Gardening week

This week the county reports 19,701 cases, so that’s an increase over the number we’ve had lately. It also reports 301 active cases. The number of deaths so far is 243, so only an increase of one, but our rate is going up, now 110.2 per 100,000 population.

Here is my garden. This year’s artichoke plant is already coming up on the left next to some thyme. The next bed has rainbow chard. The next two beds are planted with asparagus roots. Up against the back right are snap peas. The next bed on the right is lettuce, actually the next two beds, but one is plants and one is seeds, and finally the beans are planted in the nearest bed to the right.

We had a long string of beautiful but still cold days this week, except for one, which got up into the high 50’s. I felt optimistic enough about the weather to continue to prepare my beds and plant a few cold-weather plants like lettuces. When I went back to the beds to plant, I found more peculiar things in the one bed that had the compost from the old compost bin, one more bag of dog poop, a lot more landscaping fabric, and a couple of bones. I don’t know what was going on, but it has all the hallmarks of my husband, at least the bags of dog poop do. I still have to tell him what he can and can’t put in the compost, but you’d think anyone would know you can’t put in a plastic bag full of poop. In any case, I have my beans planted, a couple more asparagus roots, some lettuce and rainbow chard, and snap peas. There is room for a couple more warm-weather things in the little garden.

Of course, since Maja and I are finally going for a hike today, after a gap of several months, it is not nice out. It is overcast, and at this point (almost 9 AM), it is only 37°.

The only other thing happening this week was our anniversary. I remembered it but not on the day, so I was surprised to get a card and a present. We don’t usually do much. I just don’t want to cook on the day. So, we placed an order at Szechuan Brothers and went to pick it up. That was about it.

I have been keeping my eye on the ducks down in the pond. For a while, I thought we had lost the male, because I didn’t see him for several days. It’s hard to see the female sometimes because she is the same color as the pond, and I’m looking for her from the kitchen window, which is far above the pond, but she was still there. However, a couple of days ago I saw the male land in the pond, and yesterday they were both swimming around all day. I also startled a fawn one morning on the way down the driveway for our walk. Luke was running around in the orchard chasing robins, so I was looking at him, and I spoke to him. Suddenly right next to me there was a lot of noise, and in the neighbors’ woods next to our driveway, a fawn startled out and ran for a short distance. Then he stopped. When I spoke again, he ran away.

In my ornamental raised beds in the front of the house, my daffodils and one of my tulips are very close to blooming. Lots of the daffodils in the orchard are out now, but the ones in front of the house get less sunshine. Perhaps I’ll have a photo of my tulips by next week. Wayne has been doing a lot of yard work recently, but I fell down on getting him out for a walk this week.

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The ghost in the machine

This week the county reports a total of 19,380 cases of the virus with 230 active. That’s almost 300 more cases than last week, which is a big increase compared to other weeks lately. There have been a total of 242 deaths, which is just one more since last week. Our rate of new cases per 100,000 is up, though, to 105.6.

Our weather has been extremely changeable this week. Most of the days have been much colder than usual, although some of them have been sunny. However, last Friday it was finally warm enough to work outside without a jacket. I went out aiming to get my beds prepared because of the veggie plants I bought last week. I should have done them before buying the plants, but it’s been so cold and rainy lately that I have had no desire to be outside (and there was a plant sale at the farm store). I started out with my fork, stirring up the soil so that I can fill the boxes up to the top with new soil, but then Wayne suggested I also use some of the compost we have made over the last years, which for some reason he has stored in plastic bags. So, we got the compost out and began filling up the two beds I had done so far.

The compost in the first bag looked okay but lighter colored than I expected, like it was sandy. The second bag was nice and dark and full of earthworms. The third bag, however, contained lots of surprises. We couldn’t figure it out. It was full of all kinds of trash aside from the compost. I found rubber bands, shreds of cloth, and most telling, even though Wayne denied any knowledge of how the trash got in the compost, small plastic bags full of dog poop, as he tends to leave around instead of throwing away. Right now there is one in my flower bed. I also saw egg shells, which made me realize that this compost was from the old composter left by the previous owners, a fancy metal one that was never set up properly because it was designed to be bolted into cement. When we first moved in, we didn’t have an alternative, so I began throwing vegetable matter into it even though it couldn’t be rotated. The egg shells were my mistake, because I put them in there and then read that I was to include no animal matter. Later, I noticed that the vegetable matter had composted but the egg shells were still sitting there on top. They won’t hurt the garden, but because all this other junk was in there, I am wondering if the previous owners, who were pretty careless about the property, had thrown trash into the composter. It’s clear to me where the dog poop came from, but not the rest of the stuff. The fabric looked like the landscaping fabric that is all over the place. The guys who asphalted our driveway had to pull up a bunch of it. But why would anyone have thrown it in the composter?

Here is my undramatic photo of the snow on Monday. You can just barely see the white streaks against the trees, which is snow coming down.

Anyway, that ended up taking up a bit of time, so I didn’t finish forking the rest of the beds. Then the weather turned worse for the weekend, on Monday it actually snowed for a short time. I tried to take a photo of the snow, but unless it is accumulating on the ground, it doesn’t show up very well.

In the early part of the week I was consumed by preparations for an upper GI and colonoscopy. The upper GI was to see if I had any problems, because I’ve been having trouble with heartburn ever since Zantac went off the market. My doctors have put me on several different medications, none of which have worked as well, so they wanted to make sure nothing was wrong up there. And it turned out to be time for my next colonoscopy, so we did them both at once.

The prep for the colonoscopy is dreadful. Enough said about that.

I have so far been very impressed with the medical establishment since we moved, as compared with Austin. There don’t seem to be any long waits. That is, up until now. I have to say that the place we went in Austin was always bustling with people and they got you in and out really quickly. For this appointment, although it started out okay with me being taken in right away, after they got me all ready, I lay there in my gurney for over an hour before things got going. Instead of being in a bustling environment with lots of patients going in and out, I was in a very quiet area where the nurses seemed to spend most of the time chatting and there seemed to be only one doctor working, and he, of course, was behind schedule, which is why I had to wait so long. Afterwards, though, Wayne and I went out to eat, the first time we have both been in a restaurant to eat for over a year. We left home at 12:15 for the hour drive to Oregon for the procedure (I talked about this before) and what with the stop at the restaurant, didn’t get home until 6 PM.

The good news is they found nothing wrong in the upper part. The slightly bad news is they found a polyp below, so I have to go back in five years, not ten. Colonoscopies themselves are no big deal and in fact prevent you from getting colon cancer, but I hate doing the prep.

We had a couple more sightings of deer this week, both up in our side yard and making Luke crazy. In one case, it seemed to be the doe by herself, although I’m sure her two fawns were somewhere out of sight. She stayed in the yard for about 20 minutes despite all Luke’s barking, although she looked at him through the window. The other time it was one of her fawns, who seems to like to graze very close to the driveway, in between the garage and the shed.

I have also seen the ducks in the pond almost every day this week. At the first sighting last week, I thought I saw at least five ducks in the pond. Then one day, two of them took off just as Luke and I went outside. Since then, I have seen the same duck couple every day, swimming around the pond.

The only other life Luke and I have seen on our walks is another dog. One morning I had reached the pond from the road, and I was watching the ducks when I noticed that Luke had lagged behind and was looking at something off in the woods on the other side of the road. I couldn’t see anything, but Luke was growling a little and wouldn’t leave the spot. Eventually, a black lab came out of the woods. The odd thing was that it looked like the neighbor’s dog Maddie, who is allowed to roam all over the neighborhood, but I am pretty sure it was not her, because she came up toward us as if she was uncertain of her welcome, whereas Maddie always runs right up to me for pets. Also, this dog looked a little browner than Maddie. She followed us down the road, which meant that Luke kept turning around to look at her, and she finally went back up into our neighbor’s yard, not the yard of the neighbor who owns Maddie. I haven’t seen her since, so I don’t know if she strayed from the next neighborhood down or if she was Maddie, just behaving strangely.

That’s about all that has been going on this week except that I haven’t explained my title. We have a sandwich making machine that has lately been behaving badly. A few months ago, I noticed that after I turned it off, it was still on, so I have had to make a point of switching it off vigorously. It has two switches for two plates, and it is the upper one that somehow turned itself back on. Well, twice now in the the past week, it has turned itself on without us using it at all! After the first time, I unplugged it, but then we used it to make grilled cheese over the weekend, and this morning, there it was on again. It was not on during the interval, so I am not sure how it is getting turned back on. Maybe a ghost!

A springy post

This week the county reports a total of 19,093 cases, 275 of which are active. We have had 241 deaths so far, and our rate is up slightly to 90.5. I am a little dismayed to see the death rate going up almost by 10 since last week, as lately we have only had a few deaths a week. I think we only had four the week before.

The skunk cabbage near the pond always comes up early. It’s pretty, but soon it’s going to smell bad.

The state has gone into Stage 3, which means many businesses can open up a little more. I am not planning to go crazy visiting places, but it may be very soon that Wayne and I can do the one thing we decided we wanted to do most when things let up—go out to breakfast. It is one of my favorite things to do. We have actually gone out to eat very early many times since we moved here, if I woke up early and Wayne, as usual, was still up from his middle-of-the-night ramblings. However, the restaurant we went to that was open at six AM has closed, permanently we understand. Another restaurant we went to a few times that also opened early has also closed.

Our internet service has been really unreliable lately, and unfortunately, we have no other alternative since we are out in the boonies. Just now, it failed for the umpteenth time this week. It goes down without warning and then takes a few minutes to get back up. I can see it’s trying to come back now. Oops, it came up, let me save, and then went right back down. And again. And again.

We haven’t had an active week. The weather has been very changeable, for one thing. We had several very rainy days in a row, and Monday, we would get spates of rain, then it would turn sunny, then it would hail like crazy, then it would turn sunny, then it would pour. Tuesday was beautiful, chilly and sunny. Our temperatures, even on the sunny days, have been lower than usual.

Last week, I got Wayne out for a walk. I mentioned that I fell down out of stupidity, and I thought I got away with no injuries, but ever since then, I’ve been feeling it. Last Wednesday, it felt as if I strained my hamstring, because I would get a sharp pain from my right butt down my leg. I could not put all my weight on my right leg for several days, which meant that I had to think before going up a step and lead with my left leg. Very inconvenient. I also felt just a slight pain in my left shoulder. I can still feel the first injury I mentioned a little bit, but it isn’t bad. Now it manifests as a little pain in my butt when I’m sitting.

The next little pain was in my arm. Actually, this was quite a sharp one. I tend to sit in the very corner of our couch, which is a large sectional. That means I have to push myself out of the corner to get up. Well, on Thursday I was pushing myself out of the corner and I felt a pain run down my right arm. This was very inconvenient for a couple of days, because I got a sharp pain all down my arm if I moved it in certain ways but not in others. I had to press it against my body when I stood up or sat down so that I wouldn’t move it the wrong way. That seems to be gone now, too. Finally, I got a pain around my ribs on my right side, but that’s not very bad. Moral of the story: don’t fall down.

I visited Christine on Monday, and we were talking about this. I told her that it seemed as if I was falling down about once every six months for the past few years, so that I always had to answer those questions on the doctor’s questionnaire Yes and Yes. They are, of course, Are you afraid of falling? and Have you fallen in the past six months? It seems as if every time I have the thought, oh, I haven’t fallen in six months, I can answer Yes and No! I fall down. This seems to be from a combination of my infernal clumsiness and my trying to do stupid things. I note that in all my hiking, I have not fallen down that much, although last time is obviously an exception. But then again, I went out without my hiking boots or poles and tried to do something that really required them.

I got Wayne out again for a short walk on Tuesday, but this time we went to a small park in Battle Ground so that Wayne wouldn’t complain about the hills. We walked around a central circle and then back to the car, probably only about a half mile, but his willingness to walk at least a little way is a good sign. I hope to get him out for longer and longer walks as we go on. It would be nice if he would get in the habit of going for our walks with us on the road.

Here are some of my larger daffodils, the first of the larger ones to come up. My newest daffs are supposed to be very big, but they haven’t come up yet.

I promised a springy post, and I guess I’d better get to it. I have already included a picture for this week up above where it is not in context. Around here, we have not had very many signs of spring yet. Of course, my crocuses were out a few weeks ago. My small daffodils were out last week, especially the ones that I planted on the edge of the slope beneath the house, as that area gets the most sunlight. Today, I noticed that some of my larger daffodils are out, the ones in the orchard that are closest to that same area.

Here is one of my raised beds. You can see some bulbs coming up at the bottom right, at the center top, and at the top left. Which ones they are I am not sure, as I don’t know what irises and tulips look like when they are coming up. I am pretty sure that the long ones that look like green onions are daffodils. Those sloppy flowers in the middle front are pansies that were supposed to last all winter. They did, but they don’t look good. Pansies are for sale now. I might buy a few more since my winter ones look so bad.

In my raised beds, the stems from my bulbs have been coming up since before the snow storm. I don’t remember which plants they belong to, but some very delicate stems were already quite grown before the snow, so that I wondered if they were going to be okay, but they seem to be so. I planted irises, daffodils, and tulips in the beds, but I’m not sure which stems belong to which bulbs except that I think the long ones are the daffodils.

It always blooms earlier down in the valley, and as early as last week I noticed lots of trees coming into bloom. The cherry trees along next to the high school are already a beautiful pink, and in Christine’s neighborhood quite a few people have cherries, plums, or other blooming trees. Driving into town, I passed lots of daffodils and blooming trees in people’s yards. I only have my cherry and apple trees in the orchard, which will bloom white but won’t come out for some more weeks, and a crabapple tree that I just noticed for the first time last year that comes out pink. I also have a peach dogwood, but that is a late spring/early summer bloomer. That’s why I wanted to plant a lot of bulbs, so that I would have more spring color every year. I also want to put a blooming tree into the orchard this year, something that blooms pink or purple. I planted a magnolia a few years ago, but it is a white one because they didn’t have pink. I haven’t seen any flowers on it yet.

Yesterday, Wayne and I went to the farm store after our walk, and I bought some seeds and veggie starts. The only other outings I have had this year are a trip for groceries and coffee. I called Monday to ask them when I could pick up five pounds of coffee at Paper Tiger Coffee Roasters. They told me to come the next day, so I did. The coffee was so fresh that the girl told me to open the bag when I got home, because it was still cooling off. The bag was warm. Five pounds of coffee is a big bag!

We haven’t seen much of the deer this week. I was going to say we hadn’t seen them at all, but last night Luke started barking, and out the side window was a small fawn. I didn’t see the other two deer at all, but I would imagine they were there somewhere. The fawn didn’t seem to be too bothered by Luke’s barking. She just looked up but then went on eating grass. We have also had more sightings of ducks in the pond.

Better weather

This week the county reports 18,843 total cases of the virus, 259 of which are active. The number of deaths so far is 232. Our rate has gone way down to 88.8, which is good, although I’m not sure why, as it seems there are more cases this week than last. I’m sure the vaccines have a lot to do with it, though.

Speaking of which, everyone over 65 in my family who hadn’t got it already is scheduled for or has had their first vaccine this week. My middle brother and his wife, who live in Oregon, were the last ones to go, and when they heard that Walmart would be scheduling vaccines in Oregon, my sister-in-law got right online and got herself an appointment. Then she told him about it, and he got right online, and there were no appointments left. He gave up, but she kept trying and was able to get a canceled appointment for him. And, if you remember, I signed up both myself and Wayne on the county website for a vaccine months ago. Well, today Wayne got an automated call from Peace Health about getting a vaccine, but since he has already had his first shot and has an appointment for the second, he won’t be calling them back. I think that is interesting, because I was first on their list of the two of us, since I registered us both. Maybe they are doing it by age.

On Wednesday, I went out to see a gastroenterologist. I guess I get to have my first upper G. I. in a couple of weeks. Just to make it more fun, I am due for my colonoscopy, so we’re doing both. For some reason, my doctor’s office referred me to a gastroenterologist all the way in Gresham, Oregon, about an hour’s drive away. I made a feeble attempt to get it changed, but realized I wasn’t explicit enough. When the girl called to give me the appointment, I said, “Where did you say this was?” and she said “Legacy Mount Hood.” I said, “Is that in Oregon?” and she said, “Yes.” I said I lived in Yacolt, and she told me she didn’t know where that was. I said, “Don’t they have something at Salmon Creek?” (a half hour away) and she said, “We have something in White Salmon” (two hours away). I realize now that I should have asked her if they had something in Vancouver, as she obviously didn’t know that Salmon Creek is in Vancouver. Later, I called my doctor’s P. A. and left a message about it, but he never called back, so I just went.

I remembered later that I went to a gastroenterologist at Vancouver Clinic a couple of years ago, but I also remember thinking that he was the least interested doctor I had ever met. He seemed incredibly bored. My doctor had referred me to him because of some blood count numbers, and both he and my nephrologist were worried about them, but the bored gastroenterologist said he didn’t think they were a problem (without running any tests or doing anything else) and that was that. So, I obviously didn’t want to return to him.

Anyway, that’s the sum of the exciting adventures for this week, except I actually got Wayne to go for a walk on Tuesday. It has been alternating days of rain with really beautiful but cold days (the meteorologist says we have been having temperatures that are more normal for February than March), and Tuesday was one of the beautiful ones. We had spoken about going for a walk the day before, but I fully expected Wayne to cop out. He started to tell me his knees were bothering him (his usual excuse, but the exact reason why he needs to walk more), and then he suddenly said, “I guess we should go.” So, the three of us went to Moulton Falls, the Hantwick entrance, which is an easy one, with a path that is mostly flat and paved some way out. We didn’t go far, perhaps 0.6 to 0.8 miles, but that was 0.6 to 0.8 miles more than I’ve gotten him to go in years. I hope to be able to coax him out regularly enough so that he becomes able to go further. He complained to me, though, that the path was not flat. I guess maybe he would have preferred to drive in to Battle Ground and walk on the city streets.

When we were returned to the car, I forgot I didn’t wear any special footwear and didn’t have my hiking poles, and I tried to go up the grass slope, which is a little steep, to the car. I slipped and fell flat on my face. I didn’t hurt myself, I don’t think, but the trouble was getting back up. Even with Wayne’s cane and Wayne to help, it was difficult. My sister has been telling me that I should practice getting up and down from the floor. I know I should, but it involves getting on my knees to get back up (I can’t do it any other way), and that hurts. I have to do it occasionally, most usually when Roomba gets stuck under the bed, but I don’t look forward to it and I certainly don’t want to do it for no reason.

It doesn’t look like I’ll be doing my regular hike anytime soon. Maja has been too busy helping the little girl who lives in her barn apartment with her schoolwork, since her mother is a teacher. I am not sure why she’s having to put in as much time now that the girl is back in school, as she has been for months, but Maja now also has a friend who injured herself and Maja has been helping her. She said she doesn’t know when she will be able to go, and my niece reports that she and my sister are spending all their nice days in the garden.

We have continued to see a lot of the deer lately. On Friday, I think, I was walking Luke and a car approached, so I spoke to Luke to sit down next to me. That spooked a deer that was apparently right next to us (but invisible) in the woods next to our pond. She ran off across our pasture and into Maja’s yard, where she stood behind the barn for quite some time. I kept my eye on her for the part of the walk where she was visible, and she stayed there the entire time. On the way back from that walk, as I passed between our pond on one side of the road and a much smaller pond on the other, a couple of mallards flew off from the smaller pond. I hadn’t realized they were there, and I apparently spooked them.

Tuesday morning, I saw two brown ducks on the far side of the pond, but they were underneath some foliage, so it was hard to see them. Then Wayne came up from working outside and told me that he had scared off a couple of Canadian geese from the pond when he turned on the weed whacker. His record for that on Tuesday was poor, because when I was washing the dishes, I spotted first one, then two, then all three deer over by the pond. I watched them for a long time, and at one point they were all three together, so I went to get my phone to take a picture. I was only gone about 30 seconds, but in that time, Wayne started the lawnmower, and by the time I got back, they had vanished.

Still, it’s been quite nice to see so much of the wildlife, especially the deer, lately.

Family visit (sort of)

This week our county reports 18,585 total cases with 188 active. The number of deaths so far is 228. Our rate is finally down around the one the country wanted before areas loosened restrictions, 103.4.

And on that front, I have heard that all of the rest of my qualifying family members here in Washington are supposed to get their first doses this week. However, my brother and sister-in-law from Oregon haven’t heard anything, which is worrisome because of his heart condition. They said that Oregon opened it up for teachers before they finished 80-year-olds and over, so they don’t think they’re getting a vaccine soon.

And speaking of which, they are here again this week, visiting the contained household of my niece. They were originally supposed to arrive on Friday, but on Tuesday night I got a message that they were arriving the next day. I got another one saying they would get here about noon. I guess I should have just gone over there at noon, because it was a beautiful day and Luke and I could have used some exercise. Instead, I waited to hear from them after they arrived, thinking they were unpacking and such, and by the time I went over there, they were all gone. They went on a hike without me. They picked one that I probably couldn’t do, but I would have liked it if they had swapped around and done one that I could go on the first day when it was so nice.

I saw them in the evening around a campfire, and it was cold. The kids and my sister-in-law were wearing Comfys, so I went right home after we broke up and bought one. During the summer, even though it is usually chilly out at night, we can sit there and gab for hours, but I think I only saw them for about an hour that night before we decided we were turning into popsicles.

Here’s the view from the Tarbell Trail on the way toward Hidden Falls from the Tarbell trailhead. At this point the day didn’t look so threatening.

The next day wasn’t quite so nice, but they decided to hike again, this time the Tarbell Trail out in the Yacolt Burn from the Tarbell trailhead toward Hidden Falls. I had done that one before, so I went with them, but because it was Luke’s Doggy Day Care day, he didn’t get to go. Another reason I wish they had swapped hikes. It was gloomy and threatened rain the entire hike, and we actually probably turned around earlier than we would have because it looked like it was going to rain, although it did not. As usual, I was tagging along at the end. This is a hike that goes uphill for about 3/4 of a mile at about a 30 degree angle, so I was huffing and puffing the whole way. Then it levels out when it crosses the road and goes across a big logged area. So, we were finally at the level area when they decided to go back. It took us an hour to go out less than a mile, and only a short time to get back.

I didn’t see them on Friday because they went fishing or indeed any time during the weekend except the day Luke and I stopped by. They were trying to rebuild the greenhouse, the roof of which collapsed during the snowstorm, on a day that was intermittently rainy. I visited with them for a while and then went home and let them get on with it. I think that was Saturday.

On Monday, I had a dentist appointment to replace a crown, because it was worn down and I was experiencing pain underneath it. When he removed my old crown, I had the first cavity I have had in years and years underneath. He replaced my crown with this stuff that looks like teeth, doing it all in one visit.

After I returned, I learned that, instead of coming over here as originally planned, another hike was in the offing. This time they picked a trail that none of us was familiar with, the Tarbell Trail again (it makes a huge diamond out in the middle of the Yacolt Burn) only going from the Yacolt Burn trailhead toward Larch Mountain. We had started from that trailhead before and taken it the other way, but that way, they have turned it into a biking trail, with huge ramps you have to climb over. It is really not fun as a hiking trail anymore, because there are too many obstacles.

The Tarbell Trail toward Larch Mountain. You can see that it has a nice gradual incline.

I really liked this trail. It was also all uphill, but it was uphill at a gradual angle, so that I was getting exercise but didn’t feel like I was killing myself. Of course, I lagged behind, because everyone else in my family can just walk up it normally, but I am panting up it. However, it was very nice. It was a cold, gloomy day, but it meant we didn’t get hot. The trail goes through light forest and meadows and then deeper forest as it goes up. We were trying to go out two miles and then come back, but the kids started begging us to turn around before we were quite to the two-mile mark, so we went just short of four miles total. I got a good workout, and the others probably got a nice walk in the woods. I plan to go back to that trail with Maja sometime, if I haven’t lost her as a hiking companion. We haven’t hiked in a long time, because she always has some kind of issue.

On Tuesday, I had long-standing plans with Christine. Of course, the night before, my brother changed our plans for them to come over in the late afternoon, because the family decided to go for a long hike on Mt. St. Helens. I told him I couldn’t go because of my other plans (which we had already discussed). I haven’t heard how their hike went.

Christine and I time our dogs’ grooming appointments so that we can have a dogless day out. On Tuesday we decided to try going out to lunch. I thought it seemed fairly safe because we were in a small booth over by ourselves, and the waiter had a mask, but as we were leaving, I noticed that no one else had a mask anywhere near their tables, whereas we had ours on unless we were eating. We have both received our vaccines, but we aren’t two weeks beyond them (I am but Christine has a week to go), so although we relaxed our restrictions a bit just with each other, we kept using them with everyone else.

Afterwards, we went for a walk right around the restaurant, and then we drove around (in the same car but with masks) and looked at some of the neighborhoods in Battle Ground that are more interesting. We got back to Christine’s and visited for a short while, and then I got the call to pick up Luke.

At the bottom center of the photo, you can see two deer under our deck.

We have seen quite a bit of the deer this week. On Sunday morning they were down in the area below our house, near the wolf pen. I took a photo of them, but as usual, they are barely visible. We only saw two at that time, but we watched them for about a half hour. Then yesterday, they were in our side yard again—one was very close to us just next to the driveway—and then they ran downhill between the garage and the shed and were hanging out around the wolf pen. We thought there were only two again, but one must be really good at hiding, because Wayne thought they were gone and went out on the deck with Luke, but Luke saw them and began barking, and three of them ran away. However, at least one of them stuck around and was down on the other side of the wolf pen for at least another half hour.

Winter to Spring in one week

This week the county reported a total of 18,349 cases of the virus with 237 active cases. There have been 223 deaths total. Our rate per 100,000 is way down to 137. It may be too soon to conclude anything, but it seems as if our numbers are trending downward, so the vaccine must be having some effect.

And speaking of which, I got my second vaccine on Wednesday, and Wayne got his first on Sunday. None of my other qualifying siblings or their partners have heard anything, but they go to different clinics than we do. Ours seems to be being way more proactive than others. The county also rewrote its website, which used to have a link for making appointments at the fairgrounds, so that it is more confusing.

Legacy Health, however, is doing a great job. When I got to the hospital for my second vaccine, I was a little bemused to find that a bus of senior citizens had just unloaded, and there was a very long line of people in front of the hospital. I got in the back of the line, but it turned out that most of the people in line weren’t up to their appointment time yet, so I was soon put in the front of the line. Then, I no sooner had registered, when they were getting ready to take a group upstairs for the vaccine, so I quickly filled out my plastic card with my dry erase marker so that I could go up. There was a poor older lady in front of me who could barely walk. I want to say that they removed her wheelchair right before I got behind her, but I’m not sure, because I was filling out my card and not paying attention. In any case, an attendant was with the lady, who seemed to be really out of it. The attendant would hand her a cane, and she would move the cane into her other hand and then grab the attendant’s hand. They were trying to get through an opening in a cordon to go upstairs, and it must have taken five minutes for the lady to walk what were probably three or four normal steps. When she did take a step, it was only a couple of inches forward. The attendant would put the cane back into her other hand, and she would switch it over and grab the attendant’s hand again. Finally, the attendant told her to stop doing that, because it hurt her hand. I don’t think the lady had any idea what was going on, and I can’t imagine what they were thinking when they took away her wheelchair, as lots of people were going in there with wheelchairs.

Once they were far enough past the opening, I went around them, but then I had to wait for them to get into the elevator that I was in. I swear it took them ten minutes to get into the elevator. However, once I got off the elevator, everything went very quickly, and I was on my way home within 15 or 20 minutes.

That was my only outing all week (aside from dog walks) except that I went to the dentist for my cleaning on Tuesday. Unfortunately, because I am grinding my teeth, I have to have a crown replaced. That’s going to be a lot of fun. I have to say that I haven’t had any real dentistry done to me since maybe up to four or five years before we moved here and not for the entire time we’ve been here, just teeth cleaning and x-rays for possibly 10 or more years. So, I’ve been lucky. Not looking forward to it.

I’ve been looking, and this first crocus showed up on Monday. Now, we have a few more. There are also snowdrops that appeared last week, but they don’t show up very well when I try to photograph them.

It has been bizarre how this last month has worked out. We went the entire winter with hardly any cold weather. I wore my heavier winter coat for a couple of days late last October or early November, and then got away with my Austin winter jacket all winter until two weeks ago. We had almost no snow. Then we had that huge winter blast with extremely cold temperatures for a few days. Last week, we had a few more really cold days, and it was rainy, but some of our snow stuck around until yesterday. Yesterday it was 60 degrees (although this morning it is 34 degrees), and it’s spring. And here are the first signs of it in my photos.

In this photo, Luke appears to be admiring the very small purple crocus underneath his nose. In reality, he is refusing to look at my phone, which he is jealous of.

On Sunday and again on Tuesday, we had some deer sightings. On Sunday morning, we were watching CBS Sunday Morning when Wayne told me to come over slowly to his end of the room. There was a deer in our side yard just behind the generator. She appeared to be eating one of our old Christmas trees that didn’t quite make it over the edge of a little slope that I throw them down (actually there was some bramble growing on top of it). Usually, we see the deer at least in pairs, but we did not see another one. However, there was a slope just behind her down into the woods and another slope to the right upward where her fawns might have been.

Then on Tuesday, I took Luke out for a bit, and I wasn’t paying any attention. I was looking at a bird hopping around in the bushes to my left, then I turned to my right and saw three deer running slowly out of our orchard into the woods. I watched them go carefully through the woods, and then I went inside and to the window at the back of the house to see if I could see them again, because they were going away so slowly. I glimpsed the side of one deer but then glanced down, and when I looked back up, I couldn’t see it again. I combed the area with my binoculars and saw nothing. But then suddenly I saw two of the three move slightly. It’s amazing. I was looking right at them and couldn’t see them unless they moved.

On and off the last few weeks I have seen four brown ducks, maybe female or immature mallards. Then on Monday morning I saw a male mallard in the pond all by himself. I watched him fish for quite some time.

Snowbegone

This week the county reports 18,111 positive cases of the virus total with 259 active cases. It appears the last couple weeks as if the numbers are going down. I hope they stay there. We have had 221 deaths, and our rate is 209.8.

We are no longer housebound. On Wednesday, I looked at the snow and concluded that we had driven out safely before when it was that deep (about four to six inches), so I put Luke in the car while Wayne was napping and drove out. I had no problems doing this, and aside from our little road, all the roads were clear. Our little road was a bit iffy, but people had been driving in and out the entire time, so it was fine as long as you stayed in other people’s ruts.

I drove into town, picked up my library books and a coffee. I checked to see if Christine was busy, and she was, so I drove home. Wayne had cleared the bottom of our steep slope up the driveway first, but even with that running start, I was unable to make it back up, the snow was so slippery and wet. I tried three times and then just left the car down on the cleared part. Wayne didn’t even realize we’d been gone. Later on, he walked down there with the snow shovel and shoveled the rest of the sloped part of the driveway. Then he drove the car back up into the garage.

Over the next few days, he shoveled a bit every day and eventually cleared the entire driveway. Even though it didn’t snow again after Valentine’s Day, it didn’t get warm enough to melt the snow very fast, and the rain that was forecast was mostly a dismal drizzle every day. This Saturday and Sunday, though, it was sunny, so Luke finally got to go out for a walk. I took one of my hiking poles with me the first day in case it proved slippery, but by that time, our road was down to the gravel again in the ruts.

On Thursday, then, Wayne was able to take Luke as usual for Doggy Day Care, and I picked him up. I also placed a grocery order and went and picked it up on Friday. Those were our exciting outings.

On Saturday, I passed my niece and her husband on the way out in their car when Luke and I took our walk. She said it was the first time she’d been out of the house in over a week. They were just going to get groceries, but by that time, getting groceries seemed exciting. I walked up to their house and found my sister out in the yard, so we had a natter. It was nice to see some faces besides Wayne’s and Luke’s.

I had been oblivious to most of the news. Frankly, Wayne and I got tired of hearing about the snowstorm in Portland, so we weren’t paying attention to the news from Texas. I saw a Facebook post from an ex-coworker who had filled her bathtub with snow to flush her toilet and just thought that she had water problems, as she lives in Dripping Springs, which despite the name, has had them off and on for years. It wasn’t until Friday or Saturday that it all sunk in, so on Sunday we spent quite a bit of time on the phone calling our Texas friends to see if they were okay. One friend in Austin had a pipe break when the power was off, but she luckily only had a power failure for a few days, and she was able to get the plumber friend of a neighbor over to replace pipes, since all the plumbers were busy. He replaced six pipes. I have always felt it was ridiculous that in Texas they not only don’t do a good job of insulating homes, but they put the pipes in the attic. Guaranteed to ruin your house if they break.

Another friend in Houston did not suffer any breakage because she turned off her water. However, she was without power or water for quite some time. She was lucky enough to have a next-door neighbor with a generator like ours, so that nice lady invited her over to get warm and even to have a shower. She said she was sleeping with every blanket in the house and a down sleeping bag one night when the power came back on, and she got so hot she had to get up and return her bed to normal. Once power was steadily on, she got her brother out to help her turn her water back on.

I had several sightings this week of four ducks in our pond, although I haven’t seen them today. Finally, most of our snow is gone, with just little piles of it here and there. It started melting when the rain came in earnest, beginning on Sunday. It rained all day long, so Wayne and I spent the entire day watching TV and reading.

The other thing that happened was that Wayne finally got a message from our health care clinic with his invitation to get his first vaccine. He has an appointment for this coming Sunday. My second vaccine is later today.

Snowpocalypse II

This week the county had a total of 17,877 cases of the virus, 268 of which are active. That’s only a couple hundred cases more since last week, a definite improvement. There have been 213 deaths, which is up only 10 from last week, a big improvement over 30 the week before. Our rate per 100,000 is down to 262.2.

Wayne hasn’t heard anything from our clinic about the vaccine, so my intention this week was to try to sign him up for the big mass vaccination site at the fairgrounds. They only open up appointments on Sunday at noon, and you have to be right on it. Unfortunately, on Sunday I forgot about it until 3. I will try again this coming Sunday.

Here’s what it looked like in front of our house on Thursday morning at 8 AM. That raised bed is two feet tall (for future reference).

The big news this week, well, really the only news, is that we finally got snow, lots of snow. It began snowing on Wednesday night, but only accumulated a dusting by Thursday morning. I had the forethought to take progressive pictures of the same spot every morning at 8 AM, because it honestly snowed continuously until Sunday early afternoon. The few times we thought it stopped, when we looked closely, we could see flakes coming down. Most of the time, the flakes were really small, the kind that don’t accumulate very fast, and the snow was dry.

Here it is on Friday morning at 8 AM. Those streaks on the picture are the snow coming down.

By Friday morning, we had maybe a couple of inches of snow in our driveway. By the afternoon, we had what looked like six inches, and it was really cold, about 21°.

Sometime Friday afternoon, I noticed that the edges of the pond were frozen. There were two ducks swimming in the pond, and as I watched, they swam up to another two ducks, one at the edge in the water and one standing on the ice. The duck on the ice walked off it into the water, and then they swam out of sight.

Late in the afternoon, the three of us decided to walk down to the mailboxes at the major road to get our mail. This is a walk of maybe a quarter of a mile, but it is mostly uphill, and at the end, the grade is about 45°. By this time, the snow was around six inches deep, so it was difficult to walk down the driveway. Once we got into our road, it wasn’t so bad, because some of the neighbors had been driving in and out so we could walk in their ruts. (We realized later we should have done the same thing, because we are still snowed in. If we had driven out a couple of times on Friday and Saturday, we would be able to get out now, but our driveway is still too deep to drive out, and Wayne has only managed to shovel about a third of the inclined part.)

This was a tough walk out for nothing, because we had no mail. It was even worse back, because the wind was blowing in our faces. My jaw actually hurt, and my hair froze.

Here’s the same place on Saturday morning. Note the two-foot-tall raised bed.

By Saturday morning, we had close to a foot of snow. We stayed in most of the day, because the snow was so deep that it was hard to walk. Luke had to jump up and down to get around in the snow, and he had difficulty deciding where to do his business. He was unable to bounce out into the yard to do it, so we had to shovel a place and then convince him it was okay to go there.

I also noticed that the pond was completely frozen over. I don’t think this has happened before.

In the early afternoon, Wayne decided it would be a good idea to go shovel out around the mailboxes so that the mail lady could deliver the mail. Since he doesn’t do that much walking, I was concerned at him going that far and then shoveling. After he had been gone about 45 minutes, Luke and I set out to make sure he was okay. The snow was so deep that it was very hard to walk, especially on our unshoveled driveway. Once we got to the road, we could walk in the ruts from the cars. About halfway up to the boxes, we saw Wayne coming back. It wasn’t as cold out as it was the day before, but it was still snowing.

Here’s the snow on Sunday morning, almost at its deepest point. Yes, that hump is the raised bed.

We stayed in all Sunday, and about 1 PM, the snow finally stopped. Although I’m sure the official calculation will be much less, we had 18 inches of snow in our front yard, as measured against my raised beds.

Toward the end, the snow became fine sleet, and then it began to rain. By Sunday afternoon, instead of being fine and dry, the snow was wet and heavy. Wayne started doing some strategic shoveling, doing the walks and cutting a path across the driveway so that we could fill the bird feeder.

On Sunday and Monday, we kept waiting for the snow to melt, and it did, only very slowly, but Tuesday afternoon, we still had too much snow in the driveway to drive all the way down it. Wayne drove the car to our turn-out and came back, but he said he was afraid if he drove all the way down our driveway, which has a steepish incline, he wouldn’t be able to get it back up. Later in the afternoon, he began shoveling the driveway from the bottom up.

In the meantime, on Sunday night our power went out. It went out briefly on Friday afternoon but came back within a few hours. However, except for it coming on twice on Tuesday for 15 minutes and then again for 45 minutes, it didn’t come back on until about 6PM on Tuesday. We have a big generator, and it keeps the power on in the house for most things, but it doesn’t run the heat pump, the dryer, the dishwasher, or the oven. I have to light the stovetop with a match. That’s not too primitive, and we got along fine. The wood stove keeps the upstairs of the house warm enough, although Wayne reports that the basement is really cold.

So, here we are. The last time we went out in the car was Wayne on Thursday to deliver Luke to Doggy Day Care and pick him back up. On Monday, I had to reschedule our dentist appointments, which were supposed to be on Tuesday. However, we should soon be able to drive out.

A slow week

This week it looks like our numbers are down significantly for the first time in ages. We have had 17,610 cases in the county, which is an increase of less than 500 in a week. For quite a while, our numbers were closer to 1000 a week. We have 402 active cases, which is a couple hundred less than last week, and 203 people have died. That’s not a good number, though. That’s almost 30 more people than last week. Our rate is 262.2, which is way down.

It’s been a pretty slow week. I didn’t do much. I went into Battle Ground to visit with Christine, just on the spur of the moment. So, that was nice, and Luke got to run around with Duchess. I think that was on Wednesday.

Then Friday was the day they rescheduled my doctor’s appointment. That was unfortunate, because Maja wants to change our hiking day to Friday, and so far that hasn’t worked out. She was ready to go this week but could not go after I returned from the doctor. The doctor said I had exhausted my options for heartburn medication, so it was time to see a gastroenterologist. Lucky me. It’s good that the Pepcid is working, more or less. In the meantime, I am not eating or drinking past 6 or 7 and I have elevated the head of my bed. That seems to be helping. As my doctor said, getting old is not for the weak.

I started thinking about not wearing my nose bandage anymore but figured I would wait until Monday. But on Sunday I woke up without it, so I just left it off. I have a bump on the bulb of my nostril and a scabby spot. In a couple weeks, they will sand down the bump. Ouch!

There they are. My thumb, Luke, and our badly damaged floors (most damage done by Luke, who likes to scratch the floor—we’re so happy we didn’t have them refinished when we moved in).

And just so I wouldn’t have to go without bandages, while cutting cabbage on Sunday night, I sliced open the end of my thumb. It was my left thumb, but it’s astonishing how often I use it even though I am right-handed. I would love to not have to wear a bandage soon.

We have finished watching all of Prime Suspect, so now we have to look for another series to watch. It was interesting to watch it all together, because originally, the series were spaced out. At first they had a series every year, but the last two were seven and ten years later than the one before them. Because of this spacing, I didn’t realize that her career went downward toward the end instead of up.

I have had several wildlife sightings this week. On Sunday, some ducks spent quite a time fishing on our pond. Then on Tuesday, I was out for a walk with Luke when we spotted a deer at the T in the road. This deer was larger than the ones we’ve seen lately, so I suspect it’s the mother. We just stopped when we saw her, and to give him credit, although Luke plainly could see her, he didn’t bark. Luckily, he was on his leash, because for the past few weeks he has refused to go down the road without it. He wears it on the way out, and I take it off on the way back. The deer looked at us for quite some time, and then she ran down the driveway at the end of the T. I thought she was gone, so I started forward only to see she had stopped in the driveway, so she ran away again when we moved.

We had just gone around the corner on the right branch of the T when I realized that another deer, this one much smaller, was standing in our pasture just yards away. I stopped. This time, I don’t think Luke saw her, because he was still looking around the corner for the first deer. The deer ran away a few feet and stopped, and then she ran across the pasture and into the woods by our pond. So, two deer sightings in one walk. Very nice.

Later that afternoon it was still so nice out that Wayne and I went out for a drive, during which we randomly picked roads to drive down. We haven’t done that for a while. We ended up on top of one of the foothills to the east of Yacolt.

Beginning today, it looks like the first in probably our only chance to get substantial snow. Not only is it forecast for the next four days, but starting tomorrow, the highs are going to be in the 20’s and the lows in the teens. So, if it snows, it will stick for about three days, and then the temperatures are supposed to go back up into the 30’s and 40’s. Four to eight inches is forecast for the valley floor just south of us, and since we are 700 feet higher up, we usually get more than them. I might have some pretty snow pictures for you next week.

A week of medical activities

This week the county has had 17,164 cases, 656 of which are active. Number of deaths is up to 186. Our rate per 100,000 is 401.23. It does seem like numbers are slowly going down, but I don’t want to speak too soon.

Last Tuesday night, you might remember that I got an appointment for a vaccine on Thursday. Then, on Wednesday I started to worry about it, because the confirmation email I got was worded as if they thought I was a Legacy Health employee. I looked back at the original invitation and the registration pages, and they looked as if they were for regular people, so I thought that perhaps they had forgotten to reword their original confirmation email from when they were vaccinating employees. Still, I was a little worried that I would get there and be sent away.

So, on Thursday evening I left fairly early to drive the half hour to the medical center. The Salmon Creek hospital also has a medical office complex at the same address, and because of the wording of the email, for some reason, I thought I was going to the medical building. So, I parked behind the medical building and walked up to the back door. It was locked, and a sign said to go to the main entrance. So, not seeing a good way around the building, I moved my car to the parking garage, which is across the entrance from the medical building and next to the hospital. Then I walked across the entrance driveway to the medical building again, only to find the door locked. I guess by “main entrance,” they must mean the hospital, although why they don’t say that, I don’t know. In fact, in all of their communications, they made no distinction between the hospital and the medical office building. Luckily, there was an employee in the front hallway, and she came to the door and told me to go to the hospital.

When I walked into the hospital, the registration for the vaccine clinic was right there. I had to stand in a short line to register, and then they gave me a plasticized card to write my name and date of birth on in dry erase marker (which they cleaned off as soon as I got my vaccine and used over) and told me to take a seat. I think I had been in my seat about 30 seconds when they called our group and herded us into a series of elevators, three people to an elevator. We went up a floor and got into another, longer line, and stood in line about five or ten minutes before getting our vaccines. Then we were told to sit in the hallway for 15 minutes to make sure we didn’t have side effects and then walk around the corner and register for our second vaccination. After I placed a to-go order at a Thai restaurant nearby, I got up and walked around and made my appointment instead of waiting, and then I walked back and sat down for 10 minutes. I was glad I did it that way, because by the time I left, there was a long line to make an appointment. I think I might have been there for a total of 25 minutes, depending upon whether I was still early when I got to the hospital. It all went very smoothly, and I have an appointment for my second vaccine at the end of the month. Neither Wayne nor Christine has heard about their first vaccine, and I only mention them because they are both Legacy patients, like me. So far, I am the only person I know of in this area who has had a vaccine, besides medical personnel and care facility patients. Of course, that probably reflects how few people I know here, but really, we don’t hear much about people getting vaccine appointments.

To go on with the medical theme, when I visited my nephrologist last month, she asked me about my heartburn medication, which was changed from Zantac to Pepcid last year after Zantac got pulled from the market. I confessed that Pepcid didn’t seem to work as well, that I was conscious of a slight feeling of discomfort. I’m not even sure that is an accurate description. It’s more like I am aware of that area in my body, which I wasn’t when I took Zantac, if that makes any sense. Well, she changed me to Omeprazole. I found that Omeprazole didn’t work at all, so I contacted her, and she told me to take a double dose for two weeks and then go back to a regular dose. That worked better, but it was still worse than the Pepcid, and then when I went back to the regular dose last week, well, watch out. On Thursday, just before I was due to drive over for my vaccine, I actually thought I might be having a heart attack, it felt so bad. This was after a couple of nights when I had to take Pepto Bismol to go to sleep. When I tell you that I never had bad heartburn in my life (except for one unfortunate incident involving airplane food) and was put on the medication because of other symptoms, you’ll understand how shocking this was to me. A couple days before this incident, I messaged my nephrologist and told her the Omeprazole wasn’t working, and she said that since neither drug worked for me, I should go back to my regular doctor about it. On Friday, I went back to Pepcid myself and left a message with my doctor’s assistant, hoping he could just call me back and tell me what to do. He told me I probably needed more tests and asked me to make an appointment, which I did for Tuesday morning. Actually, the Pepcid works so much better than the Omeprazole that it makes me wonder what I was complaining about.

On Monday morning I got up earlier than usual because I had a fairly early appointment to have my nose debrided again. Shortly after 7AM, the phone rang. It was Vancouver Clinic telling me they had to reschedule this appointment for later. They made it for the same day at 12:30. It’s a good thing they called so early, because it takes almost an hour to get to that particular clinic, which is in far eastern Vancouver. Vancouver is a long, thin city stretched along the Columbia. It’s shaped sort of like a piece of spaghetti, so it can take a lot longer to get to some parts than others.

I went in at 12:30 and the nurse looked at my nose and had the doctor come in and debride it again. (This time she called it “debreed.”) They told me I probably didn’t need to come in again for that, but that I would have to come in about three weeks from now because my nose was going to heal with a little button shape on it (I don’t think it’s what they mean by a button nose), and they would have to sand it down. Ouch! That’s because the skin graft died, I guess, or at least most of it did.

When I asked about the rescheduling, the nurse told me that the second dose of the vaccine is particularly hard on young people. They had all had it last week, and four girls called in sick. She said that they don’t have any extra people, so if someone is not there, they all have to do double duty. So, they moved all her appointments to her lunch hour so that she could help out with what the sick girls were supposed to be doing. If this makes you wonder whether I had any side effects from the first vaccine, I’ll tell you no, just a bruise on my arm.

We have found a good barbecue place (very hard to find here) on the way back from that clinic, so I picked up barbecue and took it home for linner after my appointment. We have found that we don’t often want both lunch and dinner anymore, so we sometimes have a late lunch/early dinner, which we call linner.

Monday must have been medical reschedule day, because later on I got a call from the doctor’s office telling me they had to reschedule my appointment to discuss my heartburn, so now that’s set for Friday. I am glad to say that because I put myself back on Pepcid, I feel okay.

Gosh, I hate talking about medical stuff, so I would imagine that this has bored you silly. Let’s talk about something else.

Yesterday morning Fedex delivered a big package to Wayne. It turns out he ordered a great big pump, saying that if a forest fire came near, we could pump water out of our pond to keep the house wet. Wayne sometimes complains that I spend too much money, but I have noticed that while I tend to buy books in packages of $35 a pop (to avoid shipping fees) from Amazon, when he spends money, it’s always on things that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Now he’s feeling rich because he got a small part of his legacy from his brother, and he has probably spent more than that much. So now we own yet another expensive thing that we will probably never use. Maybe if the pump will work for draining the fountain so we can clean it out and get it working, it’ll be worth it, but I doubt it. The pumps he bought for that purpose turned out to be insufficient.

The remnants of just a few minutes of violent hail in our front yard

I am beginning to think that this year we will not get any substantial snow, because it’s already February. The snow that was forecast for five days in a row last week didn’t really materialize except for some stuff that lasted only a couple of hours. Yesterday, however, we were driving out to PNW Best Fish Company to pick up fish and chips when we were caught in a violent hail storm about 20 minutes from our house. Earlier in the day, it had slushed at home. That is, something was coming down that was halfway between rain and hail, causing a small bit of accumulation on our deck. In the afternoon, thundershowers were forecast, but what we got was this really fierce hailstorm that suddenly appeared and in no time had accumulated ice on the road. When we passed through it, we met sun and melted slush. When we got home, although we saw no sign of it except when we returned back through the area where it had originally hit, it had clearly also been through our neighborhood.

Then last night I got up with Luke, and thinking he needed to go outside, I looked out to what appeared to be a lawn covered in snow. Water was pouring down from our eaves, though, so I thought perhaps the “snow” was an optical illusion of the grass in the darkness. Luke wouldn’t go out, so instead of putting on my boots and going out with him, I called him back into the house. This morning, however, I saw that it had indeed been snow that was almost completely melted, but the roof was still covered and there were patches of snow all over the lawn. That’s funny because although snow was originally forecast for today, the forecast had changed to rain.

Hiking opportunities did not abound this week, because it rained almost every day. In any case, when I sent out the hiking message last week, I got a response from my niece that she might be able to go on Friday, and then Maja said that might work for her. I started trying to find out on Thursday if this was going to happen, but the only response I got was from Maja, who said she could not go. By Friday morning, I still hadn’t heard anything, so I made plans to go over to Christine’s with Luke around 10:30. Then I got a typical message from my sister, which announced that she was going after lunch with the kids and where she was going. I thought I probably wouldn’t be back from Christine’s by then, and I don’t believe in changing plans unless there’s an emergency. So, it worked out that Luke and I didn’t get to hike this week. I probably should have had more patience, but I had something I wanted to take over to Christine’s. In any case, it bothers me a bit that my sister always announces when and where she is going, often with very little warning, even though I’m the one who sends out the invitation to hike every week. Maja and I always have a bit of a consultation about when and where we want to go.

I met my sister walking on the road on the way home from my Monday appointment last week, and she told me that she was planning to walk it Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays . I told her I would come along but I was just bringing lunch home (the barbecue). So, she said she would let me know when she was ready to go each day. She actually did on Wednesday, and Luke and I walked with her even though it was raining a little bit, but I haven’t heard about it since then.

Wayne and I finished all the episodes of Death in Paradise. Although we know the tenth season is out, it’s not on Britbox yet. We then decided to watch the old episodes of Prime Suspect, because I had a sense that perhaps I hadn’t seen them all. Now I’m not sure, because I looked it up and saw that they didn’t do a series every year. It seems to be just as good now as when I first saw it, except now you notice the production values. On Monday night, we decided to watch an episode of All Creatures Great and Small, so that we could compare it with the new series. I had never watched the old series, but Wayne used to. We decided that the new series, while similar, is better.

That’s about it for this week. I feel guilty that I have been so dragged down by the rain lately that I haven’t made sure Luke gets out for a walk every day. To be fair to myself, Luke doesn’t want to walk in the rain, but that shouldn’t stop me. He has lately started to just sit up at the top of the driveway and watch me go instead of following me out onto the road. Usually, if I just keep going, he eventually follows, but one day last week I got all the way to pond, and he was still sitting at the top of the driveway. So, I have resorted to the leash again. I am hoping that this phase won’t last long, because it was nice not to have to take the leash on our walks.