Huffman wheat in the news

I mentioned Huffman wheat a couple weeks ago. There was some more news about it yesterday on the local television station when they interviewed Brad’s parents and his boss:

Last summer, a University of Idaho alumnus passed away suddenly in his sleep at the young age of 22-years-old.
Today, his family and peers honored his life by presenting a new variety of wheat that he helped create to the public. Rachel Dubrovin brings us the story behind the U I–WSU Huffman variety.

There is an article about it in the Lewiston Morning Tribune (account required for the full article):

Bradley Huffman’s interest in plant breeding began at an early age – and to some, he was a natural.

That’s why Jack Brown felt it was fitting for the new wheat variety released jointly from the University of Idaho and Washington State University to be named after the recent UI graduate, who unexpectedly died in June 2013 at age 22.


Someone I know is skeptical of the benefits of sleeping on a waterbed. I have a really nice waterbed with a mirrored canopy (only partially assembled in this picture):WP_000575HighContrast

So I was thrilled when I ran across this newspaper article recently:


I’ve had problems with my back in the past and this article says waterbeds are great for your back.

There is just one problem with the article. Check out the date on the newspaper: LmtWaterbedArticleDate

Mount Saint Helens

For the 4th of July this year Barb, her daughter Maddy, and I decided to go hiking near Mount Saint Helens. I have been interested in going for years but it just never worked out. This year we made it happen.

Mount Saint Helens exploded on May 18, 1980 and created the largest debris avalanche in recorded history. I heard the boom from it over a 100 miles away in Kirkland Washington. The ash from it fell on our farm in Idaho 275 miles away. I still have a pound or so of the ash that was swept off of the patio from my parents house.

We went on an eight mile (round trip) hike through part of the area destroyed by the high speed avalanche and blast from the explosion. We walked to within five miles of the crater. You might think five miles is a long way away. But the eruption killed trees 17 miles away. The scale of the destruction is amazing.

Taking a picture of something five miles away with the wide angle lens in an ordinary cell phone usually results in the object being invisible. This is not the case with Mount Saint Helens:

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Huffman wheat

From the University of Idaho:

In addition to offering the opportunity to view extensive wheat variety trials, the field day will introduce a first in wheat breeding – a new variety released jointly by the University of Idaho and Washington State University.

The new soft white winter wheat will be named UI-WSU Huffman in honor of UI College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ alumnus Bradley Huffman, who suddenly and tragically died last year at age 22. Bradley grew up near Cavendish on a family farm operated by his parents, Doug and Julie Huffman. He worked in the university wheat breeding program throughout his undergraduate training. During this time his contribution to the breeding program was significant, said UI plant breeder Jack Brown.

This new variety offers “high yields under dryland conditions, with excellent quality and good resistance to two important wheat diseases, Cephalosporium stripe and yellow stripe rust,” said Brown, who oversaw the variety’s later development and release.

UI-WSU Huffman is a joint release because it resulted from a cross between Bruneau, a cultivar developed by former UI wheat breeder Bob Zemetra, and a wheat breeding line developed at Washington State University.

The new variety will be licensed by and marketed exclusively by Limagrain Cereal Seeds. All of the seed royalties that would normally be allocated to the cultivar breeder and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences will go to the Bradley Huffman Scholarship for Plant Breeding and Plant Sciences to commemorate Bradley Huffman’s life.

Brad was my nephew. He died just a little over a year ago.

In the “it’s a small world” category, Jack Brown, quoted above, has kids that went to school with mine. Almost 20 years ago he was also on the same bus as my ex-wife and I when we went on a multi-day field trip with the kids to Oregon to learn more about the Oregon Trail. He was Brad’s boss at the University of Idaho. It was his idea for the naming of the wheat and the scholarship in honor of Brad and he pushed it through the bureaucracy.

The high point of our weekend

Barb, both my brothers, and I went for a walk yesterday to check out one of the WiFi Nanostations I put up to get a new internet connection to brother Doug the last time I visited the farm. Doug just has a temporary installation for the solar power and the mounting of the Nanostation is still the steel fencepost I used but it is still working:


The signal strength at this station was about 10 dB lower than the last time I was there and by realigning the antenna we regained 3 dB but we were unable to account for the other 7 dB loss.

It was only a short distance away so I suggested we visit the highest point on the farm. According to the GPS on my phone the altitude is 3161 feet (+/- 10’) above sea level.

From there I had brother Doug take a picture of Barb and I:


As you can see in the background there is a very nice view from there. Some of the geological features are 30+ miles away.

I think we are done here

I made a Facebook friend request to someone I have known for over 30 years. I hadn’t had any contact with her for probably four years but it sounds like a mutual friend from our past lost their son and I wondered if she knew something about it.

In response to my friend request I got this:

Hi Joe, I am chair of the Veterans For Peace Environmental Cost of War and Militarism Working Group. Because you have chosen to become a militant enemy of your local environment by exploding bombs on it, I do not want to be your Facebook friend.

Killing everything in that spot of Mother Earth that you choose to desecrate for fun and leaving behind the heavy metals to poison the water of future generations is appalling to me.

I’m not just picking on you personally. I’m against bombs, bombing ranges, chemical and depleted uranium weapons, mining where the people of the land are forced off of their property, and many other things involved with the military-industrial-1% complex.

If you could put some of your intelligence into figuring out how to bring down global capitalism and war profiteering, encourage farming and local food buying, conversion from fossil fuels and endless consumption to conservation and cleaner energy, stopping fracking, nuclear power, and the war against the indigenous, I’d love to hear your ideas.


I knew she was of significantly different political persuasion than me even when we were close. But wow! Bring down “global capitalism”?

I think we are done here.


You would think they would know better:

A level 3 sex offender was arrested after he kidnapped a little girl from a Beacon Hill Park.  On 6/5/14, just shortly before 7:00 p.m., the complainant called and stated that a male tried to “touch his little girl”. The complainant went on to say that the suspect was surrounded by people in the 9300 block of Carkeek Dr S.    Officers quickly arrived and found 3 people beating one male, who was down on the ground.

I sort of understood the protective instincts of parents for their offspring before I had kids. You know you should never get between a mother bear and her cubs so probably there is something similar with people.

But after they were born, it’s like, “OMG! If you try to harm one of my kids you have a death wish! You would rather have a momma bear chasing you than me because she isn’t as smart in the chase, she isn’t as persistent in the hunt, and she isn’t as creative when she catches you.”

If child kidnapping had a high risk of a nearly immediate beating and/or being shot it probably would reduce the incidence more than the threat of an arrest, prison sentence and/or GPS tracking device.

Donations to charities

I’ve donated to numerous charities over the years. It’s difficult to say which I have donated the most to. One could add up all the money but there are some donations that aren’t measured in dollars.

I donated my eighth gallon to the Puget Sound Blood Center last night:


I don’t know for certain but I think that if I were to add in the blood donated to the Red Cross I’d be close to the 10 gallon mark.

A new Internet connection

Off and on for a couple years and then starting in during the week between last Christmas and New Years I have spent a LOT of time trying to get a good Internet connection to my brother Doug. I have a good connection at Boomershoot Mecca but Doug and his family are blocked by the woods behind their house from Teakean Butte which is the source of my connection. They have a satellite connection that cost a lot of money, is unreliable, has HORRIBLE ping times, and poor transfer rates.

Mecca is 1.6 miles from our Dad’s house and is blocked by a small hill. Doug’s house is about 75 yards further still. And Dad’s house, a machine shed, and the hill block their view of the Boomershoot site. So we had to find a way around the hill just get it to Dad’s place. From Dad’s place it is a pretty easy hop around the machine shed. But first we needed to get to Dad’s place.

The obvious answer is to put a repeater on the hill between Mecca and Dad’s place. But we don’t own the hill. The nickname we have for the owner is “Wicked Witch of the Boomershoot”. So you can imagine how well such a request might be greeted with. I wouldn’t be surprised if she complained about us transmitting electromagnetic waves over her property—if she knew about it.

Anyway the best we could come up with was putting a repeater on a hill I own 1.7 miles from Dad’s house. Yup. We go further way to get a better signal to Dad’s place.

The ordinary Nanostation2s should work for several miles under ideal conditions. But this isn’t an ideal situation. We are probably actually just out of line of sight. In December I couldn’t get things to quite work unless I chose a different hill which belongs to cousin Alan. We probably could have gotten permission from him but at that location we needed to have two Nanostation2s, one pointed toward Mecca and the other toward Dad’s house.

I ordered a parabolic reflector hi-gain external antenna and came back the end of February. And found to my delight that I had good signal strength with just the Nanostation2s, completely different results that when I had done my tests in December. I still wasn’t able to get a high bandwidth connection but I was pretty sure it was a configuration issue on my part. Doug purchased the equipment he would need to get solar power on my hill to power the Nanostation2 and I planned to come back in a few weeks and do my part with the configuration of the Nanostation2s.

I went back in April and again tried to get a connection. Now the Nanostation2s alone didn’t work. The signal strength was back to what I had in December which was too low to be usable. What is going on? I suspect some differences in the ground conductivity or something. I just don’t know for certain. Again I gave up for the moment.

This weekend with the help of daughter Kim, Jacob, and Jeff I did some Boomershoot cleanup, mounted more solar panels on Boomershoot Mecca, and took down a solar panel that Doug was going to use for the repeater. I then proceeded to do some more signal strength testing.

I put up a twelve dBi antenna (a Nanostation2 has a 10 dBi internal antenna) on my hill attached to a Ubiquiti BulletM2 (the same one I used at Boomershoot with great success) and with the parabolic (24 dBi) antenna on a Nanostation2 at Dad’s place was able to get good signal strength. But for some reason the bandwidth sucked. Probably a configuration issue I guessed.

Doug wanted to avoid mounting anything on the outside of Dad’s house so I moved the parabolic antenna to the BulletM2 on my hill and used the internal 10 dBi antenna on a Nanostation2 at Dad’s place. It should only be a 2 dB loss compared to the 12 dBi antenna we were testing with before.

Signal strength was good but the bandwidth was in the toilet. I’m talking throughput to the Internet on the order of 60 kbs download and 10 kbs upload. It has to be a configuration issue. I spent hours trying all kinds of things with no success.

I finally decided the BulletM2 on my hill had to be the problem. So Monday afternoon I put in a Nanostation2 in place of the BulletM2 driving the parabolic antenna:


It worked. Just this minute I have 2.11 Mbps download and 0.68 Mbps upload from my computer through a WiFi access point in their house, a switch, five Nanostations (remember I needed to hop around the machine shed), the router at Mecca (two miles away via the Nanostation path), and to the outside world.

Tomorrow I bring my Verizon Network Extender to test out in their house. I’ll finally have them connected to the rest of the world in a civilized manner.

Update: Early (6:19) in the morning the connection to the rest of the world was less busy and I got this result:


Yeah. I’m all thrilled about something that is considered poor service by anybody in a major city but this is out in an area where it’s tough to even get cell service. Only Verizon and Inland Cellular even have a hint of service here. And then it is very spotting and intermittent. You have to travel at 20 miles, as the crow flies, to get service from AT&T or T-Mobile.

Their satellite ISP has an advertised (but never realized) download rate of 1.5 Mbs and upload of 256 kps plus a download data limit of 17 Gbytes per month. Ping times are in the 1.25 second range. If you watch a few movies and do a bit of web browsing you exceed that data limit. This is so much better and they will have a solid Verizon connection in their house in a few hours.

Careful what you wish for

When I started dating again after separating from my ex-wife. I jokingly put the following in my online dating profile:

I’ve thought that I would like a harem of super models with a mean IQ of 150 and a minimum of 130. But I’m pretty certain drawing a square circle using a unicorn horn is more likely. Also, taking care of more than one woman is probably beyond my ability so, upon further reflection, I have decided I’ll just have a more conventional relationship.

Barb L. liked my profile and, in fact, after being on for a month, I was the only person she was interested in meeting and she let it expire without meeting anyone else. I have been the only person she dated after kicking her ex-husband out of the house.

After meeting her I was quite smitten. I stopped looking and concentrated my attention on Barb. It’s worked out well.

What I didn’t know was that while I was joking about the harem of super models in my profile was that Barb actually turned down a modeling career. She is very smart and probably would have been bored with it as well as having much better long term prospects in her chosen career.

A few months ago she told me about the modeling stuff and showed me some pictures she had stored in the garage. You can see damage to some of the pictures but you can also see that even when joking you might get something of what you were asking for:

This says her height is 5’ 11”. It might have been then but she is now nearly 6’ 1”.




She says she used to call this one “Barb on the rocks.”








Weer’d made a comment in this post that kind of bugged me:

Still I’ve noticed that the more homogenous a population is in an area the more revolting the racism can be. I knew a ton of people in Maine who would drop the N-Bomb frequently, and would make horrible cracks about blacks….but I always wondered if they had even SEEN one.

It’s a LOT harder to make such cracks when you know people of a minority or other groups.

Where I grew up there were virtually no “people of color”. Technically the family farm was (and is) on an Indian reservation but most of the land had been purchased by whites over the years and no Indians have lived there since before I was born. 20 miles away, in Lapwai, the entire town was (and probably still is) essentially Nez Perce. But we only saw them when our schools competed. They were serious competitors just like the kids from Grangeville and Kamiah who also had few, if any, non-whites. Their athletic ability was everything. The only pigmentation that mattered was that of their uniform. The inferiority of that pigmentation did not extrapolate to an inferiority in the pigmentation of their skin.

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I’ve been sick

I was late in posting QOTD yesterday and today. I’ve been very sick. It wasn’t until today that the doctors figured out what was going on. It was a “perfect storm” of an undetected cavity in a tooth in proximity to a wisdom tooth fragment left behind after the extraction. A soft-tissue infection developed and even after the antibiotics kicked in enough for the visible infection to go away I still felt terrible. I have seen three doctors so far and will see five before everything is taken care of. I’m somewhat functional now but only with the help of drugs.

It’s amazing the effect something going on in a length of gum tissue less than an inch in length can have. Late morning on Wednesday was the worst. I was shivering uncontrollably. I was in bed with a down comforter and four blankets, doubled over, on top of me. It was 70 degrees in the room and still I was shivering and for inexplicable reasons, because I didn’t have significant pain at the time, had streams of tears rolling down my face. Barb turned on a space heater and heated the room up to I don’t know what temperature before I finally was able to stop shivering.

I’m so glad this didn’t happen during Boomershoot.

Quote of the day—Barb L.

You will be delicately chilled.

Barb L.
May 3, 2014
[This was as we were leaving my Dad’s house to go to the Boomershoot site in the morning. I had left my coats (three of them) and sweatshirt at Boomershoot Mecca. I was just wearing a t-shirt and Barb was bundled up.

I had often thought Ry was king of clever descriptions. But Barb is a close contender. She makes me laugh multiple times a day with the clever and funny things she says.

But I wondered as we drove away, if there is such a thing as “delicately chilled” then that surely must mean there is such a thing as “harshly chilled” or “roughly chilled”. What would those be?—Joe]

Disney ship accommodations

Disney pays a lot of attention to detail. This is true of their parks as well as their ships and island. Every night when we were having dinner our bed was turned down and a towel folded in the shape of an animal was waiting for us on our bed:


The food tasted wonderful and was presented beautifully. Here is an example:


There were three swimming pools on board. One for kids, one for teenagers, and one for adults. This is the adult pool:


On the last day, even before we were were off the ship, they had the pools drained and were washing down the ship with cleaners.

In the evenings we saw a movie (Frozen) and a extraordinarily well produced play. The attention to detail in the props and production detail was amazing.