Sunday, September 30, 2007

ANOTHER WEEKEND SHOT

Another week come and gone. Hell, another month come and gone. October starts tomorrow and bless me if I know where the year has gone.  Flit, blink and it’s gone. Hate to break it to a certain blogger in Utah, but, it’s been raining most of the day here. Hope you don’t get hit with snow tomorrow. Looks like somebody flipped the weather switch again. It’s been like that this year. Flip, wet weather comes, flip wet weather goes. We have a Mediterranean type climate, cool and wet in the winter, hot and dry in the summer. Of course once you get past the Cascades it’s high plateau, dry, scrubby, and down right desert type the further east and south you go.

 

The beans had pretty much shot their wad so I took the vines down yesterday. All gathered up and ready to go the shredder at the dump. Made sure to say thank you, we got over thirty pints off them, think of it as green sunshine in December. The cucumber and tomatoes are just about through too. Not too many left to get hit with the cool, wet weather. I will miss those lemon cucumbers are gone for the year. They’re so good and so easy to eat. Scrub off the little stickies and you’re good to go, don’t even have to peel them.

 

Oregon lost yesterday. L But it was a good game. Both teams fairly well matched. It was really a case of who was ahead at the end. Oregon almost made another score right at the end. Player got knocked out of bounds right at the goal line and lost the ball into the end zone. Touchback and Cal got the ball. No guaranties that even if we’d kept the ball, Oregon would have made a score with all of sixteen seconds left in the game. Heck it took almost an hour to play the last quarter, so nobody was giving anything away to anybody.

 

The cats are bummed. To cool most of the time to keep the widows open so one of them can sit in the sill and look out. Everybody has returned to their favorite cool weather roosting places. Each one has her own and patches of sunbeams are at a premium.

 

Heck, I’m  bummed. Time to haul out the sweaters, turtlenecks, and put away the sandals. My toes are really bummed. They like going uncovered. Ah well, July is only eight months away.

LAST ROSE OF SUMMER?

This will probably be the last of the peace roses for the year. Somebody flipped the switch and it looks like the rainy (sort of ) season has started.

Another nice shot of a nice drippy rose. For all our rainy reputation we actually only have about five months when we can count on any kind of rain. Down in this part of the valley this time of year if it doesn't rain it's foggy for most of the day. I think it's because this end of the vally is like a big bowl.  We have mountains on three sides down here and you have to go through a hilly section heading north to Salem. So the air gets cool, the ground is still warm and it gets kind of deary. It's kind of hard to believe we had temperatures over ninety just about three weeks ago. Ah well, something to look forward to as we go into the dark time of the year. But the rose is still pretty.

Monday, September 24, 2007

LIGHTS AND STARS

When I first wrote the  Candle piece, (see September 11 entry) I tried to conjure up a mental candle or lamp because I knew I’d want to say it in times when I didn’t have a candle or couldn’t have one where I was, say at work. Well I asked for one and got a room full. All reflecting off each other. And they tended to do crazy things, like zip out of the room when I thought about someone who needed a little extra “hey look out for ……” And go in the right direction I might add.

Anyway, I got lazy for awhile and didn’t get back to it as often as I really should. Now when I go to my candle “room” it’s outside. It’s night and the stars are shining. Shining with a brilliance I’ve never seen in this life. Oops, the Aurora just popped in. How do you do that, but come on in and join the party. Ok, just go with the flow here, obviously I’m not the one controlling this. 

Anyway, as I read through the piece and mentally light my candles, they aren’t bunched up anymore. They’re in a line stretching away from me and going up, as if they were climbing up the side of a mountain. At the top of the mountain is a great tree, black against the stars. And  the candles go up into the branches of the tree until it’s filled, overfilled even, and it outshines the stars.

Um, I don't think I'm responsible for all those lights. I just think I tapped into a whole lot of people doing the same thing, and that's how my mind interprets it. And just think how it would look if the whole six plus billion people on this little ball lit a candle in their minds. Heck for all I know they are. Keep them lit folks, we need all the help we can get.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

IRONS IN THE FIRE

I seem to have a lot of irons in the fire this week. I’ve been wanting to go back to my little guided imagery valley, but haven’t been able to get my mind in the right place. Darn it. I guess we’ll find out what’s out there eventually.

 

Fought off a touch of a cold earlier in the week. The kids came down for the game last week, and both boys had colds. So I was hugging with my fingers crossed. Lucked out and just had a little stuffiness and was incredibly tired for a couple of days. Hallelujah. This is more like how things worked out when I was using the herbs a couple of years ago. When I was exclusively on the prescription drugs, I seemed to be coming down with something all the time and couldn’t shake it for weeks. So hopefully I’m back on the right track.

 

I work at for a company that is one of the oldest RV dealers in the country. And one of the premier RV manufacturers in the US has its manufacturing plant about a block from our dealership. Country Coach is also one of the biggest employers in Lane County. We had a little field trip Friday to theplant. I’m actually not really interested in having an RV but what they manage to do on site it impressive. I knew they were big, but not they were located on over forty acres. They build the coaches from the axles up and have about one thousand people working at the plant. Apparently this build it from the bottom up is fairly rare in the industry. Doing it this way it takes two to three months to finish a coach from order to delivery. All the woodwork, cabinets, and counter work are done on site to order. And after looking at a finished coach, they do fantastic work. A lot of the decorative work, such as stained glass is produced by craftsmen or women who live in this area. So that part of the day was very productive. Scrambling in and out of a van to get from place to place was not a lot of fun, however and rather hard on certain areas of me that I really didn't need to agravate any more than they already are.

 

But, what I saw in that RV is just not my style, even if I had the bucks. And if I had the bucks there are many places I would rather put it. If anyone has seen the Rings movies, remember Bilbo and Frodo’s hobbit house? That’s my kind of place. Lots of comfy chairs, a nice, busy kitchen, books piled in odd corners, fireplaces, flowers outside the door. Ahhhhh. That would make a good guided imagery exercise too. I’d like to find out the titles on the  books on the shelves or piled over by the desk.

 

A few more veggies in the jars, Another batch of bread out of the oven. So that part of weekend was good. Have an itsy, bitsy, teeny weenie RANT to add to this entry. I use Cortaid for certain itchies. I usually get the two ounce size at a local store, it’s the better buy. Looked in the usual spot and the packaging had a 33 percent free caption. Oh, goodie, this looks like a good buy. Except the box looked the wrong size. A little investigation and I discovered the package in the usual 2 ounce space was a 1.33 ounce package in the 2 ounce space-for the same price as a 2 ounce package. With the 1 ounce packages were still in the regular 1 ounce space. Two plus bucks is a lot to pay for an extra 1/3 of an ounce of product. This unhappy camper took the time to fill out a comment card with a message that started with “rip off.” Mom trained my very well. The devil really is in the details.

 

Oh, and happy Equinox, Mabon to the Celts. From now on the nights get longer and longer until the Solstice turns the wheel again.

 

 


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CATTIN' AROUND

The bathroom window is a prized lookout during the warm weather. It's definitely first come first serve. Bandit looks out while Lucky waits her turn.

Lucky really isn't as cranky as she appears. She has one whisker that stubbornly turns up. It isn't a case of "bedhead" so to speak. It just turns up all the time.

Bandit had the rips the other night. I'm not sure what she thought she was looking for. Or if it was just "anything fun under here?" I just have to look for myself.

And after the rips comes the crash. Total trust and relaxation. Until the next unexplained noise comes along and it's time to go looking under rugs again.


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Monday, September 17, 2007

FORWARDED TO ME

My sister forwarded this to me, and I think it's a great story.

As the new school year begins, and the hustle and bustle makes us crazy at times, this will let you know I'm thinking about you.

 
 
A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying
the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.
He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been
dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.
  
After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side
of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.
   
When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch
that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold.
He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.
  
When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"
"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.
 
"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.
"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up."
 
 The man gestured, and the gate began to open.
"Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.
 
     "I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."
 
The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.
 
After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed.
There was no fence.
 
As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.
 
"Excuse me!" he called to the man. "Do you have any water?"
"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in."
"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.
"There should be a bowl by the pump."
 
   
They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.
The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.
 
When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.
 
"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.
 
"This is Heaven," he answered.
 
 "Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."
 
"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell."
 
"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"
 
"No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind."
 
Soooo...
 
Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word. 
  _____ 
 

Maybe this will explain.

  _____ 
 

When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do? You forward jokes.
When you have nothing to say, but still want to keep contact, you forward jokes.
 
When you have something to say, but don't know what, and don't know how, you forward jokes.
 
Also to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get?
 
    A forwarded joke.
 
    So, next time if you get a joke, don't think that you've been sent
 
   just another forwarded joke, but that you've been thought of today and
 
   your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a
 
   smile.
 
   
 
   You are all welcome @ my water bowl anytime.
 
    

SNAPSHOTS FROM THE WEEKEND

Snapshots from the weekend.

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We’re planning to redo the closet in the little bedroom. Repaint and install some kind of closet system for storage. Of course before we can do this. We have to clean out the Black Hole of the Little Bedroom Closet. So this weekend video shelves got moved and drawers got sorted. Just scraped the surface this week so it will take a little while.

 

The <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Portland contingent came down for the Oregon game. The game was late in the day so we actually got a good visit in. They needed to get over to Autzen in time to fine a place to park the rig in the shade. They brought down one of the dogs, so they needed the shade. A few weeks back all the dogs were piling on each other and Ranger was on the bottom. He ended up with a broken leg. He’s getting better and getting around, but there was no way sis was leaving him at home where he could get in more trouble.

 

So far the Ducks (it’s still a strange name for team and I graduated from the U of O, LOL) are three for three. Fresno State may have been behind the whole way but they never gave in. And just for the trivia fans, this was Mike Belotti’s 100th victory since he came to Oregon. So that was kind of neat.

 

As a follow up, there was a whoopee whoopee story I the paper this morning about the number drunk drivers ticketed this weekend. Four last weekend, ten ( a whole ten ) this weekend. Considering that both Oregon and Oregon State had home games this weekend, I’d suspect that the actual percentage that they picked up was actually down from last weekend. I swear almost every driver in the state was on I5 at some time between Saturday and Sunday. Yippee Skippy guys, I am so impressed.

 

The flowers are starting to go. Black eyed susans do not like it when the weather turns cooler and damper, the susans tend to sort of curl up and go bye bye.  Some of the shrubs are still looking good, but things are winding down. The veggies are still doing well, just hope that it stays warm a little longer. You can only eat so many fried green tomatoes and green tomato relish.

 

Darn, it’s dark by eight now.

 

Not a lot to say right now. The inspiration tends to come and go depending on how sleepy I am by the time I have time to write. LOL

 

WEEKEND IN THE KITCHEN

This weekends bread bake. Technically I was using the Oreganato recipe. But the only oregano we had when I stated was the powdered variety. I had visons of green bread, So I used basil instead, and it turned out pretty good. I don't know if I've posted this recipe before, so here it is again. Basil worked pretty good. Putting fresh garlic in the dough is good, but the dough may be stickier than expected when it's done proofing. this is one of those breads that taste really good, and you don't have to butter it if you don't want to.

Oreganato

 

Makes 2 1 ½ pound loaves

 

8 cups high gluten bread flour or unbleached all purpose flour

¾ cup uncooked polenta

4 teaspoons granulated garlic or 4 tablespoons crushed fresh garlic

6 teaspoons dried parsley flakes or 6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

4 teaspoons dried oregano or 4 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

2 teaspoons coarsely cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons instant yeast or 2 ½ tablespoons active dry yeast*

2 tablespoons salt, preferably sea salt

2 ¾ to 3 cups of water

 

*proof active dry yeast in 4 tablespoons of the water

 

Mix all the dry ingredients including the yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add the water saving some for final adjustments.* Turn the mixture out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 to 12minutes. The dough should be elastic but firm, tacky but not sticky.

 

Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. You can also put the bowl in a plastic bag. Heck, my bowl is just the right size to put an inverted plated on top and a towel over that. The plate keeps in the moisture and the towel insulates the whole thing.) Allow 1 ½ hours at room temperature for the first rise. If you are using standard loaf pans, shape the dough and put in the pans for the second rise and allow the dough to rise for about an hour. Or you can shape into free form French loaves. Again allow to raise for about an hour.

 

Bake loaf breads at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes in a standard oven or 300 degrees in a convection oven. For French style loaves spray the loaves with water before putting in the oven and three more times at two minute intervals. Bake for 30 minutes, spray again, turn off the oven and allow the bread to finish baking for ten minutes as the oven cools. Bread is done when a good thwack on the bottom of the loaf gives a hollow sound.

 

*I tend to start with the liquid ingredients and adjust from the flour side. These are based on commercial recipes, so the emphasis is on keeping the dry ingredients in proportion so that the loaf weights are consistent.

 

Thursday, September 13, 2007

THIS STARTED AS

an attempt to write a guided imagery story for my own use. It took on a life of its own. I'm not sure if I'm writing it or dreaming it. It's definitely my first attempt to write something like this, And I'm not sure where the trip is going to end. So, from the beginning. Should I start the journey with Once Upon a Time? I've never been here, but it feels like I never left.

I’m in a small valley near the coast in a high summer afternoon. The sky is that deep summer blue with a few puffy clouds so white you think you’ve never seen white before. The wind is coming in from the sea today and brings a hint of sea tang and wave song.  The sun is hot but the breeze is fresh, blowing  through my hair and cooling my face

There’s a small stream winding its way through the reeds and water grasses. The cattails wave at me and I wave back. The seed heads on the grasses are so light, even a bumble bee makes them bob as the bees search out the bank side flowers in search of pollen. The ripe seed pods wave gold and amber over the greens of the grasses. Summer daisies, poppies and lilies take the place of crocus, violet and iris. The blues of chicory, contrast with glowing black eyed susans and the yellow and gray dandelions.

A stronger gust of wind and the dandelions loose their fluffy seeds to take root and bloom again. There’s the odd trill and bird call, but most of the birds are drowsing in the shady willow branches waiting for the cool of the evening to forage for seeds and water insects. There’s a great blue heron drowsing in the shallows. Feathers fluffed in a false calm, he waits for a fish to take shelter in his shadow or an unwary frog to use the lily pads for a way station. By the time you turn at the sound of the flutter and splash, the heron is drowsing again.

The small meadows sloping up from the river are hedged with thickets of berry vines, hawthorns, wild roses, lavender, thistles and elder. The elders and the wild roses bear fruit for the birds and other small creatures. The twisted thickets provide shade in summer and protection from the winter’s cold and rain.  But, it’s summer now and the air is heady with the scents of flowers and ripe berries. It fills my senses and leaves me feeling as light as thistledown.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

HELP KEEP THE LIGHTS ON

I’ve posted this before. Don’t let the lights go out.

 

We kindle this flame in honor of the Creator of Creation. We are grateful for the plenty that blesses us. In a world where many walk hand in hand with hunger we have abundance. In a world where too many walk in fear we can speak as our hearts lead us and show our faith freely. In a world where too many are alone, even in a crowd, we are rich in family and friends.

 

 

We kindle this flame in honor of the earth and the star that warms it.

 

We kindle this flame in gratitude for the changing seasons, for the coolness of rain, for the shifting mists and warmth of sun.

 

We kindle this flame to ask healing for our battered world. May we learn to use only what we need and to respect what we use.

 

Wekindle this flame in gratitude for the plants, animals, air and waters that sustain us. Their infinite variety is wondrous.

 

 

We kindle this flame in honor of all who share this little world with us.

 

We kindle this flame in gratitude for our fellow travelers. We kindle this flame in gratitude for birdsong, the glory of infinite colors of flowers and trees, for the seas, the rivers, the rolling hills and the soaring peaks.

 

 

We kindle this flame to honor the infinite variety of our brothers and sisters.

 

We kindle this flame to ask for healing for those who lash out in fear.

 

We kindle this flame to ask for healing for those who lash out in anger.

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We kindle this flame to ask healing for those who lash out in ignorance.

 

We kindle this flame to ask for healing for those who are ill in body or spirit.

 

We kindle this flame to ask for healing for their caregivers, family and friends.

 

We kindle this flame in honor of the river of faith. Help us to remember that many streams enter the river of faith that sustains us. Help us to remember that this river has many wells to refresh our thirsty spirits.

 

 

We kindle this flame in honor of our family and friends.

 

We kindle this flame in gratitude for their love and support.

 

We kindle this flame to ask for healing for any sickness or injury. We kindle this flame to ask that they may find the love and support to live the lives they were meant to.

 

We kindle this flame in faith that we can return the love and support that has been so freely given to us.

 

Sunday, September 9, 2007

WEEKEND

We canned more beans and got a few tomatoes in the jars. The good thing about buying a lot of something and processing it is that you’re done quickly. That’s also the bad thing. By the time you’re done five canners of beans you really don’t care if you see another bean until December, if then. If you grow them yourself, you have to do it more often but at least you don’t shoot the whole day doing it. And the house doean't smell like a cross between veggies and old laundry for the rest of the day.

 

The Equinox will happen in a couple of weeks. Day and night will be equal and the calendar moves more deeply into the dark time of the year. When summer starts out yard doesn’t go into shade until almost five. It’s just past three and most of the yard is in shade. There’s a few stray sunbeams hitting the top of the bean vines still, but it’ll be gone before long. It’s turned hot, dry and windy. That’s why I was out taking pictures just after seven this morning. It doesn’t take much breeze to bounce the crape myrtle around. For a day that’s supposed to top out over ninety it’s was darn chilly this morning.

 

I know Oregon has a good football team, but after Michigan lost to Arkansas last week I figured that they’d be all fired up and there’d be feathers on the gridiron when I finally crossed my fingers and turned on the tube yesterday afternoon. Imagine my shocked surprise when I realized the score was 32 to 7 Oregon. Final score 39 to 7. Oregon has defeated Michigan before, but I don’t think they’ve done it at Michigan recently. I had to wince when I read a column in the Oregonian. Apparently three well ranked high school players were being courted and were on the field after the game. One of them was heard saying “I want to go to Oregon” before their chaperones got them off the field. I don’t think Oregon is in any immediate danger of getting swelled heads. We’ve had too many seasons like Michigan seems to be facing to get too far ahead of ourselves. I hope. Saw my nephew on the field a couple of times. Lord, that boy is big.

