What Happened to February?

Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon at 35 degrees F and spitting snow mixed in the rain.

February used to be a really tough month for me.  Back in the days of working and living in Northern Idaho, the sun was still low in the sky, the days were still short, the snows deep and tiresome.  I had a tremendous dislike for the month, and when I would call Maryruth, my friend in California, all pissy about whatever, she would say, “Oh, Sue, it’s February.  You will be fine soon”.

too early for spring (4 of 6)-2 Somehow the old paradigm no longer holds.  February can still be long and cold and tiresome, but not this year.  I have no idea what happened to February.  I have daffodils up in the yard, some even with buds on them.  We haven’t shoveled snow even one time this winter.  The tiny skiff that showed up on Christmas lasted for a long breath and was gone. 

Last year we spent February exploring Florida, so that winter doldrums thing never had a chance of finding me. Last winter we had Abby and Jeremy with us as well.  Still trying to adjust to not having them with us.St Joe SP_013

At the beginning of the month, Mo and I were thinking we only had a short time at home after our January travels to do some house projects before she would be leaving again for Beaverton for a couple of weeks caring for her brother’s dogs while he and his wife vacationed in Hawaii.  We decided to paint Mo’s bedroom.  It is a project that has been on the agenda for a couple of years now, and with all the goings on and traveling that we do, it just never seemed to get top billing.mos bedroom (6 of 6)

Took us just two short days to get the job done, but going to town for paint was another day, with some color adjustments here and there before we settled on the pale spring green for the walls.  Mo already had the Cranberry color chosen to match her original watercolor painting gifted by a friend a few years ago.  We enjoyed the project.  Felt good to be doing something around the house again that wasn’t just the everyday kinds of maintenance that a house in the forest always needs.

mos bedroom (1 of 6) Immediately after we finished painting, a huge windstorm hit the Klamath Basin and knocked our power out for 19 hours.  We pulled out the oil lamps, heated coffee and food on the wood stove and settled in for the duration.  It was actually kind of nice, although I am glad it didn’t last any longer than it did.  We were within minutes of packing up all our food in the freezer and heading over the mountain to Grants Pass and daughter Deborah’s freezer when everything blinked back on into brilliance.

windfall (3 of 4) The rain was needed, but again, it didn’t bring any real snow to our sadly deficient snow pack.  The high winds and saturated soils did create a real mess.  Many trees tipped right out of the wet ground and crashed on the power lines.  The funny thing for us was that we were somehow protected in our little concave draw and the winds went right over us without causing any real trouble on our property.  The worst damage was about 4 miles away where it looked as though a tornado had ripped through.

Another week was spent dealing with complex and tiresome business issues for Mo, with me acting as administrative assistant.  Mo does the hard stuff, but I manage to keep the computers on track.  I even figured out how to create some complex forms that were needed.  That week flew by!  It was almost like working again!!

Another tiresome time thing is an ongoing health issue for me.  Not a big deal, but the surgeon I will be seeing is nearly 200 miles away over the mountain, and as things often go for these kinds of things, we have to make several trips before it will all be resolved.  Tiresome, but I am glad it isn’t anything particularly serious, just irritating.  And did I say Tiresome?  Surgery in April, and recuperation will require no lifting of anything over 5 pounds for something like 90 days.  I haven’t quite figured out how to put a stick of wood on the fire that weighs less than five pounds! 

We enjoyed a day in Medford shopping for Valentine chocolate and having a late afternoon lunch at Olive Garden.  And shopping at the quilt stores, of course.  As I write, I realize that a big part of the past month for me has been finishing a quilt that I saw in Palm Springs when we were there and immediately coveted.  I bought all the fabric and the pattern, and for once actually started on the quilt immediately, while the inspiration was still fresh and the fabric all new and shiny.  Ocean Dreams in the Desert (2 of 4)

I call it “Sea Dreams in the Desert”.  I started with an idea to make it a simple throw, but loved it so much that I decided to continue and make it a full queen sized quilt for my summer bed.  First time doing something called a “pieced border”.  I guess that explains what happened to February.IMG_4743

Mo left for Beaverton mid month, and on the same day my friend Maryruth drove up from California to spend 8 days of girl time with me.  Her husband held down the fort at home, and Maryruth came loaded with her new sewing machine and lots of fabric for a quilt that she wanted to make.  It was her first and she was excited.maryruth visits (3 of 13)

Sometimes in the past we have managed girl time, with a trip to a B and B somewhere, or a meet in the middle kind of visit, but this was different.  We had a whole week at home just the two of us and our sewing machines.  It was like a quilt retreat for two that didn’t cost anything.  We went to Medford to the quilt shops, and had a fabulous dinner at McGrath’s Fish House.  Maryruth ordered the mile high mud pie, but missed the “mile high” part, and we burst into incredulous laughter when her dessert arrived.  What fun!IMG_4735

One night at home we cooked up a fabulous Thai Green Curry Chicken with Pad Thai and it was wonderful.  I had never made a green curry from scratch, so that was a first.  All the traditional Thai flavors of lime, tons of cilantro, lemon grass, ginger, garlic, hot pepper, and about a dozen other herbs and spices went into the curry that was so fragrant and perfectly sweet and spicy.  Mo isn’t all that excited about Thai food and Maryruth’s husband isn’t all that excited about spicy, so it was a food cooking adventure for the two of us that probably won’t be repeated till we get together again.maryruth visits (13 of 13)

We took another break from sewing and went to breakfast at our local Harriman’s Resort on Sunday morning.  It was cold and windy, but the sun streaming in was gorgeous and the food was fabulous.  Maryruth has a nice little Nissan Hybrid and will NOT drive in snow, so this was an extra special treat.  In a normal winter, she would have been unable to visit during February. 

maryruth visits (6 of 13)maryruth visits (9 of 13) Maryruth managed to finish her quilt for her mother, and I managed to finish putting the last big border on my quilt on the day that she left.  It will take 9 yards of fabric to back my quilt.  At 12.99 per yard, that was a bit daunting, in addition to the cost of having it quilted.  I certainly wouldn’t attempt something this big on my own.  Found a perfect batik online for 5.99 a yard so problem solved.maryruths first quilt (1 of 5)

With Maryruth gone, I now have five days to myself here at home, hoping to do some of the detailed chores that I don’t do when Mo is around.  Who knows why.  It is nice having alone time to catch up on details, but I will definitely be happy when Mo returns next week.  Managing the fire alone is a full time job.  It seems I am either starting, stoking, taking away ashes, or bringing up another load of wood all day long.  Mo does most of the fire management when she is here and I help out a bit, but I can see now that what I do isn’t nearly enough.  

Today I am dealing with “stuff”.  We have a five year plan, and sometime during the next five years, I will have to move my stuff.  I really need to get it more organized.  I can’t believe how it gets away from me.  I am fairly well organized, but there are places where that breaks down, such as the office drawers.  I also have a couple of drawers for crafting, and of course I have bins of yarn for knitting and many containers of fabric for quilting.  I am not quite sure how this stuff keeps multiplying, maybe it is those trips to the quilt shops.

So today, I decided that I would try to go through the office “stuff”.  Most of it has been in a small set of drawers beneath my desk, but it seems that I never actually get into those drawers for anything.  Scotch tape, scissors, a bazillion pens and pencils, who knows if they work, and a whole lot of other little thingies that I have no clue what to do with except I can’t quite bring myself to throw it all away.  Ocean Dreams in the Desert (4 of 4)

I started the project, and then in frustration gave up.  Here is the result!  It is packed and ready for the next stop, and someday maybe I’ll get the nerve to try to figure it out one more time, or just throw it all away.  I can hear you laughing from here.Ocean Dreams in the Desert (3 of 4)

As the evening progresses, the rain/snow/sleet spitting continues.  Predictions of an inch of snow at our elevation for tonight, but I’ll believe it when I see it.  Can you imagine, no snow all winter and it shows up at the end of February?


It’s all about Red

new sofa_005At the moment, however, everything seems black and white and shades of gray with a little bit of brown and green thrown in here and there.  January is gone and February has returned, as it usually does every year.  In spite of my usual feelings about dreary February, this year seems different somehow.  Maybe because our winter has been so mild, or maybe because I seem to have surrounded myself with RED.

new sofa_003Mo was away for two weeks, doing her annual dog sitting for brother Dan near Portland and I kept myself busy with three weeks of soil survey work to make up for the last trip and filled in the spaces with knitting, sewing, quilting, and baking.  Even with the lack of snow, the temperatures still call for keeping the fire going and an occasional shoveling project to keep the driveway clear.  With Mo gone, I really hoped to be spared any big snowstorms since I don’t drive the tractor and wouldn’t have a clue how to plow our road.  Abby stayed with me for company and that soft little feeling of safety at night that seems to go along with having a dog by your side. She was good company. 

red sofa and loveseat make winder seem much less glumBack in December, we happened on a great sofa sale and the delivery happened while Mo was away.  Our old sofa (not THAT old actually) was big and sloppy, perfect for the huge living room we had back in the California mobile, but here in our cozy house it was just too massive.  Once again, Melody and Kevin were the happy recipients of our hand-me-downs and we filled the living room with a perfect brick red sofa and loveseat.  Still comfortable, but scaled more to our style, our bodies, and our room.  Kevin is thrilled to have the huge sofa with two recliners added to his living room, and now they have enough seating for all the dogs, cats, teenagers, and adults that hang out at their house.  I love the color of the sofa, not really red, but a brick color that is almost impossible to capture in a photo, and believe me I tried!

006On a Saturday weekend I drove the hour and fifteen minutes to the well known and fabulous quilt shop in Merrill, called the Tater Patch.  What a delight for the senses!  I picked up some red and pink and white fabric to go with what I already had and managed to find a heart quilt block on the internet.  I filled more gray days with brilliant fabric, following internet tutorials, and dropped in to the small neighborhood quilt shop as well for instruction and encouragement.  I even managed to hand quilt the hearts and just finished the binding yesterday after Mo returned home. When I tired of quilting, I picked up the sweater I am knitting for Deanna, making progress, but just  bit slower since I discovered playing with fabric and cutting it all up and sewing it all back together.  Nutty pastime!

the bakers and the cakeMore red.

On the previous Monday, daughter Melody had three days off in a row, an almost unheard of delight.  She cleaned house like crazy for two days and on the third day she piled into the car with my granddaughter and a LOT of baking supplies and headed for Rocky Point. We spent the day making an incredibly decadent cake she had seen on the internet last year called, “Lincoln’s Red Velvet Cream Cheese Cake”.  The cake is filled with an entire cheesecake between two layers of rich red velvet and frosted with cream cheese frosting decorated with white and milk chocolate.  Sinful!!  I cut a slice, cut another one for Jean the local quilting lady to thank her for her help, and sent the rest home to the previously mentioned houseful of big men, teenaged boys, and assorted others.  Good thing!  That cake could destroy a month of dieting in one day!  

red velvet cake_037More red.

Speaking of teenagers, my youngest grandson turned 13 last week.  Another day in town searching for just the right thing yielded a sporty athletic jacket that seemed to hit the spot.  How in the world do you have a clue what to give a boy turning 13 that isn’t a video game or money!  I was sure to include the gift receipt with the jacket, but it wasn’t needed. 

I’m happy to have Mo back home.  Somehow her way of having a regular routine keeps me happy in a way that I don’t manage myself.  I wander aimlessly, doing things at all different hours of the day and night, eating strange things at the wrong time, and waking up at four am to sew with no one else to consider.  Dogs and people like routine I think.  Abby and I are both happy to get up like normal humans around 6am, and eat dinner in the evening, and go to the hot tub at the same time most nights.

colorado plansI have been reading about folks traveling in Texas, at Quartzite, in the desert southwest, and down in Florida.  Much as I love the desert, those Florida beaches and crystalline rivers are calling me hard for next winter.  I really do hope we can be there.  In the mean time, we are planning a coast trip again, this time traveling north as far as we feel like going, and fully expecting rain and storms.  The Oregon Coast can be so gorgeous and dramatic during stormy whale season.  Should be fun, and we will leave the first of March. 

We are also planning the mid-summer trip to Colorado for Mo’s family reunion near her sister’s home in Denver and just got excited when we looked at the map and realized that we could leave via the northern route and finally get the MoHo to the Black Hills and fill in that South Dakota hole on our map.  Should be a fun trip.  Again, we don’t want to be gone for more than two weeks or so because this year for sure we are going to camp at some of the fabulous places right here in our own beautiful Oregon.  I still remember Laurie talking about the beauty of Joseph Oregon, and that is on the summer list as well.