Travels Away from the Naneum Fan

Friday, July 13 Ira Spring

We only received these photos this week, and you have heard in last week’s blog that John was working there while I was here. So, Saturday is missing because you already have heard about that, when the blog was published last Saturday.

Ira Spring was a photographer and Harvey Manning a writer. Together they published hiking guides. The sign on the bridge says “The Spring Family Trail Fund.” He died the year I did my first work with WTA – 2003.The crew at Ira Spring Memorial Trail

Sunday, July 15

Started awful at 3:00 a.m. with both of us awakened by a cat fight outside the bedroom window. John was scheduled to get up in an hour to leave by 4:30 and was so wide awake he stayed up. I was going to go back to bed, and thought he should too, but he said he wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep. We both stayed up. It took him longer than expected to load the cherries he was taking along today (picked, cleaned, and dried yesterday), but also he packed boxes of cans of cherries to send home (needing cleaned before eating), with crew and staff members. In a cooler, he had in a large container of cooled cherries (all Rainier) to share at lunch & snack times with the WTA crew working at Mt. Rainier on the Wonderland trail today.

About 3:30 a.m. he asked if I could fix my small handheld camera for him to take for pictures. Unfortunately, I needed a bunch of time to clean off space and charge the battery. I have two batteries, so I could plug one in to recharge completely (and it did before he left), and use the one in it to free up the storage. He probably will only take 4 photos, but the process needed to be done and ended up allowing me to find some missing email addresses I had stored in the case, many moons ago. Mt. Rainier, Wonderland Trail, a slice of an old Douglas Fir that began growing in 1293; so says the center tag. Other tags, towards the outer rings point to rings added during historical events.John carrying a split Cedar rail for project stairs. Work crew poses.

Of all things, two of the cats came to the front door for vittles. It was nice and cool, so they were happy to be served. We continued working and John took off at 4:28 a.m., just as the other cat arrived to be fed. I stayed up working on the computer until 5:30 a.m. and then tried to go back to sleep. I don’t think I succeed until after 6:00 a.m. but I did then sleep until almost 9:00 a.m. I was expecting my neighbor to come to pick enough pie cherries for one pie, between 9:00 & 10:00. He called at 9:25 to say I did not need to come out to help. The tree was in the shade. That was actually a relief, because I wasn’t yet in the best of shape.

Cherry picking was done at 9:48 and I saw him driving away. He called after leaving to say they are red but really not ripe yet, so he will return when they are riper. He saw the little “bambi” and she is still very spotted, but mom was not in sight (probably in the bushes watching her little one). See below, I got some photos tonight of the little fawn, with her mom. I really don’t know “her” gender.

Now 11:20 and I have finally started feeling better after being sickly at 9:20. I just enjoyed a large bowl of All Bran covered with peaches. The temperature on our front porch is up to 90° but tomorrow is going to be over 100°. Maybe today. Right now at the airport @ 11:53, it’s 89°, with no wind to cool things.

We managed to cool down the house last night with all the windows open, and just now it was still 71° in the interior hallway where our thermostat is. I have the a/c set to turn on at 76°, so I will listen and see how late that is.

I do need to make time to finish loading dirty dishes and do that run. I may take a nap this afternoon after I finish processing the pictures for 7/13 and 2 more videos. Also need to send out the first call for players (count for up to 12 chairs) from Pacifica Senior Living, where we will be this Thursday.

At 1:50 p.m., it 92.5° front porch, 76° in hallway, and a/c came on at 2:55. I’m grateful for that. I am not a hot weather person.

I finished working on the videos from Friday the 13th at the Senior Center for the going away party for Nicole. They were taken on my Nikon which is not how I normally take videos because it is too high resolution, but John had my Exilim camera with him at the Ira Spring trail work. See tomorrow for the Google link.

I went out and took some pictures of the little fawn with spots and mom, when John got home at 7:15 p.m. and said they were in the orchard. The ditch is just 30 feet away but drinking out of a bucket is, apparently, a better deal. Interesting interactions displayed here.

I thought I heard a mouse so John set two mouse traps and he caught one at 10:25 p.m. I heard it snap down. A quick end to that story. No more have appeared. He set more than one trap.

