30 August …


Scary time.  There are fires to the west (Parks Creek), north (Dorris), and south (Mt Bradley).  Sleeping is difficult. 

Skies cleared yesterday afternoon, but I could smell smoke, and the smoke pall is back this morning.

This map is a copy off the net to show you what is happening here.  That’s why it is so blurry. 

We are just below the central green icon (approximately).




Trip to Medford last week was smoky when we left home, Smoky as we went north, and SMOKY when we got into Oregon.  It was interesting in that we knew we were in a valley but were unable to see any surrounding mountains.  Almost like being in Kansas.

As we went through Shasta Valley, I was able to see that some of the alfalfa fields have been left to brownover, some were still being irrigated, some had just been mowed for the third or even the fourth time, there were big stacks of 7-string bales in one, and the roadside barns were mostly full to overflowing.  It was a good year for those farmers.

And then, as we came around the reservoir heading home, I looked up from the book I was reading, and there was the Mountain.  I hadn’t seen Her in several days due to the smoke, but the wind must have been from the south that afternoon and had cleared our area.  Nice.


Mark, Paul, and Kamille are now into an early morning routine which means George and I are also into a new morning routine.  I’m up an hour earlier so that we can be out of the kitchen to make room for the other family to start their day.

They’re out of the house by 0645 and not back until afternoon.  So the main part of our day stays the same.

So far the new routine is working well.



Overnight last week the pergazebollis grapes came ripe.  The birds were after them so they had to be picked and we now have grape jelly.

The plums are almost there.  In a few days I’ll pit, cut, and freeze them for cobblers and later breakfast cakes.


Mornings are noticeably darker now and there is a cool crispness to night air no matter the daytime temperature.  The wild fruits are ripening.  The leaves on the maple tree and the Virginia Creeper are beginning to turn. The geese and ducks overhead are calling as they make their way south.  The local bears are getting bolder in their effort to fatten up for winter.  It will soon be time to pull up the bed comforter.


Further on the subject of food …

When my boys were in school in Mt Shasta, there were no cafeterias in any of the schools.  That sort of bothered me.  There had been cafeterias, I am told, but they were not incorporated into the plans when the schools were redone in the 60s.

Our schools in Hemet back in the 40s had cafeterias.

Now our grandson has just started kindergarten (not kindeegarden) and I discover that in the last years, since Mark graduated high school, all three schools now have lunch for everyone.

Paul brought home a printed menu and it looks as if they have a pretty good child nutritionist in charge what with at least two vegetables with every meal and things like fruit, graham crackers, and applesauce for dessert.


Another change that surprised me (since this is a poor, rural county and not usually leading) is that there is a teacher at the Elementary School whose job, other than teaching, is maintaining the school garden (but then that could include teaching as well).  Wow …

That explains the fresh vegetables prevalent on the menu.

I hope to get down there soon to see for myself and I will post pictures.


No stars … red moon … smoke …

Sounds like the start of a poem.


To end the week I am reminded that …


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Being a parent is the only job that by the time you are trained and experienced you are out of a job.


So … ‘til next week …


23 August …


The Eclipse was the BIG event last week.I had been afraid that the heavy smoke in our air would obscure the event.  Our view was about 90%.  We could still see the eclipse, but it never got really dark due to the smoke which scattered the sun’s rays. It did get dark enough that we heard some dusk birds call … and the sand cranes, who usually parade in the evening, joined us.

The temperature did drop some and a cool breeze came up.

Paul got some good looks at the event.

I had an interesting reaction.  After the eclipse I started feeling strange … not exactly depressed, but not comfortable either.  The feeling lasted until true dusk and told me maybe it was a good thing I wasn’t where you could experience the full eclipse.

Weird …


We had a good time as a family at the “Back to School” picnic last Wednesday.  It involved all the teachers for both the elementary and middle schools.  The elementary school principal was the first one to greet us on arrival.  That was a nice touch.

Paul got to meet his teacher for the coming year (Mrs. Hannon) and Kamille got to meet the teacher with whom she will be working as well as having a first meet with others.

We weren’t able to stay until they rolled up the tablecloths since we were due at the radio club meeting at 1900.  Fortunately, the clubhouse is only about five blocks from the park where the picnic was being held, so we were able to stay until 1845.

Then at the radio club meeting it was a bit of chaos.  Two of the members are leaving to spend a year in Israel and wanted to put all loose ends to rest before they leave.

Plus there are the three final events for the summer coming up which need arranging.  All three of those events need new leaders.  The first has been taken over by a fairly new member but he will need some help.  Mark has agreed to handle the second.  And it appears the third will be up to me this year. 

Oh well …

Just leaned our grandson and his lady will be here from the 7th to the 13th.  Kaloo Kalay !

After that, things will settle down until my chosen niece arrives with her family.  She has been important to me since before she was born, but I’ve never met her husband and children. 


