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Back home today.

Trish is coming in on the bus today instead of driving up so I will be heading in to Bellingham to pick her up this afternoon.

More later

Getting ready for tomorrow

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Trish is coming up here after she gets off and we will be heading up to Vancouver, BC for two days to meet up with her son.

Should be fun!

Time to finish cleaning out the truck - going through customs tomorrow...

A moving experience - Boise, Idaho

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A sweet town - been through there a couple of times and like it. It seems they needed to move a tree - from Scientific American:

How Do You Move a Giant Sequoia?
Inhabitants of Boise, Idaho, watched with trepidation earlier this year as its oldest, tallest resident moved two blocks. The 105-year-old sequoia tree serves as a local landmark, not only for its longevity but also because renowned naturalist and Sierra Club co-founder John Muir provided the original seedling. So, when Saint Luke’s Health System found that the 10-story-tall conifer stood in the way of its planned hospital expansion, officials called tree-moving firm Environmental Design.

The Texas-based company has developed and patented scooping and lifting technology to move massive trees. Weighing in at more than 800,000 pounds, the Boise sequoia is its largest undertaking yet. “I [had] lost enough sleep over this,” says David Cox, the company’s Western region vice president—and that was before the hospital mentioned the tree’s distinguished origin. Before the heavy lifting began, the team assessed the root system and dug a five-foot-deep cylinder, measuring 40 feet in diameter, around the trunk to protect all essential roots. After encapsulating the root ball in wire mesh, the movers allowed the tree to rest and acclimate to its new situation for seven months before relocating it. The illustration details what followed.

Very clever technique - using airbags for rigging. Patent No. US 8,844,449 of course!

I was at Costco yesterday and they had Halloween stuff for sale - costumes, candy and an animated skeleton display.

Spring was such a hard and long season this year - I want a couple more months of Summer dammit!

Back home again

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Went out for coffee and spent an hour or two at the store doing some paperwork and checking on a few things.

Working at home today - I was planning to spray some burdock weeds but it is a bit too windy for that. There is no shortage of projects for me to work on though. Pick something.

Lunch first...

Off for the day

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Slept in a bit too much this morning but hey...

Heading out for coffee and then running some errands.

Nothing tonight

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The internet fairies are not being very productive so heading off to YouTube for a while.

Posting will resume tomorrow. Heading up to Canada Thursday evening but I will bring my laptop this time.

Back home from town

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Hit the ground running this morning - slept in a bit longer than I wanted to and had to meet with someone in the morning. They were looking to get rid of two old propane tanks - they were too old to be refilled again. These are perfect for an upcoming project - I want to get into metal casting, specifically aluminum. These tanks are about half-again taller than the normal BBQ tanks so will be perfect as the shell for my furnace.

Fixing dinner and will surf more this evening.

That is it for the evening

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Heading over to YouTube for a while and then to bed.


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Marinated a couple of chicken breasts in some rice vinegar, soy sauce, and some minced ginger and garlic. Grilled with some sliced veggies - onions, a yellow bell pepper and some zucchini drizzled with olive oil. Did a salad and it was yummy. Cooked three breasts so there are leftovers for the next day or two.

Working on some stuff at home for now - heading in to town tomorrow to do some banking for the store and some errands.

Nothing much to report today

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Heading out for coffee and then to the store. Dinner with Lulu tonight. Lulu cancelled.

The police actions in the Charlottesville, Va riot and death seem to be of interest - some things are coming out. More later.

Back home again

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Spent an extra day in town.

A wonderful trip - reconnecting with some friends from thirty years ago. Just got back - did not take that many photos so nothing really to post. I will write more in the next day or two - time to surf the web and process the 500 or so emails that came in while I was away (on a couple of high-volume email lists for some interests).

Seattle is a lot more crowded - the south end of Lake Union is essentially impenetrable with all the traffic and poor traffic light timing - lucky to get two cars through an intersection per cycle. The University District is stop and go traffic. It was fun to see that some of the businesses I remembered from 15-30 years ago were still there. A lot of new business too - the venerable Rainbow Tavern was gone. Robert Cray used to be the house band there for a long time in the 1980's - it got to the point where I would be looking at going out, check the calendar and: "Robert Cray again?" Now, I regret not seeing more of his shows - an incredible performer and great voice. Also a big fan of Kidd Afrika.

A few days offline

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Heading off to visit with some friends in Seattle and will not be talkng my laptop. Blogging will resume on Saturday.

Got a friend checking the house and the critters so they will be fine.

Heading down to Seattle tomorrow

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Driving down for a few days - there are a couple things I need to get - some cement for the forge that costs about $47 for a 50 pound bag but costs another $58 to ship up here.

Plus, visiting with the two dear friends who came up for a visit ten day ago - it has been wonderful reconnnecting.

Last of the tacos for dinner tonight

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Trying to figure out what to watch while having dinner - saw the last episode of Agents of SHIELD yesterday. Decisions decisions...

More posting in a bit...

Back home again - a good day

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Took care of a bunch of stuff in Bellingham - back home and unpacking the truck.

The forecast has been pushed back to Thursday for any relief from the smoke. Fortunately, the thunderstorms have been dropped from the forecast - showers have been pushed back to Saturday.

Heading out for coffee, the store and then a quick run in to town for some parts for the music room - back around 3:00PM or so. 

Been working on a few projects at home - started to do the soundproofing and the new keyboard racks in the music room but got sidetracked into cleaning out some stuff in the garage. Took the last of the Costco roti chicken and had tacos for dinner. Agents of SHIELD is rolling down to its final episodes - just two more to go. There is a 2017 season but it is not out yet.

Surf for a bit and then to bed - working at home tomorrow too.

Back home from the dairy run

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About 40 miles round trip to the Edaleen Dairy outlet in Sumas. The name comes from the two founders - Ed and Aileen Bransma who started it in 1975 - great products. They do the full service with making Ice Cream and the Sumas outlet has a nice deli. Our dairy case was picked over by locusts this weekend and we were out of a lot of items - the shopping list added up to almost $150 at wholesale prices.

Working at home for the rest of the day.

The smoke was supposed to be dissipating today but woke up to it being just as strong as it has ever been. The top of Black Mountain is totally obscured and the ridgelines going up to it are ghosts in the haze - just the silhouettes of the trees.

Weather forecast puts it as being smokey through tomorrow (Tuesday) and then the whole high-pressure ridge, thermal inversion and smoke collapses with attendant thunderstorms. There is very little moisture in the air but even still, they are predicting a 20% chance of precip Tuesday night and all day Wednesday. This will not abate the pervading dryness but it will be a start.

Woke up a couple hours ago - getting ready to head out for coffee and the store. We sold out of milk over the weekend so driving about 20 miles to one of our dairy vendors to stock up - tide us through until the Wednesday delivery. One of the metrics I like to use at the store to get a quick impression of our sales is the tack of totes in the back room. These are the totes used by our wholesaler when they deliver our products as well as our dairy totes. For dairy, we have almost three stacks running up from floor to ceiling and we still ran out. Each tote represents about four gallons of milk. We are selling a lot of dairy.

A productive day - yard work

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I was not on top of the burdock weed last year so have a bumper crop this year - especially with the long wet spring. I like to wait until they bloom to give the bees and the hummingbirds some of the nectar and pollen but they are starting to set their seeds (those prickly burrs that get on everything and really do a number on the horse and llama hair) so it is time to nuke them from low-earth orbit.

I used Crossbow which is a very safe chemical to use around critters and people. It shuts down the plants metabolism without being a broad-spectrum toxin. It affects broad-leaf plants a lot more than grasses which is great as the critters have too much pasture area available to them so they only nibble the choicest of the green grasses and leave the nasty weeds alone. This causes more and more weeds to grow with each successive season. Time to bring this to a halt with some judicious treatment.

I will go around tomorrow with a hand sprayer and spot the garden and flower beds. Time for a shower and some clean clothes.

Check out a couple of new videos and then head upstairs to bed.

Get the rest of the burdock sprayed tomorrow and start on the music room project.

Memos to self - #1) and #2)

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#1) - when messing around in the engine compartment of your tractor (Buttercup), check for any wasps nests

#2) - if you happen to reincarnate as a wasp, sting someone and see them return with a metal can, fly away. Fly as fast as your little wings can carry you. It burns!

Less smoke in the air

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The skies are now a dirty gray color instead of the salmon yellow they were this morning. BC Fire website posted the following infogram:


That is a lot of area - 500,000 Hectares is about 1930 sq. miles or a single square of land 44 miles long on each side.

Fixing lunch and working outside today - the burdock is ready to spray. I like to let it come to blossom first as the bees and hummingbirds love the pollen and nectar.

Red Yellow skies in morning

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Woke up to yellow skies - strong odor of smoke and the mountains on either side of my valley are totally obscured. This is thicker than I have ever seen it in my 15 years up here.

There is a website for tracking this - check out Washington Smoke Information

Heading out for coffee in a few.

Well that did not last long

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Was all ready to put in a couple of hours at home but needed to go to town for something first. Just got back and will at least put in a half-day here.

Fixing some pot roast for dinner - Costco sells pre-cooked roast chuck with gravy. I put it into my dutch oven with some beef stock and carrots, potatoes, celery, onion and garlic and put it over low heat for 45 minutes or so - yummy and enough for a couple of days.

Really hot here - temp got to 96.4°F this afternoon - it has cooled down to a balmy 89.1° - the smoke has lightened a bit but I can really smell it now.

A quiet day at home

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Heading out for coffee, check in at the store and meet with someone to hash out some details of an event in October.

Spending the rest of today working on some projects at home. More later...

Back home with a detour

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Was planning to be home much earlier but the fan motor on my truck failed. It was still under warranty so all it cost me was 90 minutes of my time hanging out at the dealership but still...

Took lots of photos today and will post after I get dinner.

Tractor show

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This time for reals. Took care of some things around the farm and heading out now - back in a couple hours.

Sky is completely opaque from the wildfires in British Columbia - can smell the wood smoke.

84°F already!

Boy do I feel dumb!

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Today is August 1st. For the last two days I had it in my head that Tuesday was August 2nd - the opening day of the Antique Tractor show. Got an early start and drove out there. Lots of nice tractors parked out in the field but not too many people. I figured that it might actually start later in the day - 3:00PM or something. Drove around to the visitor parking lot and I was the only vehicle there.

Heading back out there tomorrow morning for the real event.

Back home, checking email, unpack the truck and fix dinner

Emergency Management in the news

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Great article in Newsweek about how Emergency Management people are treating the upcoming eclipse:

Port-a-potty shortages. Cellular blackout zones. Ambulances stuck in gridlock. These are the conditions emergency managers across the nation are expecting the week of August 21.

No, a major hurricane isn’t forecast. This isn’t preparation for a cyberattack after someone tipped the FBI. Beyoncé isn’t doing a national tour—but the cause is a star of another kind.

The upcoming solar eclipse—the first in 99 years to sweep across the continental United States—has so many fans that disaster-level preparations are being put in place because of the large number of travelers predicted to jockey for prime viewing spots.

A minor nit - this is not being treated like it's the end of the world. The eclipse is being treated as a fantastic opportunity for unique training - regular training uses simulated emergencies - this is a real perturbation of reality. A bit more:

Here’s why many folks are planning for a disaster: Oregon has a population of 4 million people, and the eclipse is expected to draw 1 million visitors to the state for a few days. In Missouri, preparations resemble that for a blizzard or “everything from St. Patrick’s Day parade to a World Series celebration,” says Chris Hernandez, city spokesman for Kansas City, Missouri, one of the larger metro areas in the path of the eclipse.

