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TheRagens Newsletter
July 1, 2003

Current Thoughts

Summer. The kids are out of school, the next Harry Potter book has been released to great acclaim by our children, and the weeds (particularly the morning glory) in the backyard are growing along with the grapevines. The Mariners seem to be playing well and winning games. This still feels like a very recent trend - I'd hate to see a few down years and then return the team to its (losing) record of its first twenty years.

Returning to our roots as a family website, we haven't had much new that is directly related to our family for awhile. Two things have changed. First, Frank Munk's autobiography has been listed among the Online Books available on the web via the University of Pennsylvania website. Second, we recently learned that the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Oregon City is going to update their exhibits and will feature Elizabeth Dixon Smith Geer in the new Bound for Oregon exhibit which will open in July. We heard directly from the museum's director since we have featured Elizabeth's diary on our website for the last year or two.

Our reason for writing to you is that Elisabeth Geer, your ancestor, is one of the four pioneer voices we chose to illuminate in creating this new piece. Under the research and authorship of Susan Butruille (who has written Women's Voices on the Oregon Trail and other works) the script of the presentation uses only the words of the pioneers themselves. Elizabeth's voice in this presentation provides a wonderful balance to the other pioneer speakers. We have grown fond of her as we've worked on this project.

This is pretty exciting -- we'll have to try and stop by the museum which is near Portland, if we can get the opportunity to be nearby. There should be some pretty good information on Elizabeth that might be interesting to feature here in some way.


In This Issue

bulletNew Wildlife Photos
bulletBookmarks - Booklists
bulletWine Tasting
bulletSites worth visiting


New Wildlife Photos

I just ordered the Canon 10D digital SLR. This camera offers significantly higher resolution (6 megapixel versus 4 megapixel) and the ability to easily use high quality telephoto and wide angle lenses. With the new camera, I should at least have the technology, if not the talent, to improve on my wildlife and nature photography pictures. However, at least as of the end of June when I wrote this issue of our newsletter, I don't have any pictures with the new camera yet simply because I'm still learning the new controls and capabilities it gives me.

Nonetheless, we have added a number of pictures in the last month based on our visits to the San Juan Islands in the spring and early summer. Some of the better photos we've taken include:

bulletThe Red Fox
bullet A pod of natural born killers (whales)
bullet Deer at play
bulletBeached sea lion
bullet Turkey vultures - up close and personal and in flight



We had a record quarter through last month. This is a family non-profit website but, somehow, we've got to pay the hosting fees to make our pages available. The income from various cross-marketing programs helps us get to a point where it's almost self-sustaining. Anyway, what's good? For the kids, duh, it's a no-brainer to pick Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5). Our boys haven't let go of their copies of the book yet so we haven't read it yet but the mere fact that they're deeply engrossed in an 876 page book (!!) is proof.

Featured Book

Sherman Exposed: Slightly Censored Climbing Stories by John Sherman
In this collection of short stories, John "Verm" Sherman has pulled together some of his stories from his published columns in Climbing magazine. Although the three or four travelogues dragged a bit, the majority of stories are amusing and, in some cases, really funny. For example, how can the theory of relativity be observed  during sex? (Sorry for the tease -- you'll have to read the book to get the answer to this question.) Putting wooly ovine conspiracy theories at front and center of the evidence, the book certainly offers some evidence to the notion that boulderers are more at the flaky edge of the climbing world. Very enjoyable read.

It's been a slow couple of months for new books -- not enough airplane travel. However, we would also like to recommend at least this one additional book over the last couple of months and would recommend it if you're at all interested in grapegrowing:

Oregon Viticulture by Edward W. Hellman (editor), et al. We haven't finished reading it yet but this book is unique in its approach of combining the expertise and experience of university researchers with that of professional grape growers and winemakers. The new version has both broader coverage of more topics and greater depth of coverage of grape-growing. Recommended for anyone trying to grow grapes in Oregon or even Western Washington.


Wine Tasting

Summer wines are in at our house -- nice light whites (pinot gris and pinot noir) and big, powerful BBQ-ready wines (syrah/shiraz).

Speaking of wines and summer, we're hoping that the summer "heat" we get in Seattle doesn't bake our newly planted grapevines just as they're starting to get established. According to reports from the Puget Sound Winegrowers group, this summer we're already running about 12% over the number of GDDs (Growing Degree Days) over the 5-10 year average and it's been very dry. We're making sure that the vines are getting enough water -- but we don't want to over-water because then the roots won't get properly established. It's a dilemma that really means that I have an excuse to check on them every few days to see if they're looking parched.


Websites Worth Visiting

Steve's Digicams. Fabulous website for getting a clean analysis and opinion on digital cameras. I read the current reviews very closely while doing the research for our purchase of a a new digital SLR camera.

Luminous Landscape. Many, many professionally-written articles on digital photography techniques, equipment reviews and more. Plus, lots of great pictures from a number of photographers that illustrate the techniques.


2003 Index Newsletter Index
bulletJanuary 2003
bulletMarch 2003
bulletMay 2003
bulletJuly 2003
bulletSeptember 2003
bulletNovember 2003


About TheRagens is a family website that highlights our family history in addition to wildlife and nature photos, wine tasting notes, book lists (with a focus on mountain climbing) and other interests of ours. We are happy to share our interests with you and you may pass on this newsletter to friends as long as you make no changes to the content. If you are receiving this newsletter from a friend, you may sign up to receive it by visiting our registration page. If you wish to be removed from the distribution list, simply reply to this message and replace the words in the subject line with REMOVE. We keep an index of our back issues on our site.

Thank you!



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