Saturday, February 12, 2011


Guess what Bernie sent to me all the way from Greenville, South Carolina?

TWO of them!!!!

The cake tastes precisely as a King Cake should too.
A flaky yet moist pastry, with sweet spices and a bit of walnuts.
The traditional yellow, purple and green sprinkles atop a sweet white icing.
Bliss. Sheer bliss I tell you.

Kings Cake is only served between Epiphany and the Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.
There is still plenty of time to purchase and indulge in a fine Kings Cake.
Of course it helps to be living in, or visiting a southern state, where the bakeries bake up King Cakes for sharing for the entire Mardi Gras season.
(Ellen...hint heavily to someone who is currently residing in the Carolinas to ship you one right away!)

Let the good times ROLL!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fishing and looking around

First time I have seen a Bald Eagle in the wild in lower 48 states. 
Can you believe I thought it was an osprey at first?

Even bald eagles have "bad hair/feather" days I guess.

It was just nice enough outside last Saturday that Bernie got an itch to go fishing on the Weber.
The contractor was still working the day before, and the house was a mess, and I wasn't in a particularly good mood, so I decided I would tag along just to see what I could see.

Bleak, yet somehow beautiful too...
He said he didn't think he would go wading.
But he wore his waders anyway.

We climbed over a stile and pushed through the smelliest cow pasture I had ever experienced in my whole life.  Why frozen cow poop and pee should be smellier than what I have experienced around these parts in summer is a mystery to me.
The cows looked cute with their blotchy white faces that seemed to match up with the white blotchy snow around them.

The red cow had an especially sweet face, and stuck around to stare at me while all the other cows took off in the other direction.

Sweet face. I wanted to get even closer but I had already pushed the limit just getting this shot.

Color co-ordinating cows with their surroundings:  Something I'll bet the rancher isn't too concerned about.

The Weber looked dreadfully cold to me, but beautiful.

I left Bernie setting up his fishing rod at stream side while I enjoyed the views.

If you'd like, you can enjoy seeing these views in a full screen slide show format by clicking HERE
I used the Picasa "email the pictures to my blog" trick, but I think the pictures are just not quite as clear when I post them that way. It does save me some time, but I think the slide show is a better option to really enjoy the photographs.

Bernie was chagrined to discover three other anglers out on his favorite fishing spot.

Supposedly we were to get snow, and the sky kept darkening up like it was planning to snow, but nothing came of it after all.

Except for the fact that there was just enough of a breeze that my eyes kept watering, I was very happy to be walking about freely and taking pictures out here in the country side..

The ice shelf on the side of the stream was pretty thick, but I still wondered if it really was safe to walk on.

(I knew he would wind up wading... and he grumbled about how cold he was afterwards too!)

Funny how snow can make even junk look artistic.  This was some sort of cage or something on the stream's edge.
I never get tired of seeing animal tracks in the snow.
It made me chuckle to see the little slip that the wee critter took at the top of the hill.

Tattered fences look good out in the country. If this was the fence in my back yard in the suburbs I would be chomping at the bit to get it re-done.
Location, location, location changes everything.

Bare  broken trees look great out here too.  If that was in my neighbors yard...well, I would wonder what they were going to do about it.

Spying a nest always makes me happy...even a nest that has clearly seen better days.

I felt so greedy...the sky was magnificent, the colors wonderful and the white snow just set everything off perfectly.  Every view was a perfect view for another picture.

Big sky views...

Fragile small bits of ice and wind blown ripples upon the water...

Graceful shoreline curves marked out in ice...
You can barely see Bernie blending in to the scene.

I will try to remember this spot and get this seen in spring, summer and fall.
Oh definitely it needs to be photographed in all four seasons.

Streams and ice still are a treat to me, after growing up in the Southern California land of oceans and near constant warmth.

Now why should the snow melt around the base of these bare shrubs?
I liked the dotted effect they created in the snow.

Would you believe it? It took quite a bit of time for me to figure out that shadowy part of the snow was actually ice over a shallow bay part of the stream.

I call this shot: "Snow Snake".
Or maybe it should be "Old Man Winter's Mustache".

The cows had lumbered off, this was where they had stood earlier.

Wonder if cows ever appreciate nice views like these?

A patch job of a fence seems most eye pleasing when framed in snow.

My sheep friends, the ones I always chat up whenever we are out at the Weber.
This time they didn't rush over to talk like they usually do.

They seemed completely engaged in nibbling the bits of green grass that were peeking out of the melting snow. 
Can't say I blame them.  Usually this pasture has snow that could be measured in feet instead of inches this time of year.

Bernie likes the red house on the hillside beyond the sheep.
It is a nice touch of color, especially this time of year.

A nice neat fence, and the clouds over the mountains look threatening..

But just when I would think the storm was about to come, the sun would break through again and the white field would turn into a dazzling display of rainbow flashing diamonds.

Bernie got one nibble on his fishing line, but reeled in nothing for dinner.

We went out for Chinese food on the way home, (still wearing our mud caked boots), to a place where the food is much better than the atmosphere. 
I didn't care about that.
My soul's need for beauty had already been well fed through my camera's eyes.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Changes In The Hallway

Maybe it is just me...

I will confess to having an advanced case of Feng Shui Disorder.
But I think even people without the disorder would find all these different door knobs in one hallway disturbing.
I need every design detail of my house to be "right".
It just bugged the heck out of me every time I had to walk through the hallway and see a different style door knob on each door that I passed.

I mean serious...what were the previous owners thinking?
Did they decide that the house would be more interesting if the door knobs didn't match?
You when they had people come over they could show them the latest style door knob that they had bought?  

Enter my handy hubby hero, who has now installed matching door knobs.
Soon the hinges will be installed that will match the oil rubbed bronzed knobs.

I will feel so much better when everything is perfectly matched.
But wait!
There's more hallway changes to report!

Two years ago when we were remodeling our house, we purchased wide oak wood work, custom milled, because we had to replace the old white painted wood trim in the living room.
We purchased enough wood to also do the hallway, but as the remodel dragged on and on and on...we frankly ran out of nerves due to people messing up our house all the time, and also out of budget for that final bit of work.
The last of the wood trim has been up in the garage rafters waiting for a time when our nerves were steady and our dollars had been restored.

Finish carpenter Brent was called in to make a bid on the job.
He didn't expect that he would also need to have an official Orange Cat interview while he was taking measurements for the bid.
The dollars came in right, and Brent also got a tail flagged up from Tate.
 We awarded him the job without any further hesitations.
Above picture is in the hallway while it still had the white trim...

White trim off...looking back into living room.

Trim off looking into the kitchen.

Trim off, looking down the hall into the guest room.
(Am I boring you? Hang in gets better.)

Looking into our bedroom and around the hallway cabinet.

Tate snoopervising....

And gives his approval of the deconstruction part of the project.

(You can see that the shiny brass hinges are still in place.  I am breathing deeply and trying not to let that bother me...)

Bernie actually took these construction pictures. I don't quite understand why this view was significant enough to warrant a picture, but then again, I have never worked in the construction industry.
Maybe it has something to do with the shim? 
Shim: the little piece of wood jammed in to make something level.
See?  I have picked up a little bit of woodworking lingo over the years. 

Notice how wide the white stripes are at the floor level?
The new woodwork had to be wider than the old wood work because with years of paint there had become a small ledge formed above the old wood work.
It actually was more cost effective to get wider wood than attempt to delete the paint layers evenly.

There was quite a bit of plaster dust in the air, but Tate stayed on the job snoopervising despite that hardship.

It was really exciting when the new wood started to go up!

View to guest room with door casing installed.

Bathroom door and hall closet doors done.

Our bedroom...

The hallway looking back to living room.
(I wish the floors had been vacuumed before these pictures with taken, seeing the construction dust on the floors is stirring up my Feng Shui disorder again.)

Top of the stairs.  The white trim just narrow enough that there was a gap between the top of the stairs moulding and the living room door moulding.

And a look up from down stairs.

The whole job only took two days, one man and one cat to complete.
On time and under budget too!

(Thanks to everyone who was involved with making this project happen!)