Thursday, December 30, 2021

Snow on second Christmas day!

We had a wonderful Christmas this year, actually we always have, but this year was extra special because we had snow! We had a white Christmas!
Look at that! Isn't it gorgeous?

To be totally honest, I have to mention that this snow appeared on second Christmas day, which of course in America there's no such thing, but in cases like this I fall back to my Dutch roots, where we do celebrate two Christmas days. Besides that, this snow fell overnight, so it might have fallen on the first, so hey .. it's all good!

We had a nice, quiet Christmas eve day, just the way we like it. Hanging out in our sweats in the warm and cozy RV we had lots of coffee and cookies while James did some more studying whereas I worked on a puzzle and did lots of reading.

Since we knew we were not going to have any Turkey at Doug and Brenda's the next day, and we didn't have any for Thanksgiving either, I decided to have it at Christmas Eve ..


To top it off I made a
(best ever) chocolate mousse Bûche De Noël (Yule Log):


The next day we spend Christmas morning at home as well where there was delicious Panetone for breakfast, Turtle-mousse pie with coffee and deviled eggs for lunch (and yes, it's all about food again) ..


For a short while we braved the cold outdoors to get some 'fresh' air and have a little fun-in-the-snow time, like James making a snow-angel:


We also had to take some snow off the awning, it started to sag a little which makes it hard to open the door properly, and if it gets too heavy it might start to rip off ..


In hind-side we should also have made a snowman but I totally spaced .. next time ..

By the way, here's a pic from our water/sewer line . You can see how the power for the heating cord came on automatically (it's set for 38F/4C), that little green light there on the left, which melted the snow around the hose as seen on the right. Perfect!


At 3 pm we dressed up a little and went next door to have a light dinner with Doug, Brenda, her dad and Sarah. We hadn't been with family for Christmas in 10 years so it was a great and very special occasion.
I'd made a big pot of Turkey-corn and squash chowder, which came out really good, and Brenda had prepared a salad and put out a delicious spread of different cheeses/cold cuts and crackers.

(I brought the camera but didn't take any pics except from the soup .. sigh .. what else is new?)

I kept my bird-feeders full all day during the snow, which was much appreciated and it was a coming and going of all sorts of birds, including a few 'new' ones, like this Purlpe Fich:

And this rather unusual looking yellowish House Finch. Apparently (male) plumage colors can look very different from one to another due to their diet, the more carotenoid rich foods they eat, the redder they become!                     


OK, I don't have much more I'm afraid. Which is good sometimes ..
Or maybe this .. just a fun fact .. since the solstice we gained 4 seconds the first day, 8 the second, 13 the third, followed by 18, 23, 27, and 33 in the next for a total of 2 minutes and 6 seconds in this first week!

Here's one more pic of the snow, just because ..

It stayed on the ground for a few more (cold) days, but it really started to melt yesterday.
Oh well, it was super-fun while it lasted and who knows .. despite getting lighter each day, winter has only just started!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Last Tuesday was the day of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, after which we're of course slowly, very slowly, gaining a few seconds of daylight each day.
The Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice (also known as Yule) and the return of the light is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world, when pagans keep a fire burning and light shining until the sun rises, light bonfires, tell stories and drink sweet ale.

Following that tradition, I tried my hand this year in setting up a Yule altar, incorporating various items that have a special significance for this celebration.

Evergreen boughs like fir, juniper and cedar are typically associated with themes of protection and prosperity, as well as that of a continuation of life and renewal and sprigs of holly ensure good luck and safety to your family.
Gold discs, yellow candles, anything bright and shiny as well as fresh round fruit like oranges and apples can represent the sun.


The white of snowflakes and stars signify purification or your own spiritual development, and red indicates prosperity.
Winter nuts
symbolize the sleeping seeds of Mother Earth and last but not least the stag or reindeer, who represents regrowth and rebirth, as deer routinely shed their antlers each year to replace them with new ones.

Of course a lot of these 'decorations' are very similar to setting up a christmas tree, decking the halls with boughs of holly and celebrate with familie and friends, good food and wine.
For me, as a non-believer, I very much enjoy celebrating the Solstice as 'the reason for the season' !

Talking about bringing back the light, we went for a drive on Wednesday evening to see Newberg's christmas-lights following a light-route of festive houses:

They do take their lights serious in this town!

I've seen some large 'Grinch's, but this one was really huge! And yes, that Santa was 'mooning' us!
And how about this house on a street one block away from the golf course:

They must be golfers!

We didn't participate in the scavenger hunt, for which you had to collect stamps at certain houses, but it was a lot of fun seeing all the festive lights. It certainly got us 'in the spirit'!

Here's some more fun, which happens on a daily base right outside my very own window:

Whenever the squirrels run out of their 'own' food (peanuts and corn) they try to raid the bird feeders. It's quite hilarious to watch their antics ..

And many afternoons our backyard is the scene of yet another world-record attempt at how many Titmice can hang on a suet feeder ..

  Unfortunately the jury has a hard time keeping track ...

Also, I think I'm done with all my christmas-cookie baking. There's enough to give some away, and more than enough left for the two of us to last us to New Year!

So, there you have it, soon it will be Christmas, and seeing the forecast I still have some hopes for a white one, or at least for a white 'second' christmas day!

Keeping my fingers crossed!

Thursday, December 16, 2021


Last Sunday we went to a Christmas performance in McMinnvilles Gallery Theater. We'd never been there before and were very pleasantly surprised about the whole experience.
It's a quaint small-town theater but the show was very professional, creative, funny and at times very sweet and moving.
Also, due to Covid, only about half of the tickets were available so it was a rather intimate showing.


We looked at next year's performances, there will be a different one every 2 months, and for an entrance fee of only $20 pp we will definitely be attending a few.
If this show was anything of a benchmark for what is to come we will be in for a few treats next year!

Back at the ranch we got totally creative ourselves as well! Instead of my traditional baking of gingerbread men around this time, i
nspired by Hallmark (those sugary movies), I went for a gingerbread house!

Woah! Look at that! Like I'm in '
(To be totally honest I have to disclose that this cute little house not only came as a 'kit' but it was already assembled as well. The only thing left to do was the decorating part ..)


Well, let's just say .. the icing started dripping, candies started sagging, the whole place (including ourselves) got sticky and we'll never win a prize in a contest .. but we had fun!

From a distance, in the right spot and under the right light, 
it looks rather perfect for a first try!

OK, what else .. the weather is still pretty lousy, besides a couple of very stormy days it rains every day as well, which caused the orchard around us to get rather soggy at places.
We're very happy we had the foresight to
surround the RV with those pallets and the out-door carpet. No mud for us!
The birds are still very happy with the feeders ..

This is a (male) House-finch up above, very pretty in red. His House-'wife' is a dull brown all over ..
And the one below is a Chestnut-backed Chickadee (sorry, not quite sharp):

Our Wednesday night dinner was at Jin's Chinese Restaurant this week.
This restaurant happens to be in Dundee, only a couple minutes down the road from us. We could almost walk there .. if we'd want to .. and if we didn't have to walk on the side of a busy highway ..


It's apparently under new ownership and, besides the humongous portions, the food was very good!
Looking back at last week's post, I see that I forgot to mention our venue of that week which was Storrs Smokehouse, so here's a few pics:

It was our second time here and rather than the 'Big Daddy' we had last time, we opted for brisket and ribs this time around, accompanied by a large plate of (very spicy) collards:

James looks like he's not that impressed but the opposite was true .. that brisket was to die for, as well as the collards, and the ribs were not too bad either!
I predict we'll be going back there all the time.

Once again, this post is mainly about food, but topics to wright about are rather slim these days so I milk what I got ..
Like dinner a couple of days ago, after the theater show, when I made cheese fondue!


It's been a long time since we had this, which is a shame because it is soooo good!
And fast and easy, as long as you use the handy-dandy, ready-made and store-bought pouch. Some crusty bread, a little brocc, pear (or apple in this case) and even a cut up hot dog.
Like I say, easy peasy, perfect for when you don't feel like cooking .. I like those kind of meals ..

OK. I've run out of pictures so this is it for this time around.  

Only one week 'till Christmas, can you believe it?