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

Good News Week

Sunday, July 20
Earth from Moon

After our wedding we stayed in Atlanta for a short time and then headed to visit John’s parents in Clarion, PA. We were there when the US team visited the Moon on July 20th. We sat on the sofa in the house he grew up in and watched the footage of the visit and listened to words said by Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin. After a few days in PA we headed to Iowa City.
Happy 45th to that event.

We spent a large part of the day on our blog, and need to process more cherries, some still on branches. Thankfully, it has cooled from the past few days, but the winds are still whipping.
Shay left Sunday evening. Our almost 14 year old dog has been acting senile and strangely, lately, such that we figured she was nearing death. Her grandmother tried moving herself to the far corners of the house or yard when she was ready to die, but her kidneys failed, before she could escape into the woods. John has had to direct extra attention to her lately just to get her around part of the usual area she has known all her life. Late today when he opened the door she went out and he stepped back inside a few seconds to get Dan to go along. John, Dan, and Annie went out the driveway – expecting to catch up to Shay under the cherry trees or near the irrigation ditch. But no Shay.

Monday, July 21

I took John to his teeth cleaning earlier than planned (at their request). I was unable to go to my exercise today because of the time conflict occurring. Instead, while John was at the hygienist, I went to one store for Oatmeal and canned dog food and by the hospital for my routine blood draw. The hospital check-in and wait for the lab technician was 3 times longer than normal. Later a call from my doctor’s nurse confirmed my INR was 3.1, up a little from last month, but I have not had any alcohol or antibiotics, so I don’t know what caused it.

Tuesday, July 22

John visited with the neighbor that shared a mail-box location. A low chance meeting. He mentioned the missing Shay and asked her to call if she found a dead Brittany in her yard. After he came back with the other 2 dogs we had to leave. We were off to my visit at 9:20 with the Lung Specialist (new to me), in Yakima. He will evaluate my CT scan from May 20, and likely the Pulmonary Function Test taken the same day. It will be nice to hear what he believes is one of 5 potential causes of a thickening on my lower right lung lobe. The first medical report I got on the CT scan was alarming (to say the least), provided by a medical doctor at Yakima Memorial Hospital who “read” the images. My cardiologist recommended I go to the Yakima Chest Clinic for a thorough examination of the scan by a lung specialist (Dr. Phillip Menashe), who has been practicing for 30 years. I picked him after reading the medical training histories of the clinic doctors suggested for my needs.
TWO good things happened today.
I just returned from the lung specialist, and, THANK GOD, I do not have a tumor or other complications in my lower lobe seen on a CT scan 2 months ago. The first report suggested 5 possible things (mostly all bad, except for possible surgical scarring from my heart surgeries). I had a little calcification (one spot), possibly from a fungus or something in my past (pneumonia like, or something I didn’t know I had). In addition, the lungs looked healthy and the small thickening showing up in the lower part he does not believe is the result of the drug I have been on for 4 years for Atrial Fib (Amiodarone). I will report (in the blog) the final comments when I receive his report to my cardiologist and my family physician. At my request I, too, always receive a copy of my medical records. His verbal and visual evaluation today was quite positive and reassuring. He took John and me into a viewing area and went over the CT scan in detail. Basically, he was not disturbed by anything he saw, and explained it as “post inflammatory” — and he will follow-up with me in November, have me take another 6-minute walk around the office, measuring my oxygen saturation (with a pulse oximeter) — normal range 95 to 99. Today, mine at the end of the walk was 95, and my pulse went up only slightly. When I came in for my appointment, it was 96, with 77 pulse, and BP was 112/68. He says after the next visit, it will only be yearly, but he would like to see a CT scan and Pulmonary Function Test (PFT). My PFTs this year definitely were of concern, but he said this was not borne out in the CT scan. I will not need to go off the Amiodarone. I will not need to have a biopsy. That was fantastic news.
The second good thing was finding our missing dog: Our neighbor from the mail-box called to say she had seen a dog like ours in a hay field about a mile south on Naneum. There is only one true hay field there so John went and retrieved her. She has never wandered out of range of John’s voice and, recently, not out of sight. How she got there we haven’t a clue. [Follow-up 3 days later.] She was wet from being out during several hours of rain, hungry from no food since her big meal on Saturday night, access to dry food Sunday, and very tired. She got home and we put her under a blanket on a rug after we fed her and gave her thyroid medication (she gets twice a day). She slept for 2 days, but continued eating, drinking, and going out the doggie door to potty when needed.
a2-Shay-asleep
. . . . . . . . . . Cedaridge Legacy of Shay

Above, she is asleep on the washroom floor Saturday a.m.. She has been getting up on the loveseat as well. I started a few days ago giving her a baby aspirin with her 1/2 thyroid pill twice a day. I think it is helping. We have not taken her on any walks off lead for fear of her getting disoriented and separated again from John. She is hard of hearing and her eyes are not as good as previously.

Wednesday, July 23

John left for the hills at 5:50 a.m.; across Stevens Pass to the Martin Creek Connector trail for WTA work. He has to go around one wildfire zone because Hwy 2 is still closed. Fires to the east and north of his route are in more populated areas and about 300 homes have gone in flame. A local company used a drone with a camera and provided a 4 ½ minute video. This area is a 2-hour drive north of us.
View video of WA fire. Be sure not to miss the follow-up video, Part 2 of the Carlton Complex Fire Devastation. It is 3 minutes long.
Part 2 link here.

The WTA crew is expecting rain; not nice to work in except to see where to put drainage ditches to protect the trail. It will be good for the fires, unless lightning is associated. (It started raining hard here at home about an hour ago.) They were working in a steep V-shaped valley in a little draw where several small streams were cascading across the new trail so the place was wet and muddy. They got a few ridge strikes of lightning and lots of rain. After everyone was totally wet – the rain stopped and the sun came. Two of the young Student Conservation folks did not hear and so there were 2 sign language types along that did not participate in the work. A fun and interesting day. Most of the State and wildfires got rain, so they settled some.
I am off to the dentist to deliver squash before their lunch break and when I need to be at the Food Bank at 11:30 for music. So, with 15 minutes to spare, I called my friend from Idaho to wish her a happy birthday. We had a nice conversation. Then on to SAIL with more squash for the Senior Center folks. Twenty-six folks for exercise today, and the rains started back hard while we were all inside the building and had left our raincoats in the car!
John got home, did the horse, dog, and cat chores. John chased a dog or two from the couch and went to sleep while I did chores and then fixed some dessert and he, then, went to bed. I’m on my way there. Rascal is back in my lap. Shay (the old dog) is up on the loveseat, all happy to be home.
I washed three loads of dirty clothes from John’s wet workday. I have one thing to go. It’s been through a soak session, his bright yellow & black rain jacket (covered with forest muck and mud), and his cotton hat he wears when not wearing his orange hardhat while working. They had a 1.5-mile walk in to work on trail rebuilding in a braided stream area. Interestingly, I hung the cleaned but wet yellow jacket on a red plastic heavy-duty hanger on the front porch for John to get Friday morning. More on that below.

Thursday, July 24

We wanted to get rid of the old refrigerator: Waste Management in Omaha, NB answered the 1-800 number for what I thought was our local service in the county. Run around, no answers, but I found out the Freon had to be drained and certified by a professional. Checked again with Kittitas County listings and John found a number for the local transfer station. Phew. I knew I had reached them previously. They will take them. John has to remove the doors, clean out all the food (we’ve already done the clean out), and we will be charged the weight plus a fee of $10.36 to process it (they take out the Freon, so we don’t have to pay a local heating & AC business to do it (that was the suggestion by the guy in Omaha!). We can also load up the truck with more waste at the same time because all we’re paying for is weight with the added fee.
Afternoon I went to Hearthstone for music, and John managed to get the frig in the back of his truck and load up all the throwaway food from 3 freezers (two on refrigerators; the other a chest freezer), let me off for music, and went to take care of the disposal ($25.). He got back in time to hear our last 3 songs and receive one of the delicacies (treats fixed by the Hearthstone cooks) to serve with tea and coffee to the residents while we play. They were chocolate covered delicacies with something like cheesecake on a graham cracker base. We were also happy to have my elder colleague, George Macinko, visit and participate with his son (from Alaska). He loved all our songs and told John he knew all the words. He used to sing in a barbershop quartet for years here in EBRG.

Friday, July 25

John left early morning (6:00 a.m.), for the Pass for another Summit Pancake House meeting of the crew. Trail work needs calories. They went north of I-90 on the Pacific Crest Trail, on the lower forested slopes that lead to the Kendall Katwalk 4+ miles from the trail head.
Views of the Katwalk section.

I went to a going-away party and ice cream social for Moiré Friday, from 11:30 to 1:00. I took some beautiful Dahlias from John’s garden. We put a large bouquet of two colors in a big vase they had at the center and on the check-in table so everyone was able to enjoy them. (I’ll put a picture in next week that the photographer took of us with the flowers). I took another smaller green scalloped top edged short vase and put one large salmon-colored Dahlia in it, for Moiré’s desk. She’s been our AmeriCorps helper for a year and endeared us all to her for her kindness, cooking abilities (particularly Irish), leadership of our SAIL exercise class, and innovative program planning. We will really miss her. It was a huge success and a testimony to how much she meant to so many people. The room was full, with over 50 folks present for the ice cream sundae social goodbye, thanks, and best wishes for her future. She is a very special person whom everyone loves. Many tears were shed including by her and some of the older gentlemen present. She knows every member of the Senior Center by name.

Saturday, July 26

Interesting day: warmer, no rain. I have been doing small chores and need to finish this blog to give to John. While looking out the kitchen window this morning, I saw hummingbirds checking out the bright-red plastic coat hanger still up on which the yellow rain jacket had been hanging. John picked it up on his way to the trail work yesterday morning. I believe they were hoping for sweet nectar. Sorry about that, little birdies. I gave away a feeder (still in the package) I bought a couple years ago at a yard sale. A lady from my exercise class at the Senior Center took it for her daughter, and it has a great new home. We are not sure feeding hummingbirds is a good idea with all the cats. A feeder needs to be close to see them. We don’t need a hard to get to task, either. It’s already 3:00 pm. and John has been watering various things – blueberries and the small plum trees and others. He picked a pound of raspberries this morning, ate some, and plans to have more tonight. I took a photo of those minus what he ate this morning and we have displayed them below with a Giant (or Garden) Tiger Moth (we named her Ginger) on raspberry plant leaves. The caterpillar for these is called a Woolley Bear, for good reason, but we are not sure which sort. You can search for woolly bear caterpillar (using images tab) and see the variation; mostly black on the ends and red/orange in the middle. This one is supposed to have long white hairs like a porcupine.
While picking the berries, John saw Ginger on the ground, thought she was dead, and tried to pick her up. She flew into the patch farther. Later he found her on the outer leaves in good light. When Ginger spreads her wings out, she looks like the third picture below.
a1-Tiger_Moth
a3-Raspberries
a1a-Tiger_Moth
Hope your week was fine.
Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan

So the day starts.

We are having a lovely morning (it is 9:15) on the Naneum Fan and guess who is missing it? That’s right – she is sleeping still.

Phone is ringing. So the day starts.

Will get a post up late today.

John

Week of Ws

WOTFA, WIND, WTA, WONDER

Sunday, July 13

Over 100°F again today. We did our outside running around tasks earlier before the temps were over 82. We picked cherries, and I got ready to leave.

Monday, July 14

Left for Moses Lake to arrive at my friend’s farm to stay in her RV trailer (with a/c). She is only 12 miles from the middle school I had to be in to attend the summer WA Old Time Fiddlers Association Workshop. After I went through on I-90, the connection between Ellensburg – Moses Lake, a fire started at the Ryegrass rest stop (south side), when a motor home was completely destroyed. The fire spread to the grass and jumped across the east bound lanes into the median. A fire resulted that closed that section of I-90 for several hours. So, I dogged a problem and arrived safely. First, I unpacked at the farm so my stuff wouldn’t have to sit in the car in extremely hot temps. Then, I joined the class a little late, so I missed a medley of three Reels – dance tunes. The link explains but here’s an example.
Everyone I knew from the past was happy to see me, and likewise. Day went well, very hot, but the school was nicely air-conditioned. I had my computer along but no Internet access at the farm, so I stopped in a Burger King that had WIFI. I was able to respond to a few emails, but didn’t have but about 20 minutes on line. I did write a note to my jobs list serve that I was unable to keep up while at the workshop. I sent a few that looked particularly timely.

Tuesday, July 15

Breakfast at Trudy’s: she used a Stoneware dish and a microwave to fix an English Muffin with Egg, Cheese, and Ham. Pretty cool. On to the Frontier Middle School and a long day.
In the afternoon we started learning cross-tuned fiddle songs, called Calico tuning (changing the G string to an A, the D to an E, leaving the A the same, and changing the E to a C#. Strumming all the strings gives an A chord. We learned 4 songs over the week in Calico tuning. We had to learn in Tab, because music would be difficult to write. Tab shows which finger on the normal strings are needed, and one has to learn by ear the timing. I took my 3/4 size (old from 4th grade) violin so I didn’t have to change tuning back and forth between banks of songs with different tunings.
That evening on the way back to the farm, I stopped at Starbuck’s for a chocolate chip cookie and a large cup of iced water, sat in a comfortable leather chair and used their WIFI for 1/2 hour. The most interesting thing that happened there was one of my former students saw me, and came over to visit. He works for the WSDOT – the WA State Dept of Transportation, on vegetation along the interstate highways.
I soon left for the farm to get ready to take my hostess to dinner. She drove and we went back to Moses Lake to a China Buffet. They had many different dish choices. I sampled small amounts of a lot of them, and decided which I liked the best. Second time through I left off the ones I didn’t like. A table of desserts offered some macaroons and soft serve ice cream. I missed the dessert table with tapioca pudding that Trudy found. On the way back to the farm, she took me on a tour of the agricultural area. It is dotted with large pivot irrigation circles. Put the words – center pivot crops – into a search application (John uses Bing and sometimes Google) and select the Images Tab, to see views. They grow a huge variety of crops in the Columbia Basin, fueled by the Columbia Basin Project and the big dam at Grand Coulee. The link is to a description with an historical perspective. We passed many fields including potatoes, sweet corn, feed corn, grass and alfalfa hay, carrots, beets (fewer than previously when a beet sugar refinery existed nearby), Coriander (seeds of the Cilantro plant), onions, green peas, and many different seed crops. Both nights I heard the nearby pivot irrigation systems lull me to sleep (they water a potato crop). In the picture below, her house is at the lower right corner, and the fields at the NE corner coming down her driveway are green bean, green peas, Monsanto corn (genetically engineered, aka as GM), and alfalfa for hay. The hay or wheat field is at the SE, and one night, we both were awakened by a neighbor running his swather. If you look in the lower part below the house, you can see a waterway. This is irrigation runoff mostly. I heard frogs during the night and a Nighthawk call. They are nocturnal birds that feed on insects. Mosquitoes were bad the first night, but the next night okay, perhaps because the Nighthawks took them out. The RV trailer I slept in was right by the south end of the house. The other delight I had was from the east (out of site on the image below) of a huge feedlot of the El Oro Cattle Company.
FieldsNearTrudy
(Click image to make bigger.)

I left for the Workshop a bit early to get a free Specialty sandwich (coupon) from Safeway. It was great to have for lunch. Three meats with cheese, tomato, and lettuce. I only had 1/2 for my lunch. I didn’t get away from Moses Lake until 4:00 p.m. On my way home, I called John and found out I needed to go on into Ellensburg and not go directly home. It was a trip to Sears to meet John about a new refrigerator. The old one, moved from shed to garage just last year, quit. Two packages of meat and 4 small packages of frozen veggies had to be thrown out. There were several 2-liter containers of ice and about 5 gallons of cold water in the thing when it quit so it stayed cool for a few days. We think it is an early 1970s model by Hotpoint but we can’t find a date on it. Sears was selling a model recommended by Consumer Reports Magazine – Kenmore label but manufacturer unknown – a simple bottom freezer style with stainless steel front. It doesn’t talk or make ice but it is Energy Star rated and the dead one was born before that concept was introduced. John had measured the old kitchen frig and found one in the store that matched the size (fits in a cubby hole), so we added it to the purchasing. The kitchen frig works (late 1970s model or maybe an ‘80 or ’81) but is coming apart both inside and out. Parts are no longer available. New ones will be delivered to the front and rear doors with the cost for this service hidden in the purchase price. This “free” delivery does save us from running the pickup into town and then unloading without a fancy hydraulic tailgate.
After getting home I checked on the internet for fire updates. Several large fires in WA and Oregon are expanding still and many new smaller fires are shown. None are local for us and the wind direction is keeping the smoke and ash away from us.

Thursday, July 17

Up early and busy from getting ready for the delivery of refrigerators. Before I got up John had picked raspberries and moved the old pickup truck & horse trailer from the access through the pasture to our back patio door. Then he had to disconnect and swing a bit of fence out of the way for the truck to back up to the front slab. I filmed the delivery of the smaller – for the cubby hole in the kitchen – refrigerator to the concrete slab at the back door. Here is an image from advertising of the model:
Frigidaire-a
And here is my personal video of the event. We have to clear off and move the dining room table to get the old frig out and the new one in. This is an instance of the saying that you can’t do just one thing. The other frig is bigger and has the freezer on the bottom but otherwise looks about the same. Black sides, stainless steel on the front.
Learned of a multi-vehicle pile-up on I-90. I am very fortunate not to have been in that. I spent Mon-Wed in Moses Lake. Came home yesterday to spend the night and get some good rest, so I could lead our music group this afternoon. John and I will go back over tomorrow to retrieve a keyboard I loaned to a teacher over there, and for me to perform with our class, in the recital. We will go down the old Vantage Hwy, I think, and stay off I-90. Too much bad stuff happening there recently – Wind, smoke and ash (and inattentive drivers) contributed to the crash this morning – 9 big rigs and 16 passenger vehicles were involved on the down-slope east-bound lanes between Ryegrass Summit and the Columbia River bridge at Vantage. That fire was at the rest stop uphill – an RV that burned Tuesday, and started a fire that jumped to the median vegetation, burned in place for awhile and then flared again. When I returned home Wed, it was still smoldering. We’ve had 41 mph winds gusts and that’s what caused the “dust” and “ash” to block the drivers’ views. It was not coming from the Wenatchee Lake complex fire, or the Miller Creek fire, or the Carlton/Pateros fire, although smoke from those is in the air over the Columbia River and east.
The horses were munching grass under the cherry trees and as John directed them back into the regular pasture I took a movie. The last in is Ebony, a black mare and quite old. We thought she was dying a couple of months ago and had a hole dug but when she saw that she perked up and talks nicely to us every day – wanting her Equine Senior brand of special food. A side note on the wind – when the wind speed is about 15 mph or higher there are almost no flies, bees, or wasps out and about. That makes for fewer issues with their care – just have to remember to throw hay in the direction to carry the chaff away.

