26 August 2015

A bit late, but …

Welcome to the new blog spot. Hope you like the new look.

Let’s get started …



On our way out to and back from the MSARC meeting last wednesday, a couple of things caught my eye.

All along the road there are climate stressed trees … both evergreen and deciduous. The evergreens have patches of brown and some have fallen victim to pine beetles. The deciduous, such as the dogwoods and birches, have begun to make the change to autumn colours early.

The reservoir water level has dropped dramatically in a very short time. We are already seeing the rock pilings for the old Durney Creek lumber mill. The reservoir will most likely be dry (again) in less than a month.

The waxing new moon was redder than any eclipse I’ve ever seen which made for a rather eerie sky.

Even the red wire swamp grass, which indicates water less than a foot below ground level, is dry and brown.


We learned the TinMan Triathlon, which has been a Labor Day fixture in the radio club summer schedule for too many years to remember (actually 30), has been cancelled. It is not clear whether that decision is a one-year thing or a from-now-on thing. I suspect, sadly, it is the latter.

The event was cancelled last year because the water level in Lake Siskiyou was too low to allow for the swimming part of the event. This year (with less than two and a half weeks to go) there have been only 11 sign-ups, the air quality has been mostly not good, and the water level is no better than it was last year.

Chalk up another loss to climate change.

Too bad. That was my yearly indulgence in hardcore black coffee (Navy style, i.e. peel the enamel off your teeth) and bad-for-you pastry. Poor me.

Oh well …


Last saturday we did the radio coverage for the Headwaters event. The air quality had been really awful for more than a week and I was afraid the event would go the way of the TinMan, but the air cleared (mostly) and the event went off well. It is still small (fewer than 100 runners overall), but every runner had nothing but praise … for support, for the feed, for the course … and word of mouth will spread.
There were 10 drop-outs during the long race. Only one was injured. The rest had just over-estimated their current ability. There was one finisher who said it was a more difficult run than he had anticipated. He was using this run as warm-up for another run next month and decided it should have been the other way around.

Brace Runner

One of the 10K “runners” was wearing a brace on one leg. He finished last (his wife ran the 50K), but he was smiling and was ahead of all us who didn’t even start.

At one point a herd of deer came out of the woods heading for a drink at the lake. As they were returning to the woods, there were three bucks (with rather impressive racks) strolling across the trail as a runner came around the corner. The runner decided challenging the bucks’ right-of-way was not a good idea and stopped to wait. Good decision, I think. Those racks really were impressive.

Two runners had brought dogs to run with them (with the approval of the organizers and with instructions to keep their dogs on leashes and carry “pick up” bags). As one runner-dog combo reached the High Divide station, the radio operators reported the runner’s number followed by number K-9. Gave me a giggle.

I guess I’m missing Darby. Sunday morning I dreamt about a pup choosing me.

The one dark spot in the day was that the opera was “Thais” … and I missed it. The Meditation is a favorite of mine.


We were in Medford last monday for a retinologist appointment. What an interesting day.

We saw a new doctor. The practice is so big they added a doctor trained at the NIH in Washington DC. He is YOUNG, skinny and tall (built like a runner) with big hands and feet (reminded me of a puppy not yet grown to match the size of his paws), soft spoken (but a bit distant), clear, ready to answer questions, and hyper-concerned about infection rates.

Once he had George’s eye prepped and propped open, ready for the injection, talking was forbidden. He had told George that once things were ready, he was not to talk. I thought the reason was movement of George’s head. I spoke aloud and was immediately hushed and an extra drop of antiseptic was put in George’s eye.

When the injection was complete, the doctor explained the majority of infections following this type of treatment were caused by agents found in the mouth and nose and he prefers no talking in order to reduce the risk of aerosol droplets. I apologized for speaking since I didn’t understand the instructions or the reason behind them. The doctor was gracious.

Seems a bit extreme to me. If that is a real concern, why weren’t we all wearing masks? But he’s young and enthusiastic. Only drawback that I can see is that George’s eye wept more than usual and was glued shut tuesday morning (probably the extra Betadine – I won’t speak out again). But George liked him, so all is well.

The smoke situation was quite varied. Here at home the air was clear … clearer than it has been in quite some time.

Smoke LayerAs we went north, we could see the layer of smoke.

By Yreka, visibility was about a mile, then it cleared slightly.

But as we dropped down into the Rogue Valley … bad air time. The smoke was so thick (probably coming up the Hwy 3 corridor from the fires in Trinity and other counties) we weren’t able to see the surrounding mountains in any direction. George commented that we might as well have been in Kansas.

Air quality in southern Oregon and Yreka has been in the “Dangerous” zone for many days.

One thing I noticed was that Oregon’s trees are having as hard a time as ours … stressed and dead. In the past, Oregon didn’t have a water problem. This year is different.


Still, here at Cold Comfort there are subtle signs of renewal (that’s a new tree growing in the heart of a tree burned out in the last big fire).


The anniversary of the birth of Ray Bradbury was last saturday. He would have been 95. What a mind! 

Once, when asked why he wrote science fiction, his reply was …

“The way to teach in this world is to pretend you’re not teaching. Science fiction offers the chance to pretend to look the other way while teaching. Science fiction is also a great way to pretend you are writing about the future when in reality you are attacking the recent past and the present. You can criticize any clear and present danger, and they can’t imagine you are writing about them.”
— Ray Bradbury, Playboy interview (1996)

A very good reason to read scifi … starting with Bradbury followed by Asimov.


Jimmy Carter is continuing to give us life lessons. His life since his “loss” to Reagan has been an example of real Christianity … do for others rather than make as much money as you can. I don’t begrudge him his pension at all, although I can’t say the same for the others.

Now he is sharing lessons in grace and acceptance. I see the notes on FaceBook asking for prayers for healing. He doesn’t need prayers for healing. He’s fine. He’s not worried about his credentials. I get the impression his only regret is leaving Rosalynn.

So … thank you, Mr. President. May you have a mercy journey.


26 August 2015

The morning sun on Mt Eddy and in the meadow was clear and lovely this morning …

Purple Beauties

and the beautiful, small, purple aster-like meadow flowers are in bloom.

So …

Feel a sense of awe by frequently contemplating the size and complexity of the universe.

‘Til next week …