Friday, December 26, 2014


 I never really appreciated geraniums when I was growing up in California. We had hedgerows of 'em everywhere so I took them for granted, I guess. 
Then I moved to Oregon...
Gardeners here prize their summer blooms, take cuttings in the fall and put them on the kitchen windowsill to await late spring when they can go outside once again. I'm lucky enough to have a small greenhouse and I keep a couple of plants to winter over. Turns out they really like the mild climate in the greenhouse when the nights stay at about 50 degrees (thanks to a heater) and the days may get as warm as 70 inside thanks to solar gain. A perfect climate for them! I do prune them back due to lack of space but now they are blooming away providing a focal point surrounded by succulents. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014


 The citrus timetable always seems out of whack since these Meyer lemons are ripening just when the cold weather comes. Of course that's because citrus in northern climes are bound to be indoor plants during the winter months. Meyer lemons can stand some cold (they say down to the mid 20's) but it's the fruit that needs protection. So we haul "Melba Meyer" into the dining area so she'll get some sun through the big windows while avoiding low night temps.  
Melba has grown too big for my little greenhouse, now filled with succulents and geraniums. I move her outside on the deck on warmer, sunny days and give it some water. The upside is that before long we'll be having the new blossoms for the next crop and the house will smell really good.  

Monday, December 15, 2014


 Nothing like a new hair style to pep one up, I always say...
I finally got Chase's groomer to step up to the shorter, more "Jack Russell" type haircut. She didn't want to do it as she favors the "Westie" look on him but we wanted a shorter, less fuzzy style.   
And who knew Chase had such large ears? Shorter means less frequent trips to the groomer and easier dog maintenance! Still cute!  

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Our "snowshoe" cat Izzy is doing way better thanks to meds and a pre-digested protein diet. We're relieved that she responded to the wonder drugs and the "prescription" diet. No more massive cat hair on us or the couch or bed. Lots better at both ends of the feline also. Our new vet, Dr. Glen Winters at Phoenix Animal Hospital has it figured! We're so glad we changed one who listened to us instead of one who ran his mouth too much and left us thinking..."whaaaa?" Izzy says a big "MEOW" to that!

Monday, December 1, 2014


 This is our pooch Chase who we adopted in 2010 from the Southern Oregon Humane Society's "Saving Train." Our local Humane Society has been taking pets that were due to be euthanized from other shelters all over the west, especially those in Southern California (Fresno, Tulare, Bakersfield). As of this year, our shelter has adopted out over 5000 dogs and cats from this effort into our community. That's a lot of saved pets, happy families and a lot of money spent on gas and aviation fuel (yes, some pilots have donated their time to fly in dogs from many western states to keep their trip short).  
 Here is Chase "behind bars" at the shelter when we first saw him. I took one look at those pleading eyes and said, "That's the dog!" (Jack reminds me of this frequently). So $250 and the boy dog fix later, we brought him home.
Chase and Izzy getting acquainted.

Chase doing his imitation of "The Little Match Girl" after his bath. 
Life with our "terror terrier" hasn't been easy at times...he has lots of phobias going back to his puppyhood and abandonment, but I've finally managed to get him to go for walks. He still cringes at loud noises and sometimes hunches down when cars go by but he is getting better about it and lobbies for a daily walk now. We're trying to take him in the car for rides...(not just when we're taking him to the groomer or vet). He still shakes for a while but then lays down in my lap. Maybe someday I'll get him to stick his nose out the car window...As Jack reminds me, it's "one step at a time!"  

Saturday, November 29, 2014


 The day after Thanksgiving (while some are out fighting the shopping crowds), I prefer to stay home, drink some Irish coffee with my honey and decorate. I usually start with the basket hanging outside the front door. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014


 I awoke with a start at 5 am today, realizing that I hadn't set out the Trader Joes Pumpkin Croissants to rise for 6-7 hours overnight as per the package directions. So I hopped out of bed, pulled the package out of the freezer and put the individual frozen hunks in the microwave to fool them into having been at least partly thawed. I just did about 40 seconds of nuke and they were sort of soft. I set them on parchment on a cookie sheet and went back to bed. 
 So this morning I stalled for some time to let them rise. Fixed Irish coffees to pass the time. I managed to give them 4 hours of thawing and rising before I popped them into the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Would they be as good as they looked on the box even though I didn't exactly follow the directions? Yes! Absolutely crisp, buttery and pumpkiny. Sometimes you just get lucky! I served them with a bowl of fruit (boreal blueberries, banana, local peaches from summer) and whipped cream. A great way to start the day!

Monday, November 24, 2014


After $225 spent on meds and blood tests, it appears that our Izzy may have Irritable Bowel Syndrome...I guess we'll call it Cat IBS for short. So I'm popping Prednisolone pills down her along with Metronidazole to slow down the gut. She also will be on a special diet of hydrolized protein kibble (she may have trouble assimilating proteins). Oye! We're hoping for some relief in the ahem department by tomorrow...I'm too old to pull all nighters, especially 2 in a row! Even typing this is a stretch!

Friday, November 21, 2014


This was Isabella at 8 weeks old when we first got her in 2003. I had ordered a "Siamese if you pleeze" cat from Chris' girlfriend's family who had bred their Siamese with another. Turns out she had more than one we got the non-Siamese kitty!  She became the "Drawing Board Cat" spending her days as near to Jack's desk or preferably on his desk when she wasn't outside buggering the hummingbirds. I finally had to quit putting out nectar for the hummers as she kept catching them and bringing them inside where they flew up into the skylights.  

You'll note the big paws...she is a polydactyl wonder, just on the front feet. 
Well, the thing is that she is getting older and seems to have a chronic problem with her gut. We're talking things that aren't fit for polite conversation, but here in my blog I feel that I can say most basically her poop is runny and it stinks to merry hell! We're talking evacuating the house kind of stink, opening all the windows, turning on the ceiling fan, spraying room deodorizer everywhere, lighting strong smelling candles......
 Looking back on her vet visits (at least one every year for the past 6 years for this...) we can see that she responds to the antibiotic (she's had several different ones). changes in food (you name it, I've tried it), but the problem reappears. After a course of meds, she seems her old self again...playing with Chase, jumping up everywhere, climbing the trees...but slowly the condition comes back and she gets lethargic and walking likes she is hurting (which she probably is). 
So we've decided to change vets...and hope that a new pair of eyes will sort out an answer to this situation. Updates as they become available.    

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Here are Jack and I around the old homestead where we're celebrating our 28th Wedding Anniversary tonite with a nice home-cooked meal...Seems like too much trouble to dress up, go into town and pay an exorbitant amount for prime rib and a glass of wine, when we can lounge in our sweats, cook a little prime rib from Safeway and drink some excellent New Clairvaux wine with it. Does that mean the "magic" has worn off??? No, just because Jack will start singing, "28 years with the wrong woman"...
 Oh and did I mention there is Trader Joe's French Vanilla ice cream with chocolate cake with fudge icing for desert? And we will dress up tomorrow for the monthly tea dance at the Ashland YMCA...
We figured we better live it up while we can...we're having a huge cluster of earthquakes here in Southern Oregon as of late, meaning the Earth's crust is stretching...they reckon the "big one" is gonna happen soon...when the Cascadian Subduction Zone lets go for a 9.+ lollapalozza. That would make for a memorable anniversary! Good times!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


