Devastation 2014Big news this week … FIRE …

It’s been a hectic week. But we’re okay.

Thanks to all who called or emailed.

Wind is still from the south.

Here is a link to pictures …

And here’s a map …

Fire Map

Fires are still popping up regularly. New one near Grant’s Pass. The Happy Camp complex seems to be coming under control. A new one near Sacramento, and there is still one near Yosemite.

But then fires aren’t the only problems. The home of a contact on the Big Island of Hawai’i is in the path of the new lava flow from Kilauea and a friend of our older son, also in the path, has started farming out belongings due to evacuation “suggestions”.

It would seem a tv program which dealt with only climate change news would have enough “news” for at least a full hour every day. Fires … tornadoes … hurricanes … volcanoes … floods … droughts …you name it.


But on with life …

Next amateur radio event will be the 11th of October. That will be the one in McCloud (unless it gets cancelled by fire as have three other events this year). It will be the day after George’s second eye treatment, but it won’t involve any lifting so all will be well.

The last of this year’s obligations will be the following saturday. I attended the first of the planning meetings for that event yesterday. Our involvement is being upped, so there will be a bit of planning to do.


Thinking of radio led to thinking about television … twice last week, people we know were on the tv news.

The first was Larry Masterman. I met him when I was working emergency and he was a first responder with the local ambulance company. Later he became a San Francisco paramedic. In 1982 he was moonlighting as the medic for movie crews in the SF area. His wife was due to deliver their second child while a movie was filming and he asked me to substitute for him with a crew out on Alcatraz. That’s why my kids can claim “Mom spent two weeks on (in) Alcatraz.”

Larry is now the headman for the Jackson County Emergency Preparedness Program across the border in Oregon. He did a two minute bit on the local news about fire and earthquake preparation by individuals and families.

One degree of separation.

Second was Nancy Hood. She lost her home to the Happy Camp fire complex.   The following was on the web page about the centennial of the USFS Lake Mountain lookout … Nancy Hood, the person who staffs the Lake Mountain Lookout, holds records for longevity.  She has worked 54 consecutive seasons as a fire lookout (on several different towers) on the KlamathNational Forest.  She has spent the last 20 at LakeMountain.  Ms. Hood’s length of service as a fire lookout on one Forest is believed to be the longest in the history of the US Forest Service.

We met her when we were “manning” the Paradise Craggy lookout for CalFire. Nancy is staying on the job in her fire lookout and sheltering with friends. She says it was better for her (a single woman) to lose her house than if it were some neighbors who are families with small children. She plans to rebuild.

One degree of separation.


More about the cruise with Mark … We spent a day in Juneau. It was raining.

My only contact in that town was passing through on the way to Auke Bay to take a whale watching trip. We waited for the bus in the building at the base of the tram which takes people UP to the top of the mountains hemming in the town. That looked interesting, but we were already booked and I knew I would rather go see whales.

Aboard the whale watch boat, we met a woman from Yreka. The college student “naturalist” was quite knowledgeable. We saw whales and harbor seals and interesting scenery and lots of other tourists.

I did enjoy that excursion. I like being out on the water. Guess it has something to do with Daddy having been a deep water sailor. And sharing with Mark was good.

On the bus to the tour boat, I overheard a man talking about going “on mission”. Since I work with members of the Church of Latter Day Saints at the genealogy center, I recognized the language. I mentioned I had friends who were on mission to Peru and we chatted for a minute or two.

Then on the way back the man who spoke of “mission” came over to talk with me. We chatted for a sentence or two, then he asked if I was LDS. I explained my connection and we had a comfortable chat about genealogy and his intention to go on mission when he retires from selling insurance in Utah. We also talked about Skagway. He said it might be a nice place to live, but there wasn’t much of a market for retirement insurance there. It was a comfortable interaction.

Going through town on the way back, we were able to see the mansion of the Alaskan Governor. It is a large, white house  with columns across the front part of the way up the mountain. It looks a bit like a southern plantation house. I made a quip about being able to see Russia from the Governor’s window. One of the folks in the bus got upset … “She never said that!”

I apologized (it actually was a Tina Fey line from SNL) but added that it was a funny bit.

After the boat trip, Mark went shopping and sightseeing through town, but I went back to the boat to nap.

Skagway and Juneau were the only two times I went ashore. I had planned to visit with Gretchen in Ketchikan, but that port had been cancelled. I came to the conclusion that I really liked being aboard ship and traveling, but the plethora of things to do aboard ship (which could be done just about anywhere) were not for me … with the exception of a couple of the evening theatre shows. What I really enjoyed was the time to sit on the balcony and watch …

Thank you, Mark.


Apples, chokecherries, blackberries, grapes, Oregon grapes, gooseberries, rugosa rose hips, even hot peppers … are all outdoing themselves. Were I still feeding a family (rather than two old people) and had the energy I had twenty years ago, I’d have a pantry full to overflowing. As is, I’ve got peppers and rose hips drying and enough pergazebollis grape jelly to last a few years. By next week I will have a winter’s supply of Ruby’s tomato soup and some pasta sauce.


Recently came across another incident leading to the thought that Richard Rogers was not so much a composer as an adapter-arranger. “We open in Venice” from “Kiss Me. Kate” is a variation on a theme from a Haydn symphony.


Finally …

I don’t remember where I heard or saw this, but it sounds like good advice.


Just because you’ve been given a cactus doesn’t mean you have to sit on it.



