stomach distress

The CWU retirement association had a dinner meeting Thursday evening. Here is a partial menu.

There were roasted vegetables and a peach cobbler with crisp oats. One assumes there were spices in those, also.
It may have been coincidence and something else caused stomach distress but I missed about 4 hours of sleep. Finally, about 4 am sleep came for about 3 hours.
I checked the various things I could but found nothing in the food that I expected to cause indigestion. I’ve suggested the hypothesis that there was just too much of spices that I usually do not eat.
I had to look up Chimichurri. It is made of finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano and red wine vinegar or lemon juice – some recipes have more.
Anyway, none of the things normally, in moderation, bother me.
Oh well, moving on.
There is a another dinner Monday evening at the same place with food from the same kitchen. Looking forward to it.

At the Thursday dinner the President of CWU spoke for a few minuted (10 or 15) about enrollments and changes in student characteristics. I am about 20 years older so the changes I have seen since entering college (1961) have been even more substantial. One of the biggest changes is that the majority of college students, including advanced degrees, are female. There are increasing numbers of students not born, or recently born, in the USA. Many students are “first-in-family” because the parents came from poor areas of less developed countries.
These students work hard at learning and are winning awards. That’s where I enter the picture – providing $$ for scholarship awards.
The Monday evening event is the university-wide 2023 Annual Scholarship Dinner. I’ll learn more.

Saturday I went for dinner at White Heron with Phyllis, Cameron, and another volunteer – Eric. After that we went to another winery friend’s place and played a game of throwing steel balls.
Pétanque (French pronunciation: [petɑ̃k] is a sport that falls into the category of boules sports, along with raffa, bocce, boule lyonnaise, lawn bowls, and crown green bowling. In all of these sports, players or teams play their boules/balls towards a target ball. More on Wikipedia.

This page explains the two games: Bocce and Pétanque

What is the Difference between Petanque vs. Bocce Ball?

Get yours here:

We played with 6 people – 4 spoke excellent French. To me, they all spoke a variety of English that matched quite well with my American.

Bright and sunny today with a high of 81°F.
During the coming week I may get to 88, while 100 miles south of me it may get to the “century” mark, but likely not quite.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Red Osier Dogwood

May is the month when the low spots on the property get swampy and one of the plants that hangs out here is Red Osier Dogwood. This is the sericea type.

This is my view in late May – it is common here.
The best photos and information I have found:

Note the name used is Red Twig. This site shows the plant throughout the year, with colors and fruit, Recommended.

I’m working along the edge of the swamp (riparian area), clearing the fuel and plants I do not want under a large Ponderosa Pine. Clearing the “ladder-fuel” away may save it should a fire come through.
Some, the Quaking aspens, get big enough for fire wood. These are about 6 inches across and some show heartwood damage by ants and other critters.
Others, such as roses, look nice when blooming but never get big; lots of sharp prickles are the main feature. The Hawthorn is another (small tree with big thorns) I like to remove. The wood is hard, but to harvest it for firewood is a pain – literally. There is Golden Current in the mix and those I leave.

On Wednesday I went to the CWU picnic and awards “end of school” party and on Thursday to “Ales & Trails” gathering sponsored by Washington Trails Association at the local Iron Horse Brewery. The former was free and I came home with food. At the brewery I paid $5.40 for a 10 ounce dark beer. I didn’t ask what the 16 ounce one cost.

This is memorial day weekend. I’ll put the flag out by the county road and otherwise continue my leisurely brushing.

Thunderstorms continued to rumble across the high hills to my north. None came close today. Today seems to be the end of this several day turbulence in the atmosphere over Washington State.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Helicopters and storms

Wednesday the WA State fire crews had a training day. I got photos as the helicopters carried water north and empty buckets south. The return-leg was closer to me and the trailing empty bucket was closer.

Many things, both wild and domestic, are blooming this week. I’ve a purple lilac that looks nice. The pines are showing blossoms and each has its own character and color. I have a Western Mountain Ash with its clusters of white flowers. The fruits will be orange/red and bitter. Those hang on the tree through most of the next winter. Then, after multiple freezes and thaws, they will soften and birds will readily eat them. Meanwhile, that tree hums from the many bees visiting it.

I attended a lunch in CWU’s Jongeward Building on Friday. The building has a square atrium (glass walls) in the center with the lunch room adjacent. There is a single large Magnolia tree in the space, leaning out from a corner. The building was built in the early 1970s. I can’t find whether or not the building was built around the tree or whether the building-name and tree follow from the University’s head gardener, Donald Jongeward, hired in 1937. The blossoms have all dropped so this wasn’t a picture-taking event.

Weather this week in Oregon and Washington has been turbulent in the early evenings. Solar energy heats the land and as the air rises above, it cools rapidly and clouds form. Sometimes big clouds with lightening and thunder. Usually these go to my west and follow the ridge tops toward the northeast.
Yesterday, the storm came over me. A late afternoon (5:16 pm) image shows the early development.

I’m the red star, with Moses Lake to the east and Mt. Rainier to the west. The red line is the Washington-Oregon border. Individual white clouds are west and south of me. The massive cloud to the south is moving north and by 8:15 pm my area was getting heavy rain, lightening, and thunder. Just one flash and the sound came almost simultaneously. The action moved north and east quickly. As did the rain.
Over at the winery (23 miles east), Phyllis and Cameron had a great view as the storm crossed the ridges – elevations there are 4,000 to 6,000 feet.

At 3:00pm this afternoon (Saturday) the clouds are growing over the Cascades and the near-by ridges, although I’m in full sun.

The action is to the west of me, heading to the northeast. More rain would be nice.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Variety Week

I was only able to prune vines on Thursday.
Monday was a dental filling. But there was no pruning on Mon/Tues anyway.
Wednesday was a service visit from Culligan.
Friday was lunch at CWU.

Saturday was a warm and sunny day. The temp reached 85°F for a brief moment while holding at 84 most of the afternoon. I watered the onions. They were happy.They are still small and frequent water is needed.
Next Sunday is expected to have a high of 60°.

I’ve used the garden cart to carry tree-rounds to the shed where the electric log splitter is set up. The wood was cut last year or earlier and stored under cover. A small percentage of the splitting wood will fly to the right when the break happens. An animal or person, especially a small one, could be hurt. That is a no-go-zone, although the operator is not in danger.
Other pieces are “stringy” and the full travel-length of the machine does not completely separate the pieces. If I can’t break them by hand, an ax finishes the job.

I intended to spray weeds today. When I got up the wind speed was 3 mph. Slowly, at first, and then more quickly the wind rose and averaged in the mid-to-high 30s. Top gust was 51 mph. With strong wind I stay out from under standing trees. I cut three downed trees into firewood lengths. Yesterday, I had used the truck to pull the logs into an open area.
Now into May we go – with blooming daffodils – finally.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Water Problems

Water can be good and bad

A tale of “I could have done without these.”

I put some fertilizer on about 2/3 of the onions. During the night there was a light rain. That’s the (partial) good news.
Now for the rest . . .
A few days ago there was water leaking out of the water softener, onto a stone tile floor. The amount seemed to be about two or three cups. I cleaned it up and there was no more. Of course the glaring question is: Why?
A nagging question such as that demanded a glass of wine, but that didn’t provide an answer. I had other things to do, so with the assumption that an ignored problem will cure itself, I went about doing other things.
Saturday night I went to bed about 10 PM and woke at midnight for a trip to the bathroom. Then I stepped into the dinning/kitchen area and found a wet rug and a half inch of water in the kitchen and attached laundry area.

The hiss of escaping water was coming from the washing machine. I had run a load early and dried the stuff, all with no problem. I turned on the lights and stepped into the room where the shut-off lever is. Water, again, from the softener was on the floor. This was a minor issue compared to the gallons on the floor in the other rooms –laundry/kitchen/dining. The dining areas has a carpet, 43 years old, well worn, and full of dirt.
I should mention these areas are to get a new wood floor covering, with a third of the pieces on-site (on the covered deck).

After shutting of the house water, I got a bucket and a couple of towels and sopped up the water, alternately working in both places. There was still a slow leakage from the softener but it was easy to keep up with. The other areas were a 2 hour effort. Anything on the floors had to be moved and/or carried outside.
The old rug was soaked. Water was slowly seeping through it. A few towels worth slowed the advance, with no water showing movement. Still, a soaked carpet is not a good thing so I started removing it. Being glued down, wet, and dirty required another two hours of work.
Here is a photo from about 3 AM.

The carpet removal is about half done. I removed 10 inch wide strips (3 from the cleared left side) about 8 feet long. Any longer and I could not get them outside without difficulty. The water (and dirt) made the pieces heavy and water ran from them as I carried them. As I moved to the right, there was less water and the work became easier. I moved three pieces of furniture back when there was sufficient space. They were temporally in front of the wood stove – a very hot wood stove. I started a small fan (also about 3 AM) to help dry the floor. Some of the soft pad did not come up with the carpet and was wet but it dried rapidly with the low humidity, the fan, and the heat from the stove.
About humidity: The area usually has a relative humidity (RH) of about 8%. It rose to 10% during this episode.

I found the leak at the back of the washer. There is a bend where the hot water hose attaches to the machine. The hose failed at that point. The orange in the photo seems to be fabric/plastic wrapping pushed out from the pressure of the escaping water.

It may be that there is a buildup of iron-sediment (or something) in the intake area. To-be-determined.
I’ll replace them both. I think that unit has been here for 10 or 12 years. Tips are at the following link:

I suppose one should replace these every 10 years to be on the safe side.
Meanwhile, knowing where and how to turn the water off (2 solutions: whole house or behind the machine) is a “must know” for everyone.

What now?
Well, I need to get fertilizer on the rest of the onions.
I will tackle the other problems Monday and Tuesday. We won’t be pruning those days but I have a dental appointment at 11 AM Monday.

That’s all for now.
Keeping Track on the Naneum Fan

Easter flowers are a thing. Problem is nothing here is more than 4 inches out of the ground. No tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, or lilies. Not that I have any hyacinths but I will have some of the others in a month. To compensate, I bought a ham butt to roast; spiral cut.
Two friends on the pruning crew hope for rhubarb to make an Easter pie. That’s not happening this year, but they have a few small leaves. Other desserts are planned.
I did manage to plant about 400 onions. Most came from a supplier -Dixondale Farms – in southern Texas. They can supply “long day” onions. Our longest daylight is about 16 hours and the onions I get do better than one acclimated to shorter days (lower latitudes). Buying from Dixondale, I also know the length of time I can expect each time to keep in storage.
Walking through a local store I say bags of onions bulbs, both red and white. A bag of 60 was $2.49, so I bought one bag of reds. However, I know nothing about these and can only hope they are suitable for my latitude. Only about 45 of the 60 looked health. We’ll see.
Once all the starts were in the ground, rain began. I’ve had light rain on and off for 36 hours and this is expected to continue until next Thursday.
I guess that’s good.

The rain caused our pruning time to decrease. We are way-way behind.

Meanwhile a moist stream of air is headed to Washington State. When this hits the mountains, some places may get snow (lots) and then rain. If, as expected, 7 inches of rain falls on the existing snow, rivers will rise rapidly and flooding can be expected. This will become news on Monday. Stay tuned.
Sometimes you see or hear of a weather warning. The wording confuses many folks (me) so one never knows when to stock up on candles and beer. Here is an image that helps – if it is a “watch” you have time to prepare. Don’t forget the candles. If it is a “warning” the preparing stage is over, so eat before the lights go out.

It is time to add wood to the stove.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

March weather in April

Pruning continues even though the cool and windy hillside makes it uncomfortable. This week involves a travel glitch. Construction has just begun on a “traffic circle” just a few miles short of the vineyard. The claim is a 20 minute delay at the site, or going back roads with some gravel. That takes an extra 12 minutes.

Friday, I took the chest freezer (purchased at a farm auction in Idaho many years ago when it was already old) over to the Winery. Cameron is acquiring the things needed to disgorge the lees from bottles of sparkling wine. We are hoping the old freezer will chill the neck to 4 or 5 degrees Fahrenheit. The bottles will be up-side-down in food-grade glycol. [about 4 inches]

Wednesday I had a cleaning at the dentist. I have a small cavity on the back side of a front tooth. We scheduled the care for that for later this month. After that I stopped by CWU to make sure the Nancy-scholarships were on track. The geography students were to have their applications completed this past week.

I have 7 bunches of onion sets. Each has up to 70 plants; 50 is the minimum, but there are always more.
I took 15 of each over to Phyllis, so I only have about 400 to plant here.
I tilled the space on Saturday and got stakes and tools ready. Today, Sunday, I planted 3 types. Four more to get done – soon. Weather was cool and nasty, even with a few snow flakes. I hope I can get another variety planted on Monday – wishful thinking maybe. Both Tuesday and Wednesday are looking better.

I’ve got to plan a trip to CWU’s music building and drop of the violin that Nancy played. Monday morning seems a good time.

My tax refund arrived via electronic transfer to the Bank last week. It is not a large amount but I’m glad that went well.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

Clocks get re-set tonight

I thought I was having a bad week. But I didn’t get stuck in a tree!
The temperature remains low, and snow keeps happening. There was 6 or 7 inches early in the week, then 2 more, and then a dusting. The eastern slopes of the Cascades are not keeping up – just a little below average.
Oh well, other places have snow measured in feet. Mountains along the west coast from B. C. to California are now at about double the average depth. The next couple of weeks in CA expect serious flooding.

When in snow country buildings need strong and steep roofs. Only once since 1989 has there been snow here that approached being serious, and only then because rain was predicted.
Several of us shoveled all the snow off a neighbor’s home. It was older and not built to modern codes. I took about half of the snow off our house – just in case. The same story played out in Idaho years ago. In that case the roof of a hay barn (not ours) collapsed and we removed snow from an identical structure.

We bottled Roussanne on Tuesday.
Nancy named our last Brittany after this grape but we called her Anne. Roussanne is a white-wine grape named after its skin color (when ripe), a reddish-gold pigment that equates to the French word roux (meaning “russet”, or reddish-brown).

We pruned one day but the temperature and wind made that unpleasant. For various reasons we won’t try again until Thursday when the report is for “Sunny, with a high near 46.” Locally, all the recent snow has warmed, melted, evaporated or just thinned. It is still very white around.
I have to be home on Friday for a visit from a Culligan technician to change out the 4 filters under the kitchen sink.
Electricity cost $207 last month. The house is all-electric, and the wood stove is providing most of the warmth.

The 2022 taxes have been submitted.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

Seeing stars

I (finally) managed to access the local newspaper and discovered I was paying $21.25 per month. That is $255 per year. Years ago, it was close to $100 per year. Then it came 6 days each week. About 7 years ago the Friday edition was canceled. Two years ago, the Monday edition was gone.
The paper, and 126 others, is owned by Adams Publishing Group. Hometown of APG is Coon Rapids, Minnesota. There is often only one article of local news, local high school sports, obituaries, and comics. My mother would say “Throw it in the air and you can read it before it hits the ground.”
So, I canceled it. There was a pop-up that asked Why? – with about 10 possible responses, the last being “deceased”, and that I clicked. Not untrue because it was in Nancy’s name.
The return response was: “We are sorry to see you go.” Well, of course!
The next day I had an automated call saying the subscription was about to run out and I should renew. Clumsy programming, I think.

Thursday the CWU Retired group had a gathering at the Planetarium run by the Physics Department. The display is spectacular, although the seats don’t swivel, but should. Bruce Palmquist orchestrated the presentation and answered questions. Such is recommended if you can get to one. Snacks and wine followed.
This is a photo from a prior group; with Bruce at the lower right with red sweater showing behind the control monitor.

And this really bums me out. Strict rules have applied about “Swissness” since 2017. So, …
Toblerone will remove the Matterhorn mountain peak from its packaging when some of the chocolate’s production is moved from Switzerland to Slovakia.
The pyramid-shaped bar, which mirrors the Alpine peak, will get a more generic summit on the packaging.

Our weather for March – actually most of the USA – is to be below normal temperatures with higher precipitation. The local 7-day forecast is similar but we won’t get much precipitation. WA’s mountains will continue to get both rain and snow. Better there than here.
However, pruning weather this is not. We are going to bottle something Tuesday morning. What? I didn’t ask.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Veterinarians and Kitty Teeth

On Tuesday morning I realized Tzar had an issue with his mouth. As it turned out he had a tooth –
In mammalian oral anatomy, the canine teeth, also called cuspids, dog teeth, or (in the context of the upper jaw) fangs, eye teeth, vampire teeth, or vampire fangs, are the relatively long, pointed teeth.

– that was bent sidewise into his mouth. {Photo from web}
Tzar arrived, uninvited, by following our animals into the house. Nancy spelled the name Czar, the Vet used Tzar. Nancy found him bedded down under a chair in the room with the animal door. That room wasn’t used much since we stopped watching television 15 years ago.
[ ]

He has been here 5 or 6 years or some other number. We had all the cats neutered when a local group hauled about 20 cats to Lynden (almost to Vancouver B. C.). They also got required vaccines.
Well, I haven’t had anything to do with the local vets for about 5 years and nothing regarding cats for much longer. I began calling the local offices. One place suggested I call the next morning and ask for an emergency visit, with no guarantee of a place. That also sounded like an extra fee, but I didn’t ask. One of the next 5 had an opening in a week. I was told there is an emergency clinic in Yakima. That’s 50 miles south.

So, I called the Vet office in Quincy. That’s 50 miles away also and only 10 miles from the vineyard owned by Phyllis and Cameron. They have used that office for years when a friend, Laura, owned it. Now in Germany, that is where Phyllis and Cameron went in December. The place now has 2 vets, so I called and got an appointment – giving me time to get prepared here and travel the 50 miles to Quincy. Then I talked to Cameron and told them to expect a visit.
Phyllis had knee-replacement on Monday and my reasoning was – rather than go to Yakima – I could go there after getting Tzar looked at. It only took a minute for the vet (Lindsey) and her assistant to extract the tooth and give him a required rabies shot. I was out of there by 4 p.m., with (only) a bill if $117.36. I got a discount because of my charm and the simpleness of the issue.
After that, I visited with Phyllis and Cameron for two hours while Tzar relaxed in the back of the truck. By the time I got home he was ready for a trip to the potty and a nap.
All’s well that ends well.

All of the region had below average temperatures with lows near 5°F here for two nights. The rest of the week was not as cold (20s at night, 30s daytime) and next Thursday maybe 42°. There is a sign that warmth is 2 weeks away.
All of the region had below average temperatures with lows near 5°F here for two nights. The rest of the week was not as cold (20s at night, 30s daytime) and next Thursday maybe 42°. There is a sign that warmth is 2 weeks away.
Local lore on the Naneum Fan is that spring is two weeks away when the first Redwing Blackbirds arrive. Range maps show them here all year but Washington is a diverse region and in our winter they leave. Anyway, some came to the feeder this week. Thus, hope is that by the 8th of March, or so, there will be a change to warmer days. (Frosts will still come.)
My onion-set order is scheduled to ship on the 27th of March, from southern Texas. Maybe I can get the 400 planted by April. At the moment I have about 10 left from last summer’s harvest. I did give away quite a few.

Thinking of food – I may give this a try:

Keeping Track on
the Naneum Fan