Thursday, January 19, 2023

German chocolate cake for the Birthday Boy!

As he himself keeps exclaiming .. 64, I can't believe I'm 64! And how did I get so grey?
I myself think he looks very distinguished .. distinctive? .. definitely handsome in his 'old' age!
We celebrated with cake and his favorite meal of BBQ ribs but other than that we just enjoyed another quiet day at the ranch.

It's rather calm in the appraisal-world at the moment, which is quite normal around this time of the year,
but this year it's really, really quiet so far, to the point that there's almost no work coming in at all.
Oh well, we're still confident it will pick up in the coming months so James is taking advantage of the lull by staying on top of his studies while waiting for word on starting the exam-process (which is complicated, I won't even try to explain).

The weather has been cold, wet and grey, nothing strange about that during the winter in the Pacific Northwest and, also as usual, the daffodils have no problems with that and are already emerging from the soil ..

They emerge side by side with the mushrooms who of course love all this moisture like no others!

To get away from his books and get some fresh air in his congested lungs (we both came back from Holland suffering from a bad cold) James decided to prune the Blueberry bushes. Last year we were a little late when we did this in February and managed to cut off most of the fruit-bearing branches, so this year we're hoping to do better and actually have some fruit again this summer.
(although I still have loads of frozen berries in the freezer from the year before that!)


And while he was at it, he also took care of the raspberries:


As you can see his method is not very elegant, you should probably prune a little more selectively, but we get so much fruit on both that mowing them down this way is just wayyyy faster!

Except for the hazelnuts (filberts), who are already flowering,
there's not much else happening in the garden at the moment. It is winter after all, although, just like last year, temperatures are warmer than normal ...

Male flowers on the Filberts

I've read that migrating birds are confused and appear already in places where they normally won't show up until spring and in some areas fruit trees are flowering prematurely.
There's no denying global warming anymore ..

When we came back, my bird feeders were all empty and although I filled them immediately it took at least 5 or 6 days before they re-appeared.
I'm very happy they came back, I've missed them!
Here's someone else who showed up again .. at least, I think it's one of last years babies, that funny set of little twins with the one so much larger than the other ..


But if that's the case than I'm a little worried .. where is it's sibling, and where is it's mum?
They should still be together, at least until new babies are born, but who knows .. this might be another one altogether ..

Well, I think this is it for this week, not much going on, which we're actually happy about since we're both still a little 'under the weather' with our colds and all.
I made a hearty black-eyed pea soup to regain our strength and to start off the New Year correctly since eating this dish is believed to bring good luck!

(The beans are for prosperity (coins), the greens for
(paper) money, stewed tomatoes for health and corn bread for gold. Adding pork symbolizes looking/moving forward (pigs forage rooting forwards) in your life, as in not to look back)

Bring it on, I'd say and besides that .. it's delicious!


  1. Sorry about your colds, but at least you're getting better. We haven't pruned our blueberry at all and it's looking very peculiar. I suppose we should read up on that!

    1. To prevent 'legginess' I think you should prune them back some and take out dead wood and non producing suckers. Flower buds apparently are 'easily' visible on one-year-old wood and their numbers can be adjusted by pruning to regulate the crop load for the coming year. Good luck!