Here’s Why

. . . the next full post will be Sunday evening.

This is the week of the Washington Old Time Fiddlers Association workshop that is being held in Moses Lake.

Fiddle on an outline of WA State

The town is east of us and from here the trip involves going over a ridge (Rye Grass) and then down to the Columbia River and back up the steep canyon, all on Interstate 90. Nancy went over for Mon. thru Wed. and then came home and did the regular Thursday music gig. We are going back this Friday morning.
Nancy will practice with and then play in the afternoon presentations of the Workshop classes. This will be with the instructor she has known for over 20 years while the workshop was held in the town of Kittitas and just a few miles from us. With luck we will get home between 5 and 6 o’clock.
On Saturday Nancy is scheduled to play music in EBRG and John is to go west to help on a hiking trail just this side of Snoqualmie Pass.

It will take some work for Nancy to get the week’s activities into digital form and then we’ll team-up to get it properly into WordPress. Expect the posting to be mid-day Sunday.

Meanwhile, our State is experiencing serious fires that have put a lot of smoke in the air, caused evacuations including an entire small town, and contributed to a major pile-up [now cleared] of cars (14?) and big rigs (9?) on the interstate that we will take (if it is reopened) this morning. The alternative is the very old cross-state 2-lane highway. The WA-DOT has not posted an update since 6:47 last night. The main problem yesterday was smoke, blowing dust and ashes from the fire (started at a rest stop by a large motor home that burned). We need to leave home by about 8:30 AM or so to get to Moses Lake for the practice session at 11. Time now is 5 minutes to 7. Things to do, including getting Nancy up and in motion.

Nancy and John
on the Naneum Fan

Check-up and more

Visit the previous Solstice post.

Sunday, Dec 15
The good news on my horse is that our neighbor who has helped us bury two previous horses, came down with his backhoe to help put Frosty in his resting place on our property. It was accomplished on a very windy, but sunny day. Winds were gusting to 53mph. This Christmas cactus was blooming nicely for the day, and the clouds resembled the activity trails of a herd of heavenly horses running to great Frosty. One of his buddies (Scotch) preceded him there, and others of ours probably heard of his arrival. About the clouds, see here and here.

blooms on a Christmas cactus backlit from a sunny window
Mistreated but it doesn’t
seem to care a whit
Altocumulus clouds -- lines of whispy white clouds; also called mackerel sky or buttermilk
What is going on up there?

Monday, Dec 16
Took a lot of time today to finalize all the medical paperwork to take along tomorrow to my Cardiologist’s appointment in Yakima. It is just a routine 6-month visit, but has much stuff to take along with me. They want a complete list of medications (and even want the containers), but I have managed over time to just take a detailed list. They accept it.
In addition, I have been recording my blood pressure daily (as requested from the doc last time). Last night my recorder stopped working, but I have enough data to satisfy the doctor that I do not have high blood pressure. I also have tried to coordinate the lab reports and talk to the hospital and my family physician’s office to figure WHY the system will not work correctly on sharing my lab reports requested from one doctor with another in the same system as the hospital lab where I go. I am not allowed to ask them to FAX results to both doctors. What happened to the need to benefit the patient?
The other thing accomplished today was a find of a white board about 2′ x 3′ that a preschool teacher requested on the new list I’m on for “freebies” — Buy Nothing Kittitas County. (It is a closed group through Facebook). I have gotten a few nice things, and given some nice things away too. It beats dealing with E-Bay or bulletin boards, or God forbid, having a garage sale. I’m meeting her Wednesday to deliver the goods. Amazingly (to Nancy), John found it this morning in the shed. Nicest way to depart with stuff is to find someone needing and wanting something for which you no longer have a use.
John tended to the rough and rocky ground from the horse burial. Many rocks moved off to another use and the place covered with straw and manure from near the horse feeding spots.

Tuesday, Dec 17
Started out getting things ready for leaving for the trip to Yakima. John worked outside and the temperature gradually went above freezing. We had a small lunch and hit the road, a little after 1:00 p.m. On to Yakima (I drove). First, to Costco for gasoline, at $3.159/gallon. That’s a lot better than Ellensburg’s $3.269. From there to shopping. I mentioned above that Sunday night my blood pressure measuring unit quit working. We purchased it from Costco a couple of years ago, and never expected a replacement, but took it in, to see if they could get a replacement part. The sleeve no longer expanded to record the pressure, and made sounds like it was leaking. They checked to see that we had bought it there, and then refunded us the cost we paid. We both were in a state of flabbergast, and never expected anything like that. I forgot to ask when the purchase date was, but it was in their system. They refunded us $42.26. We went to the pharmacy and bought a new nicer one for less. Also, we picked up a few more things for us and the animals. I took a powered shopping cart on the way in, but after we came back from the service desk, I passed a woman with crutches, waiting for one. I was coming from the exit side, so as I went by her, she said, are you returning that? I said, no, I’m just beginning, but I think you need it more than I do, so please take it. My good deed for the day, and I got a good exercise walking all over the store.
From there we went to Big 5 Sporting Goods store where we had a $5 coupon. John found some boots just as he likes, on sale, and asked about something to glue down the front rubber piece of the sole across the toe that is coming off those at home. The sales clerk suggested a tube of glue just for leather & rubber. So, he got it a tube of black Shoegoo. From there to the Yakima Heart Center. I was to check in early for a 4:00 p.m. appointment. Surprisingly, I was called in at 4:03. The nurse assistant took my vitals, and then gave me an EKG. We thought the doctor would be in soon, but he was much longer than expected, getting there just before 5:00. He always spends a lot of time with us, and he went through all the labs and past information from the last time we saw him in June. Nothing was wrong with any of my tests, except my magnesium is a little low, so he told me to start adding a supplement of it to my meds, daily. My cholesterol (total is low) was “excellent'” in his words — but he explained my HDL/LDL (ratio) is a bit off because the “bad” C. is quite low while the good C. has not lowered concomitantly. He was very happy with that, and won’t change anything. Several months ago my regular Doc in Cle Elum noticed this and sent a memo with a link to a study about too low isn’t good either. John did some reading and we-all have decided to watch this for any changes or other (maybe related) issues. My blood work was good. In 3 months, I’m going to go through a special test which measures the volume of my newly-shaped heart better than a normal Echocardiogram. So about late March I’ll get that done – reluctantly, because I have to lay on a table with an arm up behind my head for about 10 to 15 minutes (I think). That’s not fun. By the time our consultation was over it was near 6:30 and we and Dr. Kim were the only ones left in the office. He had to find the main switch for the front doors so they would unlock and open without setting off alarms.

Wednesday, Dec 18
Similar to other midweek’s doings. Off to the Food Bank Soup Kitchen to play Christmas carols today. I wore my special Merry Christmas hat. They fed us pizza (homemade there), a large mixed green salad, and some dessert I skipped. Went by the pharmacy for one of my pills, and by Bi-Mart for some Magnesium as prescribed yesterday, by my doctor. Home to try to tackle a number of routine things.

Thursday, Dec 19
Today, most of the morning was spent copying Christmas music and adding legible chords for two new (occasional) members of our music group — guitar players. One is 92! And you would never have guessed his age. Amazing, and quite good on the guitar as well. I hope I’m half as good as he is by the time I’m 75! We had many interested and involved residents, singing along on the Christmas songs, and jingling their bells we gave them.
From there, I came home to deal with many emails that have been waiting and to work on a WTA page to get to people for comments. I hope to put the links in an end of year newsletter. It is not written yet. So many cards and letters are coming, and I will have to print out what I end up putting in the newsletter to send to our friends who do not have an Internet connection. I promise you it will not be as large as the greetings for 2012, which did not make it out until St. Patrick’s Day this year! I also put in a bunch of time sending out jobs for my jobs list I have ignored for the past few days.

Friday, Dec 20
We got up early this morning to make the two pecan pies to take to the scholarship luncheon potluck at CWU. Friends at the same parties (doesn’t happen often) may get tired of our over the top regalia. This was a change today with the hats added.

Nancy and John in Christmas decorated sweaters
An odd couple of pies.

My hat was given to me by my friend since the 6th grade, Nancy “J.” John is wearing my old sweater when I was larger. There was an interesting assortment of food, and ours was the only dessert. After lunch we went by for my INR blood draw and visited in our Christmas clothing with a nurse who hadn’t seen me in 3 years, when I was going in for regular IVs after the bacteria in my blood (after the heart valve transplant). Her name is Nancy, and she was so thrilled to see me and gave me a huge hug, and John too, saying how great I looked. Yes, quite an improvement since the last time I saw her. I have gone back, sometimes with Chocolate Chip cookies to say hello to the nurses in the Outpatient part of the hospital, but she hasn’t been there when I have been in. We need to do that again.
It has been snowing lightly, and can just stay that way, or stop anytime. About 3:00 this afternoon, the sun came out for a very short time! Nothing on tap except catching up until tomorrow. Then, the wind started blowing, gusting to 38mph before slowing. Oops — there it comes again. Chili tonight and pecan pie for dessert, because we did not eat a piece at the luncheon today, preferring to have a real fork or spoon (not plastic), and a glob of ice cream on top. Everyone else was happy to eat or take a piece with them. We still brought a little over 1/2 of one pie home, so that was nice.
Tonight, I also put some final changes on another WTA workday trip, with some final shots of the projects added into two previous days’ documentation.
Check out here, cut and paste if necessary:

Saturday, Dec 21

This morning with John, we worked on a rewrite of the web page on the Park Pointe development in Issaquah. The WTA crew leaders have not yet reviewed it, but you can find it at

I am actually still making corrections and additions.
Late this afternoon and evening, we will be dressing in our Christmas garb again and going to an open house. I think we will take a plate of cut up Honeycrisp apples to go with all the sweet stuff likely to be there. Speaking of sweet stuff, we have a funny mistake to report with our Pecan Pies yesterday. Neither of us had a piece until last night. I mentioned to John that it looked flatter and smaller than usual. It didn’t make sense because we always add an extra egg and have sometimes made a tiny 3 inch extra pie. Still, I noticed and mentioned to John that the pies seemed thinner and showed more crust. This morning, John started our conversations with a question — “Do you remember adding white sugar to the mixture?” Nope, we left it out completely, two+ cups. That would have built up the filling more. Apologies to those at the luncheon. We were both working on ingredients and talked about the different amounts of sugar suggested by the two recipes we have. Proper execution did not follow the communication. 🙂 Regardless, it was still pretty as ever and tasted like Pecan pie. We are not the only folks to have problems in the kitchen.
For today’s in-town visit, we arrived near the beginning (just after 4:00 pm), and had such a good time we stayed longer than originally planned. Lots of good food and fellowship. Main dish was a large Crock pot of Taco Soup, with many toppings. Supplementary food included some fried bread with black beans and corn, red & green grapes, deviled eggs, asparagus, peppers & olives, cookies, and candies, and several other little sweet and non-sweet things.
Neat to meet more people from town, some of whom we know and some new faces. Still, this was mostly an elderly crowd and we’re not old. Right?

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

Winter Solstice

We were invited out to share food with folks Nancy met at the Senior Center (aka the Adult Activities Center) in EBRG. That was from 4 until 8 and it is now 8:45. We will work on the blog this evening and post later or Sunday morning.
We are just north of the 47th degree of Latitude and our daylight hours are stuck on 8 hours and 31 minutes. The few seconds of additional daylight will click us up to 8 hours and 32 minutes toward the end of the coming week. Progress. Hope you celebrate these longer daylight seconds.
Stonehenge is about 280 miles north of our Latitude.

Stonehenge at the December Solstice
One of the ‘no people’ winter images on the web


Sunday, Dec 8
Morning pealing and cutting Golden Health Squash into little pieces to mix with cinnamon, sugar, our walnuts, and a touch of cloves to take to the community dinner at the Grange 45 minutes away. Lots of food. We ate enough not to need dinner (at least I won’t). Turkey, bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, many salads, several breads/rolls, and many veggies, salads, & desserts. The Community Choir entertained us and they were very good. Then some cute little girls in costumes danced for us (starting with 3-5 yr olds, then 7-10, and then kindergarten. Nice jobs by all.

Monday, Dec 9
Began with taking my blood pressure for my week prior to going to Cardiologist next Monday. Then a bunch of work honchoing the lab work information between two doctor’s offices, via their respective nurses. Then John came in and requested my appearance with camera outside. He wanted me to record our latest home-on-the-farm rural living experience. You’ll see more about this later, because now I haven’t had time to go through the photos and movies, but we have determined it is a yellow jacket nest. Luckily, we didn’t have to run for our lives, but John had to remove wide pieces of old lumber covering the wall studs. Rare stuff, that. The nest was between 2 studs and over 3′ tall. Nothing much was in the combs ’cause these folks don’t make honey and don’t over-winter in cold climes. We’ll get to this next week – maybe. Nothing else exciting today: I worked some on music, including Santa Claus is Coming to Town. (John says we don’t live in a town and so never get Christmas presents.) We do get lots of Christmas cards from all over with connections to our past, and phone calls too. Nice keeping connected. We are not going to get our web page greetings out by the end of the year but will be sending a cute card with wishes (from the Jacquie Lawson site). Keep your eyes out for that coming to a computer near you.

Tuesday, Dec 10
This morning we went to town to get to the hospital lab for a fasting draw for me at 8:45, then off for a Monster biscuit from Carl’s JR, and on to the Copper Kettle for a 9:30 to 11:00 meeting with the Geography Emeritus Profs. From there to Super One and Bi-Mart. John was looking for some very small (8 inches) extension cords, but they had none, so he will order from Amazon. (He did and they arrived Friday). While there I found a camera case for half price ($5), for my new Nikon. It’s too big for my pocket with its case, so now this case has a strap for around my neck and room for the camera and charger. Tonight I go back to town to play and sing Christmas music with The Connections at an assisted living home, Hearthstone Cottages. Came home to a great dinner by John – baked tender chicken and pineapple chunks, baked apples with the rest of the squash and walnuts dish. Finished All I Want for Christmas and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Will check out with my banjo buddy tomorrow at the Food Bank Soup Kitchen. Stayed up until midnight – too long a day.

Wednesday, Dec 11
Didn’t have much time to get ready for leaving for town, but I did manage to re-home and deliver some pans, a bread and a large muffin one. On to the Food Bank Soup Kitchen, where many people were loading up on food for the holidays. We played all Christmas songs and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Some new people came in and got excited about the music. One fellow introduced himself and says he will be back next Wed, because he really enjoyed the music. Our old faithfuls were there too. For lunch, we had spaghetti-like noodles, with gravy and fresh (cooked) mushrooms, and then some meatballs that seemed to be better and larger than normal, not in a tomato sauce. Salad with mostly stuff I’m not supposed to eat (spinach, cranberries), but also apples and nuts so I filled up on those. For dessert, we had sugar cookies with Christmas decorations. A young man named Greg, 13, was taking videos. He is home-schooled and just decided to document the organization and operation because he wanted to learn about it. The staff plans to put it on their web page (the F.I.S.H.) page. He took some video of us, but who knows how it will come out.
John made some interesting progress today that he has recorded in part below, after pulling some cut aspens across a ditch and getting the truck jammed. I cannot explain how something got wedged on the old truck under the rear axle assembly. He worked with a jack and sledge hammer (to drive a battering ram) and somehow released it so he could drive again. Here’s his explanation:

drawing of a rear axle assembly to suggest where the log got caught
Log was under the front of this

A view from the rear; log was in front
While crossing a dry irrigation ditch:
I think what happened was that the left front tire tipped up an odd shaped log (about 4 feet long with a broken end) about 14 inches in diameter for most of its length. That piece ended up under the truck and as the left rear tire settled into the ditch (where the log should have been – the log for the right side was still in place) the log wedged under the drive train and caught on the housing exactly where the universal joint (U-joint) [think that is the term for this connection]. Gentle pressure on the gas pedal had no effect. Had I been 50 miles from home I might have tried a bit more power but the truck is a 1980 and I don’t want it to fail. I tried jacking the axle but the uneven ground and the scissor jack (the one most easily at hand) made this difficult – I got less than an inch before the resistance grew too much and I would have had to get better equipment.
Therefore, I got a 10 ft. piece of Aspen trunk (for a ram), a sledgehammer, and two little rollers (branches) about a foot long. I put the two rollers in place and put the ram on top with one end on the log. I used the sledge as one would use a Croquet mallet, on the other end of the log. Several good whacks and the log went forward. I pulled it out. Took the jack out. Put it, the sledge, and the wood blocks I’d used into the back of the PU. Started up and drove off with no problems.
A complication was that had I tried to go backwards more than 3 inches the left rear tire was going to settle into the ditch (assuming it might have gone backwards had I applied enough power). The only nearby log big enough to fill the ditch was caught under the truck. I did not have another that size and would have had to come up with a work-around had I wanted to try forcing the PU backward. As mentioned above, I don’t want to “force” this old truck because if it breaks, it’s toast. Even with the delay, I finished pulling the last of the 70+ tree trunks up to a spot where I want to cut them into usable pieces. (Why she wanted this in her blog is a mystery!)

Thursday, Dec 12
Today, about four of my friends have birthdays. I spent a lot of time on music – more than I really wanted. I gathered much together, and took along some things to take to people in town. I found a home for a 1/4 size violin (given to me), and that had been the plan all along. It will be used for a 6 yr old boy, who has two younger siblings who might follow. I also carried in a heavy-duty jacket that is a little tight on John, I don’t really like it, and the buttons are hard to get in place (that is, buttoned). It has a new home. John cuts and moves a little brush each afternoon and added rocks to the agenda today.

Friday, Dec 13
Morning filled with chores on the computer and off. My goodness, it’s a heat wave outside – up to 46. John has decent weather to move the rest of the large Elderberry bush he cut down. We decided to attend a party of the College of the Sciences where I taught. We visited with a few of the folks we’ve known and a newish “development” hire – her purpose is to raise funds from outside the State system. We are of interest to her because I give some money to students for scholarship awards and it passes across her desk. She tells an interesting story (skiing in Canada, a bone crushing accident, medic-flight to Seattle, convinced her she wanted to be a doctor, and many steps later, settled into this development thing. Found her niche too, we think. I’m still involved peripherally with a few other things at CWU; although I’m no longer being paid. Interesting. I must be nuts. Anyway, John keeps telling folks at CWU they need a demographer. (There is currently a rapid increase in the over-65 population and that’s costing the State lots of money.) Related is this link about where, and from what, people die. Maps are from the very western part of King County. It came to me from a list serve I’m on, the Central Puget Sound GIS Users’ Group.

Saturday, Dec 14
Frosty, my horse, died overnight, and we do not know the cause. He has not been sick but was no longer young, perhaps 24-25. Below is his picture. He was a Fox-trotter. We bought him when he was about 14 and that would have been about 2004 or 2005. His history is interesting. As a young horse (we don’t know his age then), he was part of the cast of the 1997 Kevin Costner movie, “The Postman,” (horse parts shot in Central Oregon). The producers wanted only black horses in a couple of scenes so they spray-painted them. He obviously would have needed a lot of spraying to become black. Until the day he died, he did not like spray bottles used around him. We had to wipe his face with a rag with fly repellent sprayed in it.

% horses as white clouds on a blue sky and the horse Frosty (some white on a black coat, thus the name)
I’ve looked at clouds that way

Above is a lovely sympathy wish from a friend back in Indiana; Frosty is on the right. Of course, I will miss him, but my real regret is I was not able ride him one last time after I recovered from my heart surgeries.
Further interestingly, is information in the Yakima Herald about a woman from Ellensburg who is a competitive jumper– Nannette Bews. This was published this Sept. For many years, the Bews were mainly trail riders — and movie stars, of a sort. They appeared as extras, on their horses, in the movie mentioned above. The most memorable part of the movie for the couple was dyeing Ed’s horse black for the filming. Since all the horses had to be the same color, dye was airlifted from New York to accommodate the scores of animals. “Dyeing a horse is a real experience, I’ll tell you,” Nan recalls. At the time of the movie a young EBRG veterinarian learned about the movie (she is from OR) and went down to watch the filming. Costner was having an issue with the person already there caring for animals and our-sometimes-vet, Thea, soon found herself drafted. She had nothing there to work with and many horses so she told him what she needed and the flew it all in. When that filming was over they gave her all the remaining medicine and equipment. Small world, right? We know someone who knows Kevin Costner and he worked with Frosty!
I went and played music at Briarwood, and we had a huge turnout- as well as a good batch of players (Mandolin, Autoharp, Clarinet, Viola, Fiddle, Timbrel, and two guitars). They fed us a feast – baked flaky crust around a filling of chicken, cheese, carrots, and broccoli. On the table were cheeses, meats, crackers, and cute little Christmas gelatin creations shaped as trees, bells, Santa; a wonderful green Jello & whipped cream salad, and Swedish meatballs with pineapple chunks. Then a table full of desserts – with cookies, Aplets & Cotlets, homemade peanut brittle, excellent chocolate fudge, and a roll of red velvet cake with cream cheese layer.
One of our players was in the hospital from an infection near his pacemaker – apparently having whacked it while working with firewood. We know he went to Yakima Regional last night, and they took it out and put him on antibiotics. They will install a replacement on the other side of his body. We heard from Helga (his wife) tonight that he was up and walking, and will be having the operation on Monday. (His original heart surgery–multiple bypass stuff) was done by the same Doc that worked on my heart.

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

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Via Facebook (see there are a few advantages) from a CWU student we knew early in our arrival at CWU:
Announcing….drum roll please….Dr. Teresa Ryan.

I successfully passed a 3-hours long oral examination for my PhD dissertation, Territorial jurisdiction: the cultural and economic significance of eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus) in the north-central coast region of British Columbia.

This from a previous post:
Awesome! Thank you so much Nancy.

You are all with me all the time. You are part of my journey and I am so blessed for it.


Teresa Ryan

ps. we (as in House, Tribe) had another feast (others refer to these as ‘potlatch’) this past winter in Prince Rupert and moved lineage names; and the one placed on me is ‘Smhayetsk, it means ‘real copper’ and coincides with a river named in our territory tributary to the Skeena River.


Well, it is 4:45 and Nancy just arrived home from playing and eating at a place in town. It is deep dusk but not yet dark and there is a bright Moon climbing from the eastern horizon. The full moon will be next Tuesday at 1:29 A.M. (for us). We have warmed up to + and – freezing this week and it seems we are to stay that way for a week, at least.

There isn’t much chance we’ll get the week’s doings posted until late today (Saturday) or maybe Sunday morning. Nancy has already mentioned to some that the horse she rode, Frosty, died during the night. It will be said he died of colic but that is a sign and not really a diagnosis or reason.

She brought a few goodies home from the after-music feast so I’m off to sample a bit of fudge. More as soon as possible.


Wassailing in single digits

Sunday, Dec 1
Trying to get over my cough that returned, and work on bills, records, Christmas music, and rounding up Christmasy clothes. We also just worked for a good while on things on the kitchen counter and floors, looking for missing items. It was worth the work. John uncovered the missing favorite carving knife and my mom’s old oval aluminum cooker. Part of the effort was looking for a top for our round crock pot in which John has fixed a nice beef concoction (with tomatoes, onions, and rice). That will be dinner – with leftovers. Now he has taken off for upstream (the diversion from the creek) to adjust the irrigation water in our ditch so it won’t ice over and run out into our pasture, creating a skating rink for us, the horses, & dogs. We don’t need that as we had 2 winters ago. [Ice forms on the ditch water that, then, runs like in a hose until it pops up and, quickly spreading and freezing as it moves over the frozen ground. We had about an acre and half of irregular ice one year.] The horses have had their heated water tank for over a few weeks now, so do not need access to the ditch, and the cats have access to the horse’s trough if it is full enough, plus the “cathouse” is now heated to just above freezing with a pan of water and extra dry food. Yea! I got the dishwasher loaded and started, so am back working on Christmas music. Have to do a major job after getting the new improved version of Frosty the Snowman, using my computer software. Still working on and off on that project. Scanning now, and shortly, I have to redo Jingle Bells to match the words we have on the lyrics being used by the audience to begin with the chorus, instead of the first verse. Finished Jingle Bells and almost completed, We wish you a Merry Christmas. Phew. I wish I got paid for all this work. It’s good volunteer work, however, for the community.

Monday, Dec 2
Our farrier trimmed feet of 3 horses today. John went to town for gasoline in his old farm truck, filling both 20 gallon tanks for over $100, but it won’t need gasoline again for a long time. It is just used on our property for pulling around cut trees, delivering cords of wood (okay, that’s off the property), and countless other carrying of rocks and horse manure around the place, but that doesn’t put the miles on as a regular on-road truck. A current project this week is the removal of an Elderberry bush that is heading toward our electric wires. The 2 pictures below were taken Dec 7; top one is before and bottom one is after the tops of all the parts have been cut off and some loaded into the pickup.

Our old truck backed up to an Elderberry Bush that needs to be cut down; near the power pole and shed
The offensive Elderberry Bush
Cut branches of the Elderberry in truck and on ground; big trunks still to be cut; neighbor's 2-story garage now seen
The half-done job; much cut
but none gone to a resting place

I stayed inside to do various things, and one was to check on Medicare D coverage for drugs. After 1.5 hours of telephone calls (mostly waiting), I now know that my Group Health Retiree Coverage is superior to any other private provider I can obtain for Medicare D, and I get better coverage, with no donut hole, deductible limits; just a co-pay required and with a large top limit, $20,000. More medical today: spent a ton of time on medical lab test histories and set up for an upcoming cardiologist visit for which I was supposed to have two lab tests, one for my thyroid and one for my liver, because of a drug, Amiodarone, I’m on. I just received the request to go in for the two tests, but I remembered I had probably had them recently for our Sept 3 appointment at our family physician. So, I contacted the nurse there, and she verified indeed I had, and the results were within the right range. So, she will mail me a copy of the results, and I have contacted my cardiologist’s nurse. John cannot do any more work in the yard until it dries up or freezes, with rain for 24 hours, it turned everything into mud. Now working again on Christmas music. Thought I was done yesterday, but have to get Here Comes Santa Claus into a different key. It is fairly simple to enter with only 16 measures in ¢ (“cut time”). Speaking of cut, John cut the carpet we bought at CWU surplus to fit the kitchen floor. The mat there was smaller and had started to fall apart. Now we can walk around from the den to the kitchen without stepping on linoleum. The dogs and cat seem to appreciate it as well, and spend lots of time there. Shay has found if she lays on the rug next to the heater vent, she can stay warmer and comfortable. Also, this afternoon I found the information on a new Orthopedic Surgeon in town (whom I met and heard speak earlier this year), so I could recommend him to the mom of the family at Thanksgiving who is having rheumatoid arthritic problems with her knees. I expect this fellow can fix her up, and he is local, hence saving a trip across the pass.
Just printed off a few more newly entered Christmas songs to try out on Wednesday with our banjo player/singer, and then I will have to figure how many to run for people coming to play on Thursday. I hope they will heed my request because I am not going to phone everyone; just the two people without email.

Tuesday, Dec 3
I’m going in today for my INR blood test check at the KVH hospital, and also to the bank & Super One pharmacy. John went along, and we went to Bi-Mart for a 2014 desk top calendar, and ended up finding many other things (including it) on sale. The calendar was 30% off making it a very nice time to be there shopping. Last year it happened too, so I just marked my new calendar to try for about this time next year. Also we found a very good sales price on Bounce dryer tissues, and we were almost out. John likes to stash up on the Aplets & Cotlets boxes when they are on sale for 1/4 of the retail price in Cashmere. [They sell different things on their web site using 14 oz. rather than 12 and different photos and names on the boxes. Comparison shopping is impossible and they have much more and very fancy stuff in the catalogue. Pretty gifts if you need one, though.]
We received the photos today from the Tiger Mountain Work party on December 1. I requested our friend Jon N. take photos of the completed work that John H. was involved with in Oct., and later on his way home from another work trip, stopped and took a few in-progress photos. We worked on the ones to use and he trimmed and brighten some of them for me to include in my “old” page — as a finished project.
It’s not finished yet, but if you check in a few days, it should be there — at (cut & paste)

I’m really excited to have these photographs to add, even though the weather did not cooperate much for nice clear photos. On the web page, I have changed the first line to state the DEC 1 photos to be added and then the header and footer will be changed.

Wednesday, Dec 4
Today was Christmas music at the Food Bank. Can you believe Christmas is only 3 weeks from today ? We had a LOT of participation from the audience and the servers. Much more than usual. Wow. Went from there to SAIL class. Home to work on Christmas music, and then off for a Geology lecture on the Ancient Lakes area east of us. The talk was in Ellensburg, by Andy Bach, geographer from Western WA Univ. I have known him since 1995 when he came to WA. Nice guy, and interesting lecture. We have ridden horses all through the area. (John more than me, but I have been at least twice). It is the landscape of old coulees, ripples, and scablands caused by the Missoula Floods, and more recent modifications of talus slopes and “ponds” in old potholes, caused by the Columbia Basin Irrigation project.

Thursday, Dec 5
This afternoon I went to Royal Vista (nursing & rehabilitation) to play Christmas music. Prior to that I assembled the music for some of our group (more time than originally planned), but this should be it for the rest of the month, until someone else comes in to play who isn’t planning to be there today. While I was working, John went on normal morning chores and then came back and left again to fill the horses’ heated trough. They are having to get all their water from there now. He was gone longer than I expected, so I found out all the additional things he did while the tank was filling. Now at 12:30, it is just finally beginning to be sunny. That may warm things up a little. Meanwhile, the plum trees got covered with straw, a fence got moved, and some other things. As I pulled in the driveway I saw him out back trimming more bushes from behind the shed where I park my car. The location is where the fence he moved earlier (made out of pallets) was moved to allow him access to drive the old truck around back. Ever so slowly he is widening the space between brush and trees and our buildings. Being “Fire Wise” the pros call it.
Getting colder here. John considered putting a block heater on my new Subaru, but it is a special part that will cost $150 + labor and 8% tax. We are not sure it is worth that much. He has one on his car and if it is around zero, we can just drive his, and let mine sit.
Sadly, my work is not over on the Christmas music. We had a few glitches today I have to work on to give out next week. I just put We Wish you a Merry Christmas into the right Key for Ellen & her Bb clarinet, so we could all play off the “same” page.

Friday, Dec 6
This afternoon is the annual Holiday Celebration at Dean Hall put on for all university employees by the Anthropology and Geography departments. It’s a real tradition. It is major finger food, but we’ll have plates, and can make a dinner from the offerings. It begins at 5:00 p.m. so many people come from their work on their way home. We arrived 10 minutes early, put our offering on the dessert table, secured a comfy chair in an adjacent room, visited with some early arrivees, and then were there near the head of the line for the opening buffet. All sorts of food was on the table, and we had plenty to choose from. Meats included ham, little meatballs, pepperoni pizza, chili with cornbread/cheese on top, deep fried homemade (pork egg rolls), herring on crackers, many hot pasta type dishes such as spinach, other stuff: a plate of cheese covered with little shrimp, rolls, plates of cheese, fresh fruit, and deviled eggs. I’ll stop there, but there was more. Desserts filled a table, including cakes, cookies, pies (apple and banana cream), candy, and (on both tables) some things known only to the makers.

Saturday, Dec 7
This evening from 6:00 to 9:30 we are invited to a concert and dinner put on by the Music school for fundraising for student scholarships. We already are funding two yearly scholarships in the College of the Sciences, so they are treating us to dinner as a thanks ($50/person). The entertainment is by 100 members of the CWU Choral music program. They will also be our servers. We picked chicken over vegetarian for our meal choice. The invitation claims there will be wassailing and a social mixing hour preceding the seated dinner. John thinks their use of “wassailing” is a bogus throwback to European traditions and thinks there will be few was hail called out tonight and likely no replies of drinc hail. Neither will anyone proclaim “Old apple tree we wassail thee” – but someone thinks wassailing is a neat sound and thinks we should be doing it. We dressed up and had our picture taken.
That’s my old sweater I talked John into wearing, and the choral conductor came around to greet people and thank us for coming. He told John he really liked the sweater. That made my day. The vest I’m wearing is filled with icons of the Nutcracker Ballet.

John and Nancy in very colorful Christmas sweaters
They said semi-formal

Sunday, Dec 8
Today there are several parties, but we haven’t figured out how to be two places at once, so we have chosen the Grange’s Christmas dinner, at 1:00, during which turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes are donated by the Grange, and attendees bring pot-luck side dishes or desserts. We are taking one of our Golden Health Squash (a winter squash) chunked up and wassailed in butter, walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon and a dash of ground cloves. It worked. Lots of folks said “Oh golden squash, we wassail thee!” We got home about 4 degrees and had the horses fed, the dogs exercised, and the feral cats tended to – all done just as the sky went dark.
The weather folks are looking for zero tonight and then 14 on Monday night. The cold air is draining into the low spots and so we have been about 3 degrees warmer than they think we ought to be. Folks we know down in central Oregon are getting -15 or so. Look around. Some place and somebody is always less well off. We can wassail to that!

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

Way too busy,

The Geog. & Anthro. departments had a pot luck Christmas party Friday at 5 P. M. and tonight (Sat.) we went to a music/dinner fund raiser for the music dept. at CWU. Because Nancy donates to the U for student scholarships we were given tickets (nice) as they wanted $50 each for a chicken dinner. The choral groups performed with some instrumental accompaniment and it was all well done and with a few comical things involved. We left at 5:30 and got home at 10 in 3 degree temperature, headed to -4. In the morning we have to fix squash, walnuts, cinnamon and sugar and off to another food fest at 1 o’clock.

Hope to get a blog done by late Sunday, so check back Monday for Nancy’s weekly doings.

Meanwhile, stay warm and safe.

Thanksgiving Week

Saturday Nov 23
I’m back from playing music and being fed at Briarwood in EBRG – and not feeling hunky dory (cough, cough), but I made it through and came home to proof the blog John has been editing. We had lots to eat so I will not have any dinner tonight. It was a super LUPPER for sure. While I was gone John moved bags (recycle stuff) from along the wall where I park and moved and stored the nice loaned-out boxes I had retrieved from the Wednesday trip. He brought a box of old academic stuff into the house for me to sort out. The main point is that I have a lot more space to park in the 3-sided shed. John took his photos of the buck off his camera and we realized it was larger than originally reported. There are at least 5 tines on each side with eye guards. A beautiful handsome fellow and the does look health too. We have had a couple of older does around for years. Our neighbor has fed apples to one (called her Apple) and there was one with a split ear. Those 2 seem to be gone but there is a younger Split-Ear so maybe that is genetic and not the result of injury. Who Knows?
I’m glad I don’t have anything pending on tomorrow’s schedule (or Monday’s).. maybe not Tuesday’s. So I can take time to get well, and to work on chores. Things start on Wednesday for us. Our group plays our normal Thursday gig on Wednesday at 2:00, and then afterwards we go over to the Community Thanksgiving Feed at the Moose (large room). We have done that for many years. It’s a nice event for anyone in the community to attend. Turkey and all the normal fixings.

Sunday, Nov 24
Well today has been a great day. Slept in and went without taking any cough med with codeine after 5:00 a.m. My nose is a little runny, but overall, I’m getting much better, in time for Thanksgiving. Glory be. That’s nice. No more coughing fits. I was expecting a longer ordeal after talking to our nurse. Today we mostly done stuff in the yard and house. I managed to photograph the large Buck we wrote about and had one photo of in last week’s blog, submitted yesterday, but now a movie

of my early morning efforts to film the large Mule Deer in our backyard. I’m pleased with it, and we have a few photos from that video and on John’s camera as well. Unless we wanted to enlarge and print one of these, mine taken from the video “movie” off my digital camera, Nikon handheld, is just fine for resolution, and he never got the front views I did.

3 photos of the Mule Deer
2X4 inch mesh fence
He’s out, I’m in.

After sending the video to a bunch of friends last week, I received many comments from locals about the beauty of the buck and how they wished for him to be saved to add to the gene pool. We remain hopeful. Neighbors within our area (even the real old timers) do not recall seeing such a large rack in many years. One person’s family a mile up the road from us has been here since the very early days in the valley. He remarked on how nice the palmated antlers were. John knew exactly what he meant, and I had an idea that it was something to do with the thickness shown on the merged antlers on his left side, but I got on line to check things out. I found mostly palmation stories and images of White (tailed) Deer, and one was particularly interesting with a contrasting scale object and a good example, so I grabbed the photo from the web. Then I went looking for Palmetto and Palm vegetation to see where the term originated. The photo below is the opposite side of the same antler, not a pair.

A soda can for scale with the wide palm-like antler (web photo)
A strange combination
2 web photos of bright green palms -- widely spreading
Recollection of Palm Sunday

Palmetto fans: All the uses share the meaning of the “palm of one’s hand.” Now on to other things.
The new LED light now shines from the washroom ceiling, and I am thrilled at having light again. Better than the small LED strip that has been there since the old 20 inch fluorescent fixture failed. We got one of these for near the pet-window so when a dog or cat passes it the thing lights up. Neat for that, especially when we want to close the window to keep them in (or out). That room has no overhead lights and no switches. Pole lights were big in the early 1980s and it saved the builder a few bucks. (If you have a house built, don’t let them do that.) Back to the new light: I was so thrilled I did two loads of clothes. I spent more time on other household chores, bills, and email. I’m still way behind, so will continue catching up tomorrow and Tuesday. John got straw around the base of the new plum trees, and over the strawberries, in both gardens. Luckily the deer are unable to get to the garden, blueberries, raspberries, or plum trees. We have cool temperatures, but they will be slightly increasing over the next week, and snow is not in the forecast. Suits us just fine.

Monday, Nov 25
I have spent a lot of time today sorting 3 boxes of academic stuff from my past. Most today was from the 1990s. John spent most of his day moving previously cut trees from beside the pasture where he had cut them down, to up near the old cottonwood tree where he cuts and stacks firewood for the future. He’s propping them up to keep them from lying on the ground in case he doesn’t get them cut and stacked before snow gets deep or it gets too cold.

Tuesday, Nov 26
Interesting and busy day. I wrote a note to my 88 yr old friend this afternoon, and her response (first below) made my day. Glad I was able to make her laugh. Her response surely made us chuckle. “Nancy, –So you and John filled up on cat food at the Grocery Outlet!!! Are you folks feeling well tonight? Maybe you should drink a lot of water this evening? I just could not help myself from becoming hysterical when I read that. Well, I have read that a little laughter is better than medicine. Gloria
(my note to her follows): Today we took the truck to town and spent much time doing “truck” things. Got some 20 gallons of gas, went to the transfer station to recycle plastic and glass, and to Super One for meds and pop and found they had a 10% off on everything in the store (except pharmacy and services) because of a suspected security breech in their credit/debit system.
Then on to Grocery Outlet where we filled up on cat food and had a $3.00 coupon needing used before tomorrow. Also delivered two boxes of books to my colleagues, and a nice framed shot of the Timothy Hay Industry here in the valley I took in 2003 and framed to put in the photography exhibit at the Fair. I won a 2nd place with it. I gave it to my co-author of the paper we had published this year (researched and presented last year). Seems like John and I did something else (oh, ate lunch in town too, and got extra to bring home for supper). Fun and games in the fast lane.

Wednesday, Nov 27
Different today from most Wednesdays. Today instead of playing music at the Food Bank, I stopped off to deliver a box of books and materials to my colleague who is honchoing being my liaison and saving me trips to the University with a heavy load of books, and he is distributing them to different folks. I was on my way to Hearthstone to play music, and afterwards most of our music group and several of the residents went down to the Community Thanksgiving Dinner at the Moose. It’s a tradition and a nice one for the season. Anyone in town is invited. We had turkey, potatoes & gravy, dressing, vegetables, and a roll. There was only pumpkin pie, and I passed. I sat with two of our musicians and their husbands, plus a former colleague from the Geography Dept. with his wife and daughter. Later, I went to thank the crew (led by the staff from the Adult Activity Center). And stopped and visited with people I know from around town I have met playing at assisted living homes and retirement centers. Then I came home — getting here just before dark.
John stayed home to work on yard chores before the snow falls. Over the years he accumulated a pile of old wood with nails and other metal attachments. He cleaned those up and sorted out still useful pieces and he loaded about 50 gallons of black walnuts from under those trees. He threw the walnuts on the trail to the mailbox that goes through our shrub-steppe (aka rocky wasted area, according to John’s dd-dad). The shrub-steppe wildflowers including Mariposa lilies, onions, penstemon, phlox, lupine, balsamroot, bitterroot, sagebrush, buckwheat, and others we don’t know the names of.
Tonight, after dinner, we put together an apple pie to take to the Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. It took over an hour coring, peeling, slicing apples, and fixing them for the pie, and I made a crumb crust for the top (probably in a stupider way than I should have). I didn’t melt the butter and didn’t have a little instrument to break up the lumps of butter to mix with the sugar and flour. I used a knife and a fork. I’m sure it will be yummy. Then I mixed the dough for the crust, but John made it and finished the rest of the pie. I’m exhausted . HA HA. We did enough apples and topping that we could freeze the makings for another pie (except the bottom crust). Our left-over crust dough gets rolled out and topped with sugar and cinnamon and baked for 20 minutes. Waste not, want not.
Also today at the community dinner, I discussed our huge array of pallets and a couple of folks couldn’t imagine how we would use them. One asked if we just broke them up for firewood or to use the plywood. So I mentioned as many uses as I could recall that I have seen John do, told him tonight, and we made a list: making a work table under the trees in the side yard, making a hut (2 on edge with a plywood cover) under which the lawnmower rests, fences or parts thereof and I recalled him making temporary steps to get into the bed of the pickup. Oh, he anchored the corner of our front yard fence with 4 in the shape of a hollow cube, then filled it with soil – for summer flowers.

Thursday, Nov 28 Thanksgiving
A few chores – then we headed to Suzy & Bob West’s family gathering about 30 miles away. We drove to south Ellensburg on the west side past the KOA to have dinner with a large family longtime in our valley (the Orcutts). It will be a nice break from our routine. What a great group and room for many people. I have no clue how many people were there, but many of their children and their grandchildren. Our apple pie was a big hit, but it was one of many different pies. We didn’t get home until after 5:30 p.m., and darkness had come in our absence. John fed the horses and the outside cats in the dark, but all is well. I’ll take some photos off my camera to include below in the Thanksgiving Collage of one of the turkeys cooking in boiling oil and of our Honeycrisp Apple Pie with Crumb Crust. I know now I should have rubbed the crumb mixture (flour, sugar, & butter) through my hands. Next pie, I’ll try that tip from Suzy’s mom. We also brought two pieces of her excellent pecan pie home in our not completely empty pie plate. As well, she had made a pie with apples, pears, and brandy. Wow.. how’s that for a combination.

Left photo of cooking a turkey outside in a pan of hot oil; a large apple pie with crumb topping in a ceramic pie dish
Not your Grandmother’s way with turkey,
but apple pie is still apple pie

Friday, Nov 29
Today was an important day in my life. Making it through today is a milestone and somewhat of a miracle. Four years ago, at 3:00 a.m. of the day after Thanksgiving, was my severe heart attack that started a series of events, which almost caused my demise. Every Thanksgiving since, I give thanks that I’m still on this side of the grass.

Wow–we had an exciting day in our neighborhood. No deer around (well, 2 we saw late just before dark); John was out working in the yard most of the time on several chores. I left for a 1:00 pm haircut appointment about a mile away, and returned back by another neighbor’s to pick up some jelly. As I pulled out of her driveway, I was driving slowly toward my mailbox, and I saw a white truck coming way too fast for our curve. I slowed down and moved way over to the right side of the road. He came screaming around the curve across the center lane, in front of our house (and mailbox), and gunned it as he went past me. Had there been any ice on the road, he would have taken out the electric pole, our mailbox, and ended up in the ditch. I pulled in to check my mail, but went into my driveway, rather than checking from the car or even leaving my car parked near the road. I came on in and had just parked, and was talking to John about what he was doing (making a roof to cover his pile of gravel to keep it dry, if he wants to use it through the winter). The curve in front of our house and another one 1/2 km south of us are notorious for accidents. We both heard a loud noise, followed by other strange noises, and figured someone had dropped a load off a truck, or driven it off the road, and the loud pops were likely tires bursting. So, John said, why don’t you drive back and see what’s up. I wish I had stopped to get my camera, but I didn’t. A truck had come around the deadly first turn of two in our section of the road on an otherwise straight north-south road, and came into a 30 mph curve going about 80 mph, according to witnesses. As I drove down, I saw a bunch of people in the road, each telling her/his side of the story, and I saw the debris spread out on the road and a canopy in the ditch. The truck went out of control and off the road at our neighbor’s house, taking out her mailbox and the 55-gallon barrel full of rocks holding the post, a barrel that had even held against a snowplow previously. The hit did bad damage to the truck (it was totaled), but the driver kept driving and did not flip over. Two tires blew out. The back window was broken out, and the canopy flew off and rolled down the road into the ditch. They came on north past a couple of neighbors out working on their fence, turned around in another’s drive, and drove back the way they’d come, yeah, a true hit and run. However, with all the damage from the collision with the barrel of rocks, the engine obviously broke some bolts, shifted into the radiator, and drained it. The truck was also driving on the rims of two flat tires. They made it about a mile down the road and it stopped. Another neighbor’s family driving home saw the truck smoking on the side of the road, and a young boy and man sitting in the ditch, talking on a cell phone. They stopped to offer help and a ride, but they declined. The family came on up to where the original problem occurred. Several of us were in the road directing traffic around the debris. I talked to them and heard their side of the story. We had a lot of information put together before the patrolman arrived.
Eventually, after gathering information, the patrolman took the large black mailbox (with its mail inside) to its owner. This poor woman has lost her front pasture fence a couple of times in recent years. Actually, one of the vehicles we ushered through was the postal carrier. He handed us her mail and we put it in the mailbox, which now resided on the ground at the end of her driveway. We hope to hear eventually the “rest of the story.” The patrolman took the mailbox in the long driveway to the owner to get her name on the report as a victim. I had left a message on her phone answering machine, and she called me soon after he left to let me know what happened. She had just returned home and was getting out of the car when she heard the loud noise and looked and saw a puff of dirt rising.
Below is a picture I took an hour or so later, when the sun came out briefly, of the 55-gallon blue barrel on the left and the remains on the right of the fence post secured by the rock-filled barrel holding the mailbox.

Late afternoon sun with long shadows lights up the background hill and trees and foreground shows the blue barrel and mailbox.
Oops! Mailbox has been separated
from its blue barrel support.

By the time I got there, the patrolman had already ordered a wrecker to retrieve the pieces to impound them. Nothing was left. The canopy was gone as well as the truck. I drove down to see where the truck was reported to be and found only a black spot in the road (probably from leaking oil). Thus ended an exciting afternoon. I left out of this report my follow-up telephone calls to the neighbors I saw at the scene and to the lady who lost her mailbox. My friend said, Thanks for the photos and info. We’ll have to get you a Private Investigator’s license.
Well, it is Noon Saturday and we still don’t know why the truck was speeding north, why he turned around and left without stopping, who they were, nor where they disappeared to.

Saturday Nov 30
Arranged to have our supplier bring us a lot of hay today – he was going to start at 9:00 a.m., so we sort-of expected to see him coming down the driveway about 10:30. No such luck. We received a call at 11:49 that he was leaving the scale at Ward Rugh in town. We were unreasonably optimistic. The guys have to travel to the southwest side of the valley (probably a good 20 miles away), load it from the farmer’s barn, drive to the west side of Ellensburg, to have the load weighed (they had to stop by first with an empty trailer). Then they had to drive another 15-20 minutes to our house to unload. Then turn around and go back for another load and then do that all over again. It would have been completed before dark six weeks ago but not now. There is only an hour left of good light and they are not back yet with the second load. We do not have lights in the hay shed but the little barn nearby has power so we’ve got a big floodlight aimed into the shed. I don’t recall the time it took for the first unload. [I didn’t time the next either, but they finished and drove off in the dark.] John is going out to move the horses who have come back up from the lower end of the pasture, and he will move them into a fenced off area so the hay truck can come and go from the pole building. He also moved the RV trailer out of the way and will return it there later. I’m working on various projects in the house and on the computer. John’s truck-dragging the Quaken Aspen trees up closer to where he will cut them next year. The temperatures started rising and got to 50 (for two hours), but is now headed back down. It sprinkled a little but not enough to hamper putting the hay in the shed. Now we’ve had a late lunch of leftover pizza. John’s returned outside to do more yard chores, while he awaits the next truckload of hay. Luckily, the supplier and his hired hand do all the unloading and loading, so John doesn’t have to. That labor is included in our ton price (along with the taxes), and we are fortunate to be getting good green orchard grass hay from a farmer we have used before, and this is first cutting that came through without rain damage. Much of the hay in the valley this year was a great loss (especially for the export Timothy Hay market). The weight of these bales of orchard grass are 118#.

photo of a red truck pulling a flatbed with 175 bales of hay; 10.33 tons
175 bales, each about 118 pounds;
10.33 tons

Arrival of the trailer load is pictured above.
For a short video of part of the delivery process:

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

Arctic air sweeps south

Sunday, Nov 17
Today was a fun afternoon. We were invited to a couple’s house (from my exercise class); he is almost 91 (birthday the same day as John’s), and she is 88. They go to a small church in small Kittitas and have befriended a bunch of young college students at CWU. One of them had a birthday, they invited her to their house with some of her friends for dinner, and we were invited to join them. It was a nice afternoon.

Top: end of rainbow behind a pine tree. Bottom. an arch across the sky. Many changes as we drove.
Chasing a rainbow.

We saw the end of the rainbow in a field near our house. We wanted that pot of gold and so started toward it, but it moved. More cautiously we trailed it and were about to catch up when it moved again. The gold belongs to Leprechauns and one has to treat them with respect and caution. John claims he’s related, but distantly, and they won’t share with him but have promised not to turn him into a frog.

Monday, Nov 18
Left very early (7:30 a.m.) for Yakima, with a stop first at Luft’s Trailers where we left John’s truck for installing a new (used, higher quality, working pickup bed, with a working tailgate, nice drains and sprayed in plastic liner, with good attachments for tie downs. From there by Carl’s JR for two nice sausage, Canadian bacon, cheese, egg, large biscuits (their specialty). From there I drove to Yakima to our Subaru dealer to get help on resetting the clock that I had not been able to figure out. It is not in the Car’s Owner Manual (or what is there doesn’t apply to the model I have). It is not within the navigation system either (and the navigation system resets its clock with the GPS satellite link, so it is correct). I went through 3 guys there, and no one knew how. My favorite salesman was gone today. They were going to get back to me but apparently, no one in the know is there (and no one got back to me).
From there on to Home Depot, for a new light fixture for the washroom. The old one died. It was an ancient-style fluorescent 2-tube-type (20 in.) with two starters such as shown here:

An FS-2 starter for 20 in light
Object of scorn.

John thinks the person that designed these should spend an eternity taking them out and putting them in while standing on a stool with arms overhead in dimly lit and otherwise uncomfortable places. The new light is of the LED type as seen at this link. It is supposed to last as long as the monolith in “2001: A Space Odyssey” or 50,000 hours. Whichever comes first. While at Home Depot we found a broom to replace the one we broke killing the mouse. John still intends to glue that one back together – maybe get another mouse with it. Still time left before needing to be at the doctor’s office, so being near Costco, bought gas. It was only $2.97/gallon; cheaper by a lot than EBRG’s prices. Not enough time to go in to the store. Still too early for the Dr.’s so stopped by Goodwill, but nothing appealed to us. Finally, we got there 5 minutes early, but then had a hugely long wait. I was not happy, except I found someone to visit with (oddly enough from EBRG). We were there for an hour, for an appointment that takes less than 15 minutes for a read-out of my ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator). Returned to Costco to shop for us and 2 others, and had to deliver those goods and pick up our newly bedded truck once back in town over 8 hrs. later. No phone calls recorded today, so we must not have gotten any of our CWU-Surplus bids. Too bad, so sad.

Tuesday, Nov 19
Nothing in town for me until tonight when I play religious music with The Connections at a nursing home. The winds have been blowing extremely hard for hours, with recent 41-47 mph gusts, and all are over the mid-30s for the past several hours. John has been working out in it and took the horses to the south end of the pasture to feed them where the trees on our west along the creek protect them from the wind. Horses really do not like wind. Folklore suggests that’s because all sorts of things move that usually don’t and there are lots of noises from all directions. When your survival depends on knowing when a predator is stalking you, those conditions are troubling.
I’ve been putting in more time trying to figure how to set the clock on my new car. I have already spent too much time on line, following questions posed and answers not given. There is one video on You-Tube, through, but they want me to download special software for viewing it. I will not do that, because it usually downloads a bunch of crap and toolbars I have to take an hour to rid my system of, and never wanted anyway. Ones I can watch without that hassle do not have the correct information. One would think Subaru would have a valid manual on line (as the one in the 2014 owner’s manual is incorrect, and describes the 2013 version, which is very different.) So, I will try again through the guy at the dealer who was trying to be most helpful (only worked there 17 days). He was going to figure it out and email me — but hasn’t yet.
My salesman is my next try. I have sat and worked with it many times, and showed 2 guys yesterday where I got to, but then couldn’t set it because it returned to the previous unset mode. One of them walked over to the Service Department and brought back the message from the 3rd guy, it’s in the owner’s manual. NOT. Frustration plus. All their suggestions ended in the same result. Actually, I found another video that doesn’t tell me exactly, but gave me some hints about the various screen settings, so I will go see if that works. Eventually I will know more about it than anyone : -).
Off awhile to load the dishwasher. I need to take a photo of the new bed on the pickup, but it is not in the sun, so might not be as picturesque. I don’t want to take the time to move it to a better location, however. Succeeded in filling and starting the dishwasher, and went out for pix and then to try my “hand” at setting the clock. Failed on the latter, but I got good and cold. I managed to figure how to change the hour but not the minutes. So, my clock on the dash is 5-6 minutes behind the one on the GPS Navigation display, which is set by satellite. It is “only” 42° but feels much colder. Hope the trip to town tonight will not be totally miserable. At least the heater in my car works, even if the clock setting doesn’t. Below are the photos of the “new” used truck bed.

A green bed for the Ford truck. Chrome around the wheel cut-out; red stripes near the cab.
Fancy replacement for banged up bed

The color is nice even if it doesn’t match the cab. The other striking difference is the chrome trim around the wheel cut-out. John thinks a colorful decal on the tailgate would be nice – maybe an elk or large eagle.

Head/face of a Bald Eagle -- decal
An attention getter!

Wednesday, Nov 20
Food bank music and food was pizza (made there), oriental salad, and hot apples on ice cream, melted by the time I got to it. Then to a box transfer in AAC parking lot (we loaned a bunch of nice boxes to a former student for his move from one apt. to another); he brought them in his pickup, and it was a squeeze to get them all into my Subaru, but we did. It has more room than the 2004 one. SAIL class had 21 people there today, took away a few cookies, and then off to the lab at the hospital for my INR checkup. Call later from nurse – it is still up at 3.1 (with no alcohol consumption). Not sure why it’s up. Guess I should eat more Vitamin K to lower it. For me, apparently, the goal is about 2.5. Wikipedia has a page.

Thursday, Nov 21
New problems. Dry cough, sore throat started yesterday morning. Continued coughing, worse last night, and through the night. Then at 5:00 I got up and searched the medicine cabinet for a cough syrup with Codeine prescribed February, 2013. It still is within date of usability, and I have over a 1/2 bottle of the red liquid (a long name: Guaifenesin; also sold as Robitussin A-C). My family physician’s nurse called with the proposed Coumadin dosage change, and I told her about this cough and my response. After a few questions, dry cough or phlegm, fever or not; she said it was going around and she had had it herself, and was still on the tail end of hers. She was going to check with my Dr. about my continuing with what I started, but she figured it would be fine. I can take it every 4 hrs as needed, and the next one I did was at 9:09. That will fit fine with my rest of the day’s events.
John spent the morning loading the old pickup with a cord of wood to take around the rural block a little over a mile away. He calls it trash wood (cottonwood, willow, plus bits of others—Nancy thinks alder), and folks around here like tamarack until they find what they have to pay for a cord of that versus the $100 we get for a cord. I spent a lot of time coughing and sending pictures from the Veterans Day celebration to several folks. This afternoon we play music at Dry Creek. Before I left the parking lot and while the car was warming up, I played more with the clock setting. Finally, I figured it out. It is only dimly related to the discussions on line and the manual does not clearly state what a person needs to know. I finally figured that usually, the SET button in the middle of the 3 on the 7:00 position on an analog phone face, must be held for awhile in some cases, and only briefly tapped (touched, (pulled up)), in another. Nowhere is that mentioned in any video or verbal instructions, or in the correct manual (in .pdf format) I downloaded from the Subaru site.
I need to take something to take notes on, and go through it manually to put together an instruction sheet. Then maybe I will offer to sell it to Subaru (or to the dealer). Meanwhile, my friend who works in an automobile garage told me this afternoon that I should demand the dealership getting me a printed manual updated properly to my car to have in the glove compartment. As I have mentioned earlier, the one it in, new, has 2014 written on the front cover, but inside the instructions are for a 2013 model Forester.
I went by the bank and cashed the 2 checks from our friends we bought stuff for at Costco on Monday. Tonight is the Hal Holmes lecture by the Cottrells on Canoeing the Mackenzie River. I ended up too concerned that I would have a coughing fit as I have several times tonight, and this afternoon, and that I didn’t want to interrupt the proceedings. I’m still taking the Codeine cough syrup every 4 hours, but it doesn’t completely erase the problem. When I arrived home the lawn mower was beside the driveway – running. John, had mowed the strawberries, made mulch out of some leaves, and was expecting to run out of gas before he finished. He tied the “kill switch” to the handle and then took the dogs for a run. The mower quit about the time he got back. He broke open a bale of straw to cover the strawberries, blueberries, and thorn-less blackberries, but did not get it placed. But, slowly we are getting ready for winter.

Friday, Nov 22
John loaded another truck load (cord) of wood to take around the block, and will do one more load tomorrow morning. We expect (?) to get $100 / load from this over time.
Scholarship Noon Luncheon was in Bouillon Hall. Two members entertained us with a great white (chicken and white beans) chili, excellently prepared. That is the building where I had an office for 11 years. I took my checkbook for a P.E.O. donation for Christmas nuts. I just got on line and read all about how long the organization has been in existence and that it started in Mt. Pleasant, IA. I need to get more details from my friend Suzanne in Idaho who has been a member for many years. I have some questions, and wonder if a couple of gals here working on Masters and needing money can be funded by the local chapter. I bought two pounds of walnuts and paid $20 (will just consider the price – 2X – over Costco’s price as a donation to the PEO scholarship fund).
I made it to the meeting place and realized my disability parking sticker expired 3 months ago. I have been using it since without realizing it. I had even changed the license plate number to the correct one, in May, for my new Subaru. I was in the right building to order a revised one. I parked in a regular spot, but went over the 30 minutes I’m allowed with my Emeritus parking sticker in that time-limited lot, and luckily I got by without a ticket. The handicapped spaces do not have a time limit.
From there, off to Grocery Outlet for a huge amount of cat food (mostly for the wild ones). I had to spend at least $20 before taxes to use a $3.00 off coupon.
Wow –these links below are worth the time to experience the sad view of the Philippines Typhoon damage (aerial photo before and after swipes). And an interesting video on the ground of the storm surge leveling a house.

Saturday, Nov 23
A big 5-point buck just went across the space beyond the dog yard and over the fence into the horse pasture. He wasn’t happy about having his picture taken. Last week two small deer were out there, with others, and all seemed not to mind us having a look.

Mule deer with antlers nicely uniform -- 5 points to a side
I’m outta here.
Two young deer outside our dog fence laying in the weeds with heads up. Not well focused.
So, what’s up?

Briarwood was this afternoon. Only a few musicians showed up, but we did well and had a large audience with good participation. They sang along well on quite a few songs that we took lyrics for. Then they fed us an amazing dinner.. chicken sandwiches, teriyaki chicken pieces, deviled eggs a wonderful Waldorf Jello mold, cheese, sausage, pretzels, fancy crackers, and a bowl of wonderful soup (white navy beans, ham, carrots, and more). Then there were desserts: 5 or 6 pies, a great angel food cake full of pineapple, cranberry/nut cookies, zucchini bread w/pineapple, and other goodies.

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

Winter—getting closer

Sunday, Nov 10
Today has been another workday; also communication filled. Late last night I changed my Facebook profile photo from the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer that appeared last December after someone stole my identity with John’s and my photo on the profile, and I decided to display an inanimate object (a stuffed Rudolph I donated to the Adult Activity Center). I surely hope the theft does not happen again. Meanwhile, I have had over 50 comments and/or likes. The photo was just of me in my patriotic sequined waving flag vest, holding my violin, which you saw the entire photo of, in last week’s blog. Rather amazing all the responses. I enjoyed every one.
Thanks to you blog readers who also responded about our pictures and John’s award.
John has spent a large part of the day working on apples — sorting out the bad ones, packing some into the extra refrigerator he moved a few weeks ago into our garage. In addition, for a couple hours he has been cleaning, cutting, and cooking apples with cinnamon, to make into applesauce. He has two large circular roasters with 3 lbs of apples in each. Next chore will be to put up some apple pieces in the freezer for pies. Of course, the majority of our time preparing was searching far corners of kitchen cupboards for the favorite pan (big oval aluminum one left over from my mom’s belongings) we have used for years. It has disappeared from view — probably packed in a box out of sight in the garage. We found two lids to fit it; now need the bottom!! The uncomfortable part of the search was getting to the back of two VERY POORLY designed kitchen cabinets with blind space inaccessible in two corners of the kitchen. WHY didn’t they put in a circular turning set of shelves? We found stuff we don’t even remember having. I have to learn how to get on Ellensburg Swap, to offer some of the antiques for sale. I have one old antique angel food cake pan with little sides on it to put a knife under the bottom of the cake to remove it, or so I thought. Searching on the internet, I found some people call them cooling vents.
I had a bad experience trying to get down to search and should have gotten a sturdy stool, but instead I sat on a cardboard box half full of cat food, and it collapsed, sending me down onto the floor. Dumb move. On my way down, my head behind my ear hit the cabinet door beneath the sink. My muscles hurt awhile and I had trouble getting up but made it. I felt I pulled my neck, but sat awhile, and got okay. Only later the next day, did I realize the spot I hit was very tender. Still is (and I’m writing this on Tuesday night). My muscles that were stretched hurt for 3 days.

Monday, Nov 11 Veterans Day
Well, what happened today? We drove to town and delivered more apples. John continues with daily dog exercising, feedings, and now trying to put things in good places to spend the winter. Hoses go one place, buckets another, horse manure into a pile near the garden for composting with old corn stalks, tomato plants, and squash vines – and so on. Rocks, sand, wood and piles of brush get moved about – a little at a time.

Tuesday, Nov 12
This morning was an early morning leave to participate in the Geography Emeritus Professors morning “coffee” at the Copper Kettle. A good turnout brought almost 2 hours of story-telling, remembrances, and other BS. I carried in two books written by two men around the table and gave them a new-condition copy of their book from my holdings (no marks in either). I hope their family will appreciate having them. One WWII vet told of being interviewed by a UK film team for a documentary about his foot trip across Europe and passing via the Dachau concentration camp on the way to liberate Munich a few miles to the southeast. (He is also the owner of the orchard where John picked the apples.) Then we went on to the problems of over withdrawal from the eastern part of the Odessa Aquifer.
We returned home to await the Sears repairman to install our new door handle for the range. Last night I said no to the continuation of the service contract from Sears. The range was fixed and leveled. Thank goodness, no more leaning cakes. John says he has paid for someone else to do this, so why should he. We have lived with that for 2 years. Now, I know how to level if the occasion ever occurs, but it shouldn’t. [She claims to know how, but I will have to do it – John.] Well, Nancy, here. I can show him how, because I watched the process; he didn’t. Tonight, I must go to play music (religious) at an assisted living place, Hearthstone. For sustenance, John and I just had the last of the apple pie he recently created. Another one will now have to be made. I’m shutting down for now while I search to find some Christmas music for our lyrics book editor, Evelyn. FOUND IT! Whoopee.

Wednesday, Nov 13
Early arrival of the Trane (heat pump) repairman for its tune-up. It’s been many years since this was installed when the old house unit died. We have been cleaning the filters every 3 months or so (in our dishwasher). He arrived just after 9:30, and didn’t leave until 1:30. It was very dirty. :-), but we live in an extremely dusty environment, with John and the dogs tracking in dirt. He bought the business a few years ago, so this isn’t the same person we purchased from. He says we should notice a quieter operation that will be more efficient. No doubt. We are scheduled to have a return visit in 6 months, in May. It should be lower priced than this today. It cost $205 today, but the State & County added on tax of $16.40 for – what exactly?
I left for music at the Food Bank about 11:20, and then went afterward to SAIL exercise class, on to get my meds at the pharmacy, and then to deliver more apples sorted into best, good, and use-now types. Did more work on web page for WTA Park Pointe tonight. Not done yet, so check back next blog. It’s getting close.

Thursday, Nov 14
Wow..this turned into a crazy day. I did get a bunch of chores done, and got to town for music and then afterward for a rehearsal preceding tomorrow night’s recording session in Cle Elum (hoping for NO snow, as is called for). I delivered apples (the rest, about 40 pounds, we will keep). I got home late (almost dark) to find our Pump water pressure tank fellow in the driveway talking to John. He came by (on his way home, NW of us), to check if our water problem had resolved itself. While he was here we shared about 12 pounds of our remaining apples in the outside (garage) frig that his wife requested, after hearing we offered him some last time and he didn’t take them. When he visited last week the plan was to by-pass both the conditioner and iron removal units, and then bring them back one at a time. When both were off, the water system started to act properly. After 3 days John turned the conditioner on – and still all was good. Earlier today John filled the trough for the horses, about 60 gallons worth. That worked well – in fact, better than in the past 5 or so years. (light-bulb just came on in brain) John (after a bit of reading) now thinks the iron unit has been failing for some time but it has a valve to vent excess air (air gets pumped in so Oxygen can combine with the iron and get flushed out). Apparently the media in the tank (little pellets of something) finally lost the fight and the air started to push into the water going to the storage tank. It too was old and failing and the combined problems crashed the system. We had promised to call the repairman when we had news but he swung by before we could do that. That unit is still by-passed and will remain so. We may have to replace it later. For the moment we have a working water system and a nicely working heat pump. We are ready for winter. Well, not really.

Friday, Nov 15
We searched for some stuff for a neighbor, but didn’t succeed in finding it. Now John’s out doing chores before the snow falls. It is now snowing on the pass, but hopefully not where I’m going – 30 miles in that direction but no elevation change. I leave in a half hour, and now, the cameras show no snow. I’m scheduled to go to a recording session in Cle Elum tonight, starting at 4:00 p.m. and it could go until 8:00. (Follow-up) – I did stay longer and went to dinner with my friend before returning home and got here a little after 9:00 p.m. It rained the entire trip (better than snow).

Saturday, Nov 16
Today is an early morning grocery sale (ends at 1:00 p.m.) with a few good prices on things we use .. and then we’ll drop by the CWU surplus sale. Woke up to snow and a closed I-82 (to Yakima), because of multiple accidents; so very happy this is not Monday when we have to drive down early. They canceled a concert tonight at the Grange because the group from Seattle didn’t want to come across the pass in winter storm warnings. Hello — just thinking of it now? Maybe should have considered scheduling it earlier in the fall?
We were leery and worried about going to the Nov 1 event in Seattle, but lucked out. Normally, we won’t travel there after October ends, for any reason.
Back from town and we shared my leftovers from last night for lunch. Sunny now and warmed up to 47 degrees just before 1:00 p.m. and now in the past hour, went down to 44. Oh, my. It’s been windy all day, and the temperature is supposed to go to 30° tonight. At the surplus sale, I put in a bid on some chicken wire (roll), two blue water barrels (~40 gallons; new), a 4′ wide closet with doors, to which additional shelves could be added and the mirror removed and put elsewhere, and a large paper mache sun-looking thing for our friends in Zillah who named their winery Paradisos del Sol. Will be interesting to see if we win our bid on any of them. We think we bid low – and did last month, not hitting on any of several bids.
Winter has been put on hold for another week after a brief attempt – but the mountain tops and ridges above 4,000 feet are white. We can see it but the little that we got has gone.

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