Angel’s Trumpet ! It’s Alive!

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Sunday October 31, 2010

This afternoon’s dry weather is displaying some beautiful fall shots…..AS more and more leaves drop off the slope, the sky begins to open a little bit….

The next pictures show how little I KNOW about some of the plant’s we like on the deck in the summer. I EXPECTED it to be pretty near death by Oct 31. In the family “Brugmansia”, or “datura”, or “Angel’s Trumpet often looks like this at summer’s peak:

For us, that would be August . . . I have always simply “thought” it was tropical. This year, while other things are fading away, turning color, dying right and left, the Angel’s Trumpet is thriving. With our “moderate” damp fall, it has simply exploded….

As you get closer, it simply gets more exotic:

The blooms are prettier than ever, and blooming right and left:

I have been amazed……….

The little Grouchy Pot we bought last spring is also fine. As much as his face can show, he seems to love the wig planted into his skull last spring…not bad for Oct 31:

Rodger took it upon himself to go clean up the entire Walnut tree harvest. Last year we gained a big bucket fall we shared with a few squirrels. THIS year? THIS….THIS picture was the entire harvest Rodger scored:

So don’t give me a hard time for NOT helping him out for his labor.

I have just finished a terrific vodka pasta sauce with some italian sausage….it truly smells wonderful………..that’ll be dinner during late WW Series game time tonight!!!

And not to forget….. note to Mark: NEXT FALL, remember what you learned THIS year about drying the herbs. the BAY leaves gotta dry SLOW and not too warm……no more than 80. The Cayenne’s can take 125. The Fennel? Short bakes at 100 w/the fan. THAT’s what I learned THIS fall, and the herb harvest is standing at MUCH higher quality than I’ve done before.

THIS fall, there were enough bay leaves harvested, that I think a few may get out in the mail….along with a bit of fennel seed to my favorite fennel loving cousins. But, we can’t discuss it, the holidays are coming!

Ah. Now onto prepping for the 4th game of this years World Series! Go Giants!

A Fabulous experience for a fan of Hummingbirds.

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Saturday October 30, 2010

This would be a truly lifetime experience…………….:

Nice.

just stuff….as OCT ends.

Bloged in Family,General Home Life by mark Friday October 29, 2010

What? Christmas stuff UP at the BIG BOX stores. Talk about cheapening and ruining the REAL sentiment of what this holiday used to be. It’s not just Costco either.

Drives a guy to drink. Is that why I purchased the holiday Liquor supply yesterday at the Oregon STATE controlled store? (I sure wish it was taken out of state control) After filling a box, I asked the clerk about the berry vodkas I’ve heard about. He advised getting the Stoli Blackberry…. then go to the Dollar Store and get PROPEL bottled water, Berry flavor. I did just that.

The DOLLAR store is half full of the cheapest Christmas merchandise I’ve ever seen. The dollar store has its place. I go there for one thing: $1.00 old man reading glasses. WHEN I was buying them for $30. a pair, I always managed to lose them. Once I bought ‘em for a buck, they seemed to NEVER get lost. But anyways, I got my PROPEL water, then did just a tiny bit of investigative work. I found that the DIAL Basics Bar Soap they sell there for $1.00 (2 bars) is NO better than Safeway’s price who sells -3- bars for $1.49. I bought a nice economy size of shampoo to see if it’s any different than the “luxury” $4.95 bottle elsewhere. (When I showered this morning, and I used it, it was barely thicker than water…..a BAD value). The Halloween candy didn’t seem like a bargain…..and I DID wonder if it’s still left overs from last year. Oh well. Stick to the reading glasses.

Quest Phone Service. We canceled the land line early in September when we’d made a decision to go cell for the house based on a “calculation” that we’d save about $30-35 a month on phone costs. By the 7th, all was working. Quest sent a final bill, but within two weeks made their “final” adjustment and sent a refund check that closed out the account. They SAID, “account closed September 14″ . You think we’re done with them? We got a bill yesterday for $11. for: “long distance services”….. I argued this as petty, ridiculous, and impossible to KNOW just what/when the charges are for, AND….WHY the hell would be send a refund check followed by a billing statement. Even the Oregon PUC contact said, “sorry, they’re legally correct”. I swore I’d refuse to pay, then wrote a check this morning not wanting $11. to mess with me during the next two months. Quest, bleah! Oh, I suppose that goes for MOST corporations.

