How August Ends…….

Bloged in garden,General Home Life,TRAVEL by mark Friday August 29, 2008

Perhaps more about the CA trip later………..but since the last writing, there’s plenty happening right here at home. THIS summer is so very different than last……….. there are still cucumbers growing in the garden along with lettuce, parsley, and amazingly rhubarb STILL coming out strong. The Rhubarb has been cut 4 times this year, usually we only get 3. Butterfly Bush blooms are STILL HERE in both Purple and White!

Let us NOT have one more day pass though without THANK YOU PAULA CHANDARLIS! This fabulous woman has ALWAYS ALWAYS procured the finest eggs for us when we travel through…………and this was no exception. THIS time, since we were driving though, we got to bring back 7 DOZEN VERY Fresh eggs, and THANKS, PAULA………..EVERY morning, I am easily reminded of this great gift you give us since I STILL LOVE and have ALWAYS loved eggs………. Earliest memories of gathering them from my Grandmother’s hen house through today………..they’re one of nature’s greatest gifts….. On our LAST night in CA, Paula and cousin Mick cooked us a fabulous STEAK DINNER !!! We ARE looking forward to their visit, hopefully happening THIS Thanksgiving…………..

In the meantime, we’re getting some nice sunsets (IF not complete cloud cover):

sunset08
And these garden notes about THIS summer:
1) LAST year the FIRST batch of our Tomatillo Salsa was canned August 11, and the last one on Sept 14. This year the FIRST batch will be made today, August 30!

2) LAST year the last of the corn was being picked and frozen as we were tired of eating it. This year, the ears are still just being formed, and not all are fertilized. There are lots of black mites that have been getting sulphur dustings for two weeks. THAT is how moist it is here at August’s end.

3) LAST year the entire summer, we only cooked 22 Gallons of Hummingbird Sugar Water…. In 2006 we cooked 28 gallons. In 2005 we cooked 44 gallons. We have been afraid of a decline, and there is a decline occurring in our beloved Rufous family. BUT…… (trumpet sounds!!): THIS YEAR, we cooked 35 GALLONS UP UNTO the point we saw the last Rufous birds here. We are STILL preparing minute amounts for the Anna’s that we’re hoping will remain until cold nights drive them to the valley. MAYBE the mild summer was good for these guys, eh?

4) After 10 years of composting, I have harvested potatoes out of that big place………..They looked MUCH more healthy than the ones in our clay-like vegetable garden.

5) This will be the first time since we moved here in 1996 we haven’t had firewood gathered from salvage. We will have to buy at least a cord of wood for the cold nights in Dec – Jan.

I DID have to go in and trim lots of tomato / tomatillo branches back this morning. I could hardly get through the rows. They still seem to feel like it’s spring growing season, NOT harvest. I DID trim some corn tassels and try to encourage some fertilization……….

2nd California Day – Fabulous!

Bloged in Family,food: recipes + dining out,TRAVEL by mark Tuesday August 26, 2008

While we were gone, the entire bush of these gorgeous Lilies were blooming, and are now about faded out:
biblyly

I was somehow moved to get this post started about our trip by my home-made lunch today. I thought of BigAss Belle’s writeup on her blog about fresh picked sweet corn written Aug 5……….. . That was MY lunch today…..picked Bodacious Sweet Corn….the only difference was I peeled that beautiful yellow corn OFF the cob, poured it into lightly sizzling butter / soft onions, sauteed about 6-7 minutes, then poured in about 1/2 cup of cream…….another light sizzle for 5 minutes, and voila! FRESH Creamed Corn. This is another planet away from the canned crap. With it, I ate some fresh season maximumly ripe canteloupe, and my just-picked baby crooknecks dipped in an egg batter, shaken in some flour/seasoning, and fried! Yup, my family’s southern roots were showing. The CORN reminded me of being in California…………and our meal in Alameda.

Here’s how our second day rolled out, TWO stops, TWO favorite homes to visit………………both in the lovely foggy cool Bay Area.

We awoke at the cooled down Vacaville Hotel early enough to get OUT before the heat returned and we’re settled quickly into the always packed I-80 inbound to SF commute. However, for the first time, in a pickup, we qualified as two for the Car-Pool Lane! Hurray! That ALSO meant, we learned for the first time, NO TOLLS on the Bridges! Since they’re getting high, that was most cool.

We arrived where we really wanted to be, at Bruce & Kevin’s Place about 10:00 and had a fabulous 4-5 hour visit with them. Bruce is now home from the hospital, struggling to get the physical therapy back on track, while Kevin is trying to Heal one broken arm that just happened last week, Aaargh!:
kandb082008

ONE of the great things was ordering FABULOUS San Francisco Chinese Food delivered! We had an exotic taste-rich Lunch, THANKS, KEVIN for helping that happen! I had loved my little Toasted Tamari Pumpkin Seed snacks so much I brought a few, knowing Bruce liked them but was now finding cooking a little more troubling since he’s not yet walking again.

AAARGH! He said mine were burnt like Toast! He only learned to cook them from reading our page last year and had never tasted them before cooking them. Yep, just like the gourmet chef he is, he proved our version burned! Luckily, he had some seeds left, so taught me how to correctly cook ‘em without burning the pumpkin taste completely away. THANKS, BRUCE !!!

We finally left, knowing in a few minutes, we’d be caught up in rush-hour traffic. Our plan was to stay the night just over the bay in beautiful Alameda, CA…..where all real wealthy 1900-1920 San Franciscans built fabulous “summer” homes since the fog left Alameda alone. David and Serafina, and Mac pals Abby & Glenda we’re awaiting us for that evening. Abby is one most gorgeous young and loving dog:
abby1

Those few hours passed too quickly also, and not without Serafina preparing one absolutely fine Summer Meal. I had to write it down since I want to re-create it up here before fall arrives. If you are seeing one fine warm summer evening coming up, get this prepared:

Halibut & Prawns – Grilled just right by David !
Pineapple Salsa – THIS was the perfect offset for the fish
Tomato Salad – Take your garden tomatoes, with chopped basil, a few shallots, and drizzle a tad of olive oil on them.
Fresh Corn – NOT Boiled…. sauteed in butter after getting shaved off the cob.
Mushrooms – IN the skillet…….. yum.
Lime Dill Mayo – with Baby Artichokes. (I have JUST learned you can microwave these).
= = =
Dessert? Neighbor Mariko had made a fresh peach/nectarine Galette! She IS a pastry chef!
dinatsera

Oh man, I almost forgot…..a few hours earlier, we DID get to the incredible, one-of-a-kind, legendary, Alameda icon, Tucker’s Ice Cream. Tucker’s “claims” their ice cream is the world’s best because it’s “Supercreamed.” Hm. IF one EVER happens to pass through Alameda, or even as close as Oakland, your life would be doubly improved if you made this a REQUIRED stop EVERY time you’re near. For today’s huge double Ice Cream Cone, this week’s special flavorl just happened to be, along with August, PEACH COBBLER………no doubt the best flavored Ice Cream I’ve tasted in my life. I believe my companions Rodger, Serafina, and David would agree.

Obviously, that was taken before ALL the goodies were on the table. This was an incredibly fun evening, and fortunate to be with friends. “Twas to be the last evening before getting onto business out on that Sacramento River Delta, Bethel Island.

But going to bed in Alameda, you know you’re not in Oregon when sunset highlights THESE trees:
alamedasunset.

How our CA trip began

Bloged in TRAVEL by mark Friday August 22, 2008

This was our introduction to the CA weather last Wednesday……………….

We drove SOUTH from Portland, with car windows opened, had lunch in Ashland, yep, Shakespearre country, and got back onto I-5 south to head over the siskiyou summit…..about 4300 ft. We noticed the air was getting warmer…. That summit is near the CA border, and warming would be expected.

We traveled so cool and comfortable …….. We drove until we were out of Gas at Redding. Oregon doesn’t allow self-serve, but in CA you’d be waiting a long time for an attendant. So simply I opened the car door to get out and fill up.

I almost fell over and wondered if I’d pass out. I have never been to Phoenix in mid summer, never seen a heat wave over 104. IT WAS 112 in Redding ……..

Obviously, we hit the road as soon as we could, and finally decided we’d had enough only about 50 miles out of San Francisco so got a room in Vacaville, where it was STILL well over 100. 50 miles away, San Fran was having it’s classic summer fog and the high for that day was about 65………….hm.

The Troc version of the Balance Beam.

Bloged in Gay,humor by mark Thursday August 21, 2008

I can hardly believe we made it home. Last night 10:30. LOTS of work today beginning on sorting “stuff”.

BUT.

Our friend Drew, in San Diego, you know where life is beautiful, let me know, that not ALL of the Olympics are boring. Some of the real obscure countries have athletes that seem to perform as maybe I could. I gave me hope. I hope you enjoy Mr. Hunt’s performance on the balance beam JUST UNTIL I can get some moments to gather thoughts together about our California work mission.

Does that give you hope on your own athletic abilities?

Pickling concluded! Did we have fun?

