Delayed again!

At 10:15 Sunday morning we have not started on getting the week’s report into WordPress.
We are fixing breakfast.
Thus, will get the blog out about Noon.

There is a report on the web that WordPress sent out a fix of some sort and thousands of these things shut down. We’ll see.

John’s computer shut down earlier this week because of an update sent by Microsoft. He had to take it in and have the local gurus fix it. It needed cleaned, and they did that too. More on this in the blog – when it is ready.


Good, bad, frustrating, and sad

Saturday night — whoopee, late out with the weekly blog on 1/24/15

Sunday, Jan 25

I did not feel rested from my “sleep” last night. So, I got up at 8:00, and went back to bed until 9:30.

CPAP report. Reported figures. 8 hrs 17 min with AHI = 0.60
5 H events. No major leaks, max was 23 L/min, but the mask was problematic and perhaps causing some of the parameter increases by adjusting it. However, this is still considered “pretty darned good” by the software ‘SleepyHead’. Considering I have so many days with AHI=0.00, that message amuses me.

Weather was strange here today, but according to photos from elsewhere in the valley, it was a gorgeous spring-like day. We had only a short time of blue skies visible and sunshine. Most of the time it was overcast, gray, and threatening. That is unusual weather for us. We usually are above the valley fog/smog.
Lunch today was good and different: mushroom/cheddar cheese grilled cheese sandwich on French bread and sliced large Honeycrisp apple slices, with cashews on the side.
Happiness, however, to report. Johnny is back (acting a little tentative) but apparently okay. Doesn’t seem very hungry and didn’t eat, but went into the “cat house” — so at least he’s protected, has water, a place to lie down, and a little heat. Although it is 44 outside right now, just at dark.
I did manage to get a load of dishes cleaned, and prepare food for the outside (& inside) cats, but my feet are still cold, so I plan to wrap them in a blanket…and continue with computer chores.

I spent a couple more hours today helping a friend with a document she’s writing, and needs another set of eyes to enable condensing to fewer words.
Now I have another draft to try to go through before I hit the hay. But we still have to eat dinner.
Staying home tomorrow to catch up.

Monday, Jan 26

CPAP report. Reported figures. 7 hrs 11 min with AHI = 0.42
No major mask leaks (max=12 L/min)

I had a phone call this morning, that the medical test charge I mentioned in last week’s blog was an error on “someone’s” part. Even more interestingly, it was reported as having been drawn (the fasting blood draw), in the Cle Elum Lab (30 miles away). We always have our lab work here in Ellensburg, at the hospital.
Interesting lunch: tiny chicken tacos with salsa & large Honeycrisp sliced apples. The little tacos (2 bites each) are from a box John bought so he could have something to eat quickly – they go in the microwave. He did add a small bit of tomato and cheddar cheese.

I have been inundated with work since hearing from the “chairman” of the Intuit company that the Turbo Tax software I bought is not the right one. I have used the Deluxe version for many years, but this year they removed several necessary forms we use, without telling anyone. There was a big outcry from consumers after November when released, but I didn’t learn of it until too late. They will give me a $25 refund, but I have to return the Deluxe version I have used for many years and buy the more expensive Premier. They should pay me $100 for having wasted my time.
~ I must complete my 2014 taxes and submit the request for refund no later than April 20 to get it. So, all my efforts in my “spare” time MUST be directed at finishing taxes, and the time-consuming entry of all deductible items into my computer Excel spreadsheet, so I can total and have copies to fill in the places on the forms.
~ First, I had to call Costco to see if they would allow me to trade in what I bought, and still get the coupon $15 off value. They won’t. However, I can return it next week for a refund.
~ Then John found a Forbes article on line about the situation. I read it and followed the link to get a 50% off, if I buy before midnight tonight $45, so I have to close this note and do that.
~ I almost did not open the “chairman’s” email thinking it was an ad for one I already bought last week. Glad John also searched for me, because the letter email did NOT tell me about the offer that expires tonight. Now, I have to get to work. Fast.
John found an old package of Stroganoff (capital S, ’cause it is a family name) mix and without any sour cream in the larder, or any closer than 12 miles away, he managed a very respectable meal.

Tuesday, Jan 27

CPAP report. Reported figures. 9 hrs 20 min with AHI = 0.11
Events, 1 H. No major leaks, max 7 L/min.

I went for a fasting blood draw today and got my hair cut at Celia’s just after lunch, about 1:15.


Very sad news about Johnny (Cash-ew) our cat. Photo is from when we captured the cats and after their return from the vets.
He died today at a young age. I hate having to write this, as I’m having a tough time with it, but I’m sure it’s worse for John, whose yard assistant buddy, he was, and he found him in the old barn, screaming and writhing in pain. He walked a step or two and fell sideways. We don’t know what happened, but he wasn’t eating right when he came back 2 nights ago, after missing dinner 2 nights (very unlike him). At evening feedings, he would rub into John’s arm and accept petting, while John put cat food in the dishes, around the Hay Mow, in their “stations,” where he feeds the ferals. None of the other cats have allowed us to touch them. Johnny followed him all over the yard as he did chores, particularly garden ones, talking the entire time. His presence will be missed.

When I returned from getting my haircut, John was still burying Johnny. I told John it must be awful, considering how it was affecting me, with only hearing the story and not haven’t to deal with it. He said, “Yes, it is very tough.” Before he buried him, he checked him all over. Nothing was apparently wrong–not a hair out of place, no wound or infection. So, it must have been something internal. So sad.
His sister, Woody, is already missing him. They were usually a pair. Tonight, Woody was the only one for dinner. Neither of the other two – Sue, the mom, and Lemon, he who appeared — came to the table.

Got all my data tonight for the past two nights into SleepyHead and SpO2 Review. Took my blood pressure morning and evening and need to record on Excel.
Tonight’s paper had John’s Letter to the Editor:
John came in to tell me the sunset was beautiful, so I stepped out the back door and took a couple of photos. Here’s our choice {click to enlarge}.

Wednesday, Jan 28

CPAP report. Reported figures. 7 hrs 35 min with AHI = 0.00
No major leaks, max 8 L/min.

My day started with sleeping late and then trying to get a lot of email stuff done before leaving for the day. I made it to the Food Bank, and dropped off 6 partial rolls of toilet paper (from buildings; see last week) and a bag of canned goods. While there, I dropped by the bread room and picked up a package of 6 Ciabatta rolls (Italian for slipper; white, big holes, shaped like a slipper) that are sort of flat and square (what’s with this?) and another of whole-wheat hamburger rolls. We had 4 people singing and playing for the crowd today, with much good participation and appreciation. It was fun.

The food served today was not really to my liking, but no complaints for free food in “payment” for our entertaining. Pasta (I’m not a pasta person), vegetable mix to put on top of the pasta, but most of it was collard greens (cannot have with heart meds), some peppers, and a few carrots sliced into circles (colorful ones). I never saw a purple carrot before, and I think that’s what it was; also white (maybe parsnips?), orange, brown, and lavender. I was told by people at my table that carrots came in many colors. So I checked and found these pictures on line.
I was happy to be able to visit with our bass fiddle player, her husband, and new baby, Lev, only a month old. Then off for my exercise class at the Senior Center.

I left right at the end and rushed up to CWU to attend Noella Wyatt’s retirement party, after her 37 years of service. I have known her in several capacities since 1988, when I arrived here. Her department (Sociology), where she’s been for awhile as department secretary, had a nice open house from 2:00 to 4:00. It was fun seeing her and having some punch and a small piece of chocolate-layered cake, but it was also cool visiting with many people I hadn’t seen in years, and with others I just saw recently.

While I was gone, John spread straw on dog-paths of our backyard to keep the dogs and him from tracking in so much dirt. Now instead of carrying in dirt they all will come in with straw attached. That’s a little easier to deal with. You can see trimmed raspberries (red) in the photo I took of his work below. Our yellow raspberries are out front.

Thursday, Jan 29

CPAP report. Reported figures. 7 hrs 44 min with AHI = 0.13
1H event, No major leaks, max 6 L/min

We telephoned John’s sister Peggy to wish her a happy birthday. It is cold back east and about Sunday there is supposed to be snow.
After a small sandwich for lunch, we drove off to town for me to play music. I ate the other half when I got back. Cheddar cheese & ham on one of the Ciabatta rolls.

We only had a handful of residents and visitors for our audience. Our honky-tonk piano player was too sick to come join us from his room there. We only had 4 others there, and a few people walked through (visitors) while we were there, one a 99-yr old man, who drove himself there, came to visit one of the ladies in the audience. The facility is down on residents now to only 17. I need to find out their capacity but think it is at least twice that. We had more players than we did audience (at least seated the whole time). Anne-tambourine, Ellen-clarinet, Keith-trumpet, Nancy-fiddle, Evelyn-banjo, Maury, Sandy, Manord, Charlie, & Gerald – all guitars off different sorts.

John went for gasoline ($1.71/gal) and for some shopping. Most interesting was replacing a calculator (just a simple one) for less than $6.00, because the 4 key started not functioning on one we have had since Idaho (with reverse Polish logic). John thinks he will put a big drop of Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol) on that key and tap it a few times. He has been getting by the few times that he needed to use it by keying in 3.999999 or calculating it via 5 – 1. Both a pain, but either works. Now, with a new one, he can experiment.
We came home to find a bale of grass hay our broker delivered for John to check with the horses, before we buy many tons of it. John fed it tonight, beside some of our older–so he’ll check in the morning to see if they ate it.
Nice thing about buying hay from him is he delivers it and stacks it directly into our barn. Last time we got just under 20 tons and stacked about 8 high, it filled one side. A “hay elevator” carries it from the back of the truck right to where you want the bale. The photo (web source) below shows the beginning on the ground but we don’t need to do that.
Hay Elevator
Three of the ferals back for dinner tonight: Sue, Woody, and Lemon. Rascal stayed inside. For our own dinner we had cheeseburgers with onions, a fresh orange, and a baked potato turned to fried slices because we forgot to get butter when in town today.

Friday, Jan 30

CPAP report. Reported figures. 6 hrs 5 min with AHI = 0.16
Events, 1H. No major leaks, max 10 L/min

Went to the Sportza Palooza at 11:30-1:15 p.m. and then at 1:30, I had SAIL class (exercise). The party was a light lunch (not real light: buffalo wings, deviled eggs, tuna and chicken casseroles, veggies, chips with a hot spicy cheese dip, potato chips made from sweet potatoes, cream puffs, cupcakes frosted in Seattle colors). This was scheduled before Super Bowl Sunday, and attendees brought comfort food to share (I took zucchini bread made with pineapple). We were encouraged to dress in the colors of our favorite sports team and wear associated regalia. Seahawk colors are navy blue, white, light blue, and bright green. I wore my bright green pants, a shirt with yellow blue and green lines, and a lightweight dark blue, light blue & white sweater. I took my camera along and had a staff member not in the picture take my photo. Oh, and atop my head, I wore my Seahawks baseball hat. It is a much older one than are sold now, so I received many comments. I doubt I paid more than a quarter, if that.
In the photo note the number 12, and it is also on the partially hidden banner in the next photo. Seattle is famous for its loud fans –
aka the 12 man. {click for story}

This was out in the parking lot beside the Seahawks commemorative truck, with us all giving a GO HAWKS cheer.

Chicken and apple crisp veggie for dinner.

Saturday, Jan 31

no CPAP report; went without last night, and will again tonight, to create a comparison for showing my cardiologist, Feb 3.

We stayed home today and worked on inside and outside chores and the day slipped away too fast. Of course, it didn’t help that I slept in later this morning than usual. Our neighbors set off some fireworks. Wonder if they were preparing for the Super Bowl. Can you believe the price of tickets? My friend told me they cost from $8500 – $20,000. His grandson works for the Mariners, so I suppose he has access to the correct information.

Mid-day, we had leftover chicken from last night. I made my piece into chicken salad, with blue cheese dressing in place of the mayonnaise, added some cheddar bites, and a hard-boiled egg with a little relish. I will have enough for my lunch tomorrow. John can have a meatloaf sandwich because for tonight’s dinner, John made meat loaf, and we had the rest of the apple crisp veggies. I had plum preserves on mine both nights, made from plums we gave to friends.

Hope your week was fine.

Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan

Winter is here – 6 weeks early

Sunday, Nov 9

CPAP report. Reported figures: 6 hrs 2 min with AHI = 1.16.
With event activity including two CSR (Cheyne-Stokes Respiration) events: 1 min 5 sec at 6:33 a.m.& 1 min 27 sec at 6:57; OA (Airway Obstruction), 1 at 3:30 a.m.(first ever); 6 hypopnea events, and 2 vibratory snores. The CSR explanation is in a previous week’s blog.
Rained and winds blew to 40 mph gusts and now sunny and still windy and raining again. John came in to fix some chili for lunch and wants to go back out to take care of some chain-sawing chores but wants it to stop raining first. It never cleared up enough for him, and now it’s getting dark so not worth piling on all the protective gear.
I started taking my blood pressure at the request of my cardiologist (he wants a series for the time preceding my appointment — Friday).

Monday, Nov 10

CPAP report. Reported figures: 7 hrs 31 min with AHI = 1.06.

On my malware Spybot checker this morning. “You know a good horse is expensive; a Trojan horse even more so.” No Internet connection for a couple of hours still this morning. So, will just do other stuff on the computer and around the house. No trips to town today and the weather looks sunny, but cold. John plans on an hour with the chainsaw, some splitting, and loading. Sometime this week he will take a load over to a neighbor on Wilson Ckeek. She is just ¾ mile away but by road it is 2 miles. We have another request for wood from a young couple in Ellensburg who want to heat with wood because they feel the radiant baseboard heaters are unsafe — in their duplex. Yet, if the other residents of the house use it, their electric bill will be the only difference. Fire threat is still with them.
Before we awoke this morning (and while it was raining), there was an Aurora Borealis sighting in Ellensburg. The photo below was sent to me by a retired 3rd grade teacher friend of mine, from Kissimmee, FL with the message, “Did you see this?”

The photo was taken by a professional photographer, Van Adam Davis, and published in the Aurora Borealis Notifications on Facebook. He took this from Ellensburg, WA on 11-10-14 at 3 a.m. with a d3200, Nikkor 28mm, f/2.8, 800iso @8sec. I cannot determine precisely from where this picture was taken, but I see the lights on the wind turbines on the right. There are 2 areas in the Valley (the northwest and the east) with wind towers – this photo is from S or SW of town looking toward the Northeast.
Aurora Borealis _EBRG

John got out for over an hour with the chainsaw, but one of the plastic connectors on his chaps came off. He went back afterwards with a rake, and amazingly found it (it’s black).
plastic strap buckles
This image is from the web, so a little different. The plastic part above the red is permanently attached but on the right side, where the green arrow points, the strap has to slide so the thing can be snugged-up. John wants to sew a button on the end of the strap (9 of them) to prevent it from pulling through. This, or some other easy-fix should be done by the company, and he is going to tell them so. Look out Husqvarna!
In exchange for a couple hours labor, John got some treated fence posts from a neighbor. They will be used next spring to rebuilding a fence east of our house.

I finished dishes but no clothes. Spent a lot of time dealing with music for Christmas. The four I did today I did not have to put in my computer program, to save time, but I had to use a whole bottle of BIC Wite Out to get rid of the problems with previous copies, changing some of the lyrics that were missing, “erasing” chord letters (too small), and graphic fingerings for guitars, to replace with larger more legible letters for the necessary chords. Songs I redid today included: Blue Christmas, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Deck the Halls, and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
On the next time in town, when I was going to buy another bottle of white out for my music rewrites, John said he would show me how to do it digitally on our old computer, using Paintshop-Pro. I did for several songs (with his help), and I’m quite grateful for his time in doing the stuff and teaching me how. This happens with music I have not yet put into my software program, and some that was copied from a music book.
Supposedly, the temperatures are headed downward this week. They are way down (to minus 7 where we have friends in Montana, with a HIGH of 8 tomorrow). Another friend near Lolo, MT had 2″ of snow today, and sent a photo of her birdhouse.

Other friends in upstate Michigan have closer to two FEET of snow (actually they just wrote they had only 18” in Marquette. West of them there was 3 ½ feet. Would have buried the birdhouse. Here is a nice link to a story about lake effect snow.

Tuesday, Nov 11

CPAP report. Reported figures: 6 hrs 34 min with AHI = 0.00
The high winds were blowing 5-gallon buckets all over the front yard. John had emptied them yesterday of the collected rain. With freezing temperature expected he drained and stored garden hoses and a couple of larger containers for the garden. He cleaned the big water trough for the horses and, when filled, plugged the heater in.

We both went to the Emeritus Geog Faculty morning gab-fest at Copper Kettle with choice of coffee, water, hot chocolate, or tea.
Evening I went back to Hearthstone for The Connections group music. The temps were supposed to go to 12°F. tonight, and it was very cold, but the low was only 21 here. That’s when I can see a positive in dyslexic (12 or 21; no, I am not — just playing with number association).

Wednesday, Nov 12

CPAP report. Reported figures: 7 hrs 23 min with AHI = 0.54.
Sunny and no heavy winds. Started with a small warmed apple fritter and caramel covered donut (shared a little with the oldest Brittanys). John had a 1/2 maple bar and 1/2 of something else I thought when I bought it was a Bear Claw, but he says not. He shared 1/2 with Dan. While on my way to music last night, I stopped and bought a dozen donuts from today’s offerings for $3.00 off the regular price. They mark down the price after 5:30, and we are normally not in town late except once a month.
Went to Food Bank and SAIL, today. Probably the worse lunch we’ve ever had there after entertaining over 1/2 hr to an appreciative crowd. A local restaurant provided the main dish (served in a soup bowl) of BBQ beef–unfortunately with only a small amount of meat that was mostly all fat, with black beans, & corn (that part tasted good and I should have poured it over the pile of plain pasta; squash; a salad with such a strange taste such that people were tossing the whole thing into the compost for a farmer’s pigs; and a dessert full of cranberries that I cannot eat. I went to exercise class and came home to eat leftover tuna fish salad from yesterday’s lunch. Was a pleasant surprise awaiting me at the Senior Ctr .. the picture below, that was taken at the Halloween party last Friday. I was with my friend, Myrna, from our SAIL class, who was dressed as a gypsy. I have a black mask on.
Nancy & Myrna

Thursday, Nov 13

CPAP report. Reported figures: 8 hrs 35 min with AHI = 0.23
John delivered a pick-up load (about a cord) to a neighbor. Then, with the son, he went and brought back another load from a place about 3 miles away. The man there had big pine logs brought from the forest. He had cut, split, stacked, and covered about 3 cords. Here is what a cord looks like, numbers are feet:

After lunch, I went to town. I first stopped by the Lung Specialist to pick up a borrowed Oximeter for use tonight as I sleep. Tomorrow morning we drive to Yakima, and I will return it to the Yakima Lung Clinic on my way to the Yakima Heart Clinic to see my cardiologist for the results of the recent echocardiogram. From there we will go to Costco for gasoline, lunch, and a few items we need and our neighbors want.
Meanwhile, we had a good turn-out at the Rehab where I spent 7 weeks in physical therapy in 2010 to regain use of all my muscles that had atrophied. It’s sort of nostalgic to go in and see some of the old faces I recognize on their staff, and patients.
Today we had 4 guitars, 1 banjo, 1 fiddle, and 1 clarinet, and one dancer with her walker, from the audience. We had about 3 people singing along on few songs, but we do not give out lyrics to this group. We have one resident (Helen), who cannot keep her feet from moving on several songs, and gets up and sashays around with her walker. She was up at least 6 times yesterday. Our banjo player got up and danced (and played & sang) with her for 2 songs, and then she came back and asked me to dance with her, so I did, while playing my violin and singing. We stopped and sang the chorus of Let me Call you Sweetheart to each other, and the same with Beautiful Brown Eyes. Then after I had 3 dances with her, I sat down, and the banjo player danced two more. It was cool, and the audience was involved and the staff was coming in to watch.
Next week we are at Dry Creek, and this Saturday, we’ll be at Briarwood.
I believe I finished the December Christmas playlist today, for everyone in the normal group, and for our clarinet player in a different key to match with us.

Friday, Nov 14

CPAP report. Reported figures: 8 hrs 2 min with AHI = 0.00.
Wore the Oximeter last night from 11:23 to 7:23.

This morning we did morning chores early so we could leave for medical stops in Yakima, on our way to Costco with an almost empty tank in my car. Before leaving, I analyzed the data on my CPAP machine and printed graphs for last night with the Oximeter in place and compared to a day last week with more events (none last night). I’m anxious to see the results of the Oximetry, and I know I will be wishing to see the results with the same recorder for a night when something happens.
We left at 10:30, without a big breakfast, because we planned to eat a good lunch after my appointment — that we didn’t expect to be too long. WRONG. We dropped off the Oximeter at the Lung & Asthma Center and arrived at the Heart Center prior to my 11:55 appointment. We waited, and I was frustrated because I should have taken my computer so I could at least work on the blog, or access the web. John read every decent magazine in the waiting room. The majority were Sports oriented, but he found a Yakima newspaper and some heart health ones. He was frustrated because he normally takes a Wall Street Journal or a paperback to my appointments. About 12:20, I questioned the only receptionist not off to lunch, asking if she could check to see if my Dr. was behind in his schedule. Last time there, a month ago, he was 45 minutes behind and they notified us to go for lunch first. She checked and found he was running behind 1/2 hr to 45 mins, so we waited. Finally, at 1:05 !! a technician retrieved me for my appointment. After the preliminaries, she told me to get on the table for an EKG (ECG). I questioned it because I just had one a month ago, and I was only coming today for the results from the Echocardiogram done in the meantime (and as it turned out, not evaluated by my doctor until I was there yesterday in the room.) The technicians said the measurement was always done every appt. (I think that’s changed over the past 4 years.) After all that was completed, we waited until 1:20 or so to see the doctor. Then, he spent TWO hours with us, going over all my “numbers.” The results were variable from good increases in some things, lower in others, concerns for medication changes to check out some issues, and some other explanations and interpretations to us both. John and I were getting hungry and concerned about the lateness of the hour, and that we still had to go to Costco and drive home, arriving in the dark, with all the animals left to feed. So, we attempted to rush through Costco. Started by getting over 14 gallons of gasoline at $2.80/gal. In EBRG it is $2.90. We tried making a fast trip through, but that’s tough with all the folks creating traffic jams. By the time we got through and on the road again, it was an hour from when we left the doctor’s office a little over 5 miles from Costco. We skipped eating a late lunch, deciding instead to come home to eat.
I worked some on the blog, and checked my camera to see if there was something to add. I found 2 photos I had taken a few days back. The first is an upside-down Brittany (Annie) on the old loveseat with Rascal the cat. Normally, those two do not share the space. It’s usually Meghan and Rascal. This was very early in the day, Sunday.
Then, Monday evening we saw a lovely sunset from our back patio.

Saturday, Nov 15

CPAP report. Reported figures: 8 hrs 5 min with AHI = x.25.
Slept in after stopping the machine, because I still needed it. Temp when I awoke was 15° outside. Now it’s sunny and on its way up. At 28°, John, who’d been working on the blog finale, took the dogs for their morning run and to feed the horses (I checked the report at the airport, but the posting for last hour has not yet occurred. Our outside temp under the porch overhang was 32.5° when John returned.

Okay.. need to get this to John to finish, and I must print music for one of our guitar players who is having a complete knee replacement surgery this Monday. I’ll see him today at Briarwood. I want to give him the December Christmas music so he can practice and enjoy while healing and with hopes he will be able to join us before the month has passed.

Hope your week was fine.

Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan

Still here

Well, we are still here. And busy. WA is having beautiful fall weather and John is outside as much as possible. Nancy’s playing the fiddle and otherwise accomplishing some needed sorting of stuff in old academic boxes.

John took this picture along the Green River on Friday afternoon about 17 miles east of Tacoma.  Click on it for the large version.

Dozens of dead and migrating Salmon in shallow water along the edge of the Green River, WA.
Green River Salmon

Further: Have a look at this.

We’ll post late tonight. Have a nice day.

An odd assortment of things

Skip to Sunday if you don’t want to read about the trails.

Saturday, Sept 14
Last week’s blog had a small description (and photo) of John and 3 others in their 20th anniversary tee shirts for Washington Trails Association at the Cascades Beckler Peak Trail. The Anniversary is for the “trail work” mission of WTA and there were multiple celebratory groups working all over the State during the weekend. WTA started in 1966.
Link to WTA history.
Another (special) group exists (Volunteers for Outdoor Washington – VOW) that initiated the historic Iron Goat Trail and continues with that development.
Link to VOW site.
[Note the link to ‘history’ at the left side in the light-blue rectangle.]
On the main page linked to (not the history page), note near the bottom mention of the “Horseshoe Tunnel Extension”, a 3 mile trail going from the Martin Creek trailhead to the Kelley Creek Trail. The phrase “horseshoe tunnel” refers to the old railroad tunnel in the shape of a twisted horseshoe (one end higher than the other with 2 crossings of Martin Creek. This was part of the scheme for getting trains up (or down) the western side of the Cascade Mountains near Stevens Pass. The trains now go through a tunnel that (on the west end) is located here:
47.715282, -121.145384
The old railroad grade (see history link mentioned) is now the Iron Goat Trail on the slopes to the left (west) of this tunnel and is the thinner of the 2 white lines seen as you slowly zoom out. About 3 miles farther west at
47.729479, -121.206978
is the Martin Creek Trail Head. The Martin Creek Trail is not shown on Google Earth because it is still under construction – about half of it is still only little colored streamers tied to trees going along the west slope of Martin Creek. A person working 5 hours can carve out about 10 feet of trail or a bit more and then on another day finish the tread (walking surface). Sometimes small bridges or rock cribs have to be built for the trail. Each of these may take 4 to 6 people a day or more of work. On Beckler Peak trail Kevin and John made tread on about 30 feet of sloping material left by the mechanical earth mover (a large backhoe?) and then at the top of the grade dug a trench and placed rocks to be covered completely with tread (mineral soil).

Rocks fill a trench across a trail to make a "rock bar" to aid in trail stability and drainage.
Rocks in the trail

A drain ditch is dug upslope from where the ‘hump’ is to be so water goes off the trail and doesn’t go down the slope and scour out the new tread. In the photo the drain is going off trail at the left side under the shovel handle and where Orange Hat John’s right foot is. The “rock bar” and drain are suggested because of the topography of the trail and the high precipitation (See ‘Orographic” cartoon below.). Run-off on these Pacific Ocean facing slopes is sometimes violent and otherwise just high and relentless. Actually, Seattle is fairly dry being in the “rain shadow” of the Olympic Mountains but just east of the lowland it is a different – wet – story. August and September are mostly dry but this year we have already had some interesting storms.

An oragraphic precipitation diagram using the Cascade mountains and eastward flowing winds from the Pacific Ocean.
How the mountains influence precipitation

We are just north of EBRG in the yellow area (dry or rain shadow) at 2,240 feet elevation.

Sunday, Sept 15
What a day. We worked much of the morning on the blog, and John finally got it posted right before we left for the Bluegrass Jam session at the Swauk-Teanaway Grange. Only a few folks made it there today, our first meeting since May. We had 4 guitars, a harmonica player, 2 fiddles, and a bass fiddle. It was actually nice having such a small circle so we could hear the words people were singing. In the audience we had two couples, 4 spouses, and a single guy. A storm was brewing we saw on our way home, and then it hit as John was moving 5 gallon buckets and a couple of barrels under the roof line. There was one close-by lightning and a huge thunder clap. We and the dogs dived under the bed! Okay, just two of the dogs. A couple more as it passed over. Then 45 minutes of calm, only to get a second wave. We didn’t finally get around to eating until 8:30. Some point in there the Internet access was lost. Our electricity turned off and on rapidly, and shut John’s computer down. Mine works with a back-up battery, so I lost nothing but the Internet. It’s now after 10 and no connection, so we both decided we would hit the hay.

Monday, Sept 16
Morning — still no Internet at 7:30 a.m. I called the “technical control center” after 8:00 a.m. and got the national place in NC or ME after a LONG wait, only to find out indeed the internet in our area was not available and they were working on it. It is not every customer, but we are one affected. So, be patient and wait. We waited for 18 hours from the original loss, and I was not very patient.

While off the Internet today I was cleaning up my computer files and preparing to send things to people I needed to, I found a photo I took 5 days ago and forgot to put in last week’s blog. We have been including pictures of the little Pacific Tree Frog that hangs around our “front porch” area. Now isn’t this the cutest smiling amphibian you’ve ever seen?

a small frog having a smile (?) on its face.
A penny for your thoughts.

John transferred 40 bales of hay from trailer to barn today and we picked a lot of tomatoes, squash (he picked all the squash and most of the red tomatoes), and went back for more to the other original garden and brought back the last of the strawberries for me to fix for dessert. I picked most of the little sun gold cherry tomatoes. Boy, they all are yummy.

Tuesday, Sept 17

I slept in and was awakened by a helicopter doing curly cues above our Naneum Fan … John was running the dogs because his Internet went down again so he saw more of this than I did from the back window. Could have just been flight training or they might have been looking for plots of flowering Cannabis plants. No later reports of such so this will remain one of life’s little mysteries. Anyway, the Internet was back on when I got the machine purring.
We both had a lot of work to do, and then John fixed an awesome brunch — cheese omelet, bacon, fried potatoes and onions (we grew), and a pluot.
This afternoon we went to town for my two needs in radiology at the local hospital: a mammogram and lung X-ray (routine yearly) because of the Amiodarone (antiarrhythmic agent) I’m taking. I’ve now been taking ‘Ami’ for 3 years with no nasty side effects and it is doing its job nicely. Anyhow, that’s the reason for the special lung exam – just monitoring things.
While in EBRG we delivered tomatoes, squash, and corn to two people. While I was in the hospital, John took off with recyclable glass and plastic for free disposal at the transfer station. Then he went by Goodwill and found a soft plastic pad rolled up and his first thought was using it for cutting insoles for his shoes and boots. That thought led him to look at the boot rack and “lo” there was a nearly new pair of nice insulated work boots. Just $8. No brand. Soles are heavy Vibram and there is a little attached label on the side indicating the waterproof/breathable fabric inside is expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) — also known as Gore-Tex. So why doesn’t such a pair of boots have a company or brand name showing? Inquiring minds want to know. And he went on up town to the dollar store and bought a pair of metal tongs. They were actually the same as we had, but we both thought they were smaller — yet we still wish we could find our aluminum smaller ones. I wish he would find his missing cell phone. He came to pick me up at the hospital, and I was already sitting out front and walked out to the parking spot he chose. From there we went to the St. Vincent’s store (right by the grocery), to check out work boots there. They didn’t have anything in his size but as we walked back through the store through the “women’s” shoes, he spotted a pair of black shoes that looked just like mine. Wow — thanks for his eagle eyes. They are exactly my size and in new condition. Someone must have died and the kids just took all the stuff to St. Vincent’s. I paid $4.99 for them. If I went to a store or on line, they would cost me $120. No joke. These are Brooks Addiction, and I have worn that brand for 20 years.
It’s the only shoe that works for my feet, and gives me the support I need. Those shoes are actually prescribed by an orthopedic doctor here in town for fasciitis. I never lucked out and got them covered by medical insurance, but since starting to wear them, I have had no episodes of plantar fasciitis. When I started wearing them, I felt guilty paying $79.00 for a pair of shoes. Over the years it has increased significantly. I wear them for everything — regular daily use, and dress up. I have both black and white ones. You can see why I was so thrilled to find today what looks like a new pair.
I forgot to tell the problem of the evening. We were fixing a late dinner, BLTs, and realized the dishwasher bottom was FULL of water. John came back to the kitchen in sock feet, and got wet. We looked down and the water was coming out of the front of the washer. I turned on the garbage disposal to be sure water was not backing up, but it must have already. We unloaded the dishes, and cleaned up the floor, and decided to wait till morning to try to fix it.

Wednesday, Sept 18 (John’s brother, Richard’s birthday)
Normal stuff for a Wednesday–slept in a little later than usual and turned on my computer to start by reading morning emails. NO INTERNET, again. Back on the phone to see what’s up. I managed to get a local gal we know (with the wonderful name of Choral) from the past to ask in person. Turns out they had tried to reload something to correct the problem from 2 days ago, and in the process set a bunch of numbers out of commission again.

By the time I got to her it was late morning. She said she could reset it for me, and she did, with me waiting on the line to verify I could connect again. Phew. Meanwhile, John was trying to find a tiny socket wrench to remove the filter in the bottom of the dishwasher. After the hunt and the removal there didn’t seem to be an problem with the filters – but the washer seems to be okay – for now!
I was running late to be leaving for town at 11:20. I got out and into town in time to play music. Today they fed us a tough beef and onion dish, a chicken pasta, a green mixed salad, and a bread pudding (mostly apples) with ice cream for dessert. I ate the chicken out of the pasta, the salad, and pulled out the craisins in the pudding (I’m not allowed cranberries on one of my meds.) From there over to SAIL exercise class and a real workout with a different instructor. Grabbed two pieces of chocolate cake with little choc chip miniatures and two small pieces of an apple fritter there to bring for our dessert. I wasn’t home very long when we turned around and went back to town to the university to attend a free BBQ with free wine and beer. It was outside and began with a chilly wind but that quit and we got additional shirt/sweaters from the car so all was well. We sat at a table with some CWU VIP ‘cool’ folks, and so, we enjoyed ourselves immensely. The wine was from Bonair – one of our favorite places and the folks there a great help with our now-extinct wine class. They had 3 of their wines: Riesling, Chardonnay, and Merlot.

Thursday, Sept 19
I was tired from a late night, and slept in, but John was up early and out with the dogs for exercise. It was cool this morning and cold last night down to 38 at the airport 5 miles south of us. Our thermometer about the same time only said 46. John picked some tomatoes for some friends, and a few for us — so we can have BLTs tonight with an added piece of Havarti cheese, and some Bartlett pears on the side. He went to town with me for my music at Dry Creek, dropped me off, and ran some errands, the most of which needed was gasoline for his car that claimed it was only willing to go 70 more miles. Before dusk, I delivered tomatoes to the neighbor who gave us pears and a handful of Italian plums in return, and now John is feeding the horses, so I have to go get some canned cat food ready for him to take the ferals. I give him ones for them with fish in it, because Rascal doesn’t like Whitefish or Salmon, unless the Salmon is home cooked.

Friday, Sept 20
Left for White Heron about 10:15, and got there in time to visit in the vineyard and John helped harvest a few small bins of Syrah grapes with Cameron, while I took photos. John had carried buckets of sand home from the spring pruning time and used the sand in his Onion growing endeavors. We took some of each variety to Cameron along with a couple of potatoes and one of the orange winter Squash. From there to the Bluegrass Festival at George to enjoy some music. Had lots of fun and much time taken, along with photos. We got home after 5:00. Didn’t accomplish much of necessity today but made a little vacation out of the day. So, below is the photo evidence of our little vacation:

Picker holds a cluster of Syrah (dark blue) wine grapes -- just picked. A so called "open" cluster; not packed tightly with berries.
A fine wine before its time.
A "tight" bunch of Pinot Noir grapes. Dark wine grapes very closely packed in a cluster.
A “tight” bunch of Pinot Noir grapes.

John (top) is showing me a just picked cluster of Syrah grapes. The cluster is “open” meaning not all spaces are filled that could be occupied by individual berries. The next photo is of Pinot Noir and the berries press against one another. Some of the difference is characteristic of the variety and part can be weather related during flowering. If there is wet and windy weather pollentation can be spotty. The tight clusters of Pinot Noir can cause problems if there is rain just prior to harvest because the water can encourage mold. The individual Syrah berries have a slightly oval shape rather than spherical but that is hard to see in my photo.
I also took a short (21 seconds) of the picking. John is under the vines on the right.

7 folks with instruments perform bluegrass music on the stage at George, WA under a white and blue domed cover.
George throws a party.

The BlueGrass Festival at George is a multi-day event but during our short time there we listened to the organizers from the local region including, our favorite, Gracie the fiddle player from Moses Lake – 30 miles to the east.

Saturday, Sept 21
We woke to find a dozen wild Merriam turkeys out beyond the fence in the back. They have been roosting in a big Ponderosa Pine just across our north property line in the neighbor’s never-visited back corner. We have heard them many times – thought they might have been a few of the farther-away neighbor’s Peafowl – but those are usually very vocally noisy. These were more discrete, so we should have known better. More video; watch for Tom to go by at 14 seconds – note the ‘beard’ – a bundle of long feathers on his chest.

There is nothing much on the schedule today except John intends to pick up some rocks and spray some recently sprouted weeds brought on by our recent rains.

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

April ends, May begins

Saturday, Apr 27 Left off this blog last week on my way to volunteer at our Grange fundraiser, at the Fairgrounds, held in conjunction with the Barn Quilts of the county (and a national organization as well), and two buildings full of quilts of all varieties.
John and I made a nice chocolate cake the night before, and frosted (choc), adding our homegrown roasted walnuts to the top. The only problem is it was a little thin on one long edge (15″), because our replacement stove needs leveled, but I just put more frosting on that side, so it didn’t look too bad. The middle had thicker cake pieces. We donated it for the dessert table and the workers cut it up and put on little plates with a price tag. The cakes were all different prices. Ours was priced at $1.50/piece and they were about 3.5″ x 3″ for 15 pieces. Nice looking and that was pure profit for the fundraiser. All pies were $2.50/large-slice. For my own lunch, I took a tuna fish sandwich cut in 1/2 but didn’t have time to eat until almost 3:00 p.m. because of all our business, so I only ate 1/2. I bought a cup of roasted garlic tomato soup to have with it, although I am not a garlic lover it was a nice addition. We took in over $700. I was primarily a cashier, along with taking orders, but did get up to help a woman who was very unstable on her feet and shaking a lot. She had a walker but I helped her get her change into her purse, and walked with her to a table, helping her into her chair from the walker. Then I got her coffee, went back for her food, and delivered it.
Two of us worked at the “ordering table,” with one delivering the orders over to the kitchen. When we were swamped, someone from the kitchen came out to pick up the orders, so we both could continue setting up orders and making change. We also sold Grange cookbooks, picturesque note cards, and homemade cookie packets, besides taking money and orders for beverages, soups (choice of Chicken & Rice, and Tomato–cup or bowl), salads (green mixed with 3 dressing choices, Caesar, and Grilled Chicken Caesar–small or large. Desserts were various cakes and pies. I ended up working from 11:45 to 5:00. The food stopped being served at 4:00, but desserts and beverages still were available. And, the last hour, I helped mark and stack trays filled with little plates with pieces of cake for the evening sales (Barn Dance), and next day’s lunch. That was good because I was able to bring our large “old” cookie sheet type pan home. We realize it is larger than such sold today. The sales out of it brought $22.50.
Poor John was working in the wind all afternoon. I drove in it but while I was inside the building, the gusts were the highest (4 straight hours of 44 mph). The hours either side of it were in the high 30s. He was primarily working today on planting his new strawberries, and managed to plant 40 plants.
Having fed and exercised all the animals, he just presented me with a large plastic plate of Honeycrisp apples and low-salt potato chips for the first course of dinner. Nice combination. We were scheduled to have a bowl of leftover chili for dinner, but I didn’t have any because I was still full from lunch. The chili was a great deal I received free on Friday. I went to a scholarship luncheon, but the Adult Activity Center had a free chili meal with a movie (free for members). There was some chili leftover, so they kindly packaged in square plastic containers for people to take home. At least 5 people in our class got some, and perhaps more that I didn’t see who took it earlier. It was a good amount, we have had 2 meals off it, and I think John might have had a bowl for his lunch today.
Also, I received comments today from my co-author on shortening the text for my talk next Saturday. He reworked one of the slides for the PowerPoint into a more professional rendition than the one I made to illustrate the article on Virtual Water Export from the U.S., which just was published in April, in a professional geography journal. We needed to include it in our summary statements because it relates well to our research on hay export.
Sunday, Apr 28 I was very tired from yesterday’s activities and did not have a good full night’s sleep. The winds have been high today, but less than yesterday, and John has managed to plant 40 more strawberry plants and set hoses all around the orchard using gravity flow from the irrigation ditch. He sends along the following photos. Click each for the large version.

View from front door to NE, driveway on right, Cherry trees, others, windy.
Bloom time on the Naneum Fan


Cherry blossoms on a limb in April 2013, elevation is 2,240 feet.
Cherry blossoms
Bright yellow blossoms of Oregon Grape with shiny green leaves; sharp points and Holly-like look.
Oregon Grape


Yellow blossoms on slender limbs of Golden Currant -- often uses other shrubs or trees for support.
Golden Currant Blossoms

I was all happy about loading a counter-full of dishes into the washer, and washing them. Once it was through the cycle to the dry, I turned it off to turn over the cups and anything with accumulated water pockets, to drain. I was almost done with the top shelf when it collapsed and dropped all the dishes and the front part of the drawer forward to the door below. It was a mess and noisy. At least no china or glasses were broken this time, as last, just one soup bowl chipped. John picked it all out for me, and set them out to dry, but I still had to individually dry things later.
Monday, Apr 29 I didn’t write anything down for this date, so wonder how to reconstruct it. Oh, I remember why; I had to spend time on the phone setting up heart-related appointments. First is tomorrow with the woman to perform a device check on my defibrillator (occurs every 3 months). We decided to clean off the counter between the kitchen and den, and all the stacks of boxes and materials (many in large 9 x 13″ envelopes), all covered with dust. John could only do so much when I had to step in to manage sorting my old teaching materials. Most can be recycled, but have to be vacuumed (our house is dusty with 4 dogs and John tracking in mud and dirt). For several hours (literally), I worked through the stacks to see what goes where. A few things I can pass on to colleagues, and some are historical, so I will first show the Emeriti Geography professors at our monthly meeting, and then possibly store in the archive library at CWU. One thing I found was from an older friend (geographer) back east of two newsletters he found in his office while moving. They were published from our CWU Geography Department in the 1950s (even with some color on maps on the covers). I remember the colored masters for red and green and blue run on a ditto machine (mostly with purple-colored typed text) that we used in graduate school in the sixties. This was first run through a black mimeo and color added to the base map of WA. One was a silk screen process.
Tuesday, Apr 30 Up early to drive to Yakima for my device check; then to Big 5 Sports for some work boots for me. We took a short drive through the older residential areas near Nob Hill, to admire all the colorful trees and blooming ones, such as pink and white dogwood. Also, we saw many lovely hydrangeas, red maple trees, other bushes and trees we couldn’t identify from the street distance. Their situation is quite different (1,000 ft. lower, & warmer) from ours. The amount they are ahead of us is amazing. Went on to Costco, where we got gasoline for 40¢ less per gallon than in EBRG. That’s also amazing to us. There’s even a 20¢ difference in our town a mile (or less) between stations. Back to our town for Black Oil Sunflower seeds for our birds, which is a little cheaper here than there and we can buy 50 lb., rather than 40 lb. bags. On to Pizza Hut to collect a special on a large with any toppings pizza for $10. We made dinner and lunch out of it. For dinner, John added mushrooms we bought today at Costco, and chicken from what he cooked last night, adding some cheese – more nutritious this way. On back by our normal grocery store for another couple of sale items that expired today. Might as well take advantage of significant 50% savings (both on meat).

While there he had to get ice cream.

A yellow smiley face appears after ice cream.

Wednesday, May 1  Another busy one, but we both went to town.  John dropped me off at the Food Bank, and went to see the new computer and talk with them.  He delivered our old (1981) computer monitor, an old printer, and an IBM keyboard.  The shop recycles metals (with a guy who drives by from Seattle to pick them up from their backroom).  While there John took his speakers to see if they would connect to the new system.  (A-OK).  Meanwhile, my banjo friend and I entertained and were going through the line for our food, when John arrived.  He signed in, and they were happy to serve him a meal.  Only 25 people attended today, down from normal.  The meal was pasta as usual (always donated on Wednesdays by Ellensburg Pasta Co.).  It was a really good spicy chicken/cheese and little snail-shaped button-like pasta, thankfully for me, not green (made with spinach I can’t have).  I looked on the web and found the name and image. -Insalatonde is the closest thing, although there are several shapes.  They made a salad with green beans, chick peas, red beans, green olives, and some other stuff in a sort of vinegar like sauce.  I didn’t expect I would like it, but it was palatable and tasty.  For dessert was a special cake thrown together from flour, Jiffy muffin mix, something else, and cherry pie filling.  They covered with chocolate sauce and then ice cream on top.  Different, rather interesting, but filling.  John and I left there to drop off some magazines (from our cleaning up job) at the Activity Center and tell them I was too busy to come to class, but I said hello to all, and set the music up to play.  While there, I picked up two pieces of a Bundt blueberry cake for eating tonight with our ice cream.  From there to CWU to deliver books and VCR tapes to 3 colleagues.  On home, where I continue working on shortening my paper for Saturday.  We got a call that the computer is ready to be picked up, so that means cleaning more of the counter tonight and tomorrow morning, before John drops me off at Royal Vista for music, and goes on to the computer place to get his new toy.  Guess we are going to have a grilled roast beef and cheese sandwich for supper.
Thursday, May 2  Oh my goodness, I never wrote anything down from today.  What a day.  Mainly we worked on projects (mine on the paper, and got it done and printed off for Saturday’s presentation), then John unloaded all the boxes and stuff from the newest truck (’89 ) into the older one (’80), and drove me to town for music.  While I was there, he drove to the CWU surplus sale loading 10 pallets (50¢ each) & six 5-gallon buckets (50¢ each).  John came back and picked me up, and we went back to load in the truck the packed up computer system, except for one monitor, which I carefully carried on a pillow in the front seat, going home.  John spent the rest of the night (until too late), setting up the system.  Then he set up the newly provided modem from our DSL/phone company.  The old computer has a wired link to the modem but my laptop and the new one are to be of the wireless type – that is, we will have a “Home Group” network.  We had not set up anything like this before and things did not go well.
Friday, May 3  Morning began with over an hour on the phone with the DSL provider and the computer shop.  The Fairpoint tech guy got two-thirds of the problem solved, but something was wrong and he suggested talking to the computer shop. The symptom was a weak signal as shown by the “bars” at the bottom corner of the screen.  John’s initial thought was that we jarred loose the wireless card or something, but as it did show up, that didn’t make good sense.  In talking to the tech at the computer place the conversation was moving to “put the tower back in the box and bring it in” – when John remembered on pick-up day someone at the shop saying – prior to John heading to lunch at the food Bank – “The 2 wireless antennae need to be unscrewed before the tower and be re-boxed.”   Oops! Found the antennae!  Screwed them in. Uff da. Glitch solved. We now have wireless connection to the Internet with all 3 computers, and a Home Group sharing documents and pictures. When we get a new printer/scanner (the current all-in-one has a dead scanner) it will be “wireless” and now that we know to screw on an antenna or two, we will have entered the 21st Century (computer-wise).

This evening is Robert Michael Pyle’s talk on Butterflies and we will take our boxes of books to donate to the AWG at the registration table tomorrow. I have to be there before 8:00 a.m. to be at the table during the AWG business meeting, and then our session starts at 9:00 a.m. My paper starts at 10:05. After that, I’m free of any duties, except probably attending to the book table again. John has meat loaf in the oven. Don’t know if we will get some before leaving or not. Turns out we will wait till we get home. Might be a late dinner but we are used to that. Turns out it was MUCH later – talks about Butterflies go every which-a-way just like the flight pattern of the animals on a windy day.
Saturday, May 4 We had the Association of WA Geographers meeting this weekend here in EBRG, and I started participating quite early, leaving the house at 7:30 a.m. I helped with set up and put out all our books for donations to the Student Awards for the organization on a table adjacent to the registration table. I gave my paper in the morning session. I did fine and received many compliments, especially from my co-author, who presented our similar research paper at Olympia, WA for a different geography conference last October. We have added to it and changed a few things since then. He told me later that today was the Kentucky Derby, and we should have mentioned that (because the export hay trade in our valley began in 1971 with 200 tons delivered to Japan, after they learned our valley’s hay was being shipped to feed racehorses in Kentucky!). The day and presentation was neat because a lot of my students from the past and friends (colleagues) from around WA in community colleges (& universities) were there. I also got to meet a bunch of the students currently in the programs who I had met through my jobs list but never in person. One gal giving a poster is the daughter of one of my former students for whom I was an adviser on her internship at the Pacific Northwest Laboratory in Richland, associated with some of the Hanford waste studies and the leaking tanks of radioactive materials into the Columbia River. I didn’t stay for the afternoon paper session but left after the group returned from lunch. I stayed and took care of the tables, and viewed the last of the poster presentations. From there I went on to our favorite grocery store because a special Saturday-only sale was occurring, on many things we needed and use. My cart was totally full, contents including: packages of paper towels, ice cream, diced tomatoes, cans of fruit, canned cat food, and I think that was about it, except for a couple other items, marked down as well.
Once home, I finally collapsed and took an hour’s nap. Unfortunately, we stayed up later than I should have working on the computer, this blog, and things that have been ignored all week.

Finally, it is now Sunday morning, and we were getting ready to have John post this blog, but the WordPress he uses is from his old computer. It lost its connection to the new modem. He has spent the past two hours moving back and forth between the back of the house and the den, trying to coordinate and figure all the passwords, workgroup issues, and allow our computer to speak to one another. FINALLY, we THINK we’re up to be able to have him post the blog from his new computer. However, he will have to transfer the picture file information from the old computer, so he can add the pictures for today’s issue.

He got that done, but then we have had to spend lots of time figuring how for him to retrieve my Word document, with his LibreOffice Writer, an open-source free word-processing software on his new machine. Now that we are home grouped I can revise his files on my computer, store on mine, and he can come back to my computer files on the Home Group for me. I think we’re nearing posting time Sunday afternoon, but wow, we have accomplished a lot today.
Hope your week was great.
Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan

No snow this week

Sunday, Apr 21 Off to bluegrass jam today. Only a few folks there. We had two fiddles, 2 guitars, a mandolin, bass fiddle, and guitar & Mando switching person. We went around the circle a bunch of times. I used all 3 of the songs I took along (and had copies for): Blowin’ In The Wind, I’ll Fly Away, and I Want A Girl, and then we played two of my picks, You Are My Sunshine, and Red River Valley. Oh, darn, I meant to take the extra Blowin’ in the Winds with me to our music group this week, and I spaced.
Monday, Apr 22 John started off by going to town to craft a custom-made computer with our gurus at CCSOE (Complete Computer Services of Ellensburg). Last time (2005) he started by buying a complete system from Hewlett Packard (HP) but it was junk so he sent it all back. Then after much review and multiple parts purchased from all over the country he cobbled together a full system with 2 monitors and other goodies. That was very time consuming, although very interesting. The system still runs but it is showing its age, as is the operating system, Windows XP, and all the other software he has been using. But technology has marched on and he doesn’t want to go the “do it yourself” route again so, this time, he went to the folks that host our e-mail and web pages and set us up with this blog usage space (in the midst of Nancy’s “lights out” time) in December of 2009. The new system will be more computer (faster but using less electricity) in a smaller case but with bigger screens (not CRTs this time). It is much more than “just” a computer. There is something called a solid state drive (SSD) that will make it sort-of “instant on” plus other speediness. The tech at CCSOE asked if John wanted that and his answer was “No, I don’t need it.” The fellow, young enough to be our grandkid, said, “But it’s a cool feature!” So that got ordered. Now John is hunting for a statue or stuffed toy for on top of the yet to arrive “cool” computer, tentatively named Penguin – ‘cuz it’s Cool!
John’s completing the new garden space and fencing it while the computer parts come to EBRG and are assembled. Strawberries arrived and need to be planted. Maybe more on both topics next week.
Tuesday, Apr 23 Much time this morning on unexpected projects. Now to get to the hay paper work & timing. Worked hard on it but also on several more demanding unplanned projects, and did not finish the hay paper. Did leave at 5:15 for town for a free dinner for community volunteers. We got there after many but found a place at a table with most of our group and their spouses. Another several were at an adjacent table. Food included pasta with two types of sauce, white or red (had meat), salad, veggies, garlic bread, and the best spread of desserts you have ever seen. Many were left and one of the ladies twisted John’s arm until he agreed to take some home. We brought 4 pieces — cherry and carrot cake, and 2 cream puffs. We started with dessert because the line was so long at the main buffet. There was a short program of thanks after dinner to the many volunteers in the community there being honored. We were encouraged to take a donated gift home with us from a table near the exit and to take something from our table (flower seeds, plants, and a few other things). From the last table I picked up a pocket level, with a measuring tape in it, for John, and I took a mystery bag. It was full of goodies. Four pens (always can use them), a coffee mug from Dry Creek, one small pill dispenser for a week, some Baby Ruth candy pieces in the mug, and for the refrigerator a large magnet with emergency numbers. Oh, and a package of Guatemalan coffee, which I will share with the department because we don’t brew the stuff.
Wednesday, Apr 24 Worked on paper and sent it off before leaving for lunch/music at the Food Bank, and by the computer folks to pick up John’s hat he left there Monday, then to exercise and home. Got a couple of loaves of bread today, and lunch was okay. Once home, we delivered strawberry plants, and a box of onions, to our neighbor who gave us some Yukon potatoes from their root cellar. They need to be used very soon.
The very neatest thing that happened today, was I walked by the patio window and saw a special combination of birds and managed to get this photograph. I’m so excited. Click for full size.

A pair of (California) Valley Quail, one Dove, a pair of Red-Winged Blackbirds, and a Gold Finch on the fence waiting for more seeds.
Waiting for more?
Lunch was Black Oil Sunflower seeds.

Here we see a pair of (California) Valley Quail, one Dove, a pair of Red-Winged Blackbirds, and a Gold Finch on the fence waiting.

Brittany Annie under the bird feeding station with several birds eating black oil sunflower seeds.
Annie inspects the feeding station

The platform is newly installed away from the shrubs near the patio. Rascal (cat) was using the newly leafed-out bushes to stalk the birds. Annie is interested also – House Finches seem not to care.
Thursday, Apr 25 Will be playing with the Fiddlers & Friends at Hearthstone today. Thankfully, there were more people there than Saturday when we only had two. Charlie was back from his heart pacemaker implant operation and able to play his guitar. Just seeing him was wonderful. Same ole, same ole, for this day.
Friday, Apr 26. An early call woke me and I misunderstood John’s intro so I talked incoherently for a minute before getting straightened out. Then later we received an out-of-state call from a friend that her CWU-retired husband had died. I need to contact our mutual (university) friends. The illness was known to be terminal but the timing was surprisingly soon. In between calls I was working on the hay paper, and did finally send off the final copy to my co-author. I had a scholarship lunch to attend at CWU and then an exercise class, followed by a bunch of things in town. Trip to the CWU Library, to the telephone company twice, and the last time was to go back to town to the phone company to pick up a new modem for our computer. It has been failing recently, so they gave us a replacement. Just now (8 P.M.) we made roasted walnut chocolate frosted chocolate flat cake for me to take to the fundraiser for the Grange at the fairgrounds, where I have to work as a cashier for 4 hours. At least I get to sit down, and don’t have to work in the kitchen. It is in conjunction with the barn quilt displays and an evening “Barn Dance.” Now finishing the blog because I won’t have time tomorrow, and it needs to get out to you faithful readers. I’m sure there was other good news this week that I have omitted. Such as – It didn’t snow!
Saturday, Apr 27 Day for volunteering, for me, so off I go. And it has warmed up this week. Stuff is blooming. John plans to take a photo of our Tulips, Forsythia, and Rainier Cherry blossoms in the same shot, and put in as a lead to next week’s blog.

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

Test for a photo

John is trying to add photos or other images to the blog.

We like to feed small birds and even Quail but there always is a problem with other animals wanting to get some of the Black Oil Sunflower Seeds. The 2 photos below show the issue when the feeder is hung too low. Deer will even stand on their hind legs and reach up and grab the feeder and shake seeds out.  They almost pulled the bottom off.  We tied it up higher in the trees.  The birds liked this but so did a little squirrel.

Mule Deer in winter near feeder
Muley Buck has found the Bird feeder
Thinks maybe John is up to something
Muley at bird feeder
Mule Deer snacking on Sunflower Seeds
Jan. 2011 on the Naneum Fan by John










As John assembles the photos from the past, we’ll add some more of this story.

Autumn, a time of harvest and loss

Sunday, Oct 21  A scheduled music session for the afternoon presented the question of the day – stay home or go?  Rain or Sun?  Assuming the former, we took care of a bunch of chores this morning; John, early, fed the neighbor’s horses (one last time).  Morning was fine for working on yard chores, but it was rather cold.  Turned out the sun shone all day, and it would have been fine for working.  However, we grabbed a fast lunch and drove to the Swauk Teanaway Grange for the monthly Bluegrass Jam session.  I didn’t count but there were a fair number of folks there.  I will try to recall.  Guitars (6), one Dobro, one Mandolin (who switched with a guitar occasionally), Bass Fiddle, one Banjo, and 3 violins.  The audience had about 10 or more.  People brought yummy food.  I took zucchini/pineapple bread my friend Bill made me a loaf of yesterday, and brought 1/2 back that wasn’t eaten, also there were brownies, another zucchini/cream cheese/nut bread, and some wonderful toll house cookies.  They always make coffee, and John left a donation for a Pepsi he got from the frig. There were a couple people there, who John new from our trail riders club, and a couple who we met at a multi-day Bluegrass session in the Canyon last year over Mother’s Day.  It was close enough for us to just go down 3 days in a row, and at that point I did not have the travel trailer.  Don’t know what’s for dinner tonight.  We filled up on goodies at the Grange!  Ah ha.  We threw together leftovers and two nice potatoes, steamed in the microwave oven.  We had some of our tomatoes and a Honeycrisp apple too.  The guy didn’t make it with the bulldozer, so yet another waiting game.  We have other things to do, we invited ourselves to pick apples and pears across the valley (ditto last year). More on that below.  And we need to go to Costco soon.

Monday, Oct 22  We decided it was going to be a nasty rainy day, so we’d go to Yakima.  We made a couple/4 stops on our trip.  It snowed on Manastash Ridge while we were in Yakima, and as we went across the valley and uphill home, it snowed a lot on us.  We got home to 4 inches (at least of snow here) and it is still falling.  Normally, we do not get snow until Halloween or the day after.

We had a fruitful shopping day.  We went first to Big 5 Sporting Goods on Nob Hill Blvd. for boots (better/different selection than EBRG), and found a nice new pair for $45 (normally $70 at other retail outlets – so they claim).  And then we went by the new Penney’s store (now called JCP, kind of like KFC, ha ha), and I bought myself a pair of Skechers® with a good inner sole for my foot problems, for $45.  I have worn nothing but Brooks Addiction for 15 or more years, (recommended by foot doctors for plantar fasciitis), but the price is up to $120 (plus added 8% tax), the last time I bought them in 2010.  So, this was a good day.  We even got gasoline for $3.74/gallon.  And, we picked up 2 pepperoni pizzas on sale for $3/off (linked to the apple/pear picking plans), got some pecans for the pies John has to make for the Christmas potluck Scholarship luncheon (he is expected to each year, since he started in 1988).  Also some chocolate chips (coupon $2.25 off 4.5# bag), so we can make cookies to thank our computer guys and mechanics.  (This is also a tradition).  We got a large package of red seedless grapes, dog & cat food, and some other stuff we needed.  Even got some AA batteries for the friend we’ll see tomorrow to pick their free apples.  Our total bill was 12¢ shy of $220.00; amazing how things add up.  Oh, I forgot the bratwursts (probably not good for us, but much enjoyed), and a couple of packages of their very large muffins, filled with blueberries.  Returning to the timeline of the shopping trip and then home, John is back in from moving snow off the walks and patio and feeding all the animals.  It is still snowing, more like a misting rain now.  Sadly, got a phone call tonight that my (music group) friend died (cancer).  He’s better off, to be out of pain, but it is still tough, particularly for his wife of 57 years.  He’s been very much a large part of my musical life for two decades.  Years ago I went in to local sewing goods store and violin music was coming from the back room.  The store was his wife’s.  I likely would have met him in some other way but probably in a public venue, so this simple homey connection helped our friendship develop.  I will miss him.  He played in every group I played with, sometimes 3 times/week, and more days at Christmas time.

Tuesday, Oct 23  John worked on outside chores much of the morning after running the dogs and feeding the horses, and it is no longer snowing, but is  ‘winter’-cold.  He had to move some hay from the barn to a horse trailer that is closer to the horses’ feeding stations and easier to feed from.  Also, he took some time to clean out some of the groceries still in the car from yesterday to add some empty boxes for the apples.  We are leaving after 3:15 for the other side of the valley where they only had a dusting of snow — John to pick apples and me to visit, and then we will eat dinner there.  We are taking from our COSTCO trip – pizzas, grapes, and crystal light.  They will add their onions, tomatoes, and peppers to the two large pepperoni pizzas.  We have 6 to feed and a year old (who loved the pizza).  Two are growing teenagers.  Conversation included many topics, such as the son’s overlapping baseball and football seasons, daughter’s painting class using this guy’s methods

she is doing a painting that will soon look something like this one:

The one she is doing eluded John’s searching.  Actually, here is a link to a photo with my holding it — her mom took this when we went to pick her up from painting class.  Moss, grass, leaves, and highlights are to be added.’sPaintingStart.jpg

We played with baby Michael and discussed apples and irrigation.  The sad thing about the apples is that a hail storm destroyed (for commercial purposes) almost all of the fruit along the hillside (numerous growers, hundreds of acres).  See this:

Only fruit low on the tree and on the opposite side from the direction of the storm is worth picking, maybe a dozen or so per tree loaded with apples. Should look like this:

But, instead, most look like these:

Really bad:

Less bad:

If the apples have only dents (previous view bottom and top left) they might be usable for juice.  The center hit in the above view cracked the skin and the resulting decay – dark brown/black – prevents this apple’s use.  Harvesting a crop with any such apples is too much of a problem as, after picking, an inspection might discover a few like this and the entire shipment would be discarded – picking and transport costs just adding to the loss.  So, only the few pickers like John (with owner Urban’s help) manage to salvage a few of the apples – about 150 pounds in our case – 2 types of pears, plus Romes, Honeycrisp, and Jonagolds.  Oh, and a few of the heirloom variety Winter Banana:

Wednesday, Oct 24  Well, today everything changed from what was originally planned.  First, it started out snowing early and we hadn’t even realized we might get it.  It went on till about 10:00 am.  Then it melted the rest of the day.  The sun came out once, but mostly was cloudy all day and chilly.  John moved panels to protect the contents of the new metal pole building from the horses – also prevent damage from rubbing and pooping in it.  He has moved over 100 gallons of water (siphoned) from rain/snowmelt catch barrels from off the roof of the house, front and side. Rain water has the need pH for blueberry plants but it is a bit late in the season.  But one of the intersection gutters (valley gutter) dumps water right at the front door, like this:

Folks that design houses must live in apartments.  Note the different orientation of the garage/roof in each of these:


Imagine a foot of snow on each sliding and melting into a pile on the ground.  That one place would have a frozen mess right in front of the garage door — as does ours – while the second one would have the garage accessible but the front door would be a wet and snowy mess.  Yes, the fancy house has “rain” gutters – so called because they are not too helpful with snow and ice, and unless heated, have a tendency to be ripped off by those added weights.  Oh well – we should move to a warmer place.

I worked on notifying friends about the upcoming funeral and copied the obituary published in this afternoon’s paper.  I got it out long before it was on the newsstands, so that was neat.  Had a few responses and had to respond.  Then at the last minute I was rushing from a fast breakfast to get dressed to leave for town to play music at the Food Bank.  I walked out onto the front porch and was standing there waiting for John to push the snow off the windshield, doors, and windows, when the phone rang.  I decided to go back in and catch it, hoping it wasn’t a political call, which we have gotten 2 and 3 of some days.  It was my banjo buddy I was to meet at noon, saying she had rolled her car and totaled it coming to EBRG from S. Cle Elum and wouldn’t be able to play today.  Luckily, she was not hurt.  But, I turned around and decided not to go to town.  I had plenty of chores needing done, and tomorrow we both are going to town for several things.

Thursday, Oct 25.  I got a Noon haircut from my neighbor around the rural block.  Left at 1:25 for the afternoon in town with John.  While I was playing music, he went and bought groceries, picked up his eye ointment, bought some things on sale, saving $16.00, stuff we would buy anyway, so it truly was a saving.  John picked me up and we drove a block up the street for me to have blood taken for an INR check.  Then to the bank, and on our way to the next stop, friends from Yakima came up behind us at a stop light, honked, and pulled us over to talk.  We met his daughter and her husband who were here from Virginia till Saturday.  Hope they don’t run into problems flying back into the influence of the hurricane, Sandy.

Of all things we visited outside our cars in the Jack in the Box parking lot.  What a chance meeting.  Small world.  Then on to the library, where all the metal inside my body set off the alarms, and scared me, so I asked to be escorted out through a different exit, at the back loading dock.  Thank God it did not set my ICD off to shock me.  Then off to pick up the bags of onions.  Dinner of leftovers tonight, but I added a full tomato for myself, from our garden.  Boy, it was excellent.  (Oh, John also cut a bunch of the lower limbs from the Mt. Ash tree to keep the deer from jumping over the 4′ fence to come eat them.  We don’t want a deer getting hung up in the fence but they are welcome to the berries.  Also, he had to pull out and cut our gorgeous grape vine leaves, which froze badly overnight.  The lilac plant still has green leaves.  Go figure.

Friday, Oct 26  Finally, the man down the road and over some, who owns a bulldozer for hire, arrived in our driveway to check out our needs.  He had a tree fall on his house, so our project is put off over a week from now.  I hope it doesn’t snow to stick before it gets done.  The snow we had earlier in the week is mostly gone.

Noon today was a scholarship luncheon in Bouillon Hall, the old building where I had a nice office on the second floor with a wonderful view, and much space, for over 10 years.  We had 3 different soups, and I sampled them all.  First was an Italian Toscana soup (made with onions, bacon, sausage, potatoes, and whipping cream); second, a corn chowder with potatoes; third, a taco soup, with red kidney beans, ground beef and a chili-like base.  Whole wheat rolls and butter, and a green salad with cherry tomatoes.  If that wasn’t enough, our hostesses had two wonderful homemade pies.  The most unusual was layered with caramelized nuts, pumpkin, cream cheese cake, and a yummy crust.  Best pie I have had recently, but she also had a yummy apple pie with a Dutch apple crumbly topping.  From there, on my way out of the building I grabbed two heavy- duty boxes, flattened but very usable, in which to recycle paper.  Then off to SAIL class, carrying a box of apples to the Adult Activity Center to share with my class, and also, I took along 10 pounds of onions to share with an older couple, both members of our class plus a smaller box of apples for them.  Of all things, I then had to drop by where we played music Thursday, in order to pick up a Tambourine our oldest member (83) left behind.  I retrieved it.  Then in the afternoon, late, after 5:00 we picked up a large pizza, had it cut into 16 pieces, and took it to our friends house a block away, where John stayed while they went to the viewing of my friend who died.  I had some pizza with John and a few of the family, before they left for the funeral home, and I left for a retirement home, to play and sing gospel music from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00.  They had a birthday cake afterwards, and I stayed for a piece.  Then left about 7:20 and drove back by the funeral home, and made a stop to visit with the family.  I gave one of the sons a ride back to the house, went inside for a short visit and to pick up John to drive home.  Tomorrow will be a much longer day.

Saturday, Oct 27  More rain.  We had to leave before noon today to get to town in time for the family to get to the church and set up things before the funeral.  I stayed in their house with John for a little bit and then donned my raincoat and drove about a block to Jack in the Box to get our lunch.  John wanted a full one with a drink, cheeseburger, and fries, and I got a small hamburger and shared his fries.  We only visited for a short while and I left to go to the funeral, to meet another friend there.  It was a beautiful service with 4 immediate family members giving Eulogies, a trio of musician friends (Flute, Cello, & Harp), playing Ashokan Farewell.

That was a meaningful song for the deceased and his family, and they were playing from his handwritten music score for the piece.  All musicians in the valley are used to his crafted music, with notes and chords, and transposed versions for a trumpet or Bb clarinet.  We will now permanently include that song in our group playings in his honor.

The audience sang two hymns, and the bishop said a few words.  It was special for me because the bishop is also our eye doctor.  After the service, the family left for the cemetery.  It was raining the whole day, but thankfully, the rain stopped for the trip to the cemetery, the burial service, and the trip back to the church.  Then it started pouring again and it is still raining, at 9:30 tonight.  John was staying in the house to watch out for it while I participated in the funeral.  I did not go to the cemetery, but went back and visited with John for an hour, and returned to the church for a dinner.  I got there 1/2 hour before the group who went to the cemetery, but was able to sit and visit with friends.  Once everyone got there we had a ham dinner, with rolls, salad, rice and potato casseroles, and desserts.  I should have picked up two pieces of ham my first time through, but didn’t, because when I went back through the line after everyone was seated and many were done eating, there was little food remaining.  I was going to take a plate back to John.  However, the only thing left on the table was salad (which he doesn’t really like), and one rice casserole.  Nothing else.. oh.. yes, pumpkin bread (he doesn’t like), and one tiny piece of chocolate cake.  So, that’s what I brought him (plus my left over roll parts and the edge I cut off my piece of ham).  Good thing he had some stroganoff he made yesterday to come home to.  He also had to feed the horses and feral cats in the dark and in the rain.  We didn’t get home until 8:00 p.m.

I turned this over to him late to tweak and to post.  It might not make it out until Sunday.

Hope your week was a good one.

Nancy and John

Still on the Naneum Fan