It has been a busy week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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




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


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

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


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



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

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

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

Next week … the Skaguay report.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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



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



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


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

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

Next? A return to history.


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



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


So … ’til next week …








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


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


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

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


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

It made interesting patterns on any downslope,Beside the barn





Barn Lake



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

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

                                  Welcome none the less.


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

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

Reservoir Level 19 August 2014

This is how it looks now.

Reservoir Meadow

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


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


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

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

Prayers and crossed fingers gratefully accepted.


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

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

Alaska Sign                                                 Mark took me to Alaska.

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

At the glacier 2



and saw the growlers and glacier in Tracy Arm Fjord


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

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

RavenFrog Fiber


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

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

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

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

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

Oh well …


Now … to quote Groucho Marx … again …


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


 So …

             ’til next week …








Still dry around here.

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

Hope springs eternal …


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

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


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

Amateur Radio Clubhouse



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




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

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

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


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

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

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

I’ll get back to that line later.


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


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

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

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

~~~30 July 2014

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


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

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

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

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


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



So … until the 13th …






Tomorrow is the anniversary of my firstborn’s arrival.

It was a hot July day … a wonderful day.

Happy Happy Happy Birthday Son !!!


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

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

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

… What drought ???

Just because Oregon and Washington are both on fire …


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

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


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

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

Oh well …


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

The final section is everything else.

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

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


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

23 July 2014 Sky

                                Pale sun, clouds, and wind this morning.

I hope weather change is treating you a bit better.


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

Keeping busy keeps you young, right?


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




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




So … how’d you do?


‘Til next week …








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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Glad you had a good time, Ray.

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


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

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


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


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

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


The smoke tree is lovely …

Lily and Green Rose


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




The Campion is lighting up the courtyard …

Doe with Twins

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



The moon was still up this morning …Morning Moon


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


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


You think that their

Dying is the worst

Thing that could happen.

                                                       Then they stay dead                                                             Donald Hall


But last tuesday brought an unexpected blessing.

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

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



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