 Our "original equipment" microwave...a lovely black fronted Korean job bit the dust. Seems that that brand (Samsung...the nameplate well hidden because even they didn't want to take credit for it) has a well documented problem with corrosion on the contacts of the control panel. (There is even a 2 hour tutorial on the internet about how to fix it sort of until the next time it craps out). Since this bugger is over a stove and gets continual moisture from what is cooking beneath it, it seemed like a good idea to find a better one. We were able to get the very model of Fridgidaire that matched our stove. An added bonus is that it is 100 times quieter that the old one! 
 A typical scene replayed upteen times during the day...Izzy awaiting "staff" to let her outside. We keep a water bowl outside on the deck and every cat knows that "outside water" is far better than that old "inside water!"
 Some of the Ashcraft farmhouse kerosene lamps grouped on the mantle. Jack remembers using these, as they didn't have electricity on the farm until the mid 1950's. Good times!
 Dance clothes put out on the bed in anticipation of dancing tonight to our favorite dance band...the 16 piece Southern Oregon Jazz Orchestra. Sometimes I actually wear the very clothes that I lay out.....
And of course your tour wouldn't be complete without a stop in the we have a gunked up Saab transmission recently brought up from California. Somebody poured some horrible gunk in it to "fix" it. This one had to go into the sheep dip tank at the machine shop for cleaning. Too bad that you can't smell the fish oil permeates the entire garage. Yes, the Swedes really used fish oil in transmissions.   

Friday, October 31, 2014


 I've collected some ceramic pumpkins over the last 20 years, since I no longer have gremlins to carve pumpkins. I still like to decorate, even if we don't get any trick or treaters...our driveway is too long, dark and scary! 
 I think that I picked this one up at Harry and David many years ago when they still had neat seasonal stuff in their store located here in Medford. A pumpkin candle adds some pumkiney smell.
 This year we've have over 5" of rain so far since Sept 1st. We're hoping it keeps up, even if it means soggy leaves all over the patio. Would you believe that I had this all cleaned off yesterday? It's going to be a soggy, cool Halloween night.
One of the culprits..mainly gold and orange leaves except on the very top...not enough cold nights to make all the leaves turn red. HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Maybe I'll whip up a nice pumpkin pie to surprise my big gremlin who is out in the shop finishing off another Saab transmission rebuild!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


 It was our first day trip in our new Honda Fit. A very nice autumn afternoon. We were traveling on Foothill Blvd, the road that folks use as a "beltline" around the congestion of Medford. And THERE THEY WERE! A large herd of Roosevelt Elk, about 2 miles from our home, munching their way across a prairie-like field. The main bull is towards the left of the can just make out his antlers. He spent much of his time chasing away the younger bull at the end of the herd on the far right. We were able to pull over and watch for several minutes, as did many folks who were as thrilled as us to see them. As you can see, they are nice and fat...much better looking than our deer population.
 Jack took country roads that skirted the Evans Valley where we came across a large flock of wild turkeys on both sides of the road. This bunch of young was making lots of noise trying to cross over to get nearer mom and dad. 
 We came into the tiny hamlet of Wimer (pronounced why-mur) with the accent on the first syllable. Anyway, their claim to fame is the newly rebuilt covered bridge.  
 So I jumped out and snapped a couple of shots of the new car with the new old bridge.
We ended the day at the local DQ...soft ice cream cones dipped in chocolate, thank you very much! 

Saturday, October 18, 2014


 Sometimes nature is very artistic. This is a shot looking down at my feet on the patio. A mix of maple leaves and brown cedar pieces makes an amazingly pretty mess. We had a good bit of wind on Thursday and Friday that brought all this stuff out of the trees...with lots more to come!


 Yes, Chris turns 40 this month! He and Susan motored up from Chico to visit the 'rents on the weekend. We celebrated with cupcakes and Trader Joe's pumpkin ice cream. Chris got a mini die grinder for his mini motorcycle work.  
 Then Mr. A surprised him with some hand painted discs for one of his motorcycles...the famous dragon motif.
After a breakfast of pumpkin waffles, they departed for home to ready for their Viking cruise on the Danube through Austria. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014


 It's that time of year when the Quaking Aspen really go for it up at Rocky Point (about 45 miles east of Medford on Hwy 140). 
 Quaking Aspen like the 5,000' elevation in the Cascades and the sight of huge groves of them in the sun is absolutely breath taking!
We try to get "up top" every fall when the weather cooperates. This was a good year for doing that as we haven't had a big storm yet to blow all the leaves off the trees and the daytime temps have been warm with cool nights in the 30's at Rocky Point. A good chance to enjoy our little Honda CRZ on a 114 mile round trip. Gets us "out of Dodge" for a morning, too.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


I get the desire this time of year (fall and again in the spring) to want to see out my windows. The build up of crud, water spots, spider webs and pollen/dust of summer make for some ugly window glass and screens. When I was working, I hired a guy to wash our windows for about $200 (we had 16' skylights and multi-pane French doors. I was glad not to have to do it myself! 
But nowadays, with only 12 windows in our little rancher and living on retirement income, we've had to do a lot of the "do it yourself" stuff. Luckily I watched how it was done. So I got the equipment, including the nifty washing head and the squeegee. I use's cheap and it works the best at cutting grease and grime. I use old towels for wiping down the sills and the squeegee. 
Jack kitted me out with an extension handle so I don't even have to use a ladder. It took about 4 hours to do them all, inside and out, along with the screens and our 3 mirrored closet sliders. 
This time I got smart and left off some of the screens for winter since we don't open those windows anyway. 
I swear it even makes the house smell better to get all that build up off the insides. And they look great!

Saturday, October 4, 2014


 This is a recipe from Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, as she calls her blog and TV show. The very FIRST THING you have to do here is plan ahead! You will need some almost cooked (I used boiled but you can used baked) potatoes that have been cooled (preferably overnite) and peeled for starters. In case you think you can outsmart Ree and use frozen hash browns, put that thought right out of your pretty little head, Miss Scarlett! They won't work. Trust me on this! The other thing you MUST HAVE is some cooking/baking spray...that Pam stuff. 
 Okay, so you have the potatoes grated and SEASONED. Since I use a jumbo muffin tin, I probably should have had one medium potato for each. I didn't have quite enough but I pressed on anyway. See, you want the potatoes to overfill the cupcake hole and flop over the edges. That way they look like nests. They do shrink up when baked. FIRST you liberally spray the holes with the cooking spray. Remember that you want to get these out of the pan in one piece! Then you put in the potato and LIGHTLY press it into the sides, making an indent.   
 Then spray on to the nested potatoes with cooking spray. I used a pre-heated 425 degree oven and they browned in about 15 minutes. Remove and let cool. You can see that the potatoes shrunk up. So I didn't let them cool because I was pressed for time. I cracked an egg into a custard cup and poured it into the potato nest. (I like to use extra large or jumbo eggs).  
 They are ready to go into the oven but here I added my own touch...some cubed cheese (everything's better with cheese, I always say). Grate some fresh pepper on top too. Into the oven for about 15 more minutes or until the whites are set. If you have done everything right, they'll come out of the tin easily with a large spoon
They do look nice on the plate with some seasonal fruit (Rogue Valley pears and handpicked grapes) and some bacon. I sprinkled on some grated jack cheese (I think pepper jack would be good for a bit of zing. And a glass of tangerine juice with some white wine goes well, too. Mr. A pronounced this recipe "a keeper!" I have found that most of Ree's recipes fall into that category! Yummm.  

Monday, September 29, 2014


 Got pots? Proof positive that I'll have to empty out a few more pots to have any space for other plants...the succulents are SUCCING UP all the shelf space!  
 I did manage to squeeze in one geranium at the back but I really need to downsize the succulent collection. I knew this but I kept hoping that they'd all fit. Well, not so much. By the end of October we'll be setting the heater (lower left corner) on about 52 degrees to keep everything happy. 
Sonia, the garden angel is squeezed into the opposite corner where she'll be nice and cozy for winter.