Thursday, March 27, 2014


When it’s bedtime, the routine is that Mike turns off TV and calls the dogs to the kitchen to get their teeth brushed. Both Nellie and Bess have their teeth brushed every night. Mike became convinced of that necessity when previous dog, Nobie, had to have her teeth cleaned, a procedure requiring her to be anesthetized. After that, he added "brushing the dog's teeth" to the bedtime routine. Nellie’s teeth are in good shape for a dog her age.

As the next step in the bedtime routine, the dogs make a brief visit to the field. They are expected to return from that visit ASAP, and usually – but not always – that happens. Then they go to the kennel, receive their bedtime treat, and have strange “doglike” interactions as they decide which one will sleep where.

We had two dogloos in the kennel, and a while back, Mike noticed that the shavings in the one house were wet. We haven’t found the reason yet, but Mike pushed that dogloo out of the way behind the kennel and re-installed Nellie’s barrel. The other night the wind was blowing, so Nellie went to bed early. (She doesn’t like to be in the house during a storm.) When Mike took Bess to bed, Nellie wouldn’t allow her to enter the barrel. Of course, the second dogloo was still available for Bess. We don’t know how they resolve these things. They’ve given Mike to know that they prefer to solve their own problems -- and privately. If he tries to watch, they watch him back and refuse to "discuss" their issues until he leaves.

Last night, Mike put both dogs in the kennel and returned to the house to brush his own teeth. As he turned the bedroom light out, I thought I heard a little whine from outside. I didn’t hear it again, so I didn’t mention it. In fact, I just thought I was hearing things. Big mistake! Somehow Bess ducked back out of the kennel before Mike latched the gate and he didn’t notice her, so she spent the night on the outside. Well, it wasn’t cold and she had the outside dogloo at her disposal. No harm done except that she took retribution by chewing the leather strap off Mike’s wood carrier. Apparently it mattered to her that she wasn’t inside the kennel. KW

[Photo 1: Bess has long, floppy ears, and for a Shorthair, her fur is rather long. We call her a long-hair Shorthair. Note the cowlick on the back of her neck. 
Photo 2: Bess wanted so badly to sit with Mike on the sofa. He gave her no encouragement.
Photo 3: Bess seemed posed for this picture.]

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Work continues on Hallie and Nick's cute little Tudor cottage in Seattle.

Some of the work just had to be done -- a new sewer line and a new roof. You can see Nick beside the fence, watching the roofers.

But Hallie and Nick did most of the work themselves, and they worked and they cleaned and they worked some more. I think Hallie said she got the shop-vac off Craigslist practically new.

They made the bathroom workable.

Then, taking first things first, they tackled the kitchen. The picture on the right shows the old kitchen with old appliances before the work commenced. The refrigerator was hauled off -- ruined by spoiled food left two years ago, Hallie said. She refused to deal with that. And they gave away the old range.
In this picture, the kitchen walls are now yellow. Hallie says the yellowness makes her happy.

And to the right (I hope -- a pictorial post is not easy), we can see the new kitchen floor. I think Hallie said it's a "floating cork" floor, or something. And I believe they laid it themselves.
And here are the new appliances, delivered last Tuesday. Hallie reported that they chose stainless steel, which isn't traditional, but I say that even though the age and style of the house may dictate some of their decisions, they're still living in the modern world and should have what they want.
Here are before and afters on the kitchen faucet. Now there's a vintage look. And Hallie reports that the new faucet works! (Look at that soapdish.)

It's not been an easy project, but I think Nick and Hallie are pleased with results thus far. Worthwhile projects often aren't easy.

Well, I'm going to push publish and hope that the appropriate illustrations stay with the text. KW

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Over at the resort, "Aunt" Chris and "Uncle" Dan hired grandsons to come and help with some heavy yard work. Unfortunately, our grandsons don't live near here.

Today, Mike cut the stump of the big poplar tree. He shoved it around himself, but I think we'll leave it there and see if it dries out a bit before "we" try to move it again.

Days have been sunny but still somewhat cool. Mornings have been frosty -- low was 27 today. KW 

Thursday, March 20, 2014


“Value” – The topic fascinates me: what we treasure – what we pay for new items – what those same items are actually worth as rummage or thrift store goods.

The P.E.O. chapter to which I belong held its annual rummage sale last weekend. I donated rummage, contributed seven dozen of my home-baked cookies, worked the open hours for two days, made a monetary contribution, and brought home more than I took. It happens every year.

Sometimes I find things I've been seeking, such as this lovely KitchenAid roasting pan, perfect for making Chex mix (or even roasting a turkey) but a size that seems elusive. It was on my Christmas list but didn’t come my way, so I was delighted to find this one.

And then, there’s the Rowenta power steamer. The donor said it works beautifully but she no longer needed it. She said thought of me, knowing that I sew, and wouldn’t I like her to set it aside for me. Of course, I said yes. So, I carried it home and Mike immediately asked if I didn’t have an adequate iron and where on earth would I store it. Yes, a valid question. Well, I’ll find a spot for it. Maybe I’ll discover it replaces my iron nicely.

This year we had donated items from several who were downsizing and that always makes for an interesting sale. In fact, one of my very own sisters is moving from her big country home to a smaller house in town, and she donated things I recognized from Mother’s house. I had already said good-by to these things, but I found my interest re-kindled. A case in point is a set of three glass ashtrays, originally found at the farmhouse and which I’ll return there. No, we don’t need them, but somehow they remind me of days gone by, of a place that still exists but isn’t the same.

Amongst the knick-knacks at the sale, we had many votive candleholders and candle plates. I’m always short on these and I immediately took interest. However, I guess not everyone feels that way. As the sale was ending, they were left, and so they came home with me.

As we work at the sale, the subject of china and crystal inevitably comes up. We don’t use it; our children don’t want it; no one wants it; how to use or dispose of it, etc. Such items are left behind – or go for a pittance. One member purchased a set of beautiful crystal wine goblets at $2.00 a piece rather than see them given away. KW

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Friday afternoon, Mike sauntered into the living room and inserted a new log into the little wood stove to keep the fire burning. Ordinarily we would expect no problem with that. We were getting ready to leave the house for a walk, but I was busy and we were delayed in leaving. It was a good thing, too, because the little stove commenced to smoke. A sudden windstorm was sending gusts hurtling down the chimney, and the resulting downdraft caused the fire to smolder. Smoke curled slowly but steadily through any crack it could find.

What to do, what to do?? First we yelled instructions at one another and then we propped open both the front and back doors. The little stove continued to belch smoke while the wind gusted wildly and . . . well, I digress to remind you that I’m not a good housekeeper, but that doesn’t mean that I wanted all this dirt in my house. Papers flew off the kitchen counter onto the floor while dirt and leaves hurtled across the floor.
“Can’t we put some paper in the stove and get the fire to burn?” I suggested.

“We could but I’m afraid to open the stove door,” Mike replied. “It will just put more smoke into the house.”

Really, at that point I couldn’t see that more smoke would matter. We already had plenty. About that time, the smoke alarm in the dining area went off, adding to the sense of urgency I was feeling.

Mike grabbed the ladder and climbed to the roof to see if he could shield the chimney and cause the stove to draw. That worked – and so I tossed some wadded newspaper into the stove to encourage the fire to burn and also added a small stick of wood. We were successful in our efforts to reverse the downdraft, and it was safe enough for Mike to come off the roof, but the wind had blown the ladder over, stranding him up there. I managed to replace it – difficult because of the wind.

And then it was time for Mike to go to the gym and so I took the dogs for their walk. Here are pictures of that day. KW

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014

GOING . . . GOING . . .

Here's a picture of our neighborhood taken recently from Mary Jane's backyard. As you can see, she has a fantastic view of the hills. She says when she moved here 20+ years ago,  there were very few houses. Our house is the yellow one to the left of center. And you can see that when I took the picture, the poplar tree by the driveway was still there.

 Mike planted that poplar when we moved here – ten years ago this coming fall – to provide instant shade. It did that – and then some. But other slow-growing trees have now grown to the point where they benefit us and this tree proved to be quite messy in the fall.

I was relieved when Ken said he would help Mike cut down the tree. If Ken doesn’t help, then I’m the assistant, and I’m not that good. Instead I baked cookies for the workers, a chore more suited to my talents. First step (above right) -- discussion ensues. 

Say, how do you work this thing anyway? (above left)
Now we're getting it. (right)

Hope we don't hit the neighbors house -- and we didn't. Well, we almost didn't. No harm done. Whew!

It wasn’t quite as warm as predicted – 59 instead of 64 – and fortunately they finished this project before it rained.

And now it's gone -- but not forgotten. There's still clean up to be done.

Other news: Our Gilbert neighbor called this afternoon to say that June's field sloughed into the lane and dammed it, which caused a wash-out. As we say here: It's always something. KW