Monday, December 22, 2014

The Past Few Days

We have gotten a ton of rain. The month of December has been an incredibly soggy mess. The backyard is squishy when we walk out there to look at the newly potted chard plants. The rains keep coming. I check the rain gauge out in the yard whenever the rain lets up to see the incredible numbers. It may not be drought ending yet, but we're on our way.  So there hasn't been much in the way of photographic opportunities. There's hardly been a chance to get out for a decent walk. We really need to improve our rain gear. It's been so long since we've needed anything like that, we simply don't have the stuff to keep us dry. We know we need to go to the store and SHOP. (Oh yeah, like that's going to happen!)
I did check on The Cloud Appreciation Society website the other morning and found this photo that I had sent to them in early November. What a delight it was to see it there and to find that it had been added to their "Our Favorites" list. It certainly put a bit of sunlight into an otherwise bleak day.
There was a slight break in the gray skies on Friday when this appeared on the eastern horizon, a Kelvin Helmoltz formation above a cloud that looks so much like a breaking wave.
And, we did see this fantastic example of Asperatus Undulatus just before the skies darkened even deeper and the rains didn't let up for two days.

We just celebrated the winter solstice. We're looking forward to more light. We know it returns slowly, but just knowing that the sun is heading back our way is enough for now. Here is a photo we sent to friends and posted on Facebook. We share it with you here and wish you all a Happy Winter Solstice.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

arcata garden!

we have been in arcata 6 months now in a rented house, checking out every house that comes up for sale. some are interesting but not quite it. many are too expensive and/or too big. some are not even interesting. 

we have had large flower and vegetable gardens for many years. our rental has a large enough back yard and suitable southern exposure for a garden. but we were optimistic that we could find a house to buy before a garden would get far along, so we put off garden thoughts.

we do walk a lot and shortly after we arrived we noticed freshly planted chard and kale starts in local gardens. all sorts of flowers. pumpkins. we looked longingly but consoled ourselves with visions of our own garden soon to be. as the months went by we noticed that the stuff we saw freshly planted was yielding produce and flowers.

tasty organic locally grown produce is readily available. we eat well. but growing your own has benefits beyond nutrition.

the other day, in the wonderful, but sometimes abused, local tradition of putting out free stuff, someone put out, among a highly varied offering, some large grow pots. maybe 3 gallons each, made of lightweight black plastic. easy enough to carry 4 blocks to home. we succumbed to the lure of gardening.

the food coop still has plant starts. so we have 6 beginning red chard plants. out in the rain for their first watering. they will go under shelter if the rain gets heavy.

Friday, December 19, 2014

December 19th

I've posted this photo here on the blog a couple of times. It's my father and his sister in 1937. They were born a year apart on December 19th. Helen was born in 1917. My father William in 1918. They are both gone now for many years, but they are still dearly loved and sweetly remembered. Happy birthday to to my very dear father and to Aunt Helen. Everlasting life happens in the hearts of those who love you. We say your names.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Computer Breakdown

Remember this top photo? I posted it on the blog on November 18th. After I had finished editing it in Photoshop, I quit the program and opened up my Firefox browser to create the blog post. The browser was open to my Facebook page, and this is how the page looked.
I  should have known something was really not right with my computer. Somehow the photo and the browser combined to make this bizarre image. I took a screenshot of it and posted it on Facebook. Computers don't act like this when they are well and functioning happily. I dismissed it as a strange computer glitch and expected/hoped/wished it would be okay. I tried not to think any more about it. Between November 18th, when I took that top photo and December 10th, when my computer died, I noticed some crazy stuff going on. My browser never quite shut down without a "force quit." I got the Macintosh "spinning ball of death" many, many times a day. I often had to do a hard shut down because the computer literally stopped functioning. Then, on December 10th, after my zillionth time restarting it, the computer would not restart. We took it to the local MAC repair shop, and after a few days they notified me that they had to replace the hard drive and the operating system. A new hard drive meant that I had to reinstall my files from my external backup. I had done my last backup on November 30th. So, the only photos that survived between then and December 10th were the ones I had posted on the blog and Facebook.
I had taken several photos of this Townsend Warbler on December 6th, but this is the only one I posted on Facebook. I was so glad to see it. The really interesting thing is that without this visual reminder I wouldn't have even remembered what was missing from my iPhoto files.

 Like, this beautiful sunset of December 3rd. What a sight. I had taken about fifteen or twenty shots of the sun going down on this evening. This is all that's left.

After the computer was repaired and I had reinstalled all my files from backup, I tried to do some system updates when I got this message.

Oh I was not happy to see this. Back to the MAC repair shop it went. So, for about a week I used our old PC, learning the ways of that world. Then, on Tuesday the 16th, the repair folks called to say that they had done all updates and run hardware diagnostics. "Everything is fine, Robin," they said. Everything.

I now have my mac back, but I am wary. Weary and wary.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


our dehumidfier arrived right on time. it's really a kind of air conditioner or refrigerator. there is a cold coil, as there is inside a refrigerator, and a hot coil, as there was on the outside of older refrigerators, to dissipate the heat removed from the cold coil. the dehumidifier sucks in room air through the cold coil. water condenses on it and drips into a tank. the air then goes through the warm coil and back into the room at close to the temp it entered the machine.

the tank in the machine holds 30 pints of water. the machine shuts itself off if the tanks fills. i have emptied the tank at half full 5 times. 5 times 15 pints = 65 pints = 30.5 quarts = 7.625 gallons!!! that's in four days.

the ritual pouring out of the water

the air in our bedroom is down to 55% relative humidity. three other rooms are under 50%. neither robin nor i have ever had a dehumidifier. where does all this water come from?