Monday, May 31, 2010

AND THE WINNER IS . . .

I believe in nurturing the inner child. By that I mean we should pursue interests that bring wholesome enjoyment to our lives. Along those lines, I've been thinking about buying myself an American Girl doll, so last year I ordered the company's catalog and signed up for their email newsletters. But after considering well my reasons for buying, I decided against a new doll. I just want to be a participant in this fad and create a unique wardrobe for an American Girl doll. I love dolls but I'm not a doll collector – not really. "Mint condition" and "new in the box" are not phrases that apply to my stuff. I'm hands-on with my collectibles. So, I determined that I wouldn't mind rescuing a doll in reasonably good condition, and the model I wanted was Kit Kittredge, the Depression-era historical doll. She reminds me of my Aunt Shirley with her straight blond hair, clear blue eyes, and light freckles across her nose. I can just see my Kit in her Depression-era sugar sack dress with white starched apron.

So, last week, on a whim, I registered on eBay. I have put this off for years, but I finally wanted something badly enough to sign up. I was amazed at all the American Girl dolls and accessories offered on eBay, and when I narrowed the field to Kit Kittredge, I found plenty to choose from: Kit new in the box, Kit gently used with three outfits and no shoes, Kit barely played with in original box having smudge on cheek, etc. I lost my first two choices in the last minute of bidding. I am neither fast nor a strategist – yet. Or maybe there's just too much competition for this stuff. And I couldn't believe what folks were willing to pay for those used Kits! I reminded myself that I'm a grandmother who doesn't care about clothes and accessories. I'm going to make this doll a unique farm girl wardrobe.

Then, I saw her. A naked Kit. The seller said the doll had been "gently loved," and the photograph showed a doll that seemed to fit my criteria – one that needed rescuing. Somehow that Kit had my name on her and I submitted the opening bid, only to regret it when I looked at the other "Kits" in their clean loveliness. Suddenly I had the sneaking suspicion that $50 was too much to pay. I knew instinctively that no one else was going to bid on that doll. That was both good and bad – I would win the bidding but maybe I had paid too much.

And so it proved Friday afternoon at 3:20. The auction closed without the last minute flurry of bidding activity. I watched as the page congratulated me, the winner. I dutifully paid immediately and chalked it up to experience. One thing is sure, I noted to myself. This Kit needs me.

But – on Saturday I received a message from the seller, asking if I had noted the condition of the doll's legs. Polite discussion ensued. The seller said this Kit had been her daughter's favorite American Girl doll, and I thought maybe they were having second thoughts about selling her. After all, I still have my favorite doll – all of them – and I told her I would be willing to back out of the sale. In the end she found she could tighten the doll's limbs, and I agreed to accept her. I felt good about the purchase.

She'll be shipped tomorrow (Tuesday) after the holiday. I can hardly wait for her to arrive. Oh -- and her name isn't Kit – it's Shirley Ann. And now I've discovered a wealth of Depression-era patterns for the 18-inch doll of that day – Patsy Ann – that can apparently be used / altered to fit today's American Girl doll. What was my hobby budget again?

[Snow-in-summer blooms at the town house.] KW

Thursday, May 27, 2010

THEY’RE HEPFUL IN HEPPNER

For the past two months I’ve been planning motorcycle trips in Oregon to follow up on my last year’s trip logging geocaches in each county in Idaho. This one is called “Counting the Counties in Oregon”. I had planned on at least two 4 or 5 day trips to cover the state. However, I haven’t been able to find dry weather forecasts for anywhere near that many days in succession. Not being the most patient person in the world I decided to make a shorter trip which would cut off one day of one of the longer ones I had planned. Finally it looked like a forecast of two days of not too great a chance of rain so I left a little before 7:00 am Monday heading west.

The first half day was in Washington and I logged a few caches along the way to get a head start on next year’s adventure which will be the Washington counties. The temperature was in the low 40’s and my hands got a little cold but I stopped in Pomeroy (about 30 miles out) to get a cache and warm my hands. I kept to the back roads as much as possible but a good portion of Interstate was unavoidable which is not much fun on a motorcycle.

