Spring is here and . . .

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


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:


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 . . .


and the Black Cottonwood . . .


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.


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.


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.


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?


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


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.


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 . . .


. . . 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:]


… 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:


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 . . .


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