Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Years ago, when I took an interest in health walking, Mike suggested I walk the dog (Nobie at that time). There are two schools of thought on combining health walking with dog walking. 1) Walking the dog gives you the incentive to get out and walk, and 2) This is your walk; don’t take the dog.

Well, I walk the dogs, and these days Mike often accompanies us because the two dogs, Nellie and Bess, have such different styles. Nellie dawdles, walks in the middle of the street, and lingers over whatever interests her. By contrast, Bess runs ahead with exuberance.

Thursday afternoon (Aug. 25), Mike went to the “Show and Shine,” and he wasn’t home yet when it was time to walk the dogs. Not walking the dogs is not an option, so at 4:30 I decided I’d better take them by myself. I put on my visor and grabbed a leash and the three of us set out on our customary route.

The walk seemed to be going well. Bess was exploring and Nellie was sticking close by me. It was hot, so I had already determined that we would go back when we reached the end of the pavement. Suddenly both dogs became interested in something in the middle of the road – something humans can’t see or smell. “Get out of the road, dogs,” I instructed, and towing Nellie on the leash I walked on the short distance to our “go back” place, assuming that Bess was right with us.

“Back!” I called, mostly for Bess’ benefit, but where was Bess? Honestly, I had just taken my eye off her for a minute, and she was GONE. I looked up the road – and down the road. I looked up the hills and down the ditches. She was no place to be seen. “Maybe she’s on point,” I thought to myself, so I looked harder in places that I knew she liked to hunt.

Meanwhile, probably sensing my indecision, Nellie trotted across the road, up the hill, and disappeared over the top. Calling to her is useless; she doesn’t hear – or chooses not to hear. At almost 13, she seldom runs but can still outdistance me at a trot. So, now I’ve lost control of both dogs, but I figure Nellie will do the predictable thing – travel along the top parallel to the road and come out near our crossing place. That being the case, I had to make tracks to meet her at the appropriate spot. I couldn’t afford to wait longer for Bess.

It didn’t really dawn on me until Nellie was safely back on the leash that Bess must have gone home. Bess identifies as Mike’s dog, and she probably didn’t like that he was absent from the walk and she had to take orders from lowly me. Sure enough! When Nellie and I got to our driveway, there was Bess waiting for us. She pranced up, her tail wriggling her whole body, pretending she was sorry for having worried me. KW

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Mike and I returned to town last Sunday morning (Aug. 21). It wasn’t quite convenient to leave the farm. The pear slices in the drier weren’t ready yet. But – I made room in the refrigerator for the drier trays and hoped that a two-day interruption in the process wouldn’t hurt much. I also watered the gardens. I didn’t pack much to take back because, after all, we would return in a day or two.

As we neared the bottom of Gilbert Grade, my phone rang, and son Clint explained that he had wrecked his motorcycle the previous evening. The bike was totaled, he said, and his hand was broken. I was at once dismayed for his trouble and overjoyed that his injuries weren’t worse and his life was intact. He wanted to know if Mike could help him bring the motorcycle back to town that afternoon, so after reaching Orofino, we turned around and went right back to the farm for the trailer. After arriving in town, Mike and Clint went to Colfax to get the motorcycle out of storage there. (Clint has since had surgery on his hand and is working through issues related to work, insurance, etc.)

Meanwhile, I decided I really needed to consult our dentist about a troublesome tooth, and I couldn’t get an appointment until Tuesday afternoon. So, we could return to the farm Wednesday, we decided. But geocaching friends said they were making a day trip to Bonny Lake near Rosalia, WA, to retrieve a geocache by means of kayaks on Wednesday. Wouldn’t Mike like to go along? I thought he should go. Such excursions are better with the support of others. We could go back to the farm on Thursday.

Wednesday morning, Mike said, “I’d like to put the Barracuda in the ‘Show and Shine’ Thursday night.” And now I’m beginning to realize that the garden on the farm is likely going to wilt again. But, oh well! It’s late in the season and not worth giving it priority.

So, we stayed in town through Thursday and returned to the farm Friday morning. The tomato and squash plants in the tire bed were badly wilted but revived with water. I picked a quart of delicious cherry tomatoes and one “Heritage” beefsteak tomato. But – while the sun is hot, the breeze is cool, whispering to the plants that autumn is on the way. And if you don’t believe it, just visit a Jo-Ann’s store. KW

[The photos here were taken yesterday, August 26. Clint's motorcycle sits on the trailer in town. The others are of various stages of field burning in the area of the farm.]

Monday, August 22, 2016


Exciting things are happening at the little Tudor in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, and we have a pictorial progress report. Daughter Hallie and Nick are building the small deck (or landing) and steps themselves. This is back door access from the back yard.

Early before: 

The above photo shows how the back of the house appeared when Hallie and Nick moved in. They subsequently replaced the deck and slider with a window and brick. You can see that the deck and steps were poorly planned and out of character with the house.

Hallie says, "Too bad to lose that cherry tree but is was overgrown and on the property line. I don't miss the camellia. We planted a little maple that will grow to shade the house on that side" (no photo).

Since removing the steps, they have had other priorities within the house, so watch that first step if you open the back door.

Black elderberry to left of deck
Hallie says that she and Nick designed the deck and steps together. She sketched out about 10 different ideas "like little cartoon drawings" and then they discussed options. Nick did the actual architectural research, the blueprint designs, and the math.

Elderberry bush barely visible on left side of photo

Hallie writes: "Here are the in-progress photos. You can also see our little black lace elderberry bush. It's supposed to be a fast grower. The steps will come out into the yard off of the right hand portion that is set back a bit. We designed it this way so that it has a little more of a landing since we'll likely get a screen door that swings outward. There would also be room for a little bench or more likely some pots and plants. So exciting!" KW


Brother Chuck and wife Joanne made their traditional August trip to this area to visit his three sisters, of which I’m the youngest. (I’m really only half his sister, but we play that down.) He arrived in time for us to help him celebrate his 80th birthday on the 12th. During the ensuing week he visited us in our homes and capped his visit with a reunion of the OHS classes of ’53, ’54, and ’55 in Orofino.
Chuck and Mike

So, Chuck and Joanne arrived at our farm home on Wednesday (Aug. 17). This year’s visit was very quiet, since the field activity is already finished. I mean, it was quiet! – with the exception of the Olympics. We watched a whole lot of Olympic events. (I’m so glad it’s over!)

Outside, nothing spectacular happened, unless you count the baby rattlesnake Mike found in the lawn. He already had it corralled in a bucket by the time I saw it, and I don’t know why I didn’t think to take a picture -- totally uncharacteristic of me. It was about the size of a nightcrawler and quietly buzzing away. I’ve never seen one so small. The presence of a baby rattlesnake gives me pause. Is there a nest, and if so, where? You’d think if there’s one baby there must be more, but we haven’t found any.

As for the family of American coots on the pond, we seem to be down one – six not seven now. We try not to think about what might have happened to number seven. The six remaining coots don’t seem too concerned. I’m just hoping they will stay so that our next visitors (scheduled for Labor Day weekend) can see them.

I tried to encourage the hummingbirds to stick around, but this past week there was only one, and the last day I didn’t even see him. So, I took the feeders down and cleaned them for storage. I think I only saw eight hummingbirds at a time this year.

We weren’t able to supply the thunderstorm that Chuck requested – and that was probably a good thing – but Thursday evening into Friday morning we had a ferocious windstorm.

I had hoped to serve our guests from the bounty of my garden, but it didn’t happen. The garden just seems to sit there refusing to ripen. At the end of the week, I picked one small zucchini and one small yellow summer squash. The tomatoes are green as can be with the exception of the “Sweet 100” cherry tomatoes, which is beginning to produce. Maybe that’s the way to go -- container tomatoes. Well, I just can’t seem to accept that I’m not a gardener. I try every year. KW

Monday, August 15, 2016


When I was five years old, my mother copied some simple kitten designs onto lightweight white fabric and taught me the rudiments of hand embroidery. In Mother’s mind these were probably just practice pieces, but then as now, I needed to feel I was actually making something. So I asked what I was making.

 “Oh, we could make a quilt,” she said, probably not giving it much thought.

So I finished the five designs and that was that. Nothing happened for some months. “What about the quilt I was making,” I asked.

So Mother found a pretty piece of fabric in her stash – pink with rosebuds – which she cut into squares the size of the embroidered pieces. We laid them out and I sewed them together by hand. Mother then began to prepare the backing from the rest of the rosebud fabric. And somehow that was that.

Several years later, I asked, “What about that little quilt I was making?”

“I don’t know what to do with it,” she said. Obviously, for whatever reason, she had lost interest. And that was that for about 60 years. But I loved the idea of the little quilt, so I kept it.

A couple of months ago I ran across the little quilt top again. “Well, I know what to do with it,” I muttered to myself. I can tell you everything that’s wrong with it, none of which seemed to affect the basic charm of the piece.

First, I unpinned the quilt top from the backing fabric and gently hand washed and pressed it. Next, I squared up the little piece as best I could. Then I cut a piece of batting – nothing special for this project. Somewhere along the line I decided not to use the rosebuds for the backing, thinking that such a nice vintage piece should really be used for doll clothes. Instead, I used a piece of light-weight white fabric.
Due to the age of the fabric, I had already decided to tie rather than quilt it. I stretched it into my portable quilting frame and tied the layers together with red and green embroidery floss.

I was going to cut strips of pink fabric for the binding, but it occurred to me I could just as well use store-bought for all the difference it would make.

And here it is – one doll quilt, 62 years in the making. It's not perfect, but it's rather charming anyway, I think. KW