Finally, just after mid day at Biggs Junction I turned southeast on highway 206 toward the little town of Wasco, OR. Now I was on a great little country road with curves, hills and virtually no traffic. The first cache was at a beautiful little cemetery which required a short hike. Continuing on toward Condon I found “The Windmills of Sherman County”. Fortunately they were mostly stationary which suited me just fine.

At Condon two ladies helped me look for a cache right by the Chamber of Commerce office in the middle of town but we were unsuccessful. Although Condon is a very small town it can boast two Nobel laureates, Linus Pauling for chemistry and peace and William P. Murphy for medicine. Needing a Gilliam County cache and not finding it in Condon necessitated a side trip 10 miles to the east. The first of two caches there was “Rock Creek Cache” and I didn’t find it either. It was in a canyon which made getting an accurate GPS reading difficult. I pulled out of the canyon and wound my way up to the top and then hiked out in the desert-like country and found “Switch Back View”. That was a load off my mind! Although this side trip cost me some time it was a fun road so I didn’t much mind.

After returning to Condon I continued south on highway 19 to the little of Fossil where I was again unsuccessful in finding a cache that was supposed to be in the park. Keeping on 19 I continued south to Service Creek where I turned east toward Spray following the John Day River. I picked up a couple of caches along the way. One near Bear Hollow campground was a particularly nice one which required a little hike up a hill. The road along the river is absolutely beautiful. The terrain is a bit unusual with sagebrush mixed in with Ponderosa pines. Coming down one hill into a little canyon I came across a badger scurrying along the side of road at the base of a cliff. Although there are plenty of badgers around it’s fairly unusual to see one. At Spray I turned north on highway 207 toward Heppner. This road is a motorcyclists’ paradise. Beautiful forest scenery with hills and many many curves rated at 25 to 45 mph with almost no traffic. I had a blast!

I logged my last cache of the day at 8:15 just outside Heppner where I had planned to spend the night. I had ridden 440 miles but the caches had taken me much longer than I figured. There is just one motel in Heppner and although I didn’t have a reservation I had called the night before and they guaranteed me a room. This was a very old motel but it had been fixed up nicely although not modernized. Strangely, my room had a south seas motif. Everyone I met in Heppner was very friendly and accommodating. There are only a couple of places to eat in town and the pizza place had closed hours earlier. It was about 9:00 before I got to the Stables which is a bowling alley/restaurant. Although they were closing the lady there let me in and fixed me a delicious chicken salad. I slept well but awoke early, as usual.

I just had granola bars and milk for breakfast in my room and was on the road again a little before 7:00. I headed northwest on highway 74 to the little town of Lexington where I found a cache in a little park in the middle of town. From there I continued north to Interstate 84 picking up one more cache at a historical point of interest which told about the Oregon Trail and some travails the travelers had in that area which was now more open prairie farm country.

After getting to the Interstate I retraced my route from the day before but I picked up 3 or 4 more caches along the way to provide breaks. I particularly enjoyed one in Prescott in a nice little part where I took my morning break. I arrived home about noon having traveled only 215 miles that morning. It was a great trip and I’m glad to have the Oregon challenge begun. M/W

TAGGING ALONG TOGETHER

"Maybe we should just make a quick run to the farm," I said yesterday (Wednesday morning). "Maybe so," rejoined Mike. Our schedule for the next week will keep us in town, but Mike had left his prescription glasses on the dining room table last week and he also wanted his logging cables. "We can check on the cherry tree and water it," I said. "And go to the cemetery," Mike added.

By midmorning we were ready and the three of us (don't forget Nellie) set off in the Dakota. We stopped by the Dollar Tree where I bought a few bouquets for the cemetery at Gilbert.

We were at the farm by 11:00 or so. I headed to the vintage sewing room where I quickly reviewed my patterns while Mike removed the blade from the riding mower for sharpening in town and gathered the things he wanted.

I watered the cherry tree which continues to look good in this cool growing season, counting 13 cherries this time -- still not enough for a pie. Trouble is, if it should suddenly turn warmer without moisture, the little tree could be stressed and we want to prevent that if we can. So I gave it several gallons of water.

Next I cut purple iris and made one live bouquet for the cemetery. "For my dad," I remarked to Mike. "He'd do it for me." I just don't have enough real flowers to make more than one live bouquet, but I would if I could. I remember fondly the days when lilacs bloomed abundantly in this place. It didn't bother me to cut the purple iris. They have reached their peak and are slowly going away. Grandma Ina loved the wild roses. I saw plenty of them as we drove up the Clearwater but they aren't in bloom yet at higher elevations.

