Monday, April 29, 2013


Cheers to daughter Hallie for running a consistent 6:20 pace to come in third in the women's division (ninth overall) of the short course (5K) of the Seaport River Run. Her official time, according to the Lewiston Tribune, was 18:41:15. The women's division included ages 18-49. First and second place was won by college students, twin sisters, evidently 19 years old, who passed Hallie in the final stretch.

As a teen-ager, Hallie won this race twice, but she said Saturday's run was her best time ever. It was a bit of a heartbreaker to be passed so close to the finish line.  "I had no kick," she said, since she was already giving it her all. "I didn't know I was capable of running that fast," she added.

The annual Seaport River Run is a rather loosely organized fun run consisting of the short course and a longer 6.2 (10K) course. Although some participants are competitive with regard to winning, most are simply runners and walkers hoping to finish. The price to participate is right -- $10 plus a little more for the t-shirt. This year's entry total was 1,361. Top finishers are listed, but there are no awards. KW

[Top photo: That's Hallie in the bright shirt and dark shorts as she crosses the finish line. In the photo right she leans on husband Nick as she recovers.]

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Mike and I drove to the farm on Monday (April 22). As we rode along, I was mentally organizing the many chores that awaited me. I would start by cleaning the refrigerator, I decided. But as Mike and I compared notes, it was obvious that he was anxious about his primary task -- bringing the magic of water to our house. All of my chores hinged on his success.

As the farmhouse hove into view from Plank’s Pitch, Mike observed that it was still there. Heading on up the lane I noticed something in the road.

“What was that?” I queried.
“What was what? What did it look like?”

Sometimes words fail me, and I just didn't want to say it, but when we got to the farmyard, the truth was abundantly visible. The horses from the canyon had been there again, leaving too many “calling cards” to count. (This has happened before -- here.) We didn’t see the horses until late afternoon, hiding in a draw south of the house. Once they knew they were discovered, they headed to higher ground to watch us. Mike rode off on his dirt bike (the 4-wheeler is in town for maintenance) in hopes of chasing them back to the canyon, but by the time he reached the top of the hill, they were gone and he couldn’t see them.
So, we added “clean up yard” to our list of chores for the two-day stay. Mike called the outfitter in the canyon and told him his horses had visited us. We hope that’s enough to correct the matter.

So, the good news is that we have manure again, but of course, it has to age before it can be used.

Mike turned on the pump, the tanks, and the water without incident and I washed the refrigerator as planned. One by one we tested the faucets, the dishwasher, the washing machine until we were confident that the pipes and hoses survived the winter.

But I tell you what – it’s still chilly. We heard the same thing everywhere as we traveled – it was a cold spring. I just hope we’ll the fruit trees will bear this summer.

When we first come to the farm in the spring, we usually note a pair of ducks on the pond. The minute they see us – and Nellie – they turn tail and fly away. This year we noted the duck pair, but they didn’t run. Well, at least the male didn’t run. We think that Mike’s mallard decoy may have given him the courage to stay on the pond, and I was able to get some pictures. I suppose he could be guarding a nest – just don’t know. I identified him as a “Lesser Scaub,” also known as a “Bluebill.” Late Tuesday afternoon he finally “spooked” and flew as I tried to position myself for a better picture.
Over on the neighbor’s pond, we saw a swan as well as ducks, but I didn’t have the camera. Maybe they’ll still be there this weekend. KW

1) Horses in the draw. The one apart is a mule, I think, and he seems to be the leader. 2) The horses on higher ground. 3) Mike heads out on his dirt bike in an attempt to chase them. 4) Nellie says, "What is he up to now? I hope I'm not in trouble because I didn't follow." 5) Bluebill on the pond. 6) Bluebill and his friend the decoy.]

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Last Saturday I walked into my sewing studio and asked myself what needed to be done to turn the room into a guest room. Immediately I saw the vintage holiday handkerchief quilt folded on the arm of the sofa awaiting some finishing touches -- a couple of hours of handwork. The day was chilly and Mike had something to do. (That was four days ago -- I can't be expected to remember what it was that Mike was doing.) So, I crawled under the quilt, turned on a favorite t.v. program, and finished tying threads. You purists will probably say I should have tied the threads long ago, but I left them for a time when I would be chilly.

Aside from a couple of table runners and a doll quilt, this is my first finished quilt. I'm so happy! And you know, it isn't perfect, but you have to start someplace, and you can't stay forever working on the same quilt - or the same book or the same math problem. According to Kathy's Law of Progress, you have to move on in order to improve. I believe that.

It's possible that I might yet embellish this quilt. I can imagine vintage shirt buttons at each point of the triangles. Or -- I've wondered if perhaps a button in the middle of each "hanky" would be good since I didn't quilt them. OR - maybe it's just time to move on according to Kathy's law of progress.

I refused to let myself start another quilt until I finished this one. Note that I didn't say I didn't buy any kits. In fact, I bought four. And I have a "foursquare farmhouse" pattern to start when I finish those kits. Well, I just hope it doesn't take me two years to finish every quilt I start -- especially the kits since even I know they are quite easy to do.

Next up: the vintage Halloween quilt. Will it be ready by Halloween 2013? I'll try. KW

Sunday, April 21, 2013


From a website description: “In the lobby of a somber office building that flanks Washington Square lies an unexpected treasure: the astounding Dream Garden – a 15 × 49-foot mosaic of more than 100,000 pieces of favrile glass. Color and light, masterfully combined by the studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany, bring to life the luminous vision of Philadelphia native Maxfield Parrish, who created the painting on which the mosaic was based.

“The brilliantly hued work was commissioned by Cyrus Curtis, publisher of The Saturday Evening Post, to grace his empire’s new marble and pillar fortified headquarters. The work has been displayed since 1916 as an integral part of the Curtis Center’s historically certified lobby, yet few people know of its existence. Those who find it – either deliberately or not – are never disappointed.” (

Murray knew of this beautiful mural and took us to see it. The photo is of Murray and his son Douglas seated before the mural. On the back side of the main lobby, Mike took this picture of me seated at a beautiful fountain.

While in Philadelphia we stayed at the Bella Vista Bed and Breakfast, just a few blocks from Murray’s loft. I will never forget the over-the-top Victorian decorations, including this opulent statue tucked into a corner of the hallway. Walking ahead of me, Murray yelped and did a double-take. So Murray!

I always thought that the owner of a bed and breakfast cooked breakfast for the guests. At this home, fresh breads and fruits were available in the hallway. In our kitchenette, other items were available, such as cold cereal, milk and juice. The kitchen was outfitted with pots, pans and utensils so that guests could fix other meals in the room, provided they cleaned up after themselves.

Friday (March 28) we ventured out in the Mazda. We picked up grandson Douglas, and then we toured Bartram’s Garden, a 45-acre National Historic Landmark which is part of the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation.

John Bartram (1699-1777) was a horticulturist who owned 102 acres and systematically gathered the most varied collection of North American plants in the world. Unfortunately, at the time of our visit the garden was just beginning to awaken from its winter’s nap and the visitor center wasn’t open. We enjoyed wandering the trails through the garden and the views of the Schuylkill River.

I perceived that Murray wasn't interested in accompanying Mike across the Delaware River to get his New Jersey caches on the Camden Promenade, so I suggested that we brave it alone. Early Saturday morning (March 30) we punched the coordinates into our GPS devices, and off we went in the little Mazda. It probably wasn’t more than a 10-minute drive from Murray's. Mike found a couple of caches – enough to satisfy his personal requirements. That's me leaning on the railing with Philadelphia across the river. The other picture is just Philadelphia.

Later Saturday morning, we met Murray and walked into the fabric district located near his loft. I found a beautiful embroidered remnant in a dollar bin while Mike and Murray visited in the bike shop next door. Then we had to tell Murray that we would like to slow the touring and enjoy some rest and relaxation. I camped on his “dog bed for a human,” a round chair, while he and Mike worked out in the gym.

Easter Sunday Murray roasted a chicken for our dinner. The picture is of the dinner table set with plates from Murray extensive Jadite collection –very retro.That's Mike carving the chicken. Note the unusual table edge. KW

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Once the Georgia woods let go their grasp on us, we were again on our way. We entered the next geocache coordinates into our GPS devices. Once again we were on the interstate, and then we circled off to another four-lane highway with no traffic. (Perhaps it was just another section of that same highway.)

The little Mazda slowly glided down the ramp following Nuvi’s instructions to “keep left, turn left.” Initially Mike thought the cache was on the left and pulled into a median.

“You can’t park here,” I said firmly.
“But I think the cache is over there,” he said.
“Then you’ll have to park on the shoulder and cross the road.” (Spoken like a true mother.) It didn’t look like crossing the road would be a problem.

Still contemplating the cache location, Mike pulled the Mazda across the road and parked on the shoulder. The only traffic to be seen was a pick-up sitting at a side road behind us – just sitting there. I couldn’t say what he was waiting for – perhaps making computer entries before moving on.   

We both got out of the car – and now we knew the cache was in front of us on the guardrail -- but before we’d moved very far, the pick-up, a utility vehicle, pulled in. “Y’all okay?” he called to us, and then undoubtedly noticing the GPS in Mike’s hand he added, “or are you looking for something?”

Hallie’s complaint against geocaching leapt to mind: “And there you are in a public place looking for something.”

We assured him we were all right – just looking for something.

“I saw you over there,” he said, “and then you pulled over here. And then I noticed the New York plates and I thought you might have some trouble.”  We didn’t offer lengthy explanations, like “no, we’re hicks from Washington state traveling incognito in a rental car with New York plates.”

“Well, enjoy your hunt,” he added, “but don’t go through the fence to that cell tower. The homeless camp under there and it’s not safe.”

We thanked him and he headed on down the road, leaving us on this quiet stretch of road by ourselves. But ere he was out of sight, another pick-up pulled in.

“Y’all all right?” called the driver. We assured him we were.

As embarrassing as it was to be the subject of this attention, I will always remember Georgia as a state where people care about the welfare of others – whether or not it’s really true. KW

P.S. I did not take a plethora of pictures on this trip.  The photo muse went missing.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


We were traveling by cache coordinates in Georgia, I think, on Wednesday (April 3) when we realized that both Mike’s GPS and Nuvi were confused. They took us off the interstate, which we expected, and then we looped around a country settlement until we came to an unpaved road into woods, but it was gated. Fortunately Mike opted not to hike into that area on foot. Something didn’t seem right.

We tried again and came out on a beautiful four lane highway eerily absent of traffic. I think one car went by in the ten minutes we stood there. I couldn’t help but think that this road was a colossal waste of the taxpayers’ money, but of course, I know nothing about the politics of this area. We were just passing through. Mike found the cache and we thought we were on our way.

Unfortunately, both GPS units were still confused, and we continued this “Twilight Zone” experience by driving sandy back woods roads. It didn’t seem right, but we did it anyway – and this after I vent about people who go off and get lost while using global positioning navigation systems and failing to use rational thought! We passed a parked logging truck and the driver gave us a friendly wave. A mile or so later we drove through a hunting camp and I joked to Mike that somehow we had made it to central Arkansas and “Boiling Pot,” his family’s place on the Ouachita River.
When we came out, we were on the back side of that gate mentioned in the first paragraph. Obviously the satellites were persistent in having a bit of sport with us.

There was nothing for it but to turn around and go back. “I hope that log truck driver isn’t there,” I mused aloud. “I hope he is,” said Mike with some force, so that he can give me directions out of here.” Mike got his wish. The truck driver was there and Mike told me to ask him for directions. “Not on your life!” I retorted. "You do the talking." I did roll down my window, and the driver told us to maintain our course and it would take us out – and politely wished us a good day.

“I’ll bet he had a good laugh!” said Mike. But he was polite enough not to laugh in our faces.

I was reminded of some adventures I had with my mother and dad when growing up. They loved a drive into the woods, but sometimes we were temporarily lost in the maze of logging roads. And that was when we didn’t have GPS to “help” us. KW

Sunday, April 14, 2013

"I thought of something to do" [outside]

"There’s nothing you can do outdoors on a day like today,” whined Mike yesterday morning as the wind whistled around our little house.

“Yippee! I can do inside stuff today!” my heart sang.

It was indeed unpleasant outside as strong wind gusts buffeted stationery items. Walking against it was a trial, but walk we did.
The first thing Mike said this morning (Sunday, April 14), was: “I thought of something to do. I need to do maintenance on my Vet-Modie multi-cache.”

“There goes the morning,” I thought to myself. I had planned to finish some study notes and retire to my sewing studio.

“I don’t need to go, right?” I asked aloud.

“Oh – you have to go. I need your help.”

So I quickly made hot chocolate for our mid-morning snack, grabbed my waist pack, into which we loaded various essentials, and filled a bottle with some water for Nellie. It was a pretty day, and I took a lot of pictures.

The cache in question is located in the Ruth Rowell Modie Wildlife Park, a mid-town gully near where we raised our second family. In recent years, since we moved, the City of Lewiston has developed this area with a walking path, plantings, and a few interesting structures. 

Near the turn of the 20th century, pillars were erected here to mark the gateway to the Lewiston Orchards (see photo left). These are recognized as historically significant and attempts have been made to preserve them.  Picking up on the pillar theme, smaller pillars in the same style disseminate information throughout the park. 
The park also borders the Idaho State Veterans’ Home.

In a world where communities struggle to beautify, this area is really special. A few years ago, Mike established the multi-cache to give resident and visiting cachers a tour of the park. A cache owner has the responsibility to maintain his caches – replace them when they disappear (or get wet), provide new log books when they are full (or get wet), or make corrections when structures are moved (which happens). 

I took the pictures illustrating this post as Mike checked the three checkpoints and the final cache.

When we returned home Mike made the necessary computer entries – also a part of geocaching – and then prepared for an afternoon bike ride. However, ominous-looking gray clouds brought wind and rain, despite the “0% chance” forecasted by the Weather Channel. Mike left the house only to re-enter immediately. “It’s raining!” he said. I laughed. KW