No photos last week, so I’ll start with a lovely one of a storm which John took while he was here last week.



This coming Sunday is the Mt Shasta Summit Century and planning for the Headwaters Marathon (the next radio event) has begun. This year a volunteer medical group (statewide? national?) will take over the first aid aspect at the Headwaters and wants to coordinate with the “hams”.

The sponsors of this event keep close track of their participants since they are running in rather difficult terrain and sometimes the weather is not optimal. Our job (health and welfare you know) is to relay information and assist in keeping records as the runners pass each rest station. It is similar to what we do for the bike riders in the Castle Crags ride.

We’ve learned of a couple of events in other parts of the state which began using amateur radio operators after the participation of some of their organizers in one of our events.

Ripples …




Granddaughter Mikayla arrived last saturday … 1600 at the Redding airport (RDD).



Remember when we used to get “dressed” to go to the airport or on a flight? As airlines cramped space, “dressed” became “comfort”.Dress Code






A few years ago, I taught Kayt to spin (spindle and wheel). She was an amazing student. I am torn between pride and envy when I watch her. All I need do is show her a technique or tell her of an idea and she’s off.

This summer she is experimenting with “designer” yarn techniques … with interesting results.


Last thursday, as we left for a trip to the recycling center, there was a smoke pall over much of our surrounding mountains. It seemed to be coming from Oregon, but we didn’t hear of fire in that direction. Only the one down by Winters.

Oh well …


Our New York family is on their way west along I-80. They have a travel trailer and are camping.

I am watching their progress with a genealogist’s eye …

In Ohio they went through an area where the Curtzwilers (my mother’s paternal line) settled first after immigration (there are still a lot of Curtzwilers around the Toledo area).

Then in Iowa they crossed about 50 miles north of where my paternal grandparents were born and married.

In Nebraska the surname was recognized since descendants of George’s paternal great-grandfather’s brother are prominent in sports there, especially in Omaha … University of Nebraska.

We’ve been tracking the family on an APRS unit in their vehicle.


They stopped for breakfast at a Denny’s. They are due to arrive here this evening.

Next week promises to be nearly pure chaos with a trip to Oregon (Kamille is an east coaster), the radio event, an EVERYONE birthday party, and  the usual show-off stuff when you’ve got a first-timer in hand.




I’ve been gathering lavender. There is a nice crop this year.


And if you want to try your hand at brewing absinthe (the drink made famous by Toulouse-Lautrec), I can supply the wormwood.Wormwood





This morning … typical summer morning …

29 July 2015


And as an aside … if you have time for a Random Act, check this site (read all the way through) …


So, ’til next week …






To start this week …

I recently got an email from a reader asking about the “note” on the CCF page. I didn’t know what she was talking about since I couldn’t see it. So I asked my son (who manages the domain). His reply was that it is a rotating spam ad which he keeps pulling off only to have it repopulate.

So … if you’re seeing it, just ignore it. He’ll fix it as soon as he can.


Our older son was here earlier this week. He comes to help when I have a chore we can no longer manage.

In spite of his allergy to freshly cut grass, he managed to weed whack the area in front of the house and to mostly mow the “fire safe area” out in the meadow (he was thwarted by a small tree none of us knew was hidden in the grass … and which will be cleared along with a couple of other young trees … we don’t need trees in the safe area). His partner, Michael, helped me clear out some of the ranks of oregano in the courtyard. A very successful day.

John will turn 59 next friday. Where did the time go?

He is a wonderful man and we are blessed to have him.  


I neglected to tell you that the Castle Crags follow-up meeting had been at the Tree House in town and when we got there we discovered they have installed four power kiosks for electric or hybrid vehicles.

The future comes to Mt Shasta.


Our granddaughter Mikayla arrives next saturday for an extended visit. When she was little, the grandchildren used to spend the entire summer with us. Those were lovely days and created a lot of wonderful memories. I still have decorated stones from the time George took them to collect river stones and then we settled them at the outdoor table to paint the stones … and there are crowns made using grape vines and fake flowers for a festive dinner party … and clothing left from dress-up parties … and so many more reminders.

Thank you Mikayla and Tyler.

And welcome Mikayla !!!


Plans for the next radio event (the Summit Century) are under weigh (there’s that phrase again). And it will be followed in just three weeks by the next one (the Headwaters Marathon).

Mikayla will again be with me at Castle Lake for the Summit Century.

Fortunately, I don’t worry about these events. I’ve been doing them for so many years, I’ve pretty much got my duties down pat. As long as I get the same assignment … no problem.


I am out of bananas.

We stopped eating them quite some time ago when it wasn’t possible to pick one up without putting your thumb through the peel. The last have gone to the chickens. It will be some time before I can face a banana again.

I took some of the banana bread hoard to the last radio club meeting. It went like it was a treasure. I thought I’d sliced too much and I’d be bringing some home, but the plate was empty in just minutes. Guess that’s the difference between buying them at nearly a dollar a pound and receiving a boxful for free.

That makes me think of the bike rider who went from Wisconsin to NYC eating only out of dumpsters. He ate very well on food that grocery stores throw away. Even with all the physical exercise, he gained weight.

Says something about our culture, right?

Raley’s (a northern California grocery chain) has announced they are initiating a section in some stores for ugly produce at reduced prices rather than toss out all that food. It seems to be a hit with shoppers.

I wonder if the Raley’s in Yreka will be one of the trial stores.


Are you ready … here comes more kvetching …

Last week there was a post on the Hammond Ranch page about someone’s guest being followed into the host driveway because they were believed to be speeding on Ranch roads. It said nothing about whether or not the guest really was speeding.

Ranch roads are very clearly posted 15 mph (some even say “Please”) mainly because maintenance is the responsibility of landowners.

The post accused the follower of being dangerous but said nothing about the danger created or damage done by speeders.

The Ranch has changed a lot since the influx of Silicone money and the “me” generation … i.e. the attitude is now “I bought 5 acres so I own the entire Ranch.”

End of kvetch …



No pictures this week. To feast on some good photography, check out


Advice for this week …


Whenever possible, do an act of kindness that no one knows about.




So …

                ’til next week …








 Another trip to Medford last week. Weather was nice, i.e. not as hot as it had been.

The excitement was on the return trip. As we got onto Dale Creek Road here on Hammond Ranch there was a car stopped on the “out” side of the road waving us down rather frantically as we were coming “in”. I did manage to stop with a bit of gravel spray (even though I was going only 17 mph) to discover it was only someone (probably a non-resident) in a panic because a medium sized grass snake was crossing the road and she was afraid I would run over it.

We got home in time for the local news. The top story was that I-5 south was closed in two places due to accidents. The first was at the mile 30 southbound on-ramp (where we get on the freeway heading home). A big rig had gone over on its side and the on-ramp and a section of freeway was closed. The second was at the mile 6 off-ramp (the Callahan’s and Mt Ashland exit) where a multiple vehicle accident has also closed the freeway.

Oregon numbers its off-ramps to designate their distance north of the Oregon-California border. Had we been heading home between 15 and 30 minutes later we would have been caught in one or both of the closures.

Never a dull trip.


George and I went to the follow-up meeting for the Castle Crags Bicycle Event last thursday. For the Mt Shasta Rotary (the organizers) and the Mt Shasta Amateur Radio Club it was a mutual admiration affair. We thanked them for including us. They thanked us for being there.

And they paid for George’s and my lunch.





Feverfew andShasta Daisies Shasta daisies are in bloom … bright whites.




Opera last saturday was “Tosca”. I like “Tosca”. George does not. He calls the heroine stupid because of the choices she makes. I disagree. I see her as a woman of a certain class at a certain time in history with limited options.

I like the music, especially the “Vissi D’Arte”. I had not had a favorite singer for that aria (such as my enjoyment of Fleming singing the “Hymn to the Moon” from “Rusalka”) until I saw a clip of an older, retired Sara Scuderi on the Classic Arts Showcase. When the film was made, she was in her 80s (she has since died), living in a home for retired Italian opera singers which had been founded by Verdi. She was still “fashionable” and engaged.

In one scene, she enters a room wearing a classic coat with a fur collar, carrying a rather large purse, every hair in place, walking with a cane. One of her recordings is playing on a wind-up phonograph. She takes a seat and listens, smiling and noting “Come ê bello” (I don’t speak Italian, but I assume it is a positive evaluation), then apologizes for wanting to weep. She seems content with her memories.

That made me think of the criticisms made, by younger people, of extended care facilities mostly citing elderly residents just sitting and staring. I wonder if those older folks are as unhappy as are those looking at them. Maybe they are the elders whose bodies have given out and are quite happy in their memories … just waiting. My Nana lived the last few years of her life in 1916. Her husband was still alive and had a good job, she lived in a nice home he had built for her, she had daughters 6 and 8 years old, her mother and sisters lived just down the street … life was uncomplicated and good.

Reality is not always in the eye of the beholder.

At any rate, Scuderi’s “Tosca” is now my favorite. She was at her peak during the 30s and 40s … long before I became addicted to opera. Fortunately, there are recordings.

The Lyric of Chicago last saturday wasn’t Scuderi, but it wasn’t bad.


I collect possible names for a novel as I travel I-5, taken from the off-ramp signs. It started years ago with Proberta Gerber. One of my current favorites is the Hill boys, Bailey and Boomer. Recent addition is Slate Hornbrook, obviously a brother of Henley.

Does anyone else play this game?


For a few days last week, we didn’t see the Mountain. There were storms cycling through and she kept her head in the clouds.

Monday, when we went to Medford, we did get a glimpse as we left home.

Mountain ... 13 July 2015 She is looking very dry.

Some weather predictors are saying we will have a cold wet winter due to a probable El Nino. Wouldn’t that be nice.


We’ve been having trouble over water with one of our neighbors (again).

Our original encounters with this neighbor and her children were years ago when she was looking for property to buy. At one of those meetings her then young daughter pulled up her skirt (she did not have panties), squatted over George’s boot, and peed.

