Archive for October, 2009

Working Vacation

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Can one day without a planned structure qualify as a vacation? Today feels like a vacation for me. Last night when I retired I sighed with relief because I had no appointments scheduled nor any pressing business to take care of the following day, Friday, October 23, 2009. Nice feeling. Very relaxing. Nevertheless I was awake at 0500 hours as usual. What to do? Get up, wash, have breakfast. The sky was gray but that did not dampen my attitude toward the day. When the typical soft rain began to fall I was really pleased. My Douglas fir can use a gentle wash any time, which does not happen all too often in my desert. The spruce that Ashton called Charlie Brown when it was less than her thirty-six inches tall flourishes in the precipitation as well. I suppose I could have been happier if I had pleasant company. Oh well.

The day before I bought myself a fleece vest, pretty blue with happy colorful flower embroidery, some unmentionables, and bright woolly socks with florescent stripes to wear in my knee-high boots. Doubly happy because to board the train I will not have to go sock foot into the terminal. Other necessities I found in the shed, like warm long pants for wear in the damp weather in Bellingham and a London Fog raincoat just perfect for rainy days. I must dig out a long sweater because the coat is very thin.

I picked up the last of my sprinkler hoses and drained them, hanging them high on a tree for the winter. Sadly the ground is covered with leaves, big yellow ones from English walnuts that will have to be bagged in the next day or two. A job, of course, but the walnut leaves have a wonderful scent that makes the work pleasant no matter how muscles complain. That is not so bad either considering I will sleep on the new mattress I bought the day I stopped to pick up money owed from sale of seven books — Sagesong — at the nearby Bookworm. Life just seems to get better and better.

That is as may be. Looks like I will have neighbors again. Rolls of old worn carpet were thrown out and new rolls were hauled in by the family that will be moving in. Lorraine had to go into an assisted-living home and her son (although I have not seen him) and Philippino wife and kids are apparently moving in. Nothing ominous there. Just very obese people moving slowly and looking quite uncomfortable. But they did haul the new carpet rolls in themselves.

And true to the weather pattern in Richland, the rain stops, the sun shines and the wind comes up. Now the clothes I hung out are dry. Temperature will not get above 65 so a walk in the back yard will do. I skyjacked some plants from the Refuge yesterday because they had been abandoned and were dying of thirst. I may have to return them but they are in better health now than if I ignored them in the plant rack. Anyway they are now planted and will be watered this weekend and are better off than root-bound in plastic prisons. If I am lucky (or they are) they will stay rooted by my west fence and grow tall and pretty.

I disconnected hoses in the front yard and hung them off the ground. I will put the sprinklers in the shed later. Only the hose by Douglas is left on to water those stolen goods newly planted. Too windy just now to turn them on but it will get done soon. That was a working vacation but a very nice change from days before and after. I will go now and cuddle in my chair with Clive Cussler and The Lost City.

Hunker Down

Friday, October 16th, 2009

After a sudden burst of energy early this morning (could it be from the Halloween treats I sampled, Have to sure they are good enough for the spooks) I went to work and covered the outside part of my air conditioner. I haven’t had many days free of the McNary Education Center for the last months; school kids were registered regularly and I would come home really bushed, eat, and then fall asleep. Well Thursday was the last of the school kids for the season, so I looked over what has to be done at home. I began hunting for my winter clothes, specifically wool socks to wear in my knee high boots on my train trip next week. Found long sleeved shirts, bathrobes, jackets, but no wool socks. I suppose they are out in the back shed but I didn’t get that far today.

During the hunting I found 4 boxes of photos I had forgotten. Snapshots that have negatives and slides, not useful for the internet. I found one of me and Senator Barbara Mukulski when Pat Cochrane brought her to Richland for an Eleanor Roosevelt breakfast. It will take days to go through the packages and decide if they should be scanned or not. That can wait until I am marooned by snow and ice. HA! Well some day. . .

Still having lovely fall weather, 40’s overnight. One night that froze tomato plants of which I have none but nights are not cold enough to turn leaves red. Walnut leaves usually turn a nice yellow but they fell off already. I raked the loose ones off my driveway last week after giving up the idea that the wind would blow them away. Nice dream. Can’t figure the weather this month, nice rain for two days and surprisingly no wind followed to dry it up so the soil is nice and moist. Global warming, of course, and I am doing what I can about that.

My kitchen is outfitted with new energy-saving electrical appliances — counter top oven, teakettle, and frying pan. That reminds me, I must bake corn bread. Like I need to have more good things on hand to eat. If I work as hard tomorrow as I did today, it will wear off. And there is lots more to do before the ground freezes.

Stressed No More

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

The Grand Opening of the McNary National Wildlife Refuge Education Center in Burbank, Washington, was a huge success. The ribbon was cut on October 7, 2009, by Robyn, the head of NWR Region One from Portland, Oregon. USFW staff and volunteers welcomed over 500 kids, parents, grandparents and unrelated folks who came to join the activities in the Celebration on Saturday, October 10, which consisted of observing birds, planting native plants, painting of tiles for plant identification, viewing mud critters at the pond edge, observing knapping of arrow heads, touching pelts of local mammals and charts showing relation of the five main species of vertebrates that progressed by natural selection — fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. The first evidence of the spinal column in evolution was traced to 300 million years ago.

The significance of the Opening is that it replaced the original Education Center building, a six room house, opened in 1997 and has continued through the efforts of creative and dedicated volunteers who formed a 501(c)3 education organization that can accept funds for the Refuge and lobby congress to urge support for the entire National Wildlife System. Began through the partnership of the Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society and the McNary National Wildlife Refuge, the Center opens the hearts and minds of thousands of people, mostly school aged kids, each year with hands-on natural science programs and by outreach to other organizations and festivals.

The preparation for the opening was intense for several weeks by both USFW staff and volunteers. Now that the event has transpired, satisfaction takes over with a deep sigh of relief in the knowledge of a job well done. The surrounding community is to be congratulated for the development and support of a natural habitat where people can come any time from dawn to dusk any day of the year to renew or replenish their hearts and spirits.