Hot and dry & clocks

There has been several days with temperature near 100°F, no rain, and not much wind. I have done outside things about 4 hours a day. Only watering a few plants (onions, plum and walnut trees, raspberry bushes) is critical. Sifting rocks from dirt is a “fill-in” chore that may never be finished.
Earlier, wind battered the onions and blew blossoms from cherry trees. Only a handful of cherries survived but I’ll have lots of onions, although not as big as they should be. The damaged leaves don’t have the nutrients as they should.

Independence Day came and went without a lot of fire activity. The few fires that started were aggressively and quickly put out. Because most are ignited by people they are quickly reported and responders are not far away. So far, lightning storms have not caused multiple fires in remote locations.
The U. S. has only 30% (acres) of the 10-year average burned area. Meanwhile since May, the U. S. has sent almost 1,500 folks to Canada to help with the many fires there.

Forced to being inside, I cleaned a little and cooked (stew for freezer). I unloaded the old music box on Kathy. She and Francisco came to the area-neighbor to pick up the horse they brought for breeding a few weeks ago.
She didn’t want clocks. I have two, as shown in the photos.
This one my father acquired and cleaned up. He had to make a new wood piece (one of the curved pieces) and refinish the case. The mechanism uses springs. As far as I remember it was not a family thing and I know not from whence it came.
The next clock was in the family. My father wrote a note saying it was owned by my great-grandfather Nels Anderson. He was the father of my grandmother Emily Hultquist.
Emily would have been my great-grandmother. When my father acquired this, I’ve no idea. There are two possibilities. It may have been tucked away in the Clarion house and I never knew, or it may have been with my Uncle John. Father moved into a trailer court, in Florida, after my mother died. Brother Dick sent it and some other things to me when he cleaned out father’s possessions.
This clock has been altered by someone – likely not my father, because he would not have done the things. The wood case looks nice.
I think it originally had a mechanism run by weights. There are small rollers at the top on both sides, not now used. There is a complicated mechanism inside that seems original but simply held in-place by a clamp.

The mechanism appears to be brass and on the edge near the right side top there is a shiny (aluminum) piece. That’s not original. The bottom half of the door is a mirror (see me taking the picture) on the outside, while the inside is ancient particle board (?). It appears to be gouged out so the door will close. Why? My guess is the mechanism is not in its proper seating.
Now for the sad: A General Electric clock is behind the original face. That is the small white circle in the middle. A cord comes down from behind the face and out through a hole in the back. I would have to take some of this apart to learn more. This I do not want to do. I think the alterations make the whole piece next-to-worthless, although the case could be used.

I still have a few other worthy things I need to re-home but guess only the first of the clocks would be of interest to anyone.

Two odd items:
– A letter from the bank informed me a hacking had occurred at a third party business that handles data processing for many banks. They suggested that I spend a few hours trying to protect identity and so on. I have procrastinated. I guess I should stop in and ask the locals.
– A letter from the pharmacy where I get flu and Covid shots arrived. That informed me an “incident” occurred that made Covid shots suspect (useless) from last December until May. I got a Covid shot in early November so I guess I need not worry about that. There has been so much wrong with the whole Covid experience, I likely would not have responded to this item either.
Procrastination seems to be a time-saving life technique of great value as one ages.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Garden news and gas price

Washington State is Number One.
That’s the case for the price of gasoline. What put the State in the lead? Tax at the pump was increased a few years ago. Roads need fix’en. True.

Mid-grade gas in Washington state is averaging $5.199 a gallon, premium is averaging $5.400 and diesel is averaging $4.952, according to AAA.

The thing that catapulted WA into 1st Place is the Climate Commitment Act that went into effect in January. Companies that emit CO2 gasses are charged a carbon offset fee based on how much CO2 emissions they produce. The more emissions, the higher the fee. Technically this is not a tax. Washington political types hate the word tax. It is not added at the pump. This “fee” seeps through into everything, but especially to gasoline.
Because it is new the amount it adds to the price of gasoline is unclear. It can only be an estimate. Those estimates vary from 46¢ per gallon to 66¢.

Tax for any state can be found at the AAA ‘url’ under the map.
Summer — and plants need water. Over the years this has become problematic. Technically this land has a water right. However, the water has to be diverted from the creek and flow across property of others. Some years are better than others. And over the years the little ditch gets overgrown and silted up.
Going back 100 years, it was the custom for folks to clean the ditches each spring. In recent years there have been fewer “men & boys” to get the job done. Also, the State has made it difficult to clear barriers in the streams. In the local case, the streams have partially filled in and redirected as Nature sees fit. Half the water that once came past the diversion for me and several others now makes a new loop and drops the water lower down – past – the out-take.
This year the stream carried enough water for about 3 weeks as fast melt of snow swelled the runoff. I watered some things.
Now I have plum and walnut trees and onions. I use the well water, about 30 gallons morning and evening. The well is not sufficient for lots of lawn or garden watering. I don’t try.
A storm this week provided about 120 gallons in barrels from the roof.
The temperature today at the airport was 93°F. In the bright sun it feels a lot warmer. This pattern is set to continue. Independence Day is expected to be 86, Thursday 91.
The onions take the sun and the heat fine, with water.
Wind is hard on them. This week the gusts began on Thursday afternoon, with the highest being 31 mph. The forcast for the region is for the wind to decrease Saturday night. Good.
Long day sweet and storage onion varieties do well in the northern states that have between 14-16 hours of daylight length. Onion bulb formation (aka ‘bulbing’) begins when a certain day length is reached. Short-day onion varieties begin to form bulbs when they receive 10 to 12 hours of daylight, intermediate-day onions need 12 to 14 hours of daylight, and long-day varieties require 14 or more hours of daylight.

Bulb size is largely determined by the number and size of the leaves at bulb initiation. The larger the tops (foliage area) at bulb initiation, the larger the bulbs will be.
Here day length reaches 14 hours on April 23rd. On June 17 we get 15:53 hr/min. It stays about there until mid-July when daylight will be decreasing about 2 minutes per day.
The decrease in daylight triggers the onions to “bulb” – the nutrients go from the leaves to the bulb, it gets larger and the leaves lose stiffness and yellow, then the erect foliage falls over. Harvest follows.

The oldest son of my oldest brother (and son’s wife) are visiting my sister in Parma Ohio. We had a phone conversation, mostly about the early days of my mother and father – his grandparents – and others of that time, the 1920s into the ’40s. Some stuff we know, some we can suss out, and conjecture fills the knowledge voids. Oh well.
Thanks Peggy, Rod, and Gail.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Summer begins

I started the week with carrying a check from Vanguard Mutual Funds to the CWU Foundation – that on Tuesday. I ended with getting a shipment of stainless steel Pétanque boules from a place in Hickory, NC. The final third of the Hickory wood flooring came and is under cover on the deck. Coincidence? I think not.
Small deer with white spots were here one day. I didn’t have my camera.

The last 3 days had high temperatures of 81, 84, and 88°F. Lows have all been in the low 50s. That’s of interest because tomatoes need nighttime temperatures above 55 to set fruit. I’m glad I didn’t plant any this year.
Besides the wind has been strong for weeks. Even the onions have a difficult time standing up.

Local wind turbine facilities pumped out a lot of energy until around Noon on Monday and then dropped to near Zero on the 21st.

Washington State has one nuclear facility. It is shut down for a few weeks in the spring every 2 years. The plant was off line for about 44 days, nine days longer than planned. During the outage just completed, 248 of 764 nuclear fuel assemblies in the plant’s reactor core were replaced with fresh fuel. This was the 26th shutdown and refueling since beginning in 1984.
On the graph above, note on the left-bottom a small purple arrow. That points to the time when the facility was “turned back on.” Follow the purple line to the right (this past week) and note that it steps-up rather than coming on all at once. Once it is up and tested, it may produce electricity at the same rate for 2 years until the next scheduled refueling.
[The brown line represents about 50 smallish facilities that burn waste of several types.]

We bottled Cabernet Sauvignon at White Heron on Thursday. I think there were 225 cases X 12 = 2,700 bottles. That is an estimate, ’cause I didn’t count. Afterwards we had wine with lunch.
Phyllis came down for lunch. This Monday she will have a second knee replacement surgery. The first one, almost 3 months ago, healed well and feels better than the one to be done. Good news, but she will be in the process of healing and physical therapy for the next three months. She will mostly miss harvest, except for watching from a recliner. Grapes a still green and hard.

I’ve watered onions twice this week and sifted and moved dirt around. Parts for the chainsaw came but I haven’t put them in. So, no cutting this past 2 weeks. I have split and stored about 97% of the dry rounds.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Wind and drying

Exciting news this week – –
(1) I got a haircut. My barber is a nice young lady with one arm covered with a roses and other flowers tattoo. She is also about to have her first child – – a girl. Last haircut time it wasn’t apparent, but now there is no doubt. There is some doubt about whether or not she will return. There is just one other barber there, unless a new one is hired. Oh well.

(2) I bought an electric sander at the “Milwaukee Day” event at a local hardware and lumber yard. If one buys something, a free lunch – fancy hot dog – is provided.
This was not on sale. Last year I got a kit on sale with a drill and an impact-driver. My plan is to remove the blue paint on the kitchen cabinets. The wood under the blue is quite pretty. Why a previous owner covered it it a mystery. I’ll likely repaint it with a “Light Khaki” (Benjamin Moore style). Likewise the interior of drawers and cabinets. Now those are very dark brown. Whatever. I now have the sander and sandpaper.

Penstemon flowered this week. I don’t have very many and mine are a little bluer than this one – an eastern type. (from Lauren’s Garden).

The Lauren’s Garden site has many nice photos.

There is interesting information and a photo for my region, here:

Mentioned is Peshastin Pinnacles State Park near Cashmere. This is 30 miles north of me.

Meanwhile, the local vegetation is drying – getting ready for the fire season. I’ve started to mow. The first area is the strip between the county road and my fence line. That is a potential ignition source because of the curve and the occasional vehicle leaving the road. Such events are rare, but have happened 5 or 6 times since we bought the property in 1989.

The cool June weather has slowed the drying of the region. This is likely to continue into early July. Only Monday June 26th is forecast to be above 80°F. This weekend, snow is forecast for the mountains 70 miles west of me, above 5,000 feet, maybe lower. So far, it just looks cloudy. These from a air flow directly west-to-east coming up and over the mountains.
While less than last week, winds are still gusting to about 40 mph. The onions are not happy.

Exciting week. Right?

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Eating requires activity

I went to a Monday evening dinner at the university. The event was meant to honor both the students that got awards and donors. One of the folks at my table {Dorian} got an award (in Nancy and my name) last May (2022). Three other impressive young women sat with us, as did the Dean of the College of the Sciences – Tim Englund. It was fun hearing their stories. The big-shots from the Foundation stopped by our table to chat.
Tags had only the person’s name, so I don’t think the graduates knew Tim was a dean. Dorian would learn that today when he meets her on stage and shakes her hand. I’ll remember to ask. The others were from colleges other than “sciences.”

Ann and Fred met me at the Red Horse Diner. The theme is the 1950s era of gasoline and motor oils. A tiny bit of this shows in the photo below.

These are friends we met the University of Iowa – 50 years ago. They visit the west every summer from Marquette, MI, having relatives and friends spread from Puget Sound to western Montana. His step-mother’s 90th birthday was today.
We spent 3 hours at the diner and then they took I-90 east toward Idaho.

Walter, remodeling contractor, stopped by this week to double check the things yet to be done here. He had not been out since water from the burst hose saturated the carpet. He thinks they will be working here week after this. The rest of the wood flouring should be here by then, although we don’t need it to get busy. Talking to Walter and others it is clear that supply issues and workers are still problems for the building trades.

I water plants as necessary and, in other moments I work on the future firewood supply. Thursday and Friday were cold with drizzle. I used the wood stove and will again tonight. It will be warmer by Monday.
New blossoms this week – Elderberry (web photo).
Next week – Philadelphus lewisii, locally called (Lewis’) Mock-orange after explorer Meriwether Lewis.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


stomach distress

The CWU retirement association had a dinner meeting Thursday evening. Here is a partial menu.

There were roasted vegetables and a peach cobbler with crisp oats. One assumes there were spices in those, also.
It may have been coincidence and something else caused stomach distress but I missed about 4 hours of sleep. Finally, about 4 am sleep came for about 3 hours.
I checked the various things I could but found nothing in the food that I expected to cause indigestion. I’ve suggested the hypothesis that there was just too much of spices that I usually do not eat.
I had to look up Chimichurri. It is made of finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano and red wine vinegar or lemon juice – some recipes have more.
Anyway, none of the things normally, in moderation, bother me.
Oh well, moving on.
There is a another dinner Monday evening at the same place with food from the same kitchen. Looking forward to it.

At the Thursday dinner the President of CWU spoke for a few minuted (10 or 15) about enrollments and changes in student characteristics. I am about 20 years older so the changes I have seen since entering college (1961) have been even more substantial. One of the biggest changes is that the majority of college students, including advanced degrees, are female. There are increasing numbers of students not born, or recently born, in the USA. Many students are “first-in-family” because the parents came from poor areas of less developed countries.
These students work hard at learning and are winning awards. That’s where I enter the picture – providing $$ for scholarship awards.
The Monday evening event is the university-wide 2023 Annual Scholarship Dinner. I’ll learn more.

Saturday I went for dinner at White Heron with Phyllis, Cameron, and another volunteer – Eric. After that we went to another winery friend’s place and played a game of throwing steel balls.
Pétanque (French pronunciation: [petɑ̃k] is a sport that falls into the category of boules sports, along with raffa, bocce, boule lyonnaise, lawn bowls, and crown green bowling. In all of these sports, players or teams play their boules/balls towards a target ball. More on Wikipedia.

This page explains the two games: Bocce and Pétanque

What is the Difference between Petanque vs. Bocce Ball?

Get yours here:

We played with 6 people – 4 spoke excellent French. To me, they all spoke a variety of English that matched quite well with my American.

Bright and sunny today with a high of 81°F.
During the coming week I may get to 88, while 100 miles south of me it may get to the “century” mark, but likely not quite.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Red Osier Dogwood

May is the month when the low spots on the property get swampy and one of the plants that hangs out here is Red Osier Dogwood. This is the sericea type.

This is my view in late May – it is common here.
The best photos and information I have found:

Note the name used is Red Twig. This site shows the plant throughout the year, with colors and fruit, Recommended.

I’m working along the edge of the swamp (riparian area), clearing the fuel and plants I do not want under a large Ponderosa Pine. Clearing the “ladder-fuel” away may save it should a fire come through.
Some, the Quaking aspens, get big enough for fire wood. These are about 6 inches across and some show heartwood damage by ants and other critters.
Others, such as roses, look nice when blooming but never get big; lots of sharp prickles are the main feature. The Hawthorn is another (small tree with big thorns) I like to remove. The wood is hard, but to harvest it for firewood is a pain – literally. There is Golden Current in the mix and those I leave.

On Wednesday I went to the CWU picnic and awards “end of school” party and on Thursday to “Ales & Trails” gathering sponsored by Washington Trails Association at the local Iron Horse Brewery. The former was free and I came home with food. At the brewery I paid $5.40 for a 10 ounce dark beer. I didn’t ask what the 16 ounce one cost.

This is memorial day weekend. I’ll put the flag out by the county road and otherwise continue my leisurely brushing.

Thunderstorms continued to rumble across the high hills to my north. None came close today. Today seems to be the end of this several day turbulence in the atmosphere over Washington State.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Helicopters and storms

Wednesday the WA State fire crews had a training day. I got photos as the helicopters carried water north and empty buckets south. The return-leg was closer to me and the trailing empty bucket was closer.

Many things, both wild and domestic, are blooming this week. I’ve a purple lilac that looks nice. The pines are showing blossoms and each has its own character and color. I have a Western Mountain Ash with its clusters of white flowers. The fruits will be orange/red and bitter. Those hang on the tree through most of the next winter. Then, after multiple freezes and thaws, they will soften and birds will readily eat them. Meanwhile, that tree hums from the many bees visiting it.

I attended a lunch in CWU’s Jongeward Building on Friday. The building has a square atrium (glass walls) in the center with the lunch room adjacent. There is a single large Magnolia tree in the space, leaning out from a corner. The building was built in the early 1970s. I can’t find whether or not the building was built around the tree or whether the building-name and tree follow from the University’s head gardener, Donald Jongeward, hired in 1937. The blossoms have all dropped so this wasn’t a picture-taking event.

Weather this week in Oregon and Washington has been turbulent in the early evenings. Solar energy heats the land and as the air rises above, it cools rapidly and clouds form. Sometimes big clouds with lightening and thunder. Usually these go to my west and follow the ridge tops toward the northeast.
Yesterday, the storm came over me. A late afternoon (5:16 pm) image shows the early development.

I’m the red star, with Moses Lake to the east and Mt. Rainier to the west. The red line is the Washington-Oregon border. Individual white clouds are west and south of me. The massive cloud to the south is moving north and by 8:15 pm my area was getting heavy rain, lightening, and thunder. Just one flash and the sound came almost simultaneously. The action moved north and east quickly. As did the rain.
Over at the winery (23 miles east), Phyllis and Cameron had a great view as the storm crossed the ridges – elevations there are 4,000 to 6,000 feet.

At 3:00pm this afternoon (Saturday) the clouds are growing over the Cascades and the near-by ridges, although I’m in full sun.

The action is to the west of me, heading to the northeast. More rain would be nice.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan


Hydrophyllum capitatum

I found a flower while gather firewood. It was nestled under an Oregon Grape plant.

I did an image search on the Web and was directed to a flower called Silky Phacelia. Try as I might, I could not find a variety of this that matched the flower I have.
I wrote to folks at the College of the Sciences – I mentioned last week about a dinner where top students and a few others were recognized. I sent a note to Dean Tim and James (my contact for donations) and asked for help. Within hours my flower was identified by Linda Raubeson, CWU Biology Department. Thank you Linda and those others who helped.
Linda suggested Hydrophyllum capitatum and the Wikipedia page has a photo from the Wenas Wildlife Area southwest of Ellensburg, namely var. capitatum. [I was in that wildlife area on Tuesday, Nov. 9th 2021 to plant sagebrush plugs where the Evans Canyon fire burned in 2020.] Parts of the area (Jones Canyon) are the same elevation as my place is on the Naneum Fan (2,240 ft) and 660 feet higher than the CWU campus.

Two things are a bit confusing. From an historic identification — a common name for these plants is Ballhead Waterleaf. The “ball” part fits, but not “water” – I’m dry and rocky. That is explained here:

I had to clear some of the other plants and brush to get a photo of the flower and the leaf, on separate stems. Here it is:

Other flower news: Vine pruner Mark sent a packet of Hollyhock seeds from Moses Lake, a town along I-90 that is 55 miles east of Ellensburg. Sent on Friday, the packet arrived a week later. Why? Only the USPS knows.
I planted them this morning – Saturday. Thanks Mark.

I spent a couple of hours cleaning up the branches from the tree removal over at the old Swedberg home. What I didn’t want as kindling, I carried to a burn pile for Dale and Kathy to care for when they next come down. I’ve cut about half of what I took into pieces for the stove, and stored them under cover – for next winter.

I’ve continued with wood gathering here and sprayed weed-killer on the anti-fire path that goes behind the house. This is part of my Fire-Wise actions.

I’ve got trees down, some cut as rounds, some not. There is lots of clean-up to do but I will have enough firewood for the ’23-24 winter.
What I cut down this week will be for the season after that.

Having warmed this week, I’ve let the stove cool. It kept the house warm from early November to early May.

The National Weather Service thinks it will be 88°F next Saturday with almost 100° just one hundred miles south of here.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan

John H.

Wed-summer Sat-fall

Pruning ended on Wednesday in full sun and 85°F. By 3:00 pm it felt like 100, but we kept at it until 3:30.
The vines were growing with buds and full leaves. Cameron called his pickers – the clan of Angelica – and four folks came and helped finish two or three acres. They did the “head-pruned” vines. These have no posts, wires, or trellises – are low to the ground and require being on your knees or fully bent over. Not fun. On Wednesday we had 8 folks in the east facing Pinot Noir vines.
In previous years, vineyard son Dylan would do all of this section but now he is in Seattle’s Pike Place Market 3 days each week. We quit Wednesday with just 4 rows left., we volunteers opted to let the locals do those. Three of us volunteers live about an hour’s drive away. So we are done.
I think there are 2 varieties to bottle in the next six weeks – no schedule yet. Also, there will be a vine-fired raclette. I cannot find a photo from the web that shows the real vineyard type raclette. This one is from January 2018 showing the fire, cheese, and potatoes. The square block of cheese is on a post that allows it to be swiveled over the fire for heating and then off the fire when being scraped onto the potatoes.

This event follows the tradition of melting raclette-type cheese in front of a fire, know in Valais since before 1574. It was a common lunch for the pruners and cow herders of mountainous Alpine regions.

It took me 48 hours to recover from the summer-like day on Wednesday.

I went to a College of the Science dinner on Thursday. It was mostly an event to highlight each department’s top students, a few of the faculty, and three donors that were present. I was there and got a brief mention. The accomplishments of the students – a diverse group – is astounding. I do not think I’ve encountered any thing similar at the other institutions where we were. The Geography Department’s end-of-year celebration and student awards is scheduled for May 24th. Nancy’s funds – vie me now – will give four students $1,000 each. I’m not involved in the choice and will learn of those and other awards that evening.

Weather: After our day of summer the area is having a cold wave. High today is expected to be 58°. This coming Wednesday is expected to get above 60. My Shiro Plum is in full blossom. The flowers are white but the round fruits will be bright yellow.
I’m hoping the pollinators will have good weather to do their thing.

Keeping Track
on the Naneum Fan