Saturday, December 31, 2016


Clint pulls sled toward farmhouse

While we’ve spent the month of December 2016 visiting with Ina at the homestead of the past, yesterday Mike and son Clint made a trip to “the dear old place” in real time.

We love to spend Christmas at the farm, but this year the weather wasn’t conducive to that. Early in December Mike and I saw cold temps coming and made a hasty trip to winterize the house. On those occasions I consider that Grandma Ina is laughing at us. She had no plumbing to worry about, though I know she suffered some in the drafty old house.

Bess (northeasterly view)
Anyway, Clint called yesterday (Friday, Dec. 30) and said that he had the time to accompany Mike if he was interested in making a trip to the farmhouse to check on things. I don’t think we had considered going, but it was a good idea, and looking at the forecast, we’re heading into another week of cold temps. Now was the window of opportunity.

As we said our “good-byes” to Nick and Hallie, I started baking cookies so that Mike and Clint would have a fresh snack. (It was the least I could do since I wasn’t going and knew it would be a tough trip.) Always “up” for an adventure, when the garage door opened Bess hopped in the back of the pick-up. That left me in comfortable warmth with Ol’ Nell.
Clint -- sled loaded for the trip out

They traveled to the farm through Craigmont and Nezperce, fearing the Gilbert Grade might be slushy and perhaps slick. They saw the remains of an earlier head-on collision near Craigmont. Some country roads are now closed, but they were able to get as far as our nearest neighbor (above Plank’s Pitch), where they parked the pick-up and set out on foot for that last half mile. The road had been plowed earlier (probably before Christmas), but now has a foot of snow on it. At our lane, however, Mike estimated two feet of snow.

Dark sky to north as daylight wanes
We had already turned off the water and drained the pipes and toilets, but Mike wanted to do further protective work with the faucets and sinks. The refrigerator was mostly bare, but they did have to load up the contents of the freezer and bring it back to town. The 4-wheeler was useless in the deep snow, so they loaded a plastic sled with the goods and took turns pulling it to Plank’s Pitch, where they both had to pull it.

Westward from the lane as they leave the farm yard
On the return trip to town, they decided to chance the Gilbert Grade, which was not slick. Mike and Bess returned to the house by 5:40 where I was preparing a “delicious” hamburger pie made with venison burger and salt-free products. 

I was so pleased that Mike took the time to take photos (posted here) with his phone.

There are all kinds of “hard times” Christmases. We all endure some that are less happy than others for one reason or another. Hopefully Ina’s upbeat attitude in the face of trials entertained you or perhaps helped as you faced a difficult holiday. At any rate, best wishes for the New Year ahead from those of us at the MWHomestead. KW


Chuck said...

Thanks for the great description of Mike's trip to the farm. I'm glad they had a safe trip and didn't get into any problems. It was wise to stop before they got stuck. A lady wanted to see the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The gate was closed, but she found an unmaintained Forest Service road on GPS and took it to get around the gate. She got stuck and had to spend two days out there. She may lose some toes and fingers. I pays to be on the safe side.

Kathy said...

Be on the safe side -- so true. And as we discussed when Mike and I visited the North Rim with you and Joanne, there are reasons the park is closed, and if it's closed, it isn't manned, and if it isn't manned, there isn't help. It's wise to obey the rules.

The trip into the farm proved that we had made the right decision in not trying to drive in for Christmas. The little place in town is cramped, but I think we made the best of it.

Thanks for the comment, Chuck.