Friday, July 18

Back to Moses Lake for recital and picking up keyboard. We had to go the old Vantage Hwy, because the eastbound I-90 lanes were still closed from the collisions east of the Ryegrass Summit. About that, here is a link to a story in the Daily Record.
Here is a photo of the group I was with at the workshop.
NancyWOTFAgroupplaying2014
I’m near the center of the yellow oval. You can make this a bit bigger but it is from the video and not a high resolution still image. Here is a link to that very video of our class recital and despite the focus issue, you can hear the music and enjoy our hard work. We played a medley of two “Calico tuned” songs, Snowbird in the Ashbank and Laughing Boy. In the first, you can hear the “scratching” sound, which the class really enjoyed doing (especially the kids).

Saturday, July 19

John leaves early morning for WTA work on the Gold Creek Trail near Snoqualmie Pass. We visited there one year with our best man, Bill Howard, and his wife (Cincinnati folks). We also had lunch at the Summit Pancake House, where John was joining a few from the work crew today for breakfast. He had to leave earlier than usual to get there, but I was able to get up and help do last minute chores. I washed about 6 pounds of Bing and Rainier cherries and we put them in a cooler for him to have at the trailhead at the end of the work day. It will be like candy, and he will leave the remainder with the crew leader and his family, or others who might want some. He had an interesting morning at the Pancake House restaurant. He ordered an artery clogging breakfast there, the I-90 special. Check the link below to see the contents. Two eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and two pancakes, of which he gave one away. If you are interested, follow this link to see what it looks like. John encountered another student from our past, who was in our classes in 1988-1990. John hadn’t noticed a fellow come in and sit at an adjacent table, but shortly that person called over to the table and said, is that John Hultquist? They got to visit for about 20 minutes before the WTA crew had to take off to the trailhead. It seems amazing for me to meet someone in Moses Lake and for John to meet someone at The Pass in the same week – neither of whom we have seen for about 2 decades.
After John’s early departure I decided to go back to bed, and I was able to sleep late, making up for my last week full of tiring activities. I also was able to download several gigabytes of videos (mostly) taken during my week away. Currently, I’m uploading the final recital for our class to You Tube, for yours and the class’s viewing pleasure. You were given the link above on Friday’s write-up.
It’s almost a 2-hour upload, which will have to run in my absence, so I hope our Internet connection continues and the machine stays awake to complete. Now to Briarwood today for more music with our Kittitas Valley Fiddlers & Friends group. Wind is blowing again, make that, still blowing. High speed (gusts) today has been 38 (yesterday was a high of 43). Then “down” to 37, 36, and back to 38. The average speed is mostly closer to 30.
At the music playing I met an older woman who is moving to the Briarwood Commons Retirement community. Years ago she was a member of the WA Old Time Fiddlers in a District on the west side. She loved our music and wants to join our group when she moves to Ellensburg in a couple of months. She plays a stand-up bass fiddle and a guitar. We could have used her help today, when there were only 4 of our players present – 3 guitars and me.

Sunday, July 20

We have been in wonder about the progress of the fires in WA State, and closely checking the MODIS active fire imagery via Google Earth often. John is due to go to another WTA work party this coming Wednesday on Stevens Pass (Hwy 2). That requires a trip through Leavenworth, and both access highways have had closures. The Pateros fire is truly a tragedy, and the fires around Winthrop and Twisp are devastating as well. Despite the large fires here, the State of Oregon has more. There are numbers and comparisons at this fire information site. About half way down there is a table showing the averages for the past 10 years. Year-to-date the Nation has only about one-third (1/3) of the average area burned with WA & OR accounting for most of that. Washington has cooled off some. Some rain would help.

It is now late Sunday afternoon. We’ve about got this thing ready to go while John has done a few things outside, such as harvest yellow squash and water a few things. Dogs played in the irrigation ditch and got dirty. Ebony ate her Equine Senior. Nancy is catching up on e-mail and other computer things. And we are both resting some. We need to eat, too.
Wonder where the time goes?

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

More July Celebrations

Sunday, July 6

Warm one again today. John has run the dogs, watered and fertilized the blueberries, and now is picking strawberries. The Internet is bouncing on and off, so it’s good we got the blog out late last night. This will encourage me to get off the computer and do other necessary sorting / cleaning / recycling in the comfort of our air-conditioned house. Sadly, the temps are up and the birds have found the cherries. Two different neighborhood families were supposed to come pick but did not show. Instead, two other older neighbors joined us, for a couple hours. I hope there is a breeze tomorrow. One of them may come back for more picking. (He did, thankfully, and helped pick for others who cannot). John removes the limbs from on high, cuts them into small pieces, and we take the cherries off. We sit in the shade. Wind was blowing and keeping us cool most of the time. [At the airport 6 miles to the SW wind gusts as high as 36 mph were reported. We have a ¼ mile of thick trees and other vegetation to protect us and we are 500 feet higher.] This process is the only way of harvesting many of the cherries and shortens the tree for the next time. We do not have ladders high enough to reach the tops of the trees. But that is the way it was done not long ago.
Cherry ladders for blog
But that is the way it was done not long ago. Cherry picking story here. New trees are shorter.
We have more cherries than we can harvest for our friends and us; but wild things approve. Below a video shows the pruning process on our oldest Bing tree. We still have cherries on it a week later. It is probably 25 feet high. John has taken more than four large limbs from that tree as of July 11.
Video link: First step of harvest.
John is in the tree; center at bottom. Finally, we came in before 2:00 to get a late lunch, sit in a comfortable chair, and relax, before we have to process strawberries (and eventually cherries). We figure we picked and packaged 17 to 20 pounds of cherries.

Monday, July 7

I got some movies and more photos. John picked strawberries for 1.5 hrs while I slept in, and I joined him at 8:30 to pick cherries. Then we both picked this morning with our one neighbor back from yesterday. Now John is napping and we will have to process strawberries and cherries this afternoon. Fine, because it is too hot at 92 to be outside. Went to 94 today, without a lot of wind as yesterday, but some. I will use this space to summarize the process described this week on our harvesting of cherries.
First, saw limbs from tree. You have seen the first part above, but there were a couple more limbs from the other side done later in the week. Here are links to those two ten-second videos. One large limb in the first video and of a smaller one fallen on top of it, minutes later. If you look carefully, you can see John in the middle of the tree.
Have a look here. These are quick; don’t blink.
A second, smaller limb.
John is in the tree – that’s a scarecrow holding a plastic pail in the background, right side. Now that you’ve see those, I shall outline the procedure below, to help your interpretation of my comments for the rest of the week, even though some of these photos were taken later this week. After the large limbs are pulled over near the picking station, John cuts them into smaller branches, and then further into pieces easier to handle. [Next 4 photos do not enlarge well; sorry.]
W2-JohnCarriesLimb
W2-DownedLimb
Two branches of tree top limbs with many many red/yellow cherries held by John
{Above photo replaced with sharper image; click above to see}

W2-makingSmallPieces

The final product on the picking table with John’s WTA saw award shown as the implement for pruning large limbs from the tree tops. [Try enlarging it and the next few.]
W2-PremiumSelectCherriesWithWTAsaw

Tuesday, July 8

Good deeds day. Dropped off cherries to neighbor, cherries & strawberries to friend in town, box of cherries to the Senior Center, and on to our Emeritus Geography Profs meeting, where we shared more strawberries and cherries with the donuts and coffee offered by the Brooks. We were gathered in their home, on the bluff adjacent to the Yakima River.
W2-Deck_Yakima_River
We saw a blue heron flying upstream and heard The Osprey Story. Their daughter was visiting and went out and lay down on the deck. A loud noise awakened her — SPLAT. It was a fish dropped by an Osprey. The bird looped around and came to the deck and picked up the fish. The view from the deck includes a large tree – left off the photo – with bare (dead) limbs. That became the lunch spot.
This afternoon we pretty much stayed indoors. The high temperature was 98, right before 3:00 pm. John napped through some of that. I had to go back for music tonight in town, so I planned to coordinate with a trip to the grocery for the last day of the sale on Butter Pecan ice cream, and Cheetos, and picked up a dozen donuts while there at $2 off a dozen. They had a good selection. Then, I went by the Palace Cafe to pick up our anniversary special dinner. During the month of July, only, we are entitled to one free dinner (choice of Chicken fried Angus Steak or Chicken Alfredo Fettuccine). We always get the latter, add to it, and both eat from the embellishment of one original serving. Also included are very small slices of zucchini, little chicken pieces, and mushrooms; comes with 2 French garlic bread slices. I expected to be charged $19 + 8% tax. The bill was only for $17.99, but I gave the waiter a $5 tip, because he was kind enough to give it to me to go, when they are not supposed to. I brought it home, and John picked a fresh yellow squash, fried it with mushrooms, and we had a piece of leftover fried chicken from last night’s dinner, cut it up to add to the pan, and that we microwaved to get to the right temp after we stirred it all together. It was scrumptious, and there is some left over for John’s lunch tomorrow when I am at the Food Bank Soup Kitchen, playing music and eating afterwards. Now for dessert is Turtle Creamed Pie with raspberries for John and strawberries for me.

Wednesday, July 9

John is picking Rainier (or Royal Anne) and Bing cherries for other friends in town. I’m going to deliver them and then on to the Food Bank Soup Kitchen and then to SAIL exercise class. I received cookies as a thank you for the first delivery of cherries. On to the food bank, where we were served an excellent Irish stew (with lamb) prepared and donated by the relatively new business in town, Cornerstone Pizza (north of Safeway). The stew was complemented with veggies, green salad, and a pineapple upside down cake. From there, I went to my friend’s office to work on music for our group; then by the gas station to fill my car, with $3.949 / gal gasoline. It is 10 cents / gal cheaper in Yakima, but Yakima is also 50 miles away, with no trips planned.
This afternoon, I photographed a pair of deer gleaning leftover leaves and cherries from our harvest activities. The photo has the front of the pickup, black plastic pipe as a temporary fence, an iron pry-bar leaning on a plum tree, and a bit of a white chair.
W2-TwoDeerEatingLeftovers
The pickup hides the picking table – an up-side-down galvanized metal water trough.

Thursday, July 10

We had to wait in the sun for over 1/2 hour to deliver our 61-key electric keyboard to a gal coming from Port Townsend through EBRG on her way to the WA Old Time Fiddlers Workshop in Moses Lake, WA. She’s saving our making a special trip over before I go over for my class, Monday morning. Then the keyboard can be set up ahead in the classroom and will be ready to go. On her way over on I-90, she was delayed by two total stops in normally 70+ mph traffic — one for a collision clean up and the other for a flat tire. We made it with minutes to spare to the REHAB for music. A resident funded a birthday for himself with 2 large party cakes and ice cream. After the music we all celebrated. Chocolate, white cake, and vanilla ice cream was lunch. John went shopping after letting me off with a cooler full of bags of cherries to give to members of our group. One member had cookies for us. Afterwards, we unloaded the remaining 6 bags of cherries on friends that live on the road between EBRG and home. Late afternoon I was so very tired that I took a nap (so did John). Just 10 minutes after I went to sleep, someone called. I talked for 5 minutes and went back to sleep, but I really didn’t because my old 14-year old dog kept running around the house panting, going in and out the doggie door, and making my rest impossible. Finally, John was resting better than I was, so he got up at 7:00 p.m. and started doing stuff in the kitchen, letting me sleep. I zonked out until 8:20 or so. I helped feed dogs, cat, and us. I think I will have dessert soon and go to bed again. (I did, and had no problem going to sleep).
We’ll worry in the morning about picking cherries, and I hope I’m up to helping strip them off the branches. We pick with the stems on so that they last longer, but it also is more time-consuming and tiring on the hands and fingers. I was quite happy today to get a significant part of my hard drive backed up today, with MY DOCUMENTS folder and MY PICTURES folder, where more of my recent activity resides.

Friday, July 11

Interesting day for sure. John started picking cherries earlier than I did. I didn’t join him until a little after 8:00 a.m. In the shade of the cherry trees we sorted out the bird, wasp, and ant damaged ones. The wind causes some bruising and other damage and tangles the stems around each other and other parts of the trees. We tossed any blemished / bruised ones or ones without a stem. We worked until a little after Noon and then came in for a BLT. Cleaned up some, changed clothes, and took all the cherries we picked this morning to town to give away. Actually, we stopped at two neighbors on the way in, who are unable to pick their own. Close neighbors who are capable are welcome to come pick with us and take home all they pick. Thus far, only one family has taken us up on the offer. Next are pictures of the bounty, in the back of my Subaru, with my guard rabbit. W2-CherriesForDelivery
We drove to town — first dropping a load (probably 10 pounds) off to our former secretary who retired, for her to share with 8 members of her family coming over this weekend. On to another former student and his mom, who is visiting, but we missed them, so left it with someone at the front desk of the apt. complex in her refrigerator. Sadly, she was only there until five and I couldn’t get in touch with them to tell them to be there before five. I later heard they will pick them up Monday morning. On to another drop off place where next week John can return for apricots from her tree, and then by to get a large cold drink, before our next stop (with cherries) to visit with a friend who has moved back to Maryland. Very nice afternoon visit with her and the couple she is staying with, until next week. Home to more chores and lots of heat. We had a high of 100 today. In the evening, I went back out front and saw a deer browsing the downed cherries and branches. His picture I captured is rather interesting. It was a very dark picture in the shade with the eyes reflecting, but I clicked on a “painting” effect and this photo was created. Otherwise, I would have erased the photo.
W2-DeerUnderCherryTree
Saturday, July 12

In 1969, we married in Atlanta, GA. Wow — that means we have known each other 49 years. That is not as long as several of my friends and also several of my married friends. One musician here in WA is 84, has been married 64 years this year, and has known his wife for over 70 years. [If you missed it, go to the top and click on the heading on the left with the 1969 date. John put that together Saturday night and it got posted just after Midnight.]
John’s already been out this morning and picked 3 pounds of raspberries and currently is picking cherries. I decided to tackle inside tasks instead. The temps are up to 69 now, heading to highs again today. I’m going to work on this blog, on dishes (already unloaded and loaded one load. We’ll have to sort raspberries from yesterday and today soon. I need to pack for my week away next week. Plenty to do and also take the photos of the past few days off my camera. Then I felt guilty and joined him for more picking.
We are back in… John too. It’s 102 at the airport, and 96 on our front porch (in the shade). John brought in the rest of the limbs in two boxes for us to do in a/c comfort. We probably have picked 20 pounds today. I picked 6 pounds into a bucket, and John has used low cardboard boxes. A few more pounds left for later. It got to 104 at the airport 5 miles south of us, but we don’t think we broke 100 here.
My young Brittany got her third leg of her Junior Hunter competition today, handled by Jeri Conklin. Here is that photo.
W2-Dog1
I spent a bunch more time working on a recommendation letter and application reference form for a student who was my advisee and teaching assistant 8 years ago. We have kept in touch, and he is a very nice guy (from the Sudan, but an American citizen now). Such requests still arrive from people longer away than that (the 1990s).

Sunday, July 13

John picked 2 pounds of raspberries this morning. We need to deliver some cherries around the neighborhood, or get to work freezing some. I need to spend time packing to leave for Moses Lake. Temperatures all week here and there are excessively high ~ 100° both places. Meanwhile, and on a related air flow, back East, it is cooling off a little.
We heard the good news before 9:00 a.m. that my Brittany passed the last leg of her Junior Hunter title. Message from Jeri via I-phone from the field, “She is a Junior Hunter, pending AKC approval. Pictures will follow later with ribbon.”
That means her AKC registered name will be Cedaridge Kip’s Camelot Shay Tre’, JH (call name is Daisy).
Here is today’s photo: on the left is Jeri with Daisy, and on the right is Roy with her dog, Dice. They both finished their JH today. NICE.
W2-dog2

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

JULY 12, 1969

Did you notice the date above?
From the category “believe it or not” comes the occasion of our wedding anniversary. Shocking!

We celebrated by not celebrating. The weather forecast was for 98 degrees and that is too hot for us to be out and about. It is not unusual for the forecast to be off a few degrees. Today it was off by 6. In the 4 o’clock hour the reading went to 104.

John had gone out early to pick the last of the strawberries (2 pounds) and about the same amount of raspberries. Then he started watering the plants in what we now call our Dahlia Garden (the older one has Tiger Lilies). His plan was to cut a couple of the blossoms and bring the berries and the flowers to Nancy – still sleeping.

Nancy did not cooperate and showed up in the garden to take photos of the flowers because John intended to cut them and give them to people on the next trip to town.

So, Nancy’s newish camera allows her to apply effects to photos and she experimented a bit. One result is below. She found a small green grasshopper on a Graceland Dahlia. Nancy thought the so called fisheye effect using a close-up stance produced an interesting photo.

An orange/gold flower (Dahlia) with a small green Grasshopper having breakfast
The Grasshopper and the Dahlia

We picked some cherries but as the day became hotter, first Nancy and then John headed indoors. John brought several cherry-loaded branches inside to finish. Nancy had a letter of recommendation to do (story to follow in next post) so we are behind with the blog writing. Sometime on Sunday – no way to say when.

Cheers.

July Celebrations

Sunday, June 29

John and I spent a lot of time finishing the blog, and finally got it posted after 1:00 p.m. He took the dogs for their morning run, and while I intended to get on with assembling all the copies of music I ran last week, to be ready for July 3, I haven’t been able to squeeze it in yet. After we posted the blog, John put a small beef chunk in the crock pot with the very last of our flat red onions from last summer.
He added a can of small whole tomatoes – more stuff to be added in a few hours. I have been doing a multitude of things with more to go. Winds got to a high last hour of 39 mph. I think John will come in to rest awhile. He’s been watering trees and both gardens, and in addition, moving the water around the pasture, from the rapidly declining flow in the irrigation ditch. I have decided to start timing myself to keep changing tasks and not spending all my time on one task, losing track and progress on others. We delivered two 2# packages of strawberries to neighbors. From one, we got a dozen fresh eggs in return. We ate snacks or in my case, leftovers, for lunch. I worried over plans to be away a week, starting July 14, and still have a lot to do to get ready. We have yet to prepare strawberries picked yesterday for the freezer. I do not know if he will pick more tonight or not, or wait until morning.

Monday, June 30

John started by picking 6 pounds (at least) of strawberries. I sorted and we delivered some to neighbors. It was a 37th wedding anniversary for one, so I put a very special pick in the center of her box – this one is cute. Click to make big.
StrawberryHeartShaped
This is quite flat and seems to be a rare trait of the Jewel variety.
Morning working on music plans, strawberries, dishes. Now to sort and combine the music I Xeroxed last Friday to use this Thursday. Funniest thing that happened today amidst John picking many pounds of strawberries was a small skunk at the other end of the row on which he was picking. They have narrow pointed heads and it stuck its nose through the chain-link fence and pushed on through. Amazing. Must be a baby or a small one. Guess we can start putting berry-waste back in the compost pile and let them eat there!

Tuesday, July 1

HAIRCUT at 1:00 p.m. and back home to sort more strawberries to take to town tomorrow; meaning now we must spend time cleaning the blemished ones (Owie-berries) we sorted out, to use for our frozen needs throughout the year. It was suggested we take a photo of one of the Cabot berries with something more exciting than a quarter. John had a 2 $ bill in his wallet, so here you are:
Strawberry in Tea Cup July2014
The container holding the berry is a 6 oz. tea cup – first use we have found for these things in many years.
As well as cleaning strawberries, I sorted some for the neighbors and we fixed my 61-key music keyboard to go to the WOTFA workshop for accompaniment use in the Hot Shots class (young very good fiddlers) – taught by my teacher’s daughter, Katrina, who is a world champion fiddler and also left handed!! If you do a web search on katrina nicolayeff , you will see her credentials and performing in different competitions. She is a very nice gal too, and has a couple kids of her own. We had to check the keyboard, clean the dust off, find the connectors, test it, then John fixed a problem with the power cord, and helped me roll two heavy-duty extension cords to accompany the instrument. It’s not in a case (we bought it used, standing in a home), so we have to wrap in a bedspread.
We are working in the a/c comfort of our home. It is 94 at the airport, and 89 on our front porch. When it cools down, we’re going to take strawberries to two appreciative neighbors. We also put up a 2-quart bowl full, in 8 oz packages.

Wednesday, July 2

Evelyn and I played music at the Food Bank’s Soup Kitchen today as a precursor for tomorrow’s performance with six other musicians at the Adult Activity Center. To go with our music, the Food Bank had a very patriotic dinner, served by servers dressed in red/white/blue, or flag type clothing. One of the volunteer cooks made a great chicken lasagna, veggies with potatoes, green salad, and a very special “flag” cake (see below). She has been a professional cook in the past, and it shows.
July4-Cherry-RaspFoodBankCake
We had 23 people at SAIL exercise today, and while there, we found out that around 90 people are expected to be at the 4th celebration tomorrow. I took strawberries to Carole P, CJ, Joanie, & Marilyn (who gave us some eggs, in return). Joanie offered us some cherries, but we have a lot coming on our trees – their part of EBRG is about 1,000 feet lower than we are out here on the Naneum Fan, so their growing season is ahead of ours by about a week.
Before dinner, we made a Cherry-Blueberry-Pecan Kittitas Cobbler to take tomorrow to the celebration. Cleaned more strawberries tonight and froze six 8-oz packages.

Thursday, July 3

Made it to town and the AAC in time to set up, put out our dessert, and get some food before we had to perform. Food consisted of hamburgers, hotdogs, potato salads, baked beans, a variety of potluck salads, such as deviled eggs (my favorite), some Jell-O/fruit salads, green salads, and a table of desserts. Ours was a success.
KittitasCobblerJULY2014
Our Cherry-Blueberry-Pecan Kittitas Cobbler
[ask if you want the recipe]
From 12:15 to 12:45, our group played patriotic and American folk songs. It seemed to be a big success, with lots of compliments and comments. The audience numbered in the nineties so they had to share lyrics, as we only had 43 copies. Lots of good voices and great participation, on 13 songs, ending with the Star Spangled Banner, Acapella (except for Megan on her big bass fiddle – pictured below). Everyone in the room stood, faced the flag, and proudly sang. It was our last song. An older woman came up to me afterwards and thanked me for our tempo – on our national anthem, being cheerful, and “not like a dirge, because our country is very much alive and not dead.” I’ve never heard that comment before, nor do I know that I have ever heard it sung really slowly. Music came from an accordion, clarinet, fiddle, bass fiddle, banjo, two 6 string guitars, and one 12-string guitar. John’s doing the picture taking, so not in these.
WholeGroup&AudienceJULY2014
Megan&NancyATadult_act_center_July2014
Megan and Nancy (a selection from 1st image)
I took some strawberries to our 84-year-old guitar player, Gerald, in frozen packages for putting on his ice cream. On the way home, we stopped by the store to get sugar, lettuce, pick up my meds, some colas for John, and some chicken to grill.
There was a grass and brush fire today on Manastash Ridge between the River and I-82. It traveled rapidly and burned around the many towers but did not threaten any homes. The winds were 40 mph in the valley that day and probably higher on the ridge. Thankfully, it was contained by the next morning.
manastash-fire-2014July3-air view from south
(From KOMOnews), this aerial view is from the south. We live on the north edge where the yellow dot is. If you look carefully at the yellow dot you can see it is on the alluvial fan (triangular type land form feature), green from water in creeks coming from the hills on the north side of the valley. That’s why we refer to ourselves as being on the Naneum Fan. The distance to the fire is about 20 miles. The green curving arrow points to the Yakima River flowing south through the hills. The orange dot shows the approximate location of the person who took the 2nd photo (From Daily Record).
manastash-fire-2014July3

Friday, July 4

Enjoyed the holiday doing nothing, but John hung our flags at the end of the driveway. Guess, I should take a photo, but currently it is too hot. While there, he put up the poles so the horses could graze under the cherry trees and nearby. The tallest, Cheyenne, sampled the cherries but quickly returned to the lush grass at her feet. It has been about 4 years since the cherries graced these trees and the bird population hasn’t learned of them. A few years ago John put a systemic insecticide on the ground. This is a well known one, and the one we used — Bayer Advanced. It must still be in the soil and/or tree (or all died) and now in the leaves – there are no aphids and no ants with all the mess. Trees and cherries are beautiful, although not especially large – there are many, many, many. Almost ripe and very colorful. While the horses grazed John picked and watered strawberries. Then we sorted and cleaned a few to slice & sugar for eating. Most of my day has been on the computer, but I need to change chores and do some sorting/filing of receipts. I just sent my Independence Day wish for 2014 to my Facebook page, and – here it is for those of you who do not do Facebook.
My happy Fourth of July wish to all, especially my mother’s side of the family. My mom was born in Seattle, WA, Aug 27, 1914, the 3rd child of the Wilkins clan.
To my Wilkins relatives on Facebook: Angie Cameron Wilkins, Sara Wilkins, Wilkins Family Reunion, Cindy Wilkins Hydrick, Lauren Wilkins Beauchamp, Bob Wilkins, D’Ve Wilkins, Michael Wilkins, Remy Wilkins, Anne Redding, Celeta Arden, Kerri McGinty, Mandy Hydrick Hawver, and others who know of my connection to Seattle, through my grandfather (and for some of you, your great grandfather, John Benjamin Wilkins. Please pass this along to other family members you know (not on my list above). I don’t have many family members as my friends on Facebook. I will try sending to through email too to those for whom I have emails.
John Benjamin Wilkins worked as a carpenter in Seattle, WA on this building, and their first 3 children were born there before they returned to Hickory Hill farm outside Guyton, GA.

Note this link below is different from the link I sent to the family in email and posted on Facebook on the Fourth of July. KOMOnews removed that article for some reason. This is the closest match John could find, and it is even more interesting, as the Smith Tower is for sale.
Link to Smith Tower turns 100.
Smith Tower
Smith Tower in 1914 in postcard view above.

John and Susan Sykes (my cousin) went through the Smith Tower when they were back in Seattle, and another cousin’s daughter, Kerri McGinty, heard about it at the reunion, and toured the building while she was in Seattle later, with her husband, John. Did you notice? We have many Johns in our family.

My John went back tonight to take down the flags, and I gave him my camera, because I never made it up to the road. We have a pole (right side of photo) but no cable to the top. Our large flag is tacked to a 1×2 and hangs on that. Flag etiquette will have the stars on blue part (called “the union”) on the observer’s left. Nancy says so too – which makes it so! But John says “the wind knows” – look at the two small flags. Reverse the wind – he doesn’t think he can do that.
July4FrontEntranceFlags
Then, he came back and started grilling our chicken, squash from our garden, along with fresh mushrooms from Costco.
Squash&Mushrooms-on-Grill-JULY2014
July4DinnerOnNanuem
After chicken was grilled over charcoal with apple branches providing their flavor, John grilled the veggies. The yellow squash is the first of the season from our garden. The final plate of food is above.

Thank God, our neighbors were reasonable about the fire danger and high winds, and did not set off fireworks in the tinder-dry conditions. That is a first, but maybe they were aware of the fire yesterday. Yesterday, we also had DNR helicopters with water buckets flying north over us toward Naneum Canyon, but we never heard about that fire’s location and did not see any smoke.

Saturday, July 5

We spent the morning on yard chores, house chores, sorting strawberries, and John picked some of the first nice Bing type cherries, plus a few more strawberries. After noon, we drove around our large rural block to deliver fruit to Krista, Lorene, Allen, Pat, Celia, and Louaine. We gave mostly strawberries to all, with some cherries thrown in to all but a couple of folks. One is getting cherries from their neighbor, and our other neighbors have visitors from the west side; those families are coming over tomorrow to pick from our trees. That saves John the effort. We have plenty, as long as the birds stay away.

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

Summer things

Berry for blog
Sunday, June 22 . . . . . . . {click photos}

Finally, got the blog out at noon today.
John’s made individual smaller packages of bacon for the freezer from a bulk package. It’s good too, and very lean. More like little pieces of ham with a slight fat edge. Then for lunch, we will have BLTs. All done. I assembled them and we very much enjoyed lunch. This afternoon is a hot one, with no wind, however, and the temperatures eventually got to 89, higher than predicted. Today, John’s going to spend his time inside the house on chores (mostly cleaning strawberries). I shall help too. Goes faster that way. He laughed and said he might need to buy another freezer for all the fruit we will have to freeze. Not a bad idea. We probably froze 15 — 8 oz. bags of strawberries today. They will be great throughout the year on ice cream, cereal, or cake. We ate a bunch, also.

Monday, June 23

Much more accomplished with strawberries for the freezer and friends. Gave some away and went to town for a blood draw for the INR test for my heart. It was fine. While there, I visited a little with a friend who had a knee replacement and will have her other, this Friday. As they say, getting old is not for sissies. (She had it and it went well, and while under, they manipulated her previous knee replacement to give her 100° bend angle from a 60°). Then to SAIL exercise class and back home. John has been weeding, picking strawberries, and watering all sorts of things. The onions like wet feet but get grumpy about all the wind.

Tuesday, June 24

Early morning call from sleep center… 11** times/hr I stopped breathing, and the lowest report on the oximeter was 79% oxygen. They want to do a second test with a mask on from the beginning. Appointment call came later in the week, so I’m set to be miserable overnight again the end of August.
**I seem to be between guideline numbers: below 5 is okay apparently but above 5 is a warning zone; above 15 and they would have put a mask on for the rest of the test. We are doing some guessing here, so will have to learn more. An acquaintance had the test done at a different place and the tech came in and fitted a mask about half way through. I did not learn what her numbers were. Another out-of-state friend had 22 and wears a mask now. Good thing that call was early, ‘cause mid-morning we were on our way to Yakima. I went to Dr. Cardon (foot and ankle type) this morning and then, on to Costco, and home to music work-up. And strawberries.

Wednesday, June 25

Today was playing at the Food Bank, where we had Italian food, with scrumptious cheesecake, on to SAIL, delivering a couple packages of strawberries (in return received a plate of a dozen homemade peanut butter cookies, then dropped by CWU to run some music on the Xerox for tomorrow, and took some more strawberries to Marilyn – the soon to be retired secretary. Home to do more chores, and work again on music for the rest of the songs for July & August. Each month we get 5-6 play dates with more on the months with a 5th Thursday.
Surprises arrived in the mail and we are hopeful this celebration reminder is leading to our next Dual Champion Brittany. The color photo was taken of her win at the Woof Stock Puppy Sweepstakes (15-18 months) show. Funny comment from Jeri Conklin, her co-owner (with me) and handler, that she should have removed the bait (snack) from her own mouth before the picture! Bait is used in the ring while showing the dog, to get their attention, lift head, and pose. When I was showing I always used my pockets, or a little container on my hip. Perhaps Jeri’s doggie treats are better tasting than mine.
A ribbon award
This is our year-old female, Cedaridge Kip’s Camelot Shay Tre’, out of our lines. The black and white photo below came out in the American Brittany Magazine, June’s issue, on p 30.
Placements at N CA
Thursday, June 26

By 11:30, I have sorted strawberries John picked this morning — two boxes to take to people in town, and another for us, we need to clean and freeze. Meanwhile, I finished fixing all the music we will need today. Now have to start on the package to take tomorrow at 2:00 to run off more copies for the next two months, adding 8 songs to the 13 we have for the July 3 (for the 4th) performance at the Senior Center.
I played until just before 3:00, drove to a friend’s place and passed off strawberries without hardly stopping, quickly came home (in the rain) to drop off my violin, pick up John, and drive 80 miles for a party that starts at 5:00 in a public market called Pybus, at a restaurant called South (at the north end of the building) serving food of various central and Latin American ethnicities. We ended up sharing an expensive and rather ordinary bland hamburger plate and an expensive burrito plate, unfortunately with meat with too much gristle. Oh well, the company was awesome. It was a going-away party for Brian Frampton (a student of mine in the 1990s, with others there from the same time period that I also had as students, and some other new friends and political folks from the City of Wenatchee, and also from Chelan County, with whom Brian has worked for several years as a planner. He is moving to Federal Way with his family. Tomorrow is his final day.
Nancy with Vivian June 2014
I am above with Vivian (Peterson) Ramsey, my student from the early 1990s at CWU. Three of the people there were my former students and 2 of those had John’s class, and another planned to come, but had to go to a City Council meeting in Wenatchee. It would have been close to a CWU Alumni reunion, as a couple more had been at CWU but not in our classes. The meeting the other friend had to attend was on Wenatchee, WA’s City Council reconsidering the prohibition of marijuana retailers following a lawsuit that was filed after the State of WA voters approved the legalization of marijuana.

Back to the party.
JohnNancyBrianJUNE2014
Above is John, me, and Brian Frampton, the man of honor, who is leaving his planner job at the City of Wenatchee, and moving to Federal Way with his wife, Megan and 7-month old baby, Keylee, because Megan has a new job with the Gates Foundation. Brian was also my student in the 1990s, as well as Amanda Taub, left in the picture below with Susan, a prosecuting attorney in Wenatchee. They are laughing and enjoying one of the many stories told that evening.
We had a fun time, especially meeting all his previous co-workers from Chelan County.
Amanda&SusanJUNE2014

Friday, June 27

Morning, up early working with music to take to school this afternoon to run copies, at a reduced cost. John’s going along to town because I won’t be there long and he can visit with Marilyn, and wish her well, in her retirement. We took her some freshly picked strawberries for her to take home, and I logged onto the department computer outside her office so he could read news on the Internet while we were in the copy room. Afterwards, we went to Grocery Outlet in town for cat food, frozen pizza, lettuce, and ice cream. Four of the cats were outside tonight, ready for their meal. I awoke at 5:00 and got up at 6:00 to start my work. So, by the time 5:00 p.m. came around, I was ready for a nap. I napped for 1.5 hrs, and plan to be in bed a little earlier tonight than the past two. While I was sleeping, John took pictures off his camera of the new Cabot (quite large strawberries). We used a quarter for scale and I took photos on another camera. We ought to have gotten a couple usable ones.
CABOTs with quarter and others
We have a compost pile about 50 feet from the back door and over a 6 ft. fence. Not much edible is there but with all the berries and some damaged but whole ones having been tossed there during the last week – we had a visitor! Thursday, John tossed trimmings into the bin (6 wood pallets making an oval 4 feet high) and a small Skunk was as surprised as was John. It was there again this evening but John checked before getting real close and so did not add to the offerings there. Deliveries to that restaurant have ceased.

Saturday, June 28

I have been cleaning dishes, working on photos for the blog, and talking on the phone. Had a nice long call from Bonnie Clow about seeing the Field Trial report win (above) in the AB magazine, and how happy she was for us to see we had a dog again on the circuit and in the placements. She doesn’t have email, so I will have to print a few of the blogs with Tre’ (Daisy)’s story to catch her up. Bonnie is very interested because she was the owner and breeder of this pup’s grandfather, Black Butte’s Chocolate Dandy, who actually has been living with us for 7 or 8 years. She didn’t realize the connection until I told her. Tre’s grandmother is Cedaridge Legacy of Shay (now 14), and Dan is 12. Both are still with us, and also Cedaridge Vintage Roussanne, (Annie), a sister of the sire, Cedaridge Tri-tip Kip. Kip, is with Sonja Willitts, in S. Lake Tahoe, CA, with another pup from his litter, Tank, Tre’s brother. Keeping it all in the family. Sonja bought her first dog in 1977 from us, while we were in Troy, ID. That dog was out of our Dual Ch. Ramblin’ Chocolate Dandy (note the similarity in names). He’s behind this pup too. Also, behind her is our Dual Ch/Amateur FC/Canadian Ch Sirius Sashay, which explains the background for my choice of Shay Tre’ for a name. She’s the 3rd Shay in our lines.
John just brought me some more strawberries to sort, and when I got them all done, I put away three 2-pound boxed packages in the fridge. Two go to neighbors and one we’ll fix and add to those he is still picking. We’d had a snack for lunch, and I just gave myself another afternoon snack of H.K. Anderson Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets (originally from PA) with a bowl of fresh sugared strawberries. All today’s strawberries are nice but not the very large Cabots as above in the photo. Most of the ones today are medium to large Jewels. Now back working on this blog, with hopes to be done by the time John chases deer away, exercises the dogs, feeds horses and cats, and redirects a couple of hoses. Supper will be a fairly simple salad but with chicken strips fried with mushrooms and a little fajita seasoning.
While John was picking strawberries, Annie was out with him and found hip bones of a deer. She brought this to him and it was dripping wet so it came from in or near the stream. He brought and showed this to me and put it on the patio. She apparently picked it up again, dropped it on the concrete, and it broke. I tried to find the other piece to take a photo. John didn’t find it either so I took a picture of Annie with one side. It would be quite a mouthful. I wish I had a photo of the retrieve. I didn’t get to see it either, but John did. After this evening’s run, Annie came back in and retrieved the missing piece, from her hiding place in the backyard. Now we could get the recreated whole in the picture below on the blue pan.
AnnieWithFoundBone
DeerBonesNEW
Busy day and trying to finish the blog with all sorts of stuff still happening. It’s now suppertime (late), and John is fixing the chicken & mushrooms part of the Caesar Salad without Caesar, but with Blue Cheese dressing instead. I fixed the lettuce, tomatoes, blue cheese, and multi-grain crackers broken up as croutons. We need to make some of those as salad season is now here.

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

Memories, Medical tests, Music, & Miscellaneous

Sunday, June 15 Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day — all you fathers! (that’s a link after the date) Very interesting history John found.
I don’t have many pictures of my dad, because he died when I was in the 9th grade, but you can see from this young military cadet picture where I got my brown eyes. It’s a little lopsided because I took it from a scrapbook in Atlanta, GA while riding around in a relative’s car in 2011. I need a better copy. I received my musical abilities from him too. He played drums and a Cornet. His name was Thomas Harold Brannen.
Nancy's dad as a young man; head and neck; old newspaper look, brownish

I put this on my Facebook page and had 33 likes and a few messages that I’ve reproduced next.
Nancy Thompson Small: What a handsome young man! You favor him (not the man part! LOL)
Nancy B. Hultquist: Thanks, Nancy S.– True. I always was told I looked more like him until after he died and people only knew my mom and said I looked like her. I have his dimple too that doesn’t show in this photo, and his lips, small mouth-closed smile, and his height. He was over 6′. Some of my older cousins, aunts and uncles, will remember him as Uncle T. I grew up being a tomboy, ’cause he taught me to fish, cast into a small circle in a lake in Piedmont Park, crab, throw a baseball, darts, pass a football, climb trees, ladders, and get on the roof to clean pine needles out of the gutters, drive a car, help him fix everything mechanical on it, spell correctly, do math, take good photographs (even if it was a Brownie) and the list goes on for the very short time I had him molding my life. Thanks for the memories.
Sam Scripter: And what were the First and Middle names of this fine man? [I know the last.]
Nancy B. Hultquist: I thought I put that as the last sentence in the intro above: His name was Thomas Harold Brannen. His dad was Thomas Henry Brannen, a Druggist in Atlanta, GA on 4th Street, but they were both Thomas H, and my dad sometimes used a Jr. after his name, T H Brannen.
Sam Scripter: Thanks! Interesting name history.
Bruce Seivertson: Happy Days.
Lee Sechler: Nancy, I see the resemblance.
Nancy B. Hultquist: Thanks, Lee. By the time you and I started bowling together in competitions, I think my dad was gone. I do have great memories of the Junior traveling leagues we were in. I don’t remember the year Broadview Bowlerama opened (in Atlanta), but it was a lot better than the old duckpin lanes in Buckhead, where we learned (and had to set our own pins)! Most people nowadays won’t likely ever have experienced those. Do you remember my middle name is Lee?
Nancy B. Hultquist: Thanks to all my friends who LIKED this conversation — now — someone who uses Facebook more than I do, please tell me if the people who liked my original post will get the rest of the comments (I rather doubt it)…so perhaps I have to write them individually? Thanks for your advice.
Michelle Lee Wittreich: I got all of the messages, and I think everyone on your friend list who got the original message saw them too.
Nancy B. Hultquist: THANKS, Michelle. I’m sure Sam Scripter will be happy hearing from you too. I always am.
I didn’t know that about “likes”. Learn something new each day. Thanks, “teach”, to my former student at the University of Idaho, Cool.
Colleen Post: Love the history…….Love the history with you and I…. Love you!
Nancy B. Hultquist: Thanks, Colleen, and I love you as my sister (as an only child your comment once to that effect you felt like that with me-really hit home), and I will always fondly remember “mom” Marge as my wonderful roommate in the Rehab center where we both were recovering. She’s up there singing with the angels looking down on us.
Most of the day we did strawberries. John picked and I did a lot of cleaning and making ready for the freezer, and then he came in and helped more. It went faster with the two of us working. I worked on videos from the secretary’s (Geog.) retirement celebration. I did a tiny bit of music, getting ready for the 4th of July music, when we play at the Adult Activity Center for the BBQ and Happy Patriotic music on July 3. Today I worked some on America, the Beautiful. Yesterday on There’s a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere.

Monday, June 16

Today was a day for making doctors’ appointments, arranging for such, and doing more cleaning and sorting of movies and photos from Friday. We also had a long phone conversation with John’s sister Peggy in Ohio about relatives, ailments, and the weather. Such things remind John of the Bruce Springsteen song, Glory Days. We had fresh strawberries with dessert tonight. John has one type of everbearing – Quinault – with a 2nd variety just planted this year. Quinault’s have a less firm berry and a lot of small ones. Maybe, like weeds, they have become crowded in their space. We now are picking large-berry Cavendish, Jewel, and Honeoye, with the largest – Cabot – about to start. Our supplier of plants –-Indiana Berry Co. — offers a large berry collection (4 types) for 36¢ per plant. This is the first year for that patch. A different location has a patch of berries put in a few years ago. That is where the Quinaults are and these in the photo.
(click image)

    Cavendish, left; & Jewel, right.

Just picked Strawberries: on left, a bowl-shaped colander; on right a plastic 1 Lb. container
John says this year’s harvest of Strawberries is going to remind me of the Diary of a Snow Shoveler. Cousin Pat, in Pennsylvania, reported feelings of too-much too often a few winters ago.
My appointment scheduling today was with a Pulmonary Specialist to review my history and particularly my CT scan, mentioned in last week’s blog. I cannot get in until July 22, or if there is a cancellation earlier. I feel there is somewhat an urgency with this, if it is likely they will determine that I need to be taken off the medication that may be causing it.

Tuesday, June 17

Just got off the phone with another billing problem for John for our eye exam. Mine was all covered because I had reached my deductible this year, but he hadn’t, so Medicare paid $24, and Group Health paid nothing. Of the bill, $44 was charged for refraction, that is, doing the measurements to get lenses. He did not have them do that as his glasses are fine. He was charged $7.68 for an Obama Care tax, only they called it Medicare and Commercial Services. It all was readjusted, and I paid the final bill $153.15 for John’s.
Saddest thing of the day was spending from 11:05 until after 4:00 working on getting the backup of my laptop onto my new Seagate Terabyte drive, only to have it fail. Working with backup computer on new Seagate drive, and sitting on the phone waiting for the IRS to answer, supposedly within 10 minutes (after spending 5 minutes + going through telephone tabs). Been working on other email necessities. Everything takes time. Finally, with another fail, I have started backing up things by selected folder and that, in fact, is likely a good idea as I don’t need half the stuff backed up anyway.
John is out picking more strawberries. I will get to work with those. I did about a pound, but he joined me for another couple/three pounds, and then he did more after I left to play music at Royal Vista tonight. Wind was really whipping during the hour + that I was gone. Gusts to 44mph. The car rocks when it’s blowing that hard. John says the trees look angry!

Wednesday, June 18

Tomorrow evening is when I go to the overnight sleep test. Meanwhile, I have to leave about 1:00 for music, and I am only expecting 2 others to be there. It may be slim pickin’s. One guy just called from Cashmere, WA, enjoying a Bluegrass festival. Our winds are still blowing. I have been working on bills today, washing clothes to get packed for tomorrow’s event, and otherwise doing e-mail, arranging appointments, and other fun things. Never a dull moment. John cleaned the burner we accidentally coated with plastic several days ago. A white plastic food wrapper was stuck to the bottom of a cast iron skillet, and we didn’t notice until it started smoking. There were no flames but it melted nicely. I did not go for my normal Wednesday activities because my banjo buddy who goes along to the Food Bank had a conference, so I used the time to get ready for my sleep in Yakima trip.

Thursday, June 19

John will go to town with me today to the grocery store, while I play music. I leave for Yakima at about 7:15. John needed to pick up my Metoprolol meds today and some blue cheese dressing. He forgot the dressing, but I needed some of the pills to finish my week’s supply of pills, so I opened the bottle that was supposed to be a 3-month supply, and it seemed quite small, so I counted. There was only a one-month supply with 30 full size pills and 30 half-size pills. (I must take 1.5/day). I called right away and told the pharmacist, who set aside 90 more pills for me to pick up next week. Good thing I was on top of it the same day we picked it up. It might not have been as easy a week later.
We had a large audience turnout at Dry Creek Center today, and 6 players. I was surprised by two of them, not expecting them to be there. Many were missing because of being out of town, or otherwise occupied with conflicting events.
We will be eating early tonight and then I’ll head to my sleep test. John’s fixing a ham stir-fry for dinner, and I just found out I can go to Costco for gas on my way home for 11 cents/gal less than in Ellensburg, and they open at 6:00 a.m. Nice. I think I will try to start my sleep at 10:30 or a little before, and hope I can get in 7 hrs before the wake-up at 5:30. I did not get to start until after 11:00 p.m.
My trip down was not uneventful. No problem on the Interstate, but once there, I went to the 40th Avenue exit off the Naches Highway. I was going to access Tieton Drive (road the Yakima Memorial Hospital is on), from the north a few blocks, and save riding on the bumpy other access road to the south (16th Avenue). Various construction projects had the roads blocked and I had to drive around unfamiliar neighborhoods for 15 minutes looking for a way to the Hospital. At the first blockage, I was forced to turn left onto a detour not well marked. I turned south figuring it would take me back to the vicinity of where I wanted to be. Instead, I ended up on Englewood, which should be renamed Anglewood, because it took off in the wrong direction, on a diagonal. I managed to cross 40th again to the west, and stopped 2 women walkers. They guided me around and back to near Tieton, but once I got close, that access road was closed. When I finally got to cross Tieton, uphill from the hospital, it also was closed. What’s a person to do? I stopped 2 more families while trying to get there. The 2nd couple (runners) got me back toward the hospital. Once close, I crossed Tieton, now headed north, and was stymied again, when I got on another closed street heading east, and I stopped another family walking their dog, and finally got advised to go down to 26th street. That was the closest I could get to the hospital, (which is between 29th and 30th), so I went around the Road Closed sign and between orange cones, and made my way to the first hospital entrance, passed on to 30th, to the West Pavilion. I figured if a cop stopped me I would tell him to put on his flashing lights and drive me to the hospital as I was now 15 minutes late for my check-in time for overnight. I got in without further imposition. Another patient (there were 4 of us there last night), had reported to the technician the same problem, so she wasn’t surprised I was late.
My blood pressure at arrival was higher than usual, so we waited until later, and it had decreased significantly. Even surprised the tech. It was down to 104/59, from 146/76. I will review the procedure set up and occurrence tomorrow, so keep reading.

Friday, June 20
Morning came too early without enough restful sleep. I was awakened at 5:30, but not before being awakened at 1:30 and then 3:30. Thankfully, the awakening was not for installation of a CPAP mask, but for an adjustment to my head’s raised position to try to make me flatter (for better respiratory sensing). I was in an adjustable hospital bed, for head and feet. I am used to sleeping on my back in a raised position, with two pillows. So, when I was flattened out, I couldn’t get back to sleep, because I was very uncomfortable and hurting. Finally, my wish was fulfilled when my head was again raised by the technician. Apparently, they got a verification of the respiratory data they needed in the time period I was so miserable.
No CPAP mask was used in my testing. Actually, before being wired for the test (discussed below), I had to be fitted for one (with a choice of two different types). I received a nice demo of each from my technician. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a ventilation device that blows a gentle stream of air into the nose during sleep to keep the airway open. During my testing examination, I would only have one placed on my head, if my test results “qualified me” for apnea or hypopnea. They planned to awake me to put it on. Hypopnea is defined as shallow slow breathing–breathing that is usually shallow and slow—and is distinctly different from apnea in which there is no breathing. The next set-up (after my blood pressure reading), was to wire me for measuring various things they were interested in. I wish I had thought to ask the total number of electrodes hooked into me. I had a portable unit so I could get up (after being unplugged from the wall), to go to the bathroom or walk around the room.
The wiring up procedure was interesting. I had surface electrodes on my face and scalp, legs, and on my chest, and other places that send electrical signals to the measuring equipment. I was down the hall and around another hallway, from the control room. My technician had two patients and was viewing both of us all night, and our readouts (graphs, much like an EKG).
Another technician was there with 2 other patients. They had infrared cameras on us and a sensitive intercom allowed us to communicate easily.
The signals sent through the electrodes to the machine room are created by my brain and muscle activity, and recorded into a digital format. More below, but things such as eye movement, brain waves, and muscles are monitored, including the heart muscle.
At setup and before take down, I had to do a number of movements that I imagine was for checking the equipment’s receiving the digital signals. One of my electrodes had to be reseated on my head. Those were the most uncomfortable to “install” (taking alcohol and some horrible goop, which adhered to my hair long after the test was over).
The kind of movements I had to initialize were eyes, back and forth, left to right, up and down, wiggle my left foot, then my right. Inhale and hold my breath. Inhale, hold my breath, and move my stomach in and out. Grind my teeth. Snore, which I don’t do, and didn’t know how to replicate, so I was asked to clear my throat. I don’t remember any others, but there may have been. Belts were placed around my chest and abdomen to measure breathing.
An EEG (electroencephalogram) measured my brain wave activity.
An EMG (electromyogram) recorded muscle activity such as face twitches, teeth grinding, and leg movements, and to determine the presence of REM stage sleep. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. During REM sleep, intense dreams might occur as the brain undergoes heightened activity. I had no dreams, and if I had, the technician would have awakened me and asked what I just dreamed.
An EOG (electro-oculogram) records eye movements. These movements are important in determining the different sleep stages, particularly the REM stage sleep.
An ECG (electrocardiogram) records my heart rate and rhythm.
A nasal airflow sensor records airflow.
A snore microphone records snoring activity. My tech showed me all these devices and explained what they monitored.
The last thing put on me was an oximeter on my finger to measure the amount of oxygen in my blood. I knew that well from stays in the hospital and even which finger I preferred.
I had a good cheerful and informative technician, which helped. I was even tagged with the plastic wrist ID from Yakima Memorial Hospital.
A black & white bracelet with doctors names and Memorial Hosp +Nancy's name and id numbers
I have heard horror stories about technicians other people had for their tests. Mine was very helpful, compassionate, and had been through all the tests as part of her training, learned in on-the-job experiences right there, but had to pass a state test to qualify as a somnographer. She just tells people she is a sleep technician. She’s a local kid having been raised in Selah. Yes, I interview all my caregivers when I’m in the hospital. I like to know as much about them as they are allowed to tell. I got a lot of practice 4 years ago. Below is my photo she took of me the morning after my test. I took hers too. Her name is Trudy (as you can see on the wall chart).
Nancy in white sleeping attire with a dozen wires attached to face and skull

The sleep tech holding the wires to be attached to Nancy
I should have thought to take a photo the next day to show my better clean hairdo.
Boy, what an experience. It was very tiring.
I bought gasoline before leaving town at Costco for $3.739/gal, — currently, $3.849 in Ellensburg — saving me $1.30. I got home, did a few things, and went to bed at 10:00 a.m. Slept hard until noon.
Then John fixed a great lunch, ham, fried potatoes with eggs over easy, and fresh strawberries he picked this morning. Now I have to make time to clean 4 plastic pound containers worth. A welcome-home treat because of the truly lousy breakfast given to me at the end of my test. A plastic-wrapped Danish pastry, a cup of coffee with dry creamer, orange juice (ok), and strawberry yogurt (the best part of the meal). I’m glad I had nothing else on tap today. I’ll be ready to play music tomorrow at Briarwood. I think.
I had an amazing amount of goop left in my hair from the electrodes hooked up to me. The room had a nice shower but the soap was totally lousy for cleaning. It was in a dispenser as a body soap, and difficult to get much of to spread on a washcloth to rub my head and hair. I should have taken my own shampoo. I still have two globs of goop in my hair after washing thoroughly with hot water. I couldn’t get rid of it until I was home and had John’s help with a hand held sprayer in our kitchen sink with me first scrubbing my scalp and hair with fingers of both hands using a heavy-duty cleaning shampoo.
I think it will be at least 2 weeks, before I can return to learn the results. I don’t remember being scheduled for it after my first appt (when it was made). Maybe they wait to see that you complete it first. The technician seemed to think I should have been previously scheduled. On my way home from Yakima, today, I called and left a voicemail message for the woman I had been going through, but she never returned my call. I did ask Trudy the tech, before I left the center, if she had gathered enough data so that I did not have to return for another test. She had. That was good news. Also knowing I am not a candidate for the mask makes me happy.

Saturday, June 21

Been cleaning kitchen sink and counters while John picks strawberries. I’m going to select some nice ones for a small basket and take them to the place we are playing music today. I did and also took photos off my camera for this week’s blog. We had a small lunch. We got ready to leave about 1:12 and picked up our neighbor Lorene, who went with us to the music and food at Briarwood Commons (a retirement community of apartments). They treat us once a month to a great meal, and sing along with us to all the old songs (we give them a songbook of lyrics).
For the main dish, one of the residents ordered chicken potpie soup from the Dakota Cafe’ and it was delivered to the place by them. It was quite good. All things you would expect were included: chicken, peas, carrots, and crust chunked up in a nice base. Boy was it ever good. There was a crock pot of bbq beans. Desserts included chocolate chip cookies, snicker doodles, some sort of apple pastry with a thin layered crust, and some other cake-like stuff. There were also hot rolls and butter, crackers with a neat dip, and chips. We won’t need supper. Our strawberries were a huge hit.

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

1st day of summer … ?

Nancy is resting, still, from her big sleep test. So, . . .(from John):

Today is being reported as the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of winter in the Southern Hemisphere. This is the “astronomical summer” as defined by the geometry of sun rays relative to the tilted Earth.
An explanation is here.
Meteorologists use a different definition of the “Summer Season” based on the months of warmest temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere. Thus, summer is defined as June/July/August, making the first day of summer June 1st. This “feels” right and is the way many people and some countries view things. In the US, the summer season is perceived to start with Memorial Day. This year that was on May 26.
[Note the date of that web page – June 21, 2013. In addition to missing IRS hard drives our government seems to be missing a year!]
The diagram on the NOAA site is not meant to show the correct sizes of Sun and Earth. The image below does. Earth and Sun sizes are about right but the distance between is not correct. (Click the photo for the full size.)
Earth (size of a pin head) beside the basketball sized Sun.
For current information about what the Sun is up to you can check Space Weather .com.

When sunny Nancy gets around to finishing the weekly report, I’ll see about getting it posted. Maybe Sunday – Noonish.

Best,
John