Images for prior post

The four images here show results of the yard work this past week.
The 4th one shows the location relative to the house. Start there.
The yellow dots show a house-surround road, newly dug to dirt and rocks.
The purple area was a fenced area mostly used as a firewood storage area with a shed and covered cords of wood. The shed housed aa small electric splitter.
Back at the top, image #1, shows the cleaned purple area, with house to the right. Fences are temporary to protect small plum trees. This will become a Pétanque playing surface, called a boulodrome.

This photo is from the SE edge of the purple area (as was the first photo), farthest from the house. Parts of the shed and other things cleared from the purple area.

Swinging way around to the left of the previous image is a mound of rock and dirt; from 25 years ago when the area was leveled for a round pen. Last week, we had an excavator and small dump-truck, so worked some to move this pile. At the end of July or maybe August 1st, we will rent a skid-steer and get serious about using this pile and a couple of others to fill and level the boulodrome, with any extra going on the road. The road will need rocked and graveled. The playing surface will be packed gravel.

Dirt work

I received two email scams. They look like this, but what else is there I don’t know. I trashed them.
I don’t know either of the names and haven’t ordered anything in the prior month. When I order from Amazon there is an immediate confirmation to email and it looks very different. The bottom one has, in the subject line: “Hey there! We are thrilled to have you as a …”
Online orders I’ve done never have a person’s name. Rather there is a company name. A line that sounds like a neighbor shouting across the street doesn’t engender confidence.
An internet search explains that opening such a thing will reveal they are charging you for several thousand dollars, like $5,350, and they want you to respond. Such things lead to trouble. Ignore.

The high temperatures here have been near 100°F with another three days of that before dropping a little into the high eighties. My main concern is that I can only do outside things from 6:30 to 10:30 am, and then from 8 to 9 pm. Age has something to do with this. At 10:00 this morning (Sat) I drove to town and made three stops, the most important was buying ice cream and red-grapes on sale. Sunday is smoke hazy with thin clouds above.

Contractor Walter came a week ago and wanted to get started on two projects we talked about many months ago. I had shown him images of little buildings (from garden shed sites) with an idea of having one as a “waiting for the bus” space for school kids. Just a landscape and selling point feature, ’cause I got no kids. That idea morphed into a bigger project involving completing a “firewise” component.
The idea is to get rid of the old horse-loafing shed I was using as a firewood splitting and storage space just 20 feet from the new roofed deck. The debris and wood so close to the house is a bad situation according to fire inspectors. (debrE, not debriS – why is that?) More gravel, More gravel!
So, we rented a small excavator and dug into the dirt and rocks. Worker Jonathan (Johnny) ran the machine.
First we had to remove fences (posts and wire) and a lot of accumulated waste. Meanwhile, another worker (with occasional help from Johnny & John) dismantled the 8 by 12 building.
The area is now cleared and partially leveled, but it is not yet horizontal. Next week we will try to rent a machine with a front bucket and finish the job with fill.
A partially completed road around the house was attacked by the little machine. Fire-crews do not want an entrance to the back of a property to be a dead end. Two years ago I got half way done when the fellow changed his day job and left my project undone. The initial work is now completed – a 14 ft. dirt and rock track now is completed. I could, but haven’t, driven the truck on it. However it has been used by two of my neighbors. I think mamma is off to the right, but I couldn’t see her. Photo below is from 50 feet away, through a sliding-glass door, with an iPhone.

At the yellow dots, there is a drop of 10 inches. Past the purple dots there is a steep slope covered with a few tons of basalt cobbles. To finish, the surface needs to be rocked, graveled, leveled and compacted.

Woody: The once feral female cat got taken to the vet this week. (over $300) She has a double coat – very full and fluffy. I got her inside the new room (old double-car garage) in the fall of 2020. I spent more time with mother Sue because her coat was clumpy. This was a slow process because of being wild. I got Woody to accept being touched. Her coat was matted and difficult to work with. She is small, but as I got hair off, I released she was thin. More recently she has had a respiratory issue. Also, I don’t know how old she is. I’ve thought she was too young to be doing the “old cat fade away” routine. Maybe not.
At the vet’s office, they took most of the hair off – Yikes! She is really thin. Radiographs revealed her heart is misshapen – elongated and pinched some. How that fits in is a mystery. She is on an antibiotic called Clavamox, a combination of amoxicillin/clavulanic acid that is commonly used to treat susceptible infections.
She is eating well, maybe more than before. Nothing more to say at this point.

Keeping Raack
on the Naneum Fan

Action on remodeling

Following Willy’s visit yesterday afternoon [7/11], this morning Jonathan (Johnny), son of Walter “the contractor” showed up at about 7 am. Shortly after, Walter came, then still later, Willy. Discussion and decisions. Still later, workers Rubin and James came. Walter and Willy left for other jobs.
We checked my on-site paint and have about 5 gallons of the newer blue-blue, not the old gray-blue. Rubin and James are washing the 2 front walls that can be seen from the driveway. When dry, they will paint those. Johnny is setting up ladder-scaffolds to finish painting the big shed. After painting is done the Copper-looking metal will go on the decorative walls in front of the passage between the shed and the house, and in front of the main entry door. Repairing (smoothing) the walls inside the big shed is on the agenda, but maybe not today. Temperature is 86° at 11:30, on the way to 93°. To quote a famous person: “Anyway,” as regards the remodeling – the light at the end can be seen and it is not the train.
Willy’s visit yesterday interrupted my cleaning. Phyllis and Cameron arrived about 5:20 after a 2-hour meeting with an EBRG estate planner. I had managed to do some cleaning and move a table and chairs – and wine glasses – into the remodeled/recovered room with double-swinging doors and a view to the outside. “Recovered” fits because as originally built, the room was nearly useless. Now it is bright with skylights and recessed ceiling lights, doors, and half knotty-pine paneling. The difference is hard to convey, but it is stunning.
We visited and ate in that room – a first.
Back to on Tuesday:
I went to Yakima Tuesday (108°) to meet with Bob & Suzy after repeated delays – – 2 months. COSTCO’s food court is a mess, but that’s where we met. Cool inside. I bought some things after, even though I don’t need anything. Seemed a waste to go and not stockpile something. I bought a multi-pack of Zip-Lock sandwich bags and put it beside the (unaware-of) pack I already have. I won’t ever need to buy more. Gas there is about 50¢ cheaper than in EBRG; got 12 gallons. I use 4 gallons going down and back. WA State price is over $4 average, Mississippi is about $3. Building and maintaining roads in mountains is expensive. And, WA has a “Carbon” tax, that makes everything in the State more expensive.
At a large rally in Butler, PA a shooter (now-deceased) nicked Donald Trump’s right ear. Details are not available as I get ready to post this.
Butler is about 45 miles from Clarion where I lived. I only remember going through the town on the way to Pittsburgh. There was a large building – 8 or 10 stories – at the turn we had to make. The only things in Clarion that big was the County Court House and the Catholic Church {both with tall spires}. Sister Peggy visited a women’s clothing store a time or two. Otherwise, Butler was a non-entity for us and almost everybody else on Planet Earth. Now it will be a famous footnote to history.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

Heat arrives

The doe with two small fawns just went past the window. I saw them yesterday when bringing the big flag down. The little ones are curious but cautious. One came around some tall brush, saw me and the flag, and headed for momma, 20 yards away. Cute.

Summers in central Washington State satisfy the characteristic of being hot. Here is what the National Weather Service thinks about the coming week.

Tuesday at 102° is the warmest here. Farther south a hundred miles, and lower, they may get to 110. Lower is 1,800 feet lower than here. Prolonged summer heat means clear sky, and that allows radiation to space. I cool rapidly after the sun sets. An afternoon high of 100°F will drop to 75 by 10:00 pm and I can open windows. The core house temperature, that got to 78°, will be 69 by morning. Mostly, I get by without using the AC system. When the temp went to 116 in June of 2021, I had to turn the AC on about 4 pm, then off about 9 pm. This is an advantage of being over 2,000 feet elevation. It does make growing vegetables a challenge.
A image from space of WA, OR, & ID has no clouds showing. Mountain peaks have snow, and a plume of smoke from the Swany Fire south of Boise trails to the southeast. That is now contained.

At 4:30 pm the airport reading is 99°F (between runways) and 5 miles away, I am at 95. Elevation, trees, and grass cause the lower temperature.

On June 13th, I ordered a replacement spring for a pruner. The item was $1.15 plus 9¢ tax. No shipping – being a member of Amazon Prime.
This took 23 days to arrive. The source wasGuangzhou, China, only 6,500 miles from me. I had not checked local stores, but often such things are not offered. Driving to town and back costs about $6 for gas, so only a multi-purpose trip would make sense. A bigger city with a bigger hardware store might have these, but if the purpose of going to a city is important, running around looking for a $1 item seems silly. With the probability of finding the item, I didn’t bother.
I find the internet (& Amazon) useful.

In contrast to the small cost of the spring, I just learned that the highest paid staff member of the White House earns a salary of $251,258. That extra $8 bothers me. The total for all staff is $60.8 million. It doesn’t say if that includes the cooks.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

A slightly busy week

Although not significant, I had to think about money this week. I consult with a Vanguard rep a few times each year and the latest call was delayed until June 25th. I had to change the original date because of the Geography Department’s spring awards ceremony. Next, a new hire at the CWU foundation is making appointments with donors so he can learn about folks and how he will interact with us. That happened Friday morning.
Cameron has been trying to bottle wine (a small 2-hour deal), but his crew wasn’t cooperating. A Thursday morning plan was shot-down, as was a Friday morning attempt because of my 9:00 am meeting.
We got it done starting at 1:30pm on Friday.
Not bottling on Thursday allowed me to meet Kathy & Fran in EBRG as they traveled east on I-90. They bought lunch at Smokey’s Bar-b-Que. They are a busy couple and family, so it is always entertaining to catch up.

After the bottling and some wine and snacks we held our first Pétanque event [throwing boules at the small target ball, officially called a cochonnet]. We were a little rusty. There were three interruptions of folks wanting to visit the winery – to not much reward. Three times, 4 bottles of wine.
I talked with one young lady, up from Redding CA to attend a concert at the Gorge-at-George. [Noah Kahan, guitar; unknown to me.] She sipped wine in the shade while we played. She had a fancy pickup with a large generator in the bed. Hmm? I’m guessing she had other stops planned. Redding is 700 miles from here.

A neighboring place to the winery is selling cherries, so I detoured over there and bought 2lb each of Rainier ($2/lb) and Bings ($1.50/lb).
I stayed for supper and got home just at dark; with most of my purchased cherries.
The Cleveland Clinic claims cherries are high in antioxidants and nutrients, and can help you sleep better and run faster! I should have bought more!

At home, the wind continues to blow and I (sometimes) do a little outside or inside chores.
The National Weather models proclaim 86 degrees on Independence Day and into the 90s into the middle of July. No 3-digit days in sight.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Solstice time 2024

The wind came a 6 AM today Sunday the 23rd / with an average of 15 mph and a gust of 21. Just before 3 PM, the average was 35 and the gust was 48 mph.
I have two projects I work on, as shown below. On the left is a pile of rock, gravel, and soil. When the remodel began, a concrete pad was removed and carried away. Underneath and nearby, the rock and gravel of the driveway was moved 80 feet east. I am sorting the pile and moving the rocks (bigger than a golf ball) to the west of the house into a hole the previous owner had excavated. I’ve moved about half of the piles.
The hole we called Jay’s folly. He intended that it store early-year runoff. Being very rocky, it doesn’t hold water very well. I’m lining the edge of “the folly” with rock to carry a gravel road around the back of the house. Distance between house and road will be about 35 feet. Eventually, the road will be wide and strong enough to carry a fire-fighter’s pumper truck. Sample below.

A Bureau of Land Management mini-pumper truck, from the Winnemucca NV area. Lots of gravel, roads in and out, and a cleaned space without brush and trees makes for a – potentially – spared house if a wild fire passes by.
On the right (above) is my wood-splitting project. Trunk rounds are on the right, split material on the left. I’m halfway done with this, also. Ten days ago, the 2nd half of a double, or split, tree fell at a rental property owned by Dale & Kathy – son and daughter-in-law of our now deceased neighbors. I brought the first part home last year and just dumped it out of my way. This time the pieces are smaller, so more easily handled. I’m going to get the split pieces under cover. They may dry to under 20% moisture by winter from a start of about 35%. If not split and covered, the seasoning time is closer to two years. Because of the low humidity here, the wood I burn is often closer to 15%.
The tree that fell is along a driveway next to the house. Neither time was there a car there and both times branches “almost” reached the house. There are 4 or 5 similar trees – with, now, plans to remove all of them. That would be more external wood than I want to deal with, and they may not offer it to me. Besides, it is a 27 mile round-trip. {My eye doctor’s assistant lives in the house.}
On Friday bottling was canceled but there was a lunch at the winery (house) for Eric’s 74th birthday. He is one of the pruners and bottlers, and also, works some at other chores. We will bottle for about two hours on Thursday the 27th. This is a delay caused by the late arrival of parts to fix leaky valves in the filler.
I’m headed to the wood pile where shade has arrived. I do a few each day, so should finish by Independence Day. {smile}

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Change is the only thing that is constant

A public service message interrupted the radio today to alert listeners of a fire about 70 miles south of me. Someone unfamiliar with the area read the message. The pronunciations of the local names were so bad that by the time I recognized the place of the fire, the details of the message were lost to me. This was a Yakima station.
I think this is a problem caused by consolidation of the industry so that on-air voices are not always local. When the Ellensburg station was sold and incorporated into a multi-station system, the top-of-the-hour news was plagued by this issue, and by including news from distant places in WA State that EBRG residents barely recognize.
The telephone (land line) system has changed owners, again. When we arrived in 1989 the company was local. Then came Consolidated Communications, and now something calling itself Lightcurve, formerly Rainier Connect, out of Tacoma.

Another failure:
Prelude – context:
Back in 1963, I rode passenger trains from Pennsylvania to California. From Chicago, the train was “The San Francisco Chief”. See Wikipedia. From Flagstaff, I took a bus trip north to the Grand Canyon’s south rim. The next leg was west into CA, through the Tehachapi Loop, and north toward Bakersfield. Next: on north to Richmond, with a bus ride into San Francisco.

Modern period:
When California started its high-speed rail project in 2008, I was hoping to someday make that trip. Their plan was to spend $33 Billion on 800 miles of track. Hope is not a plan, and I have given up. 16 years later, here is a photo of the only part of the system that is near completion; 1,600 feet of elevated (over the 40 ft-wide river) track. Current estimated cost is $130 Billion. At the rate of progress, the full system would be completed in 42,000 years.
Maybe I should just ride Amtrak from Leavenworth to Everett – via an 8 mi. tunnel under Stevens Pass – and call it good.

Wednesday was Milwaukee Tool day at a local hardware/lumber store. The young rep came over from Tacoma. This time of year, she is on the road 3 or 4 times each week. She was, also, a hiker, so we had a couple of things to talk about. I bought a $12 saw blade and got $5 hot dog. In the past, lunch included a canned drink and a small bag of chips. This year both of those items were gone. High prices cause cutting costs.

I, and a couple hundred others, attended the retirement event for Ruth Harrington. 50 years of breakfasts, brunches, lunches, and so on raising funds for CWU students. Her role will be downsized and two others will carry on. This was the 3rd time this year I was in the large ballroom in the student union building. Except for the sports facilities, I think this is the largest room on campus.

Wind this week averaged about 25mph with gusts into the 40s. I worked outside only as much as I had to. Not much.
Does the wind always blow like this? No, sometimes it blows harder. Come Tuesday, single digits, maybe.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

Going Places – meetings

I saw a photo of Beef Wellington and wondered about the ingredients.
One recipe starts with Duxelles, being a French word it is italicized. With Wellington being English, the plot thickens. I had to ask about the pronunciation of the first of these. I guess ‘duck sells’ comes close. The concept is to take mushrooms and other stuff, chop it up, and thicken it. I learned I needed mushrooms, shallots, garlic, fresh thyme, olive oil and also: prosciutto, puff pastry, chives, cream, brandy, green peppercorn sauce, and freshly ground black pepper. None of these do I have.
I decided a simpler concept would create something similar. Thus the photo. I expect a slight taste and texture difference. If you don’t care, you might be a redneck.

Well, this was a serious week. There was a CWU dinner of the retired folks. A new-to-campus Provost made short comments and a student was introduced and given a $1,600 award. I had met him a few weeks earlier at a university-wide (similar) function. He is of a farm-workers family in the south part of the State. His major is chemistry. I started college in summer 1961 as a chemistry major. I talked briefly with one of his professors (known to me from a Brittany connection) and the department Chair. That was Tuesday evening.

Wednesday involved a trip to the dentist for a small filling. In the first room the water/suction hoses didn’t work. We moved. The dentist and assistant are very competent – and taciturn. That is very unlike the prior dentist where the atmosphere was chatty.

Thursday was back to CWU. The sponsor, again, was the retirement association. This was a nearly 2-hour presentation by a university professor. The topic was estate planning – wills and such. Phyllis and Cameron came.
They are my “personal representatives”, so there is that. Their situation is more complicated (and out-of-date) than mine. They have the vineyard and winery and two grown sons; one lives there and helps with the operation. This was a good stimulus for us to get our affairs in order.

Friday I went over and we bottled 300 gallons of 2020 vintage Merlot. A bottle came apart just as I took it from the corker. The glass separated at the shoulder {the sloping part between neck and body}. This was not like an explosion, but perhaps a weak bottle and just enough air pressure to cause the break. Except for the mess, no harm was done. As usual, we had a lunch, and being a nice day, we went outside. My contribution was a selection of cake pieces from the grocery store bakery. Sort-of like this:

Saturday is warm – about 88°. Sunday is to cool by 10 degrees. That trend is expected to continue, so by next Saturday the high is to be about 63; uncertainty is high a week out. Word for the week is “Breezy.” Of course.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

School’s Out!

Well not quite. May 31 was the last day of classes. Monday is listed as a “study day” but I don’t relate to that. Then finals, with commencement on June 8th – next Saturday.
On Wednesday, Geography had a party, inside because of the wind. After visiting and food, the professors did a tag-team like pronouncement of awards. Funds of nearly $25,000, from about eight donors (some deceased) are available. I came home with 8 hoagie type sandwiches and a few other things. I think each award is $1,000, to be used next school year as the student desires. {I need to check on this.} The Nancy & John pot provided four awards.

Friday was the last of the luncheons in the Ruth Harrington series for the group I’m in. Ruth has organized these for 50 years and is exiting the task. A ceremony is scheduled for the 15th in her honor – all the groups will attend, but the number is unknown to me now. Two people have agreed to co-chair the continuing series that started at $1.5 per lunch and is now $6. A member provides a meal, so the year cost is greater. All the six dollars goes to the Foundation. Over the 50 years this has totaled about $1.5 million.
Emphasis has been to support single parents and, more recently, local high school seniors enrolling at CWU.
There are two more events I will go to next week and that should do my college days until September.

At home, the normal things keep me busy. When the sun is intense, I try to work in the shade of the big shed; was brown, now blue. A current project is building a box-like enclosure to place in front of an installed animal door. The flexible plastic door is supposed to latch with magnets. In the image the metal strip is over the dog’s collar.
Even though my door is under the roof of a deck and not on the windy side of the house, it still blows open when gusts go over 25 mph. The box I’m building will have a similar door but facing differently, I hope the 2-door set-up will reduce the “open time.” Maybe by next week I will have this project done.
Why? Because starting Sunday morning Washington State is going to get wet. West of the Cascade Crest this will be significant. Here on the Naneum Fan it will likely be three days of wet, cool, and windy weather. Late Tuesday, the drizzle should end.
Thus, I’ll be working in the shed, reading, or napping.

Blooming this week, a native called Narrowfruit biscuit-root (Lomatiumbrevifolium). Apparently this is also misidentified as Nineleaf Desert Parsley, (Lomatium triternatum). It is above my pay scale to know such things.

Keeping track
on the Naneum fan.

Clearing the fence line of brush

I have been cleaning the brush along a fence line. I want to mow along this because the area is “ladder-fuel” for larger trees. Unfortunately my neighbor likes the natural ambiance, so her side is loaded with brush, trees, and dead/dry material. The cleaner my side is, the more resistant it is to fire coming from that direction.
Three plants are most troublesome: Sweet autumn clematis, Washington Hawthorn, and elderberry. The first is a climbing vine that smothers other plants. Elderberry is a nice plant until it grows tall and starts to die up where one needs a ladder to remove the branches. At this point a small tree develops a top as burnable as newspaper. Hawthorn is a small tree with hard wood, pretty blossoms and berries, and thorns.

The branches do not grow in a neat fashion. They go every which-a-way. The problem is getting rid of them without being impaled by the thorns. Two years ago I managed to get a thorn through the sidewall of a truck tire. The solution was a new tire. Ouch!About 10 years ago I bought a Gorilla garden cart. The tires were not tough and after 3 thorn-flats, I had the tires filled with foam. At that time the cost was $1/pound. It took 8 pounds per tire. No flats since, but I have to pull an extra 32 pounds around. I do use the cart a lot; gave the wheel barrow away.

It has been suggested that I move into a town apartment and leave the aggravations out in the country. Not seeing that just yet.
Memorial Day will have the best weather we have had for weeks. A high near 72° and light wind. Wind above 25 mph and gusting to 45 has been common in May.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan