It's an observation I feel strong about: The OLDER one gets, and yes, I'm bordering on ancient, no longer regarded among the living by the young set...........it honestly seems time speeds up.... No, I'm not desparately trying to create and finish a bucket list, just wanting to read MORE books, COOK better food, sleep restfully at night, feed the birds, get the yard ready for another summer, and get the house "chores" done.....Whew! I sometimes wonder about people I hear going BACK to work because they were so bored at home. I can only presume they have "staff" to do everything THEY should be learning to do at home. We're completing 3 months of the warmest weather on record for mid-winter here in oregon. Our snowpack is nothing on the mountains, and summer fire season will likely be a serious one. That being said, it HAS been very nice to keep up with house cleaning without wet mud everywhere! It also means some nature fun we might not have explored other wise. **It also meant, in JANUARY, we saw mating dives being performed by Anna's Hummingbirds, our tough little year-round resident....it was a bit shocking.....but FUN. Oh well. Just a quick note here, like the last few "barely-alive" blog posts....hoping SOMEDAY, I will get back to keeping this little diary...it was an enjoyable task. **Evening Grosbeaks.....the big flock FIRST sighted here in the 'hood in late January at the neighbors.....SURPRISINGLY, and without a hint, moved over here a little over a week ago, and it's thrilling....a bit more costly in seed, and worth every penny. Many mornings, there are solid counts of this most beautiful migrant bird. They ARE unpredictable in moving about, we can only STILL hope 2-3 pair remain with us for nesting and raising chicks. **Rufous Hummingbirds.....the very FIRST males were spotted at our feeder last week, right in time with the usual siting, and now there are at least one if not two, that are settling in waiting for the ladies to arrive......the poor female rufous....they do EVERY BIT of the work of nest building, raising young...the males simply show up first, set up a territory and attempt to mate with everyone when they arrive. They must a tiresome sort in the evening....they have nothing to talk about except......uh..... you know. Cousin Mary joined us for a weekend in February of dining out, wine tasting, and a lot of fun. I am SO happy to think she will continue to come visit despite we lost her husband, my cousin, Stan, in November.... and we may very well go visit her in Idaho this summer. So really, quiet sunny winter.....meaning a lot of yard cleanup's already done, pruning DONE, thinning and removing weeds....getting done, it's a NICE feeling.... WE DID get to California for the Ripon Almond Blossom Festival....great to see the family, but things are SO uncertain with the fact there's clearly not enough water to keep all the orchards alive....some are already being cut out....old trees....sad..... WASHER / DRYER - ! As a "guy" type, well, sort of, I always bought the "sturdy", simple, 3-cycle machine for the modest price believing I live life simply...... Those old sturdy machines for about $350-450 each are long gone and new ones come with computer boards that I don't think will last the 25- 30 years these things used to last. That being said, THIS time, I wondered what it would take to have a great pair of washing/drying pieces to....work in this wetter muddier climate.... By the time "R" did the research, we found the top of the line machine that would have cost about $4000 installed and done, THAT firm also makes the top of the line SEARS/KENMORE model.....with a huge washing tub.....for HALF the cost. That's what we got. And boy am I happy....it's the first machine big enough to wash a bed comforter at HOME, and so we've put this thing to the test.... I'm happy the old ones broke......this is fun (and we hauled it home and installed it ourselves!)..... I think I'm breaking new ground on the coming to understand sourdough bread (basics)......I'm not the kind of guy who reads reads reads cookbooks, bread books and comprehends what it seems to take to "KNOW" what your making, to "KNOW" the "FEEL" of creating that dough, and learning the patience of feeding/refreshing a starter for at least 3 days to get a full wonderful flavor....but I AM and am enjoying it more all the time. Well, this seems to expose our winter as one boring period of life........and maybe it was, we haven't been as social as in times past.... is that ALSO the sign of getting older? Yikes.....I better shake THAT behavior off....... and with spring knocking at the door, I don't think that will be hard to do. There. I did it, NOT much in content considering all the wordy stuff here. With luck things will improve...now. out to the yard.....get the work done out in the SUN! yes. I said it. SUN..... in PORTLAND.......in MARCH! sigh.