Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas 2018

"...early Christmas morning
Much to his surprise
Snowflakes by the million
Were falling from the skies.."

Yes, this Christmas in Oregon, we got a bit of snow. I never wish or pray for snow for Christmas or my birthday, it doesn't happen. But, this year, it did!!!!!!!! We usually start our day with cinnamon rolls and sometimes sausage. This year, I opted to add eggs and Steve volunteered to cook them. He and Jon had 4 scrambled eggs each with a half a pound of deer sausage! (I ate some of Steve's) Jon added red onions to his mix. 
 The cinnamon rolls were a bit larger than my usual batch. I made 8 instead of 12 and put mini chocolate chips inside with an almond glaze. Jon declared them 'excellent'. I admit, they were soft and delightful!
 Then, we opened up Christmas socks and the rest of the gifts. Jon got Steve a new to him weed eater, hiding it in the back shed so it wouldn't need brought inside.
 Jon opened up his gifts with the aid of tools. He also helped open up the ones I was given.
 Yes, Jon said I needed one of these. I'm not entirely sure exactly what I'll do with it, but it looks like a great deal of fun.
 I gave the guys Lego bricks in their socks. Jon put his kit together a couple of times. He's on the floor next to the 'chicken roaster' he gave me. We aren't sure why he thought it was a chicken roaster, it doesn't say anything about chickens on the packaging! I was so excited to get this large cooking pan.
 This sign was also in Jon's sock. I saw it and absolutely thought it was Jon. He concurred and it is already hanging above the door of his room. Steve spent most of the afternoon watching one of mom's favorite movies. Jon and I chose it for his sock-Grumpy Old Men and then the sequel.

By the time dinner was ready, Jon had gone on a fire call to a nearby town. Moses didn't mind.
 After dinner we played Yahtzee with Grandma. She won by a LOT. We also gave her the presents we had gotten together. She was so surprised!
 She thought Steve was giving her Christmas lights. Inside was a battery tester she wanted and had a bit of trouble figuring out!
 Jon also got her another bird feeder. It is really cool, though!!!!
I'll close with another song. This one has a phrase my dad used to use all the time. 'Whoop de do.' 
(this is different. I used to be able to post the song instead of a link...) 

Monday, November 26, 2018

Water the Birds-

No snow at the ranch, this was across the river. It was almost warm where we were! 
In Mary Poppins there is a favorite song called 'Feed the Birds'. It costs a tuppence. Well, I've always fed birds, but this weekend I learned about water for the birds, giant flower pot like things with covers, much more than a tuppence! Not bird baths, bigger. 

Steve and Jon hauled up the gear last weekend, but didn't get to finish the project til after Thanksgiving. The containers for these troughs were manufactured nearby, they didn't come with roofs. Or at least, the ones Steve and Jon put in didn't. Jon had helped put a few of these things in for a fellow scout's Eagle project, but those were for larger creatures. This is specifically for birds. They are called guzzlers. 

We loaded up the rigs and headed for the hills. (Jon, after locking the tires. It had rained a bit, so the road was a tad sloppy) I was able to go up with them on Saturday afternoon. Someone had to take pictures!!!!!!! Jon did make about 20 minutes of video of Bob their first Saturday, but.....well, I prefer lots of still shots! 

Unloading Bob. 

Mowing parts of the field so they could get to the soil. (this is the second one they put in)
After the mowing, they had to dig up the ground before letting Bob go to work. Jon said Bob had no teeth, and had to 'gum' the soil!

While Jon was digging, Steve took me up to the first place to retrieve half of the hard materials and the roofing he'd recycled.

Jon liked the hole he needed was the exact size of Bob's scoop. After all the pieces were in the hole, the outer container and the inner sloped one the birds are supposed to walk on to reach the water, they unloaded the roofing. Steve made it from material his dad had used ages ago up on this ground. It had also been used as a roof for the basement stairs at Grandma's.

Carefully placing the roof inside the stakes prior to screwing it into place.
All done, except for gutters. Those go on the short end. Jon said it resembles a blind. We are not sure how many birds will visit, but it was one of the things they needed to put in. (Something to do with the CRP stuff) These water things are not terribly far from the ponds and it will be interesting to see if we can tell who is visiting it. 
No mountains, but a nice sunset ended the day. 

Sunday, November 25, 2018


While I was in the kitchen, Steve (and Jon) decorated the house. As soon as the lights were up, a storm hit with rain and wind. So, the lights on the fence didn't get in place til a bit later. I don't have a 'lit' photo, but it does look rather festive! 

Jon did a great deal of CL on our Thanksgiving day (Cat Loving). Mittens was very interested in what that guy was doing on the ladder. 

 We had a yummy menu, even if most of it was common. Jon was happy to have cheese spread (he could have made it himself!) again. He was more impressed I added bacon. He was also glad I made broccoli salad, with bacon and onions. We decided the vinegar might have gotten bitter after two years in the cupboard. I've replaced a lot of old foodstuffs, I hadn't scrapped the vinegar yet. Thankfully, the salad was better the next day.

 The rolls were my idea. Jon wanted cheese biscuits, so I made those the night before. It took him til Saturday night to realise when you 'pull' the rolls apart, they end up in three sections. I felt they needed a smidge more flavor, nor did the poppy seeds end up on top of the rolls, but they were good. The turkey was perfectly perfect. It looks dark, but that is cuz I put a ton on seasoning on it and it baked on. I even baked a pumpkin pie and the crust was phenomenal. Hmmmm......I think there are more photos from this day on my cell phone-I didn't load those onto the desktop. I reckon I'll need to learn to do that!!!!!

Dorothy came over for dinner. She brought us her delicious deviled eggs. 

Moses was pulling on Steve's arm, napkin, and utensils in case someone forgot about this particular feline's liking for turkey nibbles. Steve eventually succumbed to the meow of the beggar and dropped him a morsel or two.
 After dinner, we played a traditional game of Triominoes. Dorothy was rolling right along, pulling ahead quickly. The rules say to play to 400, but we stopped at 300. In the last hand, I broke away and in a completely untraditional move, won the game! Steve and Jon barely broke 100, Dorothy was just over 230, and I ended up with 309! Absolutely amazing. (I made a LOT of points in the last hand)

 With the game, we had dessert. There was chocolate spice cake, the pumpkin pie, whipped topping, and then Jon got out ice cream. We were ready to be unimpressed. None of us care much for pumpkin spice. But this stuff was phenomenal! Much better than my pumpkin pie. This ice cream tasted just like pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream and crust. We weren't certain if it was right to scoop Umpqua with a Tillamook ice cream scoop........I reckon we paired awesome with delicious.
Probably the best thing I learned on Thanksgiving was this amazing hack. I do not like making greasy gravy. I've had separators and they are inefficient. I had some slightly cooled drippings and couldn't wait hours for the stuff to congeal and be removed. Online I found a method I will use again and again. This first time I could have removed more of the good stuff, but was in a bit of a rush and well, it was the first time! The picture is after the fats solidified and could be photographed better. Even Jonathan was impressed. Although, to be fair, I think most of that was cuz you don't end up with dirty dishes! Or maybe it was the title on the link. 

Truly a day to give thanks! 

Saturday, November 03, 2018

The Pit of Despair Part 2

Halloween was cold and clear and I was wondering if I would survive this pit of despair. Every two years the yard is dug up because of septic issues. You can sort of see in this first photo the new pipe and the connection Mr. Stock wanted to make the night before. However, when the original pipe was removed, sewage gushed out in a torrent. Probably meaning the leach system wasn't working properly. Although, he and his helper did discover the tank was listing towards the house. So, the next day I called Peninsula Pumping. (you know things are odd when a sewage pumping company is in your favorites called list!) 

The young man (he's a bit younger than Tony and has 3 kids!) remembered the house and said he couldn't do what Mr. Stock wanted. There were two pipes. One for mostly liquids and one for the other stuff. Both needed pumped so the tank could be lifted. Hoping to solve the problems for now. 

Since Jordan (P.P.) isn't allowed to get into pits of despair due to company policies, Mr. Stock did. (he did say this was a first for him)

Jordan did do the other one, though. 

After Jordan left, Mr. Stock proceeded to remove a couple of trees. He felt they were too close to the tank for him to lift it properly. I was incredibly sad. They were lovely trees and I'd planted lilies of the valley under one of them. 

He was careful to 'shake' off as much dirt as possible. Dirt is important when it comes to filling pits! 

I had to leave the next day, so didn't get to see them lift and level the tank. I was hoping to watch. Mr. Stock sent me a photo. You can see how the pipes are even now. 

 When I returned, it was all buried neatly once more.
 It was fun to watch the backhoe move the dirt around the smaller pit. It reminded me of how we imagine dinosaurs might act in a nest. I took several photos and running thru them quickly shows it better!

In the morning light, the pit was gone and all that needed done were a few little things. Moving dirt  to smooth the area and what not. The rigs will leave again on Monday. 

After Mr. Stock left, I proceeded to chip out of the icy ground places to kind of bury the tires again. (I think I chipped my new glasses, too....) I tried to keep them as even as Mr. Stock had set them, but well..I'm not very good at eyeballing even!!! When I was done with that, I scattered a bunch of seed packets. I know the earth is frozen and the seeds probably won't grow, but a few might. Besides, the ones I planted during summer won't, so I figured why not??? Most were aged seeds anyway! I also dumped out a couple of flower pots I'd saved back and added some lupine seeds, fireweed, and columbine. Mr. Stock had earlier suggested grass. I just looked at him. Flowers are 100% better!!! Especially since he dug all the ones I planted last year up! 

So, this pit is done. I need to see if the leach field is compromised, but it can wait til spring. I'm also a tad nervous about the section of pipe from the house to the end of the hole where he connected the new pipe. It had water flowing thru, but are the pipes actually completely clear? Should  I call Roto Rooter for the third time since mom died to see if anything is in the way????  Actually, I called them several times. Bob, who used to own the company, put the new system in July of '16. Since he died, I was curious if he'd left records. He hadn't. Mr. Stock had to work out what to do on his own. He's pretty sure it will be good for quite a while. Except maybe that leach field......As I mentioned earlier, I give it two years.