30 December …


Well … it was a loverly Christmas.  First time in years and years that it was truly white.14 Dec 2015We’d been having snow on and off for several days,30 Dec 2015 Broken Birch Branch



and one of the birch branches got broken.



John and his partner Michael arrived near dusk Christmas Eve.  The house was warm, there were holiday lights on, and the fresh stuff they brought completed the pantry. 

John Decorating 2015

The Winter Tree was late this year and the train suffered a major disaster.  But Christmas Day, John helped decorate. 

Weather cooperated with lovely snow vistas and John and Michael were able to experience some of the magick I am unable to capture with a camera such as the meadow full of sun diamonds.25 Dec 2015 Icicles



However, the wonder of the icicles were one of the things they did see.


We watched some of the collected holiday movies … on Christmas Eve  Patrick Stewart’s “Christmas Carol” (a copy of which we received several years ago from younger son Mark), on Christmas Day  “Mister MaGoo’s Christmas Carol” (a family tradition from years and years ago when the boys were young), and on Christmas Night  “A Christmas Story” (full of nostalgia from when George and I were young).

Christmas Moon 2015

The Christmas Night Moon was lovely and bright.

John and Michael left saturday morning.  As always when family has been here and then left, the house seemed empty for a while. 

Oh well …


30 Dec 2015We had been scheduled to see the retinologist in Medford the 22nd but cancelled due to snow.  Instead we went yesterday.

29 Dec 2015 DawnIt was just barely showing signs of sunrise when we left.  The road was crunchy with overnight ice.  The sky was clear and crystal with reflections where there didn’t seem to be anything off of which to reflect.  Wonderous.

And COLD … but the passes were clear.

On the section of I-5 where you look down into the Colestin Valley it was hidden under a thick fog blanket. There was high fog on the Oregon side of the summit.  We tucked in under it and drove with no problem.

Results of the appointment were that the fluid in the retina is diminishing as is the fluid under the retina.  The delay in treatment due to the snow didn’t seem to have caused any problem.

At this stage of life, no change is a good thing.

Following the appointment (next one the 26th January) we did our regular circuit … Harbor Freight, WalMart (no tax in Oregon), Sizzler and Franz Outlet (where we get third day breadstuffs for the animals and second day loaves and bagels for us … we got one cart of animal feed and the clerk tried to get us to take two but due to a Harbor Freight purchase there was no room in the bed of the truck), CostCo (gas is always about 40¢ a gallon cheaper), and then home.

There had been “weather” predicted, but we had no trouble on the roads.

I always drive after the eye treatments and was dreading the turn from High Meadow into the driveway when we got home.  I had the truck in 4-wheel drive low and 1st gear and made it into the drive with only one scrape along the left side (the turn is sharp to the left and the depth of snow at the cut through was deep).

It was dark by the time we got supplies into the house and the woodstove lit.

George then got all the breadstuff out of the truck and down into the lower barn using a flashlight.  We couldn’t leave it in the back of the truck because our bears don’t seem to be hibernating this year.  They aren’t active up here but are quite active the other side of Old Stage Road and there is no reason to take chances.

We are now in and snug with no reason to go out again until the first thursday in January.

22 Dec 2015 Snow Depth

Good thing because it was snowing again when we got up this morning.

30 Dec 2015 Back Steps with Cat Tracks



About four inches new, and the cats have already been to the back door.




Remember I told you about the sandwich miracle last week?  Well here’s what those sandwiches look like …Sandwiches


Nearly twenty years ago I had a long discussion with a niece about whether it is easier to lose someone slowly or to have them gone in an instant.  She had just lost her husband to a long lingering series of illnesses as a result of the Nam war.  My middle son had recently died in a flaming vehicle accident.

As I recall, we agreed loss is loss however it comes.  You are never ready.

Now, all these years later, I find myself in a similar relationship except that this time I am the one on the LOOOOOOONG road due to age. 

What has the lesson been?    Loss is loss BUT love is love. 

One occurs … the other endures.


Got a note from a cousin in Florida …
I was rereading last weeks blog and you mentioned porcupine meatballs in the menu. Now you know I am a City Boy, and you got my interest. I was thinking that you went out and got some porcupines and made meat balls of them. I do know that they are eatable. I googled them and found out they are beef.  I thought you and your friends would get a laugh out this…
Cuz Don

2016 is imminent.  Day after tomorrow we will be in a new year … watching Sherlock in the evening …

Young neighbors will be here for dinner but probably get home before dark …

“Die Fledermaus” twice (the old one from Covent Garden on New Years’ Eve and the new one currently at the Met on saturday) …

Downton Abbey next sunday.  

Great start to a year.   I am sure it will be filled with much joy, some sadness, and adventures beyond imagining.

Here are my wishes courtesy of Abby Willowroot …New Year's Prayer   

May we all be Blessed!


So, ’til next week …






23 December …


15 Dec 2015  Dawn                                Last wednesday began cold and clear. 

As I go out to care for the ladies, I have the opportunity to admire my surroundings and give thanks.Ladies' ViewEach chore trip turns into a Blessing.  I am so fortunate.


The radio club’s holiday potluck went well.

I know I promised pictures and I did remember to take my camera … but the batteries were dead.  So no pictures. 

Too bad because the club house was decorated beyond extravagant.  The lighting was exceptional.  The food was chef level.  The drinks flowed like the proverbial wine.  The music and singing sounded professional.  The dreidle games and their payoffs were on a par with Vegas.   Fabulous !

And you have no way to prove I may be exaggerating ’cause there are no pictures.  Oh well …

But honestly folks, we did have a good time.  George and another ham put tinsel and lights around the front door.  The food tables held trail mix as a starter; porcupine meatballs, spinach linguini, A-1 homemade mac and cheese,  slow-cooker yams and apples, and grilled tri-tip as main dishes; two green mixed salads and a jello salad; wine; and a berry pie plus pumpkin cream cheese moussè to end the meal.  And that (as Edith Ann would say) is the trooth.

One member showed up in a Santa hat and proceeded to lead the singing.

Before dinner stories about radio mis-adventures were shared.  After dinner there were three dreidle games going.  All three prizes (sets of crocheted pot holders in holiday colours) were won by men.

It was cold, but a member had gone by early and turned on the heaters.  And, of course, when folks started arriving their body warmth kept it all cozy.

As far as I could tell, a good time was had by all.


However … my volunteer session at the Family History Center scheduled for thursday didn’t go so well.  It was cancelled. 

The Sister with whom I had been scheduled to work needed the day for holiday preparations and she was concerned about me having to drive home late in the snowy dark. 

Neither of us really believed any genealogists were going to show up that close to the holidays requesting aid in research.  So we didn’t open. 

Next scheduled session … 7 January.


I went into Weed early saturday to finish off the holiday shopping and to mail the two packages … and  that trip was a story. 

The post office opens at 0930, so I left home about 0900.  It was snowing lightly.  Getting out of the drive was a bit iffy since we hadn’t been out since the snows began in earnest.  By the time I got down the road to the KBar hill, the snow had picked up.  I thought “I used to drive this all the time. I can do it … but it’s been years since this was habitual.  Can I still do it?”

My decision was that the worst of going out was past so I might as well go on into town.  Of course, once I was on pavement I was on roads which had been plowed and sanded.

The post office wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be.  I did meet a couple of people I know and so spent time chatting.  Small town post offices and grocery stores are like that.  I then dropped off the library book (a Kellerman mystery) and went on to the grocery store. 

Four bags and forty minutes later I was in the truck on my way home.  The sun was shining in Weed but I saw the on ramps to the freeway were blocked.  I still don’t know what that was all about.

By the time I got to Old Stage Road it had begun to snow and home looked to be under a dark cloud.  Just before I got off the paved road, I stopped and put the truck into 4-wheel high.  I took it slow and had no problem, not even going up the KBar hill. 

Thinking about the upcoming turns and the slope of our hill, I put it down to 4-wheel low and started up in 1st gear.  No problem … until …

The turn off High Meadow into our driveway is a fraction more than a 90° angle.

I made it.  It took a couple of tries and left the drive entrance in a sorry state, but I was home.

Oh well …

By sunday noon, every trace of my trip was gone under a new layer of snow.

Monday we had the first blizzard we’ve seen in years.DSCF3199Nice.


Monday night, Solstice Eve, was interesting.

Everything was going well … until I put the rice bag in the microwave to heat.  Evidently the fridge and the water pump came on at the same time and the reserve power in the battery bank was challenged.  Instant blackout.

The system has a reset feature, so we decided to just wait rather than suit up and go out to the pump house to do a manual reset.  Besides, it was bedtime.

Next thing I knew it was after 0100 and the power was still off. That raised thoughts of a snow plug in the hydro system or some other catastrophe and I began to worry about the pressures on George.

However, knowing there was nothing to be done until it got light, I was able to go back to sleep. When I awoke again it was 0500 and the power was on … lights, radio, everything. 

George had gotten up at his usual 0400, started the day’s fire, and went out to see what was going on.  The failure was the automatic reset, not the hydro system. 

All is well … batteries up to normal charge, hydro output normal, NPR coming in as clear as usual.

Conclusion … no more reliance on the automatic system until warmer weather facilitates repair.  We’re still in better shape than neighbors on the grid.  They’ve had a series of outages over the last couple of weeks lasting as much as eight hours at a time.  We slept through ours.


One nice thing about this time of year is the memories. Remember Christmases on the radio (radio? what’s that?) …


Climate change has been making weird with things around here.  So far we haven’t seen any invasion, but bears have taken out chickens to the east (Dogwood Drive), north (Ponderosa Drive), and northwest (Rocky Road) of us and three cougars were seen to the northwest (also Rocky Road). Bears have also been tracked onto porches (Dogwood Drive and Maple Drive).  No housing break-ins however.

Bears should be hibernating and cougars should be higher on the mountainside mating.

Our hens are very old for layers so if something takes them it will be no big loss.  I’m toying with the idea of getting one of those metal storage units and turning it into a winter hen house … add doors, light sources, and insulation.


Here’s a Christmas story to warm all hearts …

A pair of young friends are going through a REALLY tough time right now.  Friends and family are rallying around so things are mostly under control.

One of their friends knew of a new sandwich shop in their area which was run by a young couple who were naming their sandwiches after known folks.  The friend approached them and asked them to create a sandwich named after my ill young friend  and donate half the cost of the sandwich to his medical fund (I apologize if this is a bit confusing but I don’t have permission to use names). The sandwich folks agreed and the friend put out the word.

Then the miracle occurred.

Folks started ordering the sandwich at such a rate the sandwich shop began running out of supplies.  They are a very small walk-in (made of two portable storage units) and they had folks lined up down the block.  In a few days they had to post a request that orders of 10 or more sandwiches be made 24 hours in advance. 

Real financial help for my friend and advertising they couldn’t buy for the sandwich shop.

An “admiration” of heroes creating ripples.


Only one more sunday until season 6 of Downton Abbey.


’twas the night before …


 In spite of the commercialism, if you celebrate Christmas … May this be one of the best you will ever have.


.. and here’s a memory from years ago.  Michael did the sketch and Mark wrote the poem.1981 Card


 ‘Til next week …








 16 December …


Tonight is the radio club potluck.  We will get to the clubhouse about 1700 in order to get everything arranged so we can eat at 1800.

Pictures to follow.


I was going through some old pictures and found these taken the first holiday season we lived on the farm.

Christmas 1978


Watched a film “documentary” last week which brought back memories of the 60s.  It claimed to be the “Last Testament” of George Harrison and was the tale of how Paul actually died in a car accident in 1966 and was replaced with the aid of plastic surgery.

The first part dealing with the cover-up was a bit dotty (the MI-5 agent involved was named “Maxwell” but not a mention in the entire film about “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”).  The section dealing with the “hints” in photos, albums covers, lyrics, etc. could be quite convincing.  The section about the stress between the remaining three and the newcomer was interesting as was the part about the changes in the attitude of  “Faul” (Fake Paul) toward the “remaining” three and the reasoning behind the marriages to Linda and Heather.

The reviews were also interesting.  Seems the critics were either fully convinced or wrote off the whole idea as bonkers.

What do I think?  I think the possibility is a real long-shot mainly because of the exceptional work done by Sir Paul since.  Of course, the “original” Paul may have been only a rock-and-roll genius and the “Fake” Paul an overall musician.

It occurs to me that DNA could provide an answer.

Anyone out there have an opinion?


Weather report …

Last wednesday – rain and clouds but a bit warmer

Thursday – overnight rain (1.64″)

Friday – overnight light snow continuing through the day without accumulation

13 Dec 2015

Saturday – light snow all day

14 Dec 2015

Sunday – Snow

11 Dec 2015

Monday – Cold with light snow and icy roads

Dawn 15 Dec 2015

Yesterday – Repeat of Monday

115 Dec 2015  Icicles

This morning –  Still beautiful.


Only two more sundays until the start of the final Downton Abbey season.

I dislike seeing “spoilers” about what will happen next in a series.  They have been nearly impossible to avoid with the upcoming Downton Abbey season.  I wonder why I should bother to watch if I can see all the important plot lines by watching the “coming” announcements.


Modifiers …

Friday morning a report on NPR was that some students somewhere had been suspended for wearing what looked like KKK headdresses with eye holes cut out on their heads.

And from a newspaper bulletin … Deputy Shot in Head While Responding to Call in Critical Condition.

Educators should be ashamed that even those who depend on words for their livelihood don’t have the tools to say what they mean and leave the listener to decipher what that meaning might be.


New book is “The Witches  Salem 1692” by S. Schiff.  Pretty dull read, but with some interesting information and opinions about the Salem Village area at the time.

Genealogical research has shown me that, in my paternal line, I have “ancestors” in that area on both sides of the event, i.e. accusers as well as witches.  Some were both.  Through Schiff’s research, I understand the situations and motivations a bit better.

But I also need some light reading, so I will be entering the world of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency again.


Opera last weekend was “Rigoletto”.  The current Met production is set in 60s Vegas.  I am looking forward to its appearance on PBS’s Great Performances.  It would be nice if the filmed performance was one in which Dimitri (remember Dimitri?) sang Rigoletto.

Listening last saturday left me with a couple of thoughts …

Last saturday was the 100th anniversary of Sinatra’s birth and it was in 60s Vegas that the Sinatra this nearly 90-year-old still enjoys, as she did when she was 13-years-old, was replaced by the Rat Pack and mobsters and EGO to become a you-lucky-people-here’s-me singer.  Oh well …

Fortunately I never saw that Sinatra, and except for the Vegas heavy recordings, I still have the floppy tied young man with whom I fell in “crush”  via the original recordings.

The other thought was that Anna Netrebko better look to her laurels.  She has been the Queen of the Met for a few years, but her title is under attack. The newcomer who sang Gilda is well worth following               (Nadine Sierra  –  in rehearsal  http://www.metopera.org/Season/2015-16-Season/rigoletto-verdi-tickets  scroll down to the Cara nome clip).


In conclusion …

from a young woman I know who is living a love filled nightmare 

“So yes, live  Live  LIVE.  If you get nothing else from this entire tragedy, let the one thing be that you LIVE.”


 and courtesy of Cotton Mather as per the introduction to “Witches …” Chapter 2 

“But who can tell what miraculous things I may see before (the coming) year be out!”



So, ’til next week …







 9 December …


Volunteer session at the Family History Center last week was cancelled. 

It started raining tuesday night.  There was a lot of strong wind.  When the wind is blowing, and is high up in the air, the trees sound like surf. 

By thursday 0930 it was snowing, so I let them know I wasn’t coming in … better to be snowed in than snowed out, even though I know I’d have a bed at either Laura’s or Marty’s.  By noon there was about 2′ of new snow.

3 Dec 2015 - 1200

Not going to the Center was sort of a disappointment. I’m doing some research for a friend and am at the place which requires access to international records, so I was counting on using the Center’s International Ancestry connection.  Oh well … next time. 

By dark we were approaching 4″.

3 Dec 2015 - 1600

The scene when I went out to take care of the ladies was beginning to resemble a calendar photo …

View from the chicken House

Lovely … but the phone was out and the ISP connection was out as well.  We were set back on our own devices … and were even forced to read !!!

Don’t throw me in the briar patch …


Speaking of reading …

I finished the Rowling mystery.  Once I got past not caring what colour the wallpaper was, it wasn’t a bad read.  In fact, I had narrowed the possible killer to two, then thought I might have missed something and expanded that to three, then finished reading and found my third choice was hers.  I like it when I can’t anticipate ahead of the author.

But, like many authors nowadays, there was way to much c—, and f—, and other unsavory words for my taste.  I guess I’m too old fashioned and the current looseness with that kind of language annoys me.  It doesn’t necessarily “offend” me.  I just wish the culture hadn’t deteriorated so.  The language is so full of a wonder of words, it is a shame the language isn’t being taught so people have full use of its expressiveness.  The overuse of those words require the reader or listener to make assumptions about which inference is actually meant so you might not be hearing what the speaker actually had in mind.

Oh well …

Haven’t yet decided if I’ll go any further with the Galbraith novels.

Next up … further English history with an emphasis on women, a Kellerman mystery, and something off the NPR reading list.


Every day one or more mass shootings. 

At least two fairly close “neighbors” have rapid fire weapons.  For what purpose?  You can’t hunt with them … any animal would be rendered such a mess there would be no edible meat left. 

I remember the time Daddy took Mama hunting and her first shot brought down a really nice buck with a shot through the eye.  Lots of meat available there. 

And in a roundabout way related to the original subject … if you have been following me, you know I come unhinged over misplaced modifiers such as “I spoke with him on the phone in his office.”  If I was using his office phone, where was he?  If we were in his office, why did I need to speak on the phone?

… and sometimes the modifier comes first as in the much quoted and often misunderstood Second Amendment …


My younger sister-in-law had an 80th birthday last week.  I remember clearly when she was 20 and I had just given birth to my first son.  We were so young.

I cherish a life which provides me with such memories.


We watched “Awakenings” last thursday evening.  Robin Williams was a better actor than he was ever given credit for being.  And De Niro was amazing.  I’ve worked in a mental care facility (in fact, spent my honeymoon in one … but I’ve told you that story already) and his physicality in the role of Leonard demonstrated pretty good understanding and was worth an Academy Award. 

Too bad money or sentiment or something else bought that year’s awards for others.

As I finished watching, I was wondering what has followed that research and if it proved to be replicable and useful.


Seems the grave marker discussion isn’t done yet.

I received this from a high school mate last week.  I was in the same class as both of these folks.Anderson Grave Marker

This is the marker atop what will be their shared grave in the hometown cemetery … (the strange colours in the center are their son taking the picture).

George reminded me, when he saw the picture, that Irene was one of two people who were friendly when he first came to Hemet.  The other was my friend Nora Mae.

Not me.  It took me a couple of years … but he didn’t like me either back then.

Oh well …


There is an outdoor theatre on the coast of Cornwall which I look at every day and wish I had been able to visit, the Minack Theatre.  It is built into the cliffs (with the English Channel as a backdrop) and that reminds me of the Ramona Bowl where I grew up.