Weather is still warm (no longer HOT) and the humidity is less.The air is still smoky to various degrees. In this picture you can barely see the outline of the Mountain just to the left of the furthest left tree.  Black Butte is closer and so more visible.

Some times the red sun is eye catching.  Other times it is scary.  But then, when you live in a forest, that’s just the way things are this time of year.  

However, autumn is in the air.  Not with temperatures, but mornings are shortening as the sun comes up later and later.  It seems it wasn’t too long ago that the sun was up before I got out of bed at 0530 each morning.  Now it is becoming light when I get up but not sunny until about 0800.  Soon it will be dark at 0530.

The garden is doing well.  We bring something into the house nearly every day such as a cucumber …



and there is a seed squash in the corn patch.


An interesting (!) thing happened with the pictures I took at the County Fair.  Remember I told you they had disappeared so I wasn’t able to share with you?

Well …

Last thursday morning, when I turned on my computer, there they were … a slew of icons on my desktop.  I have no idea how they got from my camera to the desktop without me being involved.  But then, I know so little about computers and am constantly amazed by what they do.

As a result, I now share pictures of the cattle judging …

the sheep and goat barn …

the chainsaw sculpting …

the snake at the “zoo” …

and the corn dog pause.

It was a fun day. 


Now it is time to leave for the appointment with the retinalogist in Medford.  Report will be posted next week.


In the meantime … from the Rebbe I read every week …


The Torah tells us that we are created b’tzelem Elokim (Gen. 1:27) — in the image of God. Since God has no corporeal form, it means that we are created with a soul and have intrinsic worth. The Zohar tells us that when the Almighty created Adam, He created him from dirt from all over the earth so that no one people could say that they are better people based on their geographical location. All people have value. All people need to be treated with respect.


Interesting thought …

So … ‘til next week …

16 August …


Word came just after I posted the blog last week that Paul Michael had been accepted into the Mt Shasta school system.  Cold Comfort is in the Butteville district, but it is a weird gerrymandered district which requires passing through the Weed school district to get to from here.  But that doesn’t matter.  Michael and Mark both went to MS schools and now so will Paul.  First day of school will be next tuesday.

Next item for solving … where does the school bus stop?


Weather took a turn for the worse last Wednesday afternoon.  A low pressure area settled over the area between us and the coast and all of a sudden we could have been in upstate New York.  The temperature wasn’t quite as hot, but the humidity was brutal for an area which is used to 20 or 30%.

Then an inversion layer set in and the air has been filled with smoke ever since. 

Last Monday, on my way to Yreka, I could barely see Goose Nest and Herd’s Peak.  Usually they are prominent on the northern skyline.

And at dawn and dusk, when the sun is low, the air turns brownish-red.


The family (but without John and Mike) went to the county fair last Friday.  We arrived early and headed for the animal barns. 

We watched a couple of the beef cattle judgings …

Then watched some of the chainsaw carvers …

Stopped by the wild animal zoo …

Ate curly fries …

Rode the Dizzy Dinosaurs …

I took a lot of pictures and had planned to overwhelm you with them … but something happened and my pictures of the cattle judging and the wood carving and the food and the carnival rides and all that jazz just disappeared.  Oh well … you will just have to use your memory and imagination.

We ended the day at the “Captain Jack Spareribs” show where I got to join the Captain for some of his magic stuff (this was the one photo that remained … go figure … and note the feather in my hair).

George figured out how he did his magic, but I just had fun.Altogether a good day.

Mark and Kamille went back Saturday night for the rodeo where the highlight of the evening was the performance by a toddler, obviously in the midst of potty training, who showed he had learned well the lesson about pulling down your pants before taking aim.


One of our new chores (not an unpleasant one) is baby-sitting (although Paul is no longer a baby) when Mark and Kamille want to or have to be gone.  I get to read the bedtime stories when that chore falls in the evening.

And another perq is being included in “family” for the “Back-To-School” potluck picnic.  That is this evening before the radio club meeting. 

Pictures and notes next week.


We’ve been picking the long, armenian (?) cucumbers every day for a week now.  Last week I tried a couple of jars of refrigerator pickles with mixed success.  They tasted good after 48 hours, but were strong on the vinegar.  Next batch I will use the brine recipe I have with which I pickle red onions. 

John brought me some regular cukes a few days ago with which I will try some dill recipes.

There is gooseberry juice waiting to make jelly and we are keeping our eyes on choke cherry and elderberry bushes.

The 7-11 will be well-stocked for winter.


A thought to end the week …



So … ‘til next week …



9 August …


The heat finally broke last weekend.  In fact, Sunday morning I had to pull up the comforter.  It had dropped to 60°.  Isn’t it interesting how 60° feels cool now, but feels warm come December.  



This picture is just to remind me …


We plan on going to the county fair next friday.  I hope it stays cooler.


This past weekend was the radio club’s one-night fund raiser … a security watch at the State of Jefferson Brewfest down in Dunsmuir.  George and Mark did the final shift from 0400 to 0800 sunday morning.

Evidently it was a quiet night since there were no calls for the sheriff or an ambulance.  Only event was around 0230 when two drunks decided they wanted to get up on the stage and do a show.  They were talked out of the idea so there was no danger to them or to any of the equipment.

Next event will be the re-instated TinMan triathlon the first Sunday in September.  It’s been two years since we did that one because it had been cancelled due to low water levels in Lake Siskiyou.  Hard to hold an event in which the first leg is swimming when there is no water.

Oh well …


Sometime ago both John and I saw articles about the re-discovery of an old style corn called “glass” corn (so named because the kernels are brilliant, translucent colours) and both wanted to try raising some.



We planted a handful of seeds in the upper courtyard (along with a single pumpkin plant),


and now have a good stand with both tassels and silk showing. 

That is exciting.  Just two ears would be fantastic.  Even one would be a blessing.

Stay tuned.


In addition, the grapes are nearing jelly-making size.


Last Saturday Mark and Kamille rebuilt the boardwalk leading to the front door.  The boardwalk had been in place for nearly forty years and had rotted out in one place.

Watching them work was a trip down memory lane …  remembering when it was first put in.  It was done the same time we were putting the floor in the solarium.  In those days I could help with the building just as Kamille was doing last weekend.

Instead I cleared out a hoard of Tupperware I’ve had since the 50s.  Back in those days I was the expected housewife in a neat dress and apron (but without the string of pearls) keeping a Tupperware kitchen.  Over the years, as my family size and  kitchen changed, the Tupperware fell into disuse. 

So last saturday I cleaned (it had gotten dusty), sorted (some of it I will start using again), and got the remainder ready to go to the New2You shop in Mt Shasta.

There is another area to clear, but it can wait a few days.


We finally saw a fawn.  Usually, by this time of year we have seen several small ones.  This one still had its spots, but was almost big enough to be past nursing.

The nearest neighbors have a “puppy” which is rather rambunctious.  I think that may be the reason we are seeing fewer deer in the back yard this year.

Oh well …



Just remember (and remind me) …

Omni fine initium novum.

So … ‘til next week …


2 August …



It has been a series of hot … Hotter … HOTTEST days of the year.  We have had a string of days over 100°.  This picture was taken at 1700 last Monday out John’s office window in Dunsmuir.

The garden is loving it. 


The ears on the corn are rounding out.  There is squash for breads and salads. 



We’ve picked three tomatoes. 



The red onions are doing well.



And last Monday we discovered the first cucumber.

But these days get to me and I spend a lot of time in front of a fan. 

Oh well …

It has been so hot that if I fill a glass of water from the well, which is near 35° or at most 40°, and let it sit on the table so I can use it to take more supplements later … by the time I need it next it is warmer than body temperature. Haven’t yet tried to fry an egg on a hot stone but there are plenty of available stones.

In a few months I’ll probably be telling you of days close to freezing with snow depth measured in feet rather than inches.

Kvetch … Kvetch … Kvetch.


I will be having surgery (nothing dangerous, no emergency) later this season.  This is a heads up because I might miss a week or so with the blog.  If and when that happens, it will most likely be followed by lengthy tales of what happened when.

Be prepared.


In the face of all the heat, here’s the cool reading woman for the month. 



Grace Iesend in Howth Bay”, date unk, painted by Major Sir William Newenham Montague Orpen.



It is such a soft, lovely image, I wanted to know more about the painter.  I learned he is better known for his paintings of World War I.



What a contrast.


I was in Yreka last Monday for the annual eye exam.  The cataract in my right eye is a bit worse.  The doctor wants to see me again in six months.  I’ll bet he’ll want me to have the surgery. 

I’ll decide in six months.


I am feeling blessed that we have made it this far through the summer with only a small grass fire close.  There are a couple of large fires in this area (far northern California and southwest Oregon), but none very near.

Of course, there are still a couple of months to go in this year’s fire season.  It is a concern, but not too great a one since we have the foam for the house, a fire-safe area mowed, and 5,000 gallons of water stored in readiness.


Last Sunday Mark and family went to Chico (he was filling in as pastor for a friend) and we were all impressed by Paul’s clothing sense.  He was wearing blue tartan shorts, a yellow tartan shirt, and a red and black tie. 

He certainly can’t be faulted for obsequence to fashion.


Today I was to go after the third load of horse manure but cancelled due to the heat.  The two loads have made a nice pile so far and I will add more when the weather cools a bit. 

Eighty-seven years old and knee deep in —-.  Who’d a thought it …


Just a reminder that grief doesn’t always require a death …

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

— Sufi proverb


So ..,. ‘til next week …