Thursday, July 30, 2009


I know it is supposed to be cooler in the Portland/Vancouver area today, and I am happy for them - although when it gets above 90º it is just HOT! Here, however, it doesn't seem to be "cooling down" yet. There were some big thunderheads last night, but nothing materialized - thank goodness. The fire season could be horrible this year!

I had the most fun this past weekend! I got to go on a camp out with a bunch of adult Girl Scouts!
Here are a few photos that show the fun we had!

Janet and Nancy
Nikki, Barb, and Marian trying to keep out of the sun!
We spent a good deal of time on Saturday sitting with our feet in the kiddie pool - which was filled with water balloons - for water fights and for the balloon toss. No one minded getting wet!
Especially our hostess - Ginger - who found her own way of cooling off.
She filled her hat with water and really felt good!
Cooking was all done outdoors - in Girl Scout tradition. Good food, good fun, good company!
Mary and Barb are making pancakes for breakfast on Saturday morning.
Did I say good food? Saturday dinner also included salmon. Yum! Breakfast was a casserole and muffins, both cooked in dutch ovens. Also eggs, fruit, and more.
You really can't tell, but Janet is attempting to play badminton. Nice form! Big tourney!Fran and Janet in the shade. Denise crawled into her sleeping bad inside out and folded in half the wrong way..........
Ginger's yard is wonderful and full of surprises. An imaginative way to use her fruit tree prunings and old wine bottles.More wine bottles used as a garden border.
We learned how to make leaf castings from Pat. She demo'd and I was so taken that I have already attempted one at home. This is one of Pat's leaves - beautiful, isn't it?
On to another subject. A few people have asked about the progress on Shannon's "cabin". It is pretty much finished and he is enjoying having his own "space" although it has been incredibly hot out there the past few days.
This is his vanity/kitchen combo area.
The garden is doing well in the heat - here are the gourds - climbing up on the deck. I hope we get a few different gourds this year - they may have been planted too late.
This is the largest lavender I had seen - until I saw Ginger's.
The hops have outgrown the strings we put up for them to climb on. I'm going to try to make some hop infused hummus like they have at Deschutes pub in Bend.
A closer photo of the hop buds. It's our first experience with hops - we'll see!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Oh, to be "Young @ Heart"

Watched this movie last night and I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's all relative.........

Son Gary and his wife, Teresa are in town for a few days and I forgot to take pictures (I know - bad, bad!!) last night when they were here with granddaughter Nikki and Teresa's son, but I remembered tonight when Gary came out.

Shannon, Dean and Gary enjoying the cool-er evening breeze out on the deck.

We've been trying to stay cool and, for the most part, succeeding. Been doing outside work in the morning before it is too warm. Painted siding yesterday for the greenhouse and for the "guest house" formerly known as the shed. Hard to get motivated when it's warm like it has been. Unusual - even for over here! Laundry hung on the line is dry in minutes. Garden is growing, but needs a LOT of water.

As I sit here at my computer, I am noticing the photo of the Tibetan prayer flags above my screen and my 2 sets of prayer flags hanging above me - and I wonder if we'll see peace in my lifetime. I hope so, but when in recent memory has there been a period without war somewhere? I did my service and sermon on prayer Sunday and although many of us engage some kind of prayer in our daily life, it is ultimately we ourselves who provide the answers. We are given the "tools" to achieve our hopes and dreams - how many of us actually use our "tools" in the ways that are best?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Too Blankin' Hot to Post

106º here yesterday and supposed to be about the same today. A bit too much for me - Lori, I'm glad you 2 missed it! Our house is super insulated and I usually brag about how cool it stays on the hot days, but it got up to 76º inside yesterday - which isn't really hot, but...... Then it didn't cool down much over night, so only have it down to 70º this morning. It's the in and out all day that warms it up - hope to keep that to a minimum today. Did the watering already this morning, poor garden!

Yesterday, our neighbor's car wouldn't start, so he came to get Dean to help. It was really corroded battery terminals - the guys cleaned them, but it had been too long. He ended up having to get a new battery and everything was fixed. He came over with a check for $50 - Dean wouldn't take it, said that's what neighbors do for each other, but he insisted. Guess he's not used to having neighborly neighbors.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

From the Garden

If you know me at all, you know that I love to cook. And using things from the garden is just an extra special treat. The first thing ready from the garden this season is the swiss chard and last year I tried this recipe which was a hit.

Baked Pork Chops with Swiss Chard
1 lb Swiss chard, cut crosswise in 1” pcs 3 T olive oil
1/2 t salt pepper
4 pork chops, ~ 1” thick 1 1/2 T grtd Parmesan
2 oz grated fontina or mozzarella, about 1/2 c
Heat 450°. Oil 8-by-12 dish. In bowl, toss chard w 1 T oil, 1/4 t salt, 1/4 t pepper. Arrange in dish. Rub chops w 1 T oil, 1/4 t salt, 1/8 t pepper. Put on top of chard. Drizzle 1 T oil over chard, around chops. Sprinkle cheeses over chard, around chops. Bake til chops just done, ~ 18 min. Let stand 5 min before serving. Serves 4

It was wonderful again, so I thought I would share. Use as much of the chard as you want to - it cooks up a lot. I turned my chops about three quarters of the way through the cooking because my chops - from Costco - were really thick. They were moist and tasty and the chard was delicious.

The zucchini is coming on, the strawberries, too, but hope I can get to them before the mysterious "critter". The corn is about waist high, the bush beans and tomatoes are flowering. Let the bounty begin!

The exciting happening of the week occurred on Friday when former blogger friend Lori and her partner Shari dropped by.

I say "former blogger friend" because now that we've actually met - face to face - I feel I can call her "friend" now. What a joy it was to chat with them for a while. They are on a road trip through Oregon - came from Sacramento to Bend the first day, then up to Bonneville Hot Springs to spend Friday night in luxury! Wow - am I jealous! Then, they're heading over to Astoria and down the coast. I sure hope that they are able to spend a night at my favorite beach spot - the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport.

I just had to put this photo in

We've been plagued with flies this year in the garage and some of them make it into the house when a door is left open :>) Dean's solution was to suck them up in the vacuum. Pretty funny to see - use your imagination!

Shannon and Dean have been working on the "guest house" formerly known as a shed. I think that Shannon will be able to move into it tomorrow!

Monday, July 6, 2009

What is that bright light in the sky?

I woke up about 3:30 this morning and looked outside, as I always do, to see the moon and stars, and noticed an additional bright orb. Putting on my glasses so that I could see, I realized that it was a fire. Wiping more sleep from my eyes, I could place it as covering Black Butte. We got the binoculars and spotting scope and went out on the deck to get a better look. I debated about calling my neighbor, but finally gave in and did - she thanked me! We watched it light up the night sky as the moon set between the Sisters mountains. I was still in awe. Though I knew I wouldn't be able to get a good picture, I did get out my camera and telephoto lens and made a few exposures. The wind was blowing pretty hard, not good for the fire or for my photo. The exposure was 20 seconds.

As it started get light, I made another exposure - I think it was 15 seconds. What you see is flames covering the east flank of the mountain. To give it some perspective, I included the field across the canyon from us. The wind, at this point, was coming from the southwest.
After daylight, the wind direction changed - now it is roughly from the northwest. You can barely see it, but the fire lookout on top is still there. The lower portion of the structure is steel. There was an employee in the tower and he/she left the mountain! The fire was reported at 1:15 at 20 acres and by about 7 had grown to 300 acres.
Black Butte, for those not familiar, is near the town of Sisters, and just north of Hiway 20 which runs from Salem to Bend and Redmond. It is about 15 miles as the crow flies from our house.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


It has been a busy weekend in our busy lives. Saturday, all 3 of us spent much of the day working down at the annual Lions Club Buffalo Feed here on the ranch. Dean and Shannon went down about 8 AM to set up (Dean) and begin cooking the baked beans (Shannon). I never got to taste the beans because they ran out twice, but Shannon would have done the recipe a bit differently, I think. Next year, I think we'll do a cook-off style competition and I think it will be more successful.
I showed up a little later and stayed until about 2:30. The parade began a little after 10AM and was really fun. There were lots of horses, floats from various businesses in the area, the Red Hat ladies in their golf carts, and lots of neat classic cars. The Buffalo Feed was extremely busy from before starting time (supposed to begin after the parade) until about 1:30, then things tapered off. I think we did more business this year than any, so that is a good thing. The weather was VERY HOT! When I got home, it was 101º. I rather expected that there wouldn't be as much business because of the heat, but what do I know!
We were going to go into Redmond to watch the fireworks with our neighbors, but all of us were too tired to move. We did, however, watch some of nature's fireworks (lightening) in the sky southeast of us.
This morning, Dean and I went into Bend to church and were honored and blessed to have guest pastor, Cynthia, from a UCC church in Washington. In the photo below is LM, Cynthia's one year old son, checking out Dean's beard. He was quite fascinated - LM, that is! Well, Dean was, too, because he loves the little ones!!
When we got home after some more of the Bend-style shopping trip, Shannon had finished the floor in the "guest house" and was working on the loft-style bed frame. He and Dean worked the remainder of the day on that project.
It's coming along nicely!
The weather was hot again today, but cooled down this evening and promises to be rather pleasant for the next several days. Thankfully!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

shhhhhhh....... it's a secret

I learned a secret this morning when fixing some french toast for the guys and I thought I would share. Fix this and you'll get rave reviews - I did!!

Denny's-Style French Toast
4 eggs 2/3 c whole milk
1/3 c flour 1/3 c sugar
1/2 t vanilla 1/4 t salt
1/8 t cinnamon 6 slcs Texas toast thick bread
3 T butter
Mix eggs, milk, flour, sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon. Heat lg skillet, or griddle. When hot, add 1 T butter. If it smokes, pan is too hot. Dip each slice of bread in batter 30 sec each side. Let some batter drip off, put in skillet. Cook each slice 1 1/2-2 min per side til golden.

That's the recipe I got from Recipe Zaar. I wasn't using the Texas toast, only some of the cheap white bread stuff, and I used vanilla soy milk instead of whole milk. I found that with the thin white bread, I needed a little more of the batter because it soaks it up faster - I didn't let it soak for 30 seconds. Also, tip from Shannon who has been a cook, mix the cinnamon with the vanilla before adding to the batter - it keeps it from floating on the top.

If I were a good blogger, I would have taken a picture to post with the recipe, but it was gone before I could think of doing it!!

Try it - and let me know what you think. Or, if I'm really behind the times and everyone but me has been using flour in their french toast batter, like forever, let me know that, too!!