27 May 2015                                                      This morning …


Our next big adventure will be back surgery for George. Fortunately, the bills will go to the VA.

If I haven’t said anything about it in the past, I am now telling everyone the VA service here in Siskiyou County is well run … top notch. With the exception of one little snip of a receptionist (who thinks she is a Drill Sergeant assigned to enforce rules … “Don’t come to the window. Stand back with your feet on the waiting pad. I’ll call you when I’m ready.”), the people involved are polite, understanding, and helpful. George has said he is being well paid for his service time.


As everyone in the US knows, California is having water troubles (except Cold Comfort Farm … for now). In our immediate area, there is a fight going on over commercial water bottling. Those in favor cite jobs (a favorite tweaking tactic in depressed areas). Those against point out it costs 50% more water to bottle than the salable product delivers, jobs would be few and low wage, costs to the environment would be high (plastics, transportation damage to infrastructure using fossil fuels, aquifer depletion, neighborhood degradation …) and that some of the agreements under which the proposed facilities plan to operate are outdated and have not been renegotiated.

We are fairly safe here on Cold Comfort since there are only three wells above us (one of which is part-timers) and we live quite a way off the main roads. Still, we may have to take a position soon. The question may show up on a County ballot before too long.

I wish the fracking situation in California would show up on a ballot as well.


Sometime ago, after I took over as Presiding Officer of the amateur radio club, following each meeting I began sending out very short notes to those who weren’t there. Notes like “Hope all is well. I missed you.” That was all.

The returns have been phenomenal. Folks have been showing up more regularly, and if they can’t be there I often get explanatory notes. As a result I know about cancer treatments, Emergency Department trips, cardiac and respiratory setbacks, family visits, work related life changes, births, deaths, weddings, surgeries, vacation plans, etc. And most of the responses include “Thanks for asking.”

Proof that simple things can make people feel valued.

It makes me feel good as well.    Win – Win.


Last sunday … but I should start this story more than 50 years ago.

In 1959 George’s work took him to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His gig was set to last more than 6 months. Rather than have him flying back and forth to be with John and me in Pomona, we decided to pack up the family and spend those 6 months back there.

George was born and raised in Chicago and there were still Dibelkas living in the area at that time (there are still two there but one is no longer a Dibelka). So, of course, we visited. It was during that time I met Virginia Dibelka, George’s uncle’s wife. She was a special lady and we hit it off right away. We laughed about being the only non-blood Dibelkas around.

That was when she gave me a couple of recipes … one for blueberry muffins and the other for what she called “Sunshine” cake, a lemon sponge cake.

I’ve blogged about that cake before. It became a regular in my winter-spring menus.

Last sunday I baked one of Aunt Virginia’s Sunshine cakes. We have been having days of rain and a lemon cake just sounded good.



I have no idea what I did differently than I’ve been doing for over 50 years, but when I turned the cake out of the tube pan …

Oh well …



There have recently been several articles on NPR about teachers. I feel it is about time we started paying attention to the people who teach our children (and pay a livable salary to the good ones).

In the past I have written about my teacher, Faris Edgar. He was a real teacher.

Once past elementary school, and with the exception of subjects like mathematics, a REAL teacher does not provide “truth” or “facts” to be memorized, but shows you the way to find answers.

Henry Adams said  “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

Thank you again, Mr. Edgar.


Our computer problem is resolving … just doing so much too slowly. It has been over a week since I was on Facebook. I did get a chance to check up last weekend, but I still can’t go on every day as I used to do. I miss it. I enjoy the contacts and keeping up with friends. Oh well … soon.


We continued to have daily rain until saturday . Our total for the month (so far) has been 3.68″. Local discussions seem to center around a future of warm, wet summers and cold, dry winters.

For now, all the native growth is lush and green and wet. I still can’t do much in the garden or backyard.Bronze Iris

Meanwhile, I continue enjoying the lilac bush at the front door and all the iris.

And the catalpa is finally showing signs of leafing out. Catalpa blossoms are spectacular.


There was a report friday evening on the problem of poverty and hunger among today’s senior citizens due mainly (according to the report) to the recent “Recession”. There was report of a couple in Florida, who are living in a plush condo, who have nothing to eat. At one point they had only coffee and a single slice of toast … or so the report said.

It made me think how blessed we are. We don’t live in a plush condo but we aren’t bogged down with mortgage payments and power bills and television service bills and all the baggage that used to be called keeping-up-with-the-Joneses.

We own our land and house. We make our power (we haven’t paid a power bill since September of 1978). We watch three free television channels (CBS, NBC, and PBS). We eat very well. And we live in a beautiful, soul-nourishing place.

We are living comfortably (if not lavishly) on about $1,500 a month. That is indeed being blessed.


And a thought along those lines …



Eighty-five looks good on me.



So ’til next week …







I turned 85 last friday.

I’m the oldest Tyler/Hall left in my generation. There is only one other and she turned 83 last January.

When we talked last week she was telling me she went in for her annual mammogram (her mother died of cancer) and the x-ray tech said “Don’t breathe” as she went behind the shield to push the button. Dottie laughed and said she told the tech to never say that to an 83-year-old.

We’re a pair of sassy old ladies.


John and his partner were here from friday afternoon until monday morning.

Only one drawback. Weather was not conducive to getting anything done. We had gloom (although I mostly like the low clouds when we have them) and wet. 

Original reason for the visit was the garden. Everything was too wet to accomplish anything outdoors. John will be back in two or three weeks and we’ll tackle it full on. The decision was to limit planting to potatoes, corn, and tomatoes this year.

I’ve been eating asparagus and we’ve had two batches of rhubarb, but then those are perennials and so require little care.

The other result of the visit was a new lounge chair for George. The one he had been using was three generations old and much worse for wear. He now has a good one which reclines nicely with a good leg support.

The Chair

The old one went into the fire pit with blessings and thanks.


In spite of bureaucracy, we were able to get George in at a local facility for the required MRI yesterday. For normal stuff, we go to the clinic in Yreka.

The VA has a new program under which if you would have to travel further than 40 miles to get care, you can choose to have local care and, after the required paper work (after all, the VA is a bureaucracy), the VA will pay. The nearest VA would have been in Sacramento so we qualified.

We won’t know the results for a few days.


Last week George and I were unexpectedly exposed to a series of films built around a character named Billy Jack. They were filmed in the early 70s and are a long way from Hollywood polish … but full of truth. They have so much to say which is relevant today. I wish they were required viewing, especially for young people.

The more things change, the more they stay the same …


We have been having trouble with our ISP … again. We’re a couple of old people uneducated in current technology. As a consequence we don’t understand the ins and outs of tech stuff.

The only ISP plan to which we have access limits our bandwidth download capability (there is no DSL etc. with unlimited download capability out here and the forest around us blocks line-of-sight servers).

Soooo … please be aware that for a bit my access to the net will be limited, that accessing videos will be out of the question, that I will be instantly deleting any forwarded emails without opening and accepting only those which are personal contacts, my presence on Facebook will be limited, and I will probably be limiting my computer use to mostly working on my book and playing games.

I do plan to continue to post the blog every week and will notify all of you when things change.


A bit ago I got a copy of the new Grisham book, “Gray Mountain”, which had been recommended on NPR and other sources. The teasers sounded good.

When I began to read … oops.

It was not at all what I had been expecting.

It was more and better.

If you think you have reason to distrust government now … read “Gray Mountain”. I recommend it … highly.


And speaking of books … I continue the process of clearing out years’ and years’ accumulation of books.

The library in Weed was completely destroyed in the Boles fire. So I’ve been packing some of the collection and leaving it on their doorstep. It is a bit hard for a strong bibliophile to let go, but I’m giving it my best shot.

Some of the books go on the shelves, others go into the “Free – Take one” box, and still others are set aside for the fund-raising book sale. This is making me feel better about losing them.

There are still the autographed ones (like the Pern ones with a personal letter from McCaffrey and the ones inscribed in Navajo by Hillerman) and a slew of cookbooks which are still in limbo. I’ll keep working at it.


Before the last storms

This was the Mountain before the rains …

Then last week, weather equaled rain and a bit more rain and then some more rain continues this morning. We accept what we get. Of course, I wish it had been snow several months ago.Rain



Kvetch  Kvetch  Kvetch




There are Two Attributres for Success

  1. Initiative — You have to try.
  2. Perseverance — You have to keep trying.


I’ll try again next week. ‘Til then …







My week began with being able to get some planting done …a new clematis, another blueberry and some ground cover for starters.



That night it rained (0.06″) just enough that I couldn’t plant more the next day.


Then saturday I got the peas out and in.




Sunday evening we had a lightning-thunder-hail volley (0.44″). And again on monday (1.14″).




So much for the peas.Wisteria




Weather has also done a job on the wisteria. Blooms this year are fewer, sparser, and bleached out.


Oh well …


Last weekend’s opera … “The Rake’s Progress” by Stravinsky (W.H.Auden and his partner were co-librettists) was in English. That was a plus.

The story concerns the decline and fall of one Tom Rakewell, who deserts Anne Trulove for the delights of London in the company of Nick Shadow. (Don’t you love those names?) And I discovered that Robert Rounseville, who sang Hoffmann in our favorite version of the “The Tales of …”, sang the rake in the premier performance in 1951.

The moral of the opera is: “For idle hearts and hands and minds the Devil finds work to do.” Reminds me of my grandmother’s admonition that “Idle hands are the devil’s playground,” which is why I find it difficult to just sit watching the tv with my hands in my lap although I’m not sure what work the devil would find for essential tremor hands.Rake's Mezzo


And there is always the bearded lady …



More simple pleasures …

        Smooches for no special reason.Fir

        New cedar growth.    

        The sound of kittens.

        Rediscovery of an old photo.

        Afternoon naps.Dogwoods









13 May 2015

It has been a bit of a difficult week. Saving grace is I’m positive things will get better.

But as a result, there hasn’t been much time for the blog. I’ll try to do better next week.


 In closing …

Safety pin 1

Found this at FBOFW tis morning …Safety pin 2



and remembered this …






Always keep in mind …

Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift. unknown


        Everyone dies, but not everyone lives. Albert Einstein


‘Til next week …






6 May 2015                    This morning the Mountain was covered with clouds.


The diagnosis from last week’s x-rays was degenerative arthritis as well as a compression fracture and anterior slippage between two vertebrae in George’s  lumbar spine. He is pretty restricted in movement, but with all your positive thoughts, we’ll get through this.

I had been convinced he has (yes, has … not had) Lyme disease and his current problems are mostly results of that condition. Last week I came across an article by the author Amy Tan about her condition which solidified my conviction.

Lyme is a relatively unknown (and consequently undiagnosed) disease. For more information about this insidious condition, check out …



I had to make a run to Yreka last wednesday to pick up a prescription for George. The trip north was a real “trip”. The clouds were bottomed at about 5,000′ and so all the surrounding high mountains (including the Mountain) had disappeared. All that were left were the lower mountains and the lava-built hills.

It was strange going up the valley with no McLaughlin, no Goose Nest, no Herd’s Peak, no Eddy, no Whaleback, no Black Butte, and NO Mountain.

Wouldn’t you know … I’d left the camera at home.


I had an interesting and unexpected experience while reading the Gaiman. Even at my age I have a pretty good memory so the experience left me bamboozled.

Gaiman writes fantasy. Wonderful fantasy. Captivating fantasy. I enjoy stepping into his universes. I understand the people there. I’ve had experiences similar to those experienced there. I recognize the landscapes there. Without hesitation, I identify the sights, smells, and sounds there.

So why, when I’ve finished reading a story or poem, am I unable to remember the story line?

Why can I re-read the story and have a completely new experience?

Alternate universe?        

Whatever …

“If you were isolated somewhere (a desert island) and could take only one book with you, what book would you take?”  My answer to that old question is obvious. I’d take anything by Gaiman.

Other books may be better written or hold more important views, but after being read two or three times would be memorized and hold nothing new. However, I could read a Gaiman over and over and over and read a new book every time.

~~~Crab Apple

The tree we planted when our older grandson was born just sat there, existing, for too many years. Then a couple of years ago, when Tyler reached his maturity, it began to prosper. This year it is amazing.

Maybe crab apple jelly rather than peach jam this year.


Are you a fan of Oscar Hammerstein? You know … Broadway’s Rodgers and Hammerstein … “South Pacific”   “Anna and the King of Siam”   “Oklahoma”

If you are, and even if you aren’t, … listen to Hammerstein’s lyrics. He was a man with a message which we still need to hear. An unrecognized teacher.

Some examples … “You have to be taught” and “Getting to know you” and “The farmer and the cowman”.


Last saturday, the opera was “Un Ballo in Maschera” by Verdi. Another chance to listen to beautiful (both visually and audiotorially … is there such a word?) baritone Dimitri. You remember Dimitri …

I still think leads should be baritones.

In “Ballo”, Amelia is an idiot if she would give up Dimitri for a tenor (in spite of the fact that I married a tenor). Of course, the Count is the bad guy (spoiler … he kills the King) but he has the best singing part in the opera. Maybe Dimitri chose to sing it deliberately since it is the better role … more and better arias.

This coming saturday we will hear “The Rake’s Progress” in which a mezzo sings the part of a bearded lady.

Aaaahhhhhhhh  …  opera.




I had planned on making marmalade and strawberry jam monday. But Juan Urena, my greengrocer, didn’t have strawberries. So marmalade got done. Strawberries will wait for the coming weekend.



A pair of Canada geese circling low overhead, calling to each other.

The sharp white of dogwood blossoms peeking through the evergreens.

The bronze of the new oak leaves.



The odor of the blossoming lilacs.

Fresh eggs every evening.

Michael Iris


The first of the Michael iris.


Sand cranes in the meadow.

Such simple things to keep simple folks happy …


Any “Fringe” fans out there?

If so … can you tell me how Peter, who supposedly loves Olivia, could mistake a double for her to the point of co-habitation when the double has strawberry blonde hair and wears full bangs while the real Olivia is a lighter blond and wears her hair pulled straight back? Could you tell the difference between your significant other and a double?


And in closing …

Realize that everything that happens in your life is for a positive purpose. Some you will recognize, some you won’t. Frequently repeat … “This, too, is for the good.”  Every life situation has been sent to you as a test and challenge to help you grow.


So … ’til next week …






Mikayla 1995


Our granddaughter turned twenty-one today. I’m not sure how she got there in such a short time.

Somehow both she and the cherry tree we planted when she was born have matured.


Sunrise Sunset … Mikayla's Tree










The visit to the retinologist went well. Not too much improvement in George’s sight, but no deterioration either. And we don’t need to make another trip to Oregon until June.                  Kaloo Kalay!

It used to be that a trip to Oregon to shop (or enjoy Lithia Park) was an enjoyable day. But having made the trip umpteen times since the first of the year has gone a long way toward wiping off the glamour. Maybe a six week hiatus will change that.

Apple Blossoms

The apple tree is finally coming into bloom, the wisteria is putting out blossom whatever-you-call-‘ems … and on the last trip north we saw that the local Pacific dogwoods are in full bloom.

On the trip, we noticed a field of California Poppies in Oregon and George laughed at them taking our flowers.

Oregon Grape


But there is an Oregon Grape in the backyard … in bloom.


Maple Buds


The maple is finally showing growth.

Baby Fir

And there is a baby fir getting an early start of the lovely new life …

Our Doe


as is our doe.







The weird weather did in the apricot harvest and seriously damaged the peaches. No opinion re plums yet.


~~~29 April 2015

Today there are low clouds on the mountain to the south. Maybe more rain.Lilac


Look close at the lilac on the left over the bell. It is getting ready.



In closing for this week … George has been having back problems. It has put a crimp in our regular routine and an adaptation in chores. At the moment, we are in a holding pattern, as is George’s pain level.

23 April 2015Last monday we made a trip down to the VA Clinic in Redding to have xrays done. The trip down the canyon and back up was lovely … mostly. I don’t see as much when I’m driving as when I ride shotgun.

I did see enough to make my eyes happy. The time for redbud and dogwood is past, but the mountain lilac, sweet broom, locust, mustard, and soap bush are doing their springy thing. Of course we couldn’t stop (after all, I-5 is a freeway), but I’d be willing to bet the air was full of wonderful smells.

The one thing not so lovely was the appearance of three or four fairly new clear cuts in the canyon. Clear cuts have marred the mountain sides in Oregon for years, but they are just now making their appearance in our mountains.

And one real giggle was a “Magic Bus” in the parking lot at Pollard Flat.



Back to George’s back … I truly believe things will improve. I am looking for the lesson in this challenge and then being able to get on with it. However, if I am a bit late with a blog or seem distracted … forgive …



And so ’til next week …








Today is Earth Day. I think I’ll transplant some peas, but not until friday which will be a good moon planting day. What will you do? I suggest we all find a tree to hug and thank.


Weather is still confused. Lightning and thunder last night, but no rain in spite of the vivid yellow sky. Temperatures going down. Everything undependable.

Mapel Buds




The maple tree is finally budding.No snow

And where there was snow last week, it is now looking like spring. Soon the firs will be putting out those lovely blue-green buds.


As you are undoubtedly aware, I’ve been reading Neil Gaiman’s latest collection of short stories and poetry, “Trigger Warning”. I highly recommend it as a spring read especially if you enjoy being challenged out of the box.

Here’s another of the quotes from the book (it rang soooooo true).  

“I am old now, or at least I am no longer young, and everything I see reminds me of something else I’ve seen, … It is the curse of age, that all things are reflections of other things.”

What he fails to add is that being reminded leads to the need to exercise self-control so you don’t automatically respond with those memories unless they are really important. One-upmanship is neither attractive nor (often) welcome, although as you age you can usually one-up the best of them.


The Tobacco Education Council’s “Lunch and Learn” went well. Tuna salad with cucumber on croissants accompanied by a big fresh salad was served for lunch with chocolate kisses for dessert. Not bad.

And I got a “certificate” …

My presentation was next to last, and my PowerPoint woke them. My dry mouth wasn’t too much of a handicap. I’ve had test anxiety all my life and that transfers to presentations, which are a form of test. Ironically, on the way home I thought of a possible solution. When I am allowed to participate in a stage presentation … no dry mouth. In that situation, it’s not me. It’s a character and I’m acting. So maybe, if I create a character who is a confident presenter of instruction …

In spite of my dry mouth, the evaluations were favorable. We will be quoting some of them when we ask the County for more money next year.

Next event will be the “Healthy Kids Day” at the local Y. We will be premiering our facial morphing program.

The current big challenge is eCigarettes. They contain unhealthful vapors such as antifreeze and lighter fluid and paint thinner and are as addictive (because of the nicotine content) as cigarettes. Teens are using them in increasing numbers due to the massive ad campaign aimed at teens and young adults … (pretty colours and enticing tastes and aromas). It is true they contain no tar and that is about the only place they can truthfully claim to be better than cigarettes. That doesn’t bode well for future medical stats.

But I preach … sorry.

Onward …


It was the Dark of the Moon on saturday. I look forward to those nights each month because in a couple of days the morning view out the bedroom window when I wake, when the New Moon appears, will be a joy of black and white full of shadows. I guess that is why I like a well-composed black and white photo. For me, they almost sparkle.

When my boys were little, we called the New Moon a Fingernail Moon.


Saturday was also opera day. Too bad. The offering this week was the Russian version of Macbeth. We listened for about ten minutes. Atonal dysrhythmia does nothing for me. This was Shostakovich and I think I agree with Stalin’s evaluation.

Next week will be Cavalleria, and I won’t be home. Oh well …


We saw George’s VA medical provider last monday. George strained his back about a month ago and is still having trouble with it in addition to the arthritis in his right hip. He had been sleeping in his recliner for a few nights. He slept well in bed, but getting out of bed onto his feet was a real problem … difficult and painful … an eleven on the scale of one to ten.

Our nurse practitioner’s diagnosis was lumbar muscle strain with domino into the hip. Plan of action? Pain control, anti-inflammatory, rest, x-rays if no improvement. She backed me up on the use of acetaminophen and ibuprofen together every six hours rather than one or the other. We shall see. If nothing improves we can go to Redding for x-rays and then reformulate the treatment. But I think she is right because her diagnostic forced movements of lower back and legs set off the pain in his back complete with fireworks. He did finally allow me to massage with “liniment”. But he is still balking at medicating to prevent pain. If only …

Report next week.


I saw three goslings on the reservoir edge last week.


The MSARC meeting was interesting. All but six members were there. One absentee is allergic to the rug in the clubhouse, one is in his 90s and doesn’t go out at night, one is temporarily working over in Susanville, one is caring for a seriously ill mother, and two live out of the area. But the member who works in Alaska was there. We’ll see him again in August. He plans to start joining meetings via the ECHO link.

There are two fairly new members who are REALLY into new radio innovations, especially interfaces with the net. As a result the equipment at the radio shack is being upgraded … with gusto. There are new repeaters and other equipment in place which do digital conversion and offer contact with internet chat rooms and allow use of the repeater via cell phone and a lot of other stuff I don’t understand but which seems to excite some of the members as well as the two leaders for change.

Planning for the summer events, for which we provide health-and-welfare support, has begun. Last month, we set out pre-planning sheets for volunteer sign-ups. Not all the events fared as well as the one for which I’m leader. I had eight volunteers in addition to me and there are only eight stations, including Net Control, to fill. As a result, I’ll be a floater this year. I’ll attend the planning meetings, but my radio club work is essentially done. I’ve assigned stations, made up the information sheet (including expectations and maps etc.) to be handed out to my volunteers, and filed it away until needed.

Now all that is left is to remember where I filed it when the time comes to use it.


I mentioned last week that the McDonald’s in south Yreka had been torn down. I got this note from my son in New York state … “Around here, the McDonald’s have been being demolished and rebuilt to conform to company standards.  The traditional red multi-angled roof is giving way to a return to the box with big yellow arches. Everything old is new again.”

Monday we drove past the site and sure enough … new construction.


For much too long, I’ve been working on a collection of short stories with hope of some day seeing them in print. I had fourteen done but hit a block and had not done any work on it for several months. Last friday characters began talking to me again. I now have sixteen done and characters are still vying for attention. It will be interesting to see what comes.

If you are interested in reading one of them in exchange for feedback, let me know.


So … ’til next week …







Last wednesday, we spent a couple of hours at the Mt Shasta Museum.


The Smithsonian exhibit titled “Journey Stories” is there until the end of the month. It was time well spent. The basic story is that since time long past, Americans (and the original explorers) have been travelers on journeys, and this is illustrated by stories using written accounts, pictures, and recordings. If the exhibition comes to a museum near you, don’t miss it.

In addition, local journey stories were collected by the MS Museum volunteers and were posted all around the exhibit area. Some of the stories dealt with surnames which are well-known in this area … Sullivan, McCloud, Sisson, Hammond, Bridwell, Foulk. The local stories will stay on display indefinitely. We plan to go back to really look at those later … maybe when the family is here this summer … and will share at that time.Museum Model Layout


Other permanent displays include a model railroad layout …Shasta Daylight Poster

       some old posters …Diaper Washer


reminders of washing my firstborn’s diapers …


replicas of a depot office …

Cab View and of a train cab which faces a screen showing a ride from below Dunsmuir through Cantara Loop and Mt Shasta to the Black Butte station. 


We’ll be going back to see what we didn’t have time for this time.


Mountain 9 April2015Last thursday morning was one of the days when we have to skip breakfast so George’s fasting lab work can be done.

Snow on Black Butte There was snow on Black Butte. Not much, but more than we’ve seen in a couple of years.

After our npo morning, we go to Poor George’s for omelets or big, juicy hamburgers. This may be the last time for the pleasure which, in the past, we anticipated with each blood draw.

As usual, we got into a conversation with one of the waitresses. For the last year, Poor George’s has been undergoing renovation and it is still unfinished.  It turns out renovation was stopped because they will be moving. They recently bought the old Denny’s just off I-5 at the central Yreka offramp.

It makes me a bit sad. I wonder if it means the end of the Poor George’s we’ve known and enjoyed for so many years … the spot where field and ranch hands went for breakfast on their way to work, where the old vets met for morning coffee, where hospital night staff stopped to unwind on their way home, where you could get fresh homemade pie for breakfast.

They were in a building which started life as an A&W Root Beer Drive-in. I remember stopping there for root beer floats after seeing the first of the Star Wars movies. In those days the only place to see a movie in Siskiyou County was in Yreka. There was a theatre in Dunsmuir and one in Weed (both of which were closed), but none in Mt Shasta. Now the one is Weed is still closed, the one in Yreka has closed, the one in Dunsmuir occasionally shows old time films, and the only place to see a movie in Siskiyou County is at a multiplex in Mt Shasta in the old Thrifty Drugstore building.

Plans for Poor George’s are to increase the hours. Now they open at 0800 and close at 1330. After the move they will go 24-7 so they will need additional cooks, and their cooking was one of the things that made them special. At the new site there is a motel right behind them, a minimart in the gas station across the street, and another restaurant right opposite them. I fear it will be an entirely new atmosphere both outdoors and in.

We’ll be going there again in November (the next time for scheduled lab work). That may be our last time.

Oh well …

The other big change in the food sector in Yreka is that the McDonald’s which had been at the south Yreka I-5 offramp ever since I can remember has been demolished. That was most likely a result of overgrowth since there was a Taco Bell, a Carl’s Jr., a Burger King, two Subways (one in the WalMart), a soup-‘n-sandwich shop, and a Starbucks all together there.


NPR recently added a money report to Morning Edition. We’re not that interested in the subject. What has me interested is trying to figure out why they chose the Hill Street Blues theme (from the old tv show) for their music. Subliminal warnings? …

Be safe out there.


Constance - 1908


Two days ago was the 107th anniversary of my Mama’s birth. She’s been gone since 1979, but I still talk with her.   

And yes … I inherited the ears.



The Tobacco Education Council meeting yesterday was interesting. Getting a new operating procedure working is a bit more complicated than you would think, mainly with finances.

Three items came up … how to assure each project has equal access to funds; how to know what has been spent and how much is left; and how to make sure we spend all we were given this year so we can get at least the same amount next year.

Results were good. No one felt accused of inappropriate behavior (since no one had any guidelines) and everyone seemed to understand the need for new operating procedures as we are becoming more active. Now all project plans and proposed expenditures will need to be presented to the entire Council for approval. It may slow things down a bit, but it will keep everyone informed and communication will improve as we get practice.

First event for the year will be this coming friday titled “Lunch and Learn”. Attendees will be fed, but will have to sit through three hours of presentations. I’ll be doing “Thirdhand Smoke” and am about eighth on the schedule. I always get a dry dry mouth when I do this, so I’ll make sure I have water available.


Occasionally George and (more occasionally) I watch Telemundo on the telly. We can get it for free with our big dish. We aren’t Spanish speakers, but with the sound down we can put together our own story lines.

One afternoon last week, while warming up the set for the news, we found ourselves watching an animated feature. What caught my eye initially was that the gecko hero was wearing a shirt just like the one a friend brought back from Hawai’i.Rango

We learned the name of the film was “Rango”. From what we saw it was a mishmash of plot lines and scenes from a collection of movies, mostly westerns, from Clint Eastwood’s Italian potboilers to the newest “Lone Ranger” (the Johnny Depp one) and a wide range of in-betweens. Thinking the verbal jokes are probably as much fun as the visuals, we decided it might be good to watch it in English. I looked it up on NetFlix and discovered Johnny Depp did the gecko hero’s voice.

It is now on our queue. 


We have a new batch of kittens in the barn. We can hear them. We won’t see them for a few weeks but odds are they will add to the black panther clutch.


We’ve been having trouble with our ISP. They allow us a set amount of download bandwidth. If we go over 80% of that amount, they begin to slow us down. And woe-be-to-us if we go much higher. Then we begin to get pages of program language before we get any usable contact with the net.

So … I am asking any of you who email me, please send only personal notes … no forwards … please … until we get this under control. Emails with big picture loads seem to be a real problem.

This got me to thinking about the issue currently before the PUC. Doesn’t the pay-for-speed question apply to personal users as well as corporations?


Morning 13 April 2015Monday we awoke to a skiff of snow.

What a spring  … blasted fruit blossoms, golden catkins on the birch, slowly opening maple buds, signs of stress in the evergreens all along the roads, occasional white in the meadow,  plants in the solarium and under milk bottle hothouses, … not-quite-enough snow pack on the Mountain …Mountain 9 April 2015 but She looks better than She has for several months.


And here’s the latest from the Gaiman I’ve been reading …


“{Leaders} come and {leaders} go. Armies arrive and are absorbed or return home again, leaving behind them only damaged buildings, widows, and bastard children.”




So, ’til next week …






Big surprise last week was the discovery of so many ways to spell Dibelka. I had been operating on the idea that our family name, difficult as it is, was set in stone.   


Here are a few of the variations I’ve found: Diabelko, Dyabelko, Dabelko, Djebelko, Dubelko … they are all from the Czech-Slovak area (i.e. Bohemia) and so far I’ve found them in New York state and Pennsylvania in addition to the Dibelka clutch in Omaha.



I even found a picture of one of the Pennsylvania Diabelkos with his wife Ella which blew me away. He resembles George’s dad (with a slightly fuller face). But the big surprise is that his wife looks like George’s mother (whose family was from Pennsylvania) … at least to me.


Can you guess what line of research I’ll be spending time on for the next few Family History sessions?


We’ve been having night frosts. The second comforter is back on the bed. The rosemary and spearmint I put out last week are surviving, but it is fortunate I didn’t plant the potatoes. They are still developing shoots … slowly. Maybe in a week or two?

I may try peas soon, with the milk bottle covers.

7 April 2015 - Front Door 1

BUT, sunday brought another big surprise …we had snow …

Toward the Barnmonday we had snow … Icy Feeder


monday morning there was ice in the hummer feeders …

monday evening, as I went out to put the ladies to bed, the wind in the tree tops sounded like waves surging and breaking on a beach when a storm is brewing (NICE!) …

yesterday we woke to this …Snowy Birches

Last evening it looked like this …

Deer 7 April 2015

I feel a bit sorry for the Cold Comfort deer herd. There was plenty of fresh green just a few days ago. (There are three deer in this picture. Can you find them?)

8 April 2015And this morning this is what we see …

Deer in  Backyard



Now the herd is ankle deep in snow.



The total, as of this morning, is ~18″. That must mean it is good on Mt Eddy and the Mountain.

Too bad this isn’t November rather than April. Oh well …


Last week I made a batch of fudge … with pecans. It was a big batch. As I put a plate of pieces on the table I thought “Get thee into the closet, Temptation.”

One big problem   …   I failed to close and lock the closet door.


Sunday evenings are getting busy due to PBS.

The midwives are back for a few weeks, and are as good as ever. Last week’s clutch of love stories was really well done.

I’m not a Selfridge fan, so that hour is time to shower.

And last week we were introduced to Thomas Cromwell in “Wolf Hall”. I was a bit disappointed. The costuming and visuals were right on. However, the history was a bit off and the story flow was jerky and incomplete. The BBC series about Elizabeth Woodville who married Edward IV was done so much better. But then that series was based on a well-written book.

Why Hilary Mantel is a Dame of the British Empire and Philippa Gregory isn’t is a mystery to me. Connections? Better press? Bribery? Pity?


We’re off later today to visit the Smithsonian exhibit “Journey Stories”  in town at the Mt Shasta Museum. It is a traveling exhibit. Only six museums in California were lucky enough to get it! 

There are some other new displays to which we look forward as well  – “Mt. Shasta Journey Stories” and “Railroading ‘Round the Mountain.” 

Watch for pictures.


A couple of days ago, an actor named James Best died. He was known for a tv show I never watched. But his death caught my eye because many years ago I met him while he was in my home area (with Tony Curtis, Richard Long, Audie Murphy, Brian Donlevy and others I don’t recall) shooting a movie called “Kansas Raiders” about the border war between Kansas and Missouri during Civil War times. It was a B movie which disappeared quickly.

But it was a time which left some longterm memories.

Brian Donlevy was soooo short there was a grip assigned to follow him around with a step stool so he could get on and off the horse.

My friend had recently had a baby and she brought her with us to the set, in a buggy (we were working with the house and food crew). One day, while we were working, the baby began crying (poopy diapers) and when Gerry and I got to her we found Tony Curtis changing the diaper.

The not-quite-stars spent evenings at the Lodge near town where there was food, drink, and music. Gerry lived right across the road so, of course, we went over. One night I was dancing with Richard Long. He noticed the mole on my right shoulder and said something like “I suppose you expect me to kiss that mole.” I now think it may have been an invitation to a one-nighter, but I was so young and naive I just said “No”, finished the dance, and went on with the evening.

But the thing I remember most often is the young James Best. He was a gentleman! And he was a poet. We shared a few beers and discussed writing. He was pretty good. I wonder why he didn’t do more with the poetry.


Several folks around me are in a grieving process. I thought this might help …


There is no right way to grieve, and you have to let people grieve in the way that they can. One of the things that happens to everyone who is grief-stricken is there comes a time when everyone else just wants you to get over it, but of course you don’t get over it. You get stronger;  … ; you endure; you change; but you don’t get over it. You carry it with you.         Edward Hirsch


And a note from the Rebbe …

Try an Experiment ?

Read out loud the following sentence: opportunityisnowhere.

Did you read it as “opportunity is nowhere”

or as “opportunity is now here”?

Probably 90% of life is one’s attitude — how one looks at life.




So … ’til next week …











The adventure a week ago with power (or the lack thereof) reminded me of the evening we moved into our first house/home in Pomona. We had a months old baby and all his stuff, a crib, a mattress on the floor, a card table, two folding chairs, and hot dogs.


Time at the genealogy center last week was very quiet … until a quarter to 1500 (closing time). At that time, just as we were beginning to organize belongings in order to close, a man tentatively came around the corner into our area. He was carrying a clipboard full of papers and immediately started apologizing for intruding.

It took us a full five minutes to get him to stop apologizing and tell us what he was interested in learning. Marty got on one computer and I rebooted another and we started searching. By then there was only 10 minutes left and the church is sticky about timing.

All we were able to do in that short time was begin to show him what was available. So … we sent him out the door with wide eyes, a hint of possibilities, and a list of the Family History Center hours.

I wonder if we hit it too hard and he was so overwhelmed he won’t come back.

Oh well …


Younger son Mark’s birthday was monday, as was his cousin Lisa’s. She was born when he was three. They are now both in their 40s.

All together now “Where does the time go?”

It turned out to be a day for culinary strangeness. Results at both homes was a bit different than expected … a pie more soufflé than meringue and a bundt cake with great frosting which ate like a brick. Still, both celebrations were successes.

May they have many more … successes, not culinary challenges.


My young cousin Jeffrey (I’ve told you about him before … his great-grandmother was my cousin) is talking about coming to visit this summer. He has two little boys now. That visit will be fun. Just turn them all lose and let them explore.


Seed Starts

In spite of the lingering threat of frosts, I’ve done some seed starts out in the solarium.

Last monday I transplanted a rosemary to its space beside the garden gate and a spearmint to a spot beside the backdoor. I’m using gallon milk bottles without bottoms as covers.

Temperature this morning was 28°.

There are some signs of Spring around …

Firs full of cones (and windshields full of pollen) …Fir Cones



Birch trees’ catkins



and buds …Birch 2






Maple buds …



and deer with really mangy coats …

Mangy Coat





Yesterday I had to go to Yreka for a Tobacco Education meeting and decided to go by Carol’s sheep farm to pick up some fiber and meet the new crop of lambs. (Picture by a spinning friend, Leslie)


This year’s lambs are heavily slanted toward males and single births … only two sets of twins in the entire flock. Carol and I wondered if that has anything to do with the change in winters around here.

Then, as I was getting ready to leave, a pair of folks on horseback stopped at the gate. Carol and I went over to talk and I heard what sounded like round-up calls. I looked up the road (a narrow, country road) and there they were … a full herd being moved to spring pastures. They filled the road from shoulder to shoulder and back as far as I could see.

Had I not been quick and gotten back on the road and away, I would have missed my meeting in Yreka since there would have been no way to get around or past all those cows.

And wouldn’t you know .. I didn’t have my camera with me.


Mountain 30 March 2015The Mountain is looking nice. Not as white as we’d like (the snow pack is only 11.5% of normal), but any snow is welcome.

Mt Eddy




However, Mt Eddy behind us is looking almost as mangy as the deer …




1 April 2015                  and the view out the front door is sparkling with the frost.


And so, ’til next week …









Those of you who know me, or have been with the blog for awhile, know that signals EXCITEMENT  in our family.

It seems that every year at New Year’s we have a power disaster of some kind, always fixable by George and his electrical knowledge. It didn’t happen this year … until last night.

George was in bed and I was doing a last check of email when everything went dark. I had already taken off my pants, knickers, and socks since I was only a few steps from bed (if that picture frightens you, I apologize).

George had printed out directions for me to follow on what to do when this happens and posted it in the pump house. It wasn’t too cold out and it wouldn’t take long for me to get the power back, so out I went.

When I got to the pump house I did the first thing on the list and my flashlight went out. I stumbled back to the house (fortunately there was a sliver of a moon … that, and having walked this land for almost 40 years, got me back into the house) where I got another flashlight. I did not stop to put on pants etc. since the procedure is simple and quick.

I looked at the second direction and aaaaaaaauuuuuggghh … something was drastically wrong.

Back into the house, woke George, told him what I’d found, and we both got fully dressed to make a trip out into the meadow to check on the hydro intake … he to do whatever needed to be done, me to hold lamps, flashlights, etc.

On our way out we discovered the recent rains had done a real job on a section of road up above us. Fortunately we have 4WD and made it through the mud ruts with only a slight delay.

Thought we might receive a visit from the sheriff. It was near midnight and no one visits around here at that time of night, so it was possible a neighbor somewhere along the road would report invaders. Fortunately, everyone must have been asleep.

At the hydro intake we found the screens were clogged with debris which had washed down from the mountainside above us. He cleaned that out and we headed home.

I went into the house and George went to the pump house to finish off the do list. BUT the hydro wasn’t generating any power at all.

We made the decision to spent the rest of the night in the dark and tackle the problem this morning.

This is the first time we’ve been in bed past 0530 in years. It wasn’t light until about 0700 and breakfast was at 0745.

The hydro still isn’t producing (George is out there working on it right now), but he started the small generator so I could get this online.

See what I mean?  CHOCOLATE !!!


Now back to more mundane things …

The amateur radio club meeting last week was interesting.

The member who is the “Treasurer”, and has been ever since anyone can remember, reports the account balance at meetings (when he is there) … but without details in re deposits or payouts … and not at all (even by phone or email) when he is not at a meeting which is at least 50% of the time.

This year the club has voted a lot of spending for roof repair and new, updated equipment. Several members voiced concern that we are spending more than we have.

Now it is my job, as President, to get this situation under control … and to do so without offending the longtime member.


We had a great overnight with John and his spouse. They left early (too early for me to let him go … but mothers are like that). They are looking to relocate from Sacramento to someplace more rural between here and there.

One problem … I forgot to give him the dozen eggs we talked about. Found them about 2100 the day they left. Oh well …


Was back in Oregon last monday. Three good results … I got a BIG bag of sugar at the restaurant outlet so I’m set for marmalade and just plain baking until summer, the last of the tears on the edge of George’s right retina was laser tacked into place, and we don’t have to go back to the retinologist until 23 April.

I was getting pretty tired of eating at Sizzler (in  spite of the facts that George likes it, it has a great salad bar, and the price is right).


Yesterday, our older grandson turned eighteen. Where does the time go?

When he was born (the first child born in Groveland in a hundred years) there were white violets blooming all around the house where he was born.Tyler Violets


I was there for his birth and brought home a start of those violets. I’ve given away starts to several friends and we have them all over Cold Comfort. We call them “Tyler Violets.” I look forward to them every year.



Plum Blossoms



The plum blossoms really began their show last week.




If you’ve been reading this blog for any time, you know I am hooked on hearing musical phrases in different compositions, and in reading variations of the basic 40+ story lines, etc.

Well, the TED Radio Hour last sunday was all about that phenomenon. They called the collection of ideas “What is Original?” subtitled “Everything is a Remix”. It was a discussion of borrowing, copying, and sampling and when does it cross the line between flattery and thievery. An interesting hour … ideas ripe for more thought.


And that’s it for this week … no power time for corrections. Sorry.


                        Are we having fun yet?