn down. Two of them will bloom this spring. Why is it that iris doesn't always bloom?

This is a photo of "bum-wing" Mike installing his weather station. It tells temp, wind velocity, humidity, and rainfall. Unfortunately, it doesn't work well. The good news is that we didn't install the wind gauge (whatever you call the thing) on the roof peak. We're thinking of seeing if we can return the station. The instruction booklet doesn't seem to correspond with the unit. (I hope it's not that we're getting old. I remember that nothing seemed to work well for my parents in their last years.)

And here I am, painting the old garden gnome. Would anyone volunteer to paint the eyes for me? I'm not good with eyes. And does anyone know if there's some compound I can rub onto him that might give him some shading -- like antiquing?

And, of course, like many country folks we enjoy watching the hummingbirds squabble. Mike hung the new feeder Hallie and Nick gave me for Christmas on the kitchen porch. The hummingbirds were just beginning to discover it on Monday. Photos next time -- maybe.

Our time here in town has been filled with meetings and appointments. The weather is cool again -- from 95 to 59, as they say. Today Mike has taken the 4-wheeler into the Waha area to pick up some geocaches. He took the camera, so he'll probably post a blog soon.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I can tell what Nellie is thinking – at least some of the time. This past weekend we took our friend, Duke [see photo right], with us to the farm. Duke is a 3-year-old male German Shorthair who belongs to Ken, Mike’s hunting buddy. Ken is traveling for a couple of weeks, so we agreed to rescue Duke from the boarding facility when we went to the farm. But our spoiled girl didn’t like having to share her domain and her people with another dog. Her body language conveyed her disappointment. “Why did we have to bring Duke anyway?” she moped.

“Nellie has something,” said Mike from the chaise lounge on the porch. Nellie was trotting purposefully toward the barn with a mouthful of something dark. But neither one of moved to chase her down, trusting that the “something” was not something important.

So, when I discovered one of my leather work gloves was missing from the porch step, I naturally thought of Nellie with “something” in her mouth. I knew she had taken it. Her snout was “out of joint” and the glove was available and nicely nasty. The pieces all fit. I hated to lose that glove, too. The pair were made of tanned deer hide and fit my small hands snuggly. I should have been more careful, of course, but who knew Nellie would pick one up? I’m sure she had some vague notion of what she was doing. But when I asked her about it, she just smiled and wagged her tail.

Down to the barn we went. “What did you do with my glove, girl?” I asked. Oh, she pretended to look around all right, sniffing here and there as though she had a clue. I gave up searching the barn and began to check the grounds. I knew we wouldn’t find it by searching, though. We would find it by keeping our eyes open – and hopefully before it dried out and became useless.

Sure enough, this morning as we were preparing to leave the farm, Mike found the glove in the barn – on the south side where we keep the 4-wheeler. He said Nellie had actually dug a hole preparatory to burying the glove, but in the end she thought better of going through with it and just left it by the hole.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I knew that Mike enjoyed the frogs that our friend and contractor, Mike Lorenz, planted in our expanded pond some years back. However, I was surprised when the old homestead was dubbed the “Frog Farm” on the blog.

In the old days, some family members called the homestead “Rimrock Farm” -- an apt name, I think, when you consider its location on the breaks of Little Canyon. I don’t think my dad particularly liked that name, though. In fact, at one time in the ‘50s he thought “Hoot Owl Farm” was a good name owing to the fact that owls were in residence here at the time. He even had routed wooden signs made -- “Hoot Owl Farm” and “The Dobsons” -- but for some reason he never hung them. Maybe the owls left. Maybe his siblings expressed disapproval. But the signs kicked around here at the farmhouse until eventually I tossed out “Hoot Owl Farm” but kept “The Dobsons” for a shelf ornament in the utility room.

Anyway, something about “Frog Farm” seems to stick with the place but we never refer to it as such – thank heaven! While I’m not exactly pleased with the name, the whimsical theme of frogs having fun is popular now and makes the concept tolerable. I chose several “frog” fabrics for the quilt I might finish someday. And I enjoy the “frog theme” garden ornaments that I see in all the marts. I bought a few; perhaps I’ll find a few more at clearance time.
[The frog with a little frog on his/her back in the top picture belonged to my dad and was part of a little area he arranged at his studio door. The frogs on the shovel I bought last week. That's about what it takes to make a dent in the soil here -- lots of frogs on a shovel!]

