Animals, Home and Garden

Thanksgiving

Yesterday I was able to get this photo of one of our squirrels eating some corn he found leftover in our garden. They are determined and industrious little ones, he carried that whole cob up to the top of the fence in his mouth! He has obviously been feasting for the past few weeks in preparation for winter. Look at that tummy, haha!

Wishing my friends in the USA a wonderful Thanksgiving feast! I am thankful for all of you who read and subscribe to my blog!

Thankful little furry friend.
Observations, Animals, Keizer, Home and Garden

Garden Friends

I got photos of some of our garden friends this afternoon, although most are a bit blurry since I had to zoom well in to see the little critters because I was inside my office. The birds have been enjoying the suet block and the squirrels have been very busy running back and forth along the fence from the walnut tree to wherever they are putting the nuts they collect.

Maybe a woodpecker?

Robin

Blurry Blue Jay waiting for the woodpecker to be finished with the suet block.

Industrious squirrel friend.
Adventures, Fall, hiking

Hike — Baskett Slough NWR and Dallas City Park

Today Kangaroo wanted to do a local hike, so we went to the Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge. Then we planned to go to the Dallas City Park to look for painted rocks.

Baskett Slough is a refuge for many threatened and endangered species — go here to see a list of animals and plants you can find there — but it is mainly a refuge for the dusky Canada goose, and we saw quite a few geese flying overhead while we were there (we promptly got under the information sign roof just in case!) I knew it was going to be chilly but didn’t realize the wind would be blowing so hard, and me without my warm hat! It took awhile for my ears to warm up after we got back in the truck!

Why do I look like I’m missing a tooth in this photo?

Much of the refuge was closed for the comfort of wintering wildlife, so we did a couple of short loops and then went up to the observation deck that looks over part of the refuge.

Kangaroo on the observation deck, with my shadow.

View from the observation deck.

After our short hike at Baskett Slough, we made our way to Dallas (a small town near Salem) to walk in the city park. The park has a botanic garden/arboretum and people will often hide painted rocks there. While we were there Kangaroo found four painted rocks!

First painted rock, a Thanksgiving turkey

Second painted rock, I think a narwhal.

Interesting plants we had never seen before.

Another view of the interesting plant. Unfortunately, while many plants in the garden have labels, this one didn’t.

Kangaroo searches for painted rocks behind an informational sign.

Informational sign about a historic log flume.

Third painted rock.

Kangaroo re-hid this green rock in some green moss.

Kangaroo searches for painted rocks near the river.

Fourth painted rock — Kangaroo reached for it and touched the bug, ha. Ew!

Back of the fourth painted rock. Many rocks will have information on the backs, such as Instagram or Facebook pages where you can record that you found the rock and where.

I didn’t find any painted rocks, I usually don’t, but I did find another treasure…

A nest!!

I found this nest! Nobody was home at the time.

Then we wandered over to the other part of the park where you can see part of the disc golf course (and Kangaroo’s new truck in the background). One of the disc golfers was in the river when we got over there and had just fished out his disc. Since temps were in the 30s (F) I thought it must have been a pretty wonderful Frisbee for him to want to take such a “refreshing” dip! They had strange music playing from a backpack.

View from the bridge down to where the golfer was fishing out his disc.

There is this adorable sculpture of three bears made out of a stump. The larger bear’s face is no longer there, but this smaller one is still intact.

This park still has swings!!

And then there were these guys — this one’s so plump he can hardly waddle! SO CUTE!! Aside from the squirrels having been preparing for winter by eating, I imagine people do give them treats at the park. Our squirrels at home have a whole walnut tree to eat from and they aren’t nearly this roly-poly!

On the way home we decided to eat lunch at the Café 22 restaurant. I hadn’t been there since Mom became ill. Kangaroo had a BLTA wrap and I had a burger with pepperjack cheese and avocado. I hadn’t had a burger in a long time and it was quite good! And after all that we were home by 1:30 p.m.!

Inside Cafe 22 restaurant.

Just keep walking!

~Ninja

1940s, Books, Family, Holidays

Mom & Dad’s

I spent this last week at Mom and Dad’s staying with Mom while Dad traveled down to a reunion in his small hometown in California.

I drove Mom to dialysis in Salem three days, and during those days I needed to figure out what I wanted to do with the four-hour time between drop-off and pickup.  I had noticed that the St. Vinnie’s thrift store was across from the dialysis center and thought some thrifting time would be in order, so I went across to the St. Vinnie’s and found a great deal on some old Nancy Drew and Dana Girls (like Nancy Drew but with sisters) books — 1930s books WITH the original dust jackets in very good condition for only $3.49 apiece!  I also got some Sue Grafton books, a couple by Aaron Elkins, another mystery writer, and a 1940s Mary Poppins book. I had planned to go to some other thrift stores in the area but decided to go home to eat and get something I forgot to bring with me. 

Most of the time at the house I spent with Mom in the living/dining room watching HGTV and Hallmark Christmas movies. We find the movies very predictable and Mom has seen most of them, but she still likes to watch them. It’s not so bad to have a day full of happy endings! I set up all my things on the dining room table, I pretty much just brought my desk (computer, calendar, books, etc.) and then set up a charging station on the buffet, ha. It is the house I grew up in (but remodeled) and I got to thinking about what will happen to it if Mom and Dad decide to move to town like the neighbors are doing. It will be hard to see it go out of the family, since Mom and Dad built it 48 years ago. The house is octagon-shaped, so very unusual. I forgot to get a photo of it.

On Friday when Mom was in dialysis, I went to the grocery store to get some things. Mom wanted a roast so I got two (BOGO!) although they weren’t the kind she wanted. I waited in the line that had a very big, very slow cashier-in-training. He also seemed to be a bagger-in-training and a coupon-reader-in-training, and the poor guy was sweating. He kept having to ask another cashier to come help him, but I think she really just wanted to talk to the man who represented a Medicare supplement insurance company! After buying groceries I decided to hit up two other thrift stores, the Salvation Army store and the Goodwill. The Salvation Army store doesn’t have a big selection in general, so I went to the book section. I seem to be on a book kick lately. The books at the Salvation Army store are not in any kind of order at all, so you just have to scan the shelves to see if anything pops out at you. I found all these books I was interested in at the Salvation Army and Goodwill (the Perry Mason and “E for Evidence” came from the Goodwill), so I was happy with my scanning job! The Goodwill at least has the books in category and “letter” order, but not completely alphabetical. There were so many people at the Goodwill I just left after perusing the book section.

After I picked Mom up from dialysis on Friday we went to Nancy Jo’s restaurant (Or Nancy’s, as I still stubbornly refer to it, since it was their original name. There was some copyright problem, so they changed it to Nancy Jo’s.) to get burgers, and Mom got onion rings. We drove home in one of those traffic-jams-for-no-reason on the freeway, there was no accident or any reason for a traffic slowdown but we crept along for miles before the traffic started moving shortly before our exit. Since Mom would have a hard time getting into my van, I’ve been driving her to town in her car. It is quite zippy and I have enjoyed driving it, although it feels like I’m going slower than I actually am so I need to pay close attention to the speedometer!

On Monday after I dropped Mom off I had to pick up some things I ordered online. I ordered these Christmas ornaments from Target to pick up at the store, but unfortunately there was only one left between both of our area stores. Isn’t it cute? Since The Hubs likes trucks and we are doing a black and white and blue theme for Christmas this year, I thought it was perfect. It will also go with red and black or pink and black themes. I do themes now instead of using our family and traditional ornaments because the ornaments and decorations have to be plastic or metal so Philip won’t hurt himself with them. He does try to get them off the tree and has knocked the tree over a couple of times by climbing up into it.

I also picked up some things I ordered at Ulta on Monday. The girl at the checkstand there had combed her eyebrows straight up and then penciled them in so it looked like she had really long, straight up eyebrows. I had to try hard not to stare. Is that a thing now? When I think of long eyebrows growing straight up I think of an old man, so I wondered why she wanted to look like a grandpa, ha. They do hire some of the most interesting-looking people at Ulta and many of them have what I would consider odd eyebrows, but then I really do prefer the natural look for brows. Eyes, go ahead and do ’em up! Lashes to the sky! But eyebrows, just pencil them in natural-like and not conspicuous. After Ulta, I went to TJ Maxx and bought all sorts of socks I really don’t need. ‘Tis the time of year when warm fluffy socks in the store seem so inviting!

Dad got home on schedule and right when the “bath girl” was finished helping Mom. We were glad he arrived safely. He had a good time at the reunion and visiting with my uncle and other friends.

I had a nice, relaxing visit taking care of Mom this week. I meant to work on some writing and reading and didn’t get to that, but that’s okay. I leave you with this photo of the view from Mom and Dad’s dining room deck.

November evening view.

Do Not Want, Health

Shot

Well, I finally did it. I got the “old-person shot”, the shingles shot. Shingles is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus in the body, and it causes all sorts of pain and a rash, It can lead to nerve damage as well. I had chickenpox as a child and didn’t like the thought of having something worse, which is what shingles is. There are two shots in the series, you have to get the second one 2-6 months after the first one.

I got the shot on Tuesday, and immediately started to feel yucko. I was tired and achy and all my joints hurt. These are common side effects of the shot, according to the information sheet I was given by the nurse. The very same nurse said, however, that I shouldn’t have any side effects. She was terribly, horribly wrong. I remembered that Marnie’s Hubs had had the shot as well and asked her if he had any side effects. She said his were the same as mine and that his arm hurt for a week. Neither he nor I are looking forward to the second shot in the series!

Here is a photo of where the nurse gave me the shot. See how it’s a bit red down and to the left there? It still hurts. It actually hurts worse than it did right after I got the shot. I probably should wave my arm around in the air to get the blood moving more.

You might have side effects, and it will probably hurt.

Now it is Thursday morning and I still feel achy and tired, although a bit better. Don’t let the side effects deter you from getting the shot though, as from what I understand the rash itself is very nasty and can cause all sorts of lingering problems. Mom had it back in April and she still has pain and itchiness from it. I decided not to put a photo from the internet of the actual rash, because ew, it’s not nice to look at.

I did receive an information form, which I accidentally left in the car and didn’t read until yesterday, afternoon. Here is an excerpt from it:

Some extra Advil helped me feel a bit better and I was able to do some shopping yesterday. I went to the St. Vinnie’s thrift store and what do you think I found? THREE 1930s Nancy Drew books with the dust covers still on and in good condition! And for only $3.49 apiece! I didn’t take photos of the books yet and now I’m at Mom and Dad’s, so I’ll post about the books soon.

Adventures, Food, hiking, History, Philip

Hike – Silver Falls State Park

Kangaroo chose to hike at Silver Falls State Park yesterday because the teacher she works with was planning to do the Silver Falls Trail Run 7 Miler and she wanted to cheer her on. The Silver Falls Trail Runs include a 5K, the 7 Miler, a half-marathon, a marathon, and a 50K, in the main park and the backcountry of the park (where there are cougars and bears 😮). The longer races are qualifiers for other races like the Boston Marathon! The trail we took follows Silver Creek and is very scenic. It is called the Trail of Ten Falls, but we didn’t see all of them. We saw South Falls, Lower South Falls, Drake Falls, Middle North Falls, and Winter Falls on this day.

I present here the first video I have ever edited! It shows us going behind South Falls and Lower South Falls, and a video of Winter Falls.

Here are some photos of our hike. We just got drizzled on a couple of times (we needed our rain jackets more going under the waterfalls) and the rain didn’t really kick in until right after we got into the car to leave. We are blessed that that is the norm for most of our hikes in rainy weather!

Kangaroo and her friend who was running the 7-mile race.

The path to South Falls. This is one that is not far from the parking lot and probably the most popular for visitors.

South Falls

Behind South Falls looking down Silver Creek.

Witch’s Butter fungus. I call it the “mac-n-cheese” fungus!

Someone had fun with the race marking chalk!

Silver Creek

Some mushrooms.

Cat’s Tongue fungus

Drake Falls

Middle North Falls

Winter Falls

Trail up from Winter Falls

Kangaroo getting the shot of some little mushrooms.

Me also getting a shot of the little mushrooms.

The little mushrooms 😀

We stopped in the park gift shop on our way back but I didn’t get a photo of it. I should have, it is a cute log building with lots of fun stuff to buy! The log buildings in the park were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. For more info on the buildings and the park, go here. The store had a whole section of mushroom-related items, a t-shirt, a mushroom identifier card, and books, and other things. They have some cute stuffed birds that make authentic bird sounds. I picked some up and we heard two different kinds of woodpecker sounds and another bird I don’t remember the name of. They also have lots of stickers and other souvenirs.

On our way home we happened to see a sign for the Willamette Valley Pie Company and I suggested we drive over and try to find it. We had never been there and I had heard they had a nice store and, of course, pies! The Boy’s choir in high school sold Willamette Valley Pie Co. pies for their fundraisers for a couple of years and I knew that the pies were delicious. The store featured a lot of kitchen things and Kangaroo bought some towels and a spoon rest for the new travel trailer she and her Hubs just got. I keep telling her she has to think of a theme for the trailer so I can buy her things for it! Anyway, we each bought a cobbler to take home, I got marionberry and Kangaroo got peach.

Willamette Valley Pie Co. Goodness, the sky was foreboding!
Marionberry Cobbler. Their pies and things are frozen so you just take them home and pop them in the oven.

I baked my cobbler when I got home and ate my serving, and as expected it was super good. As I was eating Philip was very interested, and when I was finished he came and licked the plate. I bet you didn’t know kitties liked berries! He is unusual in that he enjoys sweet foods sometimes.

Philip getting some licks in.
The tape is Leukotape, I use it to tape up my feet before hiking to avoid hotspots.

Fall color

We had missed most of the fall color at Silver Falls, but there were a few pretty leaves left. It was a good day and we had a fun hike!

Just keep walking!

Ninja

Change, Home and Garden, Home Care, Success!

Doorknobs

You GUYS, guess what? After 18 years living in our house I finally get to have all matching doorknobs!! Isn’t that the neatest? The Hubs started in this morning and asked me if I wanted to learn how to put on a doorknob, and of course I said I did. This is the new doorknob design – I got them at Lowe’s.

The Hubs began by taking the old doorknob off the hall closet door. There are five doors in our “hall” (a square area in the middle of the house). We had already replaced the bathroom doorknob, and while the two offices and stairs doors matched each other, the hall closet had a totally different knob. When he got the knob off the closet door, he discovered this on one side:

And this on the other side.

I think they shot at it from far away…

Um…ordinarily you would just make a hole with a hole saw or something, like this one in my office door:

So right off, there were some annoyances. This was not unexpected, since our house was formerly owned by a man who thought he was good at building and remodeling. Note the word “thought”. He was not good at building or remodeling. In fact, we would describe most of his work as “horrible”, and often “nonsensical”.

The Hubs (while making sure I knew that this isn’t the best way to do a doorknob, the best way would be to get a new door and then put on the doorknob, but we don’t have new doors in our budget right now) had to get out his Leatherman tool with the little saw and saw out some of the material to make the hole bigger. Then he realized that there were two little tabs on each side of the new doorknob that needed to fit in, and he had to get a pointy tool to dig out some space for the little tabs. (I don’t think The Hubs has a hole saw, so he just had to make modifications.)

Digging out for the tabs

See the little tabs at top and bottom?

The strikeplate wouldn’t fit in its spot properly, and then The Hubs suggested I sand and paint the area before he put in the new plate since it wouldn’t cover the brown.

The Hubs decided I should put on my office doorknob, so I got the screwdriver and started taking off the knob. The screwdriver was a bit thin and kept falling out of the screw, so that took awhile.

It finally was done and then I took off the faceplate and the innards of the knob, and then we found that the hole wasn’t big enough for the doorknob works to fit through. The Hubs got out a round file and filed the hole out so the knob workings would fit.

See how it’s too wide?

The Hubs with his file.

Then The Hubs just went ahead and put my office doorknob on himself, and later I started removing the doorknob on his office door. That one had to be filed out as well, so he did that and then went ahead and put THAT knob on, so I didn’t get to put any of them on, but that’s OK. We still have to put on the one that goes on the stairs door and the one on The Girl’s door, and the one on our bedroom door, but now we have to wait to do those until The Hubs has more days off from work.

Isn’t it nice?

So much more up-to-date!

But I just can’t BELIEVE I finally have matching doorknobs!! How awesome!!

Food, Reviews

Food Review – Thinsters

I bought these at Costco the other day because I thought they looked good, and probably because I was a bit hungry. Costco is dangerous when you’re hungry, ha! I thought I’d review them because they’re pretty tasty.

I hadn’t looked at the ingredients list until I got home, but was pleasantly surprised to see that they are made from actual pronounceable ingredients instead of a lot of weird chemicals. (Although, I should have known from the notations on the bag that they were made of real ingredients with nothing artificial.)

Here are the nutrition facts:

The calorie count isn’t too terribly high for cookies dipped in chocolate. The only problem is that they’re small so you want to eat more than one serving, but I’m pretty sure that’s common for other sweets as well. Other than that, these Thinsters are a win!