Saturday, March 21, 2009


So this was a pretty typical spring week in Oregon. We're getting back to our stick built house routine. Sunday morning is buckwheat pancake breakfast. Marlene uses "Bob's Red Mill" buckwheat flour and the receipe on the back of the bag.

Since there is very little fat in the pancakes, two tablespoons of oil and no eggs, we can splurge by adding a vegetarian sausage pattie and an over easy egg to make a special breakfast. The pancakes are topped off with home made apple sauce and some maple syrup from Costco.

The week has been rainy and I mean really rainy. When it comes down like this all you can do is hunker down and do the inside stuff that needs doing.

One thing is finishing up the last book I started in Borrego Springs. Right now I'm reading "Shantaram" by Gregory David Roberts. It's a novel based on the life of the author with a setting mainly in Bombay, India.

Then there is computer work to be done. I recently installed Skype for making calls to our Son and his family who are traveling in Guatemala. After downloading the free software, one of the first things it askes you to do is scan your email address book to see how many of your acquaintences are using Skype. I was pleasantly surprised to find about a dozen people and the software immediately pointed out that a couple of them were on line at that moment. So, I called one of them and sure enough we were talking live with an instantaneous image of ourselves on the screen.

The sprouts are coming along nicely.

And, the garden preparation is almost complete. A couple of the raised beds needed repair. In fact one box needed to be totally rebuilt. We use untreated wood for the walls. These are 2"x 8" construction grade planks. The short beds are 8 feet long and 4 feet wide and the long beds are 10 feet long by 4 feet wide.

In the process of cleaning up the beds and preparing for this year, Marlene harvested the last of the carrots which had wintered over. These are amazingly sweet and we've been eating them raw with almost every lunch and dinner.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


We've been home a week now and it's been so warm and sunny that this is the first chance I've had to update the blog. We left California knowing that there would be snow showers in the Siskiyou Mountains.

We made it past the town of Mt. Shasta and Yreka with the pavement still bare, but by the time we got to the pass before Ashland, it was snowing hard and it was sticking in the left hand lane where there was not as much traffic. Fortunately we made it down and into Medford before dark.

The next morning it was mixed clouds and sun. One of those beautiful spring days in southern Oregon.

We arrived safely back home to a cold house and two months of mail. Thanks to Susan, our neighbor, the plants were all watered and every thing was as it should have been in the house. We did find evidence that we had one uninvited visitor. A mouse had found a piece of candy on Marlene's desk. All that remained was a chewed wrapper and signs that he had been there. We haven't seen anything of him since, but he probably is somewhere around. Who knows how he got in.

Marlene got right to work on her garden. Actually she had started her planning while we were still on the road and had ordered some of the seeds she needed. She was ready to go when the sun came up.

By the end of the first day she had seeds in the potting trays.

The rest of the week was spent cleaning up the beds in the garden.

We have been amending the soil in these raised beds using our own compost for the last 12 years. Before we had raised beds, we used to rototill this area and plant a more traditional garden. We discovered the ground water is very close to the surface in this area so I built these raised beds and made the paths out of crushed hazelnut shells.

The green house is in a dormant stage right now. We have carrots which wintered over nicely, but they don't seem to have the nice sweet flavor that the outside carrots have. The flowering pots will be moved back to our deck. Marlene has already seeded radishes and arugula and soon English cucumber seedlings will be in the ground. Last year we havested over 125 cucumbers from 3 plants. The plants produced from April to September.

In the spring, our window seat becomes the sprouting area. These pictures were taken yesterday and you can see the results of the work Marlene did earlier in the week.
She uses heating pads under the trays and the combination of spring sun and heat below causes the seeds to sprout quickly.

These are oriental vegetables, pac choi. The make wonderful stir fry when sauteed in olive oil.

These are Marigolds which will be used among the vegetables to keep the slugs at bay.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I know it's not Saint Patrick's Day, but today the earth was wearing green for us. We left the coast, Highway 1, and headed east on Highway 46 from Cambrio to Paso Robles, California.

The hills were alive with the color green and it stayed that way all day long.

Last night we were parked on the beach in sight of the rock you see in the distance.

We headed over the hills and ended up in wine country near Paso Robles.

It was a beautiful drive. We stopped for a break at the Mission San Miguel Archangel just off Highway 101.

Then we left 101 and headed east on 198 where we then turned north to the Pinacles National Monument. While we were there, I glassed the peaks and spotted 3 California C0ndors. These birds have been declared close to extinct, but have been reintroduced into the wild at three locations. The Pinacles is one place. The birds were about a mile and a half away, but clearly identifyable by the white marking at the front of their wings. They are also much bigger with a six foot wing span than the commoneTurkey Vulture which I had seen at Borrego Springs.

The drive after the Pinacles was through farm and ranch country with lots of old barns and wind mills.

Also lots more green.

We ended the day parked beside the San Luis Reservoir just off of Highway 156 east of Hollister, California. Tomorrow we will hit Interstate 5 and head north to Oregon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


We're moving north along the coast of California. This is the second time we have used this stop in Santa Barbara. It's the park along the bay. You can parallel park as long as you like between daylight and dark. They just don't want you parking over night.

Moving on through Santa Barbara following old highway 1 the streets take you above some very beautiful residential areas.

This is one of the streets which is actually old Highway 1.

Later in the afternoon we left Highway 1 and headed for Jalama Beach County Park. To get there you follow a narrow 2 lane County Road for 14 miles. It took us 45 minutes to go the distance. The turns are sharp, the grades are steep and the surface is uneven so you can't go much over 25 mph without really shaking up the cupboards.

The camp ground at the end is worth the trip. There are about 15 sites where you can pull in and directly face the ocean. We were lucky and got one of these. There are sites that have full services and there are several pull through sites, however non of these have the view of the ocean like this.

We met our new neighbors, Tim and Molly, from the LA area and settled in for happy hour around a fire.

The sun was setting, the wine was good and conversation was pleasant.

As the sun set, the sky turned golden.

Then came the gold and pink reflection off the clouds.

Next morning the tide was out as we had our morning coffee and breakfast with a view.

A 45 minute walk on the beach gave us some oportunities for nice pictures.

The tide pools showed remnants of oil spills from the off shore drilling platforms. What I thought were black rocks turned out to be regular beach sand stone covered with about 1/4 inch of heavy soft tar.

The seagulls shared the beach with surfers who come here for the breaking waves.

The clouds make a nice background for the beach cliffs.

This is the valley along the road on the way back to Highway 1.

Pismo Beach is a good place to stop for lunch. This is the second time we have been back to "The Splash" in old town.

We were lucky and got a window seat so we could watch the foot traffic while we ate.

This is two fish tacos, a cup of clam chowder and a Fat Tire Ale. The clam chowder is like an instant artery blocker. I swear it's one part whipping cream, one part clam pieces and one part butter.

This afternoon found us at Moro Strand State Beach, just north of Moro Bay, Cailifornia. Our site here overlooks the beach and has a view of a rock much like Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, Oregon. It's raining tonight so it feels very much like home.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


This morning we left our desert site and headed west. Our plan is to follow the coast north from LA to Oregon
Since it is Sunday, the traffic across the LA basin is light. We used I210 and hooked up with 101.

The closer we got to the coast, the heavier the traffic became. No problems though, I stayed in the outside two lanes and held about 55 mph. The temperatures all afternoon were in the high 80s approaching 90 degrees.
About 3:30 in the afternoon we turned south off of 101 and headed down Malibu Creek towards the ocean. Part way down the canyon we found Malibu Creek State Park and there were plenty of spaces available. It was cool and green and the ocean breeze was coming up the canyon. Boy what a difference. It almost feels like Oregon summer.