Cat in a box ~ truck in a quandary

On the deck there is a table with a small rug, an office chair, 4 other cushioned chairs, and a box I used while cleaning and drying walnuts fresh out of the husk. The box was from a store that cuts the side out for display, so I added a strip for my use – that’s why it looks odd.
They do use the table where they have a good view.
This week the choices were not the normal ones. Tzar curled in the chair and the shade. Rascal found the box and the sun to his liking. This is on the deck, newly added to the south side of the house.

The truck provided a mystery this week. The set-up is that I took it to the Ford dealer’s service shop for a 6,000 mile oil change and related maintenance. When finished, I went to the parking area and found it unlocked. That’s odd, something I have not seen before. Nevertheless, I got in and turned the key – – and nothing happened.
Then I realized the dash lights did not come on and there were no bells and dings as usual, such as for no seat belt and the door was still open. I pondered this, and after kicking the tires (just kidding) I went back and asked the folks what they did to the truck. Out two of us went. The service receptionist guy had the same results I did. Nothing.
This wasn’t like a bad battery, it was like no battery.
He went in and brought a power block that, when connected, should have brought all the lights and switches to life. Nothing. I stood at the front of the car watching the clouds while he went and returned with 3 others. While waiting, I heard something – an unrecognizable small sound that appeared to be from the car. One of the other techs got in the car, inserted the key, and the truck came to life and started easily. No problems.
Only the one person and I had seen the truck totally dead. The others joked that one had to know how to turn a key and went off chuckling to themselves. Except this isn’t funny.
This is a 2019 Ford 150, so there are hundreds of thousands on the highways.
Searching on the internet, I found several sites that had folks with similar “no battery” episodes that cure themselves. One Ford episode from 2009. There, a “chat room” response said to look for a main fusible link located by the starter relay. Here are two sites that describe the concept:

Understanding Fusible Links ~ The One Wire That Will Save Your Car!

These 6 Bad Fusible Link Symptoms To Watch For: Testing & Replacement [Explained]

I don’t find anything that says they can “cure” themselves – but that’s what it sounds like. I did find this statement “a power wire somewhere that’s intermittently shorting to ground” and there is something called a “self-resetting circuit breaker.”
Being well beyond my understanding of such things, my plan is to go back to the Ford service center and ask a few questions.

The temperature this morning (Sunday) was 35°F. That seems to be the low for at least the next two weeks. Really, I don’t trust forecasts beyond about 3 days. That is a bit chilly, so I didn’t go out until about 11 o’clock.
I moved several hundred pounds of rock and dirt and changed chores in the afternoon. I settled for less active tasks.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

It came and went

Official fall in my area was Friday, September 22, 2023 at 11:50 pm PDT.

… and I hardly noticed.

A few of us had a gathering Thursday starting at 5pm. Meal was potluck but with grilled sausages. We had a couple of games of Pétanque – throwing steel balls (boules) at a target officially called a jack (French: cochonnet). When not trying to get close to the target, one tries to knock other’s boules away from said target. Wine helps.

At home, the squirrels, Blue Jays, Magpies and I try to get the Walnuts before one of the others does.
All are noisy. A video of the local sort of squirrel: Douglas.

And I keep moving rocks and dirt from the front to the back hole (Jay’s folly).
Rain is likely on Monday; I have other projects out of the rain.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Last full week of summer

Friday morning: No internet. Without a connection there is no way to tell what has happened. After the communications company fixes their issue can I learn anything at all, and then not much. After lunch (4 o’clock east coast time), I was able to get connected.
The chart below shows Midnight in the east as 00:20 – – – note the 3 peaks prior and then the peaks on the right, morning and afternoon. When the blue is above the dashed red line it is considered an outage, or system issue.

62% of calls to the company have been about loss of internet. Phone, TV, and other issues made up the other 38%.
At about 2 pm, my time, I am connected and have been for an hour. The reporting page doesn’t have information about what was wrong or even if it is actually fixed.

A young lady, Neve Pratt, tells silly jokes . . .
“So what if I can’t spell Armageddon?” she says in one video. “It’s not like it’s the end of the world.”

File this under “There is always something”
Willy is the main worker on remodel projects for me. He recently had an appendectomy. That would normally mean very little activity for two weeks. But shortly after the operation his young son (6 ?) was misbehaving. Apparently, Willy tried to diffuse the situation and got kicked at the site of the incision. He didn’t expect damage, but a few days later – as pain continued – inspection showed otherwise. The medical staff questioned his judgment.

Critters this week included a flock of turkeys. They can fly but prefer not to. They will eat the sunflower seeds when they can get to them. They are not real friendly, so I have to approach carefully or photos tend to be of their backsides. Left photo is at the feeder station; right photo – moving on.

