Friday, April 28, 2023


All of a sudden Oregon turned on it's Summer and did so pretty much overnight. We went from 65 to 76 to 85F in the blink of an eye!
Many plants have reacted by pushing their buds up and out and exploding into flowers everywhere you look ...


Our Blueberry bushes are covered in flowers, it's going to be a bumper crop this year:

Birds have gone into a frenzy of defending territory, finding mates and building nests.
Point in case, look what happens when you don't use your bicycle for a couple of days:

It's a Robin's nest and although she'll fly up every-time we pass too close, she keeps coming back and seems persistent in wanting to raise a brood in that basket .. oh, well, I guess I won't be using that bike for a while.
(13-17 days until they hatch and 13 days until they fly out)

The male Goldfinches have changed their drab olive plumage into a bright yellow outfit, trying to impress the girls :                                                   

Not much else is happening at the moment other than that halfway the week we celebrated my birthday! Another lap around the sun as they say .. that makes 62 of such laps, gosh .. how's that possible?

My dutch family send me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates!

We went for a nice dinner to a new Indian restaurant we hadn't been yet (forgot to take pictures which is what a 62 year old brain does to you) and enjoyed some coffee on the patio at home afterwards ...  

It's light until after 8pm at the moment with temperatures still in the 70s at that time.
All in all a fitting end to a rather perfect birthday!

This odd summer weather can not last long of course and will come to an end soon if you believe the forecast for the coming week, but we take what we can get for now.
Just being dry for a couple of days has been such a big improvement!


Friday, April 21, 2023


Well, apparently  La Niña, the cool phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern (yes, I looked that up), has left the building! After a year and half of non-stop La Niña, the tropical Pacific ocean-atmosphere system has transitioned to neutral.
In other words the seemingly never-ending cold, wet weather should come to a stop and we should finally starting to warm up, and hopefully dry up, as well!

Today was the first real dry day in a week and boy, doesn't everything look so much better with some sunshine!


Apparently nature is more than 2 weeks late but it's finally starting to get really pretty out there!

Last Saturday the town was having it's yearly Camellia festival. We attended last year but passed on going this time around since it was rainy and cold.
Many of the Camellias in town are in full bloom right now, like this beautiful, huge red one I pass often on one of my walks:

The Big-leaf Maples (left pic) are unfurling their buds and the Horsetails (on the right) are shooting up super-fast!
The latter are extremely fast-growing plants that achieve full height within a matter of weeks.


And while exploring our very soggy 'back 40' I came across the first Triliums ...

So pretty!

It's been one of those very quiet weeks in all, nothing much else to write about I'm afraid.
I baked another bread:

It's a half-half white/whole grain, and I think this was one of my best sandwich breads ever.
Now where did I save that recipe?

I'm also making an effort to eat a lot less meat, from everything I read it's just a lot healthier and I'm also getting more and more worried about how animals are treated these days.
I'm googling all sorts of vegetarian recipes and am trying them out when I can.
Some are made with 'fake' meat and a lot are using beans or eggs or fish as substitutes.

Cauliflower is all the hype at the moment of course, with cauliflower pizza dough or cauliflower mash or even cauliflower 'steaks', like these:

Served with a sweat potato mash and a Ceasar salad it was a very tasty, and colorful, meal!

I finished this puzzle yesterday. Little kittens in a shed with packets of seeds and pots with flowers.
Rather Spring-like I'd say ..

And that was all for the week. Let's hope the nice weather they're promising is really happening and Spring will start in earnest soon. Better late than never!

Friday, April 14, 2023

Easter was a soggy affair this year .. it really rained all .. day .. long!
Apparently the weather did a 180 on the forecasters who initially predicted a beautiful sunny day but had to completely change their tune when a storm front unexpectedly came down from Canada.

Well .. there was nuttin' to do about it, so we made ourselves cozy inside and caught up on a lot of reading and, in James case, studying ..
I'd decorated a little, as always, and had raided the garden for some cheerful daffodils:

I also hung some of my Mardi Gras beads (in appropriate Easter colors) and a few budding willow branches near the front door ..


We're not religious and Easter is more of a pagan 'welcome back to Spring' event for us.
I always struggle a little when people greet me on the day with 'Happy Easter, he is risen'.
I know the appropriate come-back is 'he is risen indeed' but usually only wish them a 'Happy Easter' in return although something like 'cool' or 'good for him' have come to mind.
I'm always a little miffed that people just assume you're a believer.
A recent post of Ms Moon has made the situation even more difficult since I might not be able to keep a straight face next time!

These memes made me chuckle as well ..



Off course we had some good stuff to eat (any excuse right?). There were Eggs Benedict, with crab and avocado, for breakfast ..

And I baked this Raspberry Ricotta cake with almonds for coffee-time ..

Delicious with some raspberry sauce and whipped cream!

Devilled (Deviled?) eggs for lunch ..

After which we really needed some exercise so we braved the rain and went for a short walk through the neighborhood.
We often play golf on Easter but since you needed a row-boat to get from one tee to the next we postponed it to a day when the sun will be out .. yeah, wishful thinking.

No Easter bunnies to be seen but we came across this deer family. There were actually four of them but you can only see a glimpse of the two on the left behind the tree ..


They were a little wet around the edges but the rain didn't seem to bother them much. There's enough grass for them at the moment, it's growing like crazy!

This gorgeous Star Magnolia on the left is pretty much in full bloom and the flowering Quince on the right is just starting:                             

Since exercise makes hungry it didn't take too long before we sat down for our Easter dinner of 'overnight' salad and roasted lamb loin chops ..

I forgot to take a picture of the strawberry shortcake for dessert but that might have been overkill .. ha, ha, ha ..😂

Can you believe we went through almost 2 dozen of eggs (I've got two left)!
Well, ... I guess when you use 4 in the eggs Benedict, 3 in the cake, 3 in the salad and 12 (!) in the deviled eggs ..
It's good we have a fresh eggs source right down the street from us!

Last but not least, for some utter Easter cuteness here's a pic of the peeps I saw at the Wilco farm-store this week:

I so wish I could have my own chick(en)s!

Thursday, April 6, 2023


We're only a week into April and Oregon has already surpassed it's average rainfall for the month!
Just like last year it's too cold and too wet, the ground is completely saturated and after a very windy week on top of everything else I've seen several huge trees on my walks that have toppled over.



I pass several of these giants on my walks.
Fortunately they're still leafless which helps a little for not being blown over .. it's hard to imagine a tree like this would but apparently it happens.

No damage on any structures that I can see and I haven't heard of people being hurt but it's a little scary, there are so many large trees lining the roads and properties around here .. heck, we're parked under one!

Coming around Doug's house I was hit by a wonderful smell, which turned out to be this pretty little shrub:

It's a Daphne Odora commonly called winter daphne because of its late winter flowers. It smells divine!
I guess it's a little late this year, like everything else ..


Just a little further in the yard I heard a loud hammering, something hitting metal at a rapid speed:

It's a Red-breasted sapsucker, a male. It really beats me why he'd like to hammer on metal .. it makes me cringe to see him doing it!


Some sources are telling me that Sapsuckers are named for their habit of drilling rows of shallow wells in shrubs and trees, and then lapping up the sap with their brush-tipped tongues, while others state they do not actually drink sap, but drill holes to catch insects in the tree sap?

Hummingbirds apparently often make use of sapsucker wells and may rely on them if they arrive before flowers bloom and especially the Rufous Hummingbirds often nest near sap-wells and may follow a sapsucker around during the day to feed on fresh wells.
This might be why I suddenly have a Rufous around the house!

Let's see, what else .. last Sunday we once again ended up at the McMinnville Gallery Theater for a performance of Harvey, the Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy by Mary Chase, written for Broadway in 1944 and adapted into the 1950 film starring James Stewart.

It's a charming, funny play about a friendly man who claims to have an unseen (and presumably imaginary) friend Harvey, whom he describes as a six foot, three-and-one-half inch tall pooka resembling a huge, white rabbit.


Almost committed to a psychiatric hospital by his sister (who mistakenly ends up in there instead), he eventually is accepted for the gentle soul he is, seeing rabbits or not ..

Like I said, charming, but this performance didn't excite me as much as the previous ones we've seen.
Nevertheless, it got us out of the house for a couple of hours and there really isn't much else going on at the moment.

Lately I've been baking bread again on a regular base. This week I tried my hand at baking one in my Instant-Pot.


It's yoghurt setting creates a perfect warm and moist environment of 110F for letting the bread rise after which you pressure-cook the bread in the same pot!


It looks a little odd right there, but after a couple of minutes under the broiler to give it a some color it actually turns into a decent looking and very nice tasting bread!
Who knew?


OK, that's about it for this week.
Just for fun, here's a few hilarious April 1st jokes I came across in the online dutch newspapers:

"From next Saturday, Customs will experience a global first. In addition to the current team of detective dogs, Customs agents will be starting a pilot program with the deployment of detective cats. The new team of “Customs Cats”, aka customs cats, will be specially trained to use their unique skills in locating prohibited goods and detection of suspicious passengers".

Or this one:

"Every racing season, the teams in Formula 1 face the challenge of having the fastest car appear at the start. After the changes to the cars in the 2022 season, it will be the circuits' turn in 2023. We at Prommenz can proudly say that we have engineered and are allowed to build the very first roundabout in Formula 1. In addition to being more sustainable and promoting road safety, the roundabout also gives drivers the opportunity to overtake opponents in a whole new way. This makes the races even more spectacular

We have been working hard for months to make this project a great success. After a long toil, we can present to you: the very first roundabout in Formula 1".

And how about this:

"The UvA is starting a trial in which intelligent drones will be used to enforce the smoking ban on campus. The drones detect cigarette smoke and, based on actual wind measurements, geo-fencing technology and facial recognition, can determine exactly where and at which target the smoke is coming from.
A precision syringe with water in the drone can aim at the mouth of a smoking student or staff member from a height of 5 metres and extinguish the cigarette".