An early short note

My computer has a problem.
The DELL laptop works in the same room on the same wifi network.
Yesterday, I talked with Chris at ComputAbility – the only such business in EBRG. I planned on taking the computer in Monday AM, so filled out a form to be in the queue. However, weather on Monday is to be cold and frosty in the morning. So I said to myself, Self – why not do it today when the weather is decent.
I’ll be using the laptop until I get my unit back, likely Tuesday.

There is nothing much new with me to report, except my new glasses came in. They are similar to the old glasses, but without the scratches.

I found photos of happy dogs on the internet. Sharing:

Give someone a high-five today.

From John on the Naneum Fan
Thursday the 14th

No title week

I’m having a computer problem with respect to about 20% of sites not responding to my connection requests.
This is happening with my email account, the local road reports, my mutual fund company, and many more. The weather report comes up, as does the National Hurricane site, but the wildfire site out of Boise does not.
I don’t see a pattern. I’ve tried a couple of fixes suggested by others on the internet. Those have not worked, but I haven’t done more harm- yet!

Some work got done on the house this week, and I continued with rocks and dirt projects. Dirt and organic matter now fill the area in front of the entrance sign. I have daffodil bulbs and will bury them per the directions.

Foot care was on Tuesday. Eye exam on Wednesday. Workers loaded a large Sideboard Cabinet, or dining room storage piece of furniture — not sure what to call it. I took that when I went to bottle wine on Thursday. We did about 500 gallons (4 hours) of Roussanne, a “white” grape the produces a pale golden wine.
Friday I had the workers — Jessee and Wille — re-do the window and animal door. I did not like the bottom edge low down, that is, at deck level. They were able to raise it 5 1/2 inches. The narrow window above it reaches to the top of the wall, so it can’t go higher unless a shorter window is used. Not going to do that. This was all extra effort just to please me. Now caulking and paint have to be redone — next week.

I’ve got a couple of chores to do outside, so that’s it for today.

From the Naneum Fan

Early October

One of my outdoor temperature sensors went to 32.5° Friday morning. I didn’t check the other, but they have been nearly the same until afternoon when their locations show a slight difference. The airport reported 39°.

Thursday my truck was fitted with its new Leer canopy. I’m shopping for a large vinyl decal (horses ?) for the tailgate and maybe smaller images for the side windows of the canopy. Alternatively, maybe a nice mountain panorama.

Todd worked on the electric this week. The south side power is back and the front room has ceiling lights. There is outside wiring and lights to do, but the temperature morning and evening is now too cold to make much use of the deck, but next summer it will be a nice place to sit and contemplate the cosmos.

Jesse and Willy finished the siding and framing, and, on Thursday caulked all the edges and abutments of the planks. Friday they covered all the windows and such with plastic. Walter came Saturday morning and sprayed primer and then blue paint. As that dried, he painted all the finishing “smart board” around windows, doors, and corners. All this framing is now bright white, while the siding is a blue-gray.
Interestingly, the new blue seems to be blue-er than that painted last year. If the new blue doesn’t cure to match the old-blue, then there is another 24 feet of wall to paint. The five of us here today noticed this. Walter’s wife came out to visit. She had painted the original, and noticed the difference without getting out of her fancy red Outback.
The other two were Kathy and Francisco from west of the Cascade Crest.
Getting here (for them) was delayed because of Highway 18. Why this wasn’t part of the Interstate System many years ago is a mystery. Use Google Earth, or similar, and search for WA-18. They brought the large gray trailer and we filled it with hay, plus more hay and old straw in the bed of the truck. There were a few other things loaded, and we visited over lunch.
Their return trip was easier, and it is more downhill, being 2,000 feet lower. Snoqualmie Pass is about 1,000 feet higher than here at the house. This side, only three small sections to the Pass are steep. the rest is very gradual.

Back on July 28th I found a dead deer (large, adult, male) in the pasture beside the hay shed. I moved it out of the way, and under trees. Today we walked over and found the remains – a few of the larger bones were there, and a faint lingering aroma. At the time of death, the antlers were still “in velvet”. Today they were nowhere to be seen.

I have filled the trench in the front with small rounded basalt rocks. This is the sump for water coming off the front of the house; or rather half of the house. The other part will drain into the area where the walnut trees are. This draining sort of works now, so I haven’t done anything there this year.

The rocks for the sump have mostly come from a planned flower and plant space just east of the house. There are two fir trees there, and I’ve lowered the base level around them by 18 inches. Dirt is going back in, along with pine kitty litter and other organic material. One landscape project feeds into another.

I expect the outside of the house to be essentially finished early next week. The inside work, likely, will wait for further deterioration of the weather.

I’ve contracted for a sundial that will be placed about 20 feet to the south of the new deck. It will be placed on a nearly white granite stone piller (18 inches square), itself about 3 feet high. In the image here the side-to-side dimension will be about 3 feet, and made of iron. [Disregard the green disk.] More at another time. This type is called an Equatorial Ring Dial. The numbered part is aligned with Earth’s Equator.

From the Naneum Fan

A somewhat non-standard week

A somewhat non-standard week

The first days were the regular schedule, with Phyllis coming on Tuesday.
So more stuff gone, and other stuff piled for a trip to the transfer place (dump). Also, rocks separated from dirt – each going there own way.

Wednesday I loaded a dresser in to the bed of the truck and followed with wood that was so knotty I didn’t want to take it on with the splitting maul or wedges and sledge hammer. It is nice stuff for an open fire that happens time to time at the winery.
Early Thursday two workers came before I left for the Winery. We discussed the placement of the glass on the west side of the new deck. We decided to use two of the 4 by 5 ft. windows – three 4s was going to be too wide, but two 5s fit nicely. Also, we agreed on using the raw lumber that was milled on the property last year. It has holes and staining from its after-fire existence laying in the pasture.
I left at 8 AM for White Heron Winery. We bottle about 1,100 bottles of a white Swiss grape wine called, Amigne. Phyllis came for lunch and brought a caramel covered apple cake. After unloading the things in the truck, I headed home.

The framing for the windows was nearlycompleted, but I got to add a suggestion, and soon the rough work was done. They were also finishing the framing and putting HardiePlank lap siding on that side. On Friday these activities were completed and they had caulked the edges and joints.
Except for the electrical work, the outside now needs only to be painted. They will be using a light blue on the siding and white on the frames.

I fired up the chainsaw and cut a tree that had died at the top. Removing it widened the tree-free space at a gate on the 2nd exit road I’ve incorporated into the “firewise” improvements. The butt of the tree is near 20″, so getting it all cut for later splitting is (mostly) still to be done. More than half of the weight of a fresh cut tree is water, so while moving the pieces is hefty work, it needs to dry before going into a fireplace or wood stove. Otherwise, the fire is just warming the water and driving it off as vapor.
I’ve got several more to cut down and cut up.

Saturday I met friend Kristin in EBRG and we walked around the Farmers Market, and watched some of the street activities – Buskers in the Burg.
One lady has a hula hoop act and uses the name Hillia Hula. She invites folks from the audience to help her out. I was one of the half-dozen that got chosen during her ½ hour act.
Kristin was catching a video with her iPhone. Maybe later.

After completing a few errands, I got home late afternoon. It was a too-warm day – 86°F – so I waited that out and then managed to add 10 gallons of rocks to the sump trench. That was hardly noticeable. Sunday looks to be a good day for finishing that. Monday might be rainy.

From the Naneum Fan

A bit of rain

This was a typical week here on Naneum Fan, except for a little rain.

Phyllis and I cleaned out the remaining boxes that had been packed in the Big Shed in 1989, 32 years ago. There is still much “stuff” there but I know what it is – and much of it junk. There are ancient snow skies, old irrigation, electrical, and wood bits and pieces. There are other sports things – archery, shotgun related, and a wood lathe. The last has been covered with stuff for 25 years. Now it is visible. And there is still a bit of horse stuff around.
Phyllis carried another car load of things to be fostered out to new homes; or thrown out. Others will decide. The house still has 4 or 5 large furniture pieces that need to go.

Meanwhile, I have been adding rocks to the drainage sump. Most of the rocks are coming from a 20’x20′ area that I’m re-configuring to be a (mostly) flower space near the front of the house. The rocks come out and “dirt” goes in – moved out of the area now a car port. As the lowered area is refilled, pine-pellet cat litter, wood chips, leaves, and pine needles provide organic matter. A wood and rock border wall (gabion) of some sort is in the future. Photo is just a concept, for now.

The trees that were cut down a couple of months ago, and cut into rounds, are now split firewood and under cover. I’ve 5 more of the largest rounds to split. Odd and difficult pieces will get carted off to White Heron this coming Thursday when we bottle Amigne (Swiss, white wine, Valais region). Cameron and Phyllis and the pruning crew and spouses usually have a traditional Raclette (outside with a wood fire) in early January. Unlike the others, I have an endless supply of “exotic” wood. (Exotic = not good for anything). Unfortunately, I have a 1 ¼ hour drive home after the party.

I have been meaning to document the Bees-in-Log part of my landscape. There was an old Cottonwood log – most went to firewood – that I rolled to a spot just off the driveway. I noticed a few months ago that bees have taken it over as home. There is a quarter size hole mid-way on the side and an additional entry/exit place on one end. I decided that rather than try photographing this – I’ll wait for a frosty morning – I will cheat by going to the web.
The photo below shows a bee on Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) and the inside of a log that has be colonized. I suspect the inside of my log looks similar.

Here is a link to Rabbitbrush:

The log photo shows thick green grass all around. My log is set in the midst of a very dry and rocky patch, generally called a shrub-steppe biome.

Change of topic.
I’ve noticed an increase in the recurring pain in my right hip. Years ago I did an ice-skaters twirl in the driveway and injured my sciatic nerve and/or the piriformis (pear-shaped) muscle. The current pain is likely a result of landscape and water carrying activities, namely filling many buckets with water and rocks and dumping them elsewhere. The hip is wearing out!? Not good. I’ll talk to Chelsea, my “doctor”, about this in a couple of months.
The body parts in the right hip are complex, where the longest and widest single nerve {sciatic} in the human body goes from the top of the leg to the foot. Check it out:

From the Naneum Fan

Autumn is Calling

Just for the record it feels like fall on the Naneum Fan.

Tuesday we sorted and culled. The old and forlorn stuff was piled waiting for a trip to the dump (aka transfer station). I did that on Friday. They only take cash and checks, and this results in a continuing need for $5 and $10 bills because folks try to pay with large bills. I always take a bunch of 5s, and get thanked. This is an easy concept but one many people don’t seem to grasp.

We found some interesting things including an old bible, names, and photos from Nancy’s past. Audrey has an interest in ancestry things, posted a note, and had a reply from an aunt in SE Georgia, near Savanna.

I needed to go to Costco to claim a credit, but think I missed getting the most recent “earned” reward. Further, I missed a couple of items.
Anyway, I need to take care of such things and then cancel the card. It is in Nancy’s name and the big banks don’t like to carry dead people on the accounts. I guess I need to go again.

I took the opportunity of the trip to meet Suzy and Bob for lunch. They live about 15 miles west of Union Gap where the store is. We met at 11:15, ate and visited. The restaurant has a do as you please face mask policy and a few of the workers did use masks. Others had them – in non-functioning positions. The Costco corporation follows the State “wear’em” policy. My glasses steam-up so I often lower my mask enough to keep that from happening. No one pays any attention. They would only sell me one package of paper towels. Bummer.

The smoke from the Schneider Springs fire (NW 40 miles) intensified as I passed through Selah, Yakima, and into Union Gap. This was visually noticeable but with A/C running we all were fine.
On Friday the region received a slow steady drizzle, summing to about ¼ inch at the EBRG airport. The fire is burning between 4,500 – 6,000 feet elevation so likely that area got more rain. There was almost no wind. Today was bright and clear at home. A late Saturday satellite image shows smoke going SE from the fire, but not towards here.
The fire near South Lake Tahoe, the Caldor Fire, is about 65% contained as of this evening. They had strong winds and no rain but the lines in the northeast section – close to the town and ski areas held. Flare-ups are possible but cautiously optimistic seems to be the mood for today.

Meanwhile, I’ve been moving rocks and dirt around, plus adding to the fire wood stash – splitting and working on pallets. Aging muscles won’t put up with doing just one thing for more that 2 ½ hours. Changing activities is a must.

Saw a few turkeys (Merriam type) up at the end of the driveway (80 yards away). I only saw 3 at once, but there might have been more. The picture used here is from the web; an earlier in the year photo, but cute. I didn’t go close this time – no need to bother them. I hear them often.

