Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Mike cuts red fir #5

You probably think we came here to the farm to relax and enjoy the cool breeze away from the heat of town. Nothing could be further from the truth. With the exception of yesterday (we took a break in honor of my birthday), we have devoted mornings to working “in the woods,” and it was work. Mike felled, skidded, bucked, and loaded the wood of four dead red fir trees sitting on the bank of the draw just off the north field. In fact, we really loaded the wood from each tree twice – once into the 4-wheeler trailer and then from the trailer to the pick-up. Mike also felled and bucked a fifth tree, but we already have a heavy load on “Ol’ Silver.” We dare not add more.
A "logger's" tools

These trees are casualties of the fire that swept through the draw two years ago, and it’s high time they were cut and gone for the health of other trees in the area. As a result of the same storm and fire, we have a lot of pine on hand, and it’s not the best firewood, so the fir will come in handy.

If only we could have felled the trees into the field
It had been Mike’s hope to fell the trees into the field, which would have made the work so much simpler, but alas! they were leaning into the draw, so that’s the way they had to fall. We couldn’t drive to them, so we had to haul the wood out with the 4-wheeler. 
For Hazel

It’s tough work, and Mike has to do most of it since I have neither the skill nor the brawn. I just do as I’m told while visions of other activities dance through my mind. I have always been a dreamer and while I try to compensate, when the going gets tough – or boring – I’m apt to disappear within my own thoughts. 

Matted grass is slick

“I hate to think of the two of you doing that work,” lamented #3 son on the phone yesterday, safely 250 miles away.

Three trees on 'Ol Silver
“NO KIDDING!” I responded. “Sure,” I told Mike, “we’ll have plenty of wood. We can enjoy the fire from our wheelchairs, provided somebody else carries it in.”

Mike cuts Tree #4

Even though we have been working, we did enjoy the cool breeze until late yesterday afternoon when it suddenly turned hot. It remained warm through the night -- a "Hot August Night" -- and today it’s hot again (100 at the barn as I write). The “light rain” did not materialize. It continues smoky, and the dust is always with us this time of year. It’s also hot and stuffy in the house since we weren’t here this morning to close the windows. Rest assured, it’s still summer. KW

Monday, August 28, 2017


A modern tractor "mows" the rape stubble behind the old barn.
Fall is on the way. Even if you don't want to hear it, it can no longer be denied.  And I'm okay with it. I'm a bit tired of the drill -- opening and closing windows, carrying water to vegetation that's struggling in the heat, breathing smoke and dust. And I look forward to decorating along autumn themes.

So, mornings and evenings are cool, but the midday sun can be downright hot. Not today, though. Today it’s smoky and windy and maybe even overcast. It’s so smoky that I can’t really tell if it's overcast or not. The forecast says it might rain today – or maybe tomorrow, but I watered my gardens anyway because whatever rain we get won’t be enough.

Parked in June's field
The photos here are mostly of our farmer doing whatever. We think he just made a wide fire break around the neighbor's field to the north. You would have to tell me what that piece of equipment is called. I know tractors and combines, and that's about it.

You just know the drifting dust is heading this way.
Since Mike was thoughtful enough to vacuum this morning, I followed his cue and dusted even though it felt like an exercise in futility. This is the dusty season in agricultural country, but I guess we have the dust with us no matter what. I should dust more, not less.

Just look at that dust!
Mike plans to grill hamburgers for dinner tonight. Unfortunately, we got here without the lettuce I bought (I hope I left it in the refrigerator) and the fresh tomatoes that I didn’t buy. (Does one ever buy a truly fresh tomato?) But we’re going to make do with spinach and the few “chocolate sprinkles” cherry tomatoes I picked this morning. (And they are truly fresh.) Mike will also make ice cream. I thought about baking a cake, but the ice cream is probably just enough for the two of us. KW

Smoke obliterates Little Canyon

Friday, August 25, 2017


Bess in the south field. Note that the rape cane has been knocked down / removed.

It couldn't be a lovelier day here at the Gilbert homestead. The high was in the low 80s. A cool breeze wafts through the windows. It's still hazy, though.

