When you take a trip or finish a project, and someone asks you how it went. If it goes well, you just say “okay”, end of conversation. Or you say, “That sucked” and immediately you are into a long tale of woe. Maybe it’s just a perverse twist of nature that pain, trouble, and bad things are more interesting. Well, it was an interesting summer.
Just to be sure, I made lists of good events and bad events. There were a lot of good events: I was more successful than ever getting grape cuttings to root; sales at the Northeast Washington Farmers Market were consistently good; biochar orders were healthy; we found plenty of morel mushrooms after last year’s fires; I had a couple big mapping projects; the new apple bin compost system is working; we have a new retail outlet for our wine at Colville Liquor and Wine; articles on canoes and salmon have been well-received; our new Internet service, Nuebeam, is working well; huckleberries were back; and our first load of firewood is in the woodshed.
Okay, that was brief and boring. The more uphill battles included trying to replace or upgrade my solid ink printer. In a way I am like the guy with an old car that knows it well and doesn’t want any new-fangled rig. On the other hand, no printer company seemed interested in making a printer that works better and costs less to buy, maintain and keep in ink. Without spending the rest of the blog on printer stories, let’s leave it at: “Always buy repair insurance when buying a used printer.” I am very glad that I did.
Then there is Windows 10. For someone who never left Windows 7 because it would mean new hardware, new software and a touch screen, my tax software finally got me. It would not support Windows 7 and I have to file taxes. Now I am using this Dell laptop with its own camera and some software. But I fell for the “One Drive” backup by Microsoft. Suddenly my Internet usage went through the roof. Evidently “One Drive” can’t tell when something has actually changed recently on a computer and backs up everything over and over. Now I work off an external hard drive. But I had one of those fail too.
Another hard lesson was crashed websites. I try to maintain several, including this one. One day I noticed that one of them was set back to an older version. I have been good at getting backup software that works automatically. But unbeknownst to me, several websites crashed, and my Internet provider restored them from older versions without letting on that they had crashed. The automatic backup backed up the now older versions and thereby destroyed all my resent backups.
There were other difficulties like the local bear taking the rest of the neighbor’s cherries before I could finish picking them and our bank selling us out to another bank then having to switch over a bunch of payments and bills, not always smoothly. But the real doozy was a trip to report on the Okanogan Tribe’s canoe crossing of the Canadian/American line on Osoyoos Lake. I made it to the Canadian side of the lake and the huge PKMip campground where the canoe team spends the night before the 4th of July crossing so I could talk to them personally without any time constraints. But they didn’t find room to camp for the first time in 20 years and quietly went to a camp across the lake. So I never met them. I drove to the American end of the lake and arrived just before the canoes did. A huge thunderstorm was going on and we all were soaked. The baked chicken and watermelon were good, but I had to rush home. I didn’t make it. Our 1984 VW van with the newish 2001 Subaru engine choked up halfway back. I managed to coast several miles downhill to a farm. I “technically” have roadside assistance with Liberty Mutual but had no coverage. The couple on the farm let me tag on to their Internet and I called Liberty Mutual. After a lot of talking and waiting they informed me that they couldn’t find anyone to tow me. I was 100 miles from home. But I was only 20 miles from my daughter April’s house. She rescued me, got me home and helped find a tow truck the next day.
Our mechanic couldn’t detect the problem on the hybrid VW/Subaru computer system, but I suggested that it felt like a clogged fuel filter. A new one fixed the problem. Well, fixed it for more than a month. It stopped dead last week a few miles from home and is still in the shop after a couple misleading times when it ran fine.
By the end of last week, I got Covid. At one time I promised myself that when I got old, I would not spend time talking about medical issues. My own anyway. But I should mention that on July 21st, in the early morning, Cheryl got a crippling sciatic pain down her right leg and could not walk without walking sticks. My daughter Bina and her children, Ovid (13) and Nala (11) were almost here coming from their home in Alameda, California. April saved the day again hosting Bina’s Family early and bringing a walker for Cheryl. That was 6 weeks ago. Cheryl is driving, walking without the walker, and often sleeping without having to sit up in bed. Now she has Covid. But the sciatica has been gone for a week with chiropractic help and therapeutic doses of new supplements.
It’s not too bad, like a mild flu. I feel recovered and I’m sure Cheryl will soon recover too.
I could complain about the weather since it was almost 100º again today after the hottest and driest August on record. But why bother. We are coping. Opening the doors at night keeps the house and office in the low 70s all day. We can work inside when it gets too hot to be outside. Forest fires are increasing daily but are not like last year. The grapes are coming around. There will be a huge crop. We need to get ready for them and keep up the farmers’ market for another 2 months. Maybe I will find time to write another personal blog after that.