Saturday, Sept 6
We managed to get this blog out (almost midnight) last week, after spending much of the day on it, while John did outside chores. This week it will not likely happen.
Sunday, Sept 7
I worked on finalizing a special piece of music to take as a potluck special tonight at our music group’s potluck (The Green, Green Grass of Home). John put a pork loin roast (about 9 #) into the oven to take as part of our contribution. He then went outside to find a shady place to work. I helped him cut plums (two types of our homegrown ones) to make a pan of Roasted Plums to take for accompanying the cut pork pieces to be placed individually on plates. I also took a serving dish of pear and cherry tomatoes.
Here is the plum recipe: Preheat oven to 425°. This is for 1.5# of plums. Layer sliced plums in a baking dish. Sprinkle them with a spicy combo (1 tsp each of cinnamon ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, with 1/3 cup brown sugar. Drizzle 1/3 cup lemon juice (concentrate) on top. Toss gently. Cover w/foil, bake 20 minutes. (We actually had 3 times that amount, used a lower temperature, and more minutes).
We had a lot of food and 17 people eating, with 11 musicians jamming afterwards for a couple hours. We brought home leftovers of our pork and plum sauce and froze some.
Monday, Sept 8
Home today; working on various projects. John cut a 15 year old volunteer cherry tree down – such things usually do not have nice fruit, and this was no exception. He cut 3 rounds for setting hot frying pans on and cut the smaller end into firewood length. The rest, about 5 feet, is going to a friend that likes to make inlaid game boards using different woods. Cherry is lighter colored than many other woods and will work for projects of this type. We will deliver the cherry wood in the morning at the Emeritus Geography Professors meeting at the Copper Kettle that starts early this week at 9:00 a.m. John will have blood samples taken shortly after 8 AM, having fasted for 12 hours. Then, he gets to eat – I have coupons for egg/cheese/sausage biscuits. It will be tight. Then we have only two stops before home, but then I have to go back to town for a music thing in the early evening. I will combine that with picking up my free birthday dinner to bring home to share with John for supper. It has to be used before the end of the month, so I must hurry, and only once/month do I go to Ellensburg after 4:00 p.m. (the time after which one can request the dish described below). I was able to pick up 2 dozen donuts for only $3.98 before music at 6:30. They mark down the day’s donuts at 6:00 from the ones that were fresh in the glass counter in the morning. Tonight’s dinner is shown below with leftover pork loin roast, our tomatoes and corn, and our friend’s peaches.
Tuesday, Sept 9
We made it to the hospital for a fasting blood draw for John with a detour several miles out of our way. A moving van was across Wilson Creek Rd, completely blocking both lanes of traffic (he was trying to back into a long rural driveway from a confined space on the 2-lane road). We turned off at a nearby E-W road and went east 1.5 mi. to our own road (where we should have been earlier). We had a wait at the lab w/ 3 folks ahead of John. Then off to Carl’s JR for their sausage/egg/cheese biscuits. By 9:06 we made it to our meeting of retired geographers at the Copper Kettle, with another delay caused by a tractor trailer truck in the drive we need to access to a parking spot. This started as a bad trailer day. After our 2-hour meeting, we delivered the cherry wood. From there to Grocery Outlet for cat food, of which they had none! We bought a couple cans of dog food for our oldest dog, and a Marie Callender’s cherry-almond pie. We had to run a check by the dentist’s office, so we took a box of Early Girl tomatoes to Mark and the staff. Tomorrow I have to deliver more along with some yellow squash.
The rest of our afternoon was spent on projects, until I left for town for another event, but first a stop at Super One, hoping for 2 dozen lower-priced donuts for John to carry along to share with the 16 workers at the trailhead tomorrow morning. I also bought him some nice London broil roast for his sandwich for lunch. We already had Jarlsberg cheese to add. On to Hearthstone for music. I met two friends there and gave them some tomatoes and a just harvested Acorn squash. Left there to go by the Palace Cafe’ to pick up my free birthday dinner, Chicken Alfredo Fettuccine. Their version has tiny mushrooms and thinly sliced zucchini with a decent amount of chicken pieces in a large serving, enough for two. John fried some large mushrooms, sliced, and we added them to the dish. We thought afterwards that we could have spiced it up with pineapple and cashews. Oh well, it was a nice dinner and we even have some leftovers for tomorrow night. It was good getting it gifted and still being able to bring it home and fancy it up some. I know that is not what they wish to happen so I give the waitress a nice tip.
Wednesday, Sept 10
John left at 7:00 a.m. for the Franklin Falls trail – a 70-minute trip. Action starts at 8:30 but early arrivals get to visit (with donuts) – often the assistant crew leaders (ACLs) are apart on the trail and can’t share much info then. I spent 1/2 hour trying to update my SiriusXM Satellite subscription to cancel at the current automatic renewal price of $185.50, for the year. I finally spoke with a gal in the Philippines, and after a lot of hassles, I convinced her I was unwilling to pay the price quoted, for listening only to one station (Bluegrass). From that point, she offered me lower prices, first for $113.13 for a year. I still said no, and she gave me the last available price to keep me on, at 6 months, for $26.06 (includes fees). I knew I could get a coupon from the web for that same offer, but figured I would go ahead and accept from her, and be done with it.
The only hang-up is at 6 months from now (3/10/15) I have to cancel or it will automatically continue for only 3 months at $38.66. I have written myself notes all over to argue again for the coupon rate at that time. If that doesn’t work, then I will cancel and go the other route. By charging me $38.66 every 3 months, the yearly fee is $154.64, which is still better than the $185.50 they wanted me to pay next week. However, if I can keep getting it every 6 months for under $30, I’m happy. Someone that spends a lot of time driving could likely justify the higher fee.
Thursday, Sept 11
Went to Rehab for providing music (today, two of us, the banjo player and I, even stood, played, and waltzed around (individually) as a partner to a sweet old lady with a walker, who also mouths the words as she moves in front of us) – some day I must get someone to video her. She also flirts with the guys in our group, one in particular, who flirts back and who, at the end, tells her he loves her. The residents and staff all love her and applaud each time she gets up. She must have danced 6 songs today. On by Royal Vista for visiting, and continued with all sorts of things to do at home. The most interesting was coming home to find that John had picked a full large wheelbarrow full of squash (Acorn and Butternut).
According to internet garden sites, winter squash do not keep, if frosted, and our forecast was for 34 degrees on Friday morning. The plants had mostly stopped growing and ripening the darn things anyway. Some of the Butternut are still slightly greenish – the one at the top center is one such. They are okay to eat, and we did have one, but long storage is not going to happen – they say. We’ll see. Where the Acorn squash touch the ground they turn orange when ripe. A few were hanging off the ground and so have only green skins – still ripe though. John thinks it odd that folks say to try to pierce the skin with a finger nail to see if it is ripe. If you can, it is not ripe. Then they tell you to try not to scrape or damage the skin because that causes more rapid deterioration during storage. They must have gotten their gardening certificate out of a Cracker Jack box!
The other thing we did today was John cleared a space in the garage to set up his shelves, on which he put all the squash. While cleaning he found some missing items from our past I need to give away. One is a 1986 Norelco Coffee Maker. We never brew coffee anymore, and likely only used this couple times when we had guests for a dinner, long ago. Also found 4 macramé flower pot hangers I must have picked up in a yard sale. Neither one of us has any recollection of them. I had promised one I thought I had that my mom made, with a green ceramic base, to a gal here in town. However, I have never been able to locate it, and still haven’t. Meanwhile, I shall offer her these, for her high-ceilinged house.
Friday, Sept 12
I had planned to get up in the morning and cut John’s hair, but we never made time for it. Instead, I spent time cleaning my car to drive friends over to our favorite winery and vineyard to visit the Chef’s Extravaganza in Trinidad, WA (name comes from a fraudulent land scheme many years ago), a very beautiful spot on a hill overlooking the Columbia River hemmed in by sheer basalt cliffs. There is a recreation area called Crescent bar with condos, houses, golf, and (usually) access to water sports. This year the local economy has been severely affected by the lowering of the water at the Wanapum dam after a crack was found in the structure. All docks north of the dam, particularly at Vantage and north on the Columbia to the next dam (Rock Island) have been left high and dry, with no access for recreationists. There are acres of exposed sediment and as we crossed the I-90 Vantage bridge we looked down on a massive growth of lovely Purple Loosestrife – an invasive plant classed as a noxious weed in the Great State of Washington.
We left the house about 3:15 to go to town to the Feed Store for Ebony’s Equine Senior, and on to pick up our friends. I drove. I can only have small tastes of wine with food, because of heart meds (blood thinner), so become the “designated” driver for such affairs. We arrived about 5:15, and, being early, could drive to the back of the winery where there is a small grassy amphitheater – our friend (Joanie) we took along has knee issues from surgery on both in 5 months. We were there in time for a nice visit, taking pictures of each other, meeting folks, and watching the 3 chefs prepare all sorts of stuff from local products of the Quincy Basin.
Let me give you a small introduction to the annual event, which coincides with Farmer Consumer Awareness Day Weekend in Quincy, WA, during the first part of September each year. White Heron has provided the chef’s extravaganza evening for quite a few years. Much work gathering the ingredients happens by Cameron Fries the 3 days prior to the event. He goes around the basin taking donations of foodstuffs from local farmers. When the chefs arrive, they find piles of local goodies.
They sort through and make various creations. Cameron (the viticulturist, enologist, and owner of White Heron Cellars and Mariposa Vineyard) soaks the dried beans so they can be cooked that evening. That’s the only preparation preceding the evening.
We had Rainbow Trout (from a farm in the basin), prepared 3 different ways by the 3 chefs. One was baked (w/ tomato, onion, peppers), another breaded and fried, and another made a spicy trout chili. One other meat dish provided was BBQ ribs with beans. All chefs had various concoctions of veggies: sliced carrots and jicama (see below **) topped with rock salt; fried/breaded eggplant with Parmesan flakes; HUGE tomato slices (red, yellow, purple, with a slice of mozzarella on top and two types of basil garnishing; cucumbers/onions; a bowl of couscous – a dish made with steamed granules of durum wheat mixed with vegetables; grill-roasted corn-on-the-cob, with shucks and off, cut into small servings; a couple of great mixed salads (one including corn, tomatoes, apples, peppers of all colors and another with zucchini, tomatoes, cheese), all served with clusters of Flame seedless grapes for the sharing at tables. The dessert was my favorite – made with blueberries and others in a little bit of Roussanne wine.
**Jicama is a crispy, sweet, edible tuber that resembles a turnip in physical appearance, although the plants are not related. It has been cultivated in South America for centuries, and the vegetable is quite popular in Mexican cuisine. Jicama’s unique flavor lends itself well to salads, salsas, and vegetable platters. Also known as a yam bean.
We were serenaded by the Massy Ferguson musical group after the beginning courses of the dinner. We were there in time to occupy a table near the chefs, and invited four gals to join us. They were from Kirkland (but she has a condo at Crescent Bar), Seattle, Medford, OR, and another from the west side, but they were sisters, and visiting their 96-year old dad in nearby Quincy, attending this party every year. This weekend celebrates the Quincy Basin Farmer Consumer Awareness Day(s), and on our way home, we could see distant fireworks in Quincy. Some of you remember the huge Honeycrisp apples John would pick up from Double Diamond in Quincy for $10/box. White Heron Cellars and Mariposa Vineyard is very special to us, and that’s where John spends a few days over about 5 weeks volunteering wine-grape pruning. We work up a nice account to be able to have a bottle or two of wine (special with no label), delivered to our table, & presented by the owner of the vineyard and winery. We chose Pinot Noir.
We didn’t get home until almost 10 p.m. and had forgotten to leave any lights on for the dogs, but John fed the horses and cats, and we all went to bed.
National news: it’s a good idea when house hunting or building to have knowledge and an appreciation of coastal geomorphology, along with other such concerns in non-coastal places, such as floodplain prone or other natural forces. This happened at Malibu, CA today.
Saturday, Sept 13
Started with putting in a placeholder for our blog. Now I am creating the text and choice of photos, with John’s help, but I had to leave this afternoon for playing music at Briarwood Retirement Commons, where they feed us afterwards. Our trip to Briarwood was short musicians playing, with only me on the fiddle, Gerald Gordon on guitar, and Joanie Taylor on Viola. Gerald and I led the singing, and the group is very participatory, just as are the residents of Hearthstone and Dry Creek, but the difference is the FOOD they prepare for us (takes the place of supper, a little early). I took along a platter of some of our pear & cherry tomatoes. From the few larger Early Girls I carried, they sliced the largest ones to add to the table of offerings. The main course was awesome BBQ Pulled Pork (exceptionally tender and with a tasty sauce), served with BBQ beans, sliced onions, potato salad, coleslaw with carrots, chips, and the dessert table was loaded, with selections from Caramel Apple Bundt cake, chocolate cake made with Heath English Toffee bits and choc chips, a white frosted lemon cake, molasses cookies, little apple-twisted turnovers, and Bill’s fabulous pineapple- zucchini bread. While he couldn’t’ be there (his day to do afternoon Food Bank Saturday dinner), he sent an extra loaf to John and me as thanks for the zucchini we took to him to make it. What an amazing presentation by a bunch of nice people. They sang along with lyrics I handed out for 18 songs today.
Hope your week was fine.
Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan