Saturday, Jan 11
We decided not to risk the weather and stayed home rather than driving across the pass to Maple Valley to celebrate our friends’ son getting a job as a firefighter in Yakima. Considering he interviewed with 253 others, makes it pretty special. However, we didn’t want to be driving late afternoon in snow and rain and 46 mph winds on the pass, and then coming home in the dark back over the same pass where they were predicting 16″ of snow.
It snowed on us here after dark, but the day started sunny, turned to cloudy, and then rained some tonight too.
Thus, with the storm in the Cascades and us house bound, I worked on the blog and on the web page for last Saturday, regarding the Raclette for 2014. John didn’t do much of anything useful (his opinion).
Sunday, Jan 12
Kittitas County’s population is located like 2 bags of beans at either end of a canoe. We are in the southeast end and the “Upper County” (UC) folks are toward the west and north. A friend in the UC was using a blender and something ruptured and slung mayonnaise around the room. I wrote that it bit the dust, but John fails to see how dust and mayo relate, so we changed it. Still, it is gone. I knew we own a nice Panasonic blender we haven’t used since we arrived here in 1989, but where, I did not know. John is slowly taking things we don’t use and putting plastic bags around them and stashing them out of the way. He found and unpacked the blender and all its parts – apparently a bit dirty when he wrapped it. It still works well and, so I cleaned it up. Here’s a photo assembled and disassembled to show the parts. It has buttons and dials – so 1980s, but doesn’t talk back when you want it to do something.
The winds have been very high here tonight. Just now there was a humongous crash out back. Could be a small plane (no fire though) or a big tree, but it is too dark to see what or where. At least it didn’t hit our power wires but the storm’s not over. Ignoring the action outside, John fixed a great stew for a late dinner. Going to bed with 35 mph gusts that have sounded higher all day.
Monday, Jan 13
This morning after exercising the dogs, John found the two trees that went down in the winds last night. He’s now taken photos. The largest came down about 45 yds from the house, snapping off about 15′ up. He measured the diameter at 18″. On its way down, the big tree (or a branch from it – we don’t know yet), hit another smaller one about 10″ diameter and brought it crashing down. It’s no wonder the sounds we heard were so loud.
Some limbs on the trees (there is a 3rd one about 400 feet farther away) are dead but most will have to be cut, stacked and dried for eventual firewood. Winds are still whipping, at 40 and 42 mph gusts, and blew all night as well. I’ve been working on books and other small email and house chores. John stays away from the trees when it blows like this but can still exercise the dogs and do a few things. A local EBRG joke goes like this: Visitor says, “Does the wind always blow like this?” And the old resident says, “Well no, sometimes it blows harder.”
Tuesday, Jan 14
We went to the Emeriti Geography Faculty meeting and 3 spouses were there to enjoy the morning. We solved many problems of the world, or at least had viewpoints expressed. The father of one of the ladies had a bar (saloon) near the waterfront in Seattle way back when. She told a few stories. Maybe her father knew my carpenter grandfather although he did not live close to downtown. After a couple of hours we went on to Super 1 for the cans of tuna fish they were out of last Thursday, when we were there. We went by a day-care school (in a church) to drop off the blender. The young daughter goes there while her mother works. The day care is run by our neighbor and we know others with connections to the Grace Episcopal Church so I dropped off a gift for another friend who works there. It’s a little church-looking music box that plays Amazing Grace. Came on home by way of another person who gave me 6 wooden clothes pins for holding our music in the Ellensburg wind. Got home and did a bunch more chores, and then turned around and went back to town to play music at Hearthstone. A beautiful moon and no camera, but my friend, Glenn Engels, took one and I asked him for permission to publish here. Here is what he sent; a nice memory of what I saw, especially the halo colors and clouds in the background.
Wednesday, Jan 15
Off to the Food Bank and SAIL exercise. I took an ancient but little used heating pad to Evelyn, old (still in an unopened box) tea to SAIL, and a Gospel album CD to Judy, a member of the class. It’s been a crazy day helping neighbors, and going around town. One 87 yr old lady fell and broke her arm. Another needed to show us her hogs and chickens, and give us some fresh eggs in return for frozen berries from our garden, and 10 egg cartons, 6 of them larger than a dozen. I went to play music at the food bank soup kitchen and met a homeless couple from N. Dakota trying to find work in our town and living out of their car (with a cat). I tried to introduce them to people who might be able to help. They were there getting a good meal, and enjoying our singing. We ate with them afterward and talked to them about their arrival from the wind and cold of Bismarck, ND. They were both looking for jobs, but it’s strange coming from a place where the economy is booming. Likely, more of a story must exist, but that’s all I know. Then I left for the Senior Center to meet and do things there related to the SAIL exercise class.
Thursday, Jan 16
I went to Dry Creek for music – a great turnout. Clarinet, Keyboard, 3 violins, Bass Fiddle, a singer with her Timbrel, Banjo, and 3 guitars. Two of our newest guitarists were there from the Upper County: Maury Martin, from Cle Elum, and his 92 yr old buddy, Sandy, from Easton, who is an excellent guitarist.
Afterward, I drove by a local florist where a young woman named Carolyn works, in order to pick up some knitting yarn she donated for me to give to the lady that knits for the Sr. Center. Now I have to spread it out with some of her handiwork for a photo to include with a thank-you e-mail to the gal who donated it (on line to Buy Nothing Ellensburg). I’m going to put a picture of me in her scarf at the Jan 4 deal, to the knitter, when I give her the yarn, with a thank you note. Maybe I can get a photo of two or three of our players, using the fingerless gloves in a chilly place. More yarn is supposed to be coming from another person, next week. This woman is quite generous with her time and doesn’t charge anything for her service. She will accept donations for the cost of the yarn, but I don’t think many people ever think of asking or donating money. I came up with the idea of asking for yarn from people in the community. So far, so good; maybe more to come.