All of those visitors are expected to clog interstates, along with state and local roads, for days before and after the eclipse, much like the rush during emergency evacuations, says Brad Kieserman, vice president of disaster operations and logistics for the American Red Cross. “Some of these places are never going to see traffic like this,” he says. In some areas, “the population will be double or triple.”

Once visitors arrive, they’ll need bottles of water, lodging and restrooms. And, of course, solar glasses.

And of course:

Kieserman says the Red Cross will use ham radio to communicate when cellphone networks inevitably go down, but its staff and volunteers working on emergency response will have some access to top-priority emergency cell channels.

Should be fun - looking forward to reading the after-event reports.

Getting some water in the garden first while it is still cool outside. Heat wave moving in so need to stay on top of this. Refilling the stock tanks - critters need their water too...

Making a sandwich to take to the event.

And here is what I did today...

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A small piece of corrugated metal but it makes a big difference and will be even better when the shopping carts are re-located.

The top of the pieces of metal are a bit ragged but I am making a piece of wood trim to cover them - install that later this week. Plumbing the electrical outlet went rather well if I say so myself...


Here are the carts back where they were - the tan surface to the right of the new metal is some cardboard to prevent the carts from marking up our nice new slotwall.


A view from the new retail section out toward the front doors - we sell a lot of greeting cards and novelties


A couple of hours work and it came out looking really nice. We are moving the coffee service and the home for the shopping carts sometime next week.

Back to work

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Got the additional tools and hardware I need - forgot that there was an electrical outlet I needed to extend from the wall and make a hole for in the new covering.

Probably get a burger at Graham's when I am done - don't feel like cooking and tomorrow is a busy day with the Antique Tractor show plus some errands in town. One of the errands is in the town of Lynden - right near the tractor show so that will be convenient.

Back in a couple of hours...

Back home for a break

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Waiting for some glue to dry. Forgot a couple pieces of hardware but I only live less than two miles from the store - zero problem. I wanted to get some water on the garden anyway.

Photos later this evening when I am done. 

Stopping off to pick up some tools

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Working at the store today - the retail section is coming along really nicely. Got three more big projects and it will be done (for now).

More blogging later this afternoon.

Two photos from yesterday

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Mt. Baker in all her glory


Friends at Artist Point


Back home again - dinner time!

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Good meeting but now it is time for dinner and finishing off the pantry.

Gotta run - time for the meeting

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Just noticed the time - the meeting is at 6:00PM so I am out the door. I run them pretty fast so I should be back home by 6:45 at the latest - have dinner then. My rice is not done anyway...

Radio network tonight too but I am going to play hooky and finish organizing the pantry - paint is finally 100% dry so I can put the jars and cans on the shelves without them sticking.

Some fun events in the offing

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Two of my favorite events are coming up shortly.

Next week is the Puget Sound Antique Tractor & Machinery Association running from August 2nd through the 5th. I love steam power and there will be a lot of it there - they have their own facilities with a museum, some barns and other outbuildings and a campground. This is always very well attended - there is a large blacksmith shop on site and a lot of smiths visit and swap stories. A lot of fun. A lot of people go there to buy and sell stuff so planning to attend on opening day in case there is something I cannot live without...

Two weeks later - August 14th through the 19th - is the Northwest Washington Fair. This is the big event for the area for the year and has a lot of stuff to see. They bring in some big-name music acts for entertainment in the evening. During the day there are all kinds of critters to see and skritch - cows, horses, chickens (there are some really exotic ones out there). I have recently taken a liking to the Gypsy Vanner (also known as Irish Cob) horse breed (links to description, video) so I would like to see if there are any local breeders. Get my fill of fair food for the year.

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