Why don’t I have any time?

Bloged in General Home Life,Scuff Boys by mark Monday November 30, 2009

I used to think I’d have more time after summer’s over…didn’t you? Well, of course, a holiday doesn’t help, but it’s the fact ANOTHER holiday is around the corner so we got a start on both:
1) Thanksgiving dinners et al. 3 to be exact, and ALL were the most wonderful memories we could have. But IT IS A LOT of work cooking, preparing, taking, cleaning.
2) YARD cleanup! DRY DAYS….LAST mower ride of the year with the big leaf bagger attached….6 big loads of mulched leaves on a garden, a clean lawn…we’re READY for winter.
3) GO GET the Christmas tree, FRESH cut from FURROW FARMS, our favorite. This year, with Joy, we get two trees, hers set up, and OURS has been up soaking up water for two days now. NOTE: we DID FORGET to saw off the bottom (first time THAT has ever happened to us), so had to remove this 10 ft behemoth once, saw, and put it back up. We’ll decorate it over the next two weeks.
4) Begin consolidating ALL medical receipts, bills, to file claim on the Flex Spending account and get our money back… I hate this.
5) Begin using Murphy’s Oil Soap on wood furniture, English Oil, and prepare it for winter.
6) Yes, watch the London Tennis Match Championships. WHAT a series, eh? ALL the big boys out!
7) Begin Planning for a Christmas Gathering……………………… will there be snow to go along with it?
8) Make sure MAC gets exercise….he got 2 river trips and long swims…..he’ll need more. But at the Columbia River Friday, it was gorgeous, sunny, almost warm.

Whew! I need a nap! No WONDER some people fly away for Christmas and play like it never happened. Not us.

Oregon Weather Station: It works

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Tuesday November 24, 2009

After 6 years sitting in a box, Rodger’s perfectionist tendencies won out, and the whole thing is working. There may be some fine-tuning in the future, but this is FUN to see the depth of reporting we’re getting.

We share an interest in winter weather in this rainy clime, so DURING the winter, we’ll be enjoying this station a great deal. Put it on your Christmas List.

Mystery bloom shows up. Weather station!

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Monday November 23, 2009

Well, a weather station that’s been in the box for 6 years won’t go up as smoothly as you’d hope, right? Rodger, the perfectionist, spent a total of 6-7 hours on the thing over the weekend, but it is ALL working 100%, and, “I must say”, it IS pretty nifty to have instant info during a rain forest winter about wind gusts, temps, humidity, pressure, and then RECORDS are being kept in the little machine as well:
51sLlzajnOL._SS400_
My definite admiration to the partner of mine who stays with a task until it is done RIGHT…..yes he was out here a while:
1weatherstation

It DID give me a bit-o-time to do bits of early winter fall cleanup. TO MY absolute surprise, a plant we’d gotten at the Canby Plant Sale last spring was BLOOMING! Named “Schizostylis cocci”, or…. “November Cheer” for short, it’s first pale little winter here, it’s a bit barren:
novembercheer2
But, by NEXT November, it SHOULD be looking like this:
1Schizostylis_cocci
I hadn’t even remembered buying it until now….the bloom reminded me why: “for cutting, blooms Oct – Dec! WHAT? I didn’t believe it then, but do now. Nice.

The turkey experiment worked out fine! Two big meals (although the first one wasn’t ready until 10:30 saturday night (oh well), and now turkey sandwiches, followed by pumpkin pie, yum:
1firstpmpkn

By Sunday, we took a break and joined Thomas & Brenda for the Packers game at a St Johns pub….we spent the whole time talking really, so it was a great time.

Now, a DRY SUNNY cold day here. Time to get out and pick some of those now PERFECTLY RIPE Granny Smith apples for snackin’.

I can feel Thanksgiving Cheer coming on already! And that will ONLY BEGIN a 30 day session of enjoying winter, eh? Hope you’re all well………. I see we may have to have a PIE competition with Homer someday. Hope all’s well…………

Weather Station & Turkey?

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Saturday November 21, 2009

We have had a frozen turkey sitting for a year in the outside freezer.

We decided to do two things today while waiting for the rain to start:

1. COOK that bird and see if there’s anything moist left in it after a year. SO, that of course, means all the traditions: Green Bean Casserole w/the French’s dried onions, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressings (with and w/o giblets), cranberries, and not to forget, our homemade pumpkin pie.

