Soup on a Monday night

Zuppa soup The last few days have been mostly about snow.  I got tired of putting up photos of snow and more snow, so decided to take a break from it.  The photos, that is, not the snow.  We got more than a foot again on Saturday night and spent almost 3 hours Sunday morning shoveling, plowing, and running the snow blower.  I still managed to put up some Christmas lights on the big front porch, and take down a few Christmas things to make home all bright and cozy.  I’ll be leaving on the 9th, and with the exception of the short space of time between my flight’s arrival at midnight in Medford, and our departure the next morning by 7 or so for Southern California, I won’t be home until after Christmas.  I’m thinking I need to find a small little something to take with us in the MoHo.  When we traveled during December in 2007 we had a nice wreath on the grille.  Guess I can do that again, at least.

Today I went to work, but I must say, the sweet commute was anything but sweet this morning.  The temperatures haven’t been above freezing for many days now and the road was icy and treacherous.  In town it was just plain cold.  Klamath Falls is in a basin, and the fog  sometimes lies in thick during the winter.  It’s ugly.  My least favorite weather is cold, icy, gray fog, with steely, leaden skies.  Ick.  When I got home tonight I cooked up some great soup, a bit of a break from all the Thanksgiving leftovers.  It made a nice supper for us while Mo watched the 49’rs do their thing and I escaped to the computer room to write and play with photos.

Zuppa Toscana Soup is one of my favorites.  I think there are several recipes out there attempting to copy the famous Olive Garden soup, but my friend Maryruth of course, found the best one.  I wonder if all that fresh kale offsets the Italian sausage, bacon, and cream.  Hmmmm.  Maybe I should get shoveling again.

After Rick showed us how to put a video in our blogs, I thought I would share this clip of Abby running through the pathways made by the snow blower.  I couldn’t seem to get the clip under 15 seconds, however, per Rick’s suggestion, but 44 seconds  is a lot better than the 3 minutes of video that I started with.  Just like Rick’s dog Rylie, Abby gets all excited about playing in the snow.  She loves it when she thinks we are heading out for a walk.  She also loves the paths, and thinks they are made just for her.  Sometimes an occasional neighbor dog will come down to try the paths out as well, much easier doing your business on a nice path than in the deep snow, right?



My Thanksgiving celebration turned out a bit smaller than planned, due partly to weather and the long miles between Portland and Klamath Falls.  My eldest daughter and her sweetie didn’t make it this far south, and I missed her. However, my youngest daughter living in Klamath Falls came with my granddaughter Hillary and their new exchange student from Thailand, Kwankae.  The man behind the camera is Melody’s long-suffering husband, Kevin.  My sweet little grandson had to do the court ordered thing and spend the holiday with his father in Portland.  Families can certainly get complicated, can’t they!

With horrendous icy road conditions, my sister was afraid to drive out to Rocky Point in her 2 wheel drive vehicle, so Mo made the trip to town twice to pick up Sally and my niece Savannah and return them late in the evening.  That amounted to about 4 hours of icy driving, but Mo felt it was worth it to get Sally and Savannah to our home for the celebration.  Thankful.  I am just really thankful for so very much.

Just a little aside here: My sister and I share the same mother, she died when we were small children, and we were separated.  I didn’t find her until 36 years later.  Sally lived in many parts of the country before coming to live with me in Klamath Falls in 2003.  After a year, she moved out on her own, making her own life and focusing on raising her fantastic, talented daughter Savannah.  Of course, sisterhood isn’t without flaws, especially since we didn’t grow up together and came from such different backgrounds.  For 36 years I didn’t have a sister, and now I do. 

Thanksgiving 2010 (25) I had fun spending most of Wednesday cooking all that I could do early so Thursday morning was a breeze.  Woke up too dang early, though, probably just excited, but at least I was awake in time to get the 20 pound turkey stuffed and in the oven before 8.  Got a comment from a friend about our Thanksgiving table…not yet piled with food.  Usually I forget to get the photo before dinner and then it’s too late after dinner and all the food is all messy looking.  This time I forgot to take a photo of the food!  LOL  Here’s one of everything on the counter where we filled our plate.  Turkey, old fashioned bread  dressing with onion, celery, and tons of sage, mashers, gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, southern sherry glazed yams with pecans, fruit salad, that silly green lime jello thingy (for old time’s sake), and 4 kinds of pie for dessert. The daughter that couldn’t make it had our traditional cream cheese veggies with her, so we didn’t have them this year.  Somehow the plates were completely full anyway, even if two chairs were not.

Thanksgiving 2010 (19) Mid-afternoon, with the sun shining and making the frigid air seem a bit less daunting, we all bundled up to go outside and try out the new Costco sled I picked up the other day.  Of course, Mo’s antique sled with runners, a real one, did much better in the snow and the three teenagers had a good time laughing and falling and playing in the snow.  They were great sports, no complaints at all about the weather, the cold, or Grandma’s silly plastic sled.

Just for fun, here is a photo of the last time I had Thanksgiving for my family.  A few more managed to get to Klamath back then in 2003, and it wasn’t easy then either. Thanksgiving has always been special to me, it’s the holiday that is specifically for family, without any other agenda, and I love that about it.  Well, of course, there is the food part, but without family that would be irrelevant. 

family copy

Melody is in the front row with my grandson on her lap, Hillary and Savannah have changed a bit in seven years, I think.  I am on the right, next to my first-born daughter, my sister next to her, my two grandsons in the rear (both now Iraq veterans), my middle daughter next to her husband holding my first great grandchild and a step granddaughter.  These family pictures track the history for us, the changes in family dynamics, where everyone has been, where we are going perhaps.  Yes, it’s a bit nostalgic, and yes, so very much fun, and yes yes yes, I am grateful for my family.

Heck of an early winter here

Nice to have a new follower, I am always amazed when that happens. Thank you. Barry and Linda are talking about boondocking sites, always an interesting subject.

The guest cabin is getting buried!

IMG_0905 Although for the last few days I haven’t been spending much time reading.  Every morning I have shoveled 2 to 4 inches of snow from the driveway, enjoying it actually, until today when we had more than a foot dumped on us overnight.  It seemed like a little bit too much, I had nowhere to throw it and it’s only November.  Mo tried to start up the snow blower to finish the job, but it wouldn’t go, so I shoveled and she plowed and after about 3 hours we had the driveway and road passable. This big storm has rampaged across the northwest, leaving snow in Victoria, ice in Bellingham, and wreaking general havoc on roads and highways all over the place.  We knew it was coming, but the predicted temperatures tomorrow are below zero, and that’s Fahrenheit, not Celsius! The wind blew hard all night and covered the wide front and back porches with hard, icy snow that I couldn’t scrape off no matter how hard I tried. I think I am ready for a break already. Yeah, I know it’s only November. 

I’ll be off to visit a friend in Florida for a week in early December while Mo keeps the home fires burning and the road plowed.  The day I return, we are jumping in the Tracker and going to pick up the MoHo in Redding and find some sunshine in Desert Hot Springs for Christmas week.  Whew!  I am having Thanksgiving this year, so there will be some good family time there, and told my Klamath daughter and grandkids that I would celebrate a late Christmas with them when we return.

 IMG_0885The road to Medford on the way to Costco

The road home from Medford.  Class A with no chains??

IMG_0899 Yesterday Mo and I decided to make a Costco run.  For us, that is a 45 mile drive to Medford, over the pass on Highway 140, past Lake of the Woods and down the Crater Lake Highway.  It’s usually a beautiful drive and we can be at the Costco parking lot in less than an hour.  Not so yesterday.  After our morning snow exercises, we left around ten and the storm was already coming on fairly strong.  By the time we left Medford and headed back east, it was in full force, with many sliders and slow vehicles trying to get over the pass.  I was especially surprised by the big Class A motorhome stranded on the pass trying to get out the the Basin.  I have no clue why someone would attempt to drive a big rig like that over a stormy, snowy pass, with chains required signs everywhere, but with no chains. 

Today we had to go the opposite direction, again after morning snow exercises and on another snowy, icy road.  I ordered a free range organic fresh turkey from Howard’s Meats in Klamath Falls and of course needed to do the rest of the Thanksgiving shopping there as well.  On the way home, we saw that Klamath Lake is beginning to freeze already, and there are still hundreds of ducks in the bay, and even some Canada geese. IMG_0913 Tonight that little bit of open water is going to close in even more.  I worry about the birds.  Our lake and basin is on the major Pacific flyway and these little ones are on a clock that didn’t include subzero temperatures in November.  Heck, we rarely get sub zero temperatures in the deepest of winter!

The MoHo is in Redding, where tomorrow morning the temperatures are predicted in the low 20’s.  Pooh. We drained the tanks, but didn’t put antifreeze in the drains.  The whole reason for that expensive storage place is that Redding rarely drops below 30 degrees and we wouldn’t have to winterize.  Sigh again.  Mo thought about driving down there today while I did the Klamath shopping, but 3 hours each way in a winter storm isn’t particularly fun.  After talking to some folks we decided that the rig would probably be fine.  The temperatures will go low, but it is inside, and the sun will be out and the temps in the 40’s by 10 am.  Tomorrow is the coldest day, so we are watching the weather map on weatherunderground and hoping it won’t be as bad as predicted.

Tomorrow is the big cooking day, so as long as the power grid holds up I should be busy.  Mo also got the snow blower running this evening so my shoveling time might be a bit less.  Who knows.  I love winter, and I love being able to leave it as well!  It’s the best of all worlds. 

Snowy weekend

Rocky Point snow The snow has come for real to Rocky Point, with enough on the road yesterday that Mo had to plow.  She fires up the tractor for the road leading to the house (aptly named Easy Street), and I get out the shovel and do the big driveway by hand.  We have a snow blower as well, but I only get that out when the stuff is really deep, at least a foot or two.  Yesterday it was just 2 inches, and this morning another 2 inches. I think an hour of shoveling up and down that driveway qualifies for at least half of my ten thousand steps a day, (which I haven’t actually done in a very long time). Difference between our snow and Rick’s snow is that ours probably won’t melt.  If you have a dog, or know a dog, or just want to laugh from joy, drop over to Rick’s page and check out his video of Rylie running around in the snow.  Abby doesn’t get quite so excited, although I do have some videos of her doing similar silly stuff in water, warm! water that is.


Rocky Point snow (8) When I moved back to Rocky Point last year, I packed up a lot of boxes of stuff, even after a year of thinning and selling and giving away stuff, I still have stuff to deal with.  Mo has a small shed out back, and in that shed are some chests and boxes, including a great drawer full of travel brochures and memorabilia.  I went out there yesterday to find something and came upon an old travel journal.  Mo and I have traveled together since mid 2003, and it was great to find all those old handwritten stories tucked away with places, dates, all the details that we forget as the years continue.  Sometimes we go to the blog to try to remember a trip, or a date, and it is a bit frustrating to find that what we are trying to remember is pre-blog. 

Rocky Point snow (4) I decided it would be a good idea to go back in time and add those old trips and photos here.  I was a little bit concerned that the posts would show up all over the place as recent, but I checked a few blog rolls and it seems that as long as I remember to put the right publish date, blog followers won’t be bombarded with ancient history.  It’s fun to go through the stories and photos and get it all down in proper blog format.  I find I enjoy my own memories more with the illustrations accompanying the text, so it’s a great little trip down memory lane.  Mo thought is would be nice to have everything in one place as well.  I didn’t start blogging our travels until we were on our cross country trip back to Florida, and we started that trip in the baby MoHo and bought the current one on our return trip, but that story is here.  The prior stories are coming along.  I know that I don’t often crawl back in blog archives to see someone’s history.  So much is going on right in the present it’s often hard to keep up!

DSCN5843 This week I get to remember that I really am retired.  I don’t have to work at all!  The weekend has been great, with shoveling, hauling another load of crackling dry juniper to the porch for the fire, cooking, cleaning, and some good knitting and tv watching as well.  We had three Grey’s Anatomy shows stacked up on the DVR so that was great fun, not having to wait a whole week for the outcome, just fast forward.  Today I am continuing with the cleaning projects, and have all my Cooks Illustrated magazines out on the counter looking for some new recipes for Thanksgiving. I know better than to mess with family classics, but I can at least experiment with an extra here and there. Half my children will be here with spouses and kids, the other half are in other parts of the country.  I am really looking forward to a big dinner, to the cooking and camaraderie, to family time.  The four years I was in California were hard for me, my family couldn’t manage the distance to travel to me, and I haven’t hosted the holiday at my home since 2003, when I still lived in Klamath Falls. Family and food and fun.  Mo’s brothers are up north, and her sister is in Colorado, so they don’t often manage to get everyone together for Thanksgiving.  So Mo will be here as well, patiently tolerating and even enjoying my family and all it’s craziness.

Back to work

surnise on the way to work (1) 

After being home just part of a day, it was time for me to make up for two and a half weeks traveling and head back to town to work.  As the weather deepens into winter I will be working from home more often, but I still have to go to the Soil Survey Office in Klamath Falls on a regular basis to get “official” emails on my “official” government computer, and check in with each of my four bosses.  Just thought it might be fun to share my early morning ride with you. 

surnise on the way to work (2) 

Rocky Point is about 30 miles or so west of Klamath Falls, and Klamath Lake is nestled into the basin between here and there.  The morning commute is never boring, and what I love most about it is the lack of cars.  Sometimes I will see 2 or 3 cars at the most traveling west to Medford, and maybe a truck or two will pass me going east. 

surnise on the way to work (3) 

On a clear morning I can see Mt Shasta in the distance as I climb over Doak Mountain.  The sweetest moment of my 35 minute drive however, is when I round the big curve and the southern arm of Klamath Lake stretches out before me. This morning my timing was just right to catch the early light over the lake. “Commute” is a relative term, don’t you think?