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Ann's Corner

VOLUME 79-----------JANUARY 2009



January 8, 2009

Happy new year to one and all!  We here at the ranch wish you a great 2009.

Hope y'all had a good Christmas.  Ours was celebrated in good health with Rick, Christi, and Jennifer here on Christmas Eve for our traditional chicken bisque supper and gift exchange.  While I still believe in Santa Claus, I'm starting to wonder about that "you gotta' be good to get Christmas presents" thing.  I know I got gifts far in excess of how "good" I might have been, and suspect some of you did too!

Ann and I decided early on that the bulk of our Christmas giving for each other, would come later in the form of new computers and software upgrades.  If we ever have an opportunity to shop for such items we'll move forward with that project.

Our early, often, and prodigious amounts of snowfall has put a crimp in many schedules and plans here in our part of the country.  Jennifer's Christmas vacation from school was extended by two days, and as I write this they are still on a 2 hour delay for daily classes and running modified bus routes.

The Spokane area has made the national network news on several occasions the past few weeks reporting on our impassable roads and roof collapses.  We've been pushing, shoveling, and snowblowing nearly every day for weeks!  Officially, this has been Spokane's snowiest December since about 1950!

It has not snowed now for over 48 hours, the longest hiatus since early December.  The forecast is for a relatively dry spell of 4 or 5 days after today's rain.  While the past two days of 40+ degree temps and the rain showers have reduced our snow cover somewhat, we still have plenty.

As of January 6th, the official snowfall total at the Spokane airport was reported to be right at 80 inches.  Because of our slightly higher altitude and being nestled against the foothills, we can count on 10 to 20% more snow than the official measurement.  A rough, quick mental calculation puts us at about 7 or 8 feet here at the house!

At last count there were over 30 reports of collapsed roofs in the Spokane area and I don't think this included the smaller stuff like flat roofed carports and such.  Everything from a large chain grocery store to strip malls to schools were included in the total.  Of course, the ruptured gas lines and severed electrical lines attendant to a roof collapse kept fire departments and utility companies hopping from one emergency to another.  Fortunately for homeowners, most of the damage was to flat roofed structures rather than the typical residence.

At least 3 area Wal Mart stores were closed for several days while crews cleared the snow from the roofs.  You KNOW when Wal Mart closes that things are serious!

We seem to be OK roof wise here at the ranch.  I had some neighborhood boys shovel off the house roof the day after Christmas which included about the first 3 feet of snow, so felt fortunate to luck into that much foresight before the next 4 feet arrived!

Our newer metal roofed shop building, with its 4 -12 roof pitch, sloughs off the snow pretty quickly when I heat the interior to melt off the  tractor and snow blowers so it stays nearly bare.  The snow has piled halfway up over the windows though, as it has slid off below the eaves.

The old shop building that was here when we bought the place, still has not shed it's load.  The roof pitch is only 3 - 12 on that building, and it's not regularly heated so it doesn't slide off as readily.  Hopefully, that old high school physics equation will eventually kick in:  The weight of the snow will overcome the coefficient of friction with the delta rib roofing, and the snow will cascade to the ground before the building falls in.  Either that or the snow will melt.

Some of you may have seen this picture on the Eagleville, Missouri website maintained by webmaster Lila Hutton.

Here's what Lila had to say about it:

"I know you can tell by the trees, that this is not the Midwest!
But no one from the Midwest emailed me a photo this week :(
This is Jim & Ann Parman's home in picturesque Washington state.
After 28" of snow the middle of December 2008, near Newman Lake, WA.
Snow can be very pretty for a while. Thanks Ann for the photo!"

Lila's right.  Snow can be pretty for a while!  This was only the first 28 inches.  The next 4 feet pretty much sucked!

I intended to get some photos before the big meltdown of the last two days, but didn't get it done.  I'll just say the snow that is piled up around the edges of the drive has settled considerably, but still ranges from 3 feet to over 6 feet deep in some areas!

The local deer and turkeys tend to seek a reprieve from the deep stuff by walking in our driveway and private road.  The deer are obviously using the public roads and highways too as we are seeing more than usual become victims of vehicle traffic.

One particularly nasty day midway into the December deluge I had to chase a flock of turkeys from beneath our back deck where they were trying to roost.  You'd think with much of their solid food covered by snow that the turkeys' digestive systems would slow down and they wouldn't poop so much.  I can assure you that's not the case.  It just gets looser.  A night's worth of that stuff on the patio under the deck was not acceptable!

Enough about the dang snow and turkey poop!  Let's turn to another topic.

2009 Hunter Education classes will soon begin at the Spokane Sportsman's Warehouse.  Some of us instructors will be in the store on January 10th and 11th to enroll students.  If like past years, this will be a madhouse for the first hour or so on Saturday.

Our classes are very popular with the store's customers, but we only have room for a little over 20 at a time.  Only by attending either the February or March class, can students get certified in time for the traditional April 15th opening of Turkey season!

This creates a big crowd outside the store's doors before opening time, and then a mad rush to get to the sign up table ahead of everyone else.  We usually fill those first two classes in a matter of minutes and unfortunately some folks end up being disappointed.

Go back to the home page and click on the Hunter Education button for more details about the classes, the instructors, and pictures of our 2007 and 2008 graduates.

I've probably mentioned that Rick has been attending night school at Eastern Washington University for several years.  His employer of the past 8 years places great emphasis on their management employees having college degrees.  To that end the company reimburses employees for a substantial portion of their college expenses so long as good grades are maintained.

I'm very happy to report that his sacrifice of personal and family time, along with the hours and miles of travel to and from classes, is finally over!  After "testing out" of a couple of required computer classes last month, Rick's Bachelor's Degree is in hand!

Probably because I don't have a college degree and never saw a personal need for one, I'm a bit prejudiced on the subject.  I still question whether, in many instances, possessing that piece of paper really makes someone a more valuable employee or better manager!   I guess, if nothing else, it shows that one has the perseverance to jump through the hoops and take some boring, meaningless classes to get there.  Whatever my personal feelings, such is the way of the working world today, and we are very proud of Rick's accomplishment.

I called Rick's house last evening and asked them to come up to the house for a few minutes.  (I guess Christi was concerned that they had been summoned to, as she put it, "The Big House," thinking we had dire news or something.)

The purpose of the request was to present Rick with a token of Ann's and my appreciation of this historic event.  The token is a John Wayne 100th anniversary commemorative Winchester Model 1892 lever action rifle in .44-40 caliber.  This is a "fancied up" replica of the rifle the "Duke" carried in the "Rooster Cogburn" movies.

I'll try and put in some photos here that will give you a flavor of what the rifle looks like.


Left to Right:  Rick opening the package - By the fireplace - Right side engraving - Left side engraving with saddle ring

Now the dilemma is whether to shoot the rifle or just look at it in unfired condition.  I'll bet he elects to shoot it.  What do you think?

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from my ISP's joke page.  In these times of economic trials and tribulations and with big Government's track record with regard to "Fixing" things, I thought this only appropriate:

Once upon a time a man appeared in a village and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for $10 each.

The villagers, seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them. The man bought thousands at $10 and, as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort. He next announced that he would now buy monkeys at $20 each. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again. Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms. The offer increased to $25 each and the supply of monkeys became so scarce it was an effort to even find a monkey, let alone catch it!

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at $50 each! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would buy on his behalf. In the absence of the man, the assistant told the villagers: "Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has already collected. I will sell them to you at $35 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell them to him for $50 each." The villagers rounded up all their savings and bought all the monkeys for 700 billion dollars. They never saw the man or his assistant again, only lots and lots of monkeys!

Now you have a better understanding of how the WALL STREET BAILOUT PLAN WILL WORK !!!!

Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .

'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!

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