Winter is not over

Saturday, Feb 8

Tre’ is a 10 months old female Brittany. Friend Jeri Conklin in California raised Tre’ from a litter. I’m a co-owner. There was a field trail last weekend and we are proud Mamas.
Sonja Willitts of South Lake Tahoe was there. You have previously seen Sonja and her Britts Kip and Tug before in this blog, when they visited last year. Kip is the sire of the litter and has an orange/white/& liver (called tri) coat. Tug is a littermate to Tre’.
Tre’ won two 3rd placements, Open Puppy (11 starters) and Amateur Walking Puppy (12 starters). Open stakes (aka events) include Professional handlers, whereas the Amateur classes do not. The picture below (left) is of her at home in Browns Valley, CA sitting on a table with her ribbons, and (right) in the yard. Below those is another set of photos with (left) her and her brother Tug, but she did not wish to stack for the photo. Tug looks just like his grandfather (right photo). The grandparents are both living with us in Ellensburg. The next day, Jeri took the picture of Tre’ self-stacking in the back yard (right side of the first set of photos). Too bad I cannot “drop” that into the picture taken at the field trial grounds. The field trial was the German Shorthair Pointer Club of Sacramento, held at Quail Point Hunt Club, Zamora, CA. It is an all-breed pointing dog trial where Brittanys are allowed to compete. Please click on the thumbnails to see the photo.

Orange and White Brittany wearing ribbons (yellow) for 3rd place and also standing in yard watching something
* Cedaridge Kip’s Camelot Shay Tre’ * with her ribbons, and also in the yard.

(left) 2 handlers showing their dogs, one orange and white, one liver and white; (right) the granddad of the O/W

Tre’ (Daisy, Jeri calls her), Sonja & Tug Granddad Dan (aka Black Butte’s Chocolate Dandy)
[We don’t know what WordPress is doing with these, so please click the above image to see both full photos.]

On Saturday back in Washington State, it snowed up to at least 8″ before the night was over, and we drove on unplowed roads 30 miles to the Grange for a spaghetti dinner and program in honor of scholarships received by two high school students, for their college costs. We made it safely, and thankfully the traffic was sparse. I was happy I had on my work boots for the trip, to get back to the car, and that I had on some heavy waterproof Thinsulate gloves to scrape the snow off the car headlights, and side and back windows, while John did the front windshield that had frozen ice beneath the snow. We do not have to go anywhere tomorrow … and probably not on Monday either. We may get help from our neighbor with a plow blade on his tractor tomorrow, on clearing our long driveway.

The Spaghetti dinner (cheesecake for dessert) was for gathering donations to the Scholarship fund for next year. Each year two $1,000 scholarships are awarded to high school students going to a university. Students are from Kittitas County. Also, after the meal, we were serenaded by a group of 4 singers (who call themselves, Four Fun). In our local paper a couple days later, an article appeared in the Upper County part of the paper. You can see us in the photograph. If I seem somber and concentrating on my salad, it’s because the lady across the table had just knocked a glass of ice water into my lap. My pants were wet and it went into my lap, onto my chair, and made my pants wet on the bottom as well. It was chilly in the big room. But the good thing is that donations during the evening and the program/dinner fees will provide full funding for the 2014 scholarship awards.
Salad being served by Grange scholar with John on right and Nancy in center

Sunday, Feb 9

John cleaned paths through the snow, our biggest this year. Just before noon, our wonderful neighbor, Allen Aronica, came and cleared the driveway with a blade on the back of his tractor. Removing the snow from in front of our cars and trucks requires dragging it up the drive to Naneum Road and then pushing it off the embankment. Allen made 4 passes and then John cleaned up the small remaining parts.

8 inches of snow looking up drive (left); Allen in a green tractor pulling snow toward road (right)
First a view of the snow in the front yard & driveway. Then a view of our neighbor with his dog in the cab, plowing us out. What a super gift. We will make a batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies later, maybe tomorrow when the farrier has finished trimming 2 of our horses. We didn’t get them made until Monday and delivered just a few at his request. None of us need the extra weight. We made them with pecans and John’s own raised and harvested Carpathian walnuts. These came out a bit crisp rather than chewy. When heated in the microwave they are wonderful. Still, we are investigating this situation. Here is a link with some answers. Checking other sites, it seems there are lots of answers – they sometimes conflict. One idea is to use real butter. For years, we have used Canola Oil because of the lower level of saturated fatty acids. Besides, a field of Canola (Rape Seed) in bloom is a beautiful sight. Type the word * canola * into a search box using the images tab. Some sites will tell you Canola Oil is terrible stuff, very toxic, and so on. We are still here so the truth must be otherwise. In any case, we’ll try some butter in the cookies. John came in for a short break (shovel some, break – repeat), and we had some cashews and a piece of cherry pie. Not the healthiest of lunches, I guess :-). Will have supper later. I have been working on many different things inside the house.

Monday, Feb 10

An early morning call awoke me, a telemarketer. I was not happy at all. The farrier called yesterday and re-set a 9:30 appointment for 11:00, then arrived about 11:20. He used to blame his high school aged daughter for making him late but she is now out of the nest. John’s had the horses ready and he is dressed for outdoors so he finds small projects to do rather than coming in and waiting. I’ve got a check partially written, awaiting to see if he raised his rates this year. Same price $40/horse+$5 for travel. Sadly, we have one fewer horses than for many years. John’s helped move and hold horses, and has returned to the inside to fix lunch — apple/chicken sausage, with eggs folded over cheese (probably some would call it an omelet), with leftover cheese biscuits (his homemade with Bisquick last night). I’m done for today with music, emails, and am tackling paperwork. While I was sorting papers, John mixed up the cookie dough, and after dinner we made several batches. Got a call from a long time friend I used to call weekly, but had slowed down. It was a nice visit. Then I have been alternating chores with scanning music that I have upgraded to a bigger font for lyrics and for chord designations.

Tuesday, Feb 11

This morning we made a 9:30 trip to the Emeriti Geography faculty meeting at the Copper Kettle. On to the bank to cash small reimbursement checks we’ve received, and to the grocery for a couple of sale items, collected $3 on a lottery ticket (wish it had been more), and came home by our neighbors with empty egg cartons, trading cookies for 2 dozen fresh eggs. Tonight I must go to The Connections music playing / singing at Hearthstone, at 6:30. I’m not happy about driving in the dark, especially if we get any more freezing rain as last night. A 1/2 inch (at least) layer was on everything, including the cars and walkways, driveway, and roads this morning. On my way in, tonight, it started raining pretty hard, and the temperature was at first 33 and changed to 32 as I got closer to town. I slowed down. By the time I got there (12 miles), it was no longer raining and not any on the way home either. Weird weather. John had dinner waiting, but I needed a little rest before eating. Now we’ve eaten, and all is well. Considering all the ice, power lines down, and accidents in the Country, we are in good shape.

Wednesday, Feb 12

I canceled going to the food bank today, because Evelyn is not in town, and I don’t feel up to doing it alone with only one instrument. That gives me more time to spend on chores at home. I’ve been working on dishes, cooking hard-boiled eggs to make chicken salad, and a little time spent alternately on music. Last night late, I realized we had problems with an old standby, Smile the while -Till we meet again. I thought we had that correct in our music, for years, but when checking it for our new players, I realized we did not have the correct notes on the last two bars of music. I’m rewriting the end of it, which we have probably just been doing it by ear and memory. The chords are correct; just the notes are wrong. I need it completed for new people (see Saturday below). Also, have been alternating on my jobs list sends of announcements that have piled up over the past couple of days. I send a few out each day, or every other day, occasionally. Then, I must get in some filing and cleansing the clutter. I found out yesterday I can get to my on-line banking and request a check be written and sent to someone. That saves me the cost of a check, of postage, and gives me a record on my statement (along with the images of my canceled checks). I knew about automatic withdrawals, but not that pay-bill feature. Really cool. Yesterday, John gave me a Wall St. Journal article to read about banks doing away with free checking. I hope our bank holds out. I can do without the interest (that we haven’t had in many years), but to have use fees of any kind added would not be nice. It was bad enough paying through the roof for duplicate checks (which I haven’t done yet since the price more than doubled), and went back to old checks to use up (some went back to the 1990s and had the prefix, 19__ on the top. Also my social security number was printed that is now verboten for reasons of potential identity theft problems. I blacked them all out). It’s sunny today and warming — a heat wave, 40+. John went out, while the ground was still frozen, and drove loops all over the pasture to make it easier for him, the dogs, and the horses (and cats) to get around. Truly a heat wave today, eventually going to 50 !! Tonight he made a pie from the last of our Honeycrisp apples. He had 7 in plastic in our old refrigerator. Only one was not usable – from last fall. That’s a long time without the *controlled atmosphere* (CA) the commercial packers use.

Thursday, Feb 13

Rehab center for music. We had an abundance of guitars, and one fiddle (5 guitars, a clarinet, and me). It went fine. Our new players (Bass & Charango) did not make it because of cold or flu symptoms, but they hope to make it this Saturday. If they have the flu they surely won’t. The snow – 8 inches – has turned to slush – 3 inches – and made feeding horses and exercising dogs a bummer. John did take an hour to clip some of the Hawthorne tree branches into small pieces to add to one of the brush piles. The thorns are dangerous and the wood is tough, say in contrast to Elderberry that breaks easily.

Closeup of an inch long thorn on a WA Hawthorne
I stayed home. I missed the Adult Activity Center’s Valentine’s Day party (John and I attended last year), and this year they planned a lunch of wild rice with roasted veggies, and a chocolate fountain. See here on the web, if you don’t know. John says we are probably the last people in the USA not to enjoy one until last year. We get a quarterly schedule for all places run by the City of Ellensburg (example the community pool, and exercise area), and my picture was included this year (from last November’s Veterans Day party there). I’ll put in a copy below. You can see a few of the opportunities for members. Many more exist each week. It’s worth the money to join for the whole year. That’s where I attend first Friday monthly potlucks and my SAIL exercise class meets MWFs each week.
Nancy in a USA Flag-like vest; with others at the Adult Activitis Center

Saturday, Feb 15

This is a music gig day at Briarwood. Snow is beginning to fall. Storms are lined up over the Pacific Ocean for thousands of miles and headed to an area from southern British Columbia to northern California. Here at the house we will get snow this morning but mist or light rain later. In the Cascades and on the higher volcanic peaks most precipitation will fall as snow. Between breaks the snow will crust and then it will snow more on top. The perfect recipe for avalanches. A former student works as an avalanche control specialist at Snoqualmie Pass, so I have an interest in these things. He, John Stimberis, is mentioned in the first link below. His goal is to cause the snow to slide when he says so, then they clean it off the road. First is a story about how they work, and next is a video that shows a slide and the cleanup.
I’ve just returned from music and food. Here are my notes so John can post this. I will put some photos on the web to start next week’s blog. But, first I will discuss the new members who joined us today. I was so excited to have another fiddler, who is married to our new bass fiddle player. I have met him at the food bank where he volunteers, and I knew he was a violinist. He once borrowed my violin and played some nice classical pieces. However, I was surprised that he was the husband of the bass player. I didn’t meet her until she showed up to play her first time with us. She was the one mentioned above who had a cold so thankfully, it was not the flu, and they were there today. Our 92 year old guitar player Sandy from Easton drove down with Maury (guitar) from Cle Elum, and Roberta & Tim (guitar & Mandolin) were there with me, Benj (fiddle) and Megan (bass). It was a success – particularly since this was our first time playing together. I had one of the residents take our pictures so I will put them on the link to start with for next week’s blog. I should have taken pictures of the tables of food and desserts and I didn’t think to. Today they prepared a great Oriental chicken salad, whipped cream/Jello/fruit salad, cornbread, guacamole and chips, celery filled with cream cheese mixture, a large pot of Taco Soup, which was more like chili. For dessert, a whole table with many different choices, including a wonderful strawberry pie (with the kind of strawberries in a thick sauce made into a very berry sundae at Costco), valentine cookies, chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, peach filled pastries, and brownies. To drink was hot apple cider, coffee, and water. John stayed home to work on the blog, exercise dogs, feed horses and deal with a bit of snow where we walk. On my way home I stopped off at my neighbors to feed her cat and to take in her mail.

Hope your week was fine.
Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan