27 July …

 John - July 2016



Well … my oldest child has turned sixty.


George and I made our monthly trip north while John was here. He drove.  It was interesting and welcome having a chauffeur. Weather was getting hot, so we didn’t dally and were home and napping by 1500.  A thoroughly good day for us.

When the “boys” were at home, they each got to choose dinner for their birthday.  John’s choice this year (as it had often been) was for ribs cooked my style, potato salad the way his father makes it, and Grandma Tyler’s lemon pie. I added warmed baguette with butter, roasted corn on the cob, and chunked tomato on romaine. It was good and we were all so busy eating and talking there are no pictures.  Oops …

27 July 2016He and Michael H. left this morning about 0800. It is supposed to be HOT everywhere today and they wanted to get home to Marysville asap.


This trip, John brought peaches and cherries and apricots and corn with him. I’ll be making jam and canning and freezing the rest of this week

This edition of the blog may be a bit short because I need to get at all that before the house gets too warm.

I’ll let you know how it turns out..


At the radio club meeting last week, some decisions were made (1. any decision to work an event more than 30 travel miles from Mt Shasta will be an individual choice, and 2. the club will purchase good quality orange communication vests with reflective stripes identifying the wearer as a member of the Mt Shasta Amateur Radio Club). In addition, plans were set for the upcoming potluck and swap meet. A short and not really exciting meeting.

Those are good.


A couple of things about recent events has made me think about perceptions. I have realized that in addition to seeing friends as they are, I also see them as they were.  That may be because in the mirror I see myself as I am while at the same time, in my mind’s eye, I see myself as I was in my prime.

Although it pains them, my children will always, in one way, be children to me because they come with so many great memories.


The pullets are getting big.  Only another six weeks or so and they will be laying.

This morning, AC displayed a new trick.  He knows he doesn’t eat in the morning until the ladies are taken care of and are out in their yard, eating.  So when I open the coop door to let the ladies out, AC oversees.  This morning the rock came out and instantly went to foraging.  But the red stepped out the door and just stopped. Right away, AC reached out and slapped her on the leg as if to say “Get with the program. I’m hungry.”



He is still not too big and watching him is a hoot.


Today, when I went out, he was nearly as far toward the house as the pullet house.  He is exploring more and further afield.  I give it about three weeks until he joins the panthers out front in the morning.


One morning last week, George greeted me as I came downstairs with “Good morning to you …” and I was instantly five-years-old again starting the day in kindergarten with a teacher we called Miss Sunshine and we were all singing …

        “Good morning to you.

        “Good morning to you.

        “We’re all in our places with sunshiny faces.

        “So this is the way we welcome each day.”

Memory of the past is still good.  Isn’t that a sign of getting old?


I did another session at the Family History Center last week. The only client was a woman whose father (with the interesting given name of Ostap) didn’t talk about his youth but who, she had learned, became an orphan during WW II and came of age in United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Camps in Germany before coming to the US in 1950.

I didn’t do much specific research for her, but I had a blast tracking down leads for her to follow on her own.

An interesting aside is that the surnames on both sides hinted at Jewish origin, but the client reacted forcefully to that idea at first.  By the time we had to close the center, she was seemingly ready to track down that aspect for possible leads. I think the turning point came when we started imagining what had happened when (according to a conversation her father had, just days before he died, with her older brother) Ostap came home from school one day to an empty house and neighbors, whom he had know all his life, telling him no one had lived there for several months.

It is an intriguing tale and I sort of wish I had time and permission to get involved.  However, I don’t have the time and we do research only when specifically asked.

Oh well … maybe she’ll come back to the Center and I’ll learn a bit more.

The writer in me says that with a bit of imaginative guessing it might make a good book.


Have you ever read Kurt Vonnegut? He is well worth your time.

” … for heaven’s sake … Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

… Kurt Vonnegut,


So … ’til next week …

20 July …


We are not having a large family of deer in the yards this year compared to years past.  I’ve seen only six or seven at one time.  We used to regularly see a couple dozen grazing together.  I can only guess it is due to weather change since we don’t have more predators in the area.

Doe and Fawn


This year there is only one doe who regularly visits with her fawn.


Last thursday she was in the backyard and I got a surprise. She was joined by a forked horn male.  My guess is they are siblings.

It will be interesting watching them this summer.


Side thought following the visit last week with Merna … 

We got onto the subject of books (wonder how that happened). In comparing what we had read recently and were currently reading we found we both included histories and mysteries in our lists.

I guess it is true that genealogists are genealogists partly because they are mystery fans. We love tracking down lost ancestors and revealing family skeletons … then putting what we find into a historical context pleases us.

Mysteries and histories …


Smoke Tree


The smoke tree is in full bloom.  I remember when my close friend Elaine and I bought a pair.  I wonder hoe hers is doing since she moved and then died.



Things hit a bump with AC.

Sunday evening he wasn’t interested in helping round-up the Ladies and didn’t want to eat. Monday morning he wasn’t watching for me and still wasn’t interested in eating. He was subdued and seemed to want only to sit in the sun and be stroked. I began to worry that he was ill. He was still purring however.

Monday evening, back to normal … waiting for me, running to meet me, demanding the hens get in their house, and racing to his feeding area.

All is well.


An acquaintance had a bumper crop of red onions this year (he is at 3,700′ instead of 4,200′ like we are) and offered the extras to neighbors.  I went over monday morning and came home with some of the most gorgeous red onions I’ve seen (and they were really fresh – I watched them pulled from the earth).



Sliced OnionsI spent the entire morning tuesday slicing …

Onion topsand chopping greens …

Chopped Onionsand prepping for freezer packets and relish and pickles (are your eyes watering yet?).

I ended with 7 packs of chopped onion for sauces and stews, 2 packs of sliced green tops for broth-making, the equivalent of 2 pints of red onion relish for use with winter meats, and who knows how many pints of pickled red onions (I’ll be doing the pickling later this morning) plus the fresh slices I am using on salads.

I’m a bit tired of red onions right now but know they will be good later in the year when they cost too much and are probably not available locally.

(Sorry for the bad focus)


John arrives next sunday and will be here until thursday … celebrating his birthday. Will report next week.


Weather continues to confound … cool and damp one day, warmer but still damp the next.

20 July 2016Today is clear, drier, and a bit warmer.  The Shasta daisies are still blooming.  I got their start from friends who are now gone so when I see them I am reminded of Mary and Carmen Mazzei.  Her father was a bootlegger during prohibition and Carmen drank his red wine out of a pint jar and called us “Cousin” (seemingly an honorific used by local Italians). We were able to hear Carmen for years after he died because Mary left his message on her telephone answering machine.

They were good folks.


This is for anyone who has ever, under any circumstances, sung “We Shall Overcome” ..



Finally, as a pundit said … 

Headlines may grab attention but you have to dig deeper to discover the whole story. Once newly found information has settled into your psyche, you’ll be able to move forward on more certain ground


So … ’til next week …





13 July …


Well, our guest Liz was able to get away from us last wednesday evening. Her family came to pick her up …Liz's family and I got to make friends with her grandson, Dezmond.  He is six … a great kid.  I was so happy he and I meshed well.  He reminded me of when my grandchildren were that age and spent the entire summer with us.  I really miss those days.

As for Liz’s adventures while she was here, she wrote …

“I’ve done plenty of TELLING about my trip. What have I told people about?  The race activities (Liz acted as communication recorder for me when I was Net Control during the 4th run/walk), the sales booths that took me back 40+ years, your solar house, how you and George live, our recollections of our time together 62 years ago,Liz at Rest your back patio, and the wonderful visit we all had when Michelle’s family arrived at Cold Comfort Farm. Dezmond and you – the kitten, the piece of obsidian, the chickens, the pine cone. The various plants you pointed out to Michele.

“My family considered their visit with you another of the highlights of their trip. It is so wonderful that I could share THEM with you, and YOU with them!”

George and I feel it was a wonderful (and too short) time together.  I will always value the time we spent talking and just being together. Thank you, Liz.


The little black cat (AC), who lives with the Lady hens, had a close call last week. As I went out to do my morning chores, he came running out of the chicken yard to meet me. I hadn’t noticed the doe in the area. But the doe saw the kitten and took off, hitting him with her hoof as she went by.  Deer, especially does, can be dangerous … their hooves are sharp. Of course, as she moved I saw her, and out of the corner of my eye I also saw movement in the grass on the other side of us.  Both AC and I were between the doe and her fawn.  Wrong place to be.

The doe stopped and turned. I was afraid she would go after AC, and he is so little.  I yelled at the doe, got her attention, and I guess she decided I was too big to challenge.  But AC and I were still between her and the movement in the grass. So I scooped him up, rushed into the chicken yard and slammed the gate behind us.

Poor kitten was shaking but apparently not hurt by the hoof.

I never did see the fawn, but the doe settled, moved over that way, and went back to eating.

By the time I was finished in the chicken yard/garden area and was ready to give AC his breakfast, the doe had moved on.

Later in the day, when I next saw AC, he was still subdued and a bit clingy which was unusual for him.


The next morning all was back to normal.

Aaaahhhhhh … adventures in the wild at Cold Comfort Farm.



Last thursday was a genealogy day. It didn’t turn out as I expected. The day had started out as a wash-out day for me.  I hadn’t really wanted to go into town, but felt I had to since there was a bill which needed paying and I’d said I’d be at the Family History Center. I thought there was a chance someone would come in with an interesting problem and I’d be snapped out of whatever.

It didn’t happen.

No one else showed up.

I sat in the parking lot, listening to the radio and reading the newspaper which I’d picked up on the way into town, for a full thirty minutes waiting for another volunteer (one with a key) to arrive.  No one.  So I went home.

Evidently something happened and they decided to cancel the Center hours and no one told me. This has happened before … a couple of times.  I’m the only non-Mormon that works there (all the others are members of the Mt Shasta church and working in the Family History Center is assigned to them as a “mission”) and so I am not privy to the church news and easy to overlook.

I had a mixed reaction to the situation. On one hand I was angry that no one had called me and saved me the trip into town. However, I went home, kvetched a bit, had a bacon and egg burrito, took a nap, and by evening I felt much better.

Next scheduled session will be the 21st.


This past monday we made contact with some genealogical cousins. 








and Gordon stopped by on their way home from Olympic track trials in Eugene.


He is the “cousin” through my Mother’s Garrison line. But she is the one I knew first because she too is a nurse as well as a genealogy bug.

We met for midday meal since they were on a rather tight travel schedule. Fortunately for us, we met about 1230 so our time was at the end of the lunch rush.  We were able to sit and visit for over two hours.Group

Bennie, our server, was a dream.  She went beyond her responsibility to make us comfortable and welcome. When I thanked her, the reply was “That’s what I’m here for … to make people happy.”

The conversations were good.  Merna and I compared family notes, both current and genealogical.  Gordon and George talked man stuff like cars (George) and sports (Gordon). We were all engaged and comfortable and (as usual for the HiLo) the food was excellent.  What more can you ask of a family get-together.

They live down south near Santa Barbara and had taken avocados with them to Eugene.  There were some left.  We inherited them.  Guacamole to the fore.  That’s the second time this summer we’ve been gifted with avocados.  The first was from a summer neighbor who lives in West Covina.  That makes us lucky folks.

It would be nice if we get another chance to visit with Merna and Gordon … but since all four of us are in our 80s, we’ll accept one day at a time and appreciate the visit we just enjoyed.


