She’s Home!!

What a fantastic 4 days! Our baby girl got to come home and what a joy that was.

So the back story is, long ago in 1989 Derek and I…fast forward to November and it’s a girl! And what a beautiful and smart girl she was and still is. We decided to raise her to be strong, independent, compassionate and we kick ourselves everyday because of it. (I am joking of course…or at least some).

When it came time for college she moved to San Francisco, 590 miles away! AWAY! We thought our hearts would break. But, they didn’t and lucky for us we got see her 4 times a year so it was great. The third year of college she decides to study abroad, in Spain. This time she’s over 5,800 miles AWAY! I’m sensing something, but not sure yet… She meets a young man and falls in love. She comes home a year later and finishes up her studies and graduates with honors galore and is still in love with Joakim. Guess what?!?! No she didn’t get married, or bring a bambino home. She decides to study for her Master’s Degree. Awesome yes? Yes…but she goes away. To Sweden! (stupid boys – sorry Joakim I do adore you) So for the next 4 years our baby girl will be working, studying and living in Sweden. The good news is she’s 800 miles closer than when she was in Spain.

But last week she and Joakim came back to the states for a whirlwind trip. They stayed with my folks for a week so she could see her family and friends down in California. Then went to San Francisco to see friends there and drove up to Oregon to finally see where we moved to. So we took them around all over and showed them a small slice of our neck of the woods. Below are just a few pictures we all took. Click an image to make it bigger and read the description. Those of you with lives, carry on.

#McMenamins #Oregon #Beer

Water is a commodity…don’t just pour it down the drain.

I do believe we are going into yet another drought situation and this may be one of the worst ones yet. If everyone just did a couple of things, massive amounts of water could be saved! I am amazed at how much water is wasted. Pick up a broom instead of hosing things down, if you drop an ice cube, don’t toss it in the sink put it in a house plant. Most families are wasting over 200+ gallons a DAY! Folks water is a commodity. I do believe the only way to stop wasteful use is to  give families a certain allotment for need and anything over that charge double or triple. Otherwise people will still just flush it down the drain.

Conserving is a lot easier than you think! And the added benefit is money in your pocket. Click the water picture below and please start saving right away.

Precious Commodity

Precious Commodity

Freezer Diving…What’s for Dinner?

So we’ve all done it. Dug back in the deep recesses of our freezers to pull out something for dinner. And then once thawed only to discover it was not even close to what you thought it was.

My fopaux was pulling out what I thought were chicken wings, only to discover it was a chicken bones I had saved to make a stock.  Needless to say we went out for pizza that night.

I am an active member of the Cuisine at Home forums and have had the pleasure of meeting many of the members and forming friendships that will last a lifetime. About every 3 months or so we do a “Mystery Box” dinner. Those who want to participate add an item to the virtual box if they so choose, or you can just sit back and see everything that is added. Then it’s off to your local store to pick up the ingredients. This is such a fun event for us.

This got me thinking back to the chicken bone/wings fiasco. So I came up with a new Mystery Box Challenge – Freezer Diving. We are putting together the ultimate Mystery Box dinner and I would love for each of you to sign up on the FB Page here. Or comment here on this blog. You go to your freezer, grab something you have no clue what it is, thaw it and turn it into something delicious and beautiful.

Up to the challenge?

First day of school and no detention!

Well today I officially started my classes towards becoming a Master Gardener.

My Trainee Badge

My Trainee Badge

I use that term loosely as I think it will be years before I could remotely say I’m a Master Gardener.

Class starts promptly at 9am with a lecture on basic botany. I had 2 concerns, one that I have zero knowledge on botany, or anything relating to science and figured this part of the class was going to be very boring and confusing. And two, that I was sitting in the very first row of the class and would be caught sleeping. Because seriously the discussion of cell structure, xylem, phloem and what tap roots do couldn’t be that exciting…right?

Well I was wrong! Our instructor, John Punches, made botany come alive! (Ok so when I wrote that I didn’t mean the pun, but that sure worked out nicely) My head is swimming with questions, which (and this one is on purpose) propagate more questions. It also gave me a much better understanding of why plants do what they do. I can only imagine how much I would know if I had a master’s degree in botany considering how much I learned today.

We also went over climate vs. weather, current weather trending and how something as simple as 2 foot drop can make a huge difference in how a crop will grow.

All in all a very interesting day! I look forward to our “lab” work which takes us out to orchards, greenhouses, micro gardens and xeriscaping.

If all goes well I might actually be able to keep my silk plants alive after this!

Goodbye 2013!

You have given me so much! I got to spend with time with friends from Cuisine at Home.

I learned how to take everyday items and recycle them into things I could use. Thank you for the 2013 discovery of Pinterest.

We were adopted by a cat, that I don’t own, but Derek adores. (who is kind of cute, but don’t you DARE tell him I said that!)

While we got our trailer at the end of 2012, we fell in love with camping in 2013. The open road is magical.

I got to truly enjoy canning and preserving foods that I grew.

We learned that a side of beef is a LOT of meat! Hail red meat and Burger Project it provided.

Derek learned to play the banjo and I found my old guitar. I’m still learning.

I got a library card! Most awesome thing to download books for free.

My blog won the Versatile blogger award!

We built a green house, here’s hoping 2014 I learn how to utilize it.

I hand fed a cow. Might not sound like much but I found amusing and extremely interesting. They drool a LOT over pears.

Enjoyed a plethora if wild life including a few new species we hadn’t seen before – skunks, nutria, fox and assorted birds likes geese, ducks, hawks and falcons.

Down side – truck engine blew and had to replace an entire engine.

Thank you 2013 hate to see you go, but I know 2014 is gonna be a whirlwind starting with my baby girl coming back home for a few days. WooHoo!