If you missed it, check out the previous post – The Grandstands.
Sunday, Dec 22
Started by sleeping in from a very late night (morning). Had a wonderful 1/2 hour talk with John’s 95-year-old cousin in PA. She is incredibly sharp. Then a nice conversation with Peggy, John’s sister, in OH. We will not be around Christmas Day, so thought we should get our wishes and calls in early. We were unable to reach John’s brother in CA.
Very much time tonight, with more needed in the morning, of scanning Christmas carols and printing into .pdf files to email to a lady who will join us Thursday to play the Grand Piano at Hearthstone. Ellen’s son Roger will be there, and he came without bringing his guitar, so I am carrying in the guitar we bought from Anne Engels (MT), and she and her son will be there. (She is visiting son Glenn in Ellensburg for another week). Makes it rather special. Now this morning I’m running off the music for him because Roger cannot play along with his mom’s music as it is in the wrong key for her Bb Clarinet. The chords are written in for the key the rest of us play in (two sharps lower). Luckily, I had created the songs for our pianist, so I just have to find those 17 files and click print.
Monday, Dec 23
I spent much time this morning on music printing Christmas music for the two guests of our group this Thursday at Hearthstone. I did not explain the guitar we bought from Anne Engels for John to learn on belonged to her late husband. John cannot make his beat-up fingers bend to form all the chords, or make all the notes, without touching extra strings.
While sitting in my recliner working on the music scanning, creating, and printing copies I saw a flash of white outside the window, which faces the front yard (fenced). There is a 20 ft. high Mountain Ash tree there with bright red fruit hanging and blowing in the wind. The wind was gusting to 45mph, and I told John, something just went by the window — maybe a bag was flying around. I saw it in my peripheral vision (so it is working), but I was not able to focus on it. He looked out the kitchen window to see 12 wild turkeys (Merriam) visiting us. Those inside the fence were eating the red berries that had blown off the tree. I took some pictures and videos from the kitchen window, moved to the front door, and then to a bedroom. John thinks the Ash fruit isn’t palatable, nor perhaps edible, until it has changed in some manner (freeze/thaw; fermented ?) hanging on the tree. Small birds such as Starlings will come and sample the fruit but then leave. Last February (we think) a flock of about 50 came and cleaned the entire crop off the tree in 2 days. So something changed. John’s new bit of wisdom is to not have flowers, flowering shrubs, or fruiting trees close to your doors because bees, dropping fruit, and birds are best seen and not experienced first hand. The Ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba) [look it up] is one we could grow here but do not because it smells like dog poop or vomit. See here for our local link to this tree; just 25 miles away.
So back to the turkeys. John took his camera and walked out into the pasture, and took some photos. Pretty cool.
Tuesday, Dec 24 Christmas Eve
Today has mostly been inside work, except for John’s morning tours of the pasture. Just after John made it back into the house, his brother Dick called from San Jose’, CA. We’d left a message on Sunday when calling everyone, and they were out and about. He was waiting for his sons to arrive and Kit was off to a local bakery. On Christmas Day the folks would head to other places. We had a nice talk, and he sounded good (he’s 11 years older than John). Also, we called our friend, Fred Joyal, to wish him a Happy Birthday today, and Merry Christmas to the family tomorrow in upstate Michigan. Later this afternoon, just before dark, we carried some jars & apples to one neighbor, and picked up two jars of apricot jelly she made and knows I love. On from there to another neighbor a mile away, to deliver some onions, a few potatoes, and some now less-than-fresh Honeycrisp apples. (John sliced and sugared enough apples for a large pie and still has 2 batches to do. They have lasted well.) They traded a package of venison sausage and a jar of strawberry jelly. I had a package with a cutting board in it, to give her, but I forgot and left it at home. [The “authentic Maple cutting board” is in a box with 3 seven ounce salami/sausage rolls and a triangular shaped 2 oz. piece of smokey cheese-food. We bought several of these packages (for gifts) at an after Christmas sale about 10 years ago and two of these just now surfaced. Well, the Maple cutting board still looks good, but we will trash the food.] Later in the evening, we made one more call to Pat Berlin, the daughter of his cousin we talked with Sunday. We think she is his “first cousin once removed.” I have never figured this relationship stuff out. Her birthday falls on Christmas day and we knew we wouldn’t have a chance to call her. She is also in PA, 3 time zones to the east. With John’s help, I worked on cleaning up the counters to get ready to make the food we will take to Christmas dinner tomorrow. John came in and put together a neat lunch, followed by making an apple/ blueberry pie and a cookie sheet of leftover dough with crushed pecans, sugar, and cinnamon. We had a piece of that for dessert.
I’ve been working on the email list to send the link below to all our friends. If you did not receive it, please go here.
It is our Christmas card to send to everyone before the end of the year, saying we will not get the 2013 newsletter out until after the New Year. 🙂
However, before I could send it, I had to transcribe the pictures and videos of the wild turkeys at our house today and yesterday and make the videos to put into YouTube compatible files. That took awhile, but I got them transferred, and you can reach them here:
At 11:00 p.m., I FINALLY got it out! Whoopee–a few returned with wrong email addresses. I now have to fix those loose ends, but that can wait for a new day.
Wednesday, Dec 25
Up early, to clean up and then work on fixing the Golden Health Squash dish. See below the beginning and ending of the process.
The photo above is only the smaller of the two Pyrex dishes we took to the dinner. Finally, after a late start, we finished in plenty of time to drive 20 minutes to our destination. We visited a lot and ate likewise. There were some good foods there we don’t usually have. The main meat dishes included ham and turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing, our squash, several different salads, many dips, including some fancy ones (salmon, artichoke), stuffed mushrooms, the hottest peppers filled with something less hot, I have ever had. Had to run get some cool drink to put out the fire. John passed on those. Also was a table of cookies (all decorated) and candies. We didn’t stay around for the cakes and pies, because they took a break to exchange gifts. We needed to get home for John to feed the horses and outside cats – they have him trained so he will feed before dark. I needed to locate the guitar I mentioned previously. I dusted off the case, and managed to get the strings in tune. It does have a tuner attached to its neck so the only issue is will it stay in tune? [it did, just fine]
Thursday, Dec 26
Today, going to play music at 2 places in the afternoon — all Christmas songs. I have a lot of stuff to carry. John decided against going in favor of working on his “firewise” project. I parked at the end of the driveway at the first place and made two trips. First was with my fiddle and carrier, and next with my guitar and another carrier (with music stands and music books). We had a great group, with some new members and visitors in the audience and in the “band.” Here is a run-down on the instruments: mandolin, two guitars, bells, accordion, two fiddlers, clarinet, and pianist (on the Grand Piano). The audience had individual sets of bells to jingle with us, and lyrics of the songs we sung.
Friday, Dec 27
We have lots of clean up in the house left to do, and I started this morning by making my way through 3 boxes in front of the door to our entry hall closet. I know we haven’t been in there for 5 years, because we have a coat rack on the wall beside the door, which holds all our vehicle keys, and coats/jackets of the season. I was looking for a special warm winter coat from my past and hoping for warm boots as well. I found both! I doubt the boots will work, however. The foam insulation (a low density, open cell polyurethane foam ? ) has deteriorated, and after wearing them an hour, I realized the insides were crumbling — so trashed them. John says he read on the side they were made in Italy. Later, I’ll look further in the same closet. The coat is perfect. John made some brownies and they smell delicious. We received an invite today to a Raclette (it happens on John’s birthday this year). So very excited. (That’s why I was looking for warm outside clothing). Also, another party on Jan 11 celebrating a new job in Yakima for the son (in Ellensburg) of a friend, but the party will be in Maple Valley, WA. Our attendance is waiting for the weather report on the Pass. Rest of the afternoon I have spent (still working) on deciding the playlist for our group for Jan & February. Now I have to put them in order in my book, and run copies for the new people. We just had dinner, and I am totally worn out, but it is only 8:00 p.m. Received a blast from the past–about our old Brittany, born in 1976, Dual Ch/AFC/CC Ramblin’ Chocolate Dandy. (See more on tomorrow’s write-up.)
Entered the song, Leaves, into my computer software. It is a song we have long done with our group, and it is very old. Many years ago the mother-in-law of one of our guitarists put a poem to music. Within the past 12 years, he wrote a 3rd verse, and I wrote the 4th and 5th. It’s pretty cool. Guess I should make a link to the lyrics for anyone interested. We localized the last three verses to the Kittitas Valley – as we are the Kittitas Valley Fiddlers and Friends.
Saturday, Dec 28
This morning I went walking with John and the Brittanys, and talked to the horses. They see so little of me, they weren’t sure of the change and the three newest ones stood 50 feet away and looked but decided that was close enough. I was all bundled up maybe looked like an apparition – the ghost of Christmas past. Now back to the correspondence with the fellow that had a pup out of our “Choc” — Dual Champion Brittany. He had a pup in the last century from him, and wants another from his bloodlines. My wonderful first-opened email of this morning was from Jeri Conklin offering just the pup he needs. The conclusion of getting information to the fellow, now in CA, ended at 6:30 p.m. and then an hour or so later, Jeri got back in touch with him, after I sent him a bunch of photos and history. I think it’s going to work out. As I told him, it will be a match made in heaven. Then, because I was too busy today, we never got this blog out. Hope you enjoyed John’s attempt at humor with his Grandstand thing. He sort of tricked me because the bush in that photo looks like one at the corner of our house – it is just a photo he stole from the web.
Hope your week was fine.
Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan