Pruning Ended

Culligan folks arrived Monday morning and changed all the filters, an annual process. I keep about twenty 28 ounce bottles filled in case the electricity or pump shuts off. The well water is safe to drink, but has no other redeeming characteristics.
As I was going into the grocery store this week, a man was carrying two large jugs of water to his car. {photo from web}
Out of curiosity I should find out how much one of these costs. I don’t intend to go that route. In the Yakima area the water is frequently unfit to drink. COSTCO sells truck loads of water in all sizes of containers. I think in some areas folks get subsidizes from the County because the suppliers can’t keep the water clean.
Anyway, I do wonder what the trade-offs are, but am too lazy to find out.

The rest of the week, we pruned – and finished Friday. We were about two weeks late because of all the interruptions of schedules. Some days only two of five of us pruned and on some days (Cameron is in Seattle) we did not prune.
In my spare time at home I watered plants and planted onions. (Again, photo from web}
They don’t look like much at this point. I was late getting them in, but planted about 65 of 6 different types. I took another hundred to Phyllis and hers are now in also.
She was busy this week gathering rocks. The water line from their well to the top storage tank ruptured and the water carved a long channel in the sandy hillside.
Son Dylan parks the front-end loader at an ancient flood deposit of small rocks, she fills the bucket, and slowly the crevasse gets filled. The rocks are on a slope that the machine is not able to maneuver to, but close enough to load by hand. All the rest of the vineyard is sand from the ice age floods.

I cut 4 trees for future firewood this week. Sunday afternoon I worked on limbing (some say ‘delimbing’) and moving them. Two fell into thick brush, so they have to be pulled out before I can work on them. Regardless, they have now begun the seasoning (drying) process. They will go from about 45% water to 11% before I burn them.

I will take the truck for servicing on Monday.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Bloom Time

Keeping with the theme “There is Always Something” – – –

Trees are starting to leaf-out, and those that bloom have buds about to burst. I usually cut a few of the popular-type trees that have sections of straight non-limbed trunk. I don’t have to deal with leaves if I cut now. This will be stove firewood in a year or so. I have plenty for the 2024-25 winter season, so trees downed now will be ready in 2025. My chain saw was not running well when I last used it over a year ago. This week I could not get it started. Folks at Papé Machinery did a tune-up. I just cut a tree into firewood size that had blown over late last year. A neighbor says his station clocked a gust at 88 mph, and a different neighbor says that is when the tree fell over.
One of the first plants to bloom is called Bur Buttercup. The photos below show its character. The plant only get about 1.5 inches tall, has pretty yellow flowers, and a bur.

The plant is soft and touchable when it blooms. Soon the burs become dark and hard and penetrate gloves and stick to things. Especially dog’s feet. They are easily pulled when green, but there are hundreds this year.

Last year many gallon-sized sprayer gave up and I ordered a new one. When I tried to use it this week for the first time, it barely worked. After trying several things, I finally took the tube out – the part that goes down into the tank. At the end there is a small plastic screen. It was gunked up with something unrecognizable. In a review on Amazon, I said I thought it was the remains of a Silkworm. What and how – who knows? It now works. Look out Bur Buttercups.
I am now ready to plant Onions – a week later than I anticipated.

Another cute plant is Miner’s Lettuce. It is edible, but I have no intention of doing so.

All About Miner’s Lettuce

There are tiny white flowers.
Mine is a bit different when compared to the photos at the link above. It has the subspecies name of “intermontana” – interior. In the link, the plant is called “perfoliata” – Pacific coastal

At the edge my onion patch, I have a cluster of Daffodils. They seem happy. Many other plants are just starting but still are without flowers.
I need to get some of these with pink and orange colors. Their main advantage is that the local deer do not eat them.
I should mention, we are almost done with vine pruning, so my gasoline ($4.29/g) bill will go down and I will have time to catch up here at home.

Keeping track
on the Naneum Fan

Little mysteries

We are working through a section of the vineyard that got hit hard by last July’s fire. Many vines are dead above ground. Some showed new growth last summer but shoots were still green when the first fall frost came. The roots will send up new shoots now and the best will be attached to the wires. In three years, production will begin.
The old – dead – wood takes time and effort to remove from the wires because 25 years of growth often puts the wire inside a twisted cordon of the plant.

The buds have swelled on many varieties, and we will soon see tiny leaves unfold. Monday and Tuesday will have warm afternoons, but Wednesday and the rest of the week will be cooler. I’ll take a few photos of new growth and dead plants.
At home, I managed to plant two apple trees (semi-dwarf) and have a dozen Astilbes to plant – it is a perennial that should grow well in partial shade along the driveway. We’ll see.

How are these words – baked & naked – pronounced, and why?

If that is not enough to give you a headache, consider that fire-trucks are actually water-trucks.

Or, trucks and SUVs that have 4 x 4 on their sides could simplify things by switching to 16.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

John H.

Fickle weather/March Madness

This week the weather appeared to shift to June on Monday and back to February on Thursday. The current cool pattern is expected to last until mid-April. I didn’t do much outside because of the cool, wet, and windy weather.
There is also basketball madness. I have in common with Caitlin Clark of University of Iowa fame that we attended the same University. Both Taylor Swift and I were raised in Pennsylvania. Being linked to “greatest ever” folks is gladdening.
Gasoline price jumped about 30¢ this past week. Regular is now about $4.20/ gallon. Seattle area prices are $4.60. California is up to $5.

I have been thinking of the following because I use the I-90 Vantage Bridge getting to and returning from the vineyard. Here is the latest:
Travelers will experience single-lane closures Monday through Friday until the end of May. Then for 3 summers — 3!
Beginning in late May, traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction seven days a week with a few exceptions.
Travelers will experience long delays eastbound on Fridays and westbound on Sundays during the summer travel months and are encouraged to choose alternate routes.
Traffic will also be restored to two lanes in each direction for winter from November through April.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

John H.

Colorado snow while we prune

The recent heavy snow in Colorado damaged many things, including solar panels: see @40 sec.
Snow downs solar panels in Denver (

I was at a meeting in Boulder in April of 1973. A storm warning was issued and many left early – I was headed to Iowa City, 100 miles east of Des Moines. Those that left in time (me) got home before the snow shut down most of the middle of the Country. Many reports – Denver to Chicago – are available.

Iowa weather: The blizzard of 1973 was dubbed Iowa’s ‘worst spring storm in at least 80 years’ (

We got 3 afternoons of pruning this week. Next week, with warming weather, we switch to mornings: 9:00 to Noon. We pruned in an area that had lots of damage from the fire – last July. Here is the link:

Cherries on sale & fire

At the bottom there is a link to “Visit to the charred vines”

There is no new growth now on the vines, but before long buds will swelland new leaves will appear. The new parts are very tender and easily broken, making for more difficult work. We have not yet seen “weeping” – sap flowing from the just-cut canes.

Back to fire damage. The roots of the vines are not damaged. Plants will send up one or more new shoots and the best will become the new trunk. Three years from now the vine will be producing again.
At home, I have a dozen flowers to plant and two apple trees. The forecast high temperature is 63°F and sunny. This will be a good weekend for outside chores.

Saint Patrick’s day is Sunday and a new “spring” begins, for me, at 8:06 pm on Tuesday, March 19. Our overlords snuck in an extra day at the end of February, otherwise spring this year would be on the 20th.
For other locations, go here:

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

John H.

Still heating with wood

Cold snuck into Washington State in early March and continues. A University Professor (u. of WA) says it is the coldest early March since 1989. That March, Nancy was in EBRG and I was still in Troy. A few months later we began moving into the current house.
It looks like this coming Wednesday will be the tip-day into spring. Nighttime temps are still in the low 30s, but days are near 50 and soon to be in the 60s.
The wood stove, a Blaze King Chinook 30, is doing 97% of the heating. The hall thermostat is set on 69°. If I sleep late or am away, the heat pump comes on and the fan pushes air around and it takes only a few minutes to move warm air from the area of the stove. The compressor does add a little heat (not much) and the electric resistance heaters do not turn on.

The Blaze King stoves are manufactured in Walla Walla, about 125 miles SE of me. The photo is a promotional one from the web.
When gone for many hours, I turn the thermostat down to 65°. When I get home, I add fuel to the stove and set the fan to “circulate.” It then runs for 5 minutes, shuts off, and comes back in about 10 minutes. Running the fan also pushes air through filters. Smoke I manage to introduce while fueling the stove is soon gone.
A complication occurs when the outside temperature warms into the 60s. The stove is best run at a high temperature with the hot air and gasses going through a catalytic burner. What goes up the flu is quite clean – so says the EPA that tests these things. Operating the stove I have at such a temperature makes the house too warm. Then it is time to let it burn out, clean it up, and let the heat pump warm the house. In July and August, the system reverses and cools the air.

We have been pruning vines from 1:00 to 4:00, trying to hit a sweet spot of temperature and low wind. Some days are better than others. In a week I suspect we will switch to mornings.

When I create one of these posts, the default setting is to allow comments. I have to remember to change that. Last week I forgot. Near the end of the week I got a notice from Word Press that I should moderate the comments.
There were about 30. Half of those were in Russian or some other script. The other half were nonsense stuff by people suggesting I buy something, look at their web site, or order a wife from the Philippines. A few years ago I missed re-setting the comments box on a dozen posts. It took 2 or 3 hours to clear up the mess.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

Check your spare

I realized this morning – Monday – that I wasted away the weekend and didn’t post exciting news. – Because there wasn’t any.

I did read a story of a family from southern California that drove north to visit college towns with a young son. They had a Tesla that they bought without a spare tire. Apparently the tires are large and expensive and take up space where one would normally place groceries, golf clubs, or other important stuff.
Something happened and a tire was damaged. Their problems began.
Local tire dealers did not have a Tesla size tire. Via phone, one was found and delivery was arranged. The driver went to the wrong town – hours in the wrong direction.
Eventually, the car was again operational, but they barely made it home by Monday morning.

Moral: Check your spare.
On my pickup, the spare is under the bed and has to be lowered with an affair like the handle of some jacks used to raise a car. This is done through a hole near the rear license plate.
I went to the local Les Schwab tire center and being a loyal customer they checked all five tires. The spare was about 7 psi low. Now fixed. At home I watched a video showing how to lower the spare if it is needed. I hope I won’t ever have that opportunity.
So, a suggestion: Have a look at your spare and make sure there is proper air pressure therein.

My sister lives in the Cleveland Metro region. They did have a bit of excitement when a pair of police horses got out and took a stroll on I-90. There are videos from the TV stations. I snagged the image below from one of those.
Animals seem to know where home is. These two got back safely, but not before causing a commotion of the interstate.

Yesterday I got an inch of snow and this morning it was 19°F. It has been on-and-off windy. The saying about March coming in like a Lion fits.
Friends in South Lake Tahoe are dealing with several feet of snow. Parts of that area lost power. Not them.

Maybe I will have a more exciting week. I expect to be pruning grape vines.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

Seeing spring ?

Pruning of grapevines just started. I’ve only managed two days of 3 hours. We have completed the rows (unseen) to the left of the cat’s head and neck. The others have done 4 or 5 days, but I’ve been doing other things.
The medical checkup showed no changes since last year. Next month is a visit to the optometrist.

I’ve trimmed the lower branches of more pine trees but still have lots of clean-up to do. Half of the stuff will go to compost and the larger pieces will go to the firewood pile. Pine needles and the small branches take several years to decompose so that gets piled out of the way. The branches need about 18 months to dry to about 11% moisture.

I made several dozen cookies (chocolate chip & pecans) so I would have a snack on the drive home. Also, I have made and frozen pork ribs in serving-size packages and a couple of other meals. Altogether I think a have three weeks of evening meals without having to get serious about cooking. Microwave ovens and freezers are two of the greatest inventions since the pith of the papyrus sedge was used to make a flat surface to write on. That was about 5,000 years ago.

Weather folks claim the mountains just to my west are going to get two or three feet of snow this coming week. Me? Four to six inches. We’ll see.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

Mountain snow / chance here

Warming up by this coming Wednesday, when I expect to start pruning vines at White Heron.

TIAS – there is always something

#1: For 8:00 am, the Ford dealer’s repair shop scheduled my truck for a partreplacement. Last week their computer system showed the part was on the shelf. It wasn’t. I was less peeved only because I had two other errands in EBRG. Truck and me are rescheduled for 9:00 on Friday. I don’t want to have to be in there again at 8.

#1-a: The truck was attended to on Friday (9am to 1 pm) and only cost me $835.83 , including $71.28 tax. WA does not have an income tax so I guess I shouldn’t complain. The problem started when the connection to the Third Brake Light (on the canopy) connection corroded and also damaged the factory installed brake & trailer hitch module. That part’s cost was a little more than half of the total, $442.22. They did not attempt to reconnect the 3rd brake light and suggested not to do so.

#2: I ordered a used book from ThriftBooks (via Walmart website). The shipping info started in Dallas on Feb. 7th. The book is well traveled.
Dallas, TX
Grand Prairie, TX
North Las Vegas, NV
Portland, OR
Seattle, WA
Spokane, WA – delivery is expected Thursday

On Wednesday, I was asked to rate the purchase by Walmart before the book arrived.

Thursday – “Medicare Wellness”** visit at the Cle Elum clinic
Tues – next – “Chronic Conditions Visit”

The government claims this is a “free” visit – Medicare takes $174.70 per month from my Social Security. How is that free?

It would make sense to call these “Annual health check-up” I & II.

We have a two part medical deal.
Today it is called “Medicare Wellness” and not much is accomplished. There is a questionnaire, vital signs, and a blood draw. Draw a clock face and remember 3 words for 5 minutes. I remembered 2 from this trial and 1 from last year. Oops!
Next Tuesday the visit is called the “Chronic Conditions Visit” where the same vital signs are again taken and then the “doctor” goes over the blood test results. “Chronic” got attached to this because thyroid, blood pressure, and cholesterol are things we always have with us.
Chelse (PA-C, my doctor) and I also completed a new POLST form. You can look it up.
Use the search phrase: polst programs in your state

I guess if one had medical issues of a serious and continuing nature there would be more to this visit. For me, we’ll discuss blood pressure, cholesterol, and thyroid – – I have a pill for each.
My preferred method would be to go have the blood drawn and skip the “wellness” part – – I think that is for the Medicare agency to collect information on smoking, drinking, and a few other items so they can have data on the overall health of USA old folks.

So, I really won’t learn much until next Tuesday. My appointment is at 9:00 There is a slight chance of rain or snow, likely rain when I leave at 8 am.

That is all the stuff going on here.
Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan