Saturday, Apr 26

This morning John embellished the blog I sent him late last night and we posted it, after a few revisions. He picked our first asparagus of the year. I spent a good time looking at every page of all three music books last night, described in the last week’s blog. Maybe I didn’t completely. One is a collection of Burl Ives, the other 47 folk tunes by a banjo player, and then another folksongs book. I found several songs I really wanted to have (and remember), but didn’t have in our repertoire. I’m so excited. So I got up this morning, and before my first cup of coffee, I copied several songs from the Folksong book: Michael Row the Boat Ashore (from my part of the country where I grew up, so that makes it very special). (It’s about the island life on the Georgia Sea Islands (St. Simon and John’s Island), and the Africanisms in the speech dialects of the Gullah speakers there). I have visited those islands as a kid, and sat with some folks while they weaved baskets from the sea grass blades. I have already today put it into the software (just the lyrics and notes for now, but will transpose for the clarinet player, and then add the chords to run for the rest of the group.
(Update – I added it to the songs for the next two months, and May 1st, this week, we sang it. It was a hit with all there, especially the audience. I put the chorus at the beginning, all 4 verses beneath, with a repeat back to the top for the chorus each time between the verses.)
Now let me list the others I copied this morning: Goober Peas, Sweet Betsy from Pike, (one guitar player has requested that in the past), Down in the Valley – we have parts of it in an old hand-scribbled score, but this will be easy to put in the computer (update, we added that song this week), East Virginia, and Drill Ye Tarriers, Drill – [from the French word for a drill, tarière ??], plus one of my favorites when I taught Urban Geography and actually had a picture I took from BART in San Francisco, of the Ticky Tacky houses, Little Boxes. (Pete Seeger made famous in 1964). I attached a song track from him to my PowerPoint. I enjoyed it, but do not know if the students did, because it was much older than any of them. The original song is from Malvina Reynolds and was inspired by a trip through Daly City, CA. See this for a related story with photos. In between that day of music, I accepted an invite to a Moose (Did she say Moose?) roast dinner tomorrow night in town with two couples. We’re taking the wine. Then I washed, dried, and put up a load of clothes. For dinner we had roast pork with mushrooms to enhance the gravy, plus some melted cheddar over the asparagus.

Sunday, Apr 27

I found a copy in one of the other folk tunes book from my friend, Anne in MT, to add to our music group’s repertoire. So geographic: Roll On Columbia ! (by Woody Guthrie). I shall work on it today to add to next month’s playlist. I just looked up some history on line and found this: In 1987, it was adopted as the official folk song of the State of Washington.
I also am not sure I have ever heard the state song, “Washington my Home.” I downloaded the free sheet music from the link, and will try to play on my violin to hear the tune or actually decided to look for a You Tube version on the web. Here you go’ I found one. The Tumwater Girls choir’s version is not the way I would like to hear it sung, but the pictures of the State matched to the lyrics is a nice touch.
I did go out this morning to take some photos of the blooming new Shiro, yellow plum, tree. Here is a close-up but click to see the ants.
White blossoms of a Shiro -- yellow plum -- tree with some ants on them
Our Plum trees came from these folks.
I have been working much of the day on two songs. The songs include a rewrite (timing, etc) and an additional verse to Gotta Travel On (Done Laid Around) plus Woody Guthrie’s Roll On, Columbia, Roll On. I thought it appropriate for Washington residents (dams and hydro power bringing electricity to the region), but it turns out some of our group didn’t enjoy the memory of Woody Guthrie’s political stance. But, the chorus is catchy for all the residents and us to sing along, and I particularly like two of the verses:

Green Douglas firs where the waters cut through
Down her wild mountains and canyons she flew
Canadian Northwest to the oceans so blue
Roll on Columbia, roll on

Other great rivers add power to you
Yakima, Snake, and the Klickitat, too
Sandy Willamette and Hood River too
So roll on, Columbia, roll on

Chorus: Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
So roll on, Columbia, roll on

The photo captions for most of the images linked to here can be read on these old newspaper prints. Click each one if you go.
John’s been moving dirt much of the day and baked brownies that we haven’t tasted yet. We might eat one while still warm before going to the moose dinner – just in case it is tough. Our wine was a hit too, and I had a couple of small servings of both white (Roussanne) and Rose’ of Syrah. The meat was a “little” tough, but quite tasty. John has learned to cook roasts so I can break the meat apart with a fork, otherwise I chew some and give it to the dogs. We had lots to go along with it: two cauliflower dishes; one with cheddar cheese, and the other like mashed potatoes with almond flour and butter stirred in, a green salad, and asparagus. For dessert, a cherry/pineapple pie w/ ice cream.

Monday, Apr 28

This afternoon I will go to town for SAIL exercise and back by CWU Geography to copy the music packets for the community, mentioned in last week’s blog.
I started thinking about preparing for a fasting blood draw for tomorrow morning. Cannot be there until 9:15 because of eating late (not good planning).
We finished the roast pork for dinner tonight, with carrots and mushroom gravy, and croissant whole wheat rolls with John’s homemade applesauce (from Honeycrisp and Romes). His strawberries on chocolate ice cream made a great dessert. In the image here John’s 96-yr old cousin Ethel holds a couple of Honeycrisp apples. She doesn’t ~look so good~ so sometimes we send her things. See the 4th item in the list here for ~Not so Good~.
Two very large Honey Crisp apples held by John's cousin in PA
Tuesday, Apr 29

Early morning was fasting blood draw. I checked by Grocery Outlet for cat food (still out), and came right home to eat breakfast. Managed to wash a load of dishes while John watered a few trees, flowers, and garden plants. The afternoon was spent arranging for pickup of a La-Z-Boy Luxury-Lift Power Recliner Chair. The story is rather involved, but now we have a replacement for the recliner patched back together last week – it is past its use by date. The replacement seems like a real deal. Time will tell. I got it for $170 and a chair we had in our shed. The traded tan chair was a swivel, lean-back,
Old padded brown chair tilt and rotate type
rocker we picked up at a garage sale years ago and never used. The La-Z-Boy chair looks like this one I found on EBay. The picture on the left displays how one can lift themselves out of the chair’s normal position, if needed. Not pictured is the normal chair position. All this is remotely controlled.
A blue chair that rocks up, left, to get you out; or reclines way back for resting rt.
The EBay asking prices range from $455 to $825.

Wednesday, Apr 30

Off to the Food Bank, followed by SAIL. Need to get home and go through the piles of stuff in the corner of the den where my “new” chair has to reside. Got home after stopping by Grocery Outlet and they still have no cat food. I brought home some leftover lunch (drumstick – I ate the large thigh), and some veggies – not many, pineapple, and a piece of strawberry pie. I ate mine in there and brought a piece to John. Then on to SAIL, where I shared on the free table, a few things found during John’s clean-up in the shed to make way to the tan chair, including such things as: Little teddy bear, a vase, some pretty pressed or dried flowers in 3 small frames with curved glass, and some other stuff, including 3 wicker baskets for rolls or bread. I had bought a plastic container for $1 and all the stuff inside was thrown in the deal. Now that it’s empty we can fill it with sorted clothes. On home to correct several songs in our new repertoire that we found while playing today at the Food Bank. I found John in the garden and he asked me to come out to the garden to talk, before I went into the house. I figured I would get a tour as the day before, to see the flowering fruit trees, the garden stuff, and the sound of the bees pollinating the flowers. As we were talking, our neighbor came down the driveway to pick John up to go build/repair/fence around his stallion. His father opened the gate and didn’t close it and the horse is out loose in their cow pastures. I will alternate fixing the music and cleaning around my old chair to make room for the new. We have to get it placed before Saturday night, when it is scheduled to rain. Actually, John moved it into the pole building to give me more time to clean up the area.

Thursday, May 1 MAY DAY (aka Beltane)

The day is celebrated in many places as a happy time but in the USA it has become a day of protest against our capitalist culture. Seattle prepared for and got violent protesters.
I started early working on changes to music and now must print off changed copies, insert in packets, and print all for Ellen, the clarinet player. I thought I needed to do them today, but realized she needed to bring two old ones, so when I called to remind her, she reminded me they were ready to go out the door and won’t return for a week. Saved me time I did not have anyway. Our group was large, but it went pretty well with the new stuff. The audience was okay with us practicing on them. Our tambourine player is a patient there, and she joined the group. Even though she is developing Alzheimer’s she still has fantastic rhythm, and a beautiful soprano voice, and recalls the words and tunes. That is an amazing part of seeing the value of music to the residents of the places we attend each week. Our neighbor, with the loose stallion, has a bad hip and can get overheated easily so working on the fence is an episodic thing. He came by for John – yesterday, they placed 2 dozen steel T-posts and today John will drive them into the proper depth with a tool such as the one seen in this photo.
Rt.: a man demonstrates driving a fence post using a red T-post driver; left the tape with embedded wire for the fencing
The next step was to string the electric tape (wires in the fabric) and another couple from nearby came to help. The main reason for additional people is to help prompt and direct the horse into the completed enclosure. All went as planned.

Friday, May 2

Our neighbor brought John a couple of large roasts to thank us. I’ve been up since 7:00 a.m. (early for me), working on sorting and cleaning stuff. Making slow progress, but went to scan something and found out our scanner is not working. John has been downloading new drivers for our relatively new Epson printer. I surely hope this fixes it, as I still have a lot of scanning work to do for the music group, to correct errors found yesterday. Good I stayed home today. The downloading took about 1.5 hours but there were no glitches and all is now installed. We tested on both computers, and we are back in business. No clue what caused it to fail. He first tried just getting new scanning software but that did not solve the problem. The full package of updates included a “firmware” upgrade to the printer which, we think, differs from the scanning software that is resident on our computers. I did not have to change anything on my laptop, so “firmware” is the word of the day and week!
During the waiting process, John sorted and handled some of the debris (bottles, cans, boxes) accumulated in the washroom and adjacent garage. We buy canned things in units of 12 in a short cardboard box about 2 inches high and covered (or not) in plastic. These things appear to have no useful afterlife! I loaded and washed a load of dishes. Back to sorting again, while he took the dogs for a short run and turned the horses into some grass for an hour. (The time went over an hour because he forgot and took a nap) – I should have because I’m very tired. I finally called my first geography teacher to wish him a happy birthday. He’s in Atlanta, GA and about 12 years older than I am. I waited too late in the day. He and his wife must have gone out for dinner. Made some progress with the piles of stuff near my chair. I found the missing October’s tax receipts folder, along with some other interesting stuff. Yes, I should have completed this clean-up last year, or before. It’s slow going. [John claims he read that smart people learn to handle paper just once – guess we’re not smart.] I must clean out the corner for the chair so John can unload it from the truck into the house. We may need a grocery trip for various things, including the canned cat food mentioned on previous days – but actually, now outside temps are up and yellow jackets are appearing as they find such food smells as attractive as the cats do. Thusly, the outside cats may get switched entirely to dry food.
We ate late, but oh, so good – Salmon burger chunked up and stir-fried with red peppers and mushrooms, and also just fetched from the garden asparagus served under a mound of melted cheese. Then a bunch more sorting and tossing, mostly recycling, newspapers, office paper, and magazines. I am now believing this should be done every day, or at least every week – and it only took 70 years to learn it.
All 5 cats were in to the cat’s haymow tonight to eat. And peaceful it was, thankfully. No cat fights needed.

Saturday, May 3

Now it’s Saturday morning, and just when I thought I was done, I got an e-mail. Jeri Conklin wrote that our dog Daisy and Jeri’s other dog Dice, a 7-month old puppy, both received a “leg” in a licensed Hunt Test this morning. The event was put on by the Northern California Brittany Club, at Kick Back Ranch, Penn Valley, CA.
I had to get on the AKC site to find answers to my questions because I have never entered a Brittany in a hunt test. I do know three titles are available, Junior, Senior, and Master. The titles go after the dog’s name. It’s JH for Junior Hunter, and for the title, a dog must receive qualifying scores at 4 “licensed or member” tests, with scored evaluations of four different hunting abilities (see below for my condensation of the rule book).
A Junior Hunter dog is scored on these abilities (two dogs are braced together, but they are not competing with each other–only the rules). All dogs are scored from “0” to “10” on each of the following:
(1) HUNTING: A dog needs to show a keen desire to hunt, boldness & independence, and a fast, yet useful, pattern of running.
(2) BIRD FINDING ABILITY: A dog must locate and point birds in order to receive a Qualifying score dependent upon intelligence in seeking objectives, use of the wind, and the ability to find birds.
(3) POINTING: Considerations includes the intensity of its point, its ability to locate (pinpoint) birds under difficult scenting conditions and/or confusing scent patterns. A “flash” point is not recognized. Finally, a dog’s pointing score shall not be influenced by steadiness to wing and shot.
(4) TRAINABILITY: Evaluation is based on willingness to be handled, reasonable obedience to commands, and gun response. If the handler is within reasonable gun range of a bird that has been flushed after a point, a blank pistol must be fired.

Daisy got 4 nines! Highest score of day for the junior hunter test! Now the phone call. Jeri had a good morning with Daisy and Dice, who found and pointed 3 birds each and did all they were supposed to do in the process. She stood for the flush for all 3, chased on the first, but not the second and third. And here is a picture taken today in California – to WA – to the world.

Daisy the young orange and white Brittany with ribbon and owner handler Jeri with orange vest

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