Thursday, December 28, 2017


Although you'd think it's pretty much impossible for Christmas to sneak up on you, not with all the decorations, the shopping, the hallmark movies, the endless carols and music everywhere, the parades and concerts ... but all of a sudden ... there it is! 
And almost just as fast, you just blink an eye, ..  and it's all over again ..

Our 'Cajun Christmas' was nice and relaxed, calm and peaceful .. just like we like it!
I'd baked a nice apple-cranberry pie for coffee and we watched 'It's a wonderful Life' later in the afternoon .. what can I say, it's a tradition ..

We were invited for lunch on Christmas day at Ronnie's house, so we had our 'own' Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve day.
I tried my hand on preparing duck for the first time, and used the Instant Pot to cook it, and the oven to roast it for a little afterward. If I ever do that again I have to slightly increase the cooking time for the IP because it came out a little under-cooked, but fortunately the microwave solved that problem within a few minutes.
Although the duck was good, the orange sauce that came with the duck was even better, I could have eaten just that with a spoon!
Merry Christmas sweet boy!
Merl' thought he'd died and gone to heaven when we gave him the whole duck carcass outside on a platter! He worked on it for a long time.
We went for a little Christmas-walk in the neighborhood. It was beautiful weather, but cold, around 36F! It certainly felt like Christmas!

Even the birds we came across sported the appropriate Christmas colors, like this fiery red Cardinal, who stands out even more now the trees have lost their leaves, and a, very noisy, Red-bellied Woodpecker :


Like I said, the next day we went over to James' boss Ronnie for dinner. We met some old (who we'd seen last year) and some new family members  and had a really good time.
These people are the most inviting and relaxed people ever, they always make us feel like family ...

Ronnie had prepared a Turkey in his 'egg' grill/smoker, which was delicious, and a very nice Ham in the oven.
Their house was beautifully decked out for the season, everything was just perfect .. 

And, like last year, upon leaving, Ronnie handed us an envelop that contained a nice Christmas bonus. Sweet!

As far as the B&B goes, now the pressure is off (after the building inspection), James is working rather relaxed on the 'puncture-list'.
Ronnie's crew is off until after New Years, and they're not coming back afterward either, since the bigger jobs are done and James can handle most of the rest himself.
The painters will be back for some touch-up work, as will the electricians, and there's some little finishing jobs left for several others. 
The owners come by fairly often to check and/or measure for furniture and what-all, but it's all much quieter and relax-ter around here now than it has been for the last couple of weeks.

Here's a few pics:

This is the enormous living room, with the kitchen in the rear left, and, oh boy, such a nice kitchen it is ...

This is one of the two seperate counters and sinks in the master bathroom. I love those concrete sinks:

This is me, staining some boards that will end up in the elevator shaft ..

Here's James, hanging a pan-rack above the kitchen island ..

And this is the 2nd story kitchenette where Laura, the owner, will be preparing breakfast for her guests ..

It's all starting to come together and it looks like it will probably all be finished around the 15 of January, when there will be a final fire inspection, and sign-off on the project.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Happy Winter Solstice Y'all!

Although it's the first day of Winter today, it actually looks more like fall at the moment, than it did when it was Fall.

 See? Fall colors!

Oh well, it's the south, they're a little sloooow around here ...


We've had a whole lot of rain last week. It turned everything around here into thick red mud, which is especially nasty since we're basically living at a building site, where trucks and other heavy equipment turn the place into a big mud hole!
The temperatures are unseasonably high at the moment (where did I here that before), and together with the rain, it made these little flowers take a chance and pop up ...

The B&B passed it's fire inspection, besides a few minor issues that can easily be fixed, and tomorrow is the BIG building inspection, so everybody is crunching to get everything done.
Despite all the goings-on, we made time to go and see the Amite Christmas Parade, last Thursday.

Amite is a small town and we didn't expect much, which was a good thing, because it it was probably about the smallest parade we ever saw. Talking about small-town America!

They did their best-est though, with the High School marching band, several dance groups, a Queen and her court, several local businesses and the obligatory fire-truck.

Afterward we met a colleague of James, Mike, and his wife Catherine, at a local Sushi place.
They live in Amite and had wanted to get together for a while now, and we just never found the time, but now we finally made it work.
I wasn't too impressed with the Sushi, but the company was good, so we ended up having a good time after all.

Like I said in my previous post, I've started my holiday baking. After last week's Gingerbread men, I made my personal favorites, Hungarian Butter-horns ...

And the notorious Chocolate Crackle Cookies that have such horrible sticky dough, its 'enough-to-drive-you-stir-crazy' and than some ...


But Gawd ... they are so good!

Laura and Jeff, the owners of the B&B, called us over one morning when they were up at the house, and surprised us with a big bag of Laura's homemade Christmas cookies and candies, and a $100 gift certificate for a good steakhouse in Hammond! Sweet!

And James Boss Ronnie has invited us again, just like last year, to have Christmas lunch/dinner with his family at his house on Christmas Day, how nice is that?

So .. we're enjoying the season, and are making a cozy, sweet time of it .. life is good!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Look at that! The tree's up! And what's that white stuff outside? Yup! SNOW!
It's all gone by the time I'm writing this but we had about 7 inches! Can you believe it? In southern Louisiana!

It fell the whole time while I was decorating the tree, I had some Christmas music going and we had eggnog for happy hour. 
What a magical day! Let's just call this Christmas already, shall we?


James put the star in top and we gave Merl his very own tree outside.

And all the while it was snowing .. and snowing ... and ... you get the picture! Well, here ARE some pictures:

We had to lower the awning a little to get the snow to slide off, but other than that we were fine ..

The dish reception got a little scratchy though:

I took a little walk to snap some pictures of the trees all covered in snow. So pretty:

The B&B will probably not look like this for a long time to come ..

'Big J' looked very 'mountain-man'-ish!

Time to 'take a snow-day', work on a puzzle, have some eggnog, spiked of-course ..

And fortunately I'd had the foresight to plan a nice 'stick-to-the-ribs' dinner, good old-fashioned dutch 'hutspot' (mashed carrots/onion and potato) with a nice meatball ..

 (and look at that gravy mote!)

The next day it had stopped snowing and the sun was out. We went for an early walk to beat the snow all melting away ...


(Sorry, more snow-pictures, but it really was the 'happening' of the year for us)

In some areas the ground was covered with 'needle ice'.
These funny looking little pillars form when the air is below freezing and the soil is above freezing.

Due to a capillary action that occurs, the water is drawn out to form these frozen needles, columns, spires, or pillars.

More ice 'art':

And snow art ..

I didn't mention it yet, but this is how frosty it got overnight ... 24F!

OK, I think that will be it for today. Like I said in the beginning, it has all melted by now but I sure hope we'll get some more! 

With Christmas just around the corner I've started baking cookies, one of my favorite things to do (sometimes I wonder if I should have pursued a carrier as a pastry chef?)
I've started with a batch of Gingerbread Men, it makes the RV smell like .. like .. well, like Christmas!

It's a jolly bunch!