Monday, January 30, 2006


Roger took this photograph of the sky as the sun was setting this evening. Gosh this is a wonderful place to live.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

You know, technology is a wonderful thing. I don’t think some people really appreciate what the computer has done for us. I remember my days in grammar school where we were constantly drilled on our multiplication tables and our abilities to spell all of the words on the weekly spelling list. Not only did I have to spell our words correctly we were required to know the definition as well. And…how we practiced and practiced our cursive writing so it was legible.

Now, instead of writing I type. All I need to do is get the word close and this wonderful program called Microsoft Word will correct my spelling. Then, instead of slipping all of my poorly written gibberish into an envelope and placing my five cent (now 39 cent) stamp on the envelope so the letter can be delivered to a single recipient days later, I instantly send the same message to multiple persons within a heartbeat…at least that’s what’s supposed to happen, right?

Our humble residence lies just outside of the coveted wireless high speed Internet service area. So, we had satellite installed. The satellite connection is infinitely faster than dial up though not as fast as cable…but we can live with it.

Unfortunately our satellite service has limits and it is necessary to keep our usage within the limits so that we are not charged an exorbitant amount of money to transmit our words of wisdom and surf the web looking for all sorts of worthless and obscure information.

We have been chugging along for several months now merrily performing the above mentioned actions and managing to stay well within the limits…until this month. At this time we are grossly over in our allotment.

In order to keep down the cost of communicating we have temporarily returned to using dial-up service. Have you ever tried to download a 5 MB file using dial up? For those of you that I have sent these large cumbersome files to and who also use dial-up service I sincerely apologize. The agony of waiting for a single web page to load at 27.4 bps is almost more than I can bear. Our angst should end in about 3 more days.

The real problem has been in switching the computer properties from satellite to dial-up. Roger has spent a great deal of time listening to the elevator music while waiting on hold with our local Internet Service Provider. On Monday, we get to switch it all back again. You know the saying about what you don’t know, you won’t miss? I wonder if I should go back to practicing my cursive.

Friday, January 20, 2006


I did mention it wasn't raining yesterday...didn't I?

Thursday, January 19, 2006


We wake up each morning to a different view of the world outside our window. Yesterday morning, we were greeted with this beautiful sunrise. At least it's not raining anymore.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


You know the saying, “Be careful what you wish for”? Well, I guess that would apply here. When we were in CA we lived in a beautiful community with paved streets, sidewalks and many maintained hiking trails. I loved to get out and walk, listen to the sounds of the morning; birds singing, dogs barking, feeling the spray of the lawn sprinklers in your face, avoiding getting run over in the cross walk because our “senior” residents don’t seem to understand that the stop sign really does apply to them. It was all so serene.

Now that we’re in WA we don’t have the convenience of sidewalks and landscaped hiking trails. It’s beautiful but sometimes it’s cold and I just don’t feel like dressing up in multiple layers of clothing just to go outside and start pealing the layers off as I overheat while jogging about the country side trying to avoid twisting an ankle on hidden rocks and uneven ground.

In keeping with the healthy life style I “hinted” to Roger that we needed a tread mill…in fact I hinted a lot…maybe too much because I/we got one for Christmas. Now, each morning it’s upon the rapidly spinning suicide mat and run/walk our hearts out. At least it gets me/us up and out, raises our heart rate and prepares us for our afternoon nap.

Roger bought some weights yesterday to add to those we already use so I guess we’re getting serious about living long enough to accomplish some of the adventures we have planned. That is if someone doesn’t find us passed out from exhaustion.

Monday, January 09, 2006


We hiked up the hill a few days ago to see the waterfall located at the back of the property. This is not an easy hike for some. The trip doesn’t quite involve packing a box lunch and carrying extra water but it does test the fitness of your legs and lungs.

The hill behind the house is about a 20+ degree grade. That’s the first test. Then we follow deer trails (and deer never walk in a straight line) through the brambles and wild roses, over rocks and soggy soil to our destination. A little winded? Yes, but well worth the trip. The view is spectacular.

The falls (just a trickle during the summer) was running full: not as grand as the Niagara or the Palouse Falls but still beautiful.

On our way back down from our hike we found a small narrowing of the stream bed (quite a ways from the falls). We’re going to work on filling the “neck” in with rock to create a small pond behind it. It should work well with the natural basalt rock on either side of the narrows. Overflow from the pond will create another smaller falls as the pond fills and overflows. We’ll start when the bed is dry and won’t see the results of our labors until next winter. It’s sort of like waiting for Christmas to come again. Unless our project “leaks” it should be quite pretty.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


We said farewell to 45 of the little Koi fish today. Patrick will be taking them to their new home in Spokane. Fifteen of the little guys still reside in the tank in the tool shed. Some are just too small to leave, others… well, I’m not quite sure why I’ve kept them. I’ll be cleaning the empty tank and maybe collect more to fill it… later. For now the fifteen I have left will have much more room to grow. Here, you can see a "few" of the "kids" that are left in the pond.


Well I finished my first week of teaching. What a wonderful job. Classes are on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The two morning classes are oils. The two afternoon classes are for watercolors and acrylics. I have a total of three students; two are in my Tuesday afternoon watercolor class and one for my Saturday morning oil class. I’m off to a slow (very slow) start. I’m teaching three back to back six week classes so I'm hoping the word will get out. It will be nice to see all the seats full again.

Monday, January 02, 2006


We finally got Roger’s Christmas present hung on the wall. I don’t usually go for this type of art work but it fits him and it does look great in the den.

I think he fell in love with the image when we went to the Roy Lichtenstein exhibition at the university. For a “gadget” guy it’s sometimes difficult to find something that he would like that he doesn’t already have. He talked about the print for days after the exhibition. But, after awhile he ceased to talk and just moved onto the next object of his interest.

About a month later we attended a dinner that was prepared by the Culinary
Arts students at the university. The food was excellent and the wine was wonderful. The entire experience gave me a whole new appreciation of fine wines and great food.

The walls of the hall where the dinner was held were decorated with Lichtenstein prints and his fascination with the artist’s work began all over again. I did the only thing I could think of doing. I went on-line and found the print and ordered it. The perfect gift was to come framed for an additional charge of $88.00. How could I loose?

Then I received an E-mail from the Art Store. They don’t ship framed prints internationally. So, I got it unframed. What a disappointment. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with an unframed print. Fortunately, I found a frame shop right here in Pullman. Unfortunately, it cost me almost twice what I paid for the print to have the **** framed.

But you know when Roger unwrapped the framed prints I thought he was going to cry. It was the perfect gift and is worth every penny.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


We have a Koi pond on our little “Ranch” with 9 grown Koi fish. At least that is the way things were when we moved in last June. We have awakened many mornings to see some of our feathered friends (herons and cranes) fishing in our pond. The smallest Koi is more than 20 inches long and they are pretty elusive with the large birds around. The pond is pretty deep with Lillie pads and other aquatic debris floating about. Let’s just say that the fish have a sporting chance for survival.

Around August this last summer, I was watching the big guys swim about in the pond. It is so relaxing to watch fish swim. The move so slowly like they’re out for a leisurely stroll. Maybe they secretly know they’re not really going anywhere and their in no hurry to get there. I was sitting on the edge of the pond just looking and noticed something a little different about the pond that day. What I saw was hundreds of tiny fish swimming near the edge of the water. Now how would tiny fish have gotten into my Koi pond? Hmmm.

Being the kind hearted soul I am and fearing for the little guys lives I fished out about 60 small fry (one at a time – they’re fast) and put them in an aquarium inside the tool shed (two aquariums actually - 55 gallon tanks complete with filters, lights, you name it). I thought that there might be another couple dozen little fish in the pond. Like I said, they're fast and difficult to catch. Besides the cranes and herons, I’ve also watched a couple of owls and other birds, not to mention the snakes eyeing the pond. So I figured that most of the babies would become snacks for the predators.

Because of my heroic efforts the 60 little bodies I tucked away in the tool shed are safe until I can find them a home. The local pet store doesn’t want them. We will be donating most of the babies to a local high school for their ponds. A few others have expressed interest too. This plan would effectively place all 60 fish in homes leaving the couple dozen in the pond.

Things don't seem to have worked quite as planned.

A couple of weeks ago, while there was still snow on the ground, Roger and I ventured across some large cat tracks. I know this is a real departure from Koi but you will get the connection shortly. Well, maybe.

Anyway, we thought they were cougar tracks. Roger called Fish and Game to report the sighting and asked what we were to do about a large cat roaming the area. They basically told us not to worry unless we came face to face with the cat. In that case we were to back away and raise our hands high to make ourselves appear to be larger than we really are. Somehow this does not make me feel courageous.

We learned that cougars are elusive and there’s plenty to eat around here so we have little to worry about…I hope. Last week I was working at my studio and got a call from Roger. He told me that he actually saw a cougar run across our back yard. As a responsible citizen he called Fish and Game to report the sighting.

The nice man from Fish and Game came out to investigate. It turns out that our cougar is really a bob cat (from the tracks). The faux cougar doesn’t seem to be quite as threatening now…except to birds and small animals.

Well, to make a long story short...I know too late... Roger took the gentleman into the tool shed to show him the baby Koi. He shows the Koi off to everyone. I’m sure he is hoping that one time someone will see them and just whisk them all away. Wouldn’t that be nice. Roger turned on the light in the tool shed to better show off the Koi. The light was forgotten and was not turned off when they closed up the shed. We didn't notice it for a couple of days.

Last night Roger saw the light on. Since I wasn’t really dressed for going out of doors he put on his shoes, took his flashlight with him and went to turn out the light.

Upon his return he asked me to come out to the Koi pond (with the flashlight of course). Now, as I said, I knew there were still a "few" babies left in the pond. I just didn't want to take the time to fish them out one at a time (like I did the first 60 fish) and also the Inn in the tool shed was already full.

To my surprise when Roger shined the light on the Koi pond I easily counted 60 more babies all floating at the top of the pond all basking in the moonlight and all alive and well.

You know, when I first took on the Koi rescue operation I understood from the guy at the pet store and the Koi enthusiasts that I would “lose a few fish” along the way. I figured that I might have 50 fish left by the time they were big enough to give away. The babies are about 2” long now and ready to move out on their own. J Much to my chagrin I haven’t lost a single fish. The pet shop owner keeps telling me how great it is that none have died but still doesn’t want them.

Up until I found the other (probably 100 or more) fish I would have agreed. But, I just can’t see myself sitting outside Safeway with a fish bowl and a sign that says “Free to Good Home”.

And…on the upside, we’ll have more next year.

Gosh, I love it here.


Our Little Ranch

Our little ranch... 58 acres of rolling wheat fields, scrub brush and trees... We moved here in June 2005.

Why? To get away from the urban sprawl, the wall to wall homes that dot the landscape, away from the noise and the air pollution, the 70 mph traffic and the snoring neighbor that we could hear from behind the closed doors of our home. Away from the 90 mph life style that surrounded us. Away from the year round summers.

This is the way life should be...ever changing, always a new view, a new adventure each day. Welcome to paradise.

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