Winter

Great Lakes are much covered in ice. See and read about this.

And the USA is much covered in snow. See and read about this.

Sunday, Feb 2

Yesterday morning, we had a re-gifting delivery of the Panasonic blender we gave to a former student. She decided to go with an inexpensive new food processor, which was more of what she wanted. Now that we have unpacked it, cleaned it, and checked it out, we will use it to mix our frozen raspberries or blackberries with vanilla ice cream. 🙂 [After it warms up and John can get more exercise.] I spent more time on the blog yesterday and we finally finished it and posted it late. This morning, we went to the hospital lab in Ellensburg, for a fasting blood draw. Got away and to the hospital just before 9:00 a.m. and were happy to see very few people around the place. I did not have to wait and mentioned that to the one person working, who said, “Well, it’s good you weren’t here when we opened at 8:00 a.m. Eight people were in line!” John guessed that some people could not go without their morning coffee and doughnut and were ready. We followed it up with a high cholesterol item for each of us 🙂 for breakfast, while in town so early. We used our coupons for a good price on a sandwich biscuit (large as a hamburger bun, made fresh there every morning), with cheese, egg, and sausage. We used another coupon for two plain sausage biscuits to bring home. Here we can add eggs and cheddar cheese to make a nice meal. Then we drove home by way of Circle K where the gas is cheapest in town ($3.18/gal) and filled up my car (with John doing the work). Up a few blocks to the Court House where John deposited our votes for the school levy in the receptacle there, saving on stamps. From there to our new Grocery Outlet in town, for a sale price on 3 Red Baron Pepperoni pizzas in the same box, for $2.66 each. John always starts with such a base and adds all sorts of goodies to make it a full multi-topping pizza. We were out of cat food for the 4 ferals, and the price there is extremely lower than other stores in town. We bought some 5.5-ounce cans and 13.5-oz. ones, filling a wine case box. Once home I called and activated John’s cell phone. Now I have put a few numbers in it (but he does not want many), although I think I should take off the ones on my phone and write them into my computer or a list, in case mine is ever lost or broken. I would truly be in big trouble. I took off everything from the old “broken” battery phone of John’s so we can ship it back. I hope the new one keeps its charge longer than the last. [so far; so good]
Have responded to all the emails for today, washed a load of dishes, I am now about to begin on paperwork organization. I have all day today and tomorrow and the next, because nothing is pressing until Wednesday when I have 3 events in town, the last one with John, in the evening, at the University. While everyone is watching the Super Bowl today, we are not able. We can keep up on the KOMOnews Live Blog: Seahawks battle Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII — with feed commentary by their weatherman !! My meteorologist friend from Ellensburg, Rebekah LaBar (now in New Zealand), should be here doing that for her home team. I put that out on Facebook, and 4 friends, including Bekah from NZ told me I could keep up and participate following the live stream from Fox. I ended up watching much of the game and reading the blog too. I didn’t manage to do too much helpful work on my needs for organization, but made a few more entries into the stack awaiting my attention — such as going on line to order a current tab for the license plate of our 1994 horse trailer, we use most, recently for getting a ton of hay, or for carting home the wooden pallets from the CWU sale.

Monday, Feb 3

Crazy morning. It started snowing at 7:00 a.m. and put down 4″ of the fluffy stuff, followed by a wintry mix. John used a wide push-broom to clean the soft snow off walks and driveways. Good thing because he prevented ice from occurring beneath. This was not in the forecast. I spent time announcing obituaries of long time geographers to acquaintances I thought would be interested. The whole day was filled with busy work, but that’s why I stayed home.

Tuesday, Feb 4

Well, this morning it’s cold but we don’t have winds as everyone else in the area does (even at the airport only 5 miles south). Still, I bundled up and walked out the driveway to deposit the package in the mailbox to send back to Consumer Cellular with the phone that wouldn’t keep its charge overnight. This morning we’ve been catching up on emails and other chores. Just talked with my pharmacist. This morning has been filled with email communications with my family physician in Cle Elum. My Lipid test Sunday came out fine, so they are sticking with the smaller dosage (40mg) of Atorvastatin (generic of Lipitor).
I spent time writing a letter of recommendation for a student going to graduate school, time working on the jobs list, and time trying to recover costs for the missing front tag on John’s truck (not there when sold). Worked on getting an improperly delivered USPS insured package notification to the correct person south of us on Naneum. Worked (phone call to Ariz.) on getting a 10% off coupon for the next time we go to a store (Big 5) in Yakima. Did quite a bit of work on the music for our group. I found out how to make the chords and the lyrics in a larger font, for the people who have trouble seeing the music. And, I have started constructing the songs we will need for the changed playlist in March & April (which will include a lot of Irish tunes).

Wednesday, Feb 5

Food Bank play date went well. We had people dancing in the aisles and singing along. We have started ending the time with “Jesus Loves Me” at the request of one of the patrons. It’s amazing how many people sing along. (Apparently this is not something we should be doing in a public place, but there are no politically correct police coming into the Soup Kitchen of the Food Bank. We have done Amazing Grace usually as our last song, again at the request of a couple of the patrons.) The menu was clam chowder, mixed greens and veggie salad, and a pear dessert. SAIL class went well too. We went back to town to hear a talk by Andrew Perkins on the genesis of eskers (glacier stuff from 10,000 years ago) in British Columbia. Very interesting and well done presentation. When we got home we were treated (by John) to a bowl of his homemade chili that had cooked most of the day. It was surely yummy.

Thursday, Feb 6

I spent a lot of time on music printing but I goofed and printed some in the wrong key. My sole purpose was to make them a larger font but I started with the wrong key for what we normally use, and then I forgot to transpose the one for our clarinet player. So we ended up having her sing instead of playing that piece. I came home and corrected my goof, sending out a new image to others to print. We had 4 guitars, 1 banjo, and a clarinet and fiddle on the melody and harmony. John let me off at 1:30 at Royal Vista and went on to Super 1 for a sale of canned fruit and veggies. He got tomatoes and peaches. Skipped the corn and green beans and we have regular beans for chili. While there he picked up my medication. Pretty good. $24 for a 90-day supply. It was rather cold today. On the way home we picked up a check from a friend and I picked up another at the music playing, so now next week I have to go to the bank to cash them. Most of my afternoon was spent washing dishes, working with papers, and alternating with music preparation.

Friday, Feb 7

Slept in late after an Out of Area phone call came in at 5:45 a.m. Ticked us off, but I didn’t answer it, and of course they left no message. It had no phone number connected, just 5 digits following OUT OF AREA on the Caller ID. 011624
We realized late last night before retiring that we had gotten 3 inches of new snow after we were last out and didn’t even realize it. This morning John’s out and cleared the front area first to see what the footprints were in the snow on the concrete, inside the fenced front yard. I thought they were kitty tracks, and that’s what they turned out to be.
I have many projects to work on at home today, so am missing the AAC Groundhog Tacos potluck lunch for the 1st Friday of the month. Will also miss the George, WA community hall Bluegrass Jam session and potluck tonight. The spot is 46 miles away, and we don’t want to be on snowy or icy Interstate, down and across the Columbia River. I have accomplished a few email needs. Just sent out 5 job announcements to the group I co-moderate on Google Groups (Northwest Geography Jobs). It covers many disciplines and has a large following of 617 members (after recently cleansing the list of all bouncing emails). Jobs are listed all over the United States. I decided to ask our local phone company about the out-of-area calls. Fairpoint is a national owner of many small town (previously locally owned) phone companies. So, I called the Fairpoint folks. Nothing they can do, unless I press #57 for 3 calls, and I said, no thanks, that costs me doesn’t it? Yeah, $1.50 each time. No way on that. That process is good for serious harassment issues but otherwise it is not much help. Another phone call from an automated Subaru maintenance for our 2009 Subaru that was totally wrong, so I talked to Michelle (our regular service contact there) in Yakima, and she looked up, verified I was right, and then ceased future robot calls. Another telemarketer called this afternoon from a Seattle number, but it was supposedly for breast cancer and the caller was apparently in Tennessee. She was overbearing and thought she could get a contribution by being less than nice. I bullied back and hung up. I looked on-line and found the same number and organization, complaints with the same name, and the one before me was entered just 37 minutes before mine. By going through that effort, I probably got myself on 10 other lists. Finally, got the electronic recommendation completed for one of my former students who is applying for an Applied Economics masters degree program at Utah State University. I’ve been gone from the University since December of ’09 but such things still consume more of my time than I like. Application procedures have changed over the years. Very few places want signed paper copies of letters of recommendation for graduate schools or anything else. Also, applicants for faculty jobs must apply through human resources departments on line. What a change from when I started applying myself in 1965, and also, from all the years being in charge of graduate applications for students as well as searches for faculty positions at 5 universities throughout the U.S. Now there are on line videos and such, too. I don’t know how the affirmative action rules have kept up – and I don’t have to. When I applied for the job at CWU we lived a few hours away but I was going to visit Yakima, just 32 miles away. My wanting to drive up and visit was an issue because other interested candidates would not be visiting. Okay, onward with chores. Sunny outside, but still cold, and John is still moving snow. Sun’s gone, John came in for lunch, and now is in a recumbent position. Napping? He claims not.
Wow — I just pulled out a CD that Evelyn Heflen gave me yesterday. It is the final copy of two professionally recorded songs (in Cle Elum) that she wrote. Her backup to the vocals are her son on guitar, her on banjo, and others. On the second song, Yakima River Canyon, I’m in the backup music on my fiddle (harmony), Janet Perkins also on fiddle, and David Perkins on bass fiddle. The four of us are in the Kittitas Valley Fiddlers and Friends group that goes to nursing and retirement homes in the community.

The back and front covers to Evelyn's music recording
Click on these
images for large
view
.Lyrics and a photo for the music written and recorded by Nancy's friend Evelyn

Spent time on music, planning for a clothes swap (free) trying to help locate a place to hold it, and working on organization of receipts, and other such things. I figured out my schedule for upcoming events. Worked on my jobs list sends. That’s a daily effort. I’m timing myself on chores so I don’t get hung up doing only one thing for hours. Now added finding another place for the clothes exchange for one that fell through. I just sent that email off. We’ll see the response, from the local Methodist pastor. Slowly, switching to music (much is Irish) for our March/April playlist.

Saturday, Feb 8

Unfortunately, awoke to a little more snow and more scheduled tonight. I suspect we will be okay for the trip to the Grange in the Teanaway, near Cle Elum. John’s off with the dogs to feed the horses. I’m planning to work on paperwork all day, turn this blog over to John for comments, and to leave about 4:40 to get to the Grange for a Scholarship donation of $15/person for a spaghetti dinner with entertainment. He just returned from his trip out, and is staying out for another bit to finish brushing snow off the driveway that he didn’t finish yesterday. Interesting story that he met the paper delivery person about 3 hours late delivering our Wall St. Journal and the local weekend Ellensburg’s Daily Record. Normally she’s by here at 6:00 a.m., but today their delivery truck from Yakima did not make a turn in town and crashed into a couple of poles and signs. In this weather, rural paper delivery is not a job I would enjoy having.

John has been following the storms and flooding in part of England. Friday evening, he spent an hour or more looking at photos and reading about the flooding in the Moorlands and elsewhere. The dangling train rails at the collapsed stone wall at Dawlish made the news also. Two sites with photos:
1. Along the coast. In the next one, photo #7 shows one of the houses on a slight rise as they try to build an embankment around it. 2. Go forward and back from photo #7.
Flooding there looks very bad and some folks will likely never get back into the houses. John says “not that it will help,” but the weather pattern is about to shift. On Monday, here on the west edge of North America (Washington State & British Columbia) the large scale pattern will transition to a very fast zonal flow. Looks like the UK will have a shift to more southerly flow and lower wind speed by this coming Wednesday into Thursday. A lot less rain by Saturday. When you are up to your kiester (or keister) in cold muddy water there is something to be said for the rain and wind stopping. The USA will warm up some also. And the dry west coast gotten and will get more rain and snow. Life is good.

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

Celebrating talented folks

We spent a bunch of time on the blog yesterday, but then also on chores around the house and tried to burn a copy of a CD — without much luck on my laptop, and only slightly more on John’s computer. We may have to return to the old XP computer in the back room, where I know we can copy Audio to Audio, make multiple copies, and the same with data-disks. Cannot understand the problems we are having. Makes no sense.
Still overcast and 27 degrees. John went out to exercise the dogs and throw some hay to the horses. I begged off till it’s above freezing, because I got very cold (primarily my hands) yesterday. I did manage to get some shots of a few Starlings back to clean up the rest of the Mt. Ash berries we mentioned in last week’s blog, and that reminded me of my 2011 shot of the rime on them which did not build up as much this year.
Closeup of red Mt. Ash fruit (berries) covered with Rime ice
An upside-down Starling with 3 mates in a Mtn. Ash tree from which they have eaten most of the berries; Rhim on all branches and Pines in background

Now toward the end of the week, we will have warming temperatures and the likelihood of rain or snow. It will make things all muddy.
I remembered to call my 83 yr old friend on his birthday. He doesn’t have email, so I cannot send him an animated card. Some of the pictures following could appear on cards and other things – some are very colorful, like the one of the yarn and knitted things, and many show the amazing talents of people (some we know).
colorful batch of new yarn and stuff knitted from yarn; slippers, scarf; blues, reds, green, multi-colors
The picture above is one I posted on-line to the Buy Nothing Ellensburg Facebook site, to thank the donor of the bag of knitting yarn, and she plans to bring more. She works part-time at a local florist. She makes hats for people (for a fee) and sometimes they buy the yarn and let her keep the leftovers. Her name is Carolyn. She said when seeing the above picture, “That is wonderful!! Her things are beautiful.” The woman who makes and donates the above items to the Adult Activity Center, I introduced you to last week. Her name is Carol.

Monday, Jan 27

I decided against going to town today. Trying to catch up on receipt filing, organizing and recycling. We still are clouded over and cold. John’s exercised the dogs and talked to the horses. I washed clothes. Two new members joined our music group, so I have been busy working on getting copies of the music for them. I’m shipping off the images for the woman in the group (Roberta) who invited them, to run on her printer. The new members are a couple. The gal plays the Bass Fiddle, and the guy plays two instruments: a fiddle and/or a Charango. I’m almost done, and it is 8:00 p.m. and we have yet to eat dinner. Maybe I will have oatmeal. Just found a problem with my sheet music for “There Is a Tavern in the Town.” I have it in the right key, but the timing is off. I have it in Cut Time . . . . . . and the others have it in 4/4 time. The problem is that I put it in my SongWriter software so I could transpose it for our clarinet player. I have to change the timing now. Always something to take away from time I do not have enough of.

Tuesday, Jan 28

Have to eat lunch at home and take my antibiotics at 1:00 p.m., even though John disagrees with my taking it, and cites the American Dental Association. Having gotten bacteria in my blood twice a year apart, I think I would rather do it. Those little guys enjoy lodging themselves on actual and artificial (porcine) heart valves.
Got The Tavern in the Town completed in the right timing and have it ready to send tonight to the group. Unfortunately, I received a “delayed delivery message” from the first e-mail I sent to the potentially new members. Now I’m trying to locate a phone number.
My dental appt went well, and they repaired the tooth base keeping the gold crown intact. It was an expensive filling, even with insurance, but it was a far sight better than a new gold crown. $50 was my deductible, but that is paid for the year. On my way home I stopped off again at a gal’s house in town where I received several clothespins a couple weeks ago. This was for a brand new pair of comfy and warm slippers. Below is my ‘thank you’ picture I
Nancy's feet with new slippers in front of old worn out slippers
sent tonight to the “list” – Contrast is with my old down booties slippers with a completely worn out leather sole. These have cushioning and a study hard rubber sole with a nice tread. Came home to find a new cable (Micro USB) in the mail that John had bought on Amazon to transfer pictures from the camera on his new phone to our computer. Our one for the Nikon cameras has a standard size connector. John found one quite reasonably priced more so than anything in town. I got the pictures off the camera. Below are a couple of my favorites I took on the walk last week, that didn’t make it into the blog. For those we used ones from our normal cameras. However, some of these are neat, starting out at the road with our blue and white lot number. At some higher elevations in the county the utility wires had ice about 3 inches across, and they had some downed lines.

white on blue house number at front gate with Rime ice on coiled wire, trees, and more

Our north fence line near road with rime on wires, weeds, brush and, on right, neighbor's drive and trees
Barbed wire on rock crib. Along the fence, the ground slopes down and faces north. The weeds there get a nice coating and will be one of the last to melt or blow off.

Along the front fence/road; a new pole barricade to stop dogs from going to the neighbors; connects to path that turns them back toward home
Two Brittanys on a path between large Cottonwods with just a bit of snow on the fallen leaves
Along the front fence there is a deer path that leads either to the road or the neighbors. To prevent the dogs from following that path John used some of his newly cut poles and made a barricade. It goes only half-again as far as shown in the picture but then (with some brush in the way) it turns the dogs back toward our own pasture. The second photo shows how that path goes between big Cottonwood trees – it was all brush there before.

Old barbed wire (found along drive way) hung on circle of fence protecting young tree
Ice (Rime) covered bush along our drive way

I love the rime on things, particularly wire, but also weeds. Here is a photo from the road of our eastern-most part with ancient cottonwood trees, many with busted limbs from old age and wind, not ice.
Ice (rime) covered scene of trees and shrubs - view south from near Nancy's mailbox

Wednesday, Jan 29

John’s sister’s birthday is today. Happy birthday to Peggy in Parma, OH. They have had very cold temperatures. We had an early morning call from John’s cousin, Ethel Reynolds, in Brookville, PA. We awoke to 2-3″ of snow, but nothing like the east and the problems of a couple inches in Atlanta, GA. I remember having a big snow there in 1950-51 and writing the date on the windshield of our old big black 1950 DeSoto. The ice has totally crippled the city this year. We know what that is like. About 1970 or so, in Iowa City, we had ice that created impassible streets. Why people get cantankerous with city officials at times such as these ice storms is a mystery. Once the ice is on things there isn’t much to be done. Too bad they didn’t think to stay home.

Thursday, Jan 30

Drove 1/2 mile around our rural block for a haircut this morning, and on my way over, I called Consumer Cellular to complain about John’s new phone not keeping a charge overnight. They will send a new one and the free postage to return the old one. Whoopee, the sun is out, temperatures up, and the ice (and snow from yesterday) is melting. John just fixed pizza for lunch with raised crust, pineapple, sausage, pepperoni, green pepper, and shrimp. We play at Mt. View Meadows, which is only about 3 times a year, when a 5th Thursday is in the month. It was a great “shew” – and we had many percussion instruments there to back up only two “melody/harmony” players (Clarinet and Fiddle). We had a banjo, timbrel, and 5 guitars. And, I wore my Hoedown vest given to me by a gal in the upper county. Ain’t it purdy?Nancy in Hoedown vest (hillbilly) with fiddle
I wore it so I could show our hoedown honky-tonk piano lover (an 87 yr old resident at the place). He absolutely loves us. I went to his room to show him the vest, which I wore just for him, and wanted to be sure he felt like coming down to join in (he’s on continual oxygen). He came and even played You Are My Sunshine on the piano at the start of our music. Ellen took the photo of me in the vest to thank the donor on line. While there, I had our guitar player, Roberta, who is smaller than me (Medium) try it on, with the hopes she can use it to play music next month in an elementary school or two in town. It fits her better than it fits me, and that will be an appropriate venue.
I picked up dog and cat food on the way home from Bi-Mart on sale, and also bought John a nice case for his new phone. The woman that offered me one on line free never came through. Maybe her husband vetoed it. This is really a camera case, but it has a thing for the belt, and it has a hard case and enough room for the phone. No holes on the side (as normal cases for flip phones) to collect pieces of hay. I haven’t mentioned this to John, so he will learn of it as he reads and touches up my text. Tonight, I spent a bunch of time rewriting Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. We just did not have it coordinated well. I completely changed the timing, and put in all the words (even when a repeat, such as “Comin’ for to carry me home,” on multiple verses. I am gaining great respect for session musicians that can play whatever is asked of them.

Friday, Jan 31

Today were three events. At the Sr. Center was a Chinese New Year’s (Year of the Horse) celebration. I wore a sweatshirt of John’s (which is tight on him now), with a horsey scene. It was a hit with many people there, and I had taken my camera to take a picture of
Horse and Indian rider on wall (Intarsia), Nancy with mare and foal -- Year of the Horse

the horse Intarsia on the wall. Don Bunch, artist from George, WA created this one, which someone donated for the wall, so I stood in front of it and got Moiré to take my picture on my camera. Click this Don Bunch of George, WA for the story — George, WA is just 45 minutes east of us. They served Chinese Food including Pot stickers – they called dumplings, with chicken or pork, green snow peas marinated in a vinegary sauce, egg rolls (meat or veggies), a great cabbage salad, a coconut pudding cake made with white rice flour (its Chinese name is Nian Gao, and symbolizes higher heights in the new year), several dips (I chose plum, later going back for sweet & sour). They gave us treats, some wealth (chocolate dollar and a real penny), a Chinese name tag with our first name and, for me, a 2 symbol Chinese rendition, a red piece of paper with pens to write something we want to get rid of in our life (I wrote: “not procrastinating”). We had place mats of the Chinese Zodiac for fortunes of the Chinese year according to our birth year, and a lady who is a member of the AAC group, brought some very nice chopsticks for people to use, who wanted. I used mine after cutting a couple of things into smaller pieces for dunking in sauce. The red wishes for needed changes were taken outside and burned. Everyone got a Tangerine for good luck. Afterward I drove to the $1 store and bought two metal spatulas for John. One has holes/slats, and the other is solid. Then on back to our SAIL class. Then I drove home, (the mail had John’s order of printer cartridges waiting for us), came in for 1/2 hour rest (while he napped and I sat in my recliner reading emails). While I was in town, he was exercising the dogs, feeding the horses, and cutting brush. We had a heat wave – to 45. We went back to town for a travelogue of Asia presentation by our friend for many years, an economist at CWU, “Moose” Mack. He and his wife spent parts of 2010, 2011, and 2012 in Asia, at different universities, and traveled extensively in China, Hong Kong, Laos, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Indonesia (Bali), and a couple more smaller islands. One exciting canoe trip in the Mekong River was in the itinerary. He presented at 4:00 p.m. until a little after 5:00, and then after the talk, we had nice snacks and wine. Spicy meatballs with some veggies atop, a neat pastry with blue cheese and artichoke filling, fruit and veggies such as cantaloupe, melon, celery, carrots, and grape tomatoes. It was a nice touch for dinner for me, and we will just have a piece of cooked cherry pie tonight for the rest of “dinner.”

Saturday, Feb 1

Goodness, the start of another month. Where does the time go?
In anticipation of Superbowl Sunday, people have been flooding the Internet with emails to connections to previous and current ads. This link will take you to a slightly different view of the story about the Budweiser Clydesdale rearing. Stay tuned for this year’s ad, or search for it on the web. It’s wonderful, but I think a previous one is even better.