From the Naneum Fan

Missed her 78th

Nancy would have been 78 on September 1st. Spare her a fond moment.

Monday, shortly after Noon, I had a sneezing episode. I don’t recall doing anything that would have caused this, such as eating or inhaling something. It is dry and there is dust, and smoke occasionally, but I couldn’t make a connection.
Phyllis was planning to come Tuesday about 10:30 so in the interest of extreme caution – ’cause I might have the Δ covid virus – we changed the timing to Friday.
The sneezing went away after a few hours, but sniffles lasted until Tuesday afternoon. That’s it – end of story.
I stayed home, and Phyllis and Cameron came on Friday. I had pulled about 2 dozen boxes – packed many years ago – from the big shed. Phyllis opened those and called me to look at some of the stuff. For example, there were several sets of drinking glasses. A set from Atlanta had designs from there, such as Stone Mountain. The box indicated it was from our wedding day, but not that it was a wedding gift. No clue. There was a large old suitcase with drawings from a 3-to-5 year old Nancy. Phyllis offered to look through the collection to see if there was a Rembrandt or an authentic version of “The Scream” by Edvard Munch. Maybe a $5 bill. Cameron and I loaded things in his pickup — filing cabinets and furniture.

During the week I worked on rocks, dirt, wood-chopping, watering plants, and wood pallet disassembly (fire wood also). Many pallets came from CWU surplus – 65 or 70 at 50¢ each. Some are only good for kindling. Some composite ones are trash, but one bids on a “lot” and you have to take the entire stack.

Our local fire (Schneider Springs) produces smoke and slowly expands but not toward occupied land. The early part of the week was clear here. Friday and Saturday – smoke.

Unfortunately, for EBRG and the County this is Fair and Rodeo time with multiple outdoor entertainments, displays and booths. Scheduled activities end Monday night. Take down and clean up will be Tuesday. The smoke and haze are supposed to last the entire time.

Long time friends live in South Lake Tahoe, CA. A large fire started to their southwest and rapidly expanded. It was threatening the town but now appears to have passed by – with luck and lots of hard work by fire fighters with 523 fire engines, 84 water tenders, 27 helicopters, 62 hand crews and 95 dozers.
The image below shows the closeness to the town of the fire.

The Airport is on the lower right. The small white lines are residential streets. The green area has had the fire go through from right to left and is still hot. The brown area is very active burn and the bright red line on the lower left is active advance. Near the center of the image, the light brown (odd shape) blob is the landfill (aka dump). From the small blue star to the fire perimeter is about 0.8 miles. Several bulldozer lines were carved along the hillside. One is just a quarter-mile [440 yards] south of the house of friends. They have been gone for a week. Yikes. Home soon, I hope.

Sending good thoughts.
From the Naneum Fan

A cool clear week

Here is a satellite image of Central Washington on Saturday morning.

The straight lines (aqua color) are Longitude and Latitude.
The northern parts of Ellensburg are at 47°N. That’s ‘E’ and I’m the star north of that. I’ve labeled the Columbia River (Col. R) where it turns east; the ‘R’ is on the Hanford Nuclear Site. Mt. Rainier, Mt. Saint Helens, and Mt. Adams are labeled.
The Schneider Springs fire is between Mt. Rainier and Ellensburg, and with only a slight breeze the smoke is following the Naches River Valley down into the Yakima area, through Union Gap {a river cut notch in Ahtanum Ridge} and spreading across the lower Yakima Valley (YAK).
The fire is now about 75,000 acres, burning in forested steep hills.

Friend Sonja, South Lake Tahoe, is in the path of a fire twice this size, called the Caldor Fire. In the last couple of days the weather and crews appear to have stopped the rapid advance toward Tahoe, but this could change with wind shifts. Smoke is the big issue in the Tahoe Basin. Sonja has horses, dogs, and cats – so this is a big deal for her.

