Thursday, October 31, 2013


Chester’s roaming in an open patch;
Jack is stepping on his toes;
We’re all waiting for Great Pumpkin to come
And we’re dressed up in goblin clothes.
Everybody knows the goodies that Great Pumpkin brings
Help to make our “spirits” bright.
Pumpkin followers with flashlights aglow
Will keep their watch all through the night.
They know Great Pumpkin’s coming back.
He’ll bring a lot of toys and goodies in his sack.
And all the kids will gather in a batch
When the Great Pumpkin rises out of the patch!
And so I’m offering this wise advice –
“You’re gonna grin from ear to ear
On Halloween night when the Great One returns
If your patch is sincere!”

From The Peanuts Book of Pumpkin Carols
a Hallmark “Peanuts Gallery” booklet, 1960s


Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Sunday morning (Oct. 27) , as soon as the sun dispersed the fog, I was again at work outside. I filled our wheelbarrow with compost from my bin and spread it mostly on the raised beds. Then I mixed some spinach seed into the soil so that we might have an early spring crop. It worked last year, but if it doesn’t, nothing is lost for trying. It’s just old seed. After that I raked leaves and refilled the compost bin with leaves, wood chips, and more kitchen scraps.

Before lunch, Mike and I made a 4-wheeler trip over to the old Wright place on Miller Road. The house is gone now, but I never thought the location was such a great home site. However, here’s the beautiful view from the back of the house.

In the afternoon Mike went to his “barn gym” to work out. The dogs went along and played around the pond. Here they are watching me as I take pictures. (It's not a good picture but you get the idea.) In the morning they had been out for a hunt, so I rejoiced that they were well-exercised and wouldn’t want a walk. WRONG! Two pairs of sweet brown eyes stared at me as I prepared to start supper. So, all four of us went for a walk down the lane, and at the “pine-apple” tree we picked what apples remained. Back in the kitchen, I peeled and pared them for a big pie. It was getting colder and looking stormy.

In the early evening it rained a little. Then the wind commenced to blow – and blow it did, wrapping the house in howls and shrieks. EERIE! In fact, the wind howled all night long, and it was cold! I hadn’t anticipated the need for another blanket on our bed, and we were both cold. Mike said he kept trying to pull up the quilt, which was already covering us.

Monday morning I replanted the daffodil bulbs one more time. It wasn’t easy – the wind was still blowing and gusting. Then I packed for the return to town. Mike turned the Dakota around to facilitate loading because of the wind. KW

Monday, October 28, 2013


It’s been a lovely October such as we have here in the great Pacific Inland Northwest – cool mornings and beautiful warm afternoons. The only drawback is that one has to get dressed twice – a sweatshirt in the morning and shorts and a t-shirt in the afternoon.

Last week an inversion caused our valley to fill with smog. As we left town for the farm on Saturday (Oct. 26), visibility was especially poor near the mill as white clouds of whatever belched out of its chimneys. It felt good to be getting out of town for a few days.

We stopped at the NAPA Store in Orofino where a geocache was placed to draw attention to wall art on the store. Mike readily found the cache and I took a few pictures. 

The day was sunny and pleasant, but a change in the weather was predicted. Once at the farm, we scurried to do outdoor things. I hung out two loads of laundry, planted more bulbs, and took the dogs for a walk. Mike took himself on a 25-mile bike ride.

How nice and neat the fields look now that they are plowed and planted in wheat. Plowed fields don’t make for great hunting, though – difficult to hike over, no bird cover, no garbs to lure the deer. Perhaps that’s why the deer have been munching trees and bushes in the yard. 

Supposedly deer don’t bother lilacs, but they just won’t leave mine alone. I rejoiced that a lilac bush I bought and planted ten years ago was finally making progress, but alas! – it has been decimated by the deer.

Usually a little protection will dissuade the deer, but here’s something that amazed us: they pulled the protective wire fencing off the poplar trunks and proceeded to scrape their antlers. Over the years, the poplars have sustained deer damage but have survived because – well, because they’re poplars. We had hoped to protect them from further damage, but I guess not.  

I was glad to see that the daffodil bulbs I planted two weeks ago stayed in the ground, but that was only because Bess was with us. I planted a couple dozen more bulbs, and then it was a fight to keep them in the ground. I planted – she dug them up. I replanted – she dug again. Did I mention that Bess is a digger? KW


                                                  German Shorthair Pointers                                                                                                 
                                     Nellie (10 years) and Bess (6 months)

Saturday, October 26, 2013


I had to take time out from my Halloween quilt in order to deal with a crisis in dog beds.

“This is our home,” I whined to Mike as we looked over our motley collection of dog pillows, most of them quite badly deteriorated. I felt strongly that we should buy a fresh new pillow, and then I found myself sitting on the back step with a ripper, removing the top of a large Kirkland pillow. We had inherited it used with one of the dogloos. It was a decent pillow until Bess ripped the top to pieces. I reasoned that all it needed was a new top and it would once again provide comfort for canine bones.

So, as Mike and Ken left with the dogs for a hunt, I headed out to Walmart. I found what I thought was a great value and I chose two pillows with time-consuming care, but as I put them in the car, I realized they were indeed quite cheaply made. The backing was a pellon-like fabric, more like paper, and I knew it would not stand up to the rough handling that both of our dogs will inflict.

But did I take them back? No! I went on to Jo-Ann Fabrics with the thought of making covers for them.

At Jo-Ann’s, I bought enough of a furry knit to cover the big Kirkland pillow. Then, I searched the “red tag” sale fabrics, which were half off the already reduced price, and found a heavy home dec fabric to make covers for the new pillows. The paisley design was not something I would ordinarily choose, but on the other hand, the neutral color was really quite nice. I bought four yards at $4.00 a yard.

Back at home, I cut the furry fabric into a 45-inch circle, which should have worked, but it proved to be too large. I trimmed an inch off, and still struggled with too much fabric. Then I noticed that the good sewists of China just scrunched it in and made it work. Not to be outdone, I made the necessary scrunches and stitched the top in place. Voila! One refreshed old pillow. I just knew Nellie would love it.

Mike came home with the dogs about 2:00. Nellie was exhausted – so tired she didn’t even want to move. Mike prepared her chow, and then he and Ken took off at 3:00 to hunt again, taking Bess but leaving Nellie behind. Nellie ate a little of her dinner and then, ignoring the pillows, she stretched out to rest on the living room floor.

I wanted to get back to my Halloween quilt, but I decided I should cover those two new Walmart pillows, knowing that if I put it off, it would be put off forever. As luck would have it, the pillows were 27” by 36” and my fabric was 54” wide. How easy! A one-yard cut would cover a pillow. Then I faced a challenge in that I broke the zipper I had intended to install. I didn’t want to buy a zipper because it would add significantly to the cost of this project – and I really wanted to finish. I sat down to contemplate my dilemma, and the answer came as if spoken – “just sew it closed.” Naturally, it was a great solution!

Nellie was still resting on the living room floor, but now as I passed through the room she would wag her tail. The afternoon was slipping away, but I didn’t want this project left over for another day, so I cut another length and stitched up a cover for the second pillow.

Nellie finally chose to curl up on the big pillow for her evening nap, and Bess stretched out next to her.

By the way, Mike separated the dogs Thursday evening, putting Nellie in her old barrel house and Bess in the dogloo. However, last night Nellie chose to be with Bess in the dogloo. KW

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I bought a bag of peanut butter taffy at the Dollar Tree last week, thinking that it would fill our Halloween candy dish nicely. I knew Mike would like it, and now and then maybe I would have a piece myself.

Wednesday morning as I cleaned the kitchen, I decided to indulge my sweet tooth. I bit into the taffy which suctioned onto my lower teeth, gluing my teeth together. As I pulled my teeth apart with great effort, I felt something give way in the lower row and came up with a crown. I called our dentist immediately and was told to be there in an hour. I was so relieved that I wouldn’t have to wait.

“Tell me,” asked the dentist in a confidential tone, “was it Halloween candy?”

“Yes,” I admitted sheepishly.

“There’s quite an epidemic of that this year,” he said.

“I suppose it’s because we’re all going cheap,” I replied.

The dentist said the tooth looked really good and it was a simple matter of cementing the crown back in place. He said that crown was placed in 1975 -- 38 years ago. Pretty good longevity. Just the same, no more taffy or caramels for me. (Unless, you know, I soften it in the microwave first. I know how to do that.)

On my way to the dentist’s office I mailed some Halloween window decorations and a ghostly notepad to granddaughter Emmy. Sunday afternoon she called to thank me and we talked about things that interest a kindergartner – Halloween coming up, her soccer team, our puppy, her school, her American Girl doll, etc. I think this is the first phone conversation I’ve had with Emmy when information was actually exchanged. I didn’t understand what she’s going to be for Halloween, though, and forgot to ask her mom.

The Halloween pictures in the slide show were taken at Emmy’s house last year during our visit. Emmy says the big vacuum-powered witch is standing in the front yard again. And Emmy’s mom said they got several big pumpkins and would miss Grandpa Mike’s jack-o-lantern carving skills.

No, we aren’t going to the “Mile High City” this Halloween. It’s a wonderful tradition but we don’t do it every year. As it happened, I had rather wistfully thought about the trip Sunday morning when grocery shopping. I’m out of ground cloves, one of my favorite spices, but when I saw the price ($8.50 for a tiny container), I said I’d limp along without it. But that reminded me that when we’re visiting in the Denver area, I always replenish my stock of spices. They seem to be less expensive in the city.

Yesterday I finished the Halloween party outfit for Emmy’s American Girl doll. How do these holidays sneak up on me like this? KW