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

Mid-winter thrills

Sunday, Jan 19

We were supposed to go to a dinner up the road, but someone in the family got ill, and canceled or, as some might write, cancelled.
(In that link, the Ngram viewer failed for John, so he investigated. More at end of this post)
We got a call right before 1:00 from the granddaughter of our neighbor with the broken arm that her grandma had fallen and couldn’t get up. She didn’t hurt herself, but the granddaughter (also a nurse but not practicing on the elderly) couldn’t lift her because of the lady on the floor’s previously broken right arm. She called us, and John and I went over. John was able to help lift her off the floor, and I pushed a sturdy chair underneath her. She has been seen by her doctor since then and appears to have not been further injured by that fall.
I have been working with a new blood pressure measuring device. (I could not get it out of the package. I tried and I finally gave up after getting only a couple of pieces of cellophane off the container. Making no headway, I gave it to John. I think he used the 10” radial-arm saw! I didn’t stay around to see. He says he used a recently sharpened 10” carving knife. I wonder how our neighbors 87 and 90, could ever have opened it.) Now I’m frustrated with finally assembling it, putting in the batteries, successfully, but now trying to follow the instructions to set the clock, year, month and date, its totally not working. I don’t know how many minutes I worked, and I’m usually very capable with such things, even without reading the manual, which I’m faithfully doing. I finally gave up and told John he was going to have to try. He is fixing a late dinner, but will tackle after we eat. (John says, she hasn’t read a manual in 40 years and some of these electronic gadgets are not designed for the intuitive types.) [Nancy says, I really was reading this manual and the directions in it weren’t working for me. What he left out was that the instructions were set for when the battery was just installed; he removed one and then could follow the instructions, where I couldn’t after goofing on one setting.]
I told him I read that you are to rest 10 minutes, before taking your BP, and not to eat, smoke, exercise or drink, beforehand, and do it every time on the same arm. I told him I would not try for at least a full day and night, after raising my BP trying to get this initialized. This is NUTS. After it appeared to be working John tried it on his left arm. We think he should have taken his shirt off and moved the pad farther up his arm. It claimed his pulse rate was about 180, roughly 3X what it is. Investigation will continue after a calming down interval. Maybe listening to soft music will help. We don’t have much soft music but the bunch of CDs given to me (mostly old country, pop, and some folk) will work. While some plays on the stereo, via my laptop I’m copying from the CDs to a USB drive to play in my gadget-infused Subaru Forester. The number of things I just mentioned or alluded to that did not exist when I was born is astounding.

Monday, Jan 20 Martin Luther King Day

I drove John to the dentist, let him off, and went for my monthly blood draw at the hospital for my INR reading. We planned to return home to the chores and to rest up for the next 3 days that are full to the brim. Okay, we’re back and John beat me to resting because he didn’t sleep well last night. We had a message from TX from my cousin John(ny), and I shall call him back. He’s in the states for a short while, from his position with the Shell Oil Company in Kazakhstan, as a pipeline engineer. I’ll return his call ASAP, but want to finish a few things first. Meanwhile, I’ll review the rest of the morning.
John’s teeth got cleaned and paid for, and he has no cavities. While waiting for my blood draw, I contacted Consumer Cellular to see about getting a replacement phone for the one John misplaced (lost) last September. I lucked out and said the right words, I guess, and the gal offered me a new (returned in good condition Motorola WX416 in the color red) one for less than 1/2 the price of a new one–and it comes with free shipping and free activation. I got to pick between red and black, and decided to pick a bright color he might not lose; although, I suppose the carrier will be black. He had a piece of bright orange ribbon attached to his last, but it didn’t help. While still at the hospital, I stopped off at the pulmonary center to check on my upcoming (annually required) pulmonary function test, because of one of my medications (Amiodarone). I wasn’t in the system, so have to coordinate with my cardiologist’s office in Yakima to send a request to them for a Tuesday after March 12 (last year’s timing requirement for my medical insurance to cover it). I went back to pick John up and pay the bill with a check (they give a 5% discount for paying at the time of work completion). Worth it. Our insurance covered all but $24 and preventive maintenance such as that is not subject to a deductible. Then we decided to have something to eat in town and to buy enough to use for dinner, so John didn’t have to fix anything. I should have remembered to go by the Palace to take out his free birthday dinner, as I did last year. It must be used before the end of the month. Maybe I will retrieve one tomorrow night, on my way to play music, after dark. I can bring dinner home for us to share. Once home, I got a call from my doctor’s nurse that my INR was 2.5, which is “right on” & “excellent” and I don’t have to have another until Feb 20.
Back to the other call. I called my cousin in TX and got him in Costco shopping, so we agreed he would call me back later. Unfortunately, as we were taking our warm dinner from the oven, he called, so I told him I would call him back (and I did). It was nice visiting with him.

Tuesday, Jan 21

Left about 9:15 a.m. for a trip to Yakima to my foot doctor for more work on my toenails on my right foot, using laser surgery. Now that’s done, and I have to go back in June for another treatment, and hope it continues to work. It seems some better, but everyone is different on healing times. From there we went to Big 5 Sports store to use our 10% off coupon for some boots for John. Succeeded there too, and now he has some gray boots of waterproof suede. It looked in the ad that they were tan, and the color was also listed as Golden Brown on the box, with a like picture, but they are actually gray. We checked and all the shoes in all the boxes were the same color. Speaking of gray, I went to a Fabric store recommended by my friend Ellen, looking for a metal zipper, but they only had plastic in the size, but I found a gray one (it’s for an old winter red & gray jacket that won’t stay zipped :-). Zip it up and it unzips itself from midway. Thanks a lot!) Ellen is going to sew in a new zipper for me. Then, on to Costco for gasoline ($3.10/gal), 8 cents/gal cheaper than here. We ended up spending over $300 in the store. Most of the stuff is for future use (like over the next 2 years), but it was on sale, so we decided to invest. Picked up a Turbo Tax today, so I will definitely have to get to work on the taxes. I expected to come home, rest a little while and go back to town for music, but it was cancelled because the nursing home has a lock-down because of sickness. I am sorry for the residents, but I was actually relieved I didn’t have to go. As John mentioned, I might have not been able to find my way home in the dark in the fog. I’m really tired. Perhaps I will go to bed early, for a change.

Wednesday, Jan 22

Off to the Food Bank where we had some green salad and macaroni & cheese, but the best part of the meal was cooked apples – a nice generous portion. Could have been a full apple. We had a particularly good music day. It was the three of us, one on banjo, me on fiddle, and our singer, Bob. We had a large bunch of people eating who are our “groupies” and enjoy singing along, and applauding, and even two were dancing. On to SAIL, where, from the parking lot, I called in an order for John’s birthday dinner from the Palace restaurant in town, to pick up after going to the dentist. Also, I took in 3 visors-sun hats, like this one
A sample visor hat in red, white, and blue.
because I no longer use them – little bald spot and all. I took my antibiotics with me to take at 2:00 p.m. so I’d be ready for the exposure of my blood to potential bacteria (John says: “waste of money, contributes to the development of resistant bacteria, may cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and allergic reactions”), and told 5 people in my class to help remind me at 2:00 p.m. It was funny, when they all did. Completely confused and startled my teacher for the “exercise” class. On then to the dentist for a teeth cleaning; I took my violin inside, so it didn’t have to sit alone in the cold car (it also goes to class with me). Stringed instruments do not do well in the cold. On to The Palace to pick up the birthday dinner for John. During the whole month of January, we can collect a free meal (choice of two things: Chicken Alfredo or Angus Chicken Fried Steak). The Alfredo is plenty and more than one person needs, but John cooked some chicken nugget-like things (called bourbon chicken) to add to it. I warmed day-old cornbread to have with mine and he ate the garlic bread that came with it in its own little box. I went and picked it up on my way home from the dentist, and they had it all waiting at the cash register. I gave the waitress a $5.00 tip, and thanked her and the one who took my order a couple hours before. They don’t serve the Alfredo until after 4:00. I picked it up and was driving away about 4:02. We made a nice dinner for both of us but the pasta and the chicken are the same bland color. A little cut up broccoli and sweet red pepper would fix that. [Nancy says to John’s comment about bland colors—it had brown mushrooms (okay, bland), and green slices of a zucchini squash included.]

Thursday, Jan 23

I went to Hearthstone for music with the KV Fiddlers & Friends, and back home by way of a friend’s to drop off printer paper. John’s new phone arrived, but we had to charge it before trying to activate it and learn how to use it. We are now a week or so into full cloud cover and rime (deposited ice) on everything. We are keeping track of the cold in the east – US and Canada) and sympathize with all the folks there. An interesting thing about our weather is that there is no wind, otherwise the ice would not stay where it forms. The “no wind” bit is nice for us but no so good for the investors in the hundreds of wind turbines erected in WA and OR over the last 15 years. The Bonneville Power Administration has to “balance” the input (or lack) of electrons from the wind with those from falling water. Below is a view from Saturday noonish and the green line at the bottom (very low) shows the lack of wind energy. Click for large image.

A complex chart of Electricity load by BPA using wind, hydro, and thermal elec. sources - showing almost no wind power
Anyone can watch this activity (on a 5 minute basis) from the BPA’s website. When the wind blows the green line will go up and the blue line (water power) will come down. Next wind in the region is expected to be this coming Tuesday evening – so check this graph on Wednesday, the 29th or later. The “thermal” (brown line) doesn’t vary much but comes from landfill-gas and sawmills and paper companies burning “waste” materials. If the wind gets to just over 75 miles per hour the wind turbines are shut off so as to not damage themselves.

Friday, Jan 24

Today I’ve a once-a-month scholarship luncheon in CWU’s Theater (McConnell Auditorium). Noon. It was nice. Off to SAIL class afterward. When I got home, John asked me if I had the blog ready for him. I told him I had ignored it the past two days. So, here I am without much to say. I guess I can keep working on the piles of stuff around here. I did drive by the CWU library today to give a fellow who works there two copies of his master’s thesis he had given me (I was on his committee). He was actually in the History department, but the topic was geographical. They were not bound, so I assume one was a preliminary copy before his defense and the other was his final copy. He was quite pleased to receive them. Finally, this afternoon, I got John’s cell phone activated and a couple of numbers entered. Now tomorrow, I have to put a voice mail message on it and then tie it to his wrist! [Nancy here, actually, I found one free from a friend in town I have to pick up. It supposedly has a belt hook on the back.]

Saturday, Jan 25

We took the dogs and cameras up the driveway and took a few photos. The cloud cover is thick and complete so, unlike last year with blue sky and sun, the background is a uniform gray. Nevertheless, it is both interesting and pretty. Nancy carried her Nikon and the new red cell phone for John that has photo capabilities. She took about 15 pictures, but cannot get them off the phone onto her computer without a USB micro V2.0 connector. John found one for $6 that will be coming from Amazon Monday. You’ll have to wait until next week to see her favorite ones, assuming it works and they are worth showing. Meanwhile here are 4 from our regular cameras. All 4 have larger versions hiding underneath.

Scene of trees (young Cottonwood, WA Hawthorn, Ponderosa Pine) coated in white rime ice
Rime coated trees
on Naneum Fan
Rime (ice crystals) on a wire cage around a small tree - not seen.
Rime on wire cage
Rime ice on brush, trees, and wire fence
On the Edge of the Drive
Rime on fence, hanging stored barbed wire, and a bird house, hay barn with blue roof in background
Beth’s house and
stored barbed wire

About 20 feet from our front windows is a small Mountain Ash tree such as seen here in a late summer view (not our photo). Ours is now mostly barren – no leaves and just a few berries. No bigger image.
section of Mtn. Ash tree with lots of green and orange/red berries
The berries (fruits) hang until about this time or later each year. At some point a flock of Starlings shows up. There may be 100 or 150 and they will swoop in as a unit, grab berries, and off they go. They might wait 15 or 20 minutes and do this again. Then they go away. Over several days they will clean the tree of fruit. [Nancy says, they came while I was gone to town Friday, so I got the story when I returned.] (If there are Robins about they will come singly or 2 or 3 and sit on a branch and eat there rather than fly away.) The large flock of Starlings and their synchronized flight to-and-from and from one place to another is called murmuration. Currently going around the web is a video showing this phenomenon with a massive number of birds. You might have seen a version. A site that has the video and an explanation of murmuration – such as scientists now understand, and that’s not much.

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

=========Click this for the Ngram Viewer =======
[The “Ngram Viewer” is a new trick to us from the web and John wanted to try another set of words. What ones? Being from “the hills” he frequently reverts to crick when creek serves quite well for most of us. Try the 2 words ( crick,creek ) in the viewer and note the thin blue line at the bottom. It is noticeable in the late ’30s, the 1940s, and into the ’50s. John was born in January of 1944! Coincidence? Not a chance. John’s mom was an avid reader. He also noticed that the red line – for creek – drops about 80% from its peak and then pops back up in the early 1900s – there were notable floods just prior to then. Note the general decline of “creek” since then. Maybe there is something going on here (urban living, creeks running in concrete channels, and buried in pipes) such that we don’t wonder about nor wander near creeks anymore.]

Naneum Wind

Saturday, Jan 11

We decided not to risk the weather and stayed home rather than driving across the pass to Maple Valley to celebrate our friends’ son getting a job as a firefighter in Yakima. Considering he interviewed with 253 others, makes it pretty special. However, we didn’t want to be driving late afternoon in snow and rain and 46 mph winds on the pass, and then coming home in the dark back over the same pass where they were predicting 16″ of snow.
It snowed on us here after dark, but the day started sunny, turned to cloudy, and then rained some tonight too.
Thus, with the storm in the Cascades and us house bound, I worked on the blog and on the web page for last Saturday, regarding the Raclette for 2014. John didn’t do much of anything useful (his opinion).

Sunday, Jan 12

Kittitas County’s population is located like 2 bags of beans at either end of a canoe. We are in the southeast end and the “Upper County” (UC) folks are toward the west and north. A friend in the UC was using a blender and something ruptured and slung mayonnaise around the room. I wrote that it bit the dust, but John fails to see how dust and mayo relate, so we changed it. Still, it is gone. I knew we own a nice Panasonic blender we haven’t used since we arrived here in 1989, but where, I did not know. John is slowly taking things we don’t use and putting plastic bags around them and stashing them out of the way. He found and unpacked the blender and all its parts – apparently a bit dirty when he wrapped it. It still works well and, so I cleaned it up. Here’s a photo assembled and disassembled to show the parts. It has buttons and dials – so 1980s, but doesn’t talk back when you want it to do something.
Blender-assembled
Blender-pieces

The winds have been very high here tonight. Just now there was a humongous crash out back. Could be a small plane (no fire though) or a big tree, but it is too dark to see what or where. At least it didn’t hit our power wires but the storm’s not over. Ignoring the action outside, John fixed a great stew for a late dinner. Going to bed with 35 mph gusts that have sounded higher all day.

Monday, Jan 13

This morning after exercising the dogs, John found the two trees that went down in the winds last night. He’s now taken photos. The largest came down about 45 yds from the house, snapping off about 15′ up. He measured the diameter at 18″. On its way down, the big tree (or a branch from it – we don’t know yet), hit another smaller one about 10″ diameter and brought it crashing down. It’s no wonder the sounds we heard were so loud.
Tree3
Tree4
Some limbs on the trees (there is a 3rd one about 400 feet farther away) are dead but most will have to be cut, stacked and dried for eventual firewood. Winds are still whipping, at 40 and 42 mph gusts, and blew all night as well. I’ve been working on books and other small email and house chores. John stays away from the trees when it blows like this but can still exercise the dogs and do a few things. A local EBRG joke goes like this: Visitor says, “Does the wind always blow like this?” And the old resident says, “Well no, sometimes it blows harder.”

Tuesday, Jan 14

We went to the Emeriti Geography Faculty meeting and 3 spouses were there to enjoy the morning. We solved many problems of the world, or at least had viewpoints expressed. The father of one of the ladies had a bar (saloon) near the waterfront in Seattle way back when. She told a few stories. Maybe her father knew my carpenter grandfather although he did not live close to downtown. After a couple of hours we went on to Super 1 for the cans of tuna fish they were out of last Thursday, when we were there. We went by a day-care school (in a church) to drop off the blender. The young daughter goes there while her mother works. The day care is run by our neighbor and we know others with connections to the Grace Episcopal Church so I dropped off a gift for another friend who works there. It’s a little church-looking music box that plays Amazing Grace. Came on home by way of another person who gave me 6 wooden clothes pins for holding our music in the Ellensburg wind. Got home and did a bunch more chores, and then turned around and went back to town to play music at Hearthstone. A beautiful moon and no camera, but my friend, Glenn Engels, took one and I asked him for permission to publish here. Here is what he sent; a nice memory of what I saw, especially the halo colors and clouds in the background.
Moon 3 by Glen

Wednesday, Jan 15

Off to the Food Bank and SAIL exercise. I took an ancient but little used heating pad to Evelyn, old (still in an unopened box) tea to SAIL, and a Gospel album CD to Judy, a member of the class. It’s been a crazy day helping neighbors, and going around town. One 87 yr old lady fell and broke her arm. Another needed to show us her hogs and chickens, and give us some fresh eggs in return for frozen berries from our garden, and 10 egg cartons, 6 of them larger than a dozen. I went to play music at the food bank soup kitchen and met a homeless couple from N. Dakota trying to find work in our town and living out of their car (with a cat). I tried to introduce them to people who might be able to help. They were there getting a good meal, and enjoying our singing. We ate with them afterward and talked to them about their arrival from the wind and cold of Bismarck, ND. They were both looking for jobs, but it’s strange coming from a place where the economy is booming. Likely, more of a story must exist, but that’s all I know. Then I left for the Senior Center to meet and do things there related to the SAIL exercise class.

Thursday, Jan 16

I went to Dry Creek for music – a great turnout. Clarinet, Keyboard, 3 violins, Bass Fiddle, a singer with her Timbrel, Banjo, and 3 guitars. Two of our newest guitarists were there from the Upper County: Maury Martin, from Cle Elum, and his 92 yr old buddy, Sandy, from Easton, who is an excellent guitarist.
Afterward, I drove by a local florist where a young woman named Carolyn works, in order to pick up some knitting yarn she donated for me to give to the lady that knits for the Sr. Center. Now I have to spread it out with some of her handiwork for a photo to include with a thank-you e-mail to the gal who donated it (on line to Buy Nothing Ellensburg). I’m going to put a picture of me in her scarf at the Jan 4 deal, to the knitter, when I give her the yarn, with a thank you note. Maybe I can get a photo of two or three of our players, using the fingerless gloves in a chilly place. More yarn is supposed to be coming from another person, next week. This woman is quite generous with her time and doesn’t charge anything for her service. She will accept donations for the cost of the yarn, but I don’t think many people ever think of asking or donating money. I came up with the idea of asking for yarn from people in the community. So far, so good; maybe more to come.

We went to our local Audubon meeting tonight, taking our dues, to pay locally, because the National Audubon Society does not give any money (from dues) to the local chapters. We can get by without another magazine frequenting our mailbox. We disagree with the national policy. Our local chapter has a nice monthly newsletter and presents programs and bird field trips throughout the year. We heard and saw a colorful presentation by a woman on the “Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum & Winter Birding in the Sonoran Desert,” presented by Cricket Webb, a local chapter member. John and I met Bill & Martha Smith (he retired from Anthropology and she from the Cultural Museum at CWU), and we visited, after not really having had a nice conversation in about 3 years. My first several years here, Bill and I team taught GIS classes with a geologist and another geographer, so it was a neat mix of disciplines. We’ve seen Bill and Martha briefly in passing at Christmas parties. We have all four visited the Arizona museum in the past, John and I a long time ago, in 1976, (it got to 117 degrees that day in Tucson) when we were there to give a paper at the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers meetings, of which I’m still a member.  For those of you who knew us from our Univ. of Idaho days, the paper was on the Rise and Fall of the Idaho Wine Industry, (particularly focusing on the Troy Winery, in the town where we moved to in 1974). Back to birds: folks find dead birds and freeze them and bring them to the meetings before passing them on to the biology department at CWU. There was a Cedar Wax Wing and a Cooper’s Hawk brought tonight. They need an internet link at the meetings because there are a couple of look-a-likes for the Cooper’s Hawk, (they discussed a Goshawk too), but this was a young one, and no one was 100% sure of the identification. We use the Cornell Bird Guide. Once there, under “All About Birds” click on “Bird Guide.”  Now that we have checked both birds descriptions in the guide, I’m curious to see the bird’s head again to see the marking over the eye brow and the design on the tail feathers of stripes — mentioned that evening in the audience comments.

Friday, Jan 17
I finally succeeded in printing a picture for Jim Cummings with more to come and will give them to him tomorrow. They are from the Veterans Day honoring celebration at the senior center, back in November. You have already seen one of the pictures with me and two veterans in front of the flag, with me and my violin, and sequined “flag” vest. I worked more on cleaning clothes (many towels, work clothes, and other stuff), in the kitchen (John is a messy cook), went through a box of academic materials piled in the hallway under dirty work clothes, in front of a closet door I needed to access to look for some puzzles (see below). Re-homed all the good stuff and recycled the rest. Tossed all old overhead transparencies. We have stuff from at least 4 eras of technology that are all antiquated. Lots to toss. Found some neat stuff I forgot I had and contacted a friend who has taught a Wine course at Yakima Valley Community College to see if he wants some of our valuables we used in teaching the course: Wine, A Geographical Appreciation, for a dozen years. I found some puzzles in the closet I must have picked up at a yard sale. I will donate to the AAC. One has 500 pieces and the other has 1500! I was hoping there were some with fewer than 50 pieces, because we know a young lady whose brother is recovering from a brain aneurysm and they need to exercise and rehabilitate his brain. Meanwhile, I wrote my friend in MT who just lost her husband, who had a brain injury, and I remembered she had puzzles he worked with. Most of his had 100 pieces, but are very nice puzzles. Next time she comes over to see her son here in town, she will bring them, and I’ll pass them on.
At one of our field corners the dogs have a tendency to keep going – toward neighbors with various animals and most recently chickens. Their youngest son went to help a friend’s family butcher and came home with a dozen live ones. How neighborly. The male Britt took a jaunt over there a couple of days ago and had to be chased home. John cleaned brush and downed limbs from the corner and built a short barricade/fence that leads to a turn and return path. The rest of the ground there is so filled in with brush and fallen trees he thinks the dogs will now not go through. Today, he removed part of a fallen tree that landed across a path that goes near a spring in our “woodsy swamp” or “swampy woods.” It is along that trail that John sometimes sees Great Horned Owls watching for mice or having lunch or whatever owls do while sitting in trees.

Saturday, Jan 18

We took off for town this morning to Super 1 Foods for an early bird sale and loaded up on things we use anyway. Managed to save $17 off usual prices: pop, butter, cheese, and navel oranges. Ran into an old friend from CWU, also retired. She is an historian. We agreed we don’t have enough time and wonder how we managed to teach full-time all those years. We stopped at a coffee house for me to pick up another freebie – a glass boot mug, I’m going to give to our new pianist (who is from Texas), so she and her husband can have good southern iced tea. They will have to share; there’s only one.
The last place we went was to Briarwood Commons (a retirement community where they have their own apts for independent living), but they are quite super with potlucking all sorts of things to feed us after we give them music for almost an hour. Today, it was chicken vegetable soup, lasagna, small chicken and egg salad sandwich halves, fruit cocktail in red Jello, cashews, chips and a ton of desserts, including chocolate frosted chocolate layer cake, white frosted red velvet layer cake, peanut butter cookies with a chocolate kiss atop, zucchini bread with pineapple, and a large very good (I don’t usually like) pumpkin pie.
The fog is settling as ice crystals (rime) on everything. By morning it may really be picturesque. Not quite enough yet. I hope we get some blue sky and sun tomorrow to take photos. That’s always a favorite thing for me to do and I have a newish camera to do it with this year – if it happens. Sometimes wind knocks much of it off before the right picture-taking weather arrives.

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

Celebrations

Saturday, Jan 4

John’s birthday -now he’s caught up with me, but claims he is 38

Cover of a birthday card with a old style wooden basked with apples, yellow flowers, and black capped chickedees
From a couple that got apples
from John last fall

We will start this week’s blog with Saturday, because we were so busy in the morning trying to post the blog that we didn’t get anything written. It was a full day. We first worked on that, and then after all the morning chores, got ready and took off before noon for White Heron, for a great celebration. Here’s a photo to tempt you to follow the links below.  Click on the picture below and concentrate on the cheese, the rack holding it, over the hot coals, with the fire in the background.

