Sunday, September 30, 2012

Puttin' Up the Tent!

Next Saturday, October 6th, is the Mennonite Country Auction at Menno Mennonite Church, out in the country between Ritzville and Moses Lake, Washington! The auction -- and the food and craft booths -- help raise money for relief for MCC (Mennonite Central Committee). Our sale is one of many held throughout the United States. MCC has a reputation of not only having a very small overhead (because of the volunteers) as well as assurance that relief supplies go where they are intended. Because of that, we get people from all over the state that come for a day of good food and fellowship and to contribute to world relief.

Today after church (and lunch furnished by Diane), it was time to set up the big tent. This is where the quilts to be auctioned will be displayed as well as nicer collectibles that are for sale.

First the three sections of the tent are laid out on the edge of the parking lot --

Here's Pastor Matthew pounding in one of the many stakes that will be used to tie down the tent --

When finished, there is a whole line of stakes all around what will be the perimeter of the tent --

Next the three sections of the tent are laced together. Menno's littlest folks have the nimble fingers needed to connect the sections --

They work hard with their dads and grandads to get the job done --

The fun thing about the auction is the way EVERYONE pitches in to help --

The guy ropes are attached to the rings on each section --

Okay, all laced together and ready to go --

Michael gets to crawl under to set the first of the three center poles --

The fellows raise the pole on the inside while the crew pulls from the outside --

One up!

And soon, all three have been raised --

Next the side poles are inserted, then the guy ropes are pulled tight and snugged down --

We didn't stay to see the side walls put on, but I'll take some pictures of the completed tent when we come down to stay at the ranch later this week.

There have been more and more lovely quilts showing up at the church from places as disparate as New York and Pennsylvania. They have been on display in the back of the sanctuary adding to the excitement about the coming sale. (You can see them at: 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday Golf!

It's been one of those rather lazy days. Forry has been watching the Ryder Cup golf tournament most of the day on TV while I've had my nose in my Kindle. I would have been doing laundry, but we do not have a sewer connection here, so have been conserving water in order to delay our trip over to the dump station.

Out came the five gallon orange bucket into the shower. It gets the excess water that runs until it gets warm enough to use. That half bucket full of water after we shower is then used to reduce the amount of water used to flush the toilet. Out came the paper plates in order to cut down on the amount of dish washing. Oh, the tricks you learn when you are boon-docking!

We have quite a stack of "stuff" in the living room that we removed from Toad yesterday before we traded it in. It's amazing how much there is! Everything from the first aid kit to my gloves for hooking up to the motorhome to a headlamp to maps to reusable shopping bags to a bag full of emergency blankets to cartons of soda to extra jackets to the suitcases. And the lawn chairs and little table are set up outside along with the gossiping birds and my lavender bush! It's quite obvious that we use our tow vehicle as additional storage.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Tale of Two Dealerships

 If you remember, I mentioned last Saturday that Forry had spent the day at Barton Jeep having some work done on the Toad's brakes and other parts. While he was there with nothing really to do, he started roaming around the lot looking at some of the newer Jeeps. They had a couple of 2011 Liberty Jeeps that had been traded in -- quite a bit newer than our 2005 one!

Forry didn't like the feel of the alignment they had done on Toad, so we went back out on Wednesday to have the shop re-check it. While we were there, he showed me the Jeeps he had been looking at. Since Toad has over 117,000 miles on her, we had been talking off and on for the last year about possibly replacing her. We talked with the salesman John who Forry had talked with on Saturday, but he was busy with a another customer, so turned us over to his partner, Lane.

We spent most of the afternoon there, but could never get an answer from him as to what it would cost us to trade the Jeep in on one of the 2011. He acted like the kind of old-time sleazy salesman, insisting that WE TELL HIM what we thought the price should be, then pointing out how ridiculous he thought our price was (I was looking a Blue Book prices on my iPhone). He would go back to the "boss" and then come back and tell that the offer he had made on the trade was NOT acceptable. This went on for so long, that we finally decided to just give up on it and leave.

Then the first guy John cornered me and told me how foolish we were being, that if we didn't trade now, we would regret it as Toad would continue to lose value and would be starting to cost us "real" money.

Now, I am 71 years old and this guy was talking to me like I was a rather stupid teenager! Then after we had gotten home, he called us on the phone and repeated his rationale as to why we weren't being very smart. He offered to meet us again the next afternoon, saying he could really make us a deal!

I started thinking about the fellow we had bought one of our Neons from many years ago. I had sort of kept track of Thomas Suwanmaneedang ever since on Facebook and knew he still worked for a car dealer (we used to see him and his young family at Spokane Indians games back when we lived in Spokane and had season tickets). I decided to give him a call and see if he had taken any Jeep Liberty's in as trade-ins. When he asked about the price for the Jeeps we had been looking at, he said he could probably make us a deal on a flat-towable Suzuki at a better price than that.

So the next day we went out to see him at Hallmark Suzuki in Spokane Valley and looked at a couple of very nice new Grand Vitara Suzukis. He told us the price, told us what they would give us for Toad, and offered 0% financing for 72 months! So this is what we have ended up buying:

Thomas is one of those people I like to deal with. He was upfront about what they could offer and didn't denigrate our concerns or what we wanted to trade. There were no games of running to a back room to see if his manager would approve (Thomas said he wouldn't think of taking a deal to his manager that he knew he wouldn't okay.). He actually made buying a new vehicle fun -- even though Forry can't quite believe he has purchased a foreign made car!

So this is our new tow vehicle. Not sure if it will end up being named Toad II or Suzie Q...?

I did call John back at the Jeep dealer and tell him we wouldn't be trading our Liberty to them after all -- and would you believe I got the same lecture about how we weren't being very smart?!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Peaceful Pines RV Park

There's another thing that fulltime RVers always talk about -- it's the criteria for an RV Park. We usually say that if it's not right by a highway and if a railroad track isn't within a half mile or so, it isn't a REAL RV Park! If that's the criteria, Peaceful Pines definitely qualifies. The railroad track runs right behind the RV park. And it's a VERY busy railroad track -- we've counted at least one train every half hour or so. The only saving grace is that the trains blow their obligatory whistle a mile or so back as they go through the cross roads in the main part of Cheney.

The first time we were here (back in 2007), we were in the front of the park over by the highway. Since we were last here, they have added more large sites in the very back, which is where we are presently parked.

We spent most of the day today out in the Spokane Valley. I'm not ready to talk about what we were doing -- maybe that will be tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gelatin Plans & Old Age?

There's a saying among RVers about plans -- the idea is that they should only be made in gelatin as they seem to get changed so often. That's exactly what happened to us today. We had stayed last night at one of the Cummins NW's RV spaces as it had gotten late. We just didn't want to continue on down to the ranch.

Then this morning, we had a couple of errands to run in downtown Spokane. The folks at Cummins NW told us we were welcome to leave Auntie Violet there while we did our running around. So that's what we did. When we headed back, we discussed whether we really wanted to go down to the ranch today since we don't really need to be there until towards the end of next week. We talked about it a bit more than decided we would instead go to stay at an RV Park in Cheney where we had stayed back in 2007 when we first started full-timing.

Rather than hook up the Toad, I just followed Forry in Auntie Violet over to Peaceful Pines RV Park. By four PM, we were all settled in and just being lazy.

At a little before 7 PM, I got a phone call from friends wanting to know where we were and if we were on our way. I had totally spaced a dinner invitation! Of course, we were a good hour and a half away! I don't know when I've been so embarrassed and ashamed of myself...

I'd blame old age, but...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Day for Vehicles!

We had an appointment at 11 AM this morning for Auntie Violet at the Cummins NW dealer. That meant we had to be packed up and ready to leave Ponderosa Falls RV Park by a little after ten. Fortunately, everything went well and we were on our way in plenty of time. The Cummins dealer is only a couple of miles from the RV park.

They built a beautiful facility a few years back that is oriented towards the RV motor coach market in addition to their original truck business.

 Auntie Violet had her oil changed, her filters changed or cleaned and her chassis lubed. While she was in the shop getting her beauty treatment, we took Toad back to the Jeep dealer. Forry didn't like the way it was steering after her alignment job last week, so they had another run at it. We also had a quick stop at Sarah's Madelia Club for a quick bang trim.

By the time we got back to Cummins NW and they were finished with Auntie Violet, it was getting late and we were both tired. We decided that instead of driving the ninety miles down to the ranch, we would take them up on their offer of an overnight stay.

Cummins has about a half dozen spaces with water and 50 amp electricity on the edge of their parking area.

The shop is at the end of a Dead End road and fronts on a field, so it is a nice quiet place to spend the night. The guys at the shop had determined that the inside dual tire that we have been having off and on again low pressure definitely has a slow leak, so we are going to have to get that taken care off before we leave as well.

It was nice to put some steak flautas (Costco specials) in the oven and settle in to watch the second night of Dancing with the Stars on TV.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I Think It's Monday?

I really think we need to get one of those clocks that tell you the day of the week. I have
quite a time keeping the days straight since I retired. I do know we went to church yesterday, so I'm pretty sure it is Monday -- even though I could swear it was Tuesday.

I took this picture late this afternoon when we got home from an afternoon in Spokane. The clouds were just beginning to get a pink tinge in preparation for sunset --

While I was gone, Forry took the Toad into the Jeep dealer to have some work done. It had been making a funny noise that made us a little nervous. Forry was concerned we might have a U-Joint going bad, but it turned out to be a problem with the brakes. We now have new brakes and calipers all around, plus they rotated the tires.

Forry paid the bill -- some 761 dollars, then headed back to Ponderosa Falls to wait for my plane to come in at 8 PM. He was almost here when he got a rather frantic call from the bookkeeper at the Jeep dealer. She told him she had only charged the 61 dollar portion on the credit card slip! He says he hadn't really looked at the slip, had only looked over the invoice. So that was our task today, to go back out to the dealership (which is way out in the Spokane Valley) and sign another charge slip. I think the ladies in the billing department were VERY glad to see Forry walk in!

From there it was a trip to Costco. It was late enough in the afternoon that Forry could have one of their Polish dogs for supper. I swear, that man thinks their dogs are the height of gourmet food! I really like Costco, but I dislike coming home and repackaging the meat I bought to put it in the freezer. Today I bought a pack of four sirloin tip pork roasts as well as a three pound pack of hamburger. They all had to be cut apart from the bulk packaging, then double bagged in freezer bags. The bulk packs of kleenex and toilet paper can await another day for me to find niches to stash them in...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Another Busy Sunday

It seemed like we had just gone to bed, when the radio came on to wake us up this morning. It had been a short night, but it was time to get going again. We drove down to Menno from Ponderosa Falls RV Park in time to take a quick trip up the hill to check on how the newly planted winter wheat on our ranch was doing. You could see from a distance that there was definitely a greenish cast to the hillside --

As we got closer and could look down the rows, we could see that it was all pretty well up and doing well --

I realized this week when I was talking to some folks that many people don't understand how we raise wheat in our part of Washington State. This is dryland wheat in an area of the state that only averages 7-9 inches of rain per year. Therefore we raise a wheat crop on half of our ground every year. The other half of the ground lies fallow (not in crop) to gather moisture for the next year's crop. Wheat is planted right after harvest on the ground that had lain fallow the year before. It is planted in deep furrows (4-5 inches deep), deep enough to get into moisture that is sufficient to sprout it. We then hope that it won't get rained on until it sprouts and is up. That way the ground won't form a crust which won't allow the tender shoots to come through.

Those nice green rows will spread out (stool) some before winter and develop a good root system. It then goes dormant in the cold winter -- hopefully with a nice snow cover -- and doesn't start growing again until the following spring.

Before the Mennonite settlers brought the winter wheat seeds with them when they came from Russia, Americans only raised wheat that was planted in the Spring. If they didn't get sufficient rain, which often happened, the crops failed. The winter weed varieties are what made America a "breadbasket for the world."

This year the fields around Menno Mennonite Church were in crop and what you see are the fields of stubble left after the wheat was harvested. These stubble fields will be tilled later and then left to lie fallow until next year.

After church we went into Ritzville and had sandwiches and bean and bacon soup with an 85 year old friend. It was a delight to spend a couple of hours chatting about everything and anything with Earl. He has recently published a memoir, A Pebble in the Water, which details much of the history of his pioneer family.

We arrived back at Ponderosa Falls just in time to watch the last day of bull-riding in Tampa, Florida. It was another good but busy day.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Once Again, Home Again

We worked through lunch today finishing up the Executive Board agenda, so that we could get done early. We were scheduled to adjourn at 3 PM, but managed to do all of our work by 1:30. Several of us had flights that didn't leave until four or five, so we had time to sit and have a late  lunch at the airport together.

Going through security at the Kansas City airport went fairly easily even though the pat-downs due to my knees seem to get more invasive every time I fly. The KC to Denver flight passengers had all checked in far enough ahead of time that the pilots decided to go ahead and take off fifteen minutes early! Their home base evidently was Denver and the crew was anxious to get home for the weekend.

Though the Denver to Spokane flight left right on time, but managed to land in Spokane twenty minutes early! I called Forry, who had planned to wait in the cell phone parking lot for me, when we landed and he was just leaving Auntie Violet. Fortunately Ponderosa Falls RV Park is fairly close to the airport, so by the time I walked out the of the concourse and out the door, I only had to wait a few minutes for him.

We made a spot at the truck stop near the RV park and ate a quick supper at the Iron Skillet. My, it is nice to be back home -- I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hosted Royally by Kansas City

Mennonite Church USA will have its 2015 Biennial Assembly in Kansas City. As part of the great package they offered us to come here, they offered to host Board meetings for us between now and then. They have incredibly gracious to us, especially with our hotel room rates. Yesterday they sponsored one of our breaks -- it was more like a light lunch. They had platters of fresh vegetables with homemade hummus as well as all kinds of fresh fruit.

Today the KC Chamber of Commerce treated us to Kansas City Barbecue for lunch. After a fresh green salad and rolls, we were served plates with barbecued beef brisket, pulled pork and chicken along with fingerling potatoes and green beans. It was way more than most of us could eat! AND it was really good!

Then they served a slice of chocolate cake with reaspberries -- so good.


We had a visit from a President Truman impersonator who came to tell us about all of the things available to do in Kansas City and nearby Independence. (I think the Chamber not only wants us here in 2015, but was trying hard to convince us we should come back in 2017 as well!)
We've had a good two days of meetings so far. We'll meet until early afternoon tomorrow, then I'll catch a flight back to Spokane by way of Denver on United. I think I get back into Spokane at 8:20 tomorrow evening. We'll be staying at Ponderosa Falls for a couple of days then heading back to the ranch until after the Mennonite Country Auction on October 6th.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Spokane to Denver to Kansas City

I flew Frontier Airlines today for the first time and it was actually almost enjoyable. They seem to have somewhat the same attitude towards their passengers as Alaska and Horizon. Seemed to be very nice people.

The flight from Spokane to Denver was very smooth. Lifting up through Spokane skies you could really see the layer of smokey smog that covers a good share of Washington State.. The fires combined with stagnant air are making tough breathing for anyone with breathing issues.

I did get a chuckle out of the "critters" on the tails and wing tips of the Frontier airplanes. The one I was on had a wolf. This one next to us at the Denver airport has an eagle -

I only had a half hour from the time my plane landed in Denver until take-off on my Kansas City flight. I made a quick potty stop, then went -- of course -- to the other end of the terminal to catch my second flight. They had already loaded the majority of the flight, but their were a few straggles that came after me.

Another calm short (one hour) flight and I was in KC. I walked out the terminal door and my ride was waiting for me. We had to wait a bit for one other Board member, then into town and to the Marriott. I am ready for bed!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday = Frustration

I set aside today to print the items on the docket for the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board meeting which will be in Kansas City, Missouri starting Thursday noon and running through Saturday noon.

First of all, I find it very irritating that they send them in an FTP format which means a VERY large file and takes forever to download. Then all the documents have to be unzipped before they can be read or printed. I had about a third of them finished when the printer ran low on ink. No problem, I had made sure I had new cartridges. Loaded the ink cartridges and was instructed by the screen to align cartridges. Again nothing new nor unexpected.

BUT, the next screen said "Alignment FAILED". I redid it, same thing. Removed and re-installed both cartridges, same thing. I went through all of the suggestions on the printer halp page, same message! Next suggestion was to check warranty status for service. And, of course, the warranty on my new printer had expired on August 30th!

So Plan B. Prepare to take my mini-computer, which I hadn't planned to do. That meant digging it out of storage; installing all the updates that had accrued since it was last used several months ago; charging the battery. And then I had to re-download all those FTP files to this computer.

It really aggravates me that the Quick Transfer application between computers only works on 32 bit machines -- and of course, my ASUS laptop is 64 bit!

To make matters even worse, since the printer doesn't work, I can't even download my boarding pass for tomorrow's flight. ARRGH!

Monday, September 17, 2012


We were very ready for a quiet day today! It had been a most busy weekend and we were tired. There was a great deal of activity in the park of over-nighters leaving this morning with a whole new group coming in this afternoon and evening.

I did several loads of laundry which meant that Forry had to go out and drain the black and gray water tanks. Other than that we didn't do much else besides watch TV and read.

I fixed a couple of Costco lamb chops for dinner along with some of Brother Pat's corn, cucumbers, kohlrabi and tomatoes. Indeed a lovely meal. I have been preparing corn on the cob the way I read a month or so back on the internet by wrapping the ears in wet paper towels, then microwaving it. For just a couple of people, it's an easy way of doing it -- and it doesn't make more pots for Forry to wash!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Corn & Tomatoes & Cucumbers & Melons & New Potatoes & a Kohlrabi Too!

Today was another wonderful day. We drove the ninety miles from Ponderosa Falls RV Park to Menno Mennonite Church. After church, we checked on the winter wheat that our farm tenant had sown a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully, the fields are turning nicely green. Now we need to pray for the Fall rains.

From the ranch we drove to Moses Lake to my Brother Patrick and Cindy's home. We watched the Seahawks game on his new TV with them and Nephew Nick. By the time the game was over both of my nieces, Becky and Ashley, and their families had also joined us. This is the first time we had met Jackson Patrick, our newest great-nephew who was just born in May. He was proudly dressed by Mommy Ashley in his Seahawks shirt, matching his daddy Kyle's.

It was a delight to see how much Becky and David's little boys have grown in the year we have been gone. Carter (4) and Case (2) are definitely all boy. They wore me out just watching them play!

Later in the afternoon, we had a wonderful barbeque with mushrooms, shrimp, squash, onions and steak skewers. Add a fresh melon salad and a peach huckleberry pie and we definitely had a feast. It was again such a lovely evening that we sat outside on the patio to eat. This is a snapshot of my brother with little Jackson as Niece Becky looks on --

When we got ready to leave, Pat loaded up Toad with all kinds of goodies from his garden. We have fresh corn, new red potatoes, a box of heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, a cantaloupe and a honeydew melon and even a kohlrabi! We'll eat well this week!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dutch Oven Dinner

Late this afternoon we drove down to the Big Bend Community College (BBCC) in Moses Lake to a Dutch Oven Dinner. The event was held on the patio outside the new library/community building at BBCC. Many years ago -- in the seventies -- I got my start in nursing with an Associate of Nursing degree there as a Licensed Practical Nurse (Mabel Scott, the late Director of Nursing at Samaritan Hospital in Moses Lake refused to hire me, saying that I needed to go on and get my Registered Nurse license and Baccalaureate in Nursing. But that's a story for another day...)

We drove around a bit to see all of the changes there had been in the campus since then. BBCC is located on the grounds of the deactivated Larson Air Force Base. It's certainly a different place from when I went to school there in a little two room surplus building.

Our friends, Katharine and Dennis had purchased the Dutch Oven Dinner donated by the Columbia Basin Dutch Oven Society at the BBCC Foundation Auction earlier this year. They invited ten of their friends to join them. The Society prepared a five course meal for us in their Dutch Ovens.

We had an appetizer course of crab stuffed mushrooms, then a vegetable salad served in these colorful half peppers --

We were so busy talking and eating that I didn't take pictures of the rest of the meal. We had a most interesting fresh tomato bisque-style soup prepared with gin; then a main course of prime rib, fingerling potatoes, green beans and rolls. The finale was a deliciously moist chocolate cherry rum cake.

I kick myself that I didn't walk over and take a picture of the Society crew and their Dutch Ovens. I know there were at least seven or eight of them heaped with ashy charcoal briquettes on their lids. I did find a picture of one in a catalog --

Take it camping.

All in all, it was a most delightful evening. The weather was perfect for sitting outdoors and the conversation was lively and fun. Thank you, Katharine and Dennis! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Baseball and Football and Bull Riding, Oh My!

It's one of those evenings on TV! The Mariners are playing in Texas with the game starting at 6 PM our time on ROOT Sports. The WSU Cougars are playing in Nevada against UNLV with the game starting at 6 PM on ESPN. And the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) are in Springfield, Missouri this weekend with the CBS Sports Network broadcasting the first night's riding at 7 PM.

As much as I dislike Forry's channel-surfing, this is one of those nights I have to admit I'm glad for it. We aren't supposed to covet, but it would be nice to have the kind of TV my Brother Pat has that allows you to have a second small channel showing in the corner of the screen.

It's been another quiet day. Forry did drive over to the nearby Freightliner dealer to make an appointment for an oil change for Auntie Violet on the day we're scheduled to leave Ponderosa Falls. We had tried to get it done the last time we were here, but they were booked solid.

After the couple of chilly nights we had earlier in the week, it has definitely warmed up again. However, we are seeing many RVers starting to make their way south. There's been a lot more turnover here at the park with several rigs only spending the night.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Today was a day for running errands. We had quite a few of them.

Two weeks ago we had taken my Chinese rug into Kirishian's in Spokane to have it washed. It usually takes about a week for them to wash it and then get it dry again. The day before we were supposed to pick it up last week, they called and said that they were going to wash it a second time -- it was that dirty! I tried to get it cleaned before we left last year, but they had been so busy at Kirishian's I couldn't get an appointment. The rug covers the main area of Auntie Violet's living area, so it does get ALL the traffic in and out.

From Kirishian's we went to the pharmacy at Group Health to pick up the prescriptions I had ordered on-line a couple of days ago. While we were there, I took my wrist blood pressure machine upstairs to our doctor's office to compare the readings I was getting with it to the ones the Medical Assistant was getting.

Next it was Bed, Bath and Beyond out on North Division. I wanted to get a new throw rug to put down in front of the refrigerator. The ceramic tile floors are deadly to anything dropped out of the refrigerator. I also like having a rug there to catch the drips from getting ice.

BB&B is a fun place to just browse. Besides bedding and linens and kitchenware, they have a lot of "as seen on TV" stuff. They also carry larger boxes with more varieties of coffees that fit our Keurig coffee machine then you find in the grocery stores. Forry found the water filters for the Keurig he had been looking for as while as a new pillow.

Next stop was over to Spokane Wireless on N Foothills drive. Our Communications Guru Scott Ross  has put together all of the wi-fi router, boosters and antennas for Auntie Violet over the years. The antenna and pole we had up at the ranch had blown down and broken while we were gone (which is why I had no internet service there!). We bought a new antenna -- a new improved, and hopefully sturdier model (Wilson Electronics, Inc Multi-Band Omni-Directional Antenna). Forry also got a bluetooth headphone for using his iPhone that should work well with his hearing aides. Besides which, I got a couple of very nice big hugs from Scott!

Our last stop was at Yoke's Fresh Foods to pick up a few groceries. By the time we got back to Ponderosa Falls we were both tired. I was glad I had picked up a baked chicken for supper while we were at Yokes!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

If It's Wednesday...

If it's Wednesday, it's time for another physician appointment. The older we get, the longer it seems to take to get everything checked out.

The Mariners are in Canada this week playing the Toronto Blue Jays. They won yesterday by one point, and today they did it again. They've been fun to watch the last few weeks as many of the young players we first saw in Arizona Spring Training more than a year ago are beginning to show their stuff.

I do like watching their east coast games a great deal more when we are in the west. We get to watch them at four in the afternoon rather than staying up to watch a game on the west coast while we were on the east coast that didn't start until ten at night eastern time. (Nothing like a convoluted run-on sentence...) In the afternoons, there's nothing else on that Forry wants to watch, so there's no constant channel-switching!

We've been watching some of the pilots for this fall's new shows. Nothing can make you feel quite as old as watching a show about something that wasn't even a topic discussed in mixed company twenty years ago, let alone in public!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Finally - Back at Ponderosa Falls

We started out yesterday morning getting everything ready to move. But the longer we were up, the harder the wind blew and the more the dust stormed. It had been pretty dusty on Sunday morning when we had gone to church and later when we went to the AHEC gathering near Medical Lake. There had been a couple of times when it the dust briefly was so thick you couldn't see the road.

We decided it had been bad enough driving the Toad in the gusty winds and we really didn't want to drive Auntie Violet in it. So Forry went to where he could get cell reception and delayed our arrival at Ponderosa Falls another day. I did a load of laundry and went to bed early...

This morning it was COLD! The temperature in the coulee got down to 27.4 degrees F last night. Our water hose was frozen this morning. But there was no wind! It actually turned out to be a beautiful day to move.

We got back to Ponderosa Falls about three thirty this afternoon; checked in; parked in a nice pull-through site; let down the jacks and put out the slides. We've good satellite reception for the TV; my cell phone had five bars and I have a wonderful internet connection with both AT&T and Verizon!
Life is good, once again.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

AHEC Gathering!

This afternoon our old AHEC crew got together for a mini-reunion. In the last nineteen years of my professional career, I worked with the Eastern Washington Area Health Education Center. We  had one of the best groups of people I have ever had the pleasure to work with!

Every year since I retired, we have gotten together once a year. At first we met in a local restaurant for lunch and talked the afternoon away. Then we started meeting in homes so that we would have a place for the children to play while we visited. This year is perhaps the first year that we have been able to find a date when everyone could come. And as a special treat, we were invited to meet at Kaarin's new home near Medical Lake!

One of our main pursuits for the retired and near-retired when we get together is catching up on each other grand-children -- and great-grandchildren. For a couple of us (the younger ones, of course), it was checking out the new babies at first. And now, it's seeing how those darling little girls have grown!

It's kind of surprising that this group of folk would still enjoy getting together. After all, it's been over seven years since I retired! The rest of them perhaps occasionally see each other during the year, but for me, it's a special part of returning to the Spokane area/

Tomorrow we will be moving with Auntie Violet back to Ponderosa Falls. I will be so glad to have cell phone AND internet coverage!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Another Trip to Spokane

September 5, 2012

(I told Forry this morning that I was getting VERY tired of NO connectivity at the ranch... I am sending this from Moses Lake where I have come to get groceries.)

Forry had a referral appointment in Spokane again today, so we headed up shortly after lunch. Dropped our recyclables off at the Spokane Waste-to-energy plant, then off to the doctor.

Another of our favorite places in Spokane is Gordy's Szechuan up on the South Hill. We picked up Son Sean and headed up there for dinner. The special was a wonderful smoked bacon and cabbage dish that was just great. It's a fun place to go. You walk in and there are a bunch of table set with a bowl with a pair of chopsticks and a napkin at each place. Food is served on platters along with a bowl of rice, so you basically fix your own bowl.

We got back to the ranch in time to watch former President Clinton's speech on TV.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

North Cascades Highway

September 4, 2012
(Once again, I'm not getting internet at the ranch, so am sending it on our way to Spokane.)

We came home from Mount Vernon over Highway 20, the North Cascades Highway. This highway closes down in the wintertime as it goes through some of the most scenic mountains in Washington State. It's been several years since we had driven this way and it was a gorgeous day to do it. After some last hugs from the grandkids and their mother, we left around eleven o'clock.

It's still cold up in the Cascade Mountains and the snow remains on some of the north facing slopes! Most likely some of it will still be there when this winter's snow starts to fall on top of it...

Our drive took us through the beautiful Methow River Valley on the eastern side of the state. This is orchard country. You could see all of the apples beginning to turn red, getting ready for harvest.

It was easy to see it was getting towards harvest time, as trucks were busy transporting the big boxes out to the orchards.

We made a stop in Brewster for gas and a bite to eat, finally getting back to the ranch just as it had gotten dark.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Wanderin' Around

Today Daughter Mary Mae and Granddaughter Claire and Forry and I took a day trip to look at some possible areas for Auntie Violet to settle in when we decide we don't want to be traveling all the time. We drove up the Skagit River and looked at a piece of property we had seen advertised. That particular piece had been sold, but there was another further down the road that looked interesting --

 It has about a 100 feet of river front and is in a very pretty spot --

There is an old fishing cabin (trailer) on the property --

I liked the view of the mountains across the road --

The Skagit River is quite low right now, but it sure is clear --

It's a typically cold western river that comes out of the mountains, but Claire went wading anyway --

Then we drove on up to Blaine and looked at some places in Birch Bay. The beach there is very rocky at low tide.

MM and her father sitting on a log at the beach. You can sure tell the two of them are related!

The kids had a birthday party this evening and didn't get home until almost nine o'clock, but they still wanted to get in one last game of Hand and Foot. That's Claire and her father, Scott --

Grandson Varick doesn't seem too sure about whatever it is his Mom is saying...

I tried a new recipe tonight that was in the Simply in Season cookbook using some of the fresh apricots we picked up in Kittatas with chicken breasts, ginger and maple syrup. It was very good, but I think I would have liked it better with thighs (I do like dark meat!).

Stay at Homes

The plan had been to head for Seattle with Daughter Mary Mae and Scott and the kids today. I think I have gotten too carried away with the peach preparations yesterday and was on my feet too long. I kept getting woke up with legs cramps last night. Anyway, I decided that I didn't want to do a lot of walking today as the plan had been to go to the Woodland Park Zoo with MM and Claire while Varick and his Dad went to the Science Fiction Museum.

I decided it might just be a good day for me to stay home and take a down day. Forry decided he was tired and would stay back as well. We spent a fairly quiet day reading, doing Sudoku and watching the Seahawks game on TV.

The family didn't get home until after 7:30, but the kids were still game to play more Hand and Foot. We switched partners tonight so that Claire played with Grandpa and Varick and I were partners. The two of them have really caught on -- and both sets of partners with grands beat out MM and Scott!

Saturday, September 1, 2012


As I predicted yesterday, we spent a good share of today dealing with absolutely luscious peaches. We started off this morning with Dutch Babies (a baked fluffy pancake) covered in sliced fresh peaches -- they were so sweet, they didn't even need sugar.

Then it was on to jam making. We made several batches to put in Daughter Mary Mae's freezer (and a couple of little ones to take home for ours...).

We ended up giving Sister Sherry a call in the afternoon to check on how she prepared her frozen peach pies. I thought I remembered that she mixed the sugar and tapioca and spices with the sliced peaches and then froze the pie filling in freezer bags in a pie plate. She then took the bags out and stacked them in the freezer. That way the frozen filling would be the right shape ready to slip into pastry and baked. Sherry confirmed that my memory was correct, so I went ahead and made enough for three pies. We had enough ripe peaches left to make a pie for supper as well.

The rest of the peaches will be sliced and frozen for smoothies, but they need to ripen another day or so. I guess that will be our Monday's task.

After supper, Mary Mae decided it was time to indoctrinate our grandchildren into our favorite card game of Hand and Foot. I was surprised how quickly both of them caught on. Grandson Varick partnered with Grandpa and the two of them turned out to be a deadly combination. Granddaughter Claire and I and the parents will have to wait for retribution on another night!