Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Bess was born a German Shorthair Pointer on April 29, 2013, the only girl amongst a lot of brothers – that is, until later in the evening when her mom gave birth to another girl. Because of that other girl, we were allowed to take Bess. (The breeder had first pick of the females.)
So, today is Bess’ first birthday. I guess she’s about seven in human years, and I suppose that’s about right. It’s hard to judge her mental age – what she knows or doesn’t – since she doesn’t think like a human. We’ve been through a whole year of “firsts” as she learned all about the world around her. But sometimes I wonder if she was born knowing all about the world and we’re the ones who have to learn.

I thought of baking a cake in Bess’ honor today, and indeed, I probably will bake a cake, but I decided to drop the whole “Bess” thing. We’ve never celebrated any dog’s birthday before, except maybe to just remark about it, and now is not the time to begin.

Bess’ birthdate of April 29 is easy to remember since it was my dad’s birthday. He was born in 1904 at the family homestead at Gilbert, the same homestead where we maintain a home. By the time my dad joined the Julian and Ina Dobson family, the farm operation was well established and my grandfather had received his land patent. They had already been at Gilbert for eight years.

Well, it was a long time ago, you know, but we’re fortunate that little things were saved and cherished, like my dad’s collection of postcards. There were ten that honored his birthdays, and I suspect that those constituted his gifts. I never asked and no one ever said.

Okay – so any cake baked today will not be a birthday cake, but I did change the horribly outdated (but heartwarming) slideshow to reflect my dad’s collection of birthday postcards. What I notice about them is that with the exception of two, they are decidedly feminine and a couple of them are even romantic. But – people shared what they had.

On the back of the picture that illustrates this post is written: “Vance Dobson from sister Ethel. April 29, 1909, age 5 years. Many happy of the day.” Daddy was five; Ethel was about ten. It’s just a picture, perhaps torn from a book, the kind of gift given when money and goods are scarce. KW

[The photos show Bess at six weeks and again as she appears today.]

Monday, April 28, 2014


Bess and Nellie

Sunday, April 27, 2014


After our trip to Boise last weekend (April 18-19), we had a nice open week and thought we’d spend some days at the farm. However, the weather didn’t cooperate. It was a week of unsettled weather with those “widely scattered showers.” Sometimes we had rain from those clouds and sometimes the rain fell elsewhere.

But – we stayed at the town house and accomplished tasks that were tedious and difficult. We washed windows inside and out and then we weeded and planted more drought-tolerant perennials. Mike located and repaired the leak on the back side of the lot – easier said than done, I assure you.

But some nice things happened because we were here and available. Mike and another member of the cycling club discovered that they had corresponding bicycle interests so they traded bike frames and Mike is now in the process of building another bike. He found that he could get the parts he needed through Amazon, so he ordered them and they’re here already. (What could be handier than that Amazon Prime?)

For me, the nice thing was that sister Harriet and I went to Troy (Idaho) where sister Joni (and husband Pat) are moving from their large country home to a small house in town. We had a nice lunch in Troy at a converted service station called “The Filling Station.” Then Joni and Pat showed us their new house. The Christmas decorations are already on shelves in the garage even though they haven’t moved the furniture. Joni has her priorities straight.
Back at the old house, Joni gave us boxes of family archives which she no longer wishes to store. Having just finished downsizing and selling her old country home, Harriet wasn’t really interested either. So, I came home with the stuff, which I had been given to know was mine to sort and dispose of as I saw fit.

It’s amazing what remained as evidence of a long and active life – from personal keepsakes to official documents – especially when you consider that it’s been 18 years since these individuals passed away. Some things were easily tossed while others touched nostalgic chords. For instance, I found my Grandmother Nina Portfors’ Rebekah pins (or emblems, as they call them). I knew, of course, that something should have happened with those pins when Grandma passed on in 1955, but my grandfather couldn’t bear to part with her effects. Fast forward nearly 60 years and through the magic of Facebook, a very nice individual provided information so that I can return the emblems to my Grandmother’s lodge in Orofino. She also extended an invitation for me to join.

Other finds ran the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous. Amongst the sublime were my grandparents’ marriage license, their certificates of birth, certificates of naturalization for my grandfather and great-grandfather, even some documents in Swedish. The ridiculous? Who would have thought that Uncle Porkie kept so much high school memorabilia? KW

[The first photo shows Nellie soaking up the warmth from the pavement. The second shows where Mike had to dig to find the leak. The remainder I took on today's walk with the dogs.]

Monday, April 21, 2014


Geocaching was not the focus of our recent trip to Boise. We didn’t stop at all on the way to Boise, unless you count that stop at the Triumph dealership in Caldwell where Mike test rode a 2008 Honda Interceptor 800 touring bike, which wasn’t right for him. Now he knows. Then it was on to Boise to assist Milo with bike maintenance and various errands. We had supper at the Mongolian Barbecue, which we deemed very good.
Arriving back at Milo’s from the motel on Saturday morning, Mike disappeared. I thought he was someplace he wasn’t, but eventually he returned from finding a geocache in the neighborhood. I don’t know why I didn’t figure that out. At any rate, he accomplished his morning walk which seems to loosen his back. At home, he and the dogs take a 15-minute walk every morning.

On the return trip Saturday afternoon, we did make four stops to geocache, only finding two. But again, it served the purpose of getting us out of the car to walk or stretch. The drive on Hwy 95 between Boise and Lewiston is tedious but beautiful and I only wish I could show more pictures of snow-capped mountains.


Here’s Mike at our first stop near New Meadows.


And here's a stop at a rock outcropping above the Payette River. The hint was “under a rock.” This type of cache is my least favorite and I just don’t care about even looking.
The next stop was at a rest stop and equally frustrating. No, I didn’t take pictures of the rest area.

But, the best was right at the top of the White Bird Grade where one can look out over the peaceful valley and see the majestic mountains in the distance. The warm afternoon was turning into a cool evening, and though we hadn’t realized it yet, we were about to encounter a storm – mainly wind.

In 1877, the White Bird Canyon was the site of the famous battle between the United States and the Nez Perce Indians. You can read that history here. I mention it because it is part of our history and because the natural scene is so remote, beautiful, and pastoral – such a contrast to the idea of war. I suppose that's always the way, though. Our stop was above the scenic overlook which tells about the battle.


And when we arrived home, I took this picture of the storm sky over Idaho from our front porch in eastern Washington. KW

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Friday, April 18 (Good Friday) – The day of our trip to Boise had finally arrived, and somehow the dogs knew. The dogs weren’t going, and somehow they knew that, too. Mike took them to the boarding facility where Nellie seemed to accept her lot and the uninitiated Bess questioned that he would leave her there.

As we traveled, I remarked to Mike that I’m glad to be out of the celebration of Easter through the whole Easter egg thing -- though I admit that I enjoyed some jelly bean eggs during the season.

Our time in Boise – just a few hours, really – was spent with son Milo and our grandsons Mason and Gage. Milo’s time with the boys had been set with their mother, so we picked them up at the appointed hour Saturday morning with the idea of spending time at a park. They chose Kleiner Memorial Park, which actually lies in Meridian.

Kleiner Park is a large, well-planned facility for family activities, BUT – what we failed to take into account was that Saturday was the day before Easter and a huge event, an Easter egg hunt and family day, was in progress. That wasn’t the atmosphere we needed, so we opted instead for the quietude of Ann Morrison Park in Boise proper.   

Grandpa Mike and Gage tossed a baseball back and forth, then kicked the football for a while, and then rolled the balls on the bocce ball court. (Too bad we didn’t have bocce balls.) Meanwhile, I set out the snacks and made sandwiches. Mason is recuperating after surgery to repair his left foot and ankle, so he gets around on a scooter. He and Milo went for a quiet walk.

Ann Morrison is a mature, well-established park now, and Mike reminisced about moving to Idaho those 45 years ago and taking his two little boys to a Boise city park – perhaps this one – and pushing them on the swings.

With the aid of this new-fangled technology, I included Aunt Hallie in our gathering by means of a text message. She sent a “selfie” of herself making a face and challenged the boys to do the same for the phone camera. They obliged. Those photos will lie forever in the privacy of the family photo archives – at least until my cell phone fails.

Our few short hours were over all too soon. Or were they? I think Grandpa Mike got pretty tired – and maybe Mason as well.

And then it was time to take our leave – first of the grandsons and then of Milo – and return to our valley. Parting is always bittersweet, but at the same time we have never been so connected, thanks to our electronics. KW