Snowpocalypse

The temperatures weren’t anything like what recently happened back east but Seattle had it’s own extraordinary weather over the last couple of weeks. Here in Bellevue we had snow over 16 inches deep. The weather historians said it was the most snow since the winter of 1968-1969. With all the hills around here there were lots of cars which didn’t make it home and were abandoned on the side of the street. Some of them were badly crumpled.

We were without mail service for about 10 days. No Amazon deliveries for a simlar timeframe. No garbage or recycling pickup for three weeks. Our power stayed on except for a few outages that lasted no more than 30 seconds. Others, within a quarter mile of us, were without power for a couple days.

I worked from home for about six days as no one else on my team could make it in to work. I could have made it with my car. I could even walk to and from work if I really wanted to. But I didn’t see a point to it. Just stay put and don’t risk getting smacked by someone who didn’t have the proper tires on their vehicle.

Barb’s brother had a surgery scheduled for last Friday in downtown Seattle. His wife had little or no experience driving in the snow so Barb and I volunteered to bring them home after another snowfall. He lives on a hill close to the hill Barb and I live on. The street we live on had not been plowed and had several inches of snow on it. With no idea what his street conditions were like I took off the all season tires which would have been adequate for our street and getting into Seattle and replaced them with studded mud and snow tires. We had no problems traversing the snow and made the trip to and from downtown Seattle without any unexpected adventures.

What was odd to Barb and I was the run on groceries. The shelves of bread, milk, meat and fresh produce were almost completely bare. We got a few things before the snow came but not really much more than usual. I did fill the gas cans for the generator and topped off the tank in my car but we would have been just fine without the extra supplies.

The only issue we had was the snow damaged a gutter as it slid off the roof over the deck.

The Seattle Times reported heart warming stories of people helping others. Daughter Jaime, also in Bellevue, spent many hours shoveling snow in her condo parking lot to help clear a path to the street. She also helped numerous people get out of their car ports with cars poorly equipped for the adventure.

Below the break are pictures of the snow around place.

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Quote of the day—Doug Huffman

My grandfather, Cecil Huffman served in the Army with the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) Siberia.  On this day in February 1919, he wrote a letter to his parents that I have in my possession today.  All his letters were censored, and he knew the rules regarding what information he could send home, so none of his letters appear to have sections cut out or removed.  In his letters he often says there was nothing to write about even after he was involved in skirmishes with the Red Army led by Vladimir Lenin.  The attached letter is much like many others he wrote while in the Army.  On this day 100 years ago, Cecil wrote, “I know you expect to hear something in every letter, but there isn’t a thing to write about.”

The resolve of the people to fight the leftist forces of the communist revolution was not strong enough and resistance slowly folded as the Red Army advanced.  My grandfather and the rest of the AEF Siberia were pulled out of Vladivostok via transport ship in the fall of 1919.

In the decades that followed, Lenin and his successors went on to murder tens of millions of their own countrymen.  As communism spread in the 20th century, estimates are that up to 160 million people died worldwide through execution, starvation and politically motivated genocide under communist rule.  This happened in one nation after another as governments became too powerful, private industry was eliminated and free speech was restricted to only the politically correct line of thinking.

The majority of those supporting communism had no evil intent.  They fought for communism because they believed it would bring a better way of life for them and their children.

We must never forget the lessons of history.

1919-2-11 Cecil to Home (1)

1919-2-11 Cecil to Home

Doug Huffman
February 11, 2019
Email to extended family.
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]

Truth

Via someplace on Facebook:

YOU KNOW YOU ARE FROM WASHINGTON STATE WHEN:

You know the Vitamin d deficiency struggle is real.

You know how to pronounce Sequim, Puyallup, Sammamish, Enumclaw and Issaquah.

You avoid driving through Seattle at all costs.

You know what a Geoduck is.

You consider swimming an indoor sport.

You see a person carrying an umbrella and instantly think tourist.

Your lawn is mostly moss and you don’t really care.

Honking your car horn is for absolute emergencies.

You’re EXTREMELY picky about your coffee.

“The mountain is out today”, isn’t a strange statement.

While out of state you just tell people you’re from Seattle since that’s the only known city in Washington according to the rest of the world.

You remember Almost Live.

You’ve eaten in the Space Needle, and while it was delicious, you’re never paying $50 for a meal in the sky again.

You rarely wash your car because it’s just going to get washed by the rain tomorrow.

You’re used to the phrase “No, not DC” when telling out of staters where you’re from.

Northface is always in fashion.

You take a warm coat and a hat with you for a day at the beach.

You have mastered the art of doing everything in the rain, because, well, Washington.

You play the “no you go” at four-way stop.

You have had both the thought of how beautiful Mount Rainier is, while simultaneously accepting that it will probably kill you someday.

You get a little twitchy if it’s been more than a week since it last rained.

You believe Twilight ruined Forks.

You can say Humptulips, Lilliwap and Dosewallips without giggling.

Add Mukilteo, Snohomish, and Snoqualmie to the list of places you can pronounce correctly. And in Barb’s case she fought Moss War 2015, and finally won in 2016.

Batteries

Boomershoot Mecca has solar power to keep the Wi-Fi going year around. Some of the batteries were over five years old and weren’t holding a charge. Some were three years old and I wasn’t too sure about them. I purchased four new sealed batteries and replaced all the old ones over Thanksgiving.

The batteries don’t handle really cold temperatures well and there is no heat at Mecca. At times it gets well below zero so I put some scrap insulating foam board underneath and on top to retain a little bit more heat until I can make something a little more permanent for the winter.

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I brought the two year old batteries home, charged them, and did some tests. They have about 70% of their claimed storage capacity. I took them back to Idaho earlier this month for use at a different site.

Brother Gary, his dog Roscoe, and I took them the last 0.3 miles across the field on plastic toboggans over a few inches of snow:

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The other site is underneath the power tower you see at the top center of the picture. It is a Wi-Fi relay station to get Internet service from Mecca to brother Gary’s house. The batteries there have been working for a couple years but were a little marginal in terms of recommended capacity. As they aged I was concerned that one dark and extremely cold January the batteries would fail. Putting in additional batteries now will ensure it makes it through this year and I won’t have to make the trip across the field on snowshoes over four feet of snow pulling 100+ pound batteries. I will test their capacity each August or September when access is easy by driving across the field and replace them as needed.

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Rounds in the last month

This month I reloaded 919 rounds of 40 S&W, 1997 rounds of .223, and 50 rounds of 300 Savage.

The .40 S&W was all 180 grain Montana Gold JHP for practice at indoor ranges.

The .223 was 62 grain AP bullets to given the anti-gun crowd a bit of heartburn.

“Why 300 Savage? Isn’t that out of character?”, you might ask. Yes, that is out of character. It’s a somewhat long and sad story.

My nephew Brad Huffman was given an old 300 Savage, rotary magazine, lever action rifle by his maternal grandfather before his grandfather died. Brad harvested a few deer over the years with it. It is a good rifle, considering it’s getting close to 100 years old. Brother Doug bought reloading dies and some new brass to replenish the ammo since it is getting a little hard to find the ammunition for it locally. Brad wasn’t much interested in reloading and he had a box or so of ammo left which would have lasted several years at the rate he was harvesting deer. No big hurry for either of them to load the ammo. Then Brad died. Neither of his sisters are hunters and Doug decided the rifle should stay on the maternal side of the family. His wife has a couple of nephews who are hunters and he decided to give it to them. But before he did that he wanted to load up the brass because the nephews aren’t currently into reloading. Even though Brad died over five years ago Doug still hadn’t gotten around to loading the ammunition so he could give the rifle away properly equipped. I figure it would only take me a couple hours to do it and it would be fun as well. So when I was visiting for Thanksgiving I picked up everything Doug had and brought them home with me. I picked some bullets and an plastic ammo box in Moscow and a missing powder funnel at a gun shop in Cle Elum on the way home.

It took me over a day to reload those fifty rounds. Doug also had seven rounds of used brass that I tried to run through the dies as well as 50 rounds of new brass. I think the chamber of the rifle is oversized in the neck area because four of the seven rounds of used brass got stuck in the die no matter how carefully I lubricated them and tried to get them through the sizing die. Instead of just reloading the new brass I got sort of obsessed with trying to solve the problem. After removing the first stuck case I didn’t get the die adjusted correctly and destroyed a piece of new brass. The end result was 49 rounds of ammunition using the new brass and one round using the old brass.

This brings my lifetime reloaded ammunition totals to:

223: 6,810 rounds.
30.06: 756 rounds.
300 WIN: 1,591 rounds.
300 Savage: 50 rounds.
40 S&W: 95,381 rounds.
45 ACP: 2,007 rounds.
9 mm: 21,641 rounds.
Total: 128,236 rounds

Hike to Lake Ann

A couple years ago Barb and I hiked to Annette Lake. A couple weeks ago we hiked to Lake Ann. Since it was late in the year we expected there would be few people. We were wrong. Short of national parks, this was probably the most crowded parking and trail we have ever been on. Still, the weather was nice, the views were great, and we enjoyed hike.

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New shooter report

Sheryl isn’t a first time shooter. But she didn’t have much experience. She recently moved here from the Philippines and Calvin, her former Marine husband, did teach her to shoot. Calvin likes to drive up in the mountains on Forest Service and even unmarked dirt roads and yesterday they showed Barb and I a wonderful viewpoint east of Snoqualmie Pass:

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After getting off the mountain we went to the range where both of them shot a .22 with a suppressor. I gave Calvin a couple of suggestions and let him shoot by himself. I spent a lot more time with Sheryl and here is the result of her first target from about 10 feet away with 10 shots per bullseye:

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I then had them shooting five shots with the requirement that each shot be on a different bullseye from the previous to simulate a Steel Challenge type stage. Then I put them on the shot timer. I told Sheryl that I thought with a little practice she could do it in about five seconds—one second per shot. “No way!”, she said. I told her at first I expected something on the order of seven or eight seconds but we could get her somewhere in the range of five today.

It took a little bit for them to settle down and not get misses but when we were done Sheryl did better than Calvin with one string at 4.44 (IIRC). Calvin’s best was 5.15 (IIRC).

I moved them back to about 20 feet and Calvin did better. Sheryl kept trying to shoot the same speed as at the shorter range and had misses. A another trip or two to the range is going to be required before I take them to a match.

I then put them on my STI Eagle chambered in .40 S&W with low recoil loads:

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They both did well but Sheryl, in particular, had problems with the gun not fully cycling. I gave her a few major power factor loads. She did just fine with them but with the heavier gun, large grip, and her small hands I could tell she was getting tired. It was time to clean up and called it quits for the day anyway so that’s what we did.

Mount Catherine

Last Sunday Barb and I hiked up Mount Catherine. We were hoping that by driving east of Snoqualmie Pass and getting up near 5000 feet in elevation we could get out of all the forest fire smoke around home. No such luck, but it was a nice hike anyway. We probably will go back sometime when the air is clear and we can see something in the distance other than the haze.

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The drive to the trailhead really requires a high clearance vehicle. Even with my Ford Escape we bottomed out once on some particularly high rocks. The trail is pretty nice. It’s not a walk in the park with a wide smooth path, but it’s not one of those trails which “you have to believe it in order to see it” either (been there, done that, got lost, it wasn’t our favorite outing). The last little bit near the top is steep and it little more than dirt steps in the side of the mountain. No big deal when it’s dry but it could be treacherous when it’s wet.

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Quote of the day—Sherry Suen-Mizell

I prefer rifles.

Sherry Suen-Mizell
August 11, 2018
[Sherry was on the Huffman family farm and was given an opportunity to throw a tomahawk at the end of a log. She wasn’t interested and gave this as the reason. This was an excellent way decline in a manner which endeared her to me.

Also, from the same day, she acted as a chair for my grandson Bryce:

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We didn’t get to the rifles or the Boomerite this weekend. We will make it happen someday.—Joe]

Idaho visit

Last weekend Barb and I went to Idaho. We delivered more chemicals for Boomershoot 2019, trimmed some trees along the road to Boomershoot Taj Mahal, and attended my high school reunion. The weather was a little on the warm side but not bad. We took a few pictures during the trip:

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I believe this was west of Colfax on Highway 26. We found the clouds quite pretty.

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This is the lentil field just south of Boomershoot Mecca.

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I”m planning to repair these steel targets at the tree line before Boomershoot 2019.

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I was trying to do the equivalent of this one from almost exactly 10 years ago:

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Another view of the hay bales with the shooting line in the background.

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For many years Barb had digestive issues with wheat. Those issues mysteriously went away a few months ago (Barb is skeptical of my suggestion it was Dr. Joe’s cure for everything, and I’m skeptical of her hypothesis of a spiritual/energy something or other healing). Here we have her next to a field of Huffman Wheat.

Crater Lake

Last Saturday and Sunday Barb and I hiked various trails around Crater Lake. I’d been there a couple times before but hadn’t really done any hiking.

Our first hike was to The Watchman Lookout:

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At over 7000 feet above sea level there was some snow but nothing blocking the trails:

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The weather was wonderful with visibility probably exceeding 100 miles.

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With such clear skies the water was intensely blue (this is straight from my phone camera, no color adjustments):

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The incredible blue color is not new. 1853 prospectors named it “Deep Blue Lake” and in 1862 another set of prospectors named it Blue Lake. The color is because the water is extremely clear and deep. In the deepest part it is 1,943 feet deep. It is so clear that person in a submersible vehicle at the greatest depth was able to see the flag on the vehicle with only the sunlight which made it to those depths.

The island is called Wizard Island. The crater on the top of the island is called Witch’s Caldron. If you take a boat to the Island you can explore the entire island. We decided not to invest the time (the better part of a day) to go on that excursion.

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From the other side of the lake we saw the island named Phantom Ship, a bald eagle, and some very tiny flowers:

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There were several other geological features to be seen in the park which we visited on Sunday but the highlights as seen above can easily be viewed in a single day without strenuous hiking.

Lava River Cave

After we visited the Big Obsidian Flow Barb and I drove a few miles north to see the Lava River Cave. It is a lava tube nearly one mile long. There are no natural light sources and the only light sources are those you bring in with you. Pictures were difficult to take and those which were attempted were nearly pointless in attempting to convey the size and awesomeness of this tube.

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Barb had never been in a cave before and found the experience less than enjoyable. It wasn’t claustrophobia because we didn’t get to anything particularly small and she has been in small confined spaces before without issue.

Big obsidian flow

Yesterday Barb and visited the Big Obsidian Flow in central Oregon. As is the case with many volcanic fields it is somewhat other worldly. It’s a flow composed of about 25% obsidian mixed with pumice. It is an easy hike and very worthwhile.

There are huge chunks of the black natural glass all around you:

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You need to be careful when stepping on it because it is very slick. You are told not to bring your dog with you on the trails because, well, broken “glass” is everywhere.

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The native Americans who lived nearby used the obsidian for tools and traded it with other tribes.

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Because the chemical makeup of the flow is distinguishable from other sources scientists were able to trace tools found hundreds of miles away to this flow.

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Hiking on Mount Hood

Barb and I hiked on Mount Hood today. The weather was great. The air was clear enough that we could easily see Mount Jefferson over 45 miles away and Three Sisters and Broken Top (to the left of Mount Jefferson) nearly 90 miles away:

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Here is the same view of the mountains with a 125 mm lens instead of a 43 mm lens:

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We talked to another couple hiking down as we were going up who told us that yesterday there were 60 MPH winds. We were very lucky with our date selection!

We hiked up to the the ski lift junction at just under 7000 feet elevation. I wanted to make it above 7000 feet so I went on up the hill a short distance to what my phone GPS said was 7054 feet above sea level.

My view from there:

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Yes, it was July 3rd and there were lots of skiers. Here are some more:

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And here is a cropped version from the lower center of the picture above:

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