On our way back to town we made our planned stop at the Gilbert Cemetery where fifteen ancestors / family members have markers. I didn't have enough bouquets to remember all of them and Mike teased me a bit about that. No one else had been to the old cemetery to show their remembrance -- and the cemetery is old enough that not many come by any more -- but then, it's early yet for Memorial Day. We just won't be back this way over the weekend. Mike has tickets to the NAIA baseball tournament at Lewis-Clark State College, which will begin Friday and last – well, however long.

Arriving back in Lewiston, Mike stopped for gas and I took these pictures from a vantage point above Thain. You can see the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers in the left photo. The one below shows the Clearwater and the confluence. And, of course, it's a good shot of a commercial area, which I usually avoid, but such pictures do have value as time passes. I learned that through my work at the museum.

Mike's plans to get wood with Ken today were cancelled due to the downpour of rain. Hallie said it was raining hard in Seattle yesterday afternoon, and sometimes that means rain will follow in the inland areas. Sure enough!

So what have I been doing? Practicing machine embroidery and planning a few posts, though Mike gets the next one. And – I finally got up the courage to register on eBay and am learning the ins and outs of bidding. Hallie volunteered to help me with my bidding interests, but I decided to step up to it myself. My theory is that you have to keep living life as independently as you can. If you become too dependent on your children, they'll show up one day to take you to the home. So what am I bidding on – dolls, of course, but that's a work in progress and a post for another day. KW

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

IMA STAR


Watch for a new post -- coming soon!

Friday, May 21, 2010

FOUND: THE STONE FACE

I am so excited to tell you about this. I found "the Stone Face!"

Undoubtedly you've seen "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." The first time I saw it was at the theater in Orofino with my friend, Chris. We were probably 14 or 15. I particularly remember seeing the movie with Chris because she saw "the big W" before I did. Remember how the Dorothy Provine character sees the "W" and realizes that's where the money is, and you hear the angelic choir of sopranos sing "Ahhhhhhhhhhh." Well, now I know! There really is a choir that sings "Ahhhhhhhhhh" at the "ah-hah!" moment.

My dad never showed me around the perimeter of the farm. He leased the farm in 1965 or so, and life just didn't take us to the canyon rim. There weren't 4-wheelers in those days, and Daddy wasn't super-interested in hiking. As he got older, I think he was less interested in taking a mostly disinterested daughter to the canyon rim, especially since there was no real reason to go. It's not an easy trek across plowed fields, though it's not particularly far and it is do-able. And as he got older, it became harder and harder for me to say, "Daddy, there are things I want / need to know." I just couldn't bring myself to think the unthinkable: that he would change his address -- permanently.

Anyway, once Daddy mentioned to me that there was a rock outcropping the family called "the stone face," and since becoming active on the farm, I have been searching for it. I asked brother Chuck, but he said he didn't know. I asked our neighbor, a native of the area, and he said he didn't know. Always when I hiked the farm with Mike, I searched the outcroppings for the stone face.

When we arrived at the farm on Wednesday, Mike and I rode out to the west canyon rim to see if repairs had been made to the fence. We parked the 4-wheeler and hiked a short distance to a break in the rim rock where the horses come up from Little Canyon below. I suppose for the first time I stepped through the rocks and was standing below the outcropping. It was then that I heard the soprano voices. "This has to be the place!" I exclaimed. Together Mike and I looked over the outcropping until we identified the face.

You can compare the pictures for yourself: the black-and-white taken many years ago -- and the color photo I took just this morning. In some ways the old picture is better than mine but I can go back and do it better. Pretty cool that I found it, huh?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

COOL AGAIN -- IS IT REALLY MAY?

Hallie sent a message to inquire about the progress of the little cherry tree. It's looking pretty good. Our crop of cherries will be very scant this year. The cherry shown is one of six! By the way, if you enlarge the photo and look through the tree branches, you can spy Nellie's brown spot.




This picture is of the raspberry patch. It has taken five years or so but the bushes -- canes from Ken's patch -- are growing, bearing fruit, and multiplying. Mike spent an hour this morning scraping lichen off the propane tank.




