A Quiet September

… and, not by design.

The month slipped by quietly, with October beginning today. The girls, immersed in their studies while staying sharp with their riding, are taking aim at the Las Vegas Nationals in mid-November. The always busy Laurie and Andrea, busy. Except for a pair of early starts, no one required their special talents in the middle of the night. For myself, a few work projects. One project is on hold pending the arrival of a new printer. My existing HP OfficeJet printer gave out last week, unable to lift a sheet of paper to be fed into the printhead interface. It gave nine years of flawless service.

Similarly, fall began quietly. No chill winds, no large temperature swings, and most importantly, no surprise snow. While the fall colors have gone past their peak in the high country, they are slowly beginning here in the lower elevations. Autumn gold should take hold around mid-month, mostly from cottonwoods and elms. Reds and oranges will mostly come from scrub oak, poison oak and poison sumac.

the fall colors in the old neighborhood (October 2017)

dulled color: gray skies and low clouds

A dull gray, not the best color to begin a new month. Rain, only a slight possibility, from the remnants of Hurricane Rosa. While the overcast gives the impression of cooler temperatures, it has been in the mid-70s for most of the day. Very pleasant. Better yet, not many flying insects hanging by the barn.

In the forecast: Brighter, warmer days. Cool overnights.


Hurricane Notes: Lane

A year ago, it was Harvey. Now, it is Lane. In both cases, it was the safety of family members that became our paramount concern.

Though it wasn’t likely Harvey would reach San Antonio, his rain shield was fairly large. They did have their share of rainfall, but not to the extent experienced by Houston. Like Houston, San Antonio is flood prone. Most of their issues arise from spring rains. Laurie was able to stay in regular contact with her dad, and her sister and brother.

With Lane, it is the extended family on my mom’s side that is in the crosshairs. On Monday evening, I sent a text to my cousin Lori and her family to stay safe. Lori’s father-in-law lives in Hilo, on the Big Island. If you have followed the weather reports, the Hilo side received 30+ inches of rain. Lori, her husband and her mom lives above Honolulu, in Nu’uanu Valley. It is more important for them to be ready.

high above: Hurricane Lane, at Cat 5 strength, as seen from the ISS (Aug 22 2018)
photo credit: NASA via Associated Press

The potential of a significant impact in Honolulu looms should Lane draw closer to Oahu. Their flood control is a network of canals (or spillway channels) which outlet into the ocean. Lane’s impact is forecasted to extend through the weekend with the potential for high rainfall amounts, and the likelihood of flash flooding.

The touchstone phrase in their preparations has been “hoping for the best, prepared for the worst.” May it be the best.

North Ranch: Winter Morning

A winter morning.

woods and cottages in winter white

A new day begins at North Ranch, with a fresh snowy mantle and crystal clear skies. The brisk temperature is noted before starting the day’s work.

Occasionally, the wildlife will make an appearance later in the day. They are well accustomed to the snow and cold, and well experienced in foraging.

passing through: deer on a snow-covered trail

Il Cielo Romanza

by Tara Scott Westin

I colori romanza del cielo …

Uno non ha bisogno di viaggiare lontano per vederli.

About the author

Tara Scott Westin graduated, Magna Cum Laude, from the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs in May 2017 with a BS in Biology (Microbiology).

A highly decorated rider with the Rustler Riding Club, Tara has won multiple blue ribbons and other placement ribbons with her horses, Brie, Cameron and Candace (Happy Girl). In 2006, she was named Comeback Rider of the Year – the only non-competitor rider in Rustler Riding Club history to win this award.

Aloha Friday

The view is breathtaking. A place of history and plenty of story. It is the Pali Highway.

the windward coast of Oahu, with Chinaman’s Hat and a portion of the Ko’olau Mountains in the distance

the view towards Kaneohe Bay, Maui Channel and the Pacific

The Pali Highway links Honolulu with the windward side of Oahu through the Ko’olau Mountain Range, and into Kaneohe and Kailua. The first road built through the Pali was in 1845. The Pali Road was developed into a highway in 1898. It was your typical winding mountain road with hairpin turns and switchbacks. My mom, when she was growing up, said the road often became quite treacherous during rainstorms and at night. Crossing over the summit of the Pali, mom said there was an eeriness about the place – during the day. This was where, Nu’uanu Pali, the decisive battle was fought in which Kamehameha’s army defeated the army of Kalanikūpule, the King of Maui.

With Kalanikūpule’s army reeling from the advance of Kamehameha’s forces, they retreated up Nu’uanu Valley to the Pali’s cliffs. Trapped, Kalanikūpule’s warriors, numbering between 700-900 men, were either pushed, or jumped, to their deaths from the 1,000 foot high cliffs. There have been other accounts in which a pitched, back and forth battle to the death ensued on the cliff heights before Kamehameha’s forces prevailed. During the 1898 highway construction, workers discovered 800 skulls which were believed to be the remains of Kalanikūpule’s warriors.

Stories surrounding the Pali have abounded through the years. They range from ghostly tales involving apparitions of warriors on night marches to those who died tragically, or mysteriously, along the Pali Road. The most enduring tale is not to be carrying any pork product over the Pali during the midnight hour. A car will suddenly die if anywhere near the Pali summit. It will not restart until after one. For outsiders and non-believers, they dismiss it all as foolish superstition. For those who grew up there and heard the anecdotal stories, they respect the supernatural occurrences.

For one of my uncles, it became a true story. He was returning home from the windward side with his wife and a friend. They were late in starting back due to heavy rains on the Pali. When it seemed safe to drive back, it was already late. They simply did not want to be anywhere near the Pali summit around midnight. Adding to their anxiety, they were carrying leftovers from a pork roast for my grandparents. The car suddenly died near the summit shortly after midnight. It did not restart. Once it was after one, the car restarted and they were able to complete their trip.

In 1959, construction began to modernize and improve the safety of the Pali Highway. A four lane highway that could be easily widened to six lanes, along with tunnels to replace the tricky, two lane roadway. Also, lighting would improve visibility during poor weather and darkness. Sections of the old roadway can be seen above or below the improved highway. And, those strange happenings along the highway, they still occur.

the towering heights of the Pali

a view of the Ko’olua Mountains from the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

To view the many scenic panoramas, there are a pair of scenic lookouts along the Pali Highway. The higher Nu’uanu Pali Lookout provides the better views, and is on a portion of the now-closed, older highway. There are several hikes that begin from the lookout. One hike is featured here. If a hike is done, it is advised to carry a small point and shoot, phone camera, or a disposable film camera.

About the photos

These photos were taken during the holiday season in 1978-79 using a Canon FTb 35 mm SLR with Kodak Gold film (ASA 200).



“Colorado, everywhere I go I’m in your shadow and you’re callin’ to me
Colorado, the sun melts the snow makes the rivers flow to the sea”
from Colorado by Chuck Pyle

Elizabeth: watching the sunset (JN Ranch, Oct 25 2017)

Nothing is finer than being home.