I first noticed it last week. I had to turn on the kitchen light while preparing supper. And last night when I came out of Albertsons, it was already dusk at 7:30. It seems like the days are long without much noticeable change until all of a sudden they grow short rapidly, especially on the evening end. Of course, that’s just my perception.

Mike loaded our supplies and the dogs into the old Silverado this morning and we rattled along to the farm. We were surprised to note that Farmer Kyle had been here while we were away to knock down the rape canes. Once again, the activity is over and I missed it. But – we are grateful for the effect. We can now walk over the fields much more easily.
In fact, Bess and I enjoyed a brief noontime stroll into the field south of the house. Bess sight-pointed something in the field. I told her it was nothing, but she wouldn’t believe me. “Help me out here,” she said. “I am duty-bound to check it.” So she skulked along at my side Snoopy-style until we reached the thing. It was just a sack.

The hummingbird feeders looked as if they hadn’t been touched. I was going to take them down and put them away, but then I saw two hummers sitting on the fence and decided to fill the feeders with fresh nectar one more time. I see and hear them, but so far I haven’t caught them at the feeders.

I was going to rip out the pumpkin plant because it just isn’t doing much. But – it looks pretty and it has one nice pumpkin, so I decided to leave it and see what happens. I picked six cherry tomatoes a couple of weeks ago, and that’s all we’ve had so far. They were delicious with our taco salad. If they ever ripen, I’ll have a few more. It’s just discouraging to garden under these conditions – hot and dry. Basically we don’t get much for my efforts and I’m considering options – you know, to garden or not to garden.

Smoke obscures Little Canyon
But then – I talked to someone who also lives in a rural setting. She said she has flowers in pots on her porch and they haven’t done well. And they planted beans, she said, and the deer ate the plants. She said the deer actually jumped the fence to eat the bean plants. KW

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Bess wants to chase targets

"I'm waiting out here."
You won’t believe this, but it appears I don’t really have anything to say right now. Oh! My mind is full of visions of sugar plums – the fabric kind – but I don’t seem to sew as much as I’d like. It’s hard to get into it if sewing is a hobby that you sandwich into everyday life. Even though I want to sew, there’s always something that seems to stand in the way. It’s mostly a mental block, I think. Some people suggest little tricks:
·       Sew for 10 minutes every day. I’m not fooled by that. If you sew for 10 minutes, you’ll likely sew for 20 minutes – or maybe two hours. So, sewing for 10 minutes IS a good suggestion.
·       “Read the directions before you quit,” my mother used to say, “and know your next step. It makes it much easier to pick it up again.” She worked much more quickly than I – and was less distracted.

Monday (Aug. 21), son Clint joined us to watch the solar eclipse from the farm yard. Directly it was over, we left for town. Over the last three days, we’ve run errands, bought supplies, kept appointments, met with friends, etc. Today Mike entered his Barracuda in the Rogers’ Motors Show and Shine.

A couple of weeks ago, Mike began to cut the stand of burned trees where the road comes into our lane at the farm. We had thought those trees belonged to our neighbor to the north, but when neighbor Pete came to see what we were doing, he offered the opinion that they were our trees anyway. So, we dug out all our farm maps and concluded that if they didn’t belong to the Jack Dobson homestead (my grandfather), then they did belong to the June Dobson homestead, also part of our farm. Having established this, we decided to cut more wood. 

So, we’ll go back to the farm tomorrow in the old Silverado and take down more of those trees. I’ll be glad to have them gone and to see some sort of renewal there. Helping with the work is not my thing, but I’ll do it.

September is right around the corner, and with September the hunting seasons begin to open – Idaho dove season, Washington dove season; Washington “old man” pheasant season (yes, I know people who qualify); regular pheasant seasons (Washington and Idaho); chukar seasons – well, you get the picture. Mike and his hunting buddy, Ken, hunt in both states, and Ken makes a chart of when the seasons open and close.

Mike and Ken have been hunting together for 20 years. Last year Mike’s Achilles’ tendon became inflamed early in the season which forced him to slow down. It was a heavy winter anyway, so they couldn’t get out much anyway. But this year, Ken’s dog Pepper is to have surgery on her leg which means she can’t hunt for six months – if ever again. We’re trying to think of viable solutions for this problem. (Bird-hunting is problematic if the hunter doesn’t have a dog.) KW