Wednesday, June 2, 2010


My mother had this pamphlet in her files of important papers.

It was printed in 1936 and was dedicated to the modern woman.

The wringer washer was central to the running of our home on the farm. One day a week was dedicated to doing family laundry. Mom did take time out to fix meals, chase cows out of the garden, pull her children out of mud holes and do her best to stop them from eating bugs.

Unlike my grandma, Mom didn’t have to wash the clothes using a scrubbing board.

By the time I went away to college our wringer washer had been replaced by a fine new washer and matching dryer installed near the kitchen.

A few years after my husband and I were married we moved from an apartment and rented an old house. We found a wringer washer in the basement. I'd been feeding quarters into laundromat machines since college so I was willing to step back in time and dust off my washer skills.

I didn’t have a nifty apron like this to wear when I sorted clothes.

But disposable diapers were still a novelty so I washed a lot of cloth ones for my babies in the washer’s hot soapy water.

Nylon panty hose are more long-lasting than those silk stockings and they don’t need a girdle or garter belt to hold them up. Although they still should be washed by hand.

(click to biggify and learn more about line drying clothes)

There is quite an art to drying clothes on the line. A sunny breezy day is perfect for fluffing towels and softening denim trousers. On the farm Mom tried to dry Dad’s work clothes outside in the winter. But more often than not she’d end up bringing them in frozen stiff where they were hung on a drying rack by the stove.

I wouldn’t want to go back to washing clothes with an old wringer washer. Things got clean, but the wringers were famous for snapping buttons and injuring anyone carless enough to get a hand too near the rollers. There were even well endowed ladies who did damage to other parts of their body when they leaned over and got themselves caught up in their laundry.

However, I do miss having a clothes line. There is nothing like the smell of sun dried linens.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


This weekend DH and I visited family and cemeteries all over Utah. My car had almost seven hundred miles roll under its wheels and about as many bugs die on its windshield. I learned a Coney Dog (hot dog covered with chili and melted cheese) should not be eaten in a car since any food from this sloppy concoction that doesn’t make it to the mouth is worn for the rest of the day.

But this post is about a trip to see history. About sixty miles north of Salt Lake City, Utah and about thirty miles west of Interstate Fifteen---

 (through the car window--and if you look you can see the remains of a few suicidal bugs)
out in a very empty place near The Great Salt Lake is the Golden Spike National Historic Site.

On 10 May 1869, a single telegraphed word, "done," signaled to the nation the completion of the first United States transcontinental railroad. German, and Italian immigrants, of the Union Pacific Railroad had pushed west from Omaha, Nebraska. At Promontory they met crews of the Central Pacific, which had included Chinese laborers, who had built the line east from Sacramento, California.

Two replicas of the steam engines which were in use at that time are at the site for all to behold.

The Jupiter matches the engine that came from the Pacific and uses wood for fuel.

Engine 119 is like the one that came from the east and burns coal since it was available from that part of the country.

There are platforms where visitors can see inside the cabin to view the shiny instruments, levers and switches

used by the engineers to make the locomotives go.

Both engines were powered up to rumble up and down the tracks with all the bells and whistles.

A reenactment of the Golden Spike Ceremony was presented complete with plenty of information. We learned there was not just one golden spike, but two...

one from the east and one from the west--

plus two more spikes: one silver from the Comstock Lode in Nevada and a spike blended of iron, silver, and gold represented Arizona. These spikes were dropped into a pre-bored laurel wood railroad tie during the ceremony.

The actual last spike--an ordinary iron spike--was driven into a regular tie.

A special silver hammer was used for that moment in history.

The location is a little off the beaten path but well worth the trip to see history come alive.

Monday, May 31, 2010


Early one morning a few days ago I walked back to check on the osprey nest inhabited by a Canada Goose.

No goose was sitting on the nest, and there was nothing unusual on the ground below. However, I could hear the peeping of baby ducks, or maybe goslings. I followed the sound across the tracks where I could see the pond.

The only thing visible on the water was a flock of pelicans just waking up.

I could still hear the cry of baby ducks/geese, but the air was quiet and sound carries a long way across water so I couldn’t zero in on the location. I followed the road to a point where it went between the river and the small lake.

Then a hawk flew overhead and all bird sounds ceased.

You know how they say it’s bad luck when a black cat crosses your path?

It can be even worse luck if the “cat” is BLACK AND WHITE.

Totally unconcerned, this skunk was on his way to find breakfast.

(Sorry if these photos are a bit out of focus. It was just here that I realized I was in a really bad location.)

So Mr. Le Pew stops right in front of me (using my 70-300 lens here but still within the danger zone) and he decides to spend time digging up something yummy like an ant hill or a few grubs.

The pelicans are smart enough to swim away.

The hawk leaves. From somewhere I hear the quiet sounds of adult Canada Geese murmuring.

The skunk ignores me. Then it starts to rain.

I turned around and walked home the long way. So, I’m sorry, we’ll never know the fate of the silly goose and her babies. But at least we can hope for the best.

Two days later I biked by the empty nest and saw an osprey perched there looking like she was cleaning up after some untidy renters.