Sorry my time is off and I’m late.

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

Oh well …


Tyler July 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

His trip home went without incident.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a way to go.


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


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

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

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


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

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


Skewed Tree


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





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

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



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

Too bad the hooligans in Government have forgotten …



So, ’til next week …








Last friday I watched the Met’s production of “La Bohème” on PBS. The stage settings were really inventive.. e.g. the garret wasn’t at stage level. It was atop roofs. It made me wonder if it could be seen from every seat, but it really worked on television.

And the topper (I’d heard the original performance on NPR in April) was that the soprano stepped in at the last minute to sing Mimi when the scheduled singer became ill. The replacement had sung Cio-Cio San just the night before and then sang Mimi at the saturday matinee. She had a very busy morning of rehearsal, costume fittings, and walkthroughs,but at least she didn’t have to change composer style. Still … what a memory feat. She’s one of the new sopranos. I’ll be watching her.

The Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of “Rusalka” was the opera last saturday on NPR. It wasn’t the Screamer singing the lead. It wasn’t bad, in spite of the picture in my head left over from a clip on Classic Arts Showcase in which the soprano singing the lead last week sang something with lyrics which say “I am a Spanish girl. I live in Spain. I speak Spanish. I was born in Spain. I am Spanish. etc. etc. etc”. Those inane lyrics sort of got in the way of accepting her as a Czech water sprite. Oh well …

And comparisons between “Rusalka” and “Little Mermaid” are inescapable.


I serve on a county service group and have found myself in a controversy over how the County Administrator filled a direction from the County Board of Supervisors. He was advised to “find the funds” for a project, with the inference that the money was to come from the County General Fund. Instead, the office of the Administrator searched out a group who operates on grant money to provide the money.

That seems to me to be an usurpation of intent.

It also delayed the implementation of the project by two months.

In addition, I was offended by the inference I was too stupid to locate grant money myself. My intent had been to bring to public attention a bad decision about the disposition of funds. The money was a means to an end.

But I am unable to complain about it aloud because there is another item before the Board of Supervisors which could be adversely affected by someone (me) making waves. It comes down to choosing which fight is currently more important.

My inner voice, which is saying “This isn’t right”, is upset. But the Council of which I am a member is in line to receive money for another project on which I am working. Any wave-making could interfere with the larger settlement ($3-5,000 as opposed to $700) … so, after a meeting with my Supervisor, I will bite my tongue. However, I will keep a copy of my notes just in case (as in election or re-selection of the Administrator later) … my Supervisor knows and apparently approves of that.


We had some rain last week. It was light (almost not there at all) on wednesday. There had then been 1.5 inches overnight. Thursday what rain fell was very light. Last night there were clouds and a threat of lightning, thunder, and rain but all that was a no-show.

I would prefer snowpack, but we’ll take anything we get and be grateful.


The main problems in the garden this year seem to be birds, both black and jays, and ground squirrels … and feral barn cats who think the freshly turned soil is a big litter box.

A lot of the seeds have been recycled before they could sprout. I am currently restarting seeds, this time indoors. I’ll be late, but better late …

George set a trap and so far the take is two Stellar Jays and two squirrels (the second squirrel broke its neck trying to escape). We’ll see if the trapping helps the situation.

This is the first year the problem has been this bad. I’m making notes for next year. I’ll start preparation earlier regardless of weather. And I’ll start seeds indoors. In the past, the difference in cost between plants and seeds made a difference. No longer …

The old weather signs and old farmers’ tales no longer seem to be working.

Oh well …


Genealogy … I had a few minutes free last friday afternoon and decided to print out the pages for a notebook in re the 19th century Lawhorn women in my line who aren’t direct ancestors. I had started researching them when looking for information about my Nana’s half-sister and found a wealth of interesting information (including a cousin listed as a prisoner on Alcatraz in 1910) and a couple of interesting living “cousins”.

I didn’t want all that information lost and so put together a “notebook” of information.

All that is backstory. The point of this post is that I fancied up the notebook pages with colour and my printer refused to print yellow. George refilled the colour cartridge and I was able to print about 30 pages. Then the yellow ceased printing again. Couldn’t have run out of ink. It had just been filled. If it is a defective cartridge, why are red and blue printing correctly? Why only yellow? What can this printer have against green?

Aaggggghhhhhhhhhhh …


Remember me carrying on about composers stealing music lines from other composers? Well … along the lines of “Great minds …” check out last week’s TED Hour.


FawnsWe saw a pair of the fawns for the first time yesterday. (Sorry for the blur … it was a difficult shot and one of the fawns was rambunctious. I had only one chance for a picture.)

We knew they were around someplace since the does were sleeker and their udders were full. But they hadn’t yet brought the babies out of hiding.

That evening, another doe had her single with her. And still later there was a doe in the backyard, just under the dining room window, who seemed to still be pregnant and evidently in labor. We’ll see what the final count is.


Tyler arrives just before midnight tonight. Visits from grandchildren are such blessings. Only one thing wrong … he won’t be staying nearly long enough. But summer school calls … and there is always next year.


2 July 2014Life is too short for drama or petty things, so laugh hard, love truly and forgive quickly.

 Live While You Are Alive.




And that’s it ’til next week …









Over last weekend we had a visitor, Julie Small whose grandfather was my cousin.

Julie is a gem. Getting involved in family history has introduced me to so many interesting people.

Her visit gave me a chance to show off our beautiful area once again. And she fit into the world of CCF just fine. I can only hope she enjoyed her stay.


Weather turned warmer last thursday. It will now require more concentration and memory to keep things watered.

Some of the towns (cities?) around us are beginning to have water problems. I heard Montague expects to be out of water by August. And there was an article in the paper about water levels in some Siskiyou city wells. The lakes are low, even the ones high in the mountains.

But we are okay. Our well feeds off the runoff from Mt Eddy just to the southwest of us, and we are almost first in line tapping that aquifer. There are only two fulltime wells above us.

The creek which feeds the hydro plant may lose out some with the drought this summer, but the solar panels will pick up the slack there.


“I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

“Then someone at my side says: ‘There, she is gone!’

“ ‘Gone where?’

” Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear the load of living freight to her destined port.

“Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

“Just at the moment when someone at my side says: ‘There, she is gone!’, there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: ‘Here she comes!’

“And that is dying.”      quote Henry Van Dyke

Another death … the above was posted by two of her family members.

Rest well Joan, dear Niece.


Bike event went off as planned. The day before the event, I took Julie on a tour of the route so that she would know where to find George and me during the day.

Then saturday morning, George and I were up and out early. This year I was stationed at the first of the rest stations, and George was at Railroad Park (the last station – but he doubled as Net Control).

T-shirtsVolunteers at my station were dressed in those funky           t-shirts which have lush female bodies in skimpy beach clothes printed on them (they didn’t use the ones with bikinis because their sponsor was the Sisters of Mercy and they thought the nuns wouldn’t like bikinies).

They yelled “Welcome to our beach” at the riders as they arrived.  The area was decorated with plastic palm trees and beach balls and water toys and oversized marguerita glasses. They are already planning next year … circus theme … clowns and acrobats and animal trainers and ???  I think I’ll see if I can find some calliope music. Of course, I may be at a different station next year.

Oh well …

Last year (the first year for the event) there had been some problems with the after-event food (not enough, not as promised, not very good, etc.). This year the only provider was Casa Ramos (one of George and my favorite restaurants, as you probably know). They served LARGE burritos (bean, beef, or chicken) with chopped greens, tomatoes, salsa, chips, and a wonderful sauce. I hope Casa Ramos becomes a permanent part of the event.

And I overheard one of the planners talking about including a free beer with the meal next year.      You rock, Michelle.

SO … that is one event down and five (or possibly six) to go.

Next up … Mt Shasta’s 4th of July.

The 2014 Mount Shasta 4th of July t-shirt was designed as a special tribute to Dr. Jim Parker.2014-tshirt-photo The design was inspired by the iconic image of Dr. Parker running down Mount Shasta Blvd. leading the crowd with up-raised arms.  The silhouette of Dr. Parker was superimposed over an image of wind-blown dandelions against the backdrop of Mount Shasta. 
Dr. Parker was founder of the Mount Shasta 4th of July Run/Walk in 1980 and served as race director for the next 33 years until stepping down in 2012 due to health issues. 


A bit ago, there was a report on a news program about the impact of the tv series “Grimm” on the city of Portland. The report tickled my curiosity about the series (remember, I’m a fantasy fan), so I ordered the first disc from NetFlix.

George is not a reader of much of anything which is probably why he gets his news from the television (I used to read the LATimes every day when we lived down there but gave that up when we moved here because the paper was always at least four days old). Since he is not a reader, fantasy has been unknown to George.

Yup … you got it. Guess who is now the bigger fan of “Grimm”. The brain-teasing relaxation of fantasy has a convert. Just don’t tell him I leaked his secret.


Last week twin tornadoes hit the small town of Pilger in Nebraska. The name caught my eye so I checked it out on Google Earth. That was quite interesting.

It is (was?) a square town. That area is farm land and is laid out in sections. Evidently one area (a square mile?) was designated as “town”. I’ve never seen such a straight-edged town. I wonder if they will rebuild.

Another interesting aside was that very nearby was a town named “Wisner”. When we first moved to Mt Shasta we lived in a teeny house on Wisner Road not too far from the Wisner family.  Old Mr. Wisner had been one of the first neighbors to call on me. He brought me flowers. An old fashioned gentleman.


 Remember a bit ago when I told you about the very young repairman from AAA who didn’t know how to jumpstart my old car? Well … a similar thing happened in Seattle recently when some young men tried to hijack a woman’s car but were unable to do so because none of them knew how to drive a stick shift.

Advantages of being a geezer ???


25 June 2014It’s been quite warm lately and this morning the catalpa is coming into bloom.

Lovely …




So … ’til next week …








The next summer visitor arrives this afternoon … Julie Small.



Her grandfather was my cousin. His name was Marvin and I remember that when I was quite young (he was 16 years older than I), he had played the piano and sung “Winter Wonderland” to me …White Hat


and that another time when he visited us he let me wear his white hat (Navy issue – he was in the submarine service).

I anticipate a nice visit.


George had to drive up to Central Point, Oregon today to pick up a piece for repair of one of his heavy equipment tools. He left angry.

He had paid nearly $200.00 for delivery as per instructions which said the piece would be delivered via FedEx. Since FedEx delivers to us we expected it here. Wrong.

And to make matters worse, the warehouse in Central Point is open for pick ups from 0700 to 0900 in the morning or from 1800 to 2000 in the evening only. That meant George needed to either leave before dawn or not get home until nearly sundown.

