Friday, November 26, 2021

The Willamette River

Oregon's wet season, during which most of it's yearly 51 inches (!) of rain falls, runs from November through March, when the jet stream is strongest in the Northern Hemisphere.
This year doesn't seem to be any different than others, but of course there are some sunny moments too!
Like last Sunday, when we went to Newberg's Fall Bazaar
and Crafts Fair at the town's Cultural Center, the sun was even out!

Which was nice because some of the vendors were set up outside but most of them were inside the 'ballroom'.

Pretty much everyone was wearing masks, but keeping any distance wasn't really feasible.
We try not to attend too many of these 'mass'-events, but every now and than we'll just take the risk ..
James isn't that much into arts and crafts but he's a good sport and goes along for the ride, and of course there's always food to find at these events .. like these mini donuts!

Mini donuts with chocolate fudge sauce .. no calories in those ..

Afterwards we walked it off (a little) by driving to the Willamette river which, in the late afternoon light, was absolutely gorgeous ...

Apparently this little park is part of the Willamette River Greenway program which is "a cooperative state and local government effort to maintain and enhance the scenic, recreational, historic, natural and agricultural qualities of the Willamette River and its adjacent lands".
A number of trails exist along the greenway, although there are still a lot of gaps, and we will certainly pick some in the near future to go for a nice hike.

Like always, Thanksgiving snuck op on me (again) this year, but in my defense it also was an early one, being 'only' the 25th of November ..


Our usual traditions were observed .. there was a nice breakfast (pumpkin/spice French toast with a warm banana-walnut sauce) (Yum!) and I baked a cranberry-apple pie, which you cannot go wrong with, ever ..
Of course we watched the Macy's Parade which was 'back to normal' this year, as in  spectators lining the streets again. Almost nobody was wearing masks ..

The rockets danced there hearts out once again, and the Big Guy appeared like he does every year, Covid or no Covid.

The National Dog Show allowed it's spectators back also, and best in show was won by one of those unlikely dog breeds that in the eye of most don't look 'pretty' enough to even come close.
She came the closest to being perfect to the standard of her breed though, and that's what it's all about.
I personally really like this breed, the Scottish Deerhound, and I thought she was gorgeous, but she would never fit in the RV!


We almost didn't get to see the show by the way because Dish Network, which we use, has boycotted and cancelled NBC that airs the show, but we were fortunate enough to be invited over for dinner at Brenda and Doug's, who (even more fortunate) were watching it also.
The dinner almost didn't happen either though, and was overshadowed by the fact that Brenda's mom had passed away on Monday morning .. she had broken her hip (and dislocated it) 2 weeks ago and quickly deteriorated afterwards.
Everybody was thankful that her suffering was over, but of course she was very much missed by everyone.

But life goes on, and so the (delicious) Prime Rib was cooked and cut, a gazillion side-dishes prepared, the table set, the guests seated and a feast was had ..


That's Brenda's dad in the back, who attended despite everything (and some health problems of his own), and that's Becky, Brenda's sister, taking that dish from James, and of course Noah and Sarah and Doug and Brenda.
It was good to be together, and also a special treat for us, after being on the road and not  able to attend for 10 years!

This last week we (ehh .. James) run a heating cord alongside all our hoses, water and sewer, and covered them in insulation-wrap.

This way they hopefully won't freeze this winter! We've had 2 nights of 33F so far, but mostly temperatures are still holding around 40-50F. We'll probably never have a deep freeze around here, but it's better to be prepared or we'll be in deep shit .. pun intended!

Usually I would have some nice pics from my walks to show here, but my foot is still not getting any better so I'm trying to stay completely off it at the moment.
I even borrowed a cane! Oh my god .. I'm getting so old!
From behind my desk the only wildlife I see are the deer that sometimes come by, or there's the occasional bird. I don't know where they all went, but it's not here .. this little White-crowned Sparrow and a few Spotted Towhees are all I could 'shoot' this week.


James has promised to string me a wire from the RV to a tree, in front of the window by my desk, to hang some bird-feeders from.
Hopefully he'll have some time this weekend, and hopefully it will attract some birds!

This week's dinner took place in Mcminnville again, this time at Los Molcajetes, a nicely decorated and colorful mexican restaurant on main street.


We split the seafood burrito, 'Burrito de mariscos' which was stuffed with shrimp, scallops, crab and octopus in a really delicious sauce. Man, was it good!

We'd also ordered a Margarita and a flan for desert, and were in and out for only $30! Great atmosphere, great food, great price! We'll be back!

At our own colorful Casa, we'd run out of preserves, so besides doing a lot of puzzling and reading this week (and working in the office almost every morning), I defrosted and crushed up some of the frozen raspberries I so diligently picked this summer, and made 2 jars of freezer jam.

Previously I'd followed the instructions on the Ball pectin jar and froze the jam immediately after making, but it just never set enough to my liking. So I googled around a bit and learned that most other (freezer) pectin instructions call for it to sit out for 24 hours before storing, since apparently pectin doesn't set very well when it is too cold.
I must say, that makes sense, so I'm trying that this time. Keeping my fingers crossed!

OK. I think that's about it for this week. Here's one of those 'the end' pictures .. the sunsets seem a lot more colorful now it's cooler:


Thursday, November 18, 2021


I don't think this is the same doe that has been coming around with her fawn all summer, this one's a lot lighter in color and has even some white markings on her throat and legs.
I really didn't see her at all at first, even though I was looking right at her ..

                                                               Can you see me know?

It wasn't until she moved that I spotted her .. she seems to love eating the old blackberry leaves, which she very dainty and carefully picks off the thorny brambles ..

Her pickings are getting slimmer I guess, lots of leaves have fallen, although the grass is still rather green and even still growing somewhat.
My cosmos is still putting out quite a lot of flowers, it really didn't start do anything much until September come to think of it. I'm happy with the little bit of color it gives!
And look at those (two) strawberries! So cute ..


As you can see by that drop of rain hanging on the strawberry, we're still having quite a lot of rain at the moment. There's some dry hours here and there but it looks like that rain is here to stay for the season!
It causes the area around the RV getting rather muddy (aside from the platform with the mat in the front and the pallets at the back) and we've been trying to come up with something that will give us something like a dry walkway to the office.
We finally decided to put down some cheap outdoor carpet which seems to work quite well:

It's totally
eco-conscious carpet by the way, made from post-consumer recycled plastic drinking bottles! Look at us, we're so 'green'!

Let's see, what else .. oh, for our weekly dinner-out we ended up in a Latin american restaurant, Pura Vida, in Mcminnville.
Pura Vida is the Costa Rican song for good life and 'cocina' means kitchen.

We had to get some stuff at Lowes (like that outdoor carpet) so we took advantage of trying something we don't have in Newberg.
It's a small relaxed restaurant which offers Latin American inspired food and drinks from several countries including Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Perú, Argentina, and Ecuador.
We ordered Piquillos, quinoa stuffed peppers, and Paella.

I thought the paella was a little small for what we payed ($19) and the chicken was dry and overcooked, but the rest tasted OK, especially the mussels were excellent. The stuffed peppers were actually very nice and the salad very large and fresh.
All in all not bad, but I don't think we'll be back.

I did some nice cooking for the weekend myself. For breakfast there was a Grand Slam, which for some reason had been a while .. always good!

And for dinner I threw a whole chicken in the Instant pot and cooked it sort of 'sous-vide', as in totally submersed in water, which is very unusual for the instant pot, normally you only use a cup or so.
See? As I joked on Whatsapp, a la Swedish Chef: ' Zee-a Cheecka is in zee-aa basket .. ehh .. Instuont put! Børk, børk, børk!

And guess what, it was delicious! Much juicier than when using the conventional method! Definitely what James always says .. 'it's a winner'!

Our little home always looks so cozy in the fall.
The woodstove is glowing, all the lights are on, the Great British baking Show (reruns) is on the Telly and there's a puzzle on the table ..

Home sweet home ..

Thursday, November 11, 2021


Last week's evening of dining-out brought us at 'Social Goods Market' on Newberg's main street, a large pub and wine & beer market, which also serves some pretty good food.

Despite the rather cool weather the facade/windows of the pub were all opened up to the outside, but
because the place was packed, we were cozy enough due to the heat of all the bodies! (Well, that and because we kept our coats on of course ..).

Our dinner that evening coincided with the 'First Friday Artwalk' which is held on the first Friday of the month (surprise, surprise), during which all the stores and art galleries are open until 8pm.


It's a fun evening to be out and about. We had not been into town much yet and it is good to see that this town is actually doing really well. All the buildings are occupied, nothing's boarded up as is the case in so many small towns elsewhere and there's a nice variety of shops from clothing to food to art.
This being Newberg, of course there's also wine to taste in almost every shop, and there's food everywhere.

Like I mentioned above the weather this week has been not much better than the previous one. It's cool, damp, and occasionally windy, but every now and than there are a few dry periods which James took advantage off by getting a very fast round of golf in ... since there wasn't anybody on the course, he managed to play a whole round in 2 hours!

But this is how it looks most days at the moment, more and more leaves are coming down, we can almost see our neighbors behind us through the trees now ..
And, especially now we lost daylight-savings-time last weekend, the days are definitely getting shorter which, combined with the dark and gloomy weather, makes it look pretty dark at 4pm already ..

My heel is still not doing much better, so I try to stay off my feet as much as I can (no morning hikes) and I now work in the office almost every morning, which is actually not so bad with all this rain and it also gives me something to do...                    


Not that I'm ever bored of course .. in the afternoons I enjoy my cozy little home, do some spinning, knitting, reading or puzzling, and like to work on cooking some nice fall dinners.
Like corned beef with cabbage. Not just for St. Patrick's day in this household. Yum!

Or 15-bean soup with cornbread .. a warm hearty meal for several days!

And of course I'm working on that freezer full of berries. This is a blueberry buckle ..


So delicious! A lovely cake, our beautiful berries and than those crunchy, sweet crumbles! No calories in that one ... 😁

I guess this blog was all about food. Well .. you're a Hess or you're not!