Dorks

ChiefJayBob sent Barb and I matching shirts.

Barb’s came with instructions. There was something in the instructions about wearing or not wearing them at the same time and being dorks. I don’t read so good and couldn’t really understand it that well.

Anyway, we appreciate receiving them and put them on this morning.

Here are the pictures:

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Update: In the comments ChiefJayBob said something about not in public and the rules that came with the shirt. Barb and I studied the comment for a bit and if we understood things correctly we needed a picture in public. So we went to the local grocery store and took another picture:

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Barb also studied one of his other comments about the shirts. He said something about wearing it when going to bars. I don’t really drink so going to bars isn’t something I have an interest in doing. But Barb said having a “Fire and Rescue” shirt is awesome for picking up chicks in a bar and says she will totally wear it when she goes to the bars. I don’t really understand this. Maybe people help you catch them if they think you are going to rescue them.

And I’m not sure I understand why there would be chicks at a bar. Sure, some bars serve chicken-wings but I’ve never heard of chicks in a bar. Are they attracted to leftover malted barley or something? I don’t really think there is a place to raise them at her house anyway. And chickens are very messy animals to have around. I wouldn’t really want them if I had to take care of them. She just going to have to demonstrate what she wants to do with these chicks she is going to pick up.

Elderberry fiend

When I was in Idaho last weekend my SIL Julie was making elderberry juice with the juice extractor I bought her last Christmas. I wanted some and brother Doug picked some more berries (as did I since I didn’t know he was doing it) and I ended with a full gallon of juice to bring back home.

Barb had said she would help me preserve any fruits I brought back but she was thinking apples, pears, and prunes. She didn’t know anything about elderberries. I happily informed her that you make jelly out of them. For some reason her enthusiasm did not match mine. Obviously she had been culturally deprived for all these years and once I informed her of this she would have the enthusiasm to match mine. For some reason that didn’t work out quite like I planned. She remained skeptical but looked up a recipe and yesterday she purchased the supplies.

Today we made elderberry jelly, cranberry jelly (from 100%, no water or sugar added, cranberry juice I bought in an Idaho store after daughter Kim told me about it), and 50/50 elderberry/cranberry jelly.

Here is the result:

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Barb, after I insisted that it was really good, tasted some of the cooled foam that we scooped off prior to putting the jelly it in the jars.

She became an elderberry fiend. As soon as we finished with the jelly she made elderberry syrup, elderberry liquor, and some sort of mix of vodka and elderberries. If there are still elderberries on the trees when we next go to Idaho she wants more.

I think I have been forgiven for bringing home the elderberry juice.

A different culture

I visit family in Idaho about once month. Something that I frequently notice is the huge difference between being on the farm in Idaho and working in a high rise office building in Seattle. I am sometimes driving truck, combine, or a bulldozer in Idaho one day and looking out over the Puget Sound from behind my computer in a skyscraper the next.

There are other profound differences as well.

Here are my daughter Kim and Jacob at their home in Idaho. I took this picture on Saturday:

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The sign isn’t anything particularly special. It is sold at Michaels, a national chain store for arts and crafts, where Kim works as she finishes her accounting degree at the University of Idaho. Yet the odds of seeing a sign like that in the Seattle area are asymptotically close to zero.

I imagine this sign would put people of the anti-gun crowd into an apoplectic state. It appears to me that the concept of property rights and being able and willing to defend those property rights is alien to them. They might give lip service to the concept of diversity and tolerance of other cultures but they make it very clear by their actions they are actively attempting to destroy certain cultures. They want to destroy one of my cultures.

The definition of irony

The University of Idaho vehemently opposed respecting the Bill of Rights and the Idaho State Constitution in regards to firearms. The legislature finally told them to suck it up and face reality. They have reluctantly entered the 21st Century screaming and yelling and they still don’t like it and they are doing whatever they can to make sure the students know they don’t like it.

The fall semester just started which is the first semester since the law went into effect on July 1 of this year. One professor, Dan Hickman, put the following into the syllabus for one of his classes:

The University of Idaho bans firearms from its property with only limited exceptions. One exception applies to persons who hold a valid Idaho enhanced concealed carry license, provided those firearms remain concealed at all times. If an enhanced concealed carry license holder’s firearm is displayed, other than in necessary self‐defense, it is a violation of University policy. Please contact local law enforcement (call 911) to report firearms on University property.

Apparently he wants to ostracize people who go through several hours of training and a FBI background check in order to exercise a specific enumerated constitutional right.

Daughter Kim sent me this picture from the Memorial Gym, the same location as the ROTC gun range:

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They create a victim disarmament  zone and then declare it a “Designated Safe Zone”?

And, as Kim pointed out:

It also bothered me that the only sign I saw in memorial gym was that one on the door to the women’s center which is supposed to be about women empowerment.

Irony. Find your definition here.

Traumatic hair cuts

Barb was in downtown Seattle today and had an appointment to get her hair cut.

Fortunately it was at a different location and time than this incident:

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There were six people injured and the structural integrity of the building was compromised.

Can you imagine laying back with someone shampooing your hair, you are all relaxed, and mellowed out then CRASH! The room explodes with broken glass, flying debris, a car zipping across the room, and the ceiling sags down toward you?

On this day there were advantages to being bald.

What is it?

I built this gadget around 20 years ago. It’s been in use on a mountaintop ever since, until being brought down to my shop today. Three of the cylinders are marked “C” and the other three are marked “L”.

I remember having it the back of my 1966 Chrysler Town and Country station wagon parked across the street from the Federal Building in Moscow, Idaho right after the Oklahoma City bombing and wondering if I was going to get hassled for it.

The Gadget

The Gadget

And people think I’m a packrat

Son James has often said he is glad he didn’t inherit the packrat gene from me. Barb has hinted at similar thoughts on more than one occasion. I’m a long way from being a hoarder but I admit I keep things most people would throw away.

I heard this story over the weekend when visiting Idaho but SIL Julie blogged about it so I’m comfortable telling about a relative of hers:

The funniest find of the day was a small box I pulled off the top shelf of the pantry.  I opened it and there was wedding cake!  Very petrified wedding cake.  Their parents were married 64 years ago…

Summer Trip

I grew up in Alaska, and still have most of my family there. Summer is a great time to go places with the kids, and visiting home is always an item high on the list. But, because Alaska Airlines normally has a defacto monopoly on flying into Juneau, it’s usually around $500 a ticket from Seattle. When Delta decided to give them some competition this summer, priced promptly got cut in half. The daughter has been there once before, when she was two, and the son only in utero. So, we went. Continue reading

I’m the reasonable man

I took a firearms class today to get the new Idaho Enhanced Concealed Weapons License. Mike (from the link) taught the legal portion of the class. During the class he said the criteria for many lethal force self-defense situations is what a “reasonable man” would have done in the same circumstances. He used me as an example of such a person, “We need an EE as our reasonable man, right?” He also suggested I send him a picture of myself to add to his slide. So, within five minutes I had taken a selfie and emailed it to Mike.

This evening I received an email from Mike without text. It just contained a PDF of the slide:

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Therefore, just so you know, I’m the quintessential Reasonable Man.

Idaho sunset

I’m in Idaho for my nieces wedding and although I could have stayed at Dad’s house the weather is really warm and I like sleeping under the trees in a sleeping bag. So I went to Boomershoot Mecca and put pads and a sleeping bag and pillows down. As I was getting settled I saw the sun setting.

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The picture doesn’t do it justice.

It’s a full moon tonight too.

I wish Barb could have come with me. It would have been perfect.

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.

Waterbeds

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:

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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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Continue reading

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:

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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:

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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.

Helen

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.