2. Put up the weather station Rodger gave me 6 years ago but has been sitting in the back room. Of course, THAT install is taking a while to complete……..HOPEFULLY, everything will work.

That should all come to closure about the time the Ducks play football. I can’t wait for turkey dinner after a busy day.

Oh….oh…….the beeper just told me I must check the pie……….

Wish you were here………we COULD be having a few laughs this evening.

portlands quirky

Bloged in Oregon,Political,Portland by mark Thursday November 19, 2009

From our local independent paper, the Willamette Week, this letter was printed. It is an unromanticized, rather honest tiny description of the economic vacuum that exists here. IF you lived here, you’d be laughing seriously, if that’s possible:

A Great Place To Live (And Die)

That was a fine article on Portland and WW in the last 3 1/2 decades. It looks like you’ll soon be replacing The Oregonian as Portland’s primary daily. I think Bud Clark and Sam Adams typify Portland’s quirky image—not dirty like Chicago, or wealthy like Manhattan, but funny like Disneyland. It occasionally wants to be taken seriously as a fashion-forward environmentalist’s utopia, or a place where real industry would come, but in the end, its Willamette is no better than Kucinich’s burning Cuyahoga, its infrastructure is crumbling, and its leaders are too busy chasing (underage) tail to care.

Portland is now, a great weekend trip for a family from Seattle or San Francisco, a hip town for slackers looking to score meth and beg for money on the street corners, and probably the quintessential locale for upscale California retirees to move to, buy a dog and a condo, live for a few years, and then die. The truth is we have no real industries except for health care and hospice. When it’s time to pull the plug on Grannie, you want to do it here.

Mark Kraschel,
Portland

Slow-Cooked Fresh Tomato Sauce

Bloged in food: recipes + dining out,General Home Life by mark Wednesday November 18, 2009

Since our triumphant return from Italy, we’ve become fans of Lidia Bastianich, an Italian chef who owns several Manhattan restaurants, has written books, and appears on PBS occasionally in her series of cooking shows.

THIS summer, we got hooked on her SLOW-Cooked Tomato Sauce from 20-30 lbs of roma tomatoes we purchased down on Sauvie Island with the intent of freezing some. WE DID it, and froze 7-8 quarts to use in the winter. Guess what? We have two left.

THIS is one of the most rich, intense, fresh tasting wonderful pure sauces we’ve ever used on Pasta. I loved it so much, I felt I had to post most information about it. This is PURE essence of tomato, no seeds, no skins, just a rich beautiful addition to pasta!

epicurious-lidia
Lidia maintains a fabulous recipe source site on her home page:
LIDIA’S ITALY . Just click on the recipes tab…..dozens for every course of every meal.

Here is the link to become a FAN on Facebook: Lidia Bastianich .

The FULL recipe and Instructions are at the MARKET CHEFS website here: Slow-Cooked Summer Tomato Sauce .

I HOPE you get a chance next summer, when the tomatoes are fully flavored and just picked, to make a batch of this. It’s a fun saturday afternoon, and a rich rewarding tasting trip.

Sun after rain in November

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Friday November 13, 2009

Today, we were just arriving at home from lunch with friends, the clouds had finally lifted, a nice muted fall sun peeked through, and a bit of dying life peeked out for a last hurrah…….

I thought of the just-now ripe Granny Smith apples, thinking of a pie, an apple snack cake, an Apple Brown Betty, or any other fall apple treat……..
1apples boring green But THAT tree didn’t stand out in any way.

Then I passed Karen’s newest apple tree, it jumped at me in the sun….NO leaves left. This seems to be the first Christmas Tree of the season, no?
1appleornaments
Of course, then, I pass Aaron’s tree…which has never been pruned, sprayed, nothing. It is always the LAST tree in neighborhood to drop, and EVERY year is visited nightly by the deer hoping for a treat….it looks great in fall sun as leaves disappear:
1deerfood
So. I grabbed a camera just now, and took a quick pass through the yard to see if there was anything else still beautiful. Surprise! There was a little bit of summer bloom hanging on even though night temps are now near 40…..like these, the last roses:
1last rose nov 2009
The last daisy blooms color was enhanced by the peeking sun, contrasted against wet and dying foliage:
1daisies nov 2009
They don’t look ANY better in summer by putting them in a vase inside in the summer. Same for these few Mums, STILL showing off in this sunshine moment:
1mums last 2009
You CAN NOT get color saturation this dense in the bright sun of summer….

Okay, time to pack up and get ready for Parkdale, where it’s been snowing a bit this afternoon……will we need chains to get up there out of Hood River tomorrow? If we do, it’s gonna be a spectacular look at Mt Hood from there.

So, tired Mac, after a swimming trip, wonders, “IF I fall asleep, will I miss something?”
1macfeybig
But, he can’t fight it, somehow this is his cutest pose… it’s his favorite sleeping position
1mayfey

Rodger made some foccaccia artisan bread……. maybe we need some pasta to go with it:
1foccaccianov2009
**THIS bread is fabbulous!

I guess I’m a simple man. Fall can be beautiful….if the sun just gets a second or two to show off. It sure is nice to feel almost back in the physical shape I was in last spring when that dancing thing happened…………….. what a summer.

Modern memories

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Thursday November 12, 2009

I can remember walking with friends and talking about the old days. For example, we were the 3rd family in Vale, OR to buy a TV…the antenna was 30′ tall. We were allowed only “clean” shows like Lawrence Welk, Art Linkletter, Burns and Allen, etc.

This morning’s dog walk into the misty gray cool forest skies with Baird & Arnie, two computer guru’s, brought discussions of the old paper tape days, HEX systems, ASCII, the fabulous miracle of DOS where an OS could be loaded onto a floppy disk. Running tape backups. The pioneer versions of a spreadsheet system, on and on.

I could only recall my first days at my first “summer” job that became a 30 year career was as a “tracing” clerk and the “e-mail” We were using involved a ticker-tape system…. How thrilling it was to acquire a home PC running DOS with a dial up, that few if any of your friends were “hooked up”, and on and on.

How fast life has changed. To think that now an captive windows system is becoming passe’. Google is perfecting CLOUD, software programs run from THEIR servers.

Wow.

The Garrison Gathering

Bloged in Scuff Boys,TRAVEL by mark Monday November 9, 2009

We’ve enjoyed a busy social fall, yes. We’ve seen the finest Theater you can see in Portland: We’ve enjoyed Ragtime, (woohoo – fabulous) at the new Gerding Theater, we saw the multiple prize-winning “August Osage County” at the Keller, Becky’s New Car and “All My Sons” at A.R.T., fablous stuff. We enjoyed a couple of weekends in Parkdale, OR with John & Toni, hiking some stream laden trails back of our local volcano, Mt Hood. Fabulous!

Nothing has been enjoyed or relished any more than the little event across the street last Saturday night. Sam and Debora spent their summer adding a double garage/shop onto their home, and it’s been done beautifully….looks like the house was built like that originally. They had all their old friends over to celebrate the garage-warming.

Their friends are a physically fit, youthful group, and they seem to gather annually to do something I think OUR friends/neighbors should regularly do. The friends all bring a bit of food, of course, but MORE interestingly, they brought a short picture show of the highlights of this year.

We watched and heard as tales were told of hiking the Sierra trails above treelines, hiking ice trails at Mt. Denali, Baird & Karen’s River trip along the Danube, Dave’s tales of the desert surrounding the Sangro De Cristo Mtn Range in SW Colorado, the old classic car gathering/swap in Portland, and MORE! Yes, we finally showed a few pics of Italy/Spain although our Mac had a problem hooking to the TV (some pics were sideways)…..
1pidgeontarget title="1pidgeontarget" width="500" height="523" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-3612" />
**in Terragona, Spain**

Or perhaps to show scale, the shot of Rodger near one of the doors to Sagrada Familia in Barcelona……
1sagradascaling

The whole evening was MUCH MORE FASCINATING than I ever would have thought, AND…….I got to see pictures of many places I have never been, and in some cases, have NEVER considered I was physically tough to “think” of being near.

THANK YOU Sam & Debora! That was inspiring enough to hope we can do that same thing among our own “old” friends. That was terrific FUN! This was NOTHING like remembering old days at my own relatives homes where they pulled out 80 slide trays and you spent hours sitting listen to some aunt/uncle argue about what “that” picture was………..NO, not this time. Each participant has a scant 10-15 minutes tops to present. Fabulous.

Next time you visit, please bring a CD of your life highlights that previous year…………okay?

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