Saturday, July 31, 2010


Now two of us are working (were working?) in this picture (check out the aprons...!) and everyone else was "supervising" while we made onion pies.

L-R Cousin Ray, Daughter Dawn, Cousin Terry, Sister Rox, Daughter Mary Mae, Me, Cousin Kathy

A lovely day was had by all! And NO ONE went away hungry!

Friday, July 30, 2010


We spent today at Sister Roxy's house in Olympia. Forry sat out in their spacious yard and watched birds while Cousin Cathy, Roxy and I made salads and cooked. We are having a Haight family get-together at Roxy's tomorrow and we were busy getting ready! Roxy also has some pretty special company -- her two darling grand-daughters are visiting from California this week.

This is the front entrance of Roxy and Rich's home --

This little darling is my great-niece Ashlyn helping to frost the birthday cakes we were making for my grand-children Claire and Varick who are having birthdays this week. (Somebody had to eat the last of the frosting in the can...!)

And this is her older sister Piper putting the finishing touches on the big cake --

Didn't we all do good work? I'm sure Varick and Claire will be happy tomorrow when they see what their second cousins did for them --

Roxy finished up a berry dessert and potato salad; I made Auntie June's famous crab pasta salad; Roxy and I made deviled eggs and Cathy made an Italian pasta salad. So if nothing else, we have salads and desserts covered!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Very Special Dinner!

It's so funny how one relates to different people. There are some people you meet or meet again after a period of time and after you exchange a few updates, you have to search for something else to say. And then there are others, you may not see them for months or even years, but you pick up conversation right where you left off and just keep going!

Tonight was with one of those people. Mary and I have been friends for many years -- she was running the health district up in the NE Tri-Counties when I was the hospital administrator in Ritzville. She was one of the people who worked with me to form the Washington Rural Health Association and to get our rural legislative agenda through the Washington Legislature.

It's been almost two years since we had seen Mary. (She had come for lunch and a visit when we were at the RV park in Newport the summer before last.) Mary has a couple of years yet before she retires, so she is still hard at work in Olympia. (She is the longest tenured Secretary of Health in the United States!) We could not be this close without trying to get together for a good visit.

The Ranch House BBQ is located between McCleary and Olympia. We met there this evening for some wonderful barbecued ribs and even better conversation! We talked steady for three hours and would probably still be there if Mary hadn't had to get an early start over to Colville in the morning!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Trip to McCLeary

Today we took a quick trip into Mark Reed Hospital and Clinic in McCleary so that I could give them some of my blood for a prothrombin time and INR. It turned out to still be within therapeutic limits (2.2), so now I continue on the same regimen with the coumadin and don't need to have another blood test for four weeks.

It seemed funny to be at Mark Reed without my friend Jean Roberts being there. Jean was administrator of the McCleary Hospital back in the days when I was the hospital administrator at Ritzville. Jean retired a few years after I did. I asked if she ever stopped by, and they said she did occasionally, but that she and her husband were doing a great deal of traveling. So good to hear that! It was interesting that the lab tech had never met her, but said she had heard so many stories of how wonderful Jean was -- and she knew that there would not be a hospital there if it hadn't been for her! What a wonderful legacy.

We didn't do terribly much more today. We'll go for a walk as soon as the Mariners game is over. It was looking pretty good with a five run lead, but once again it looks like they have squandered their early lead...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Elma RV Park

Elma RV Park is like many of the RV parks who are part of the CampClub parks that offer 50% off their rates to members. It's nothing fancy, but it's clean and well maintained.

The park was quite full when we arrived -- I think there was only one other open site. When Forry had called for reservations, the lady in the office said there was a Little League tournament going on in Elma all this week. She said that as teams were eliminated the park would be emptying out. And that was exactly what happened this morning. I think at least six to eight rigs left before noon.
It was COLD this morning! It was overcast and chilly -- less than 55 degrees when we got up. That's a forty degree temperature drop from what we've been used to. I actually put on a pair of jeans and some socks this morning instead of my usual shorts and sandals. It cleared up after lunch and was very pleasant this afternoon.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Elma, Washington

Today Auntie Violet kicked up her heels and left the dust of Adams County behind! We had everything packed up, put away and stowed by 10:30 -- pretty good considering we had been at the ranch since the 7th of June.

We stopped just before Ellensburg for diesel -- it was $2.99 per gallon with a check, cash or debit card. Other than that we just kept going. Sometimes awfully slowly though. They were working on the guard rail and had signs out several miles ahead asking traffic to move to the right lane. Of course, no one did until the last minute and by then with everyone dodging in and out of lanes, traffic was down to a crawl. A couple of truckers tried to block the left lane, but people kept skirting around them anytime they could see a bit of room...

The next slow-down was by Nisqually -- there was an accident on the other side of the freeway, but all of the "looky-lous" on our side had to slow down and check it out. We ended up with stop and go traffic for about ten miles!

We pulled into the Elma RV Park just before they closed the office at 5:30. We have a nice spot near the entrance. The fellow across the road was nice enough to move his pickup out of the way so that Forry had a sweet and easy back-in. It was still sweltering hot when we got here, but it has cooled off nicely -- had to shut the windows already!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sister Grace

On Friday we drove the Toad to Wenatchee to visit Forry's Sister Grace and her husband Les. They live in East Wenatchee in an area right next to a pear orchard. Grace is 82 years young.

I should have taken some pictures inside of their home. Gracie has an incredible collection of stuffed bears and dogs!

This afternoon after church we watched the Mariners win their second game in a row! Once it cooled off this evening, Forry drained the gray and black water tanks and started putting away stuff that we will leave here at the ranch in the storage unit. Since we've been parked here for more than a month, we've got a lot of putting away to be doing!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

More of the Neighbors

A beautiful, but noxious neighbor!

There is quite large family of magpies that fly up and down the coulee. They are gorgeous birds, but are certainly not loved by any farmer or rancher. They made a raid a couple of weeks ago on the kingbird nests in the shelter belt, but were driven off by the adult kingbirds. It was barely dawn, about 4:30 in the morning. There was such a ruckus, that it actually woke me up!

This is a much pleasanter neighbor -- he's been hanging around in the sagebrush near Auntie Violet the last few mornings. I'm not sure if he's after insects in the sagebrush, but that's the way he acts. I love to watch the California Quail!

Friday, July 23, 2010


We were on our way home on Rosenoff Road (we'd been in Wenatchee today) this evening when we saw smoke billowing up on the horizon. It didn't quite look like a field was on fire or that it was moving, but it was close to the Stahl Hutterite Colony. We were afraid at first it might be one of their buildings...

When we got closer, we could see that it was bales of hay on fire --

A couple of the young Hutterite fellows said that it was oat hay that must have heated up too much and spontaneously burst into flame --

They'll keep a crew out here all night keeping water on it and making sure it doesn't spread. As it cools down, they'll try to use a bulldozer to knock it apart more.

Fires are always a fear and a danger, but especially so at harvest time.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Baby Neighbors

These little guys are newly fledged barn swallows. (They may even have the same parents that tried to build their nest under Auntie Violet's front door awning earlier this summer!)

They spent a couple of hours this morning sitting on the wire from the motor home to the antenna pole.

They hung out on the wire while Mom and Dad flew back and forth bringing breakfast to them --

It was terribly windy again today. By eleven o'clock or so we had to bring the awning in as it was slapping way too hard. The field across the road and up the hill from the coulee had been weeded for a second time a week or so ago (the weeds had all come up again after the first weeding with all the rain...) and the hill was blowing pretty badly. There's been lots of dirt and dust in the air all day!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Our Neighbor

This California Quail spends a great deal of time perched on this post a little ways from Auntie Violet. He keeps a very close eye on what's happening in the neighborhood. We see his mate with him occasionally, but I have never seen her perched on the post.

There are several quail in the coulee. We hear them chattering, and often flush them when we go for walks. They were pretty well wiped out in the hard winters of the 1950s, but over the last several years they have made a comeback. They have increased, but the pheasants which used to be plentiful have almost entirely disappeared....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's Still Not Ripe!

nI took this picture last Sunday after church over at the Schrag ground. See all of the green stalks? This is some pretty short wheat. You can also see the sand that has been blown in from all of the wind storms this summer.

I don't remember harvest ever being this late -- irrigated wheat maybe, but NOT dry land! A spray plane was out this morning spraying all of the fields here on the home place -- we presume with Roundup (or something similar). This will not only kill the weeds in the fields that have thrived in the wet spring, but will also push the wheat to maturity.

We made another trip to Spokane today. This time for Forry to check in with his semi-annual visit to his dermatologist. Like many farmers who spent a lot of time in the sun, he's had his share of lesions. But, this time it was a short visit -- the doctor didn't find anything he wanted to freeze or cut off!

Monday, July 19, 2010


On the driver's side of the motor home, behind a second door, there is compartment (bay) that holds the Hydro-Hot unit, a heat pump that is both the hot water heater and furnace for the coach. In the area between this second door and the door of the bay is where the hook-ups for the water are located. Forry has various tools there that we use when we are attaching the water hose as well as the external surge protector unit and the sprayer of diluted bleach that we use on faucets before we attach our hose.

Forry has been thinking about how to install a shelf or something in that area in order to organize things a bit and reduce the clutter. He bought a piece of one inch board to use for reinforcing on the back side of the door --

The bolted a pair of copper baskets that he had found to the outside --

Ending up with a neat place to stow all of this stuff, leaving plenty of space at the bottom for his sewer support rack and the surge protector!

The dictionary defines stowage as: n. the action or manner of stowing something space for stowing something in. Stow is defined as: to pack or store (an object) carefully and neatly in a particular place.
Living in a motor home certainly makes one think about the necessity of stowage!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


After church this morning we took a drive over to Schrag to take a look at the wheat on the property we have there. There are two quarters of ground (a half section) there that had belonged to Forry's mother. Because this ground is almost eight miles away, it's not farmed by the same tenant that farms the home place.

There is wheat planted on the Schrag property this year, but next to it are fields of potatoes. The potato fields are quite green in contrast to the almost ripe wheat -- and they are in bloom! When I first came to live in this part of the country, irrigation was just beginning to be popular. And most of the crops that were irrigated were wheat. Now it is not unusual to see many fields of potatoes with circle irrigation. As well as others with beans, grass seed, alfalfa, corn, dry peas or other seed crops.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Beverly Connor

Beverly Connor is the author of the Diane Fallon Forensic Investigations series and the Lindsay Chamberlain Mystery series. Since I am spending a good share of my time with my leg elevated (due to the blood clot), I've been reading even more than usual. I discovered Beverly Connor a couple of weeks ago and have read all (I think!) of her Diane Fallon series. The first of the series is One Grave Too Many.

Diane Fallon is the director of a museum and a forensic anthropologist. The series follows her through multiple murder mysteries which impact her world. I haven't read the Lindsay Chamberlain series yet, but if they are half as engrossing as the Diane Fallon ones, they'll be a good summer read.

While I still enjoy the touch, feel and smell of books, I am grateful to have my Kindle DX. It's perfect for life in a motor home. At the moment, I have 314 books stored in its archives. That would be a pretty hefty stack of books to find a place to store in Auntie Violet -- without even thinking about the weight!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Little "Normal" Stuff

Sometimes I get the impression that people think that just because we live in a motor home, we're on a perpetual vacation. It's true that we get to travel around quite a bit and see new country, but we continue to have to do all of the usual things one does to maintain a house and a vehicle. Ours just happens to be combined into one entity.

Today was one of those "usual" things day. Forry emptied both the grey and black water tanks and I did several loads of laundry trying to fill the grey one back up. I don't use the dryer most of the time -- I just hang clothing up on our folding clothes rack (which lives behind the couch when not in use) and hang shirts on hangars. Auntie Violet sort looks like a laundry on those days.

We sorted the box of mail we picked up on our way through Ritzville yesterday that Daughter MM had sent to General Delivery; shredded a bunch of it; set aside a couple of bills to pay the first of the month; filed what needed to be saved (in the nice long file drawer the fellows in Oregon made for me under my computer desk); and made a pile of magazines to browse through.
I went through from back to front, emptying the waste baskets in the bedroom and bathroom and the two in the front room. I added the contents of the shredder and the junk mail. Forry collected the large garbage container from outside that is filled from the chute in the corner of the kitchen. Then he took it all out to the dumpster (Our tenant farmer has large dumpster that is serviced monthly. We always help pay the fee when we are parked on the ranch...)
Not too much different -- well, except for draining the tanks -- from what you probably did today in your stix and brix home!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Curly Locks, Curly Locks, .....

It's such fun when Sarah cuts Forry's hair! I'm not sure just exactly what she does with her fingers, but he ends up with all of these gorgeous curls!

It doesn't seem quite fair does it? There's a lot of girls that would kill for those curls!

We tried to figure out how long Sarah's been dealing with Hardt hair. She says she got out of school in 1980 and some of us have been having her cut our hair pretty much since then...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another Very Quiet Day

I called Sarah in Spokane yesterday and she graciously made room in her schedule to give Forry and I both haircuts (a cut for Forry and a trim for me) on Thursday morning early. I called the Anti-coagulation Clinic and they said it would be okay if I got my next INR test a day late. So we did not go into town today, but will go up to Spokane tomorrow.

I've been trying to think how many years Sarah has been dealing with my hair. I know Daughter Mary Mae was the first to go to her -- Sarah was going to use her thick head of hair in some kind of hairdresser's competition... Daughter Dawn and her friend Kelly went to her when they were in high school -- and Kelly, now a doctor, still does. I know it has been more then twenty-five years, maybe even thirty. I shall have to ask her tomorrow. She started cutting Forry's hair as well when we lived in Spokane -- I think she likes to play with his curls!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dust Storms

The stories told by the pioneers in this part of the world are replete with tales of dust storms. When they broke up the sagebrush and plowed the land, they loosened the very fragile soil. My mother-in-law told stories of taking shovels to church on Sunday to shovel the dirt away from the church doors in order to get them open... Over the years as farmers learned how better to farm this volcanic soil, leaving lots of organic matter on the surface, dust storms happened less frequently.

For some reason, there have been more vicious wind storms this past year then we've had for a long time. It started with the one last October on the Sunday after the Mennonite Country Auction. There have been several since then that could be seen on satellite photos!

This is a field along Rosenoff Road as we drove into Moses Lake yesterday --

And this is the dust cloud (in the bottom portion of the picture) looking north up the coulee from where Auntie Violet is parked --

Fortunately, today was mainly quiet and actually cool...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wind and DUST!

The wind has blown ALL day today! There were some pretty aggressive gusts that rocked Auntie Violet. I had pulled in the awning early, but the gusts made the covers on the slides rattle. Forry was out very early and got a bit of spraying done before the wind started, but it wasn't long before he had to give up.

There's a blow started on the summer field up the coulee -- you could see the dust cloud getting larger most of the afternoon. We made a trip into Moses Lake for groceries and there were several places along Rosenoff Road where visibility was zero. Fortunately they were short!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

It's Getting Riper ---

Forry snapped this picture this morning on our way home from church. This is the wheat field at the top of the hill above the coulee where Auntie Violet is parked. It looks ripe when you look across it, but when you look closer at the plants near the edge, you can see that many of the heads are still green.

I thrashed out one of the more golden heads (rolled it in between my palms until the wheat kernel was separated from the chaff) when I went for a walk this evening. While the kernels look ripe, you can dent them with your fingernail and they are still chewy. Forry chatted with Tyler (our tenant's youngest son) yesterday and he says they are hoping to start cutting on the 18th -- which is yet a week away.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Glorious Morning!

It wasn't very good sleeping last night, because even down here in the coulee it didn't cool off like it usually does until early this morning. I woke up a little after four AM to make a trip to the bathroom and heard the magpies and the king birds making a horrendous racket. I think the magpies had tried to make a raid on the king bird nests. The king birds were out in force, chasing the much larger magpies. I saw one king bird chase a magpie almost an eighth of a mile down the draw!

This is the windbreak where all the ruckus was going on -- so pretty --

Looking up the coulee a minute or so later --
This is what I saw when I first got up. Isn't it glorious?

The partial cloud cover was nice and it stayed much cooler today. The warmest I think it got was in the high nineties and it is already cooling off nicely this evening.

Friday, July 9, 2010

It's HOT!

It got up to 102 degrees today and Auntie Violet's air conditioning couldn't even begin to keep her cool. We're parked out in the open where there are no shade trees. Usually we are pretty comfortable with the windows open and a cross breeze. It we get too warm, we may turn on the fans in the kitchen and hallway and pull some cooler outside air in. But, not today! It was just plain miserable.

Last night as we left my brother's, he shared some of the Walla Walla sweet onions he had gotten from Sister Sherry's down in Touchet. (As well as some frozen halibut and salmon!) Forry and I both love Onion Pie made with Walla Walla sweets and Gruyere cheese. And like a dummy -- not even thinking about the heat -- I decided to make one for supper.
You cannot even imagine how hot it got in here when I was sauteing onions for the pie and par-baking the crust! Then the pie itself had to go into the oven to bake. The thermometer on the inside atomic clock (which is fairly high on the kitchen wall) was reading 104 degrees!

It's a good thing it tasted wonderful, but I'm not sure it was worth the extra heat!

BBQ Salmon from Alaska!

Brother Pat invited us over to his house in Moses Lake tonight so that he could share some of the salmon he caught last week in Alaska. It was wonderful! He bought some special seasoning while he was up there that really goes well on the fish. Sister-in-law Cindy had made a couple of salads and we had a feast.

I made a fresh blackberry pie this afternoon and took it over with us. Of course, had to stop and pick up some ice cream as well...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

And Yet Another Long Day in Spokane

Another trip to Spokane! We stopped in Ritzville on the way so that Forry could pick up more Banvel (weed spray), then went on up to Spokane. We both had routine physician appointments (the "Come see me when you get back to the NW" follow-ups). Dr. Brennan had a third year medical school student with her today who did the initial exam, then they both collaborated to decide what all was happening. They were running behind to start with, and we probably took twice the normal exam time; then Forry had to get a new x-ray of his knee and some lab work; I had to go to the anti-coagulant pharmacist for another blood test; and we both had to go to the pharmacy for some prescription changes. We spent the entire afternoon at Group Health!

We did go to Gordy's Sichuan for dinner -- we just ordered appetizers, but still had enough left for lunch tomorrow. A quick stop at Costco, then home in time to watch the Mariners get beat again!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Fun Purchase

We did have to make a grocery run to Moses Lake today. We waited until late enough in the afternoon so that we could justify going out to dinner. We went over to Shari's because I wanted to have fresh strawberry pie. But, I had a fresh blackberry milkshake with dinner -- and then didn't have any room for pie!

We had spent the morning doing some much needed cleaning. Forry vacuumed and "swishered" the kitchen and bathroom floors. I started on the cherry wood cabinets with Liquid Gold, getting rid of some of the dust as well as the drips and splashes from the sinks and around the stove. I would do a section, then put my leg up and rest a bit before I did another section. I got from the back bedroom all the way to the front on the driver's side. I still have to do the other side of the living room where the desk is.
Forry wanted to get something to cover the edges of his ladder so that he could lean it against the motor home without scratching the coach. While we were in Moses Lake, we went to Lowe's to see what they might have. But while we were there we found a bird feeder. Of course, to hang the bird feeder far enough away from Auntie Violet to see any visiting birds, we had to get a stand as well.
Then while we were at the grocery store, I had to buy a flat pan so that I could also put some water out for the birds as well...

Monday, July 5, 2010

What a Difference a Week Makes...

I took these pictures out in the flat yesterday after church. It's amazing how much difference there is in color from just a week ago. (See July 2 - It's Gonna Be a Late Harvest) But, it's certainly not a uniform color across the field.

As you look more closely, you can see that there is a great variation among the wheat heads from almost golden to rather green. When you open them up, you can tell the kernels are not hard yet, they're still gummy to chew.

It was quiet early this morning and Forry got a load of spray out onto the Penner Hill before it began to get breezy again. He's VERY gradually getting the spraying done.

We talked with our friend Bill in Seattle this afternoon. We met him and Leslie at a Life on Wheels conference in Lewiston a couple of years ago. They are RV wannabees who have had their house on the market for over a year. It finally sold last week and now they are actively looking at potential RVs as they have to be out of the house by the 21st. We are VERY excited for them!

I marinated some pork strips this afternoon and made a stir-fry for dinner. I hadn't realized I was out of rice, so made up some bulgur to serve with it. It actually tasted pretty good. Now we're watching both the sunset and the Mariners game.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Celebrating the Fourth of July

We spent another quiet day today. Started off the day with a trip to church. I had woken up early, then fell back to sleep. Next time I looked, it was eight AM! Had to hustle to shower, have breakfast and get to Menno by ten. Jim Schrag, former Executive Director for Mennonite Church USA, is in the area visiting his daughter and her family, so we were fortunate to have him fill the pulpit this morning. He's the kind of speaker that always leaves you with something to meditate upon.

I am not sure if it is because the drugs are starting to break down the clot in my thigh, but it has been feeling achy (I did sit in the corner of the pew with it elevated along the bench this morning...), so I spent the afternoon lying down with my leg elevated and a good book (reading a memoir called Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory). Of course, there was a nap in there somewhere as well...

After a supper of salad and gyoza (pot stickers), we spent the evening watching the Fourth of July celebrations first in New York, then in Washington DC (with Reba McIntyre) and finally the ones in Seattle on Lake Union. I actually think the fireworks in Seattle were the most varied and spectacular!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

It's Gonna Be a Late Harvest

These are pictures of the wheat in the flat close to where Auntie Violet is parked. I took them last week on our way home from church.

The wheat has started to turn color this week, but it's a long ways from being ripe. For many years our old neighbor Everett made it his goal to be harvesting by the Fourth of July -- though I am sure that many times he was harvesting green wheat. He often had to stop combining as the elevator wouldn't take the wheat he was bringing in. But the minute Everett's combine hit the fields, my father-in-law became extremely antsy. A farmer at harvest time is like a race horse in the starting gate!

Be that as it may, harvest this year is definitely going to be late.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Another, Another Day in Spokane

We weren't in too big a hurry this morning, but we did head back up to Spokane again today so that I could get another blood test. We got there about one o'clock, got the blood drawn (again it took two sticks!), then went downtown. We had to take care of some banking business which just happened to be near PF Changs, so of course, had to go there for lunch! It seemed best to just order some small plates (appetizers) and share, so had salt and pepper calamari; crab won tons and deep-fried green beans. Yumm!

After a quick trip to Costco, we went to visit Son Sean and later to take him out to dinner. Not wanting to drive a long ways, we ended up going to Chili D's. A very pleasant evening.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Another Quiet Day

I was tired this morning! I very briefly thought about going along with Forry to Moses Lake for his dentist appointment, but very quickly decided "NO!"

Dr. Froese gave him a clean bill of health (I got one last week), so now the dental visits are out of the way. I got an email from Dr. Brennan this afternoon saying that yesterday's mammogram was normal and that the kidney ultrasound showed no changes. It is so nice to have quick email reports! There's no waiting and worrying about test results.

I did get ambitious enough this afternoon to do a couple of loads of laundry; watch the Mariners game on TV; fix shrimp and fresh asparagus for supper; and play Frontierville and Farmville on the computer. That was about the extent of my day.