Thursday, February 24, 2022


Yet another quiet winter-week has sneaked by, it's almost March Y'all!
Earlier in the week the mornings started off quite foggy, only to burn off and turn rather sunny and pleasant later in the day, but the last couple of nights were downright frosty with temperatures between 24 and 28F (-4/-2C), and one morning we got some very light snow as well!

                                                 That's snow that's falling there!

Typical February I would say, as in, the winter isn't quite done yet but spring is trying!

I accompanied James on one of his morning drives to take pictures of houses he is appraising and their 'comps' (comparables).
It took us to the town of Sherwood, about half an hour south of us, and we enjoyed a nice drive through the hilly countryside.

We'd had some problems with our toilet lately and determined it was probably due to a leak 'somewhere' around the closing 'flap/valve', so we ordered a replacement kit and James took the whole toilet outside to take it apart ...



It's a lot easier to do that outside, since bathrooms in RVs are not the roomiest as we've discovered in the past.
He basically replaced the whole upper mechanism and while we were at it we also ordered and replaced the toilet seat. Sure, why not ..
When we bought the RV 10 years ago it had a crack in the seat which James had glued/epoxied together which than immediately started to turn an ugly yellow/brown color, and over the years the seat itself had discolored as well ..


We now have a nice bright white seat again!

It took him several hours but it's back in place and the leaking seems to have stopped. Success!

During one of the sunny afternoons I noticed a couple of Robins looking for insects, grubs and worms in the in the grass around the RV.

In the cold months you barely see them, which is why some people think they've gone away and migrate, but in fact they only change their diet from insects to fruits and stay somewhat hidden away in orchards.
When they 'emerge' in late winter/early spring on sunny days, it means insects and worms are starting to appear as well, and spring could be imminent!


Another sign of the changing seasons ... molehills!

When they start to appear in February/March it means the males are looking for mates.
Nature has woken up!

OK, what else? Oh, look, I got me a new and very nifty contraption for my sore heel:


It's made of a springy hard plastic which means it moves with your foot and allows you to make a normal step, and, best of all, your heel 'floats', as in, it doesn't touch the bottom!
So far, so good, I can now walk fairly normal and don't need a cane anymore (which I had borrowed from Doug and Brenda).
We'll see if this finally will allow that #$&@! 'heel' to 'heal'!

And that concludes today's episode of 'what's up with the Hess's' ... OK, maybe one more pic of yet another puzzle I finished, but that's it.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Camellia 'Debutante'

Due to the nice, almost spring-like, weather of late I'm starting to see little buds on some of the trees and shrubs, and the Camellia in Doug and Brenda's yard is already starting to flower. It's one of the earliest varieties but still!

Here and there a few tiny flowers are emerging in the green grass ..

I brought a few hazelnut branches inside the RV, and their catkins (male flower-buds) have grown rapidly and are shedding yellow pollen when you touch them.
I also dug up some daffodil bulbs from the yard and they've started to flower as well.


It makes it feel like spring a little bit already, although officially we still have another month to go off course. The forecast calls for frost next week, so we're not there yet!

Counting on the fact that people are starting to think and plan this year's vacations, the first RV shows of the year are starting to pop up, so,
with nothing better to do, we went to the one in Salem, about a 45 minute drive to the south from us.

We hadn't been to one in 10 years and it was fun to see all the new models and beautiful and smart interiors.
Ours is starting to get a little tired around the edges, especially compared to all those new and shiny ones off course, and we've been thinking about maybe getting a newer one in the not so distant future.
We thought it would be great if we could have something like a separate office area, and wouldn't you know it .. they have those now! They're called second bedrooms, but of course you can use them for anything. Like this one for instance:

That room there at the top of the middle is the one I'm talking about.

It's hard to take a picture of this room but you can see the open door of the entrance there in the middle of the left picture below, and the inside of said room in the right picture: 


  Another concept we really like is one with a back/front raised living room. Like this one:

Look at that huge living area! Unfortunately these don't come with a separate second room but you could easily make some room in the living room somehow.
I'm not too impressed with the interiors but nothing that some paint, different fabrics and/or furniture and a carpet won't fix.
These new ones are of course waaayyyy to pricey for us, but who knows, we might find a reasonably priced second-hand one in a year or two. We'll see .. we're not in a hurry.

For our Wednesday dinner-night-out this week, we went to Ixtapa, a Mexican restaurant here in town.
Which turned out to be, although not the best, certainly the fastest dinner we had so far!
We were seated right away and before we had shed our coats and were sitting down we already had (warm) chips and (very hot) salsa in front of us!


The interior is a little dated with very colorful, typical Mexican artwork and of course the obligatory vibrant Mexican music, which I must say was a little too loud and much for me after a while.
After we'd made our choice and ordered, the food also arrived with super-speed!
It was very hot and a big portion, more than enough to split, but I thought it rather bland, it all tasted the same, and the Chili-relleno came sort of cooked inside egg-white instead of a fried egg-batter. Not very tasty ..

And like I said, everything went so fast, we were in and out in 45 minutes! Not much of an evening out ..
Oh well, it wasn't bad and filled us up, but I don't think we'll go back anytime soon.

I really don't have much else to talk about this time. I know, I say that every time, but really, I think that was all for now.
I could mention we're going a little more 'green' by buying launder-sheets, instead of those big plastic tubs of liquid, and show you a picure of how small the package is (and fully compostable) but how exiting is that?
OK than, just because I can:

                 How neat is that? I just hope they'll work ..

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Mount Hood as seen from Government camp

We finally made it to Mt Hood this week! We'd hoped to go last Sunday, but the weather wasn't cooperating so we tried again on Wednesday.
Since Doug and Brenda were in Arizona and work was slow, we 'seized the day' as the they say, and left right after breakfast for the 1.5 hour drive to, and up, the mountain.

It was actually rather foggy when we left, but we'd looked at a live-webcam from all the way up the mountain and it looked sunny and clear ... we kept our fingers crossed.
Our first views of the 'Hood' weren't looking too good, it seemed shrouded in clouds ..

But when we arrived at Government camp, halfway up, we'd left the clouds behind and the weather was absolutely gorgeous!

Government camp, at 4000', and still on the base of the mountain, is the only town within 5 miles of Mount Hood and therefore it's the only 'ski town'.

It is the gateway to several ski resorts, with the most popular being Timberline Lodge and Mount Hood Skibowl.

We had a nice cup of coffee and, off course, some pastries at the local coffee shop, the High Mountain Bakery and Deli.
Which actually was the same place we had coffee 10 years ago, when we were here before  ..

I know, wow, 10 years! We still had our girl Sadie, who loved the snow !

Any-who, flash forward 10 years, we had a lot 'better' weather. Less snow anyways ..

Nothing had changed much here, inside or out .. except for us of course, getting old(er) ..


Still pretty good pastries though!

We took a little walk through town:



And watched some early skiers at the towns small ski resort, Summit Pass

From there we drove the windy 3 miles up the mountain ..

All the way to Timberline Lodge, which is the highest you can go ( by road).

As I said, we'd been here before, 10 years ago, and it was as impressive than as it is now.
The beautiful old lodge, at an elevation of 5,960, was constructed from 1936 to 1938 by the Works Progress Administration, and it was built and furnished by local artisans during the Great Depression.

We walked around the lodge for a little bit and looked at the little museum area at the front entrance, where they display some of the original furniture and accessories as well as memorabilia of times when celebrities visited the lodge.

Exterior views of Timberline Lodge were used several times for filming, most famously for  The Shining (1980), Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation of the Stephen King's 1977 novel set at the fictional Overlook Hotel.


The resort has the longest skiing season in the U.S., and is open for skiers and snowboarders all 12 months of the year.

We watched the skiing crowd for a while ..

Eventually we drove back down and had lunch at the western themed Two Mikes Saloon of the Tollgate Inn in Sandy:

Where we enjoyed a great (smoked) mixed meat platter:

All in all, a great day in the snow, but I think we've seen all there has to be seen there now. I'd probably visit again for some snow-shoeing or cross-country skiing, something I would have loved to do this time around as well, but which is something my ^%$#! heel still isn't allowing me to do!

Since we were back early, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous (65F(17C!), we spend the rest of the afternoon pruning the blueberries:

Because of the high temperatures this last week their buds are already 'shifting'!


And look at this Rhubarb! It has woken up as well ..

I gave it a few scoops of good manure, hopefully it will do a little better than last year when it didn't do too well since it was rather neglected for a while ..

All the cut-offs went on the burn pile, which is getting quite big! Due to bad-air quality we're not allowed to burn right now, although actually, I think the burn season isn't until March as well.

OK. I think that was all she wrote for this time. James went golfing and I'm put-zing around the RV a bit.
Here's a last picture of my DIY green-house I set up, after I saw it on someone's blog the other day:

That clear tub goes on top of the soil, over the seeds I sowed, like such:
                        Hopefully I'll have some lettuce and spinach in a couple of weeks!

We'll see .. spring is around the corner but I'm still hoping for some more snow ..