Thursday, March 24, 2022

Least Chipmunk

Isn't he the cutest? She? And those bulging cheeks? Just precious!
I didn't see one all summer last year, and certainly not this winter, but all of a sudden one appeared from under the wood-pile (
I think) behind the RV and a little later I saw two (and you know what that means).

He actually managed to dive completely into the big boy squirrel feeder, the one I set up for his cousins, the Eastern Grey Squirrels who, when that feeder is empty, will raid the bird feeders as you can see ..

The cheeky buggers even go for the suet. Like this:

And if you think that isn't enough cuteness yet, a couple of days ago another (distant) family member showed up:


It's a (California) Ground Squirrel, they live in underground burrows, can form large colonies and will emerge in Spring from hibernation.
They're considered pests by most farmers since females have large litters ( 6-8) and with so many mouths to feed they can be quite destructive in the fields.
Come to think of that, I'll better protect those raised beds I'm planning to have!

Also there was this ..


And this ..

And of course I had to bring some of that inside:


As usual, we ate a lot .. and nothing too shabby .. Cheese Fondue anyone?! (there's really nothing to it, but it looks, and tastes, great)

I putzt around as usual, as in, a little pu(t)zzling ..

I got myself a new one (fell in my cart at Walmart), it's another Wysocki but a little different than his usual primitives. I love this one!

There also was a little more 'hardcore' putzing :


I got my hands on some pallets and have started to take out some of the slats ... started indeed .. I gave up quickly because those nails are all rusted and in there good!
Hopefully James will give me hand here or, another brilliant idea, I might take a small saw to them and cut them out!
(Let me think about that some though before I ruin the whole thing ..)

I have to get these things going though because I've been planning and plotting and researching. Like this:

I've even asked for help from one of my favorite blogsters, Beverly from Bee Haven Acres, who is a great inspiration to me, and she honored me with a mention in her blog and a whole lot of info on when and what to sow or plant!
How cool is that?!

OK, 'nough said, pallets to wreck .. until next week!

Thursday, March 17, 2022


A happy belated St Patrick's Y'all! It seems like we're falling from holiday into the other these winter-months don't we?
They're mostly catholic festivities come to think of it, from Halloween and Thanksgiving, to Christmas, Epiphany, Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), Valentine's day and now St Patty's of course. Before we know it it will be Easter already, despite it actually being very late this year!

As usual, I made a Corned beef with all the trimmings. In my trusty InstantPot it's done super-fast and comes out super-delicious every time.
I also tried my hand at baking Irish Soda bread this time, which turned out to be the easiest bread I ever made. It's made with only 4 ingredients (for the original recipe, I made two and added some raisins in one) and uses baking soda instead of yeast.
All the rising is done in the oven, no pre-rising time required!

It has a nice hard crust, a dense, but somehow still delicate texture and slightly sour tang. Can you say delicious? (especially with the addition of some real 'Kerrygold Irish butter')

While all that was cooking and baking, I mashed up a few strawberries that were getting a little too old into a quick freezer-preserve. Can you imagine how that tasted the next morning on a slice of that toasted bread? Swoon ...

The weather has been an equal mix of sunny, cool days and grey and rainy but a little warmer ones. Typical spring-doesn't-know-if-it's-coming-or-going weather if you know what I mean.
I putzt around the RV a little, cleaned up some fallen branches from the yard and measured the area around the back to see where I'd put the chicken coop ... wait, what whaaaat, chicken coop?
Yeah, but hold your horses, it's not going to happen after all so ..
I seriously was thinking about getting some chickens, started to research which ones, what size/kind of coop to get, asked our landlord if he was OK with it (he was) and
read through some library books about the topic ..


To make a long story short, in the end I realized it just doesn't fit in our lifestyle.
Obvious main reason .. we travel too much. There's just no way we can disappear for a couple of months (which we're intend to do again when James is done studying and has his license) when we have a flock of chickens.
Oh well, I love the idea, it's a nice idea, but not for us (yet).

But I wouldn't be me if I didn't come up with something else .. of course, so I switched my focus (once again) on vegetable gardening.
My, not entirely successful, experimenting last year with some self watering

plant-boxes at least taught me one thing ... I need larger boxes .. or maybe I should look into something better/different.
Now, I don't know if you remember, but last summer we build an outside patio-floor in front of the RV from a bunch of old pallets our landlord (who is a roofer) was getting rid of.
Wait, pallets? Didn't I see something about using pallets for raised beds?
Lo and behold, a quick google search came up with hundreds of brilliant ideas how to create raised-beds from .. yup, pallets! Like this:

So, next time I spoke to the landlord I informed him I nixed the chickens (which I think he was secretly relieved about), "but by the way .. could I have some more pallets and place some on the sunny side of the RV to use for planters?"
He thought that was totally OK, so I've exchanged my library books for some that deal with vegetable gardens and of course I've already started to make drawings and lists and what-not.
As you can see, never a dull moment in that head of mine ..

Moving onto a totally different topic, I bought us our first gun!
Yeah, just kiddin' of course ...  but I splurged and bought myself two contraptions that hopefully will help my aching butt/leg muscle and still painful foot/heel.
First up, a massage gun! Finally, a good gun!

It's one of those things you wished you had done a lot sooner because OMG, this feels soooooo good!
Especially on the large butt muscles, but I'm not going to show that here.
A foot is a little bonier of course but the soft
percussive motion feels really good on that heel. The hope is to break up some scar tissue and to get blood flowing better through those dense heel tissues.


Next up .. a Tens unit. Huh?
"A TENS unit works by delivering small electrical impulses through electrodes that have adhesive pads to attach them to a person's skin."
This sort of works like an internal massage which stimulates tendon repair due to increased blood flow and relieves both muscle and nerve pain.


I've used a much smaller and cheaper unit before for back pain and it worked almost every time so, since my other unit died, I'll give this (better) one a try.
God knows I've tried everything else!

What else? Oh, this week's Wednesday-night we went out for dinner to Thai-the-knot, a Thai restaurant on the main drag here in Newberg.
We'd gotten some take-out from them last summer (for our anniversary), which we weren't too impressed with, and beside that James seemed to remember they were a little expensive, but we decided to give it a second try, so .. in we went.



As you can see, there's not much of an atmosphere and the wait for our dinner was a little long but when it arrived (Roasted Duck curry and Chicken & Shrimp Crispy Basil) we were pleasant surprised!

Doesn't that look good? Well, let me tell you it tasted even better, holy mol(e)y, it was more than better, it was absolutely delicious! Even better-der, it was very affordable!
Needless to say, this place went on the 'approved by the Hess's' as well as the 'we'll be back' list.

                                     OK, that's a wrap, until next week!

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Flowering Quince

Weeks are flying by at warp-speed, we're almost halfway March already and winter is quickly slipping through my fingers!
Being a Fall/Winter person I'm so not looking forward to the summer, and I really am also not a big fan of Spring.
Mainly because it means summer is coming, but also because the light is getting this brightness to it, which hurts my sensitive eyes and I also don't like those in-between temperatures. It's getting too warm for jeans and a sweater but it's still too cold for my skirts and dresses.

I do like the awakening of nature though and I'm on a constant lookout for anything that might bud or flower.
Like this little yard I found in the neighborhood, full of daffodils, hyacinths and a huge big clump of Snowdrops!


The first flowering trees are starting as well; I think the one on the left is a wild Service-berry and the one on the right a Cherry tree ..


Since I still don't walk (yes, let's not talk about it anymore already) I actually took the car and drove around the neighborhood to take these pictures.
All good and well, but driving and sightseeing at the same time is not my strongest suit to begin with, and if you add turning around and backing out of Doug's neighbor's driveway in the mix, you have a recipe for disaster on your hand .. which happened .. of course ..

I have to say it could have been worse, because despite knocking over the mailbox (and breaking the post) and busting my tail light (Sh*t!) at least I didn't end up in the ditch.
Oh well, things happen.
James went over to make things right (digging a new hole, pouring concrete and placing a new pole). Moving on, shall we ..

Our weekly Wednesday-night dinner out wasn't a very happy experience either, I must say.
We went to the Barley & Vine Tavern on main street:



They have lots of beer and wine from all over the world which you can pair with some good looking cheese and meat platters, but the rest of the menu turned out to be very limited.                        


We went for two of the sandwiches that were just OK, which were served with an insane amount of blah potato-chips, for what we ended up paying $14 a piece! Jeez .. what a rip-off!
OK, that one goes off the list.

Let's see, what's next? O, yeah, James bought a new, curved computer screen.
Now he's starting to do more and more of the paperwork that involves appraisals, he'd like to be able to work from home on some of it.
That way he can do it whenever he wants, like when he has an hour or so to spare in the evening or weekend or when he's up early in the morning, and doesn't have to go over to Doug (and invade his privacy).


James had measured everything to make sure it would fit ..  the plan was to slide it into the cabinet next to the TV.

Only to realize on arrival that it had to be mounted on a stand, which of course raised it several inches ... right.
It took both of us racking our brains to come up with a solution, and in the end he just cut of a piece of the stand and mickey-moused the whole thing together again .. (bring in the tie-rips!)

The opening was so tight it pretty much got sucked in place, but when it was in it had some room to spare, so .. success!

As a reward I baked some strawberry-rhubarb (his favorite concoction) hand-pies.

Despite the disaster zone afterward they were delicious!


Talking about kitchens and disasters .. the dishwasher has given up the ghost! Bummer!
I still use it as a 'waiting to be washed' area but eventually I have to do them by hand of course. How primitive!
I'm on the lookout for a new (to us), used one on Craigslist/marketplace, but since we need a small /apartment size, 18"-wide one, they don't come by very often. (New ones are insanely expensive due to the special size)

Last but not least some good news, Oregon has lifted the mask mandate. Yahoo!


It was in the works for a couple of weeks now, and they finally decided enough was enough. Cool!
I mean, I was all for it and it really didn't bother me much besides fogged up reading glasses
and having more difficulty hearing what people said (since I'm rather deaf to begin with), but I'm just as glad to kick them to the curb.
I put them away in a drawer for 'you never know' though .. let's keep our fingers crossed.

Thursday, March 3, 2022


Happy belated Mardi Gras Y'all! I know, we're no Louisianians (aka 'coonasses') and certainly no Catholics but once you've been bitten by the southern mardi Gras-bug you can't get rid of celebrating it anymore!
So, once again, I dug up the beaded necklaces that were thrown at us during the parades we attended in New Orleans several years ago, and decorated the RV inside and out.
And of course .. I baked another King Cake!


As usual, my tiny RV-kitchen kitchen looked like a bomb exploded, but the end-result was (almost) perfect:


Which made me do a dive into my picture archive to come up with the 5, yes five (!) previous ones I baked over the last 6 years or so ..

As you can see, they all look different, which is off course due to the fact that I try a (slightly) different recipe every year.
They all tasted delicious though, honestly, and this last one was no exception.

Other than that it was another quiet week here in Newberg, although we did go for a little drive to Lake Oswego (about 45 minutes to the north of us) to take care of some legal paper stuff (Trust, Will and so-fort).


We'd not been there yet, and had hoped it would be a nice and sunny day so we could do some sight-seeing .. drive around the lake, stroll through town etc., but no such luck, it was grey and rainy and nasty ..

We ended up taking care of 'business' quickly and will go back sometime when the weather is a little better. It looks like a very nice area ..

The rain finally stopped on Wednesday and the sun came back out, so when I went grocery shopping I couldn't resist picking up a few of the colorful primroses they had strategically placed at the front entrance ..


I never knew, but they smell quite wonderful, albeit only the yellow ones!

The next day was even sunnier, and the sun stayed just long enough at the patio that we could have happy hour (well, more like 15 minutes) outside for the first time this year!
Next week daylight savings time will have kicked in and, depending if we will have sun to begin with, we will be sitting outside for sure!


While sitting there I took a peek in my 'glass-house', and lo-and-behold, the arugola and the spinach is coming up! So cool!


Also, look who's back?

It's a little hard to see through my (dirty) office window, but it's one of the deer that came by quite often last year. Here's a better shot:

I've also seen the doe and her (almost full grown now) fawn, but I couldn't get a picture of her yet. I'm so glad they all survived the winter!