Sunday, August 7, 2022

"It almost feels like Groundhog day here on the blog when I talk about the weather these days, but what can you do. It’s still hot, it’s still dry…and it’s going to continue, oh my."

I stole this sentence from fellow blogger Nina from 'Wheeling it', because it pretty much describes this last week over here as well.
She's in southern France where they have the harshest summer France has ever seen in its history and the rest of (southern) Europe isn't doing much better.
We're better off but still, temperatures in the high 90s and even low 100s are getting more and more 'normal' here in the NorthWest!


I plan my walks early and choose the shadiest routes ...


Not much is flowering at the moment, but I found some wild and heat-hardy ones ..


As I thought, a lot of my vegetable plants are a dud, but some corn came up, I've got a few snack-size mini-zucchini, some wax
beans and the rattle-snake and roman beans are (only just now!) taking off  ...



The deer family is keeping a close eye on things ..

What else? Oh yeah, we got a new (to us) dishwasher. Our old one had died and I'd been on the lookout for a replacement for forever.
It needed to be an 18" apartment size to fit in the closet space under the cook-top in our RV. Those units are ridiculously expensive when new, being of an 'odd' size, and I hoped to score a used one on one of the online sites.
Last week I finally scored one for only $50 on Marketplace!


As usual, it needed a little 'mickey-mousing' to get everything to fit, but James is good at that ..

Also, it was white .. and of course we wanted a black or stainless steel one ... oh, well, nothing that a spray-can of paint can't fix:

After putting everything back together:

(pics are not loading, I'll keep trying!)

And in it's final resting spot!

There you have it! Back in business!

We'd bought tickets for the Sunday-matinee of Neil Simon's 1959 play 'Barefoot in the Park', which turned out to be a great move since the temperatures that afternoon soared to 102F (36C)!

Just the perfect time to enjoy a fun bit of theater in a nice air-conditioned environment!
We'd been to the Gallery theater in McMinville twice before but instead of at the 'Main Stage', this time the show took place in the much smaller, very intimate, Arena Theater which only has about 70 seats.
I took this picture during the first intermission, when they changed the decor ..

We were sitting in the very right of the front row .. talking about up front and personal, at times I felt we were part of the play!
The play was a hoot, set in the 60's where a young, just married couple, starts living at the 6th floor of a New York apartment. When her mother comes to visit and they set her up with their very eclectic upstairs neighbor al kind of shenanigans break out, questioning all their relationships and 'how bad is it really if you have some different views and opinions'?

The scene after Ethel (mother) and Paul (Corie's husband) arrive in the apartment after climbing 6 floors!

We thought the play was very well done, despite Paul, the husband, having to read the whole play from a script since he was a completely last minute, impromptu understudy due to Covid felling the main/lead actor!
(The actors were all volunteers by the way and/but they did an amazing job!)

Afterwards we attended the Red Carpet reception
in the upstairs bar area, celebrating the opening weekend of the show (which was postponed for a week due to several actors testing positive for Covid!).

It was fun to be able to talk to all actors and enjoy some Rosé 'bubbles' and German chocolate cake (James' favorite!).


OK, that's all folks! The weather is cooling a little at the moment (around 80-88F) but it looks like it'll warm up again after the weekend.

Oh well, it's summer after all!

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Cuteness overload!

Although they're already eating greenery since they're 2 weeks old, mamma's milk is still the best!
She only 'endures' it for a few minutes at a time though and than she kicks and basically walks half over them to end it. Enough already!

I'm so glad to still see them all together and looking healthy and happy!
So many are hit by cars these days ..

Despite the heat we actually had a few things on our agenda this week. Last weekend we joined Doug and Brenda and a few of their friends and went to a charity event at one of the local vineyards, the Stoller Family Estate Winery.

This event, 'Harmony in the Vinyard', is the largest fundraiser for the Aaron Meyer School of Concert Rock, created to inspire young people with the love of music, through education and opportunity.

It had been an incredible hot day, around 98F (34F), and had not cooled of much when we arrived at the vineyard around 6.30pm.
Fortunately I'd brought a hat and thin blouse since we were all sitting in the full sun on a grassy slope in front of the stage.

That's Doug and Brenda, their friends and James

And there's us:


Aaron Meyer, the lead violinist of a 10 man band started on a strictly classical path, but "has blazed a trail that is uniquely his own, blending classic roots with rock influences in a style he describes as “concert rock violin.”
This evening included everything from a dynamic rendition of Vivaldi's 'The Four Seasons' to his amazing versions of Pink Floyd's 'Comfortably Numb', Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir', Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody', The Eagles' 'Hotel California', Dire Strait's 'Sultan's of Swing', and the Beatles classic 'Let it Be'.

Of course there was wine as well! We enjoyed a nice bottle of Pinot Noir and some of us tried 'Stoller Swing', a blend of Oregon Rosé, Oregon Vermouth, some 'spritz' or bubbles and ice and lime.
Too much alcohol for me, but apparently it was very nice.


Aaron's love for young people and education inspired him to create his unique music educational programs, which continually reach students worldwide.
Each year, he visits dozens of schools all over the Pacific Northwest and around the world, presenting assembly-style educational music programs, holding workshops and assisting in the creation of CDs of student-written songs.

Some of his Oregon students performed that evening, among whom this 6 year old boy who first performed 'Twinkle, twinkle, little star' all by himself and was than joined by the band for a great rocking version at his second time around!

After a week of more scorching temperatures during which James golfed in a club-tournament (!), Newberg celebrated it's Old Fashioned Festival this weekend:


As usual during these sort of events (as we have learned during our travels through the country) there was a car-show:

A cutest dog-costume contest:

A children's Parade:

A rotary Pancake Breakfast:

Which was the place from where to watch the 'Grand Parade, while munching on your pancakes:

The streets were lined with people and I have to admit every now and then it flashed through my mind that these are the events where some of the horrible mass-shootings are happening these days ..

Like all of us, those people that died never thought it could happen in their own little town ..
Sigh .. what's there to do .. well, like one of my favorite fellow bloggers always says .. VOTE and vote BLUE!

OK, nothing much comes to mind to end with after that, it all seems rather insignificant and shallow .. but here's a pretty sunset.

Tomorrow is a another day!

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Magnolia Grandiflora
(it's smell is wonderfully fruity, lemon-like!)

This Sunday we decided to finally hike the trail at the Trappist Abbey of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Lafayette, situated only a mile or 10 from us in the low hills of the Willamette Valley.
Since I'd read about this abbey, already quite a while ago, I'd wanted to go for a visit but either the weather didn't cooperate or we didn't have time or we were tired .. etc, etc., you know how that goes.
So, no more excuses, despite the weather being a tad too hot, and of we went.


The abbey began in 1948 in Pecos, New Mexico as a foundation established by the Trappist community and dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, owing to the Mexican influence in the southwestern U.S.
In March 1955, the monks, not finding farming sufficiently productive in northern New Mexico, sold the property to Benedictine monks and moved the abbey to its present site in Oregon.

The current, rather new 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) church was built in 2007, combining traditional Cistercian architecture with Pacific Northwest design elements.
Currently the Abbey is home to about 28 monks, who live communally in the abbey. Their day is balanced by prayer, work, reading, and contemplation.

The abbey serves as a spiritual sanctuary for guests. The monks operate a non-denominational retreat facility for both men and women who stay in small cottages and make use of a library and a meditation hall.
The abbey is located on 1,300 acres (530 ha) of forestland and is the basis for a sustainable forestry enterprise that provides income to the monks.
Other income-generating enterprises include a book bindery, a wine warehouse for local wineries, and a fruitcake bakery(!).

It being a Sunday, there was a service going on, which the public is welcome to attend by the way, so there wasn't a monk in sight.
Not being religious ourselves, we passed the church and went to the trail-head right away.
If you want to hike the entire trail it's a 3,5 mile loop which is classified as 'intermediate' and has an elevation gain of 815 feet.
It's very easy to vary the distance and scenery by taking one of the several shortcuts between the looping main path and since we're not in the best of shape at the moment we took of just seeing how far we could get.

The first part of the hike goes through what is called 'oak savanna', with tall grasses and White Oaks, after which the trail enters a Douglas-fir forest ...

It's rather uphill from there until you reach the ridge crest and a viewpoint from where you have a view over the vineyards in the valley below and, on a clear day, Mt Hood!

Obviously, although it was a very warm day, it also was a 'hazy' one, as so often in the summer and Mt Hood was not visible, unless you had a very sharp eye ..

It's there, just a hair right of the middle of the sky, see?

Just a little further down the trail, signs pointed us to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadaloupe:


I must say I'd imagined a sort of chapel, but if it was a chapel they probably would have said so, duhh ..

The, very, simple shrine was covered in little tokens of piety such as crosses, small images of the Lady, flowers and shells.
Not to be disrespectful but we set down on a few rocks in front of it and had our coffee and pastries. I don't think the Lady would've mind ..

The view was rather grand, although we would have pruned some of those bushes in front ..

OK, moving on .. from here on out the path started to go down and led us through a beautiful shaded Douglas-fir forest.
Some of these trees were huge!

Not too many flowers anywhere but I found some berries, like these Elderberries:

And some Red Blackberries ..

Here and there some Big-Leaf Maples started to pop up:

And when the forest opened up a little more we even saw some butterflies (of which I have seen very little so far this year!)
This is a Lorquin’s Admiral:


And this is a Western Tiger Swallowtail

When we finally reached the meadows down below we realized we'd made a wrong turn somewhere and cut about 3/4 of a mile of the loop .. oh well, a good reason to come back!

There's a nice pond at the Abbey where we found a few chairs. A perfect, very peaceful spot to finish the rest of our coffee!

I'd hoped to have a look at the little gift shop but, of course, it was closed, it being a Sunday.
Another reason to go back because I'm one of the few people that actually loves fruitcake and I've read these monks make a mean and hefty (brandy-soaked) one!

Other than that I really don't have much to tell about this week.
It was a hot one, and I saw that we have another one coming so we basically just
"keep calm and carry on!"