41% Increase in Taxes

Spokane County Tax Notice 1Did you have a 41% increase…

from last year’s property taxes like us? We received our 2022 tax notice from Spokane County from the Treasurer, Michael Baumgartner today. We are not happy with a 41% increase. As you read the notice above a town hall meeting is scheduled in early April 2022 and we are definitely going to attend it.

Taxpayer Town Hall Meeting

Tuesday April 5th, 2022


at the MAC Auditorium

Museum of Arts & Culture at 2316 W First Ave, Spokane WA

Spokane County Tax Notice 2Senior & Disabled Person

Tax Exemptions

are available thru

Assessor’s Office call



Bread Baking Day

bread 03Today (02/22/22) was bread baking day at the Woelks in Elk kitchen. I cook fresh bread and have done this for years about every two weeks. Sometimes, it is every week if we have people over for meals or there is something that we take food to. I found multiple pictures of bread baking days in the Do It Yourself folder on my Blog, so I thought I’d share them with you too.
bread 01Here are four loaves of bread baked on 10/16/21.
bread 02This bread was baked on 09/10/20. Wow, I have a real routine here don’t I? Same four loaves in the same pans on the same stove. Hmmm.


bread Rolls 01That same bread recipe can be cut in half to make a giant pan of cinnamon rolls and two loaves of bread instead. bread Rolls 02

Neener, neener, neener. You can send me an email and request the recipe if you’d like to try this yourself.

Across From Winco

Winco Homeless PanoLand Clearing

Across from the Winco parking lot this morning, in north Spokane, there was a massive land clearing/logging operation going on. I marveled at the capabilities of the giant track hoe, machinery has always gotten my attention. Once a contractor always a contractor, ya know. Anyhow, the mind gears start to roll around my mind as I wonder.

The land is on the corner of N. Nevada and E Jay Ave, in Spokane WA. This building is described as the Spokane International Academy on Google maps.

Is the school expanding?

It was a swath of land fully covered with old pines. In one day this track hoe had all of them laying uprooted in piles of lumber (decks) over 20 ft tall along the edge of the property. Wow. Take a look at the video to see how high the stack of logs is compared to the cars going by.


Winco Homeless 04Then I notice a broken-down RV parked in the back forty of the Winco parking lot. A vehicle that has certainly seen better days. There is no license on it. The windshield, door glass, and even the window in the overhead sleeper are all broken out. It must be cold as heck to sleep in there.

Winco Homeless 02There is no license and a shopping cart full of bags and garbage is parked next to it. There is a bike laying under the rear axle. Just then the back door opened and a hand threw a bowl of liquid onto the parking lot. Oooooo. A few moments later a man stepped out bringing a walker with him, he squared himself up and proceeded to walk up to the street corner to stand with a sign. You can see him on the left side of this picture.

Was this RV previously parked in those trees?

It doesn’t look like it could be driven very far. I guess it could be one way to get the homeless off of your land, simply clear cut it and move them off.

Snows 4″ Overnight

snow 02

When it snows 4″ overnight and you live in a rural area that beautiful white stuff creates some chores that need to be done.

snow 03Peter has taught me that the key thing about happiness in winter is to stay on top of the chores instead of putting them off. In other words, 4″ of snow is easy to deal with when compared to dealing with 4 feet of white stuff that is starting to get hard. Ice.  If I don’t let the snow levels get too overwhelming, the beauty of the season remains a very much enjoyed item.

snow 01Thank God for Peter Woelk. I thank my lucky stars many times during winter as I notice how much he does. I was given a considerate and dependable grown-up man who takes care of winter snow removal. He does it without complaint, guilt, or resentment! His advice is so relevant, when shoveling a roof, sidewalk, or clearing a path to the car a little accumulation is so much easier to deal with.

sled Isaac Hurley 01The larger jobs are what I think he just loves to do. We all know he loves to drive the Kubota, so, clearing the driveway and our part of the road is something that falls under the “enjoyable” chore list for him. But, still, there are a lot of people that avoid even these simple chores like a plague. After the chores are done it is time to go outside and have some fun.

Front Yard on a Hill

Playground Rock

playground rock Placing 008Pete discovered a playground rock, during rock wall adventures in the landscaping project. Sometimes run into a really large boulder that asks to be made into a piece of solid playground equipment. That is what happened this week. This giant had to be moved so we could cut a dead tree down which is where we are going to build a rock wall in front of our house. Etc Etc Etc.

rock Placing 011How many tires are actually on the ground as Pete moves it around with the Kubota? As we move this heavy rock, notice the squished front tires when the rock is being pushed. Do you think it just maybe a little beyond this piece of equipment’s capacity? Sure hope this little tractor is up to the test.

rock Placing 022 rock Placing 028 rock Placing 031Roll, roll, roll. Push, then tilt.

rock Placing 034This granite guy has a flat top just perfect for climbing on, and two stairs on one side with a single stair on the other, it’s perfect for the lawn area. It is truly a climbing piece of playground equipment. The grandkids have already tried all the surfaces out for us.

Rock Movers

rock Pile 02The rock movers union has a new member here at the Woelks in Elk. All it takes is to be an expert “operator” of equipment or be a rock mover by trade. Really, just ask Pete!  You too can become a member of the Rock mover’s union and learn how to make a Ph. D pile of rock just like this. Are you wondering what a Ph. D pile is? Here is a quote from Pete, “It is a stack of rock Piled Higher and Deeper!”

Kubota Repair 001BTW. Expert, as defined by my father, is a drip under extreme pressure.

Kubota Repair 002

Besides, if Peter breaks the tractor he knows how to order the parts and fix them himself. What is the problem?

