This week’s lesson is the word Irony

The Food Stamp Program, administered by the US Dept. of Agriculture is proud to be distributing the greatest number of free meals and food stamps ever – to 46 million people.

Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the US Dept. of Interior, tells us “Please Do Not Feed the Animals.” Their stated reason for the policy is because “the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.”

There will be a quiz at the end of the year.

Below is a photo with a caption from a famous song.
Lyrics by Don McLean:
So bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee
But the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye

The question is: Had you been asked to provide a caption to the photo – what would you have come up with?

On the home front, I got a haircut. This was about 3 weeks late because of the holidays, so I was somewhat shaggy. The 3rd week in March needs an alarm.

Except for fog, the weather is uneventful.

Keeping Track, on the
Naneum Fan

John H.

NEXT POST: late Sunday 22nd

2023 begins calmly on the Fan

This, being the week of my birthday, was an uneventful week for me, unlike for many other people and places.
I slept, ate, fed cats, watched wood burn, and read.
My sister said New Years was a time to eat pork and ice cream – I think that is what she said. So, I baked & braised spare ribs and the ice cream was a Bordeaux Cherry. [Marketing hype: the cherries are Bing from Oregon] I’m surprised the “Bordeaux” name is allowed, especially in Oregon. I think she made the eating ice cream part up.

The web is full of interesting pictures. What impresses me are the captions folks think to put with them. These things appear with no attribution – who to thank? Oh well, here are two:

The current forecast of weather for the coming week looks like this:

I may need to find a new book to read.

Keeping track on the
Naneum Fan


Last post for that wonderful year 2022

This past week brought more snow, and then Allen came and pulled it out into the pasture. The rear-blade equipment on a tractor causes the issue of getting the snow out of the way. This time he tried pushing going in reverse and the blade went up and over the pile. We had to do a little digging to break that up. The tractor is not 4 wheel drive. The problem was easily solved – about 5 minutes of work and talk.

Wednesday I visited with a couple of university folks and signed a paper documenting a future donation. This just alerts them of the possibility. We met near a food court in the Student Union and Recreation Center, know as the SURC. The cost of items in the food court are about 2 ½ times what I have paid for the same thing in a grocery store. Being a student is a costly affair.

After a couple of delays, Eric N. and I were treated to a visit, cheese fondue, and a sampling of wines Phyllis and Cameron brought from Germany. All great. Although there was more fog on the drive than I expected.
The odd part is bringing bottled wine into the U. S. on the return trip. They brought 24 bottles and the duty (fee) is so low the agents don’t bother. It has to be declared but collecting so little isn’t worth their time. Who knew?

Me, I cleared the fresh snow from the path to the wood stacks, and I cleaned the dying embers from the wood stove – and started a new fire with (now) twice the room.

I saw a funny Christmas thing. Years ago a fellow packed ceramic angels in a box and label it “angles”. All the family knew of this but nothing was done until this year. A son replaced the contents with what you see in the following photo:

Now the family has a new Christmas memory.

Two other things for the holidays.
The original 12 days of Christmas story:

A new version of the song nontraditional:

I’m an optimist about 2023.
Check in next year for the outcome.

Keeping track on the Naneum Fan

Christmas Eve

The Naneum Fan has a white Christmas. Those that have prayed for this – please stop!
Get-to-gathers have been postponed. The roads are snowy but passable and a majority of folks have all wheel drive vehicles. That’s great for going but doesn’t help with stopping.
The region has the potential for sleet and/or freezing rain. Then, there is the fog.

I’ve snagged images from the WA-DOT cameras near Ellensburg. The low spots have fog that clears somewhat on the higher spots.

The left image is at the summit of Snoqualmie Pass on the way to Seattle. However, I-90 is closed: “this is an extended closure with no estimate for a reopening at this time”.
The middle image is from the top of the ridge looking north toward fog-bound Ellensburg. This road, on the way to Yakima, goes up and down like a roller coaster. It is not closed because none of the few vehicles have crashed. Big rigs are required to have chains.
The right image is of I-90 at the Columbia River. Below is the scene from Google Earth “Street View”.
Most people are staying off the roads here. We were warned.
Yesterday, the Seattle are had ice. Results made the news. There is an 18 second video – the episode seems to have ended well.

Video shows scary moment person almost run over by sliding car on icy Seattle street | KOMO (

Phyllis and Cameron have re-scheduled a gathering for Tuesday. The weather won’t be nice but the ice and fog should be gone.

Good times, good friends, good health to you and the luck of the Irish in all that you do.

From the Naneum Fan

Cold, no wind, icy fog

Contrasting views
Today I took the top photo from just outside the back door.
Five miles away, at the airport, the instruments claim no wind and visibility of 2 miles. Here, I can see about 80 yards. Some call this a silver frost.
The next photo was taken from Sweden about a week ago.
Found at this link:

The site explains the green and pink colors. Under a few lines of text there is a link to click on: “ take a look at the 1st ” – Wow!
I guess if you have money and time, a visit to Abisko, Sweden could be a nice tour.

Are you fed up with Christmas music? Radio stations started playing Jingle Bells on the Friday morning after Thanksgiving. December 20th would be a couple of days too soon.
Jingle Bells was not conceived as a Christmas song. The history of it is here:
If you care.
My night time lows have been between 6° and 14°F. The current forecast claims it will be Zero by next Wednesday morning. Great. After that, it climbs slowly. By Christmas morning I’m looking at about 20, although Sunday’s numbers are not yet posted.
The cold and freezing fog limits the time I am out, and the more time I have to eat. Not good. I’ve gained a few pounds since summer. This brings me to my “Wellness Visit” of Thursday. This is the 1st of two appointments. The purpose is to establish that the patient is still sane and mobile. One part is to remember three words for about 3 minutes and repeat them back to the Nurse. Drawing a clock is part two. Last December my mind was somewhere unknown. This year both of these exercises proved that my mind had returned – perfect mental health, or something.
The nature of the questions does suggest that the medical professionals have to deal with some odd and maybe nasty situations.
One site explains, in general terms:
First, your primary care doctor will ask you to fill out a questionnaire called a Health Risk Assessment that evaluates your health status, frailty and physical functioning.

It also assesses other aspects of your health, such as:

Psychosocial risks (e.g., depression/life satisfaction, stress, anger, loneliness/social isolation, pain, and fatigue)
Behavioral risks (e.g., tobacco use, physical activity, nutrition and oral health, alcohol consumption, sexual health, motor vehicle safety and home safety)
Activities of daily living (e.g., dressing, feeding, toileting, bathing, grooming, physical ambulation including balance and your risk of falls)

At my clinic a nurse handles 90% of the visit. My “doctor” – a Physician Assistant – comes in and says hello and visits for a few minutes. Then I go down the hall and have blood drawn. Next visit, called a Chronic Ailment visit, will start with a nurse and then a longer visit with the “doc” about the results of the blood and urine reports.
For me, this requires a 30 mile (one way) trip. This week the roads were clear. Next week there is a chance of snow and 16 degrees. This will be on the 22nd. Here the Solstice happens on Wednesday, December 21, 2022 at 1:48 pm PST. So, Thursday will be the first full day of the winter season, and the daylight hours will begin to lengthen. About January 10th or so, this will start to be noticeable.
That’s it for now – time to feed the wood stove.

Keeping track on the Naneum Fan.


Snow & Fog

Allen came a few days ago and plowed the 6” of snow. Actually, with a blade behind the tractor, is “plowed” the right word? Don’t know. Anyway late Friday afternoon snow began to fall and by 10 pm there was a new 6”. That makes for a foot of snow where he or I haven’t moved it.
The small birds and quail have a problem finding seeds in snow this deep. I buy a mixture of little seeds and Black-oil Sunflower seeds that meets with their approval. The small birds only go a few dozen feet away when I go to replenish the feeding station. The quail leave and settle in the trees about 75 yards away. They don’t return as quickly as the little ones.
Thursday there must have been a hawk nearby. Some of the quail were on the covered ramp and hunkered down motionless. I’ve had two quail knock themselves silly flying into windows. Both recovered and flew off. I think this happens only when the flock takes off in a panic in multiple directions – an action that the predator has trouble dealing with. One of the problems in feeding any of the animals is that the predators soon learn and watch.
¾ mile away, a family throws buckets of apples (rejects from a packer) in their front yard. At times it seems the entire local deer herd – 50 or so – is there at the same time. Usually there are only 10 to 20. There are cougars around but they have stayed a good distance away from the small cluster of houses.
Wild animals are not the only beings that have snow related problems.

A lady in Washington State received a $553 fine for driving in an erratic manner. The photo below suggests why. She told the officer her wipers didn’t work.
Wipers are supposed to work. I suspect a fine for that was tacked on to whatever else counted toward the $553. Buying a broom would have been cheaper, and she likely had one.

Earlier this week a truck driver on I-90, about 15 miles south of me, made a mistake in an icy fog. I haven’t found what that cost him, but he was cited as the initiator of a 38 vehicle pile-up.

One of the photos shows an overturned truck and its cargo, famous Washington apples in 5 pound bags and 40 pound boxes (a bushel).

There were no serious injuries to humans. I wonder what the total dollar cost was of this incident. There were police, fire trucks, EMT crews, commercial sized tow trucks — from two counties and a 10 hour closure of the main cross-state highway.

Flipping the page – some folks are having fun. The view below is from Saturday morning at Crystal Mountain Ski area just 50 miles away from me in the general direction of Hawaii. The usually route from me is closed for the season, so if I wanted to go (I don’t.), the trip would be 150 miles.
The home page has a rotating camera, and there are several others.

Meanwhile, a deer needs a battery. His string of Christmas lights won’t light! This year’s entry, from Oregon, is on the right. On the left is a 2019 version. This seems to happen more often than folks see Santa Claus!

Did I mention I have some snow to move.
It is going to sag because my outside temperature just rose to 33°F.
An hour later from the above the temperature is 35°F and Allen has cleared the driveway. 😊

Keeping track on the Naneum Fan – 12/10/2022


Winter – that wonderful time of year

Sunday at 11 o’clock there is snow on the east slopes of the Cascades. The forecast is for an inch or so both during the day and another inch tonight. The fall rate better decrease, ’cause I already have an inch. My area has an East wind (from the east) that blows the snow into the covered entrance and into the big shed, places I usually do not have to clear. Bummer!
Winter, that is what it is like outside, started here about 3 weeks ago. However the two standard definitions are Dec 1 to Feb 28 (Climatological Winter) and Dec 21 to Mar 20 (Astronomical Winter). Those interested in the topic of “what’s outside” will find observations and summary data for 3-month periods – in the current case Dec/Jan/Feb. Those that care about the Sun – Earth configuration pay attention to the special position of the vertical rays of the Sun.
There is a long history of folks tracking the Sun and celebrating the few unique configurations, such as the winter solstice when the night is long and the day is short. But the key concept is that the length of the dark stops getting longer, reverses, and the daylight begins getting longer.
Our ancestors celebrated the special Earth-Sun configurations long before folks started recording weather data. So that’s what most folks still do.
Anyway, I have lots of winter on my covered entry ramp and two buckets of fire wood.
Outside work this week was minimal. I used the log splitter and re-stacked the pieces. Those will dry faster but I don’t currently need them.
Feeding the wild birds and trekking to the mailbox and back is not enough exercise to compensate for what I eat. I need to give up ice cream and pie until the weather improves (March?).

Keeping track on the Naneum Fan

Thanksgiving Week

This being Thanksgiving Week, I made plans. I was going to go to Kathy’s and Francisco’s but he tested positive for Covid, so on Tuesday that plan was canceled. We’ll have to reschedule. Snoqualmie Pass was clear and dry. Darn.
The photo below (snitched from the local paper), is from Wednesday afternoon. Find the red star – That’s most of me.
Prior to the Covid Panic, Nancy and I would contribute to an go to this community dinner. For the past 2 years volunteers cooked and prepared take-out dinners. I can prepare a better meal, and driving to town and home again would not have been worth the effort.
This year they were back to the community affair and I know the lead person, our Senior Center director, Katelyn, ran the show, so I went at 3, talked to her and three or four others, and left at 3:33.
I really don’t care for the standard fare. This one had a slab of turkey breast and green beans (plain). The gob of instant potatoes had instant gravy. The stove top stuffing was plain, and there was a big fluffy white roll.
I might not have gone, except … the local grocery had a sale of big red table grapes and I thought those would make a good contribution to the dinner where I would be Thursday. 30 years ago we were introduced to a local family with 6 or 7 girls — one being Suzy, now married to Bob West.
Bob was a Xerox repairman when we met, but once that company began to decline, he came back to school to retrain. He was in my physical geography class and some of Nancy’s classes. Nancy got to know the mother and father because they liked to dance when her group played at a few of the EBRG venues. We usually went to a noon dinner across the street and then went to the family homestead for supper. Now, one of the daughters and her husband have a large house and the family, and friends, gather there.
But back to the grapes – 99¢/lb. is a great deal. I know there will be turkey and ham and just about anything else one might think of. It is always a quandary as what to take. Knowing I can never think of anything to take that won’t be there, I saw a sale for big red table grapes and went for those.
I rinsed and cut about 8 pounds into clumps and placed them on paper towels in a cardboard box. I was greeted at the door by one of the family and he and I decided to put them on the table just as I had handed them to him. He said that in a few minutes one of the ladies would see them and bring a nice platter or bowl so as to better present them. In under 3 minutes that happened.

All this reminded me of family Thanksgivings my mother hosted in the 1960s.

– – –
Yesterday the local weather forecast claimed my temperature would drop to 4°F next Friday at dawn. Now it shows as 12 degrees. All the lows have been raised by 8 or 10 degrees. I’m not complaining, just wondering. Today was warm – high 40s all day. I was able to be outside from about 11 to 3:30.
A bit of rain and/or snow is forecast for the rest of the week. Inside projects – I don’t like – loom.

Keeping track on the Naneum Fan


A dull week

Other than the local NWS weather station stopping, nothing much is going on. The Ellensburg airport Automated Surface Observing Systems (ASOS) hasn’t worked since the 17th, Thursday, at 12:55 pm. A station 26 miles west, near Cle Elum, at a Highway maintenance area called Bullfrog does work, and I have outside sensors. This being Saturday, the down time will last until Monday or Tuesday.

Outside in the Sun, it “feels like” 40 degrees. Each day I get something done – cleaning up an old mess, or putting time in on a active project. I have a new covered feeding area for the Quail and smaller birds, and the deer can’t get in. I still have one of the older places to dismantle, but one is gone. The remaining one can be “disappeared” in about 20 minutes.

This afternoon I intend to mulch leaves with the push-type lawn mower. I’ve raked about ½ the Walnut leaves and carried them to where I will plant onions next March. [I checked this: for nouns ending in f {leaf} there is not a grammar rule. You just have to know the plural is leaves. Why is this?]

The tree photo is from here:

Western Larch, Larix occidentalis

Locally, many folks call these trees Tamaracks and are preferred firewood. They tend to not have large side-limbs, meaning very small knots. Thus, they have straight grain and are easily split.
They prefer the north-facing (damp) slopes of the mountains. They are more of a Rocky Mountain species, but the western higher parts of Kittitas County have plenty. I obtained some and they grow here if I water them. When I don’t get enough water on (this year), they have a dull yellow fall color. They are a deciduous conifer; the needles turn a golden color in the fall, then shed. Check the link for more photos.

Thanksgiving Day is forecast to be in the 50s and sunny.
I’ll say thanks to that.

Pictorial House remodel

Over the past 2 & ½ years I have often posted photos and comments on the remodeling of the property. The house was not of high quality when built and 35 years of wind and snow had taken a toll. I inquired at the County about the need of a permit and got an unexpected result. A Federal map classified the location as being in a flood plain, thereby limiting what I could do. The map is wrong but bureaucrats follow rules, not facts. I wrote a letter saying that if certain things weren’t soon fixed the structure would deteriorate beyond repair and we would have to move. I was offered an option of paying a $500 indulgence for an official okay to fix things.

The first photo shows the look of the place at 39 years old.
A wood deck (A) has rotted and become dangerous. Also, it was built to match the concrete behind pallet (B). There is a 5” step up behind where the two pallets meet. Water draining from the roof splashes on to the area at the front door.
‘C’ is an area once covered in black plastic. The plastic goes under the deck. What was the water supposed to do? At ‘C’ and extending 20′ out, the area widens, is covered by red cinders, and has a 15′ high Mountain Ash Tree; pretty, but messy.
‘D’ is a concrete area that extends to the right in front of a 2-car garage. Note the step; that’s two to get to the front door. The concrete was poured at the level of the garage floor and not sloped out. Rain and snowmelt coming off the roof splashed back against the house and could run under the garage doors. ‘E’ shows how high the water splashed onto the house. The siding is porous wood sheeting, and absorbent.
Next: getting started.

‘D’ is where a shed-roof car-park will be.
‘A’ shows the stump of the tree and the old wood deck gone, except of a temporary ramp. Note the refrigerator this side of the door. ‘B’ is the concrete approach to the garage. Multiple cracks and slight dipping on the right were issues. ‘C’ shows a new floor being constructed inside, on top of the old concrete. The total height, when finished, will be slightly over a foot with fiberglass insulation under a stone floor.
Concrete ‘B’ soon was gone, as was the stump near ‘A’. Next photo.

The inside and outside framing of the new room is in progress. There are two windows. Behind ‘w1’ the space is clear, while at ‘w2’ there is framing for a walk-in pantry that will be accessible from the kitchen. To the right of ‘P’ there is one of several stakes – markers for holes to support posts. Also, to the right of the worker there is a Big Brown Shed (BBS). It is 6 feet from the side of the house, has a metal roof, and dumps water and snow against the (garage) side.

Next is a November 2022 view, that is, now. The BBS now has a long (39 ft.) roof line sloping away from the house. The house siding (A) is false sandstone with cement/fiber above – both chosen for the fire-resistant property.
There is a matching wall in front of the passage between the shed and the house. A similar wall is in front of the front door, to the left of the covered ramp. The concrete ramp goes to the height of the house door – no steps, where before there were two. On both sides of the ramp, river washed stone covers the area. There is a hidden “dry well” with a ton of rock in front of the window – left of A – and extending 15 feet in the direction of the camera.
On the left is a blue metal sloping roof (C)– car park area. Compare with ‘D’ in a previous view.

Next, inside the new room.

Most of the room has Hickory paneling, with Knotty Pine trim. The very right edge is the corner of the walk-in pantry. The room’s ceiling was meant to be the violet color the Vanguard Group uses as a logo.The contractor, Walter, and I visited the paint department of our favorite supplier, looked at samples, and chose one. The store’s lighting must have given a false view – we ended up with a conversation starter. Even though 2022 has been a bad year for stocks and bonds, the money for this remodel has come from the markets, or more accurately from the cushion they provided. Cash-out of other investments were mostly the source of the $$.

The inside of the pantry has ends with panels and sides that are a simple beige paint. Refrigerator, now inside again, is hidden behind the inset.
The paneling is printed with drawings such as seen on the left insert. Recall, this was part of the garage and had two steps down from the laundry off the kitchen. There is a double-hung (swinging) knotty pine door from the pantry into the new living space – part computer room.
Before going outside, here is a shot of the failing ceiling in the garage, and a second one of the front door. These are just 2 of the many problems the house had. The door still needs to be replaced.

The ceiling was attached with small nails usually used to hold cedar shakes on a roof. They should have used screws. I put one of these sheets back up years ago. The railing for the door stopped the fall. All of this was fixed and properly secured with screws and taped before getting the lovely purple paint.

Next shows the front door. It should have been replaced years ago. Note the crack below the latch. (Sorry, this one is a bit unfocused.) Over the years our Brittanys seriously scratched the door. We didn’t want to replace it until the dogs were gone. Now that I have no dogs, the price of the door I want doubled in the past 12 months. So, I wait.

There was a concrete slab (12 x 12) on the back side. We covered it and much more (air handler) with a matching roof and post the same as the covered ramp. Note the near right side with the high small windows. There were 3 large windows here. The room inside heated up because of sunlight.

The new roof of the big shed appears (upper left) behind & above the patio covering. Below: The BBS looked like this. The red line shows where I expected the new roof line to be.

While not finished, below is what it is today. Note the overhang – top left.

On the south side of the house, we added a slightly raised deck, covered. Windows and double doors, and an animal door, were added. The room through the new doors was built with no ceiling lights, and only one small window that could open. The west wall had about 60 sq. ft. of glass, facing the sun. Three photos prior, you can see those were taken out and replaced with thin windows high under the soffit. Two of the big windows were used on the west side of the covered deck. Much of what has been described is hidden by small plum trees in the view below.

When viewing the next photo, imagine being in the corner of the room and looking out in the direction of the plum tree. On the lower left there is the magnetic-catch animal flap with a narrow window above. Next, the doors open onto the deck. Then another openable window. In the ceiling, note the opening – shaft – to the skylight. Also, we added flush LED ceiling lights; used throughout the remodel.
The next photo is from the entrance to the room from the rest of the house.

The original wood within the house was dark brown. With the remodel, doors and framing now look like this on a hallway closet. On the left there is knotty pine wood. This is just inside the front door.
Bedrooms and bath rooms still have the old dark wood. A new kitchen would be nice – it too was dark but a previous owner painted much of that light blue. I might take the blue and dark off, but not until several other things get done. (I did a small test.)

While the house projects were being done, I did cleanup and landscaping. However, in recent months I’ve been working on the wood supply for this winter, and for the following winter of 2023/24.

Once placed in the sun to help “season” the freshly cut pieces, it has now been moved under cover.

Keeping Track on the Naneum Fan.
John H.