Since those days as a dancer in the Ramona Pageant, I’ve taken speaking classes and been involved in little theatre … so when I look at that stage I fantasize about what monologue I should prepare for the chance that some day I might stand in front of those rows of seats and take my turn.  Maybe the straw-in-my-hair speech from “Three Tall Women” or one of the funeral memoirs from a three short play collection the name of which I have forgotten or maybe the opening scene (rewritten for one) from Stoppard’s “Rosenkranz and Guilderstern Are Dead” (the one with the pennies) or maybe something from Shakespeare. 

I will never have that experience (although I will continue to fantasize about it) but a few days ago I smiled broadly.  As I looked at the video feed from the theatre at about 1400 their time, there was a young man, facing an empty theatre, emoting his way through who knows what monologue (there is no sound with the video). But it didn’t matter …

I felt like cheering …


This morning it is raining and promises to do so all day.  The snow is mostly gone.

9 December 2015

We will be off to Yreka in a bit.  Property taxes are due tomorrow. We’ll do some shopping and have dinner out.  It will be a good day.


Thanksgiving Day is past, but …


Let’s all be grateful for the Blessings to come.



‘Til next week …




2 December …


Thanksgiving Eve was a full moon and the moon on the breast of the new fallen snow …

Thanksgiving was cold and beautiful. 

T'giving Morning 2015  -  2


Last night we had rather heavy rain for most of the night … but there is still a bit of snow …

2 Dec 2015


I had not wanted to go out on Black Friday, but I had a couple of things which needed to go into the mail … so out I went.

I was glad I did.

Everything had been touched by magick. 

Windshield  27 Nov 2015


The ice sparkles on the windshield before I scraped it were beautiful.  

The meadow was full of diamonds.

I had my camera with me, but it is not top-of-the-line and wasn’t able to capture what I was seeing. 

The sparkles on the ground were every colour you can imagine.  When soft snow globs fell from the tree limbs, they became glitter clouds.  The snow on top of the pick-up cab became sparkles I could see in the rear view mirror as it blew off.  

And for the first time in many years, there were vehicles parked at the top of driveways where they met the paved road … prepared for additional snow so they could get out easily.

Our road(s) were okay.  The only possible problem was on what we call the K-Bar hill (I’ve mentioned it before).  It is a pretty good slope and, although it had been plowed, it was icy going down.  I put the truck into 4-wheel low coming home so I was safe all the way.

The trip was a joy.  There’s a section of road on the way to Cold Comfort which pleasures me every trip.  Friday it was … choose your own adjective.

Down our hill



On the way out …




and on the way back in …Up our hill

And the view of the Mountain from College Avenue was lovely …

Into town  27 Nov 2015


While I was out last week, I checked the weekly grocery ads and was impressed by all the things on sale which I am able to make for us without chemical preservatives …dinner rolls, gravy from a mix, pie crust, mash potatoes, cranberry sauce.  I realize I have the time that a lot of others don’t.  But it makes me happy to work from “scratch”… especially when the cardiologist tells George his diet must be pretty darn good.


It has been a while since I mentioned the earthquakes along the faults between the Gulf of California and the Salton Sea area.  There haven’t been any big ones along there lately, but every day there are swarms of small ones.

In fact, the entire southern part of California is quietly rocking and rolling.

I wonder if that means anything?


I am still thinking on the morbid subject of grave markers.  I posted my bit last week and did get a response.  It was interesting that there has been only one response and that was about my choice, not about what they would choose.

I guess I’d better let it go … but as a genealogist, I find it quite interesting.


Tomorrow is a session at the Family History Center … this time with a “Sister”.

I have started doing some research for a neighbor which is turning into a fun !!! challenge.  There are Hispanic names and German names and Chinese names and Jewish names and … and … who knows what I’ll find.  Being at the FHC tomorrow will be good, if the traffic is light, because I’ll be able to use the international data bases.


Just a touch of nepotism …  http://www.oldcountrydeli.biz/

Try it! You’ll like it !!


One last thought about Thanksgiving …



So, ’til next week …


Books are your ticket to anywhere you want to go …