Sunday, May 18, 2008


The gnome in this photo resides here at the homestead, but he hasn’t always lived here. When I first came to know him, he lived in the yard of 534 Brown Avenue, Orofino, where I grew up. I was told that he was there in 1945 when the Walrath family moved into the house. Holding a fishing pole in his right hand, he sat in the rock garden presiding over the fish pond. Yes, there was a fish pond there. Mother said she had it drained and filled with rock before I was born. “Why?” I asked incredulously. “Because I didn’t want any baby girls to fall into it and drown,” Mother replied with conviction.

So, the gnome sat around the “side yard” for many years, but about the time I began junior high, I asked if I could have a garden of my own. Mother was delighted and designated the space under the kitchen window as my garden. Every summer until I finished at U-I, I kept that little garden. And the little elf gnome came to live there. He was badly faded by the 1960s, so I painted him, and it came to feel like he was mine. When Mother moved from the house in 1991, she suggested I might take him to my house. “Maybe he should stay here,” I said. But both Mother and Joni shook their heads. “No, you take him,” Joni said.

When we sold our house on Broadview Drive in Lewiston, the gnome was among the first things I loaded into the pick-up to go to the farm. Now he sits in my little shade garden. Once again he is badly faded. But today is his lucky day! I brought little jars of paint with me to give him new life.

Friday, May 16, 2008


It’s been a cold spring without the benefit of much rainfall – just drab cold days. But yesterday (Thursday) dawned warm and bright with the look, feel, and smell of summer. Temps are predicted to be in the 90s by Saturday. This signals quite a change when I think that just last weekend my laundry at the farm wouldn’t air dry in temps under 50. Why, not only could we still see snow on the distant mountains, I’m sure it did snow somewhere regionally last weekend. With the sudden high temps, a flood watch is in effect at Orofino from 2:00 today (Friday) until Sunday afternoon. Despite this spell of warm weather, I know better than to take the electric blanket off the bed until July.

Mike loves the great outdoors in the summertime. The change in weather brings changes in routine for us. When I awoke at 5:20 a.m., Mike was already awake and had opened all the windows in order to bring the house temp down as much possible. At 67 inside, about 8:00, he closed the windows. I made note of the times because he then washed the windows. I can just feel his eagerness to be out and doing.

The summer routine is more difficult for me because I love to sew, crochet, read, and prefer to do those things inside where the sun isn’t quite so bright. If I’m going to be outside – say to weed or ride bike -- I prefer to get those things done before it’s hot. And while I love to cook, I don’t love to do it in the summertime. It doesn’t take long to exhaust my repertoire of hot weather entrees either. Anyway, we’ve had few concerns about the summer routine until now.

Did anyone else hear about those huge beetles that were delivered to Pennsylvania? I wonder if Douglas knows anything about those. They sounded truly disgusting! [No photo available] KW

Excitement in Philly!

Hello All,

I arrived safely in Philadelphia on Wednesday and have been enjoying the different architecture. I don't have a picture from my collection yet since I left the transfer cord at home. Here's a photo from the Internet of my Exciting Thing #2. Here is the full list of exciting things from yesterday:

1. My first Philly cheese steak--YUM!
2. An old man who had peed his pants.
3. Philadelphia City Hall - the coolest building I've seen in the states so far!
4. A fat lady run over and trapped underneath a utility van. We watched the fire department lift the van on hydraulics to get her out.
5. A businessman who got out of his car just to yell at the numskull in the vehicle behind him who was making it hard to park.
6. A guy on a unicycle with 3 foot wheel busting through crowds on the sidewalk.
7. Cars PARKED in the center turn lane of a road (not double-parked...PARKED).
8. A Maxfield Parrish work replicated in grand scale with Tiffany stained glass.
9. 29 bottle caps found! Murray has coined the city, "Filthadelphia."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


The down side to a life of traveling back and forth between two places is that we find ourselves leaving behind at one house something that we really need at the other. Last weekend we had the presence of mind to take the USB cord for the camera to the farm so that we could download photos from the camera to the computer and thus be able to illustrate the blogs we write there. Not only did we leave the cord at the farm but we didn’t transfer the photos we took last weekend to the thumb drive so that we could have them in town. I had meant to illustrate several blog posts with the photos. Without photos, I can’t even think of topics! And of course, we have no means to download any photos we have taken this week.