Monday, July 16

Morning of a day when temperatures are supposed to climb to 101°. John has picked cherries, raspberries, fed, watered, and otherwise worked outside. Now he is back again in the shade of a tree (still hot) picking cherries off branches with our neighbor, Ken Swedberg. Ken got some sweet cherries last week (taking branches away in his truck to pick at home, and today is back for pie cherries. John’s picking Rainiers and gave away some branches with Rainiers for Ken to take home. It was too hot to continue in the orchard (even in the shade). Here’s a photo story of the start of their cherry picking, when I went out to greet.Family Swedberg’s Barn, Ken coming to pick Pie Cherries from branches John cut from the tree. This is one of the trees planted by the first folks to build a house on our property. The house was built in 1981; trees planted then or a year or so later.Picking station in shade on Gorilla cart, John’s picking box (with Rainiers in front). He’s trimming branches for Ken; caterpillar found on branch.

Here’s the beginning video of the process:

John’s Setup for Ken’s Picking Pie Cherries, 7-16-18

It was too hot for me, so I returned to the house.

I’ve been spending the morning finalizing 70 photos from last Friday’s AAC event, “Go for the Gold,” honoring Nicole Jones, one of our AmeriCorps staff members for the last 10½ months. I’m now uploading to Google Photos, and still have more videos to do. I ended with a total of 5 videos on a separate link. This one Google Photo link takes you to all videos and allows you to view them by clicking on the image.

Taken during the going-away party for Nicole Jones.
Click on each to start and view; they will repeat so click on it to stop it and go to the next video (to the right is a forward arrow) to click on.


More stuff from the Nicole Jones day.


John came in and fixed our brunch while I got ready to go. I made it to my SAIL class by 1:20 p.m.
I came on home afterwards. When I left the temperature was 97°, but north a couple miles it was 100° yet went down on my way (uphill) home. When I parked my car my car at home (we are at 2240’), it was reading 93°. Elevation in Ellensburg at the south end of campus, on University Way is 1500’.

We had a salad for dinner, and John fried us some yellow summer squash. I fed the cats. We’ll have strawberries, and John’s lemon/blueberry cake tonight, and hit the hay (at least for me), earlier than last night.

Tuesday, July 17
Staying home today to finish projects needing attention and to be cool on the second hottest day of the year.

Early morning, I walked out to take a photo of the Dahlia bed in the sun. It was a bit windy, and difficult to take still photos, but here you go.John got new Dahlia bulbs this year. I don’t know their names. We don’t think they are as big or pretty as in previous years.

It’s 83.5°on the front porch and 10:00 a.m. and John is still outside doing chores. He just put the canopy back on his truck. That’s a tough job, but needs it on to carry over his Brusher over to the WTA trip this week on Thursday, to Mica Peak.

I made some long distance phone calls on the landline, because my cell phone has no reception in the house. Michael’s on the Lake reservation for the Sunroom (inside) for four at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, 7/18.

I washed John’s WTA clothes for Thursday. Now he will be all spiffy to get all dirty again.

Wednesday, July 18

Food bank soup kitchen music, and SAIL today.
I contacted the Wall Street Journal about our missing papers over the past 2 weeks. It was fixed in two days.

Thurs, July 19

John left at 4:38 a.m. for Mika Peak east of Spokane in his Ford Truck with canopy with his new Stihl brusher for a WTA work party. Gas powered equipment isn’t happy in a closed car.

I slept in.
Early morning, I was on and off the phone with the pharmacy and our PCP provider’s office about a fouled up prescription for John and for me. I believe it is fixed now, or will be for me to pick up the meds today while in town for music at Pacifica.

I worked on music for Aug & Sept for our group which will be needed soon, (some today). I packed up my music and went to play at Pacifica Senior Living. We had a nice turnout of people and audience and all had a good time.

I had some errands in town before leaving and was a little late getting home, but on my way, I saw two plumes of smoke east of town. I kept driving to higher points to see where it was, called a few people in the Badger Pocket area to see if they knew, but couldn’t reach anyone.

Got home and found that I-90 was closed both directions between MP 136 (Vantage) – MP 115 (Kittitas)

I followed the fire reports all afternoon after first seeing the plumes of smoke at 3:30 from town. This is a nice view of a helicopter in western Washington … scooping 300 gallons (we think that is a bucket full) from the river to put on a brush fire.

Note from Caitlin LaBar this morning:

This was going on right behind my apartment complex an hour ago, they were dipping out of the Coweeman River to dump on the nearby brush fire about a mile south of me. Haven’t heard the helicopters in a while so am assuming they got it under control. It was amazing to watch up close. (not my video, I only got one fuzzy picture)

from southwest WA Helicopter filling bucket for brush fire

I did have a small bowl of popcorn when I got home that I brought from Pacifica.

I also had a phone call just after 5:00 from our doctor’s office about John’s thyroid medication. They are going to raise the dosage to 88 mcg from 50, and recheck in 2 months. I had gone by for my own med today and hoped for his, but it was not in yet, so I got 3 pills from the pharmacy to tide him over. Now they cannot take them back, but the Dr.’s office has sent down the refill prescription orders for the new dosage, and it will be there tomorrow for us.

Also tomorrow we must go get our new eyeglasses. I called this morning, asking what happened. They had told us they would have them in about 10 days, and would call us. That was July 3rd and now it is the 19th. Their phone message only said, “We received your phone message and your glasses are here. If you have any questions, please call before 5:00. Jeez. So in the morning I will have to call to see what the Friday hours are.
John called at 5:35 from Ritzville, and planned to stop for a hamburger on his way home, and I figure it will take him 2 hours to get here, if he eats on the road, which I expect he will.

Had a call from our neighbor Ken at 6:47 that he was on his way down with 2 pieces of cherry pie for us, made from the pie cherries he picked 2 days ago. We had told him thanks but not to make a whole pie for us, that two pieces would be sufficient. They are huge pieces and probably almost a half a pie!

John called from the overlook opposite Vantage at 7:00 and now at 7:30 called from trying to get on the bridge to come home. There are 40-50 cars in front of him going about 2 mph., and he thinks he sees traffic coming from the west headed east down the hill. Nothing has yet made it to the DOT alert updates, since they closed both lanes between Kittitas (Exit 115) and Vantage (Exit 136). He was going to try to take a photo. He said planes are skimming water from the Columbia River.

He did stop in Ritzville for a Carl’s Jr, special meal. I had eaten the rest of my salad from last night. Had the rest at noon before leaving for music.

Annie went out to wait for John in the front yard over an hour ago, and just came to the front door and asked in. So, he must have been delayed by the traffic around the 2-lane old Vantage Hwy, with all eastbound and westbound traffic routed to there. It will be a long trip home.
He didn’t make it until 8:45 p.m.

Friday, July 20

Crazy morning. After sleeping in until 8:00 a.m., we were busy with things and then had to be at the optometrist’s office before 1:00 closing. We made it and experienced a lot of traffic on the way in, because they were re-routing the traffic eastbound off at Ellensburg rather than Kittitas to come down University Way and directly on to the Old Vantage Hwy to bypass the fire which closed both lanes of traffic until 7:00 a.m. when westbound was opened, but they kept the eastbound closed. The only way around was one old state route.

From there we went to Super 1 for John’s prescription, and I spent the rest of the day trying to get used to my new glasses. Considering the extremely high price, I’m not sure I like them. I don’t believe the sunglass change is dark enough for me, so I may well wear my old ones (just for far vision) for driving in the sun. The close-up is change for the bifocals without a line and it is not in the correct range for my head position. I’ll have to learn to adjust. If I rapidly turn my head to the right, I seem to get a weird parallax reaction. I might have to watch carefully when I go across uneven ground or down stairs. I realize there is some adjustment always necessary.

I tried keeping them on to take chicken breast off the bones tonight, and it wasn’t working well at all, with the positioning of my head for clarity of close-up vision. I took a break and went over with my glasses on to see what writing on my laptop computer in my lap in my chair, but it was not clear. So I took them off to finish the remainder of my salad making and will not use with my computer. I hope I can read my music tomorrow, but if not, I’ll just take them off. (I could read it better without the glasses.) I haven’t had glasses on at all for anything but driving. We know full well, we will use these as long as we can and next time go back to Costco for our glasses. This was a huge mistake, and it was all my fault for wanting to use our insurance, and Kaiser Permanente doesn’t honor Costco as a recommended provider. It will be worth it to us financially, to go there without an insurance rebate ($150 / pair of glasses every 2 years), because the cost for John’s will be $613 LESS. That’s insane. Mine I cannot compare because I didn’t have a comparable set of glasses to what I got at Costco.

We took a garden walk tonight, and I took some photos. The original reason was walking to the old red barn to view the beds the twin deer have burrowed out beside a stack of wood against the side of the barn. From there back to check out the tomatoes, in our newer garden, where the deer are entering to eat the green plants of the new raised strawberry beds John built this year. We look at the squash as well, and realized the butternut will never make it. We have had a few summer squash, but we have been neglecting them, and some are too old. We haven’t tried to give them away as we did a few years ago. From there we went for an onion, in the original garden. Czar followed us on all our travels, so he is in a couple of my photos. Yellow summer squash (new), but Butternut will not make hard fruit for winter keeping. Too cool. The onions arrived from Texas early – they expected heavy rain, so dug and shipped them before John could plant them. They have done well, though, and we harvested one for supper (Onion Rings) and then we had the rest for lunch Sunday in an omelet.Czar in strawberry raised bed just planted this year, and (right) an older strawberry patch. The fence is not high enough to keep deer out of the newer berry garden. He set up a simple scarecrow Saturday afternoon, and there was no additional damage. John went out Sunday evening to put a wire covering over them (half-tunnel), so they are not totally destroyed.

Saturday, July 21

Morning stuff. I worked on music for our group for Aug/Sept. John fixed a breakfast for us.

I had to sort through a bunch of Rainier and Bing cherries to make some good ones to take to Briarwood today for the buffet table after we play. John helped by lying them out to dry after I washed them, and then I packed them to carry.

We don’t have a lot of players able to come today, but we have a great group of singers there who always carry the load. Then they feed us a feast. Those were my initial thoughts and expectations as I left today, but the reality was that we had a good group of players, audience, and a wonderful time. Two people came that I did not expect. I just remembered one thing I forgot to do today – ask if anyone had a birthday in July. We usually sing happy birthday once for the whole month. Next month I’ll have to ask for two months, July & August.

We probably played for 20 minutes prior to starting at 2:00 with the “booklet” of 23 songs. Using it as a jam session and playing songs in the practice section of our book or just following along with songs Charlie comes up with. He’s a walking, playing, singing music encyclopedia with his 12-string guitar.

John stayed home to do yard chores that have been waiting for attention. Some recent ones I know of include, mowing and bagging as much cheat grass as possible in the backyard. And, watering onions and other things around such as fruit trees (pear, plum, cherry); bushes such as blackberries and raspberries; larger trees – pine, spruce, Carpathian walnuts; flowers – tulips, gladioli, dahlias, roses, sunflowers, and all things in the garden need water. We don’t have a lot of garden stuff that will produce well, I’m afraid. Strawberries are done. We have gotten some yellow summer squash, but the butternut will not likely make it this year. Last night we had a low of 41. Cabbage might grow.

On my way home, I stopped by the place on the Kittitas Hwy, west of Ferguson Rd, to take a photo of a piece of Petrified Wood, I had seen the week before, when I went to a garage sale there. It was in the rock garden of a home where the parents had passed and the kids were clearing out the house and out buildings to sell the farm. I pulled into the shade (crabapple tree), beside the rock garden and asked if I could park there. When I got out, I checked out the rock garden and noticed the beautiful piece of petrified wood. I ask one of the family about it, and she said, it is a long story. I asked her to share, because I love the history of our area. Turns out this chunk was obtained by her grandfather during the construction of I-82. I had heard about such finds, and jokingly from Jack Powell how people would “stupidly roll the rocks into the back of a pickup”, collapsing the suspension (did it flatten all the tires)?
Somehow, the grandfather got it over to the farm. (That part of the story was not passed down). I said, “Well I hope you have a way of keeping it before you sell the place.” So, she continued with her story. Her brother-in-law has a backhoe and her sister lives near Dusty’s, and they are moving it to her place. The interesting thing is today, when I stopped, I especially stopped because I saw a woman walking at the front and so I turned in, introduced myself, and asked if I might take a photograph, as I had heard the story recently at the garage sale. Turns out this person (Ann) was the sister who will be the new home for the “rock.” I was talking originally to Kathy. I do not know their last name. I did buy John an old Stanley measuring tape at the sale.

Here is the piece of petrified wood:This is the view from the south, and this from the east.

Sunday, July 22

After working for several hours outside this morning, John came in and constructed the nicest lunch we have had in a long time. I guess you’d call it a quiche, without the crust. Does that make it an omelet? It had 8 eggs, ham, cheese, asparagus (ours), mushrooms, onions (ours), and red peppers. Served with red potato homemade hash browns.

Hope your week was fine.

Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan