Thursday, February 23, 2023

Finally! We have a winter! Yes!
We woke up to a beautiful winter-wonderland this morning:


They'd teased me all winter and never got it right, but finally those weathermen guessed correctly! Really .. I believe those predictions are as much a crap-shoot as anything .. even I can get it right 10% of the time!

Any-who .. it is white and soooo pretty!



It was a little cloudy in the morning and although the temperatures never came above 33F (1C) in the shade, the sun came out for a bit in the afternoon ..

Happy hour in the snow .. a sort of 'apr├Ęs-ski', without the skiing!

My birds went through their feeders like there was no tomorrow ... I had to fill them again in the afternoon!

 Look at these icicles:

Meanwhile, although we're not Catholic, we 'observed' another Mardi-Gras Day this week.
Since we spent quite some time in Louisiana during our travels we're sort of hooked to the tradition .. well, mainly to the food-part of the festivities!

I really didn't think Oregon had much of a party going on for fat Tuesday but apparently there are a couple of Krewes in Portland and one of them, the 'Mysti Krewe of Nimbus', formed in 2010, puts on an annual ball and a parade!


(Fun fact: The source of the word Nimbus in Greek Mythology means a 'cloudy radiance' said to surround a deity when on earth, and also is the name for an actual rain cloud.
Living in the rainy Northwest, this name certainly fits the bill!
They even changed the traditional “Mystic” to “Mysti” to further reflect this rainy condition)

We didn't go to Portland for the parade but I did make a traditional King Cake.
I choose a different recipe every year (there are hundreds of them on the Internet) and this year I (mostly) followed the one from one of my favorite websites 'the stay at home chef'.
Probably due to the insane amount of yeast and eggs this one came out the fluffiest, and certainly largest(!), cake yet:

I'd cut back some on the butter and sugar it called for but had to add a lot more flower to make the very sticky dough somewhat workable, hence the monster-size!
It didn't look very pretty and I didn't have high hopes but guess what .. it was (and still is because it is enough for an army and than some) is delicious!

To finish of the day in true Louisiana Mardi-Gras style, I made a hearty Gumbo and some honey-cornbread muffins for dinner:


As they say in Louisiana 'Laissez les bons temps rouler'
(Let the good times roll)!

Thursday, February 16, 2023

These clouds came up one evening after a beautiful sunny, but cold, day. I always love how the setting sun can give the edges such a pretty glow!

The next morning we woke up to a dusting of snow:

It wasn't much but I guess beggars can't be choosers and I only wished for 'snow' so .. there you have it! Next time I have to be more specific .. as in 'a foot of it, please'!

It only stayed white for a couple of hours and when the sun came out it turned into such a nice day that when James came back from a round of golf I'd uncovered the BBQ and prepared some steaks to go on it!

Barbecuing in Oregon on the 11th of February,  how about that for a change?

It was a little too cold to eat outside, it's amazing how quickly that temperature drops when the sun goes down, but it was a fun meal, a little reminder of the summer which will be here before we know it!
Valentines day is not something we particularly celebrate but I discovered some lobster tails in the freezer (bought for Old Year's but unused since we were in Europe) and followed a recommendation on a recipes-site to prepare them in an air-fryer ..

I don't have a true air-fryer but I have an air-fryer lid for my instant-pot, something I haven't used very much yet, so I gave it a try.
I'm very pleased with the result, it worked perfectly and those were some of the easiest and best lobster-tails I ever made!

A favorite meal for my happy Valentine!
And that was all she wrote for this week I'm afraid.
I have almost no pictures due to the fact that my toe, which I stubbed a week ago (and I might actually have broken) is still causing me so much pain that I've decided to stay off of it for a while to give it time to heal instead of ignoring it and making it worse. What a concept, eh?!
Fortunately I have enough indoor hobbies to keep me entertained for a while but I sorely miss my daily constitutionals ..
(I looked it up. A constitutional is a walk, typically taken regularly to maintain or restore good health. How true!)

Here's a sunset. Not the most colorful of the week but I often discover too late it's going to be a colorful one and have to rush out to catch the last little bit of it .. one of these days I'll catch it in the act!

Thursday, February 9, 2023

This week's cold, wet nights made for foggy mornings when the sun tried to break through, with every tree and shrub covered in glistening water-drops ..


A couple of days the sun even managed to stay around for a few hours .. how different everything looks with a little sun on it!

I even got to sit outside for my morning cup-of-Joe, I actually could feel the sun on me!

But the weekend was grey, windy and cold and we spend most of it indoors.
James did play a round of golf during which it stayed as good as dry but to say it was hugely enjoyable .. (which he'll never admit by the way).

I kept myself busy with the usual little house-hold chores (quick work in a RV) and made some time going through and cleaning out our closets.
Which was mainly triggered by me buying a dress and skirt when I went grocery shopping this week! Ha!
Finding clothes I like is pretty much a miracle in itself and finding them in a grocery store when you're not looking is rather funny of course ..

My loot!

Feeding 'my flock' is of course still a daily occurrence and according to them my most important, and definitely not to forget and haven-forbid most certainly not to be late, job!

I've been scavenging around the yard for anything flowering to bring inside, just to fill the empty places where the Christmas decorations have been, but there's not much to find .. yet.

I settled for a few mossy branches and a little bit of evergreen for a somewhat 'winter-y' decor:

And for good measure, I hung some outside next to the front door as well.
I kind of like it ...

I really have nothing much else to report  ... work has picked up a little so we're staying afloat, a little above break-even, which is pretty much normal for this time of the year.
And since I'm only helping out when they are busy, I'm off for good behavior for the time being ..

Since I have a ridiculous amount of hobbies my only concern is which one to choose, which at the end of the day actually sometimes results in me having done really nothing at all .. weird?

Thursday, February 2, 2023

It's been a rather frosty week with temperatures below freezing for several nights in a row and today Punxsutawney Phil popped his head out at Gobbler's Knob to predict six more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow!

Groundhog Club handler A.J. Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 137th celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. Phil's handlers said that the groundhog has forecast six more weeks of winter.

Apparently temperatures were in the teens (!) this morning in Pennsylvania and even we were down to a frosty 26F this

Of course I happen to like these kind of conditions, especially since it was a sunny day and there was no wind, so I went for a beautiful and brisk walk ..

I found some frozen little ponds ..

Crispy frozen leaves under my feet ..


And frozen mail!


     It's a coming and going at my bird-feeders:                              

There's a whole flock of Black-eyed Juncos hanging around, which is interesting since I didn't see any last year, but on the other hand almost no House-finches of which there were plenty last winter .. ?


And yes, 'the gang' is back! I'm thrilled to see the mob of Titmice have returned.
They're so much fun to watch, whenever they arrive it looks like they're sucked onto the suet-feeder as if it was a magnet!

Of course the squirrels are stuffing themselves with corn and peanuts each day!
I'm limiting how often I fill the feeder to once a day otherwise they'll eat me out of house and home!


To bring a little color into all the brownness I got me some cheerful daffodils and (rather fragrant?) primulas .. things like that seem to jump in my shopping cart when I'm not looking.

On a (gloomy) Saturday we spend some time with our friends (and landlords) Bret & Serena at their house in Sherwood.

Just catching up on things, our trip to Holland and their progress on work they've done at their property lately, while enjoying a delicious lunch .. good times!

On Sunday there was a cold wind blowing but at least the sun was out so we decided to go to the Champoeg State Heritage Park for a walk.
We'd been there before, when we toured the visitor center and took a short walk to the Willamette River, but didn't have time to stay much longer due to a tee-time at the golf course.
So, off to the park we went which is only about a 15 minutes drive from us.

We choose a random trail, trying to stay out of the biting wind .. some of the trees here are humongous!

We caught glimpses of the Willamette River through the trees and stopped at several viewpoints for a better look:


Champoeg was actually once a town, founded in 1850 and wiped out by the Great Willamette River Flood of 1861.
The former town site is now a large field which offered us a chance to get out of the woods and soak up the sunshine!

It took us a while, some hot chocolate and a bowl of hearty pea-soup to warm op when we got home!

As I mentioned, it stayed cold all week, a great time to catch up on my reading (The ink black Heart by Robert Galbraith which has 1462 pages!) and to finally finish the crazy difficult cats and books puzzle I started before we left for Holland!

Enough to drive you bonkers this puzzle .. but very rewarding when you finally finish!