Speaking of genealogy … I got caught in one of the most common traps last week.  I can’t remember what I started looking for but suddenly I was off by a couple of marriages with a list of folks to whom I have little or no relationship … probably because in the Holcombe family, connected to the Messengers in my father’s line, during the 18th century there are a minimum of two or three men in each generation named Nathaniel and more than one instance of sisters marrying brothers or cousins.  Oops …

I don’t have time to trace all the side branches and so am trying (emphasis here on “trying”) to keep my research to blood lines.


This morning is beautiful.13 July 2016

However, weather has been unpredictable.  First HEAT … then much lower temperatures and rain followed by frost. Today the prediction is for 90°+.  Poor plants aren’t quite sure what they are supposed to be doing. With climate change, maybe I’ll have to go with a greenhouse.  That’s what they used to do in this area.  There is still one of the old big greenhouses over in Edgewood, near the cemetery, where the stage stop used to be.


And finally the thought for the week … 


Live everyday like it’s your last because one day it will be.  Tell the ones you love that you love them every chance you get. Don’t take any moment for granted.


so …’til next week …




6 July …


My friend from the “New Mexico State Insane Asylum” (where George and I spent our honeymoon in a small apartment over the main entrance into the Administration Building) arrived on the 3rd.  She was with me on the 4th and seemed to enjoy the experience.Liz & George

The crowd was average.Before the Start  Last year participation had been down due to weather and wildland fire smoke. This year the temperature was just right …Morning Sky and the sky was lovely.

Long Rifles


The Long Rifles (black powder rifles) were there







(including Digger O’Dell, the mortician)

to start the walk/run …


then the taiko drums took over the beat until the last of the 4,600 participants were on their way.Capture

This year I did Net Control for the walk/run and then went to the corner by the City Hall for the awards.

After the awards and the raffle (a Weed resident won the new car), we split from town (too many people there), picked up three Papa Murphy pizzas and headed home.

This is the easiest, most laid-back of our summer commitments.

July 2016



Liz will be leaving this afternoon to return to Seattle. We are all getting so old we may not have a chance to “visit” again, so we really enjoyed this time together.



Tired of hearing about the radio events?

Two done. At least four to go … plus the swapmeet and potluck. Depending on what the club decides to do about the Tulelake, Medicine Lake, and Whiskeytown rides, maybe six or seven left for this year.


I went to see an ophthalmologist last week.  First eye exam I’ve had in a whole lot of years  I always dread going to a doctor.  They do tests and I have long-term problems with test taking.  I know … I know … not the same kind of tests.  Tell that to my chronic test anxiety.  If it’s a “test”, I have to get a good grade!

At the eye doctor’s, I got good news and bad news …

Bad news first … my eyesight is no longer that of a 20-year-old.  And my right eye (OD) is a lot worse than my left (OS).

Good news … the cataracts I was warned about twenty years ago, when I was told I would not be able to see if I did not have them removed before I was 75, have not gotten any larger. This time I was told having the right cataract removed might help with the right eye seeing double problem, but it is a 50-50 crap shoot. The cataract in the left eye is not big enough to offer any problems and so needs no attention. There is no residual scarring from the time I ruptured the blood vessel in my right eye nineteen years ago. There are no signs of retina or macular problems. My left eye sees 20/25 and needs little or no correction (I don’t know how to read optic scripts … guess I’ll need to learn) and prescription lens for my right eye should solve, or nearly solve, the problems there. I will get the script filled next time we are in Medford. 

Because of the rather large difference in my eyes, Dollar Tree glasses are now out of the question.

Barring problems, or the decision to have the right cataract removed, my next appointment is 7 July 2017.





The catalpa has come into bloom



6 July 2016and this morning is clear and bright …

There is no other news.


I can’t recall who said this or where I found it, but …


It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that things are difficult.


So … ’til next week …