Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Mike and hunting partner Ken left early Saturday morning (Sept. 24) to hunt sharp-tail grouse near Chinook, MT (20 miles from Havre). The trip from here to there is about ten hours. Bess went along, but Nellie and I stayed behind. Nellie felt something at being left. She understands that she can’t go anymore and curled up with her back to the door. As for me, you couldn’t pay me to go.

I can, however, be bribed to stay behind with “staycation” gifts. Saturday morning I headed to The Hangar Antique Mall where I purchased this wonderful old lighted Christmas decoration. I paid $12.50 for it and I can just hear Mike now: “I can’t believe what they ask you to pay for this old stuff.” “Well,” I might counter, “all you have to do is surf through the Vermont Country Store to see what they ask for the reproductions, and then what they tack on for shipping, and it looks like a bargain to me.” Yes, I am aware that it’s slightly tacky, but I like the vintage look for my understated farmhouse Christmas. I tell myself that Ina would approve.

Oh! And there have been other staycation gifts, too – a quilting book here, a color book there, some vintage ephemera in the mix – but the main gift is the Dept. 56 “Toads and Frogs Haunted Witch House,” which was delivered from Amazon today. (The staging still lacks a little something.)

Since it’s officially fall, my thoughts turn lightly to the coming holidays. True to form, inspiration got out of hand and the other night I searched for patterns to start a new project. Re-taking control, I firmly reminded myself that I have plenty to keep me busy. A list helped me focus. As a result, I’ve nearly finished the Christmas granny afghan.

Useless sign
Nellie explores the gulley
Sunday morning I figured Nellie would sleep in, but no, it wasn’t 7:00 yet when I heard her rattling her gate and whining. I wasted no time letting her out, and then she pressed me for the morning walk. “It’s a beautiful day in the ‘hood,” she seemed to say. “Let’s get out while it’s cool. I have a hankering to smell some smells. Wow! I can tell it’s fall, can’t you?” She was frisky, trotting right along. It wouldn’t be so noteworthy except that Nellie often doesn’t want to go with Mike and Bess for the morning walk. If Mike is serious about getting her out, he’ll put her on a leash. Otherwise, she’ll come right back to the house.

The hunters will be home tomorrow, so the staycation really is drawing to a close. KW

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Daughter Hallie sent pictures of the finished deck on the back of their little Tudor in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. First, let's enjoy this reminder of how the back of the house looked when they moved in. Rickety stairs led from the back door to the yard with a separate and equally rickety deck off the bedroom.

Now the stairway and small deck are finished. "It's so novel being able to walk out the back door!" comments Hallie. The lattice work serves to hide the area under the deck, but they also made a gate so that its functional for storage.
I loved the pictures of the stairway from the yard, but I wanted to know more about the little “side deck” and requested a picture from the top. 

Hallie says: “The giant plants out in the raised bed are Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. It's an experiment we probably won't repeat. Where you see dirt in the yard, we will make a patio. To the right, we'll use pavers to create a level area with a table and chairs. At the side of the house and on the left we'll use flagstone. At the back of the yard, we'll move dirt from excavating for the patio and likely cover with mulch. You see that we still have the overgrown laurels. We don't love them, but they create privacy and shade. They'll be a project for some other year."

Thursday, September 22, 2016


My mother collected recipes the same way I collect doll clothes patterns. It’s the same obsession, just focused differently. Yes, I had great training in the obsessive arts.

Mother had three recipe boxes. When she outgrew one, she moved to another, and so we see eras of recipes – ‘30s and ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

And then there were the drawers of recipes. She devoted one drawer in the kitchen to recipes, and among those I even found a poem she had saved about the obsession to clip and save recipes, even when you know you’ll never try them. Moving to the basement we found yet another drawer totally filled with recipes and booklets from bygone eras. (Totally cool if you like vintage.)

When we cleaned out the old family home (25 years ago), I scooped those loose recipes into a box and took them home so that I could work through them at my leisure. Eventually I tossed a lot of it. You know, you can’t keep it all, and some of it, such as undated newspaper clippings, I didn’t find interesting. But now, having reduced it to the meaningful, I have a file folder full of wonderful – and sometimes wonderfully odd – recipes.

Chicken Fried Hot Dogs
1 package wieners
crushed potato chips
Coat wieners with mayo and roll in crushed chips.
Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.
(From Ethel Robinson, my dad's sister) 

Monday, September 19, 2016


Bess doesn't mind that the pillow cover is in the washing machine.

Mike went on a bike ride the other day, so I said I’d walk the dogs. Everything was fine – just fine – until near the turn-around spot, I noticed Bess gazing thoughtfully down the road in the direction we had come. Slow learner that I am, I continued up the road, and when I turned around, Nellie was with me but Bess was nowhere to be seen.

“Bess,” I called hopefully. “Bess?” My first thought was that she was hunting in the gulley, but it was awfully quiet – too quiet. Nellie and I kept moving.

Finally, it dawned on me that the “gazing” was all about looking for Mike, her favorite person. And when she didn’t see him, she decided to go home.

So, Nellie and I picked up our speed, and when I got closer to the county shop, I noticed a teen-ager from our neighborhood playing with Bess, holding her until I could get there. (His dad is an outfitter, so he’s experienced with dogs.) I thanked him and we came on home.

Thursday was a warm afternoon, so Mike bathed both dogs. Here’s a picture of Bess stretched out on the pillow while I wash the cover. 

One by one the bird seasons are opening, and little Bess is enthusiastically THERE! Today, the Washington "old man" pheasant season opened. I know a couple of hunters who qualify as "old men." KW

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Our German Shorthair Pointer Nellie turned 13 on Sunday, Sept. 11. She’s officially retired. The hunting which she once took seriously is now just a hobby. She was a good hunter and worked hard in the field, but at eleven, she gave it up.

Nellie is well past the average life span for a German Shorthair (I think it's 10), but she continues in good health for an old dog. Mike opined in May that she might not tolerate the summer heat, but she did. However, it’s clear that the cooler temps are to her liking and she’s been more active and vigorous the last few weeks. Her spirit was also renewed when her girl Hallie (and Nick) came to visit.

Oh, she minds not going hunting. When the hunters leave without her, she snorts and curls into a ball with her back to the door. But she has shown disinterest in the field. She gets in the way or gets tired and has to be delivered back to the vehicle, so she must stay with me now. I have observed that the old dog becomes my dog. For her years of previous service, however, she receives pension benefits of food treats when the hunters return.
Sunday afternoon, Mike took off on his bicycle, so I agreed to walk the dogs. Nellie said she’d like to go, but when Bess saw that Mike was not along, she declined our invitation and stayed in the back of the pick-up. Bess is a very active dog anyway, so if she doesn’t want to walk, that’s okay.

The pictures here were taken on Nellie’s birthday walk. Notice that some of the rape is growing. KW