Unless You See The Pasture

Pencil 0n Vellum

In the not so distant past we did engineering with slide rules and pencils. This is an example of pencil on vellum from 1984. Took two days to produce.

The Texas Instruments  TI-59 came along and changed everything. That little card sticking out the side had a magnetic strip on the back like a credit card. You could program math formulas onto the strip and the calculator would do its thing and print the results on thermal paper 2″ wide.

For the application I used it for it cut 3 days work down to one. That was great. but what was better at is that it gave us easily (for those days) verifiable solutions to complex math problems which produced savings in raw material like steel and concrete.

The machine would whirl and churn for 3 hours or so and then you would print out the results. The thermal tape could take two passes through the Xerox machine or five seconds of direct sunlight before it was illegible.  The whole procedure caused some overtime because you never knew when the machine would finish the calc.  Production for the TI-59 was 1977 – 1983.


The mechanical calculator was common in the 50 s and 60 s but it was expensive and complicated.  It was more accurate than the slide rule only in that it didn’t require human interpretation to read the results.

My first computer which actually did something, the NCR (National Cash Register) PC4.  It came with a whopping 128 KILObytes of memory,  an 8088 processor and two 5 1/4″ (the disk was 5 1/4″ across) floppy disks. You could actually save data throw the disk in a box and store it in your closet. And they were floppy, having the vertical strength of a manila envelope.  We actually had an engineering program which could run the same calculations as the TI-59 took hours to crunch and have the results in minutes.  Fondly known as “Old Ironsides” because of the metal case, this was state of the art in 1984.

Autodesk was founded in 1882 and the plans for their first office building in San Rafael were drawn with pencils.  


Mechanical Pencil

Drafting Square

Today we have 3D  computer modeling. Halographic and virtual reality presentation. The Navy’s new ships are being built with fully integrated visual design and engineering. 

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same


ACME Communications


Over time my communication and entertainment preferences and needs have changed as have the offerings of cell, satellite, internet and cable companies. For my current circumstances a combination of cell and cable was the way to go.  I signed up for cable and the friendly customer service automaton informed me they could install my new service tomorrow and asked. “Will two to three pm work for you?”  I confirmed, hopped in my pickup and started the short drive back to the office. Before I arrived my cell rang. Across the stereo a robocall from ACME cable company informed me I had a cable installation scheduled at Catcus and Birdseed for tomorrow sometime between two and three pm.

Later that evening, I was watching the movie “Whitless Protection”; my phone rang.  Of all things, it was ACME Cable reminding me I had a cable installation scheduled for tomorrow between two and three pm.

The following morning I sat down at the computer with a cup of joe and picked up my EMAIL.

Dear ACME Cable Company Customer, This is your appointment reminder for today. Our technician will arrive between 2PM-3PM. Note that appointments typically take between one and three hours to complete after the technician arrives. An adult over the age of 18 with a government-issued photo ID must be present during our visit.

When the phone rang and blurted out over the speaker at ten am, “Are you a US citizen?” Oops! That would be another story.  “This is ACME Cable Company calling to inform you our technician will be arriving between two and three pm to install your modem and router.” I felt reassured. 

Now one would think with all the appointment reminders ACME would have had a technician standing on my front porch waiting for her/his alarm to go off so they could punch the doorbell. That would be wishful thinking. So would be thinking someone would arrive by three pm.  At a quarter to three my phone rings:  “This is the dispatcher from ACME Cable Company. All our technicians are running behind schedule. I can’t get anyone to your location until five pm. Will that be alright?”  What are you supposed to say? “My boy has a ballet recital this evening so let’s play this game again tomorrow.”

At five pm I get yet another robocall.  “This is ACME….Our technician in in route to your location.” He finally showed at 5:30 PM.

All the fancy technology in the world can’t prevent you wasting at least a half a day getting cable company service.  It’s been that way since cable was invented in the 70’s.  Jerry Seinfeld devoted an episode to cable service in the 90’s and some comedian named his act after it.

I’ll fondly remember this adventure next time I spend an hour waiting in the lobby of my doctor’s office.

Ghost Town

/ˈɡōs(t) ˌtoun/

a deserted town with few or no remaining inhabitants.

Granite, OR


Nowadays nearly all ghost towns are inhabited to some extent and most of the remaining structures are on private property so you just can’t go nosing around. This little house has been an ongoing restoration project for the last 10 years or so.


Old Store


Many of the mining ghost towns are high in the mountains and can only be accessed by snow mobile during the winter months. One exception is Granite, OR.  which even has a mayor, town council and a population of 36.



In Whitney, you can drive down the old main street although all the old houses are fenced off.



This little rustic gem is available as a vacation rental. Just bring your whiskey and a deck of cards.



This old gold dredge may be as big as some ghost towns but it is just a ghost. It is the centerpiece of the Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area. There are 72 buckets on the chain weighing is at a ton a piece.



The town of Hardman is just a wide spot in the highway where the old buildings comprise yard art for the few, more contemporary, dwellings.

Just as old and still being used are the county courthouses in Heppner, Enterprise and Prineville.  Check them out if you are in the neighborhood.


The Old Gacillia Nut Scam


Odgen’s Nut Gone Caper



Happy Nut

I’ve learned a thing or two about nuts having lived in California most of my life. When someone tells me they want to import pistachios (they all pretty much come from California & Iran) and the elusive gacillias (don’t exist) I thought he was, you guessed it, NUTS!  I decided to hum a few bars and see if he would play along….

Inquiry Through Website:

Name Larry Koch
Company Name Robb Nut Ent
Company Location New York
Email kochlarryoct@gmail.com
Questions or Comments I need a website created for my business. Can you handle that for me?

My Response:


Thank you for your interest in Webcreator.com. I can handle creating a website for your business. To get started I need to know the following:

1. Name of business.
2. Type of business.
3. Do you have a domain name
3. What you want the website to do for your business. (catalog, brochure, customer service, portfolio etc.)
4. Do you have a business plan for the website?
5. Does the company have graphic assets?
6. Does the company have a creative department?
That should get us started down the road to figuring out what you want and need to do.

Then I Get This….



Sorry for the late response, I am not feeling too well so I’m taking things slowly. I am glad to read back from you. My wife and I have a small scale business which we intend to turn into large scale, It is located in Salem, NY and it is based on importing and exporting of Agriculture products such as Almond Nut, Hazel nut, Pistachio, Gacillia Nut and Cashew nut so I need a good layout design for it. Can you handle that for me? I need you to check out this site but I need something similar if possible 


 the site would only be informational. Kindly give me an estimate based on the sample website, the estimate should include hosting. We do not want more than 15pages for the site as we want it to only be informational and a Contact Us page is obviously needed. I have a project consultant that is working on the text content and logos for the site.

We do not want Videos and blogs for the site
We want only English language

We don’t have a domain yet but we want the domain name as 


You will be updating the site for me.
We want the site up and running by the end of next Month or by August unfailingly
My budget is $3,000 to $10,000
Kindly get back to me with:
(1) an estimate
(2) your cell phone number

(3) And will like to know if you are the owner of the company



Looks Like, walks like, types like…..must be a Gacillia nut



Waterfall Season is upon us. Waterfalls are at peak flow this time of year. With the generous rainfall and snow-pack in Northern California this year, they are spectacular!  

A few suggestions would be Toketee FallsTumalo FallsWatson FallsSusan Creek FallsHedge Creek Falls  and Burney Falls.




Clear cold, 37° water.



Even the small seasonal drops are impressive.





Westernmost point in the state of Oregon. On this day at 4 PM, the 50 MPH windchill temperature was in the mid 20’s f.         BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR



Cape Blanco Lighthouse is the oldest standing lighthouse on the Oregon coast, Built in 1870. This view is looking north.



San Francisco Cioppino – Classic Cioppino (seafood stew, pronounced chow-peen-o) was originated by the Portuguese and Italian crabbers from San Francisco Bay. It is based on live Dungeness crab but can be made with already cooked crab too. Serve it with fresh warm sourdough bread with sweet butter paired with a cold bottle of Chardonnay, and don’t forget bibs for all. Serves 4-6.

First of all you need to cook and clean your crab.

  • 1 large live Dungeness crab, around 2.5 lb.
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 leek (only the white part) minced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons each minced fresh basil, thyme, and oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried each)
  • 4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced (to peel a tomato easily, plunge it into boiling water for 10 seconds or so and then plunge into ice water)
  • 1 can (20 oz) tomato puree
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine or vermouth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 12 small clams
  • 1 pound rockfish, ling cod, halibut, or rock shrimp
  • 12 mussels, de-bearded, only if you like mussels
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Sauté, in a large soup kettle, carrot, leek, onions and celery in oil until limp. Add garlic, basil, thyme, oregano, tomatoes, tomato puree, clam juice and wine and simmer 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Scrub clams and mussels well under cold running water with a stiff-bristled brush. Add clams, diced fish or rock shrimp (or both), mussels (if you are using them) and crab to kettle and simmer 15 minutes.

Ladle fish and shellfish along with broth into large bowls and sprinkle with parsley.