Thursday, August 27, 2020

Another week gone, and we're already approaching the end of the summer. I can't believe it will be September next week!
Due to the (another) very dry summer, wildfires are everywhere at the moment (California had 650 of them last week!), and even Idaho has it's share of them.
The two closest to us are somewhere east of McCall and east of Elk city. Fortunately far enough away that they aren't a threat, but due to high winds the smog/smoke is filling the canyons around us ..


It makes everything look 'orange-y' and rather gloomy, and sunrises are somewhat spooky!


When I hiked up-hill the other day I felt the smog affected my breathing, I was wheezing and coughing a little, initially I almost thought that I'd attracted Covid-19, but smoke of course will do that too!
All the grasses have turned brown and even shrubs and trees are loosing leaves. 
It's hard to still find something pretty out there. This (wild) clematis (Western White Virgins Bower) and berries of the Blue Elderberry will have to do:


I might collect some of  those berries. I keep reading about Elderberry syrup or even Elderberry Cordial, which seems like an interesting drink, I might have to try it ..

On my walk along the river one morning, I was happy to see 'my' Bald Eagle had returned!

He's been absent all summer and I was afraid something had happened to him. This might be a different one altogether of course, but I think it's the same one since he chose the same tree to return to ..

After finishing some more mud-repairs (yeah ..) and texturing the rest of the house, James and Vino have been painting most of the week.

Everything got 2 layers of primer, and as of today most of the final paint is also on.
There's still a few repairs to be done (..sigh) but it's pretty much a done deal!

It's not that easy to see, but the ceilings are an off-white and the walls are grey.

Next, they will be working on the doors and window casings. 
The rest of the crew is still working on the roof, which is done except for the finishing details, and than they'll continue with the siding.
Derrick (our mason) has finished the stone-work outside, and will help some with the caulking of the roof, after which he'll start with the hearth inside. 
What can I say .. progress!

I've had a slow week, nuttin' much going on .. 
I did bake a Blackberry Buckle, which came out surprisingly good:


But other than that, I've just read a lot, prepped some unknown wool for spinning (no clue where I got it or what it is?) and finished my summer beach-puzzle:

Such a fun one, this Wysocki 'Nantucket'!
Here's more proof that we're getting later in the season; the sun now doesn't hit the back window until 9 am, where a couple of months ago it was as early as 8 am!
Time goes on, it doesn't stop for anything ..

I love my cozy house/living room, 
wouldn't trade it for a 'real' house for anything!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

August 19, 2000

Oh my, it's been 20 years! Can you believe it? Twenty years, wow!
How time flies indeed ..

It was a beautiful wedding, just like we wanted. 
Not too much fuss, an intimate wedding in the cute little church of Huisduinen, than a small reception with a cake on the beautiful grounds of the Orangerie, followed by a nice, informal BBQ for everybody.
But .. twenty years .. no way!


Ehhh, yes .. obviously 20 years older!

Oh, well, it is what it is, time moves on, there's no stopping it ..
Having said that, time is slipping away from us here in Idaho too. There's still so much to do, so it's clear that our 'deadline' of half of September is definitely not going to happen.
Not a big deal though, as long as the weather stays good we can stay several weeks longer.
It would be nice if we can have Thanksgiving with Doug in Oregon, but on the other hand there are many more cases of Covid-19 over there .. so we'll see how it goes.

Things are progressing though.
The Black Walnut staircase, made by Ronnie and Andrew, is done:


At the bottom of the stairs James put down some flooring so Pat and Sam could see how it's going to look like. Pretty nice!
The wood for the ceiling has been milled and is drying until Ronnie and Hunter will be back in September.
They've all left for now. Pat and Sam left this morning and probably won't be back until October. Hopefully we will be pretty much done by than!

This little wren has a nest inside one of the little caves among the nice, cool rocks ..

My early morning walks are very quiet these days, day times have been in the high 90's, the nights are barely cooling down and it's already too warm when I get up at 7am. 
The animals seem to spend there days hiding and sleeping in the shade most of the time .. except maybe for a deer or two ..

Yup, I see you too!

I used the apples I had left over from making applesauce to bake a Blackberry-apple pie:



The apple was a little too sweet for me for baking, but the combination came out great, not soggy, which is always a good thing.

And how about this little cutie? 

He's Jessie's dog, his name is JP (John-Paul), and is from the same litter as Austin's Mahogany. He's a lot calmer than her though, a really sweet boy.
Of course he's started to follow me on my walks, since he's bored to death hanging around the job side all day. He follows me right on my heels, so cute!
Normally I don't like to have company on my walks, I like the peace and quiet, but a dog is fine. They don't talk!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Ahww, how cute .. twins! This mamma and her babies are showing up almost every evening, to nibble on the new grass that's coming up (a little) now we're watering.
According to Pat she's here almost every year and almost always has twins!
They're careful, but not overly impressed with all the activity around here.                                      
And boy, do we have some .. activity, I mean!                                                                                   Ronnie, Sam and Andrew have finished milling the wood for now, there's more to do but it's newly cut and needs to dry first, and are now working on the stairs.                                                                     Here's Ronnie drilling holes in the risers:

This wood is the Black Walnut that the guys felled a while ago ..

                           Sam and Andrew did the de-barking ..
James in the meantime, sprayed the texture on all walls and ceilings, and primed and painted the wall in the living room where the stairs are going to be:

Like this:
It turns out not to be as easy as they thought it would be, and keep running into some smaller and bigger problems, but slow but sure, they are winning the battle .. (when all is said and done this is going to be one expensive staircase!).
James finally got a somewhat larger crew together at the moment (Austin is back from 'the girls', and Jesse decided to return since he can't find any other work) and the roof is now finally starting to look like it might be finished one of these weeks ..

Here's part of the crew at coffee-break ..

And here's the boss himself .. and James too .. breaking for coffee in the 'tent':
We're mostly outside in the mornings when it's still cool enough, but most afternoons are getting to warm for me (around 90F) and I'll flee inside where the ACs are doing a good job keeping us cool.
Talking about inside, I've wanted to change the look of the room somewhat for the summer, and ordered blue slipcovers for the couch and some pillows and throws. They finally arrived:

The bedroom also sports new blue accents now, instead of the red. I even managed to find little blue lamp shades! I think it looks a little 'cooler' .. perfect for summer.                                                            I'll change everything back for the fall and winter.
As for the continuing saga of the fruits around here, I picked some of the largest and best tasting wild plums and, after blanching them, froze the whole lot. I think they're going to be syrup somewhere down the line ..

And those apples I picked at the river ..
They became applesauce! They turned out to be a rather soft and not very juice apple, but rather sweet  and quite delicious for apple sauce (with a little help of some cinnamon, lemon juice and extra sugar):

I think that has to be it for this week. Good 'nough, I would say. Things are moving along a little faster at the moment (yeah!), which is nice for a change.                                                                              Ronnie, Andrew and Sam and Pat will be here for another week, so hopefully those stairs are going to be finished, and the roof will be almost done too. Wow, we're getting somewhere!
Oh, by the way, I got the money for my (canceled) flight to Holland back!
With all the stories about problems and only able to get a voucher, if anything, we were a little worried but Delta came through. It only took a 5 minute phone call, no questions asked and all the money was refunded (well, it took a week before it was back in our account)! Kudos to Delta!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

California Quail

Blogger announced a couple of months ago that it was going to change it's format, and I've tried to ignore it this whole time, but guess what .. they actually did so as of the 1st of August, so I have no idea how this is going to look like.
I'll just keep on typing for now and we'll see how it'll come out in the end .. it looks weird already!

Talking about change, things are looking a little different around here too! First Ronnie, Hunter and his little boy Ryder, arrived on Friday and brought a trailer full of tools with them.
Than Pat and Sam arrived on Sunday, also towing a trailer, bringing cabinets and countertops, and than their son Andrew came in on Monday evening.
Talking about a full house!
Jessica and Austin decided it was a little too crowded, and have moved out for a couple of weeks to Jessica's apartment in Riggins. Probably a wise decision, especially since it has AC!

Yup, we made it into the triple digits this weekend! Fortunately only for a day of two after which it  cooled down a little, but it's still a (too) hot 90-95F!

No complaints from the Louisiana-crew though, they're used to it and find this 'dry' heat much, much better to tolerate than the humidity they have to deal with down south!
They immediately went to work the next day on the cottonwood that had been cut earlier this spring, and has been drying since.

They took up shop in the barn, where they're in the shade and have a big fan going to move the air:


This wood is going to be used for the ceiling of the living room. It's going to be very pretty me thinks ..

James' crew is still working on the roof and siding ...

James himself is finishing, and correcting, the drywall.
The crew that was here, and was supposed to do that job, did a rather lousy job (inexperienced) and was constantly pulled away to other jobs, so James is taking it up on himself (and his own crew) to finish it .. as if they didn't have enough to do!
Vino and Austin mudding and sanding ..

I've helped a little bit over the last couple of days by sweeping up and vacuuming all the drywall dust (that they were going to do also).
(we're deducting that from their final pay of course.)

My walks went a little by the wayside due to all the activity and other chores, but I managed to get in a few early ones this week.
The birds are still around, but early in the morning, you don't hear or see them much during the day.
I guess it gets too hot, even for them ..

I almost crushed this guy ..

And I saw this Red Admiral .. hard to photograph since they fly very erratic ..

The dry grasses in the meadows and hillsides are overtaken by millions of these (Spur-throated Grasshopper):

I hardly see any snakes any more, not like a couple of weeks ago when we would see a couple every day, but that doesn't mean they're not around of course, they're just hiding during the heat of the day now, and besides .. they blend in very well!

                       This is a (harmless) Racer

And these cute little chicks are California Quail (I know, we're in Idaho, I guess nobody told them):
They can have clutches of 12-16 chicks. Can you imaging having that many babies at once?!

The parents are extremely vigilant!

As far as harvesting our bounty of fruits around here goes, I'm now working on the blackberries. They're ripening in leaps and spurts and I pick some every other day or so ..

So far I've made a blackberry crisp, which we shared with Hunter, Ryder and Ronnie, and some very good Blackberry muffins. I added some cinnamon to the latter which was delicious!

I also picked some of the over-ripe plums and made a jar of preserves. They're more skin and stone than 'meat', but I managed to squeeze some out of them.
Like my mom was saying, it's a lot of work but all very good!
And as if I needed any more fruit to process, I came across this prolific apple tree on the river's edge.
A lot of them had already fallen off and quite a lot were a little 'wormy', but I collected and picked the best ones .. apple-sauce anyone?
Isn't that a beautiful bowl of summer goodness?