A Diva Exit

Bloged in General Home Life,Scuff Boys by mark Wednesday September 29, 2010

Mac’s daily walkmate, 14+ yr old Black Lab “DIVA” passed away this morning at home just as Arnie had pulled the car out front to take her to the vet. He went back in to get her, and she was gone.

She’s been on the decline for a while, full of Arthritis and other complications of “old” age, but kept up her walks, almost NEVER up to OUR speed, but spurred on by pepperoni treats, she always finished. Diva was a warm natured dog, and the Rochlins will miss her, as will MAC . . . . . .

It’s a bit hard on Arnie & Kaye, they just lost their other 12 yr old Golden Lab Honey about 5 months ago……. Honey was a fiercely independent dog, who, as a pup, was abandoned in Forest Park and showed up on their doorstep, a 1/4 mile away. They didn’t let her in for a couple of days thinking she’d go away….but she knew WHERE she wanted to be, and since Arnie began feeding her right away, she stayed!

The estate is already being settled and it appears MAC is going to inherit two jars of Beef Jerky, a few frozen packs of Pepperoni, and some kibble. He’s torn between the loss of his pal, and new treats in the house, eh?

Oh well, it was a very very quiet lonely walk this morning for Mac and I………………..

Is this Indian Summer?

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Tuesday September 28, 2010

IT has magically become a fabulous week of 78-80 degree sunny days here, and nights staying above 60. Maybe giving us time to accept that time’s are a’ changin’, actually.

**We have already lost two hours of sunlight per day since June, so it doesn’t matter these warm days, the tomato plants are BLACK as are most of the fruit. I cleaned out 5 plastic kitchen bags worth of ‘maters off the ground (IN OUR climate, you can’t leave them in that damp soil over winter…it’ll give ya blight and mold in spring.). I couldn’t believe how many tomatoes we lost to this summer! (And there are STILL 3 plants to clean up)

**I’m out in the yard, 3:00 pm, it’s about 78-80, enjoying that VERY WARM sun on me…next thing I know, there’s a huge flock of Canada Geese flying just over me in perfect “V’s”…….heading SOUTH! DID they hear about La Nina coming? I KNOW their migration pattern begins in October, and that’s soon yes, but that’s not today!!

**WE had a Roast TURKEY Dinner (with ALL the trimmings) at Portland’s historic “HUBER’s“…..ahead of going to the BIG DRAG Charity Event at the Newmark Theater. It’s an interesting OLD FEELING in that place….all the OLD Woodwork, etc. Opened in 1879, Mr. Huber gave any customer a free turkey sandwich & coleslaw IF they simply bought a drink….He died in 1911, and since…..It’s been owned and managed by the same Chinese Family for about 100 years….

**Peacock After Dark at the Newmark! Hosted by Poison Waters…….she never stopped talking even at the end….The audience was half gone by the time she caught on the show was over:

Thomas & Brenda joined us for a nice fund raiser here…proceeds go to Gay Kids from troubled families….nice! They had hundreds of people in the many groups and I learned that there are a LOT more people interested in Drag here than I thought. **Maybe, most of the audience were relatives of performers?

**The little Anna’s hummingbirds are Sticking around AGAIN! We’ve only 2 little feeders left now, and they both get regular diners! Most cool.

We’re now expecting company this weekend and can’t wait. Weather should be good, and we’re hoping we can figure out something to show the Upper Crust visiting from New Hampshire!

10 days

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Thursday September 23, 2010

10 days since a had anything to say is a sad statement. I’m caught between resigning myself to 7+ months of gray weather and hoping against cloudy skies that summer will soon begin. I’m slowly adjusting. I KNOW others in this town are having the same problem about this I am….we’ve all talked about it.

OH well. I am getting back into production: *Half the garden’s cleaned out….the other half waiting to see what happens………..
**Beginning to collect that annual “pile” of “stuff” that must be recycled, donated, to get organized for winter.
***calculate how much firewood we have. I don’t think we have enough, Rodger thinks we do.
****Mopped some floors finally, now that canning is just about done. DID A BATCH of Tomatillo Salsa today, and Sept 23 is the latest date I have EVER done that.
*****Took Mac swimming yesterday for some fun, realizing that water was NOT fresh (it was VERY LOW where we were), Mr Mac had to go in for a bath at the K-9 Club, and I think he LOVED it…. He’s doing his late summer coat shedding, this was good.
******Saw another Eugene O’Neil play last Sunday, it was okay, outdated, not that fun for 3 hours.. O’Neil’s SO much better getting you depressed than happy.
*******Got the orchard boxes out front…awaiting planting this w/e.

I am promising to cheer up soon. . . . today has stayed as dark outside as it was shortly after dawn this morning. The sunny afternoon did NOT materialize. . . . . . . .

……………..

Garden Update II: Great DAYS!

Bloged in garden by mark Monday September 13, 2010

I am STILL learning about gardening in THIS rain forest apparently. It’s a WEIRD year everywhere, yes, but for sure here…..a summer not very hot, alternating between wet and seriously DRY periods. Some plants seemed stunted, some natives of Mexico (Tomatillos) thrived. As of 3 weeks agi, I WAS about to QUIT watering, just quit wasting time.

The very LATE summer clear days have PAID OFF, although they aren’t all sunny….. Our early WATER WALLS, planting Russian varieties, planting sideways to encourage root growth, covering ALL of ‘em w/big plastic in June when it was SO SO wet, fertilizing with specialty stuff, etc etc….We’re NOT one of the FEW IN the Northwest eating ALL we want of delicious tomatoes, and harvesting even more….THIS GROUP of toms on the counter is a different GROUP of ‘maters than the one last week:
**HONEST**
**It’s SINCE then, that the Oregonian Garden Columnist printed an article about all the sad Tomato growers in town….and the few who were succeeding like WE are, I’m a BIT proud to learn WE ARE doing things right…that OUR garden is producing MORE than most. What ELSE do we have?

**MORE tomatoes out there:

and another row of stupice:

AND, bragging*** yes, a third row:

**IF ONLY this weather sticks around for a week or two, we just MIGHT get a fancy Roma called: SAN MARZANO….ONE of ‘em is getting orange:

To illustrate, all the usual big varieties will finish the season this way:

The Tomatillos are ripening fast……..I’m very proud of these hardy tough plants:

They’re still blooming:

***The French FENNEL has MORE blooms/seedling starts than any year yet, and the bees LOVE this plant right now, I’ve never seen so many bees all year anywhere in the garden than right here:

THE CORN I almost gave up on? THIS afternoon, I am freezing about 6-8 pints of “sauteed corn” for that wonderful winter day you want some fresh tasting creamed corn….this year’s variety? An experiment our grower recommended …..(does it sound gay?): SUGARBUNS:

The PEPPERS are surprising me just how FAST they can make their mind to become a pepper………….all at once….They cayennes look artsy:

I’ve been PICKING Jalapenos & Serranos for the Tomatillos:
]

We’re also picking onions, all the spices we (& the neighbors) CAN use:
Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Mint, Chives, Green Onion, Celery, Rosemary…and our last Lettuce Batch is about to be ready.

I HAD to note these changes in the garden after whining most of the summer along with other Portland garden folk…..I’m having the BEST time getting something out of that little spot EVERY DAY !!!

We even have some great little dahlias giving us a bright spot out there:

Woohoo!

Garden Update September

Bloged in Fall by mark Wednesday September 8, 2010

**I have always tried to keep a little record of what happened in the garden….on these updates so I can look back year to year and get a feel for what THAT time was like.

THIS year was a discouraging year for gardeners. Right now, we must 100 ears of corn that I don’t think will fill out and sweeten (no heat). They’re all pollinated….but sitting there with those little black bugs beginning to appear in the damp….oh well.

AS ALWAYS, for OUR elevation/climate, the Russian STUPICE tomatoes are the ONE tomato we’re finally eating….and I Do mean eating. I know I’ve had about a dozen of them simply salted and sliced today…. Two weeks ago, I didn’t think we’d see THIS many for the whole season:

And MORE are ripening…………….(stupice, that is. ALL other varieties are solid green).

TONIGHT I had breaded/fried baby crooknecks…. just like Grandma used to give us.

I got caught up on some record keeping……we’re still way behind 2008’s record, but so far, we’ve put up 280 jars of “stuff”. . . . all that’s left will be a few more tomatillo salsa batches, so we’re close to being finished. I think that’s okay considering the summer we just finished. Some are waiting in the garage to be stored away:

**Except for the Fresca, of course.

We’re onto a new project now…..Rodger has wanted to make use of those big orchard crates we acquired when we bought all that pear wood last year…….well, here’s what they’re beginning to look like:

Any idea what the heck these are gonna be doing soon?

WE DID HAVE some fun last weekend……….on Sunday, we met Tony, an Orange County blogger at the Eagle. He’d come up here on a romantic pursuit, so we joined them for a short chat. WE have NOT been fans of the crowd there, and weren’t that night. It may seem idiotic, but we seemed out to prove that the problem wasn’t “US” . . . .we ended up stopping at 5 other joints before getting home at 2400. We DID have fun EVERYWHERE except the Eagle. Dinner at one, Miechi’s Potstickers at another, and grand chat everywhere….. Except as noted.

Oh well…………..off to tennis. Robin and/or Rodger are about to be eliminated…………. (Yikes, I’m completely OUT of Berry Ice Creams….I’m having withdrawals).

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