Monday, June 29, 2009

U-Pick Blueberries and Falcons

Yesterday our local paper had an article about a local man who grows blueberries and also uses Aplomado Falcons to patrol the fields and assist with bird abatement. I'm fascinated by falcons and raptors in general, so I talked CR into going out there today. The grower has a U-Pick area and I've never picked blueberries, I love to eat them like candy and it sounded like a whole lot of fun. So we arrived and they gave CR the harness to hold the bucket and free up his hands (we only got one bucket as we only wanted a couple of pounds) and they showed us how simple it is to pick the berries and away we went. We ended up with 2 and a qtr. pounds of blueberries. It was quick and easy and fun and I almost said - lets fill the bucket, but that's 6 pounds worth and we didn't need that much. So we'll go back next week for sure. Here's CR with our bucket waiting to be weighed and pay up (by the way the U-Pick are 3 bucks a pounds for certified organic blueberries, not a bad price).
Once we paid for our berries we went to the area that they house the falcons in. Aren't they beautiful birds (see picture below). They were weighing these birds and then feeding them fresh quail meat. According to the article from the paper, the falconers walk through the fields as the falcons fly over head, if pest birds aren't around then the falcons are given treats to keep them motivated. One bird can cover about 40 acres. The birds are kept at just the right hunger level to fly - too hungry and it will attack and eat the pest birds, too full and it isn't motivated to engage in a chase. Falconers are able to monitor the birds' hunger by weighing them. It's so interesting and so awesome for this farmer to share with us what he's doing and how it works and allow us to not only come pick the berries, but to see the falcons too.
A picture of the beautiful blueberry fields and all those luscious blueberries ready for picking.
A close up shot to make your mouth water................

It was a fun and unique experience. We'll be going back and I've sent an email to everyone I know in our area to go give it a try too. It's nice to not work on Monday's, I can't wait to be not working at all for a while, I might get to used to this and never work a fun job for quilting money again, well I shouldn't say that, I need quilting money, I need my stash!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Tidbits

I made the Rhubarb Cake yesterday with the warm Vanilla Sauce over it - can you say YUMMO. It was delicious and Cliff loved it. If you'd like the recipe, I'd be happy to email it to you, just leave a comment for me. Here is what the cake looked like.

Here's a picture of Cliff and Madison sitting on the new riding lawn mower. Cliff used it to mow the half acre in back of our garage that isn't much of anything but weeds and what used to take him 2 hours, now takes about 45 minutes, he was a very happy husband.
I've been in a ravenous reading mood of late, I tend to go in spurts where I'll read a buttload of books and then it changes and it'll take me forever to get through one book. Here's a few of the ones I've really enjoyed. They're fun and except for 2, quilt inspired reads, they're quick reads too, but very enjoyable. Ocean Waves, by Terri Thayer (she has a couple others that are fun reads as well), A Single Thread by Marie Bostwick - fabulous read!!, Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen by Sara Addison Allen - wow, I loved these two books and can't wait for another of hers to come out, they're fun reads and really different and I think she's a great author.

Also, Quilt as Desired and Quilters Knot by Arlene Sachitano.

Since it's getting close to the 4th of July, I put little flags in my flower pots today. The weather has been on the cool side, so it's taken my flowers some time to really take off and start growing.
Had to take a picture of my blue hydrangea, I love hydrangea's and this one is a particular favorite, I also have a pink one, but the blue is just so gorgeous.
One last view of the Manly Mowing Machine!! Parked in the 2000 sq foot garage which I lovingly refer to as CR's Big Dog House. The garage is bigger than our house, but then again it houses our vehicles, his shop area, our 5th wheel, has a bathroom, etc............It's a great thing to have and CR loves his big dog house, he's always out there putzing around and doing stuff, if it makes him happy, then it makes me happy.
And I'll leave you with a favorite quote by the late Erma Bombeck about the 4th of July:
"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Have you ever.................

Have you ever lost your mind in a series of books? I just did. I have to tell you I'm not even sure why, these books are for teens and about vampires for goodness sakes, and yet, I just totally lost a week to this set of 4 vampire books - go figure. Yep, it's the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyers and for some reason those books just hooked me and pulled me in. I'd seen the movie Twilight and it was an okay movie, interesting concept and all. But a few of my friends said - read the books. I said no way - they're for kids, I'd like to think my reading tastes are a bit more grown up than that. But they kept at me, so right before we went fishing last weekend I read the first book, it was good, so I read the second book, it was even better, okay I was just totally hooked into these books and heck I read one each day, so it wasn't heavy reading, until I got to the 4th book and that was a hard one for me. I guess I wasn't fond of the first part of it, maybe all of it, I could have skipped it, but I forced myself to read it and finally today I was able to get it done. Thank goodness, I have so many things to do. Have any of you read this series and if so did it hook you in? Did you like the last book in the series? If they make all the books into movies it should be interesting to see how close they can follow the other books, as they get more far fetched as they go.

So like I said we went fishing on the upper Yakima River last weekend. First time in over a year as I couldn't fish last year with my hip being so bad and getting ready for hip replacement and all. So even though my casting arm felt like it would fall off the following day and I only caught one fish that was of a respectable size, and it was windy as heck, it was a good day and fun to get back out there and fish. CR caught a Rainbow/Cutthroat hybrid about 17 inches, a very nice fish that was none to pleased to have been caught so it was hard to get a picture of him.

My boss asked me if I could not work on Mondays and since I don't work on Fridays, I'm only working 3 days a week now for 5 hours at a time, not bad, esp since I finally decided to resign on the 16th of July. I think it's time to spend more time with my husband and also try different things as far as part time fun jobs go. I only work for quilting money anyhow. I really need the time off from the daily grind to pursue fishing with CR, traveling a bit this summer, and getting some quilting done (and no more stupid vampire books). I'm finally realizing what the stress of the winter and CR's cancer did to me as well as my own recovery from hip replacement and well it's just time to slow it down a bit and smell the coffee.

For those of you who thought the Shaker Lemon pie was interesting - it was. I can't say that I liked it because of the texture from the lemon rind itself. Next time I wouldn't use the rind, I'd grate it for the zest, but not as it's originally called for. This weekend I'm making a Rhubarb Cake with a vanilla sauce, sounds interesting and I love rhubarb. I'll try to post a picture and be better at posting in general.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ohio Shaker Lemon Pie

While I was in Cannon Beach, Oregon with my friend Becky, my husband CR, went with some friends to a great restaurant about an hour east of where we live called Patit Creek. It's a 4 star French Restaurant that has been in business for 25 years and seats about 30 people, so reservations are a must. It is unpretentious and everything is made from scratch. The dinners are always fabulous and the desserts - well you can't pass them up, no matter how full you are. The evening CR went they had an interesting pie on the menu - Ohio Shaker Lemon Pie. Being the baker that I am, he told me all about it and quite honestly I'd never heard of it before. So I got online and found a recipe and a picture:

Doesn't it look delicious. But here is the odd part - you use the whole lemon - rind and all. Evidently the Shakers were not ones to waste anything, so they used to whole lemon.

Here is the recipe I'm using and it's baking right now:

2 lg. lemons sliced paper thin
2 cups of sugar

Let the sliced lemons and sugar sit, preferably overnight (stir once after the first hour)

Beat 4 eggs just before making the pie and stir/whip them into the lemons & sugar. You'll need enough pie crust for the bottom and upper crusts. Pour the mixture into the bottom crust, top with the upper crust and cut in steam vents. Brush the top crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees and then lower the temp to 375 and bake another 20 to 25 minutes or until a knife inserted into the pie comes out clean.

Mine just came out of the oven and lord is smells divine. I can't wait to try it out. It's pretty easy to make and I love lemon, so I sure hope it's as good as it sounds/smells.

Have a great weekend everyone. I'm off to get my friend Kelly and we're going to go fabric browsing, meanwhile CR is staying at home awaiting the delivery of his new riding lawn mower.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I'm Back......

The last couple of weeks have been really busy and no time for blogging. First we went up North, close to the Canadian border to Curlew Lake, near the small quaint little town of Republic, WA. The lake is a few miles out of town, but I love to visit the town because of a wonderful store -- The Outfitter. It's owned by a wonderful lady named Kathy. But has quite a history. You see Kathy's mom bought the store in 1957 when Kathy was in the 5th grade, when her mom was ready to retire, Kathy bought the store, in 1986 and has been running it ever since. The great thing about this small town store is that it has everything. It's what a department store years ago was. She sells hats, shoes, underwear, clothes, fabric, yarn, household items - really you name it and I think she has it. We're not talking designer wear, we're talking durable stuff that you'd wear on a farm which is good, because the area has a lot of farming and a lot of beautiful horses. When we are there, I always stop in for some great conversation and to purchase some fabric. Ladies from the community sell quilts and knitted and items there as well.

So we were at the lake for 4 days to fish and have fun with the kids and our grandson Ben. At the campground, we discovered an owl nesting - this is the baby:
This is either big daddy or big momma, don't know which, but it was keeping a close eye on the baby.
And this is the adorable Ben, driving the boat - he was very serious, but I was finally able to get a smile out of him for this great picture.


Once we came back home I had a couple of days to get the 5th wheel unpacked, laundry done, etc as my friend Becky arrived from Chicago on the 3rd of June. She had a conference to attend on the 4th, then on the 5th we headed out for the beach to have a few girlfriend days. On the way to the beach is Portland, so we stopped and did some power shopping and found some great sales. We ate at a favorite local restaurant of mine and CR's called Roses. They make the best reuben sandwiches you can eat and oy vey you should see their bakery items, it's hard not to drool. We arrived in Cannon beach about 6:30 that evening having left at 5:30am that morning since it's a 4 hour drive to the city and we wanted to be there when the stores opened. We didn't have the sunny weather we had hoped for, but it wasn't bad, mid-60's with spits of rain here and there. Since we're both menopausal and with the humidity, well we were out and about in shorts the whole time without any problem. There is an outlet mall in Seaside, so Becky found some more great sales at a couple stores. We also drove up to Astoria and milled around as well. It was a nice and relaxing trip. We also had this seagull who'd obviously been fed from our deck before. He'd stare into the room and then knock on the glass with his beak, it was too funny, we named him Larry.

Becky's plane just headed out this morning, so it's time to do some housekeeping and get a hair cut and color this afternoon. I'm off the rest of the week and perhaps I can get into my sewing room and do something constructive. The weather is in the mid-80's and very nice out, it's hard to be inside when it's so nice outside. However, I need to play catch up, so I guess I'll get busy. Next weekend we're off fishing, our first fly fishing trip this year and we can't wait.