Wednesday, October 26, 2022


Just before the rains I managed to take a picture of Sunset Blvd in Sherwood, probably the most beautiful street in the area right now!

The Fall colors are reaching their peak and of course we had bad weather in the forecast ... there's always such a narrow window for the leaves to color and not been blown off or rained down almost immediately .. and also for us to have time to go out and find them!

We had a couple of days that started out in fog .. one of my favorite weather-conditions ..

Everything is so quiet and looking spooky and mysterious ..


I've been coming across several Woolly Bears (the larva of the Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrharctia isabella) lately ..
Looks like a milder/average winter?

I've written before about these weather-predicting fuzzies and how the longer the woolly bear's black bands, the longer, colder, and snowier and more severe the winter will be. Similarly, the wider the middle brown band is associated with a milder upcoming winter. The position of the longest dark bands supposedly indicates which part of the winter will be the coldest or hardest.

No real science is backing this up, but some are taking this rather serious:
For over forty years, Banner Elk, North Carolina, has held an annual Woolly Worm Festival in October, highlighted by a caterpillar race. Retired mayor Charles Von Canon inspects the champion woolly bear and announces his winter forecast.
Similarly, there is a Woollybear Festival that takes place in Vermilion, Ohio, each October.

This little fella (gall?) is a Black-capped Chickadee

We haven't seen a lot of Chickadees this summer, they prefer small insects and spiders during that time, but this last week I've noticed a few at the feeders again.
They stock up on seeds for the harsh winter months by tucking them into crevices
so they can return to eat them later, a behavior called “caching.”
Technically, chickadees don’t migrate, but in many years there are apparently large movements (irruptions) of primarily young birds.

                                         Gold Finch

Same thing has happened with my large flock of Gold Finches whom, from one day to the other, after eating me out of several pounds of Thistle seeds over the summer, all packed their bags and left without a single goodbye!
Apparently they are considered to have 'irregular migratory habits'. The same individual or flock may migrate one year, but not the next and most northern populations do move south in the winter.
Such ungrateful little buggers!
(Btw, the collective noun for a group of Goldfinches is a 'charm'. How charming indeed ..)

How about this charming creature:

It was sitting next to the gate where I get my eggs, you can see the basket there hanging on the gate. I just take the eggs and leave the money in that little jar .. I'm amazed you can still get away with this in this day and age ..
I just wish they wouldn't have stuck that big spider inside the basket .. I know, it's fake, but it gives me the shivers every time I reach for them eggs!


I can't believe it's the end of October already, I guess Halloween is just around the corner.

This month's visit to the local theater snuck up on us as well.
The play was 'And than there were none' (although the original title was, and still is in many countries, 'ten little niggers', which referred to the nursery rhyme 'ten little Indians/Injuns') ... an Agatha Christie classic of course.

So .... ten strangers are summoned to a remote island. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. As the weather turns and the group is cut off from the mainland, the bloodbath begins and one by one they are brutally murdered in accordance with the lines of a sinister nursery rhyme.

As we have come to expect by now it was another excellent performance and we had a lot of fun again while sitting pretty much 'on stage' in the middle of the actors, since this theater is very small and intimate.
(Hence one of the reasons it was sold out before it even opened!)

'Back at the ranch' .. I finally unearthed my fingerling potatoes and yams!
Well .. what shall I say, a whole summer of taking care of the cuttings and tubers resulted in a rather measly harvest I'm afraid:

I'm heartened by several of my neighbors though, who have assured me that it's not really my fault, it was such a lousy spring that nobody had much growing of anything in the end. Oh well, next year!

The weather has changed to some 'real' fall-weather right now.
The nights are getting quite cold and the days are grey and dreary. We even had some rain, yeah!

Time to bring on the comfort food! We already had 'hutspot' (a dutch winter-dish with carrots and mashed potatoes) and Dutch pea-soup (with smoked sausage):

No dutch desert but how about Pumpkin bread-pudding (with raisins and pecans)?
I can tell you, it tastes as good as it sound!

I'm afraid we gained a couple of pounds already and the winter (and the Holidays) have not even started ...

Tuesday, October 18, 2022


I pass this gorgeous maple in our neighbor's (Doug's) front yard every day, it's one of two, or actually four if you count the one's outside the gate as well.
They're just spectacular right now, but I can already see a lot of leaves coming down and with the rain and wind in the forecast (yes, rain!!) I'm afraid they will not be looking this good for much longer.
Same for this row of bright yellow cottonwoods a little further down the road ..

And yes, it looks like this (Indian) summer will finally be over by Friday, there's rain and much lower temperatures in the forecast:

This last week has been glorious though, perfect temperatures, cool nights and moderately warm days, just like I like it.
We took advantage of a quiet Friday and the beautiful weather and took the day off to visit a small park in Lafayette, about 10 minutes away from us, the Lafayette (Historic) Locks County Park.
Listed on the National Historic Register, this 7.1-acre park features the remains of the old locks that once permitted boats to navigate up the Yamhill River to McMinnville.

That's James there on the far right, halfway up ..

Although there's not much left of the locks themselves it's a nice area to see the water rush by, have a little picnic and learn a bit about the history of the area and the river ..

The first flatboat to go down the locks in 1850 was powered by four Klickitat Indians, whom it took one day to peddle down to the flour mill in Oregon City and two to come back up, for which they were paid $16. Those were the days ..

We sat at the river for a while to eat our picnic lunch and walked the few meandering paths and picnic areas which, under a canopy of ancient Douglas-fir allow for nice views of both river and locks.

To top off this perfect day we met up with Doug and Brenda at the Triseatum Winery on the outskirts of Newberg for a winetasting.

From their terrace you have a nice view over the vineyards and with the leaves just starting to turn yellow and the warm, late afternoon fall-light it was picture-perfect!


The wine-flight was very good and the accompanying charcuterie plate a nice addition .. it also keeps you from getting too tipsy when you're such light-weights as we are!

Life's good!

Sunday was an exciting day for me, I finally got to visit a 'fiber-event'!
Something I'd hoped to do for years now, but with all the traveling we've been doing for the last 10 years we were just never 'in the neighborhood'.
These large fiber/wool/sheep events that usually take place once a year in the fall or winter in various areas all over the country are a Valhalla for anyone that likes to knit, spin, crochet, felt and what not, and this time one took place in Albany, only an hour away from us! Yes!

James found a nice golf course close by that he had been willing to try which would keep him happy for the day, so early on Sunday morning we drove south to the Lynn County Expo.
I first hit the food court for some coffee before stepping in the first hall where all vendors, I think there were at least 100, had set up shop:

Holy, moly, look at all that woolly goodness!

There was so much to see and try and yes .. buy .. it was overwhelming!
Everybody was having such a good time, I chatted with numerous vendors and many other friendly people, all of us united by our love for all things woolly ..

Lots of vendors were either knitting or spinning or weaving and several spinning guilds had set up areas where you could try out wheels:

After a while I walked over to the exhibit hall where creations of fiber arts that people had sent in to be judged were on display ..

And eventually I made my way to the
livestock show in yet another hall of the complex.

This is the area where farmers show off their prize animals and compete in the different breed shows.
Among the many different sheep, and goats, I found some of my favorites, the Pygoras:


And the Icelandic Sheep:


This was some sort of mixed class:

After the judging some farmers chose to bring their animals to the on-site sheep-shearer for a haircut:

The wool was than bagged and put up for sale at an adjacent area. You were allowed to put your hands in all those bags, guess who dove right in ..

But probably the softest fleece of all comes from these little creatures:


Yes, those are rabbits. Angora rabbits to be precise!

This little girl, competing in the 4H class, has hers on a Lazy-Susan (rotating turn-table), so she didn't have to touch it every time to rotate it while she was blow drying it's hair. What a smart idea!


The bunny (yes, there is a bunny underneath all that) was obviously used to this treatment and didn't seem to be bothered .. ?

Last but not least I watched a few of the Llama showings:

Such regal animals! And no spitting at all ..

And now of course the biggest question: "did she buy something"?
Well yes! Look at this beautiful cloud of blue/green Merino!

At only $7 per 4 ounces it was a great bargain .. of course .. I seldom pay full price for anything, I'm such a 'sheep'-skate! Ha, ha ..

When we came back we were both pooped, so we threw a (flank)steak and some sweet potato fries on the BBQ for an easy dinner:


Done to perfection by the master-cook himself and accompanied by fries and a mix of our very own home-grown beans and broccoli, it was quite delicious!

We're definitely going to try to squeeze a few more BBQ's and outside happy hours and dinners in before the rain hits us on Friday! After that all bets are off I'm afraid.

Talking about happy hours .. this is what happened one evening:

Fortunately I wasn't holding my glass of wine ..