Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Around Snoqualmie

When you say, "Snoqualmie," to Washingtonians, most will complete the phrase with "Pass" while a few will suggest, "Falls." Those in the know will just respond, "What about it?"

We did stop at the falls, but between the grey skies and the mist, I couldn't get a clear picture of the whole thing.

Unlike a lot of towns, Snoqualmie has managed to save their 1890 railroad depot which is now a museum. The museum offers train rides on summer weekends including a special Thomas the Tank Engine day for kids.

Some of their collection is parked on a siding just north of town.

They have two 2-6-6-2 Mallet class locomotives in their collection. These locomotives were articulated so that they could handle the tight turns common on logging railroads. This one is the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company #6 that last operated in the early 1970s. The other, United States Plywood #11, is painted up nice and is on display by the depot.

Just north of town is an old trestle that is now the home to moss and trees growing both through it and from it.
Near the depot is this display of a large old Western Red Cedar log, resting on a sawmill carriage. Typical of Western Red Cedar trees, the butt end is hollowed from rot. Timber was a major employer in the area and was the reason for development of the railroads in the immediate area.

Within a mile of town is a large millpond and the handful of remaining buildings from what was once a major Weyerhaeuser mill. The powerplant and smokestack are now listed on the historic register. There are small trees trying to gain a foothold on the top of the stack, but I couldn't get them with the little camera.

On display in downtown Snoqualmie was this 11' wheel which was one of the two wheels forming the bandsaw that was the heart of the sawmill. The blade for this saw was 65 feet long!

The other major industry in the area had been dairy. North of Snoqualmie is the town of Tolt which also was known as Carnation. Now this modified barn is used for picnic shelter at the County Park. If we come back to this area, the Tolt River Park would be our choice of places to stay. Much nicer than the Encore park we stayed at this time.

I went looking for Carnation Farm. For nearly a century, this was the breeding farm for the Carnation Milk Company. I was surprised to come over the hill to see some bales of plastic wrapped hay, but not a cow in sight in the expansive fields.

The only cow we found was the statue of Segis Pietertje Prospect. This cow, in 1920, produced over 37,000 pounds of milk at a time when most cows produced about 4,000 pounds annually. Carnation was bought out by Nestle which eventually shut down the farm. Now the buildings are home to Camp Korey, a camp for kids dealing with life threatening illnesses. The hay crops help fund the camp operation.

It's the end of the line for the historic legs of the local economy - timber, railroads, and farming. Now the towns are home to high tech employees working in Redmond, Kirkland, and Seattle.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

My Favorite Place

I debated about the title - is it "A" favorite or is it "The" favorite? Certainly there are lots of places in the running for "The" title, places we keep returning to like Utah's Green River, but the place and people that pull me in and makes me feel like home is Glory Farm. There's something in the hustle of a small farm, the smells in the kitchen, and the creaking floors that reminds me of my childhood, but it's the love that emanates from that place to everyone around that keeps drawing us back.

This is the third time that we've been back to the farm to 'help' with the continuing house restoration. We weren't there last year which was good timing on our part since it was the year of the house painting - an massive project if there ever was one!

This year, the puppies are the center of attention.

Not exactly what you'd expect to see in the kitchen of library staff, but then Ellen's a farmer, too.

The house is filled with history reused, and colorful crafts abound.

The garden is guarded by gates that served a different purpose in a prior life, and a scarecrow welded from farm 'stuff.' Seeds were planted while we were there, and another famous pumpkin crop is anticipated.

The chickens rule the roost in more ways than one. Turk, the City Dog, continues to avoid them!

The farm has its picturesque buildings, and a place for woodworking out in the shed.

The farm backs up to Washington State's longest State Park. Iron Horse State Park is only 1,612 acres, but spans 110 miles of the former Milwaukee Road. BJ, Turk, and I went out to locate a cache along the former railroad while we were at the farm, and the following week we were on a different section of the same park at the summit of Snoqualmie Pass.

This year my projects revolved around filling some holes in the new upstairs bathroom. The first project was a shallow bookcase to create a hinged, hidden door to the attic.

It was assembled with glue and brads, and then got a coat of primer before it went upstairs.

The other project was to glue up some tongue & groove cedar to make a door blank for the bathroom closet.

The bookcase is hinged but rests on a pair of swiveling casters that carry the weight. The door was made to match similar doors used in the upstairs bedrooms. One more hidden door was framed out to close the plumbing access.

