Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Winter Campfire Complete With a Sensual Treat

Our High Impact Fire
 The last night we were at the cabin for this winter, Erin and Ozzie had a "Bonfire" planned.  Ozzie had informed the kids that they had to gather wood if they wanted a fire but the snow was so deep that all our wood was covered!  He finally went to town and bought wood!  How outrageous is that when we have been working so hard to give away all our pine beetle wood! 

Brrrrrr!  Do we really have to do this?
As the afternoon wore on and the temperature kept dropping I decided we probably wouldn't have our fire.  ( I didn't know Ozzie would buy wood he was so determined to do this thing!)  We had lots of leftover chili for chili dogs and I figured we could grill them outside and it would work well.  But no!  Erin insisted that was not a bonfire.  As it began to get dark she,  Paul and Thomas went out and got the fire going on top of the burm just off of our porch. 
When all was ready, they carried out folding chairs and got the hot dogs, buns, and marshmallows out.  We realized that we had only a few graham crackers and some chocolate frosting and some homemade 1-2-3 fudge sauce (see recipe at end of this story) around for somemores.  I put the chili on the stove to heat up thinking they would not last very long outside since the temperature had dropped to 16 degrees. 

Thomas is roasting a hot dog!  Can you see beautiful Izzy behind JJ and Paul?
 About that time the grandkids insisted we all had to come out and enjoy their "High Impact Fire" with them!  We had to don the whole snowpants, boots, sweaters, gloves or mittens and scarves equipment before going outside.  JJ and I wondered if anyone had cut willow sticks to use to roast our hotdogs and marshmallows.  Of course no one had, so we got out the metal skewers from the barbeque. 

Smoke gets in your eyes!  That's JJ and Ozzie all bundled up.
We all (except Bob, who does not attend our summer fires either) assembled around the "High Impact Fire" with our BBQ skewers and hot dogs.  Erin even sat in the snow to roast her hot dog!  We had to get so close to the fire that the smoke really did a number on our eyes and I kept warning people to be careful not to melt their gloves, snowpants, or boots.  Unfortunately, Erin thought the funky smell was her hot dog roasting and melted a big hole in JJ's $45 motorcycle gloves!
Erin roasts a marshmallow and a mitten!  Paul and Izzy are in the background.
 The hot dogs tasted great.  Some of us would roast the hot dog, run inside and put chili on it sit down at the table, eat it and then go out again!
Bob's chili dog that I made for him after roasting the hot dog over the fire.
 The marshmallows were great too.  I went in and melted the 1-2-3 fudge sauce so we could dip the marshmallows in it.  Yummmm!  Then Erin remembered a friend telling her about toasting Starbursts over a campfire and she just happened to have some so she got them out!  Everyone LOVED them and we added a few new twists to the sensual experience, which has prompted me to add the recipe for them to this blog, too.  We sat around the "High Impact Fire" until we got all the wood burned up and then came inside for some card playing.

Here are the recipes for the 1-2-3 fudge sauce which can be used on ice cream and as a dipping sauce for anything your heart desires and for the Sensual Starbursts.

                                          1-2-3 Fudge Sauce

This is a really quick and easy recipe when you want hot fudge sundaes.   It is truly fudgey.   I think it is one of Pug's recipes that I have used for many years.

1 can evaporated milk or equivalent 1/2 & 1/2
2 C. sugar
4 Tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix sugar and cocoa.   Add milk and boil for 15 minutes.   Stir in vanilla and let cool or put over your ice cream while it is hot!

Number Of Servings:1 1/2-2 C.

Preparation Time:a few minutes plus boiling time

Sensual Starbursts

Ingredients and equipment: 

Several  packages of Starbursts (depends on how many people are gathered for this event)

A small bowl filled with hot 1-2-3 Fudge Sauce

Small sharp pointed sticks or skewers for roasting

Hot Coals to cook over


Unwrap and place a Starburst on the end of your stick.  Hold over coals and rotate gently until 1 sacrificial drop of Starburst drips into the fire (be careful not to make it 2 drips!).  Quickly take your prize over to the bowl of chocolate and dip it in to coat the Starburst.  Let cool a bit before popping it into your mouth!  Mmmmmmmm!  Be careful not to eat too soon or you'll burn your tongue!
Carla roasts the Starburst.

Then dips it in Fudge Sauce

Cooling a bit is important! Doesn't that look Sensuous?

Carla prepares for a bite of paradise!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Moose are Loose!

Out for a morning stroll.
A few days ago, Bob and I were just getting going about 8 AM, when Bob happened to look out the back windows.  Out in the meadow behind the cabin were 2 big bull moose (meese, mooses??).  Bob ran (well, went as fast as his bad knees could go) upstairs to look at them with his binoculars and I grabbed my camera and went outside, in my sweater in 30 degree weather to snap some pictures.  Well, the snow was deep!  It was almost to my knees out by Harry's rock pile by the fence!  I got on top of the rocks for my pictures but was sure they would look like 2 black dots against a background of beautiful snow clad mountains.  They just stood there posing and watching us.  Their paddles were huge but they kind of blended into the willows in the distance behind them.  I finally came in and they hung around a little while and then wandered off into the trees.
Checking me out while I check them out!

Posing for the camera.
That afternoon I was on a cleaning kick and was really making some progress, using my new $8 Black Friday electric broom, over by the big window next to the piano.  I looked up and there were the two big bulls standing right where I had taken my pictures that morning looking in the window at me!  I couldn't believe it!  One of them had jumped the fence and was between the cabin and the rock pile!  I grabbed my camera again and took pictures right from the window.  Again, they just stood there posing with their big old paddles!
Our afternoon visitors.

He turned around on me!  Oh well look at those paddles!

The shyer one of the two.  He didn't come over the fence.

  Finally I decided to go outside and see how close I could get.  (OK, I'm not like the people with the bears up in Yellowstone, but I wanted a clearer picture.  I wasn't going to pet them or anything like that!)  They decided that was enough and wandered off back out into the meadow but stopped and turned to see if I was coming with them, which I wasn't!  I got one last shot of them as they bid us farewell.
So long, boys!
The next day we had to take the Argo over to the pickup and go into town.  I decided to put my camera in my outside pocket just in case I needed to take a picture of something.  (On our last Argo ride into the cabin we had seen a cow moose with her calf but my camera was not available!).  As we were coming out of the draw, a big moose ran out of the trees in front of us!  I pulled out the camera just in time to see 3 more big bull moose come trotting out .  I snapped a few quick pictures and then decided to take some movies of them as they ran alongside us out in the meadow.  They finally cut across in front of us and I felt great that I had gotten some great video of them.  (I have to say I was just pointing and shooting because of the bright sunshine).  When I went to show the ladies at the medical center what we had seen, we were disappointed to see that my battery had given out after about 2 seconds!  Oh well, I did get a few shots of them and here they are!  Well, one good one.

3 big bull moose running across the meadow!

Kind of blurry but then we were moving and so were they!

We are heading into the trees.  The video takes over from here!
We haven't seen any sign of moose since but my guess is that they are around!  The weather is windy and cold so they are probably in the trees somewhere.

My video taping actually did work, sort of, so I put just a short clip of it on here.  Look sharp between the trees!  I missed all of them crossing the road in front of us somehow.......  Be prepared for a bouncy view from the Argo!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cutting Holly For Christmas

The holly is bundled and ready to take up to the tree farm to sell.
While we were in Washington we did not just sit around.  Marianne had a few things planned for us to do and then there were a few unplanned events too!   Today I want to talk about the day we cut holly.  Darcy has had this little business at Christmas time.  He and Pat go up to Lynden, WA on weekends before Christmas to help on the Christmas tree farm of a friend of theirs.  Darcy fixes up bundles of holly to sell up there.

There are two holly trees in their yard and they are very tall and covered with lovely red holly berries this time of year.

A dark picture of some of the holly in the tall trees.  Pat is cutting the branches of holly.
 We all (except Bob) went outside and helped.  Pat and Brendin got out the ladder.

Check out the roof.  You gotta love western Washington weather!  That is grass!  Meanwhile Pat and Brendin are gathering holly.
  Pat got up on the roof of the storage shed and Brendin held the ladder.  I picked up the branches of holly as Pat threw them down from up on the ladder or the roof.

I gathered up the cut holly and put it in the wheelbarrow.
  Marianne and Darcy clipped and arranged the bundles of holly to sell. 
A nice bouquet of holly for the people.
 The dogs watched from the patio!  Here are some pictures of the event.

Pat chooses the best branches from the trees.

Brendin on ladder duty.

Reaching for some branches.

"The Group" working with holly.

Marianne has a big pile of holly to work on!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"The Trip That Never Ended"

Waiting and waiting and waiting at the train station!
 Bob and I had been planning a trip to the Northwest to visit Marianne's family for Thanksgiving for months.  He had found a good deal on plane tickets to Seattle and got them probably some time in July.  We were to leave on the Monday before Thanksgiving from Denver.  As the day approached, the snows began to come and soon we were "snowed in".  No worries for us, we have the Argo that will get us out to Harvat's and they keep the road open from there!  The morning arrived.  It was snowing and blowing and we had received about 1 foot of new snow!  No problem, at 9 AM we chugged on out on the Argo and took the 4 wheel drive pick-up down the driveway where Harvats were feeding their cattle.  A bit bumpy but not bad.  By the time we got to highway 14, after driving on a sheet of ice for 8 or 10 miles, the road was patchy but drivable. 

We got to town and had to get our car from Jack's Auto Parts where they had put on new snow tires for our drive down to Denver.  Whoa! what's this?  The car is dead!  No juice at all.  Battery is dead as a doornail!  Bob's not taking any chances so he gets David to put in a new battery.  Luckily we are not quite ready to start sweating the timing for catching our flight!  It doesn't go out until 8:30 PM but with all the talk about body searches and X-rays we wanted to be there plenty early!  Finally about 11 AM we were ready to leave Walden! 

The drive from town to Gould went really well and then we hit ice again.  I figured we'd have it until we got over the top of Cameron and maybe down to Kinnekinick.  But that was not to be!  30 miles an hour all the way up and then down the Poudre until after the waterworks clear at the bottom of the canyon!  Time was now slipping away!  Fortunately the weather was gorgeous in Ft. Collins and Denver so the rest of the drive went really well.  We got to the airport and steeled ourselves for the "invasive" procedures being used at airport security.  To our surprise it was the same as ever.  We were in security for maybe 30 minutes and in that whole time I saw one man go into the X-ray booth and did not see anyone pulled out for a body search!  What a let down.  I thought everyone had to do one or the other!  I secretly hoped to be X-rayed to see if they could see my lapband.  I figured if they saw it they may have to pat me down but if they didn't it was a useless procedure since I could have had any kind of plastic hidden and it wouldn't show up!  Anyway we breezed through and were on our way. 

When we checked in they told us our flight was going to be about 1/2 hour late but that is nothing out of the ordinary.  We had made such good time through the airport we had a long wait in front of us.  We had a leisurely dinner and did some people watching and then went down to our gate.  By this time our flight had been pushed back to an hour late.  Not a problem.  I got out my Kindle and started a new book.  By the time it got to be 2 hours late, I called Marianne.  She had just walked in to her house and heard on the news that Sea-Tac  was closed.  A plane had gone off the runway and they didn't know when it would reopen.  Meanwhile the announcements on our end were not encouraging either.  For awhile we were not sure about whether they would cancel the flight or not!  Marianne called back to say the airport was open again but the highways were impassable so she got a room for us near the airport and train reservations up to Mt. Vernon for 7 AM the next morning.  Time went on and still they were pushing back the flight.  It was now tentatively set for 12:20 AM but could not leave until the tower in Sea-tac gave the go ahead!  I decided 7 AM was not going to work for the train so called to change our reservations to 6:40 PM (the only other time available).  Finally we got the go ahead and were off to Seattle. 

At 3 AM we got our luggage and headed out to get a shuttle to our hotel.  The wind was howling and there was lots of snow for Seattle!  We had to wait outside for the shuttle but finally it came and we made it to our hotel without a problem!

The next day we asked how to get to the train station in downtown Seattle.  They recommended getting a towncar for the trip since the roads were still very icy and traffic was not moving that well.  It turned out to be a 4 wheel drive SUV thank goodness with a great driver!  He avoided going on I-5 and after picking up another man at some federal building on the way to downtown we got to the train station.  This driver actually offered to drive us up to Seattle University to pick up Brendin, but he was walking and we didn't know what his route was.  Brendin had warned us NOT to go up to his school since it is on steep hills and he had seen a bus wipe out a block of parked cars as it slid down the hill!  The driver gave us a discount because we had another passenger with us so we only paid half price!!!

The historic Seattle train station.  Notice the tile floors and old benches.
The train station was a surprise!  We got there about 12:30 in the afternoon and were planning on meeting Brendin there since he was also taking the train up with us.  It was bitter cold and this station in the heart of Seattle did not even have a

the ceiling and windows are old.  I hope they preserve the character of this old building!
coffee kiosk let alone a coffee shop!  It is an historic building with restoration plans.  I took some pictures but you can not imagine what an antique place this is!
Brendin arrived and we had to walk a couple blocks in the bitter cold (I didn't even bring a hat or scarf with me!) to find somewhere to get some lunch and a nice hot coffee for me!!!!  We got back to the train station and still had several hours to kill. Bob just wanted to rest since we had such a late night so Brendin and I decided to explore a little.
The only entrance to the station which is under renovations.  Hopefully there is a coffee shop in the plans.  Notice the floor in this part of the station.

We walked up the hill a block or so and found this Japanese market.  It had a huge food court with sushi and all kinds of Japanese foods!  Too bad we didn't go that way for lunch!  The market was kind of like a Japanese Walmart with all kinds of items plus a huge grocery store.  Prices were in yen as well as USD and the selections were great!  Seaweed, octapus, all kinds of fresh produce I have no idea what was, regular grocery items with Japanese labels, Mexican foods with Japanese labels and lots and lots of rice and soy products.
This display caught our attention!

  We wandered up and down aisles just looking at all the candies and other exotic foods.  The candy especially intrigued me since when we were kids, my dad used to bring some Japanese men home for dinner from his work.  They always brought us candy made from seaweed.  I think Mom put it away and never let us eat it but we would sneak into the linen closet where it was hidden and look at it.  We spent a couple hours there looking at food, rice cookers, chopsticks,  dishes, children's toys and much, much more.  By then it was getting dark so we headed back to the train station.

Go for it Brendin!  We didn't know how many yen it cost to get a nice drink of Sweat.

 It was beginning to get crowded in the station and there weren't 3 seats together.  Several trains were getting ready to leave, but alas, they were all running late!  Very late!  Only the local Sounder from Seattle to Tacoma was still running!  Apparently, it was so cold that the switches were freezing and trains were being held up all over.  They had to dig out the switches, thaw them and then replace them.  Then the freight trains had precedence so the passenger ones had to wait! People were going up to that food court and bringing back wonderful smelling stir fry.  The train people were handing out free water and snacks sort of like airplane snacks!

Still waiting!

Finally, after watching all the other passenger trains pull out 2-3 hours late, our train (which had been sitting down at Boeing Field just a few miles from the station and still in the middle of Seattle) pulled in 2 1/2  hours late!!!!  We finally were on the train, only to find out they had sold our seats twice!  Brendin and I found seats nearby, but Bob and a nice lady we had become friends with at the station were taken to the diner--but it was full--so they found seats in a car that is kind of equivalent to first class on an airplane.

The next morning Harley and Shadow enjoy the snow in the back yard.
We pulled in to Mt. Vernon at 10:30PM and Marianne was there to pick us up.  We were home a little before 11.  Almost 24 hours after we were supposed to arrive!  A very long and exhausting trip!

The next morning in Burlington.  Snow is unusual at this time of year!

Pat's BBQ set up in the side yard.

The dogs on a snowy patio.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Holiday Raspberry Salad

The requests have already started for the recipe for our traditional salad for holiday dinners!  I may have put this up already but here it is again in case you need something to make ahead or to take to someone else's  for a dinner party.

Holiday Raspberry Salad

This is the salad we all call around to get the recipe every Christmas so now you can just print it out.   I don't have the actual recipe here but here's the way most of us have modified it.

Top and Bottom

1 large (6 serving) box raspberry Jello
1 1/2 cups water
1-2 bags frozen raspberries (depends on how raspberry you want it)
1 cup apples, chopped (optional)


1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Dissolve jello in hot water.   Stir in frozen raspberries and pour 1/2 mixture into a 9x13 pan.   Set in refrigerator while making filling.   Set other half aside.   Soften cream cheese and sour cream in mixer.   When well blended fold in marshmallows.   Spread filling on top of jello in 9x13 pan.   Spread rest of jello mixture on top of filling and refrigerate until set.

Number Of Servings:

Preparation Time:15-20 minutes

Friday, November 19, 2010

Memories of When We Had The Nation's Capitol Christmas Tree in North Park

Click on pictures to make them larger and hit the back button to get back to the blog.

The first day cover from that special time for all of us North Parkers!
 A friend of mine emailed me that the 2010 National Christmas Tree just went through Cheyenne after traveling all around Wyoming.   Many of you will remember way back to 1990 when the Nation's Capitol Christmas Tree came from Walden.  It was our Centennial and it was part of the celebration.

Bob was on the planning committee for this big event.
It was a really big deal with TV and newspapers from all over interviewing everyone.  Everything was a big event.  I think some Forest Service people went out and chose several trees to be flagged 2 or 3 years before it was our turn.  This part was very hush, hush so no one would know where the trees were and activists couldn't chain themselves to the trees when the time came to cut the chosen one!

Nice wood burning on Bob's plaque.
 When they cut the tree down, everyone was invited to attend the ceremonies.  There were speeches and as I recall they had the manufacturer of the chainsaw up there taking pictures for advertising purposes and who knows what else! I actually didn't attend but that was the story.  I think it was a Husquvarna but I'm not sure!

This was on the back of Bob's plaque.
 Traditionally school children from all over the state have been invited to make decorations for the tree and that was the case that year too.  I was not involved with that.  Our school groups, 4-H and local civic groups were invited to participate in a night time parade.  I'm not sure but I think it was the class I sponsored that had a float and I remember we had lumieres on it and it looked real cool!  Other floats had battery operated Christmas lights and I think my FHA or the 4-H or both had them all over their floats.  It was really very lovely and probably the only big night time parade ever held in North Park!
The logo for that year.
 A few days later they pulled the tree (which was all wrapped for shipping) through town with the Budweiser team. Everyone including me was running out into the street every few yards to get pictures and shake hands with the drivers.  They would stop and wait and then move on a few yards.  It was such fun!  A lot of kids who had graduated and were attending college or working somewhere else came up for this event and it was like the rodeo parade only with even more folks attending!

Of course we had to watch the lighting of the tree with all the children's decorations on it; and all the specials about how they placed and decorated the trees in the White House. You see, we didn't send just one tree but all the trees for decorating the White House and I think other Washington DC buildings as well! A delegation from North Park was there for all the festivities and they had a great time.

The funniest part of the whole deal was when my cousin called me from New Jersey and told us if we needed anything to let them know so they could help out!  It turned out that all the national TV and news coverage kept mentioning how poor our town was and how it was one step from bankruptcy!  We had a good chuckle over that even though it turned out to be very close to the truth.

This was how all Christmas cards were stamped that were mailed from Walden that year.
  They sent the tree back here when they were done with it. One of my students who was going for his Eagle Scout badge made wooden benches from it to put around town with a plaque telling the story of the tree.  The National Post Office Service also had a commemorative stamp made and I have a first day cover of it.  Sadly, there won't be any more trees from here, I don't think.  The pine beetles have really killed a majority of the big ones in our county.

Now I need to go see if I can find those pictures I took of the Clydesdales!  And where did I put that first day cover????

Sorry, I couldn't find  my pictures of the Clydesdales.  This all took place before I owned a digital camera and I'm sure the pictures are stored away in some box from one of our moves!  Or maybe Carla has them at her house where she is doing a lot of scrapbooking.  If I come across them I'll have to post them on this blog later.