It was a glorious morning, the type of day that reminds me of why I so love living here. For so long the weather has continued to act like Winter: fog cloaking the hills, rain flowing down our driveway like a babbling brook. And it seems only days ago that the last of the snow disappeared from the slopes of Anderson Mountain. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Dogs
For some reason this has been an exceptionally busy winter. Not that I’ve gone anywhere, or even that I have much to point to as evidence of my activity.
One exceptional thing that I did a couple of months back, in the midst of a warm December. I took my son and a friend of his on a hike up the logging roads behind our place, onto the southern spur of Lookout Mountain. Since moving here, I’ve made a point of exploring the trails in this area–it makes a good run for the dogs. When I first began doing this, my wife and I named a few landmarks along the way for easy reference. There’s the Beaver Pond, where some beavers have thrown a dam across a stream and created a large marshy area with a fine forest pond in the middle; a little further up was Post Card, where you had a nice view of Mount Baker (until the trees grew up and blocked the view). About halfway up a steep climb was a ridge where we used to stop for picnics, looking down on Cain Lake and out at the peaks. That earned the moniker of Picnic Ridge. Continue reading
Out of the blue, a distant relative, who happens to be a neighbor of mine, provided another image of life on the homestead in Glenwood, Washington. It came in the form of a picture postcard with a message scrawled on it, mailed to my great uncle Robert Kuhnhausen in 1909. The image shows workers in a field of hay, raking the cut grass into mounds amongst the stumps of the former forest. In the background Mount Adams looms, ever present in the Glenwood valley.It wasn’t until I had scanned the image that I was able to inspect the figures in the field. In the foreground is an obviously female worker, clad in overalls and a white cap. Since the card was sent to Robert, the eldest in the family, and the handwritten inscription declares this to be the Her[man] Kuhnhausen Farm, I inspected this person carefully. I am firmly convinced that this is Rosa Kuhnhausen, my great aunt, and the great-great-grandmother of the relative who gave me the photograph. Rosa led a full life, and by that I mean a long and painful one, but she carried with her a practical philosophy that has inspired me through the recent painful adversity in my own family’s life. She died when she was 106 years old, three months after meeting my daughter who was named after her. My daughter died at age 10, two years ago.
“FIDDLE, n. An instrument to tickle human ears by friction of a horse’s tail on the entrails of a cat.”
Ambrose Bierce (1842 – 1914) American journalist and short-story writer: The Devil’s Dictionary, 1911
My father’s claim to fame is that an incident in his life made it into a book, Sagebrush Homesteads, by Laura Tice Lage. In this passage, Lage describes how my grandfather was working in his hay field when he spotted a pesky wabbit. At that time, rabbits were destroying crops so completely that many farmers near Crab Creek were being ruined. Grandpa Oscar was prepared, though. He snatched up his twelve gauge shotgun and fired at the bunny. The book doesn’t say if he hit the thing, or not. The most dramatic result of that shot was that Oscar’s horse was spooked. It galloped away, towing the wagon along with it…and my child father in the wagon.
My father always detested horses.
I’m wondering if that trait isn’t hereditary. Not that I detest horses, but that horses seem to have a thing about me! I first noticed that problem when I was a teenager. Years before, I had blithely told my mother who it was that I someday hoped to marry. Let’s call her Julie. As a teenager, I would never have revealed such a secret, but the feeling remained. Julie was still the woman I most wanted to impress. She was my age, so I knew her well, since all the children in that end of Adams County attended the same schools. I had been, for a time, her brother’s best friend–had even spent some sleepovers at her house. So when I ran across this beautiful, statuesque blond at the local fair, I considered it a matchless opportunity to impress her. But Julie was on horseback, and as I stood close by, chatting her up (as the Northern Irish lads would have described it), Julie’s horse decided to dispose of the suitor: it took a deliberate step in my direction, and it landed on my foot. Have you ever had eight hundred pounds dropped on your toes? My courtship ended suddenly and dramatically.