Monday, October 29, 2012

Chocolate Amore anyone?

Our Cougar Creek Band Sunday jam sessions are always fun.  They are not your typical jam session in that they end with dinner. When I say dinner, I don't mean just your usual "run of the mill" meal.

The Cougar Creek Band Menu 

 Corn and Flaxseed Tortillas 
 Cherries Jubilee with Vanilla Ice Cream

Chocolate Amore
Assorted Dark Chocolates
Evans Brother's Decaf Coffee 

Note: RTM complained a lot about the Corn and Flaxseed Tortillas, but they were delicious.

Penthouse Posole Photo: Robert McMahan / SF
From Wikipedia:
Pozole (Nahuatlpozolli [po'solːi]), which means "foamy"; variant spellings: pozolépozolliposole) is a traditional pre-Columbian stew from Mexico, which once had ritual significance.  Since corn was a sacred plant for the Aztecs and other inhabitants of Mesoamerica, pozole was made to be consumed on special occasions. On these special occasions, the meat used in the pozole was human.   After the Spanish conquest, when cannibalism was banned, pork became the staple meat as it "tasted very similar", according to a Spanish priest.

Hmmm.   I'm not sure I really needed to know that.  

Ann's Posole was delicious.  This is all that was left.

The dessert, Cherries Jubilee!

Cherries Jubilee is not just a dessert, it's an event.  I didn't realize this was going to be an action photo.  Sorry about the blurry picture.  Cherries Jubilee is made with dark cherries and a liqueur, Kirschwasser, which is subsequently flambéed, and served as a sauce with ice cream.

Neil torches the cherries!

We followed the dessert with a kicker.  Julie and Ann are working on converting me to a lover of VERY dark chocolate so that I can join their ranks.  In order to begin the conversion, Julie brought an assortment of dark chocolate and we all participated in a "scientific study". We began with a 54% chocolate and worked our way up to 72%.  So far, I am still back at 55%, but there is hope.  We have enough chocolate left for tastings at the next 8 or 10 band sessions.

We had to have something to cleanse our palate as we tasted each chocolate.  Chocolate Wine anyone?

Needless to say, our wine connoisseur, Neil, was pretty skeptical about the Chocolate Wine.

Notice the smile on the wine connoisseur's face.

I would say the tasting was a success!  It was a very enjoyable evening.  Drinking good wine, with good food, in good company! 

P.S.  I have to say that it didn't end here.  The group proceeded to taste Retired Mountain Man's assortment of Halloween candy, Baby Ruth Bars, Butterfingers, Almond Joy Bars and finally, Paydays. Who knows what we will have on the menu next week.  It will be hard to top this, but I think the group can do it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

No Perfect Storm Here.

It's a cold and rainy Saturday morning.  There is nothing to do but have a cup of coffee and browse the Internet OR could there be something else to do?  Maybe.

Maggie says it's too wet outside.  This is a photo of a dog who just had her bath and was clean.  That lasted for about six hours.  She went outside, dug up a bone and was once again, covered with dirt.

It is definitely too wet out there to go hunt for these.  Retired Mountain Man's entire haul from his last foray through the woods to his game camera.

Oyster Mushrooms

Yesterday I canned more salsa and some jalapeno peppers.  What's left to do?   Grape jelly for my grandkids, maybe some pepper jelly, another batch of salsa?

Nah!  Not today.  I did enough of that yesterday.

Earlier in the morning, the Mandolin Gals and I practiced for two hours.  We are working on a new song, "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate".    We tore that song apart, changed the key, the lyrics, the harmony, to suit us.  We were so proud of ourselves!

We really liked this version until we heard from our drummer that some years ago Madeleine had performed at the Festival of Sandpoint.  It didn't go well for her.  It seems she was very unhappy that the crowd did not devote their attention to her (they were up and about, buying food and drink and visiting) and there were, horrors..........BUGS!  She apparently made many comments about this to her audience.  Evidently no one had told her that the gig was an outdoor festival.

There's a good chance that this might be the Perfect Day to rewrite this song for the band.  There are no bugs and Retired Mountain Man will be watching football and browsing the Internet.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The first snowfall is here before Halloween. Is it a bad sign? Will we have a long, snowy winter to look forward to or..........?

Yes, I know I haven't posted anything on the blog for a week.  How could I be too busy to blog?

The water heater problem was fixed by three pros!  Daryl, a Navy Chief Warrant Officer, who would definitely "have your back" in any situation, Tom, a dam operator at Cabinet Gorge Dam, and last but not least, Travis, who is always the first one here to help us solve any problem.

In 30 minutes they had the old one out and the new one installed.  Thank you!  Thank you!

The beauty of this water heater is the electronic control on the front.  Retired Mountain Man and I have an ongoing dispute about just how hot the water temperature should be.  It is not hot enough for me, the person who does the dishes and the laundry.  I now have control of the situation.  I can increase the water temperature by one or two degrees.  Whoo Hoo!  Sometimes you just gotta love new technology!

Retired Mountain Man and I have been working at getting everything (that would be, tables, chairs, hoses, pots, bird feeders, garden decorations, dahlias, begonias, the barbeque) either in the barn, shed, or basement, and It IS DONE!

The last of the tomatoes are ripening and ready to be made into salsa or spaghetti sauce.

It was also time to start making this year's wine.  I've started three vats with one more to go.

White wine

Red wine
I added 22 jars of chutney to the shelves in the root cellar and it is starting to fill up.

My Christmas Cactus decided to bloom after I brought it indoors.  Yes, that white stuff you see in the background is snow.

The last holdout on the front porch.

It's time to put another log on the fire.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Things have slowly wound down to a standstill around here due to this problem.

Our  water heater with it's 5 year warranty made it to 7 years and tried to blow up.  We do have hot water, but I have to turn the breaker on for 35 min. before I need the water and then turn it off.

Shopping for a new water heater is a challenge when you live in the sticks.  It required a drive to Coeur d'Alene to find one that would fit in our space.  We have a rescue team arriving this afternoon to help us move out the old one and move in the new one.  Retired Mountain Man will then use his "Guy Guy" skills and finish the installation.

I have to admit that I have been enjoying no hot water.  There is no pressure to be canning salsa, green tomatoes, chutney or jam.  I get to take a break to spend more time practicing my guitar and piano and  whatever!  The carrots have been harvested though and are resting in their winter bed of sand in the root cellar.

This is a very comforting fall photo.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The cream of the grape crop and the last of the green tomatoes.

Yesterday Retired Mountain Man and I picked most of the grapes that are ripe. After finishing that task, I spent a couple of hours picking the last bed of tomatoes and taking all the vines to the compost pile.

I had planned to pull all of the carrots but gave up after digging the potatoes and the last of the onions.  The final carrot harvest will have to be another day.  

There are tomatoes everywhere.  On shelves in the basement, in the pantry and in front of the bay window.    I am down to my last jar of Green Tomato Chutney so I need to get with it.

Retired Mountain Man found some fresh Lobster Mushrooms on his walk today.  Enough to fill the dehydrator with sliced mushrooms.  It was a busy day.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

It's a dog's life here.

Maggie has inherited dog house accessories from her cousin Sophie.  She is a very happy dog.

She now has a new dog house pad with an air mattress inside for extra comfort....

.....and a heated water dish and a heating pad that will go inside her dog bed when the weather gets cold.  

Retired Mountain Man was so envious that he decided he wanted an electric blanket.  He actually starting searching online to buy one.  (Note:  Retired Mountain Man does not shop online.)
Maggie says she is ready for winter.

Yes, Retired Mountain Man is getting an electric blanket.  It's been ordered and is on it's way.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The frost is on the grape arbor.

This morning's low temperature:  27.6 degrees.  Say goodbye to these beautiful flowers.

It's time to pick the grapes.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cousin Oliver's Fishing Adventure

Oliver and his dad went fishing with Uncle Tyler.  They stopped by to share their photos with us and tell us all about their day on the lake.

Headed for the Green Monarchs

Helping Uncle Tyler

This fish used to eat the little fish

"I can hold one this size, dad."

This one is as big as me.  

A beautiful day on the lake even with the smoke in the air.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

There are strange things done in the midnight sun...

Finally, the change in the weather arrives.  We have had over 42 days of sunshine and warmer than normal temperatures.  Yesterday, the winds of change blew in and this morning we woke up to snow on the mountain.

In between pulling out veggies in the garden and canning and freezing them, RMM and I are reading an interesting book, "How It Looks Going Back" by Doris Knowles Pulis.  A memoir about a young girl growing up in the remote Yaak River country of Montana.  In 1949 her parents decide to move from San Diego to the Yaak.   In the winter there was a lot of snow (four feet, six feet, eight feet) and very cold temperatures (20 below, 30 below, 40 below).  To pass the time they played games and read a lot of books.  She tells of her father reading the poem , "The Cremation of Sam McGee".  I hadn't thought of that poem for many years.  Retired Mountain Man's father used to quote it from memory.  

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.

The poem was written by Robert Service and published in 1907 in his book, The Spell of the Yukon.   You can read the entire poem at this link.  The Cremation of Sam McGee

Monday, October 1, 2012

When I'm Sixty-Four

When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine.

If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door,
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four.

You'll be older too,
And if you say the word,
I could stay with you.

I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride.

Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
Who could ask for more.
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four.