25 January …


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

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

Oh well …


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

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

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

Who did actually write the plays attributed to Shakespeare?

Was Elizabeth the First actually transgender?

So many questions.


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

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

Doghouse 3

Doghouse outside back door with AC’s tracks …

Front 4

Front 5Depth outside front door … 

Gate 2

Gate into the backyard courtyard …


View out the north windows …

North Window 1Satellite Dish 2

Depth of snow at the satellite dish …

To the barn

Route to the barn …

Woodshed Roof 1

Snow on the woodshed roof …

Courtyard 1

View of the courtyard …

Vehicle 1

Can you see the car? …

East Window


Out the east window …

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


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

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

So … ’til next week …

18 January …


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

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


Opera to the fore … again …

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

This author did it.  Here are three examples …

“an acute outbreak of testosterone poisoning”

“the sustenance school of crisis management”

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

Am now awaiting volumes two and three.


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

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

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

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

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


Weather …

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

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

18 Jan 2017 Front Window


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

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

18 Jan 2017 Front DoorSeems like old times.


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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, my aching back.

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

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

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

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

To which I respond … After while, crocodile.


And so ’til next week …

11 January …


2017 started with a wild ride.  Medford had more snow than it’s had in nearly 100 years.  We were snowed in the afternoon of the 3rd and stayed that way until the 7th, and then it was a sure thing “out” but not so sure “in”.

I-5 was closed between Ashland and Redding for nearly 24 hours and a whole lot of schools were closed for many days (so far 6) due to icy roads.  More than 12,000 homes, mainly in Oregon, were without power for varying amounts of time.  The longest out was 6 days. 

We’re still good.  This has been a “bad” storm for some areas around us, but in the 40 years we’ve been here, we’ve seen worse. 

A bit of rain on the 8th, then snow began again on the 9th.

Currently weather is due to be snow followed by rain followed by snow followed by freezing … we have no place to go and choose to not chance the road.  Here are some pictures of the roller coaster ride …

7-jan-20177 January …

8-jan-20178 January …

9-jan-20179 January …

10-jan-201710 January …

11-jan-201711 January …

John and his partner are getting quite an initiation to Siskiyou County weather.  This is quite similar to when we first moved here.


There have been some fantastic views with this storm, but my photographic ability and equipment has not been up to catching them for sharing. 

One morning the trees and bushes still had a layer of snow topped with a layer of ice and then the sun came out … another time there were powder snow lumps in the trees and when the branches dropped the heavy lumps the air was full of powder in which the sun created rainbows … and, as happens in weather like this, the sun on snow in the meadow creates a field full of sparkling, coloured gems.

I do wish I could share.


As usual, we had a New Year’s Eve problem.  This year it was the 38+years old flash water heater.  I’m not technically savvy enough to know detais, but there may be a way to steal a part from the heater in the barn to replace the part in the kitchen.  Or we may end up having to get a new unit.

Oh well … such is the start of a new year.



Since life is currently limited by weather, there isn’t much to report. 

I’d say “sorry”, but I enjoy winter.

And the Holiday cactus is doing its best to brighten the days.


So …

”What day is it?”

“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.

“My favorite day,” said Pooh.

― A.A. Milne


…’til next week …


4 January …


Well … did you hit the ground running on day one of 2017?


Seems a cousin and I tried to outdo each other in hitting the ground at the end of last year.  He won since he had to spend time in hospital. 

As for me … hand is completely back to normal (knitting a lace vest), face is once more acceptable (still residual bags under the eyes but they are no longer RED), and knee continues to improve. 

Why do I need to tell you all this? 

Because when you get a chance to play the invalid … milk it.


Recently, I had an interesting cogitation spell.  I was listening to the 40s channel on Sirius when I heard “The DipsyDoodle”.  Remember it?  “… things come out in reverse”.

It made me think of Yoda and the way he phrased his sentences.


It was suggested a bit ago that if AC had not already been named, he should be called Pyewacket.  Maybe …

But “AC” leaves so much room for conjecture.











Ascendant   …   Cat.

… shall I go on … although I admit the Pyewacket heritage probably applies …woodpile-ac


especially when he insists on choosing firewood for me.



2-january-2017Weather has continued rather predictably for this time of year.  It has been COLD with sporadic snow. (Picture was taken through a window … that’s the reflection of a lamp you see)

to-the-east-3-january-2017Last evening there was nearly 20″ of light, dry, fluffy snow in the backyard.

4-jaunary-2017This morning I-5 is closed from Ashland in the north all the way to Redding in the south.  Of course we’re snowed in … but the woodshed and the 7-11 are full.

front-bell-4-january-2017John is getting a taste of old-fashioned winter in Siskiyou County.


For the past two years I have kept a jar on the counter behind my place at the table into which each evening I put (as I remember to) a note on which I write something that gave me pleasure during the day.  Then at the start of the New Year I give thanks for the pleasure and start a new jar.

This year the jar starts with a note about the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concert and the new “Sherlock”.  What a mixed pleasure.

However, I do wish whomever it was who thought adding a narrator and information about Viennese royalty adds to a musical concert would rethink their priorities.

Kvetch Kvetch Kvetch …




Each year I get a calendar for myself called  “The Reading Woman”.  Here’s the picture I choose to share for January.  It is from a  painting titled “Studying” done in 1898 by Arkady Rylov, a Russian symbolist painter.

It is much to my taste.


More snow pictures (for comparisons) …comparisons


Now … something to remember all the days to come …


Today there’s a stranger somewhere who really needs your smile . . . perhaps on the street, in the elevator, in line at the store . . .

You may never formally meet or even speak and there’s no way of knowing for certain who that stranger is.

So please don’t take a chance and miss the opportunity. I promise your day will be better, and someone else’s will change in a powerful and extraordinary way.
… by Benjamin M Williamson


Sounds like a good way to start the year.  Can you see me smiling?  I send you Blessings …


So … ’til next week …