A fire scene with 1/2 wheel of raclette cheese on a skewer; John H. in background with wine; waiting for the cheese to melt
January in the vineyard

First is the Raclette of 2013, or last year’s party in the vineyard. I am in the process of making one for this year. I plan to have it almost completed (in draft form) by the time this blog hits the airwaves. With that said, here is the Raclette of 2014. Minor changes many occur later, but they will be minor.
These pages describe the annual celebration Raclette for the grapevine pruners who volunteer their time for many mornings during the ending days of winter. This year the date fell on John’s birth date and so we shared a cake baked by one of the pruners that has walnut trees, so walnuts were a component. Last year the Raclette was on the 5th and we didn’t mention the birthday so no cake. Also, better this year was the weather. Last year was cold and we got snowed on. It took all the next day to warm our feet. This year was warm(er) with sun and we carried along some of our stockpiled firewood as a precaution. Really though the raclette is historically a pruner’s meal cooked over stems and pieces of vine cuttings and we try to have some grape wood on the fire at all times. We shared excellent food and companionship. The cheese is imported as a full wheel and picked up in Auburn, WA. For some background reading see the post here and then click on the ‘next’ with arrow at the top right of the page. Nancy disagrees with the explained pronunciation of Raclette. It should be on the second syllable, not the first.

Sunday, Jan 5

Today was involved with rest, recuperation, and chores. John managed to do the normal ones, and then moved 15 bales of hay from the shed to the lower pasture into an old horse trailer from where he can feed the horses in a protected area from the wind when it is gusting hard. I’ve been multi-tasking, working on a number of projects today, none of which is finished. John just ordered a microwave via Amazon, with shipping included, for a good price on a “new” unit, Panasonic. NN-H965WF, delivered to our door. Our rotating spindle has been failing for months (or at least groaning), but finally almost bit the dust completely today, and tonight it was difficult to warm the smallest thing. I completed a recommendation for a friend, a geographer, in another state, and added more to the Raclette web page story for this year.

Monday, Jan 6

I should be going to exercise at the senior center today. Instead I’m staying home to tackle more projects and, tomorrow will be the same. I decided to share our purchase of a new microwave here. Check amazon.com for Panasonic. NN-H965, and click on the type you want, (we picked Panasonic. NN-H965WF ) and then go down the page for “Panasonic Genius 1250 Watt Sensor Microwave w/Inverter Technology” and open. Go down the page between Financing Offers and Product Details, to Special Offers and Product Promotions. Follow the link there. We bought this one (with this description; read them all very carefully).

Used – Very Good Item is in original packaging, but packaging may come damaged. Item has no cosmetic scratches or blemishes. Item has no cracks or dents. All accessories are present and undamaged.

John wrote the following in an email to his cousin’s daughter in PA, today —

Change of subject 1: Speaking of noises – our 10 + or – year old microwave oven started making odd sounds – again. Last year when this happened I cranked the turn-table in opposite directions a few times and it began behaving again. I assumed it was gunked up around the shaft as our house (4 dogs, 1 cat, and me) has lots of unimaginable dirt, dust, hair and on and on, floating around. This week the microwave’s complaints are more persistent. Amazon had some “used” ones of a highly recommended model. The descriptions seem to say something like: These were returned but are actually 99.999% new. One is mentioned as having a scrape on the top ¼ x ¼ inch and another doesn’t have the manual, and so on. Anyway, the used model saved us about $100. Arriving Wednesday We’ll see. –end quote–

The shipment came from a warehouse next to the Cincinnati airport – one of the few places we’ve flown into when the pilot pulled away with just moments to go and made a second try at it. It was windy. Interesting with the river just there north of the airport (in Kentucky).

I spent too much time on the request for my voice mail at CWU on 3571, but it was worth it. It is now fixed. John received a big box of goodies from his sister for his birthday. It’s full of neat things including candy and cookies and old family photographs (even of him as a baby), and of us before we were married, visiting with his grandfather in PA. The goodie box included a 1958 high school yearbook when she was a senior and he was an underclassman, and there are a number of his pictures in it.

The weather is getting nasty — it grappled on us late last night.

Tuesday, Jan 7

All day was a little overcast and sprinkles, with freezing temps, so at one time the ground was white, but didn’t stay. I spent a lot of time trying to work on arranging for Long Term Care Insurance payments, and other normal chores of the day with bills, receipts, filing – all fun stuff. I worked a little on the web page about last Saturday’s outing to White Heron.

Wednesday, Jan 8

Food bank for lunch playing music and SAIL class afterwards. Got my meds but didn’t go in the store — just to the drive-thru window. At the soup kitchen they served us a nice lasagna dish with large meatballs, a mixed green salad, and a great apple cobbler-type dish, with more apples than cobbler. We had a little snow this morning, but not enough to be a problem on the roads. On my trip home, I drove back up to within a couple miles of home, into a dense fog. While I was gone our “new” microwave was delivered. We still need to get it out of the box, but first we have to empty the dishwasher, and load the dirty stuff from the counter and clean that up. John fixed a nice pizza tonight for our dinner.

I’ve been working tonight on several projects, the most important of which is getting the photos and videos processed from my camera for the Raclette / Birthday Jan 4. I’m running out of time to get it completed before the blog goes out this weekend. Maybe it will remain under construction for awhile. Also tonight I tackled one box John uncovered, and sorted through things to take “gift” to my geography colleagues tomorrow. Stuff leftover from my teaching days… including materials and books and even a baseball cap from a local hay exporter where I have done research since 1988.

Thursday, Jan 9

This morning, John took the old microwave off the counter and “installed” the new one. It’s pretty nice, 1/4″ higher, and the circular glass tray’s radius is at least an inch more than the old one. Everything was perfect and had not been opened inside the packaging. There was noticeable wear on the packaging. It came from China (boat or plane?) and then to places in the US (planes, trains, trucks ??). Perhaps the damage on the outside glossy cardboard was enough for the store to refuse acceptance, and we got a deal on a new one for $100 less, plus shipping was included (paid for by our Prime account with Amazon… and delivery from Cincinnati was 2-day Air. John took this photo.

A white Panasonic microwave oven with many colored items on and about it; paper towels, red onions, plastic orange spoon and more
Memorize objects and colors;
quiz at the end!

How this business plan works is a mystery. This stuff is designed and then made in China and moved through several places by many people but cost about the same as a few pieces of lumber at the local dealer. Early ones cost about $50,000 using today’s inflated dollars.

This afternoon was full! It’s a bit cold and nasty to work outside so we both went to EBRG. After we dropped off a box of treasures from my past with the addition of 2 pounds hard candies, John let me off at the Rehab music gig. I carried several things in for others in our music group. We went sale-shopping again when he picked me up. He’d filled my car with gas, bought some groceries, and gone to Bi-Mart for some items, and while there found a 5-shelve plastic unit for putting things on like cans of veggies and package goods. Set-up will require moving/throwing-out some things in the garage. This is part of the rural lifestyle – buy in bulk routine. Thus far, it made it in, in its package, but it is not yet assembled.

Friday, Jan 10

Stayed home today to attempt to finish some more projects. Last night John fixed a stroganoff type of thing with potatoes, ground beef, mushrooms, yellow pepper, and celery. Tonight we had leftovers and will freeze the rest. For lunch, we had egg rolls, pineapple and orange pepper, with chocolate for dessert. I worked on the “books,” piles of stuff, and also gave John his much-needed haircut. Now we have no parties to attend to show it off. We decided against going to our friends celebration (for their son’s new Firefighter job in Yakima) at their house in Maple Valley, WA (across the pass). The weather is forecast to be very winter like, with snow up to a foot and 46 mph winds, and we would be traveling home in the dark.
Been slowly transferring 2-3 CD albums / day to make into .mp3 files to put on my car player. These came from a lady in my exercise class who had quite a collection she gave me part of in a large leather zipped folder. She’d given me a few others earlier, but this came as a huge surprise. It has 16 pages and each page holds 4 CDs, so wow, 64 albums, mostly country, but all sorts of different performers, including: Ricky Van Shelton, Anne Murray, Alan Jackson, The Statler Brothers, Jessi Colter, Keith Whitley, Dwight Yoakam, Lacy Dalton, Lorrie Morgan, Reba McEntire, and people I don’t really know, such as Rita MacNeil, Lila McCann, and Nana Mouskouri, but they are singing familiar songs.

Saturday, Jan 11

This morning started with blue skies and sun, but dark-colored gray clouds are forming to our northwest, and we expect rain this afternoon. By Sunday am we could get some snow. It definitely will be bad on the pass, and in fact, winds last night put 75,000 without power in the Puget Sound area. I’m sure our decision not to travel across the pass this afternoon and evening was wise. Here is what the NWS thinks will happen: “Total snow when it finally tapers will be 18 inches to 3 feet . . . with the highest amounts on the volcanoes. … On the coast, waves of 25 to 28 feet are expected.” Sprinkling started here about 4 o’clock. In anticipation thereof, John fed the horses about 3.

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

Mice, cheese, and Perihelion

. . . and other things to celebrate

Sunday, Dec 29

Happy to awake this morning — 4 years after my heart valve replacement surgery. We should have thrown a party – but no – we drove to town to meet a friend to exchange some merchandise I got off the Buy Nothing Kittitas County site– that is stuff freely shared. What came today is a nice vase in which I put my dried wheat to remember my horse Frosty by, although he didn’t ever have wheat, at least while living with us. He did get a few rolled oats and these look somewhat similar. I have a tiny bale of hay somewhere I will find to put beside it. Meanwhile, the photo below shows the before and after photos of the grain in a can (John’s idea of class) and then in the “new” vase. I am putting both in for comparison, because the left was taken with a flash, and the right was not. [John says: We get bales of wheat straw to spread around places where the ground is more dirt (when wet = mud) than grass. There is still lots of grain in the straw and, what birds do not pick up or the dogs trample, produces a small crop of wheat; maybe 2 or 3 pounds. Most I leave. I clipped these last fall and they have been in the kitchen. So how many folks have seen a field of ripening wheat blowing in the wind?]

left photo of a dozen wheat heads in a can; right same in fancy container with a red rim and a blue flower on ceramic
Not so classy versus classy vases

Two other things in the bag of free goodies are gifts for others. One is a set of nice place mats from Pier One Export, reversible for blue or brown, with a centerpiece. Bamboo sticks fit into some loops on either side of the place mats, except for the centerpiece. I will give them to my friend, who sews for me, and who borrowed some linen napkins from me to use and others my mom made — she wanted to use as a pattern. Another item in the package is a chicken-shaped planter that I will give to my friends for their patio. They have larger ceramic chickens in their kitchen on the top of their cupboards. While in town we bought a few food-stuffs and stopped for a quick lunch at Burger King. Also, we brought home two BBQ rib sandwiches ($1 each). The meat was a small flat slab with zero resemblance to a “rib” and didn’t look promising but we removed the raw onion and pickles and replaced with Havarti cheese, caramelized onions, and put them in a hot oven for 3 minutes.  With some canned peaches, we survived. I am still (again) working on music for next week (which will last our group for 2 months). Finally, have Buffalo Gals in with the chorus first and four verses at the bottom. We had three different versions and weren’t doing well at all; in addition, our words in the lyrics for the audience did not match our music score. I need to figure out the time spent on each to get it to a finished product ready to mail. Then I will have to print some for people in the group who do not have access to a computer (or one with a printer).

