Thursday, December 26, 2019

Christmas 2019 was a very nice, quiet and relaxed one in the Hess-mobile, as you can see!

We didn't plan on doing a thing, other than have some nice things to eat, listen to Christmas Carrol's, watch a movie and lounge around in the warm and cozy RV!
And that's exactly what we did!

There were lots of cookies (and pie), and I baked a Christmas 'Stollen', that by some miracle survived being baked too long and at the wrong setting and wrapped in cling-wrap (don't ask) ..

It was delicious! (Beats me ..)

As I said, we did watch a movie ..

Can you see it .. no, not 'It's a wonderful life' this year, but .. yup! 'The sound of music'.

It's two days later now, and I still can't get 'climb every mountain' out of my head .. sigh ..

We had a delicious dinner! We managed to not screw up the meat (rib-eye steak), the scalloped potatoes came out great and the Brussel sprouts (with onion and bacon) were terrific!

All of this accompanied by another great Pinot Noir, rejected by but with compliments of Doug!

I'd high hopes for a white Christmas this year, being this far north, but no such luck .. it did get frosty overnight though, so it looked somewhat white ..

You got to take what you can get ..

When we took a little Christmas-day-walk to the river, we even noticed some ice on the north side (down-river) of the rocks ..

Halfway up the hillside, on the other side of the river, we also spotted a small herd of Mule Deer:

As I mentioned in the previous post, these deer have much larger ears than their cousins, the White-Tail Deer.
But another way to the distinguish the two is that black tip of their tail, the White-Tail's are all .. well, white, go figure!


I've also been trying to get a good shot of this little wren, who lives somewhere close around the house, but the little guy just doesn't sit still!

He's very vocal, very tiny and so cute! 
                    It's a Winter Wren .. how appropriate!

And than there's this:

 Yes! We have a floor plan! Hallelujah!


James couldn't wait to begin working on the foundation, so the day after Christmas he and Bart started early to measure and mark where everything had to go, and Don started to dig the trenches for the concrete!

Finally, progress!

Also, although our Christmas was nice and quiet and relaxed, I still might need some psychiatric help if, IF, I ever finish this totally crazy puzzle!

My Mom send it to me, there's actually two of them in the one box,  by a dutch cartoonist, Jan van Haasteren. 
This one is called 'Santa's Toy Factory' and the other one 'New Years party'.
They're insanely difficult, there's so much going on in each one (look at all those elves!), but also so much fun to make!


This doesn't help of course!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Mule Deer buck

I forgot to include this picture in last week's post, isn't it a beauty? 
Look at those huge ears, it quite distinctively sets them apart from the White-tails ..
I almost missed him, it was a gloomy, overcast day and he blended in very well with the wintry grey of the bushes, but than he moved and I spotted him ... and he me!

Here's another one I almost missed:


He (or she?) is a Woolly Bear Caterpillar and, according to folklore, if the caterpillar’s orange band is narrow, the winter will be longer, colder, and snowier, conversely, a wide band means a mild winter.
Yikes, it looks like we'll have snowy winter!!

There's not much wildlife around at the moment, too cold I guess. They're probably all hunkering down to stay out of the blustering winds that whip through the canyon, and I don't blame them!
Man, those winds are fierce .. and freezing cold. Talking about 'chill-factor'!

We also had another 'dusting' of snow last week:

It just doesn't get more beautiful than waking up to something like this, does it?

On Saturday we went for yet another Christmas celebration, this time in White Bird, a tiny town just 20 miles north of us.
We first visited the Crafts-show at the community center, which was about the smallest show we ever attended:

But it included a cookie-tasting/judging contest. Free cookies? Count us in!

After having a (terrible) drink at the pub and a (very good) hamburger at Red's, the local eatery, we lined up along main street (with all the other residents, which would be 91 in total, if all would show up) for the Lighted Parade.
My pictures didn't come out very well, most of them looked like this:

Or this one of a very brave dog, perching high upon on one of the floats, which was one of the better ones ..


It was one of the .. no, make that THE shortest parade we ever saw, maybe 6 floats in total, but it was fun!

Lots of candy was thrown, so the kids were happy!
And of course Santa made an appearance, although he wasn't very jolly, accompanied by a rather scruffy looking elf. 

Image result for White Bird Lighted Christmas Parade

I stole this picture from the web, from the Idaho county free press site and hey .. look at that guy in the background .. it's James!

After the parade there was hot chocolate and home-made chili and people meeting around the fires, and at 6.30 they started an amazing fireworks-show, put up by a local outfitters store.


It went on forever and was really very, very good, especially for such a small town!

At the building front there's still not much going on considering the new house, but there's now a local architect involved, and it looks like there might be plans soon.
There's no more work for the guys though, so today was their last day until after Christmas, although due to an injury and a different job, we'd already lost two of them anyways ..

Me, I've started my yearly Christmas-cookie-baking-frenzy! 

So far I made Hungarian Butterhorns (a must) and chocolate Crackle cookies (those of the horrible-sticky-dough).
The kitchen looked like a disaster-zone but hey .. I don't have much room!

And just for fun, here's another picture of our outside Christmas tree. I strapped it down real good so it'll stay up in the wind, but so far it blew over already twice .. oh, well. 
It looks very welcoming though, doesn't it? (when it's up).

OK. That's it. I'm out of topics. Until next time!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Riggins' Christmas Tree!

It happens every year .. after summer I start to look forward to Fall and Thanksgiving and Sinterklaas and Christmas .. and all of a sudden three of those are already behind us, and we're in full-on Christmas mode!
Wow, how time flies .. especially in December!

Let's see, first there was good old Sinterklaas. 
I'd baked some speculaas while singing a few songs (the ones I can remember), but that's really all there is to it these days .. 
I just can't get into the spirit in a country that has no clue what or who this guy is ..



Still, the speculaas was very good and I'd made some hearty and very dutch, stick-to-your-ribs 'boerenkool' (farmers-cabbage mash) for dinner, so all was good!
Speaking about 'good'. I must have been good for most of the time this year, because I didn't end up in the 'sack' to be taken to Spain!

Phew, was I lucky!

Of course I got infected by the Christmas decorating frenzy, that hits America in full force every year immediately on the day after Thanksgiving, but I'd managed to hold off on setting up the tree until after Sinterklaas.
I did 'do' the garlands: 

And the outside lights. This year, I attached them on the awning over the living room slide instead of on the 'big' awning on the other side, and I kind of like it much better.


We can now see them ourselves, even with the curtains closed ..


On Saturday we ventured down to Riggins, to attend the Christmas Tree Lighting festivities.
We usually choose an event, wherever we are, to get 'in the spirit'.
Riggins is a small town (pop 410) so they don't do much, but they try!
But first we had an early dinner at Seven Devils, always good:


We split the prime rib sandwich 'au jus' with spicy fries. Yumm!

When we were thoroughly warmed up and full of good food, it was only a short walk to Two Rivers Coffee Co. who was hosting the festivities ...


We hung around the fire-pits for a while, where we met a lot of friendly people (who all noticed we were 'not from there') and did some caroling ..


There was hot chocolate, and apple cider and look at all those cookies!

Finally, the tree was lit (it only took three attempts!), and after a little wait, Santa arrived!



All in all it was some small-town-america good old wholesome fun, and we really enjoyed it!

The next day I put up our own tree. We even did a count-down .. three-two-one .. let there be light!

Aaaww, how pretty!

Other than that nothing much happened this week. It was cold and grey, but not snowing or freezing so the guys were a little warmer than last week.
They've been working on the fences, and James ... eh ..

.. as usual, James is just having fun!

Well, that, and he's been playing in the gutter ..

 Installing some (long!) sewer draining thing .. 

I've been working on a few little sewing projects I had been postponing until .. well until now, I guess. I finally bit the bullet and just DID them ..

I made a little curtain for the shoe-shelves in the bedroom (all of a sudden the clutter annoyed me), and I made covers for my sewing machine and for the de-humidifier, which are both glaringly white and an eyesore in the living room.

And that's about all she wrote, folks!
I'll end with this fascinating little bird (well, that's what I think, but to each his own, I guess) ..


I saw him at the river and he caught my attention because he was just literary jumping into the fast flowing water and looked to be walking around in it to look for food.

Very unusual for such a small bird, and he was obviously not a duck or a wader or any other water-bird I knew of .. he had me stumped!
Well, according to my trusty Audubon Field Guide, it turns out he's an American Dipper, aka a Water Ouzel, or a Cinclus Mexicanus, who 'flies low over water, bobs on rocks in streams, and walks underwater to feed on large insect larvae'.
Check, check, check!

Apparently he's a resident in the mountains of this entire region, but he's a first for me. Cool!