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

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.

Cherries on sale & fire

I had to pick up a prescription today, so a trip to the grocery store was necessary. I paid 81¢ for a three month supply of Lisinopril. A few keystrokes by a good programmer and these “almost a dollar” prices could be set to exactly $1. The folks had just broken open a roll of new pennies. I seldom see new change so that might have been the high point of the trip.

However, in the produce section there were two displays of fresh cherries. First, I saw a simple dark red variety. Very shiny and pretty, with the price of $1.99. I said no. A couple of counters farther on there was a display of Rainier Cherries. They too were pretty and, I thought, pretty pricey – even on sale.

Under the $6.99 price there is a small “Save $3.00”. I always ignore the “save” part and think about how many cherries one gets for a dollar. And, of course, how many pits. Grapes are easier to deal with – lower cost and no pits. I think the phrase “That’s the pits!” came about when a frugal shopper saw cherries for $10.00 per pound.
This morning I picked a pound of Raspberries – now, up to about 5 pounds in the freezer. I watered a few plants and sifted rocks out of dirt. Temperature was nearing 80 degrees. So I quit. High was 94 and it is still – at 7:30 – 88°. I guess I will walk up to the road and get the mail, and that will be enough exertion for the day.

Tuesday evening several of us gathered for a friendly game of Pétanque.
The number of players was restricted because of a fire in grass and brush that came from the north into the Mariposa Vineyard – where I help prune.

Phyllis and Cameron did not come. Another couple (Audrey & Phil) had gone to Wenatchee and were prevented from using the highway that comes past the vineyard. Oops! There isn’t a good (short) detour. It took them about 8 hours to get back to Quincy, from when they left in the morning. Normally, that would be a 40 minute trip.
The two photos are (left): looking to the northwest across Lynch Coulee during the burn, and (right): same direction looking at the vineyard when the fire had been contained, although still smoldering in a few ravines to the north. Containment was at 2,300 acres. That is 2.7 times the size of Central Park in NYC.
The areas outlined in red are burned. Unknown is the damage in the vines to the right, to the edge of the photo. Crews kept the fire away from the few houses in the area.

Cameron wrote: ” It came from the Northeast and was traveling at quite the pace which allowed it to blow past the mowed fire break that we maintain in that area. Much of my vaunted native vegetation is flammable at this time of year and thus burned under the vines, desiccating the leaves. There is some trunk damage, but the majority seem to be simply dessicated and I am hopeful those vines will activate dormant buds along the trunk and cordon. That would mean we don’t have to cut them back to the ground for retraining.”
We did however have to replace most of the above ground irrigation in the most toasted areas. We finished that project this morning {Sat} in a rush as we did not want to add water stress to the fire damage.

In other news, my father was from the Warren, PA area and met my mother there. There are still relatives living in Warren or nearby. This is where police are searching for an escaped killer. The killing was in Jamestown NY (18 mi. north) but then he kidnapped a couple from Warren County and went to South Carolina. I guess that is why he was in the jail in Warren and not in Jamestown. I know a few folks in Warren County. There are a lot of loaded weapons in the region, and not just the ones law officers have.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Hot and dry & clocks

There has been several days with temperature near 100°F, no rain, and not much wind. I have done outside things about 4 hours a day. Only watering a few plants (onions, plum and walnut trees, raspberry bushes) is critical. Sifting rocks from dirt is a “fill-in” chore that may never be finished.
Earlier, wind battered the onions and blew blossoms from cherry trees. Only a handful of cherries survived but I’ll have lots of onions, although not as big as they should be. The damaged leaves don’t have the nutrients as they should.

Independence Day came and went without a lot of fire activity. The few fires that started were aggressively and quickly put out. Because most are ignited by people they are quickly reported and responders are not far away. So far, lightning storms have not caused multiple fires in remote locations.
The U. S. has only 30% (acres) of the 10-year average burned area. Meanwhile since May, the U. S. has sent almost 1,500 folks to Canada to help with the many fires there.

Forced to being inside, I cleaned a little and cooked (stew for freezer). I unloaded the old music box on Kathy. She and Francisco came to the area-neighbor to pick up the horse they brought for breeding a few weeks ago.
She didn’t want clocks. I have two, as shown in the photos.
This one my father acquired and cleaned up. He had to make a new wood piece (one of the curved pieces) and refinish the case. The mechanism uses springs. As far as I remember it was not a family thing and I know not from whence it came.
The next clock was in the family. My father wrote a note saying it was owned by my great-grandfather Nels Anderson. He was the father of my grandmother Emily Hultquist.
Emily would have been my great-grandmother. When my father acquired this, I’ve no idea. There are two possibilities. It may have been tucked away in the Clarion house and I never knew, or it may have been with my Uncle John. Father moved into a trailer court, in Florida, after my mother died. Brother Dick sent it and some other things to me when he cleaned out father’s possessions.
This clock has been altered by someone – likely not my father, because he would not have done the things. The wood case looks nice.
I think it originally had a mechanism run by weights. There are small rollers at the top on both sides, not now used. There is a complicated mechanism inside that seems original but simply held in-place by a clamp.

The mechanism appears to be brass and on the edge near the right side top there is a shiny (aluminum) piece. That’s not original. The bottom half of the door is a mirror (see me taking the picture) on the outside, while the inside is ancient particle board (?). It appears to be gouged out so the door will close. Why? My guess is the mechanism is not in its proper seating.
Now for the sad: A General Electric clock is behind the original face. That is the small white circle in the middle. A cord comes down from behind the face and out through a hole in the back. I would have to take some of this apart to learn more. This I do not want to do. I think the alterations make the whole piece next-to-worthless, although the case could be used.

I still have a few other worthy things I need to re-home but guess only the first of the clocks would be of interest to anyone.

Two odd items:
– A letter from the bank informed me a hacking had occurred at a third party business that handles data processing for many banks. They suggested that I spend a few hours trying to protect identity and so on. I have procrastinated. I guess I should stop in and ask the locals.
– A letter from the pharmacy where I get flu and Covid shots arrived. That informed me an “incident” occurred that made Covid shots suspect (useless) from last December until May. I got a Covid shot in early November so I guess I need not worry about that. There has been so much wrong with the whole Covid experience, I likely would not have responded to this item either.
Procrastination seems to be a time-saving life technique of great value as one ages.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Garden news and gas price

Washington State is Number One.
That’s the case for the price of gasoline. What put the State in the lead? Tax at the pump was increased a few years ago. Roads need fix’en. True.

Mid-grade gas in Washington state is averaging $5.199 a gallon, premium is averaging $5.400 and diesel is averaging $4.952, according to AAA.

The thing that catapulted WA into 1st Place is the Climate Commitment Act that went into effect in January. Companies that emit CO2 gasses are charged a carbon offset fee based on how much CO2 emissions they produce. The more emissions, the higher the fee. Technically this is not a tax. Washington political types hate the word tax. It is not added at the pump. This “fee” seeps through into everything, but especially to gasoline.
Because it is new the amount it adds to the price of gasoline is unclear. It can only be an estimate. Those estimates vary from 46¢ per gallon to 66¢.

Tax for any state can be found at the AAA ‘url’ under the map.
Summer — and plants need water. Over the years this has become problematic. Technically this land has a water right. However, the water has to be diverted from the creek and flow across property of others. Some years are better than others. And over the years the little ditch gets overgrown and silted up.
Going back 100 years, it was the custom for folks to clean the ditches each spring. In recent years there have been fewer “men & boys” to get the job done. Also, the State has made it difficult to clear barriers in the streams. In the local case, the streams have partially filled in and redirected as Nature sees fit. Half the water that once came past the diversion for me and several others now makes a new loop and drops the water lower down – past – the out-take.
This year the stream carried enough water for about 3 weeks as fast melt of snow swelled the runoff. I watered some things.
Now I have plum and walnut trees and onions. I use the well water, about 30 gallons morning and evening. The well is not sufficient for lots of lawn or garden watering. I don’t try.
A storm this week provided about 120 gallons in barrels from the roof.
The temperature today at the airport was 93°F. In the bright sun it feels a lot warmer. This pattern is set to continue. Independence Day is expected to be 86, Thursday 91.
The onions take the sun and the heat fine, with water.
Wind is hard on them. This week the gusts began on Thursday afternoon, with the highest being 31 mph. The forcast for the region is for the wind to decrease Saturday night. Good.
Long day sweet and storage onion varieties do well in the northern states that have between 14-16 hours of daylight length. Onion bulb formation (aka ‘bulbing’) begins when a certain day length is reached. Short-day onion varieties begin to form bulbs when they receive 10 to 12 hours of daylight, intermediate-day onions need 12 to 14 hours of daylight, and long-day varieties require 14 or more hours of daylight.

Bulb size is largely determined by the number and size of the leaves at bulb initiation. The larger the tops (foliage area) at bulb initiation, the larger the bulbs will be.
Here day length reaches 14 hours on April 23rd. On June 17 we get 15:53 hr/min. It stays about there until mid-July when daylight will be decreasing about 2 minutes per day.
The decrease in daylight triggers the onions to “bulb” – the nutrients go from the leaves to the bulb, it gets larger and the leaves lose stiffness and yellow, then the erect foliage falls over. Harvest follows.

The oldest son of my oldest brother (and son’s wife) are visiting my sister in Parma Ohio. We had a phone conversation, mostly about the early days of my mother and father – his grandparents – and others of that time, the 1920s into the ’40s. Some stuff we know, some we can suss out, and conjecture fills the knowledge voids. Oh well.
Thanks Peggy, Rod, and Gail.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Summer begins

I started the week with carrying a check from Vanguard Mutual Funds to the CWU Foundation – that on Tuesday. I ended with getting a shipment of stainless steel Pétanque boules from a place in Hickory, NC. The final third of the Hickory wood flooring came and is under cover on the deck. Coincidence? I think not.
Small deer with white spots were here one day. I didn’t have my camera.

The last 3 days had high temperatures of 81, 84, and 88°F. Lows have all been in the low 50s. That’s of interest because tomatoes need nighttime temperatures above 55 to set fruit. I’m glad I didn’t plant any this year.
Besides the wind has been strong for weeks. Even the onions have a difficult time standing up.

Local wind turbine facilities pumped out a lot of energy until around Noon on Monday and then dropped to near Zero on the 21st.

Washington State has one nuclear facility. It is shut down for a few weeks in the spring every 2 years. The plant was off line for about 44 days, nine days longer than planned. During the outage just completed, 248 of 764 nuclear fuel assemblies in the plant’s reactor core were replaced with fresh fuel. This was the 26th shutdown and refueling since beginning in 1984.
On the graph above, note on the left-bottom a small purple arrow. That points to the time when the facility was “turned back on.” Follow the purple line to the right (this past week) and note that it steps-up rather than coming on all at once. Once it is up and tested, it may produce electricity at the same rate for 2 years until the next scheduled refueling.
[The brown line represents about 50 smallish facilities that burn waste of several types.]

We bottled Cabernet Sauvignon at White Heron on Thursday. I think there were 225 cases X 12 = 2,700 bottles. That is an estimate, ’cause I didn’t count. Afterwards we had wine with lunch.
Phyllis came down for lunch. This Monday she will have a second knee replacement surgery. The first one, almost 3 months ago, healed well and feels better than the one to be done. Good news, but she will be in the process of healing and physical therapy for the next three months. She will mostly miss harvest, except for watching from a recliner. Grapes a still green and hard.

I’ve watered onions twice this week and sifted and moved dirt around. Parts for the chainsaw came but I haven’t put them in. So, no cutting this past 2 weeks. I have split and stored about 97% of the dry rounds.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan