Monday, January 29, 2007

My Favorite Dog Comes To Visit

This is Miss Kate; Katie to her best friends. Katie is a border collie. She and her owner, Doug, are coming for a visit sometime in the next week. He's up on the Oregon coast right now taking pictures of fishermen, their boats and their catches. It may take him a while to get here because he gets caught up in taking pictures and then doesn't travel very far each day. Katie visits every year in late summer when Doug goes to "Burning Man." He's a nomad who has been traveling around the country in his truck camper for several years now. He has a satellite for internet and tv connection.

Not much new here. We continue to be without rain. Looks like the entire month of January will be dry. This isn't good for California for lots of reasons. I watered yesterday. This is not supposed to be watering season.

The other big news is that we got a treadmill. We went to Reno on Saturday to pick it up from a friend of the guy in Mammoth Lakes who sold it to us. Mammoth Lakes is a long drive from Lincoln so it was great that the owner brought it to Reno. Kerry found it on Craig's List. We are the new temporary owner. All sports equipment has temporary owners. I did 30 minutes on it last night at a pretty good pace while listening to a book on tape. Not bad.

Getting ready for our Super Bowl party this Sunday. I'm not a fan but I do like to throw parties and people come every year. Einar is bringing his chocolate martinis again. I've started making some special nuts. They are from a recipe I found on a blog called Yesterday I made the lemon/pepper/sugar cashews. Just cook the raw cashews in a lot of sugar until the sugar melts and the nuts are covered with it, then stir in the zest of one lemon and a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. They are very tasty. I'm going to make the jasmine tea/glazed ginger/sugar almonds today. They will keep until Sunday. My goal this year is to have tasty treats that are also healthy. The final nut recipe is chili/chai/sugar walnuts. Walnuts are one of the twelve best foods for you. That's all for now.
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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Today Is My Birthday

Updated: Actually I'm not a year older yet. I was born at 8:20 CST (Minneapolis) so technically I don't get a year older until then, which is 6:20 PST. No need to dwell on the number of years I've lived, but suffice to say I have tried to live them to the fullest and I think I've succeeded.

I have a wonderful son who is in Baltimore right now auditioning for a trumpet position with the symphony there (He didn't get the job: bummer). Kerry, the wonderful man in my life, just left for his aerobics and yoga classes. He's taking me to a Vietnamese restaurant tonight for dinner. I've already gotten greetings from my brother in Evergreen, Colorado; my nephew, his wife and son in Minneapolis; my cousin Greg and his family in Minneapolis and my cousin in Naples, Florida. We are a spread out group. And the DHL delivery person was just here with a gift from my brother. It's the latest Harry Potter book on CD. There are 17 CDs so that will keep me happy for quite a while. I love listening to books when I drive.

And messages from friends are coming in too. I'm having lunch tomorrow with a friend I have known since kindergarten.

So getting a year older is a wonderful opportunity to think about all my family and friends and reflect on how loved I am by all of them.

New topic: I've decided to add an oriole and a bluebird feeder to my collection of feeder stations. Both birds live around here so hopefully they will come when I put out treats for them. The orange feeder below is for orioles and the other one is for bluebirds. I won't, however, be added orange coloring to the sugar water they like. The bluebirds like mealy worms. I'm off to the bird store today. The best one is an hour away but it's a beautiful drive.
For those of you still covered in snow, I spotted the first blooming bulb today. It's not in my yard but it still counts as the first one of the year. Nice of it to show up on my birthday.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Game Night

We've joined a game night group in Lincoln. It's just four couples who get together once a month to play a game and eat good food. Everyone brings something to share. We played Scattergories at Jan and Doug's house last Saturday. I had forgotten how much fun games can be. They certainly are icebreakers. Kerry and I knew the host and hostess but not the other folks. We quickly got to know the other couples as we laughed and teased each other about the game and our answers.
Scattergories is a word game of categories where all your answers have to begin with the same letter. For instance, you roll the big twenty-sided die and it comes up with "R." Then fill in a word beginning with the letter "R" for each of the 12 categories like: An ice cream flavor. A president. A thing you find in the refrigerator. And so on until the buzzer sounds after 3 minutes. Your answers might be Rocky Road, Ronald Reagan, and raspberries. Compare your answers to the group's. Duplications score nothing, but original answers will get you a point.
The host couple determine which game to play. Kerry and I have already begun to think about which game we will have when we host.
I love puzzles, especially crossword and jigsaw puzzles. Lots of crossword puzzles on line, but I've only found one good jigsaw puzzle site: The AARP web site has a jigsaw puzzle but it's pretty simple. Oh, and I hate sudoku. Can't do it to save my life. My brain just doesn't work that way.
Anybody know of any others?

Monday, January 15, 2007

This and That

Pretty quiet weekend, which was wonderful. It's Kerry's last one before school starts so he's busy doing stuff around the property. It's still really cold. Our upper pond has been frozen for three days and this morning the lower one was about one-third iced over. We are hoping that the freeze in the upper pond will kill the parrot feather. It generally grows in aquariums but someone many years ago dumped their aquarium, plants and all, into the irrigation ditch. We are at the end of the ditch so we get lots of things we don't necessarily want. Parrot feather is nearly impossible to kill. Here's a picture of it. It slowly eats up your pond until all you have left are these green things.

Went to see "The Queen" last night. Great movie. Helen Mirren is wonderfully stoic as Elizabeth II. It's takes place around the time when Princess Diana died. It shows how the royal family behaved or rather misbehaved badly in dealing with her death. Well worth seeing. There is a new biography out on QEII which I've ordered from the library. She became queen when she was only 27 and now she is 80. Her husband, Prince Phillip, comes across as especially obnoxious.

I'm struggling with slugs in my raised flower bed, particularly where the ranunculus are starting to come up. The tender little shoots get eaten before they can emerge from the ground. The nursery today had some copper tape that they said would get rid of them. I rigged up an area around the ranunculus where I could put the adhesive copper tape. If it weren't so damn cold at night I'd go out and pour salt on the little buggers. We don't seem to get snails. We just get slugs. Apparently they get a mild electric shock when their slime touches the copper. I hope I find lots of dazed slugs in the morning. I can't use the snail poison. We have too many cats roaming around here at night. We already killed a possum with rat poison.

We had 55 Canada geese and one Grebe on the lower pond today. Grebes are small and the geese are huge. They were actually bullying the poor little thing. They kept trying to take away the fish he had in his beak. They don't even eat fish. Here's a picture of the Grebe (stolen from Google). For some reason it got posted first. Go figure. That's all for now.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A Wonderful Surprise From A Wonderful Man

 Kerry once again surprised me in the way he delivered my birthday present. I picked him up at the bank in town and was giving him a ride home. His truck was being serviced at Big O. He came around to my side of the car and said, let's go down the street to our favorite jeweler; he's open today. Then he said, it's time to get your birthday present. My birthday isn't until Jan. 24th. We went to the shop. The jeweler announced he was closing up shop in two weeks and everything in the store was 70% off. The first ring he showed me was a plain band with three large Debeers diamonds. The original price was $10,000 but with 70% off it would cost a mere $3,200. Kerry gulped and I said, let's keep looking. I tried on the ring pictured here and fell in love with it. The price was right so we took it home. It's 14kwG with 4 diamonds; the large stone is blue zircon. It's not that man-made stuff zirconia, but is actually a gemstone on its own. Anyway, I love it and I love Kerry. This is my third piece of jewelry from the same store. It's very nice to be loved Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Visit From A River Otter

 This photo was taken by Thomas Roach. He lives in the Lincoln area and is very good at taking photos of all kinds of critters. On the day he took this photo of a river otter at Ferrari Pond, we also had a river otter in our lower pond. They are just as cute as the sea otters; they just travel around rivers, lakes and creeks eating whatever they find swimming with them. Kerry tried to get a photo of one but they are so quick and we don't have a place for them to get out of the water. So when I got Tom's photo I asked him if I could put it on my blog as long as I gave him credit. He said yes. This is the third time we've seen them on the property. I've never seen them enter the pond or leave it, but I know they do. The one on our pond did not make our Grebe very happy. He/she hangs out on the lower pond most of the day and sleeps, eats and bathes. As soon as the otter showed up he/she fled. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Still On The Trail Of Good Food

 This is the second Ruth Reichl book that I'm reading. The first few chapters had me thinking about an herb garden. The secret to wonderful food is the freshness of the ingredients. This book starts out with a trip to Chez Panisse, one of the finest restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. Alice Waters, founder and chef, really believes in ingredients grown by people who care about what they grow. She really led others down the path of good food grown on small farms where animals and food get to do what they do best: grow without artificial enhancements.

Unfortunately my raised-bed vegetable garden was invaded last summer by Bermuda Grass. You can kill it with Round-Up, but that would be introducing herbicides into our diet. So I will spend the next several weeks rooting this stuff out. I will, however, pour Round-Up on the Bermuda Grass that has enveloped our Honeysuckle and rose bushes. We don't eat them.

Last night we had spaghetti carbonara, which is amazingly simple to make. Restaurants often add cream for the sauce; Ruth Reichl taught me not to do that. Just put two eggs in the pasta bowl, beat them vigorously, add ground pepper and then had the cooked pasta. Toss it briskly. The egg cooks while you toss it with the hot pasta. Pour the bacon and its fat over the pasta (I didn't say that this was on the Pritikin Diet), mix thorougly and add parmesan cheese. There were also two cloves of garlic in with the bacon. They got all mushy which was wonderful. Yummy. We are having leftovers tonight. Drink red wine with the pasta to overcome the bacon and its grease.

Enuf on food; it's dinner time. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Meet Carina Michelle

 Francesca is the young woman who cleans for us every two weeks. We've been following her pregnancy and now have the result, a beautiful little girl who is two weeks old in this picture. I'll take grandchildren any way I can get them. I got to hold her today. Francesca and her family are going through the 12-year process to become citizens. They don't make it easy. For this family I wish it was shorter. She has not seen her mother in five years. This little baby, however, is a U.S. citizen. I love babies. Posted by Picasa