We went to our local Audubon meeting tonight, taking our dues, to pay locally, because the National Audubon Society does not give any money (from dues) to the local chapters. We can get by without another magazine frequenting our mailbox. We disagree with the national policy. Our local chapter has a nice monthly newsletter and presents programs and bird field trips throughout the year. We heard and saw a colorful presentation by a woman on the “Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum & Winter Birding in the Sonoran Desert,” presented by Cricket Webb, a local chapter member. John and I met Bill & Martha Smith (he retired from Anthropology and she from the Cultural Museum at CWU), and we visited, after not really having had a nice conversation in about 3 years. My first several years here, Bill and I team taught GIS classes with a geologist and another geographer, so it was a neat mix of disciplines. We’ve seen Bill and Martha briefly in passing at Christmas parties. We have all four visited the Arizona museum in the past, John and I a long time ago, in 1976, (it got to 117 degrees that day in Tucson) when we were there to give a paper at the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers meetings, of which I’m still a member. For those of you who knew us from our Univ. of Idaho days, the paper was on the Rise and Fall of the Idaho Wine Industry, (particularly focusing on the Troy Winery, in the town where we moved to in 1974). Back to birds: folks find dead birds and freeze them and bring them to the meetings before passing them on to the biology department at CWU. There was a Cedar Wax Wing and a Cooper’s Hawk brought tonight. They need an internet link at the meetings because there are a couple of look-a-likes for the Cooper’s Hawk, (they discussed a Goshawk too), but this was a young one, and no one was 100% sure of the identification. We use the Cornell Bird Guide. Once there, under “All About Birds” click on “Bird Guide.” Now that we have checked both birds descriptions in the guide, I’m curious to see the bird’s head again to see the marking over the eye brow and the design on the tail feathers of stripes — mentioned that evening in the audience comments.
Friday, Jan 17
I finally succeeded in printing a picture for Jim Cummings with more to come and will give them to him tomorrow. They are from the Veterans Day honoring celebration at the senior center, back in November. You have already seen one of the pictures with me and two veterans in front of the flag, with me and my violin, and sequined “flag” vest. I worked more on cleaning clothes (many towels, work clothes, and other stuff), in the kitchen (John is a messy cook), went through a box of academic materials piled in the hallway under dirty work clothes, in front of a closet door I needed to access to look for some puzzles (see below). Re-homed all the good stuff and recycled the rest. Tossed all old overhead transparencies. We have stuff from at least 4 eras of technology that are all antiquated. Lots to toss. Found some neat stuff I forgot I had and contacted a friend who has taught a Wine course at Yakima Valley Community College to see if he wants some of our valuables we used in teaching the course: Wine, A Geographical Appreciation, for a dozen years. I found some puzzles in the closet I must have picked up at a yard sale. I will donate to the AAC. One has 500 pieces and the other has 1500! I was hoping there were some with fewer than 50 pieces, because we know a young lady whose brother is recovering from a brain aneurysm and they need to exercise and rehabilitate his brain. Meanwhile, I wrote my friend in MT who just lost her husband, who had a brain injury, and I remembered she had puzzles he worked with. Most of his had 100 pieces, but are very nice puzzles. Next time she comes over to see her son here in town, she will bring them, and I’ll pass them on.
At one of our field corners the dogs have a tendency to keep going – toward neighbors with various animals and most recently chickens. Their youngest son went to help a friend’s family butcher and came home with a dozen live ones. How neighborly. The male Britt took a jaunt over there a couple of days ago and had to be chased home. John cleaned brush and downed limbs from the corner and built a short barricade/fence that leads to a turn and return path. The rest of the ground there is so filled in with brush and fallen trees he thinks the dogs will now not go through. Today, he removed part of a fallen tree that landed across a path that goes near a spring in our “woodsy swamp” or “swampy woods.” It is along that trail that John sometimes sees Great Horned Owls watching for mice or having lunch or whatever owls do while sitting in trees.
Saturday, Jan 18
We took off for town this morning to Super 1 Foods for an early bird sale and loaded up on things we use anyway. Managed to save $17 off usual prices: pop, butter, cheese, and navel oranges. Ran into an old friend from CWU, also retired. She is an historian. We agreed we don’t have enough time and wonder how we managed to teach full-time all those years. We stopped at a coffee house for me to pick up another freebie – a glass boot mug, I’m going to give to our new pianist (who is from Texas), so she and her husband can have good southern iced tea. They will have to share; there’s only one.
The last place we went was to Briarwood Commons (a retirement community where they have their own apts for independent living), but they are quite super with potlucking all sorts of things to feed us after we give them music for almost an hour. Today, it was chicken vegetable soup, lasagna, small chicken and egg salad sandwich halves, fruit cocktail in red Jello, cashews, chips and a ton of desserts, including chocolate frosted chocolate layer cake, white frosted red velvet layer cake, peanut butter cookies with a chocolate kiss atop, zucchini bread with pineapple, and a large very good (I don’t usually like) pumpkin pie.
The fog is settling as ice crystals (rime) on everything. By morning it may really be picturesque. Not quite enough yet. I hope we get some blue sky and sun tomorrow to take photos. That’s always a favorite thing for me to do and I have a newish camera to do it with this year – if it happens. Sometimes wind knocks much of it off before the right picture-taking weather arrives.
Hope your week was fine.
Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan