Fast pace – – cool and wet

Monday, Sept 16

Worked all day playing catch up and finally published the blog late tonight at 10:28 p.m.
John mowed the backyard grass, shooed a deer over the fence that came over to eat raspberry plants. I wish I had gotten a video of her clearing the 6’ fence.

Tuesday, Sept 17

I need to get out a late call for music attendance to the KV Fiddlers & Friends, for organizing our chair counts for this Thursday (Pacifica Senior Living) and Saturday (Briarwood Commons Retirement Apts.), where they feed us afterwards.

John and I are going to Joanie’s and Ken’s for tuna melts a little before noon, to take the English Muffin bread for their creation with Ken’s awesome recipe. This is an annual invite which we very much enjoy. Normally, it falls on my birthday, but they were out camping this year on 9/1. We shared a few of John’s garden veggies with them today. One of the onions previously given them was used in the tuna mixture.

While in town, we checked our Bi-Mart numbers and did not win, but John also was going to look for a rain jacket for his trail work upcoming. His “Frogg Togg” light rain jacket has gotten misplaced (pant’s whereabouts is known) and he’s scheduled for ACL duty on the wet side of the Cascades in the next few weeks, having already experienced one very wet experience last Sunday. He scored on a 25% off clearing sale and got a nice rain jacket for $25. Then he didn’t have to wear it on the trail work day. The rain was not sufficient to require its use as he has a lined jacket that he has sprayed with “Camp Dry–silicone base” spray.

I stayed in the car in the shade and made a few phone calls to members of our music group (long distance had I called from home; better free on cell phone), to help with planning the count to be at the two events this week.

Wednesday, Sept 18

I worked a little on the jobs-list after being off for over a week. Posted 4 jobs this morning, but have more to do. I have some personal work to do with recent additions to our list (telling them about other opportunities according to their academic and personal interests).

I drove myself to town for music at the FISH food bank, where we played for ½ hour, and we had a lot of folks singing and participating. Singers: Robert, Peggy, Reta, Bob, Richard, Dean (Harmonica), Evelyn (Banjo), Richard drums (drum sticks on cardboard box), Nancy (violin), Joanie (violin), and Rob (Guitar). Our audience was the largest in quite a while, and full of people singing, dancing, and applauding us. That’s always rewarding.

Afterward we are fed – the main dishes being donated from the Ellensburg Pasta Company. Today I did not take my own salad, but had a piece of chicken breast with Fettuccini (only a little because I’m not that fond of pasta), a ½ roll buttered, plums, and dessert (apple cake). I gave my dessert away to a friend. I did not have the mixed green salad because it had greens in it I’m not allowed to have, being on the blood thinner Coumadin. (That’s why I usually take my own Iceberg lettuce salad). For a beverage, I had pink lemonade. I was also able to enjoy a good lunch conversation with a friend from CWU, and others in our music group. I also took tops to several people, and am continuing to sort and keep fashionable clothing for Karen Johnson to take to the Cancer Gift Store in Yakima (for people to buy there; to fund Cancer Research).

I stopped at the bread room on the way home and got two loaves of 3-cheese bread, sliced, for me and a long loaf of sour dough bread for John. FISH will be moving from the area behind the Mercer Creek Church to the new Elmview site out at the Airport, north of town. Luckily, the free bus has extended service out there for Ellensburg residents.

The Senior Nutrition lunch program and lunch for non-seniors will continue Monday through Thursday at the Liberty Theater annex (downtown). It’s being provided on a memorandum of understanding with the Calvary Baptist Church, to use the kitchen and dining room for up to 2 years until the kitchen and facilities are constructed out at Elmview. We are all being spoiled on having china plates, stainless steel utensils, to eat from, and plastic glasses for cool drinks, instead of paper plates, cups, and plastic.

I continued my sorting clothes for the LDS swap sale drop off tomorrow afternoon after music at Pacifica. I am accumulating a lot of donations from several people. It is all free, no limit, and no need to donate to receive. I have published the flyer below.

Not sure how many hours I spent sorting but it was quite a few, and the wonderful thing is I now will have the room back in my car that has been taken by garbage bags full of clothing waiting to be sorted (given by several people). Now it will all be gone, after I drop off at the LDS church on Radio Hill (Brick Rd). All will go to people in the community and all leftovers will go to the Church of Christ clothing giveaway and other free distribution clothing centers, such as Apoyo. I have one more stack to check in the back room, and then I will be done. Currently, I have 6 bags for John to load in my car before he leaves for bottling Mariposa Red. The crew has another 500-gallons to process, bottle, and label. They will break at noon for lunch. John’s contributing sliced salami and cherry tomatoes; pretty much the end of our crop this year.

I marked Sept 29 on our calendar for the Fundraiser Dinner at the Legion to help defray some of the medical costs of Allen Aronica (a veteran of the Vietnam war) to help cover his stay for 20 days in Harborview for repairing serious burns from a gasoline flash fire. He is back home at his Naneum Ranch after several sessions of skin grafting, learning physical therapy to prepare for the healing process to work better keeping the new skin stretched, and for the staff to teach his wife Gerri Miller to prepare the wound bandage dressings, which have to be changed a couple times daily. They will need to return for periodic burn recovery checkups at Harborview hospital in Seattle. Today (Monday, 9/23) was the first visit back for a check-up. I know because I went up the road to put plums on the front porch and saw his relatives around back, so I went over, met them (Arnold & Gail), visited a little, and then left. They have been caring for the house and animals while Allen and Gerri are away.

Some of the plums have now fallen and we are expecting strong gusts (Mon. to 22 mph and Tues. to 36).John picked all that were still on the tree, and gathered the rest – sorting out the bad ones. He wants to dry those without apparent damage.

Tonight John fixed a dinner with a seasoned all-day long slowly cooked beef roast, served with deep-fried onion rings in beer batter, prepared in a cast-iron pot, corn-on-the-cob, and a baked potato with cheese and butter.

Thursday, Sept 19

John left for bottling at White Heron Cellars early to be there by 9:00 start and won’t return until late, just before we have to leave for the KAS meeting.
Here are a few photos taken during the bottling process, taken by Audrey, one of the workers.Pike Place Red Wine for Seattle NW Tasting Room; White Heron John, Phil, Erik – Cameron, John, Garrett, Mark, Rory. Photos by Audrey Seaberg, also on the bottling line.

John loaded 6 garbage bags of clothing to my car for me to drop off at a LDS church clothes swap, this weekend. The leftovers will be given to other community free clothing banks at the end. I’m dropping them off today after playing music at Pacifica.I went to Pacifica today and back home, stopping at my neighbor’s Joanie, 4 houses down Naneum to pick up bags from in front of the gate at her house left for me. (Note: this is neighbor Joanie; the other Joanie is a music group member.)

I called the lady planning the Legion fundraiser for Allen Aronica and introduced myself. Her name is Penny. She was in the high school class of ’66 with Allen. They would love to have 2 Pecan pies donated. We can write a check to Allen Aronica directly for our monetary donation. We are marked down (RSVP) for 2 dinner reservations.

Packed another bag to take to LDS church, use the entrance on the other side of the church from the (unrelated) cemetery. They’ll have 20 people to help me unload.

I walked by a hanger on the door to our guest bedroom and knocked everything on the floor; only starting to replace. I should recycle some of those on hangers on the doors around the room. I’ll probably knock off the one entering my bathroom too. All our closet space is taken. Yeah, that’s the next thing to purge.

We attended the Kittitas Audubon Meeting tonight, and I videoed the presentation by two women resource scientists employed by Puget Sound Energy (PSE), at the Wild Horse Wind & Solar facility. Bios below.

Jennifer Diaz & Haley Olson—on right are maintaining bluebird houses.

Our presenters Jennifer Diaz, Senior Wind Resource Advisor (other job title, Environmental & Communications Manager) and Haley Olson, Senior Resource Scientist, shared the stage, discussing, PSE & Avian Conservation—Our Electrical Grid and Birds.  

Video of their presentation:

Click on the link and pull the start backwards to left, from 30 to zero, to the beginning to view a whole hour and 14 minutes with questions & answers inserted in the video.

Wild Horse Wind Facility – Wildlife Conservation

History: PSE initiated its official Avian Protection Program company wide in 2000, in response to collaborative talks with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but had taken avian conservation actions starting as early as 1979 with relocation of osprey nests. Program Biologists strive to reduce the interactions of birds with PSE’s electrical equipment throughout PSE’s service area to improve reliability and protect birds from electrocution and collisions with power lines. This is accomplished through partnerships with State and Federal Wildlife Agencies and Wildlife Rehabilitators, proactive efforts to make PSE’s system avian-safe, best management practices to minimize the effects of construction and vegetation management on nesting birds and habitat, and training throughout the company to educate employees about the importance of protecting avian species. We will learn more about the Avian Protection program, its successes and future challenges, from Haley Olson, the Senior Resource Scientist who is responsible for implementing it.

Jennifer Diaz, Sr. Wind Resource Advisor, is responsible for managing all aspects of the environment and natural resources across 10,000 acres of rangeland and shrub-steppe habitat at the Wild Horse wind farm, and will share details about wildlife conservation there. When constructing the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) voluntarily added a conservation easement to safeguard 7,000 acres of shrub-steppe habitat and in partnership with the Trust for Public Lands and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), PSE also preserved 18,000 acres of undeveloped open space, helping to maintain enough wild lands to support elk, mule deer, bobcats, badgers, hawks, sage-grouse, and now wolves!

Rocky Mountain Elk & Mule Deer

Wolves present on the landscape – Two wolves named, the Naneum Pack, had 2 pups born this year. The far right photo was taken through binoculars.

Top photo…The most number of Avian deaths occur nationwide caused by windows. The visitor center’s windows were causing a problem being on both sides of the building, as the birds thought they could fly through. They treated the windows to keep the birds away, yet people can still see through the window with human eyes. Birds are deferred by what they see.
Bottom is the study of the corridor existing between two leks of Sage Grouse: here (red arrow), and south on the Yakima Training Grounds.

Top photo shows the removal of noxious cheatgrass, completed by PSE, with a before and after example 12 years apart on the same piece of road up to the visitor’s center. Bottom photo shows the cactus rescue project conducted to remove the barrel cactus during the construction of the wind turbines, to a safe growing area, and replanting them after construction was completed. The snake habitat was enhanced around the visitor’s center, as seen on the walkway entrance from the parking lot to the building.

This paragraph is my assessment of the offerings inside the visitor’s center. That building houses a wonderful resource of exhibits, books, and educational projects & displays, completed by local students from Ellensburg, and enhanced by PSE with guidebooks and comfy chairs to sit and read. Beautiful atlases and picture books of shrub steppe vegetation, wildflowers, and birds are shelved for use there. Tours occur twice daily and on special occasions. It’s a tremendous community resource.

Friday, Sept 20

John left for WTA trail work at the Commonwealth Basin PCT at 7:45 a.m. (the Pacific Crest Trail, going north from Snoqualmie Pass; this is called WA – PCT Section J)

I’m staying home today to take care of things, except I will in run the several bags of dried baby, teen, and adult clothes to town to the LDS church donated from Joanie Lee, and another two bags of adult clothes from me. Joanie had cleared them out of her house (because floors were being replaced while she was out of town for a week), and she put in the back of her truck in plastic garbage bags. Unfortunately, we had a rainstorm and all the bags had wet clothing. I told Joanie I would dry them out – and I did.

Saturday, Sept 21

John left at 6:45 a.m. for his WTA work party on the PCT. He got home after 4:30 p.m. but had to stop in Ellensburg for a bag of horse feed for Myst.

On my drive to town, I passed Allen Aronica and Gerri coming back from town. I had read this morning on YOU’RE PROBABLY FROM ELLENSBURG… Facebook site, that he had gone to his first-time-back meeting of the morning coffee klatch since his incident. He was so happy. Here was his morning comment:

It has been a good morning so far. Wound care was a little later because that was because I was visiting with some of the coffee crew I haven’t seen since the accident and neighbors. Always good to see everyone. It’s a Good Day.

I made it to the clothes swap at noon at the LDS church on Radio hill for a walk-around search for a couple of long-sleeved shirts for John (I found several nice ones in new condition), absolutely no clothing for me, and I searched for 3 nice white blouses I knew would fit Amy (that were in one of the 12 bags I had donated). I found them, plus a black one, and carried them by her house before going to fill my car with gasoline, on my way to Briarwood for music.

She will be at Briarwood but cannot make it to the morning swap because of being at Paint Ellensburg with her baked & decorated cake. I will donate another bag to the swap. I’ll see Amy and Haley at our play-date at Briarwood, and the ladies will be feeding us two kinds of soups: Tortellini with cabbage by Lee & Bean soup by Jo Ellen. They also plan to have a dessert table. I’m taking in a large container of red seedless grapes all washed, a package of fruit bars, and a box of Hazelnut individual creamers for their coffee. Bean soup & Tortellini soup with rolls, and a dessert table.

Here is the lemon & lavender cake Amy made for the Gallery One Fundraiser today for a dessert auction. This cake won a $225 bid donation to the Gallery in Paint Ellensburg. Pretty neat and beautiful piece of artwork! And she still managed to come play with us at Briarwood, and bring Haley along, who danced to Irish Washerwoman and sang T for Texas with us at the end, especially leading the group in the yodeling part. I wish I had her on video doing both.

Before dark, John did a few outside things, and I brought in 4 pairs of shoes I was drying in the sun, before they get rained on tomorrow. He’s likely to experience another muddy wet day on the WTA work party as last Sunday.

We had a supper tonight of our tomatoes, bowl of soup with smoked turkey added, and some asparagus John grew – cooked with cheese.

Sunday, Sept 22

John goes out on the trail again today – a storm is moving from south to north across western WA. If it mostly stays there, the crew might luck out and get damp rather than wet. And that is what happened. John only went a total of just over 2 miles. LeeAnne (crew leader) went up higher with sub-crews. She goes up and down keeping an eye on things and passing out treats – like small candies, nuts, and fruit leather. They think she did 7 miles today (John = 2), and yesterday she did 9, John did 3.

From Caitlin LaBar: Success!!! A lovely lady emerged this morning! It is one of the Hemileuca hera (Hera buckmoth) I reared this year, those caterpillars that took forever and resulted in me driving all over the place to get sagebrush. Some populations have a two-year life cycle, overwintering as eggs and pupae, but some will complete the cycle in a year. This late into September I had all but written them off as going to overwinter as pupae, but maybe a few will emerge and the rest will overwinter.

Monday, Sept 23

Still here on the first day of fall, having not yet published our weekly blog. This beautiful photo awaited me today, taken early this morning by my photographer friend in the valley.

Another magnificent picture by Lise McGowan, capturing the lovely landscape view from the Kittitas Valley dominated by Mt. Rainier {about 65 miles}, with enough snow at Paradise for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding.

John started his day picking plums, and I delivered a few pounds up the Naneum Fan to the Allen Aronica household.

I returned home to a great brunch provided by John. All I had to do was crisp the bacon, sit down, and enjoy – a blueberry/pecan pancake topped with peaches, with a side of coffee.

I’ve been responding to emails, and now switched back to finishing my draft of the blog, late going out this week, again.

Hope your week was fine.

Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan