Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pumpkin pie...can ya smell it?

I just took my pumpkin pie for tomorrow out of the oven. Is there a better smell than a warm pumpkin pie? Not too many in my opinion! Of course, the taste is not too bad either!

I have used the Spicy Pumpkin pie recipe from the Betty Crocker cookbook we received as a wedding present for a very LONG time. See the electric burner marks on the cover? Not too long after we were married Gary & I moved to an all-electric apartment in Minot. I'd never used an electric stove before so struggled a bit but thought I was doing OK. Then one day I set Betty Crocker on a hot burner; it only took a minute or so for me to smell burning! OOPS! I was used to turning a gas stove off and it being off but electric burners stay hot! I never did enjoy cooking on an electric stove and have made sure that was my first and last.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Holiday amaryllis, paperwhites and new wine

Yesterday, as in year's past, I planted holiday bulbs. I'm going to love the brilliant red of the Red Lion Amaryllis and the wonderful white Narcissus Paperwhites. This is how they look today...not impressive yet but they will be...hopefully just in time for Christmas!

The wine bottles? Yesterday was the 3rd Thursday of November --- the once yearly release of Beaujolais Nouveau. This French red wine, made from Gamay grapes, is the first wine of the new season. This year one of my selections, bottled by Bouchard Aine Fils, is in a plastic bottle...with a screw top!

Last year's paperwhites:

Saturday, November 08, 2008

TWO Dakotas - North and South!

Yesterday I was watching the 5 o'clock news and they were reporting about the big snow storm. Our local news anchor here in Monterey, California did not know that Bismarck was in NORTH Dakota! He said "oh, just call it Dakota!"

After a commercial break he returned, having had a geography lesson, with further information that school had been canceled, not due to snow, but due to the start of hunting season. Someone at the station talked to a ranger in Turtle Lake who said that the snow could make for a better hunting season. They were having a heyday with it!

Those of us who are from/or still live in North Dakota are very accustomed to people saying "you're from Dakota, (no north or south designation) aren't you?"

This is a fun quiz for testing state's location:

Saturday, November 01, 2008

From our window...2000 miles of California in 24 days

Gary likes to see the world at 55 - miles per hour so I have learned to take a LOT of pictures through the front windshield of our GMC truck. And our fifth wheel has a great and very large rear window so I often have great photo opportunities just looking out that window. Here are some of my "From our window" shots taken in October while we wandered California for 24 days. (We did cross the border into Oregon to have fish and chips in Brookings and then just barely into Nevada to stay three nights in Lake Tahoe.)

First night out -what a sunset in Half Moon Bay!

Manzanita in a rest area. Love the rich red color of the trunk and branches.

One of our favorite places, Crescent City, CA. This is Battery Point Lighthouse from our window. Last year while Lee was a volunteer docent at the lighthouse (and Don tagged along) we were honored to actually stay several nights there! Lee was so jealous because I actually felt the essence of a ghost in my room! This trip we stayed a week in Crescent City. A bit of history about Crescent City: in 1964 it was hit by a huge tsunami!

We made a couple of side trips during our stay near Mt Lassen. The first was to Burney Falls where we actually did a little hike! Yes, we actually walked 1.3 miles and are alive to tell the story! We are such outdoorsmen - NOT!

The next day we drove the opposite direction up to Mt Lassen. The power of a volcanic eruption, this one in 1915, is evident in the HUGE boulders which were flung miles away! Mother Nature at its peak!
After leaving Tahoe after a very comfy three-night stay in Harvey's (Gary just may have taken some of their $$$ with him?!?) very nice accommodations we traveled Hwy 395 south. We decided to stay overnight in LeeVining and noticed a Visitor Center for Mono Lake. Neither of us knew anything about it except that it was there. Thought it was just one of those drying up lakes. Well, it was drying up because Los Angeles worked a deal back in the 40's to take the water! (Can you guess that LA is not a popular city here?) We were fascinated by formations called tufas in the lake - calcification's which grow up out of the water. This is a small example:

We've several times seen Mt Whitney, the tallest peak in the contiguous states, from the lowest point in Death Valley but this is the view from the Owens Valley community of Lone Pine. OK, I'm going to say it again, high on the list of our favorite places (we do have many favorites!) The view of Mt Whitney, the Movie Museum and the Alabama Hills make it a worthwhile destination. You may not know it but many of the old cowboy movies were filmed in the Alabama Hills. Imagine Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, John Wayne, Gene Autry riding their horses! And Tremors (Kevin Bacon I think) was also filmed there.

I've been watching Discovery Green Planet channel lately so here's a photo of the wind machines near Tehachapi, CA. This a just a sample, there are hundreds of them in this area.

Highway 58 continues from the Tehachapi's through Bakersfield and then on to the coast. We hadn't ever taken it on this route so got adventuresome and were awed by the wide-sweeping geography of the Corrizo Plains and the beautiful Los Padres National Forest through the area. (So awed, in fact, that I forgot to take any pictures!)

Last stop in this 24 day journey: Morro Bay. Yes, another on our "Favorite Places" list. We stay at Morro Dunes RV Park which is right next to Morro Rock. This trip we didn't see much of the rock - it was foggy all three days! Finally got this shot while we were hooking up to leave. For dinner one night we took a couple of dungeness crabs from Giovanni's big steam pot home. Butter for dipping and crusty French bread along with a glass of wine - yummy!

And so, we traveled 2,017 miles in 24 days. Itchy Hitch at bay, for awhile at least.