Monday, Dec 30

A day of catch-up, not catsup or ketchup! First emails, then music, then clean up some stuff in the house for recycling or re-homing items. Plans for a few other chores. Yeah, best laid plans of mice and men. I am skipping a trip to town the next 3 days. Our group plays again the day after New Year’s Day. This day has largely been spent on music. I am down to making a .pdf of the 10th of 20 songs, at almost 6:00 p.m., but we have eaten dinner. It is now 10:45 and I just finished the last. Nothing is printed yet, but all the .pdf files are created, with big blue chords written on the music.

Tuesday, Dec 31 New Year’s Eve

I spent a bunch of time working up music for the group. At 14 minutes / page, that’s 4.6 hours, and that doesn’t include the time put in on re-doing some of them, such as Buffalo Gals, Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot, and Leaves in my music software (SongWriter). More were needed, but I worked on old copies (Xeroxed, manually-entered ones), and checked the chords (some of which were incorrect). So, for thinking I was making my life easier by picking two old lyrics books, I failed. Now they are done. I’m mailing the corrected list out with the key and the order, so people can put their music in order, and NOTIFY me if they need something. Meanwhile, I will run copies for the people coming who do not have a computer, and I will email the .pdf files to anyone wanting them, starting with our new pianist, our friendly first violin player who may make it this Thursday, and to ANYONE else with a printer who might wish to have the whole packet. I have 20 files with notes, chords, and words (some more legible than others). All are old time music pieces.  The folks in the places we play grew up with these tunes. Just before dark we got a call to see if John could help with loading a horse at a friend’s.  He did not like the set-up so after a brief attempt they postponed this activity until tomorrow. Tonight we will have to worry about fireworks and gun noise around us that for some reason upset two of our hunting dogs.  I have never understood this New Year thing – isn’t it just a made up date with no real significance? So why the guns and fireworks? Here is a long article we have only glanced at but have a look. The bottom line is that humans have fussed with calendars and use different ones.  Have a look here at the “Year of the Wood Horse”.  But, Happy New Year!, anyway. We are having a “quiet” night at home, trying to calm the Brittanys from several neighbors’ incessant firecrackers. We have the radio on for background to dilute the sharpness of the blasts from outside (nearest is about 100 yards away). It’s not working very well. Dan is lying at my feet, happy to be touching me. I scratch his back every so often. When we stopped going to field trials we stopped training – including introductions to noise, especially guns. Big mistake. The youngest, Annie, becomes a real pest. Finally, we closed her in a large crate. The others are all right. John “threw” together some brownies and I put the final caramel sauce on–smells quite good. Today for brunch, he fixed hashed browns, an omelet, and I helped finish cooking some bacon. This afternoon he baked some chicken hindquarters until they were very tender. I heated some green Lima beans. (We used to call them butter beans when I was growing up). He baked a small potato, and we shared a can of pears. I found out today the sad news that the large Buck mule deer I photographed met his demise at the hand of a local neighborhood archer, south of us, 1/4 mile. He was taken legally, but it was not kosher, IMHO. He should have been left around our area to upgrade the gene pool. John saw a smaller one this week with 3 does.

Wednesday, Jan 1 HAPPY NEW YEAR – 2014

Today we (John) helped a neighbor by loading their horse into our stock trailer, and transport him back to his home 7 miles or so away. John took care of that and got in a little horse training too, maybe 1.5 hrs., before the horse would enter the trailer. When he arrived home, I had set him up (with his truck) to do a good deed for two more people. I went with him on this trip. One family was giving away a twin size day bed (they lived in Kittitas), 10 miles from us, to another family in Ellensburg, about 7 miles back to town, and then another 11 miles home. About $15 of gas to accomplish these deeds – 2 gold stars on the first day of the year. If we keep up at this rate we’ll be broke by summer. Actually, the horse thing will earn us a meal later on.

Thursday, Jan 2

Filled day. Morning house and email chores as usual, plus an added search for the set of one of the lyrics books I couldn’t find. Checked both cars, front back, under sweaters, coats, and pillows, and found them hiding in the house. Phew. Then John decided it was too cold to work outside and we needed to shop for some stuff in town. So, he dropped me and all my paraphernalia off at the closest nursing home to us, and he went another couple miles to and around town to the bank, to pay bills, go to the Dollar store (for waxed paper and old style mouse traps). [Most local stores sell rolls of waxed paper for about $1.80. The $1-Store sells the same thing for, well, a dollar. Explain that?] Someone invented a plastic-enhanced type of old fashioned spring loaded mouse trap.

2 mouse traps; left has a yellow plastic tray for bait; right has a copper tray
Plastic versus metal bait tray

These (left) work very poorly, but we could not find the original type (right) the last time we needed one. $1 Store had wood ones (but made in Taiwan by PIC) at 4 for a dollar, so out with the new and in with the old. Field mice sometimes make it through the gauntlet of feral cats and into the garage. One came on into the kitchen last fall – remember the broken broom story? The inside cat can only get into the garage if we open a door for him but a mouse can get into the kitchen via holes for pipes and wires. The new-old traps are just another link in the necessary defenses against the rural environment.

Friday, Jan 3

We went to the Adult Activity Center for the potluck today. It was excellent — ribs and coleslaw they provided, and people brought various good side dishes and desserts. Once done, we delivered a few packages around town, and picked up some ourselves. At one place we were today to deliver a package, they sent back a birthday card and some homemade cookies for us. Another place we stopped gave us more cookies, and me 4 new pairs of socks, plus some toe warmers to use for my feet at tomorrow’s outdoor dinner. Another friend loaned me her lined Thinsulate boots, so I expect I shall be toasty warm. John has done the afternoon chores and the wind has been blowing, giving us a chill factor of 30°; nowhere near some of the temps across the states. I think he said tonight they were expecting just above zero in Cleveland, OH, where his sister lives, and about the same back in PA where many relatives live. Farther north it has been and continues to be very dangerously cold, so we shouldn’t complain – this week. We will get this posted Saturday morning and then leave. It is John’s birthday and Perihelion, but our trip is to celebrate the proper pruning of the vines last spring and a successful harvest of wine grapes at White Heron Cellars & Mariposa Vineyard. We will have, like last year, a pruner’s field lunch called a Raclette. You can look it up or await with bated breath our description next week. It does involve cheese – one of the elements of this poem:

Sally, having swallowed cheese
Directs down holes the scented breeze
Enticing thus with baited breath
Nice mice to an untimely death.

[Geoffrey Taylor, 1933, Cruel, Clever Cat]

Bated versus Baited – get it?

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

Christmas week on the Naneum Fan

If you missed it, check out the previous post – The Grandstands.

Sunday, Dec 22
Started by sleeping in from a very late night (morning). Had a wonderful 1/2 hour talk with John’s 95-year-old cousin in PA. She is incredibly sharp. Then a nice conversation with Peggy, John’s sister, in OH. We will not be around Christmas Day, so thought we should get our wishes and calls in early. We were unable to reach John’s brother in CA.
Very much time tonight, with more needed in the morning, of scanning Christmas carols and printing into .pdf files to email to a lady who will join us Thursday to play the Grand Piano at Hearthstone. Ellen’s son Roger will be there, and he came without bringing his guitar, so I am carrying in the guitar we bought from Anne Engels (MT), and she and her son will be there. (She is visiting son Glenn in Ellensburg for another week). Makes it rather special. Now this morning I’m running off the music for him because Roger cannot play along with his mom’s music as it is in the wrong key for her Bb Clarinet. The chords are written in for the key the rest of us play in (two sharps lower). Luckily, I had created the songs for our pianist, so I just have to find those 17 files and click print.

Monday, Dec 23
I spent much time this morning on music printing Christmas music for the two guests of our group this Thursday at Hearthstone. I did not explain the guitar we bought from Anne Engels for John to learn on belonged to her late husband. John cannot make his beat-up fingers bend to form all the chords, or make all the notes, without touching extra strings.
While sitting in my recliner working on the music scanning, creating, and printing copies I saw a flash of white outside the window, which faces the front yard (fenced). There is a 20 ft. high Mountain Ash tree there with bright red fruit hanging and blowing in the wind. The wind was gusting to 45mph, and I told John, something just went by the window — maybe a bag was flying around. I saw it in my peripheral vision (so it is working), but I was not able to focus on it. He looked out the kitchen window to see 12 wild turkeys (Merriam) visiting us. Those inside the fence were eating the red berries that had blown off the tree. I took some pictures and videos from the kitchen window, moved to the front door, and then to a bedroom. John thinks the Ash fruit isn’t palatable, nor perhaps edible, until it has changed in some manner (freeze/thaw; fermented ?) hanging on the tree. Small birds such as Starlings will come and sample the fruit but then leave. Last February (we think) a flock of about 50 came and cleaned the entire crop off the tree in 2 days. So something changed. John’s new bit of wisdom is to not have flowers, flowering shrubs, or fruiting trees close to your doors because bees, dropping fruit, and birds are best seen and not experienced first hand. The Ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba) [look it up] is one we could grow here but do not because it smells like dog poop or vomit. See here for our local link to this tree; just 25 miles away.
So back to the turkeys. John took his camera and walked out into the pasture, and took some photos. Pretty cool.

3 photos of turkeys: on driveway; hen on fence; Tom on fence.
We’re leaving now — see ya later.
2 photos of a dozen turkeys; front driveway; and down through the pasture and toward the woods.
A visit from the neighbors.

Tuesday, Dec 24 Christmas Eve
Today has mostly been inside work, except for John’s morning tours of the pasture. Just after John made it back into the house, his brother Dick called from San Jose’, CA. We’d left a message on Sunday when calling everyone, and they were out and about. He was waiting for his sons to arrive and Kit was off to a local bakery. On Christmas Day the folks would head to other places. We had a nice talk, and he sounded good (he’s 11 years older than John). Also, we called our friend, Fred Joyal, to wish him a Happy Birthday today, and Merry Christmas to the family tomorrow in upstate Michigan. Later this afternoon, just before dark, we carried some jars & apples to one neighbor, and picked up two jars of apricot jelly she made and knows I love. On from there to another neighbor a mile away, to deliver some onions, a few potatoes, and some now less-than-fresh Honeycrisp apples. (John sliced and sugared enough apples for a large pie and still has 2 batches to do. They have lasted well.) They traded a package of venison sausage and a jar of strawberry jelly. I had a package with a cutting board in it, to give her, but I forgot and left it at home. [The “authentic Maple cutting board” is in a box with 3 seven ounce salami/sausage rolls and a triangular shaped 2 oz. piece of smokey cheese-food. We bought several of these packages (for gifts) at an after Christmas sale about 10 years ago and two of these just now surfaced. Well, the Maple cutting board still looks good, but we will trash the food.] Later in the evening, we made one more call to Pat Berlin, the daughter of his cousin we talked with Sunday. We think she is his “first cousin once removed.” I have never figured this relationship stuff out. Her birthday falls on Christmas day and we knew we wouldn’t have a chance to call her. She is also in PA, 3 time zones to the east. With John’s help, I worked on cleaning up the counters to get ready to make the food we will take to Christmas dinner tomorrow. John came in and put together a neat lunch, followed by making an apple/ blueberry pie and a cookie sheet of leftover dough with crushed pecans, sugar, and cinnamon. We had a piece of that for dessert.
I’ve been working on the email list to send the link below to all our friends. If you did not receive it, please go here.
It is our Christmas card to send to everyone before the end of the year, saying we will not get the 2013 newsletter out until after the New Year. 🙂
However, before I could send it, I had to transcribe the pictures and videos of the wild turkeys at our house today and yesterday and make the videos to put into YouTube compatible files. That took awhile, but I got them transferred, and you can reach them here:

Tom chases the girls; 29 sec.

On to the fence; 32 sec.

At 11:00 p.m., I FINALLY got it out! Whoopee–a few returned with wrong email addresses. I now have to fix those loose ends, but that can wait for a new day.

Wednesday, Dec 25
Up early, to clean up and then work on fixing the Golden Health Squash dish. See below the beginning and ending of the process.

