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

Friday, December 30, 2016


You will receive my last letter of the old year – if the girls and “Pa” let me alone long enough to write one. They are no respecters of an honest scribe. We are about to dine off roast chicken “& dressing, kid,” baked onions & apples & onions, friend. “Plenty of onions, says you & I agree, but it suits me jaded appetites.” Ina Dobson to son Vance, 1934

The above seems to be a quote but I've been unable to locate a source, unless it's The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum. Perhaps it's just a little joke between Ina and Vance. 

Real time update:
Daughter Hallie and Nick came for a holiday visit on Tuesday (Dec. 27), and just left a while ago (Dec. 30). While they were here, we fixed a traditional turkey dinner, played a game, exchanged gifts, went out for pizza with friends, shopped, carried a meal to Clint's house, and reviewed family pictures. Hallie ran and worked out, and Nick spent hours shoveling the snowy ice off our driveway and parking area. We also spent a lovely hour or so at Harriet's condo with Becky and L.J. (Harriet's children) reviewing Harriet's Christmas ornaments. Her mid-century ornaments were wonderfully preserved, and for me it was a trip down memory lane.

We woke up to a little more snow this morning, so more shoveling ensued. Temperatures are moderate again today, but the forecast is for another snowstorm on Sunday and then very cold temps next week. As Nick and Hallie were getting ready to leave, son Clint called and offered to go to the farm with Mike today to check on things. Today is the window of opportunity, so Mike accepted the offer. Bess invited herself along, so Nellie and I are here alone in a very quiet house. KW

Thursday, December 29, 2016


“New Year’s Eve the Harold Powells asked Henry, Myrtle and myself over for the evening and we had a most enjoyable time listening to their good radio and playing anagrams. They really are delightful people. We didn’t come home till after 2 a.m. so we were somewhat sleepy at Aunt’s the next day. She had the usual big dinner which everyone thoroughly enjoyed . . .

“Last Tuesday night we had a few people in for the evening . . . Myrtle was very anxious to have “Pit” so we got a “Pit” deck and played that and “Anagrams.” Had lunch about midnight and we might have tried some square dances, for we can get good music over the radio, but it was too late. Mama stood it very well; we had planned she could slip away to bed, but she stayed up after all. We had a nice time and I think the folks did though we did nothing so exciting.” Shirley Dobson on New Year 1934

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


On Wednesday night before Christmas a big bobsled load of us – nineteen in all and with a four-horse team – went up to the old schoolhouse to the school program and tree. It was lots of fun and I believe the last I went to was when . . .  I was in the program myself back in 1923! I got a great kick out of watching these various kids perform and make mistakes and more fun still to see them eating candy and popcorn balls up front while the tree was being ‘had.’

We had a lovely snowstorm this morning – quiet and such big soft flakes falling so thickly.

I’ll stop now wishing for you that the New Year may make dreams come true and your way be light and very happy. A great deal of love to you, Shirley (Written to my dad by his younger sister, January 2, 1933)