Archive for August, 2010

Car Care

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

My car doesn’t demand much in the way of maintenance but I run it in for an oil change, fluid attention, and tire rotation every seven thousand miles or so. The trip over to the dealer takes as much time as the servicing does but I keep a book handy to occupy my wait time because I am not the only customer who comes in for service and I wasn’t first in line. The front seats and foot rugs got vacuumed and the car washed as well so it was time well spent. The day is sort of gloomy, with the gray clouds dripping rain all day. Not so the ground shows it but the plants look happy. I left the windows up when I parked against the rain. Also to keep cats out. What appeals to the felines in my yard is a mystery but the cats come in. Ever since I surprised one sleeping in my car one morning I keep the windows rolled up too far for that to happen again. Buena left a bag of cucumbers on my door yesterday so I had a cucumber sandwich for supper. Very tasty. Now I will sit at my Toshiba and think about writing. Thinking is as much as I’ve done so far.

Well Felt

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

The extra effort that went into cutting down the apple tree and chopping up the smaller limbs today is well felt on my body. My ankles, calves, hips, arms and neck are left with muscle strain that is stiffening me very noticeably. I could feel the stress while I worked but some things cannot be stopped in the middle. I was determined. I did get the top of the tree off the tin shed by more sawing and a lot of snapping with the brush nipper. Anything bigger than an inch in diameter required determined muscle and will demand much more before the branches are cut short enough to fit in the yard waste bin. They are green and full of sap. I cannot snap them like I do the dead stuff my tree trimmers left behind. So my body aches. But what is left will wait for me. Gnomes will not whisk the stuff away by magic when my back is turned. Too bad the cats that hang around my yard are not beavers. They could chew the wood to sawdust. Well, I’ve faced life for a lot of years and will see this through like things that have gone before. Use it or lose it. Just enough to keep my muscle tone.

Tree Begone

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

When picking up the fallen apples became too much work I decided to do away with the work altogether by doing away with the apple tree. I got home from Freethought at 12:30 and took advantage of the warm sunny backyard by putting the piles of debris I raked Friday into the yard waste bin. Scooping up the fallen apples is a nuisance – a month long job. Still will take several weeks to get the debris carried off but when it’s done it’s done. No more apples ever. It took some sawing and a lot of work with the big nippers but it became a pile of manageable pieces. Now at 2:15 I am sitting back quite satisfied with an onion sandwich and a beer. And a bragging blog.

Chilly

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Clothes I rinsed out this morning are now hanging on the line. a cool job. I raked up piles of leaves and sticks after the tree trimmer left Friday. Enough to fill the yard waste bin for next pickup. I want the trash out of the way so I can turn sprinklers on to water my magnificent trees. The tree tops are high above my roof. That raking was a hard job but it is not complete. Wormy apples continue to fall. They are difficult to get at when they roll under and behind the shed. If I cut down that apple tree it would eliminate the cleanup nicely. The tree was saved because Granny green apples were the only ones Tim would eat, but bushels? Hardly. Not needed anymore. For myself I would rather eat apple sauce than chew on crisp fruit. Over night temperatures are less than 60 F. Longer nights too. Daytime temperatures will get up into eighties, I hope. I haven’t turned on the air conditioner since I returned from camping. Time to cover the unit and seal out the chill for the winter. Work on that after Freethought this morning.

Home at rest

Friday, August 27th, 2010

I woke up early as usual with stuffed nose and blew. Out from my right nostril gushed blood that didn’t want to stop even when plugged with tissue. I called in to the office that I wouldn’t be in and settled down to rest the flow of blood. Good thing I was at home because the tree trimmer came knocking to finish the job that he started several weeks ago apologizing that a previous job took more time than expected. That was around eleven am. He had two helpers and a nice little quiet chain saw with which he went to work. My squirrels were anxious and nervous skittering up and down not knowing what to expect. I got dressed and took pictures of the process. A fairly large branch was removed from the black walnut tree by the shop that was shading the cherry tree and generally getting in the way of the lodgepole pine. My nose stopped bleeding and left me a bit dizzy but I managed to sit and watch. They finished and hauled away the cut branches. There are some scraps of the compound leaves of the walnut trees left to be raked up but they will wait. I have windfall apples too wormy to eat and also must be put into the yard waste bin. I do not feel much like working on that today. Can’t figure what thinned my blood but it eventually clotted and I am not about to bleed further. The day is clear and sunny with a pleasant summer temperature of 70 F but I feel chilly so not all is completely perfect in my system. Could be I walked too long in the dusty wind at the fair yesterday. Well I will rest for the remainder of today. And maybe tomorrow, too.

Buttermilk?

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Buttermilk sky, that’s how Hoagy Carmichael described the thinly overcast sky when he sang in a black and white movie years back. Clouds are not thick enough to completely shut out the blue of the universe this morning but condensed air thinly mutes the cobalt blue of a clear sky otherwise visible on a bright summer day. Today at McNary National Wildlife Refuge Education Center we are reviewing Mi Lin’s version of sage shrub habitat with which William Clark in 1803 complained that there were no trees. Never mind that the shrubs were eight foot tall and filled the landscape. Never mind that pale faced explorers had never before put a foot on the cactus covered rocky soil. Never mind that the mighty Missouri River had carved its way to the Mississippi from the great divide for centuries. Never mind that there would be frozen hardship when they found its source. Courageous and determined explorers, one weak and fearful French interpreter, and one very young Shoshone maiden with tiny baby wrapped securely at her breast, made their way toward her peoples homeland and the promise of horses to lighten their burdens. We will imagine that story over and over again without the possibility or need of experiencing reality. Nevertheless human imaginations can come close enough to think of that habitat and thankful enough that we can live it with thoughts and mind visions of our own.

Fair Day

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

So I spent a day at the fair, well a few hours anyway. A pleasant breeze was blowing from the southeast, the usual direction for any season. The dust it raised came with a vengeance, a virtual wall of gray moving into the region. My eyes were gritty before I got on the Fair-going air conditioned bus at the Richland hub for the non-stop trip. I head for the animal barns first, where pigs and goats outnumbered beef this year. They’re smaller, take less feed, and are easier for kids to handle than a thousand pound hamburger on hooves. Goats eyes are curious but otherwise coldly inexpressive. Rabbit species twinkled noses and all had to put up with pellets for food, not a raw veggie in sight. Chickens made a better showing this year and the roosters went hoarse trying to constantly maintain their images of alarm clocks. Most of the vegetables were 4-H entries. Open class entries were few and took up little space. Hand crafted items were beautifully done in cloth and wood. And all were put together to reflect the theme “Dancing with Steers” for which I had to use a lot of imagination to make the connection. But all creators have to have a point of reference to start with. Lots of fried food and trinket booths along main street. Annual Benton Franklin County Fair. Good show!

Hike White River

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Upon my return from a two-day campout in the White River campground in Mt Rainier National Park, I took stock of the wear and tear on my 82-year-old body. General health depends a lot on genetics but there is evidence that eating and exercising habits have long ranging effects on the body. Carrying thirty extra pounds adds stress to muscles but when that’s what I carry that’s what I have to deal with. My left knee shows the effect of four miles of hiking on rough narrow paths along the river. That knee complains when I walk up and down rather minor inclines. Is that something I should avoid? It is unlikely that I can although during and after a long hike I wonder if there is something I can do to relieve the discomfort. It is not exactly pain but I would like to do without it. Not that I will stop hiking any time soon.

August 2010 Second Saturday

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Over one hundred and fifty people attended this Second Saturday, the largest turnout I can remember ever showing up without being seduced by the promise of food. A gentle cool breeze from the northwest wafted its way across the water until the rising sun raised the temperature well above 90 degrees.. DU volunteers manned a variety of demonstrations from duck calling and banding to mounting a duck skin to bird retrieval by trained dogs. Friends of Mid-Columbia NWR Complex greeted visitors and directed them to the areas of demonstrations. Visitors ranged from age 84 to 3 and many came early for the duck banding where children could hold the birds for the NWR staff to apply the band then carried the birds for release to the pond. The ducks showed their appreciation of release by flying frantically away to the far reaches of the water looking back with haughty expressions that said, “How dare you humuliate me like this?” Birds are just one level below mammals in the evolutionary scale so why shouldn’t they view us with disdain when burdened with an ankle bracelet by those two legged creatures so much taller and sneakier than feathered ones? The light metal bands are imbedded with the McNary Refuge and date of banding so when a bird is retrieved anywhere by a hunter or anyone else it will be reported. This is the manner which has created a large data base for wildlife specialist and duck enthusiasts for decades.

Naomi Sherer

Oh my stars!

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

My water hoses are set to make the most of the sprinklers and cover the maximum area when the pressure is the greatest. I discovered long ago that I have best pressure when other water users are asleep. I usually wake up several times during the night and often turn on the water around 2 or 3 in the morning. I think it was two-thirty when I turned it on early this morning. The temperature was probably around 60 F and I took a deep breath of the fresh cool air, did a few deep knee bends and a tall high stretch above which brought the clear night sky into view. There is not a lot of sky visible in my back yard through the leaves of Walnut trees and a Douglas fir and what I could see was clear of clouds, crispy clear. Oh but was it full of stars! Bright stars. I know a lot about the science of the stars but all I could think was how wonderful the sky looked. Those are my stars. Awesome.