So ’til next week …







Fire report …

Last week at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting, the head honcho at CalFire in this area said they would be in big trouble if the Happy Camp complex managed to jump the river (the Klamath). Well … yup. The next day it jumped the river.

It’s been burning since 11 August and as of friday last had burned over 80 square miles on the California side of the border and has cost more than $50 million. Now that’s one humongous fire.

Yesterday I woke up to a smelly blanket of smoke. I couldn’t clear my throat and I sounded like Tallulah Bankhead (anyone remember Tallulah?). We had been unable to see the Super Moon due to the change in wind direction. We knew the Moon was there, but all we could see was diffused light. And then on the way home from Yreka, this was the view of the Mountain. Smoke on the way home

When I got home, I couldn’t see the Mountain at all.

In addition, there had been a fire last week along I-5 north of Redding last week which closed the freeway for several hours.


Last spring we got eight chicks to replenish our flock. Of those eight , we are now down to four. One refused to stay in the yard (she flew over the fence even after we clipped a wing and something, probably a dog or coyote, took her out), one committed suicide by trying to go through the fence and getting her head caught in the mesh, we butchered one rooster since one rooster to a flock is enough, and the remaining rooster turned into the attack rooster from hell (he clawed George’s hand, tore a hole in my pants leg, and pulled feathers out of the hens’ backs) and so he went the way of the pot.

We had wanted to brood our own replacements this coming spring, but we’ll be getting them from the feed mill in Grenada again.


Sitting in my rocker, spinning, I have observed a phenomenon which may go a ways toward explaining folk tales.

There are large trees (firs and pines) and some shorter bushes (lilac and gooseberry) outside the window through which I glance while spinning. The trees were absolutely still. Not a needle was stirring. Not even trembles from birds or squirrels.

But the bushes were an entirely different matter. They were whipping around as if a gale were blowing.

I have no explanation … but I can understand tales of haunts and wendigos.


More thoughts on things I’ve seen over and over and now understand a bit better.

For years I have been able to look out my bedroom window as I wake and see stars … and an occasional planet. But no longer. We have lived here long enough that the trees outside the window have grown so tall they nearly obscure the sky. I saw a planet this morning and it was a pleasant surprise. I have been missing the stars.

It has occurred to me that as much as I enjoy coloured photos (much like how I love spinning colourful fiber), well-done black and white photosShadows 2



(like those my older son has been doing)