 

Anyway, it’s early days yet. Hopefully they will have a good season. Ireally have mixed feelings. If they go to post season we won’t see Jon until after New Years. If they don’t go to post season, we’ll see him, but he’ll be bummed. What a choice. LOL

 

Oh, and the stadium at Ann Arbor holds almost twice as many people as live in Springfield! Apparently it's the biggest audience a Duck team has ever appeared in front of. But I really did feel sorry for the Michigan players. Hey, fans. Do you really think that booing your own players is going to improve things? Come on, I"ve heard louder Duck games with the stands half empty than I heard with your stands packed. I've finally figured out that part of the job of the guys on the bench is to cheer their team mates on.

 

Never thought I'd write anything like that. I'm not a big sports fan. But, you don't kick your own when they're down.

EARLY SUNDAY MORNING

The first blossoms on the crape myrtle we bought last fall. Nice to have a plant that flowers at the end of the season. Frankly it looked deader than the cliche door nail when spring started. Someone I work with who has one told me to wait until as least May before we gave up on it. The transplant die back was pretty bad, but the base of plant survived and it's grown about two feet more. This particular plant is supposed to be about five feet by five feet and we can prune it either as a tree or a shrub. A really pretty color.

The bean vines are doing well. It's supposed to be dry and hot the next few days so we'll have to watch them closely, they will grow very fast.

Early morning shot through the arbor. The sun was just starting to hit the yard. Early last month the sun was behind the big cedar tree across the street. Now it's behind the house across the street. It's a trip to watch the sun move through the yard as it comes up.

Monday, September 3, 2007

WORKING ON LABOR DAY

A very good weekend. Chris and Tim came down Saturday morning for the U of O game and stopped by our house for breakfast. Tim is the next one to start university. The guys are moving north. Eugene, Corvallis and now Portland. Heaven knows where the next one will end up. Oregon won the game, so that ended Saturday on a good note.

 

Sunday we went up the valley to Scappoose. That’s where Lisa of Coming to Terms has her cafĂ©. I hadn’t made it up since last summer, right after she bought the place. I’ve really been wanting to see the changes she’s made. The place looks really great. She’s made good changes to the menu. The atmosphere is friendly, food looks good, and they were very busy yesterday afternoon. And I think folks know that even if the place doesn’t look that busy, they are busier than they look. They do take out orders, too. She’s busier than she’s ever been and happy in spite of it. Now if she could just get enough crew signed on so she could get some admin and planning time in, things would really rock and roll. I took up some bread and fresh tomatoes, she had some really great black bean soup and we had the makings for a really great dinner.

 

The drive home was a little long, but it only took just over two hours. The weather was great and we were well down I5 before it was all the way dark. Heck, as long as I’m on the freeway by the time the sun goes down. I’m happy.

 

Picked the beans this morning and we got five pints, that makes nine so far and they’re blooming like crazy. Takes me back. I picked more than a few of those little green suckers when I was in high school. Blue Lake pole beans, best darn beans in the country.

 

We also made a quick trip out to a local produce supplier that Lisa will probably recognize, Deterings. Apples, peaches, other veggies and a very nice little Hermiston watermelon. Wasn’t really planning on doing beans and peaches today, but hey, if you want to eat well in January you mess up the kitchen in September. We got seventeen quarts today. If you buy them by the quart at the store, they want about five bucks apiece. And they won’t be nearly as good.

 

Back to work tomorrow, for a good rest. LOL

VINE TO JAR

These beans were on the vines at about nine this morning.

They were in the jars before noon. They would have been in their new homes a little sooner, but we took a quick trip out the Deterings for peaches and other goodies. As soon as I'm done with this entry I'll be helping mom peel the first batch of peaches for the season.

And they all end up in this pressure cooker. This kitchen wonder is older than me. It still has the original wooden handles. Not as shiny as it was when my folks bought it right after they got married, but still truckin' along.

When we bought the new stove we got an extra heavy duty element unit suitable for canning and other high heat jobs. This will make nine pints out of the garden so far, plus what we've eaten. One half hour at ten pounds pressure and they're good to go.

Fresh beans are really good in stir fry or cooked with onions and tomatoes. You just have to start them first because they take the longest

Oh, and you don't pressure peaches, pears and the like. Just a half hour in a boiling water bath or you get sauce. LOL