Thursday, March 26, 2020

It's a beautiful spring .. I just wish it was a happier one ..

Well, there you have it .. Gov. Brad Little ordered all Idahoans to stay home for the next 21 days, with some exceptions for 'essential' services.

Since Friday, March 13th (go figure!) when the state reported its first confirmed case, the number quickly zoomed over 100 on Wednesday!
'Our' county still has none and the neighboring ones each only one, but it's just a matter of time of course ..

Although some don't think so ..


Unfortunately, we don't fall under an 'essential' industry and after some deliberating (we're rural, pretty isolated, we might get away with it .. yeah, yeah ..) we decided to lay off all the guys but one.
Justin lives very close, he's almost a neighbor, and he's pretty much self-isolating anyways because of some health issues, so we keep him on for now ..
James has ordered a lot of materials lately and probably has enough to do for the both of them to keep them busy.


I'd already made a menu-list for 4 weeks and stocked up for that last week, so I added 2 more to it this morning (I'm not very optimistic), and went grocery shopping one last time (all the shelves were full and just a few items like bread, eggs and TP restricted to one).


Other than that not much will change for me. I'm very happy to be able to just carry on like usual, taking my walks, making my puzzles, reading, knitting/spinning, baking .. nothing different!
Funny enough it's just the 'not being allowed to' that makes it feel different and 'restricted' ..


Talking about walking, we had some gorgeous days this week so I spent some wonderful time outside.
Temperatures were soaring, I'm not kidding, into the low 70s!

Birds are claiming their territories and are making a ruckus doing it!
I think this is a Pine Siskin:


One day I even encountered a whole bunch of butterflies! 
That's a California Tortoiseshell on the left and a Pearly crescent on the right:


I walked out to the river, which sparkled in the sun, and where the
beautiful weather had lured some fishermen out to try their luck ..

This last week the work-crew has worked mainly on getting the grounds rock free and as smooth as possible, in anticipations for the hydro-seeding that has been planned for next week.
Don also is still moving dirt, digging and closing up holes with the tractor .. and unfortunately, between all of them, they've hit the water pipes not once, not twice, no .. wait for it .. six times so far! 

     You think they have enough parts to repair the pipes ?
I know, it's hard to be precise with that big machine and those pipes are fragile but still .. they're talented!
It also means I have on-and-of water, since they have to turn it off each time when it happens .. (sigh)

After one of those breaks, James had to jump in the hole which was quickly filling up with water, to cap the pipe, since he was the only one that had spare clothes readily available!

Also, a small start has been made to sheet the roof, but since than it has started to rain, which made it too slippery to safely work on it, so it was put on hold:

This was before the stay-at-home order came about, and now that we're down two of our guys, the roof has to wait until we can get them back.

OK, that's it for this week, I think. 
Some last numbers: over 500 deaths in total in Holland right now, almost 800 in the last 24 hrs in New York and over 900 (in 24 hrs) in Italy!

Maybe it's true ..

Thursday, March 19, 2020

I'm pretty proud of this beautiful Spring shot, isn't it just stunning, that blue of the (Mountain) Bluebird in that ever so slightly pink of the (apricot) blossom?
I love how it came out. 


It was not such an easy shot, since I'd spooked the flock of  birds, and they all took off. 
But when I followed their flight with my eyes, it looked to me that they might turn back.
So I decided to hide in a ditch next to the soggy meadow, and low and behold, 30 minutes later (with wet knees) I got my shot!

As I mentioned in a previous post we mostly have Plum trees that are blossoming, but there's also one or two Apricots.
Side by side you might see that the plums are all white, but the apricot is a teensy bit pink:

I just can't take enough  pictures of them ..

And I didn't notice until yesterday, but they actually do smell rather nice too!
Here's some more flowers that are starting to appear. Very small, but cute ..
Buttercups and Narrow-leaf Parsley
And if you're thinking, jeez, this almost feels like spring, than you'd be right on the money, because as of today, it is!
It's the earliest Equinox sine 124 years (combination of a leap year and daylight savings time)! 

But I'm getting ahead of myself here, because first there was St Patrick's Day:

Which we celebrated, as usual, by having Corned Beef with cabbage and carrots.
Mind me, we've got nothing with the holiday itself (no Irish blood here) but if it involves food of course we're game!

The previous two times I'd made it, I was a little disappointed in how succulent the meat came out, so I took the advice of some comments on the recipe site to shorten the cooking time and .. bingo! Soft as butter!
I guess you can overcook corned beef ..

Lets see, what else?
The guys dug two huge holes, one at the new house for the sewer tank, and one next to the existing house for the water tank:

The tanks arrived today and were placed quickly and without any problems ..

This is the one above ..

And here's the one below ..


And here's a guy that has watched a little too much golf lately ..

... in the hole!

Also, a start has been made to sheet the walls ..


I baked a batch of brownies (sorry, no pics) and finished my latest puzzle.

Oh, that reminds me .. I've not talked about my newest toy (it's so nice to have a little money, you can actually buy some 'stuff' for a change)!
The plexiglass sheet I covered my puzzles with up until now, had cracked a third time and I was looking for something else instead.
So .. I got me a Puzzle 'caddy'. Yup, I didn't know they existed either but there you have it!

It's a sleek black case that, when you fold it open, contains 2 separate boards that you can spread the pieces out on. 
On the middle area you make the puzzle:

When you're done puzzling for the day, you just fold the whole thing up and move it out of the way.
How cool is that? They claim you can even hold the caddy vertical, but I haven't tried that yet .. it fits through the door to the bedroom and that's where it goes, so I'm happy!
I only wish I had bought the 'Jumbo' one, since this one is a fraction too small for some of my puzzles .. oh well, I'll make it work!

*As for the COVID 19/Corona virus as of today: almost 9000 deaths worldwide, over 3000 in Italy alone, 100 in Holland and 200 in the US .. how's that for some numbers?
We're stocked up on groceries for about a month, our store was still completely stocked (including toiletpaper), and we're trying to stay home as much as possible.
What else is there to do? The whole world has come to a stand-still and we're all waiting, waiting for this to end ..

Thursday, March 12, 2020

First of all, there's the news of the day of course .. the Corona Virus. I haven't said much about it but it's started to get a closer to home at the moment ..
We've officially reached a pandemic by now, and most states in the US have cases too. Funny enough .. Idaho is among the view still unaffected! 
Also, as of this Friday, Trump declared a 30-day travel ban for Europe!

I have a ticket to fly to Holland for the end of June ... we'll just have to wait and see!
Also, daylight savings time went into effect this last Sunday. Two weeks earlier than in Europe!


OK Maxine, I agree, but .. really! Why are we still doing this? Not a fan!
In the meantime, blossoms are still popping everywhere you look at the moment. 

The ones in the picture above are next to the river, and are presumably from Apricot trees. They have a slight pink color to them, especially when they just emerge.

Most of the ones I see are from the Wild Plum's though, and they're literary all around us!


This is a big one, about halfway up the canyon, and the ones below are all on the edge of the meadows alongside the gulch ..

So pretty!
Climbing up the hill at the start of the driveway, I came across several of these tiny Yellow Bells, a Fritillaria variety .. (on the left)


They're actually little bulbs .. and the one on the right is an (even tinier) Redstem Filaree or 'Storksbill', a member of the Geranium family.

As I said in my previous post, the birds are starting to stir and are enjoying the warmer weather.


This left one is a Western Meadowlark and the one on the right a Western Kingbird. 
Both very common, but after a very quiet winter it's so nice to hear them starting to sing again. 
By the way, the lark (according to my audubon field guide) says something like "too tee too tiddleyou" and the kingbird "kit' and 'kit-kit-kiddledit". Ha! Just what I thought too .. 

The house is progressing, a little slower than what James would like at the moment, but sure. 
He really could use one skilled carpenter in his crew, since all he has at the moment are very young inexperienced kids, but it is what it is, there just aren't any around here ..
They've been working on readjusting/checking the trusses that they put up so everything is nice square and straight, and they finished installing the smaller ones around the dormers.

There's now a floor on the second floor .. comes in handy!

Even in the weekend (Sunday) this guy keeps on 'working' .. or playing with big machines .. it's a guy thing ..


I've spend quite some time in front of the TV this week, since I discovered we have the 'Olympic channel', which telecasts speed skating!
Being Dutch, skating is in my blood, and to be able to finally watch some of the races is so exciting!


"We" won both the men's and women's All-round Championship titles, and quite some individual ones too ..

 As I said, it's in our blood!

I baked a little this week, using the last of the blackberries we picked last summer for a blackberry pie:


It came out surprisingly good. This pie is often very 'wet', oozing juices as soon as you cut it, but this one stayed up nice and firm .. a winner!

I also tried my hand in preparing some morels, that were gifted to us by Jesse, one of our employees!
These (wild) 'shrooms' were picked around here last spring, and they can fetch as much as $15 an ounce in a good market!


They came dried, so I first had to soak them in some hot (salted) water for about 15 minutes ..
When they're nice and soft, you cut them lengthwise (they're hollow) and than you fry them in some butter.

I served them over an omelet with asparagus, carrots and blue cheese, and some wild rice (you don't want to 'overpower' them by adding a lot of strong flavors). 
I found them a little disappointing, not much flavor. Not bad, but not very special either. Oh well ..
Next time (hopefully we'll find some ourselves this spring), I'll be adding some garlic, and some creme for a little bit of a sauce.

And last but not least, I captured last Monday's full moon through the plum blossoms next to the RV .. rather fairy tale-like, as my mother mentioned ..