I got to make sawdust and enjoy the farm. Can't ask for more! I am certainly blessed!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wandering East & West

With the projects finished a day early, we decided to drive to Kellogg, Idaho just to see what we might see. My brother loves to visit car dealers and my sister-in-law is always up for a drive, so they picked us up and chauffeured us to Idaho. I was very surprised to see what looked to be a Spanish style mission along the way so we had to stop for a picture. Turns out, the mission is the oldest building in Idaho, built in 1850.

We'd introduced my brother to geocaching early in our stay. When we stopped at the mission, he said there ought to be a geocache around here so we checked online and then went to find a cache less than a mile away.

Our destination for the day was the famous Dave Smith dealerships in Kellogg. We spent a bunch of time with a measuring tape, and then discovered the RAM 1500 could be lowered 2 inches with a rear spring change which moved it to the top of our list. In spite of having nearly 500 RAM 1500 trucks in stock, they didn't have the combination I wanted. Most are configured for mileage instead of towing ability.

My brother was most impressed with our experience. Helpful without being pushy. I think the thing that really did it for him was the barbecued burgers that they serve every Saturday. The GM side of the street even has the grill built right into the face of the building.

While we were finishing up our free lunch, the phone chirped with e-mail announcements of new geocaches that we would pass on our way home. Turns out, we got the First To Find on both caches. They were challenging hides which made it even better experience for my brother.

Sunday, we pulled up stakes in Spokane and headed towards Ellensburg in the rain. Along the way we stopped at one of the rest stops to take advantage of the free dump station. The sign was nice, but the view was much more Western Washington style - low clouds and drizzle.

We tucked into "our" spot beside the garage at Glory Farm, returning for our third week-long visit. I was excited to see what projects they had on the list for me this year.

Sunday, May 22, 2016


I spent over a week on projects at my niece & nephew's 1920's house on South Hill, and didn't get pictures of most of them. In addition to sanding and two coats of yellow paint on these garage sale finds, I did some work on the floor and the roof, and built a baby gate at the top of the stairs that can be removed later with just two screw holes to repair.

Feeling bad about not have pictures of those projects, I took lots of pictures of the shelf project for my sister-in-law and their new house. These shelves used the same concept as the shelf I built for our communications equipment in the Scamp. Even with this project I didn't start pictures until the shelves were assembled.

Each of the shelves is an empty box with one side missing. The tops and bottoms are made from 1/4 inch Baltic Birch, and the edges are made from Hemlock to match the woodwork in the house.

As is usually the case, the wood takes the stain differently. Three of the shelves got second coat of stain so that they would be closer in color to the two darkest ones that only got one coat.

While I was waiting for the stain to dry, I started putting up the pieces of oak that would provide the anchor points for the shelves.

The shelves got two coats of satin polyurethane finish, and a chance to air out a bit in the garage before we started to mount them.

The moment of truth - the shelves fit the mounts, and the color matched the window frame.

We even got them all lined up with the ends plumb.

All the shelves went up quickly, and

my brother was just as quick to grab a brown marker to apply some camouflage to the screw heads before the inspector arrived.

We figured with the eight shelves, there will be room for about 50% of the salt & pepper shaker collection! I'm sure glad I don't have to dust them!

One more project off the list.

And a last minute picture, all decked out.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

South Hill

This was the first time that we spent any amount of time in Spokane. We didn't do any tourist sorts of things, instead I concentrated on some house projects for family. Our moochdocking spot on South Hill was great. We even had sun on the solar a couple hours a day, although we didn't need it since we were plugged in. We quickly fell in love with the neighborhood - mature landscape and lots of Craftsman style houses.

Brick was surprisingly prevalent as well,

and occasionally the local basalt rock was featured. Homes usually had a one car garage that might not fit a modern car.

There were a couple very nice parks within walking distance, apparently both designed by the same gentleman who designed New York's Central Park.

The ducks were so habituated that they weren't even bothered by Turk checking them out. The hen had to do a bit of preening but didn't make an impression.

As much as we loved the houses and the neighborhood, it was quite obvious that places like this wouldn't match with our traveling style. The grass was fast growing, and the weeds were faster, requiring constant attention to keep the landscaping looking sharp.

The streets in the neighborhood were brick. Some had an asphalt overlay, but it was still obvious they were brick. Others were still the original exposed brick surface.

We loved the mature trees and the shade they provided, We also loved our small rig - I wouldn't want to try to navigate the clearances with a bigger rig - both vertical and lateral. Some of the streets were narrower, leaving one narrow lane to negotiate when everyone was home from work and cars were parked on both sides of the street.

We loved walking around the neighborhood, but quickly discovered that we had to be cautious. We couldn't just gawk at the architecture, we had to watch our feet as well. Just about every block had multiple heaved sidewalks, complements of the tree roots.

In some ways, two weeks wasn't long enough. I'm pretty sure we'll be back.