The picture to the right was taken last night after supper. Mike counted ten whitetail deer in the south field. He enjoyed watching them through the telescope.






Mike took this picture of quail in the side yard this morning. Seems like we're seeing more quail right here at the farm. Also, we have a resident rooster pheasant who loves to crow as the sun comes up.






The storm pictures were taken today. The storm last night was more wind than rain here at the farm, peaking at 8:00 with winds at 22 mph and gusting to 27.2 mph. Storms continued to pass throughout the morning and afternoon. Period of precipitation were brief but included sleet and hail.

Our hired labor came today and spread our topsoil over the hoof divots in the lawn. Then Mike spread grass seed over the dirt. I hope our work improves the lawn.

Today was embroidery club day in Moscow and I missed it. Kinda feels like I missed a day of school -- like I wasn't where I was supposed to be. They were doing a really cool project, too -- like always -- but we had to be here at the farm. It's been great seeing Chris regularly and I've learned so much at embroidery club just listening as I work. KW

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY

I have just been through a time that seemed quite stressful for me. Really, it wasn't that bad, but I attended a convention in Boise that took me out of my comfort zone. I stressed over it for weeks. Then as the convention drew near, I had to devote considerable time to preparation for the half-day trip, convention responsibilities, and visiting Milo. Upon returning home, I had to write a report which was "due" at Tuesday's chapter meeting. All went well, but "life as usual" seems "long ago and far away."

My mother said that when I was little, she didn't dare tell me that we were going someplace tomorrow because I would beg to go right then. I remember that feeling of wanting to do whatever and get it out of the way rather than having to wait. As I grew older and complained of the dread of anticipation, Mother said I misread my feelings – that I was really excited. Whatever it is, I still have that angst from time to time and the convention in Boise was a case in point. I just kept telling myself that I could and should serve as delegate -- that I should do it for myself because one has to cope with life and that I could do it for my sisterhood.

Yesterday I gave my delegate's report and that experience was finally behind me. I was beginning to feel the euphoria of relief. I was also really tired. It was about 10:00 when I took my iPod and moved off to bed. "I have news," said Mike after checking his email. "Clint is driving in Thursday after work. He and Paul are going to spend the weekend rebuilding the transmission in his pick-up and then a transmission for Paul's vehicle. He wants to stay here."

Oooooo! I'm so glad he's coming, but remember the guest bed loaded with projects? Well, as of last night it was still loaded. I had finished the two afghans and found storage for my fabric stash, so, you might say I'd made a good start on clearing it off, but it had a ways to go before someone could use it. I slept soundly for two hours, then came wide awake mentally stashing the things on the bed. So, I got up and got work – yes, in the middle of the night. It really went quickly and I didn't have to worry about any other pressures. Being wide awake and in work mode, I lost hours of rest, but I'm retired, you know. I can catch up on my rest.

I was up by 6:00 and ready to leave for the farm at 8:30. It felt really good to get here. The temperature today was pleasant (maybe 75) as Mike and I went about our chores. He mowed the lawn while I unpacked boxes and weeded.

We have sustained no more damage from the horses but efforts to repair the lawn continue. Last week the lawn was power raked and this afternoon we received a load of good topsoil from Boyer's in Lapwai – 8 or 9 tons dumped between the pond and the barn. Tomorrow workers will spread the topsoil over the lawn, especially where the horses hooves created divots.



We saw a number of whitetail today. Wild flowers are in bloom, including black-eyed Susans and Indian paint brush. The first of the hummers are drinking from the feeder this evening. A stand of purple iris blooms in the side yard. More later . . . [KW]

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

P.E.O. CONVENTION DELEGATE

As president of my P.E.O. chapter in Lewiston, I was a delegate to the 95th Convention of the Idaho State Chapter P.E.O. Sisterhood in Boise over the weekend. Mike drove me to the convention center and then he visited with Milo and family while I attended the convention sessions. The camera went with Mike, so available photos have more to do with travel and grandsons than the convention venue.

Most of us like food, so let's talk about the banquet menus.

Friday night banquet: leaf lettuce salad; variety rolls; salmon steak with sauce; plain white rice; steamed vegetables (baby carrots and two slender broccoli spears). Dessert was alternated by place setting at the table – a small piece of plain cheesecake or a huge slice of some decadent cake involving four layers of chocolate – dark chocolate, sweet chocolate, a dry cake layer, and a soft frosting. I got the chocolate cake. This was altogether the best meal we had. The salmon was delicious, though some diners grumbled about having fish.

Saturday lunch: spinach salad with a few toasted walnuts and a dressing I wished I hadn't applied; variety rolls; chicken breast (very plain, as in microwaved); white rice mixed with some wild rice; steamed veggies (two baby carrots and two slender broccoli spears); and a lemon tart (the kind in a store-bought shell).

Saturday dress banquet (husbands invited): leaf lettuce salad with two weird olives and two small mozzarella cheese balls, strange dressing; variety rolls (yes, the same variety); prime rib; twice-baked potatoes (at least twice!); steamed vegetables (two baby carrots and two slender broccoli spears); alternating desserts (lemon tarts and dry chocolate cake). I got the lemon tart. The prime rib at our table was in varying stages of rareness. Mine was so rare as to be inedible in my opinion. I took one bite and deemed that entrĂ©e a lost cause. Besides, I didn't like the way the fat looked – raw – and there was plenty of fat. Another person at my table asked the waiter if he could zap her portion in the microwave, and he said there was no microwave on that level of the hotel and carrying it to the kitchen was not feasible. From there she inquired about the recurring steamed vegetables, and he said broccoli and carrots were the only vegetables they ever serve and suggested she complain.

Questioning other diners about the Saturday dinner, I learned that there was great variation with the prime rib. One said hers was so overdone she couldn't slice it. Another said hers was done to perfection and delicious.

So, that's the way the food was – prepared elsewhere, frozen, and delivered for mass preparation. Gone is the pride in providing a culinary experience – at least at that venue. By the way, as a convention delegate, I was not aware of the monetary value placed on my meals, but had Mike attended, the cost would have been $48 for his. I was sorry not to have had him at my side, but we agreed that we made the right decision. Mike said, however, that the lasagna I fixed for him to take to Milo's was very good and that Milo made delicious hamburgers Saturday night. And my grandsons thanked me for the home-baked cookies as soon as they saw me.

We were home by 7:45 Sunday night. Nellie was waiting in her kennel and glad to see us, though her eyes demanded an explanation for being thus separated from her pack. Ken took care of her food and exercise and the neighbors played with her in our absence. KW

[Photo 1: From a point on the Old White Bird Grade overlooking the Nez Perce Battlefield; part of the Seven Devils also visible in the distance. Photo 2: Mike retrieving a geocache, this one placed as part of a Boy Scout educational project. Photo 3: Son Milo with grandsons Mason, 9, and Gage, 6, on a geocaching excursion with Grandpa Mike. Photo 4: Mason mowing the lawn. Photo 5: Gage in a tree.]

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING

We hadn't been to the farm since March 27, the weather and our social schedules keeping us in town. It's well past time for us to begin to establish our "summer residence," so Saturday morning (May 8) Mike and I packed the Dakota with the Montmorency sour cherry tree, the supplies and "needfuls" we had gathered, and Nellie (of course)and headed out to the farm. As we traveled we listened to a Louis L'Amour audiotape, "Law of the Desert Born," and companionably anticipated the planting of our sincere little cherry tree. It felt really good to be going to the farm again.

At first sight of the farmyard from the old Plank place, we were relieved to see the tall pines in the grove still standing like sentries, having survived another winter. From that distance, the house and grounds looked good. But as we drove into the yard, Mike exclaimed, "Oh no! The horses are here again!" The yard was trampled and flower pots sitting on the porch had been pulled off and broken. Manure everywhere. Truly – it smelled like a barnyard. I'm not a forensic scientist but upon examination of the natural stuff, it looked as if the horses had been in residence some weeks, including that very day.

Of course we had to deal with the situation, but taking first things first, we decided to plant the cherry tree. You may recall that the cherry tree is Hallie's gift for our 35th wedding anniversary. We chose a spot in the grove, back of the area designated as the orchard, and Mike dug a hole according to instructions – as deep as the root ball and twice as wide.

In the course of the planting, we provided plenty of water.





The tree seemed to perk up immediately it was in the ground, apparently sensing it was home. As the final step, Mike placed fencing around it that will hopefully provide some protection from the deer if not the horses.


After lunch we set about assessing the damage and righting the yard as much as we could. The horses' hooves made divots in the soft ground, and they had trampled all around the house and the woodshed – also behind (on the east side) of the barn. What we know is that soon the ground will harden like the clay it is and those divots will be permanent dents unless we do something to smooth the ground soon.

Mrs. Dobson's little girl Kathy was not raised to shovel manure, but shovel I did. I filled the composter with the stuff around the woodshed and as I worked I entertained myself with thoughts of all the beautiful dresses I have had in my life. "If only the ladies of the club could see me now," I thought. Then Mike helped me – or I helped him – and together we scooped more and established a secondary pile. Actually, the manure is the least of our worries – perhaps even a good thing for fortifying our gardens.


Sunday morning Mike made a trip to the canyon and took pictures of the defunct fence. The owner showed up about noon and said he would make repairs. As you can see from the pictures, the fence really needs to be replaced / renewed rather than repaired. The horses have just freely moved between the canyon and our property for so long that a little fence doesn't hold them. And why should the owner care if we aren't complaining? KW

Friday, May 7, 2010

ANOTHER ONE DOWN . . .

When we got up this morning, it promised to be a beautiful day. The forecast hardly mentioned rain. Mike and I worked in the drought-tolerant perennial beds. It was a lovely day.

But about 2:30 this afternoon the sky began to darken ominously. Mike cleaned his shop and then hurried to get in a bike ride before the storm. He didn't make it, though. He's out there someplace in cycling shorts and it's pouring rain. Nellie and I had actually just set foot outside the house for our afternoon walk when a close flash of lightning was followed by a clap of thunder. It was hard explaining to her that I thought staying home was the best course of action. I think she understands now.

Here's a picture of different kind of flower bed created by the afghan I finished yesterday. Since every round of the separate medallions is a different color, there were lots of loose ends, and I spent hours tying them. I used up bits and pieces of yarn from my extensive stash to make this afghan with the exception of the white.

We saw Clint yesterday. He was in town to meet friends for their annual camping trip. He took time out from camping preparations to ride dirt bikes with Mike. Stopping back here, he raided my refrigerator and I gave him fresh-baked cookies. KW

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, 1950s

We have friends on the Mississippi Gulf Coast where it seems the next weather catastrophe is always just around the corner, mostly hurricanes. Now the Gulf Coast is bracing for the effects of the "worst oil disaster in history," which will affect their lives and their environment. One friend said he could smell the oil at his house, but an AP article in today's Trib states "that some are seeing and smelling oil where there is none." Some Mississippi friends have signed on to work as volunteers, washing water fowl and such, but the same AP article says no one knows why the jellyfish and water fowl are dying.

Considering the great devastation some areas of the world suffer because of natural disasters, it seems almost ridiculous to mention Monday's ferocious windstorm with gusts of 60+ mph here in the great Inland Northwest. The wind uprooted trees, caused electrical outages in some parts of town, and even jack-knifed a truck on the Interstate Bridge. Even so, our problems were light – no loss of life and most people just suffered minor inconvenience. I would hazard a guess that they probably didn't even hear about this storm in Mississippi. Still, it's the talk of our town.

"I couldn't do anything," said one of the ladies of the club. "We've become so dependent on electricity. Fortunately I had some baked chicken breasts in the refrigerator that I could use to make sandwiches for supper."

It just points out again how much we need to give some thought to disaster preparedness. Could you fix a meal without electricity? Do you have ready-to-eat food in your cupboard that would allow you and your family to survive several days without cooking? What about water? And – even though none of us can take on the world -- would you be able to help a neighbor with food and/or supplies?

The concept of preparedness has fascinated me since childhood – once I got over being traumatized, that is. Back in the '50s, people thought atomic war might be imminent, and in its infinite wisdom, the government made sure little school children were well-versed on what to do in the event someone dropped "the bomb." We were shown films in school including information on how to identify locations of bomb shelters (there was one in the basement of the post office in Orofino), how to prepare a bomb shelter in the basement of your house, and then what foods would be safe to eat when we finally crawled out. Yes, even though someone bombed you, you might survive just fine, but there would be weird stuff, called "fall-out," and it would affect your food. You could trim mold off of bread and eat it but moldy meat should be discarded – or something like that. You should throw away the mayonnaise because it contains eggs. It's hilarious when you think of it, isn't it? I wonder if they have those old films online.

And there was this audio signal, called the conelrad signal. Perhaps you've heard it because "they" will still use it when "they" want to get information to you – these days usually a weather warning. I think they just call it an emergency signal now. The radio station in Orofino would play it for a full minute at 1:00 p.m. every day. "This is a test and only a test," the announcer would say. "Had this been a real disaster, you would have been instructed to turn to channel 1250 for further instructions." Hey! It was a scary world I grew up in. Every bit as scary as anything you could tell me about the world today – and the government did it to us.

At some point, all of this bomb shelter preparedness stuff went away, and rather quietly, too. Apparently someone someplace (one of "them") realized how impractical these ideas of basement shelters were. We would probably kill each other fighting for places in the shelters because obviously we couldn't accommodate everyone underground, and then what kind of world would we come out to? The fall-out, which before was just affecting our food, would naturally have devastated our whole world.

But what remains for our consideration is emergency preparedness. I think we probably don't receive enough information or encouragement along these lines – from "them."

Today is "Cinco de Mayo," and every commercial email site to which I subscribe has sent recipes for tonight's Mexican meal. Instead I'm going with an old favorite – Bennie's enchiladas – made with pheasant.

[Top photo: The weather is still unsettled. Note the rain gutters on the shop / garage that Mike had installed last week. Bottom photo: Mule deer move through the field above the town house.] KW


Sunday, May 2, 2010

MOVE IT, GIRLS!

The rummage sale went well. We made $2,000 to support our projects and everyone feels good about it. It's just that it's a lot of work and many of us don't work like we used to. Well, that's what I thought anyway.

Friday morning we set out the stuff we had gathered in the big multi-purpose room of a local church. Many of us were already complaining of exhaustion as we headed home in the early afternoon, satisfied that all was in readiness for the sale early Saturday morning. I've already written about my wonderful "Friday finds."

Saturday found me on my way to the sale before 7:30 a.m. By the time I arrived, extra rummage had already been laid out and a line was gathering at the door. Daisy the Clown (one of our members) was in make-up and costume, ready to greet customers.

Despite the rain – and now and then it rained hard – we had a good crowd for the sale. We sold on a "per item" basis until 1:00. Then paper grocery sacks were handed to customers and selling continued at "all you can fit in the bag" for $3.00 for the last hour or so. As you can imagine, morning customers returned in the afternoon in hopes of finding items they want still available for the bag sale.

As the sale ended, we were left with an abundance of stuff that didn't sell – mostly clothing and low-end household items like mugs and plastics. It's our responsibility to clear the stuff away and everyone wants it done quickly so that we can go home. As the working members began to fill large garbage sacks with stuff, our chairman called out:

"Opportunities Unlimited is on the way to pick up the stuff. They will stay just 20 minutes." For a long moment the room was silent as workers digested the implications of the information.

I don't know what possessed me, but I called out, "We can do it!" And you never saw "gray power" work so fast! (These ladies are mostly old enough to be my mother, and some battle physical difficulties.) But bless their hearts! They packed those garbage sacks in double time. We were moving! The guys from Opportunities Unlimited loaded what they could and then returned for another load. "It's a lotta stuff," one said to me. "A lotta stuff.

Before the bag sale began, I picked up a few more items – more pillowcases, more books, a naked Barbie doll, a purple Beanie Baby, pretty garden boots, one of those Yankee Candles with Christmas shade (I've always wanted one of those), and a Sunbeam waffle maker (a big one). I am unapologetic for the fact that I continued to be a good customer through the sale, though the best finds were the "Friday finds."

It's always interesting to me to see what sells and what doesn't. The Christmas ornaments sold, but not the wrapping paper, bags or bows. The Beanie Babies didn't sell at 50 cents; four sold immediately when the price dropped to 25 cents; the rest – at least a dozen – didn't sell. Toys and stuffed animals didn't sell. The books didn't sell. Action figures from 30 years ago didn't sell. The VHS tapes sold last year but not this. Beautiful decorator items didn't sell. You know – pretty much nothing sold, but we made $2,000. Go figure.

[The pictures are just more from our day around town last week.] KW