Bloged in Family,food: recipes + dining out,garden,General Home Life,Vale, OR by mark Monday August 11, 2008

I really can’t write anything today, our day to drive to CA and help move Rodger’s Dad out of his condo has been moved up to Wednesday morning……..I do not look forward to that long and Gas costly drive, but it will be nice to get it over with and get Chet set in a simpler place on a ground floor level. At 78, he’s getting a little fragile to be climbing those steep stairs. We will be bringing back lots of family treasures for Rodger to sort through when he gets time. This will be a rather traumatic weekend I’m sure for all involved……….It’s Chet’s birthday Friday, so we’ll try help him turn 79 as robustly as we can.

So I gotta get busy packing, cleaning, watering, mowing, cleaning……. The busiest time in the garden is just beginning, and hot temps forecast while we’re gone. I hope things survive… we’ll have an overhead sprinkler set and friend Karen has kindly agreed to let it run a couple of times. When we get back, there will be tomatillos ready to can. The garden has exploded!

BUT. dearest cousins Nancy Minor and Nancy Purvine made it here Friday AND Saturday for us to revive Grandma Ray’s Pickling Days! It worked fabulously, and we had a GREAT time. (SUNDAY, after they’d gone, Rodger and I spent another five hours making our Apricot jam.).

It’s a GOOD thing I didn’t take any pics DURING this project, this kitchen was a mess. But the FIRST day, we were pretty proud to have a case each for Nancy and Nancy (the other two Nancy’ (Rodger and I), remember, had our pickling done the prior weekend):
pickle1

Yes, we grew up together. We’re not identical cousins though, can you pick me out here? How come they look SO young and beautiful while I look a little worn:
picklesdone

By Saturday afternoon, they had TWO cases each to take home:
pickldoneb

Rodger finally agreed to a pic…..he did a lot of work with us:
nandp

These batches were a mix of dried red chili pickles, Serrano Pickles and a few Hanabero’s !!!! I am as lucky as anyone can be having fabulous smart fun beautiful cousins like these two !!!!

Ah. Now, I don’t know when I’ll get to write a little diary entry again………………….. may be a few days.

Republican Voting Campaigns via Karl Rove:

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Saturday August 9, 2008

I’m getting information Karl Rove, former White House evil planner, and NOW FOX NEWS analyst (they are hiring “criminals” I guess…maybe they don’t check their resume’ ??), is even trying to scare the KIDS for this upcoming election:

killkitten

I hope the Democrats can come up to the challenge, for I believe it was a Republican Neo-Conservative demented group (Cheney, Feith, Bremer, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, etc etc ) who came up with plans that have now cost likely a MILLION lives and destroyed ONE country with more countries in their gunsites.

Portland’s most unusual annual Pageant – Contestants wanted

Bloged in General Home Life,humor,Portland by mark Friday August 8, 2008

Check out the upcoming Portland classy event in this Craig’s List Ad:

Miss White Trash 2009 Pageant

20pemh

That FITS Portland’s current business mantra, “Keep Portland Weird”. Yes, it is an annual Event.

In fact, It’s Trashtastic!

I’ll have to check my own calendar, but am positive I have a scheduling conflict that night. If you’re coming to town for this event, you are welcome to stay over, but we probably won’t be going with you.

Is it possible McCain is an elitist?

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Thursday August 7, 2008

Let’s see. Do you even KNOW John McCain’s full name? JOHN SIDNEY McCAIN III ………….look it up on Wikipedia and read that his entire life is only reflected in military family history (20 schools to get him through)……………..the failures in many subjects with the claim he simply had no interest in…………………..

SO WHO is an elitist? Barack Obama, who owns “a” house in South Chicago vs. John Sydney McCain III and his many fine homes, who with his second wife (achieved through an affair while still married to his first wife severely crippled in an auto accident)……….. This McCain sounds MUCH more of the country club elitist to me than what the Republicans are trying to paint their rival as.

Oh, but since Ms. Cindy signed a pre-nup so she protects her arrogantly expansive wealth, and doesn’t NEED his congressional Health Insurance or Pension, I DO suppose these two are the religious right’s example of a PURE Heterosexual MARRIAGE ONLY, and I’m sure just BEAMS with spirituality and God’s Love throughout the mansions. They no doubt this marriage was brought about by God’s manipulation…………..

SO deserving a marriage more than Rodger and I even though 20 years of living together stands for………………….. what?

Oh, I forgot……….must get going…..Get this place ready for cousins arrival and two days of canning, pickling, eating, and MORE fun.

Paris vs the old Wrinkly Guy

Bloged in General Home Life,Political by mark Tuesday August 5, 2008

I would imagine you have seen this brilliant Ms Paris response to Mr. McCain’s ad:

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

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