September 30, 2013

Stormy Weather

It's spring in Australia, and the apple blossoms are just popping out along with the peas.  Sarah at Chantille-Fleur shares that the wallabies are everywhere!

Here?  Hmmm...well, the fall season is coming on with a vengeance.  We're just waiting for the 2nd Pacific storm to hit.  Heavy rains, heavy winds.

The poor chickens have a cozy and dry nesting box, but down below, everything is sopping wet.  The sideways rain is unforgiving!  Tomorrow I shall have to give them some clean, dry straw.

I'm thankful for a house that doesn't leak and a warm wood stove!

Time for Pumpkins!

We discovered this little roadside stand while driving to Mt. Angel.

Never saw any tomatoes or watermelon, but there were plenty of pumpkins!

September 27, 2013

Mount Angel Abbey

It was a quick trip down to Mount Angel Abbey this afternoon.  It didn't fit perfectly into my schedule, but it was worth every ounce of maneuvering to make it happen.  The chapel and grounds were perfectly quiet and lovely, and I had a chance to sit and have a wonderfully deep and meaningful conversation with a good friend.

We are very different from each other, but I cherish our history together and our ability to have an honest, challenging, and encouraging friendship!  That's a real treasure!

September 25, 2013

Salmon Pot Pie

OK, so it may look a bit funny, but this potpie was fabulous.  It smelled good and tasted good and was incredibly satisfying.

This is the thickened sauce prior to adding the leftover potatoes and salmon.

I'm not a master piecrust maker...but it was fabulous, too!  Even with whole wheat.

Once again, no after pictures.  The anticipation was so high we couldn't wait.  So you're stuck with the vision of a pasty-looking dish, and for that I sincerely apologize.  But you'll forgive me once you try it yourself!!

Generic Pot Pie
This can be adapted to anything you have on hand and you can make as much as you'd like.

Any other vegetables you choose
Cooked potatoes, in chunks
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp thyme and/or rosemary
4 Tbsp olive oil or butter
1/2 c. flour
3 c. broth
1 1/2 c. milk
Pie crust

Saute all vegetables in oil except for cooked potatoes. Stir in flour until everything is well-coated. Slowly pour in broth and milk, stirring quickly to prevent clumps.  Simmer until relatively thick. Add in meat and cooked potatoes at the end so they don't get mushed.

Grease ramekins.  Pour mixture in almost to the top.  Let cool just a bit so the pie crust doesn't melt.

Cover with pie crust.  Let it hang over the edge or fold under and pinch edges, trying to pinch dough to the edge of the dish. Slit top.  H's reign at our house.  =)

Bake 375° x 25 mins until bubbling hot and crust has browned.  If frozen, add an additional 15 mins.

Ahhh!  Best enjoyed sitting next to a warm fire on a cold, rainy night.

September 24, 2013

Double Duty

Those small things:
  • A trip to Best Buy across the river
  • New modem
  • New internet router
  • A monstrous pile of electronic recycling
  • Dropping the landline
  • Putting the garden gloves away
  • Helping with plans for a move to Brooklyn
  • Baking an extra potpie for the folks
  • Rolling over a 401 retirement fund
  • A trip to the bank
  • Calling for a medication refill when the order wouldn't go through
  • Reformulating a financial plan
  • Picking up the newspapers
  • Throwing an old cup away
No wonder there are still 175 lbs of apples to process!!  And what about finding time for all the other "normal" things of life, like laundry??!  All of these things add up, requiring a chunk of daylight hours and a large measure of tenacity.  

And what about puttering?  It may seem like dabbling here and there, but you know how it're in your bathrobe headed to the laundry, and you pick up a piece of trash on the way, and as you head back upstairs with a pile of clothes you notice a counter that has needed attention for waaayyyy too many weeks.  It's not hard to clean it up - it just takes time to do a bunch of little, non-thinking movements... placing, putting, wiping, shifting, neatening up...puttering!  Sometimes you have days where you just never stop and you have so little to show for it.  

I'm convinced that it takes a nearly full-time person to manage a home.  And if there are other obligations such as work?  I'm also convinced that to keep some semblance of sanity, a number of things have to go.  

Perhaps one trick is to think it through ahead of time.  Prioritize.  Decide that those small acts of kindness won't get kicked off the list out of desperation.  So tonight, instead of walking by those millions of bags of apples, I think I'll make some applesauce and freeze a batch to share.  Double duty, no???

