Not so Nasty News October 9th

Item #1: Fall arriving

A storm – to reach us about 11:00 tonight – has come ashore on Washington’s coast; the northwestern tip thereof called Cape Flattery. This is the north-western-most point of the contiguous United States. ***From Wikipedia: “Cape Flattery is the oldest permanently named feature in Washington state, being described and named by James Cook on March 22, 1778. Cook wrote: “… there appeared to be a small opening which flattered us with the hopes of finding an harbour … On this account I called the point of land to the north of it Cape Flattery.”
It is nicer on a clear and calm day.
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***In the phrase “north-western-most”, the key word is “north”, because there is a small place a bit more to the west, called Cape Alava.
See: Land, but not much

Item #2: Not my onions!


I did not plant Walla Walla Onions this year – they do not keep as well as those types I did plant. Still, Walla Walla is a Washington town, and the onions are well known. Thus, I clicked on the story.
The photo here appeared on Facebook for a time, and was removed;
The company wrote: “So we just got notified by Facebook that the photo used for our Walla Walla Onion seed is ‘Overtly Sexual’ and therefore cannot be advertised to be sold on their platform… Can you see it?”
Story here: Onions are roundish

Item #3: I prefer puns

The past, the present, and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.

Item #4: Remember: vote early and often

Our booklet with information about the State and National elections arrived today. Ballots are to be mailed next Friday. We have a mail process in Washington. Most other states haven’t figured out how to do this. The latest glitch was in Ohio. Story here: 50,000 oops

When we arrived in Washington State the neighborhood voting was in a church. That changed, and we went to an elementary school. People we knew were there to direct the process and check us in the list of eligible voters. We usually knew each other by first names. Nine years ago that changed. One neighbor was miffed because the folks got $100 (I think) for serving at the polling place.
After voting, we got a sticker to put on our shoulder – see image – and then by walking around town or shopping, others would know you had done your civic duty. How quaint.

Item #5: Duck & Cover

The virus, now known as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and the disease it causes is called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have – along with much else – generated some funny things. Below is an old photo (1950-ish) with a modern caption.
I think that is me on the very right side. I started school before I was 6, and I was scrawny.
Do a search with the images tab for ‘covid-19 cartoons’ if you have some time to waste. My thought is that most are not done very well, nor are they funny – if that was the intent.

And that, for this week, is the not so nasty news.
John

Robocall week

Monday, Sept 28

Temperatures are not really high today. John has been out, landscaping (rocks, dirt, and gravel), exercising Annie, and feeding critters.
Lunch: John came in and found some fried chicken in the freezer (thigh & leg). I’ll share a bite of the thigh and have one of my nutritious drinks (Ensure and Yogurt) to accompany it.
I put in all my medications for the week, as this morning I used the last for this week.
Then started loading dirty dishes into the dishwasher. Ran after supper tonight.

Two more robocallers today, now blocked. One wireless from Colville (60 miles north of Spokane), and the other in a person’s name, Sobel Robert from NE Illinois, and Chicago northern suburbs. The geography of these is intriguing. Plus, a previously blocked one came through today as well; one ring happens and the system shuts it down.

Supper: John fixed us fried onion rings and a pizza full of all sorts of things: including pepperoni, ground beef, bell peppers various colors, sausage, and cheese.

Rest of the day filled with computer work, washing dishes, and going shopping tonight in my car with boxes to get my donation paperwork receipt from last week of some onions, summer yellow squash, and about 15# of two kinds of dry cat pellets to the Kittitas Pantry.

Tuesday, Sept 29

Early morning visit before 7:00 a.m. from contractor Walter Davenport, who viewed the problem with roof drainage. Concrete pour for the walkway is scheduled for the following Wednesday, so the drain issue needs attention. I stayed sleeping but at 7:40 a.m. Walter called back to say the concrete would be delivered at 8:00 a.m. next Wednesday, Oct 7. He ordered an extra 2 yards, because John wants to pour concrete in front of our tall shed, for which he will need to build the “forms” to pour it into.

I took my weekly medication tablet on an empty stomach and hooked up the Backup Plus drive for its noon backup of my computer’s hard drive.
John drove today because his car hasn’t been moved in a while.
Our first stop was at the WA License bureau (DOL) to get the disabled parking sticker paperwork to take to my cardiologist’s appointment the end of October. We have to renew yearly. This requires a valid MD’s signature. This, the DOL, is at the Meridian Theater building adjacent to the Bi-Mart parking lot, so not out of our way. Our “hay” guy Mario was visiting with someone in the doorway, so I got to say hello.
I don’t have much need for using the permit. I only need it at one campus building where I’ve attended meetings monthly. The university converted all the spaces near the building to Handicap Access Only (HAO). The closest parking spaces not HAO which allow me to use my CWU Faculty Parking Permit, are at least two blocks away. To access those, one must have a valid STATE permit in addition to the CWU Parking permit.

John parked near the Bi-Mart Pharmacy for me to pick up 4 Original Fisherman Friends Menthol Strong cough drops, added to my Atorvastatin refill. John picked up the page of prize numbers and met me back at the car.
On by the AAC, where I picked up the packet for Game Day of Balderdash, for Thurs. Oct 1, at 10 AM Zoom Game Day. From there, I called CJ that we were on our way around the block from her house.
We went by CJ Anderson’s house to pick up something from her, and leave some gifts for her from our garden (onions, summer squash, and a bucket of Dahlias). She came down to meet us and we had a nice visit in the shade to catch up on things. On the way home, we added a stop by Amy’s house to leave some gifts on her porch for their family.

Another scammer called-Ronald Maxey (out of Colville again, so they are now blocked).

Supper: Chicken, fried onions (ours) and mixed vegetables (not that great from a can). Dessert, vanilla ice cream with chocolate hot sauce and cashews.

Wednesday, Sept 30

We left 9:15 a.m. for the eye doctor visits for both of us. Arrived at the Front door ~9:40, noted the number of our parking space to tell them when I called inside to have them send a technician out to take our temperature (we had to put on our masks). Had new things happened and paperwork required, we would have had to fill it out in the car. We waited a few minutes for the assistant to come take the temps. Then, we waited a few more minutes for an assistant to take John to his appointment. John took the car keys with him so he could return there when done. I waited in the car until they came for me ~10:00 for my appointment, and I locked the car when I left.
I was taken first for my Optimap imaging (which John also had), and for the machine recognition of my needed correction to eyeglass lenses in both eyes. Plus, they measure what the current glasses have for a prescription for range and close-up vision. Each eye is evaluated separately and then both together. My eyes are even at 20/20 each. Also, eye pressure is taken. Mine was 15 and 17, well within range.
Once in the examination room where the doctor arrives eventually, the assistant continued with questions about eye dryness, conducted a peripheral vision test, and ask a few other questions while preparing notes for the doctor. Then she took my BP (which was higher than normal, 135/85). I guess all the stuff happening raised it. Then she left the room and left, saying when Dr. Davis finished John’s examination, he’d be down to visit me. I was out of there and in the car with John, after going through checkout procedure at the front desk and a restroom break, by 10:38 a.m.
All the charges will be submitted to our insurance policy, and because this being so late in the year, our deductible will have been met and this visit will cost us nothing. We’ll see. Neither one of our prescriptions changed, so no replacement eyeglasses needed. That will save us a lot of money.

From there we went up the road a little, to the Pilot Gas Station, and filled John’s tank in the Crosstrek, which he’ll drive tomorrow to bottling and lunch at White Heron. The price per gallon was the best in town at $2.50; not low compared to some places in the USA. From there we came on home.

John ate some brunch (leftover pizza) and I had drunk a nutritious protein drink earlier (chocolate Ensure & vanilla yogurt), so I had ½ of two donuts (sugared & chocolate covered).

John went outside to move some more gravel into the area under the new added carport. Gravel now covers most of the area in front of the house, and the dust is gone. This is the initial covering, so more to follow.

Supper: onion rings, shrimp boiled, cod breaded fried.

Thursday, Oct 1

7:30 AM: John leaves for bottling Pinot Noir with a lunch after outside as the weather is nice. Site overlooks the Columbia River above West Bar with its Giant Current Ripples. Ice age floods rolled across this region, and because of the turns of the ancient river, deposits of sandy material of gigantic size were left. The vines of Mariposa Vineyard are planted on deep sand. The canyon walls are of basalt.
John is taking a deli food tray with Pepperoni, Hard Salami, cheeses, and crackers. Others bring other stuff to share. There are 5 others involved in the bottling process and lunch.

Received a nice morning call at 9:30 a.m. from Gerald, my 89 yr old friend in Thorp (Guitar player with our KV F&F music group). The end of January 2021 he’ll turn 90! He’d finished taking his morning exercise, walking out front around his driveway loop.

I fixed a nutritious drink, vanilla bean yogurt with chocolate Ensure for drinking with my coffee, during the Zoom session. At 10:00 a.m. I participated in a Zoom Game Day at the Senior Center to play Balderdash, with 4 players. Erin & Jacquie played as a team and they won the game over the other two of us.
Today is a diuretic day, but I waited until after the Zoom was over before taking it.

At Noon John called from White Heron, will be delayed until 3:00 to 4:00 getting home, because they ran out of corks midway through the bottling, so they broke for lunch. Just outside the door was a big box of just delivered corks. So lunch. Then back to finish getting the 2016 Pinot Noir into bottles. They had 2 long food and wine events and John did not get home until 5:30.

At 11:00 I returned a call to Tuesday, the Super 1 Pharmacist, who called me during my Zoom Meeting. Can’t interrupt the game.
I talked to Tuesday about the flu shot and need to tell John she has us down to receive the next 2 doses that come into the pharmacy.

I finished an email to send to the study group with recommendations for background materials to supplement information about the topic of the lecture Exotic Terrane – G tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. broadcast. It included links submitted by 3 study group members (including me), a gal from Australia, and a fellow from Seattle, WA.

The temperature outside is 69° at our house, and at the airport at 12:00, it was 65°.

At 12:23 p.m. I had a scammer call from Brunswick, MD that I blocked. Yesterday, I had blocked 3 calls in the same day from the same location, Kennewick, WA. Yesterday, I had a scammer call from a Wireless number registered near Colville, WA so I blocked it. Yesterday morning while we were at the eye doctor, we had a scammer call from Shelly Gagnon with a phone near Colville, WA. These guys are persistent. I blocked that one.

HOLY CRAP! I just spent 20 minutes on the phone making an annual physical appointment at Cle Elum KVH Family Medicine for the same day for John and me to visit our PA-C, Chelsea Newman. {photo below}
The scheduler’s name is “Passion” and she is the “replacement” for Laura at the front desk who retired. We have had 32 years of Laura.
I think I knew more about getting the two of us scheduled than she did. We finally decided on December 10th (Thursday) for the first part, and John is scheduled in for 3:00 p.m., but I’m scheduled in for 4:00 p.m.; the next appointment is December 17th (Thurs) for the second part, John at 3:15 p.m. and me at 4:00 p.m. I don’t know why they need to be so separated. Soon, because of the year +a day rules, we will get pushed into January. Won’t be the end of the year but the beginning. She didn’t realize about the 1 year after a year’s date from before. By the time I called, Chelsea had no openings close to the date last year.

Just off the phone with the Dentist’s office and Tiffany there. Yesterday in the mail we received paperwork from Delta Dental (DD) Insurance that we owed $90.40 toward my tooth repair on 8/25. Tiffany brought up our account and says we have a zero balance, because the insurance picked up all the cost after what we had paid already. Don’t know why their paperwork from DD is out of date, but I thanked her.

I’m new to Instagram, so today a learned to click on the airplane and send a message. Taught myself that today. Managed to send to Nick 3 papers sent by a researcher of Exotic Terranes who is at the University on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. These will help Nick prepare his Sunday morning lecture on Cache Creek Exotic Terrane.

Friday, Oct 2

Started with two robocallers 20 mins apart both from Colville, WA (509-690-XXXX) different numbers on last 4 digits, first with a name (Tracey Rieckers). Both now blocked.

Lunch: Bacon, eggs over easy, and I had toast. John had toast early, so switched to potatoes for this.

Our 2:00 p.m. meeting of Nick from Home met for an extended time today because of an overheated iPhone that Nick was using in the hot sun. After the initial warm up time before 2:00 and into it through his giving thank you messages for gifts from viewers, he started his lecture on the blackboard and only got a few drawings and words in, when the screen went black and we totally lost him. We could still comment on YouTube Livechat, so we knew what was going on. He had to go cool down his phone in the freezer. He was talking to us on his laptop. He did not have to make a new livestream to continue, but the whole process took about 24 mins. He had to change position in the backyard to get out of the sun, around the building into the shade, and take the cozy fort and the blackboard with him. A bunch of people left as viewers, and we were down to about 18 diehards. The rest of the show went all right, and we ended up gaining almost 900 viewers worldwide. That 2:00 p.m. viewing of a Nick from Home today went very long to 1 hr 52 mins because of the technical difficulties. This makes me wonder how all the remote learning is doing for public schools.

‘Nick from Home’ #82 – Exotic G: Quesnellia

Supper: French fried onion rings, John had fried potatoes, and we had a bowl of Progresso soup with smoked turkey added to the carrots, tomatoes, with wild rice. Dessert: Cherry pie with vanilla ice cream.

After dinner and the cat food bowl had long since been brought inside, we had a RACCOON visit to front porch feeder station!!!! Annie the dog and I heard him hit the wood as he climbed up and looked in the window and we both saw him. I screamed and she ran to the front door and barked. John heard the commotion and came out to the front door. He saw the motion sensor light was on where I park the Forester. He didn’t see the critter.

Saturday, Oct 3

Slept in for me after a late start to sleep.
I finally got the email off to study group members for Nick from Home series with the information about the Earth Science Weekly site. I included the ones from this week’s send from Mark, which then I must distribute through the Jobslist to get to everyone (including adding them to the Earth Science Weekly email distribution list).
Diuretic day for me today.
Continued with Tax prep; very small amount of filing done today.

Another Robocaller blocked on my Panasonic land line.

Brunch: Bacon, English Muffin Toasting bread, and eggs.

Supper: A soup bowl of several mixtures of leftovers, best described as a bowl of chili-based stew with corn, Alfredo noodles, pork, smoked turkey, chicken, diced tomatoes, pinto beans, and a small amount of spicy spaghetti sauce. I added Cheez-its for a replacement to the noodles I didn’t take many of.

Sunday, Oct 4

John started outside with Pat Jenkins; he previously did the removal of the concrete in front of the 2-car garage. He is taking some of the outside slabs from the lumber milling. John can make use of a few for fencing material, and Pat’s loading his to cut up later to use as firewood for his wood stove. Also, I have to call Maryann (up the road neighbor) and have her bring her pickup soon for some free firewood from us.

Clear, sunny, no rain, and nice for Nick’s 9:00 a.m. program.
I started at 8:26 a.m. on line to capture comments on starting with pre-show of the lecture. This is a premiere showing by Nick Zentner in ‘Nick from Home’ fall series on Exotic Terranes.

‘Nick from Home’ #83 – Exotic H: Cache Creek

John came in and baked an apple crisp for us to have for desserts, or an afternoon snack. He’s been cleaning out our old chest freezer in the tall shed, and found these frozen apples already cut, sugared, and with cinnamon, ready to have a crust added (and he did from Pancake mix). I finished unloading the dishwasher so when I have time, I can load some soaked dishes.

For brunch, I had a nutritious protein drink made with Chocolate Ensure and a Chobani peach yogurt. I’m not sure what John had. We had some of the Apple Crisp for an afternoon snack and it’s quite tasty. I’m working on the daily entries for my blog. He’d like me to be done earlier than late, but I need to get typing and organizing fast.

John’s making a rock-filled trench under the drip line of the new car-park area. Sifted dirt goes to the garden and rocks go back in the trench. Then, more gravel all around.

A music person, Laura Nelson, has suggested our group do a gig in the parking lot at Meadows Place; not being allowed in – and all that. I have names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses – and no interest in outside performances. Anyway, I followed-up on her request. A few may be able to do a Saturday thing, and maybe the weather will cooperate. It is now up to Laura.

Supper: All leftovers tonight. That’s the end of such for a while.

I need to get my $60 donation check I wrote tonight for the CWU Foundation to cover the scholarship luncheon group donation put into a stamped envelope and into the mailbox, when John walks up to open the gate. I suspect such things won’t be sustained for long as virtual encounters.

Hope your week was fine.

Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan

Not so Nasty News October 2nd

Item #1: Weather

Long term records for our area indicate that a serious frost (28°F) has about a 60% chance of happening by October 1st. We have not had even the lesser frost (32°F). Therefore, the garden, such as it is, still grows. The next 10 days look to be frost free, too.
There are no reporting stations that fit us well. The nearest place is 500 feet lower (5 Miles away). The next is 22 miles away and 300 feet lower. The higher the elevation the faster the ground cools when the sky is clear.
I’ve been planting Dahlias each year and taking the blooms to places, such as the Senior Center. They generally do not over-winter here, but this spring one did not get that message. We haven’t had any place to take them, so as the blooms fade, I cut and toss them into the compost.
This week we had to make a stop at a friend’s place – so along with 5 pounds of onions, I picked yellow squash and a ½ dozen blooms for her. All is well that ends nicely, I say.

Item #2: NO!

If I have to explain this, you are not a cook.

Item #3: Which line?

We had routine eye exams. Well, not exactly routine. Masks are required.
With a mask, if I look up and breath out my glasses are fine. Looking straight ahead or down, breathing out causes the glass to fog over. The fog takes about 3 to 5 seconds to clear.
Sometimes the answer to “which line can you read” was “None of them” or “Wait a second.”
My eyes are changing so slowly that I do not need to get new glasses, and otherwise the eyes are fine (for my age).
The other nice thing is that the current glasses, now several years old have not gotten scratched. To buy those, we went to a place where Nancy knew the Doctor/owner. She might or might not have known we went. The fitter-guy was nice enough, but the glasses seemed expensive. Previously, I ordered glasses at Costco; best cost place.
The Costco glass (supposedly having a hard coating) scratched badly, such that I seriously wondered if the coating I paid for was there.
Thus, there will be a quandary next time I need glasses.
[The other issue is that Costco is 50 miles away, while the EBRG place is only about 8 miles and we usually go in once a week.]

Item #4: Helpful road signs

Item #5: What do tests mean?

There is a problem with the testing, and reporting of, the “cases” with respect to COVID-19.
Simply, there are “false positives” and no one seems to know exactly what percent that is.
But consider that it is around 1% {0.8% to 4% is cited; but some estimates are higher}, and a nation does 1 million tests per day. Suppose nobody in the million tests has an active infection. Then, with a false positive rate of 1%, 10,000 will be incorrectly identified as “new cases”.

Every single day.
With this in mind, I suggest we find something else to worry about.

And that, for this week, is the not so nasty news.
John

Not so Nasty News September 25th

Item #1: The dust is gone
Thin blue line is the west coast; black arrow movement.

When we moved to the Northwest there was a weather event called “The Pineapple Express.” This is considered a non-technical term, so says Wikipedia: Find Here.
The accepted term now is an atmospheric river, originating over the Pacific ocean with a strong and persistent flow of moisture and, when encountering the mountains of Oregon and Washington, heavy precipitation follows. Note the words persistent and heavy.
Often the atmospheric river can begin near the Hawaiian Islands, once known for the Pineapples grown there, and suggesting the name. Despite what can be found on the Web, the State is not now one of the top producing areas. The last pineapple cannery on Hawaii closed in 2006 and now only fresh pineapples are exported. Tourists, not pineapples, are important to the State’s economy.
The good news is it has rained. The not so good news – lots of rain; 7 inches and still falling.
Not only that, but the high mountains have gotten several inches of snow. For us on the Naneum Fan, Sunday should start a sunny week.

Item #2: Coincidence?

One of the few plants not blooming in early May when frost zapped most things were thornless Blackberries. I have a small planting, and they are now ripening. The photo is from the web, however. I picked two pounds.
Today, our COSTCO Connections magazine arrived. There is a recipe for crockpot Blackberry cobbler. When I get up in the morning the temperature is likely to be just about 40°F.
Cobbler on a cool morning sounds like a good idea. Wish me luck.

Item #3: Where have all the hurricanes gone? I just checked the National Hurricane web site. The area where storms begin (off the coast of Africa) to the US Gulf and East coasts is blank. Officials have been giving names to storms that don’t amount to much. They ran out of names. The Greek letters were needed.
Storm Alpha formed north of the usual location, at a Latitude about the same as Paris. Then it slowly went south and east, to encounter Portugal.
When the next storm was named Beta, reactions from numerous folks was: What? Where’s Alpha? [Okay, maybe not hundreds, but Dot and I thought this.]
Beta, on the other hand, moved so slowly it was like watching lichen grow. The phrase “inching toward Texas” was seen. Then it inched toward Nashville. So Beta, too, is gone but not forgotten. Slow moving, and lots of rain.

Item #4: Funny

The caption with this photo was:
And then he said – “Let’s pee on the cat”; and we did.
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Who sits around and thinks of this stuff?
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Item #5: There’s a word for that

A truck loaded with thousands of copies of Roget’s Thesaurus crashed as it left a New York warehouse.
According to the Associated Press, witnesses were stunned, startled, aghast, taken aback, stupefied, confused, punchy, shocked, rattled, paralyzed, dazed, bewildered, mixed up, surprised, awed, dumbfounded, flabbergasted, astounded, amazed, confounded, astonished, boggled, overwhelmed, horrified, numbed, and perplexed.

And that, for this week, is the not so nasty news.
John

Not so Nasty News Sept 18

Item #1: He apologized

The red marker is on a driveway that leads between apartment buildings to parking areas for residents. New cables had to go under the driveways along the street. Prince Edward Island – Oops!

The plan was to do horizontal drilling under the driveways, but the machine broke. The crew chief called in a backhoe. No time to warn people. Sorry folks. Walk!

Item #2: Changes
While I wasn’t paying attention, Smokey has been changing.

woods/forest/wild
Fires need Oxygen, an ignition, and fuel. Smokey grew out of the War effort of WWII. The War Advertising Council dreamed up the bear, the hat, and the dungarees. In August of 1944 (I’m 7 months older) the first “cartoon” of Smokey pouring water on a fire appeared. See the left image, above. The Council did not want fires distracting from the war.
The link is to a Smithsonian Magazine article on the campaign and how it changed. The problem is that Smokey dealt with the “ignition” part of fire. An unintended consequence of the campaign is that the natural process of growth of trees, woody plants, and grasses was interrupted. Fire no longer episodically burned some of the fuel and made space for meadows and other clearings, a patchwork of natural communities.
The fuel is overly abundant, Oxygen is there, and there will be ignitions. 84% or more fires have started because humans were involved, either accidentally, being stupid, or deliberately. Likely, for the next 30 years there will be uncontrollable Megafires.

Item #3: What’s the message?

A slow moving storm, Hurricane Sally, came ashore this week along the Gulf Coast. This one moved slowly over the warm water of the Gulf and picked up plenty of moisture. The wind at the Mobile Downtown Airport gusted to 67 mph, while the claim is that Sally had 105 mph wind.
In any case, the image above shows a church steeple that did not handle the wind, whatever it was. On the right side is the Flora-Bama restaurant and bar. No problem here.
There has to be a message, and as soon as I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

Item #4: Speaking of bears

For at least the second time this summer bears have contacted humans. Not long ago a woman was hiking and a large bear approached her. In the accompanying photo a bear visits a man taking a nap by his pool.
Years ago we were at a camp site in Jasper National Park in Canada. One morning I was splitting wood and a girl, about 6, was running water into a pot at the center of the camp. Her folks and many others were in a covered cooking area not far away. A large bear wandered into the clearing, walked to the girl and sniffed her arm. A dozen people watched, the girl stood very still, water ran into the pot, and the bear ambled away.

Item #5: Funny stuff; unrelated


In 30 years when your grand kids ask about the 2020 toilet paper shortage, tell them of the hardship. Say you had to drag your butt across the lawn.
In the snow.
Up hill. Both ways.

And that, for this week, is the not so nasty news.
John

Not so Nasty News September 11th

Item #1: An odd thing

Monday about Noon our Valley had a massive infusion of smoke brought from the north by wind gusting to near 50 mph. The Cold Springs/ Pearl Hill Fire started 100 miles to the NNE of us, on the Colville Reservation. Photos and maps are now posted on the web.
The thick smoke is allowing orange light to pass so everything outside has had a strange glow, now more dull as the session continues into late afternoon. How can I make fun of the LA smog when our air is so nasty?
An historical perspective: A fire in 1950, in northern Alberta and British Columbia, called The Chinchaga fire, or Wisp fire , produced a dark atmosphere over the land to the eastern USA and to Europe. I was six and remember coming out onto the front steps of our church (1st communion or something, Sunday Sept. 24th ??) where we first noticed the dark sky and a feeble red sun. The smoke was high in the atmosphere so there was no smell, and we had no prior notion of the fire. Read about the “Great Smoke Pall” at the above link.
Cousin Ethel kept a clipping from a Pittsburgh newspaper in her daughter’s (Pat) baby book, so she told me some years ago.

Item #2: Mostly gone, and lucky

From our driveway on Friday afternoon, the ridge top (~5,000 feet elevation) is a little hazy at 8 miles away. Other parts of Washington have more smoke. California and Oregon have multiple fires.
The reason for massive fires is partly attributable to Smokey Bear. Smokey and the slogan “Smokey Says – Care Will Prevent 9 out of 10 Forest Fires”- – began in 1944.
Studies now suggest that 84% of wild fires are ignited by something that humans are involved in. The Western States now have massive amounts of grass, brush, and trees.
There is no good way of getting rid of most of it.

Item #3: Baby Oaks Last fall I noticed the Oak trees near the hospital not only had amazing red/orange colors, but they were also “masting.” ( the production of many seeds by a plant every two or more years in regional synchrony with other plants of the same species)
I gathered a dozen acorns. Six have grown; two of the largest are on the left in the photo.
Will they continue to grow here? Likely not. I need to find out what sort they are, and then maybe I can provide something they need.

Item #4: Electricity

On the last day of each month an airplane flies over our area and our electric meter says hello. A gadget on the plane records the numbers, and we soon get a bill.
Our house is all-electric so the seasonal change in use is interesting. The bar chart on the bill starts and ends with August. We manage to keep the summer use down by opening the house at night. The elevation of 2,240 feet (much higher to the north and west) with clear sky can produce quick and significant cooling.
We pay a facility charge of $22.50. The electrons cost at a rate of $0.0950/kWh. On the bill: 628 X .0950 =$59.66
December is often cold for the entire month. Late January tends to warm some.

Item #5: The new carport


We have had construction things and “curing onions” in the carport. This week I finished cutting the roots and tops from all the onions and consolidated into half the number of boxes.
This was incentive to move other stuff out or to the side. Note the 60 pound bags of concrete mix on the lower left. I’ve not gotten the gravel in yet, and I’m still landscaping nearby.
Still, Jessica fits comfortably there; and is no longer spending her nights under the stars.

And that, for this week, is the not so nasty news.
John

Not so Nasty News September 4th

I enjoy science related puns. Like this:
Dear Gaia: Thank you for your rotation. It makes my day.
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Item #1: Bad & Good Above: Looking NW over Wenas Lake late Monday, Aug. 31, 2020.
The bad news is that 20 miles south of the Naneum Fan there has been a fire burning through grass, brush, and some trees. Monday afternoon start time. They haven’t given a cause yet, but likely a person or group did something that should not have been done. As of Friday afternoon the area involved is 70,000 acres, about 110 sq. miles. That is about 3.3 times the size of Manhattan island. When the smoke clears it will be apparent that much of the land was not burned. Five homes have burned, but most of the area is structure free, except along the road that runs along the right side of the Lake.
The good news is that by Friday afternoon the increase has been nearly stopped. Lots of crews and airplanes have had time to move to the region and wind has slowed.
Left of the smoke is a long sloping surface to a sharp ridge, called Cleman Mountain. We have ridden horses there to an elevation of 5,000 feet. To the right is a less high area called Umtanum Ridge, that is visible from here. We’ve been there too. We have riding acquaintances in the area where the fire started.
Nancy will have more on Sunday.

Item #2: Scarcity of color

This week there are two plants blooming; both (as far as I can determine) are a form of Rabbitbrush. The larger is called Rubber Rabbitbrush (also Gray RB) apparently because of the gum-like sap of the roots. The leaves are thin, like a pine tree needle. The smaller plant is called Green Rabbitbrush, with blade-like leaves that curl. Upper right insert. Why?Summer has been dry and hot, and still they bloom.

Item #3: Remember polio?

In the photo, the nurse is at a smaller tank respirator (“iron lung”) while the closer one is adult size. The tank had portal windows so attendants could reach in and adjust limbs, sheets, or hot packs.

This Panic2020, in the early part of the year, included a frantic search for “ventilators.” Now the big story is a search for a vaccine. A search for common sense is in order.

Anyway, this got me to thinking about the Polio scare when I was about 10 years old. I do not recall our school, or anything else, being closed, but I have found newspapers, like this 1946 one, that report school closures. I don’t remember 1946.
We lived about 70 miles from Pittsburgh where the Jonas Salk team at the University there developed a Polio vaccine. That became available in 1955 and we youngins got our doses in school. I’ll have to ask some elders about what they remember.
Iron Lung

Item #4: Ice

Ice is scheduled to retire at the end of September.
This Belgian Malinois U.S. Forest Service police dog, 11 years old, has been stabbed on two occasions. The events happened as officers were making raids of marijuana growing in the Klamath National Forest in northern California.
Did we really need more reasons to dislike Californians? Story link

Item #5: News you can use

Do not let anyone take your temperature on your forehead, it scrambles your brain cells. At the grocery store I went in for lettuce, tomatoes, and Blue Cheese dressing. At home, I realized I had purchased a pizza and 6-pack of beer.

And that, for this week, is the not so nasty news.
John

Not so Nasty News August 28th

Item #1: No got dirt?
This is odd. Way over in merry Ol’Otley, West Yorkshire, a young lad saw an imperiled hedgehog. A rather rare creature, this one was white with a pink nose.
Jack Frost

Wildlife biologist Dr Toni Bunnell, who has treated albino hedgehogs in the past, said they survive well in the wild.
She said: “Although it might be thought that the light colouration would make them more visible to predators, this is not in fact the case.
“After only a few days in the wild, the coat of the albino becomes dirty and serves as camouflage.”

I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but do they not have plain ol’dirt in West Yorkshire? I could get Jack Frost to turn into Jack Dirt with no trouble at all.

Item #2: rather clever folks
Note the Roadrunner painted beside the painted tunnel. This prank worked too well: Crash!


The folks that repair hiking trails claim camp gear ought to include 3-in-1 oil for things that should move – but don’t, and duct tape for things that do move – but shouldn’t. Utility poles ought not to move, so duct tape to the rescue.

Item #3: More than clever
Just one image here, but go to Nikolaj
Read about the chalk artist and then go to “gallery.” And then 3-D.
There will be scroll tabs.

Item #4: A Unicorn story

A young girl (age 3 ?) had to be rescued by ferry workers after she was swept out to sea on a small** inflatable unicorn.

White with pink wings

**Folks have claimed it is a “giant” inflatable. Not exactly. Search up “inflatable unicorns” on the web.

Scroll down until the video with dark sides and ship scene in the middle. This is in the Gulf of Patras, a branch of the Ionian Sea, with the “toe” of Italy to the west.

Item #5: wrong attitude

I couldn’t decide which of these to use, so both.

And that, for this week, is the not so nasty news.
John

Not so Nasty News August 21st

Item #1: in the driveway

Monday morning there was a feather in the driveway. I always wonder why an intact feather separates from the bird. In this case it appears to be from the outer part of a wing, a primary flight feather. The pennies help with scale, but end-to-end it is 5 5/8ths inches. In the smaller image, note the series of whitish/rosy humps on the lower edge. This one is more like the 5 or so on the upper right, no humps.
I did some search up on the web. The source of this pink-rosy shaft apparently was a Western Flicker (Colaptes auratus). Eastern cousins have a yellow shaft.

Item #2: Color this week

Just off the driveway about 50 feet is a small bunch of Choke Cherry trees. This week the small trees (about 10 feet high) provide new color on the Naneum Fan.
Based on their location in dry rocky soil, I’ll call them Prunus virginiana, known across much of the USA.
Washington State has a similar tree called Bitter Cherry, Prunus emarginata. Our native plants site claims they may be found in moist, second growth forests, often along streams. There is more I could investigate, but haven’t. Unlike our domestic cherry trees, plums, and walnuts, these plants were not harmed by our spring frost. I need to compare the bloom times next spring. There has been no rain for many weeks and the leaves are showing browning, but the berries look fine, but will now darken as the summer continues.
A neighbor sometimes makes jelly with these. My take is that they provide color and a bit of flavor in a sugar that has been boiled.
See invert sugar basics. Note the part about light passing through regular sugar and its direction, but goes the opposite direction when the sugar has been “inverted.”

Item #3: Almost

Years ago we set up a horse “round pen” and wanted the surface covered with a coarse sand. The truck almost got stuck. There was one spot of very fine sediment with some water beneath. The concept is termed “thixotropy” and you can search it up. Start here: Link

After the sand dump, the driver got his big truck moving as fast as the distance allowed and rolled over the danger spot. Later, a backhoe removed all the fine material and left me a big hole.I was slowly throwing rocks in the hole to not much effect. Then a 13 year-old neighbor showed up. She explained she wanted to earn money to go to our County Fair. So for a time she and I collected rocks from the property, threw them in the pickup, and then sat on the tailgate, and while visiting, threw them into the hole. Any time she could come (she had younger brothers and sisters to help with) we did that from 9 to Noon. The hole wasn’t quite full when Fair and School rolled around, the family moved, and that episode ended. I went back to the occasional rocks in the hole routine.
By this year the hole was mostly filled. The photo shows basalt rocks, now with two small piles of gravel. That’s about half a truck load of nearly 16 tons. The other half is nearer the house where it will be used in the new landscape.
Now I have to spread it out. Thus the title above: Almost.

Item #4: What’s up?

Here is a USA Total Stock Market chart for 1 year. Note this market is up 0.24% from the same date a year ago.
The blue line shows the Panic2020 action and the rebound.
While many companies’ stock price dropped and many are bankrupt, several are doing very well. Those big companies that were involved with e-commerce and related providers, and major components of stock indexes are leading the rebound.
It is somewhat amazing, but that’s what is up.

Item #5: Good news is hard to find


Each week I look for funny, odd, or otherwise interesting good news.
Such has been scarce this week.

This photo sums up the feeling. It has been a tough couple of months. California is the poster image for many things. Weather this week was not kind to the State.
The hot and dry period was punctuated by a massive display of lighting strikes over most of the Western U.S.
The Corn Belt was host to a serious wind storm, and now the south has tropical storms (hurricanes ?) approaching.

Looking forward to September.

And that, for this week, is the not so nasty news.
John

Not so Nasty News August 14th

Item #1: Seen this week

Links: Chicory – – – Mule deer – – – Mantis
This Chicory flower is missing a petal, but the color is right. Another had white on the inner half of the petals but I think this one is a better indicator of what we see here.
The Mantis {~3.5 inches} is on a vertical piece of corner trim [SmartSide by Louisiana Pacific], not good hunting grounds for this predator. I coaxed her onto my hand and carried her to a nearby fir tree.
The color is pale and after viewing the photo I think there are parts of a recently shed skin. I’ve read that a new skin will darken as it hardens. Anyway, she won’t be green so she needs to find a tree to suit her camouflage.
I see the small buck deer about three times a week. Here he is laying in the shade of the Carpathian Walnut trees.

Item #2: Time?

Having had Brittanys with great sniffing abilities, I always follow headlines about such things. This interesting story left me with a question.
Dog sniffs cash – in what amount of time?
About the dog Aki
This has me baffled:
The German shepherd, named Aki, found 12 people’s secret stashes between the end of June and start of July.”
June’s end is the 30th that is followed by July’s beginning, the 1st. Answer me this: What is “between”?
_ _ _ _
While pondering that, I also wondered about the word on the dog’s vest. Zoll comes from an ancient Proto-Germanic word [tullō] meaning what is counted or told. The vest on the dog indicates she/he is employed by the German agency collecting the duty or customs on goods. See: ZUZ
€247,280 {~$292,000}

In other animal news there was this headline: “Bald eagle shows air superiority, sends $950 drone into lake
Two birdwatchers saw the Bald Eagle attack something but told officials they didn’t realize it was a drone. Assumption was that it looked like a sea gull.
A search of the shoreline failed to find the drone. Data later revealed that it landed in 4 feet of water about 150 feet offshore.

Item #3: Tracking the spot

In the room where Nancy sits with her laptop, the sky-lights now allow sunlight to enter and make a trek across the carpet. The sun has to be high in the sky for this to happen, so that means mid-day during the summer season. Roughly, the past couple of months. The bright space on the carpet starts on her left as a rectangle, moves to the right, and gets elongated with a point. It is sufficiently bright we have needed to shield it for her to see her screen well.
The vertical rays of the sun are now hitting Earth at about 14° North Latitude, near the central border of Honduras with Nicaragua, or 963 miles north of the Equator. It will reach the Equator in 38 days, so that point where the sun is directly overhead is moving south at 25 miles per day. {The speed changes, but close enough.}

As the Sun moves south the area of brightness has gotten smaller and lasts a shorter time. Soon it will disappear, to reappear next spring. Dates unknown.
Here is a plan. Document the day when if first and last appears. Also set a time lapse camera to film its traverse across the carpet and watch its shape change during the day of highest sun. Next year that will be during the weeks before and after Monday, June 21. The Sun’s height won’t change much during that 2 week period, but just in case you care the Solstice will be Monday, June 21, 2021 at 03:32 UTC, or 8:32 PM Sunday, the 20th, here on the Naneum Fan.

Item #4: Wind

High winds and torrential rain on the New South Wales south coast in Australia have resulted in waterfalls in the Royal National Park being blown in reverse.

Watch here

Item #5: The color green

Image is of a dark green, chosen because it is a Pennsylvania reference.

Nancy sent one of the animated cards to a young friend on his “Golden Birthday.” What? So we learned from his mother that it is the day when you turn the same age as the day-of-month number. Miles had his 9th birthday last Sunday, the 9th of August. The history of this is opaque, but seems to have been popularized as a marketing concept.
The card was of an old style English train with a dog chasing a cat as the engine was being fired-up and pulling away. At the bottom right of the card is a link with the letters GWR – for Great Western Railway.
I searched that up and found the locomotives (but not the other cars) were painted Brunswick green. There is a link to the color green in the description, so I went there. (Wow! There are lots of named greens.)
I learned Brunswick green is a common name for green pigments made from copper compounds**, and is historically linked to Braunschweig, Germany (famous for smoked pork sausage), but called Brunswick by the English.
This site has a large color block, photos of trains and other train things, and some interesting history: Link

**One of my interests is the history of science, including discovery of the elements, by who, where, and when.

And that, for this week, is the not so nasty news.
John