Harvest Celebrations

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Saturday, Sept 6

We managed to get this blog out (almost midnight) last week, after spending much of the day on it, while John did outside chores. This week it will not likely happen.

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Sunday, Sept 7

I worked on finalizing a special piece of music to take as a potluck special tonight at our music group’s potluck (The Green, Green Grass of Home). John put a pork loin roast (about 9 #) into the oven to take as part of our contribution. He then went outside to find a shady place to work. I helped him cut plums (two types of our homegrown ones) to make a pan of Roasted Plums to take for accompanying the cut pork pieces to be placed individually on plates. I also took a serving dish of pear and cherry tomatoes.
Here is the plum recipe: Preheat oven to 425°. This is for 1.5# of plums. Layer sliced plums in a baking dish. Sprinkle them with a spicy combo (1 tsp each of cinnamon ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, with 1/3 cup brown sugar. Drizzle 1/3 cup lemon juice (concentrate) on top. Toss gently. Cover w/foil, bake 20 minutes. (We actually had 3 times that amount, used a lower temperature, and more minutes).
We had a lot of food and 17 people eating, with 11 musicians jamming afterwards for a couple hours. We brought home leftovers of our pork and plum sauce and froze some.

Monday, Sept 8

Home today; working on various projects. John cut a 15 year old volunteer cherry tree down – such things usually do not have nice fruit, and this was no exception. He cut 3 rounds for setting hot frying pans on and cut the smaller end into firewood length. The rest, about 5 feet, is going to a friend that likes to make inlaid game boards using different woods. Cherry is lighter colored than many other woods and will work for projects of this type. We will deliver the cherry wood in the morning at the Emeritus Geography Professors meeting at the Copper Kettle that starts early this week at 9:00 a.m. John will have blood samples taken shortly after 8 AM, having fasted for 12 hours. Then, he gets to eat – I have coupons for egg/cheese/sausage biscuits. It will be tight. Then we have only two stops before home, but then I have to go back to town for a music thing in the early evening. I will combine that with picking up my free birthday dinner to bring home to share with John for supper. It has to be used before the end of the month, so I must hurry, and only once/month do I go to Ellensburg after 4:00 p.m. (the time after which one can request the dish described below). I was able to pick up 2 dozen donuts for only $3.98 before music at 6:30. They mark down the day’s donuts at 6:00 from the ones that were fresh in the glass counter in the morning. Tonight’s dinner is shown below with leftover pork loin roast, our tomatoes and corn, and our friend’s peaches.
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Tuesday, Sept 9

We made it to the hospital for a fasting blood draw for John with a detour several miles out of our way. A moving van was across Wilson Creek Rd, completely blocking both lanes of traffic (he was trying to back into a long rural driveway from a confined space on the 2-lane road). We turned off at a nearby E-W road and went east 1.5 mi. to our own road (where we should have been earlier). We had a wait at the lab w/ 3 folks ahead of John. Then off to Carl’s JR for their sausage/egg/cheese biscuits. By 9:06 we made it to our meeting of retired geographers at the Copper Kettle, with another delay caused by a tractor trailer truck in the drive we need to access to a parking spot. This started as a bad trailer day. After our 2-hour meeting, we delivered the cherry wood. From there to Grocery Outlet for cat food, of which they had none! We bought a couple cans of dog food for our oldest dog, and a Marie Callender’s cherry-almond pie. We had to run a check by the dentist’s office, so we took a box of Early Girl tomatoes to Mark and the staff. Tomorrow I have to deliver more along with some yellow squash.
The rest of our afternoon was spent on projects, until I left for town for another event, but first a stop at Super One, hoping for 2 dozen lower-priced donuts for John to carry along to share with the 16 workers at the trailhead tomorrow morning. I also bought him some nice London broil roast for his sandwich for lunch. We already had Jarlsberg cheese to add. On to Hearthstone for music. I met two friends there and gave them some tomatoes and a just harvested Acorn squash. Left there to go by the Palace Cafe’ to pick up my free birthday dinner, Chicken Alfredo Fettuccine. Their version has tiny mushrooms and thinly sliced zucchini with a decent amount of chicken pieces in a large serving, enough for two. John fried some large mushrooms, sliced, and we added them to the dish. We thought afterwards that we could have spiced it up with pineapple and cashews. Oh well, it was a nice dinner and we even have some leftovers for tomorrow night. It was good getting it gifted and still being able to bring it home and fancy it up some. I know that is not what they wish to happen so I give the waitress a nice tip.

Wednesday, Sept 10

John left at 7:00 a.m. for the Franklin Falls trail – a 70-minute trip. Action starts at 8:30 but early arrivals get to visit (with donuts) – often the assistant crew leaders (ACLs) are apart on the trail and can’t share much info then. I spent 1/2 hour trying to update my SiriusXM Satellite subscription to cancel at the current automatic renewal price of $185.50, for the year. I finally spoke with a gal in the Philippines, and after a lot of hassles, I convinced her I was unwilling to pay the price quoted, for listening only to one station (Bluegrass). From that point, she offered me lower prices, first for $113.13 for a year. I still said no, and she gave me the last available price to keep me on, at 6 months, for $26.06 (includes fees). I knew I could get a coupon from the web for that same offer, but figured I would go ahead and accept from her, and be done with it.
The only hang-up is at 6 months from now (3/10/15) I have to cancel or it will automatically continue for only 3 months at $38.66. I have written myself notes all over to argue again for the coupon rate at that time. If that doesn’t work, then I will cancel and go the other route. By charging me $38.66 every 3 months, the yearly fee is $154.64, which is still better than the $185.50 they wanted me to pay next week. However, if I can keep getting it every 6 months for under $30, I’m happy. Someone that spends a lot of time driving could likely justify the higher fee.

Thursday, Sept 11

Went to Rehab for providing music (today, two of us, the banjo player and I, even stood, played, and waltzed around (individually) as a partner to a sweet old lady with a walker, who also mouths the words as she moves in front of us) – some day I must get someone to video her. She also flirts with the guys in our group, one in particular, who flirts back and who, at the end, tells her he loves her. The residents and staff all love her and applaud each time she gets up. She must have danced 6 songs today. On by Royal Vista for visiting, and continued with all sorts of things to do at home. The most interesting was coming home to find that John had picked a full large wheelbarrow full of squash (Acorn and Butternut).
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According to internet garden sites, winter squash do not keep, if frosted, and our forecast was for 34 degrees on Friday morning. The plants had mostly stopped growing and ripening the darn things anyway. Some of the Butternut are still slightly greenish – the one at the top center is one such. They are okay to eat, and we did have one, but long storage is not going to happen – they say. We’ll see. Where the Acorn squash touch the ground they turn orange when ripe. A few were hanging off the ground and so have only green skins – still ripe though. John thinks it odd that folks say to try to pierce the skin with a finger nail to see if it is ripe. If you can, it is not ripe. Then they tell you to try not to scrape or damage the skin because that causes more rapid deterioration during storage. They must have gotten their gardening certificate out of a Cracker Jack box!
The other thing we did today was John cleared a space in the garage to set up his shelves, on which he put all the squash. While cleaning he found some missing items from our past I need to give away. One is a 1986 Norelco Coffee Maker. We never brew coffee anymore, and likely only used this couple times when we had guests for a dinner, long ago. Also found 4 macramé flower pot hangers I must have picked up in a yard sale. Neither one of us has any recollection of them. I had promised one I thought I had that my mom made, with a green ceramic base, to a gal here in town. However, I have never been able to locate it, and still haven’t. Meanwhile, I shall offer her these, for her high-ceilinged house.

Friday, Sept 12

I had planned to get up in the morning and cut John’s hair, but we never made time for it. Instead, I spent time cleaning my car to drive friends over to our favorite winery and vineyard to visit the Chef’s Extravaganza in Trinidad, WA (name comes from a fraudulent land scheme many years ago), a very beautiful spot on a hill overlooking the Columbia River hemmed in by sheer basalt cliffs. There is a recreation area called Crescent bar with condos, houses, golf, and (usually) access to water sports. This year the local economy has been severely affected by the lowering of the water at the Wanapum dam after a crack was found in the structure. All docks north of the dam, particularly at Vantage and north on the Columbia to the next dam (Rock Island) have been left high and dry, with no access for recreationists. There are acres of exposed sediment and as we crossed the I-90 Vantage bridge we looked down on a massive growth of lovely Purple Loosestrife – an invasive plant classed as a noxious weed in the Great State of Washington.
We left the house about 3:15 to go to town to the Feed Store for Ebony’s Equine Senior, and on to pick up our friends. I drove. I can only have small tastes of wine with food, because of heart meds (blood thinner), so become the “designated” driver for such affairs. We arrived about 5:15, and, being early, could drive to the back of the winery where there is a small grassy amphitheater – our friend (Joanie) we took along has knee issues from surgery on both in 5 months. We were there in time for a nice visit, taking pictures of each other, meeting folks, and watching the 3 chefs prepare all sorts of stuff from local products of the Quincy Basin.
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Let me give you a small introduction to the annual event, which coincides with Farmer Consumer Awareness Day Weekend in Quincy, WA, during the first part of September each year. White Heron has provided the chef’s extravaganza evening for quite a few years. Much work gathering the ingredients happens by Cameron Fries the 3 days prior to the event. He goes around the basin taking donations of foodstuffs from local farmers. When the chefs arrive, they find piles of local goodies.
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They sort through and make various creations. Cameron (the viticulturist, enologist, and owner of White Heron Cellars and Mariposa Vineyard) soaks the dried beans so they can be cooked that evening. That’s the only preparation preceding the evening.
We had Rainbow Trout (from a farm in the basin), prepared 3 different ways by the 3 chefs. One was baked (w/ tomato, onion, peppers), another breaded and fried, and another made a spicy trout chili. One other meat dish provided was BBQ ribs with beans. All chefs had various concoctions of veggies: sliced carrots and jicama (see below **) topped with rock salt; fried/breaded eggplant with Parmesan flakes; HUGE tomato slices (red, yellow, purple, with a slice of mozzarella on top and two types of basil garnishing; cucumbers/onions; a bowl of couscous – a dish made with steamed granules of durum wheat mixed with vegetables; grill-roasted corn-on-the-cob, with shucks and off, cut into small servings; a couple of great mixed salads (one including corn, tomatoes, apples, peppers of all colors and another with zucchini, tomatoes, cheese), all served with clusters of Flame seedless grapes for the sharing at tables. The dessert was my favorite – made with blueberries and others in a little bit of Roussanne wine.
**Jicama is a crispy, sweet, edible tuber that resembles a turnip in physical appearance, although the plants are not related. It has been cultivated in South America for centuries, and the vegetable is quite popular in Mexican cuisine. Jicama’s unique flavor lends itself well to salads, salsas, and vegetable platters. Also known as a yam bean.
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We were serenaded by the Massy Ferguson musical group after the beginning courses of the dinner. We were there in time to occupy a table near the chefs, and invited four gals to join us. They were from Kirkland (but she has a condo at Crescent Bar), Seattle, Medford, OR, and another from the west side, but they were sisters, and visiting their 96-year old dad in nearby Quincy, attending this party every year. This weekend celebrates the Quincy Basin Farmer Consumer Awareness Day(s), and on our way home, we could see distant fireworks in Quincy. Some of you remember the huge Honeycrisp apples John would pick up from Double Diamond in Quincy for $10/box. White Heron Cellars and Mariposa Vineyard is very special to us, and that’s where John spends a few days over about 5 weeks volunteering wine-grape pruning. We work up a nice account to be able to have a bottle or two of wine (special with no label), delivered to our table, & presented by the owner of the vineyard and winery. We chose Pinot Noir.
We didn’t get home until almost 10 p.m. and had forgotten to leave any lights on for the dogs, but John fed the horses and cats, and we all went to bed.
National news: it’s a good idea when house hunting or building to have knowledge and an appreciation of coastal geomorphology, along with other such concerns in non-coastal places, such as floodplain prone or other natural forces. This happened at Malibu, CA today.

