Today is Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018

Off the Wall
When the Power Goes Out

When the Power Goes Out

By Bob Spiwak Down the lane and through the woods there is a tiny little house where people go when all the plumbing doesn’t work. It takes a bit of planning and a lot of understanding, especially at night when shadows lurk. It was miserable timing that the pump had lost its priming on a...
A Methow Valley snow story littered with lessons

A Methow Valley snow story littered with lessons

By Bob Spiwak My wife is a lot smarter than I. Anyone who knows us will tell you, as will my children and theirs. I won’t deny it, although I use dotage as an alibi. This was further illustrated recently during a snowstorm that left a foot of snow here in West Boesel (east of...
Follow the trail of SLIME

Follow the trail of SLIME

Over the years people unfamiliar with the doings outside the Mazama Store have inquired what is discussed at “SLIME” among the male denizens of the deck overlooking the patio. Not to say that women are unwelcome...

Christmas wreaths weave their way into pleasant memories

By Bob Spiwak Christmas is probably my favorite time of the year.  Over the years past — and there are many of them — there is a clear memory that arises, arcing back to the town of Rumson, New Jersey, and my family’s flower shop and nursery.  As Christmas drew nearer, flowers were all but...
Hundreds headed out early in Labor Day exodus from the valley

Hundreds headed out early in Labor Day exodus from the valley

By Bob Spiwak The semi-annual West Boesel Car Count was held at the usual time of 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. on Labor Day. The times chosen reflect, by our judgment, a non-peak time when the hordes leave the valley for the calm and courtesies of the other side of the mountains. Vehicles headed eastbound have...
The hidden persuaders are now telling you a story

The hidden persuaders are now telling you a story

By Bob Spiwak It is Sunday morning and I finally have turned off the television. This is the morning of programs catering to older people on the major networks that goes on for hours, mostly political programs. In this time frame, most of the commercials deal with products of a medical nature and we shall...
Monitoring the Labor Day migration on Highway 20

Monitoring the Labor Day migration on Highway 20

By Bob Spiwak Time for the semi-annual count of vehicles coming into and leaving the upper valley on a busy holiday weekend. We hired Ms. Gloria to make a special count of motorcycles, east- and westbound, because of rising concern about their safety on state roads, notably Highway 20, the North Cascades Highway. Here, 7...
Heavy Memorial Day traffic?  You can count on it

Heavy Memorial Day traffic? You can count on it

By Bob Spiwak Well, today’s car count came within a whisker of tying the old Memorial Day record, as we remember it. The written record is missing but the number was 385 westbound vehicles, as we recall. Today, May 30, it was 379. The eastbound count was 91, between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Last year...
Snake oil

Snake oil

By Bob Spiwak Saturday afternoon. I was in my workshop banging away, metal on metal, when in a pause I hear Ms. Gloria calling to me. I could not discern what she was wanting so I opened the door and politely yelled “what?” She responded again and I advised her that I could not make...
Keeping track of traffic when it really counts

Keeping track of traffic when it really counts

By Bob Spiwak April 22, 2016 — a day on which Methow merchants sighed in relief when the North Cascades Highway opened after its annual winter closure. I had forgotten about it that morning and was digging a trench for resurrection of our clothesline pole after its winter burial. As I dug into the rocky...