Mike’s shoulder seems to be healing nicely. At his follow-up appointment today, he was told he should continue to wear the splint for the rest of the month. But – he can now ride his bicycle without the splint for an hour or so a day. Between you and me, he doesn’t let that shoulder hold him back from anything he wants to do. Today he and Ken went on a hike in the Waha area.

I walked up Critchfield today and found an interesting bottle cap -- Twisted Tea. I've never seen that. What is it? -- some sort of hard tea? Inside the cap it says, "Be a little twisted."

Monday, May 12, 2008


Just a quick blog from town to let you all know we seem to be experiencing some technical difficulties with our computer. We took it in for diagnostics and repair today. It's back home now but still hangs up. So, if circumstances are such that we disappear for awhile, you'll understand that I'm thinking of you but unable to update.

Over the course of the weekend I heard from all five of the Warnock children. That was wonderful. Thanks for your thoughtfulness.

Looking ahead, Hallie leaves Seattle on Wednesday to visit Murray and family in Philadelphia. I look forward to hearing all about her visit. (Actually, she's on a secret mission to bring back pictures of Douglas for my photo album.) I wonder if she'll find bottlecaps and if they will be different than those we have "on this side of the mountain." I found three yesterday while Mike stopped to geocache. KW

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Unfortunately, I don't have any electronic photos of myself or the brothers as wee little cute things to post on this day as a tribute to Mom. I went searching for a photo of an animal baby, and look what I found! :)

Although I can't be with Mom today and probably won't get to talk to her due to poor cell service, I will do many things with thanks to her. I will make my bed with special corners the way Mom showed me. I'll slow cook a pot roast just the way Mom does. I'll wear the apron she sewed for me. I'll fold up the afghan on my lap that I made because she taught me how to crochet. When this day is through, I might just catch a movie that makes me weep a little (whether happy or sad) because sometimes Mom weeps a little at movies, and after all, I AM a bit like my mother. :)

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!!! We three baby animals love you very much!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Mike announced that since he had worked hard yesterday and completed chores, today he would take it easy and go for a hike. I volunteered to go along for two reasons: 1) I didn’t think he should go alone because of his shoulder, and 2) I am also interested in the topography here. Turns out I’m sure he would have been much better off on his own – probably could have done it in half the time. Leaving our property through the northwest boundary, we worked our way to the bottom of Little Canyon on property owned by the Little Canyon Hunting Preserve. While our trek wasn’t particularly treacherous, it surely wasn’t easy. Our route appeared to be an abandoned road, now overgrown with bramble bushes and other vegetation that make it difficult to traverse. Where we couldn’t find the old road, we used the deer trails. As we neared the bottom, six affection-starved horses eyed us with interest while keeping their distance. We came out on a shotgun practice range at the edge of a road running through the bottom. We had descended 1,000 feet in about 1/2 mile horizontal distance.

I can’t tell you how long we walked in descent – perhaps an hour -- and that wasn’t easy. Now we had to climb back out and the steepness that was behind me as I descended loomed in front to taunt me. I admit it – I was already tired. Mike, of course, needed no refreshment and was ready to climb. We agreed that he would go ahead and I would climb at my own pace. “I can make it to that rock up there,” I would say to myself, then choose another landmark when I reached the rock. I retreated into thought to keep from thinking about the climb. I mentally cut potatoes into our Swiss steak casserole from last night and made a seasoned gravy to pour over it. When we came to the place where our trail intersected the one on the other side of the ravine, we crossed over and hiked that trail. We were now moving in the wrong direction – away from our place -- but we were curious about this old road. We believe it to be the old road to Peck, perhaps the route that the Dobsons used to reach their homesteads. The road is now abandoned and just exists as a trail, largely unused. But alas! It did not afford a better way to get back to the farm, so we retraced to the intersection and then hiked on to the farm. In the end we somehow lost track of our path and used steep deer trails to re-enter our property. Of course, Nellie hiked with us and covered much more territory than we did. I envied her her four legs.

We were out about four hours. I was exhausted! Mike made us a bite to eat. EEEEK! I just got a tick out of my hair!


WOO HOO!!! It’s great to be talkin’ to ya from the homestead. We arrived at 9:30 yesterday (Friday) morning and immediately fell into our routine chores – turn on the water, turn up the water heater, unpack, turn on the computer and run a scan, make “nectar” for the hummingbirds, wind the old clock.

Ever since I’ve known him, Mike has loved to tinker with old lawn mowers and other small engines. Last summer, when our old lawn mower died and Mike finally wrote “R-I-P” on it, I begged him to buy a brand new one. So much time and frustration goes into those old mowers, I said; let’s treat ourselves so that you can just mow. We shopped and were finally going back and forth between Home Depot and Sears, but Mike just couldn’t make up his mind. The new mowers have features he just didn't like. We finally ended up at “Lawnmower Charlie’s” at the corner of 5th and Bryden where it was love at first sight between Mike and an old gray Craftsman. Mowing last season went fine but a couple of weeks ago, after sharpening the blade, Mike noticed a problem. “What’s wrong with this thing?” he complained; “it’s not cutting right.” The blade casing, or whatever you call it, was riding right on the ground on one side. So, when we came yesterday, we tipped it over and discussed the hooks and doohickies, the rods and the springs and the pins. And of course, Mike is really hampered with his left arm in a sling and the alteration we were considering was not going to be easy. Then I noticed it – the rear tire on the affected side was flat. “Do you think that could be the problem?” I asked. Sure enough – we pumped up the tire and mowing went fine.

I don’t think Mike wanted me to blog about that, but I’ve said all along if it’s going to be interesting, you have to write about your failures as well as your successes, your foolishness as well as your wisdom. For those not born to it, country life is an experiment. And besides, the flat tire wasn't obvious.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


On June 1, 1933, Ina writes to Vance:
“I should have written sooner after Mother’s Day and your offering came, but we’ve been busy and too tired when we stopped, etc., so I must be forgiven also. I’m always very happy over my Mother’s Day remembrances. I feel lifted up and carried along on my children’s love and faith and feel like life has been merciful after all. So accept my appreciation of all you have meant to me and of your gift and thought on this last Mother’s Day. I heard from you all . . .” She then lists the gifts she received and adds: “I shall use the $1.00 bills to get new curtains, etc., which is needed and will do so much to add to our pleasure in the house.”

“I stay home on Mother’s Day,” my own mother would announce. She didn’t want to miss the calls and visits from her children. Though she didn’t express herself like Ina, she was nevertheless sentimental over the day.

But I am writing this blog to let you know that we are going to the homestead Friday morning, and we might stay through Monday. You know that phone calls there can be difficult. I thought about making myself available for calls by spending Mother’s Day sitting on “June’s Hill” where we find cell reception to be optimal. I could load the 4-wheeler with books, my latest afghan project, some food – and just spend the day there on the hill waiting for the cell phone to ring. (LOL) That won’t happen!

But – hopefully Wild Blue (the satellite internet service) is now reconnected at the homestead and hence communication possible through email. Mike and I both access our regular email service while at the farm.

Speaking of motherhood – Mike and I enjoyed logging into “sonogram theater,” or whatever they call it, and seeing the face (and other parts) of our darling new granddaughter due to be born in July. Mike immediately saw the face when it came up on screen. It took me longer to make it out in what appeared as soft shadows. To me it was like seeing the man in the moon -- as soon as you see it, it’s plain as day. Photos of babies yet to be born! What will they think of next? There’s not much left to the imagination any more.

[The photo above is of Ina with her youngest child, Shirley, in 1911. I would love to know how to repair photos through computer software.]

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


When I was sorting through photos one day, I discovered these taken from about the same spot in different eras. This first one was taken in 1909 and is captioned "Little Canyon from Dad's west rimrock." That's about a hundred years ago, you know.

The next photo (right) is the same scene: "August 1939 from lone tree point on the 'South 80' [that's what they called that particular field] looking down Little Canyon; Dieterle boys' place in distance."

This photo was taken by my dad in 1959 from approximately the same spot above the place that then belonged to Max Walker . . .

. . . and my contribution taken on a cold April Sunday 2008. Sonny Hairston now owns and operates a hunting club on that land.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Physical therapy yesterday evening went well, I think. Mike said he didn't cry -- not even once. I think he feels encouraged. Range of motion seemed good. The therapist exchanged the original bandage for a lighter one making icing easier. Mike was restless in the night, though -- I think he probably had a little pain due to the therapy. He'll see the therapist again Thursday. And then we might just get off to the homestead for the weekend.

Monday, May 5, 2008


Mike slept on the sofa Saturday night – didn’t even take off his clothes. I think he was awake fairly early Sunday but he did get a decent night’s rest. I did, too; I slept 10 hours.

Sunday (yesterday) was a beautiful day. Nellie knew it and insisted we get out of the house. The three of us went for a neighborhood hike after lunch, but that just didn’t suffice. “I insist we go somewhere,” Nellie said with body language.

So, Mike organized a few local geocaches for us to find. Some preliminary work was necessary as one of them was based on the results of a logic problem. Being obsessively compulsive about such things, I worked on it for a couple of hours, but Mike solved it by means of Excel. (Is that cheating?) That search took us to the edge of the Clearwater on Down River Road where we chatted with a couple of fishermen who had never heard of geocaching. We also found two other caches that have eluded Mike for some time.

Last night Mike showered regardless of the instructions forbidding it. I just won’t be held responsible for his actions. Each day he gains more mobility and is now comfortable with clothing changes. He was able to sleep in bed last night. This morning (Monday) we were out several hours running errands. He was tired by the time we were finished.

We’re a little apprehensive about physical therapy late this afternoon. I will go with him. They’re supposed to give him instructions on taking a shower.

Bottle cap finds: Sunday – 2; Monday – 2.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


We had a rough night. Mike discovered what it means not to be able to lie down comfortably. Pain set in. We were both “up” at 5:00 a.m. He was then able to get comfortable on the sofa where he slept several hours. Much thought has been devoted to the proper function of the organs. After research, I set out for Albertson’s at 7:30 a.m. for fiber-rich foods – not that we don’t practice that sort of diet anyway. This afternoon Mike felt well enough to make a batch of oat bran muffins. I made date nut bread.

We had tentatively planned to attend the wedding of a friend in Coeur d’Alene this afternoon but decided against it. We took several neighborhood walks with Nellie. and I don’t think our hearts were really in that. It was just a quiet day here at home.

Bottlecaps found: 2

Friday, May 2, 2008


“Come on, Nellie. Come on, girl. You have to go to your kennel now,” coaxed Mike at 5:30 a.m. Thursday.

“You must be confused, Mike,” said the look on Nellie’s face. “I sleep on my pillow in the mornings.”

“Not today, girl. You have to go out.” We were on our way to the hospital for Mike’s left shoulder surgery. Dr. Flock said the procedure went well. He removed “loose bodies” from the shoulder and scraped calcium deposits from the end of the clavicle. There were no rotator cuff tears, but he has arthritis. We were home about 1:30 p.m. The rest of the day was trying with the effects of the anesthetic wearing off. But this morning he is up, dressed, moving around with various light activities. Probably like most shoulder surgery patients, he wears a sling that affixes to a pad against his body to immobilize his arm.

Mike refuses to take the prescribed pain medication, which he hates due to side effects, and insists he is getting along well. But doctor and nurse both pressed him to take the pain meds and take them before he needed them. So, we now have yet another bottle of unused narcotic pain meds on the shelf, even though we showed our stash, stated our concerns about side effects, and asked for other options. “Oh but you will be in pain and it will be better if you stave it off,” they say. People are different, I guess. Sometimes I think when the patient has been coping with pain for quite some time anyway, the pain of surgery is not a big deal. Mike manages quite nicely with ice packs and distracting activities. And he seems to be able to get some sleep.

Anyway, today Mike is up, dressed, and moving back and forth between the office and the shed. I feel confident things will continue to go well.

I don’t have pictures of Nellie greeting Mike when he came home from the hospital. I was ready with the camera, but we had to keep her from jumping on him. She quickly saw the dilemma and backed off. Then with deliberate action she pressed her snout to his arm and sniffed. Maybe she wondered if he had a new arm.

[Above -- basket-o-gold blooms in Clarkston.]