reconnected

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

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

Phoenix

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

Cheers,
John

Dog Days of Summer

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

Monday, Aug 11

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

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

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

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

Water Truck Around Our Curve & Headed North 8 11 14

Tuesday, Aug 12

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

Wednesday, Aug 13

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

Thursday, Aug 14

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

Friday, Aug 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where there’s Smoke, . . .

Sunday, Aug 3

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

and the plane doing a drop:
DC10_910_retardant drop

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

Then later he decided to pick blueberries.
BlueberryBush

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

Monday, Aug 4

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

Tuesday, Aug 5

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

Smoke as seen from the trip home.

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

Wednesday, Aug 6

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

Thursday, Aug 7

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

See the little deer.

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

Friday, Aug 8

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

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

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

Saturday, Aug 9

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

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

Breathing Smoke

A common sight this week.

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

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

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

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

John

August already, and a storm

Sunday, July 27

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

Monday, July 28

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

Tuesday, July 29

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

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

Wednesday, July 30

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

Orange Blossom Special – 2014 WOTFA Pearce Class

Bobbie Teaching Train Sound & Alternate Hokum Bowing

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

1-MoireGroupPhoto

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

2-Moire_with_Nancy

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

Thursday, July 31

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

Friday, August 1

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

Saturday, August 2

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

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

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

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

Good News Week

Sunday, July 20
Earth from Moon

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

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

Monday, July 21

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

Tuesday, July 22

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

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

Wednesday, July 23

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

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

Thursday, July 24

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

Friday, July 25

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

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

Saturday, July 26

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

So the day starts.

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

Phone is ringing. So the day starts.

Will get a post up late today.

John

Week of Ws

WOTFA, WIND, WTA, WONDER

Sunday, July 13

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

Monday, July 14

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

Tuesday, July 15

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

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

Thursday, July 17

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

Friday, July 18

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

Saturday, July 19

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

Sunday, July 20

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

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

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

More July Celebrations

Sunday, July 6

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

Monday, July 7

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

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The final product on the picking table with John’s WTA saw award shown as the implement for pruning large limbs from the tree tops. [Try enlarging it and the next few.]
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Tuesday, July 8

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

Wednesday, July 9

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

Thursday, July 10

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

Friday, July 11

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

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

Sunday, July 13

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

JULY 12, 1969

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers.