22 March …


SpringWell, here we are … finally in Spring.  It has been raining since last wednesday.

John was scheduled to be here last week to help with the tree pruning.  Didn’t happen. Rain … so he will be here tomorrow.  A break in the rain pattern is predicted. 

We shall see.


During the last trip north, I was given a walkthrough of the WinCo in south Medford.  What a revelation.

When I was growing up, there were two kinds of grocery stores … the one in town and the one in the close neighborhood which was often a gas station, a farm supply, and a nosh spot as well.  Now there are the day-old, the surplus, and bulk, the gourmet, the organic, the farmers’, the ethnic, the super, and the quick as well as the neighborhood and the town.

Making a shopping list is getting complicated … where do I go for the best deal on that item?, can I get that someplace easy or do I need to go to a specialty store?,  will that be at the farmers’ market this week?, is the coupon price at the super market better than the regular price at the discount store?, are the savings worth the extra time and gas?,

Such a such.


Some time ago I wrote about how to turn a child into a reader.
A cousin told me her mother
 took her and her brothers to the city library every couple of weeks to peruse the children’s section and choose something that interested them in order to encourage them to read on their own.

She also offered the following … Our grammar school had a summer reading program where you earned stickers for every book read over the summer.  The kids with the most stickers (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place) all got prizes of some sort.  And everyone who turned in a reading list signed by their parents got something, no matter how many/few books were on their list.  Parents could take this same concept and encourage reading that way.

Good ideas.  Our local library is quite small (I grew up with a Carnegie Library and a large school library, neither of which survive in today’s world) and I’m not sure what the local library does for reading children.

Maybe I should check.


The wheel of the year is actually turning.  The advent of warm weather is palpable. in spite of rain.

Iris Shoots


The first of the iris shoots are showing.


We no longer need to put the heated rice bags in the bed before we retire.  But we are not quite to the point where we can begin to shed comforters.

But with Spring comes the surprises.  As Years said …



And finally a thought from my grandson … 


And time slips away like ice cream melting off a spoon, leaving barely a trace behind as life seems to move on without you.


So … ’til next week …





15 March …


Yesterday was our monthly trip to the retinologist.  Nothing new.  Weather was fine.  Shopping went well with the exception of George’s failed “treasure” hunt for an obsolete heater part. 

Tonight is the monthly radio meeting. 

Keep moving and they’ll have trouble catching you.


Last weekend was Purim. My chosen sister used to be the pocket lady at her Temple’s celebration.  But with her children grown and grandchildren spread, I’m not sure she does that anymore. Guess I’ll ask.

Hamentaschen are a longtime part of Purim and I really like them … light, sweet, and short.  I baked some (although I was more careless with shaping than in the past) … prune Hamentaschen … yummy.

They disappeared before I got a picture so you will have to imagine how they looked. 


Last saturday as I listened to “La Traviata” by Verdi, listening triggered some thoughts.

George and I agree it is, in our opinion, the opera with the most listenable arias … “most” in that there are more of them as well as that the ones it has are pleasing.  It starts with the drinking song in the first act, rises with Alfredo’s paean at the beginning of Act II to their wonderful life , proceeds through the conversation between Violetta and Alfredo’s father, and continues on to the final act with the reunion and subsequent death. 

I left out so many.  I can only suggest you suspend your kneejerk reaction to opera (I had it once … I clearly remember wobbling my finger against my larynx while holding a high note pretending to be a diva) and just listen someday.

Another thought concerned Violetta’s profession … that of a courtesan, a traviata.  In Europe being a “courtesan” was a lot more than being a prostitute or mistress.  To hold that position one had to be educated and knowledgeable.  Great beauty was not a necessity as long as you met the cultural requirements. Like the geishas and flower women of the Far East, a courtesan had to be able to speak intelligently on any subject.  She had to show “class” by setting a perfect table and hosting “salons”.  She had to be an asset to her sponsor and compliment him by proving his intelligence as well as his social position and his cultural taste. 

And she had to be supportive as well as available.  These women were often more of everything than the women in arranged marriages.

America never had these women, thanks (in my opinion) to our Puritan ancestors.  There were dock women in every port and crib women on the frontier, but those women were un- or undereducated poor women with no choice who lived on the edges of society and whose only role was to be the means of relieving sexual tension.

Violetta was not a hooker.

And the last thought was about the current staging.  More years ago than I care to remember, I knew a woman who did design for a fairly well-known theatre in the San Francisco area.  Once she was doing a production of “The Importance of Being Earnest”.  Her design was to have everything on stage, costumes as well as the set, in only black, white, and shades of grey.  The eye catchers were spots of the brightest yellow available … such as the lining showing through slashed sleeves (the setting was the Victorian era of balloon sleeves and bustles and HUGE hats), a bow tie, a large flower in a vase, a ribbon or a feather here and there … but you get the idea.  Not a lot.  Not more than two or three on stage at one time.  No overwhelming presence.  Small attention grabbers here and there.

I did not see that production, other than in my mind, but the idea impressed me.


Years later I was involved in a photographic project and suggested the same use of black-white-grey with splashes of colour. 

Most of the resulting photographs were real eye-catchers. 

One of me (which didn’t make it into the finished project) is a favorite of mine.

How this fits into this discussion of “La Traviata” is that the current Met production takes place in a modern time on a minimalist set in stark white relieved only by shadows.  The costumes are all white or black with the exception of Violetta who wears a simple dress in the brightest RED available. 

An eye-grabber. 

The current production is visually interesting.  However, I think I prefer a setting in the original time … the Paris of Alexander Dumas.

But that’s enough opera thoughts for now.

Next week is “Guillaume Tell” by Rossini … and I have a couple of stories about that.


My oh my … I seem to have blathered on at great length so here’s a final thought to ponder …  

 The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, it starts feeling like one.

… and a thought from Yeats …Yeats


.. so …’til next week …


 8 March …


The circle of the year is changing rapidly and AC continues his journey toward adulthood.AC

It is now light outdoors when I come up after breakfast to check my email. And it is staying light later in the evening.  It will be time to change the clocks (AGAIN) next saturday and that will lead to the twice yearly fuss over such changes.  I personally am in favor of choosing one plan or the other and sticking to it.  Since I do my best work in the morning, I guess I’m in favor of the plan that provides light mornings and earlier evenings.  Oh well …



Last week I forgot to share the Reading Woman for this month.  Oops … 

She is “Girl Reading on a Divan”, 1920, painted by Isaac Israëls.


How long has it been since you heard anyone refer to a “divan”?  Of course, a real reader will read anywhere.  The contents of my “reading pile” change, but there are still at least six books there, four on the active pile and two others for later.  My current choices are going to Rome for cocktails in the 1920s, watching the solving of a cultural mystery in Cambridge in 2011, joining Holmes and Watson in Edwardian London, or exploring imagination in horror authors’ minds.

And speaking of reading … the mother of a young child said she was advised to teach the value of reading by reading, but that when she sits down to read, her son wants her attention and is disruptive.  Suggestions?

I thought about always having a book appropriate for his age available and giving it to him when he shows up.  Maybe include time for him to read out loud with time for his shared reading vs time for her individual reading as a bargaining point, i.e. you read to me for 5 minutes, I read to you for 5 minutes, and then we read to ourselves for 20 minutes.   

Any other ideas?


Back to the subject of horror … the rash of anti-Semitic behavior has me upset.  I don’t agree with or approve of all that is done by the bebe, but that isn’t every Jew and is no excuse for hateful behavior.

I just learned there had once been a Jewish cemetery here in Siskiyou County which has disappeared (?).  Maybe a summer excursion will be to see if I can locate the site.  I have a friend who does genealogy in this county and has a fondness for cemeteries.  I may ask her to join me.

And bones have been found (via ground penetrating radar) in what had been the Chinese cemetery.  We thought all the bodies had been returned to China a long time ago.

This might be a place to use my friend Mary’s dowsing rods way to locate buried bodies and determine their sex.  That could be really interesting.

So many fascinating things to do and I’m running out of time.  Oh well …


Weather is following the weird pattern.  We had a couple of days when Spring didn’t seem out of the question.  Then saturday morning it began to snow.

Last year it looked like this …7 Mar 2016

Monday we woke up to a new coat of 3.5″ of new snow.  Here’s the view out the back door …Back Door 7 March 2017

and here’s the courtyard gate …Gate 7 March 2017

It snowed all day yesterday and we now have about 6″ on the ground.

Are you tired of snow pictures yet?


Father and Sons is at it again.  This time for St. Patrick’s Day …father and Sons


Studying nouns and articles in Spanish is this week’s assignment.  I don’t understand the requirement that nouns have a gender designation, but I’m practicing. 


I recently saw this and it hit a chord … 


Fate will break your heart … and break your heart … and break your heart … over and over again until it stays open.

— Sufi proverb


So … ’til next week …



1 March …


We have a new grocery store near us, closer than any of the others … less expensive, owned and run by someone I’ve know since he was in school with my sons.  I’ve never shopped in a brand new store before.

Guess where I’ll be doing a lot, if not most, of my shopping.

They held their grand opening last thursday.  I didn’t go.  I missed out on free food and chances in raffles … but I avoided a situation with too many people. 


We received word last week that another of the early Hammond Ranch folks died.  Her name was Barbara Allen.  Back before the turn of the century, there was a craft group here on the ranch to which a lot of us belonged.  One thing I remember clearly was that there was Barbara Allen who played the dulcimer, was a knitter, and loved books. Whenever something of mine was published, she would bring it to me to be signed.  And there was another Barbara (Stewart) whose maiden name was Allen. 

I may be the only one of that group left. 

Then last evening, I got an email from a high school classmate about the death of another Hemet High graduate.  Soon there will be only a handful of us from the 40s left alive.

One real drawback of reaching my age is looking at the newspaper or the mail and seeing that another one is gone.


26 Feb 2017

Weather is still winter although not as strong as earlier.  We’ve been having snow flurries almost daily, but the patches on the ground are slowly diminishing.


23 February 2017

The Mountain is looking her most beautiful (another photo of John’s).

Today we go to Yreka for some shopping, another load of firewood, chicken feed, and a meal at Subway (Black Forest ham and cheese).


Last week I offered you a look at an old time kitchen tool and asked if you know what it is.  Several said “no”.  But one friend (from high school days) said “ That’s an apple corer !!  I have one also that is just like yours !!  My mom used to core the apple, then stuff raisins and nuts in the hole and bake them, yum!!

Yup … it’s a corer, but not just an apple corer.  I use mine for pears and cling peaches and melons.  I have even used it to clean out squash centers.  I’d guess the thing is over a hundred years old and I use it nearly every day for something.  Thanks, Nana.


I recently set out on a new bread baking adventure.  I have enjoyed baguettes as long as I can remember … with only butter and salt or with tapenades.  But had never made my own.  King Arthur Flour had baguette pans on sale and I now own one which bakes three loaves at a time.  First try with sourdough tasted great but was a bit soft so they spread out too much.  I’ll try again next week.


Recently, on NPR, someone spoke about a teacher making reading so much fun that kids were “wallowing in books”.  It caught my attention.  I loved the visual.  It’s what I do … often … wallow in words. 

Currently there are four books on my reading table.


And just because I don’t have anything to do … I decided to attempt to relearn Spanish.  I have lectures on DVDs with a workbook.  Only problem is I will be looking for someone with whom to practice.  George has no interest in learning another language.

 I had this same problem a few years ago when I was studying ASL.   I still have enough signing to be able to communicate on a basic level and if Tyler moves closer I will be able to practice with him.

I’d like to be more proficient in both ASL and Spanish.  Maybe I’ll get us to eat out at Casa Ramos at least once a month and practice my Spanish there.


I haven’t been seeing as much of AC as in the past.  It can’t be weather since it was worse earlier and he spent time huddled at the backdoor waiting for me to come out.  Must be he is maturing.  He’s becoming a big boy and needs “mama” less.

That’s good … but I sort of miss him.  It’s a bit like when your kids fledge.


Today … I am Blessed

and tomorrow …

What’s past is past, nothing can change that. But the future can be different if we choose to make it so.  — Dalai Lama


So … ’til next week …

22 February …


Well … the meeting of the radio club went as expected … I am President for another year, and now my daughter is to be the Secretary as soon as they get relocated to this area.  Nepotism???


A week or so ago I saw pictures of a mama panda playing with her cub.  They were rolling and tugging at each other and appeared to be having a great time.  It was the kind of a scene you wish your kids could see when you take them to the zoo.

The baby would grab the mama’s leg.  Then the mama would roll the baby over and step away.  Then the baby would run off and the mama would run after and roll the baby over. Then the baby would climb on the mama’s back and appear to nuzzle her neck. 

It was fun to watch … until the baby did something that either made no sense to me (not being a mama panda) or that I just didn’t see, because the mama sat down hard, reached out and pushed the baby into the moat surrounding their enclosure as if to say “That’s enough for now.”

I wonder what it was that ended that romp.


In my kitchen there are several tools which were inherited from my maternal grandmother.  I use at least one of them daily.

And on the net I often see pictures of old things asking “Do you know what this is?”

DSCF4352Sooooo … do you know what this is?DSCF4351







John and Michael, who now reside in Dunsmuir, have noted the four seasons in that town starting with what the rest of the world calls Spring.  They are Fishing, Tourist, Hunting, and Locals Only.

Sounds right …


Weather has been weird as it has been all along this season.  Morning snowWe’ve had snow overnight several times with the snow being gone by the end of the day.  We are now in another below-freezing spell.  But we do have firewood with the prospect of more soon.  And the 7-11 is still stocked to overflowing.

Twenty-six days ’til Equinox.


Every time you hold a child, walk or talk with someone, see a sunrise or sunset, feel a breeze or sprinkle of rain, smell a flower, hear the wind in the trees — you should be living your life thankfully.


So … ’til next week …



15 February …


Tonight is the radio club meeting.  Report next week …

Yesterday was our first trip “out” since the first of the year.  I replenished my supply of flour and butter. 

It was a good day, with one exception.  It had been seven weeks since we saw the retinologist rather than the regular four and there had been a bit of regression in George’s AMD, i.e. an increase in fluid under his retina.  We will be on a strict four week schedule from now on so things should improve.

Weather was good and all we needed to get done got done.

Today we go to Yreka after firewood and the rest of the grocery list.  I also have to pay the second installment of property taxes.  In the past, tax payments were due on 10 December and 10 April.  This tax year the dates were moved to 1 November and 1 February.  Next year (this year?) I will try to pay the entire bill in November.


A bit ago, I got a really surprising contact from a woman in Portland, Oregon.  She said she had an aunt whose maiden name had been Wilma Dibelka.  Wow !  Floored me.  I had been told my name, which I inherited from my aunt, was a female form of my grandfather’s name (he was Charles William called Will) and I had known only two Wilmas, my aunt and I, until I went to college where I met a Wilma and then here to Mt Shasta where I worked with another Wilma for twenty years.

The woman in Portland said her aunt had been a Czech and gave me her married name.  My first thought was this might be a lead-in to Dibelka research in the old country so, of course, I started looking. I still have a long way to go with this search, but I have already found a Wilma Diabelko, born in Czechoslovakia in 1923, who applied for a US Social Security number in 1941.  War refugee? 

This is going to be fun.


Does anyone remember high jumps before the Fosbury flop?  I remember the first time I saw a flop and that there was a way to get over the bar before, but I couldn’t recall exactly what it looked like.  Then I found this picture from the Olympics …Fosbury

But my point in bringing up this obscure item is that last week I learned the flop first saw light in Medford just a few miles up the road.  It is a technique which shifted the jumper’s center of gravity to a spot below his body (even below the bar) allowing a higher jump.

Dick Fosbury failed to clear 5′ to qualify for a meet while in high school because he couldn’t master the then favored technique in order to get his 6’4″ over the bar.  So he (and his coachs at Medford High School and the University of Oregon) fine-tuned the back-first style and won a gold medal in the 1968 Olympics at 7′ 4 1/4″.

The name came from an article in the Medford Mail -Tribune in which the reporter said he looked like a fish flopping in a boat.

What triggered this trip into useless trivia?  Last week Dick Fosbury was in Medford at a sports fundraising event and caught my attention on a tv news report because he stood head and shoulders (almost head and torso) over the young man reporting the event.

And now you too are an owner of this trivia.


The roads out here on Hammond Ranch are in pretty sad condition.  Rain 9 Feb 2017The road subsurface is supersaturated with rain and snow-melt runoff.  As a result the road surface has been breaking down creating rather large mud holes. 

Sugar Pine Road is essentially impassable at one point.  Wreckers have been coming out routinely to pull vehicles out of the mud.  Maybe it wasn’t as much of a problem as we thought that our driveway and the immediately adjacent road weren’t passable.

In forty years of residence out here we have never seen this much road damage.  However, that isn’t so surprising since for the majority of that time the road was used by comparatively few families.  Now there are, at a minimum, close to a hundred families in which at least one member needs to go out and in every day.  No wonder the roads break down.

Weather has been iffy …10 February 2017 melt one day,

11 February 2017 then a light snow,

15 February 2017then more melt.

AC and Fluffy



AC and Fluffy were on the boardwalk this morning.



But spring is on the way …Here Comes Spring

All-in-all, Milne had it right when he wrote … 

”It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.

“So it is.”

“And freezing.”

“Is it?”

“Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”


So … ’til next week …

8 February …


Spent last thursday morning watching “Groundhog Day”.

Deja vu …



Remember last week I told you about the book with geezers and the only thing I could remember was the author had three names?  Well, I found it.




Last friday we watched “Live From Lincoln Center” on PBS.  It was the 50th annual “Mostly Mozart” and was notable for a couple of reasons;

The men in the orchestra were all dressed like the conductor …black trousers with black, long-sleeved shirts open at the neck, i.e. no ties.  It looked good.  It would have looked nicer had the women foregone the lace and glitter in order to blend.   One female violinist was wearing a black pants suit and looked good. 

IMHO, when you are part of a unit, try to blend.  Individuality has its place, but not in this sort of a situation.  I will admit, the way the orchestra looked didn’t do any harm to the way they sounded even though it was a bit distracting (I noticed it, didn’t I?).

Another eye-opener was that the audience really knew the score(s).  There were no inappropriate “bravo”s and the applause was in appropriate places, i.e. not interrupting the flow..  Wow … audience critic here.

Lincoln Center is one big plus to living in New York City.


Last monday Queen Elizabeth II marked 65 years as Queen. 

I remember when her father took the throne in the mid-30s.  I can still see the picture in Life magazine of the royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

I’ve been around a loooooong time.


Another note in re “Live at Lincoln Center” last week … the solo pianist was Richard Goode. His technique was good (no pun intended) and I enjoyed listening to his work with the Piano Concerto No. 12 …  but I was captivated by his resemblance to an actor who played supporting roles during the 40s named SZ Sakall (called “Cuddles”). 

Deja vu all over again.


Weather has been changing.  Temperatures have finally gotten above freezing and we’re getting rain.  George has been able to clear the water out of the oil in the backhoe, and to free the pick-up from where it had been high-centered.

See the car 6 Feb 2017There has been significant melt.  Remember the last picture of the Toyota?  The snow in the backyard is down to about a foot.

The heavy snow has done some damage in the courtyard, but that will be repaired by summer.

8 Feb 2017

And here’s the view toward the barn this morning.

Just a bit over five weeks until Equinox.


The first-year hens have been providing six or seven eggs a day.  At one point I had five dozen in the fridge.  I’ve been giving them to John and the neighbors and am currently down to three dozen in the fridge Eggswith another dozen in the ceramic hen awaiting use and several in a basket waiting for an empty carton.  I’ve been baking bread puddings and lemon custards and making waffles and sourdough pancakes and hard-boiling for salad garnish and sandwich spreads. 

I have also been concentrating on clearing out the freezers so we can defrost and clean.  I had concentrated last year on stocking up so we could survive with good food through any situation such as being snowed in.  Now it is time to clear out and start over.

Last week we had turkey-veggie pasties, topped-with-everything (including extra mozzarella) pizza, turkey and dumplings, beef-chili beans with rice, bacon-cheese topped twice baked potatoes, pasta-e-fagiol (all with good side dishes, salads, and sweet-and-sours), and several types of breakfast breads such as muffins and scones.  Too bad we don’t eat very well. 

We will reach the bottom of the freezers by summer and then, once they are defrosted and cleaned, I can start restocking.


L Wrist 4 Feb 2017 (2)



My favorite local tv ad (Father and Sons Jewelry) now features Bob as Bluebeard.



Something to remember …


Do unto others … as though you were the others.


So … ’til next week …

1 February ..,.


February already ???

29 Jan 2017

Here’s what the Mountain looks like from Dale Creek Road (photo taken by John on a trip to check our road conditions).


This winter, which is a lot like the winters when we first moved here nearly 40 years ago, has been a bit of a challenge. We always seem to have a crisis the first of any year.  This year the main problem is the water heater. It stopped working.                               

We use a flash heater, i.e. one that does not use a holding tank but which heats the water as it flows across a heating element.  Ours works on propane.

I first learned of this type of heater in a book I read when I was in high school.  The book was about two young American girls on holiday in Europe written by a woman who I remember only in that she had three names.  She said that these heaters were used widely in hotels and hostels on the continent in those days and were called “geezers”.  You put in a coin and got hot water.

My next encounter with them was many years later when we visited a friend on Cole Street in San Francisco.  His apartment had one and I found it fascinating.

Then when we moved here, energy became an issue since we would be making our own.  This type of heater uses energy only when in operation.  One ad highlighted the idea you could run the water unrestricted and not run out of hot water.  We have done that more than once when family is here.  Shower after shower after shower and still hot water.

But this year I’ve been heating water for dishes on the wood stove and it has been several days since either George or I have had a shower.  Don’t come visit. 

George was able to locate a new flash heater on the net and it was delivered last monday.  We are now awaiting an adaptor and when it arrives … paradise.

I’ll let you know when we are clean and it is safe to visit.


Reading ???  Still working my way through the Holmes stories.  Giggled at “The Blue Carbuncle”.

And going back and forth to and from Elizabethan  England.

And now rereading “Cabala” written by Thornton Wilder in the 1920S.  Wow.


February Reading Woman


This month’s  Reading Woman is taken from an oil on canvas by Edmund Charles Tarbell titled “Girl Reading” which was painted in 1909.  Rather stark, but calm don’t you agree?



A change in weather seems to be coming.  We are scheduled for rain and warmer temperatures for at least the next week.  That would be good for us.  It would make opening the plug in the road easier.  But enough warmth and rain to do that could be a problem for all those downstream. 

However, we need to get out (it’s been a full month now and I’ve had to reschedule George’s eye appointment twice) so I’m affirming rain.

Here are some comparisons …29 Jan 2017 north window

29 January – out the north window …

30 Jan 2017 out front 1

30 January – out the front door …

30 Jan 2017 Out front 2

30 January – the birches …

1 Feb 2017 to the barn1 February – out the front door toward the barn …



AC waiting for me to bring in firewood …


High last night was 39° and the snow depth in the backyard is down to 42 inches.


Last week I received a note from a cousin’s friend who is an amateur radio operator.  My license is as a tech operator which means I’m not very knowledgeable about the ins and outs of radio.  So arranging a QSO will take some interaction with those in the club who hold general or extra licenses.  This will be instructive and could be fun.


For the coming month …


Do what you feel in your heart to be right … you’ll be criticized anyhow.

– Eleanor Roosevelt


So … ’til next week …

25 January …


Well … our driveway and road have been closed since the first of the year.

Yesterday was to have been our day in Medford.  Snow on the flat measures more than 50 inches.  Since the last blog, we had a solid week of storm after storm.

Oh well …


I’ve been rereading the Holmes stories as they originally appeared in the Strand (in addition to the second in the fantasy trilogy I told you about last week).  If you consider yourself a Holmes fan and have not read the originals, I advise you do so.  I’m finding out (as I re-read) that movie and television projects have left out a whole lot of what was written by Conan Doyle.  I guess I missed all of that when I first read them because I was young and so didn’t understand.  And there was a time gap between my reading and the movie versions so I didn’t notice the omissions.

Another fun thing about this reading is tracing the use of parts of the stories in the current Masterpiece series.  Sort  of a mix-and-match.  One “fer instance” is the use of the sign of the four.  Curious?  Go find it.

As for the other book, it is set in Elizabethan England and I’ve always found that time captivating.  So much mystery.  So  much romance.  So much violence. 

Who did actually write the plays attributed to Shakespeare?

Was Elizabeth the First actually transgender?

So many questions.


Weather has been an adventure.  It has been years since we’ve seen a winter like this.  Our snow-moving equipment has limits.  Evidently so does that of the neighbors.  Last thursday the road (where it was still open) got blocked by equipment belonging to a neighbor down road when it broke down in a position barring the road and precluding calling for a tow.  There are lots of new owners in the area who have never seen a winter like this, did not prepare assuming they would be able to get in and out regardless, need to get out because they have fulltime jobs, and are verging on panic.  Those folks have called for professional road equipment coming to open the roads (at $100/hour)  … starting today.  Makes me wonder who will be paying.

So here is a collection of pictures of the winter of ’17 …

Doghouse 3

Doghouse outside back door with AC’s tracks …

Front 4

Front 5Depth outside front door … 

Gate 2

Gate into the backyard courtyard …


View out the north windows …

North Window 1Satellite Dish 2

Depth of snow at the satellite dish …

To the barn

Route to the barn …

Woodshed Roof 1

Snow on the woodshed roof …

Courtyard 1

View of the courtyard …

Vehicle 1

Can you see the car? …

East Window


Out the east window …

And so it goes.  Fifty-four days ’til Spring Equinox.


Due to winter conditions, there isn’t much to write about, so … as a thought for the past week, one of my cousins offers this for times when you are stressed …

Breathe in. Breathe out.  Feel your roots in the Earth.  Feel your branches in the sky.  You are cradled by Earth, embraced by Sky.  You are a mirror by which the Universe knows itself.  Walk in Beauty.  You are the Beloved.  Earth has seen many changes.  Beauty will endure.

So … ’til next week …

18 January …


This evening was to have been radio club meeting. I cancelled it due to weather.  There are big, frozen berms in front of the clubhouse where the city plowed the streets.  The parking spaces are full of snow.  And getting home would have been a challenge for George and me.  I think I’ll suggest that the January meeting be cancelled every year.  Give us all a holiday.

Officers are usually elected at the January meeting.  This year we did it via the net. I was asked to stay as Presiding Officer so I’ll be planning the holiday potluck next December.


Opera to the fore … again …

Last week we watched the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s premier production of a brand new opera called “Belle Canto, the Opera”.  What a few hours.  It was not BEL CANTO and there was nothing that left you with something to hum. 

But the composer, lyricist, and singers created something that drew us in and left us thinking. 

Great Performances: Bel Canto from Chicago Lyric OperaThe story was based on an actual event in Peru some years ago and dealt with people in crisis with little hope of escape.  And the fact that it was written in eight or nine languages was mind-blowing (I could identify only 6 of the languages … interesting … maybe Incan was one).  The explanation was that there were that many “native”  languages among the singers.  That left me wondering if the libretto had been translated en toto into each of the languages so the singer was able to really understand what the others were singing (saying) when they sang in a “foreign” language.

Another surprise was that in spite of a long-standing aversion to contratenors, I was captivated by the contratenor who sang about learning who he was by spending time listening to the trees.  The music line matched the lyrics and the atmosphere was gentle.  The lead soprano’s character was captivated.  So was I.

Lyric Opera of Chicago World Premier  Bel Canto © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015

I will most likely never watch it again, but I’m glad I watched last friday.


I just finished reading a novel by an author new to me (the first of a trilogy … does anyone write just a single novel anymore?).  It was a pleasant surprise. 

I love words and when someone can surprise me wih an idea wrapped in words … loverly.

This author did it.  Here are three examples …

“an acute outbreak of testosterone poisoning”

“the sustenance school of crisis management”

“turn to me with all your heart … do not refuse me because I am dark and shadowed or because my substance is hidden … watch for me, see me, and if you find me I will give you the morning star”

Am now awaiting volumes two and three.


As I looked out one of the east facing windows early one morning last week I realized that a full moon in winter makes me feel blessed.  Regardless of the weather, it is eye candy. 

With fresh snow it reminds me of “The Night Before Christmas”.  You know … “The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow …”

When there is ice, it’s like being in a room full of crystals. 

Rain? The echo of moonlight makes the sheets of rain shimmer. 

And under any condition, there are shadows … lovely shadows.


Weather …

Snow pack in the mountains is 125% – 150% of normal (depending on the information source).  That speaks well for the water situation in this part of California.  Here in the High Meadow the rain did not wash away the snow, and the low temperatures at night have keep us well supplied with ice.

The road is closed below the driveway entrance and has been for several days.  Cars can get all the way to Elderberry, but the plug on our hill is about 4′ (average) deep, goes all the way across he road, and extends about ten feet down the hill.  John was able to bring in the mail and some shopping on monday.  He brought it as far in the car as the drift allowed and hiked it over the drift.  George brought it the rest of the way to the house on a sled.  It looks like we will be cancelling the trip to the retinologist in Medford scheduled for next tuesday and rescheduling.

18 Jan 2017 Front Window


Last night a new storm moved in and this morning there is less than an inch of new snow but we are being buffeted by high winds. 

That makes windows interesting since they get a scattering of snow which impacts the view between us and the outdoors.

18 Jan 2017 Front DoorSeems like old times.


Finally, on the subject of words, last thursday I got this from a cousin … thank you, Jean.

The other day, a not so elderly (60) lady said something to her son about driving a Jalopy & he looked at her quizzically & said what the heck is a Jalopy?

OMG (new phrase!) – he had never heard of the word jalopy!!

She knew she was old, but not that old. Well, I hope you are Hunky Dory after you read this & chuckle –
About a month ago, I flashed on some old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology. These phrases included “Don’t touch that dial,” “Carbon copy,” “You sound like a Broken record” and “Hung out to dry.”
Back in the olden days we had a lot of moxie. We’d put on our best bib and tucker to straighten up and fly right – Heavens to Betsy!

Gee whillikers! Jumping Jehoshaphat! Holy moley! We were in like Flynn and living the life of Riley and a regular guy could never accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop or a pill.

Not for all the tea in China!
Back in the olden days, life used to be swell but when’s the last time anything was swell? Swell has gone the way of beehives, pageboys and the D.A, of spats, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes & pedal pushers.

Oh, my aching back.

Kilroy was here but he isn’t anymore.
We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap and before we can say, Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle! or This is a fine kettle of fish! we discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seemed omnipresent as oxygen, have vanished from our tongues, our pens and our keyboards with scarcely a notice.
Poof, go the words of our youth, the words we’ve left behind. We blink and they’re gone. Where have all those phrases gone?
Pshaw,The milkman did it,  Hey! It’s your nickel. Don’t forget to pull the chain, Knee high to a grasshopper. Well, Fiddlesticks! Going like sixty. I’ll see you in the funny papers. Don’t take any Wooden nickels, & Heavens to Murgatroyd!
It turns out there are more of these lost words and expressions than Carter has liver pills. This can be disturbing stuff!

We of a certain age have been blessed to live in changeful times. For a child each new word is like a shiny toy, a toy that has no age.

We at the other end of the chronological arc have the advantage of remembering there are words that once did not exist, there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more, except in our collective memory.

It’s one of the greatest advantages of aging.
See ya later, alligator!

To which I respond … After while, crocodile.


And so ’til next week …