In the Shape of a Can

Lest you think all we did was tree-trimming, rest assured that we did in fact enjoy the traditional Baked Pumpkin French Toast with whipped cream for breakfast on Turkey Day. Later there was the traditional Roast Bird with Bread Stuffing and traditional Mashed Potatoes and Gravy. Not to forget the traditional sliced Cranberry Jelly in The Shape of a Can. It was delicious and we polished off the leftovers just this evening.

But it is true that we spent much of the long weekend outdoors building up an appetite. Mr. Last relocated some posts and wire fencing here (White Dog approves -- disregard the tongue sticking out):

And I braved the wilds of the Great Wall of Vine-ah to excavate this buried treasure:

This hand-crafted copper sprinkler had been toppled and strangled. I was slightly worried there might be skeletons buried within the yard-eating vine wall, but now I'm encouraged to dig for more buried treasure:

We had so much to do that we missed Black Friday altogether. No worries. After our chores were finished on Saturday...

...we wandered out to a neighboring county and accidentally found our Christmas presents for each other, which of course required a celebratory lunch at Wildflower Cafe:
This afternoon I squeezed in a little hit'n'run visit to hug GrandGril who now practices the affirmation, "I did it!" after every accomplishment. I think I'll adopt her sparkly little declaration.

This blog post is over now.

I did it!

Olive You

This is my new favorite tool:

I know most folks spent the last few days eating and shopping and watching TV --  we did some of that, too -- but my big accomplishment was putting this bad boy to work...

...at giving this beauty a haircut to reveal her amazing bone structure:
Perhaps not so impressive without "before" pictures, but I did not take any. How about another "after" view?

To put it in perspective, she is about half of her former self, and there is an awesome hideout in the backyard built from a portion of her trimmed branches.

No pictures of the hideout just yet. Perhaps never. Depends on what kind of classification the Kids and GrandKids agree to confer on the location. For now it's Top Secret.


Knitting Weather

Jelly made? Check.
Meet Me in St. Louis viewed? Check.
Yardwork and laundry done? Check and check.
A wee bit 'o' Christmas shopping completed? Check.
More boxes from the garage unpacked? Check.

And it's a good thing we got it all accomplished yesterday when the sun was shining, because today dawned thick and wet.

Perfect knittin' weather, says I.

I found a Very Important unfinished project in one of the garage boxes I unpacked yesterday. So this day's weather kindly and fortuitously accommodated my great need to snuggle up and let the finishing begin.

But I had to stop and snap a glamour shot when I realized how the Project coordinates so beautifully with these chrysanthemums I picked up at the jelly-supply store yesterday. Enjoy:


Weekend Fun Comin' Right Up!

Another batch or two of pomegranate jelly.

A date with Judy Garland. "
"Meet Me in St. Louis" is our Netflix movie this weekend. We put it in our queue last December when I, along with every other Netflix subscriber, thought it would be great to watch at Christmastime which created something like a 14-week wait list. So we strategically planned to beat the rush this year and we got lucky this week when the red envelope came in the mail. 

I know, DVDs are so old-fashioned. One day maybe we'll stream our movies over the Internet, but for now it is more fun to delay gratification and look forward to a little bit of happy mail now and then.

Tomorrow we could get up early to see the WhamoBass Balloon Rally at Coaling Station A, but we probably won't. Maybe next year. Again with the delayed gratification.

We are due for a photo shoot and I think this year's edition may feature a Grant Wood "American Gothic" theme. 

Perhaps we'll make a quick hit'n'run to see GrandGril just for kicks.

And I expect we'll round out the weekend with a little laundry and some yard work before we head into the Gobble, Gobble, Oink, Snooze of next week.

Maybe my weekend fun is a little tame for some folks, but it makes me happy. Get some happy for yourself this weekend. You've got 48 hours. Go!


Getting Settled

I love this place.
Camera tricks make the bowling lane look like it stretches waaaaay far into the miniature kitchen. See the microwave all the way down there above the stove? It's one of the little things that make a big difference. Live without one for a while and you'll see what I mean.
Each room still needs refining, but the master suite is coming along nicely. The happy rainbow bookshelves are nifty, and the chest of drawers at the foot of the bed works pretty well. We are determined to keep it uncluttered. Wish us luck.
It's not so easy to keep the bathroom counter free of clutter, but at least our mouthwash bottles and Kleenex box are color-coordinated.
Inside is lovely. But outside is lovely also. The bench under this tree faces the spot where boxes for the vegetable garden will be located. There were still some clusters of grapes on the trellised vines when we moved in. And at night the arch becomes a magical gateway lit by solar-powered fairy lights. The sun's energy is collected all day until the sensor detects nighttime and turns on the lights!

The wire fence confines the White Dog when we are not at home. He does not have complete freedom to roam, but he has a good chunk of real estate to explore.
In the potting shed up against the house there is a wooden workbench on a lovely brick floor and a roof of twining wisteria vines. This is what it looks like in November. Spring promises to be glorious!
This bench (or a glider like it) will soon have a brass plaque in memory of my father, and the pepper tree behind it will be replaced by a young maple tree Dad not long ago coaxed from the seed of the tree he and my mother planted when I was a girl.
I love this place.
 We say that to one another all the time.

I think we are settling into this home hard and fast.


Hiding My Own Easter Eggs

Amongst the many boxes of goodness that have been packed away for months, I found a smallish box of delight and piece by piece I unwrapped my blue glass collection. I had packed them away carefully and deliberately almost a year ago and then forgotten all about them. It was such a pleasure to rediscover those silly bottles and I think I love them now more than ever before.

The collection began with the blown glass vase on the right that Firstborn Daughter brought for me from Italy back at the turn of the century. She and DaughterInLaw traveled there ten years ago to sing Verdi's Requiem with a special choir at St. Peter's Basilica.

Roses from the garden look lovely in the blue glass, don't you think?
Mr. Last says that the increasing frequency of our inability to quickly recall some detail or another just means that soon we will have lots of fun hiding our own Easter eggs. Based on my recent experience, I think the man is on to something.

I may just start packing up random treasures in unmarked boxes just for the fun of opening them again months or years from now.


Fall is Falling

Temperatures have dropped. Vegetation is changing colors. It rained three different days last week.

Sweaters, jackets, and long-sleeved shirts have all been unpacked from the last of the big closet boxes in the garage.

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies were baked and we ate them all in 48 hours.

Also, I baked a loaf of whole wheat bread, but it was an epic fail because I was distracted and added dark corn syrup instead of molasses for the sweetener. The dough was weird, but I didn't figure out mistake until the molasses bottle on the counter triggered the realization that it was NOT the one I used when I was mixing the dough. Discarded the whole wheat brick I chipped out of the pan after baking it and bought a soft loaf at the store. It doesn't have the desired effect of filling the house with the smell of baking bread, but at least now there is some decent toast for breakfast.

The kitchen is in disarray (again) (some more). My plan was to shift things to their proper places now that I know where the silverware and plates and cups really should go. I have looked for them enough times in the WRONG cupboard that I have determined it is really the RIGHT cupboard so they must be moved. However, my best laid plans have been interrupted by an ant invasion in pantry. So every flat surface is covered with stuff that can't be put away until ant eradication is complete.

So I guess it's a good thing we ate all the cookies before the ants moved in.

Speaking of treats, we hope Owlbert is eating the gophers in our backyard. Mr. Last spotted him/her swooping around from tree to tree a few nights ago, and we are very happy to have him/her in the neighborhood. 

We think s/he's a barn owl who lives in the tall eucalytus tree in the back of the lot, but we haven't been able to spot her/his hidey-hole just yet.

This weekend we got three loads of laundry washed, dried, and put away. Another stretch of the back forty was cleared for future landscaping and planting. Two liters of pomegranate juice was squeezed in preparation for jelly-making.

The White Dog got a cushy extra-large chew-resistant doggy bed. We noticed he gets stiff and rises slowly lately, just like the rest of us, and thought perhaps a little cushioning for his old bones might be comfy. No attempts to chew it to pieces have been made yet, so perhaps it is indeed appreciated.

So. That's the update from here. What's up in your neck of the woods?