Monday Mystery

It’s a mystery to me………… the experts proclaim that not one snowflake in 100 Bezillion is like another. (Has anybody looked at 100 bezillion??) Given for Christmas a cool book all about snowflakes, how they form and how to photograph them. Mysteriously interesting. One really cool factoid: Anybody, with a handheld magnifying glass and a black surface, can go outside and see the mystery that is a snowflake. 

Somehow I think our ancestors had a very different opinion of a snowflake than we do today……… we who sit warm and dry. 

Monday Mystery

What’s the biggest event predicted for 2018? Now THAT’s a mystery!

According to Baba Vanga (1911-1996) a blind mystic living in the Balkans who made predictions far into the future and many of her predictions did come forth. One of her predictions for 2018 is that “a new form of energy” will be discovered on Venus. So who believes her??? Tiz a mystery!

Monday Mystery

Ah, yes, Christmas (or similar celebrations) are just around the corner. The strains of “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire……” come to mind. What do you really know about chestnuts? Are they edible? Song says so. How to prepare them?

Chestnuts, also called Buckeyes back east, are a deciduous tree in the Beech family and have been grown for food since at last 2000 BC. If you’re really interested, Google “how to prepare chestnuts for eating,” and you’ll get lots of how-to tips. You will also get posts that chestnuts are NOT tasty and might even be poisonous.

What are tasty are Ohio Buckeye candies……….. Google the recipe. Now there is something worth the preparation effort!

Monday Mystery

Yes, last week’s mystery photo was the backwash from a ferry….. Pat Manning was first to post the correct answer. We be Washingtonians!

Question: Are there now, or have there ever been, any Homes for Aged Women in Washington???

Well there was in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1861. I think today they’re called Long-Term Care Facilities, or some such. Interesting idea, I thought. And especially for this place to be established right before the Civil War.

Wonder what’s listed on the 1870 census for this place???

Monday Mystery

What do you know about a 82-pound meteorite that fell from the sky into a field near Waterville, Washington, in 1917?

Yep, in 1917 a major meteor shower filled the skies over central Washington and in the following years folks in the Waterville area stumbled upon several meteorites. Farmer Fred Fachnie found one caught in his combine during harvest season! In 1925, Fred loaned his meteorite to a museum in Tacoma which sliced off almost ten pounds of the space rock and then tried to claim ownership of it. Finally, in 1963, the meteorite was returned to Waterville and now can be seen in the Douglas County Historical Museum.

The “mystery” today is this: How many times might you have driven through Waterville and never gave the Douglas County Historical Museum a second thought….. and look what you’ve missed seeing! (Have you ever touched a real space relict???)

Thanks to Washington Curiosities by Harriet Baskas, 2008.

Monday Mystery

That little unknown-to-me tool that I showed last week? Roy Rutherford guessed it might be a shoehorn? I just don’t know. But Patty Olsen suggested I retake and re-post a photo of it opened. Will do.

Below is a photo of what was a mystery. This small concrete marker sat in a corner of the grounds of the Spokane County courthouse, ignored and mostly forgotten. Then Stefanie Pettit, who does the Landmarks features for our paper, The Spokesman-Review, zoomed in on it and told us all about it.

It’s called the Latitude Pier; it was originally built in 1896 “and it soon became the starting point of a project to establish the precise border between Idaho and Montana along the 39th parallel.”

“An 1897 USCGS contract called for identifying the 39th parallel , the (north-south) border between Idaho and Montana, and establishing where the (east-west) meridian intersects with it, from the Canadian border .”

But why start this marking in Spokane? The crew chief in charge at the time had the right to pick the starting spot and he picked Spokane.

You do realize that these official government measurements of so long ago still impact our buying and selling of land today??

Monday Mystery

Congrats to Patty Olsen for knowing that that porcelain “thing” last week was something “to hold silverware at buffet teas.” Lovely heirloom but kinda useless these days.

Today’s mystery is a real mystery to me too. Found this among my grandfather’s thing but haven’t been able to learn what kind of tool it was and what it was used for. It’s about the length of a hand, a steel “hook” in a leather case with strap. Any guesses?

Monday’s Mystery

Big congrats to Cheri Sanders who was the first to say (regarding last week’s cloud pix) that the top one were Washington clouds. Also Roy Ruthford was second (and last) to correctly guess. Way to go, guys.

Here’s this week’s mystery…..the question and the answer. The above photo comes thanks to The Yakima Herald-Republic newspaper. The story, back on 22 Sep 2017, concerned the mystery of this beautiful stone fireplace that sits on the Central Washington State Fairgrounds. Seeing the story, a reader furnished the answer.

Seems that in 1932 a church was founded on the site, holding services in a log cabin with a big stone fireplace. The cabin is long gone (burned down in 1933 resulting from “a roaring fire”) but the stone fireplace has stood as a mystery almost 70 years.

Have you ever spotted that old stone fireplace on the Fairgrounds and gave it a second thought?? Or have you ever spotted anywhere something man-made and wondered about the story it might tell?