Saturday, Sept 13

Started with putting in a placeholder for our blog. Now I am creating the text and choice of photos, with John’s help, but I had to leave this afternoon for playing music at Briarwood Retirement Commons, where they feed us afterwards. Our trip to Briarwood was short musicians playing, with only me on the fiddle, Gerald Gordon on guitar, and Joanie Taylor on Viola. Gerald and I led the singing, and the group is very participatory, just as are the residents of Hearthstone and Dry Creek, but the difference is the FOOD they prepare for us (takes the place of supper, a little early). I took along a platter of some of our pear & cherry tomatoes. From the few larger Early Girls I carried, they sliced the largest ones to add to the table of offerings. The main course was awesome BBQ Pulled Pork (exceptionally tender and with a tasty sauce), served with BBQ beans, sliced onions, potato salad, coleslaw with carrots, chips, and the dessert table was loaded, with selections from Caramel Apple Bundt cake, chocolate cake made with Heath English Toffee bits and choc chips, a white frosted lemon cake, molasses cookies, little apple-twisted turnovers, and Bill’s fabulous pineapple- zucchini bread. While he couldn’t’ be there (his day to do afternoon Food Bank Saturday dinner), he sent an extra loaf to John and me as thanks for the zucchini we took to him to make it. What an amazing presentation by a bunch of nice people. They sang along with lyrics I handed out for 18 songs today.

Hope your week was fine.

Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan

Busy as a bee

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Okay, a wasp?
Anyway, Nancy was busy this week and on Friday we went to White Heron Winery for a harvest festival. We got home about 10 PM. Hoping for a blog post by Sunday, Noon, here in the Pacific Time Zone.

Our day-neutral strawberry plants are still blooming and producing and there are still pollinators. Nancy took this photo on Thursday.

Happy birthday to me

Much of today was spent on chores inside and outside. For late August, we managed to get the blog out on time. Then missed entering the following picture, just received today. This is Cedaridge Kip’s Tug Toy after his first major show win (3 points) from the Puppy 12-18 class !! His handler is Sonja Willitts, my friend and owner of several of our Brittanys since 1977. She now lives in South Lake Tahoe, and owns Tug’s father, Kip, Cedaridge Tri-tip Kip. (Yes, he is a tri-colored Brittany).
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We also received a great photo of John after his work yesterday (8-29) at the Snow Lake Trail, just north of I-90’s Snoqualmie Pass. Under John’s right boot the rock is white. The rest of the rock is the color of the soil – all but the white part was buried.
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Well after the lunch break, the WTA crew leader, Kayla (right side, no hat), following directives of the Forest Service trails manager, determined the rock was a tripping hazard and had to go. There seems to be a version of Murphy’s Law that says the nearer to quitting time starting to dig out a rock, the greater proportion of it will be buried in the trail and the more compact the soil. The short story is that just at the time to leave, 2 Johns and a Christie levered the rock from Earth’s grip, then grabbed packs and tools for the hike out. Kayla and another volunteer filled the hole with soil and then, they too, got ready to hike. The short interlude gave Christie time to get a photo of John on the rock. This was John’s 5th or 6th time on the Snow Lake Trail and he still hasn’t seen Snow Lake.

Sunday, Aug 31

Early morning sadness from GA that a family member, Brady Brannen (only 41) died. He was the only son of Maribeth and my cousin, Bill Brannen, Jr.. Bill (Sr.) and Nelle Brannen are alive and living in Alabama, at ages, 92 & 91. The funeral will be 9/7 with an Anglican service provided by Bill’s brother, David. Interment will occur in the Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA, near my father’s grave on the Brannen-Eiseman lot. Check out the interesting history of this place.
Winds high, but temperatures down. I’m working on music. John is doing yard work, but part of the time did not involve much real effort. John did a Hultquist trick (I’m a Hultquist, so I can call it that as it includes me, and I practice this all the time). We have a knack for working with something, and immediately covering it and losing it. He went for a file to smooth inside the curve of a new metal hook meant for the end of a chain. Note the green arrow in the picture.
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Having found the file, the hook had disappeared. A search was undertaken and steps retraced. Repeatedly. Finally, he found it covered up with a piece of plastic near where the file had been.

Monday, Sept 1 MY BIRTHDAY and Labor Day (only coincides every 7 years)

Doing nothing much today, but resting. Thanks for all the birthday wishes that started a couple days ago and really starting pouring in this morning, via Facebook. Many special cards received, but this photo by David Covert is a favorite worth sharing.
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I have been resting while putting music notation into my computer and printing the master copies for our playlist for the next 3 months. (December we switch to Christmas music). I’m rather pleased with the list, and have included some new ones as well as creating more legible scores from some we have done in the past.
We had a wonderful lunch of BLTs with our own Early Girl tomato we picked yesterday. John found a picture taken in Fort Collins, Colorado – posted this week on the internet.
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Note the price. Holy cow! In small print (lower left on the sign) it says Grown in California. At about 6 oz., these will cost $1.87 each. That’s about what the baby plant cost us back in the spring and it is loaded with ripening fruit. One of our best returns on investment.
I heard from my friend that she had succeeded in placing the single chick from another hen’s chicken with one mama of hers. Now she has been accepted and is running around with the others, about the same age (2 weeks).
John’s been out doing various yard chores in the nice weather. He has moved chips, watered trees, picked pears, mowed near the road, and will pick blackberries later.
One birthday wish sent said that someone once told him, “Life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.” Although the rest of the message was very positive, I don’t believe that is a very positive statement for a birthday wish, at our age. Ha ha.

Tuesday, Sept 2

Finishing up the master-sheets for music this morning, and checking email. I also received a gift certificate for $20 from the local book store, Jerroll’s — a nice surprise. John caught me with Rascal in my lap while I worked.
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Need to write a sympathy note with Rainbow Bridge photo I took from our front yard, along with my memories, thoughts, and meaningful poetry to share with Maribeth and Bill and the rest of the Brannen family.
We will be going to town to copy our group’s music for the next 3 months’ playlist of 24 songs, arriving by 3:00, with John to help with the stapling. While in town, we also delivered tomatoes and zucchini to folks at the Briarwood retirement home and to a friend at CWU, who returned the favor with a bag of peaches.

Wednesday Sept 3

Before I left for my normal activities at the Food Bank and SAIL class, I was on the phone, and John came in to tell me the wild turkeys were back. By the time I got off the phone, grabbed my camera, and went out, they were in trees near the creek, unseen, but quite vocal. The dogs had scattered them and they were regrouping or at least checking in with each other. While out there, I took some pictures of our fruit trees, one pruned: red apples, (missed recording the pears already picked), yellow apples, smaller darker plums you saw in last week’s blog, peaches, and blackberries.
On the way to the uphill part of the orchard, I saw a lovely bunch of asters along the irrigation ditch:
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We talk in this blog about John’s pruning fruit trees and moving the brush resulting after the deer have cleaned off all the leaves. Here is a partially pruned apple tree (beneath the red arrow).
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On a nearby apple tree are these pretty apples, yellow with a distinctive red tinge, and red ones (probably old fashioned delicious).
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Next door to a yellow apple tree (not shown) is a different kind of plum as you saw in last week’s blog — more tear-dropped and purple throughout. They are behind our other tree, so we are still enjoying them.
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On back around the house to the thornless blackberry bushes.
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John picked a dozen or so yellow squash, which I delivered to town to Gloria, Carole, CJ, Minerva, and Joanie. Later in the evening, I took some blackberries, squash, and tomatoes to neighbors. On my way home from town, I stopped by a nursing home (Royal Vista) where we will be playing tomorrow, to drop off some music, and also to visit two friends there. Our neighbor dislocated her shoulder when she fell on her right hip, but luckily no broken bones, just bad bruising. The shoulder was reseated properly at the hospital.
We fixed a good dinner tonight: baked chicken, Early Girl tomatoes, with deep-fried onions (half of a large white Ailsa Craig) in a beer-infused batter. Some folks claim the batter works better with egg white and/or corn/potato starch, and some say to “dredge” the raw onion ring in flour. We have lots of onions. Time to experiment. The beer (maybe too ordinary) did not seem to add anything so it might be best to just drink it – or buy a more flavorful type.

Thursday, Sept 4

A cool day today, full of photography, gardening, and music, and then home to rest.
For brunch, John fixed pancakes and we had our own strawberries (thawed) on it, with bacon. He had 2 eggs, but I passed on the eggs.
I wrote a 3-page letter of sympathy to my cousin and his wife, about their only son. I filled it with personal memories and stories meaningful to me and them.
Afternoon was our play date at Royal Vista. Wow, we had 10 musicians there today – more than in recent years! Received my free birthday dinner from the Palace Cafe in EBRG and a gift subscription to THE WEEK magazine from friends here in EBRG.
Below are a couple of photos from the newest garden, taken this morning before I left for town, carrying packages of Pear and Cherry tomatoes for the music group members in a cooler to deliver at the end of our playing.

The first is a long shot of the new garden’s south side, with corn and squash. The Acorn and Butternut squash are vining types and they have grown across everything – into and up the corn stalks and into the yellow summer squash. The big Ponderosa Pine in the distance is on the edge of our 3 acre “swamp” – mostly to the right (west) of the pine. A branch of Naneum Creek is in there, as are a couple of very old stream channels. There are wet spots and a couple of springs and the growth of the vegetation in this riparian zone is relentless. We like to keep a couple of winding paths open through there and to take out some of the dead wood for a neighbor that uses it for heating.
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On to the tomatoes, only the cherry ones and an Early Girl.
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Friday, Sept 5

Today, I received a birthday dinner card ($10 off) from the Cottage Cafe in Cle Elum. My favorite any time of day is Cottage Corrned Beef Hash, and John’s is Black and Blue Steak salad; look it up on their menu. They have been doing this for 9 years and now have a mailing list of 6,000 folks. Mentioned above is the salad with black beans and steak that is worth the 25-mile trip. Or, we can combine eating a meal when we go for our annual physical, this year Sept 16. The coupon can be used any time in the year, not just in the month of your birthday. Besides our b.d., they also award us one certificate for our anniversary.

John and I left at 9:00 a.m. to Yakima for an oil change at 10:15. I had to take my Subaru down for its oil change/lube/filter that was supposed to be every 7000 miles, but my car started telling me it was required now, with notices on the panel in the middle of the car, saying, Time for New Oil Filter; Check your Engine Oil. Somehow it was reprogrammed in our last time there, but we were never notified that our owner’s manual was revised to require a change every 6000 miles, and the little sticker also was reporting it was not required until 1000 more miles. Summer time usually includes a wash, but they are expanding and the excavation work required the water lines to be relocated. So the nice metallic blue paint is still dusty.
After that service, we drove by the Recycling center to check prices paid for aluminum cans, paper, and plastic. They no longer take glass, but the fellow told me that in Ellensburg someone still does. We have just been recycling it and other stuff (donated only), at the transfer station. If we can get a monetary reimbursement, I need to check. I had heard they no longer had a buyer for glass. Ten years ago, they were crushing it and selling to the highway department to use on road beds. I never quite understood that. [John thinks they use it to cover the surface at the disposal site; helps reduce dust.]
We need to take the truck to Yakima to retrieve a chipper loaned to friends who no longer have a need for it. John has created many piles of brush needing chipped that has built up over the years, and he is currently adding a lot from pruning cherry & apple trees. We have plenty stacks of branches for the quail to use for cover, so we need to get rid of the other stuff. If this little one won’t do the job we may hire a local person with a large one.
John and I went to Costco today to get one of their pork loin roasts, because we had none in the freezer to fix for the 20 people coming to a music potluck at our friends house, Sunday night. I carried along my laptop and while waiting for my car, I put in 1/2 hour getting ready to figure out the problem with the first song in the songbook, “A Little Street Where Old Friends Meet” that we found yesterday had a serious problem. I realized the discordance (pun intended), but am still unsure how it happened. I had moved parts of the song from several places (versions) into my computer music-writing software, and added chords for the changed keys we need it in (no way our group could play in E Flat (3 flats)), and somewhere along the way I screwed up, having notes from one key, on a staff with another key’s designation, which didn’t go along with the chords in that key. What a mess. I restarted in order to correct it and finished late afternoon with an additional 2 hrs+ work. I transposed from E flat to C for us, and to D for our clarinet player. It was never meant to be so involved, believe me. This song was originally written and recorded in 1932 in the UK, but later made popular in the USA by Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole and others. It’s a very pretty song. If you don’t remember it, check this You Tube of Nat King Cole (you hear his voice but only see his picture, sitting at a piano).

Saturday, Sept 6

Has been spent mostly involved with finishing my draft of the blog for John’s revision later today. I thank him for that and for his catching up on yard chores, mostly this morning I think was watering blueberries and new plum trees, moving more trimmed limbs into stacks, and cutting some others. He arrived to fix a wonderful huge brunch, of Blueberry pancakes, topped with cut-up nectarines from a friend, with hash browns & our own onions, bacon, and an egg from our neighbor. That should keep us going until 8:00 p.m. tonight. For your viewing pleasure: here’s my plate:
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John and Annie just left for another hour’s yard work; cleaning out an overgrown lane along the south fence line. Good that he is in the shade – the temperature went up in the last hour from 80 to 85, and on to a high of 88; yet the predicated high today was 79.

Hope your week was fine.

Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan

County Fair with school to follow . . .

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. . . neither of concern to us.

Sunday, Aug 24

You know by now the blog did not get out Saturday night when it was written and ready, because when John went to put it into Word Press, the access site was down. I reached the owner of the business to tell him, (via email), but he said he had updated the server the day before (or maybe it was yesterday), and that he wouldn’t be able to check it until he was in the shop Monday morning.
Well, today started with thunder in the hills and has continued most of the day. We have been trying to do all sorts of things. I’ve been working on stacks of to-do things and still am at it. John went out to move the boxes of stuff from the horse trailer so he could try to get our youngest horse into the trailer to take in to the vet soon. His eye-stye flared up again, so it cannot be done with a pasture visit. This may turn out to be a problem with the rodeo and county fair starting this week. Some of the vets have to be there to inspect incoming animals so vet availability for local visits is more or an issue than at other times of the year.
I managed to figure today how to put The Old Rugged Cross into my software. It will be a challenge to get it into a key our clarinet can play. I managed to have the original score in the key of Bb, but that would be difficult for the strings to play, so I needed to transpose it to a minor D key (with one flat = ﻁ) and then work with that, changing the chords to the key of F for the guitar players. Then I had to create a version for those guitar players who cannot play chords in the key of F, to D, so they can use their CAPO on the 3rd fret. I know this it more explanation than necessary, but it lets readers know the effort that goes into putting certain songs into my software. The reason you have already heard is to be able to transpose to a key matching our Bﻁ clarinet player’s music to our key (different by hers being 2 #s higher, or one flat fewer). Back to Old Rugged. After I got it into F, I could not transpose from there to a key the clarinet player could play. I had to raise her notes a full step and change the key signature to one sharp (F) to merge it properly. I wasn’t able to figure out how to do that using the computer system until a day passed, and then had to use white-out and hand-enter the # on all the staffs.

Monday, Aug 25

I stayed home again today to make headway on the stack of boxes. I filled at least two boxes — one with magazines not worth sharing at the Senior Center (AAC), and another with office paper. Those will be taken to the recycle center (donated) where we don’t have to pay a fee as we do for normal trash; worth it because of the weight of the papers & magazines. In between time I took care of more receipt keeping and bill paying. I just got a message from our friend Suzy West, mentioning her impending retirement and she used the term in the phrase, “Supposed to be updating the financials. Better go.” I smiled and recognized my need to change my description of my such work here. In addition, I entered all John’s volunteer hours (trail work) for the month, and all my volunteered music time to the community, as well. Those have to be submitted at the first of the month. These reported hours help the local volunteer organization in their fund-raising efforts but don’t do much for us, except for receiving a nice free meal once a year at the fairgrounds, provided for all county volunteers.
Good BLTs for lunch with our own tomato. John picked many plums today, small tomatoes, and squash (all yellow). We delivered to 3 neighbors all of the above, plus two got some of the white onions mentioned in last week’s blog. Tonight John fixed the first harvested Acorn squash. It was not as ripe as it should be so we have to learn how to tell when they are. [When the spot on the ground becomes orange; meaning they have to be turned over to tell.] He fixed it anyhow and it was fine, just light yellow instead of orange. It went fine with the leftover roast, an English muffin, and we will have “doctored” plums with ice cream for dessert.
Managed to figure out the music problem from yesterday, mentioned above. I can print the score, but it will have the one flat of our key on the beginning of every staff of measures. I did fix with white out and added one # (F) by hand. Then I copied from that master. It surely beats transcribing all notes by hand. I would never have time, patience, or energy to do that manually. It’s difficult enough on the computer.

Tuesday, Aug 26

Began with an early morning wake-up call, not the best way to start the day. We just got through eating a late brunch, and plums were included with the meal. They are so very tasty. We have both been busy on chores. John did not have to travel to Snoqualmie Pass to move rocks today – we have our own. He manually moved 50 to 100 # today from a spot he has been tossing them 1 or 2 at a time over the past 3 years to an out-of-the-way bigger pile. He did this while the dogs were checking out the morning’s new smells. More usefully, he picked 2 pounds of beautiful blackberries from the thornless bushes. As most of the other fruit trees and bushes, this year, they are loaded. Alternating between cleaning dishes, working on music, mail, email, “updating financials,” killing flies (bugging the heck out of both of us; now fruit flies in addition), vacuuming dust of years off some items before sorting, sorting, recycling, waiting on hold forever trying to get cancelled on a postal mailing list coming from Utah. That last never happened. I seem to spend half my life unsubscribing from unsolicited email or postal mail promotions, or getting rid of other such printed copies, such as academic publications no longer needed. Companies seem to sell mailing lists and we get solicitations from places of zero interest or need to us. Some are age related – hearing tests, prepaid burial – and some auto promotions – “We want your 2009 Subaru ‘cause we need used cars.” – yeah, right!

Wednesday, Aug 27

Stayed home because my banjo buddy who plays at the food bank soup kitchen with me was out of town. I spent the day cleaning and working on music for the next two months, for our Thursday group’s playing. John watered and worked on various yard projects, picked some blueberries, and I took many of the picked things and put them in a chef salad tonight, including things not customarily found therein, such as blueberries and blackberries. Also we had a few teardrop shaped plums colored red/purple on the inside with a cling-type seed, unlike the clingless round ones. Sliced and into the salad they went. Both our plum trees produce very sweet and tasty plums. The first picture below shows two of the last of the dahlias John planted in the newer garden, to differentiate it from the older Tiger Lily garden. Here they are displayed on the only zucchini in our garden. We normally do not consider growing zucchini at all, but this plant came from a bought package of seeds marked straight–necked yellow summer squash. We have harvested a lot of squash this year as well, and have given away a bunch all over town, but the plants are showing stress and likely will be ending their production very soon. Many of the over-grown squash have ended up in our neighbor’s hog farm, or in another neighbor’s zucchini pickle relish.
01_Plums 2 colors plus more

02_plums only

The round plums are all off the same productive tree with a few left in the refrigerator. There are about 4 pounds of the red ones on a different tree, just now ripening.

Thursday, Aug 28

This morning we tried to get ready for carrying produce to town. We took two separate autos because I had to stop at the hospital for a blood draw, go on to music, and John had to go to the grocery and to Les Schwab to check out buying new tires for his 2009 Subaru. Last time in, the service dept claimed we needed new tires. They gave us a “quote” and said they didn’t make any money on the Cooper Tires. John went to Les Schwab today (a western chain we have bought from since arriving in Idaho in 1974), to check out a sale in progress. The current tires had been purchased there as a 70,000 mile tire and with just 43,000 mi. on them. John wanted their take on the issue, which was: You don’t need new tires. These have at least 10,000 miles left on them. Because of the all-wheel-drive, some miles on Forest Service roads, and high speeds on rough I-82 & I-90**, the tires are worn more than anticipated. Even so, if they don’t make it to 70,000, Les Schwab will give us an adjustment when we buy new ones. How’s that for a great reason to stick with them? They could easily have sold us 4 tires today. John bought a frozen turtle pie to celebrate. And, in addition, a new hickory ax handle.
Turtle-PIe
04_ax handle

[**Concrete sections were put over unstable ground so after a decade or two of moving around, the WA-DOT had many hundreds of rectangular holes cut in the road way, inserted steel connectors, and refilled the holes. These are rough little parts and go for miles. They were very selectively placed in the road so that normal positioning of a car in its lane directs the tires to hit thousands of these – like a small pothole every second. Great planning. Our government at its finest!]

John picked fruit and veggies this morning, and I packaged them up for people in our “band.” I sorted some yellow pear tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, squash, blackberries, and plums (two types) to fill special requests. While we had both plums still (because the larger are no more), we took a photo (displayed above in Wednesday’s discussion).
We played music at Hearthstone Cottages today at 2:00 to 3:00 and they always provide cookies and tea/coffee/water for us at the end. I took along one a new song in two keys to see which works better for us. It went all right after all. They had chocolate-chip cookies at the end, and I brought two home (one for each of us). Several musicians were not there because of being out of town, but three of them because of participating in events at the Fair and Rodeo that goes through Labor Day. We try to stay away from town this weekend. On the way home I went by our Grocery Outlet store to buy lettuce and canned cat food for a much cheaper price. I had a special coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase for this weekend only, so I used it and saved! It was stuff I have to buy anyway. No frills or useless spending, and their prices are significantly competitive.

Friday, Aug 29

At 4:30 am we were awakened by a dog barking – not ours – across the creek on the west side of our property. For an hour. Crazy. John had to leave at 7:00 a.m. for Snow Lake Trail, so about 5:30 we both got up for the day.
I’m glad the fires are out. The winds have been very high for hours. Last hour were up to 30 mph with 39 mph gusts, and before the day was over, they were 40 mph.
Got a note from a friend she couldn’t access our blog, getting an Internal Server error. I checked and got the same thing. Thank goodness I knew in time to call the office and they said they would leave a message on the boss’s cell phone. Jason, the owner, fixed it and called me back. He was still sending upgrades to various parts of his system, and neglected to put in some security code on our account to let others onto my site to read our blog. I’m glad my friend looked while he was still available. However, now I have his cell phone # if this happens again, outside working hours.
I worked more on music today, putting in “Don’t Fence Me In” (which turned out to be more time-consuming than intended), and I worked to finalize “Waltz Across Texas,” which also had some unexpected difficult spots. I have only to enter the chords now on both.
I never took a nap, because neither did John. We had a nice dinner. Leftover fries from yesterday’s lunch wtih new white onions John grew and fried with mushrooms he bought yesterday. Then he made small ground beef patties. It was a nice meal. The only thing we might have added would have been tomatoes. I didn’t think about it at the time, and the plate was full. John had taken some for his lunch, anyway, and I had had many myself too. I put catsup or ketchup (Who knew?) on my hamburger. It was all very tasty.
Trying to go to bed early, considering how early we were up this morning, and a long day of work, (John worked harder than I did). He was on the Snow Lake Trail, moving roots and rocks out of the path. They had a small group but 2 new personalized green hats (for 5 days of volunteering) were awarded. Those two were the least experienced of the crew, and with a knowledgeable bunch they got a lot of work done.

Saturday, Aug 30
05_3centstamp
When we were born 1st class letters cost 3¢.
When we were married (1969) the cost was 6¢.
This morning the cost is 49¢.

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

Rain, again! Oops!

Sunday, Aug 17

Managed to get the blog posted last night for a change. I started by being up early during the night and losing at least an hour’s sleep, so I slept in this morning while John picked squash, tomatoes, and plums. John heard some activity next door at our neighbor’s and we are sort of in charge of looking out for her place when she’s gone. He went over and found a couple of people there to remove a tree from off the garage, and another from a shed (once a chicken coop). When John yelled a greeting, the fellow with the chainsaw came over to introduce himself and said he recognized the voice. John had him in a physical geography class many years ago, and recognized his name. He had his 19-yr old daughter along helping load branches and wood into the trailer, and the last time we saw her it was when she was little. This is the same fellow I wrote up in my blog during my week away in Moses Lake (June 14 week), having met him in Starbucks! (He lives in Ellensburg, but travels all over the state for the WSDOT working on vegetation in the medians and on the sides of highways.)

We left before noon, dropping by for me to visit the tree trimmers next door, give them some produce, and then carry some produce to other people around our long rural block and on over 5 miles, to return a CD of photos of the fire our friends had shared (you have seen a couple week’s ago his photo of the retardant plane and drop). We also returned a map from another neighbor and delivered more stuff. I’ve been working most of the afternoon proofing a letter of intent for my former student’s application to a Ph.D. program in Canada, and now I have to finish writing my own letter of recommendation (LOR) for him. He was my student in a couple of classes in 2007-08, but we have kept in touch all these years. It got hot here this afternoon, so we upped (lowered?) the a/c and closed the windows. There was a slight breeze when we were out, so standing in the shade was not a problem. When it gets down to the 80s we will go to the garden to check on things. I gave away all my yellow pear tomatoes and want some with dinner. I went with John to the newer garden when it cooled down and took some photos and managed to get one of a fawn staring at the dogs and me from the area near our creek. Sadly, I missed the one with the mom also in the view finder. The picture below is focused on the weed just in front of me, but you can see the deer’s interest in us; mostly the dogs, though. You can also see the white spots. Shortly after I took that, the dogs moved in front of the mom and her fawn, and they bounced away to the “swamp” area on the west of our property.
1SpottedFawn

Monday, Aug 18

Well, it has become a hot day out. I have spent a lot of time on the phone about medical appointments, a ton of time on email about letters of reference, and a multitude of other requests and tasks, not to mention chores around the den sifting through monthly receipts. I have yet to tackle other necessities for this month. John has picked up a bunch of plums this morning, blown out of our tree last night. Now he’s down working on firewood and brush underneath our huge Ponderosa pine at the lower end of our pasture. At 1:15, our a/c just kicked in. We had an afternoon visit in the heat, with our neighbor Allen Aronica from up the road. We shared fire stories and gave him some plums and onions. We delivered some produce to neighbors, and John grilled chicken for supper. We surely had many quail running around near the house at dusk. The sentry was on a fence post about 20 feet from the house.

Tuesday, Aug 19

I started with medical issues again, but this time with that of my neighbor’s. I listened to the dilemma and decided to offer my next week’s overnight sleep test appointment to him, because he is in much worse need than I, and the closest appointment for him is in November. They will be in Arizona by then, and I can easily reschedule for a later date.
John picked up about 23 plums and brought them in for me to clean up. We will make a plum delivery run in a bit, around our rural block, with squash and onions too, and a printout of helpful medical information for our neighbor who goes for a sleep evaluation tomorrow. This neighbor is downhill of us and shares our ditch irrigation water. Sometime ago, he had a 10-bypass operation on his heart. He was recommended by his cardiologist to have the sleep test evaluation to assess his situation because of the symptoms he was having. He does not have a computer, and John and I have been researching these issues since my test a couple months ago. I printed copies of some useful information, along with two signed copies of a professional letter to the Yakima Memorial Sleep Center doctor and staff, indicating my willingness and request to transfer my appointment to him.
I managed to post 7 job announcements on our NW Geographers list that had accumulated over the past two days. In addition, I made progress on my LOR for my former grad student to enter a Ph.D. program in Canada, but I need to transfer it and other information into an on-line form. Things nowadays are surely different from what they used to be for writing support letters or filling in forms for an evaluation of a potential candidate for a job or for academic entrance. Previously, it all went through postal mail, on letterhead, with hand-done signatures.
The winds have been blowing hard all morning and afternoon, and consequently, we received an outfall of plums. John picked up a bunch twice today, and just went out for the mail, paper, and brought in more than 2 dozen. I put 8/bag in the fridge for sharing with others, and left some for us.
Been terribly busy all day… don’t know where the time went. We went on an 18-mile round trip around the neighborhood in our rural area, giving away plums, onions, squash, and little tomatoes. We were gone the better part of an hour, and visited 7 houses. John just went out and brought in a small box of tomatoes, medium size reds (Early Girl), small yellow pear ones, and a few cherry tomatoes. We made a nice chicken chef salad tonight, using many of the tomatoes. We also munched all day on plums. I think I have almost completed all the work on my LOR form for my former student.
We figure we have given 100 pounds of sweet plums off our one tree for people to eat, freeze, dry, or make jam.
2PlumsOnTree

We’ll get some jam (and farm eggs) in return. We have been eating our fair share and freezing some. I won’t take the time to dry any as our freezer still has frozen dried fruits from the last 2 years. Below are a few photos of our produce production this week. I missed getting any photos of the large containers of harvested plums we shared around Ellensburg and our rural block. Not all the plums have fallen from the tree. John is also picking, so we have some that are intact – when they fall they often have wounds from hitting tree limbs or they split when they encounter the ground. Many of those have gone to the jam makers.
3DahliasStill
Dahlias still overlooking the newest garden.

4_Acorn
Acorn squash, nearly ready.
5_Butternut
Butternut squash, not so ready yet.

6_CherryPearTomatoes
Yellow pear and cherry tomatoes.
2 cats, sister and brother, often visit John in the garden:
7_Woody
Woody (female) (above) is inquisitive but more standoffish than her brother.

8_Johnny
Johnny (male) vocalizes more and will allow contact at feeding time in the hay loft but not in the yard or garden. He likes to supervise garden activities. I should mention we haven’t seen a mouse since we acquired the feral cats. We daily feed up to 5 ferals, and they have dry food available in their cat house all the time. Normally, it is only 4 who are in for feeding in the evening. They know the ropes. When John goes to feed the horses, they watch, and follow him back to the house (or have already positioned themselves in the hay mow, awaiting his arrival). We also still have our inside-outside cat, Rascal, who gets fed dry food, and canned twice a day. If you haven’t seen his picture in a year, or more), he is a spittin’ image of Woody, but his hair is short.

Wednesday, Aug 20

Off for Food Bank & SAIL, dropping plums by to Gloria & Paul’s on the way. Oh, I picked up a container (blue plastic folding box) from the free table at the SR Center and loaded a huge (probably 7-lb zucchini to bring my neighbor for making relish). We’ll get a jar of that too. Back for a haircut with Celia and to deliver a box of plums for jam. Added a few yellow pear tomatoes, which are yummy and will soon be coming on rapidly. A busy rest of the day. Winds blew & blew. John picked and watered.
I had a phone call from the scheduler at the Sleep Center reassigning my test and thanking me for donating my overnight test appointment time (8/28) to my neighbor. Then he called to thank me. All the people involved were impressed with my permission letter suggestion to provide him the opportunity. That made me happy to hear. Especially with the carefully guarded medical record information, I doubted they would take me seriously, but I’m happy they did. They also think he goes to bed early enough that they will get a complete evaluation in during the night, unlike they did with my first test. I found out some answers to questions I had about my first test from the scheduler, who was actually only filling in and normally is a sleep technician. So, that was very good. I was still upset from never having had any of it explained — other than, “just come back for a second test with a CPAP mask on from the start.” Initially we did not know enough to ask good questions. When I began asking her questions about my study, she responded with coherent answers. John and I have done a lot of examination of the issues on line and I knew more about it all this time. I do expect they will determine from the test that I am in some (?) danger of a low blood oxygen saturation level while sleeping, and that I will need to wear one of the masks at home. Talking to others, though, I seem to be in better shape than many.

Thursday, Aug 21

Morning brunch: French toast, bacon, and plums, fixed by John by sprinkling with sugar, cinnamon, and ground cloves. We are using a lot of the plums to cut into bite-size pieces, fixed as above, and we have started freezing some for future use. The 7 yellow squash plants are responding to less intense sun and slightly cooler temperatures, thereby gifting us with about 30 pounds of fruit twice a week. So, nice trip to town to drop off squash and plums with the music group members and to play music at Dry Creek Assisted Living home, where people have their own apts. We had a nice turnout: clarinet, viola, fiddle, and 7 guitars! Great audience with good participation and appreciation. We give them the lyrics and they happily become involved in the sing-along. John picked plums and squash today to take along with him to the WTA work crew tomorrow. He’ll leave here early to get to breakfast – what had been a Thursday tradition has become a Friday one. Mostly the breakfast bunch has assistant crew leaders (ACL) + the CL and gives all a chance to visit. When on a trail working they often are 50 to 250 yards apart and work with new or recently new volunteers – not with each other. I’m staying home to work on needed chores. He managed to get a beautiful bunch of hand-picked, non-split plums to share at lunch with the 23 people working for the day.
I received a phone call from an excited neighbor about the billowing cumulus clouds over the hills we have only last week been watching burn, sending plumes of smoke upward, creating clouds. We agreed it was not fire-related, but I looked for the radar imagery and determined it was NE of Wenatchee and about 50 miles away within a yellow-hatched marked thunderstorm warning hazard zone. John came in and found web reports that a thunderstorm was on the Waterville Plateau – as the radar showed. Here is the scene from the end of our driveway:
9_WatervillePlateauStormCloudsFromDriveway
Note the anvil-head pointing east, the way the wind is blowing.

Friday, Aug 22

What an absolutely crazy day — it’s more than half over, with only 4 hours left until John returns from the hills, and I have spent all my time on the phone handling bill pays, or on line transferring money to pay them so that I don’t have to use a stamp.
Much time was taken trying to alter bill payments automatically through Discover, because my latest card (SAME number) has a new expiration date and a new security code. One would think a phone call would be sufficient, and it was in some cases but not in others. I’m stressed from the effort. Our local PUD (utilities) accepted my request. Our “local, NOT” telephone company will not accept, requiring me to come into town in person with my new card to change it. I’m very unhappy with that after being a long-term customer since 1989. Next I need to call my cell phone folks in Oregon and hope they will just change it via phone or on line. I refuse to drive to Oregon !! Happily, they took the telephone request.
While on hold, I received a phone message from my neighbor that his sleep test had been moved up 2 days, so my old one would be available, but I already planned for the upcoming 20 Sept one, and John has arranged to be out of town on a WTA event the next day, leaving before I would get home from the test. I thought I should call the scheduling center, but didn’t get to them until just after NOON, and they close at Noon on Fridays. Sheez.
The hassle continues with credit card requests. I have a request in to Chase Bank about a payment on a loan, which they said they are not allowed to do by Federal Law. The bank manager called me and explained they were not allowed to, but only could remove from our bank account, as a bill pay. Now I’m trying to get my Safeco Insurance for the vehicles changed. I would get $22 cash reward back / year. Every little bit helps. In the process, I talked to our agent (still in Idaho), who realized our payments were coming out twice a month for two different polices, and we have been being charged a $2.00 fee for each policy autopay, monthly. I asked if we could combine them, and we can, while also changing credit cards. The money I save will cover the premium for paying monthly rather than once or twice a year.

John called about 3:30 to say he would soon be leaving the parking lot (the WTA work crew location) and would be arriving home by 5:00 p.m. He had 3 ears of fresh corn to compensate for the plums and squash he took to give to the folks there. In addition, another person brought brownies for the crew. Just after he hung up, we started getting rain, which fast became torrential, and followed by thunder (and I assume lightning). John saw it beyond Thorp on his trip home, and the clouds dumping water.
He had moved buckets from under the roof line, and only part of the water was going into our 55 gallon barrel. I moved one 5 gallon bucket over, moved the barrel beneath the largest river of water falling from the roof, and was getting soaked in the process. I moved two other buckets and reached for one to put under another side of the barrel, but somehow my foot slipped, and I ended up on the ground, falling into the dirt and rocks off the edge of the wooden deck. I wasn’t hurt, but was laying on my side, and finally able to sit up (with rain still pouring down on me). I could reach a post, but couldn’t get the leverage to pull myself up. I sat there for a minute, moved myself up onto the concrete slab porch, tried putting my feet back under me, but they were only 6 inches below my butt, and I couldn’t get up. Our exercise class has been standing up from a sitting position in a chair, not from a lower place on the floor. I turned and saw behind me a box the size of a case of wine full of recycle paper. I pulled myself around and got on my knees and was able to use the box to push up on and raise myself. By this time I was totally soaked and had dirt, mud, and water over my pants and shirt, and my hair was completely soaked. I got back into the house and changed clothes to assess the damage. I will probably have some bruises on my left arm, both knees, and a bruise on my right thumb/palm, from hitting something on the way down. This evening before bed, I found a few small bruises, no broken skin, and a lump on the inside of my lower left ankle (it was gone by morning). I’m very grateful I did not break something, and that I was able to get up. Otherwise, I would have had an hour’s wait for John to arrive home to find me and help me up. The rain soon stopped and the sun came and John arrived about 30 minutes later. All’s well that ends well.
The Chase Bank crap goes on. I called my bank to see how to change the bill pay on our new Chase credit card account, so it would automatically pay the balance each month from our checking account through an automatic withdrawal. It took me an hour (literally), talking to two different people in the Philippines, to get the deed taken care of, but it still won’t be until 3 working days have passed and I reenter the system to verify some authorized (smaller than a dollar) charges, which verifies I’m the owner of the account. While on the phone I canceled our other Chase credit card (they have 15 types; this was called Slate – as in cheap stone, I think) because it had no rewards for usage connected to it. I also had to create an account on line to make all these changes. If a person doesn’t have a computer and a fast internet connection all these things would not be easy or even possible. The only reason we have a VISA account is that the charge to some businesses for using Discover is 7%. Our dentist gives us a 5% discount on our bill, if written by check at the time of service, so as not to use a credit card. They only take VISA or MASTERCARD, so that must be their charge.

Saturday, Aug 23

Morning was nice and after some outside things John put a chunk of boneless beef in the oven for a long slow roast. We will share another ear of corn tonight, with one left. Our own is filling out, so maybe soon we’ll have our own. We used a garden ripe tomato for our BLTs for lunch. The temperature has already exceeded the predicted high for the day; now at 83. John and the dogs walked up for the mail for about 7 pieces, all useless. Oh well, the dogs like to go. On the way up and back John brought in more plums, and a pretty tart yellow apple to go with dinner. The roast was super tender and juicy – having been cooked with our Ailsa Craig (from the Gaelic ailsse creag, which means fairy rock) onions, for almost 8 hours, covered, in a very slow oven (235 degrees).
When we went to post the photos and text of this to the Word Press site in order to publish in a timely fashion, the web site was down.

As you now know, it is finally back up, but not until late Monday morning. What happened was a server upgrade by our provider, but something went wrong, and this site was not operational. He couldn’t fix it until Monday morning, even though he was aware of it over the weekend. Perhaps we should post on a day when they are still open for business.
smiky face
Hope your week was fine.

Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan

reconnected

Our web site service made a change on Friday and knocked us off for the weekend.
fallingsign
Monday, at about 10 AM PST we have arisen from the dead.

arising from the ashes of its predecessor
arising from the ashes of its predecessor

Phoenix

With a few other things to do — we expect to get a blog posted later today, Monday. Because the time is past Noon in the East anyone back there can expect to find something about supper time.

Cheers,
John

Dog Days of Summer

Fire watch all day again. This time I’m just looking at the imagery every 6 hours from the satellite view of hot spots, for two fires in our valley. One is 25 miles away, but the others are “down” to 7 miles away. Thankfully. Today was mostly watching the planes and tankers go over our pasture and house, and visiting with friends, by phone and in person. John picked a bunch of yellow straight-necked squash, and a few of our new variety of ever bearing (day neutral) strawberries. They are so much better than the first type – now about 3 years old and never having produced berries we liked. We will have them on ice cream tonight. We were late getting out the blog, and still might not make it before the end of Sunday. Too much going on. It was not posted until Monday a.m.

Monday, Aug 11

I stayed home today to tackle the stacks of stuff we moved out of the den to the front porch so John could move out the old kitchen fridge and move in the new. The old is still working so it is currently sitting in the den/dining room, off the kitchen, so we can unload and clean it, and move it to the garage eventually. It has been so slow going through years of stuff. I am making progress but not fast enough for the approaching rain predicted. The boxes (some open) are out in the open. More excitement tonight with large smoke plumes from the northern fires in Wilson and Naneum canyons 6 miles away from us. It is going to alter a lot of beautiful countryside, wildlife, and recreation areas, trails for horses, hiking, and hunting. Still there is much of unburned parts inside the “fire perimeter.”
Below are some images and videos from tonight:

First, below is a view from my friend, Celia Winningham, on Thomas Rd with a better view of Wilson Creek Canyon than we have. The plume on the left is in Wilson Creek Canyon; the one on the right is in Naneum Canyon.
DoublePlumeWilsonNaneum_A

Then about 20 minutes later — here’s mine from the end of our driveway, followed by some links to a couple of videos I took tonight – mostly of the firefighting support teams streaming up and down our road all day. Celia is about ¾ of a mile west of us and seems to have used a lens with a bit more zoom. She doesn’t have a view into the canyon but the opening shows more from her location than from ours.
DoublePlumeWilsonNaneum_B

Personnel Moving from Naneum Canyon 8-11-14 for the night

Water Truck Around Our Curve & Headed North 8 11 14

Tuesday, Aug 12

Usually, our Emeritus Geography faculty meeting meets the second Tuesday of the month, but it was cancelled because of conflicts of a couple of members. I went to the dentist for a repair on the edge of a gold crown. It was not as bad as expected. I delivered many yellow squash to the staff, and stopped by a friend’s on the way home, to leave more. Those folks were having a potluck luncheon in their home with people from a senior group at their church, and they invited me to stay. I met everyone, and encouraged everyone there to take some squash home. They were thrilled. The hostess asked me to stay and eat and handed me two plates, one to take a plate home for John. I just filled two plates and packed them home for our lunch. There was enough food for supper too.
I was happy to send a clear-of-new-fires report early this morning. Our Snag Canyon fire is still getting under control (no new fires outside the perimeter), but the South Cle Elum Ridge fire, while okay over night, sparked 3 new hot spots this morning.
I am sad to report our Brittany, Shay, died today. She is the one that went missing awhile back – then was found in a hay field a mile south. She is better off – and we know where she is, so there is closure. I am very happy we located her when she was gone for a couple of days and nights, and she spent her last week with us. 14 years is a long time for a Brittany, and she leaves behind many fond memories and a lot of wonderful offspring with happy families. John buried her while I was in town.
Late afternoon we had our favorite plumber come and fix the hot water tank shut off valve, which was giving us only a very small flow of water (not enough to take a shower, wash dishes, or clothes). He replaced the entire unit because the old one had stripped its threads and could not be opened to what was needed – limited in-flow restricted the out-flow of hot water. The blue line is PEX, replacing copper, and the simpler red handle ball valve replaces a brass circular-handle gate valve
WaterTankShutOffValveFix
While here, we had him fix the broken in-flow line to the bathroom toilet that Shay tangled with. That was just one of the places (but the only one that caused a problem) she tried to go (hide?, or what?) as her cognition deteriorated. Fortunately, we have another toilet in the back bathroom. The plumber was so busy when we first called, that he couldn’t squeeze us in until now. He said business was back to what it was prior to the housing boom (and 2007 bust) and the recession that followed beginning in 2008. Some of the small businesses, such as electricians and plumbers, are gone so the remaining ones are busy in this more normal period.
It rained for 3 hours last night, and even though John had my boxes of stuff covered with tarps, they got a little wetter than he might have wished. Today, expecting more thunderstorms tonight, he backed the horse trailer up to the front fence and loaded them in there. Later, all the horses wandered over to the green grass under the fruit trees because he forgot to close the gate, but brilliantly, he rattled a can of grain and led them back to where they belong. John can clean up some of the stuff where they wanted to go and then close the front gate (at the end of the driveway by the road). Then they can go for a little grass.
I glanced out the back window this afternoon and a mama quail with only one chick was strutting by. We have been seeing larger bevies but not so close. They do like to stir through the wheat straw we put down on the backyard dog paths. Often they will show up just about dusk and usually there will be a sentry on the top of a fence post. [On Saturday night as we are finishing this blog, there are about 32 adults sifting through the weed seeds in the corral outside our back bedroom window (with a sentry on the corner post)].

Wednesday, Aug 13

I went to the Food Bank and on to SAIL exercise. Sadly, once there I heard about the death of 3 friends I have made over the past 4 years since going to the Senior Center. I carried a stack of magazines, and some moccasins, some other stuff we no longer need, and a bunch of yellow squash from our garden, to put on the free-take-please table. On the way home, I dropped off more squash at Briarwood Commons Retirement home, and visited with the folks in the main recreation room. I know many of them from our monthly visits to play music there on a Saturday. From there I was off to neighbors where I left the rest of the squash. We had more rain in the evening.

Thursday, Aug 14

Music at the Rehab Nursing home, and John went to town with me to get some gasoline in my car, to go by the grocery for some things, and to get a bag of Equine Senior for our oldest horse, Ebony. While we were playing music, the clouds rolled in and it rained very hard for 20 minutes. I didn’t know it until later, but John spent that time in the grocery store waiting for the rain to stop, and grabbed a piece of pizza at the deli while he waited. Once it subsided, he went out to my car, and found the seats were wet because he left the windows down a little so it wouldn’t heat up. We only had 5 people playing today, but we played for the entire hour and made many folks happy. We even sang happy birthday to one of the fellows. The one older lady who always gets up and waltzes with her walker did again today, 4 times. She sings the words as she sashays around, all the while smiling. The residents and the caregivers always applaud her.
I had to wait a few minutes for John to arrive. He had not had time for the other planned stops, so we did them together. First, we stopped at Grocery Outlet for canned cat food, ice cream, and lettuce. On to the gas station to fill up my car, which only had a little over a gallon left. Price is still too danged high here ($3.99/gallon). That’s hard to take when just last week in Yakima, we paid 20¢/gal less, and especially knowing the U.S. average is 50¢/gal less. Then on home through the hardest rainstorm we have been in since years ago in Iowa. It had rained hard at our house too, and was still raining when we arrived, but not as dramatically as when we were driving home. The wipers could not keep up, and the noise was so great, I had to hang up my cell phone, while talking to John’s sister, Peggy. We couldn’t hear anything, except the pounding of raindrops.

Friday, Aug 15

John took off early for 7 AM breakfast at Snoqualmie Pass Summit Pancake House with some of the WTA work crew – then back this way 4 miles to the Gold Creek Trail, a 136-mile roundtrip. About 7 years ago upper Gold Creek was swept by a ½ mile wide snow avalanche that came down from a near vertical area on the east side, and carried across the creek and up the west side that was heavily forested.
A1_Gold_Creek_2
Much mayhem to the trail has been corrected except for one makeshift stepping stones stream crossing. A proper flat top double-log bridge will be in place by Sunday afternoon. This is in a wilderness area so only hand tools are allowed. (Photo next week.) I slept in for much-needed rest, and worked a lot this morning on emails. Finally, I grabbed a frozen Carl’s JR biscuit with cheese, egg, and sausage and heated it to have with our FIRST garden tomato. Boy, it was very good.
Call from John at 4:00, still at Gold Creek. He will be home at 6:00 p.m. He made it all right but had to deal with the tremendous outflow of traffic from the Seattle area (normal for the weekend) – starting about 3:00 p.m. We had dinner and he fell into bed early. He figures he walked 5-6 miles today {All up hill!} (Nancy here; how can that be? – what goes up must come down, right?)
I alternated time today between handling bookkeeping chores, working on pictures and videos for this blog, filing receipts, and washing clothes. I had a lot of work on correspondence neglected over the past week, and still have a bunch to do. I also spent a lot of time working on a letter of reference for a former student for entrance to a Ph.D. program. Much more to do there too.
Throughout the day, I kept checking for the “newest” perimeter and updates of the fire, but none were forthcoming. I did grab an image of the perimeter (red lines below representing the extent through 8/13), and made a map of the happy scene of the last of the fires in the hills and canyons north of us (yellow dots are the most recent in the past week). John has added a yellow arrow that points to our location.
Fire_1
This image is significant to those who have been following my daily story every 6 hours since the start of the Snag Canyon fire on Aug 2. For sad memories, below is the fire in its initial stages, from a lightning strike NW of us. The following picture was taken by my friend Lynne Harrison, from Ellensburg. She took it from Thomas Road, just south 1/2 mile, and west a mile from our place. She gave me permission to post it.
Fire_2_LynnHarrison_FireOn_LillardHill
And, finally, I will insert a copy of a map produced by my friend and former student, Jennifer Hackett, of the progress of the Snag Canyon Fire, with the 2012 fires (Taylor Bridge and Table Mountain) indicated on the current fire map. She has been submitting her work to community members and offering to the local newspaper, Daily Record, at no charge. What a fantastic community service. Thanks, Jennifer!
Fire_3_ Fires Overlay

At the very bottom center, a yellow arrow points to our driveway.
The map above is my favorite of the many she has produced from the data I was using to make my report maps, and displays her abilities to make it more user friendly than the information we were getting on the incident web site. She created fire progress reports daily with evacuation area notices on her maps, many of which I sent to the group of folks on my email fire information interest list. Eventually, 3 of hers were published in our local paper. This year, we have had two major wildfires in our Kittitas Valley, and she was documenting and reporting on both of them. She has a web site with all her work, where from you are able to view and download all of her work (that was updated daily).
Jennifer has it all here.
I awoke earlier than I wished, and couldn’t get back to sleep for thinking and worrying about all the things I had to do today.
Some interesting fire information was posted at 7:38 a.m. today on the inciweb site in the incident overview, as follows:
The Snag Canyon fire has been mapped at 12,667 acres and is 76% contained. Parts of the fire area received over 1 inch of rain from the system that passed through the area earlier this week. However, a warming, drying trend will move in today increasing temperatures and lowering humidity’s and bringing gusty winds. This will increase the chance for spotting and rekindling and smoke may become visible again as the large fuels continue to burn and fine fuels dry out.

A sad note is the higher temperatures predicted to return on Monday (91°).

Jennifer sent me the following this morning, which I had to grab in a lower resolution, so it is not as clear as usual, being snagged from a .pdf (instead of a .jpg). You can reach it tomorrow on her website, but it is not there yet. I hope she will send me the .jpg when she gets home tonight, and we will store it in our blog, so enlarging it will be possible.
Fire_4_Update

The interesting message is our home location on this map. We are in the northernmost curve of Naneum Road between Thomas and Charlton Roads, noted on the map – yellow arrow in the middle green area. [The internal gray shaded areas seem to be tax parcels with homes; see the purple elsewhere.]
John went out early to pick blueberries and made blueberry pancakes for breakfast.
We had a nice midday call from John’s 96 yr. old cousin, Ethel, to catch us up on news – cousin Ken fell while repairing a building and got hurt. (He is about 2 years younger than John. Best wishes to him.) John is out working on various chores (picking plums), cutting trees, propping up limbs on a loaded pear tree) while I finish this blog start. I was able to get his attention so he could join our conversation. She and daughter Pat wanted to ask him what happened to global warming. This morning their temperature was 44 (other relatives in north-central PA claim it almost frosted). They are in Brookville, the “city” where John was born! That was the hospital for Clarion residents back in the 1940s – about the time the shift from home-to-hospital birthing was underway. The distance between the two towns is about 20 miles.

Dog Days of Summer
Sirius is a name we have used on some of our Brittanys since the late 1970s. Interestingly, the first use we made of it was for the grandmother of the Shay (Cedaridge Legacy of Shay), who just died. Her grandmother’s official AKC registered name was Dual Champion/Amateur Field Champion/Canadian Champion Sirius Sashay (and was the first “Shay” in our lines). A Dual Ch has won a title of Field Ch in addition to a Show Ch. The Amateur Ch can only be won with an Amateur handler (not by a professional dog trainer). They have to run only in Open Stakes, but Amateur handlers can run (handle) in both.

One last bit of Brittany good news. This afternoon about 3:00 p.m. we received a phone call from Sonja Willitts, saying her puppy Tug (great, great grandson of Sirius Sashay), had received a 3 point major at a show in Reno today, from the 12-18 month puppy class. That means he won over all the adult Open Dogs, Open Bitches, and Bred-By-Exhibitor dogs in the show. Wow. He is a liver & white Brittany named Tug. More on him with a photo in a future blog. If you have been a long time reader of our blog, you have seen him and his dad (a tri-color Brittany named Kip) in our front yard with Sonja and me earlier this year when they came in their camper and spent the night on their way from S. Lake Tahoe to a lake cabin north of Spokane for a family reunion.

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

Where there’s Smoke, . . .

Sunday, Aug 3

Fire watch all day today. Early morning we went around the rural block to check on the fire’s progress. Lots of smoke — and throughout the day, the fire fighting concentrated on Wilson Creek canyon with air support from copters with water buckets and tankers with retardant.
For an explanation of the retardant dropped from planes (as seen on John’s placeholder for this weekend), you can go here. For great photos, here are 2 by our friends, Cec & Dean Van Epps — they are horse folk/friends and live about 5 miles to the southwest.
Tanker910ByDeanVanEpps

and the plane doing a drop:
DC10_910_retardant drop

We took a trip around the yard to see a few things. John had picked onions several days ago and has placed them on the hay in the pole barn to dry.
Onions_cure_on_hay

Then later he decided to pick blueberries.
BlueberryBush

We’ll have to wash the smoke/ashes off.

Monday, Aug 4

Staying home today, but need to find out about my lung specialist’s evaluation. Medical records are very frustrating and part of a non-functional medical database system, in our estimation. I called early morning to check to see if the report from the lung specialist had made it to the cardiologist I’m supposed to see tomorrow morning. Nope. That has been fixed now, and they have my fasting blood draw records from last week too, which were sent.
Happy to say I managed to cut John’s hair today. A long awaited and much needed task.

Tuesday, Aug 5

We took John’s Subaru in for a 3,000 mile service and oil change at 11:15 – prior to medical stuff (both in Yakima). Be at the doctor (Pham) at 12:40 check-in for 1:00 appt. Went by Costco and got a tank of gas at 20¢ per gallon less than in EBRG; otherwise we did not buy much. On the way home we stopped for long distance fire photos of the north side of the valley from the viewpoint on I-82; a newly made friend we met at the end of our driveway shared a better one than mine so we are using Steve Maeder’s photo:
FireFromI82North of our House
When we got closer to home on Wilson Creek Road, I took a movie from several miles south from where we live. It is only 18 seconds but shows what the view was from the valley.

Smoke as seen from the trip home.

Steve was just to our NW traveling on Charlton Road (going east) when he took the photo below. A few minutes later he pulled into our driveway – south of the plume. Naneum Canyon shows only as the little notch on the left of the photo – smoke hides the rest of it.
Steve_s_view_along_Charlton
This is what I saw from the road at the driveway:
FireOnNaneumHill-Driveway
Steve got a photo of a Ponderosa Pine going up.
PondersoaPine_candles
Burning embers from such episodes can land hundreds of yards away and start a new fire. Repeat this several times and the fire moves across the land rapidly. John and I went back to the road after dark and it looked like this:
Night-time-BurningHills

Wednesday, Aug 6

John went to Issaquah, Squak Mountain Trail, where WTA hosted a crew of SCA young folks plus 2 older leaders from SCA, The Student Conservation Association.
He picked up donuts for the crew, and met a friend whom we’ve known since 1974, who lives nearby. They got about a 20-minute visit at the trailhead.
I went to the Food Bank and home to watch the fire’s progress and report on it, as follows: I just returned from town and the area is still very active all across the hills to the north — so is the radio-scanner with activity and the copters are good in number with buckets. Heard too they brought in a bunch of dozers at midnight to make a line on the south (from west to east) — winds unfortunately are still high, and in the valley are usually from the NW except for a couple hours as WNW. The plume there yesterday is building again. Just heard a big DC-10 Tanker (with retardant) fly right over us so that’s good they are back. We continue our thanks to all the firefighters and official personnel on this fire. Supposedly, the count is well over 500 folks.
They are currently making an aggressive plan for protecting structures in Cooke Canyon (heard at 2:40); however, the fire never went farther than the upper reaches of Schnebly Canyon. Coleman Canyon is the next one east, and then Cooke Canyon, which in the lower areas is full of homes, although still classed as rural.
There is a DNR crew working on protecting the several houses at the lower end of the Naneum Canyon (north of us 1.5 miles), and many small copters and a few larger ones are flying. They covered the hill NNE of us with retardant after I returned home. It was interesting and a bit worrisome to see the fire and how it is being fought. Naneum Canyon is a temporary home to several hundred (domestic) sheep during summer – these were quickly brought to a pasture just at the point where the canyon opens to be the Naneum Fan. Today they brought them on down the road. At 4 PM, John met them about ¼ mile from our driveway. The protocol is to pull to the side and let them go by. As I, and neighbors, watch the action from our driveway we are feeling less anxious. A major wind shift could have put all of us in danger, but the fire is going east and not south. They have a ton of rigs up there. Above Charlton (next cross-road north of us) on Naneum, at two friends they have a unit (engine) right on site, and have since yesterday. True, the winds are still blowing.
John and I walked to the end of the driveway to check on the smoldering hillsides and canyons we can see. Surprised to see no flames, as we still had some visible this afternoon about 1:30 when I came home and by John as well about 4:30.

Thursday, Aug 7

Music at Royal Vista. We had a large turnout and many thanks for our music from several residents. They had two kinds of cookies (homemade) for us at the end. I took my peanut butter cookies home to share with John.
Including watching the fire, I watched two fawns and two does, but only got a movie of one of the fawns. John has been cutting a few apple and cherry limbs (pruning) each evening and the deer will show up as soon as he gets out of the way – sometimes they think he doesn’t leave fast enough.

See the little deer.

Full day and night of fire watching. Night from the end of our driveway was exciting. Met several neighbors from around the block and farther. We have a wide spot to pull into and a clear view of all but the western end of the front hills.

Friday, Aug 8

John to Asahel Curtis Nature Trail, WTA, left at 5:35 a.m. for morning breakfast with the some of the crew – about 10. Here are views of the work site from the parking lot. A new higher bridge has been set in. The trail is to be compliant with ADA (wheelchairs, and so on) so the approach to the bridge deck is being filled with large rocks (later to be topped with packed gravel) and lengthened with a gentle grade. On the right, Bob is gathering the parts of a rotten log and will move it up the trail for side dressing of the rock wall. John is taking a break from uncovering a boulder (seen behind Bob’s butt). Once sufficiently uncovered the rock will be drilled and a small explosive inserted. An experienced Forest Service trail worker will do this mid-week and another WTA work party will clean up and grade as necessary. Later, John found another large rock just about where Bob’s right knee is. It too will get the “boulder buster” treatment. The old trail went to the left of the 2 trees between Bob and John, then dropped some before starting up to the old bridge. With the new bridge being higher, the entire approach needed to be realigned and made a more gentle slope.
New_Trail

Fire report is good for us. Closest fire is 4 miles NE. I was in my car at the end of the driveway watching fires in two canyons directly across and on the ridges between, all the time talking on my cell phone with my neighbor two houses north. I had a slightly better view than he did, but we both could see the copter drops (and the fire surges).

See below for the afternoon flare up in one of the canyons we had watched burn last night, and thought both were clear this morning. Wrong.
FlamesCaveCan-Driveway8-8-14

Saturday, Aug 9

Just heard on the scanner from the hills north, “This is rough going, slow down and keep moving so hopefully we can get down with kidneys still intact.” The firefighters somehow manage to keep a positive attitude and their sense of humor. Interesting conversations between ground and aerial crews. Obviously, I only hear a couple of the frequencies, but still a lot of information.
While I was trying to do get some time on the computer a few birds found the Nanking Cherries at our back door. The fruit is bright red and like most of the other fruitful things this year, they are in abundance. [an aside: WA apple growers are expecting a record crop] These birds fit the description of juvenile Cedar Waxwings as they are missing the distinctive markings of the adult birds. See what you think.
CedarWaxwing-at-NankingCherries

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

Breathing Smoke

A common sight this week.

BING (Saturday) has a fire related photo and links.

Nancy has been keeping track of the fire activity in our area, exchanging photos, listening to the fire and police scanner, going to the end of the driveway for personal views, and on, and on. I went WED and FRI to the western slopes of the Cascades where it is cooler and there is no smoke – that being our biggest problem. Even so, for us, this has been a modest event when compared to others that have lost homes and most of their stuff.

I bought an air filter 16x25x1 (See here) to use a big cardboard box and assemble an in-house unit to do the work of a $100 unit shown along with the filters at the store – and that one had a filter only about ½ the size. I can do this inside where there is now very any smoke – the house a/c and fan (fan when the cooling isn’t needed) finally cleared the inside air. We went to bed a few nights ago with the windows open and clean cool air coming in. Oops! During the night the valley and the house filled with smoke. So, off I go to try this out.

Nancy thinks it will be Sunday afternoon (for us) before we have a full report ready.

John

August already, and a storm

Sunday, July 27

Another hot one. Already 83 on our front porch for the beginning of John’s dog exercise session. Probably will go to 91 or higher. (High for the day was 96, after a predicted high of 85). John’s been watering and I’ve been cleansing our past paper holdings. Much of it should have been disposed of many years ago. Did find some interesting stuff, however. John is outside and the temperatures are only “down” to 90. I’m worn out from this inside work and it’s frustrating not to be able to view any progress. Oh well, keep on keeping on. It will get done. John harvested more onions today. He still has the very large white ones for tomorrow.

Monday, July 28

John has to hold two horses for their feet trimming. Less wind — flies have been bad today but the 2 horses to be worked with have had a new coating of anti-fly spray. I stayed inside to continue sorting and tossing. Did make a path through the middle shelf and uncover a full box. As I started looking at it, I realized it was already recycled papers, which had not made it to the porch to be loaded on the truck for the recycle center. Boy, that was a good feeling. Now, I can add a tiny bit to it, tape it, and move to the front porch. Then I have a path to move stuff around from this side, to the other in an L-shape, to vacuum the dust and sort to where it goes. That actually makes me feel good. I found some things I was able to utilize, e.g., a small clock, on a black base that I got for donating my time to evaluate the questions on job descriptions in geography for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It now sits on top of the kitchen frig, and will match the black and metal of the new one to be moved in there, when the pathway is cleared. For dinner, John fixed a pork roast with his own home grown very pretty purple onions.

Tuesday, July 29

Morning is a thesis defense for a friend and former student who started at CWU 9 years ago. John picked several dahlias used a plastic bag to keep the cut ends in water until I gave them to her—it stayed there in the lovely tin can vase, placed on the center of the conference room table. I gave her a cute gift – a play-on-words sign — which only she would understand, based on our past class memories. A number of friends were there, including several retired CWU folks. From there I went to Carl’s Jr. for a biscuit with sausage, egg, and cheese. I had to get food in my tummy to take a large dose of antibiotics before my teeth cleaning and possible exposure of bacteria into my blood. I carried in 5- 6 yellow squash because the staff love our sharing with them. My teeth took an hour for cleaning, with X-rays too. Happily, our new insurance covers the entire bill. Unfortunately, they found a slight need for a small filling on a margin and that will cost me 20% of the cost. Also, they found problems with a stainless steel crown we did a couple years ago when I had to pay for all my dental expenses without insurance. Such non-gold crowns are not smooth at the margins and cannot be easily cleaned (scraped by a hygienist) without gums bleeding.
Darn, one of the Douglas squirrels is back. They are such a pest. We thought we were safe again, having not seen any in months. No such luck. Very hot again today—102, but all the cats came to supper—from where? John sometimes sees them when he is out and the one named Little-Sue, Johnny Cashsue, then just Johnny, will come near and meow a greeting. That one’s sister is called Woody (from hiding in and having the colors of a wood pile), and she comes (not as close) and watches as John does things in the garden and yard. More curious but not quite as accepting of John being near her.
We had a slight (near) catastrophe this afternoon. We were both resting from cleaning and outside chores, sitting at our computers in the same room, when I heard a strange, unidentifiable noise. I asked John what the sound was, and he said he did not hear anything (his computer fans are quite near and he was around a corner from the sound). He said, “Why don’t you get up and follow to see what it is?” It was a broken pipe in the bathroom beneath the toilet, and water was spraying all over and running on the floor toward the door. I yelled at John to come see and he turned off the water, but it had already made a huge mess. I went for towels and he sopped up a lot with newspaper and then towels. Then we had some boxes to empty and dry out. Good thing it did not happen when we were away or even tomorrow, when John will be with a WTA trail crew. We expect it was caused by our old dog putting a leg behind the hose, and having the leverage necessary when pulling or falling to bend the metal tubing and break the threads at the connection—where the orange arrow points in the (web acquired) photo below.
Cut Off Valve

If John can’t get the part of the threads still in the shut-off valve (below the arrow tip) out of the valve then the house water will have to be shut off while the part is replaced. If the threads come out, then only the hose will have to be new and the water won’t have to be turned off. The room wall is just far enough away from the bowl side to allow a small person to squeeze between them. With all that’s going on, the fix is in the future—we do have a second bathroom.

Wednesday, July 30

John was off early (5:50 a.m.) with a short fire-related detour, to get back on the main road over Stevens Pass to Martin Creek—to a site about 4,200 feet elevation. After 2 years of construction the work is about 1.5 miles from the trail head and, except for the first 150 yards it is uphill, but cool and shady. [but with a little thunder & lightning, and considerable rain today]
After I checked email, washed some dishes, and fed the cat and dogs, I went back to sleep for 2 hours. Put in time this morning on uploading videos from our WOTFA class the week of July 14 in Moses Lake to You Tube captures I am able to share with the class and the teacher. Here is John’s favorite song he wants me to learn how to play like Roy Clark:
Roy plays in Iowa City

Orange Blossom Special – 2014 WOTFA Pearce Class

Bobbie Teaching Train Sound & Alternate Hokum Bowing

On to the Food Bank, where we had a great performance today and lots of participation singing (and even dancing in the aisles), followed by a super good meal: baked chicken, rice with squash and carrots, Caesar salad, and a cobbler made from raspberries and apricots. Quite yummy, all of it. On to SAIL exercise for Moiré’s last day teaching us. This morning she mailed me some photos from the party for her last week. In last week’s blog I promised to show at least one photo, but now have decided to show two, one of the entire group who came to say goodbye and honor her, and while there, we were treated to a fabulous ice cream sundae.

1-MoireGroupPhoto

The next photo shows us in front of the Dahlias John grew and sent to her for good wishes, while he was doing his trail work, and unable to be there to celebrate. The vase was on the registration desk.

2-Moire_with_Nancy

It is too hot to be doing any further outside chores, so I have been working more on videos, and have to stop to get back to work on the sorting in the den. John will be home in 2 hrs, and I need to show some progress. Well, I just got a call from him at 5:40, from Stevens Pass, saying they worked until 4:00 and he won’t be home for 2 hrs (that means 7:45). He has a sandwich to eat for dinner as he drives the trip home. I had such a huge lunch; I probably will not need to eat until dessert. I guess it’s good to have some more time to tackle the stacks of stuff. In addition, I have to remember to fast for 12 hrs before going to town in the morning for a blood draw.

Thursday, July 31

I went this morning for a fasting (12 hr) lab test for my Aug 5 appointment with the nuclear cardiologist. Unfortunately, two trips to town today, because a month with a fifth Thursday means we are doing music at Mountain View Meadows. They just changed their name to Meadows Place, having been bought by a corporation from CA. We had only 7 people in the audience today, but they were happy and involved. I think the new management is trying to attract more residents, increase opportunities for folks, and add to their bottom line. This is the place that, a few years ago, seemed to have older, less healthy folks, and fewer of them. We noticed the re-painting of the street-side sign, so I called and asked a few questions. Our group had a clarinet, violin, banjo, and 3 guitars, so the audience outnumbered us. We all had fun, and the room was very well air-conditioned. Good thing because it was 102 outside.
It is too hot to be doing any further outside chores, so I have been working more on videos, and have to stop to get back to work on the sorting in the den. John will be home in 2 hrs, and I need to show some progress. Well, I just got a call from him at 5:40, from Stevens Pass, saying they worked until 4:00 and he won’t be home for 2 hrs (that means 7:45). He has a sandwich to eat for dinner as he drives the trip home. I had such a huge lunch; I probably will not need to eat until dessert. I guess it’s good to have some more time to tackle the stacks of stuff. In addition, I have to remember to fast for 12 hrs before going to town in the morning for a blood draw.

Friday, August 1

John left at 20 minutes to 6 for a WTA work party just west of Snoqualmie Pass at the Asahel Curtis Nature Trail. These Pass-centered trips on Fridays involve breakfast at a restaurant so even though it is close to home (sort of), the start time, for John is early. One young “orange hat” is not quite 30 so she brought the average age of the breakfast crew to under 70.
Today marks the first of the month potluck at the Adult Activity Center. The main dish provided by the folks is a luau served with grilled skewered chicken & pineapple. I had signed up, but changed my mind and took our names off the list when I learned John was planning another WTA trip. Good thing because our old dog Shay had a very bad night, and I was awake with her for a several hours. After giving her meds getting her settled down, I went back to bed and slept 4 more hours. Now that has messed up any progress for the entire day. I planned to tackle the stacks, as it is to be another hot one today. Thank goodness for a/c. It is already up to 91 on a day we were supposed to have a high of “only” 85. Now it’s up to 94. Eventually, it went up to 98. Yesterday was truly awful. Guess I also have to do all the first of the month bill chores. Where did the month go?
John’s back from his time in the hills—a new higher bridge necessitates a new trail height at the approach and it is to be compliant with the American Disability Act guidelines (wheel chairs and so on). Lots of big rocks and fill. Now he’s frying squash waiting for the temperature to go down to 85 so we can pick blueberries. John’s back out again, and no blueberries picked yet, or horses, or cats fed. I did feed the two oldest dogs their special food. Now to fix the food for John to lift into the haymow for the outside cats (some evenings up to 5, tonight only 4). We never picked the blueberries.

Saturday, August 2

Morning started with John picking squash for neighbors and friends, and we delivered to town along with a fanny pack I uncovered and am giving to a woman in Ellensburg to take on her vacation so her hands are freer. While there, we delivered 9 empty egg crates to our friend who reciprocated with a dozen fresh eggs. Dropped off squash at 3 other places in town, and two out here around the long rural block. One cool visit was to pick up some pictures of John and me on the trail rides over the past 20 years, saved for us from the dismantling of the old club scrapbooks for the Kittitas Valley Trail Riders. The world has gone digital. Now we arrived home for BLTs and to finish this blog. Call from another neighbor who dropped off two pints of his Mom’s wonderful Apricot Jam that I dearly love. We have threatening clouds and thundering in the distance. We have a 20% chance of thunderstorms today, and a predicted high of 95, which we have already reached. Actually, they revised that to 98 HOT, but it never made it there. Winds started gusting after 5:00 pm. to 25mph, with the approaching storm from the SW.
A little to our northwest (5 – 6 miles) lightning started a fire on a dry hill side of grass, sage, and Ponderosa Pines. When we shut the a/c off and opened windows about 7 PM we could smell smoke. A couple of phone calls and we know about where the fire is but we cannot see it because of the trees along Naneum Creek just west of our house. We are getting a bit of on-and-off rain from this storm – but still hear thunder approaching closer to us. More rain and less lightning would be nice. The storm is moving over us from the SW to the NE. (no larger view)
Storm SAT 8 2 2014

Sunday, August 3 (an advance statement; written SAT.)

Today would have been my father’s birthday. He would have been 116. The end of August my mom would have been 100. Guess it’s not good to marry with that much age difference. John and I are only 4 months apart (I’m older than he is) :-).

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