Saturday, July 30, 2016



Thursday was another hot night. I got up around midnight when it was still 80 outside and turned off the AC. I know -- some people leave the AC on 24/7, but it’s a noisy unit and I like to be able to hear. At 5:30 Friday morning, it was 65 and 80 in the house. At 6:30 I turned on the AC and we left for the walk.

Nellie was having an energetic day and I let her have some freedom. She climbed the bank and disappeared over the top, but soon I could see her again. Bess found an old tennis ball and wanted me to toss it for her. I had to convince her that we should focus on walking.

I boxed the Cinderella dress for mailing  – and I mean boxed. I wish I could create a better presentation, but presentation probably matters more to me than Emmy. By 8:15, I was on my way to town. It didn’t seem like there were so many shoppers, but when I checked out, I noticed that they were in earnest – stocking up early before it was really hot. Large orders were ahead of me and cashiers were limited. I was home by 10:30 and the thermometer hit 100 at 11:15. (I see by the local paper that the official high does not register as hot as the thermometer at my house. Never mind – it’s hot.)

Then I admit it. I took the rest of the day off. This is the last staycation day. Tomorrow afternoon Mike will arrive, so I’ll spend the morning doing things I should have done before. But today I made granny squares while I sipped my Diet Coke. I also checked out another old buffalo, determined next steps, and decided to finish it at the farm where I have a large embroidery frame.

Tonight Mike called from Burns, Oregon. He hurt his back on Monday – which I knew – and says he won’t be good for much for a while. (I certainly don’t want him to be in pain, but you know – he hasn’t been here all week. . .) He’s 350 miles from home and we both know it’s going to be a long, hot trip across barren central Oregon tomorrow.


It was 65 when I got up and 79 in the house. As the sun rose, so did the outside temp. Last night I turned the AC off when I went to bed. It was still 83 outside.We had the usual morning walk and then two of us napped while the other one worked.

And then there was a tapping at the door, and I knew what that meant. The mailman had delivered my last – and most important – staycation gift. And here she is! -- the "My Imagination" doll by Tonner Dolls. Her very presence lends an air of the magical. Yes, she’d love a Halloween costume, she said. Could she have a fancy witch’s outfit? While this doll has a hard vinyl body, she isn’t mid-century slim. She looks like a little girl – and that’s as it should be.
Mike arrived at 1:45. Bess and Nellie were so happy to see him. Well, I was, too. Now for those “end of trip” tasks – unpacking, cleaning the motorcycle and equipment, putting things away, doing the laundry, etc. But Bess and Nellie think we should go to the beach. KW

Friday, July 29, 2016


I had to push myself to get dressed and walk the dogs this morning, and I realized that I really deserve those staycation rewards, by gum! It was 67 outside and 78 in the house at 5:30. By 6:15 I was walking the dogs. We were home by 7:00. I closed the house and turned on the AC.

Then, without further ado, I ordered the redheaded “My Imagination” doll by Robert Tonner. Tonner Dolls makes beautiful collector dolls, but this doll is supposed to be a play doll. She has an all-vinyl body (as opposed to the stuffed cloth body of the American Girl). I ordered her through PixieFaire, a website specializing in doll clothes patterns. They offered an additional incentive of three free patterns. In the back of my mind, I’m wondering if this doll might wear those mid-century “slim doll” patterns. (I tried to copy and paste a picture of the doll, but Blogger didn't like it.)

Oh! And let’s have more rewards. My friend Chris recommended the most recent issue of BHG’s American Patchwork and Quilting, which is evidently focused on old quilts, so I subscribed. I have an antique quilt at the farm that is very heavy, undoubtedly carrying a century’s worth of dust, and taking up too much space. Since it’s tied, I’m thinking of removing the top, which would make it more practical for storage. Disposing of it another way is not out of the question, since I don’t even know who made it.
Pretend glass slippers
Finished dress

Amongst the cooking and cleaning (not much of either), I finished the Cinderella dress for Emmy’s doll. My latest AG doll, Maryellen, was pleased to model the dress. After struggling to sew hooks and eyes on the back closure, I didn’t like the way it looked, so I removed them and used Velcro (no easy feat). With attachment of the collar, the dress was finished. It was a fun and rewarding project.
Back view

Mike called late afternoon from Truckee, I think. He sounded better. The day had been less strenuous and he arrived at his motel, a nice place with amenities, at 3:30.

Tomorrow – shopping. (And it will be a Diet Coke day!) KW

Thursday, July 28, 2016


I arose at 5:30 a.m. to a beautiful sunrise. It was 67 outside and 80 in the house. I got dressed, had a quick bite to eat, and took the dogs for the longest walk the neighborhood affords.

Late morning I headed over to Harriet’s condo. We selected several piano duets for Christmas. I am to practice and return at a later date so that we can play them. After completing our list of activities, we went to Red Lobster for lunch. As we were finishing, Mike called to request my assistance with a list of caches on his computer, but I couldn’t because I wasn’t home.

After lunch, Harriet and I deemed it too hot to pursue other plans. As I drove home, I made the mistake – force of habit – of exiting the bridge onto the river highway where road construction is still in full swing. There I was in the heat, waiting with 50 other vehicles for the pilot car.   Arriving home, I found that UPS had delivered my staycation rewards – the Dept. 56 figurine and the Granny Squares book. Also, the mailman brought an order of doll shoes. I keep a few on hand to complete the doll outfits I send to Emmy.

I’m still conflicted about ordering more rewards. “This is silly,” I say to myself. Or, “This is expensive!” So, today I ordered a Halloween color book from Amazon and called it good.

It was near suppertime when Mike called again and I was able to access the info he wanted. He sounded more than tired – worn out with this work in the heat. I don’t think he’s having fun. Shouldn’t it be fun? It CAN BE fun to geocache, but staying out all day in the heat with no respite and sometimes without adequate water isn’t fun – or safe. I encouraged him to cut it short and come home. He said tomorrow would be better. KW

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


It was 63 when I arose this morning. The house felt warm and stuffy. The dogs and I got out early for a walk around our very long block. We went out several times late afternoon but only for a few minutes. Nellie has never had much heat tolerance. She heads right back to the house on these hot days.

Today I cooked the hawthorn berries (haws). To just under one pound of berries I added four cups of water and simmered for an hour. It made two cups of nice-looking juice, which I put in the freezer. Next week at the farm, I’ll check for berries again and either pick more or give it up and use the juice on hand for jelly.

It was a quiet “at home” day but not without trials. I completed six granny squares and then discovered the outer two rounds were the wrong color. Okay – I could have left it. After all, designs are just someone’s idea anyway. But it’s complicated enough working with various color combinations without complicating it further. I removed the erroneous rounds and made good progress with the “correct” colors.

Nellie slept all day. Bess was in and out. Mid-morning, I realized I hadn’t seen her for a while and found her snoozing under Mike’s desk. When he works at his computer, she often lounges there at his feet. Again this afternoon I missed her, and she was inside the neighbor’s fenced yard. No one knows how she got in there.

When my children were little, I remember reading articles about how important it was for a mother to have the stimulation of adult conversation at some point during the day. Yes, I thought of that today as I talked to the dogs. Tomorrow I’m going to sister Harriet’s to talk about Christmas duets, recipes, P.E.O. duties, and family matters. I’m looking forward to it.

Special Occasion Fashions for 18" DollsToday I ordered a pattern book download as my staycation reward. This particular book, crochet patterns for 18-inch dolls, includes several for crocheted bodices with tulle skirts. I love those.

Mike didn’t call until 10:30 p.m. I wasn’t particularly worried because I knew a number of things could delay him. He had arrived in Stockton late, he said, and then used the lobby computer to log his caches. The day had been hot – 105 to 108. He added it got hot early there – was 100 by noon.

“But Mike,” I responded, “it was 105 here today – and 100 at noon.”

Welcome to summer. KW

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Looking south from the farmhouse over Little Canyon, July 17

 Our last stay at the farm was last Sunday / Monday (July 17 & 18). Some of the pictures here were taken at that time.

Monday (July 18), two loads of gravel were applied to the lane and driveway. We’ve needed to do this for several years and were glad to get it done.
Since I knew we would be away for a while, I set “plant nannies” into my rustic raised bed gardens. The plant nanny is a clay spike which allows water from a bottle to seep into the ground. The spike and the insert come as a unit. I supply the bottles.

Yesterday morning (July 25), I decided it was time to check on things at the old farm, so I loaded the dogs into the back of the Dakota and off we went. We were at the farm about 8:30, and it was already feeling hot in the sun. I had thought the dogs would enjoy the freedom to poke around the grounds, but neither seemed interested – probably because of the heat.
First, I picked a quart of strawberries, washed them, and put into the freezer. I was glad to see most of the plant nanny bottles hadn’t completely drained. I watered all my raised beds and other important vegetation and reset the nannies. Perhaps I should have done more, but it was two hours of work in the heat and I didn’t enjoy it. I ate five ripe cherry tomatoes and picked a small zucchini and a handful of spinach.

By that time, it was 11:00. I never looked at the digital thermometer, but the one in the shade said 80. I wanted to check for black hawthorn berries at the bottom of the lane, so I took my picker’s pail, called to my canine companions, and we headed down the lane. I offered to spray the dogs with water – even insisted – but they both declined. Should have done it, though.

We have lots of black hawthorn trees on the farm. I think it’s a weed tree whose seeds are spread by the birds and the deer. I don’t know if these trees were here in Grandma Ina’s day. The berries, ready late July, are mildly sweet. They have large seeds and not much flesh. Some folks wouldn’t bother with them, but I enjoy experimenting with the fruits of the land, as it were. Jelly recipes are available online.
Black Hawthorn tree in the lane

Last week the “haws” weren’t quite ready. Now they were mostly ready and passing. The dogs hovered at my feet like greedy vacuum cleaners, snarfing up any berries I dropped as I pulled clusters from the trees. I knew I should really pick more, but we were all uncomfortable in the heat, so we headed back to the house.

After lunch, I was ready to leave. It’s problematic now to load Nellie, so I backed up to the kitchen porch and let her walk on. She looked at me questioningly, as if to say, “So, it’s come to this?”

We were back at the town house mid-afternoon. All three of us collapsed in the living room, appreciating the cool house.

Rewards earned but not collected -- maybe tomorrow. KW

Monday, July 25, 2016


Mike left this morning to complete his goal of retrieving a geocache from each California county. He completed southern California in in May and now he’s off to visit northern California. What with the reports of heat and wildfires, I wonder if he could have picked a more challenging time. Fortunately a friend advised him to avoid Yosemite.

The morning did not get off to a good start. Mike wanted an early start but suffered some delays. As he filled the bladder of his “camel” at the sink, he spilled water on the floor and got one of his socks wet. He said he didn’t have another pair (?), so we dried that one with a hair dryer.

He opened the kennel and the dogs got up. Unfortunately, when no one was looking, Nellie exited through the open slider and disappeared. Well, I wasn’t mad at the dog, if you get my drift. The dogs know what’s up when Mike leaves – and they don’t like it. We figured Nellie was making a statement. She’s obstinate in her old age and has a mind of her own. She has accepted that she doesn’t hear well and rather likes it.

Before “hitting the road,” Mike took a turn around the neighborhood to look for Nellie, but he didn’t find her. Oh well. He said he was leaving and off he went. I have only mental pictures of the leave-taking event, but I can tell you it looked very much like the other leaving takings. It was about 6:15 a.m.

So, I took Bess for her morning walk, and when we arrived back at the house, there was Nellie at the back door. Yes, she was nervous about how she would be received. She danced around me and seeing she was not going to be chastised, she jumped into the house like a young dog.

Product DetailsAfter such a stressful morning, I decided I owed it to myself to order some rewards through Amazon – “Spoiled by Grandma” by Dept. 56 and a book of granny square motifs. Then, having selected a pattern for a Christmas afghan – the “Family Favorite Blanket” from Annie’s A Granny Square Christmas – I took myself to Jo-Ann’s where I bought inexpensive Caron yarn. They didn’t have a nice bright red, but Walmart did, so I have the yarn I need through local purchase. I’m not sure it’s really a staycation reward, but it felt good to be able to start this holiday project without delay.

I always start projects while Mike is gone. Then he comes home, and somehow the time to work on projects slips away. However, this is simple, so perhaps I can keep the momentum.

This evening I joined sister Harriet and her group at Spot On Yogurt for dessert. What fun! KW