I have been saving $$$ on car maintenance by going to a little mechanic much closer to home than the Subaru dealer was…. the car developed a tiny oil leak a year ago. That mechanic said the timing belt was probably going out …..so I paid him $700. to replace it. Oil leak STILL happening. This time he said probably valve gaskets, another $150….. “probably” and I chose to wait. Since the car was now running a bit off, I faced my $$$ demon and returned to the Subaru dealer. $700 MORE here, and the oil leak was fixed. THIS week, the check engine light came on and it seemed fuel was clogging a bit. I returned and $256 later, the car NOW runs like it’s new. ****Lesson? I believe I’ll continue service at the dealership . . . let ‘em put it on that computer, and I imagine I might be avoiding “some” costs in the future. Hrmhph.

The REAL story was waiting in the dealership customer waiting room where the TV was simply broadcasting FOX news with POLITICAL ads every few minutes. In OREGON, we’re already voting….by mail….. but I keep hearing two other customers (I WANT to describe them in detail, but it wouldn’t be kind)…..whining things like, “I just don’t KNOW what to vote for, the ads confuse me.” Or…. “I just don’t know WHAT is true, if it’s all true, this is horrible.” Or…..He’s cuter than the other guy. It only CONFIRMS what I already knew: THIS is HOW the wealthy have finally destroyed an open democracy….the citizenry watch NOTHING informative, do NOT investigate what they’re voting for………and “believe” what they’re told. Oh well.

GLEE Rocky Horror! There are “critics” ?? Seems “some” folk want to criticize this hollywood slick production, one of the best things ON TV no matter what. I find behind the over-produced musical numbers actual MORAL lessons available if you’ve watched any of these episodes. It’s TV, FOLKS! ENJOY the music, enjoy SUE……. lighten up.

WE’re getting specialized. I saw the four jars of “N/P” pickles in the garage. Yes, a “custom” order. Maybe we’re just not charging enough for our home goods. Hah.

On the dog walk…..we’re coming back up Firelane 10 in the forest. MAC loves to carry big sticks, the bigger the better now that Hooper’s around competing with him for retrieval talents. I gave him a branch about 10′ long…and he proceeded up around a tight curve. I hear a very gay “Uhh!”…..and see two obviously gay guys with their little dog coming our way. Mac never bothered anybody, and all was fine, but you shoulda’ been there. That little “Uhhh” was funny.

Okay…….I’ve finally accepted the fact it’s MID-FALL. It’s STILL foggy and dark at 0802 this morning, and will be dark soon enough by 6:30 tonight. I’m back into long sleeves and getting out flannel lined denims, the HEAVY sweatshirts, waterproof pants, shirts…. Nancy’s short finger felted fingergloves. I’m getting ready! I also think it’s PAST CAKE season……….it’s Pumpkin Pie time. No?

It’s almost time to pull out the little wooden bricks I collected as a child. I “invented” what was called a “marble tower” ….and it became the thing built EVERY Christmas holiday as the family’s nieces and nephews gathered……it has always been a favorite toy (marbles are placed in the top….they roll down a spiral constructed interior to the bottom)…………….

**The one in the old pic WAS a short one….the nephew that year was so young all he wanted to do was knock it down….which he always succeeded at doing in short time**
Ah.

A Halloween story for Musical Theater Lovers

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Wednesday October 27, 2010

***I had to put this here…FB restricts length***

The Musical Theater Lover’s favorite October Story**
= == = =

Bob Hill and his new wife Betty were vacationing in Europe…as it happens, in Romania, near
Transylvania . They were driving along a rather deserted highway. It was late
and raining very hard. Bob could barely see the road in front of the car.
Suddenly, the car skids out of control! Bob attempts to control the car, but to no
avail! The car swerves and smashes into a tree.

Moments later, Bob shakes his head to clear the fog. Dazed, he looks over at the
passenger seat and sees his wife unconscious, with her head bleeding! Bob knows he
has to get her medical assistance.

Bob carefully picks her up and begins trudging down the road. After a short while,
he sees a light. He heads towards the light, which is coming from a large, old
house. He approaches the door and knocks.

A minute passes. A small, hunched man opens the door. Bob immediately blurts,
“Hello, my name is Bob Hill, and this is my wife Betty. We’ve been in a terrible
accident, and my wife has been seriously hurt. Can I please use your phone?”

“I’m sorry,” replied the hunchback, “but we don’t have a phone. My master is a
doctor; come in, and I will get him!” Bob brings his wife in.

An older man comes down the stairs. “I’m afraid my assistant may have misled you.
I am not a medical doctor; I am a scientist. However, it is many miles to the
nearest clinic, and I have had a basic medical training. I will see what I can do.
Igor, bring them down to the laboratory.”

Igor picks up Betty and carries her downstairs, with Bob following closely. Igor
places Betty on a table in the lab. Bob collapses from exhaustion and his own
injuries, so Igor places Bob on an adjoining table.

After a brief examination, Igor’s master looks worried. “Things are serious, Igor.
Prepare a transfusion.” Igor and his master work feverishly, but to no avail.
Bob and Betty Hill have both passed away.

The Hills’ deaths upset Igor’s master greatly. Wearily, he climbs the steps to his
conservatory, which houses his grand piano. For it is here that he has always
found solace. He begins to play, and a stirring, almost haunting melody fills the
house.

Meanwhile, Igor is still in the lab tidying up. His eyes catch movement, and he
notices the fingers on Betty’s hand twitch, keeping time to the haunting piano
music. Stunned, he watches as Bob’s arm begins to rise, marking the beat! He is
further amazed as Betty and Bob both sit up straight!

Unable to contain himself, he dashes up the stairs to the conservatory.
He bursts in and shouts to his master:

PUNCHLINE COMING ………………….
*
*
*
ARE YOU SURE YOU’RE READY?? …………………………
*
*
*
*
*
WELL OKAY, HERE IT IS………….
*
*
*
*
*
Master, Master!…..The Hills are alive with the sound of music!”

Surprise LAST harvest before rain starts

Bloged in Fall by mark Thursday October 21, 2010

The past couple weeks, I have heard about a “few friends” in other parts of the country who’ve enjoyed last garden harvests: Squashes, tomatoes, potatoes, whatever. Well. NOT TO BE OUTDONE, I went out to see what I “harvest” in a garden that’s been pretty much cleaned out, AND ALREADY been layered with lawn/leaf mulch from mowing yesterday.

Hey! Surprise! I got the biggest harvest of French Fennel seed I’ve EVER gotten….

** They should be dried in a week or two……

Surprise! I got the biggest harvest of Bay Leaves EVER….

I immediately began the trimming and placing onto a sheet pan:

**Finally, they were layered between paper towels and placed in an oven still cooling… . . . . . .from baking something else.

Mistakes were made! I proceeded to watch one of the MLB playoffs (Yankees/Rangers) and burned every bit of worthy bay oil OUT of the leaves, and curled ‘em up to nothing. Damn.

So, I went out last night and cut MORE, determined not to be defeated. They got the same treatment but were placed in an 80 degree oven, and this morning look beautifully flat and cured. Maybe enough for a few gift portions to Fans…………… I do hope.

During the playoffs, I’ve tried to encourage the dog to get some exercise, like maybe cleaning the house. I even dressed him up to motivate him as maid. He wasn’t happy about it:

Rodger gave him a reprieve later:

Found in the yard: Chunk of Raccoon skin:

THIS tells me something good in my book…… the Coyote population here has been so successful, they have gotten rid of our problem raccoons (either that or distemper has gotten to them……). We haven’t seen one for 4 months. THAT MEANS, our little fabulous flying squirrels are again showing up for nightly feedings just at the end of the deck. We love to see ‘em. . . . . . . .

Forecasts call for an end to our dry fall. A week of rain begins tomorrow morning.

Indian Summer redux

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Monday October 18, 2010

Again, a fabulous weekend. Weatherwise.

We stayed busy…….The SF Giants are in the playoffs, so THOSE games are watched faithfully……The betters are going to Phillie of course, and we’re hoping for the Giants.

Still…….We got all the deck plants that are perrennials planted in the ground, about 80 Giant Daffodil bulbs planted around…..Flowerbeds raked out, roses pruned, and on and on.

Nice time.

Why I’m too busy to update my diary.

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Wednesday October 13, 2010

THIS week IS, in a spectacular way, (forget ALL other weeks “claiming to be”) Indian Summer. It was JUST Monday, I sighed firmly believing there would be NO MORE open windows during the day well until late next June. Today the windows are all WIDE open, a fabulous 71 degree breeze gently moving through the whole place. IT IS a MOTIVATING feeling! If I were a good fundamentalist, I’d be thanking the guy I thought was gonna get me Raptured, but since I AM happy about it, I believe I’ll thank Ms Earth Goddess! She’s fabulous!

But I digress. I shouldda taken the camera……The Rochlins have adopted Hooper, a wire haired Pointing Griffon at 1 year, 9 mos old….WOW! I am NOT sure they’re ready for the energy this dog has…(Hooper looks quite a bit like this web pic:)

*Hooper

The walk sure was fun though, and this sharp Griffon showed Continual attention to everybody, always came when called, and just seemed too happy. We brought him back up to the house so Arnie could borrow our halter for a while….We had JUST gotten into the garage chatting, turned around and NO HOOPER!

We spent 8-10 minutes, ALL wandering the near neighborhood yelling HOOPER, COME!!! Then it hit me. . . .. HE….is in the house! …………. I opened our door from the garage into the kitchen, and there he was! (That door doesn’t always close tight….we need to tighten the spring tension, yes) . . ..

I guess WE looked foolish to Hooper.

THIS weather motivates any live BODY . . . . . .. . I’ve had a list growing in size for 3 weeks. . . . . In ONE day yesterday I got these items checked off that list:

1) Cook Bacon up, and fix up a big meatloaf for the week . . .
2) Sweep floors, vacuum
3) *Take in a chainsaw I “thought” was fouled up, but NO I was fouled up. We got it started at United Rentals immediately (in front of the orange vested construction workers who chuckled a bit when I said, “WELL, WAIT TILL YOU’RE OLD!”….hah.
4) *Got a big load of old/new clothes that are now too big for us to William Temple House…..COOL! A tax write-off just like we were rich people!
5) *Took in two big bags of old books we’re through with . . . .to Powells to sell back and see how much free credit we could gain at Powells for the future! Cool.
6) *Dropped the Subaru off at Schwab’s for tire rotation……waited one hour and off for home.
7) Got up on the roof with the leaf blower and got all the summer fir needles blown off.
8) Prepared a big hand sprayer full of MOSS KILL and got all the roof areas sprayed….!
9) Moved with the ladder all ’round the house cleaning up the gutters! We are READY Ms. La Nina!
10) Mowed the lawn.
11) Cut one maple stump up, then one maple that’s trying to cover up our new evergreen tree out front. Split it all up, stacked and cleaned up.

Came into the house feelin’ good about all I got done.
TODAY? Tired, but happy.

MORE FUN this weekend…………..WE HAVE SUNNY DAYS forecast for Saturday Sunday. Most cool.

Andy Visits & a Money Saving Idea for Mark!

Bloged in Family by mark Monday October 11, 2010

A certain young creature was unable to travel with her masters to Victoria last week. She was facing Kennel Life! We couldn’t allow that, KNOWING that Mac rather liked the young lady. . .Ian and Kate had her folks in town, and a nice vacation north during “indian summer” seemed irrestible! We asked if we could take “Andy” for a few days……

We’d had company the w/e Ian & Kate left, so couldn’t keep her the first two days. But we picked her up last Monday, and I think that’s all SHE needed to stay happy all week. She and Mac had a fabulous time, long walks into the forest on 4 mornings where Andy Loved finding squirrels to chase and other irresistible smells to breathe in. They played more hours together here in the house than any other pup visitor Mac’s had, and by the time Andy went home, both were tired:

I can’t understand WHY a DOG jumps so quickly into their master’s car to go home as if they were being rescued after seeming to have had their OWN wonderful vacation here. One would think she wouldn’t want to go. When I’M on vacation, I sure don’t want to go back home!

And on a different note altogether…….

Ahah! I had a brilliant idea for saving thousands of $$$ if I slip away unexpectedly in the near future. For a long time, I’ve planned to be cremated or even donate the remains to a Med School wherein they pay the disposal costs for the 2 lbs of bone left after they’re done. Hey! Help make doctors BETTER, eh? Maybe now, though, I’ve saved a major cost of burial…..by finding a rather cheap Casket. With a minimum investment of wrapping it in Aluminum Foil, it “could” resemble one of the expensive Metal Caskets heavily marketed to the bereaved….. How so?

We bought a cheapie “home gym” on the weekend which gave Rodger a secret indulgence he doesn’t get enough of. I DO think his career should have been at IKEA putting together display models of everything they bring to the store, he LOVES assembling things……… Rodg spent the w/e putting it together, and so we “plan” to begin a healthier winter period by spending some time in the spare room that now holds the treadmill AND gym eqpt.

The BOX the thing came in inspired me. Perhaps having “Made in China” is a bit of a detraction, but I thought I should save it up in the garage rafters for holding my earthly remains…….whaddya think?

Where does this thing about saving money come from? If you’d grew up with “depression” parents, you’d know. I well remember two of my brothers and I having to “walk” to go get our milk from Mr. Nelson down the block in winter…..No, I didn’t get GAP clothes to wear:

All Hand-Me-Downs I tell you…………….I was the youngest if that helps identify the poor waif wearing them. I think I also know why Mom sent all 3 young boys to get the milk instead of just one of them…..any Mother of 5 kids probably knows too!

Will & Fritz see some favorite PDX tour spots. . .

Bloged in General Home Life,Pacific Northwest,Portland by mark Friday October 8, 2010

We were honored by the visit of a couple of blogger/friends from New Hampshire we’d never really met (other than through friends we “have” met). They were here a week to visit Will’s daughter in Salem, and on the way home, they stayed the weekend with us. From the moment they arrived, the talks began, and we had a fabulous time.

Will & Fritz were curious about the spots tourists “don’t” see in Portland. That’s always an enjoyable day for US, so Will and Fritz got buckled in for a fun day. . . . (others may remember one or two of these spots.. . . .)

As we often do on a visitor inspired weekend, a brunch was in order, and one of our favorites is just down the hill:

*John Street Cafe*

**You want “neighborhood” home cooked food? This is it! If you don’t want an hour wait though, you’d best be there early. NO ONE I have ever met can make an omelet like Marie…….here’s our favorite, the Omelet de Javo:

From there, a nice drive along the Willamette Bluff to eye a city view, and a drive to the infamous but family run
*Portland Memorial*
The building’s on a hillside, so from the street side you enter on the 5th floor….(10 floors)…and will see expanses like this often:

Not to mention many paid little sites like this little aging fountain:

Sure, some think it’s a bit creepy, but what it IS, envelops you ….. I guarantee it.

Just a short jaunt away is the Sellwood neighborhood with antiques, curious, nibbles, and atmosphere. We wandered a bit through the antique mall called:
*Stars Antiques*

Just “some” blocks away, and you’ve moved from the trendy Sellwood Neighborhood, up through East Moreland going by Reed College…. a lovely spot where it has been rumored, you’d likely be able to find some Mariwhana rather easily…..yes, a liberal college. But, we move on the trendy SE Hawthorne to simply show Will & Fritz the fabulous:

*The Back Stage Bar*
IT IS part of the famous old restored Baghdad Theater, but is the part where the back stages were…the ceilings seem so high you wouldn’t dare be up there with the stage sets:

IT IS a great spot to meet friends, play a little pool and try ti figure out who all the theater/celebrity greats are painted on the massive east wall….part of history.

From here, it’s a mere few blocks to try to drive through a 100 year old neighborhood of beautiful old craftsman homes….and not get lost what with all the diagonal roadways, central flower parks, but it’s a worthy spot to see:

*Ladd’s Addition*

And, if you’re there, don’t miss a peek at the lovely building on Spruce that houses a cultish group called: “I Am Sanctuary” . . here’s a street view of the spot (love the city rose gardens in this part of town):
*I am Sanctuary*

The afternoon is moving on, and the boys were interesting seeing a place that takes in ANY/ALL pieces from old homes that were either remodeled or replaced, and resells the used parts…..over on trendy Mississippi street, this is a marvelous building to wander through:

*The Rebuilder’s Center*

As our timepiece ticked toward the magic dining hour, we made a last stop at an artists gallery, where OLD recycled wood is made into new REAL furniture, some lovely pieces can be seen here:

*Eco Furniture*
From the front, it’s not a place you’d likely even go into:
. . .. .but it is worth a view.

Finally! We’d been bragging out dining at Clyde Common, the restaurant we’d just fined at with Bill Hawley when he was here…(thanks, Bill!!)…..and we “knew” we needed to be there early, else there’d be a LONG wait to dine….. So, we hurried over to Stark St to inquire for room at the dining tables of:

*Clyde Common Restaurant*
We were NOT disappointed. …. ALL of us enjoyed items NEW on the menu, shared plates, a lovely bottle of LaCrotta Wine, and a couple of fabulous desserts. From there, home seemed a good place to relax where we chatted for another couple of hours before the boys deemed it time to prepare for their PDX departure the next morning. Of COURSE, we had to end the evening with a bowl of the last-of-the-season batch of Home-made Raspberry Ice Cream:

*Raspberry Ice Cream*.
That recipe was posted here *Raspberry Ice Cream*

This was a fabulous weekend shared with two folks we’d known only from the blog world. . . this has illuminated the value once again for US, anyway, how this web world can open doors, and it is much easier finding people you have lots in common with than it ever was. For these two, everyone said we’d get along, but I had no idea how much in common we’d share, and how much fun this would be. Maybe we’ll have a reason to visit New England, eh?

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