Last plant of the week

With the riding mower working I have been out morning and evening cutting the massive growth – grass and weeds – in the pasture. It is a slow process because of the thickness of the material and the roughness of the surface. The color now is mostly beige, except for the Curly Dock.

This is an interesting plant that some people eat, but not me. Click the name in the box:

Curly Dock

Animals won’t eat it, either recognizing its toxicity or not liking the taste and smell. If you care for more info about that, see the following:

I cut a few strips, strategically to slow a fire if one should get started (There is a fire 20 miles to the east.), and to allow me to walk, cut, and bag the weed. In the photo below, the rust-colored Dock is seen on the left.

I intended to spend a bit of time cleaning up some things in the shed. It was occupied by a family of deer. I decided to do something else.

I had to have a truck tire replaced. There is a local tree called Washington Hawthorn, emphasis on thorn. One of the thorns pierced the sidewall of a tire; only 15,000 miles on it. $360. Ouch!
Here’s the rub. In trying to save money heating the house with home-grown wood, I ruined a tire. Years ago I had the tires of the garden cart filled with foam because the thorns punctured the tires repeatedly. They don’t go through the tread of auto tires, but the sidewall is not as tough.

I will mention that the tree doesn’t grow large, has pretty blossoms, and fruit. It is also one of the hardest woods I have encountered.

Keeping track on the Naneum Fan

John H.

July ends hot!

Here is the best color on the Naneum Fan this last week of July.

Often called “Yellow slime mold”, but it is not a mold nor a fungus.
Named Fuligo septica.
Interesting Scandinavian folklore

Great photo here:

Mine is on the top surface of a butt of a cottonwood that was too hard to split. This does not fit with the habitat description usually given, but it looks like the second link photo from Mt. Rainier.
A sometimes name is “dog vomit”. A couple of days after the bright yellow look the stuff has coalesced into a smooth brown and yellow that does resemble dried vomit.

This image gives me a chuckle. I can’t find the original source. It appeared on an Ohio police site in 2019 and has been seen in a dozen other places since then. No offense to poodle lovers.

And writing of guns: I carried most of mine over to the winery. Phyllis fixed supper and we were joined by another couple, he a part time dealer in guns.
The plan is for him to sell those old ones and then I’ll buy a semi-auto pistol. The cash will be more than enough. The extra will be available to pay for the high-priced gasoline now being sold. Make and caliber not yet decided.

Today, Sunday, is the last of our “heat wave” – also called summer.
I’m 180 miles from the Pacific Ocean and have a mountain range in between. This makes for a hot and dry July and August.
The graphic here shows the daily highs in yellow and the lows in green.
Last year June was the hottest. The last 2 weeks of July, this year show almost an exact fit. We are expected to cool starting Monday and be down to 78° on Thursday. Beyond that, they are not sure.

Other happenings.
The 1983 Fleetwood travel trailer is gone – to Megan and Kevin’s place. She is the CWU geographer and head of the scholarship committee. Their place is about 5 miles away. Kevin is a handy type and can fix the couple of injuries the outside has. Inside is 99% great.
Over at the vineyard, the well/pump is failing. A new well was drilled this week with a 10” diameter. It will take a few days to reconnect. Cameron has the small backhoe to dig the trench. That’s good. Meanwhile the vines haven’t gotten there full need of water, each block getting 3 hours rather than 4 hours. Still they look good.
About 9 miles down river is “The Gorge at George” – a major musical festival venue. The place was visible last evening with the stage and lights. Something called “Watershed Festival” was in progress with Sunday be “country” day. I recognize Miranda Lambert’s name and can put a face to the name, the others are not known or not as well known to me.
It is a nice setting and Cameron was the wine maker there for awhile.
Google Earth will take you there: Search for “Gorge Amphitheatre”

All for now
Keeping Track on the Naneum Fan
John H.

Dog days of summer are early

Keeping Track July 24 2022

The area is about to have a week of hot weather. Here, perhaps, it might get to 100°F. Or it may not. This time next week the answer will be known.

My garden, such as it was, now has only yellow beans, and three sunflowers. The snow (sugar pod) peas are in the freezer and the onions are in the shed. Drying and cutting the roots and tops will get done as needed. The ones that “bolted” I intend to cut and freeze. The good ones will last to Christmas time.
The plumb trees still need watered even though only one has fruit. Spring was too cold, too wet, and too windy. There is always next year. I will get a few raspberries. Also, I’ve been promised a box of Italian Plumbs by Megan Walsh, a CWU geographer. She lives 5 miles to the SE.

I went to EBRG with four or five stops planned. Safeway advertised a couple of things I wanted but were out of one. I got a rain check, even though rain had nothing to do with it. Two loaves of bread {why loaves and not loafs?} rang up for $1 more than advertised. That required dealing with a salesperson and using my same credit cart, adding back $2 to my number. I then went across the street for a haircut.
At the next stop, 45 minutes later, that credit card was not in my wallet. Back to Safeway, I went. Their security cameras showed me using the card and then starting out toward the door with the card.
I went through the first set of doors, took my 3 items, left the cart. So where did the card go?
I used my trusty iPhone and found a number for Visa/Citi/COSTCO.
Using a voice-automatic system, I was able to place a “lock” on the card and hear the latest transaction. It was my purchase from the hour before.
I have to do a thorough search of the truck with a passenger side filled with stuff. I was running late, and the temperature and sun caused me to not do more than that. I looked some at home in the shade of the shed but did not find it.
With the “Visa Quick Lock” in place I could go about my tasks and get to the neighbors for an early supper. Thanks Kathy & Dale.

The phone and Visa system allowed me to place a “lock” without knowing the card number. I think I had to give my name and social security number, and maybe my zip code. I did, unnecessarily, end up talking with a person and it might have been him that asked for the zip code. Because of the system, I did not have to rush home to use the computer or home phone to accomplish making the card useless – assuming I dropped it and it was found by someone that might try.

Visa uses the term “Quick Lock”,
Discover uses “Freeze It”
Other companies have similar things, but there may be variations. Locking or freezing your card does not necessarily lock all transactions from being processed. The action is primarily on point-of-sale or one-time uses of the card. If you have charges that are classified as recurring, those will continue to be processed.
Anyway, there is more work to do. I was also asked a security question – the one about first pet or something. Over the years, Nancy and I have used 4 or 5 of these. At one time she used “peep-peep” – a pet chicken from childhood. Mostly we used dogs and horses. Yesterday, I answered with our (together) first dog; the correct answer was a more recent horse.
When I said the dog’s name (wrong), he gave me the first letter of the horse’s name. That worked.

Next post, I’ll show a weed or two. For this week my photos are of deer.

One morning there were 3 little ones under the shed-roof with the truck. That photo is from a bedroom window. The velvet-antlered one was walking just outside the fence two mornings later.

Keeping track,
from the Naneum Fan

Warm & Slow

A little work got done on landscaping this week. I was expecting some painting but most of that would have been on tall ladders and the wind was blowing hard. So, the folks stayed on the ground and did some digging and stone moving.
The pile of rounded river rock is almost gone – distributed being a better term. Because of the heat, the crew starts early and leaves at 1:30. The boss would have to pay overtime if they stayed longer – even if the heat is less than expected.
In looking for the image of the pile of rocks, I’m told by WordPress that I have 4,352 images stored on the site. I guess I should look through them sometime. If I go back and look at an old post, those photos come up, so I can’t delete them.

The Mariposa Lilies bloomed this week – – about 8 days later than average. The cool spring caused that. They are a shrub/steppe (dry land) plant. My photo is on the cell phone and I can’t seem to get it onto the computer. Go to the following link to see what these pretty flowers look like.

Use the “more photos” link to see the sort of landscape where they are found. The locations are south of me, 60 to 100 miles.

I got the push mower back this week – walk behind and push type. I need a cooler day. I’ve been working in the shade, sifting the rocks out of dirt and moving each to its intended place. I haven’t been doing much of that either.

Early this morning I harvested the sugar pod peas (or edible snow peas). I need to clean and freeze them. I did have some with supper, a chicken thigh and fried onions. I’ll have close to 10 pounds. That should be enough for about 40 servings.
The onion was one of the “bolted” ones. It had a hard core as tough as a carrot, so I used only about half of the volume. I still have 3 store-bought red onions that I assume were in storage since last summer. I’ll use those before taking any more from the garden.

For long term storage they need to be dug, cleaned some, and laid out to dry, out of intense sun. When the green tops are dry, I’ll cut them back to about an inch above the bulb. Some of these should keep until about next March. Two-thirds should last until Christmas. In 2 to 3 weeks, I’ll have a harvested weight, when they are ready for storage.

Gila Bend AZ is 100°F at 9 AM. Forecast is for a high of 113°F. Much the same for the past couple of days, and for the coming week. The lows are minus or plus about 85°F. Europe, this week is not quite as hot, but they struggle to deal with it.
When we were living in Idaho the Spokane TV station had a weather presenter that liked the sound of “Gila Bend” and would frequently mention the temperature there. One summer, we were headed west on I-8 that passes just to the south of the town. We detoured and took a photo of the welcome sign (I think it was not this one) and sent it to the TV station. He mentioned us and used the photo on the air.

I talked with Gina (Houston TX) for nearly ½ hour until someone showed up with a reptile critter for her to care for. She has large tortoises outside and it was 97° today. They are coping. School starts for her in 2 ½ weeks. EBRG schools won’t start until after the Rodeo and County Fair – so Sept. 6th, a month later.

That’s it for the Ides of July

Keeping Track

Seen on the Fan Sunday morning

Knowing there would be a few unwanted blooms** on what I consider weeds, I took the camera and went for a walk.

**Copy and paste this link to see —

Lupine (these are about done), Chicory (just starting), Showy Milkweed with the big-eared doe.
The “snow peas” [Oregon Sugar Pod] are ready to harvest. Onions had a tough time this year. About 10% started to bolt – prematurely sends up a flower stalk. This year the issue was cold weather. The plants sense the cold, anticipated fall and the need to reproduce. As the flower heads developed, I cut them off. I don’t need the flowers or the seeds. Another grower, Becky, in Washington also got starts from Dixiondale and, with many others, had the same problem. Here is what she says:

I’ll pull all the ones that bolted, chop them up, and freeze them in ½ pound packets for later use.
The doe, in front of the Milkweed was alone. There are several such and a couple of antlered ones around. Two babies, still with spots, are traveling together and another small one is around. They all bound away when they see me, unlike the older ones.

I used the truck to pull previously cut trees nearer to where I want to make firewood. When I started to put the chain on one of those, there in the dirt was a handset for the house phone. I cut those trees last fall and pulled them out of the initial resting place in March. When doing that the phone came out of my shirt pocket and has been there for about 4 months. The cracks in the glass are from a previous event.

Kathy and Francisco came from Puyallup on Wednesday afternoon. We loaded the F350 (once mine) with recovered lumber from the remodeling of the big shed and 3 thick posts milled from the load of logs had. I had 2 sheets of corrugated sheeting – top and bottom protectors on a roofing delivery.
They brought several food gifts, including home grown bacon I had for breakfast today. Kathy has raised everything from bees to bacon, so this was a treat.
After the truck was loaded we went to EBRG and they bought supper at The Red Pickle, a relatively new eatery that began as a food truck. It is a nice place with good food and friendly staff.

This coming week is going to be our summer, but still about 20°F cooler than our experience last year.

With the clear night sky, I can get the core house temperature down to about 68° by morning. Likely, I won’t need to turn the AC on. The Weather Service folks think there is potential for a thunder storm Tuesday evening and that would change the temperatures. That thinking isn’t in the forecast as of Sunday Noon.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Well, that didn’t work

– $118.39 later.

The riding lawn mower has a new carburetor – –
and still won’t run.
Other suggestions to look at include bad fuel lines and safety switches.

There is a 70% chance of rain this weekend so I pushed the machine into the reconfigured shed, and I can work in there, and watch videos about possible fixes.

The work crew did a lot of painting this week and put the bird net up. There are spaces still open between some of the studs. I have to rip plywood to about 10 inches and tack that up to complete the bird-proofing. I have a dozen of used sheets, so there is no expense – just the work.

I have a new wild flower blooming this week but have forgotten the name. It is cute but not a stand-out in the mass of shrub-steppe vegetation. Initial searches failed to find it. Some of the bunch grass is 7 feet tall. If it is not raining in in the morning, I’ll get photos of both things and add them. Otherwise – next week.
The tall and showy Wild Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii) is also blooming.

I used Google image search but did not find the flower.
I switched to Bing image search and that found an image almost identical to the one I took today. First my composite:

Here a link to Large-flowered Collomia on the Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS) site:
Search with ” wnps Large-flowered Collomia ” and you will get there.

Keeping track on the Naneum Fan

Just 6 more months until Christmas

The work crew did some painting on the house this week. Also built the landings (forms) at the doors that were added last year.
Large screws were added inside the shed, going up into the trusses. Netting was delivered – to keep birds out of the space. There won’t be a “ceiling” – the net will handle that function.
The landings at the two doors need covered and the net needs to go up.
None of this is exciting or picturesque.

Ill-cared-for domestic Iris bloomed this week. The onions want to bolt. It has been too cool for them. Those that bolt won’t store well. It is a good thing I didn’t plant tomatoes. Night-time temperature hasn’t stayed above 55° – but will next week. Those that planted tomatoes will be way behind.

There is always something:
Four years ago we had the riding lawn more reconditioned. I used it a couple of times and then a rear tire went flat. So it sat until this week. I’ve got grass so high a couple of fawns wandered through and only their heads stuck above the mess of weeds and pasture grass.
I had trouble getting the tire off, but did. A tube was needed – $35.00; and a new battery – $77.00.
It took me a day to find the key – ’cause just about everything in the house has been moved several times. It started right up – after I added gas. The gas that was there evaporated and apparently nearly killed the carburetor. Thus, while the engine started it stalled with asking it to do anything – like move.
I’ve ordered a new carburetor: $109.52 + tax of $8.87. It is to arrive Monday late afternoon. I’m busy Tuesday, so – if the machine then works – I won’t get started cutting grass until next Wednesday.
A recent, partially completed, project is a sundial in the native flowers. It is called an analemmatic dial and is a favorite of young folks because the person needs to cast the shadow that points to the approximate time. In the drawing the shadow points to 2 pm. This is not meant to tell actual clock time. Rather, it should make a person think of the height of the sun. The girl is standing on April and her shadow reaches the hour point.
She would move forward in June and her shadow will get shorter. For January she would have to back up, but her shadow would get longer. As the sun’s declination changes the shadow maker has to move to compensate.
Often the signs of the Zodiac are near the center line and it is called the Zodiac. They would be positioned near the dates under the drawings that could be simply symbols. The designer may skip the historic aspect and use whatever one wants. I’m likely to go with simple.

Keeping track from the Naneum Fan

It is almost summer

The June solstice is the moment the Sun is directly above the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere. That is about 25 miles north of Havana, Cuba. For the Naneum Fan this will happen on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 at 2:13 o’clock – in the middle of the night. I’ll miss it. But the Weather Service thinks my temperature will get to 76°F, almost a real summer-like day.


After a difficult start, the onion sets from Texas are growing, although wind damage is evident. The native onions didn’t emerge until recently and are now blooming. As the ones from TX tried to bloom I’ve clipped them. I hope that stops the process because the bulbs of those will not store well. I can eat them now as “green onions” – and that might be the better solution.
I took photos Friday – – Onion, left / Phacelia, right
The cool and wet weather is great for the native shrub-steppe plants. Crowding encourages them to grow taller to get better exposure to the elusive sun. I’ve mowed and sprayed near the buildings in anticipation of a dry and hot “fire season.” There will be lots of fuel in Kittitas County.
“Haying” has started. I noticed one field that had been cut. Rain seems unlikely during the next week and strong winds will be good. Temperatures will remain below average for late June.

I put signs, using “duck” as a verb, on the gate with the low clearance. I put red paint on the top crossbar; not shown. I don’t know if there are standards for such things but even I (now reduced to 5 ft. 10 in.) can bang my head when not being careful. Entry ways (doors) built to modern codes will be no less than 6 ½ feet, while head clearance on stairs is set at 80 inches (6.67 feet; some say 6′ 8”) – Walter (contractor) says 7 feet for my entrance ramp.
Warmth: If the night time temperature is above 55° and the wind is negligible the house will keep above a decent temperature – 68 to 70.
Mostly, so far, one or the other of those things, or both, fail to happen. This is mostly the cool wind, often in the mid-20s mph or into the 30s. With lots of wood of not good quality, I light a fire in the wood stove almost every night. Mostly I have been burning old tree limbs I cut 15 years ago. Better stuff I am stacking for next season.

I am late to battery powered tools. A local store hypes Milwaukee Tools just before Father’s Day; Wednesday of this week. A company agent is there to answer questions and there is a hot-dog-wagon. Buy something and get lunch for free. Last year I got the drill and impact driver (lower image) and this year I got the saw. The batteries I bought last year will power the saw, but I did have to buy blades.
I used the drill in reverse mode to remove hundreds of screws from the old camper I demolished last year. I started with one the contractor (Walter) loaned to me. That convinced me to buy one. I also had him cut an old pipe from the well with a saw. I didn’t buy one then, but I have now. I figure I will use it when I demolish the Pace Arrow motor home. There is also a blade for pruning trees. I tested my purchase with that.

The workers came (Monday & Tuesday) and placed concrete (4” wide x 6” deep) around the pole-shed where it meets the ground. I’ve had dogs, skunks, mice, and maybe a few other things dig under the slab. I suggest this ought to be done when the floor is being placed.
I took the forms off so the guys did not have to come back.

Keeping Track
from the Naneum Fan



. . . we remain cool and wet

No post last week.

Phyllis came over this week and we worked on the Will and other aspects.
One of the topics is disposal of the house upon my death. I’ve contacted CWU Foundation gurus, and we’ll meet his coming Tuesday to discuss the possibility. If this can be done one of the biggest burdens will be removed from the post-death actions. My plan is to remove as much of the burden of finishing my affairs as I can reasonably do.

I visited the Sheriff’s Office and got the scoop on the group that swoops into a community and takes care of the family and funeral when a police officer is killed. A local officer was killed a few years ago. His wife and three children (and his colleagues) were relieved of the burden of planning the funeral. The family’s financial future is also assured.
That group is The Behind the Badge Foundation.
I assume all States have such an organization. Washington’s is found on the web here:

Outside, I mow about an hour a day – if it is dry. It rarely is so the acres that the horses kept short are now a tangle of weeds and grass. I have mowed strips about 12 feet wide in 3 places – to drive or walk and also as fire breaks. I may have to hire a big rotary mower. There is always something.

The wildflower of the week is the Thread-leaf Phacelia (Phacelia linearis), description and photos here:

On the page, top right, there are little arrows to get to other images. #4 is best for showing the dry location and the size. Dry this year we are not, so the plants are in a blanket of other green things. On the web, many photos are bluer than here – mine are more pinkish.

Keeping track
on the Naneum Fan

a busy week

Keeping Track May 29 2022

Computer issue: The DELL tower wanted to download and install updates.
I started that and went to do other things. It would not restart. It seems funny to me but the diagnosis is that the power supply failed. Coincidence or not – it is what it is. Because it is under warranty the entire tower has to be shipped off to DELL. Travel and fix time is estimated at 2+ weeks.
Thus, I am using a 6 year old DELL laptop with features I dislike – mostly the single screen of 13.3 inch diagonal and a keyboard that I find difficult use, as in touch typing. With the tower I use two screens of 17 inch diagonal, total about 320 sq. inches of view. The laptop gives me 74 sq. in., less than ¼ of what I am used to. The bottom line is that everything takes more time and is more difficult. Bummer.

Tuesday the CWU Retired folks had a dinner followed by a presentation regarding the continuing rebuilding of I-90 east of the Cascade Crest.
Here is the latest video (20 min.) of the just completed section. This focuses on the critter crossing aspects rather than the engineering and construction. This was done in 2021.

The next phase west of Easton is under way and next year the Vantage Bridge over the Columbia River will have a complete re-do of the deck. That is expected to be a 3 year project. More work will be done on I-90 in Kittitas County through 2029.

The Easton Grade is being realigned. The small town of Easton is just off the lower right corner in this image.
First, all traffic will be on the north side of the current island. That’s the space between the east-bound (near) and the west-bound lanes – between the town of Easton and the “CC- pin”. CC is short for Critter Crossing. The long axis of the pink oval is 2 miles, and the elevation change is 500 feet. Kachess Lake is north of the site.

The south side will be rebuilt as 3 lanes each way – without having to deal with traffic.
An over-the-road critter bridge will be near the top of the grade and several under the road passages will be constructed. The video (link above) shows these things, now part of the corridor just to the west. The under-the-road passages cannot be seen from the roadway although the critter-directing fences can.

Wednesday there was an awards/graduation event at the Geography Department. There was food for all, various certificates for many students, and announcements of financial support for selected individuals. There are five sources for the money ($30,000 this year) restricted to departmental students. See here:
Nancy began providing “current use” gifts in 2010. Since then, including this year, awards have been given to 23 students. In contrast to an endowment, current use funds are given out in the year they are taken in by the University. Endowment money is invested by the University Foundation and only returns are available for awards. It will take several years for that to happen for the Hultquist Endowment started this past January. [The recent plummet of markets is painful in this regard.]

During La Nina years, sea surface temperatures off the West coast are usually cooler than normal, and those cooling effects spread inland. This pattern is continuing. Going into June, our weather remains relatively cooler than average, windy, and damp. The Snow Peas and especially the yellow beans are very unhappy. I should have planted spinach.

Oh, Annie the last Brittany was born in March 16 years ago.

From the Naneum Fan