Saturday, April 30, 2016


Late Tuesday afternoon (April 26), I took Bess and Nellie for a walk around the north field. I wanted to see the vegetation, and besides, I get tired of hiking up Plank’s Pitch. Maybe the dogs do, too, because when I called, "Let's go this way,” they seemed only too glad to move into the field.

The picture above was taken from behind the apple trees, looking towards June's place. These trees are recovering from the scorching they received in the fire last summer. They are old trees and we don't pick the apples. Still, it means something that they are there in the lane. The deer and the dogs like the apples.

The tree in bloom is a large apple in the curve of the lane. These apples are beautiful in the fall but inaccessible -- at least for me. Bess and Nellie love to eat the apples off the ground and so do the deer. The other tree is a black hawthorn. We have lots of hawthorn trees. The birds love the berries. The jelly is sweet but not flavorful.

 This tree is a plum, and we have quite a number of them here. We're still experimenting to see what we can do with them. The fruit is good dried as long as you don't over dry.
Now this is a good-looking elderberry bush. Last year the berries on our bushes were small and dry. This year I'll try to make jelly even if the berries are sub-par because we're totally out.
Wildflowers among the rocks on the west edge of the field.
Bess on point in west field (behind house). She's above me here as I return to the house.
 Nellie, also in west field.

I think this tree is a service berry. I like service berry jelly. I tend to forget that the berries are ready in June and overlook the season. KW

Friday, April 29, 2016


WSU, Pullman

Mike had a few hours between projects last Monday (April 25) and suggested we drive to Pullman to view a litter of German Shorthair pups belonging to an acquaintance. The sire of these pups is a litter  mate of our Bess.

It was a big litter. Count ‘em – nine! I was only able to get this one picture of all nine.

The pups are five weeks old, so the owners see the light at the end of the tunnel. They said it wasn’t so bad now that the pups are sleeping through the night. They raised this litter because their son wanted a dog out of their female. Naturally, he got first pick. Eight have been spoken for, and they anticipated that the ninth would be gone soon.
The pups had just finished their play session in the pen when we showed up. As you can see, it’s naptime.

Well, it might have been us with a litter of pups, but Bess would have nothing to do with the suiter Mike chose for her, so that was that. (Thank goodness!) KW

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


We thought the weather looked fairly good at least until Friday, so we came back to the homestead yesterday morning (Tuesday, April 26). We got up to sunshine today but noticed a chill in the air.

Looking out to the north this morning, Mike asked what was in the field. “Deer,” I said, giving the customary answer, but taking the binoculars he identified a pair of wild turkey. Clearly, the gobbler was pursuing his lady love. He had fanned his tail in order to impress her, but she feigned disinterest and continued to peck at the ground. If he got too close, she waddled a ways from him while he continued to implore. I crept out on the front porch in order to take pictures. Too bad I didn’t have the camera set on a tripod, but there wasn’t time for that. KW

The house and yard from the north field

Sunday, April 24, 2016


We knew it was going to rain, but we decided to go to the farm anyway. We arrived late forenoon on Friday (April 22). We checked to be sure our internet was connected, and then set to work.

Mike sprayed ground sterilant on the lane and our drive – several hours of tiring work. It’s a never-ending job to keep the weeds down in the road.

I planted a banana peel at each lilac bush – six in all. You know, I’ve been trying to grow lilacs here for 15 years with only moderate success, meaning some of them are still alive. They say that the homesteaders grew lilacs because the deer don't eat them, but mine have suffered any number of setbacks because of the deer. Finally, with the installation of a simple fence, three of them in that garden are robust and showing great promise. (I count that fence among the best things my family has done for me.)

Some of the pictures here were taken last Sunday / Monday. A few days makes a lot of difference in the spring, but because of the rain, I was unable to take many this trip.

Friday afternoon, Mike helped me weed the raspberry patch. The plants aren’t making a great showing, but Ken has new shoots to share with me, so the bed must be prepared. I’ll bet the job wasn’t half finished when we got tired and quit. I hauled a yard cart full of weeds to the dump place, and then we took the dogs for a walk.

Happily, the apple trees in the lane, though charred by last summer’s fire, are making a comeback. And my favorite “pine apple” tree, though not yet leafing out, appears to have some life. We’ll see. I especially love those apples. They’re quite small, a beautiful red and green, and I see few worms in them. It’s a lot of work to peel them for a pie, but they make great sauce or juice for jelly.

The old pear tree is wearing her best white gown.

The pie cherry tree looks good.


The apple tree we planted last spring recovered from the heat stress suffered last summer and is leafing out. It remains to be seen if she bears fruit this year. If not, she needs a companion tree nearby.
The sweet cherry tree broken by the falling pine tree is also blooming. I'm disappointed that probably two-thirds of the tree was lost, but at least our efforts in planting it were not entirely in vain.

So, it commenced to rain Friday night about 10:00 and continued well into the next day. The good news is that rain water collects in the cistern. I’m not sure what the farmers think. Planting has not occurred yet, and low places in the field stay wet a long time.

Oh! And the horses. Yes, the horses are still here, doing what horses do. Another call was made to their owner.

Thanks for reading. KW