somehow grab me in a way coloured ones don’t. A realization this morning (again as I gazed out the bedroom window about 0500) as I found myself fascinated by the scene created by the shadows cast by the full Moon on the evergreens. I can’t explain it, but it really was a great way to start the morning.

~~~10 Sept 2014

This morning, this is the view out the front door …


And finally, in homage to Joan Rivers …

“You know why I feel older? I went to buy sexy underwear and they automatically gift wrapped it.”

And so ’til next week …







Last wednesday the sky was clear most of the day. Then at dusk the wind shifted and we couldn’t see the mountain just to the southwest of us … not very far away … just the other side of the meadow.

Thursday morning there was an evacuation order in the Happy Camp area with evacuee sites at the Karuk Tribal Senior Nutrition Center and in the Winema building at the fairgrounds in Yreka. That complex has burned close to 70,000 acres so far and the USFS is beginning to think about erosion control.

After Eric left, I washed the sheets to get the room ready for the next visitor … and had to rewash them. I had hung them out on the lines in the backyard and they absorbed so much smoke odor … well, I couldn’t put them on the bed.

Friday the smoke was so bad the house smelled of burnt popcorn and the street lights in Ft. Jones came on during the day.

Blood Orange Sun

Saturday we awoke to a blood orange coloured sun and visibility of less than half-a-mile.

Solar Ashes

George had to wash the solar panels to get the ash off. And before noon I got a call from the Dunsmuir Rotary telling me the TinMan Triathlon had been cancelled. The water level in the lake is so low it wouldn’t support the swimming part of the event, and the smoke was so bad it could be considered a health threat.

Then, wouldn’t you know it, sunday morning there was a lot less smoke. Sky wasn’t really clear, but you could see further than the top of the meadow.

Meadow View

That didn’t change the water level in Lake Siskiyou however.


Monday afternoon the wind shifted , coming from the east, and the sky cleared. I actually saw the moon when I went out to close in the chickens.

The Siskiyou Summit bicycle event has also been cancelled. Part of its route is through Callahan and Etna close to the July complex.

This morning evacuation along Hwy 96 in the Happy Camp area was called again.

Rain had been predicted for next week, but no go. The prediction changed yesterday. We’re back under a high.

Ain’t we got fun? Oh well …


The drought has really hit the fauna in the area. There are still two does bringing their fawns to the yard, but they’re not looking good. The fawns are doing okay, but you can count the does’ ribs.

“Chumming” wild animals is illegal in California, and that includes deer. The rational is that chumming the deer (and other small wild things) with grain and other food stuff is chumming the predators as well (such as cougars and bears). But it is getting harder and harder to see those mothers and not put out something for them.


Skagway? Skaguay? Seems everyone other than the folks who live there prefer the first spelling. But the bookmark which came with a purchase I made there says the second is the accurate spelling. The name of the town comes from a Tlingit word (skagua) which means “windy place”. There is a nearly constant north wind coming through White Pass, so some folks translate skagua as “not a good place to live”. The switch to w in place of u is attributed to the US Postal Service.

It is an interesting town which doubles its live-in population during the tourist season with folks who come to work there during the time the waterway is open to the big boats. The woman driving our bus up White Pass into Canada spends winters in Monterey, California. Waterfall


On that excursion we saw the waterfall which provides the entire city of Skaguay with electricity.


Then the doubled population swells by a factor of 4 or 5 each time a cruise boat docks. One fact in re these statistics is that last year’s graduating class from the town high school was two boys and two girls, none of whom intend to stay in Skaguay.

The single grocery store receives supplies on monday, so everyone shops on tuesday or drives over to Dawson in Canada to shop for their entire neighborhood. We were told the meat in the local grocery is always green and the produce brown.

Russian Dome


The town is about 5 blocks long with wooden sidewalks (although the roads are now blacktop). Ravens rule the streets. Ninety-plus percent of the shops sell jewelry (even the onion domed hotel). In fact, one shop had a shill out front loudly announcing they didn’t sell jewelry.


A shop near the building which started as a polishing school for “good” girls and wound up a community building (it lasted two years as a school … not enough students) is where I got the lovely fiber I am currently spinning and plan to knit into a dance shawl. And a big tourist item is a mesaluna which they call a “ulu knife”.

Skaguay is the only town on that thin strip of Alaska accessible by car, truck, or train. You can drive there all the way from the lower 48 through British Columbia and the Yukon. To get to the others (Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, etc.) you need a boat.

End of travel lesson.


The situation in re monies from the Tobacco Settlement came up again before the County Board of Supervisors on tuesday. Our Education Council had been advocating for some of the funds which, in the past, had been added to the County General Fund and used for everything other than tobacco education which had been listed as intent in the settlement agreement. It was being used for non-related salaries, buildings, etc.

A presentation to the Board of Supervisors by a local physician (a member of our council) had gotten media coverage and some people began referring to the situation a “misappropriation” of funds. The Council presented, via the physician and a couple of RNs, a plan for fund use which included middle school programs, media productions (mainly by interested high school students), participation in pre-natal and parenting classes, cessation classes through the local Community Resource Centers, and outreach to physicians and clinics in the county. We figured the cost of our plan would be $9,600.00 (not much when you know the County was receiving close to $500,000.00 a year).

The County Administrator was not on board with the plan. However, learning from my experience with funding the brochures, this time we specified the money be provided from settlement funds.

The Board gives every sign of being in favor of the funding. One member even went so far as to say he thought this was only the first year, and that this funding should become a part of the yearly budget.

Next hurdles will be 1) getting the money without it going through the County Department of Health which uses the monies from California Props 99 and 10 in the ratio of 90% overhead and only 10% actual service and education, and 2) making sure the County Administrator isn’t able to screw up the show.

The first comes under the heading of  recognizing that doing something the way it has always been done will result in things happening the way they have always happened. And the second will just require constant, close watching.

We go back for the County Budget hearing on the 16th.


Reading has been sporadic lately, and mostly easy schlock (haven’t gotten to the history yet). But it is interesting that occasionally you find a gem amid the dime-novel stuff. I found this in the current paperback …schlock


Totem Spirit 1


I’ve been spinning regularly (it is one of the occupations which doesn’t require electricity) getting yarn ready for not only the shawl, but some holiday gifts as well.Totem Spirit 3


I will soon begin drafting fiber getting ready for Spinzilla the first of October. I plan to have at least a pound ready by 6 October.


Sand Cranes 2014


There are still sand cranes in the meadow.



Front Sept 2014                     And the house still looks fairly normal in spite of everything.


The story is told of a class of students who were requested to write their list for the modern day “Seven Wonders of the World.”  Many of the students included: 1. Egypt’s Great Pyramids 2. Taj Mahal 3. Petra 4. The Panama Canal 5. EmpireStateBuilding 6. Machu Picchu 7. The Great Wall of China 8. Chichen Itza (a Mayan pyramid) 9. Roman Coliseum.