Walnuts have started falling but most are still solidly in the husk. I’m keeping up by taking a light-work break after lunch. Once out of the husk they need to dry in a single layer. Much preferred is for them to open on the tree and fall already dry. Oh well.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Cold Mornings and critters

Early morning temperatures have been just under 50°F – – I’ve set the thermostat for 68 degrees and about 2 AM the heat pump kicks on. Afternoon temps get up to near 80 when the sun is fully deployed. The next 2 weeks are forecast to be similar. Official fall in my area is Friday, September 22, 2023 at 11:50 pm PDT.

Wednesday morning I saw movement outside. 50 feet from the house several deer were trotting past just beyond Walnut trees. I took the camera and investigated.

In the image here there is a small “Y” buck with three others that, I think, are young without spots. The bright white spots of the young have been fading over the last month along with the minutes of daylight.

A fifth deer was leading this group. He is in the image below.
As I maneuvered to get the fencing out of the image, he kept watching me.

The others ambled through the grass to the left. I could not get all of them in one photo.

File this under “There is always something”

From the Wall Street Journal: It might be time to ditch expiration dates.
Expiration dates on food started as a system for manufacturers to communicate to retailers when to rotate stock and have morphed into what many consumers consider to be a food-safety deadline. In reality, the dates are mostly general indicators of when food is at its peak quality; there is no regulation and the dates do nothing to keep consumers safe. This misunderstanding is one reason Americans waste a colossal amount of perfectly good food.
. . . 84% of consumers threw out food at the package date “at least occasionally” while 37% did so always or usually, though that wasn’t what most labels recommended. Over half thought date labeling was federally regulated, or were unsure. An earlier study found that 54% of people thought eating food past a sell-by date was unsafe.

I had my 2023 flu shot on Thursday. When such shots first started, we had to line up outside the clinic, slowly move inside to different folks in a long hallway, answer questions, fill out a form, – mostly I’ve forgotten. We had a half hour drive and then an hour processing.
On Thursday, I went to the grocery store where a flu-shot-table was sitting in the lobby. A pharmacist sat at a table doing the jabbing. I was delayed behind an elderly lady that regaled us with 10 minutes of personal (unrelated) monologues. Otherwise, my time would have been about 90 seconds.

A herder of sheep brought the flock to a field about one mile south of me.
In the early part of the 1900s, sheep and cattle were raised in this area and then herded across the Cascade Mountains into the Puget Sound region. That changed as roads and refrigerated trucks appeared. Still, one of our early experiences in Kittitas County was encountering cattle and sheep drives as we explored the hills north of our Naneum Road location.
Here is a photo from this week of new temporary neighbors.

I didn’t get out of the truck, but think this view encompasses about 1/3 of the flock.

I stopped by the CWU surplus sale building/yard and acquired 4 chairs for the deck. They were priced at 50¢ each. The best use of $2 I parted with in a long time.
The chair on the left is arm-less, thus called a side chair. Why a set of four chairs has three with arm rests and one doesn’t is a mystery. I found a photo of a stylish wood dining table set with 6 chairs with one having arms. I guess that’s for grandma so she can push on the arms and not the table when she wants to get up.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Good and bad

I’ve had an iPhone for 3 years and found taking a photo frustrating. I keep getting videos! Dang.
Yesterday when wanting a photo of a Pink Hollyhock, I got several 1.5 second videos.
I investigated. The problem is that someone a Apple Co. decided that short videos were a great idea. Thus, the default setting is called “Live Photos”. Live Photos were introduced in Sept. 2015 along with the iPhone 6S series. At that time I had a small flip phone – it only made and received calls.
When you open the iPhone’s Camera app, the app automatically begins taking pictures even if you don’t tap the shutter button. This allows the phone to capture photos as quickly as possible. Those photos are automatically deleted if they’re not needed without the user ever being aware of them. Yeah, right!
I never knew what was going on, but I did get the short videos I wasn’t supposed to be aware of. Bummer.

I found the following link, followed the directions and turned the Live Photo slider to off (color goes from green to white).

Here is the first photo I took after discovery:

I’ve also (finally) learned how to get a photo onto my PC from the iPhone.
That is another story.
The second photo – this morning – of Pink Hollyhocks. Seeds given to me by vine pruning colleague Mark and planted this spring. A rabbit nibbled them back when their leaves where just 2 inches out of the ground. I fenced, fertilized, and watered. They did nicely with the rabbit excluded.

The prime person on my house work just had an appendectomy. Recovery times vary but two weeks seems the suggested “do very little” period. This confirms my motto:

I think I will have a glass of wine.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

Circumnavigating Mt. Rainier

Monday night the upper low off the Washington coast will move into the region and track northeast. The atmosphere will become quite unstable by Monday evening and through the night. This instability with much available moisture will lead to thunderstorms that may become strong with gusty winds and small hail, after 4 PM.

This will be a 39 degree drop from an expected high of 93 to a low of 54. If the T-storms happen the passage will be even more interesting.

House-work continues. About 99% of the new floor is down.

Unlike many floors, the boards are random lengths and have many variations of natural colors and striping.
The boards are ¾ inch thick natural Hickory – we hunted Gray Squirrels in forests having many such trees. The American Chestnut trees had been killed by a fungus (blight) introduced about 1904, but many were still standing when I was young. Cavities in the Chestnuts made nesting sites for the many Gray and a few black squirrels. The squirrels helped us harvest nuts, so we never went home empty-handed.

I suppose this history is why I have a liking for Hickory. It also makes good tool handles.

I went to western Washington to friend’s house warming party. The west-bound trip from my Rock & Ponderosa (right side in the image) was via I-90. At Exit 25 (25 miles east of Seattle) I headed southwest on Hwy #18. An images search with “WA hwy #18 traffic” is instructive. After this mess, at Auburn I went south on #167 to Sumer, then Puyallup and #512. Next came #161 and Meridian Street. This shows as the thin white line south of the white dot at Puyallup. A closer map view will reveal it as South Hell Hill.
Meridian Street is block after block of stop lights, vehicles, and business buildings and signs – some questionable. After 10 miles of go and stop, traffic thinned. Four miles later the landscape turned rural. I had only 2 miles more to go.

To be honest, the Meridian Street drivers did well. Crowding at intersections (all stop lighted) were sufferable and the drivers well-behaved. My truck has an auto-shutoff when the brake is held on while stopped. But with the air conditioning on, the motor turns back on in a few seconds. This is supposed to save fuel. It is an irritant.
For the home bound trip I took a southern route and completed a circumnavigation of Mt. Rainier. I used a lesser road (not visible on the image) that is closer to the Mountain and ends at Hwy #12 at Packwood, almost directly south of the Peak. #12 leads up to White Pass [4,475 ft] and then down hill 53 miles to Yakima. I got home at dark – 3 ¼ hours driving time. It would have been 3 hrs except for slow drivers on the 40 miles of roads through the forest west and south of the Mountain. The 27 miles [NF #52) from near the entrance of the Park (near Ashford) had a driver that should have pulled over. Three of us followed – slowly – for over 20 miles.

Keeping Track


Smoke in the air

After 10 days of work on the house, there are noticeable improvements. I was waiting for today, Saturday, to take a couple of photos but fires in Canada and near Spokane have generated smoke that covers much of the State and makes an overcast. I’ll wait now until the floor is finished. We are almost there.
The smoke, and maybe the fires, will get impacted by the remnants of Hurricane Hillary, now off the coast of Mexico, near San Carlos. This is about 1,500 miles south of Washington State. By Wednesday the effects will be clear. This might also get into Canada.

We had a “Friends of White Heron” get-together on Wednesday. In the past we had an outside Raclette – the real historic deal. The weather this past January was so miserable we postponed until now.
Cameron bought an indoor electric cheese heater, and the usual cheese. It has Swiss origins, although you’ll also find it the region of France that shares a border with Switzerland. It gets its name from the French racler which means “to scrape.”
With this one, the heating element is in the top and the tray is moved up to a horizontal position. When the layer at the top melts, a person with a plate with potatoes and/or bread gets a scraping of hot cheese for a topping. Such was a traditional lunch for vine pruners.

Allen stopped and picked up onions and Shiro Plums.
I continue to move dirt and rocks about – landscaping.

Keeping track
on the Naneum Fan

Houses fixes

Two workers, Willy and Ruben, for remodeling, came Monday after lunch. We mostly looked over the projects and the assembled materials. The types of saws, nail guns, and so on have to be brought here. Trying to fix the leaky roof, again, was put off because of the threat of rain.
Working in an old house has drawbacks. Some new things don’t fit with the old things and solutions have to be decided.
On Tuesday, Rubin worked on the roof. Willy and I tried to decide how to make transitions where the new wood floor will meet existing things.
The dishwasher got us into trouble.

Many quail on the way to town, and a massive field of short sunflowers – about 180 acres. I’ve spotted 3 such fields and there may be more.
There were 3 or 4 broods in the road (~50 babies). Quail have a problem deciding which way to go. They might start to the right, then reverse once or twice. I slow to a crawl until this suicidal urge runs its course.

Photos are snitched from the web.

According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular gas in Washington state was $5.01 on Wednesday. That’s $1.18 more per gallon than the national average of $3.82.

Back to the kitchen. Tuesday – I had a appointment for a truck repair.
The new flooring is ¾ in. thick. The dishwasher is under the counter and for repair or replacement has to be pulled forward onto the floor. Adding new on top of old would prevent that. We were examining this and pulled the washer forward about 8 inches. That caused the plumbing (rigid copper) to break at the valve in under the sink and water started pouring out. I had to go into an adjacent room to shut the water off. About 3 gallons got out before the shut-down. Clean up followed and then Willy went to town for parts, I left with the truck. He was back and repaired the water line before I returned.
More about the kitchen floor next week. Also, about the leaky roof.
I’ll skip over a couple of small items and mention just three.
The front door:
The original door had a lot of dog-claw damage and was also split as though someone hit it hard without unlatching it. It was that way when we came. The following image shows the new look.

The door swing is different. The remodel inside did away with the baseboard mounted flexible stop meant to keep the doorknob from hitting the wall. I needed something else, so added a fluffy one – named her “Doorstop.” The work is useful and easy. She loves her job.

Ruben worked on extending the roof near the front door. Water coming off the roof or just rain/snow would come into the entrance way. He is fixing that. The photo was taken Thursday. Friday (finish) not shown.

Willy began on the wood floor. The starting point required extra work with the first piece needing to be wedge shape so there isn’t a ¾ in. ledge from the entryway into the room. Each piece also had to be cut at an angle.
View is coming in from the front onto brown stone tile. The first board is thin to meet the tile and thick to meet the long boards, each piece just slightly longer than the one to its left. The near-ends are cut at a very slight angle. By Friday afternoon all this and more was finished, around the wood stove alcove and extending to the far wall.
I’m a fan of natural wood and this flooring – Hickory – has a varied and warm glow. I’ll choose a couple of pieces for a close-up next week.
I helped a bit, cleaning up debris, but mostly stay out of the way. Outside, I moved some dirt and rocks.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


There is always something

Cross filed under “Schist happens”

Near friend’s house – another fire

Friends Suzy and Bob live in the country southwest of Yakima, more west than south, about 13 miles. When leaving the paved county road their house at the blue star is about 2 miles on unpaved streets. The street dead-ends at their drive.
A fire started near the red star (or ¼ mile south) and burned the area covered by the brown dots. They were not home – but 30 miles away. Neighbors went and got the 2 dogs. That’s all I know.
Such fires are almost always caused by something a person did. I haven’t heard what ignited this one. Claim is it started in an orchard.

Air from over the North Pacific Ocean came to Washington Thursday. Since then I have had cooler, cloudy, and a few sprinkles. There has been a lightning caused fire in the very rugged mountains in the northwest part of the State. It is called the Sourdough Fire (1,400 acres). Current weather might shut this down. This is a forested mountain with no people or structures.

My issue this week has been some small ants. In the kitchen. I’ve been dispatching them when I see them. This morning, Sunday, I took more direct action, but don’t think I found a serious source.
I’m 80% done with putting 18 inches of height on the fence meant to keep the deer out. Last year a doe and fawn kept coming. This year there is just a doe and she easily jumps a 5 foot fence. There are 5 fawns around. They and their mothers have been staying away from the house.

I was told my remodel would, again, get underway 10 days ago. I’ll have to call Walter and ask what happened.

And last, but not least: my 4-filter reverse osmosis Culligan system for pure drinking water quit. It is supposed to replenish a 3 gallon tank in just a couple of hours. Mine began slowing down about 10 days ago. Then it took overnight to get a tall glass of water. Thursday it stopped. The soonest a tech can come is next Monday, the 14th.
I have some previously drawn water in 28 ounce bottles, and some frozen. I have a few ice 2 liter bottles in the freezer.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan
John H.

Summer in full glory

A not very exciting week.

I thought telling a person this might get me into trouble, but no – he took it as a complement.
Wisdom has been chasing you, but you have always been faster.

This week, I mostly spent time at the vineyard. There are many feet of burned and unburned but useless plastic tubing that needs to be pulled out. It is headed to the local landfill along with burned posts.
The new drip tubing was rolled out the two days after the fire. While removing the old, we hung the new up on the wires. We haven’t started with new (iron) posts.

Had lunch with Bob West Thursday. He brought Suzy up to lunch with friends from CWU days.
He and I went to the Red Horse Diner out near Exit 106.

Cameron and Phyllis are in Seattle, to return late Tuesday. The rest of the week is supposed to be hot. I may not go over until the following Wednesday. I’ve an appointment with the truck in EBRG on the 8th.

Outside work here is limited to before Noon and after 6pm. I was able to dig onions from the dirt. There is still some preparation to be done prior to storage.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan
John H.