Monday, March 30, 2009

Going with it

Every morning I wake up to new snow.

By afternoon the clouds are clearing and the snow has melted.  

This is the flow in the Northwest.  After almost 9 years I still haven't learned to surrender and just go with it.  Many Californians can't take it and leave.  Long, cold, dark winters and then this.  It is not supposed to snow in spring.  However, I am coming to realize that snow in spring is not a negative.  By watching the natural inhabitants, I'm catching on.

Snow does not make the birds sad.  They are active and cheerful no matter what the weather. They seem to like snow, maybe because they appreciate all the moisture it brings.  Moisture in any form - snow, hail, or rain, is welcome.  It brings life.

A Robin looking for morsels in the leaf litter.

A Pileated Woodpecker found the suet.

Finches (undoctored photo) found the other feeder.

And a Nuthatch (doctored photo).

It may be a bit early to start seeds outside, but indoors the flowers sprouted in only a couple of days.  The grow light works wonders.
It's 33 degrees, sun breaking out of the clouds, at 9:00 am.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Dori posted a recipe for her favorite cookies and asked for others to join in.  So here's a recipe for wheat-free chocolate chip cookies that actually aren't half bad.  It's adapted from a recipe in Rebecca Reilly's book Gluten-Free Baking.  Bob's Red Mill makes the flours.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch or oat flour or almond flour or whatever else is around
Rebecca also adds 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum, but I haven't got any (it costs a fortune), and the cookies are a bit crumbly and fragile as a result, but still yummy.
2 (yes, two) sticks of butter at room temp
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg 
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts (if you like) chopped

Mix the dry ingredients.  Cream butter, add sugars and beat till fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla and mix well.  Stir in dry ingredients slowly, follow with the chocolate chips and nuts.  Form dough with two spoons into the size you desire and space 2 inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Carefully transfer cookies to a rack and cool. Get a big glass of milk (or soy milk) and dig in!

Rebecca's book is full of treats, like Sour Cream Coffee Cake, which I made last week, and it was YUM.  Gluten-free does not mean deprivation anymore.  It's all pleasure, no bloat! 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Living in the Moment

We had a great weekend, there were no commitments so we got to spend time together doing whatever we wanted.  On Saturday we shopped at the bead store for The Good Medicine Project, and got ice cream at Zips.  Then we had green beans and won tons at Noodle Express. We managed to squeeze in all the four food groups: Cream, sugar, fried food, and dipping sauce.

Slammy read The Art of Hand Reading, by Lori Reid, in the car.  It's an excellent book on palmistry with many illustrations and photos. 

On Sunday we got crafty and I drug out the sewing machine, which didn't die, thankfully, until I had finished mending Slammy's gypsy skirt and making a medicine bag.  I pity the kid who gets my bag.  Oh well, it's the thought that counts.  Slammy and I went for a chilly walk (Rusty declined) and collected rocks to make into pets.  She painted one of them, but seemed more interested in painting her hands. It's nice to know that she hasn't changed in that respect.  
Jr. and J worked on the Datsun.

I just went out and checked for daffodils, not a sign of them.  It's 30 degrees and there's a chill wind blowing.  The birds are absent, hunkered down in their nests.  

The receding snow is exposing many bent and broken trees.  The little Japanese Maple is thrashed.  Pretty soon it will be time to do some pruning, when it's a lot warmer.

The butterfly weed has come up.

These cedar nest boxes are $5 each (bargain!) at The ID Department of Fish and Game.  

Also this weekend, the WBH (World's Best Husband) put these up and cleaned out the third. Rusty can't get to the ones on the garage, because it has metal sides.  The one on the tree he may be able to climb to, if he discovers it.  However, I plan to keep him inside most of the time and arm myself with a squirt bottle on his supervised outdoor excursions, (a likely story).  I had a dream last night that we had a pet lion.  Hmm, I wonder who that could've symbolized. 

What can I say, it was on clearance...
If we keep the beast inside, he's got to have entertainment.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Good Clean Fun

I've been saving all these netted bags for some purpose, I didn't know what.  They look like the kind of thing that would end up in the ocean and entangle animals.  So today I got a suet cake for the woodpeckers and discovered that my feeder was all black and gungy.  Not a keeper, since it was made with wood.  I've read that people put hunks of suet in these net bags, so I decided to use one for the block, and then I got carried away and made ones full of thistle seed and sunflower mix.  I knew I'd find a good use for these bags!  I think they may stay cleaner and clean up better than regular bird feeders too, we'll have to see.  It's possible that the birds will rip them to shreds and choke and die on the plastic.  But since it's OTGF, I won't ponder on that.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

You know what tomorrow is...

Rusty and I can't believe how much snow is still here.  His paws have disappeared!  But spring is coming.

Look who showed up!

Female Western Bluebird...
and male.

I was just lamenting to Janeywan that it's hard to take pictures of birds, because they run away as soon as they see me with the camera, like it's a gun or maybe a soul stealer.  So I had to be stealthy and take these from afar, behind some trees.  Just yesterday, the Western Bluebirds, Juncos, Robins and Finches all returned here together.  They must travel in a group.  I'm really happy to see them again.  The air is filled with bird song!

Just now the bluebird was attacking my bedroom window, I think he sees his reflection in it.  Isn't there a story or song about a bluebird at my window?

The willows have buds.
Ahhh mud.  You know it's spring when there's mud.
It's 50 degrees! and cloudy at 3:00 pm.

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's All in the Hands

I recently found my long lost bff, and was pleased as punch to learn that she is a palm reader now. She's just read Slammy's hands (we made prints of them) and today I sent off mine to be read. Considering that she's never met Slammy, her analysis is eerily accurate, and full of insight and useful information. It's amazing what secrets your hands hold. And Karla has quite a gift for interpreting them. I'm looking forward to seeing how mine turns out, though my short life line does give me pause, and makes me a little wary. Fortunately, Karla focuses on the positive, and solutions, not problems! Maybe she will tell me that it's imperative I move to Hawaii immediately, or my health is at risk, and I'll just have to agree with her and follow her advice. Wouldn't that be a shame.

If you want to give it a go, visit her website, I highly recommend it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

All About Me

Hello, my name is Rusty.  This is my story.

Me, in my younger days.  Don't say anything about my ears.

My first friend, Silver.  She just up and disappeared one day...

Other friends I've had over the years:

Chickies, mouthwatering...


Kiki, she disappeared one day, just like Silver.


Pyewacket, cute little fella, don't know where he went either...

Now it's just me, and the humans.

It can be lonely at times.

But the peace and quiet is pretty nice.

And I have the laps all to myself.

Having the human's undivided attention has its pitfalls though.  Baths!  After scratching them to smithereens they're sorry for doing this to me.

Winter is boring.  I spend my days climbing onto the roof, trying to get into an upstairs window...

I wander the roof, until I find a window with a human behind it, and then I meow incessantly and claw at the window.
This time I saw one at a window I can't get to.  I didn't know what to do!

Then, I made the mistake of looking down.  Whooooaaaa...

But mostly in winter, I just sleep.

Sometimes on the dryer.

Sometimes by the fire, as close as I can get.

This is my "don't mess with me" pose.

I really prefer spring and summer, when I can go out for my morning nibble of grass...

...hunt for pesky varmints in the garden....

...and beyond...

...and of course, engage in one of my favorite pastimes, birdwatching.

Don't worry, I just watch, mostly.  They put this stupid bell on me and it doesn't scare the birds, but it throws me off my game.

Well, that's my life.  It's pretty rough.  In my next life I'm going to be a sloth.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Good Friday the 13th

On This Eclectic Life, learn about Only the Good Fridays and then you will know why I'm calling this Friday the 13th a good friday.

Fridays are always good because it is the end of the work and school week and we will soon be enjoying some free time, and an extra wink of sleep.  This weekend we are going to watch a concert, where Jr. will be playing in a saxophone quartet.  I heard them practice once, and it was beautiful; I love quartets.

The sun is shining!  That is very good.

I'm reading a good book, A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle.
This is a very relaxing book, and one I need to memorize so that I can stop being a jerk, (oops, I hope that wasn't too negative).  Or maybe I can just remember this:  We are all one.

It's true that the more open you are to others, the more joy you will experience.  I have been witnessing this myself when I'm out and about.  Normally I tend to ignore strangers. But I've been paying more attention for a few days, trying to live in the present.  On Wednesday, a woman in a parking lot made my day.  She was voicing everything about the frigid weather that we're all feeling, saying she had to park way out from the store, away from the ice so she didn't break a hip, and that the cold was probably going to last into July and she'd have to cancel her vacation plans!  She cracked me up and I appreciated her diatribe, even though it was essentially negative.  Everyone is talking about spring out there, and everyone is anxious for it.  We're simple creatures, awaiting the return of the sun and life.

And here it is...It's...Alive!  

The Thyme and Lavender, growing right under the snow.
It's 18 degrees and sunny at 9:45 am.