Monday, May 16, 2022

THE PASSING OF THE iPod

It was Christmas 2008 when I bought my iPod Nano. In those days, remember, local shopping was fairly good, and Hallie was with me at Walmart. I don’t remember whose idea it was that I should have an iPod – probably Hallie’s because I don’t think I knew anything about them. I remember asking her if it was worth the $200 I would pay for it, or if it would soon be replaced by new technology. She opined that it was technology that was here to stay.

I immediately loved my iPod. Initially we transferred music and lectures from my CDs by way of my laptop. (Remember when CD drives were standard with computers?) And then son Murray suggested that I might enjoy a podcast. As soon as I discovered old-time radio podcasts, that became my interest. I’d rather listen than watch any day.

So now, 13+ years later, I’m still using my iPod as Apple announces that they are discontinuing the it altogether. I know, folks use their phones for everything these days, even listening to music and podcasts, but I like the simplicity of managing my podcasts on my iPod My favorite programs line up by presenter as well as chronologically, and I like that better than a hodgepodge of various programs, some of which I don’t care about.

Apparently I’m not the only one who feels partial to the iPod. An Apple representative recently said that she had heard from many people, both young and old, who prefer to listen with the iPod rather than their phones. We like that the iPod is dedicated to just one function.

I have used my iPod daily for 13+ years. I suspect it’s on borrowed time, and when it fails, it will be the end of a long friendship. I felt like I had a close call the other night when my iPod locked up as I connected it to my laptop to update my podcasts. This happens occasionally and there’s a procedure to reset it, but I haven’t had to do it in years. Fortunately, I was successful in resetting it, but for half an hour, I feared my good friend was a goner.

One thing is certain. I got my $200’s worth. KW

Thursday, May 12, 2022

CLEAN-UP AT THE FARM

A Pondful of Water

Mother’s Day is history, and once again I’m glad to get past it. For those of us who miss our mothers, even if you’re used to the fact that your mother is gone, Mother’s Day is not an easy celebration. Don’t get me wrong. As a mother, I’m blessed on Mother’s Day, but I no longer have a role as daughter. All the hype that I should buy, make, and bake in appreciation of my mother is hard to take. And anyway, the best projects are fall / winter, and I’m organizing my Halloween and Christmas projects. (Think Silas!)

As we begin to plan for summer, it’s still chilly, and here at the farm, it’s downright COLD (35 Wednesday morning) and also SOGGY, especially in the low places. The pond is spilling its banks. Wearing his big waterproof boots, Mike set up the clothesline in the middle of a puddle. I won’t be able to use it for several weeks. It’s hard to believe that in another month we’ll be complaining about the heat. Okay, six weeks. Maybe.

Speaking of heat, Mike and I made a trip to the house attic and were surprised to discover that it’s hot up there. Mike opened the windows for ventilation.

One side of the east door of the dilapidated (but historic and picturesque) old barn slipped off its rail during the winter and had to be reattached.

“I’ll climb the ladder, and you lift up on the door at the bottom,” instructed Mike, illustrating what he wanted me to do.

So, we tried that. “It’s hitting something and I can’t budge it,” I said, trying hard to lift the door.

“Well, you climb the ladder and slip it onto the rail while I lift,” said Mike.

So, up the ladder I went, but I couldn’t pull the door high enough to slip over the rail. I needed another inch, but we couldn’t do it.

“Okay. You come back down here, and I’ll go up the ladder,” instructed Mike, but we were still unsuccessful.

I don’t know how many times we traded places, but we finally got that door back on the railing.

So glad that we can still solve our own problems!

A few calliope hummingbirds are visiting the feeders regularly. I watched a bunny sitting among the daffodils in the yard and wished that I could show it to Silas. Deer are everywhere.

Both rhubarb plants are growing and I must feed them. All three young apple trees look good.

Mike’s project has been to clean out the ditches that run beside the lane. The spring run-off causes erosion. I think we need someone with know-how and equipment to help us.

I gave the mechanical room a good cleaning, tossing a lot of junk. We replaced two old vacuums with a new Eureka Mighty Mite. Now I have one upstairs and another downstairs. No more lugging a heavy vacuum up and down the stairs, except or course, to vacuum the stairs. But the Mighty Mite is light.

At any rate, the house is getting cleaner and tidier, and it feels dry and cozy. It’s good to be back. KW

Thursday, May 5, 2022

A WORKDAY AT THE FARM

Snow on the mountains

Mike determined that Wednesday, May 4, would be the best day of this week and perhaps next for a workday at the farm. We would go in the big old Dodge Ram, loading the 4-wheeler onto the bed and trailering the riding lawnmower. (We store these in town during the winter to keep the mice from building housing developments in them.) We also had to load a new screen/storm door for the sunporch, and it’s heavy.

“Maybe we could ask Clint to come help,” I suggested. The loading makes me nervous, not to mention my role as first assistant.

“No, I can do it,” said Mike. Well, we certainly want to do everything we can for ourselves.

By Tuesday afternoon, we were loaded and ready to go. Bess watched the process from afar. Wednesday morning, though, Bess waited patiently at the pick-up, indicating her desire to be included. How did she know we would go this morning? 

The trip went fine. Mike had worried about the wash at the bottom of the lane, but it was passable. It was 55 degrees as we pulled into the yard. By afternoon, the sun was warm.  

Mike always works hard. He unloaded the 4-wheeler and the lawnmower and pushed the trailer into the barn. Then I helped him carry the door to the barn since he wouldn’t have time to install it today. Meanwhile, I discovered the sprayer at the kitchen sink was leaking, so Mike found a spare one and installed it. We knew the valve on the water tank was leaking, and we have now arranged for a repair.

I picked up branches, twigs, and pinecones and took a cartload to the burn pile. Mike cleaned the eavestroughs and snow breaks on the roof and then rinsed them with the hose. It’s a big job and took several hours. Then he mowed the lawn.

“We’ll get this place in shape yet,” Mike said, and I wondered if he meant just this year or if he counts the 20+ years we’ve been coming here.

In the house, I put away the supplies we brought. The dishwasher was full of dishes accumulated since October, so I ran it and put the dishes away. I also gave the fridge its annual cleaning. And while I worked in the kitchen, a hummingbird came to the window to ask for nectar. 

Mike planted an ornamental cherry tree, a volunteer from town, in the grove. I bought a pony of thyme plants at Home Depot last week ($15) and planted those on the bank. I figured it was a good time to plant them since rain is in the forecast.

I thought about planting spinach, but the raised beds were wet and need weeding and renewal. That's the way it goes.

We were back in town before 6:00. Temp was 79 – still 65 at bedtime. And for the first time this season, I notice the aroma of spring. Today, Mike is off on an early bike ride to beat the rain – 100% chance beginning at 11:00. We’ll see what really happens. KW 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

TALES FROM THE LOFT – PART 2

The loft has stories to tell.

“What's this?” Hallie asked as she moved through the storage loft. “My CD cases! You kept my CD cases?! Throw them away!”

Obsolescence 

We should throw away CD cases?” I asked incredulously. (I still have mine.)

“Yes, throw them away! We don’t need them,” said Hallie.

“Here’s one that still has the CD in it,” I said. “Shouldn’t we go through them?”

“No!” said Hallie emphatically. “We don’t need any of it.”

I guess this explains why people are making coasters out of CDs. And here I’ve been trying to find a CD player. I’m tired of not being in control of my listening pleasure.

Continuing our search through the loft, Mike took advantage of Hallie’s help to get rid of obsolete printers and a portable TV set from the ‘90s. We just hate to throw things away. We were both trained to treasure stuff.

Among items not found was the baby afghan in progress that I stored 15 years ago as I readied the guest room for a visitor. I don’t know what happened to it! And Hallie didn’t find that super-cute set of snowmen Christmas lights either. Where could they be?! If only I could get up there. . .

But I did tell her where to look for my girlhood scrapbooks, and she found some of them. These provide a pictorial history of my youth, which I don’t necessarily enjoy reviewing. I also have school memorabilia, including documentation of piano and flute performances. So, on Friday (April 29), while Mike rode to Troy, OR, with friends, I tackled my scrapbooks, tossing certificates of accomplishment, adjudication sheets from music festivals, recital programs, etc., etc., etc.

The photos were harder. It’s not a surprise that the black and whites from the ‘50s aged better than the color photos from the ‘60s and ‘70s. And many weren’t all that good anyway. Of course, in my youth, I plastered them all down with glue, and today I know that photos are better preserved if kept in boxes. I discovered a few images that I’d like to have in my digital collection. However, removing them from the paper is a challenge. Sawing between the photo and the page with a piece of dental floss works sometimes, but for the most part, I just gently pull them off, hoping that more of the page remains on the photo than vice versa. This is still a work in progress – many decisions to make about stuff that matters very little in the scheme of things.

Grandma Ina's comfortable old rocker

Well, the trip down memory lane is just tedious. 

Mike returned from his motorcycle jaunt early afternoon. Then he installed new springs in our old rocking chair, a half hour job that took two hours. That’s the way it goes. KW

Sunday, May 1, 2022

TALES FROM THE LOFT – PART 1

The Snake River looking toward the Southway Bridge on April 23

While Hallie was here last weekend, she went up into the storage loft in Mike’s shop. I don’t like to think of myself as physically challenged, but I no longer climb into the loft. Hallie volunteered to go, and with Mike’s help, we brought a lot of stuff down to be sorted and discarded.

“I can’t believe you stored this stuff,” said Hallie.

“I didn’t think it was my place to discard your things,” I replied.

You see, at the time we downsized from the “big house,” Hallie had just graduated from U-I and moved to Great Falls. She wasn’t available, so we literally packed up her leftover belongings and stored them in the loft. So now, 20 years later, we had a lot of “little girl” things to go through, mostly stuffed animals and a few dolls.

When I think of our carbon footprint, I have to wonder about stuffed animals. They’re so appealing when new and fresh, but then they get old and dirty. I wonder if thrift stores want them because even if they look clean, you don’t know where they’ve been. Seems to me you almost have to throw them away, which begs the question, how many should we buy/make in the first place?

The milk-drinking cow & Love-a-Lot Bear

Nevertheless, back in the day, Hallie loved stuffed animals, so she went through the stuffed animal bin carefully. She cut the music box out of her pink elephant, probably her favorite, and tossed his body into the trash. I salvaged the Care Bear I made for her in 1985 and laundered it. I also saved the stuffed cow, her junior high home ec project. She took the lifelike rabbit hand puppet that Aunt Joni gave her to share with Silas. We disposed of the rest.

When we came to the second bin – mostly dolls and doll clothes – Hallie made a cursory search and said to throw it all away. Naturally, I couldn’t do that without sorting, so I spent hours on Tuesday (Hallie was gone by then) sorting through it – some for the trash, some for donation, and a small box for the farm.

On Tuesday (April 26), Mike replaced the sink and faucets in the master bath and hung a wicker shelf above the toilet in the main bath. Then he complained that he hoped he had more energy on Wednesday. KW

Friday, April 29, 2022

A PICTORIAL REVIEW OF A WONDERFUL WEEKEND

The Snake River looking toward Lewiston on Saturday, April 23. 


 

Grandpa Mike scored this new-in-the-box "Skip Hop" play table at Goodwill. Silas loved it. (He has a play table at home, too, so was totally familiar with the concept.) We were glad we had it.

 

Silas is six months old, and just as wonderful as any grandchild. The difference for us is that we get to see him from time to time. He has one tooth and was working on the second.



Silas and Uncle Murray

Uncle Clint and Silas with Barracuda 





Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Born to Run


The Winner

My daughter Hallie has always been a runner.  When she won the 5th grade mile run by a considerable margin, boys included, I realized she had some talent.  A friend whose son competed in the Junior Olympics suggested I enter her in the program.  I did, and we spent the next several spring and summer weekends attending track meets in the Inland Northwest.  She was an instant success and won Inland Northwest championships several times in the 800 meter, 1500 meter and 3000 meter runs.  She also set the Lewiston-Clarkston bi-state junior high school record in the 800 meter which was the longest run in that meet.  The last time I checked she still had that record.

Just Crusin'

 

 

 

The Seaport River Run is an annual event in its 44th year.  It’s comprised of two courses, a 10K run and a 2.9 mile run beginning in Swallows Nest Park in Clarkston, WA, crossing bridges on the Snake River to Lewiston, ID, and proceeding along the asphalt levy to Hells Gate State Park in Lewiston.  There are always several hundred participants in the combined events.  Although it’s not billed as a race, it is for many and times are recorded.  To my knowledge, Hallie was the youngest to win this event.  She won the 2.9 miles run when she was 12 years old and again the next year.  After those years she was competing in high school track meets on the date of the run.

Hallie & Clint
Fast forward to the present, Hallie is a 40 year old mother of a six month old son living with her husband in Seattle.  She has continued her non-competitive running over the years.  She decided it would be fun to bring the family over for a visit and do the 10K run just for fun and even convinced her brother, Clint, to run as well.  After getting over here I think someone may have mentioned that she might have a good chance to win her age group as she would be at the bottom of it.  At any rate, on race day she ran much faster than she ever imagined she could.  Not only did she win her age group and the Masters group but she won the whole female 10K.  In fact, only 8 men beat her overall.  I would guess she is probably the only nursing mother to win that race.  There were 428 race participants and 135 in the 10K.  Clint was just taking it easy but still finished 54th.  I was one proud papa.  M/W