BrownStone Chinooks is devoted to fostering the excellent health and wonderful temperament of Chinook dogs. Hard-working Chinooks excel in many activities such as agility, obedience, back yard play, hiking, dog powered sports, search and rescue, and as service dogs. The affectionate Chinook is an excellent family dog matching its activity level to that of its companions - be it strenuous exercise or snuggling on the couch.

Monday, December 7, 2020

2020 Holiday Season

One thing Mother and I agreed upon was the joy of decorating for the Holiday Season. She belonged to a Christmas club that met weekly throughout to make over-the-top decorations. Our living room would be off limits from thanksgiving on while she created a unique scene to be admired through the picture window by all driving by. Dad made life size characters, painted by mother, that were placed outside and augmented the living room spectacle. There were days you could not get in our drive for all the families out to see the our festive street. Who can forget the tree made of dowels painstakingly covered with pink feathers and supporting red shiny balls? Or the tinsel tree shined upon by a light with revolving colors? Every year was different. 

I have unabashedly embraced decorating for the holidays, though in a much more, I like to think, "classy" fashion. I have amassed a whole cupboard of decorations which I can combine in numerous ways be it shiny-and-bright or mono-chrome or subdued... Unfortunately, the cupboard fell victim to the remodel, not once but twice when a couple of walls supporting the 2nd moved into cupboard had to be removed for a new electrical panel. (Apparently code does not allow a cupboard full of decorations within 3' of an electrical panel.) At that point I was living with the 3 dogs and a cat in the mudroom and had very little, if any, storage space. Christmas was crammed here and there, like amongst the jars in the pantry and the tools stored under the sink. 

2020 has been a year best forgotten. One bright spot was that after 13 months in the mudroom, we got to move back into the house. A very low spot is that I will be home for Christmas alone due to Covid isolation. I can't show off my house which was remodeled, in part, with holiday decorating potential in mind.

I decided that this year's theme would be lodge-casual. Nothing glitzy, just warm and comfortable. The first problem was finding the decorations I wanted to use. Other than a tree outside, I didn't decorate last Christmas due to the cramped living situation. Now, I had an idea of what decorations I wanted to use but, with no storage-rhyme-or-reason, was having difficulty locating anything. To carry the theme, I decided to go with simple red lights on the tree. 

The tree: Years ago we planted some noble firs just for Christmas. This year nearby trees were logged.  The logging machines did leave the 4 remaining nobles upright but a bit damaged. The tree I chose had several dead branches and was oozing pitch out of scars. No problem. The tree was for me alone in my isolation. Missing branches adds to the interesting patina. I used my trusty chainsaw, cut it down and, brought it home on my quad which still sits against the front porch where I unloaded it. The quad now has a transmission that refuses to engage. To add insult to injury, I managed to get pitch globs throughout my hair as I wrestled the tree into the tree stand. 

The tree stand: was still outside where it held last years tree and had become a haven for a large gathering of stink bugs. Fortunately I found them before I brought the stand into the house. 

A sale of $1.99/100 tree lights was worth breaking isolation rather than finding and untangle lights I have stashed somewhere in the attic. I wasn't sure I could find enough red lights anyway so I masked up and hit the store. Unfortunately, they did not have any red lights. They only had green lights. Unwilling to go anywhere else, I brought green lights. I have never done a green-lit tree. Like most everything about this year, the result was not good. I plugged it in and all I could think of was the Grinch. From there came the inspiration for the tree top and decorations. The tree is nothing like the glorious trees I always decorate, even if they are outside. It is more akin to a pink feather tree but with a little humor. 

The tree is so dry I don't dare turn on the lights for fear of burning down my house. I also fear it may be just needleless branches by Christmas. I still have pitch in my hair but the cupboard that once held ornaments is now stocked with social isolation beverages.
Cyber Holiday Greetings and to all a better New Year.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

About Time Update

I see that I started a post way back when the Covid lockdown started. That post needs editing which will happen some day. It includes several pictures and each takes about 15 minutes to upload so getting back to it is worth the effort. It looks like blogspot was changed some of it's formatting since I was last on. This could be an interesting post.

Right now all I want to do it sit down and laugh/cry. I am still living in the mudroom 11 months into the remodel. 99% of my clothes, including all summer clothes since the remodel was to be completed before spring at the latest, are in a POD in a storage warehouse somewhere. I am taking this virus seriously and not risking store shopping for more clothing even though some stores are now open. I did buy 3 tees on line to tide me over the hot months. My needs are simple. I have gone to the store once about every 6 weeks when I run out of dog food, Costco margaritas, milk and salad fixings. Other than being comfortable, my wardrobe needs are limited, as my choices. 

At one point I decided I wanted a pergola over my new, about to be built, someday patio and to replace the front porch posts. The crew went up in the woods and got me 20 15-30' logs off the junk cold-deck and bought me a draw knife. I used my log hauler, which I never wanted but Dave got for me on my 66th birthday anyway, to stack the logs in the yard. (Dave is definitely  looking down and laughing. I love my log hauler). I watched youtube videos on how to peel logs and went to work. There is a reason all the videos were done when it was snowing. Peeling is hot work and it is in the high 80s right now. 

This morning Koyuk had a routine vet exam. I also needed to return some hardware I had bought on line and pick up Rx. I got spiffed up in my one clean new tee;  threw the rest of my clothes, PJs, towels and sheets in the washer and; headed to town. I was off (early) by a few hours on the vet appointment. I still have issues with cell phone calendars. I went to get the Rx, but was early there too. I then went to mail back the hardware. I don't have a printer so planned on creating a label at UPS.  My computer PW are my fingerprint. My cell phone needed an actual PW. So struck out on that errand too. Oh well I have to go back to town for the vet appointment and can pick up the Rx and mail the package later. To town twice in a day when I haven't gone twice in a month for months. (Well that is an interesting format I can't seem to do anything about)

Laundry was done when I got home. I took it out of the washer and to my horror, everything had dog-fur pitch balls stuck to it. Everything. I had not thrown in my pants, which I knew had pitch on them. All I can figure is that some pitch must have been in my socks and more down the front of my tee. That reasoning comes from the fact that my bra was coated as was the inside of a tee. The washer drum also had smears of dog fur coated pitch. The clothes were washed in cold water but I still have pitch stuck to everything - everything and not just a little bit. My wardrobe is very limited.  I only have one set of sheets. I tried removing the pitch with mineral spirits. Some items had to be tossed. I am currently trying a second washing to see if everything has to be thrown away.

I have 4 logs peeled. I do plan to totally dedicate one set of clothes and socks to the process from now on. I am through laughing/crying and need to get back to work so something gets done today before I head back to town, Twice in one day - this is almost scary.

Also scary is the fact that I can't do a post preview and edit. Paws crossed as I hit publish.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Fall 2019 Update

At the same time the BrownStone pack was busy supervising remodel workers, there were other photo opportunities.
construction supervision
Jake stakling an electrician's arm moving in the wall.
The weather during the week of November 30 was cold enough for Ma Nature to decorate with frost crystals. I was kept  busy with popping tiles off the mudroom ceiling to burn in the fireplace for heat.
Cedar celebrated her 14th birthday on December 8
Party Pooch
Cedar with Grandson Trask
BrownStone Pack: Daughter Koyuk, Cedar and Grandson Trask
September through December was spent hanging around awaiting permits and trying to keep warm. 
Staying warm in an empty house.
Never one to miss decorating for the holidays, the Christmas tree went up on the front porch where it remains as a flight perch for birds taking advantage of the porch feeders.
Who needs a cat bed when you have an inbox?

Sunday, March 15, 2020

A Long Time Coming

For those who do not know, since the beginning of September, I have been (and still am) camping in the mudroom with Jake the cat and my three Chinooks. My furniture consists of a camp chair, stool and dave's hospital bed. Add three large dog crates, a litter box and all possessions deemed to be too fragile or unable to handle moisture and our living space is a bit cramped. With a lot of road blocks thrown our way, the remodel is slowly progressing. Until recently we did not have heat and were exposed to the elements through the walls, ceilings and floors.
January snow inside the house
I am happy to say that we now only have one 6' X 2' ceiling hole draining our excess heat skyward. We even have walls.

The dogs have done an amazing job socializing to all sorts of visitors. One of the most curious was seeing 8 Spanish speaking guys, in full hazmat suits. on a break, wandering around the yard looking for signals for their cell phones. Even I was suspicious at the sight of them. Different crews have learned the hard way that Trask and Koyuk are not shy at all about getting into unattended rigs and stealing food. One day I even found sushi wrappers in the yard.

The drive and yard were dug up to replace the main electrical line and transformer. Add Oregon winter rains and mud has ruled around here. About the same time as the trench dig, the dogs started to blow coat. The resulting mud caked, fur-rug flooring in a cramped, unheated space became intolerable. Time for a spa day.
Koyuk and Trask
This post was a long time coming and is just a quick update. More about the dogs soon. I promise.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Old McKenzie Pass

I every year I take my "Put the Mountains To Bed" trip in September. Even as a small child we always went to the mountains in September. Because of being out of the country and then the unprecedented fall rains, my trip this year was put off until yesterday and did not include backpacking.
Between rainstorms, Nonna, Cedar and I headed up the old McKenzie Pass. First stop and probably our favorite place in the world, was Camp Lake. The recent storms had brought a few inches of snow to the mountains but the pass road was still open.
I must have hundreds of photos of Camp Lake but can never have enough.
Already camera-shy Cedar refused to sit for a photo.
I chased her about with the camera as she explored all the interesting new smells and I took in the beautiful vistas.
With the weather rapidly changing, it was off to the Dee Wright Observatory at the top of the pass.
Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington and Mt. Jefferson are behind Nonna as we climbed to the top.
Looking to the south afforded a view of the Sisters. The once formidable Collier Glacier on the North Sister has receded so much it is no longer in view. I need to go through my archived photos to see this view from the 1960's until today.
Except this small stand on the shore of Lava Lake, as far as you can see, all trees east of the Observatory almost to the gate, are dead from disease and fire. The view is totally shocking.
Cement barriers have been built along the road to prevent the rocks and soil from the once lush Ponderosa and Lodgepole pine forest from avalanching across the road. I was startled to see the Cascade mountains to the north as we drove east. They have never been visible from the road because of the dense forest. Now they stand forth as if seen from a scenic view pullout.
Nonna and I drove on to another tradition: lunch at Three Peaks Brewery in Sisters. We sat outside with Cedar enjoying another of their amazing meals and of course a brew.
What was to be a celebratory trip was sobering. Ma Nature is still trying her best to ornate the pass with brilliant fall colors but she can't compete with climate change. Her glaciers are disappearing. Her forests are all but gone.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

High Arctic Day 6 - Bears!

Lancaster Sound - Tallurutiup Imanga. Sunrise 0356.
During the night we sailed past Bylot Island and then turned west into Lancaster Sound toward the south western shores of Davon Island in search of the ice pack blocking the fabled Northwest passage.
The aft deck definitely was not a breakfast spot. I took my hot coffee and warm croissant to the bridge to watch the sea and radar for ice.

As we sailed, the morning presentation was on "Cetaceans of the Arctic" was given by our ever enthusiastic Whale biologist Connor. Not interested in the next scheduled presentation, I went up to my "Happy Place" the Library. The Library is part of the observation deck at the top of the ship and has banks of windows, leather chairs, hundreds of books and quick access to the open deck above the bridge. Throughout the voyage only a handful of us occupied this space. We were likeminded, quiet and hauled around large cameras and laptops for editing photos. The crew quickly realized that I enjoyed lunch in the library. Lunch was served more formally on the observation deck but after a couple days, I always found a table set for me in the library complete with place setting, hot roll and butter, a bowl of the soup of the day and my glass of ice water. All I needed to do was go into the dining area and grab my salad, entree and desert. Life was Very Good in the Library.
The presentation after lunch was "Seeing Artic Wildlife Before Seeing It".  Serguei Ponomerenko barely got a word out when the call of "Bear!" came from the helm.
We had hit the pack ice and hunting bears were spotted. There is a bear in this picture somewhere. Or at least that is what I was told when I took it.
We had learned by this time to always be prepared with coats, hats, cameras and binoculars no matter what we were doing on the ship. He is out there.
This is my "Where's Waldo Bear" photo. He is there.
I zoomed in a bit once I clearly spotted him.
 By now we all had a clear view.
Not knowing how long we would see him and this being the first polar bear of the trip, I took a LOT of pictures.
 He chose to approach the ship.
Looking down on those on the forward deck and the bear. At this point there was total silence in the ship. We were so in awe and didn't want to scare him away.
 He kept coming towards us.
It became evident he was going to jump this open lead. A hundred or so cameras were poised to catch him in flight. My camera wasn't fast enough to get more than the start of the lead. Others got some amazing in-air shots.
 He landed and kept coming.
I don't know if you can get too many pictures of a polar bear. I do know it is nearly impossible to eliminate ones you have taken let alone decide on the best ones to post.
My travel-mates are probably facing the same dilemma.
He was so curious and just hung around the bow of the boat for over 1/2 hour.
His tongue thrust and yawning behaviors were similar to what I see in dogs approaching an unknown, possible threat.
 Right below the bow on the ship.
He actually did disappear from our top-deck view as he got within feet of the hull. Then he decided we weren't anything  to eat or maybe he just satisfied his curiosity. He ambled off from where he came.
 Though occasionally looked back.

 Then he settled in to watch us.
About that time three more bears were spotted. The ship maneuvered so we could get a better look. This is my "where's Waldo Mom Bear and Two Cubs" shot. They actually are in this picture but never approached the ship.
 The edge of the ice pack.
 We backed out and sailed away.
We never did get the "Seeing Arctic Wildlife" presentation but after tea, Matthias Breiter, the National Geographic bear guy, researcher and photographer, was scheduled to present a talk on "Polar Bear Biology".  The session turned into answering questions about the bears we had seen and am impromptu slide show of some of the pictures taken earlier. Biology would have to wait.
You could tell we were getting further north. Sunset was at 2234.