I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Fun with the Beans

After the Beans left on Tuesday, my good friend "C" came to visit for a few days. It was her birthday and we had to celebrate it with the New Year. She left this morning. We had a great visit and she enjoyed herself. It was then that I took a good look at this house. After having the Beans here, being gone so much and just having fun... this house was a sad combination of After Christmas chaos without any New Years resolutions to point me in the right direction.
The first order of business was putting away all the Christmas decorations. It took me most of the day...including a two hour nap, which was very needed, and tonight I feel like a new woman. The house is clean and I'm still going strong at almost midnight.
I also chose a few good photos of the Bean's and thought I would write another post about their visit, which was a whirlwind of activity.

They loved the hot tub.
It's a great way NOT to have to give your grandchildren a bath every night.
Carl wanted to play.. but he didn't want to get wet. So he watched... and barked once in a while.

The next day we put them to work digging for GOLD.
This area was a bit too steep but they had fun trying to scale it anyway.
Then we let them climb near the Chicken coop where it wasn't so steep and the dirt was filled with quartz.
 This was "Gold" dirt. They spent hours working here.
Actually, they were making steps up the side of the hill to the chicken coop... an alternate route for the brave and for those who want to climb hills to retrieve eggs, rather than walk up the "easy" trail... in other words, 8 to 10 year old's.
At the top, near the chicken house, were some big quartz rocks and they were sure that these were gold bearing rocks.

Papa gave them a crash course on gold panning. He got some quartz rocks that he had been saving for the occasion and put them through the rock crusher, which reduces the rock to dust and very small pieces of sand, dirt and (hopefully) gold. Then he showed them how to pan.
Then he let them do it.
And by golly... they found gold in their pans.
  They learned to use a snuffer bottle and suck those gold pieces out of the pan into that bottle.
They were hooked. They went back and got more dirt and panned... and panned... and panned. It's amazing what gold fever can do to keep two little boys occupied... for hours.

One night I let the Beans fixed dinner. A friend had posted a new way to use hot dogs on Facebook so I decided  that this might be fun. IT WAS.
The boys did all the work.
You cut a hot dog up into three pieces and stick as many pieces of uncooked spagetti as you can into the hot dog lengthwise.  (Six or seven is about it.)
We made  about three of these combos a person.
Then we cooked the spaghetti and hot dogs.
 Be patience. It takes a while to get the pasta down into the water and don't add salt to the water.
I warmed up some spaghetti sauce and made a salad. 
Pretty easy dinner and THEY ATE IT.
About this recipe: I would only say that this is a "kid friendly" dinner that is fun and filling. It is not for large dinner parties or gourmet foodies but it was a success with the hungry prospectors. I think the spaghetti could have cooked a little longer than regular pasta, because the part that was inside the hot dog was a little tough. Maybe cooking the whole combination longer would have cooked the speared spaghetti more.

I also went to my first 3D movie in 50 some years.
Took the Beans to see WALKING WITH DINOSAURS.

I was able to wear these glasses (above) over mine.
 They were the "adult" size 3D glasses. I had a moment of panic when I realized that I had to wear them and that I might have to take my other glasses off. Then I wouldn't have seen anything. But it all worked out in the end.
Synopsis... "For the first time in movie history, audiences will truly see and feel what it was like when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. WALKING WITH DINOSAURS is the ultimate immersive, big screen adventure for families. Meet dinosaurs more real than you've ever seen as you take off on a thrilling prehistoric adventure, where Patchi, an underdog dinosaur, triumphs against all odds to become a hero for the ages."

This movie did not get great reviews but we loved it. I'm not an animated movie buff.  I just don't like most of them, but this movie was entertaining and I fell in love with Patchi, the little dinosaur who saves his migrating herd.
They even stopped the action to tell you what kind of dinosaurs had just arrived and what kind of eaters they were. A little prehistoric history along with the entertainment... wonderful scenery and great animation.
If you have kids (or grand kids) who like Dinosaurs... this is the movie for them.
Oh... and bring your own food and drinks. A small Slurpee was $6.25. Can you believe it? Two bags of popcorn and two Slurpee's were more than the price of admission. Wow!

I'm going to do another post on our trip, with the Beans, to Columbia, CA. and then ( after you can't take one more Bean post) I will move on to the quest for the Great Blue Heron at the river.
All is quiet here, now... but I miss them.
and all the silliness that we love.


My friend "C" and her little dog Max were good, adult company. We had a wonderful visit.
Happy Birthday, C. You are missed. Hope your drive home was a smooth one.
Well, it's getting close to midnight so I guess I will stop, post and go to bed.

I hope that "C"s daughter, in Boston, is not still frozen shut into her apartment after the big storm. She was raised here in California and she is braving this awful winter in the east... and my Dawn in Michigan... and Donna in Montana... and all my blogging friends in the east. I send you warmth from California where we keep the screen door open all day and the sun feels good. Take care.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone.

This is the quiet after the storm of Christmas visiting and visitors. Can you hear it? Can you hear the sound of silence? I DO!
One week ago I was eating Cioppino on Christmas Eve.
The Prospector made it. It was sooo good. I can't begin to tell you how good it was... and all I had to do was slice some bread.

Christmas morning we opened presents from Santa, Carl and Cutter. I packed my bags for a two day visit to my sister's to see the family and spread good cheer...that would be presents, a homemade peach trifle and Adult Chocolate Milk (Look it up if you don't know what Adult Chocolate Milk is. You're missing one of life's pleasures if you don't.). The Prospector stayed home with the dogs and the chickens but it was OK with him. It's how we live here. It's how we deal with family that doesn't live down the street or around the corner from us. 

It was a wonderful Christmas day. The house was decorated with Sis's gorgeous holiday loveliness.
Dinner was delicious.
I forgot to take pictures of the dinner... Yes, I was eating the food, not photographing it...
but take my word for it.
It was GOOD.

After dinner we opened some presents. One of mine was a bag of Nonni's cookies... what else.
There were important conversations.
between young and old, about religion and politics...
And funny stories... laughter...
and good coffee.

The Beans found more gifts to open and the alien forces appeared.
Being able to see at night and behind them at the same time.
Amazing little space people from the future... with Camo shirts and a vast knowledge of electronic equipment.
Four handed monsters with computer skills. Scary!
Where did my grandchildren go and where did these alien beings come from?

Everyone relaxed...
That was the kind of Christmas Day it was.

I know this smile.  It's beautiful isn't it?
This is my lovely daughter in law relaxing and enjoying the day... knowing she has the rest of the year off and that Noni is driving back up to the mountain with her little Alien beings for a few days. It's that contented smile of a busy mom who won't know what to do with four or five days of doing anything she wants to do.

On Friday, I packed myself up, picked up the Beans. Off we drove... over the Delta, across the big Central Valley of California, up into the Foothills and up a steep, dirt road... to spend a long weekend with Carl, Cutter and the chickens, in the little farmhouse on the mountain.

Will Noni and the Prospector survive... Stay tuned.