Happy Halloween

As usual, a quiet Halloween here at the Thayers. No trick or treating occurs in our country community. Too far up the driveways and dark for the young “treaters”. It is scary movie time of the year and I enjoy being able to watch the all the good scary movies on television.
Nicolas was dressed as Captain America and it was a very cute costume (as shown).


Intersection of History

Abraham Lincoln was a great man and an intriguing figure in history. I have several books about his life and family plus the turbulent times he faced. One of the books features his death by assassination and subsequent funeral set against the collapse and surrender of the South with Jefferson Davis on the run. His funeral procession from Washington DC to the final resting place traveled through many miles and many places. It was a national spectacle of mourning. There is a recent book that I will most likely get called Rise to Greatness, about Lincoln and the first year of his Presidency. He faced many challenges and could certainly teach any of us about how to focus on a better horizon for this nation. This photo of the funeral procession shows a young Theodore Roosevelt at the window of his grandfather’s place watching the procession go by. An intersection of history and American Presidents.



The East Coast is being pummeled today by Hurricane Sandy as a major storm. Huge wind gusts and flooding from the storm surge on the ocean and bay sides. One interesting note is an article about how the Old Guard continues to patrol the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. They have done so for every second to every minute to every hour since April of 1948, no matter the weather (see below). To visit and see these honored soldiers guarding this tomb is inspiring and humbling. Arlington Cemetery was closed today to the public due to the severe weather conditions. It is interesting to view a list of what is considered the top 10 worst disasters over the last century. Hurricane Sandy will add an eleventh to the list, especially if it in any way aids the current President to be re-elected.
tomb-of-unknown-soldier --11-15

London Blitz

Here is an interesting video noted on a webpage that gives a different look to how the people of London dealt with the blitzkrieg unleashed by Germany in World War II. I am now reading a book called Savage Continent about life in Europe from 1944 to 1949. The start of the book mentions how many homes and structures were destroyed during this phase of the war. 202,000 homes were destroyed and 4.5 million were damaged in the London area.


Major Storms

The East Coast is preparing for what is termed the Frankenstorm. This storm will have a resemblance to the Perfect Storm of 1991. It is a hurricane with a warm weather surge that meets a cold front coming from the West and North that will collide. They expect a huge surge of water to hit Long Island with lots of rain (flooding) and then snow inland. The barometric pressure drop is impressive from their models.
In anticipation of this problem, there have been a couple of interesting articles about preparing for major weather systems and also how to handle being stranded by weather or other problems when flying. Both of these pieces have good information to consider and are just a bit different from the usual discussions on how to prepare or deal with an emergency or life’s changes.


It is not exciting to have one of your history beliefs possibly shattered. Though it is interesting at the same time to have new knowledge and recognition come to the forefront.
I just read a recent article that there is a belief that the Battle of Hastings (1066 A.D.) was not fought on Battle Hill near Hastings, but was fought about 1 mile northwest on another hill, Caldbec Hill. They believe that there could be 10,000 bodies from the battle located in that area. Of course, they plan for an archeological exploration of that area. It is sad to think that Bob and I have visited Battle Abbey and walked the Battle of Hastings grounds. We looked over the terrain where so much of English history changed and probably our history here in the States. We were possibly not looking at the true area and missed the real historical spot. Historical concepts will be turned a bit upside down if this is found to be a correct theory and the battlefield is located elsewhere. Just think though of what they may find if they do locate all the remains of soldiers from so long ago.

Bayeux Tapestry


About 15 years ago there was a bestselling non-fiction book called The Hot Zone. It covered an outbreak of Ebola virus in an area on the East Coast. Ebola is highly contagious and has an almost 100% mortality. An outbreak is greatly to be feared. In addition to that book, another titled The Coming Plague covered a number of possibilities for disease outbreaks with different agents. Both books were frightening in concept. Recently, Bob and I watched the movie, Contagion, that was a hypothetical spread of a lethal virus spread from incubating in bats to pigs and on to people. It also was highly contagious and lethal. There is a new book out that covers how close humanity is to having RNA viruses “spillover” from animals to humans and be the next plague. Spillover is the title and an article of how RNA viruses (Ebola, Marburg,SARS, Hanta) are a threat as we encroach closer into their territory and hosts.

Marburg virus

How Many Books?

I have never counted the number of books we have in our house (and in the tack room of the barn). Certainly, the movers counted dollar signs and weight of books when we moved back here to Oregon. The numbers have certainly grown from those days and do not encompass the number of e-books through Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and ITunes we have for readers.
So I have to mention an article by a gentleman who talks about being a bibliophile. The article is titled “My 6,128 Favorite Books”. There is certainly a bit to describe the type of personality disorder people like us have. I could probably be the lending library for this community.
The following photo was downloaded from the article (courtesy of Thomas Allen).



Last evening was our third show in Eugene where we saw Natalie MacMaster. The last time was about 4 years ago. Natalie is a world renowned celtic fiddle player with “Close to the Floor” dancing abilities as she fiddles. She is a 5-time mom with the newest child being almost 3 months old. As one audience member said as we were leaving, “She does not disappoint”.
She had her oldest child, 6-year-old Mary Frances Leahy, on stage. The genes and environment showed through since Mary Frances danced up a storm and played the fiddle to a lively tune. A Star is Born and a proud Mom too.


Night Out in Eugene

A rainy, blustery day led to a night out at The Shedd Institute in Eugene to see Natalie MacMaster perform. She is from the small community of Troy on Cape Breton Island. I will cover more about her tomorrow.
The sky was a mix of odd colors, dark and light orange last night as we took the freeway. This is probably not the best picture depiction though will give some idea of the hills and sky.


World War II Remembered

There was a recent online article that reminded one of the action in World War II. The authors had photos where soldiers photo images were superimposed over locations past and present of action during the War in the European theatre. The superimposition gives the impression in a way of ghost soldiers, much like the sensation as you walk the Korean War Memorial in Washington DC.
My father joined the Army before the war started and was stationed in Central America on Trinidad Island and Panama. Dad was in Panama from what I understand when the war started. He spent the War stationed at the Pentagon where he claimed he was a clerk. I like to think he knew secrets that helped win the War for the Allies.

Special Rocks

Last month while sightseeing with friends, we stopped at the Larwood Covered Bridge. The river was low due to no rain for several weeks. The riverbed was more exposed and our one friend wanted to find that special rock. She wanted a rounded, certain-size rock that could be painted artistically. Bob scrambled down to the river’s edge and found that special rock. Here he is in a photo, captured for eternity, rock hunting and doing a good deed.

Friends in High Places

How can we not appreciate and treasure good friends? Phony people are all around. The real gems who are real and would be there when needed are not. When you find them, hold on to that specialness as best you can! We got by email today a great photo of our evening at the Space Needle in Seattle with Tim and Karen Becnel. We had such a wonderful meal and view with great conversation. Tim and Karen fit into the special friend category. It was so great to have them stay at our home so we could share an Oregon experience too.

Booker Prize

Tuesday was the announcement of the Booker Prize. Hilary Mantel, an author from Derbyshire, won her second Booker prize for the second book of the trilogy on Thomas Cromwell, “Bring Up the Bodies”. She is one of a few authors to win two Booker Prizes and the sequel mentioned was the first to win as such. The original book is “Wolf Hall”. The third book will be titled “The Mirror and the Light”. I have read the first of her series and will have to read it again. I will need to purchase the sequel and read it soon. BBC appears to be planning to show this as a mini-series and they also will have a series like The Tudors on The War of the Roses. Oh, I bet that will be something to watch!

Fall Sunrise

The sun is out again. Wow, today started off with a beautiful, colorful sunrise. It was amazing to see and does not last long enough.

Fish Hatchery

Out near the Larwood Covered Bridge is the Roaring River Fish Hatchery. It is a small place yet isolated and fun to visit. I enjoy going there to just see the different tanks of trout they are raising to release in the lakes. They have a range of smaller fish to larger fish that are about 2 feet in length. They certainly get agitated when one throughs bits of fish food into the tank. Lots of swirling and splashing. Splish, splash!



Here is where I do not have a good photo to use. It is really strange to say that when we live in “rain country”. We have had enough rain since last Friday to exceed the total rainfall for October since about 1903. It definitely did rain quite a large amount and is still pretty wet tonight. We are staying at home watching the free first episode of the third season of The Walking Dead. While this might look like me after too much time on the computer, I don’t use makeup.


Media Is Lost

In this political season, politics will show up in this blog. I have to write again about my disappointment with the MSM and how they try to determine the narrative of what we should believe. If we do not choose not to do so, we are treated as uneducated idiots. I like to look at what they cover under what I term the “George Bush Rule”. If it would have been a story, or a major one, when George Bush was President then it should be covered under Barack Obama as President. Let the people see the information and decide. A good article and one that states how I feel about our Fourth Estate is covered here.
I have been very unhappy to have the Huffington Post take over and merge with AOL which is my email provider for so many years. After seeing a link to a page written by Dr. Peggy Drexler, I can see why I like it less and less. I will not link to the column in this blog. The premise is that the increasing social and economic parity of men and women is the proximate cause of equalizing rates of adultery across genders. I realized that overall the arch of the articles that HuffPo offers and promotes is a theme that whatever makes you feel good personally whether it hurts others is paramount. The doctor felt that since women have more choices, if it makes them feel empowered and better about themselves that they should do it even when they want to stay in their marriages. Everything is hunky dory, there really is no right or wrong in life. As we say in my family………Yeah, right.
Also, after the disgusting and disrespectful manner that Vice President Joe Biden acted in his debate performance the other night, I noted a list of recommended behaviors by a writer about how to not let your kids grow up to be Joe Biden-like. He certainly proved the point to me why Congress is stalemated. Why cooperate when your opponent treats us like this.
-Never exaggerate.
-Never point at another.
-Never betray a confidence.
-Never laugh at the misfortunes of others.
-Never give a promise that you do not fulfill.
-Never speak much of your own performances.
-Never make yourself the hero of your own story.
-Never fail to give a polite answer to a civil question.
-Never call a new acquaintance by their first name unless requested.
-Never attempt to draw the attention of the company constantly upon yourself.
-Never exhibit too great a familiarity with a new acquaintance, as you may give offense.
-Never fail to tell the truth. If truthful, you get your reward. You will get your punishment if you deceive.
-Never fail to speak kindly. If in any position where you exercise authority, you show yourself to be a gentleman by your pleasant mode of address.
-Never attempt to convey the impression that you are a genius.

Garden Bounty

We have learned over the past several years as we plant a bigger garden and add fruit trees that our bounty of food types keeps increasing. This year we have done less in the canning arena and more in freezing. Currently, we have gotten out the Excalibur dehydrator and started dehydrating fruit. Kathy showed us how she dehydrated watermelon so Bob has worked at getting a batch done. I like the results. He also worked at doing several trays of Fuji apple slices. Dehydrated apples are a great treat. The biggest issue is the time needed to cut up the items into the right sizes. It can be tedious and we need to find easier ways to do it quicker.
On another note, I am adding in a photo taken just outside Goldendale of an old, unoccupied house. The surrounding ground was interesting and there was a squirrel sitting on top of the chimney too.


River Sculptures

Women can have an uncanny knack of driving the men in their lives a little bit crazy. One tool we can use if the desire for men to get “somewhere” and not stop the car for anything except an emergency (one they would deem an emergency). “Pedal to the metal” is Bob’s mantra and he will do it. I have learned over the years I need to stop, not that I want to or I might want to. Too wishy-washy for “driven” men. Happy
I did make Bob and Scott a bit perturbed on our trip back from Quincy WA last Sunday when I asked to stop to take a photo of an interesting art sculpture on the Columbia River at a park next to Vantage WA. “Really, you have to stop to do this?” Sarcasm really ups the ante and makes one dig in their heels. So, off I went to get my photo before the sun set in the West shortly after. I think the photo was worth it on multiple levels.


One of the big pushes in the past 5 years has been to develop wind power. Certainly, the area around the Columbia River Gorge and wheat fields of southeast Washington State and northeast Oregon have been prime locations. A number of windmills have been going up in these areas. Often, they are wind farms in name. There has been a lot of controversy over their use. Certainly, a number of business people and companies have lost a lot of money in this energy field. The windmills seem to be produced primarily in China and their lifespan may only be 20-25 years for all the money they cost us. They are striking though and if not too clustered, they do have a look about them. It is interesting to see them at night along the Gorge because they are set with red, blinking lights to determine their location for planes and helicopters (I would assume). It is like seeing a long line of Christmas lights in the sky.

End of the Dry?

The late Indian Summer may be almost over. It has been warm, sunny, and dry since near the end of July. There has only been a few hundredths of an inch of rain over that time. The fire danger in the Pacific Northwest is extreme. One exhibit of that is the following photo. When we went up to central Washington State last weekend, we could see across the Columbia River a small fire started on a steep slope about 2 miles east of Hood River. The fire was not still burning when we came back that evening. There have been several fires in that area, some that have closed Interstate 84. it is easy for fire to spread so they are quickly putting them out. The rain is supposed to start in about 48 hours and the plants will most likely give a big sigh of relief………AHHHH!

Whither Scotland?

In reading different news articles, one comes across interesting current affairs. One of those was an article in the Daily Telegraph commenting on how the Scots at one time were the envy of the world in ingenuity and vitality. Maybe not for the emigres, yet the clearances were a boon to the rest of the world with the arrival of hard-working industrious Scots people. They are seeking their independence from the United Kingdom. Evidentally, the country is much more on the government assistance wagon and it is approximately 88% who take more than they contribute in taxes. This may be where we are headed in our country if we don’t change course.
At least though the article was disturbing about entitlements, it did have a link to about 20 gorgeous pictures of Scotland and the life of the people there. I am including a photo here of the rugged Highlands and heathered hills north of the River Dee valley and near the River Don. The day was getting cool and about 10 days later this part of Scotland had snow.


The Highlands near Alford, between Kildrummy and Craigievar Castles.

Gals and Guys

Yes, I know that it is usually Guys and Gals. We will just let the women go first today (and every day). After eating yesterday, it was quite interesting and funny that the women and men split into conversation groups like olden days. The guys were in telling war stories and farming tales. The ladies were talking a range of items of food, family, work, current affairs, and education. A very nice time was had by all. It was sad to have to leave shortly after 5p.m. for the drive home where we made it to bed around midnight.

Here is Kimberly, Kathy’s mom, Lou, and my sister-in-law, Janet, holding down the discussion.


Family Salute to a Soldier

Long day today and worth it. We all agreed who were fortunate to make the drive and back. Bob’s brother, Jim, and his wife, Kathy, invited family to their home for a barbecue. The occasion was to see and spend time with our nephew, Mitch. Mitch is due to be deployed to Afghanistan in the Army the first part of November. Our son, Scott, made the trip with us. Unfortunately, David felt he and his new family could not due to the long hours up and back. We left at 7 a.m. and it is an almost 6 hour drive to Quincy WA. Kathy, proud mother that she is, put on a great spread of food for all of us. Here is Kathy putting away food after we had made great inroads into the bowls and platters of goodies. Thank you Kathy and Jim for the great hospitality and family sharing! Jim is a proud Dad too.


Mitch in his uniform with his sister, Kimberly. Kimberly is getting a master’s degree in food quality assurance at Washington State University (Go Cougs!). Very impressive uniform and status for Mitch!



In this economic environment, it is not easy to operate a profitable veterinary practice. I came to the revelation through some discussion with an individual about another practice that I had built a fairly well managed veterinary practice. We certainly went through some recessions and economic challenges though probably not as severe as the most recent recession and lack of significant economic recovery.
Definitely, the current thinking about what makes a profitable practice and one that has some value to sell is very different than past years. Even different from what was thought 10 years ago. It is amazing what we learn from experience or that we even learn at all from life’s lessons.

25th Anniversary Photo Collage of Civic Feline Clinic

Vicki and her former business partner, Dr. Josie Thompson. Civic Feline Clinic’s waiting room and stained glass cat entry.

Another Covered Bridge

I have not been able to keep up with posting blog articles as I hoped since I had to travel to Chicago last weekend and then was sick with a cold right as I came home.

One of the recent posts I had was of Karen in front of the Larwood Covered Bridge with her river rock. Not far, about 5 miles, from Larwood is the Shimanek Covered Bridge. It is along Richardson Gap Road, a common route we take now to go to Portland and PDX. Enjoy!



Mostly a recovery and try to feel better day. The need to finish up some odds and ends while planning other things that need doing. I did send off some photos to Dr. Niels Pedersen of his friends accepting the Excellence in Feline Research Award for him at the AVMA meeting in San Diego in August. Here is one photo where the AVMA President, Dr. Rene Carlson, is presenting the crystal cat statue.


Miller Trust Review

Today was the 2012 grant review for the Miller Trust proposals. It is held by teleconference and we were able to get finished in 2 hours. Unfortunately, my cold was about at its worst and is a day of managing my cough, fever, and poor energy levels. Here is a photo of the review group at work at an earlier time.


Quiet Day

Taking a quiet day today. I am definitely feeling the effects of the cold I have been trying to fight off. I think it would be a good day to again highlight the work of Laura Seeley. Karen and Tim have left behind the art Bob and I purchased from Art for Cat’s Sake. I will have to get it all framed and up on the walls.




AVMA Headquarters

The morning was spent in discussions at the AVMA headquarters. The meeting rooms are nice and they offer a lunch area on site. The last portion of the morning was spent at the Council on Research meeting where one member, Dr. Tom Rossum, said he had a lot of respect for the work of the Winn Feline Foundation.

Caught an on-time United flight back to Portland. Since I was starting to come down with my cold, it was not a great experience to have a significant nose bleed as the flight was ascending to travel altitude. Traveling is not fun though I will add in a photo of the “drillmaster” statue from last night at Weber Grill. We need Bob to hold that pose as he grills.

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