|House and grounds from south this morning (Aug. 10). Smoke is worse each day.|
Mike left early Wednesday morning (Aug. 9) to motocache along the Lochsa, so the dogs and I had a quiet day. Our morning walk was “out west” – behind the house to the canyon rim. As the morning was slow to warm up, I baked cookies. About 10:45, I closed the house, picked up my picker’s pail, and invited Bess to join me in picking hawthorn berries at the draw. Initially she seemed interested, but uncertainty set in and she decided not to chance it. (She is Butchie’s granddaughter, remember.)
|Haws -- August 2|
So, down the lane I went to pick berries by myself. I found some lovely reachable branches loaded with berries. Apparently the “haws” are a favorite of the birds because they are disappearing rapidly. As I picked, a little bird sat on a branch within the tree and scolded me.
|Neighbor's place before harvest|
I picked about an hour and came back with plenty – about three quarts. Subsequently I poured them into a stockpot, covered them with plenty of water, and simmered them for 20 minutes. The haws are pithy, seedy, and bland, but the homesteader in me just can’t pass up available berries. The first cooking didn’t yield much juice, so I added more water to the berry pulp and cooked again, then strained the juice through cheesecloth. I now have a quart of “hawberry” juice.
Having finished my work, I settled down to quiet activity in the afternoon. While Nellie snoozed on her pillow, I crocheted. Bess was outside.
|Taken from the kitchen porch|
“Bark. Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark.” Bess’ tone was urgent, but I figured someone was coming in. Tossing my crocheting aside, I ran to the door, and the moment I opened the door, I heard the telltale rattling buzz of a rattlesnake. I called Bess, and she obediently came immediately. Then the three of us – Bess, Nellie, and I – stood in the dining room and watched the snake through the window. Mike doesn’t like to kill the rattlers, but when he isn’t here to carry them away, I have to protect the dogs. Long story short, that’s what happened.
|Bess in June's field, looking north|
Well, you might think that was the end of the story. Certainly it was enough excitement for one day. Mike came home, and Bess tried to tell him all about it. I filled in the gaps where language failed her.
|Grain harvest concludes on neighboring farm to the north|
Then, in the evening – about 8:30 – Bess warned again, this time from the other side of the house where the raised beds are. I heard the rattle from the open living room window. Mike called Bess into the house and grabbed a light. Cautiously the three of us followed the sound, which I located as coming from under the tire with the strawberries. We could do nothing about that, so we left it alone.
My dad believed that rattlesnakes came in pairs. He would search for the second one and sometimes find it. KW