Cool and Calm

The rest of the world is anything but cool and calm, but here on the Naneum Fan nothing happened this week. The deer wander around occasionally finding something to eat. A few years ago with deep snow and cold they would eat the buds and green needles from limbs I cut from pine. This year they have mostly ignored such things. I plan today to cut a young Black Cottonwood to see what they think of the tips and buds. (I trim some in the cold weather thinking there are fewer diseases floating around to land on the scars. And, the activity is vigorous enough that I don’t get cold. High today was 45°)
The forecast for the mountains claims snow, noonish and not much is happening. Matsaaruti (sort of a wet mist; a term from Siberia – I think) reported at Stevens Pass and graupel (snow pellets) at other places above 4,000 feet. After dark, all the passes are messy with rain, snow, and slush. Accidents expected.

I mentioned on January 28th that my retirement funds advisor at Vanguard
had been replaced. I had a discussion with the new person on Wednesday. Her name is Kelsey Ertmer – rare last name in the U.S. of A.
The past couple of years I have taken the Required Minimum Distribution (called the RMD) in January and used it to fund scholarships at CWU. Part goes for this year – called “current use” and a larger part to the endowment fund in Nancy’s and my name. I am also going to send a small amount to the Cascade Carnivore Project – If that doesn’t ring a bell, see “A Red Fox named MICA”:

A Red Fox named MICA

Monthly, I also will be taking a small amount for expenses because over the past 14 years (since Nancy retired from the University) prices of have gone up a bit over 40%. Below is a dollar in 2010 and on the right in 2024.

When we came to EBRG in 1988 a loaf of English Muffin Bread sold for 98¢. Today the same bread is $3.50. Ouch.
The price of seeds for wild birds has also exploded. Luckily, the birds are still the same size as they were 30 years ago.

The Superbowl game ended just now with the Kansas City Chiefs winning in overtime. I hope your team won. I don’t care.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

John H

January Thaw & the house

What I sent sister Peggy for her birthday: Had I really sent such things I would be much poorer. In the lower center is a blooming shamrock. {We have an Irish Grandmother.}
Having no idea how to obtain a shamrock, I just called her and wished her well.

In her honor, I went and got a haircut, so I am no longer an Albert Einstein/Bernie Sanders look-a-like.The site, Bored Panda, linked to here has interesting snow photos:

https://www.boredpanda.com/freezing-cold-winter-temperature-pics/?cexp_id=87417&cexp_var=9&_f=featured

The ice and snow one has redundancies. I found this one more interesting:

https://www.boredpanda.com/stupid-people-work/

Work on the house: {including stupid people at work}
Water (snow melt) has been dripping from the roof onto the covered patio at the back sliding door. Today is the third time we have tried to figure out what is happening. Will 3 be the charm? It has been a frustrating thing because why it drips isn’t apparent. Until the roof was put over the patio there wasn’t any notion of a problem. Something might have been going on prior to the new cover. With the new covering, there should not be dripping.

A hypothesis today is that water is running along a metal flange at the roof’s edge after flowing down a “valley” – – photo:
At noon, the roof is torn apart, problems found and so, Fix#3 is underway.

New (LED) ceiling lights are being installed in the kitchen. Adjustable colors are built-in to the lights and the wall switch can be a dimmable type. There are two types of adjustable color temperature LEDs: those that shift to the lower temperatures when you dim, referred to as “warm glow” or “warm dim,” and those that are adjustable at any intensity, which are referred to as “selectable color temperature.” Bedroom lights, also LED, will be dimmable at the wall switch; or just on/off. [Well, that didn’t happen.]

The kitchen lights will be above translucent panels (with a pattern the supplier calls Mosaic Highway ). The color temperature switch has 3 settings so one will have to be chosen with the idea that it will be semi-permanent. I’ll have to leave a note for any new resident as to how it can be changed.
The options are 3,000, 4,000, and 5,000 K {temperature}. For now the wall-switch is standard on/off. The lights are “warm glow” capable and give a golden appearance to the entire 4’x8′ opening.

Under the heading “There is always something” …
With a new light in a bedroom and a dimmer switch installed and all working fabulously . . . a few minutes later nothing in the room worked.. . . and the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) just outside on the wall failed. An attempted reset “clicked” but that didn’t help. Flipping circuit breakers in the house panel didn’t help. But, we did know enough to stop.
Next day we requested a visit by Todd, local master electrician, who solved all the problems in the time it took him to shake his head three times and look at us in a disdainful manner.
We also determined the newly installed light was not of the dimmable type and/or the dimmer switch was incompatible. Another light – claiming to be dimmable – did not work either. For that one, the directions give a web site to learn what switches will work, so, more to do.
At this point, all the lights in the house are energy efficient light-emitting diodes {LEDs}. A small shed – where lights are rarely needed – still has screw-in fixtures (E27 type) patented in 1881 by Thomas Edison. I have bulbs.

If a parent tells you their child is an angel, remind them that so was Lucifer.

Here the “January Thaw” is not very strong, but still appreciated.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

John

Fog and Mist

File under:

There is always something


The truck, a Ford 150, has a fault that relates to the non-existing trailer. It beeps and displays a message such as shown above. It goes through a series of four messages. The trailer is either connected, disconnected, or the left or right blinker is not working.
The message appears in the space where mileage, mpg, and auto-speed normally resides. Hitting the OK button on the left side of the steering wheel gets a momentary replacement to the desired information, then seconds later a fault message appears again – with a beep.

This is the vehicle that had a electrical failure in the dealer’s parking lot in late September. My post of Oct. 1 has that story.

Cat in a box ~ truck in a quandary

I have an appointment on Feb. 6th to have the electrical stuff examined. In a few weeks I will start the trips to the vineyard for pruning. I’d like to have the issues resolved before that starts. One way is 65 miles.

Meanwhile, I need one more document before getting the 2023 taxes underway. Supposedly, it should be sent to me before Feb 1st. Further, I have a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from a mutual fund retirement account. My contact at Vanguard vanished – no information given to me – and a new person has been assigned. He and I got along well and I hope for a good relationship with the newly assigned one. All I know so far, until Feb. 7th, is that she is better looking than he was. Well, also, she has been doing financial stuff for 5 or more years.
I use the RMD $$ to fund scholarships. That way I don’t have to take it as taxable income and push me into a higher tax bracket.

Weather has been fog, mist, and warm enough that the snow has sagged. Now it is only about 6 inches deep. With no sunshine and air temperature not much above freezing, a thick blanket of snow just sits there. Not much change expected this coming week.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

John

Winter holds

Winter isn’t done with Washington or North America. There is very cold air in northern Canada but it is moving eastward across Hudson Bay. Here on the Naneum Fan the highs are in the upper 30s and the lows just below freezing. It snows on and off, just enough to compensate for the sagging, so the amount on the ground stays about 10 inches. This past week brought about 5 inches that was cleaned off Friday – shown below.

Deep snow, say two feet, is difficult for the tractor and blade-behind configuration. Then a front-end loader has to be used, and Allen’s is not enclosed as is the Ford tractor. While most folks on the Naneum Fan can go through 8 to 10 inches, visitors and delivery trucks cannot.

I’ve kept the quail, doves, and song birds well supplied with seeds. The wood stove keeps consuming wood.
It has been a slow week.

There have been a large number of interesting images on the web. Here are three.

In my case, it is the right hip and it just turned 80.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

John

Snow and Cold

A small snowfall Monday into Tuesday had me cleaning up enough of a space so a Culligan Water technician could park in a clear spot. With that done I drove the truck out the driveway and, after several, trips I felt the tech, Casey, would not have an issue {no 4 X 4 he}. Before he arrived, Allen came in his farm tractor and “bladed” all around. I hadn’t expected him because there wasn’t but about 4 inches of show, and he knows that isn’t enough to shut me in.
He said he was practicing for the “big one.”
Expecting cold Thursday evening, I went to EBRG for a prescription and seeds for the birds. Near town there was some mist and some sun, just above freezing. I picked up a wood pallet from Petsense, a store where I buy cat food. I’m keeping new pallets in a shed and cutting up the old ones. That one is still in the truck, but I did unload the rest of the stuff.

Cold air and snow came late in the evening and by Friday morning close to a foot had accumulated and the temperature was near Zero F. Ouch.
Allen showed up about 11 AM and, so, the driveway, and more, is clear of snow.
I cleaned the bird feeders of snow and loaded Blackoil Sunflower and smaller seeds. Often the small birds, Chickadees and such, will be hidden in the pine trees and stay away until I’m 50 feet away.Today with all the snow and a temperature of 3°F, they were in my face as I brushed snow away and starting pouring seeds out. Quail are much more furtive and usually show up just before Mr. Sun disappears beyond the Cascades. They come in early morning too, so on these very cold days I will add feed when I go for the mail – their breakfast will be easier.
The National Weather Service (NWS) claims increasing temperature by this coming Wednesday – all the way up to 24 degrees.
Photos below are from a bedroom window. The trees on the left are Western Larch (Larix occidentalis), a deciduous conifer, that turn golden in the fall and drop their needles. The small cones hang on the trees, commonly for many years.


The Arctic air continues to push south. Stay warm and safe.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan
John H

Noise in the night

The first week of the year has been uneventful.
On Dec. 31st, for about two hours, the neighbors set off loud bangs, both fireworks (I can’t see) and firearms seemed to be involved. Most of the noise was between 10 o’clock and mid-night.

A more annoying hour later in the week involved my neighborhood Great Horned Owls. Normally the sounds the Owls make are not problematic. The bigger trees are more than 100 feet from the house and the calls are low pitched and muted by the distance. Sometimes I can hear three calling.
Listen to such calls here, under the photo:
https://www.audubon.org/news/can-you-recognize-call-great-horned-owl

About halfway through there are the screech and squawk calls. Whether I had a visit from a young one telling the parents it was meal-time, or an older one, I didn’t try to find out. I did open a window and yell, but that didn’t cause flight. The noisy critter sat, not far from the bedroom window, for about 30 minutes. I would have had to dress and go out with flashlight, track the source, and chase the bird to a new location.
Interestingly, I did not hear any of the low hoots during the time.

By the end of this week the temperature is expected to go to 8°F. There is -35°F degree air 900 miles north around Great Slave Lake. Over the next 4 days the pattern is for the winds to slowly shift and come from that direction. We’ll see. The air has to come over the Rocky Mountains, then down into the wide Columbia River area of central Washington (600 feet elevation) and up to me at 2,240 feet.
Meanwhile, a storm off the Pacific Ocean is expected to bring a couple feet of snow to the Cascade pass just 70 miles west of me. Wind gusts might be near 50 mph.
I’m near where these two air masses will collide. Forecasters have a hard time making sense of this sort of situation.
I’m planning to be house-bound after Thursday, from cold – not snow.

I will practice making bread again.
[If you haven’t seen the obituary for the Pillsbury Dough Boy, search it up. Some are labeled “in Loving Memory”, others “Sad News”.] There are many images, but if you want the story, here is the link:
https://patch.com/illinois/wilmette/remembering-pillsbury-doughboy-american-icon

The obituary pre-dates {2012 I guess} the death of the creator.

I need to put wood in the stove.

Keeping Track in 2024
on the Naneum Fan

John

Starting over – 2024

The last weekend post of 2023!
New Year’s Resolutions

Eat more bacon;
Bake bread;
Win a lottery.

More resolutions below.
First, thanks for the cards, greetings, and messages. I will use this as a response because I do the posting each week and am too lazy to add cards to my schedule – such as it is. Here on the Naneum Fan I am getting dreary weather – El Niño induced. So far the coldest temperature was 18°F in October, but mostly it has been a little below and a little above freezing. The most snow was about 5 inches, all gone; now there is about an inch that fell late on Christmas Day. Usually, Washington State doesn’t experience extreme weather during an El Niño pattern.
I went to the White Heron Winery for Christmas lunch – actually the home of Phyllis and Cameron. There were five of us. I was home before the snow started. New Years Eve I will stay home and listen to neighbors make loud noises with guns and fireworks. Me? I’ll watch flames in the wood stove.

The next 4-part image does show some of my intended projects as 2024 unfolds.
In addition, there will be vine pruning starting in a few weeks.
Top right of the image shows a couple of old pallets. I got pallets at a CWU surplus sale – about 65 of them – many years ago. People gave us some and we gave some away using a “free” site that Nancy watched for many years. Some were never in good shape and some developed broken and rotted parts as I used, or didn’t use them.
So, one project is to store good ones and cut the others up. There are a lot of screw-type nails that do not come out. The slats are mostly good – make fine pieces for the wood stove.

The lower right shows some of the pallet wood and part of a load of old barn/shed wood I brought from across the road – an old dairy with most of its structures build in the 1950s. The clean-up produces some (maybe) useful boards and the family is getting those stacked under cover. I bring the rest home and have been cutting it into 16″ pieces. Most I can cut on a radial-arm saw.
On the bottom left the image shows an attempt to dismantle the large trusses that came from the big brown shed. The main pieces are held together with multiple nails that were bent over. Those are the dark spots. Although there are other shapes, all the splices are multi-nailed and not salvageable. Most of the wood will be be used in the stove. A few boards of odd lengths will be worth saving. One never knows. Anyway, this is a time consuming and frustrating chore with little gain. The trusses do need to be dealt with.
The upper left photo is of an old (mid-1970s) motor home. This is the most difficult thing I have to remove from the face of the earth. It is trash, having been outside in snow, rain, wind, and sun for 30 years; unused for the last 25. I have investigated ways of having it taken away, but no one wants it. One place estimated a cost of $5,000 to bring equipment and dumpsters to break it up and cart it off. That was 18 months ago.
I intend to take it apart as I did with a pickup camper. Much will then go into a landfill, and the iron and other metals can be sold for pennies per pound. It has a 28 ft frame and a large V-8 motor so there are things I will need help with. Perhaps the US Air Force could drop a bunker busting bomb on it. Then I could just pick up the scrap.

There being no rush to complete any of these four projects, I guess I’ll start with the bacon, bread, and buying a lottery ticket.
Perhaps you have heard the joke about the fellow, Dave, that pleads to God to win a lottery. After many dire events in Dave’s life and another pleading there is suddenly a flash of light, and a deep voice says – “Dave, meet me halfway, buy a ticket.”

The house isn’t warm enough to properly make bread. I made some anyway, but it is too dense. I intend to build a box with a small light bulb inside. With a bit of experimentation I hope to provide a steady 110°F for the little yeasts to start and then about 75-78 degrees for the rising.

I’m just going to make the yeast happy. You are own your own.
Happy 2024.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan
John

Christmas Eve

I’m spending Christmas Eve with three cats, many quail and small birds eating various seeds, mostly sunflower, and a varying number of Mule Deer. Often there are 5. As darkness comes, one or more Great Horned Owls will call – repeatedly.
The deer don’t talk, but they are very aware. While I moved around to get the photo, they kept watch. The one in front is an older female and likely the mother of the other two. Her face and ears are narrower than the others. That will change by next fall. {The orange in the upper right is a cluster of fruit hanging on a Mountain Ash tree.}

I thought about making a large wreath to hang on the driveway gate. I have lots of needle-leaf trees, pine cones the size of baseballs, and there is that hanging colorful fruit. What I don’t have is material for making a large bow.
I looked on the web for ideas and came away with a question. If I had a bow, where should it go? There is the top, the bottom, a side, or none at all. I’m in favor of the one on the side, space 3 below.

Maybe next year I will start about November 1st and make one of each.

Merry Christmas
from the Naneum Fan
John

Lights and Letters

File under: “There is always something”

My new ceiling light – an LED oval – in the “dim” mode. When the light is turned on it is very bright, that is the inner oval. Turn it off with the wall switch and then back on within a few seconds and the center goes dark and the rim lights with an orange glow.

The photo used flash so walls and ceilings appear well lit. Actually, the room is darker and the wood walls have a nice “warm” glow from the orange oval. Neat.
However, I have a cheap ($25.00) AM/FM radio that conks out when the light is turned out. A smaller round light in the hallway has a similar effect, and I have an 18″ round one coming next week. The house is full of LED lights installed last year. They haven’t affected the radio. A better radio (older) with disk and tape players and external speakers is not affected.
Suggestions on the web are not helpful. Although putting the radio in a Faraday Cage might work. That’s a shield to block electromagnetic fields.
Think of taking the metal from a screen door and wrapping it around the item needing shielded. I may try such a thing, but not with the screen of the door. Alternatively, I could buy a better radio.
The next photo is of some of the mail I’ve gotten in December, minus a few Christmas cars and regular business letters.

The large envelope on the upper right – is the second such mailing from Boy’s Town I’ve received this fall. The contents differed. The enveloped has “John, I need your help” and one of the papers inside is a Certificate of Acknowledgment. I don’t recall having sent anything to Boy’s Town – ever. Maybe 40 years ago. I assume they have recently bought my name, insofar as it is addressed to just me.
Most of the letters are from well-known charities. A funny mailing came from the local Fred Meyer store. It claims a “Grand Opening”. The store has been in EBRG for about 10 years. They moved a few things around inside but I seldom go there so only have noticed they moved the shoe section about two months ago. The check-out lanes and help-counter, and nearly everything is as before. Further, they never closed the store to do this, so the idea of a “grand opening” or re-opening is as false as inflatable Santas and Frosty.

An early
Happy Christmas and New Years
from the Naneum Fan

John

A Red Fox named MICA

The western parts of the area have received rain and the mountains snow & rain. Nothing much happening here and the snow that had been here has 99% gone. I let the wood stove burn out – takes 3 days – so the heat pump worked frequently, even with the outside temperature, mostly, above freezing. Friday afternoon I cleaned out the ashes and restarted a fire.

I’ve had the phone ring multiple times this week, several about 6:30 am. None of these do I answer. Two people did start a message and I talked to them. No problem.
I’ve had a dozen mailings from charities asking for donation. Getting more mail is as easy as sending $10 to the Salvation Army or some such. They will sell your name to others, and soon you will get letters, often with address labels, note pads, and calendars. A place called Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Home has sent two large envelopes this fall. The first one had Christmassy socks – kid size. This week’s package was different, but still large, with multiple items. I mostly stay local for such giving.
I did get in touch with the Cascades Carnivore Project – this is a small group doing research in the Cascades regarding Wolverines, Lynx, and Red Fox.
One of my first outings with Washington Trails Association was a 3-day session near Mt. St. Helens. The hike-in trail to the work took us to 4,250 feet elevation. Because of the explosion (May 1980) the area was devoid of trees, so we were able to see long distances. There were elk, but one lone small Red Fox crossed in front of us. I didn’t learn until this year that these small foxes are very rare and come in colors other than red. See photos here:
https://www.cascadescarnivore.org/

A photo of the black one was used in the Smithsonian Magazine; p.90, July/Aug 2022.
I sent enough of a donation to “adopt” a fox and to get a small plush one. They claim I have adopted “MICA” – but because I will never get to cuddle Mica nor even see her/him (?), the fuzzy toy will have to do. I’ll have to send a bit more money because the postage for this was $6.25 and the credit card donation takes a fee.

Speaking of money – going into a local store this week there were several sorts of Christmas decorations. One sign said “garland” but that would normally be a long greenery to extend 6 to 20 feet. Nor were they wreaths. And if there was Ceder in the mix, I didn’t recognize it.
These are called “swags” – a term with other uses. The $24.99 (plus tax) swag on the top shelf consisted of 6 or 7 short branches held together with a wire. One branch in each was Juniper with its characteristic berries. A few had a couple of pine cones.
I had cut enough limbs from Ponderosa Pines to make 100 of these things. Maybe I should carry one up to the road and tie it to the fence along with a ribbon.
I sent the photo to Kathy. I gave her a 5-gallon bucket of cones last year for a decoration she made for her church.
She sent a photo in return showing the thinning of trees on the small island in their pond. She used some of her branches for in-house decorations.
In the background of my photo there are small plastic-wrapped bundles of fire wood. These too, are expensive, but did not have a price on them. Elsewhere they are about $5 for 7 pieces of wood. Likely, I would go through a half-dozen per day. I’m curious who buys these things.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

John