2 photos: chunked up squash in square dish; and cooked with brown sugar and Pecans
Squash is ready for cooking – finished with sugar and Pecans

The photo above is only the smaller of the two Pyrex dishes we took to the dinner. Finally, after a late start, we finished in plenty of time to drive 20 minutes to our destination. We visited a lot and ate likewise. There were some good foods there we don’t usually have. The main meat dishes included ham and turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing, our squash, several different salads, many dips, including some fancy ones (salmon, artichoke), stuffed mushrooms, the hottest peppers filled with something less hot, I have ever had. Had to run get some cool drink to put out the fire. John passed on those. Also was a table of cookies (all decorated) and candies. We didn’t stay around for the cakes and pies, because they took a break to exchange gifts. We needed to get home for John to feed the horses and outside cats – they have him trained so he will feed before dark. I needed to locate the guitar I mentioned previously. I dusted off the case, and managed to get the strings in tune. It does have a tuner attached to its neck so the only issue is will it stay in tune? [it did, just fine]

Thursday, Dec 26
Today, going to play music at 2 places in the afternoon — all Christmas songs. I have a lot of stuff to carry. John decided against going in favor of working on his “firewise” project. I parked at the end of the driveway at the first place and made two trips. First was with my fiddle and carrier, and next with my guitar and another carrier (with music stands and music books). We had a great group, with some new members and visitors in the audience and in the “band.” Here is a run-down on the instruments: mandolin, two guitars, bells, accordion, two fiddlers, clarinet, and pianist (on the Grand Piano). The audience had individual sets of bells to jingle with us, and lyrics of the songs we sung.

Friday, Dec 27
We have lots of clean up in the house left to do, and I started this morning by making my way through 3 boxes in front of the door to our entry hall closet. I know we haven’t been in there for 5 years, because we have a coat rack on the wall beside the door, which holds all our vehicle keys, and coats/jackets of the season. I was looking for a special warm winter coat from my past and hoping for warm boots as well. I found both! I doubt the boots will work, however. The foam insulation (a low density, open cell polyurethane foam ? ) has deteriorated, and after wearing them an hour, I realized the insides were crumbling — so trashed them. John says he read on the side they were made in Italy. Later, I’ll look further in the same closet. The coat is perfect. John made some brownies and they smell delicious. We received an invite today to a Raclette (it happens on John’s birthday this year). So very excited. (That’s why I was looking for warm outside clothing). Also, another party on Jan 11 celebrating a new job in Yakima for the son (in Ellensburg) of a friend, but the party will be in Maple Valley, WA. Our attendance is waiting for the weather report on the Pass. Rest of the afternoon I have spent (still working) on deciding the playlist for our group for Jan & February. Now I have to put them in order in my book, and run copies for the new people. We just had dinner, and I am totally worn out, but it is only 8:00 p.m. Received a blast from the past–about our old Brittany, born in 1976, Dual Ch/AFC/CC Ramblin’ Chocolate Dandy. (See more on tomorrow’s write-up.)
Entered the song, Leaves, into my computer software. It is a song we have long done with our group, and it is very old. Many years ago the mother-in-law of one of our guitarists put a poem to music. Within the past 12 years, he wrote a 3rd verse, and I wrote the 4th and 5th. It’s pretty cool. Guess I should make a link to the lyrics for anyone interested. We localized the last three verses to the Kittitas Valley – as we are the Kittitas Valley Fiddlers and Friends.

Saturday, Dec 28
This morning I went walking with John and the Brittanys, and talked to the horses. They see so little of me, they weren’t sure of the change and the three newest ones stood 50 feet away and looked but decided that was close enough. I was all bundled up maybe looked like an apparition – the ghost of Christmas past. Now back to the correspondence with the fellow that had a pup out of our “Choc” — Dual Champion Brittany. He had a pup in the last century from him, and wants another from his bloodlines. My wonderful first-opened email of this morning was from Jeri Conklin offering just the pup he needs. The conclusion of getting information to the fellow, now in CA, ended at 6:30 p.m. and then an hour or so later, Jeri got back in touch with him, after I sent him a bunch of photos and history. I think it’s going to work out. As I told him, it will be a match made in heaven. Then, because I was too busy today, we never got this blog out. Hope you enjoyed John’s attempt at humor with his Grandstand thing. He sort of tricked me because the bush in that photo looks like one at the corner of our house – it is just a photo he stole from the web.

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

Spring is here and . . .

. . .  all that goes with it:  Tax preparation, Easter, gardens, and daffodils:

http://www.cornwall365.co.uk/cornwall_image/4,A-Host-of-Golden-Daffodils,_MG_4865_250207.JPG

Saturday, Apr 7  Took it easy today, caring for my cold, however, we loaded three large Honeycrisp apples into the dehydrator.  John also finished the blog, while I designed a picture he made of a very large apple (on a scale to measure its heaviness) for putting on the web.  We gave you that link in last week’s blog.

Sunday, Apr 8  Happy Easter.  We will be joining our neighbors for a mid-day feast.  Early this morning, while running with the dogs, John had the pleasure of seeing “our Naneum owl” down in the swamp.  A couple of years ago he was able to get a photo of a pair.  They were in adjacent trees but very close to one another.  A student is using one of his photos for her presentation and labeled it the Naneum Owl (That’s because she did a Google Image search and I’d named the photo Owl-Naneum; it picked it up from our newsletter greeting).  Here is a link to the type of owl and relevant information:

http://www.kidzone.ws/animals/birds/great_horned_owl.htm

We are back from a great fun dinner, including ham, potato salad, applesauce, broccoli, green bean casserole with fried onions on top of the mushroom soup mixture, rolls, raw carrots, plums, sweet pickles, and rhubarb blueberry cake for dessert with ice cream if you wanted.

Monday, Apr 9  Neat day.  I stayed home to recover more from my cold.  I’m still coughing but I believe I’m much better.  Only sad thing is that John has caught it.

The reason it was neat was that I accomplished quite a bit, as did John.  He did his normal feeding for the neighborhood livestock and ours.  We went to play with the kitties and talk to Big Sue.  They are slightly growing and getting faster on their feet.

Then John spent the afternoon planting trees – Grand Fir and Ponderosa Pine.

I stayed on my computer going through the tax program and getting questions that I needed responses to from Turbo Tax advisors and from our Mutual Funds Investment counselor in Arizona — (HQ is in Pennsylvania). I reached her on the phone and figured out the answers to those questions about retirement rollovers, and then waited a long time for help from the Turbo Tax advisors (had to speak to two different ones and the wait was longer than the solution).  I got my answers I needed so I’m truly on a roll again.  Oops, Rascal came in with John from feeding the outside cats and is awaiting some special food himself.

Last week I wrote about the dog Rhu that likely would need a new home but they decided to keep him.  They live near Reno and another friend, Sonja, lives in South Lake Tahoe with one of our Brittanys and my childhood-sized (3/4) violin.  They met in between their homes at a convenient place for a longish visit.  Then Rhu’s owner, Julie got the violin from Kip’s owner, Sonja, and has now carted it to EBRG for me.  I missed seeing her but she was able to drop it off at the Adult Activity Center.  What nice friends I have.

Tuesday, Apr 10  I am not busy tomorrow until leaving at 3:30 for a massage appointment and then meeting an Olympia College geographer friend for dinner and then off to play music with The Connections.  Will be a busy afternoon and evening.  It all went well, but I was very tired and didn’t spend much time awake tonight, going to bed a little earlier than usual.

Wednesday, Apr 11  Today started out with all the regular chores, but I stayed in the recliner after breakfast and worked on filing tax receipts.  I didn’t spend much time at all on email and the computer.  Left for the Soup Kitchen at the food Bank, and played music.  Did not sing as much as normal because it would start me coughing.  Got through it and then we tried to eat.  This was the worst lunch they have ever served there.  The meat was a sausage cut in two and fried, with cheese on top and on top of that a piece of lean (mostly) bacon, sort of like ham, with fat attached.  Then there was a half of a green pepper stuffed with a mixture of rice (sticky) and cut up veggies, dessert or bread was a thin slice of tortilla (I guess) with sugar and cinnamon on it.  There were small cubed peaches (canned) for dessert, so I skipped that.  It was really weird and I wasn’t alone in my thoughts.  The head cook came over to thank us (as we were eating) for playing the music.  She leaned over to the two of us (musicians) and said, “What do you think about lunch?  No one said anything, so I said, “Well, it surely is different.”  She seemed pleased and said, “that’s what I intended.”  No one else at my table liked any part of it either.

Went on to Bi-Mart and picked up more canned cat food on sale.  Then off to the hospital for a blood draw for the INR test (blood thinning).  Turns out it was back down again to 1.7, and they are not happy with that.  I complained of my cold symptoms, and the nurse was alarmed I had yellow mucous, so she talked to the doctor, who put me on Amoxicillin at 3/day for another 10 days.  It doesn’t seem that long since I had the same thing prescribed over a month ago.  We had an interesting meal tonight of leftovers.  Much better than my lunch today.

Thursday, Apr 12  Not much today.  Still a lot of coughing from me.  John’s sneezing is about gone too.  John went out to work on chores for the neighbor and to plant our strawberries.  He ordered 25 but got 27 (typical for strawberries by mail-order).  I went to play at the Rehab center and it was a good thing.  Only 6 of us showed up.  I made it through without coughing, but had taken a mask in case I started.  I stopped by the new Carl’s Jr in town and bought a special BBQ bacon/cheddar/fried onion hamburger (two for $5). John ate his not realizing it was supposed to have cheese on it.  Mine did; his didn’t.  Or maybe he had a ‘senior’ moment.

Spring seems to have sprung.  The Willows are blooming . . .

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/88/Willow_catkin_2_aka.jpg

and the Black Cottonwood . . .

http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/images/blackcottonwood/populus_balsamifera_fruit_smcdougal_lg.jpg

Grasses (and weeds) have grown enough that our neighbor told John to stop feeding the horses on the pastures.  Then he decided the six mares could do with about half of what they had been getting.  There are a couple dozen mule deer helping with the nibbling of anything green.  It has been so cold here this spring that everything, even grass, is late.  Two years ago trees were leafed out and flowers were blooming by April 1st.  Two severe frosts in the first week of April froze the cherry buds and killed the leaves of the black walnut trees.  They did come back but there were no nuts in 2010.  Anyway John’s feeding chores have lessened just in time to do some gardening.

Friday, Apr 13   I started the day not feeling well after wheezing and coughing all night.  I wrote an email to my Dr. and called to alert them to its being there.  He responded that starting me on a diuretic was not a good idea, and to keep my antibiotics going, and come in Monday or Tuesday if I wasn’t better.  Therefore, I stayed home and worked on taxes all day.

Interestingly, last night I only ate half of sandwich, and we had the remainder for lunch today.  John had told me last night there was no cheese on his burger, and I said, “Well there was plenty on mine.”  When he cut it today to heat up for lunch, he verified there was lots of cheese on mine, but had been none on his.  I wanted to call the store, but they don’t yet have a phone number listed.  We both went back to work for a couple hours, and he came in to tell me to come out and bring my camera to record what he had done.  Today, he was working on a long trench (~20 feet) digging down to just above a rock layer, putting in a layer of dry manure and straw, and preparing where he will plant his 25+ asparagus plants.  Then I also got some pictures of the strawberries he planted yesterday, and last year’s strawberries from which he removed the straw cover.  They are already showing new light green growth from uncovering two days ago.   You can see the pictures on the following link below, which I put out Saturday night and John wrote the details on my beginning template.

http://elixant.com/~nancyh/NaneumFanGarden.html

The oven’s got chicken thighs baking and in the fridge’ there’s a can of sliced peaches.

Saturday, Apr 14  John got his haircut by me this morning.  If we had put even $5.00/haircut in since I began cutting his hair (before we were married), we would have at least $100.  We did our separate chores, him outside in the garden and me inside on the computer.  Ate a small lunch (for me, not for him), and then both went to town to Briarwood.  He shopped while I entertained with a few others.  Pretty good turnout of 3 guitars, accordion, two violins, and a viola, with an occasional mandolin.  We had a new gal from the college join us today, who plays the banjo.  She also plays with the Bluegrass Jam group at the Grange, and likely will tomorrow too, third Sundays of the month, but this is our last this year.  There will be a group campout and jam the end of May.  Most people, who take this more seriously than I do, go to competitions, festivals, and events through the summer.  Back to this afternoon.   We surely had an appreciative group who really got involved; one lady got up and did Hawaiian hand movements and dancing to Tiny Bubbles and Pearly Shells.  This group of retirees always puts on a great spread for us.  Today were ham sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, cut into 4ths, diagonally, three nice salads, and many desserts.

John and I came home and he buried asparagus roots. It is a chore but once done the plants will likely live here as long as we do.

http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1603.html

The stores have had Mexico grown asparagus for about $3.50/pound.  The Washington commercial harvest has just started and locally it is sold in road-side stands in boxes of 25 pounds.  We haven’t seen this year’s price though.

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/04/12/2104569/asparagus-season-starting-in-tri.html?storylink=fb

I worked on tax input while John was in the asparagus trench.  Then, after he ran the dogs, for their evening exercise, we went to visit the kitties.  John pulled them out of their nest and put them on the hay lined floor in front of me (I was sitting on a bale of hay).  Mama (Big Sue) watched from the rafters.  John laid down and played with them and I picked each of them up and also petted them from above.  They are getting more mobile and interested in things.  John plans maybe tomorrow to build a little enclosure to give them more light, but high enough to keep them in.  In our small hay barn they are well protected from the wind (it was high today) and rain.  We’ll document the arrival of spring here on Naneum Fan and get some more photos posted for next week’s blog.  Meanwhile, check out the garden pictures mentioned above in the blog with a link.

We are thankful we do not live in the mid-west – storms and tornados all over today – and wish the best to anyone in that region.

Hope your week was a good one.

Nancy and John

still on the Naneum Fan

 

Got a wee-bit of the Irish?

http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/thumblarge_357/123290483458gZMl.jpg

Saturday, Mar 10.    This turned into a nice day.  John had all his and the neighbor’s regular animal chores, but he got them all done in time for us to leave right before 4:00 to go to Yakima for playing music at a fundraiser auction (silent and real) for the Riverside Christian School in Yakima.  We got in return a really nice spread of food for musicians and spouses.   John and I had a really nice visit on the way down and back.  Midday I went to my neighbor’s to deliver a birthday cake (cobbler from our cherries & walnuts, and blueberries ) that we made last night.  And, while there I changed the dressing on my neighbor’s toe operation.  I will do it once a day till it heals completely.  He gave me instructions and we did a nice job.  Medical types had wanted people to come to Harborview for instruction.  Can you imagine?  That’s in Seattle.  Over a mountain.  Sort of like going to New York City for picante sauce

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSxnieYctVM

I told him I was willing to go to Ellensburg to a doctor’s office or to the hospital, but I was not driving all the way to Harborview to learn how to do something I could probably easily be coached by him.  That’s what happened, after his nephew, the caregiver for the past couple of weeks, had to leave to start a new job.

Sunday, Mar 11.  I slept in late, was invited to lunch, changed the foot dressing, helped fix, ate lunch and cleaned up, and got home late.  John had taken 4 pictures at the auction last night of our music group, so I worked on getting them emailed to the participants, with thank you notes for last night, and watched a late afternoon snow storm.  Talked to John’s sister tonight.  Sadly Kathy had to return to the hospital, and is a very sick lady.

Monday, Mar 12.  It’s snowing here but John took off for grapevine pruning anyway.

The weather is better there: 23 miles to the NE, 1,400 feet lower, and a 6,000 ft. ridge in between.  I stayed up to clean up the kitchen and get ready to leave for helping my friend with the dressing on his foot, before I have to take off for town.  I do plan to take in some cherries, blueberries and walnuts for our friends to make one of John’s Kittitas Downsideup Cobblers for a special dinner of ethnic foods.  She figures that such a dish is appropriate for where she has lived for 1/4 century.  I must also pick up my meds that I ran out of, or will tomorrow, and drop by the bank for some cash.  John has found a source for the largest Honey Crisp apples you can imagine.  They are the size of grapefruits and weigh about 16 to 20 ounces each.  The larger ones are packed 9 to a flat, the smaller ones have 12, with a plastic liner and individual cups for each apple. He’s getting the box for $10 over in Quincy, from Double Diamond Fruit – a local company “storing, packing, and marketing apples, apricots, and cherries.”  There was a school bus accident (turn over) and 39 kids injured on the road south of Quincy near where John turns off to go to the vineyard.  The roads were dry.  Driver drove off the edge, over-corrected, went over a short but steep gravel incline, and tipped onto its side.

http://www.kimatv.com/news/Dozen-kids-injured-in-school-bus-rollover-near-Quincy-142336575.html

It snowed here hard all morning (started after John was 10 minutes down the road, and lasted until I left at 12:25 to drive to town to deliver the fruit to a friend, go to the bank for cash, and to my exercise class.  It wasn’t till I got to EBRG that the snow stopped.  I had to clean it off both the windshield and the back one.  Oh, had to put in a nursing bandage/dressing change on my neighbor’s foot that took over a half hour before I left for town.  And, I picked up my meds before coming home.  I was so tired that I laid down at 4:15 and slept for 3 hours.  Guess I needed it.  Spent the rest of the night eating a late dinner and proofing job application statements for a friend.

Tuesday, Mar 13   Another long day.  Did not have to do bandage and dressing today.  My “patient” went to his Dr. for an examination and they did it.  Thankfully.  Today I had to go by the vet to get a 3-month supply of Thyroid pills for Shay.  Then off to Cle Elum for seeing my family physician, just for a follow-up.  I drove through a snow storm almost the whole way there, and when I came out 50 minutes later, it was sunny and bright.  My Dr. was positive that I looked better than ever, and was “back” to 100%.  I don’t feel I’m quite there yet, but it was nice being complimented.  I know I’m so much better.  He said I didn’t need to check back with him till annual physical time in July.  Certainly suits me.  [John says: I put the  “–”s around ‘back’ because the meaning is “about as good as you can expect to be with the heart you’ve got.”]  Tonight was a dinner in town and playing at Hearthstone, so I didn’t get home till 8:00.  I spent an hour on writing a letter of recommendation for a student to go to grad school.  I last had him in classes in 2008, but I remember him well.  He was a very good student.  It’s cold outside–down to 31.5 .

Wednesday, Mar 14  We both took care of chores, and John left for pruning.  At 11:30 I left for playing music at the “Soup” Kitchen, and on to exercise at 1:30, then home to work on taxes.

Thursday, Mar 15 — a slow start but busy ending with a little excitement thrown in.  I got up quite early (still dark) with John and he had to go do all chores in the dark (the daylight savings time thing) to be able to leave earlier than normal to pick up one of the pruners.  I decided to go back to sleep in my recliner and 15 minutes later my cell phone rang.  I do not get reception in that part of the house so I had to walk back the entire length of our L-shaped house.  It was the vineyard/winery owner, Cameron, calling to say if it was raining in EBRG, perhaps John didn’t need to make the trip over.  I told him he’d already left 15 minutes prior, so he thanked me and hung up.  I went back to the recliner and settled down under a blanket.  I managed to go to sleep for the next couple of hours !  Cool.. I needed it.  I didn’t have to go do the bandages this morning because my neighbor had an early a.m. appointment in town with his doctor.  They put a bandage on when done.  I worked on several chores, and ate some lunch (following on a late breakfast).  Didn’t leave till about 1:00 to drop off some stuff on my way to play music at Dry Creek.  Amazingly, we had 13 people there today.   Wow.. and we had a great audience and one of them got up, took off her shoes and socks, and cut a rug . . .

http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/39/messages/462.html

. . . to Five Foot Two & Yes Sir That’s My Baby.  It was neat.  I wish I had had my camera.  She was the Geography Secretary for 27 years at CWU.  Toward the end of our playing, we played 5 Irish tunes, and it sounded pretty good for only doing it once a year.  I called John from town to be sure he made it home okay.  The weather turned sunny from blustery, very windy, and rainy when we started.  I finished loading the dishwasher and sat down with my computer.  Just as I was ready to send off some pictures to one of the couples at the Yakima gig, last Saturday, and John was out feeding our horses, I heard a loud cat scream and looked out to see Rascal being attacked by Big Sue (the old yellow cat).  She had him on the ground rolling around, and I ran out the back door, screaming at the top of my lungs.  It broke them up and she went out around the back of Jay’s Folly, …  [“folly”: a pond with almost no water and lots of brush; a relic of the prior owner hoping to store water for late season irrigation; bottom is cobbles and sand so for water storage it works about as well as a colander:]

http://www.hostalibrary.org/seed/indoors/colander.jpg

… and Rascal ran around the back of the fence and jumped up a fence post and ran in the open patio door.  I followed him in, and he went back to the guest bedroom up by the window at the front of the house.  I was talking with him and decided he was not hurt, when John walked in the back door, asking where we were.  He had been at the barn and heard the cat fight screams and my yelling.  Rascal is okay, but I’m not happy.

Friday, Mar 16  I stayed and slept in, but then had to go eat at a scholarship luncheon.  It was a full table of food, and good because I never had breakfast, except a cup of coffee to warm up.  Two ladies put it on and had large cookies from Vinmans Bakery,…  [well regarded for miles around, pricey (not for the faint of wallet), minimal WEB site:]   http://vinmansbakery.com/ … a loaf of bread, rolls, butter, a nice salad, and a Crock-pot of spaghetti in cheese sauce with red peppers.  From there I went to the activity center to pick up my 86 yr old friend to give her a ride home.  We did not have exercise today because a group was working on pine needle basket weaving.  Here’s a photo of the unassembled product: http://www.needlebasket.com/images/longleaf_pine.jpg

I picked up a 5 grain bread loaf that was being given away – having been donated on its “use by date” by a well known grocery chain.

Saturday, Mar 17  Another crazy one, started at 2:15 a.m. with a cat fight outside.  It woke me up and I jumped out and ran to the back door, yelling, but never saw the combatants.  John walked out without trousers but with slippers and flashlight (aka a torch) and found nothing.  (British) English Translated For Americans:

http://www.uta.fi/FAST/US1/REF/engtran.html

I went back to the guest bedroom, and Rascal was up on his perch, so I ran back outside to tell John I had found him.  He stayed in the rest of the night.  Normally he leaves about 4 or 5 but it started snowing at 2:30 and continued till 7:00 and measured up to 4 inches.  It was wet snow.  Then it was quiet and the sun shone a little, but at 10:00 a.m. it started snowing BIG huge flakes again and went on for 45 minutes.  Very interesting.  I went over and did my neighbor’s foot bandage at 10:45 and then came home to work on a letter of recommendation.  Then John took a nap and got up & put on his awesome (yard sale) Irish Claddagh sweater with the pattern in green, gold, purple, and black on white . . .

http://www.carvinginnyc.com/claddagh.htm

It stays in a safe place and he only wears it occasionally.  Everyone always loves it.  Today was special, because he wore it to the celebration where we were playing music, and several Irish tunes.  He got up and modeled it.. and everyone cheered.  Then at the end we played Irish Washerwoman and he came to the front and did a little Irish jig.  Everyone was impressed.  A lady got up to dance too, but he went and sat down.  They had a nice meal for us, so I didn’t need to eat any dinner.  There were little corned beef sandwiches with a piece of lettuce, potato salad, slaw, and a fluffy green fruit salad.  There were desserts too, but I only had one sugar cookie with green frosting.  Tonight we had a piece of John’s “brownie” cake for dessert.

Sunday, Mar 18, will start with John doing horse feeding chores for us and for the neighbor’s 10 horses.  Just after lunch we will drive to the Bluegrass Jam Session at the Swauk-Teanaway Grange about 30 minutes up the road (in good weather).

Hope your week was a good one.

Nancy and John

still on the Naneum Fan