July Celebrations

Sunday, June 29

John and I spent a lot of time finishing the blog, and finally got it posted after 1:00 p.m. He took the dogs for their morning run, and while I intended to get on with assembling all the copies of music I ran last week, to be ready for July 3, I haven’t been able to squeeze it in yet. After we posted the blog, John put a small beef chunk in the crock pot with the very last of our flat red onions from last summer.
He added a can of small whole tomatoes – more stuff to be added in a few hours. I have been doing a multitude of things with more to go. Winds got to a high last hour of 39 mph. I think John will come in to rest awhile. He’s been watering trees and both gardens, and in addition, moving the water around the pasture, from the rapidly declining flow in the irrigation ditch. I have decided to start timing myself to keep changing tasks and not spending all my time on one task, losing track and progress on others. We delivered two 2# packages of strawberries to neighbors. From one, we got a dozen fresh eggs in return. We ate snacks or in my case, leftovers, for lunch. I worried over plans to be away a week, starting July 14, and still have a lot to do to get ready. We have yet to prepare strawberries picked yesterday for the freezer. I do not know if he will pick more tonight or not, or wait until morning.

Monday, June 30

John started by picking 6 pounds (at least) of strawberries. I sorted and we delivered some to neighbors. It was a 37th wedding anniversary for one, so I put a very special pick in the center of her box – this one is cute. Click to make big.
This is quite flat and seems to be a rare trait of the Jewel variety.
Morning working on music plans, strawberries, dishes. Now to sort and combine the music I Xeroxed last Friday to use this Thursday. Funniest thing that happened today amidst John picking many pounds of strawberries was a small skunk at the other end of the row on which he was picking. They have narrow pointed heads and it stuck its nose through the chain-link fence and pushed on through. Amazing. Must be a baby or a small one. Guess we can start putting berry-waste back in the compost pile and let them eat there!

Tuesday, July 1

HAIRCUT at 1:00 p.m. and back home to sort more strawberries to take to town tomorrow; meaning now we must spend time cleaning the blemished ones (Owie-berries) we sorted out, to use for our frozen needs throughout the year. It was suggested we take a photo of one of the Cabot berries with something more exciting than a quarter. John had a 2 $ bill in his wallet, so here you are:
Strawberry in Tea Cup July2014
The container holding the berry is a 6 oz. tea cup – first use we have found for these things in many years.
As well as cleaning strawberries, I sorted some for the neighbors and we fixed my 61-key music keyboard to go to the WOTFA workshop for accompaniment use in the Hot Shots class (young very good fiddlers) – taught by my teacher’s daughter, Katrina, who is a world champion fiddler and also left handed!! If you do a web search on katrina nicolayeff , you will see her credentials and performing in different competitions. She is a very nice gal too, and has a couple kids of her own. We had to check the keyboard, clean the dust off, find the connectors, test it, then John fixed a problem with the power cord, and helped me roll two heavy-duty extension cords to accompany the instrument. It’s not in a case (we bought it used, standing in a home), so we have to wrap in a bedspread.
We are working in the a/c comfort of our home. It is 94 at the airport, and 89 on our front porch. When it cools down, we’re going to take strawberries to two appreciative neighbors. We also put up a 2-quart bowl full, in 8 oz packages.

Wednesday, July 2

Evelyn and I played music at the Food Bank’s Soup Kitchen today as a precursor for tomorrow’s performance with six other musicians at the Adult Activity Center. To go with our music, the Food Bank had a very patriotic dinner, served by servers dressed in red/white/blue, or flag type clothing. One of the volunteer cooks made a great chicken lasagna, veggies with potatoes, green salad, and a very special “flag” cake (see below). She has been a professional cook in the past, and it shows.
We had 23 people at SAIL exercise today, and while there, we found out that around 90 people are expected to be at the 4th celebration tomorrow. I took strawberries to Carole P, CJ, Joanie, & Marilyn (who gave us some eggs, in return). Joanie offered us some cherries, but we have a lot coming on our trees – their part of EBRG is about 1,000 feet lower than we are out here on the Naneum Fan, so their growing season is ahead of ours by about a week.
Before dinner, we made a Cherry-Blueberry-Pecan Kittitas Cobbler to take tomorrow to the celebration. Cleaned more strawberries tonight and froze six 8-oz packages.

Thursday, July 3

Made it to town and the AAC in time to set up, put out our dessert, and get some food before we had to perform. Food consisted of hamburgers, hotdogs, potato salads, baked beans, a variety of potluck salads, such as deviled eggs (my favorite), some Jell-O/fruit salads, green salads, and a table of desserts. Ours was a success.
Our Cherry-Blueberry-Pecan Kittitas Cobbler
[ask if you want the recipe]
From 12:15 to 12:45, our group played patriotic and American folk songs. It seemed to be a big success, with lots of compliments and comments. The audience numbered in the nineties so they had to share lyrics, as we only had 43 copies. Lots of good voices and great participation, on 13 songs, ending with the Star Spangled Banner, Acapella (except for Megan on her big bass fiddle – pictured below). Everyone in the room stood, faced the flag, and proudly sang. It was our last song. An older woman came up to me afterwards and thanked me for our tempo – on our national anthem, being cheerful, and “not like a dirge, because our country is very much alive and not dead.” I’ve never heard that comment before, nor do I know that I have ever heard it sung really slowly. Music came from an accordion, clarinet, fiddle, bass fiddle, banjo, two 6 string guitars, and one 12-string guitar. John’s doing the picture taking, so not in these.
Megan and Nancy (a selection from 1st image)
I took some strawberries to our 84-year-old guitar player, Gerald, in frozen packages for putting on his ice cream. On the way home, we stopped by the store to get sugar, lettuce, pick up my meds, some colas for John, and some chicken to grill.
There was a grass and brush fire today on Manastash Ridge between the River and I-82. It traveled rapidly and burned around the many towers but did not threaten any homes. The winds were 40 mph in the valley that day and probably higher on the ridge. Thankfully, it was contained by the next morning.
manastash-fire-2014July3-air view from south
(From KOMOnews), this aerial view is from the south. We live on the north edge where the yellow dot is. If you look carefully at the yellow dot you can see it is on the alluvial fan (triangular type land form feature), green from water in creeks coming from the hills on the north side of the valley. That’s why we refer to ourselves as being on the Naneum Fan. The distance to the fire is about 20 miles. The green curving arrow points to the Yakima River flowing south through the hills. The orange dot shows the approximate location of the person who took the 2nd photo (From Daily Record).

Friday, July 4

Enjoyed the holiday doing nothing, but John hung our flags at the end of the driveway. Guess, I should take a photo, but currently it is too hot. While there, he put up the poles so the horses could graze under the cherry trees and nearby. The tallest, Cheyenne, sampled the cherries but quickly returned to the lush grass at her feet. It has been about 4 years since the cherries graced these trees and the bird population hasn’t learned of them. A few years ago John put a systemic insecticide on the ground. This is a well known one, and the one we used — Bayer Advanced. It must still be in the soil and/or tree (or all died) and now in the leaves – there are no aphids and no ants with all the mess. Trees and cherries are beautiful, although not especially large – there are many, many, many. Almost ripe and very colorful. While the horses grazed John picked and watered strawberries. Then we sorted and cleaned a few to slice & sugar for eating. Most of my day has been on the computer, but I need to change chores and do some sorting/filing of receipts. I just sent my Independence Day wish for 2014 to my Facebook page, and – here it is for those of you who do not do Facebook.
My happy Fourth of July wish to all, especially my mother’s side of the family. My mom was born in Seattle, WA, Aug 27, 1914, the 3rd child of the Wilkins clan.
To my Wilkins relatives on Facebook: Angie Cameron Wilkins, Sara Wilkins, Wilkins Family Reunion, Cindy Wilkins Hydrick, Lauren Wilkins Beauchamp, Bob Wilkins, D’Ve Wilkins, Michael Wilkins, Remy Wilkins, Anne Redding, Celeta Arden, Kerri McGinty, Mandy Hydrick Hawver, and others who know of my connection to Seattle, through my grandfather (and for some of you, your great grandfather, John Benjamin Wilkins. Please pass this along to other family members you know (not on my list above). I don’t have many family members as my friends on Facebook. I will try sending to through email too to those for whom I have emails.
John Benjamin Wilkins worked as a carpenter in Seattle, WA on this building, and their first 3 children were born there before they returned to Hickory Hill farm outside Guyton, GA.

Note this link below is different from the link I sent to the family in email and posted on Facebook on the Fourth of July. KOMOnews removed that article for some reason. This is the closest match John could find, and it is even more interesting, as the Smith Tower is for sale.
Link to Smith Tower turns 100.
Smith Tower
Smith Tower in 1914 in postcard view above.

John and Susan Sykes (my cousin) went through the Smith Tower when they were back in Seattle, and another cousin’s daughter, Kerri McGinty, heard about it at the reunion, and toured the building while she was in Seattle later, with her husband, John. Did you notice? We have many Johns in our family.

My John went back tonight to take down the flags, and I gave him my camera, because I never made it up to the road. We have a pole (right side of photo) but no cable to the top. Our large flag is tacked to a 1×2 and hangs on that. Flag etiquette will have the stars on blue part (called “the union”) on the observer’s left. Nancy says so too – which makes it so! But John says “the wind knows” – look at the two small flags. Reverse the wind – he doesn’t think he can do that.
Then, he came back and started grilling our chicken, squash from our garden, along with fresh mushrooms from Costco.
After chicken was grilled over charcoal with apple branches providing their flavor, John grilled the veggies. The yellow squash is the first of the season from our garden. The final plate of food is above.

Thank God, our neighbors were reasonable about the fire danger and high winds, and did not set off fireworks in the tinder-dry conditions. That is a first, but maybe they were aware of the fire yesterday. Yesterday, we also had DNR helicopters with water buckets flying north over us toward Naneum Canyon, but we never heard about that fire’s location and did not see any smoke.

Saturday, July 5

We spent the morning on yard chores, house chores, sorting strawberries, and John picked some of the first nice Bing type cherries, plus a few more strawberries. After noon, we drove around our large rural block to deliver fruit to Krista, Lorene, Allen, Pat, Celia, and Louaine. We gave mostly strawberries to all, with some cherries thrown in to all but a couple of folks. One is getting cherries from their neighbor, and our other neighbors have visitors from the west side; those families are coming over tomorrow to pick from our trees. That saves John the effort. We have plenty, as long as the birds stay away.

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