Back to the home front:
On Sunday, the family of the Swedbergs that “adopted” us when we moved here had a gathering in a local park to honor their recently deceased. I went and visited, ate, and came home. I did not go (Monday) to the cemetery.
Tuesday, Phyllis and I continued the cleansing of the house. Almost all done now. The shed does have more stuff, not seen in 30 years. I’ve got furniture to get rid of, and that is an unsolved issue. These are things from Nancy’s mother, sent from Atlanta. Don’t ask why.
I had a load of gravel (15.2 tons) ordered – I expected it at 1:00 so we delayed lunch, but the delivery was late so we ate about 1:30 and he came about 1:40. Plans!
Wednesday I spread gravel over the dirt along the new deck. More to do there, but that helps keep the dust down. I’ll do more before we get rain.
I had called & texted my barber, Arielle, and she got back to me after lunch, so I went in for a haircut. First one was 7.5 weeks ago, and that seems a good schedule. Thus, next times will be about mid-October and early December.

Thursday I left at 7:20 to head to the Winery. I need to unload a few things there before we starting bottling wine at 9.
We were doing a to-be sparkling wine; that is we were putting wine with a bit of sugar and yeast in bottles. 45 days from now the bottle will have to have its cap removed and the yeast will have to be disgorged.
Thus, we capped the bottles using 3 different instruments. One didn’t work properly, although the one pictured – called Emily – did a nice job.
Caps: the company sent a bag labeled 3,000 with only 1,000. Oops! Cell phones saved the day – and the fact that the wife of one of the crew was in the general direction of the store that had caps. Lunch became a 4-bottle affair while we waited.
I was about 2.5 hours late getting home. Brittany Annie let me know she was not happy with the delay; however, apparently she had used the “doggie-door.” And I was late feeding the wild quail and other birds. Still, all was well by 7:15.

Friday, the remodeling was advanced by the addition of a new window in my bedroom. The supply chain does move – just slowly. The siding was rebuilt, trim was added, and HardiePlank was delivered. That should go smoothly – it is a common thing.
A bit more complex will be adding the windows on the west side of the deck. There are 3 frames with glass that were removed from the west side. These are 4’x5′ and will be the wind-break to help make the deck a pleasant place. This will be non-standard construction, so we talked it through, but it will not be done for awhile yet.

I spent the morning dismantling the outhouse-like (old) pump-house. There is a concrete base that I have to bust up and remove. Sledgehammer work.

Today I moved rocks, dirt, and water around – and made a box of kindling from an old pallet.

Some smoke might move this way overnight.

From the Naneum Fan

A cool mid-month of August

We are looking for lows near or below 50° for several days.

Monday had an odd wind pattern – going toward the northeast – that brought wildfire smoke over the Kittitas Valley, and dropped blackened embers (not burning) over the EBRG area. That air was in a shallow layer, but 2,000 feet or so above the valley floor, and also compressed from above (different air). Under that smoke was a cool clean air flow coming from the northwest. It was half-dark until late afternoon when the sun got low and strong light came to the Naneum Fan. {I have a picture on the iPhone. I need to spend some time on that aspect of the phone.}

When Phyllis came on Tuesday she entered via the new room with the two female cats. Woody was surprised. I had the door to the washroom open and Woody scooted there, up on the open-top washer, and dropped inside. The top came down.
I got Phyllis out of the way and closed the door to the kitchen, then opened the top of the washing machine. Woody jumped out and went back to the room she is supposed to be in. She didn’t think it was funny. She hid for about 5 hours, but had recovered by supper time.

Phyllis cleaned the stove. I had new shiny pans for under the burners. When we finished – I helped a tiny bit – it looked as though it just came from the factory. It is so clean the rest of the kitchen (also clean) looks grubby. The previous owner painted (poorly) the cabinets blue. They get dirty with every touch. I don’t plan on remodeling the kitchen, but I want to get rid of the blue. I am going to strip the paint off the front of one drawer and see what the wood looks like. That’s all of the plan for now.

Because most of the excess stuff has already been carried away, we only had one small box to go to Goodwill. I do have a few bags of garbage, but not a truck load yet.

The Shiro plums ripened and birds were destroying them. I picked 3 pails, about 5 pounds each. One went to neighbor Allan, and two I took to the Fire & Rescue station.
I asked about consulting with a “fire-wise” member and thus had a visit therefrom on Friday afternoon.
When the last big fire happened the folks visited houses and classified each in a data base. If the house is situated such that trying to protect it puts a crew in danger then it gets coded RED – they won’t go in. A place that is situated well and built of fire resistant materials, and likely will not be in danger of burning, is Green. This place was Orange – and they explained why. I’ve been working on this landscape/access wise. With the new stone and HardiePlank siding (fiber cement), the place now gets a poor-Yellow from Deputy Chief Rich Elliott. I’ve more to do, and will make a solid Yellow, I hope before next fire season. This means KVF&R would send a truck to protect the house, because it will be easy to defend.
The two things I most want to do is finish the circling road, having gravel and rock inside that; and (2) get HardiePlank on the two exposed sides of the big brown shed.
The situation here is never going to be “Green.” That’s when a place is deemed to be safe from a wildfire without any (potential) intervention.

From the Naneum Fan

Smoke rolls across Naneum Fan

The week started with Kathy and Francisco coming on Monday. We attacked the boxes I had moved, in 2009, from Nancy’s office. These were in the big shed that has been used by the local Douglas tree squirrels for storage of walnuts and evergreen cones. Then they sit on the ceiling joists while eating and send debris over all things below. Mice have also gotten into stuff but left these double-sided apple boxes alone.
We investigated all the contents, with 99% considered trash.
I backed the truck to near the doors and then parked beside the dumpster and the 3 of us heaved stuff from one to the other.

PHOTO: A Douglas Squirrel lunching on a cone of the tree from which the name comes. [An interesting bit of nature: ]
I have several of these “false hemlocks”, but had to plant them here.

I sold my F350 to Francisco and he had the green bed repainted to match the cabin, plus he had a few other flaws repaired. We did more cleaning-out after lunch and then we took posts and rails from the milling I had done last year and made a flat triple layer in their truck’s bed. Next we loaded 6 bails of hay and a few other “finds” from the shed. Kathy wants to build a horse loafing (walk-in) shed, and will used the lumber. They left about 2:30. Because of other activities, they won’t come back for a month.

Phyllis came on Tuesday. We continued with the cleaning of the kitchen. I need to do some work therein, and put things away. However, 99% of the kitchen is clean. And another load went away in the Honda.

Wednesday and Friday – early – I was outside, completing the filling of the dumpster – including getting in and rearranging stuff to eliminate voids. Each day I also watered trees. The dumpster-carrier came about 12:15 Friday and all the junk was gone by 12:22.
Wednesday mid-morning I went to the grocery store – see next. In the evening I loaded a dresser, 3 chairs, and a few other things.

Daybreak Thursday I filled a box with yellow plums (branches and all), took Anne for a short walk, loaded the cooler, and then headed for White Heron Winery. I stopped at the Quincy Market for sandwich rolls (+ bonus 99¢/lb. Grapes). We bottled Rosé of Syrah for 4 hours and then had lunch. Afterwards, Cameron and I unloaded the things in the pickup. I headed home with newly bottled wine and a bar of candy from Phyllis’ stash.
Smoke and warm temperature combined for an unpleasant week. Here, 97° was high but over at the winery the station reported 103°.
There are multiple fires in B.C., WA, and OR. Wednesday there was wind enough to make a nice satellite image, but Thursday and Friday the area was covered with smoke. Home is at the red star. The fire, about half way between Mt. Rainier and home, is called the Schneider Springs Fire. It is about 14,000 acres and continues to expand – started by lightning on August 3rd.
The photo at this link shows the steep terrain:

Saturday morning I watered 2 dozen plants and moved some rocks. The main project for Saturday will be getting the walk-in pantry ready for a chest freezer that has been in the “living room” for several years. The French doors onto the new deck will allow easy removal and transfer to the new location. It also needs defrosted, so I’ve been making ice, mostly in Powerade® bottles. With the double sided boxes, the ice, and a comforter (in American English) [a doona in Australian English, or a continental quilt (or simply quilt) or duvet in British English] to temporarly store the food, moving the chest will be less arduous.
My plan is to finish all the ice cream before the move, because ice cream seems to soften quite fast if not keep at 0°F (-18°C). Easy serving consistency happens at about 10°F. Softening and re-freezing causes ice crystals to grow – – to be avoided.
This move (freezer) will likely not happen until September.

I worked in the kitchen, not the pantry, today. I think the smoke has given me a case of procrastination. I do the pantry tomorrow. Monday is supposed to be cooler, windy, and smoke-free {Right!}, so I want to be outside.

From the Naneum Fan