Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Bill Mannschreck, an 82 year old retired doctor friend, invited me on a hike Saturday. Along with another old friend, 80 year old Chuck Woods, we hiked the Camas Prairie Railroad from Reubens to where it crosses the highway south of Culdesac. We left one vehicle on the highway where our hike would terminate and took the other one to Reubens. The reason for the trip was to provide documentation to get this section of tracks converted to a Rails to Trails project. It’s a spectacular route with six tunnels and fourteen trestles.

Five years ago Kathy, Nobie (Nellie’s predecessor) and I had hiked from the Crossing point on the map to tunnel 3 and back on a Geocache mission. The trestles along that section weren’t too high and Nobie had no problem carefully negotiating them by walking gingerly over the tin laid along the center of the tracks. However, the tunnels freaked her out and she would find a way over the top.

This time Nellie was along and I didn’t know what to expect. She didn’t give the tunnels a second thought as I figured because I had seen her go through culverts. The trestles were another matter. (If you’ve ever driven up the Culdesac grade you have probably noticed some of the spectacular trestles and how high they are.) She would not walk on that tin in the middle of the tracks. It was not super stable and made a noise. At each trestle she would survey the terrain and if possible would go down and up the other side. She was able to do this on two or three. On the others she walked on the ties on the outside of the tracks which extended out from the rails about 9 to 12 inches with nothing on the outside but a fall of several hundred feet in some cases. There were even some places where a tie would not extend beyond the rails and she would just skip over to the next one. By the time we got to the really high trestles I could not bear to watch. I had tried unsuccessfully to get her to walk the tin but I was afraid she might pull us both off trying to pull away. I was never so glad to finish a hike.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Hey! I just thought I’d let you know we came back to town from the homestead this morning. We made several stops along the way and I found 8 bottlecaps. We spent the afternoon in pre-op activities for Mike’s surgery on Thursday, May 1 (outpatient arthroscopic and decompression procedure on left shoulder with Dr. Flock at St. Joe’s). I’ll write more about our weekend activities tomorrow. For now – here are just a few photos I took yesterday before the camera batteries died.

The first photo is the weekly photo report on the daffodils in the grove. At one time those daffodils formed a border and I asked Mike to help me restore that by cutting back some of the grass. It's fine as far as he went but I think it needs a woman's touch. The photo above [right] is of bulbs planted under one of the pine trees in the grove. What a sweet surprise they were when I first spotted them a few years ago.

As I sat under that pine tree with the hyacinths, I took this photo of the southwest corner of the house looking toward the pond. You see the sun porch, the clothesline, the pear tree, the bramble bush.

And the last photo -- a view just to the right of the previous one -- shows Little Canyon in the distance.

Oh! And I just have to tell you -- the hummingbirds came back today. Mike was working on the porch when a male hovered where the feeder should have been, then got right in his face. So, I quickly made some nectar and hung out the feeders. KW

Friday, April 25, 2008


Clinton stopped by today. He's in town to see Elisha and attend a friend's birthday party. He helped Mike with the old Mercury outboard he is restoring. He went with us to walk Nellie and then went on his way. He left bottle caps . . .

Thursday, April 24, 2008


We’re home from Spokane where Mike saw a cardiologist at Deaconess. After reviewing the EKG and the reports from his bunion surgery, the physician told him that no further testing was indicated. He said that Mike has a slow heartbeat and that under anesthesia it will slow even more. He believes it is possible this slowing is all that happened during the surgery rather than the suspected “third-degree heart block.” Anyway, the appointment was all over in about 45 minutes. We made a few stops in Spokane. Mike bought a rifle rest at the outdoor store. We had our customary Subway lunch, then headed for home, finding a few geocaches along the way. Here are some photos of the Lewis-Clark Valley taken from the top of the hill – for your viewing pleasure or possibly to make you homesick, depending on who you are. As you can see, the weather today was unsettled with intermittent showers.

Happy birthday to Billie. I’ve been thinking about you all week but still didn’t get your card mailed. I hope I do it tomorrow. So – you still have that to look forward to!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gnome Spotted in Idaho

I spy with my little eye...


The homestead provides lots of space for planting trees, bushes, gardens, flowers, etc. It always seems like there's space everywhere and none of it to use. No, not there -- it will block the view. No, not there -- too close to established plantings. No, not there -- too hot, or too close to a field, or too difficult to mow around. Discussion ensues -- sometimes heated debate. Planting the rhubard and the gooseberry and currant bushes were no exception. In the end we put them on the bank behind the house (west side). This is a picture of me planting the gooseberry bush.

Here are a few "leftover" photos from last weekend. This one (right) is a progress report on the old daffodil bed in the grove. The one on the left is of daffodils Hallie helped me plant down by the pond. It was such hard work! But I delight to see them each spring. And this very last photo shows deer damage to one of the poplars Mike planted years ago. We took the cage off, thinking the tree was mature enough to withstand their nibbling. I guess they found another use for it. (Frankly, I think it was retribution for Mike's having killed one of their number.)
Bottle cap update: one found on Monday; one found today. Total: 4

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


An injury incident on Thursday exacerbated Mike’s shoulder pain. After checking with a doctor Friday morning, we went ahead with our plan to plant trees on the farm. So, we picked up the trees in Moscow and spent the afternoon planting them – 60 Ponderosas on the northwestern boundary of the property [see photo] and 20 fir on the northern edge of the “flat.” (At least I think that description is accurate.) We felt pressed to complete the work since cold weather was predicted over the weekend. It cost Mike something in terms of pain to complete the work, but he did his part (the actual planting) faster than I did mine (fitting ground cloth around the trees, mulching, and working the tubing over the treelet). I couldn't help but wonder what Uncle Dan, our friendly forest pathologist, would think of our operation. This I know: we're pretty slow so no professional tree planter would hire us. But we take a lot of pride in our reforestation efforts -- improving our place and improving our world.

On Saturday all that remained of the tree project was my part with the 20 fir trees. Mike helped me. Here's a picture of Nellie looking at something while we worked.
This is a photo of a tree we planted last year. Mike thinks 45-50 of the 60 we planted in 2007 survived. KW

Monday, April 21, 2008


We awakened at 6:00 a.m. to snow on the homestead. Yes, snow on April 21. It was enough snow to put some of our Christmases to shame. We left the farm at 7:20 a.m. when the temperature was 27.5. The Gilbert Grade was snow floor and the branches of the evergreens were dressed in white. Orofino also had snow; the park was white. Naturally, as we drove toward Lewiston, the snow gradually receded from the river and the temperature warmed to about 45 in north Lewiston. Still, when the average high for the date is 63, it’s pretty cool. These homestead photos were taken about 6:30 a.m.

This eastern view [left] shows the sun breaking through over some dark clouds while to the south we can see the breaks of Little Canyon covered in white.

Photos below show my three Crown Imperial Frittalaria at the point of blooming amongst the daffodils on the south side of the front porch [taken Sunday, April 20]. This morning the blooms bow their heads under the weight of the cold snow.

In a phone conversation last Thursday evening (4-17), brother Chuck said he was anticipating high temps at about 90 at his home in Ivins, Utah. Here in town we are currently experiencing a sleet storm.

Friday, April 18, 2008


I have a few minutes to myself this morning and decided to share a few more pictures taken last weekend. According to my research, this little wildflower is "spring beauty." I found it everywhere we went on the homestead.

These little blooms I couldn't find in the wildflower book. The stems resemble crocus, which was a tip-off that it might be a bulb. They were in an area that Hallie and I planted (not too successfully) some years back. Sure enough -- I found it in my bulb catalog. "Early Snow Glories" are described as "no maintenance wonders" that increase every year. Cute!

Prior to working on the house, we had never gone to the farm in the early spring. Imagine my surprise to find a border of daffodils in the grove! I suspect they were originally planted -- maybe by an aunt or uncle in the 1960s. This photo shows just one section. They bloom successively according to sunlight. Some are shaded because of the pine trees.

This week we will see and record more springtime awakenings. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Today I stopped in at Hay's Produce Market in Clarkston to buy a rhubarb plant for the farm. Poking around, I discovered they also had Pixwell gooseberry bushes and several varieties of currants. I was surprised about that. I figured I would have to send for those because I've never seen them in the markets. Maybe I just don't get out enough. Naturally I bought the gooseberry and a red currant bush. It feels so good to be replacing some of the old bushes that have disappeared from the homestead over the years. Hay's also had blueberry bushes in several varieties. (On a previous blog, Milo said he was planting blueberry bushes in his yard.) I decided to research blueberry bushes before buying any.

Internet service returns to the homestead on May 1. Mike had it discontinued over the winter. That explains why I was unsuccessful in getting it to come up last weekend. So, I'll be away from this desk for a few days getting more updates for the blog.

Here's an old photo of the farm taken in 1935 that shows fruit trees -- quite a number of them, it appears -- on the south side of the house. I wonder how long they had that orchard, if it was successful, why they removed those trees.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Last Sunday Nellie and I toured the grounds of the homestead to photo the old fruit trees. My goal is to renovate these trees for sentimental reasons. They need thinning, pruning (perhaps too late this year), fertilizing, and spraying.

This old pear tree is the only tree remaining in an area that was called "the orchard" during my lifetime. My dad ignored it as he did all the old fruit trees. The only trees we picked were the two pie cherry trees which were lost to the house renovation in 1999.

The trees above are located at the pond. The trees on the left are on the lane. And the last photo is of my friend Nellie on point near the pond.


As you may recall, Mike apparently had an allergic reaction to the anesthetic during his foot surgery in December. The reaction had the appearance of a heart attack. Due to that episode, his orthopedist has cancelled shoulder surgery scheduled at his facility for April 29. Surgery will be re-scheduled and take place at the hospital when certain tests have been completed. KW

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Now – what could Mike be doing that would require a rope tied to the 4-wheeler and a kiddie fishing pole? Could it have something to do with the roof? Yes, it could! A vent had to be replaced at the back of the house, and Mike wanted to be the one to do it. When he wasn’t successful in tossing the rope over the roof, he cast weighted fish line over, tied the rope to the line in order to pull it over the roof to the front of the house, then tied it to the 4-wheeler.

I watched nervously from below as he climbed the ladder and then used the rope (securely anchored to the 4-wheeler at the front of the house) to pull himself into position on the steep-pitched roof. At one point the vent popped out of his pocket and rolled off the roof to the ground. I had to climb the ladder to give it to him.

Bracing himself by means of a loop he tied in the rope, he replaced the vent . . . .

. . . then sat a spell in order to set it with glue.

A “not-so-nervous” Nellie enjoyed a doze in the sun during the ordeal.

Warnock children might remember a trip to Arkansas c.1991 when Grandma Bennie climbed onto the roof at “Boiling Pot,” the family cabin on the Ouachita River, and proceeded to sweep leaves and debris. She saw that as an important part of roof maintenance and admitted that she did it often -- even if there alone. No one thought that was a good idea. Aunt Carol was horrified.

Monday, April 14, 2008


“If we don’t have it, I don’t know what it is,” I remarked to Mike as I locked the door of the town house behind me. “Oh! It’s the camera!” We were leaving for the farm, so I was pleased to hear that mental reminder to get the camera.

On our way, we stopped at Peck at the site of the old grain elevator so that Mike could look for a geocache. I made the initial trip down the river bank but could tell we would likely not be able to approach the cache due to high water, which proved correct. I took a picture to prove I had been there and returned to our parking site to hunt bottle caps. I found two!

At the farm, our first order of business was to turn on the water, but before doing that, it is necessary to install the tub and shower faucets. We wished we had thought of that before we turned the water on. Anyway, recovering from that mishap, we had only two basic problems: 1) some part at the back of the refrigerator had cracked and will have to be replaced before we can have cooled water and ice, and 2) the sprayer nozzle at the kitchen sink cracked. We will add “turn off refrigerator” and “remove sprayer nozzle” to our winterization list.

There was no sign of mice in the kitchen – always a good thing! – but the trap in the attic held three mice carcasses. Those industrial traps are great! On the down side, some critter(s) has riddled the yard on the south side of the house with tunnels. I provided a complimentary meal in any hole I could find. Is this too much information? Well, outwitting the vermin is a part of country life because they will ruin your work if they get a chance.

The daffodils are just short of blooming. In fact several bloomed in the warm sun of Sunday afternoon. It was disappointing to see that I lost some of the iris I planted. I probably didn’t set the corms deep enough. Live and learn. Twelve raspberry plants are struggling to overcome damage inflicted by the deer. Out of 25 strawberry plants I set out last year, I count ten.

The pond is full to overflowing which means that the cistern also is full. The wind came up early Sunday morning with gusts continuing all day, making it difficult to impossible for us to do tasks involving spraying. But Mike did lube the windmill.

Mike has left shoulder pain and has scheduled surgery for April 29. Knowing he is facing a recuperation period is pressuring him to complete spring work that might be done more leisurely if circumstances were normal. My blogs this week will relate more about our work, including pictures, I hope.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


On the sidebar you’ll see a photo of modern Orofino. Here’s an old postcard of Orofino in 1922. The photos show the business district from opposite ends of Johnson Avenue. In this old photo, note the original location of the Ford Garage. Though I can't identify the group standing beside the car, I wonder if the man farthest to the left isn't my grandfather, C. O. Portfors.

We're sorry to hear that Hallie isn't feeling well today. And Mike scheduled shoulder surgery for April 29. He anticipates a six-week recuperation period.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Here are a couple of photos from our town yard. Our ornamental cherry tree has begun to blossom, and daffodils bloom amongst the cactus and sage brush. However, it has been a cold spring. There has yet to come the day when I am thoroughly inspired to work in the yard though I have done a little weeding and also established a compost pile. Mike keeps reporting his observations, like “Is that grass coming up there something you planted?” and “I left the weeding of the spinach for you.”

Mike and I have discussed going to the farm a couple of times to open the house and check on things, but we think it might still be fairly muddy. And our town schedule of activities is ongoing just now. I’m really rather anxious to go.

I forgot to mention our new blog format for which we thank Hallie. We like the fresh spring look. We don’t have any spring pictures of the farm – something I hope to correct this year.