Monday, August 31, 2009


Here they are -- the first unofficial wedding photos taken by the bride's parents. Hundreds of pictures were taken on this day by a professional photographer and the groom's mother with her professional-grade camera. I found it a bit intimidating -- and maybe a little "over the top" -- and a distracted mother of the bride just wasn't feeling imaginative. But anyway, here are candid shots of Hallie's wedding day, and rest assured, when Nick and Hallie return from their honeymoon trip to Ireland, we will have many, many, many wonderful photos from which to choose.

Almost time to leave for the park . . .

Hallie was surprised by the groom's gift -- beautiful earrings

Bride and groom meet for pictures prior to the ceremony.

Hallie and her two brothers, Clinton and Milo -- a precious moment for a mother. "Bigger" brothers, Murray and Yancey were also in Seattle with their families for the wedding. It was a great reunion.

Just a few more minutes . . . Are the guests seated yet?

Waiting with Dad in the shade behind the bushes.

The ceremony -- performed by the Reverend Erin Chase, friend of bride and groom.

With this ring . . .

Into Dad's barracuda for photos -- then off to the reception . . .

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I can tell you what my figure problems are. Very simply, I'm short and plump. And – I'm a size smaller in the top than I am in the bottom. Therefore, when I buy clothes, I mostly buy separates. Living a casual life, I seldom need much in the way of clothes.

However, I wanted a special dress for Hallie's wedding, and one day last spring I found the perfect one online. I ordered a petite size I thought would be about right – and I guess I have to say it was "about right." It was a little long in the bodice and too long in the skirt. I thought I could probably alter it, but I put that off for weeks. Finally forced into it by the time crunch, I went to the sewing room and tackled the job. Instead of taking the shoulder seams apart for a deeper seam, I simply stitched a tuck that pulled the whole dress up, giving me the room I needed through the hips. Then I still had to hem it, and I discovered the hem was crooked to start with, so I just did the best I could to make it right.

I could feel my mother rolling over in her grave. I knew she wouldn't have approved of the quick way I was solving my problems. But then I thought of that time when I was that magical age – 16.

Mother decided she would buy my spring formal. I don't know why. I thought she did a great job of making my formals. But she decided this time we would have a special shopping trip to Lewiston to try on formals. There was a shop – the Renee Shop – and we didn't go there often, but this time we did. And I fell in love with a white lace formal. Mother was pleased because it was a style she wouldn't have made for me. Trouble was – it didn't fit me. It was just right in the hips but way too big in the bust.

"It could be altered," the saleslady said. "We have an alterations lady that works wonders."

Mother sidestepped the comment and began to calculate aloud how she would take it apart and do this and that. . .

"We'd be happy to alter it," the saleslady said, as Mother continued to think aloud and consider whether or not it would be worth it to buy this dress and then re-make it. I was "on pins and needles." If Mother decided she couldn't alter it, I wouldn't get the dress and that would be that.

"Really," the saleslady said, now with a bit more force, "please let me call our alterations lady. She might have a good idea on how to do this simply. At least talk to her." So, Mother relented and the alterations lady came in.

"I would simply make a dart right here under the arm and it will pull all this fabric into place," said the alterations lady.

Mother gasped. It had never occurred to her to do a simple fix. It had never occurred to her that a simple fix would meet the need. Mother was so impressed she let the alterations lady do the job.


Monday, August 24, 2009


The harvesters came in about noon on Sunday. By dusk the same day they had finished this 100 acres – a far cry from the old days, but that's another story.

The ripening crops have prevented our scouting around the fields, and Mike was anxious to take the tour. So, while the harvesters were still working he hopped on a 4-wheeler and rode the perimeter of the farm.

"There are a couple of good elderberry trees on the canyon's edge, and the berries are ripe," he announced.

"No! Not now! I can't deal with them now. They can't be ripe," I said emphatically. After all, my daughter's getting married this week. I have other things to do.

"Well, they sure look ripe to me," Mike said. "Some of them look dry."

I have never been fond of the process of making elderberry jelly, but I will say, of all the things I do, the end product has been lauded and appreciated. From the first time Mike tasted my dad's elderberry jelly, he was sold on it and the pressure was on to make more. And apparently love at first taste also happened for our soon-to-be-son-in-law, Nick. "Next year, I'll help you," he said quietly last year. Well, his heart was in the right place, and I just couldn't say what I was thinking: "Next year you'll get married and either the wedding or the fact that you've spent your vacation days on a honeymoon trip will prevent your helping me." Insightful on my part, if I do say so myself.
Naturally, a good pseudo-retro farmwife steps up to the task at hand, so this morning I sat behind Mike on the 4-wheeler, clutching the bale of a 5-gallon container as we rode out to the elderberry trees – two of them on the edge of Little Canyon.It didn't take us long to figure out that we would need some sort of tool to pull down the upper branches laden with clusters of berries so that we could pick the best fruit. Mike left Nellie and me there at the trees while he rode back to the house to devise the tool. He was gone quite a while and I teased him about leaving me there to finish the picking by myself. But he did make a handy tool out of an old dowel and a bicycle hook. All in all, we picked about seven gallons of elderberries.

Back at the house, the day's work was just beginning – stemming and cooking the berries. First, I cleared the clutter off the kitchen counter. Then I began the process of stemming the berries. I worked the first hour alone, and then Mike joined me and we worked together for another hour. I'm tellin' ya – it's labor-intensive.

While we were working, a snake -- a non-venomous racer -- joined us.

In the end I cooked three soup-pots-full of elderberries which I subsequently strained through flour sacking. For years, people used cheesecloth for this process but it's arguable that today's cheesecloth is up to the task. In the end I figured I have enough juice for seven (7) batches of jelly.

There were things that didn't get done today, including some baking for the Seattle trip. And I still have a little handwork on my mother-of-the-bride dress to do this evening. But accomplishment is always a good feeling and sometimes choices have to be made. We can always buy cookies. KW

Sunday, August 23, 2009


One of the things that makes some experiences so great is the remembrance of ones that weren’t. A couple of weeks ago I decided I wanted to go up into the Elk River area and try to find some remote geocaches that I hadn’t been able to find on trips the past two or three years. It’s very rugged and remote country and I didn’t want to go alone so I asked a couple of geocaching friends if they’d like to come along. Unfortunately they both were unable to do so. Rain postponed my trip a few days and it was the 17th before I made it up there. I can’t say it was a total disaster because I managed to not get hurt or damage any equipment (barely) but there were some really close calls. What shows as roads on my National Geographic map were nothing but old overgrown with brush 4 wheeler trails going up and down steep mountains that had deteriorated into washed out stream beds. I came close to turning over a couple of times and there were some places that were so bad I had to walk along side the 4 wheeler with my hand on the throttle to keep it from going over. On top of that I found only two caches. If I had gotten hurt and/or disabled it could have been several days before I might have been found. I vowed to never go into that area alone again.

Friday I planned a similar trip into the Craig mountain area south of Lewiston. Although this area is rugged and fairly remote as well, it isn’t nearly so dangerous as the Elk River area and most of the roads are even navigable by auto. I had been geocaching in the area a few times and had found all the caches except one, but now there were some new ones.

The first cache was called “The Harvesters” (don’t ask me why) and was just a little ways off the main road up a bit of a hill. It took a little searching but I eventually found it under a tree with, of all things, an old skateboard on top of it.

The next cache required considerable travel on several winding roads circling around mountain sides. I had placed waypoints on the map at various forks along the way and then uploaded them to my GPSr which I have mounted on the 4 wheeler. Everything went as planned for a change and I eventually arrived at the destination and after a short hike found “Beanstocker’s Grand View”. The cache was hidden in rocks on a point with a nice panoramic view which included the Snake river far below.

There are many roads in the area that are closed to motorized vehicles. I discovered that the next cache involved one of these. The owner of the cache had placed it by horseback and it had been found only once. I got as close as I could with the 4 wheeler and hiked the rest of the way. It was a 2+ mile hike but it was a beautiful day and didn’t begin getting too warm until I was almost back. The cache was called “Smash Bash” and, as you can see, (bottom right) was an ancient wrecked vehicle. Who knows how or when it got there.

The next two caches were ones that had never been found. The first one was about 1/3rd of the way down the Eagle Creek road and the other was all the way down the Eagle Creek road and a bit further down the Salmon River. The Eagle Creek road is 11 miles long and drops from 4,700 feet elevation down to 1,100 at the Salmon River. It is so rocky and rough that you would not want to take any vehicle down it other than a 4 wheeler. The first one was just off the road called “Rock and Roll” and after a short search I located it.

As you travel down the Eagle Creek road it gets hotter and hotter even though much of it is in the shade. The road ends at the river in a huge canyon that holds the heat like an oven. I arrived at the river a little after 1:00 pm and I’m sure it was 100 degrees if not more. This cache required a short hike up the foot of the mountain and as soon as I had logged it I found a shady place to park and took a refreshing swim in the river. I ate lunch in the shade and then began the pull back out. I saw two grouse on the way out but the season doesn’t open until the 1st.

The only cache left was the one that I hadn’t been able to locate in previous trips. I’m afraid it was the same story this time. Whenever I would get within a few miles I would find the road closed. I may have to approach that cache from the Cottonwood side in the future. As it was getting late and I was a little concerned about running out of gas I headed back. When I got back to the truck I had logged 88 miles on the 4 wheeler. It had been a great day with two “First to Finds” , one second to find and a lot of travel in some beautiful country.


It's like the Christmas of summertime in farmland -- harvest. It's exciting -- the fulfillment of the planting, protecting, maintaining, and watching. I'm so glad I'm here to watch -- except for the dust, of course. I took all of these photos from the front porch.

Dustin came in first with the pick-up and played fetch with Nellie for a few minutes.

Here comes the parade -- two combines and a semi -- as farmer Kyle brings his operation to this homestead -- down Dobson Road to the lane.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the lane and property line, the Praest brothers are also harvesting wheat. We own both properties and currently lease to two separate operations.

Farmer Kyle waited politely in the lane for the Praest boys to pass in their field . . .

but seeing the close proximity of the Praest combines, Farmer Kyle pulled into this north field and cut a swath on his way to the south field where he will begin in earnest. By the way, Farmer Kyle also waited politely while I hurriedly took the clothes off the line. My clothesline is just a few yards from the field.

Farmer Kyle, at not yet 30, farms most of the acreage on this end of Russell Ridge. His father passed away rather suddenly two years ago, just as they were expanding their farming operation. But Kyle stepped up to it and we think he's great!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Geocaches have two ratings to let you know what you’re getting into. There is a Difficulty rating of 1-5 which is mostly subjective but there is a form to complete to help you pick a rating. Then there is a 1-5 Terrain rating which also has a form. This one is a little more objective but there is still a considerable amount of subjectivity if, for no other reason, because all kinds of individuals are making the decisions. Anyway, a 5 Terrain rating means you will probably need special equipment such as a rope, climbing gear or a boat.

One of my friends, Justin Moss (Mossman) placed a 5-5 cache recently. It is a weighted ammo box (he didn’t disclose this in the description) anchored in the Snake River in Lewiston. I had been wanting to get this one for quite a while and was all set to give it a try the day Duke jumped off the bridge and altered our plans.

At any rate, today seemed perfect, river fairly low and clear, hot weather (over 100) and a sunny day which really helps seeing under water. The cache is not far from the bank so I didn’t use a boat. I also eschewed using a snorkel as other players had done. (I don’t need no stinkin snorkel).

So Kathy and Nellie accompanied me down to the river a little after 2:00 this afternoon and the action began. I must have been in the water at least a half hour and in spite of the hot day I was beginning to get really cold. I simply could not see anything but big rocks which make up the levy. I did see a few fish. I was sure wishing I could teach Nellie to dive. Finally I decided I’d try one more dive a little further out and behold, I saw a shinny chain on the bottom amongst the rocks. I knew the cache was attached to its anchor with a carabineer so I had a jug with a line to attach to the anchor so I would be able to replace it after getting it out. I also had a maul handle with a bicycle hanger hook in the end to help me hold onto the chain while I was getting the cache loose. It was much more difficult than I thought and finally I had to have Kathy throw me a rope from the bank to tie onto the handle. After I finally got it loose I had to pull it out. The bottom 2/3rds of the box had been filled with lead and rocks were glued all over the box which effectively camouflaged it. It was really heavy but I was able to reach the bottom by getting the end of the chain and pulling it in. If the river had been higher I would have had to have a boat and some help pulling it up. I was very glad to check this one off my list. M/W

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Hallie Warnock and Nicholas Johnson, both of Seattle, will exchange marriage vows Aug. 29 at Seattle.

She is employed at Kibble and Prentice at Seattle, and is the daughter of Kathy and Mike Warnock of Clarkston. She graduated from Lewiston High School in 2000 and from the University of Idaho at Moscow in 2003.

He is employed at Moss Adams at Seattle, and is the son of Toni Johnson of Connell, Wash., and Duane Johnson of Mesa, Wash. He graduated from Connell High School in 1998 and from the Art Institute of Seattle in 2000.

[The above announcement appeared in the Lewiston Tribune on Sunday, August 16, 2009.]

Sunday, August 16, 2009


The weather has been unsettled – even rainy – so Mike decided to take on a project to clean his old rocking chair. Purchased when Murray was a baby, the chair served to rock five babies. Now he thinks he might enjoy watching football from that chair, especially if it had a cushion on the back. He cleaned the wood and then treated it with lemon oil; then he removed the seat and we will take it to an upholsterer in town to be recovered and also have the cushion made. Meanwhile, I researched a favorite subject of mine – kiddie records, 1950s vintage.

My parents believed in giving a child a basic foundation in important information – nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and Bible stories. Mother put a lot of importance on memory work and taught me the nursery rhymes from the time I could talk. I was not as good as my sister, Harriet, who from an early age was an exceptionally gifted "repetitionist," according to Mother. She only compared Harriet and me – the oldest and the much youngest – because, of course, she probably didn't have the time to work with the three in-between children. My dad read fairy tales to me as bedtime stories – Anderson and Grimm – as well as other children's literature he recalled from his own childhood, such as Alice in Wonderland and The Wind in the Willows.

Besides working with me and reading to me, they provided me with story records. The first ones were 45 rpm. I remember especially Three Billy Goats Gruff and Chicken Little. At first these were played for me on the family's phonograph. My brother Chuck, a teen-ager at the time, would entertain me – and himself, of course – by playing the 45s at 78 rpm. Chicken Little was really funny! I'm guessing I was five when my parents gave me my own "record player," and Mother subscribed to the "record of the month" club through which I received about two dozen 78 rpm story records that I loved. My favorites were The Carrot Seed, Cinderella, Midsummer Night's Dream, and Wait 'til the Moon Is Full (about a little owl and his mother).

Well, you know how it is. Time goes on and as children grow up, interests change. I grew to love music and LPs and the record player was replaced by a radio and a teen-ager's stereo. My mother gave the records to my sister, Nina, for her children. Nina put the stack of records on a shelf in a closet and something fell from above and broke the edge off many of the records. The Carrot Seed, everybody's absolute favorite, broke to smithereens. But – the story has a happy ending. In the early years of being married, I told Murray the sad story of how my favorite story record met its demise. As it happened, Murray left soon after to visit his mother in California, and while he was there, they visited an antique / collectibles shop or a flea market or some such – and there was the record – The Carrot Seed. So, Murray bought it and brought it home to me.

When my own children came along, we didn't use the story records much. I tried to provide that experience for them, but they weren't much interested. Besides, it wasn't just the records that did it, you know. It was the experience of being in control myself – of using a child's phonograph to play what I wanted to hear. While I didn't realize how much the world's mediums would change, I did know my records were collectible and that no child should just play with them. In the early '90s, my brother Chuck took all the story records and copied them onto cassette tapes, more to preserve the content than for frequent use. I really appreciated his time and efforts to do that. Now, of course, the medium has changed again.

I believe I still have those records. I just don't know where they are since the move. AND – lest you fear these things are lost in the electronic age, be assured you can find kiddie records online at Kiddie Rekord King, who will gladly sell you your choice from his library of 11,000 titles on CD or for MP3 download. (He does not sell his records.) Today I listened to sound clips at that site. KW

Friday, August 14, 2009


Denver, Idaho, that is. Tired of rainy weather keeping us housebound, Mike put together a packet of six geocaches and we headed in the direction of Grangeville this morning. It turned out to be a kind of historical tour of Idaho County. Our first stop was the Denver Cemetery – a lovely spot with great views of the vast Camas Prairie. [The first photo shows Grangeville in the distant rainy mist.] The cache description reads: "Although hopes ran high that it would prove to be a metropolis to rival its Colorado namesake, it was not to be. Situated in a central location on the prairie, Denver served area farmers and was a convenient stop for those heading across the prairie to the mines. When the railroad bypassed Denver by a few short miles, however, the town's fate was sealed." The cemetery was established in 1898 and is still active and well-maintained.

Our next cache was located in Grangeville near a ball field. "The clue is 'gruff,' so it must be under a bridge," I said. Sure enough – that's where Mike found it, but he didn't understand the clue.
On the edge of town we stopped at another cemetery, Hill Crest Cemetery, a kind of paupers' field, near which the "poor farm" was located. Whether infants or elders, residents of the poor farm were buried here.

We then traveled to Mount Idaho where a cache was hidden in a monument commemorating the site of a fort where many settlers sought safety during the Nez Perce War of 1877. We were surprised to see so many nice homes in the area – some of them large and beautiful.

And the last cache was located at the Weis Rock Shelter on Graves Creek Road, an historic site, where the Nez Perce took shelter in caves. The caves have been backfilled to prevent defacement, so you can't explore them. The area is overgrown with blackberries, but we found they weren't very tasty. Perhaps it's just too soon to pick them. [Photo right -- A boy (er, man) and his dog.]

We drove on down Graves Creek Road to the Pine Bar Recreation Area on the Salmon River where we ate our picnic lunch. At that lower elevation on the river, the temperature was 70 degrees and pleasant. But you can see from this photo that the sky still threatened rain.
On our way back to the farm, we stopped at the town of Nezperce where Mike checked out another Grisham novel. All in all, we covered 140+ miles. KW

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I'm guessing it was in the 1930s when my grandparents dug a shallow pond here at the homestead. When we began to work on the house in 1998, it was overgrown with cattails. In 2000 we obtained a conservation grant to expand the pond and over the years we have fought to keep it clear of algae. It's a tough fight. Run-off from the fields carrying nitrogen from the fertilizer encourages algae growth. Physically raking the algae from the pond is a backbreaking task, but Mike has done it. Even the windmill he erected from a kit does not provide enough aeration to dispel algae growth. In the end the best method is to apply chemicals – a dye to keep sunlight from penetrating the water and a poison to kill the algae. (The poison is supposedly not toxic to dogs, fish, or frogs.) Only time will tell if the trees we planted will ever grow tall enough to provide shade. Vegetation fights to grow in red clay and is also thwarted when the fields are sprayed with herbicides.

Even though Richard bestowed upon me the honorary rank of "first class" so that I have earned the right to go on the canoe trip, I am not a fan of small watercraft. If a car, say, were to leave for the quilt shop at the same time the canoe left shore, I would for sure be in the car. So, Mike was surprised yesterday (Wednesday) morning when I opted to get in the boat and ride along as he sprayed the algae.

And -- well -- the pond is just one of Nellie's favorite places in all the world. She loves to pretend she might actually catch a frog. With a "meep" they always hop and escape into the water, leaving her to whine in frustration. It's no biggy, really. She just moves on to the next frog.

Can you see the frog?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Our garden at the town house yielded a nice crop of tomatoes from three plants and four (yes, count them -- four!) ears of delicious corn. We were disappointed about the corn, but you know what they say -- you have to plant a fairly good-sized patch in order to have much corn, and we didn't. Still, I think we're making progress. When I planted my first garden at the Clarkston house in 2005, all the tomatoes had blossom end rot. Gradually we have improved the soil and this year when I planted the tomatoes, I filled the holes with potting soil and also fertilized. It seemed to help a lot. Sadly, the zucchini plants were thought to be weeds . . . But one large green tomato accidentally knocked from the vine became a delicious loaf of green tomato spice bread.

As we move into late summer / fall, I'm wondering about a fall garden. Years ago a nursery employee told me, "People just don't realize it, but you can have a fall garden here." I don't think she was talking about the Gilbert country where the farm is located. As I mentioned before, it could freeze here in early September. And then there's that whole thing with the days growing shorter. But -- once again I'm trying. When I cleaned the corn out of the raised bed last week, I planted two varieties of carrots. I found the seeds in my "seed can." The packets were dated 2000 and 2001. I figure I'm not out much if they don't come up.

Perhaps you also remember the book / record, "The Carrot Seed." The mother says, "Mothers know a lot of things little boys can't know, and Mother knows your carrot seed may never, never grow." The big brother is not so diplomatic: "Nya, nya, it won't come up. Nya, nya, it won't come up -- it won't come up, it won't come up . . . " But today I see they are coming up.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Mike and I drove back to the town house last Friday (Aug. 7). We had errands and business in town. We renewed tags on a vehicle, bought insurance for the Barracuda so that we can drive it to Seattle for Hallie's wedding, bought groceries and supplies, did some weeding. Mike rode from Pullman to Troy (round trip) with the bike club and I met with the study group. AND – we went to Costco and bought a 32-inch Samsung HDTV for the farm. We have been without television here for several months since the LG quit working (painful subject). During that time I / we relied upon podcasts of vintage radio programs. I like those almost as much as television. However, old radio programming does not make me feel connected and the football season will soon be upon us. Need I say more?

We bought the LG from Sears because we thought it had an excellent picture. Through the LG experience I learned a couple of things:

  1. An online search for product info will yield only positive info unless you search for problems, and
  2. Always buy an extended warranty on expensive electronics.

As we searched for our replacement set, a friend pointed out to me that if we bought it from Costco on our Costco credit card, we would have an automatic 3-year warranty. And the Costco sales associate pointed out that Costco keeps the records and should we need service, they would not hassle us for paperwork. Sounded good to us; we had the hassle experience with Nikon.

So we brought the new Samsung with us when we came to the farm yesterday. Set-up was easy enough but then we had a snowy screen. In great frustration and impatience, Mike called our satellite provider; they were no help. (But I did note that he asked for a rep who spoke English and his request was granted.) When we did not achieve a fix through our satellite provider, we began to imagine a lot of problems, but of course, all we really needed was a kid. Why didn't we think to buy the set while Jack was here? Anyway, when it was my turn to try and make the set work, I noticed the last option in the satellite troubleshooting guide was "check television manual." The first option that caught my eye in the television manual was "press source button." That brought up options on screen and I selected HDM1. Voila! So, last night we sat side-by-side and watched a documentary about the crumbling of America's infrastructure – not an "upper" but we loved the picture. Then we went to bed and I listened to a podcast while Mike began his new Grisham book. KW

Monday, August 10, 2009


These first two photos were taken last Wednesday morning (Aug. 5). A storm was building but did not bring us much rain -- not that day anyway. Friends came up from town to spend the day and have dinner with us. After dinner we sat on the front porch to watch a spectacular lightning show to the south of us. We could see it but not hear it. Later in the night it appeared to hit east of us.

Late Thursday afternoon I took Nellie for her walk but left the camera at the house, not realizing the photo-ops I would be missing. Returning to the house, I took the camera and went into the field west of the house -- behind the grove.

The barn and pond . . . .

The trees on the right side of this photo are behind the grove; you can see Dobson Road.

And this is the view toward Little Canyon on Friday morning. Is it any wonder I was thinking of Christmas?