Well … she’s trying to do it again.

Last week the flow of water through the Shasta River, which feeds our hydro system, was greatly diminished (although where it goes through our property it is only a creek … think the Mouldau). When George checked, rocks had been pushed into the culvert carrying the water under the road. He managed to pull them out and reestablish the flow by building a small rock dam to redirect water into the culvert.

He came home, put together a sign explaining the situation in re the legal flow of the river, and posted it at the culvert.

Next morning, rocks were back in front of the culvert (although not IN the culvert this time), his small dam pulled down, his sign gone, and the post which had held the sign pulled up and tossed into the brush. Of course, he redid the rocks to return proper flow.

Later that day the flow was again down. When George checked, the rocks had again been moved and there was a note written on the back of his explanatory sign saying they need the water for their garden and that they pay a fee for their water. Our water rights are adjudicated and  #12 on the flow. Theirs are riparian and #21. That means ours are 9 places ahead of theirs and legal rather than by use only. Plus, our hydro is state registered. Theirs is not.

In California, especially now in a drought, water rights are very important.

There had been a head-on with the mother a few years ago over water diversion which ended with the WaterMaster telling her to accept her share of water through the established, legal routes. Now the daughter is trying to establish new routes to suit herself.

This morning, George wrote to the WaterMaster including maps and photos.

I realize I am kvetching. But this is important. Water flow cannot be changed willy-nilly just to suit a desire. 


Long on words and short on pictures this week. Oh well …


 Remember …


“Man was created in the image of God.”

Every human face is a reflection of the Almighty. Once a day pick a face and think “I am seeing the image of Deity.” You will begin to understand the endless nobility of a face and, through the face, of a person.



and so …

                ’til next week …





Well … last saturday’s 4th of July event went better than I had expected.

The lead up to the big day had been really rocky. The radio club has been doing security watch duties in exchange for a donation ever since the year the Chamber of Commerce found the commercially hired security guard asleep in his cart. This year, by default, I wound up trying to arrange a schedule. Make the “okay” sign, shake your head side to side, and say No!  The effort gave me frustration and stole sleep, but we got the job done (mostly) and got the donation anyhow.

Then the morning of the 4th, we all just showed up and, as a group, cobbled together a plan based on the way we’ve been doing it for the last few years. The person in charge of the health and welfare aspect (who had lost his list of volunteers and never did get assignments made) arrived with a smile to deliver our free t-shirts.

Mountain 4th

Fortunately, the weather wasn’t as HOT as it had been earlier in the week. 93° isn’t cool, but it’s better than 99° or 100°.

My time on station led to an interesting array of thoughts …

I was asked several times to take pictures of groups in order to have all the group members in the pictures. Everyone seemed to have those ubiquitous phones. I don’t own one and so the first couple of picture taking sessions were also learning sessions. I did get a couple of double-takes when I said you have to help me because I don’t own one of these. Fortunately, the phones take a series of pictures in RAPID succession so my tremor didn’t interfere.

One big event was the loss of a kid carrying a tuba. His mother came to me to ask that I watch for him. I put his loss on the net so ALL communicators were watching for him. His mother was surprised at that when I told her that’s why we were here and that’s how a “network” works. About half an hour later, she caught my eye and gave me a thumbs up. Kid found and the radio club made points.

Mt Shasta’s 4th is a no smoking, no dogs event and as usual there were folks who decided those requirements didn’t apply to them. I had to turn back at least five owners with dogs. After one such encounter, three folks came out of the crowd (from three separate groups) to say “Thank you”. And following another such encounter a runner told me I had handled the situation with class. So I guess the radio club made more points.

Another operator found a man on his side under a bush and called for help. We’re not sure what the situation turned out to be, but she got compliments from people who recognized what she did was “health and welfare” protection. More radio club points.

And finally, during the awards, an operator found a dehydrated, ill-looking dog on the back street. It showed signs of having had a collar, but the collar was missing. The animal was watered and the humane society located to take over. More radio points.

We are becoming indispensible.

While on station, I was remembering past years.

… There were fewer people this year, only a bit more than 3,000. At the event’s peak, there was a year when more than 6,000 registered. Of course, 3,000 doubles the city population.

… I saw very few local folks whom I’ve known for more than five or six years.2015 4th I did see folks from the last few years, all much younger than me. Even those in charge of the event are relative newcomers. 


George met folks who were stopped by his veteran’s cap. We are remnants of Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation”, i.e. Depression Kids, and we are dying off at an increasing rate.



… Fewer local businesses were donors which a friend on the event committee told me was an accumulative result of the Great Recession.Banana Bread There was no free fruit table this year and so no garbage to bring home to the chickens. We did bring home a box of bananas (found in the back of the pick-up) which went to the chickens after I packaged as many as possible for breakfast muffins and cakes later in the year after baking bread and cake and muffins for now.


On the 4th, we had left home a little after 0600 and got back home about 1300. I had a bowl of potato salad ready and quickly grilled hamburgers. There was ice cream in the freezer. And that was the total of expended afternoon energy. I’d been on my feet 99% of the time and my legs were telling me so. At one point I’d “borrowed” one of the chairs set on the sidewalk to hold places for viewing the parade later. I’d been sitting about five minutes when a woman came up and told me, rather forcefully, those were her family’s chairs and they needed them, so I said thank you for the temporary use and returned to standing for observation. About ten minutes later the woman and a man I assume was her husband came up to me out in the street and she apologized telling me those hadn’t been their family chairs after all. That was interesting.

My legs didn’t hurt, just vibrated … muscle fatigue?

The walk had the usual mixture of participants …

Event Participants

There was a time I made the 2-mile walk (once with my grandchildren … we stopped on the bridge which crosses the I-5 and signaled the truckers to blow their air horns … I wonder if anyone does that anymore). I will not be doing the walk again. The young radio operators (those in their 50s and 60s) can do that now.

That makes two of the summer “Health and Welfare” events down, seven to go. Next up … the Mt Shasta Summit Century Bicycle Ride the first sunday in August. George tells me there are nine stations to fill and he has eleven volunteers.


DownpourBeginning about 1600 on the 4th, the thunder storms started. Lightning, thunder, RAIN, and fingernail sized hail. Two cloudbursts before midnight. The rain really pounded down. I wonder how all those out in the open waiting for the fireworks show managed.

Total precipitation for the storm was 1.3″ …Runoff


Red Carpet

Sunday morning the sky was still mostly grey and darker clouds, and the ground under the pine trees was a red carpet of sex organs. There may not be too many productive pine cones this coming year.



There was a report last week that the rogue bear which had been causing trouble in our area had been killed. A neighbor, who lost his laying flock and had continued to lose feed and food out of his garden even after attempts to scare the bear away and setting out a trap for ten days, spent a night waiting out in his garden with a suitable firearm until the bear came over the fence. End of the marauder. It was a 220 pound young male. Sounds like the one we had. There hadn’t been any more trouble here for a couple of weeks. Guess he had returned down the road.

Two of the new landowners in the area were angry. They said the bears had been here first and didn’t deserve to be killed. Those who bothered to answer them noted lost pets and property damage. Oh well …


There is a free program on television titled “Classic Arts Showcase”. It is funded by a philanthropist who believed (like Auntie Mame) that life is a banquet. They show clips (and sometimes full performances) of musical arts (including orchestral, voice, and dance) and visual arts (including photography, painting, animation, and film).

We watch for varying amounts of time nearly every day, often when we can’t sleep.

Some time ago, a clip of one of Europe’s summer outdoor concerts highlighted a German singer names Max Raabe. We are now rabid Raabeites. He is a wonder. Check him out on You Tube …


I am not a sports fan. That said, last sunday George and I decided to watch the Women’s Soccer playoff in Vancouver. I’m not sure why, and the only place we could see it was on Telemundo.

It was a fortunate choice.

I had sort of settled at my spinning wheel, expecting to learn a bit about soccer.

Then all hell broke loose. What a couple of hours.

I did learn some about soccer, enough that I will follow the sport (women’s clubs) a bit more closely.

What classy broads. They are a team. As one player said, “ We have a belief in each other, no matter if you’re on the bench or not, that whoever is on the field is going to get it done.

The real example of class was when Lloyd gave the Captain’s arm band to Wambach so that, in what was probably her last professional game, Abby was the Captain at the win.  For me, that was more admirable that Lloyd’s hat trick.


There is a story I forgot to tell you earlier which involved finding a penny. It happened last saturday during my radio stint.

To do my health and welfare duty, I spend 99% of my time in the middle of the street talking with people, answering questions, and watching for trouble. Last saturday I was positioned right in the center of the street and I happened to look down. There was a penny on the white line. Of course, I picked it up (See a penny, pick it up. All the day you’ll have good luck.) and put it in my pocket.

A bit later, after moving around some, I again looked down (I don’t recall why) and there was a penny on the white line. I thought ‘Wow. What luck,’ picked it up, and put it in my pocket.

That evening, when I got home, I emptied my pockets … and found only one penny.

There are no holes in my pockets and there was nothing else in that pocket,

so …

Did one of the pennies manage to get out of my pocket without both of them going?

Did the original penny somehow pop out of my pocket to be picked up a second time? If so, how did it manage to land on the white line again?

OR … had I unexplainedly been caught in a time warp and actually picked up the same penny twice a la Groundhog Day?

I love a mystery …


Last evening, as I was getting ready to settle for the night, I looked out a window …Fawn



I couldn’t see a doe, but I’m sure she was someplace close.




So …

            ’til next week …






One day last week, we had to make a trip to the VA Clinic so George could provide a urine sample. It’s a new rule at the VA and will be a regular twice a year as long as he is taking narcotics, due to some (a few?) of those receiving opiates for pain control selling their meds. I wonder how much of that is due to the displaced, jobless, homeless situation of far too many veterans?


Weather has been mostly HOT … sweaty scalp dripping into my eyes. Iced drinks, fans, and cross drafts keep me functioning.Hairdo

One day I was so wiped by the heat I didn’t have the oomph to put up my hair off my neck so George did it for me. He had never before offered to do anything with my hair.



I am hoping the coming weekend isn’t a disaster. It is the Mt Shasta 4th walk/run for which the radio club does the usual “health and welfare” thing. Temperatures are due to be over 100°. I will wear white and a straw hat, keep a bottle (or two) of water in hand, stay in any shade available as much as possible, and hope things aren’t as hot as they are predicting.


We were finally able to meet with a neurologist to discuss George’s back. Seems his case is textbook for folks our age … initial injury followed by no discomfort for several days followed by SEVERE pain followed by medication and tincture of time followed by optimal healing followed by continued caution and a return to as near normal as possible.

As has been said … getting old ain’t for sissies.Convenience

However, there are always things at which to smile. As we started up the KBar hill on the way home, this is what we saw. No idea who or why … but no one can say Hammond Ranch doesn’t provide conveniences.


My backyard living space is blessed. There is a Bufo living in and near the pond.

Bufo Two evenings ago I watched him take out a wasp. He is a valuable neighbor.


SCOTUS … interesting group … some members really understanding and using the law, others interested in bending the law to support individual opinions. Thomas, who is not a criminal because of a previous “marriage” decision, voting against the same privilege for others. Scalia throwing a tantrum and trying to ridicule. Roberts waffling in re states’ rights. Alito mixing the (Christian?) requirement for procreation with blame for unwed mothers.

In spite of some of the Justices (interesting title), sometimes they get it right.

A young niece, who has a three-year-old, said it quite well when she said she hopes that someday, when he is grown, her son will wonder why there was all the fuss over something so basic.

Individual choice is the key. I decide for me. You decide for you.

We may suggest and show by example, but not demand.

Oh well …

Lock me up for a loony?


When I go to the backdoor and look up, here’s what I see …

Back Door

and I may have shared this before. It is the view from our hydro intake.  I think it is worth sharing again.

From the Hydro Intake


This year the season of the flying spiders has come early. Usually it is August before the babies take off at the end of a silken thread to fly as far as possible. There was a time when small children and I would lie on our backs at the edge of a tree cluster to watch the spider kites sparkle in the light.

Memories of those adventures with the children are precious, and I still enjoy the sight.


       The catalpa and the campion and the mock orange are in bloom. Lovely …

Drying Herbs

and herbs are drying … comfrey, yarrow, all heal, dream wort, mullein, fever few, chamomile, sage, oregano, mint … with thyme, lavender, St John’s wort, other mints, and some additional others left to go.


And finally for this week, here’s an abridged statement from a friend (abridgement not meant to demean his belief system, but to include all others) …


[Each] morning, as I wake, I take a moment to say Good Morning, Thank You. I know some may think me nuts, that’s ok. I have found … Love [is] stronger in my life today more than ever. I know I will be Happy if I allow my self to accept it. I have found Happiness is simply a by product of doing the next right thing in pursuit of worthwhile goals. I hope you will come along for the ride, I will do my best to make it fun and interesting. I hope you enjoy and have an adventurous life, step out on that limb, take a chance, know [the Creator] will not fail thee.


Thank you, Tony.

Bless us all !


             … so, ’til next week …





The shooting in South Carolina last week has left me with a slew of thoughts. Why isn’t the media calling the shooter what he is … a terrorist. Had he been radicalized, left the US to go to the Middle East, and killed people there would be no discussion. But because he was radicalized, stayed in the US, and killed people there are differences of opinion.

Why are middle eastern fanatics and their propaganda berated, bemoaned and labeled “EVIL” while white supremists and their propaganda are cited as mentally ill and given a pass?

Why does our reaction to a pseudo-Islamic supremist differ from our reaction to a white supremist?

We consider our indignation in re middle east religious victims to be righteous and any response, no matter how immoral, to be appropriate. Why don’t we defend victims of racial hatred in the same manner? Weren’t those folks in the AME Church “Christians”?

What are we teaching our youth? Not reading, writing, and arithmetic. Not ethics. Not tolerance. Not history. Not any version of what Christians call the “Golden Rule”. Not “WE the people”.

To quote Jon Stewart … Nine people were shot in a black church by a white guy who hated them, who wanted to start some kind of civil war. The Confederate flag flies over South Carolina, and the roads are named for Confederate generals, and the white guy’s the one who feels like his country is being taken away from him.

Maybe my Nana was more prescient that any of us thought … the Apocalypse IS closer than anticipated.

In addition, more and more headlines are stating we are in the epoch of the 6th extinction.

If I had tears, I’d weep for our world … but some anguish is too deep for tears.


But back to “normal” …


Friday evening we watched this year’s Met production of “The Merry Widow” by Lehar. Renee Fleming sang the lead, and the second female role was sung by a Broadway star. The move to recognize some “lighter” musicals as opera, rather than something less, has given listeners new treasures. Opera companies across the country have recently done “Carousel”, “Oklahoma”, “Showboat”, and (of course) “Porgy and Bess” in addition to “… Widow”. One really nice thing … they’re sung in English.

This production of “… Widow” was quite a bit different from the “light” opera productions of the past. The voices were very good (Renee was Renee … ’nuff said), but adding Broadway choreography was really something.

Watch it if you get a chance.


Last saturday was the first of this year’s amateur radio commitments … the Castle Crags Bicycle Event. The weather was a bit warm to be outdoors in the sun, but not too.

The shirts this year say “Change your altitude”.

Mumbo Station


I did my regular station at the highest point on the ride, Mumbo which is over 6,000′ and is on the Pacific Crest Trail (those white spots are footprints showing where the trail crosses the road).


Each year, the rest stops compete to see which stop can be the most entertaining.Biker BroadThis year I worked with a clutch of biker broads (they are too old to be “babes”).

I was in my regular clothes. It was decided that next year I will be in costume as well. Who knows what the theme will be?

The best part (visually) of the ride is past our site on the way down to RamsHorn. That’s the section of the ride behind Castle Crags.

But Mumbo has an interesting view of the Mountain … sort of peek-a-boo (can you see the Mountain?).Mumbo View

Mountain Azalea



The mountain azaleas are in bloom,




and I found a nest of Shasta Daisies.Shasta Lily




Due to his back, George switched from a regular station assignment to riding shotgun in one of the SAG wagons. The driver was a close friend who used to be the local WaterMaster. Whenever she was up in our area on assignment, Michelle would drop in for a drink of water or iced tea.

It was a good day. Dinner was provided by the best Mexican restaurant in town … Casa Ramos. They served “macho” burritos which really were mucho. We got a free beer as well …Beer Bracelet

but we had to be “carded” and wear a green bracelet to prove to any random inspectors that we really are old enough to drink a beer.


Only drawback to the day … we missed “Tannhauser” on the morning opera. Oh well …


Last sunday was Litha, Summer Solstice. The sun has begun its trip south. Days will be getting shorter. I will be able to go out to settle the ladies for the night before 2100.

Using John’s panorama, I added arrows for this example of the sun’s yearly dawn range at this latitude.Sunrises


On sunday, Masterpiece on PBS started a new series … “Poldark”.

The setting was wonderful … the Cornwall tin coast.

I follow a photographer on the net who is a photographer of the Cornwall coast. He lives in Pool and walks the footpaths along the south and west coasts, so some of the vistas in “Poldark” were familiar, including the abandoned tin mine shaft.

The first episode reminded me of a Harlequin novel set in the late 18th century. Costume romance.

The Hollywood Reporter agreed, calling it “… trash done exceedingly well.”  Maybe it will improve.


TurbineHydro power is dropping off. The problem is lack of water coming down off Mt Eddy. George went out (after a nagging lecture in re no twisting, lifting, etc.) to see if anything could be done.

Fortunately he began several years ago to augment with solar power.



On one walk out toward Michael’s Grove,Bear GrassMichael's Grove



I discovered Bear Grass …

and wild garlic.

Beauty all around.




So … ’til next week …





Weather cooled a bit … not a lot, just a bit. Enough to close the windows at night. Then got hot again.  … fifteen to twenty degrees above average for this time of the year. Open the windows and throw off the covers.

17 June 2015 Here is this morning’s view from the chicken yard Lady


where the ladies are doing their job of cleaning and fertilizing.

Seed Cones


It seems to be a good year for seed cones …




and the herb harvest continues.

The yarrow is ready.



One of the local hardware stores held a 20% off EVERYTHING sale last friday. I asked if they were moving or going out of business and was told no, just wanted to clear the shelves. George was able to get a Craftsman weed whacker for less than $50. I got some garden stuff.

With proof of a purchase, you got a free sausage on a bun and a cold drink. Not exactly a free lunch, but close.


And while we were in Yreka, we went by the DMV and got a Handicapped Parking thingee for the car. I usually park away from the store for the walking exercise, but with George’s back, we need to park as close as possible. We’re all set now.

The DMV clerk asked if we wanted a new Handicapped license plate as well. We haven’t yet decided. I sort of like our current plate …          2 BeDRoom …

George is considering switching to his radio call … AB6UE … so he might do that and get it with the Handicapped designation.

We shall see …


The final planning meeting for the Castle Crags Bicycle Event next saturday was last monday. George is in charge of the radio club’s participation, so I dropped him off at the Museum (they were using the lecture section of the building for the meeting) and then went into town to do the week’s shopping. When I got back to the Museum, I just sat in the car, waiting. The sky was lovely. And I was under a tree.

Leaves and Clouds Would have been as good as an art gallery had there been more than one view.


We made a trip to Grants Pass in Oregon yesterday to replace four of the power system batteries. It is a nice drive along the Rogue River.

We were back in Yreka by noon and had hamburgers at a place called “The Gold Rush” which belongs to a family member (daughter, if I remember correctly) of a genealogist I met on line.

It is an interesting place in an old service station. The eating area is in the refurbished service bays, and the kitchen is in the office space. The decor is 50s with pictures of James Dean, Elvis Presley, and Marilyn Monroe all over the walls. Even the curtains were Monroe. Only poster not of one of those three was Glinda asking if I was a good witch or a bad witch (not 50s, but close enough I guess).

No fast food. Burgers etc. are cooked to order. And you bus your own table when you’re done.

Food was good. Noise level was too high. And not a juke box or one of those penny fortune telling machines anywhere. Sigh …


When he was here last week, John took a panorama at sunset. It is looking from southwest of the house down High Meadow Road.

Down the road The house and barn are in the trees on the right of the road.


Today we go out to check the hydro system and make sure it is clear. This is the time of year when summer people show up and spend time wading in the creek which stirs up leaves etc. No big deal. Just a time consumer.

And tonight is the radio club meeting.



Short post this week. Life is much the same ole same ole.


“Be grateful, give thanks for what you have received. In an economy which urges us to always want more, the practice of gratitude is truly a radical act.”



So … ’til next week …








Saw the retinologist last thursday for another shot in George’s eye.

As we were driving down Barnett Road (one of the main arteries in south Medford) toward the retinologist’s office, there was a gap of about two or three car lengths between me and the car in front of me when suddenly a single wild turkey hen stepped casually off the sidewalk to my right and strolled out into the road. Of course I stopped, as did all the cars behind me (without a single rear-ender). She took her time, strolling leisurely, looking around, checking out all there was to see during that busy time of the morning (it was about 0930 and Barnett Road leads to the Asante Medical Complex … one of the largest in Oregon). We sat there until the turkey crossed the center lane. As we started moving again, we were laughing. Cars going in the opposite direction were backed up the equivalent of two city blocks … all for one wild turkey hen seemingly just out for a morning stroll.


Weather had been warm for several days. New things are blooming … rhododendrons,Iris more iris, chamomile, California poppies, “real” geraniums, meadow sweet, Shasta daisies, peonies, and yarrow.

And I started the herb harvest. There is now comfrey, mint, wort, and chamomile hanging to dry. Plus a jar of comfrey oil.


The end of last week, weather turned HOT with still air. I remember days in western New York state when the temperature was 95° and the humidity was 98%. Moving was like swimming.

For the last couple of days my scalp has been sweating. I’ve avoided looking at the humidity gauge.

We’ve had light rain showers night and morning on and off. Not really enough to measure … but welcome.

Tuesday evening (while watching Hitchcock’s “Spellbound”), we had lightning with thunder right overhead and a short downpour. These bursts cause clogging of the hydro intakes so off we went this morning to clean the screens.

There were some lightning caused fires, but they were north … up near the Oregon border. Excitement down here was a 26-year-old male with chest and belly pains at one of the local eateries.


Friday morning I saw movement in the backyard. We’re used to deer back there, so it was no big deal … until I really looked …Bear



Then  George went out to feed the ladies …Coop




Repairs have been made. The electric deterrent wires were put in place and connected. Conversations in re a new winter chicken house (or resheathing the old one in aluminum) have begun.


It has been a busy few days. John was here for 2 full days. He brought goodies with him … a flat of luscious strawberries and some fresh blueberries. Result? Jam and muffins.

While he was here, he helped with chores to which George can’t yet return and for which I am not physically capable. We moved chickens and he triumphed over the waist high meadow grasses in the backyard in spite of the fact that our equipment is old, eccentric, and just plain strange.

The combination of fresh strawberries and freshly mown grass sent my nose into spasm of ecstasy.

John and I spent an afternoon at the radio shack in town (where there is access to unlimited internet use) and now my computer is like brand new with all the latest updates and none of the infections and other crap (thanks mainly to CCleaner).






While out on walks, John’s eye caught some scenes …8 June 2015Wood


The one that really got me was such a simple, everyday sight … but he saw it in a singular way. When I first saw it my thought was “ART!”. It cried out to be enlarged and framed and hung in some high priced decorator’s studio where it would be seen and sent to the walls of a House Beautiful. Even possibly, before that, entered in some competition where someone else will have the reaction I had.


We have  new ISP as of monday afternoon. Now for the learning time. Because of different use rules, we will need to learn new time frames.

One side effect of the new server is that it uses a different satellite, so the catalpa will have to be topped soon. And so it goes.


So … ’til next week …






George’s back situation is in limbo. Government bureaucracy you know.

Here’s a letter I sent to both California Senators, our Representative, the head of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and the White House.

“I am writing to request your attention to a problem with a Veterans’ Administration ruling which is adversely impacting my husband and me. I know we are not the only ones being so affected. The rule needs to be changed.

“My husband is George S. Dibelka, a United States Navy veteran of World War II and Korea. We are both in our late 80s. We live on a small farm three miles off paved road in the mountains of southern Siskiyou County, California. We have a few animals who need care and so one of us needs to be at home every day. We have been together more than 65 years and, at this stage in our lives, we need to be together.

“He was recently diagnosed with severe (but, according to a physician, not yet critical) lower back problems including a compression fracture, an anterior dislocation, and impinging pressure on his spinal cord which limit his normal activity and require he sleep in a lounge chair. Following an MRI, it was advised he see a neurosurgeon for a consultation and possible surgery to correct the problem.

“His primary care is through the rural VA clinic in Yreka, California approximately 38 miles to the north. There is a larger clinic in Redding  approximately 80 miles to the south where he has been seen for x-rays. The nearest large, comprehensive VA facility is in Sacramento, approximately 400 miles to the south.

“A request, under the “Choice” program, was filed asking he be referred to a neurosurgeon in Medford, Oregon for the requested consultation. Medford is 80 miles up I-5 to the north. This request was refused by someone at Travis Air Force Base near San Francisco. Instead of a consultation with a neurosurgeon, we were told to see someone in Sacramento for pain control and physical therapy.

“The reason given for this refusal was that we live within 40 miles of a care facility and therefore don’t qualify for the “Choice” option. It is true we are less than 40 miles from the nearest clinic, BUT the care he needs, if provided through the VA, is 400 miles away. Were he allowed to see the closer provider, care would be only 80 miles away.

That 320 miles makes a BIG difference in our lives. If he is required to be in Sacramento for physical therapy it would be necessary to find someone to look after the animals while we were away and for us to rent a motel room in which to stay during his therapy. Those costs, plus the cost of gasoline for the trip(s) to and from Sacramento, would put a great strain on our finances since we live on a bit more than $1,500 a month.

“Therefore, I have two requests …

“Primarily, I request that you do what you can to get the decision that requires we travel to Sacramento, rather than to Medford, for the care he needs be rescinded and we be allowed to see the nearer specialist for the treatment which will return him to functioning. This is important to us.

“My second request is that you do all you are able to see that the flawed rule in re where a veteran can receive treatment be rewritten so decisions are based on the distance to the required care rather than to the nearest VA facility, regardless of its size and capabilities. This is potentially important to thousands of veterans and their families.

“I would like to note that all the personnel in our local facility are patient advocates, caring and helpful. It is only when we have to access beyond them, to the level of bureaucracy which has no contact with people, dealing only with paper, that the system breaks down.

“Thank you for your attention to this problem.”


Had he lived, Michael would have turned 51 last thursday. I have trouble getting my thoughts around that because he will never be more than 33.

I recently came across a quote by Roy Orbisons’s son … “No matter how long a loved one is with you, it is never long enough.”


Last week I girded up my loins (are you smiling?) and sent off two chapters in my book to a possible publisher. Scary !!!

They let me know they received my submission. Now to wait for their opinion. Wish me luck.

If you’d like to read a chapter and offer a critique, let me know.


Yellow dust is all over everything. It’s the time of year when the pine trees (and some cedars) declare their sexuality. This current mess bodes well for reforestation. However, it does make it necessary to clean off the windshield when we want to drive any place and the upper solarium windows were a mess until the monday rain …Rain Scum


which left puddles edged with the residue.



Oh well …


I seem to have developed a regular reader in India. She or he (I think it’s a he because there were references to “mates”) has written several times.

It is sort of mind-blowing that I have a reader that far away. But then I guess that’s what the internet does.

Thank You and Welcome all … I do read the messages.


This year I enjoyed the spread of the shooting stars across the meadow (they are browning off now), but neglected to take out the camera. If you can’t recall what they looked like, check out last year’s blog (about this time of year), or the year before. I know I’ve posted pictures.

They are such a blaze of colour.


I’ve left off knitting the vest I started with Carol’s fiber and switched to some shades of blue yarn I spun a year or so ago.Knitting

The new vest is a simple pattern based on stockinette with only two rows out of every ten requiring attention. The grey and soft teal vest has a pattern I have to watch every single row.


And since we are finishing off season 4 of “Fringe”, I was messing up too often. I’ll get back to it in time for colder weather.


Earlier last week, I had been to the local meat market where I get grass fed beef and stocked up. So last friday I made potato salad and served big, juicy hamburgers. Just before dinner I learned it was International Hamburger Day.

How’s that for prescience?


There have been a couple of news reports lately that got me to thinking.

The first was about a homeless man who robbed a bank using his latest resume on which to write the note demanding money, put about $1,000 in a paper bag, walked across the street, sat down on a bench and waited for the police to come get him. He said he’s been trying to support himself but had been unable to find work and decided jail would at least provide bed and board.

The second was about a young man who broke into a convenience store, stole snack food and left a trail of food to where he sat a few hundred feet away eating the nachos.

These reports led me back to Les Miz where the protagonist stole bread because his children were hungry.

In the meantime, this country’s 1% continues to collect and squirrel away more money than they can possibly spend in several lifetimes.

Something is drastically wrong with this picture.

In France in the late 18th century, the similar situation led to the French Revolution.


3 June 2015

Everything is super green …


So … ’til next week …






                                                            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 …