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Saturday, July 28, 2012

My Own Private Idaho: Speed Building

My Own Private Idaho: Speed Building:   It's been just five days since the first of our four house modules was hauled up to our home site. The builders have taken the weekend of...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Little House Comes to the Big Woods

Tuesday the four components of the stick-built house (not a double- or triple-wide) that had been built under a roof in a factory for the past few months arrived on our hill and were put into place with a large crane. And here's what it looked like. 


My son Donovan watching the event.

Jay and me.

Three more weeks of roofing, putting on the front porch and balcony over the porch, and interior work. And then we move in. Hurrah!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Own Private Idaho: Crane Set Day

My Own Private Idaho: Crane Set Day: It's 5 a.m. I'm still half-asleep, but there are things to do - bake an apple pie for a visiting high school friend stopping by today on her...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Black Raspberries

The black raspberries, which we always called blackcaps, are ripe.  There are only a few bushes near the creek and one up over the hill hidden in a small clearing among the pine trees that my son Donovan discovered a couple of years ago. During the 1950s there was a large patch behind the house.  Old Mister Cable, who homesteaded the place, planted them, perhaps in the 1930s. or '40s.

Blackcap bushes in early spring before leafing out.

Mom pruned the bushes during the cold days of February and burned the old canes. Then in the summer she picked blackcaps during the hot days of July and August -- getting up around 5 a.m. -- and sold them in flats to a fruit stand for $1.00 a flat (there are 12 little containers per flat - but they were much deeper in those days than they are in the stores now).  She made about $100.00 for two weeks of picking, her hands stained, thorns under her fingernails, and sweat bee bites on her face and neck.  And with that money she ordered my school clothes out of the Monkey Wards (Montgomery Wards) catalog. It was exciting when my dresses, socks, panties,ribbons, hankies and slips came in a big package.   Mom and I admired each item.
My first day of school, 1952, waiting
for the school bus at the cross-roads
in my favorite first grade navy blue dress with
musical notes on it.  Note the hanky
pinned at my waist.

After she got a job in 1959 as a typist in the Rena-ware office (they made pots and pans) for a $1.00 an hour, she convinced Dad to plow under the blackcap patch, so she would never have to pick them again. They did make great jelly, though.

So, today I picked some and got stain on my hands, but only a few scratches, and I waited until the bush was in shade, so I wouldn't get hot and sweaty and attract biting insects.  And I reflected on the will-power of my mother, who wanted to send me to school decently dressed.  She had worn hand-me-down dresses that her mother had sewn for for her two older sisters.  So, thank you, Mom.

Friday, July 20, 2012

My Friend Marcia

Marcia and Cam in front of their Airstream in our yard
Marcia in our purple and red bathroom 1968

I met Marcia in 1966 when we both transferred our junior year to The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., I from Gonzaga and she from San Diego State. After our first year as roommates, I convinced her that we should take off a year from school, get an apartment and jobs, and have fun before we finished up.  She was game. She was talented.  We bought old furniture and recovered the pieces, turning our apartment into an ensemble of hot pink and orange, black and white,and an avocado green rug (it did work) -- our expression of the surrealistic world we were living in.  I wish I had a photo of the Sheridan sofa we recovered in large black and white pop-art flowers. We consulted an interior decorator who lived in our complex regarding what color our curtains should be.  He looked around at our colorful environment and answered dryly, "Your only choice is neutral white."  Marcia taught me to cook. She taught me to sew. She was a great companion.

Flamboyant me on fainting couch before  re-upholstery

That year with Marcia was one of the best. At the end she went back to school in San Diego and I stayed on to finish up and get a job. Marriage in 1970 dispersed our dream apartment. The times, they were a changin' anyway.

Fainting couch after re-upholstery & Windy

We've stayed in touch through the years and have even briefly visited from time to time, when one or the other was "passing through", in such places as Puebla, Mexico; San Diego; Annapolis; Alexandria, Virginia; and Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Marcia has a great husband, Cam, and two adult sons.  Cam and Marcia make long treks in their Airstream from their California home to the far corners of the continent, and sometimes fly off to Europe.

In early July, Marcia and Cam stopped here in Idaho on their way up to Alaska.  Jay and I really enjoyed their visit.  They were game for long walks through the hills and even went with us to view the work being done on our house at the Stratford factory in Rathdrum. You can view their take on the visit here.

Marcia prepared our supper and we ate by the creek.
 Marcia continues to be a talented artist and craftsman. Her latest interest is decorating various sized gourds. I think I've convinced her to expand her market and sell on eBay when she returns from Alaska in the autumn. Her talent should be shared beyond her California base. I love my pear gourd, and her calla lily decorated gourds are wonderful.

A pear gourd decorated with pears and
a small pot from Marcia's earlier ceramics period.
I plan to frame Marcia's note cards when  we
move into our new house.

I hope we'll meet again soon. The years go by too fast.
Bon voyage to Alaska

Monday, July 16, 2012

My Own Private Idaho: Be Careful What You Wish For

My Own Private Idaho: Be Careful What You Wish For: I wished for sun, and I got it all week, with temperatures in the 90s during the day. Walks with Pepper were hot, sweaty affairs, some endin...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July on the Mountain

 About 7:30 pm Jay and I, and our neighbors, Pat and Cheryl and Davy and Theresa, rode ATVs up old logging roads through the forest (now fire access roads) on state land in our valley that switchbacked higher and higher up a mountain that forms the ridge line on the Idaho - Washington state border. At the rocky high point that looked down on Liberty Lake, Washington, Davy built a fire with wood he'd hauled up and we entertained one another, roasted wieners and drank beer, waiting for 10 pm when the fireworks would blaze up below us from a barge on the lake.
Me, Cheryl, Theresa & Davy roasting wieners

 I brought potato salad, Cheryl brought the workings for S'mores (toasted marshmallows, graham crackers, and Hershey bars), which were my first taste of the exotic concoction, and will be my last. Marshmallows are fine by themselves. Pat and Davy brought wieners and buns.

Jay at peace with his world
 It was a balmy summer evening, with only an occasional owl hooting to add to the atmosphere. There were no mosquitoes because we were up so high.  The lake was closer than appears in the photos. The fireworks were lovely.

I first knew Pat when he was about six years old and would come to stay with his Grandma Ferry in the valley. He has lived here for many years on the land first homesteaded by his grandparents.  Cheryl lost her husband nearly two years ago, and she and Pat met last year through an online dating service. She's selling her house in Spokane now, so she can permanently reside with Pat in Shenanigan Valley.

Cheryl and Pat
Theresa and Davy

Davy was just a kid when he and his parents moved from New Jersey to a farm next to my parents' land.  He's the one who found this lovely spot.  He and Theresa also met through on-line dating early in the spring.  When she came to reside in the valley with Davy, Theresa brought her mastiff, Molly, a great companion for Davy's Australian shepherd, Duke.

These are the neighbors we have come to rely on as friends, and we hope it's mutual.

Looking west over the Spokane Valley and the city of Spokane beyond, I believe we all felt good about our place here in the valley and in our America.  A full moon rose behind us across the valley over Big Rock.  

After the fireworks that brought out child-like exclamations from us all, the fire was carefully extinguished (it is our own valley we must protect), we packed up our trash, and headed back down the mountain, going north and then south, switchback after switchback, meeting pockets of cold air, then warm air, the headlights  throwing good light ahead and to the sides among the tall timber.  I hope we'll do this again next year.

Sunset over Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake