Thursday, May 31, 2007

This is why

There has not been too much time for blogging the last couple of days as my time has been spent outdoors in the garden.

Our weather has warmed up at last and it makes for a pleasant time pulling weeds, making a run to the garden center, and planting all the new plants. To see pictures (three posts) click on this BUTTON

I think, tomorrow I may enjoy a day of rest.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It's raining gold

This morning I had to drop my car off at the mechanics, so while I waited for my ride home, I walked across the road to the garden center.

This is one time I was happy to have a camera in my purse. Oh! what I wouldn't do to have two arches covered in ?? I stopped to call the garden center to ask the name of the plant. They are actually Golden Rain trees trained to grow over the arches.
Hmmmmm! I wonder if MrC would build me two arches, or I would settle for just one.

Monday, May 28, 2007


I hate it when people forward bogus warnings, and I have even done it myself a couple times unintentionally...but this one is real, and it's important. So please send this warning to everyone on your e-mail list.

If someone comes to your front door saying they are checking for ticks due to the warm weather and asks you to take your clothes off and dance around with your arms up, DO NOT DO IT!! THIS IS A SCAM!! They only want to see you naked.

I wish I'd gotten this yesterday. I feel so stupid.

Thanks Roxie for the chuckle

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Flown the coop, umm! I mean, the nest

The earth seemed like it was holding it's breath as I quietly walked our yard very early this morning. The only sounds came from the birds. Robins were singing their love songs, Chickadees were chatting around the feeders, and it sounded like a Jay, across the pasture, calling a warning of a predator in the vicinity .

For weeks, I have been keeping an eye on the Robin family who lived in this nest, hoping to catch a glimpse of the youngsters as they learned to fly . But sometime, the last few days when I was busy, the chicks left the nest. I guess you have to be up very early to see such an event.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

How gorgeous Sighhhh!

A few weeks ago I took myself for a drive to wander around Meerkerk Rhododendon Gardens. I was there before peak bloom season, but all the same I did manage to see some spectacular early blooms.
I will just post many pictures and no chatter to distract you from the beauty.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Squeaky clean

Last evening as I left work, a few large raindrops splattered onto my jacket as I walked to my car, and by the time I had driven about halfway home I had to turn the wipers on so I could see. As I drove up the road to our home it really started pelting down. Pulling up into the driveway as near to the front door of the house as I could, without actually driving inside, wish I could have, I decided to sit tight until the deluge passed. I sat, waiting, waiting, waiting, finally said to myself, "Oh nuts, what's a little rain? make a run for it" Pulling the hood of my jacket over my head, I made my run for the front door. Amazing how wet a person can get running just about ten feet.

This morning it has dawned bright and clear, not a rain cloud in sight.
I love to get outside early in the morning after a rainstorm as the whole world is shining like a bright new silver dollar. It seems as though all the birds are singing out their happiness and joy for this bright new day and the mist is rising in the warmth from the rising sun. Robins, especially appear to enjoy the days after a good shower, as they all congregate, with much splashing and chirping in the mud puddle, you can see on the right, for their daily bath.

The garden has been thoroughly watered and washed squeaky clean, and many plants left with diamond drops glistening in the sun. What a beautiful day to enjoy.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


I am feeling kinda' weary this morning, so instead of writing a book on my week's adventures, I am leaving you with this............

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated the Earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

Then using God's great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and Krispy Creme Donuts.

And Satan said, "You want chocolate with that?"

And Man said, "Yes!" and Woman said, "and as long as you're at it, add some sprinkles." And they gained 10 pounds.

And Satan smiled.

And God created the healthful yogurt that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair.

And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar from the cane and combined them.

And Woman went from size 6 to size 14.

So God said, "Try my fresh green salad."

And Satan presented Thousand-Island Dressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast on the side.

And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said, "I have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them."

And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter.

And Man gained more weight and his cholesterol went through the roof.

God then created a light, fluffy white cake, named it "Angel Food Cake," and said, "It is good." Satan then created chocolate cake and named it "Devil's Food."

God then brought forth running shoes so that His children might lose those extra pounds.

And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering blue light and gained pounds.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition.

And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fried them. And Man gained pounds. God then gave lean beef so that

Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite.

And Satan created McDonald's and its 99-cent double cheeseburger. Then said, "You want fries with that?" And Man replied, "Yes! And super size them!" And Satan said, "It is good." And Man went into cardiac arrest. God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery.

Then Satan created HMOs.

My, my ?...who created coffee??

Friday, May 18, 2007

Apfel Pfannkuchen

A German apple pancake recipe from the days before boxed pancake mix.

Makes 24 small pancakes

1-1/4 cups milk
1 egg
1-1/2 cups flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. melted butter
3 apples, peeled and grated
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Beat the milk and egg together. Mix gradually into the flour and salt and continue mixing until blended. Beat in the melted butter. Strain through a sieve to remove any lumps. Let stand for 1 hour.
Combine the apples, cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice.
Drop tablespoons of the batter on a greased heated griddle and top with a little of the apple mixture. Cook until the batter loses its shine, turn over and cook other side.
Serve piping hot, sprinkled with sugar.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


This month, our group carpooled to Clinton to walk across the ferry ("walk across the ferry" is a term I always find amusing. You walk onto the ferry and then usually sit, until the ferry docks on the other side, you don't walk in place, until the ferry arrives at it's destination. *grin*) as I was saying, we cruised, across Puget sound to enjoy lunch at Ivar's restaurant.

Some of the Red Hat Chilies waiting to board the ferry. Some of us brought umbrellas as the weather held the promise of a shower or two, but as usually is the case, come prepared, and it will not happen. A bit like washing your car, then it rains. Hmmm! now I said that, I am not sure it makes sense, Oh Well, it is my blog and I can choose to make sense, or not "chuckle"

Here we are, "walking across the ferry"

We have finished eating our delicious meals, at least mine was, I cannot speak for anyone else.
I ordered Fresh Alaskan Halibut with roasted garlic-sun dried tomato vinaigrette basil oil & artichoke bottom relish, steamed asparagus and roasted Yukon gold potatoes.
I do not see one unhappy face in the group, seems every one is having a grand time.
Yours truly, is on the left, at the back.

And at the other table, we have more lovely Red Hat Chilies, decked out in their finest. I do believe, half the fun is dressing up. It is a kick to have strangers come up to us and ask questions about our group, and we are quick to let them know just how much fun it is to belong to a Red Hat chapter.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Want Not Waste Not

One of my favorite things to do on a beautiful morning, is to take my camera out doors to capture pictures of anything of interest. Today we have one of those mornings, where there is not a hint of breeze, the sun is warm at 6:30am and the birds are singing their little hearts out.

As long as I can remember, I have been in tune with nature, taking an interest in my surroundings, finding beauty in the shape of a leaf, the color and texture of flower petals or the twisted limbs of a tree, the smell of the rich decaying earth of a rain forest, well, you get the idea without me writing a book on the subject.

Talking of want not waste not, MrC had salmon he caught in Juneau Alaska, shipped home in polystyrene containers which have been sitting in the carport for years. One day I was looking at the boxes and one of those "light bulb' ideas came to me, why not use them as planters. MrC said they would not be strong enough, but being the person I am, I had to see for myself if they would hold up. Well as you can see this one is the perfect place for my deck herb garden, the herbs are very happy in their styrene box up against the house, where they get the afternoon sun, and this is the second year I have used this particular box, last year it held grape tomatoes, which also did well.

As I came down off the deck I caught a whiff of Lilac fragrance from the lilac along side the carport. Sure enough the lilac is in full bloom, how lovely it is.

With all the rain we have had this spring, my garden is lush and green. Ferns and hostas are robust in their growth and are competing for the "most beautiful award" as are many other perennials in the gardens.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I will share this secret with you

This is an Excellent Diet Try it you'll like it

We are all always worried about our weight -- this seems doable and it relieves stress. What more could you ask for?

Excellent Stress Diet

This is a specially formulated diet designed to help
Women cope with the stress that builds during the day.

1 grapefruit
1 slice whole wheat toast
1 cup skim milk

1 small portion lean, steamed chicken
1 cup spinach
1 cup herbal tea
1 Hershey's kiss

Afternoon Tea
The rest of the Hershey Kisses in the bag
1 tub of Hagen-Daaz ice cream with chocolate chips

4 glasses of wine (red or white)
2 loaves garlic bread
1 family size supreme pizza
3 Snickers Bars
Late Night Snack
1 whole Sarah Lee cheesecake (eaten directly from the freezer)

Remember: Stressed spelled backward is desserts. Send
This to four women and you will lose two pounds. Send
This to all the women you know (or ever knew) and you
Will lose 10 pounds. If you delete this message, you will
Gain 10 pounds immediately. That's why I had to pass this
on, I didn't want to risk it.

*smile* I do not fall for all those *or else* emails I do not forward them, but I had to share this one with all my blogger friends. It's the best diet I have come across in ages *grin* Keewee

Sunday, May 13, 2007


This is a favorite picture of my Mother. Being the first Mother's day without Mum is sad, I remember her with fond memories.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Blue Ribbon Macaroni & Cheese

I start by making the best Mac N Cheese recipe there is.
If you are worried about your cholesterol, then perhaps this recipe is not for you.

Macaroni And Cheese

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
6 slices good white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 tsp. dry mustard
4 1/2 cups (about 18 oz.) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cups (about 8 oz.) grated Gruyere or 1 1/4 grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 lb. elbow macaroni
About 8 slices of PepperJack cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3 quart casserole dish; set aside. Place the bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into bowl with bread and toss. Set the bread aside.

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat the milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick. Remove pan from heat.

Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dry mustard, 3 cups cheddar cheese and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup Pecorino Romano; set cheese sauce aside.

Fill a large saucepan with water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer’s directions, until the outside of the pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.

Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.

Place half of the mixture into the prepared dish and top with half of the sliced PepperJack cheese. Pour remaining mixture over top, place second half of PepperJack slices over top, and finish by Sprinkling remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano and bread crumbs over top.

Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes.

Transfer dish to wire rack to cool 5 minutes. Serve

I enjoy the "extra bite" the PepperJack cheese gives this dish.

I did not have time to make this dish, so borrowed the graphic from


For those of you sensitive to colorful language I did edit this a little.

When I stand up for myself and my beliefs, they call me a b***h.

When I stand up for those I love, they call me a b***h.

When I speak my mind, think my own thoughts or do things my own way, they call me a b***h.

Being a b***h means I won't compromise what's in my heart.

It means I live my life MY way. It means I won't allow anyone to step on me.

When I refuse to tolerate injustice and speak against it, I am defined as a b***h.

The same thing happens when I take time for myself instead of being everyone's maid, or when I act a little selfish.

It means I have the courage and strength to allow myself to be who I truly am and won't become anyone else's idea of what they think I "should" be.

I am outspoken, opinionated and determined. I want what I want and there is nothing wrong with that!

So try to stomp on me try to douse my inner flame, try to squash every ounce of beauty I hold within me. You won't succeed.

And if that makes me a b***h, so be it. I embrace the title and am proud to bear it.

B - Babe
I - In
T - Total
C - Control of
H - Herself

B = Beautiful
I = Intelligent
T = Talented
C = Charming
H = Hell of a Woman

B = Beautiful
I = Individual
T = That
C = Can
H = Handle anything

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Oh ! my, Mother nature is dishing out an interesting Spring

Yesterday afternoon, the wind came up with a ferosity which surprised me, and by the time I left work and walked the boardwalk to take the stairs to the parking lot, the wind was fierce indeed. I was really holding onto my bag and leaning into the wind.
The road home was littered with small branches, leaves and twigs from the trees.

Our front porch and driveway looked like this, confettied (it that a word? well it gives you the idea) with small leaves from the willow, and pine cones and leaves from the other trees surrounding our home.

This morning it dawned bright and sunny, a gentle breeze blowing, and the promise of a beautiful day. I am happy to say this huge Hosta and the Pansys were not damaged in the wind storm.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Another day in Paradise

It is going to be another gorgeous day on Whidbey Island. This was the scene at 6:30AM this morning. The mist was lazily drifting across Useless Bay, the snow on the Cascades, being kissed by the rising sun, and a chorus of birdsong to set the mood.

Ahhhh! what a blessing to live in such a beautiful place.

Monday, May 07, 2007

At Long Last

We have a beautiful day with temperatures in the 50F's already, AND,
we are supposed to have several such days in a row. It is about time the weather settled down, folks were starting to get scratchy (Kiwi for grouchy). Amazing what a little bit of warm, sunshiny weather will do for their moods.

It was time to take my camera outdoors and see what was going on in the yard. There was a chorus of birdsong as I opened the front door and stepped onto the porch into the warm sun, the air smelled fresh and clean after last night's rain shower, and there was color in the garden from Tulip blooms. There was a humming bird flitting near by, and I noticed that they make the most unusual sounds. It seems to my ears, that the sound they make is rather harsh and loud for such a tiny pretty bird. Have any of you out there observed the same thing?

This particular tulip is one I planted last fall and have eagerly been waiting to see the unusual blooms. Well worth the wait, aren't they?

As I turned to return indoors, this little rabbit was nibbling on grass just about seven feet away. we spotted each other about the same time, and he froze there for a few seconds then turned towards me as though posing for his picture. Seems he is one of the tamer rabbits we have on the property.
It is time for getting ready to spend the day at the spa, I have just two more days work to put in, before I get time off to enjoy this lovely weather.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A Smile

I am working 4-1/2 days straight, covering vacation time for one of my co-workers, and will not have too much time for story telling, but I have a few things I have saved for such an occasion. Hope you get a chuckle out of this cute joke, I did say chuckle, not, roll on floor laughing!

Morris and his wife Esther went to the state fair every year, and every year Morris would say, "Esther, I'd like to ride in that helicopter".

Esther always replied, "I know Morris, but that helicopter ride is 50 dollars and 50 dollars is 50 dollars".

One year Esther and Morris went to the fair, and Morris said, "Esther, I'm 85 years old. If I don't ride that helicopter, I might never get another chance."

Esther replied, "Morris that helicopter is 50 dollars and 50 dollars is 50 dollars".

The pilot overheard the couple and said, "Folks I'll make you a deal. I'll take the both of you for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and not say a word I won't charge you! But if you say one word, it's 50 dollars."

Morris and Esther agreed and up they went.The pilot did all kind of fancy maneuvers, but not a word was heard. He did his daredevil tricks over and over again, but still not a word. When they landed, the pilot turned to Morris and said, "By golly, I did everything I could to get you to yell out, but you didn't. I'm impressed!"

Morris replied, "Well, to tell you the truth, I almost said something when Esther fell out, but you know -- 50 dollars is 50 dollars."

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Kerikeri Corn Salad

Kerikeri, from earliest days a fertile growing area, was where the first plough was used in New Zealand in 1820. It is interesting to note that the Maori gardeners in the Bay of Islands grew garlic as a trading crop before the Treaty was signed.

2 cups cooked sweet corn
1 cup cooked green peas
1 cup diced cucumber
2 tbs. chopped green onions or chives
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup salad oil
2 tbs. vinegar
salt & pepper
Cayenne pepper

Drain the cooked vegetables well and mix with the cucumber. Shake the oil & vinegar together in a screw top jar with salt & pepper and Cayenne pepper and dress the vegetables with this, tossing lightly until all are coated. Serve cold.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Giant spider makes NZ home

This story from the local paper in New Zealand, where I grew up, had me cringing. I really, really do not like large spiders. If I found one of this size in my yard, whether it was harmless or not, would probably put an end to my gardening. Shiverrrrrr!!!!

By DAN HUTCHINSON - The Press | Saturday, 28 April 2007

A large Australian spider is setting up home in New Zealand in increasing numbers.

Lorrie Griebel's Marlborough backyard is home to a golden orbweb spider – the latest found in New Zealand in recent months.

Eleven discoveries of the tropical spider have been reported to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry this year. The Marlborough spider is one of just three confirmed sightings in the South Island since 1975.

Measuring over 5cm in length, the spider was thriving on a generous diet of bumblebees and other garden insects. The spiders are known to catch small birds.

Griebel discovered "Charlotte" in the garden of her Wairau Valley home two months ago, initially a lot smaller but with what she described as freakishly long legs.

Her children, Alicia, seven, and Hayley, five, named the spider after the main character in the book Charlotte's Web. In this case the web consists of 1 sq m of strong, golden silk.

"The first thing we noticed was these strange-looking legs and my main concern was the kids running through it. I left it well alone and gave it a wide berth. I got more interested when it started to change and I thought `this is definitely not a common everyday spider'," Griebel said.

Ministry entomologist Maurice O'Donnell said the spiders were thought to migrate to New Zealand from Queensland when they were as small as dust specks, blown across the Tasman in high-altitude winds.

They had been sighted in 1975, 1989, 1990, 1995 and 1997, but this year a record number had been spotted, all but one in the North Island.

O'Donnell said the spiders' migration was not well understood but the increase in sightings was probably weather-related.

The spiders were neither aggressive nor venomous, although since they were large " it would probably be undesirable to be bitten".

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I have booked my seat on Air New Zealand and am ready to go now.

Come November 5th, I am going home for a visit. It has been a very long time since I have been in NZ and I am sure there are many, many changes, especially in Palmerston North where my remaining family lives.

I have two brothers, a daughter, and two grandsons I want to spend time with. Spending time with my daughter, Tina, is of the utmost importance, as she has Huntington's Disease which is progressing extremely rapidly, so much so, that she will be in a facility in the very near future.
Tina will celebrate her 39 th Birthday on the 14 th of November so I think it would be nice to have a small celebration for her.

I want to go and look at all the houses I lived in when growing up, and see what changes have been made, if any, and take a drive out to Foxton Beach where we had a batch (beach house) I also would like to take a walk on the beach where my brothers and I played as children.

There are many things I would like to do, and see, that I am making a list just in case I forget something.( I am getting forgetful in my old age *grin*) and who knows when I will be able to make another journey home. Interesting how I still call New Zealand home even though I have lived in the States for many years. I feel "once a Kiwi, always a Kiwi in your heart" and I am sure this is the case for other people who have left their homeland.

I will make sure I take plenty of pictures so you can all see where I was born and raised. New Zealand is a beautiful country.