Saturday, May 28, 2022

It's super- fly .. or man .. or squirrel in this case!

Well, that didn't last long! The little buggers made short work with our defenses and just jumped a little further and more daringly and were back in no time to the business of emptying the feeders once again! Squirrels 1 - Humans 0.

So .. back to the drawing board we went!
We decide to add another 'disc' in the middle and several more lengths of plumbing pipe in between the feeders.

Now we wait. I can almost feel us being watched ... what will they come up with this time?

In between assisting James I putzed around my vegetable beds for a little, picking out some pesky little slugs and planting some fingerling potatoes in a 'grow-bag':

Grow bags are exactly what they sound like: large, fabric-like bags that can be filled with a growing medium and used to grow plants and vegetables.

They are breathable, so they allow more soil to come in contact with the air than traditional pots, making it easier for your plants to absorb nutrients from soil.

Fun detail: some (like this one, as well as mine) have a 'flap' on one side which comes in handy when you want to check if there are any potatoes growing yet, or if you want to harvest just a couple at a time.

On Sunday we cleaned ourselves up a little and set out for a
matinee at the Gallery Theater in McMinnvile:

Where we were attending a performance (the last of 8) of one of those most beloved musicals of al times ... the Sound of Music!
Unfortunately we were not allowed to take any pictures inside the theater but I stole a few of the website :


As previously (during their Christmas show), we were blown away by the fabulous show with some really incredible vocal performances!
We had a great time, now only to get rid of some of the songs that are still playing in my head almost a week later!  😁

After the show we went for an early dinner at the fancy Oregon/McMenamins Hotel, just a block away on historical-downtown 2nd street.
The weather was good enough to sit under the awning at the street out front where we enjoyed that favorite pass-time of 'people-watching' for a while:


We were not too happy with the food though (we'd ordered a burger), it took ages to arrive, was served without as much as a leaf of lettuce or a sliver of tomato, only a faint hint of blue-cheese and a handful of luke-warm fries.
To add insult to injury it cost us a whopping $18! Fancy-schmancy I'd say!

Talking about disappointing food, on one of our recent shopping adventures we came across this very popular, new (to us) store: Crumble (Cookies)!

These 'gourmet' frosted cookies are not your run-of-the-mill cookies, they're dough is made in store every day with fresh eggs and real butter, each week the menu rotates to give you 4-5 different specialty flavors and they're always presented in a cute pink box.
They come in 4.5" and 3", although the latter are only available for catering/party purposes and need a minimum order of 50.


We ordered one (of their most popular) chocolate chip cookies and a graham cracker one with honey frosting and 2 cute little bears on top.
Unfortunately, and maybe due to their size, they were both a little under-cooked and doughy.
And I have to say, as much as I love cookies, its size and type means it’s really sweet, and although enjoyable, these cookies are huge!

It only takes a bite or two to be filled and yet you've not eaten even half.
I don't know, a little bit too much of a good thing I'm afraid ..
Than there's the price ... a whopping $4 per cookie! Whaaaht?!

I might be a frugal dutch-y but that's highway-robbery to me!

On another note .. James didn't feel very well on Wednesday morning, he felt a major headache coming on which only got worse in the afternoon, so he decide to come home and go back to bed.
When he woke up he had a fever and started to cough and the next day he felt like a truck had driven over him .. everything hurt!
Doug wanted to know if he had Covid in case we needed to take more precautions than just wearing a mask, so he did a home-test and there we are .. positive!


Bummer! And besides the fact that he felt absolutely horrible, we live in very close quarters of course, so it seemed almost inevitable I would come down with it too.
We also had a memorial potluck coming up which we had to cancel .. oh well .. the weather is quite lousy so it might actually rain out anyways ..

Fast forward 2 days .. James is feeling much, much better, his fever and headache lasted maybe 24 hours, and his cough is almost gone. He's still feeling tired and sore and is taking it easy but the worst seems definitely behind him!
More good news .. I am fine, no symptoms at all! How 'bout that?
(Other than the fact that I do have a sore throat for about 2 weeks now .. coincidence?)
We will both test again after 5 days, as recommended, and if we're negative we can both go out again, although masks are advised for another 5 days afterwards.

All in all, sort of an up-and-down week this time, but than there's usual some bad with the good, isn't there ..
Anyways, let's move on, shall we?

Saturday, May 21, 2022

The hills of the north Willamette Valley are beautiful in mid-May, when the crimson clover fields bloom scarlet red. Crimson clover is an annual, grown only for the seed here, not for the forage.

Crimson clover flowers open from the bottom of the flower head to the top. Growers hope for cool, cloudy days during the bloom period, so the flowers will open more slowly, giving the bees plenty of time to visit each one.
Well, this year is definitely a winner in the cool and cloudy aspect!

Besides these crimson red fields, blue is another color that's jumps out at you about everywhere at the moment. First there were the Bluebells ....


Followed by the super-strong smelling lilacs, their sweet, heady scent that is almost cloying  almost a little too much for me ..


And just this last week the Wisterias are starting to bloom, like this gorgeous one in Doug and Brenda's yard ..

I never realized but they smell really nice as well, almost sort of citrus-y ..  at least, these do, I've heard of some varieties that smell like cat pee!

I even found a little nest with the prettiest little blue eggs .. too bad it had fallen out of a tree and they were all broken ..

In our yard a war has been declared ... it's us versus the squirrels!
A group of about 5 or 6 of them are raiding my bird feeders on a daily base .. and that's after they first clean out their own feeders.
So, the game is on! Here you can see James installing some plastic disks at the ends of the wire that the feeders are hanging on (they're actually plant-pot saucers) :


And in between we strung lengths of PVC pipe .. both are slippery and turn freely on the wire which hopefully will give the squirrels no place to hold on to ..

They've already checked things out, but have not tried to jump .. yet!

If only they weren't so darn cute!

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Look at that beautiful bird! Yes, I got him, a genuine Western Tanager!

The orange-lure worked, as he showed up shortly after me hanging a slice between the bird-feeders! Isn't he gorgeous?

Interesting enough he also seems to like the suet, which I didn't think he would, but there you go ..

Western Tanagers, the western counterpart to the Scarlet Tanager, nest in coniferous forests of the north and the high mountains, but during migration they may show up in any habitat, including grassland and desert; the bright males often draw attention by pausing in suburban yards in late spring where they like to snack on nectar, meal worms, raisins, fruit or berries and when it's cold .. suet. 

.. you learn something new every day!

Besides the flashy bright yellow and red he brings to the garden, we're not exactly lacking other colors at the moment.
In Doug's yard this Eastern Redbud is flowering ..


But stealing the show at the moment are the azeleas:

I tried to find as many different ones as I could just here in the neighborhood alone:

And although 'just' a simple white, I shouldn't forget to mention the Dogwoods which are pretty much running wild in every yard around here ..

I'm, very carefully, extending my walks a little bit every couple of days or so and, so far so good, my foot is holding up!
I managed to walk all the way down one of my favorite streets and got to see the vineyard at the end of it for the first time in 6 months ..



It doesn't look like much is 'happening' yet from a distance but if you look real close ...         

Yup! Tiny little buds and leafs are starting to appear! And so another wine/vintage-year is starting to develop ...

Of course last Friday was a Friday the 13th, which we survived without any issues ..

... and I wouldn't be me if I wouldn't question how many there are in an average year?
I found this on the world wide web:

- Any calendar year has at least one Friday the 13th and can have as many as three Friday   the 13ths.
- F
or a month to have a Friday the 13th, the month must begin on a Sunday.
- This year, 2022, we have only one: May 13.
- The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia or paraskevidekatriaphobia. Now say that 10 times really fast!

Fortunately, this Friday the 13th also happened to be National Apple-pie Day (although other sources claim it's March 13?), which probably would make up for a lot of mishaps that could have happened ..
Especially when you actually happen to have some sitting around, since totally coincidentally I made an Apple-Blueberry Cobbler that day!

Perfect for coffee-time .. which was actually our breakfast that day ..
(Hey, apple-pie for breakfast, what's not to like?)

 I think we're good until next week ... maybe ..

Friday, May 6, 2022


Well, it's May once again, can you believe it, and some migrant birds are starting to arrive here in the North-west.
Among them this pretty Black-headed Grosbeak (picture above) and his wife:


I've even seen what I think was a Tanager!
Unfortunately he only visited for a few minutes and I didn't get a picture, but hopefully I can entice him to stay around by hanging a few orange slices amidst the feeders.

(btw, that's not a Tanager in the pic but a Gold Finch, photo-bombing my picture of the orange slice)

I'm also very happy to announce that I've started my 'walks' in earnest again! Yahoo!
I wish I could also say that my foot was cured but unfortunately that's not true. Yet.
The pain has probably lessened by 60% give or take but I've also found out that if I take an Ibuprofen every 2 or 3 days the pain is as good as gone.
I have no clue how that can be since they're usually only good for about 4 to 6 hours, but I'm not complaining. I take it! The only thing I can come up with is that any swelling that's there might be reduced for a longer period of time which will than come back very gradually.


So, here I am, walking again. I can't quite explain how happy that makes me feel but walking just clears my head, brings the world in perspective, gives me hope and peace and joy .. just makes everything OK.
It also keeps those couple of pesky, extra pounds at bay ..
I'm not going too far yet but I managed to take the little path through the woods, just down the street from us.
Look at all that Spring-green, it's just radiant!


As I mentioned in previous posts, this year's spring so far is a very wet and cold one, hence the little creeks, rivers and ponds that have been created everywhere ..


Oregon is often rather wet of course, which is also the cause of al that moss everywhere!


One of the neighbors has this absolutely stunning tree in the front yard, I'm not quite sure what it is, I'm thinking Pink Flowering Dogwood, but it is gorgeous:

Another yard's front border is completely taken over by these  pink flowering strawberries. If I remember correctly they produced an abundance of tiny little strawberries last year.

My own batch of strawberries are flowering as well and have already produced 3 whole berries, how about that?!


Also, I couldn't resist the hanging baskets on display at my local Bimart, so I picked this one up filled with pretty red-flowering Petunias and Verbenas.

In Holland, which has a similar climate as Oregon, most people wait putting their flowering pots and baskets up until the Ice Saints* are 'over', (May 15) so I'm pushing it a little, but I think I'm good.

*The Ice Saints are the name days of a number of Catholic saints that fall in the period from 11 to 15 May. The saints themselves are also called ice saints. According to folklore, these are the last days in spring when night frost can still occur.

We're still doing our weekly 'Wednesday dinner-out' which this time brought us to the tiny town of Carlton, about 12 miles from Newberg.
James had to take a few pictures of houses he needed for an appraisal over there and his brother Doug keeps mentioning the great food they have at the local gas-station, of-all-places, so we gave it a try.

It's called Carlton Corners and is a one-stop-shop; a gas station, restaurant and growler fill station with ten rotating Oregon craft beers and cider and non-ethanol gas.
It's known for Best Burger in Yamhill County 2015-2016 and Best of Mac & the Yamhill Valley, 2018 – 2020.

It definitely has a lot of character .. and a good sense of humor ..


By the way, a 'growler fill station' allows consumers to purchase draft beer in reusable, to-go containers.
Growlers, shaped like old-fashioned moonshine jugs, hold 64 ounces of fluid and used to have a lid. Supposedly they got their name because as the beer sloshed around, it caused the carbon dioxide to escape and created a growling noise.

Here in Carlton locals can join the "Corner's Mug Club', have their (ceramic, lid-less) mugs numbered and have them hanging on the wall in the 'growler room', ready to grab when they come in for a 10% discount. There's a 100 member limit and there's a waiting list!


We just settled for a local beer from the tap and ordered the Critter Burger to split.

We're no fan of the thick fries they serve here but they were tasty enough and that burger was delicious!
I think we'll be baaaack ..

And there you have it. Another week, neatly wrapped up and disappearing into the sunset ..
Until next time!