He bought over the net. Letters and evaluations will be written.


Last week I got caught up in those what? who? where? quizzes on Facebook. Turns out I was the geek in high school, am a traditional witch who ought to be a writer, and should be living in the world of Dr. Who.

Oh well …


This has been a garden week.  I got some volunteer chamomile transplanted for later harvest, garlic chives reset, and lemon balm and hyssop seeded. In addition, the new blueberry plants are rooting well.

It has also been a week of harvesting herbs. Some herbs are a bit early this year. That must be weather patterns. I have oregano and comfrey hanging to dry and mullein leaves scattered to dry and lavender hanging and yarrow and allheal making tincture and apple mint and spearmint hanging for tea and am watching the cleaver (I found a new patch). No sign of blooms on what few St. John’s wort plants there are. They will be late this year.

I spotted a couple of good chickory plants. I’ll watch them for roots next fall and set some aside for “coffee” if we have a hard winter. A hard winter … what an idea … I hope I hope I hope …

Speaking of winter … cold nights came back just after I got the tomato and pepper plants out into the garden. That figures. Fortunately, I save old sheets and was able to provide some cover.

The catalpa still hasn’t bloomed but is showing buds.

The fruit on both the apricot and the plum took a hit with cold nights. There is still fruit, just not as much as I had hoped. And we need to get the bird netting out over the peach tree. It is away from the house and so the birds are more aggressive. I’ve hung some flutterers around. Maybe they will help until we can get netting up and over.  And I’ll see if I can locate the owl scarecrows.


Fire watch in our area is HIGH. NO barnyard burning allowed. CalFire has cancelled all fire permits. That means the slash piles will be really big for Hallowe’en bonfires this autumn.


Genealogy … Back in March of 2010, I wrote to the Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies to ask for information about applying for “Forgotten Settlers” information. Several of my forbearers settled in Kansas very early. I had not heard anything in reply until just a couple of days ago. Now I have information and a link to another genealogical cousin.

Maybe four years plus for a response is par for Kansas. Who knows?


At one time I was a member of an investing group which was doing pretty well. Then I began looking into the ethics of the companies we owned such as the company who fired a manager because he put a bulletin board in his establishment, where employees and customers could see it, on which he posted a positive thought each day. It was not authorized company policy so the manager was out the door in spite of loud support from employees and customers. 

Or the company which had a history of firing employees when they worked their way up to the top salary range and hiring in replacement employees at base wage. I could find no complaints about the performances of the discharged employees. In fact, most of them had exemplary job reviews. Because the company headquarters were in an “at will” state, and there was no union protection, there was no recourse under age harassment laws (even though most of the involved people were over 55).

Or the company which fired an employee who called a failure in safety procedures to the attention of management. I couldn’t find information in re any correction to the procedures.

And those are only a few of the companies in which we held stock.

I finally decided I could not be part of that culture and took my money out. I look at market results following the recent recession and how the value of the NYSE has risen more than $7,000 from its low (I can’t recall the percentage, but it’s big) while, at the same time, more and more people fall below the poverty level … and I think how “rich” I’d be had I stayed in the investment club. Then I think of the ethical cost of that wealth and am content with my situation.


Tonight is the monthly meeting of the radio club. Things are falling into place nicely. First radio event will be next saturday … high class bike event in Mt Shasta. I will be manning (?) the first rest stop on the route and then (after lunch) filling in wherever needed until the day is over. Free dinner (for volunteers) this year is Casa Ramos … good food.Castle Crags Logo


And the shirts are pretty classy.



Next up in the radio calendar … Mt Shasta’s 4th with its parade in reverse.




A neighbor was told he had to move out of the house he had been renting and so had to empty out the freezer. As a result, I inherited a whole lot of partially thawed tomatoes. I spent yesterday (off and on all day) canning.


Several years ago (about five I think, when she was last here), my friend Elaine brought me two starts of rose campion from over on the Klamath River. It is simple and lovely and has seeded itself over a rather large area. I have been giving away starts. It is truly a sweet addition to any arid garden, even if you do have to “weed” some to prevent it taking over completely.


Our hummingbird colony is growing. Adding feeders seems to have done the trick. And putting some near the house and some out under the pergazebollis was a good idea as well. Spreads the area the “boss” has to monitor.

A couple of mornings ago we saw a new hummer outside the dining room windows. It is the smallest we’ve seen. Most of them are the size of the first two joints on my middle finger. The “boss” is a bit bigger. But this new one isn’t much bigger than the two joints of my little finger.

Very young female? New hatch? Who knows. But it does seem to be a bold one.


Speaking of ideas … remember me putting beer bottles in the ground in the garden last year to deter the burrowers? Well … it didn’t really work. It may be that we don’t get enough air flow across that area to make them “sing”. So I am now busy taking them out as I ready the beds for use … that makes extras work because I have to wash them before the Opportunity Center will take them for recycling.

This year I will go back to castor pellets. That worked in the past. If I can find some castor beans, I’ll grow a plant and try to make my own deterrent.


And finally …

Nietzche said, “A man can deal with any what, as long as he has a good enough why.”

Reminds me of my Nana’s saying that we are never given a load heavier than we can carry.

Dissimilar minds with similar thoughts.

And there is no such thing as human impacted climate change …


18 June 2014Weather prediction is for things to warm up …


And that’s it for this week. So … ’til next wednesday …