August 22, 2015

Where there's smoke...

I've been smelling wood smoke all day, and I was beginning to wonder if Beaverton was burning down. Actually it's smoke from the Cougar Creek Fire, which was started by lightning on August 10 and has been burning ever since on the east face of Mount Adams.

The problem with fighting it is that it's really a long way away from anything, in the middle of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It's pretty much equidistant from Portland, Tacoma, and Yakima. And current weather isn't helping: hot, dry, and gusty. Plus it's burning through a big area of standing-dead Lodgepole Pine killed by bugs to its north, which is nearly ideal firewood, dry and full of resin, and pine needles all over the ground. So the current estimate for containment is October 1. (!!)

They may not be seriously trying to stop it in the north, both because it's particularly dangerous there, and because in the long run getting rid of all those dead trees will be a blessing by opening up the land.

But it sure does smell scary here right now.

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August 18, 2015

Ice day!!!!!

The forecast for today is 98F (moan) both today and tomorrow. So I've put in orders for ice both days. Today's delivery should show up in the next two hours, and let's hope they didn't run out.

Last summer I didn't have a single ice day. This year I think this is about ten of them, which is unusually high. I doubt we'll have any more, though.

Hey, Weather Bureau! We could use some rain. How about it, eh?

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July 29, 2015

Sizzle

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Oh, the next two days are not going to be fun!

UPDATE: By the way, "red flag" means conditions will be excellent for wild fires. Not really a concern here, but definitely a concern elsewhere in the region.

UPDATE: I just put in an order for groceries to be delivered tomorrow, including 80 pounds of ice.

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July 19, 2015

The smells, the smells...

It hit 95 again today, but fortunately it'll be cooler tomorrow. So right now I'm sitting here reasonably uncomfortable, mostly because one of my neighbors is barbecuing a piece of meat and it smells incredible. I have no idea where it is; I looked out past my deck and didn't see any smoke or anything.

Of course, when the air isn't moving very fast (as is the case right now) something like that can carry a long way without dissipating. For all I know it's a house on the other side of the creek.

Whoever it is, I wish they eat the damned thing and stop torturing me.

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July 11, 2015

Bachelor Chef -- Quesadilla

I make taco meat in batches, using premade store-bought taco sauce. I just tried this particular brand ("Frontera") and it was really good. (The Bachelor Chef never makes anything if it can be bought premade!) Anyway, I used 1½ pounds of hamburger and two packages of the sauce.

Once it's done I cool it my refrigerator for about ten minutes, and then spoon it into a couple of ice cube trays.

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Then freeze it. Once frozen, the cubes get stored in a plastic bag in my freezer. When time comes to make a quesadilla, I put three or four cubes in the microwave for a minute to thaw them and heat them up. I Spread the taco meat on a flour tortilla and cover with grated cheese.

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That gets heated on a griddle and covered with another tortilla. Once it's scorched on both sides, I cover it with quacamole.

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I eat it with knife and fork to prevent making a mess (like dumping a piece of it on my computer keyboard by accident).

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Jack cheese is preferred but I haven't been able to find a brand at Safeway that I like. So I'm using Tillamook Colby-Jack. I buy it in 1 pound chunks. I grate one pound at a time into a box which I keep in my frig, to be used as and when I need it.

Unlike most of the travesties I document here, this was actually pretty good.

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July 05, 2015

They're back!

Last Friday when the guys were here replacing my deck door, I noticed the complex handyman was out in the creek pulling branches out of the water and chucking them onto the bank. He confirmed it:

The beavers are back! (yay!)

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July 04, 2015

War zone

Fireworks that explode aren't legal here, but there's always a lot of it around anyway. It's easy to get; all you have to do is drive over to the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and you can get anything you're willing to pay for. US 26 goes straight from Portland to the reservation and it's a pretty easy drive. (Considering you have to drive through Government Camp on the slope of Mount Hood.) It's about 80 miles each way, which is a breeze.

Usually the combat starts a couple of days before the 4th but that didn't happen this year; it's been surprisingly peaceful, probably because of this damned heat wave; it's been in the 90's every day this week and it's still above 90 today at 8 PM. Anyway I imagine it's going to get a lot louder before this evening is over, probably starting in a couple of hours after the sun goes down and it starts cooling off.

I'm always most afraid of sky rockets because I'm afraid some loonytoon is going to start a fire and burn the whole neighborhood down. It hasn't ever happened, but they only need to get lucky once. I have to be lucky every year.

UPDATE: Well, sounds like they've run their arsenal. Loud noises began a bit before 10, and now at 11:30 there's nothing. Pretty unimpressive; in years past it's gone on for several hours.

The good news is that the neighborhood didn't burn down, again this year. So all's well that ends well.

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July 02, 2015

Surprise! Visitors!

There have been some guys doing some sort of remodeling over on the next building this week, and I was curious what it was about.

This afternoon the apartment manager called me and asked if I wouldn't mind if they came to my apartment tomorrow. They're supposed to give 24 hours notice, and this was less, but I have no reason to cause a fuss so I told her it was OK.

What they are doing is to replace all the deck doors. I have no idea why. Mine is fine; it's never been a problem. But tomorrow I'll get a new one, and I'll ask what the idea is.

They're showing up at 8, and she said they'd finish it in one day. I sure hope so.

It's going to be miserable for them, and already has been, because of the heat. It hit 97 today, and it's predicted to be 95 tomorrow, and even hotter over the weekend. l don't want anyone keeling over from heat prostration, so it's a good thing my frig is loaded up with cans of soda.

But I'm in the habit of taking a lot of naps, and tomorrow I won't be able to. My bed is right next to the deck door, for reasons too complicated to go into. (The keyword in the explanation is "bedbugs".)

It should be amusing.

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June 27, 2015

80 pounds of ice

Well, the official high for today turned out to be 92, not 99 as predicted. But that's still awful, only I was spared.

Me and my 80 pounds of ice have been very comfortable all afternoon. The ice was delivered with my groceries about 11:30 this morning, and I set up my box for the ice shortly thereafter. Most of the ice is gone now but the heat is going, too.

It was overcast most of the day despite being dreadfully hot, what some people refer to as "earthquake weather" (except we don't get earthquakes here). Usually if it's 90 and overcast I expect thunderstorms, but it's clear now and I don't think we'll get one. Which is a shame; we need the rain, and it would seriously cool everything down.

Oh, well; life goes on.

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June 26, 2015

bake bake

We're getting a heat wave. It's supposed to hit 100 today, and again tomorrow. I was getting low on groceries anyway, so I just put in an order with Safeway for a delivery tomorrow morning, and I included 80 pounds of ice. I sure hope they don't run out.

But that's for tomorrow. For today, I just have to put up with it. Saturday night we get thunderstorms and then the heat lifts a bit.

It's a bit early for this; it's the kind of thing that happens usually in late July or in August. Anyway, usually it lasts a few days and then stops, and we don't usually get more than five or so really oppressive days per summer. (Last year we didn't get any at all.)

Maybe I'll spend this afternoon sleeping.

UPDATE: The official high, measured at the Hillsboro airport, was 96. (moan)

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