Thursday, April 30, 2020

𝅘𝅥𝅮 Happy Birthday to me, happy birthday to me ... 
and many more! ♫ 
Another year under my belt! Despite everything that's happening at the moment, I guess life goes on .. 59 already, yikes, only one more to the sixties!
Since all restaurants were closed, I had a nice piece of Mary Callenders' Key-Lime pie (my new favorite pie!), and for dinner I'd picked up some lobster and steak for a Surf & Turf!

Count me in, said Merl', although his (17th!) birthday isn't until next month!

The day after mine is King's Day, the birthday of King Willem-Alexander, (my) king of the Netherlands, and traditionally you'll fly the dutch flag with the addition of an orange streamer/pennant.
Like this:

I've thrown away a lot of dutch stuff over the years but a flag is somewhat a little different, so I've kept it.
I'm still dutch of course, I have a green card and am only a 'permanent resident' of the USA, but I am actually eligible for double citizenship (through my marriage to a US citizen)
It's just rather pricey, but now we have some money (!)  I might look into it. It makes certain things a lot easier ...

The view from my chair as I write this is of an almost iridescent green, it doesn't really show in the picture but it's very pretty!
The trees, mainly Locusts, are leaving out fast and the grass is starting to grow lush and thick.
So much so that I actually already mowed it last Sunday!


There's a cluster of large poppies growing next to the RV and they take turns opening up.

I climbed a different hill yesterday, just to spice things up a little, and was rewarded with this different view of our 'compound' ..

That's the new house up above, and the old one to the left, with our RV just visible parked in front. The white building in the front is the shop and barn.

The snakes are definitely waking up in this beautiful warm weather we're having. I came across a rattler and the guys (accidentally) drove over one the other day.


I came across a small Gopher Snake on this walk, the one in the middle, who apparently just had breakfast. See the bulge halfway his/her body?
The other one in the compilation is 'our' house-snake. 
She literary lives in the (Sam's) house, as in 'behind the siding'! Yikes!
She's a Gopher too though, another 'good' one, so we let her be ..


As I was making my way down the hill, stepping in the footprints of Elk who had been there before me, I almost squashed this huge Toad! 
He was as big as my hand, it would have been a terrible splash!

As far as birds go, always my favorites, I'm trying to get a shot of a flock of tiny Lesser Gold-finches but they're very camera-shy so it's not that easy.
I did get one of this female, who isn't that flashy in coloring but a soft pale yellow nevertheless ..

And look what the Screech-owls produced? Three little chicks! At least, I think there are three ..

Isn't he the cutest? That fluff!

I don't have much else to write about, I think. Like I said in my last post, I really can not concentrate on anything these days ...
I've cooked some more 'comfort food', like this delicious 15-bean soup with some leftover ham and collards. 
I think this is my new favorite soup, I like it even better than pea-soup and that says something!


Oh, and I finally made some donuts in my new pan! 
They're baked in the oven, they're really delicious and very, very easy to make!

They're done in 10 minutes, after which you let them cool and roll them in some cinnamon (or confection) sugar.
M-m good!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Due to the virus the town's rodeo (May 2nd) is canceled this year, but fortunately we had a little cowboy activity of our own, happening right here 'on the ranch'!
Sam's cows were brought back from White Bird by Marian and Wade, and after the calves were branded they spend a night in the corals to calm down and acclimate.

The next evening they were herded a short distance into the canyon, and than up the hill to the meadows up above ..

It's fascinating to see the dogs at work, and even the horses need little guidance, they know exactly what to do when a straggler needs some encouragement ..

The old Wild West is still going strong in these mountains!

This hill is a little too steep and the trail too narrow to ride all the way up ..

I have no pictures of the branding. First of all because I don't think I can stand the screaming and panic of the poor little things, and second because we decided to go golfing that afternoon.
James had worked all day on Saturday in anticipation of the cows coming back (connecting the water to the through in the meadow), and even had to finish some stuff on Sunday morning (grading a ramp at the bottom of the hill they would go up), so he was ready for some R&R!
So, up the White Bird grade we went, on our way to Grangeville ..
Mm, yeah, so we thought ... well, let's just say, the truck had other ideas! @#!^%$&!
See the smoke? I was too late for a pic, this is nothing!

Just a few miles up we started smoking from under the hood and James noticed coolant spraying along his side of the truck.
Fortunately, we could almost immediately pull into the parking lot of the White Bird Battlefield monument/overlook and turn of the motor. By than the (white) smoke was so thick I couldn't see anything ahead of me.
It quickly became clear that we weren't going anywhere. James tried to refill the radiator, where the fluid seemed to be leaking from, and it immediately came flushing out again!

We do have Good Sam roadside assistance so we gave them a call. 
When we finally got through, there were problems with our membership conformation (?) and when we finally got past that there were problems with where to tow the truck.
Apparently it's their policy that somebody has to be there to receive the truck, and it so happens to be that our repair-shop in Grangeville is closed on Sunday, so that was a no-go! Now what?
There are no other shops or gas stations anywhere close to us that'll take a 4500, so the only option was to tow it back 'home'.

Alright, so be it, they'd call us when they would find a tow truck. We waited for almost an hour, but no text or call, and we finally had enough of it.
I suggested we call Don, who has several big trucks, and James knew he had a large flatbed too. Now Don is a very nice guy, and sure enough he had no problems coming over and move the truck to Grangeville.
We also called Austin to pick me up and bring me back to Lucile, since Don's truck's cab wouldn't accommodate all three of us.
Also being a nice guy, he came over right away, and took back some tools from the truck as well that were needed for the job on Monday.
So far for a nice afternoon of golf! Oh well ..

While waiting at the overlook, (that we wanted to stop at already a few times but never did so far) we spent some time reading the information boards about The Battle of White Bird Canyon.  
Fought on June 17, 1877 it was the opening battle of the Nez Perce War between the Nez Perce Indians and the United States. The battle was a significant defeat of the U.S. Army.


I also had plenty of time to watch this little Flycatcher, who was busy catching .. eh, flies, I guess .. the whole time we were there.

The roof of the house is pretty much done now, except for the two dormers. 
The guys had to race against the clock this Wednesday, to get it on and watertight before it rained that night!

The windows are in and will be delivered on Tuesday and on Thursday or Friday Sam and Pat will be up from Louisiana!
Pat feels that she needs to see the house in person, before she can decide what goes where in the kitchens and bathrooms. 
And although I do understand that, I still wish they wouldn't drive (!) up from a heavily infected state, and through 4 other states where they could pick up the virus anywhere!

I for sure will not be going anywhere close to them and James plans to keep his distance too! We'll see how that goes ..


Fortunately, we do have a lot of space here, about 300 acres of it (!) so it's not that we have to be close to each other.
On my walks into the canyon, I found fields of merrily flowering Buttercups. So 'summery' already!


And these gorgeous apple blossoms are sure to lift any bad mood, if you so happen to suffer from one .. 


I'm (jig-saw) puzzling a lot. Like my walks, it calms my mind so I can actually try and read something afterwards, which seems to be a hard thing to do lately, with my thoughts going all over the place ...


I baked one of my favorites this week, nut-bars (and added some chocolate-chips for good measure) ..

They're mostly for James to go with his morning coffee. He works up quite an appetite these days and is always hungry! 
Which is a good thing, since I'm not doing much, and really should stop munching on things all day .. (I already gained 4 pounds since the Corona outbreak!)

By the way, the Idaho governor has extended the stay-at-home order for 2 more weeks, and we still have only 3 cases in the county. So far so good .. hanging in there!

Coronavirus as of Fri 04/23 Idaho County
Confirmed cases 3
Deceased: N/A (as in 'none')
Vieuw on Wundermap
Coronavirus Preparedness
Source: Idaho Department of Health

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Spring is progressing rapidly, the days have been warm (70s!) and the bees are buzzing ..
I found these blossoms on the river-side of 'our' hills, I think they're apple-blossoms. I couldn't remember if I'd seen apples on these trees last year, until I remembered that we were at Brust all summer and Fall, so I couldn't have anyways ..

                                          Not a bee but a Spider wasp (I think)

A little further down the road I almost stepped on this caterpillar, munching away on some tender young leaves. It might be a White Ermine Moth, but I'm not sure.


Saturday morning we woke up with a whole herd of Whitetail Deer in the yard ..


They were skittish, but brave enough to come down and nibble on the fresh green grass that's coming up fast alongside the creek ..

And than Easter snug up on us once again this Sunday! With everything going on, it was a weird one of course.                            
People (mostly) staying at home and not visiting family, no Easter mass or other events going on, the Pope delivering his 'Urbi et Orbi' blessing over an empty St. Peter's square ..


Our day was nice and quiet and relaxed. We had nothing planned, it was to cold to golf, and we spend the day mostly inside where it was warm and cozy.
Of course we ate a little fancier .. 
I was going to make a braided Easter Bread or something equally appropriate, but I didn't feel like doing the whole kneading, rising and baking thing, so I settled for simple Easter Croissants ..


I came across them on some website and they couldn't be easier to make.
They're just your basic roll-up croissants from a can, which you fill with some raisins, cinnamon and a little dab of butter. (I put some purple, green and yellow sprinkles on them too, to make them a little 'Easter-y'). Delicious!

For lunch we nibbled on our traditional Deviled Eggs (spiced with curry of course) and I tried my hand on making a (cream)cheese ball, which came out OK-ish ..

After all that excitement, oh I forgot to mention the Key-lime pie with coffee, we went for a little drive in Sam's side-by-side, back into the canyon, and all the way up to the state forest at the top. 


This is looking down at the house from about halfway up ..


These pretty blue Mountain Kittentails/toes (Synthyris missurica) were flowering everywhere, as well as an early clump of Arrowleaf Balsamroot.

It got pretty cold the further we went up the hill, and since the side-by-side doesn't have a front window the icy wind got us full in the face. Brrr!
The views were spectacular though .. that's Lucile there down below:

And these are the, still snow-covered, mountains of the Seven Devils Mountains wayyy in the distance ..
Eventually we hit snow, and mud, and we decided we had enough cold for tone day and turned around

Looking very 'gangsta' there my man! (In reality, he was freezing his ears off!)

And in between rain, frost, an earthquake, power outages and, oh yeah, a virus .. the roof is coming along, slow but sure ..
We have 3 guys working for us right now, there were 4, but Austin has torn his ankle ligaments (at home) and is out of the running (ha!) for a couple of weeks.

The funny thing is that we've been getting inquiries for work, now that several businesses further away in McCall and Grangeville have laid of their workers because of the virus.
These are the same guys that turned us down previously for various reasons, but now they need the work!
We're not taking anymore on though, more bodies means more chances for getting infected, unless we can find someone with experience, which very few have. 
Here in Idaho county we're still at only 3 cases and no deaths, let's hope it'll stay that way!

Let's see, anything else? Oh, yeah, look who-(who-hooo)'s back? The Screech Owls, that reared 2 chicks in the barn last year!

I'm pretty sure they're (he? she?) sitting on eggs, and they're not too happy we're there. They do stand their ground though, and seem to be determined to stay!
If looks could kill though ...

Meanwhile .. in Bangkok:

I know, this virus is not to make light or fun of, but these two are just too cute!