Thursday, October 29, 2015


House and grounds from southeast (June's field)

Nellie above Little Canyon

Bess and Mike, looking towards Wheeler Canyon

Mike and Nellie, farm yard in background, Teakean Butte


I love the "textures" depicted here.

From the south

The next morning: fog is a welcome sign of moisture.

I took these pictures during a hunt/hike on the warm afternoon of October 22 as we finally sat at the brink of a change in the weather. I would have posted sooner, but I've been busy finishing a project for Halloween.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


As Halloween approaches, I celebrate the finish of the Halloween panel quilt I've been making for the last three years. What's that you say? You think it's four years? Quite possibly.

I'm blessed in that not many fabric lines speak to me as this one does. It's "Halloween Masquerade" by Amy Barickman for Red Rooster Fabrics. I love it so much that when I saw another quilt pattern using these same fabrics, I couldn't resist buying more of it for my stash. I'm unapologetic about that, too. I'll enjoy working with these designs again.

I outlined the girls and some of the other center figures by hand. It was harder than I thought it would be. (Don't look at the back of the quilt.) And that center design could probably use more quilting / embellishment. I may (or may not) do that some day.

It's a nice seasonal touch for the house and it does make me happy. I'm glad to call it finished this year. KW

Monday, October 19, 2015


October sunrise over the barn

It has been a beautifully warm fall in our region, but highs at 80+ this time of year bring drawbacks. Lows have been in the 40s and 50s – no frost. The lack of precipitation means the fire danger remains high and some hunting areas are closed for that reason. Pesky insects abound. And for hunters, the preservation of meat in the field is difficult.

“This is the last day I’m getting up early for a while,” a weary Mike announced as he dressed in the dark at 5:45 a.m. on Saturday (Oct. 17), the third day in a row he had gotten up before dawn in order to hunt deer.
Mike doesn’t really enjoy deer hunting. He’d rather take his shotgun, a dog (or two), and hike several miles in quest of game birds than sneak up on a deer. Be that as it may, every year he buys a deer tag.

Saturday he got a good-sized doe. He was back at the house to get the 4-wheeler and an assistant (me) about 7:30. As we rode out, Bess ran along with us. Nellie appeared interested, but I thought she would stay in the yard. Beyond the pond we went, down into Stove Creek where the plum trees grow, through the CRP, and up into the field. Bess stayed right with us, but before long elderly Nellie ambled up. I suspect she knew what was up and wanted to participate.

We loaded the 4-wheeler, and the cargo usurped my place, so I walked back to the house – probably half a mile. Preparing the meat is a distasteful task, but it has to be done, and I had to be the assistant. As we worked at the maple tree with eastern exposure, I was amazed at how quickly it became warm in the sun. The yellow-jackets were upon us immediately.

“It’s going to be hot out here today,” I observed, meaning that we couldn't leave the meat hanging in the sun. The closest meat-packing plant is actually in Clarkston where we also reside. I thought we should leave soon.

But—we weren’t quite ready. Mike says that if that beautiful fallen pine tree has to go for firewood, he’ll take ours first, and with this stay at the farm he began to saw it up. It’s hard work, so he paces himself, and he had some cutting he wanted to do before we left. But, as the morning progressed, we knew we had to get that meat to the plant -- and soon.
After lunch we packed quickly. We didn’t have room for everything we usually take, but I made sure my electronics satchel got into the pick-up. We hardly left behind anything we needed – just Mike’s billfold. KW

Thursday, October 15, 2015


It’s true. As we were packing to leave the farm on Sunday (Oct. 11), Mike said, “I just need your electronics.” I proceeded to pack them up – laptop, iPad, all cords and chargers, my study books, our supply list for the next trip – all neatly settled into the big black carrying case. Unpacking in town, Mike said, “We left your laptop.” I took a moment to reflect and stifle swearwords. He went on to say he had left a place for it while packing, and it wasn’t there. I had no memory of carrying out to the pick-up.

Frankly, had it been up to me, I’d have driven right back to the farm for it. But the ever-practical (and frugal) Mike said, “We’ll go back on Wednesday.” And I decided I wouldn’t utter any words of disappointment or let a few days without my devices destroy my productivity. Instead, I picked up where I left off on my latest crochet project, the scrap afghan, and will soon finish it. And I scrubbed the kitchen and utility room floors on my hands and knees.

We did have a discussion on elder forgetfulness. It’s scary. It’s different than younger forgetfulness because you simply can’t hold as much in your mind. As with packing my laptop, you tend to dismiss tasks before they’re finished. Distraction is the worst – trying to visit while tasking, perhaps answering a question or leaving a task to do something else, etc. Or, you think you’ve done something and you haven’t. You go to write something on a list, another thought comes in, and you can’t remember what you were going to write in the first place. Keeping stress to a minimum is helpful but not always possible.

Well, we came back to the farm yesterday (Wed., Oct. 14), and I was reunited with my laptop and all the wonderful things it holds – documents, patterns, embroidery designs, etc., plus my connection to family and friends. Fortunately it was safely in the house -- right on the dining room chair where I left it. (Last winter I left my book satchel on the porch, including window wax that isn’t supposed to freeze.)

Farmer Kyle knocked on our door last night, and we had a nice visit. We discussed how warm it is for October – and how dry. Regionally, we remain at risk for wild fires. He said he’s never done fall work in the dust before. We haven’t had a frost yet, and gardens, though slowing, have been productive long beyond the usual date. With this trip, I picked a handful of small tomatoes and a few strawberries. I should water but I’m tired of that drill.

Kyle said he doesn’t know what next season's crop will be on our place – maybe spring wheat. KW

[The photos here were taken at the MWHomestead one evening last week.]

Friday, October 9, 2015


I gave a presentation at my P.E.O. chapter about my doll collection. Afterwards, a member (Mary) asked if I would like her “Toni” doll. My first thought was to refuse, not because I didn’t want the doll but because I knew I would be off on another tangent. But Mary told me that no one in her family wanted the doll. “You should see her hair,” she said. “I gave her a permanent and ruined it.” Her daughter called the doll “Chucky,” she said. How bad could she be, I wondered. [The photo left is of me and Mary prior to Toni's refurbishment.]

Some of you may remember the era of the home permanent. My mother gave me a permanent every three months from the time I was seven until I was fifteen or so. I hated it. Somehow the permanent Mother gave me didn’t make me look like those lovely models in the ads. But Mother said that without a permanent, my hair was unmanageable. So, a Saturday morning would be devoted to the process, and then my hair would be kinky (and smelly) for a couple of weeks. Everyone knew by smell as well as sight when a person’s permanent was new. Gradually the curl relaxed and grew out and Mother began to talk about permanents again.

Anyway, one brand of home permanent was the highly advertised “Toni.” And the “Toni” doll, manufactured by Ideal, was meant to promote the “Toni Home Permanent.” The doll was available in several sizes, the one in question being a 14-inch “P-90.” She came with a mock permanent kit, the solution being sugar water. Little girls everywhere gave permanents to their Toni dolls, saturating the wig with sugar water, and after that the doll wasn’t the same. (Really – I’m surprised the company got away with that.)

Despite this drawback, Toni was a beloved doll in the ‘50s, and I was totally hooked when I discovered the many patterns designed for her. Of course, all of those are now available as downloads through Etsy sellers.

So, last month my friend brought the doll to my house wrapped in a crocheted shawl. Yes, her hair was a little stiff and tousled and her joints were very loose due to the loss of elasticity in her bands. So, I first researched for instructions on re-stringing, and, gaining confidence, I ordered new bands. The doll pleaded for a new wig, so I ordered one of those, too.

The pictures here illustrate the re-stringing process, which I had never done before. I asked Mike to help me, but he offered the use of his tools and disappeared. I borrowed pliers and tweezers, but I didn’t need them. Instead, I used an open paperclip and a craft stick.

Then I tackled the wig. It was difficult to remove the old one. A little water helped. With great anticipation, I then fitted the new wig to her head. It’s elasticized and fits tightly, so I didn’t glue it down.

Isn’t she pretty? Next up – a new dress. (I already have three patterns.) KW

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Montana Sharptails

My nearest neighbor on the farm, Chris, who is just a little younger than my oldest boys is a hard core hunter.  He actually lives in Orofino but has land and a little building near our farm.  He probably doesn’t hunt more than I do because he has a job but he frequently takes multi day camping/hunting trips just for birds.  He often invites me to come along but I usually defer as my hands and feet just don’t do well in the cold any more.  However, when he invited me to join him and a friend on a Sharptail grouse hunt in north central Montana I couldn’t resist as I’d never hunted Sharptails.

He allowed me to bring my hunting partner, Ken, along but because of a family trip Ken was taking we would be joining Chris and Dave a couple of days later.  They were hunting five days.  After a 538 mile drive we arrived Wednesday afternoon and after unpacking at a motel we joined Chris and Dave for some delicious grouse fajitas that Dave had prepared at their camp.   

The next morning we drove east for another 70 miles to some state hunting sites.  At the first site Ken took the far right sweep and I was next to him.  Within fifteen minutes Bess was ranging far and wide and goes on point way over in front of Ken.  In less than five minutes Ken has three birds (thanks to Bess) and was thinking how easy this is.  He was thinking it was going to be a short day as the limit is four.  We hunted until noon and I eventually got one but Dave and Chris had no luck.  I should add that Ken and Chris have Shorthairs as do I and Dave a Vizsla.

The next stop entailed a long and a somewhat boring trek.  Ken and I hunted together and didn’t see one bird in about a two hour hunt.  We heard Chris banging away and found later that he had gotten three.  Our last stop was at a management area that required steel shot.  Ken and I had not brought any so we borrowed a few shells from our hosts.  We had hunted for about thirty minutes when I finally got into some birds and in less than five minutes had three which filled my limit.  Chris’s dog, Tick, had a sore foot so I was sharing Bess with him.  As we were heading back Bess made a beautiful point for him and the bird got up fairly close for a perfect shot.  Chris hit the bird on his first shot but not well enough to bring it down and he missed on his second.  Naturally he was pretty bummed out.  Dave had been skunked but he made up for it the next day.
Our bag after first day

Ken and I made the long drive back to the motel, cleaned the birds and had a delicious meal of lasagna that Kathy had prepared in advance for us.  We (including the dogs) slept well that night.

Rain had been predicted for a long time so we were expecting it the next morning.  I donned a light rain jacket and some motorcycle rain pants.  The first field we visited had lots of birds in it but they were very wild.  Chris and Dave were banging away so Ken and I figured they may have limited out.  As it turned out they didn’t get any.  We had taken a couple of long shots at ones passing by but they were pretty much hope shots.  As we were heading back an unpointed bird got up near Ken and he dropped it.  When we were about 50 yards from the truck the same thing happened for me.  

By this time the rain had stopped but of course the fields were wet.  (At the end of the day I was the only one with dry feet so I was impressed with my Irish Setter boots.) Our next stop was at a big alfalfa field.  Ken and I hunted together and it wasn’t long before Bess hit a point.  A pair flushed far out with one turning back and I almost took a shot but it was just a bit too far for me.  The exact same thing happened again shortly but this one was just a little closer in and I was able to drop it.  Bess made a nice retrieve.  As we approached the corner of the field 13 birds flushed but they were at least 150 yards out.  We heard shots from the others so hoped they had had some luck.  As we got back near the truck both dogs got very birdy and Pepper hit a hard point with Bess backing.  A single flushed at close range and Ken dropped it.  He said he didn’t know whether I was going to shoot and I told him I wasn’t about to shoot until he had had a crack at it.  So now we each had two birds.  When we got back to the truck we found that Dave had broken his dry spell and picked up two birds but Chris had not fired a shot.

Bess with 2nd day's limit
The last field was another alfalfa field and this time Ken and I were not hunting together.  Bess make and couple of nice points and subsequent retrieves on two singles following my shots.  That made my limit so I was back at the trucks by 1:50.  I took some pictures and began cleaning the birds.  The rest of the group arrived an hour later and Dave had bagged two more, completing his limit and Chris had picked up one.

We stopped at another field where just Ken and Chris hunted while Dave and I cleaned birds.  They had no luck and it began raining again.  By the time we got back to the motel the parking lot was a series of small lakes.  I was really glad I had gotten all the birds cleaned beforehand.
Dave, Chris, Ken and me

Bess eyes bird falling off bucket
It rained all night and predictions were for rain all the next day.  We had originally planned to hunt three days but decided to leave well enough alone.  For the two day hunt the final bird score was Young Guns - 8, Old Codgers - 13.

Rogers Pass
  We got a fairly early start and encountered rain, hail, snow and high winds.  By the time we got to Orofino it was sunny and 80 degrees. Total miles back to Clarkston was 1,238.  I found out later that Chris had actually hunted a couple of hours that morning and picked up two more birds.  As I said, he’s hard core.  All in all it was a great trip and one I’ll never forget.  M/W

Monday, October 5, 2015


The Kenmore refrigerator, delivered in August, seems to be working all right. We agree that it’s better than the previous one, which we believed wasn’t cold enough. However, the cooling seems inconsistent.

Actually, we had another Sears event relating to the new dishwasher. In loading it one day, I pushed the top rack into place and a thingamabob fell off the runner. (They call it an end cap, but it’s really a thingamabob.) I discovered this little plastic piece is very important. It keeps the rack from sliding off the runner.
So, Mike called the customer service number and was referred to the parts people who readily agreed to send a replacement thingamabob. A couple days later I found it in the mailbox.

Subsequently, I received an email asking me to complete a survey with regard to this transaction. “Your experience is important to us,” read the message. “Please tell us how we did.” I had to laugh. For weeks Sears had shown no concern for our satisfaction with the $2000 refrigerator, while the parts division wanted to know if we were satisfied with a little $10 plastic part. Clearly, the parts manager and the customer service manager are not the same person.
No, I didn’t complete that survey, nor did I complete it the next time they asked. As for the end cap, it wouldn’t stay on. Mike suggested a service call, but I was afraid it might count against us if we need other service within the year. So Mike crimped the arm a bit to keep the thingamabob in place. So far so good. But again, although it’s a small issue, it’s still a new appliance with a problem. KW