It takes real talent to move rocks while using equipment that is lighter than the object that you are trying to pick up or move. Just last week Pete had to re-weld the shift lever twice for this poor little tractor. It broke while doing “the impossible”. I wonder what this Kubota tells all the other pieces of equipment in the yard… after the moon comes up each night. It would be interesting to put a baby monitor down there at night to see what the tractor tells the lawnmower, and rototiller when we are not there.

rock Moving 01Here is a pictorial sequence of hooking up to move a big rock with a tiny garden tractor and a chain. Simple, really! Sometimes you have to start with digging a little to be able to reach underneath and put the chain around it.

rock Moving 03Then you hook the chain to the bucket and start to back up real slow and pulllllllll.

rock Moving 07I can see this little orange Kubota sweating as it strains.

rock Moving 05Look at how interested Max is in seeing the rock move. Not even a little bit.

rock Moving 08When it reaches where it is going to rest, for now, placing a rock under one edge allows us to easily hook a chain around it next time without having to dig under it.

rock Moving 10Okay, now imagine doing that all day long. Fun!

Sycamore Tree

Sycamore Tree 02Beauty and the Beast

We decided to cut down a Sycamore tree that I planted 25 years ago after finishing the reno on the storage shed by the garden. The sycamore was one of those expensive landscape tree purchases costing a whopping $60 in 1995. Which is a lot, to a single mom’s budget. I really loved this shade tree cooling our mobile home over the years.

A Sycamore is actually a gorgeous large hardwood with lots of big green leaves and is perfect for shade in yards and parks. However, if you have even a slight allergy to its pollen it can make life quite miserable. It became a real chore to mow the lawn under it. You would start coughing as soon as you started mowing and then experience a sore throat with swollen eyes, and coughing for a couple of days after, even if you used a mask and eye coverings. Sycamore Tree 01We set up to sell art at a downtown garden show. The booth next to me had a professional tree trimmer in it. I happened to mention to him how irritating the mowing under our Sycamore had become, and the guy laughed. He said that whenever people wanted a Sycamore’s trimmed the price went up. His crew has to wear a full suit to prevent respiratory and skin irritations associated with them. That was shocking to find out but reassuring at the same time.

Finding that out 2 years ago has had me thinking that tree maybe wasn’t such a good idea. When I looked up at the buds on the tree limbs this spring I told Pete that I had enough of the allergy stuff. So, we decided to go ahead and take it down.

Sycamore Tree 03Check out the massive root system. Taking this tree down as a project had a comedy show of I N T E R E S T I N G events attached…. really. Honestly, I’d tell you about them but then I’d have to kill you. Internet BS is not allowed for this top-secret event, so, you’ll have to come to see in person to get the story on the rest of this adventure.

Here is a link to more information about Sycamore trees if you are interested. Pay attention to the problems paragraph a few paragraphs down.


Vintage Farm Storehouse

Storage Shed Reno 20Renovation Complete

The latest in fashionable, “Vintage Farm Storehouse” decor in Spokane county. To achieve this look you must save materials from other demolished structures over the years in the hopes of being able to re-use them again. In other words, you have to be a penny-pincher that saves everything. Easy enough. It also helps a lot if you are handy enough to be able to alter things whenever they don’t quite fit.

Storage Shed Reno 14Waterproofing

Most of the re-used metal was from two storage sheds we took down. Both from over that year of real heavy snow that caved in their roofs. The flashing that you see Pete installing is the final part of the waterproofing on the wall. Notice his version of the man-lift, in an orange Kubota tractor bucket. Handy-dandy.

Storage Shed Reno 21The T-1-11 already there was in good shape on the other three sides. We had to close in from grade to the bottom to finish the structure. It was surprising how fashionable it all looked when we noticed that the colors matched our scheme.

Storage Shed Reno 18

I had to re-set the fancy entryway with the old CMU blocks for the steps after we were done. It was tempting to go to town and purchase fancy flagstone for the entryway but it’s better to stay with vintage.

Storage Shed Reno 19You can see that this front entryway just shouts an authentic farmhouse greeting to you as you approach. It makes you feel right at home.

If you are in need of a professional country farmhouse designer for your project, be sure to contact Peter for advice. He could probably be convinced to show up and help you with perfecting your own design, with some foldey-green. At least you would be sure to be entertained with suggestions that may arise when you do.

Old Studio into Storage

Storage Shed Reno 01 Our to-do list calls for making the old studio into storage next. Because, in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, we might need more storage. What do you think? Anyhow, you can see the little white building located next to the garden directly down the hill from our house.

Storage Shed Reno 02

Just to make things more interesting, spring conditions are in full effect requiring the use of mud boots for walking outside. You can be walking along real normal and suddenly sink into clay up to your ankle. There is a real art to coaxing your boot back up out of the mud without losing your balance.

Storage Shed Reno 03

This structure was a 16′ x 8′ addition that sat against the old mobile home back door. When we moved into our new home and took the old mobile down, this structure was left missing a wall. As a temporary measure, we covered the stud frame with plastic to protect it from the weather. You know how temporary measures go, though, well that was half a decade ago. Poor thing. The first day was spent preparing it to move about 9 inches over to correctly allow for the electrical panel feed line. While doing this, we made sure it was level in its new location. It is amazing how much it had settled over the years.

Storage Shed Reno 06

Then we got busy removing loose boards at the eaves which revealed a host of varmints living in that space.

wasp & bird nestsCheck out how many wasp and bird nests!

Storage Shed Reno 05

We have leftover wood and a small window from construction that we used to close the wall. There was just enough wood to be able to close the eaves.

Storage Shed Reno 08

We plan on using metal for the final siding, from the storage sheds we took down a couple of years ago. At least, that is the plan. The truth comes out when you start sorting through the piles. Maybe we will even put a quick coat of paint on it afterward if we have the energy.