Pomeroy via Peola Road

Saturday brought sunshine and brisk, clear air, and the back-straining work to measure and the elbow strain to nail the trim work into place around our home made it necessary for my husband to rest his elbows from the hammer for a day. He has installed at this point more than 500 linear feet of trim molding around our ceilings, windows, doors, and baseboards. It’s slow, precise, exacting work, and it requires fairly regular road trip therapy.

While we were still contemplating our move to the Lewis-Clark Valley, we had looked forward to exploring Peola Road and following it to Pomeroy. And as it happens, our house is a shy mile from the beginning of Peola Road. It was a beautiful trip: we took no arterials or highways at all, but only a mile of our local county roads to Peola Road. Peola Road winds rhythmically along for about 38 miles of curvaceous coulee country, topping the plateaus we see from our windows, along paved, gravel, and frozen slush surfaces. We passed an old pioneer cemetery, some fashionable looking spec houses, and lots of modest homesteads with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of tractors for planting and harvesting wheat.

To me, it’s all incredible scenery, somehow miraculously rich and stark at the same time; but my husband has a higher level of understanding because of his own ranch background, and I always learn new things about wheat on these trips. He can glance at a piece of machinery, for instance, and know whether the owner plants wheat using the no-till method, or whether he discs in his stubble. Soon the breakdown will be between those who plant their spring wheat and those who fallow, depending on the moisture depth in their fields.

It was such a beautiful, luxuriously carefree day that we both forgot to pack the camera. And probably just as well, because my camera doesn’t see what I see in the big country. It misses the detail in the expanse.

It was about an hour and 10 minutes to Pomeroy, the friendly seat of Garfield County. We bought some sunflower seeds at the gas station store and visited an antique shop. We decided to return home the way we came, by way of Peola Road instead of saving a little time taking US 12, and enjoy the coulees and the wheat fields in the late-afternoon light.

The house, the house: the transformation is almost there. Well, certainly it is already transformed. Today my husband removed the plastic kitchen window frame and its formica shelf, and is replacing them with cherry framing and an oak shelf. The kitchen window itself is the one completely stupid thing about our entire house, and we aren’t actually contemplating at this point removing it to bring it closer in. As it is placed, on the far side of the sink and beyond a broad shelf, no one under 8 feet tall could possibly reach across to open the window, close it, or use it for egress in event of fire without a stepladder. My friend Mimi came over to help me clean the day after we moved in, and we took turns sitting in the sink to clean the window. But since the shelf is nice to have for squashes and bowls and things, the surface should at least be attractive, and making it so is underway.

When the window and some other details are done, we will gut the bathrooms and replace all the fixtures. And a big surprise for Jane is coming. The antique ice cream table we bought from her is about to undergo a transformation of its own and become the base of a vessel sink! Updates forthcoming…


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