Are there any more "doubles"?

September 18, 2013


The mornings are foggy, the evenings are cooler, new colors are appearing, and the rains come and go.  It's undeniably fall around here!

September 16, 2013

Merrill Lake

It was a marvelous, quick day up at Merrill.  Some friends let Sir Bradley use their cabin last winter and so we went up to help cut and resupply their wood.  Alas, we arrived too late; the wood job was already done, but we were welcomed in for a lovely chat and a shared lunch.  It was a fabulous time learning about the history of the cabin, enjoyed by two generations.  We heard about the wonderful times that they shared - sleeping, eating, canoeing, swimming, and hiking together as a family.

It was a little too drippy to be out with the camera, but I came away with a couple of shots.

The area was delightfully remote, deep into the woods.

The outhouse was quite tolerable.  =)

Nothing like a good Washington forest to see an old-growth fir.

And then the trip home.  We shared a splurge, and no kidding, the entire bottom of the cone fell off - requiring some fast action on our part. We have so many, many hidden talents.  =)

September 13, 2013

Her Father's Child

"Hot days are meant for filling your pickup with water and friends and then taking them for a spin."
                                                                                    ...posted on Facebook
                                                                                    ...(which I figure is public domain)
                                                                           a young man
                                                                                    ...who will always have friends                                           

The mother in me tries to suppress the YOUARESTUDYINGALOTRIGHT?? comment.
And another part of me cannot stop shaking my head at this girl.  She is full of life and laughter, never one to let such an ingenious moment like this pass.

May our Fridays be as exciting!

September 11, 2013

New York City

Last year we gave the boy airline miles for his graduation gift.  He is finally enjoying himself this week in New York City.  And now he is in love with the place! He wants to move there in another month and he's quite serious.  That's 2884.78 miles from home.

It gives me pause.

September 10, 2013

Smiling at the Sunset

Happiness is...

A beautiful sunset.
Having the time to sit down and watch it.
Sharing it with your best friend.

September 9, 2013


The helicopters are getting ready -a  clear sign that Fall is officially here!

As we learned from our experiments last year, they are pretty when red, but they don't fly until they're brown!

September 6, 2013

Rainy Friday

The rains have come.  There is promise of sunshine later this weekend, but for now, I think this is a good excuse to hunker down and enjoy the day off.  There's time for drying more fruit, getting a little laundry done, and settling in on the couch with a nice cup of tea and watching Pride and Prejudice.  =) It's been a rugged week and so I will enjoy myself without even a thought of guilt!!

Happy Friday!

September 5, 2013

Please Play

Will somebody please play with me?  
Throw something for me?  
Scratch my back?  
Whisper sweet nothings in my neck?  
Wrestle on the floor with me? 
Talk to me? 
Snuggle up with me? 
Give me treats? 
The days are long with all the kids gone and I'm ready to PLAY!!

September 4, 2013

Cedar Waxwings!

It was a leisurely dinner on the deck and we were delightfully surprised and entertained by a flock of cedar waxwings!  They've never ventured up our hill, but they must have been enticed with an abundance of those slow-flying buggy things.  The waxwings seemed to thoroughly enjoy their mid-air dinner!

We caught this little fellow on top of the maple...the sun was setting, so this is more of a thought than a good picture.  It was really a beauty.

September 3, 2013

Restaurant Supply

We have been filling our days with small things...lunch out on the deck, trips to school to add finishing touches, walking the dog, drying apples...

We did squeeze in a trip to a restaurant supply store to find new drinking glasses.  Our hodgepodge, mix-and-match set suffered even more breakage this summer, so after many years, it was finally time to buy a real set.  We found what we were looking for, and we laughed at ourselves for walking out with an entire box full of 36 glasses.  But what a deal!

And oh, the store was filled with so many shiny things.  =) Seriously, I feel like Buddy the Elf.

September 2, 2013

Labor Day

Ah, Labor Day.

In theory, we "celebrate" American workers, a tribute to those who have contributed to our nation's strength, prosperity, leadership, freedom, and well-being.  (Yup, this came from our government's website.)

In reality, it means time-and-a-half for those who still have to work, a full day's work for teachers getting ready for a boatload of kids =), the anticipation of returning to a regular school schedule for families, and plenty of BBQ's.

And it's my sister's birthday this year.  Happy day, Meg!  I love you!