One girl was slow to turn in her list. When queried by the teacher, she replied, “There are so many it was hard to decide — but I think the “Seven Wonders of the World” are: 1. to see 2. to hear 3. to touch 4. to taste 5. to feel 6. to laugh and 7. to love.”


On that note … ’til next week …







It has been a busy week.

Last saturday was the fourth of this year’s radio events … the Headwaters UltraMarathon/Trail Runs.

This event tracks the folks through each station so locating anyone within a mile or two is fairly easy. Tracking is really important in this event since there is no way to use SAG wagons. It is all foot trails.

Tracking in most marathons, such as the Bay to Breakers in San Francisco or the Boston Marathon or many others, isn’t necessary since they run through civilized areas. But the Headwaters is through beautiful, but fairly wild, back country. In spite of the route and because of intensive tracking, it may be safer for participants here.

Last year I had been at the first station where both the 50K runners and the 10Kers go through. It was rather hectic, but didn’t last too long. Fortunately I had a helper who called out runner numbers for me.

The route of the 10K was changed this year so it didn’t overlap the 50K while those runners were on the course.

There were about 100 participants this year. I worked as recorder in tandem with net control, responsible for keeping the overall records. It was a bit stressful due to the responsibility, but well worth it. No one got lost and the final runner was never out of our “sight”.

Four radio service events down … two (or possibly three) to go.


Sunday we spent the day visiting with a nephew. Eric is the older of George’s sister Sally’s sons. We last saw him a couple of years ago, so it was a nice (but too short) visit.

He arrived saturday night and spent sunday discussing the Dibelka family involvement in WW I with George.James C Dibelka #1a - shopped George’s Dad had been a Lieutenant with the 33rd Division of the 129th Infantry (an Illinois unit). I don’t have Pop’s military records since they were lost in a fire, but I do have a history of his division so we have a pretty good idea of what he did in the Great War and plenty of reasons why he came home changed.

George had heard a couple of stories, which I had not heard until he shared with Eric, such as the one about the officer responsible for calling the artillery targets during one of the offenses. As the shelling continued, the shots kept landing closer and closer to the allied lines. When the shells started landing much much too close to the trenches, someone shot the artillery officer. The shooting was never called to question or explained, but the general agreement was that he must have been an enemy supporter or a spy.


Next report in re the cruise is the time in Tracy Arm Fjord … what a trip.

The adventure began with “crossing the bar” between the bay and the fjord. The water there is less than 80 or 90 feet deep. The ship slowed to a crawl and a pilot came on board. As it turns out, the ship draws less than 30 feet so things weren’t as iffy as it seemed.

NorwayThe fjord is much like the Norwegian fjords, at least I assume it is since it resembled the pictures I’ve seen. I expected to see small villages or farms in some of the swales with cattle grazing.




And the water courses were captivating. I kept thinking about what George could do with that kind of flow and fall.


At the inland end, the fjord divides into a north and a south branch with a glacier at the end of each. Our ship went down the south branch.

A lot of people on the ship had paid about $200 each to take smaller boats closer to the glacier face. But the waterway was so open the big ship was able to get quite close with plenty of room to turn around (and that’s an experience what with backing and pushing the stern in one direction or the other in order to swing the ship around).Tracy Glacier


The comedians on board had a ball with the small boat goers at the evening shows . They had some choice bits about folks who paid big money to get about 200′ closer to the glacier than those of us who stayed on board.



The area near the glacier was filled with what are called “growlers”. Those are small icebergs which make a sound like a growl when they scrape along the side of the ship.

There are no big mammals in the fjord waters, but we did see some seals.

And seeing the process of reforestation along the fjord sides was interesting. As a glacier retreats the first vegetation to develop are lichen, then small bushes appear, and finally the evergreen forests. All of that was easily seen as we traversed the fjord.

Next week … the Skaguay report.


On to the eye report … monday morning we spent almost two hours going through a series of tests of George’s eyes … having pictures taken and exams done. He has macular degeneration in both eyes, but the right one is the dangerous one … so far.

During one exam, the doctor asked if he had been a premmie. I don’t know what the connection is. I’ll either research it on line, or ask the doctor when we see him next.

The upshot, after all the tests, photos, and exams, was that his right eye will most likely respond to the new treatment (the doctor said he was “extremely assured”). It is not a cure, rather it is a delaying action giving George a few more years of sight. So the last couple of minutes (even seconds) were spent having the doctor put a needle in his eye and injecting the “healing glue”.

There have been no bad side effects. George seems to have a high pain tolerance and is having minimal irritation.

There will be a series of treatments. Our next appointment is 10/10 at 10. How’s that for a “one-armed” result?


Last week there was a discussion at the radio club concerning how meetings should be conducted … informal vs. Robert’s Rules.

I had told them, when they nominated me as President, that Robert’s was the only way I know to conduct a meeting. Then last month I received some emails with statements contrary to that “style”, criticizing the agenda and stating all the members really wanted an informal meeting.

That sort of hit me. If true, I needed to resign and let someone else take over.

So before calling the meeting to order, I asked the members which style they really wanted. There was very little discussion. The “vote” was unanimous. I am still President.

It had been a win-win situation since if they chose “structured”, I stayed as President … and if not, I had more time for spinning etc.


Speaking of spinning … I finished spinning the Sitka RavenFrog fiber and have it almost completely 3-plied. It is beautiful and will make a great shawl.

The rest of the fiber I net-ordered from Skagway (Skaguay – more about that next week) arrived monday.

And on monday I stopped by Webster’s on the way home from the retinologist and got eight ounces of fiber to spin for Spinzilla in October. It is BlueFaced Leister and silk. I’ve never spun Leister before, but Chris (from Webster’s) assures me it’s a dream … and the little bit I fingerspun at the shop supports that. I’ll get it all drafted and ready to spin before Spinzilla begins so I can spin spin spin without interruption.


The fires around us are still resisting being controlled. We’ve been having smoke haze most days. In fact, it was so bad the end of last week that one of our radio folks had to cancel her participation in the Headwaters event because of her lung situation.

The worst is when the wind is from the west. The fires out by Happy Camp are the nastiest.


There was a serendipitous event as a result of the cruise. I was unpacking my suitcase to clean it and repack the travel essentials when I found a tintype of my grandfather which I had been given the last time I used the suitcase. That had been the trip to visit my mother’s cousin in Alameda over a year ago. The tintype had gotten lodged in one of the pockets and as I cleaned … there it was.G'pa Curtzwiler 1900



In it, Grandpa Curtzwiler is about 20-years-old with his hat at a very jaunty angle.



I had forgotten it, so finding it was a blessing.


Just finished reading a Nevada Barr mystery. She sets her stories in National Parks. This one was in Big Bend on the Rio Grande.

I knew where she was going by about page 40, but the fun was in watching how she dealt with the tale in order to reach the end. No real surprises, but a fun, easy read.

Next? A return to history.


 ”Some days fly by, others seem to take forever,  but each day is special.”  



Mine have been flying by. Hope you are enjoying yours.


So … ’til next week …








Weather is warm … about normal. But we’ve got lots of haze what with the fires all around.Smoke Haze 19 August 2014


When we can see the mountains, as well as the Mountain, they are draped in a blue veil.


the Mountain 19 August 2014Then afternoons the clouds move in and everything goes a bit dark.

We are on power rationing. The haze and clouds reduce the solar some. The creek flow is very low, and to add to that some summer folks on property upstream put a dam across the creek to make play area for the kids. George discovered it yesterday and took some pictures to notify the water master since those folks aren’t here most of the time and don’t have any water rights. I hope it is settled quietly by the water master and we aren’t personally involved. There are already enough fights over water rights in Siskiyou County. However, if the drought doesn’t break … there will be more.


We’re still in a severe drought. One day last week there was a cloudburst just before sunset that dropped a bit more than an inch in a very short time.

It made interesting patterns on any downslope,Beside the barn





Barn Lake



and created a small lake in front of the barn which left an interesting design.

But it didn’t last. And what moisture fell was either instantly absorbed or, more likely, ran off. No long lasting good.

                                  Welcome none the less.


In addition, drought has decimated the Dwight Hammond Agricultural Reservoir (which some folks insist is a recreational lake).For Mikayla Dec 2012

This how it is supposed to look (except for the snow, but that will be welcome too)…

Reservoir Level 19 August 2014

This is how it looks now.

Reservoir Meadow

                 Meadow grass is beginning to grow where there used to be water.


Events in the garden are all over the place. The corn (what there is of it) is tasseling and there are a few small ears on the stalks. I’m collecting green beans and small cucumbers. The second planting of peas seems to have taken. New plants are about two inches high ready to vine. That’s okay since the cooler weather won’t faze them and we’ll have autumn peas.


Last monday George went to see the ophthalmologist for his two-year post cataract surgery check up and was diagnosed with wet macular degeneration in his right eye.

It seems wet is worse than dry in that it develops more rapidly, but is better than dry in that if caught early there is a treatment. Catch is that there can be NO delay and the appointment with the retinologist in Medford is monday.

Prayers and crossed fingers gratefully accepted.


And now to why there have been no blogs for the last two weeks …

It is now the 20th of August. I got home from a cruise the 12th.

Alaska Sign                                                 Mark took me to Alaska.

When I first agreed to go, I thought I would be able to go ashore in Ketchikan to visit with a cousin. Then shortly before departure, that port stop was cancelled. So instead of visiting with Gretchen, I went whale watching out of Auke BayOur balcony

At the glacier 2



and saw the growlers and glacier in Tracy Arm Fjord


and shopped in Skaguay (yes, that’s the way they spell it there)RavenFrog

where I found spinning fiber made in Sitka by Raven Frog Fibers

RavenFrog Fiber


(which is called “Dark Winter Night” and which is spinning up beautifully)Our Cabin

and spent a lot of time just enjoying our balcony and my son’s company.

It certainly was a laid-back time for me. No meals about which to worry. No beds or dishes to be done. In fact, no requirements I do anything I didn’t want to do. I could eat breakfast and lunch whenever I wanted and whatever I wanted. Our dinner reservations were at 1730 and that worked fine (the head waiter was Czech and our table waiter was Hungarian).

I had taken along three books (none of which got read) and a knitting project to which was added two entire rows.

There is a lot to tell. It will probably be popping up a bit every week for some time to come.

Oh well …


Now … to quote Groucho Marx … again …


“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”


 So …

             ’til next week …








Still dry around here.

Last week there was a heavy rain just across the northern border that caused street flooding in Ashland, but not much here. We’ve heard thunder and had maybe half a dozen big rain drops. The latest thunder was just yesterday evening, to the west over Scott Valley. That’s been it so far.

Hope springs eternal …


Preplanning and follow-up meetings for the summer’s radio events are happening with predictable regularity. On the plus side … we’ve been doing this so long there are templates for assignments and instructions. Next sunday will be the Summit Century Bicycle Event which includes climbs up four of the peaks in this area … Parks Creek on the Pacific Crest Trail, Mumbo Basin in back of Castle Crags, Castle Lake (my station), and the old ski bowl in avalanche gulch on Mt Shasta. Mark and Mikayla (both of whom have amateur licenses … AB2LI and KE2VQD) will be here and both will be working with us.

That will make three events done and leave three to go.


The radio shack is getting repair and reroofing. The edges of the rafters had rotted over the years (the “shack” has been without repair of any kind since the 50s). Members were able to get supplies and roofing work donated, so member responsibility was minimal.

Amateur Radio Clubhouse



The meeting place is now secure from above for the next few years.




August is turning out to be another busy month. If things go as they have in the past, in just a few days it will be September.

Still, any time I begin to feel pressured I think about the alternative … sitting, slumped, staring at my feet wondering if anyone ever wonders if I’m still around.

In addition, books are even sweeter when you have to steal reading time.


Genealogy has naturally taken a back seat lately even though I have continued to do my volunteer time at the Family History Center. Still, the latest surprise was an unexpected contact from a researcher interested in the Bruten (Brewton, Bruton, Browtun, Brutown, Brutan, … but you get the idea) family. My maternal grandfather’s maternal grandmother (did you follow that?) was a Bruten. By using and expanding on that researcher’s work, I found a couple of wills from the early 1800s which list slaves by name. The will makers’ family were landowners in the Spartanburg area of South Carolina. So if you know any genealogists interested in slave history, aim them at the Brutons in South Carolina around 1810-20.

Another interesting side finding was the source of an family name. My direct ancestor was named Enoch (not my great-great-grandmother … her father). It is an unusual name but was quite prevalent in the Bruten family (and may still be).

In the tracking, I found the source … a grandmother named Rebecca Enoch/Enochsdotter, daughter of John Enoch/Enochs/Enochsson, son of Enoch Enochsson. This is the first sign of Scandinavian history I’ve found.

I’ll get back to that line later.


During the session of HOT weather, the tomatoes did well and the corn put on a spurt. Then we had a few days of cooler temps and things slowed a bit. In fact, the corn got stuck at a bit more than knee-high. I was feeling a bit down. Then on a trip into town I checked out some of the gardens along the way and found that their corn isn’t any higher than ours. Not a good growing year in spite of the temps in the 90s and 100s.


We haven’t been seeing the does and fawns as much lately. Due to the drought, they may be feeding a bit further up Mt Eddy. And the sand cranes have left the meadow.

The reservoir is dryer than I have ever seen it. The water is scummy. There is green growth around the edges of what water there is. The level is below the intakes which normally carry the irrigation water north into the Shasta Valley. And there is no water for fire fighting. In the past, helicopters have dipped into the reservoir for water drops and water tenders have filled there. Not this year …

The edgy feelings in re possible fire are still nagging. I made backups of all my genealogy stuff and stashed it away. So if we get burned out, remind someone that all that work is on a separate hard drive in the grey fire safe at the foot of the stairs.

~~~30 July 2014

Mornings are cool. The heat doesn’t hit until about 0930.


There will be no blog next week. I will be away from the 5th through the 12th. Mikayla will be here with George. She has been working as a cook (on a street wagon and in a sports bar). That should make for some new and interesting meals.

I will miss the county fair this year. George plans to take Mikayla, probably on free-admission-for-seniors day. The grandchildren used to be here every summer, so Mikayla’s been going to the Golden Fair since she was about 5. She used to like the cattle barn. Who knows what she’ll want to see this year.

Speaking of the cattle barn … that reminded me that years ago, when we were new to the area and the fair, there was a woman who raised Jersey cattle and showed them at the fair. Each year she would take up the entire southwest quarter of the dairy cattle barn. Usually at least two of her cows would be on the verge of calving which made it exciting trying to guess the best time to visit the cattle barn to maybe get in on the birth. She slept in the show barn with her cows rather than in a travel trailer like the other exhibitors.

I was told by a former 4-H member that once, when she herself was very pregnant, the Jersey lady was sleeping in her barn with an ill animal when she went into labor and delivered. So when later she yelled at her kid “Were you born in a barn?”, the kid could answer “Yea. Remember?”


I’ll tell you about my adventure when I get back.



So … until the 13th …






Tomorrow is the anniversary of my firstborn’s arrival.

It was a hot July day … a wonderful day.

Happy Happy Happy Birthday Son !!!


“What drought ?” … That was the reply of a visitor from down south when asked to conserve water while visiting. Further response was, “There’s no drought. Water is still coming out of the tap.”

We did have hints of rain last week … just enough to remind us what rain feels and smells like.

And the tourist flatboats on the Rogue are carrying fewer passengers so the boats will ride higher as water level in the river diminishes.

… What drought ???

Just because Oregon and Washington are both on fire …


George began skidding the downed trees. He was able to get several lengths out into the meadow to dry before the tractor just stopped working. It will be a few days before he gets the tractor running again, and he will be taking a few days off anyhow. He had a small accident last weekend and is using a cane.

Things are improving (with the help of Watkins liniment, pain relievers, and the cane), so by later this week he will probably be able to cut the trees into skidding size lengths to allow them to start drying where they are.


We’ve lost one of the laying hens. She was in the yard last friday with the rest of them about 1530. When I went out to close them in for the night about 2030, I failed to make a head count when I locked the door for the night.

Saturday morning we went out to feed and she wasn’t there. We haven’t found any feather traces yet.

Oh well …


My renewed Passport has arrived in spite of all the problems. I told you I had to have the photo taken a second time, didn’t I? Someone didn’t like the first one. They wanted one facing the camera square on, looking straight into the lens, with no hint of a smile. Guess the clerk was someone who wants all female pictures to be as ugly as possible in order to give someone the chance to tell the woman “That picture doesn’t do you justice.” … “You’ve much prettier (better-looking, attractive, younger, etc.) than that.” … etc.

Whatever … it’s done now. I can travel legally until I’m in my mid-90s.


I recently finished reading a book (historical novel) about Matilda, called Matti or Maud, granddaughter of William the Conqueror and daughter of Henry I of England. That was a turbulent era.

Not too bad a read … but with some controversial ideas.

Maud was the one involved in the civil war with King Stephen during the early 1100s.

According to the novel, Maud had an affair with Stephen before Henry I died (Henry had named Maud his heir to be crowned “King” of England and Normandy, but his nephew Stephen de Blois took the throne) and Maud’s first son (who became Henry II) was not the child of her husband (Geoffrey of Anjou), but of Stephen. And that is why the civil war between Stephen and Maud ended with Stephen skipping his nominal heirs (sons by his wife) to name Maud’s son Henry the next King of England.

It is sort of like the theory that Elizabeth I was actually a royal bastard’s transgender child who had been substituted when the real Princess died suddenly (for more information, Google “The Bisley Boy Legend“).

The idea that Henry was doubly the great-grandson of William the Conqueror is intriguing … but then maybe interesting only to history buffs. Oh well …

Next read? Another foray into the world of Jasper Fforde.


I’ve been having trouble with phone service. Did you know that new regulations have created phone service in three parts? I didn’t … until the mess began and my son explained it all to me.

It seems there is local service, which is a very limited area right around your number. For us that area includes Weed, Mt Shasta, and Dunsmuir and possibly McCloud.

Next comes local which is not included with your number, i.e. for which you pay extra. For us that includes cell phones, Yreka, and who knows how much else.

The final section is everything else.

Because of my misunderstanding when transferring our long distance service, I am still without the mid-range service.

Aaahhhh for the good old days when local was your area code and long distance was everything else. My son will soon have it all sorted out and I will be back to “normal”.


Isn’t it interesting when you consider the low 80s as cool temperatures? We are having a break from high 90s and triple digits. I had to put on an extra shirt yesterday evening. It is due to go back up to the high 90s tomorrow or the next day and be back over 100 next weekend.

23 July 2014 Sky

                                Pale sun, clouds, and wind this morning.

I hope weather change is treating you a bit better.


Another few days this summer are now booked. Nephew Eric will be here in August. The current schedule for the next two months includes radio event meetings (planning and follow-up), actual radio events, visitors, a trip with Mark, and Family History Center shifts plus all the regular stuff.

Keeping busy keeps you young, right?


Finally a word quiz received from a cousin … hint: think outside the eye.




1. What did Noah build?
2. What is an article that serves ice cream?
3. What does a bloodhound do when chasing a woman?
4. What word expresses the loss of a parrot?
5. What is an appropriate title for a knight named Koll?
6. What is a sunburned man?
7. What is a tall coffee pot perking?
8. What does one do when it rains?
9. What does a boy on the lake do when his motor won’t run?
10. What do you call a person who writes for an inn?
11. What did the captain say when the boat was bombed?
12. What does a little acorn say when he grows up?
13. What do you do with yarn and needles?
14. Can George Washington turn into a state?
15. What does one do to trees that are in the way?




So … how’d you do?


‘Til next week …








This coming saturday, our younger son Mark will be formally accepted into ministry. He studied and worked hard, and has much to offer. Congratulations, son !!!


We had rain last friday morning. It smelled nice. It wet the walks and pavement. It was enough to drip off the roof. It lasted about half an hour. So much for rain.


Had a situation last week which combined “chocolate” and disappointment.

We have a local group of taiko drummers. The teachers are recognized as “Masters”.

I’m a fan of taiko (remember my affinity for drummers) and I recently learned that George has come to appreciate taiko (maybe his diminished hearing played a part in that in the past he complained taiko was too loud). Each year Shasta Taiko does a professional show in late summer. It is so professional that taiko Masters from all around the globe come to perform … and the tickets are too expensive for us.

This year, in my role as President of the radio club, I spoke with Jeanne Mercer (one of the local Masters … the other is Russell Baba) who asked if the radio club would be interested in doing security.

Chocolate … maybe we would be able to attend the show.

But it turned out what they were looking for was a group to handle traffic and parking, so …

Disappointment … I had to tell them we do health and welfare security, not law enforcement. Guess we won’t be going to the show. Oh well …


Grok made it onto as the Word of the Day last week.

Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land” was published in 1961. Acceptance took only 53 years.


I recently received news (from his daughter) that an old neighbor (old in that we were neighbors in Pomona back in the late 50s) had been able to make the WWII Vets Pilgrimage to the memorials in DC last April. That must have been quite an experience.

Ray Here’s the picture his daughter sent (sorry it isn’t clearer but it’s a copy of a copy of a newspaper photo).

Glad you had a good time, Ray.

George is eligible for that trip having had Naval service during both WWII and Korea, but I doubt he will ever take it. After all, as he says, … if he gets further from home than Redding south or Medford north, he gets a roaring  nose bleed.


The leaning tree fell monday morning … just not where George had intended. That tree had been so warped by fate (bad fire scar and wind twisting because of the scar-weakened side), it is a wonder it hadn’t come down on its own earlier and didn’t do more damage than it did when it finally came down. No damage to George (I haven’t seen him move that fast in a bit) or his equipment, and only minor damage to the sugar maple.

That twisted tree had been a worry for some time. I was afraid if we got a strong wind from just the right direction, who knows where it would have landed … both chicken houses were in reach. Now there will be wood drying for 2015-16 and that fret spot is gone.


Then yesterday he dropped another, this one near the downside of the barn.


In spite of the drought, some of the plants are still doing their best to stay “normal”.Granny Smith Apples

The Granny Smith apple tree bonks me in the head every time I go out to the courtyard …Smoke Tree


The smoke tree is lovely …

Lily and Green Rose


Daddy’s Green Rose (and shared-space lily) are showing off …




The Campion is lighting up the courtyard …

Doe with Twins

                                 And the doe with twins is a regular in the backyard.



The moon was still up this morning …Morning Moon


looking lovely, as usual …16 Juy 2014                  and the morning view out front isn’t much different than it has been.


Another loss this week … that makes eight in less than six months.


You think that their

Dying is the worst

Thing that could happen.

                                                       Then they stay dead                                                             Donald Hall


But last tuesday brought an unexpected blessing.

We recently placed a big (for us) order for one of the items to get us through next winter. It is to arrive next tuesday. Yesterday I got a call from the truck driver telling me that he knows us, he knows how we live, he knows the things we do, and he likes us … so for the same price we will receive about 50% more than we ordered.

Next move … watch for a way to pay it forward.



Chin up, smile, share hugs … ’til next week …







Sorry my time is off and I’m late.

Recently a cousin posted a picture that said something about when you’re stressed, just repeat aloud  ”Not my Circus. Not my Monkey.”   Problem is that lately it’s been not only my circus, but my monkey too.

Oh well …


Tyler July 2014


The week with Tyler was a real blessing. Children always grow up so rapidly and grandchildren even more so. Maybe that’s because we are older when they come along and our time is passing faster anyhow.

His trip out west was an adventure in frustration. He was flying United. This trip was not an endorsement for them.

His arrival in Chicago was on time but the plane was held on the tarmac for over half an hour waiting for a gate. He ran through the terminal, but United had given his seat to a stand-by even though he arrived before the boarding gate closed, so he missed his connection. I wonder if the same would have happened to an adult?

He finally got to San Francisco but the next plane north was the next day at noon. They did not offer him meals or lodging.which meant more than twelve hours in the airport. Again, I wonder of that would have happened to an adult. As a result, his uncle in Sacramento went after him and brought him up to us.

Then the weather turned HOT … over 100° every day … so we mostly just vegged.

He had wanted to visit the local horse rescue sanctuary (he works on a rescue farm in New York), but they had been very busy doing promotion stuff at the Mt Shasta 4th and were working hard to get things back to normal. He did get a promise of an interview when he comes west after he graduates high school, so the result of that contact was bad news and good news.

His trip home went without incident.

Anyhow … at 17 he is maturing (and may have a career as a car hijacker … he can drive a stick shift).


Gathering CrowdLast friday had been the second of our summer radio events … the Mt Shasta 4th of July. People began gathering before 0630.

There was someone new doing the ramrodding for the radio club (not new to the club, but new to leading the club’s involvement in an event).

Add to that a complete turnover in city Chamber of Commerce personnel (the supposed arrangers). But miracle of miracles, it all ended well. The only heat-related incident (in spite of the 100+ temps) was me. I once had a set-to with heat exhaustion and so am sensitive to high temps over any extended time. I had to leave my post and go sit in the car between the end of the walk-run and the awarding of prizes. I did my duty, but with a break in the middle.

My station was Mt Shasta Boulevard half a block north of the stage area, in the middle of the street between a small park (Parker Plaza) and the Vet’s Club (a local drinking spot) to monitor the runners and walkers as they returned from the 2-mile run and the walk, and to spot winners in the crowd during the raffle awards. In the past (BRCI – Before Radio Club Involvement) names would be called, the winner might be too far away from the stage to get there in the 15 second time allowance to claim the prize, and a second name would be called. Now if radio people spot a winner, they let net control (on the stage) know “I’ve got a winner” and there are fewer disappointed folks.

First station is important to the smooth operation of the event. Second station is important to winners. For this I get a free t-shirt, free fresh fruit all morning, all the water I can drink, and a sense of importance.

George’s stations were a bit unplanned. His first was where the railroad crosses Lake street at the beginning of all three events and the end of the 5-mile race. Folks have been known to catch toes in the tracks and stumble-fall or get the small wheels of baby prams or walkers caught or have the wheels of wheelchairs wedge in, so a health-and-welfare reporter is essential there. His second was down Mt Shasta Boulevard about half a mile where the parade formation occurs. People down there could never make it to the stage to claim a prize.

Dr. Jim Parker, who was the founder of the MS 4th, was there … for the last time as it turned out. Two years ago he was diagnosed with a particularly virulent form of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and it was a surprise he’d lasted this long. Friday he did the 2-mile walk (with assistance) wearing bib number “1″, was available for schmoozing,Parker                                     and served as Grand Master for the parade.

He went, with his son, to the fireworks that night, and saturday the family had a big party. Jim died in his sleep early sunday morning.

What a way to go.


We got back to Cold Comfort about 1330 to Hebrew National hotdogs, George’s potato salad, corn-on-the-cob, and watermelon. We now have an entire month until the next event                          … maybe.


Last wednesday we began monitoring the CalFire dispatch frequency. The county had been put on “Red Alert” tuesday night. There have already been more fires in California since the first of the year than the state experienced all of last year.

Local total so far is only three small side-of-the-road grass fires which were easily and quickly extinguished.

Our water tank is full, the foam stuff for the house is easily available, and the safezone is mowed and watered. I don’t know what more we can do.


Our water situation, and therefore our power, is a bit precarious. The water level in the Shasta River feeder (which is our power creek) is way down. George has buffered with sand bags so that every bit of water which comes down the course goes through the turbine. Still, we have to be careful with power usage until the sun hits the solar panels.

And of course, there had to be an additional problem rear its head. Something has happened with the big propane tank. The gauge shows it is empty and there should be about 90 gallons there. As soon as the air clears, George will get on it and all will be well again. In the meantime I use the microwave and the wood stove to cook (and we eat salads), and we take cold showers (which are welcome because of the temps anyhow).


Skewed Tree


This morning, George was out sizing up a tree to be felled for firewood. It is leaning a bit much and needs to be taken down (the trees to the right are vertical). A young (50s) neighbor will come over in a day or so to help and then there are two more trees George is eyeing.





The young buck and one of the yearling does have taken to spending the hot part of the day between a stand of little trees and the house.

They spook if you come up on them suddenly, but otherwise they just watch you and nod.



If you have integrity, nothing else matters.
If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.
– Senator Alan Simpson

Too bad the hooligans in Government have forgotten …



So, ’til next week …