Monday, August 31, 2015

Where Have You Been All My Life??

My family originally came from the Isle of Man, a small island in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland, making me a Manxman.   There's a new show coming up on television about someone who found out they were related to the last King of the island.  Hmmmm maybe I'm related too!!   I think my Grandfather had eleven siblings on the island.  Who knows, but I'll be watching, just in case.

Anyway, there was always a pot of nasty black tea on the table for my grandfather (who lived with us) that no one else drank.  I just couldn't get past the terrible taste.  For some reason, our family missed the scones.  Meat and potatoes made it, as did porridge, but these tasty delights never made their way down through the generations to our table.  That's a shame because they are WONDERFUL!!  Another success in the Nancy kitchen, can you believe it?
I've had lots of scones from places like Starbucks, but for the most part, they are dry, hard triangles without much taste.  Maybe that's for dunking in your coffee.  When I had some nice tender ones at La Tea Da in Tillamook, I decided to find a recipe to replicate them.  They look kind of like biscuits, but believe me, they don't taste like it.  Sweet with sugar and cream, smothered in jam, I ate two!!  Where have you been all my life??  This recipe is a keeper for sure!
With all the rain hitting my rig, I hoped it would wash itself, but alas, the bottom of my motorhome was mud splashed from the torrents.  Even though it was still raining slightly, I drug out my cleaning tools and went to work.  It looked MUCH better, except for when the water came off the slide topper and ruined all my hard work on one side.  That section had to be redone.

With everything around here closed and more rain coming over the mountains, I stayed inside and worked on my weaving.  I'm getting antsy since I have two new projects in my head and this one not even a quarter finished.  Occasionally I lose my place in the pattern because I'm either kicking the ball for Cooper or recovering it from under the treadles, but for the most part, it went well.
I guess you can figure out what I had for dinner ... the last of the lasagne, followed by one of those amazing Tillabars.  Say aaaaaah is right ... these ice cream bars sure hit the spot!!  At around $1.25 each, I'm savoring every one.  At that price I won't be leaving with a freezer full after all!!
On my schedule today is the Myrtlewood Factory (can't come to Oregon without stopping in there) back to Pacific Oyster for some clam chowder (hoping they are now open), then to Tangled Yarns to learn how to add one bead at a time.  I have a bad feeling about that one ... I think all the beads need to be added before you start ... which means I get to undo everything and start all over.  THAT my friends will require a scone AND an ice cream bar!!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Luck Of The Irish!!

For the most part, Lady Luck wasn't with me yesterday since I'm only partially Irish.  It started off nice enough, with 25-30mph winds rockin' and rollin' the motorhome.  When I looked outside and saw this at 7:00 am, I thought I must be in Kansas!!
As the morning went on, the wind got worse, turning over my heavy pots filled with cactus that I left by the door.  Every time something came floating by the window, I ran outside and grabbed it.  I think I could have clothed my entire RV with the tire covers, window shades and huge rugs that went sailing by.
It felt like some giant was shaking the motorhome, scaring the puppies who wouldn't leave my lap!!
My luck improved, or so I thought, as I headed out around noon to Pacific Oyster where the best clam chowder in the U.S. resides.  I guess I needed a little more Irish heritage, because this is what I found upon arrival.  Someone, lets just call him/her "old folk" ... hit the accelerator instead of the brake and smashed their glass doors into a million pieces.  How does that happen???  No chowder on this day, as they closed down for the afternoon, trying to get the area cleaned up.  RATS!!
Maybe my luck will improve at Tillamook Cheese, where I wanted to pick up some Tillabars.  Lucious white chocolate covering delicious cold sweet vanilla ice cream with a tart lemon center.  These bars are divine!!  Trouble was, there was no parking.  You would think with all this wind and rain, that everyone would have stayed home ... including me!!!
My quarter Irish finally kicked in and I found a parking spot after driving around for 15 minutes.  I can only say it was worth it!!!  
On the way home with my Tillabars in hand, my luck truly changed as I spotted this herd of elk in a farmers field just outside of town.  The wind had them very skittish and their heads went up when I stopped for a picture.
There's a lot of babies here, along with a few young males ... the rest being cows.  Later in the day, when I returned to town, they were all bedded down in the same spot.  It was just an awesome sight to see!!!   I guess those "Watch For Elk" signs don't lie after all!!
Still raining, but much less windy, I returned to town for a quick class on how to add beads to your knitting.  She forgot the beading needles, so I had to run a couple of blocks over and pick up a package, then she got real busy in the store and couldn't help me.  I had to thread 440 beads on to the yarn ... yup 440 ... one at a time ... and of course I counted wrong ... Double RATS!!  In the end, she forgot to show me how to add just one, using a crochet hook.  I'll get back to this project on Monday when her shop is open again.
All in all, it was a great day.  Any time you get to see a herd of elk, it crosses out quite a few unlucky happenings.  Now if it had been a larger herd, it might have crossed out the rain that has kept me awake all night long.  It's still pouring as I type, but supposedly will clear up around 9am when my little bit of Irish luck kicks in.  I think it's a good day for some tea and scones!!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Zip It Up!!!

There's a big storm coming straight for us!!  I cringed when my phone went off yesterday, but it's not a tornado ... just a big wind storm!  There was lots of it whipping around my rig last night, along with that wet stuff.  Winds are 20-30 mph with gusts 40-50 here in Tillamook.  That's doesn't bode well for the Farmers Market this morning.  I think I'll zip it up and wait it out, maybe take a nap since I didn't sleep last night!

There are many interesting places to visit in Tillamook.  One of those is the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center.  If you find this picture painted on a garage, you've found the old schoolhouse now used by the center as a museum/teaching facility.  It being a museum, there is a small fee to enter.

This beautiful masterpiece was hanging on the wall waiting for a winner.  I'm pretty sure it's going to be mine since I bought quite a few raffle tickets.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!!
Everything you see here is for sale.  Not only do they have classes, but anything you make can be sold here, not to mention all the free ideas you can get for new projects.
This one is for Patty Chance.  We are always looking for ways to showcase our beach finds.
The two bottom skeins came from the center, having been spun by a local gal.  They have lessons here for spinning, weaving and all kinds of textile projects like felted wool and rug hooking.  Not only can you watch, you can ask all the questions you want.  
Too bad for me, the weaving instructor wasn't exactly the sweetest cube in the sugar box, but I picked up a couple of tips in spite of the air of superiority in the room.  Apparently you should take a class if you want to learn something!!

These amazing felted wool acorns will be a great addition to a sisal handmade basket I have.
There's lots of stuff for every age, from these cute little doggie stuffed toys made from leftover sweaters .....
to the kitties made from old original Pendleton wood blankets.  There's handmade dolls and crazy critters as well as old books not found anywhere else.
Sometimes on these adventures you just have to step outside the box ... outside your comfort zone ... and take a chance.  That's just what I did at the end of yesterday, and I was pleasantly surprised!!

On the way home, I stopped in at La Tea Da, a little store on the South end of town.  Tea ... especially High Tea ... or even a store that sells just tea ... is not my thing.  I've always felt like you had to keep your little finger in the air, and that's something that this cowgirl isn't good at!!   At the recommendation of Betty Graffis however, I went in just to see ... and WOWEE!!  I'm glad I did.

I know nothing about tea except you can buy it at Starbucks already made.  Here, they have many varieties of loose tea and will make up any mixture you want.  Still, I had no intention of trying anything.  I was much more interested in the jewelry and chatchkies!!  

The wonderful owner had other ideas however, and fixed me a cup of some mixture with coconut.  Now I'm not a fan of coconut either, but this was amazing!!  To make it even more fantastic, she gave me two ... count them TWO ... of the most mouth-watering scones I've ever had in my life.  I know, there's only one here ... that's because I ate the other one faster than you can blink an eye!!   
It just goes to show that sometimes you should step out of that box and try something different.  This was so wonderful, I'm going back to get some loose tea and two dozen scones!!

Besides that, now I'm on the hunt for a good scone recipe.  Most I have tried are too hard and dry ... these were soft, moist and delicious!!!  If you don't like tea, they have strawberry lemonade that is over the moon.  Definitely put La Tea Da on your afternoon snack schedule in spite of your misgivings.  You can get it to go like I did, not requiring an uplifted pinky!!

The wind gusts are getting pretty wild ... I think I better go zip it up a little tighter!!

Friday, August 28, 2015


I don't get to say that word very often, especially when it comes to my cooking!!  In fact, when I offered to bring something to the last night's supper with Nick and Terry, Nick said very unceremoniously ... NO!!  Guess he's heard about my cooking!!  So when I had a little time yesterday while the laundry was underway, I decided to work on improving my skills!!

Inspired by Miss Terry and the fact that I happened to have all the ingredients for lasagna, I went to work following a couple of different recipes.  I know it won't be as good as hers, but I thought it would be relatively easy!!  HA!!!  Wrong!!
The meat sauce was actually a success!!  I'm not sure how that happened, but it tasted good!!  For those of you who have wives or girlfriends that make something like this in your RV, you are a lucky guy!!  Do you have any idea how hard this is to make in such a tiny kitchen with undersized pots and pans and no counter space??  She deserves a BIG handful of flowers!!

It took almost every pan I have and the dirty dishes covered the entire counter AND table!!  At any rate, it's in the freezer, with one small pan waiting for dinner.  Lets hope it tastes as good as it looks!!
I forgot to mention my foray into the briars and brambles of blackberrydom the day before.  There is a great spot on Sand Lake Road at the turnoff to Pacific City.  Patty Chance and I spotted it a couple of years ago, and as I drove by, I noticed the berries were ripe and ready for picking.  
I forgot how stained your hands get ... but it was fun, even if I did keep thinking about bears.  I ate quite a few and gathered enough to smother my pancakes with blackberry sauce, after a little sugar and boiling.  I'm going back with some gloves and a bigger bag that will end up in the freezer.
I haven't been slacking in between sightseeing ... my first stop at Jane's Fabric Patch in town resulted in these beautiful fabrics.  I really showed restraint and only bought enough for a small kid-sized quilt.
On my second stop, restraint went out the window.  I saw a crib quilt with a beachy theme that I thought would make a great chair cover in remembrance of this trip up the coast.  Besides, it's patriotic ... who could turn THAT down!!
I baked the lasagna for dinner (probably not quite long enough) and let it sit for 10 minutes (also not long enough) before chowing down!!  Believe it or not, it was rather tasty.  A success in my book!!  Not NEARLY as good as Miss Terry's, that's for sure, but I might even serve this to company!!
I had planned on hiking the 5 mile round trip to Cape Lookout today, but the clouds that came in last night opened up big time.  I woke up with a start ... reminiscent of Kansas City ... when buckets of water hit the roof of my rig!!  Yikes!!  Maybe I won't have to wash my RV after all!!  That went on for over an hour before slowing to a normal rain for the rest of the night and is supposed to continue most of the day.

I think an exciting stroll through Fred Meyers and a quick stop for Tillabars is in order, that is if I can find room in the freezer!!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Fabulous Oregon Coast!!

The weather has warmed up considerably in Tillamook, so yesterday I thought I would cruise south until I hit the coast, then head back north by the water's edge.  This is Cape Kiwanda, one of three capes I visited.  There were quite a few surfers and this paddle boarder trying to catch the waves.  
Known as Haystack Rock, the real name is Chief Kiawanda Rock, a sea stack is located right in the middle of surf city.  On the very far right of the rock, you can see a small natural arch.
As with most surfers, they just paddle out and sit on their boards as loads of waves pass them by.  This guy, encased in a neoprene wetsuit (looks like Cat Woman to me) to keep somewhat warm, gave it a shot and did great.
Well, almost great, until he had to dive behind the wave to keep from getting smashed into the sandy bottom!!
There were lots of vehicles on the beach, including one stuck pickup who wouldn't let me take his picture, and many tourists playing ... well, tourist.  This is an awesome beach if you need a place for a nap.  Further south is Pacific City, a sad community with most every business OUT of business and for sale.  In fact, the entire area is pretty depressed with hundreds of houses on the market, in case you were looking to pick up a beach house cheap!!
This is just past the second cape, Cape Lookout.  That one requires a 5 mile hike that I will get in next week when sufficiently supplied with food and water.  At this site there is a plaque honoring Dick Gammon, pioneer hang glider, who jumped off the mountain from the brown grass area in the bottom right corner.  I don't think I could get up the nerve to do this, but I bet it was an amazing ride!!
I kept going north around Netarts Bay, stopping for this picture as I came into Oceanside.  In the background are three arch rocks (more seastacks), with only two arches visible.  There's not much along this road in the way of touristy shops ... only tons of houses perched on the hillside.
The road to Cape Meares isn't a very good one ... don't bring your big rig RV up here.  Not only are the roads rough (and I mean RoUgH) and narrow, there's not much parking when you get there.
The last cape is the location of Cape Meares Lighthouse.  Built in 1890, the original fresnel lens was made in Paris and shipped around the horn, to be installed here.  Before they could do that however, they had to build a log plank road on which to drive the trucks with all the supplies.
This lighthouse is the shortest on the Oregon coast at only 38 feet, but it sits on a 200 foot high cliff.  When lit, the light could be seen 24 miles out to sea.  Designated a National Historic Site, the light was turned off by the Coast Guard in 2014, as it is no longer needed, since every ship now has GPS.  It's a sad fate for lighthouses of the U.S.  Hopefully they will still be maintained.
Luckily the lines were short to climb up inside and I was added to a tour immediately.  The light, held in place by this round metal drum, turned around once every four minutes, by a grandfather-clock type counterweight that had to be reset every 2-1/2 hours.  Now that must have been a boring job ... sitting at the bottom until it was time to reset the weight.
On a previous trip, we learned that some idiot drunk 20-yr olds shot out many of the windows around the lighthouse, severely damaging the fresnel lens.  I'm happy to announce they were caught and ordered to pay $100,000 restitution (deducted from their paychecks) and ordered to spend their three week vacation in jail, every year for five years.  You can see many bullets holes in the red lens here.
By the time I walked back to the car, the fog was coming in big time.  Still no wind to speak of for kite flying however.  There is another big sea stack on the right in the distance, but the fog completely covered it up.  
I haven't really seen too many sunsets on this trip, but a pretty nice one showed itself last night.  It's supposed to rain in the next day or so, as more and more clouds come my way.
Just so you know I haven't been slacking, I've made two trips to the quilt store and the Tillamook Cheese Factory is on my schedule again today for ice cream!!!  Pictures will be forthcoming!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Can You Say Cheeeeeeeese???

You just can't come to Tillamook Country without stopping in at the cheese plant.  After a lovely quiet night with no barking dogs or screaming kids, I got up early so I could beat the crowds.  It worked like a charm!!
Here's an interesting fact ... this entire place, the Tillamook County Creamery, is farmer owned.  With all the big corporations taking over the little family owned farms, this makes my heart happy.  They used to transport milk to the creamery in the old days by horse and wagon.  This was an exceptional setup ... just drive right up to the barn!!
The first sight in the door was the Baby Loaf VW for your picture taking opportunities.  The full version of these have been used to deliver cheese around the country.
They have a self guided tour where you can spy on the workers packaging all kinds of cheese.  This place is a stainless steel mecca of spotless proportions!!
Huge blocks of cheese are cut into more manageable blocks (aged white cheddar here), packaged in black plastic by hand, then shrink wrapped.  
I think this gentleman was being trained to add color and rennet to the milk.   Each small station is a scale, weighing out every single drop.  Once mixed together, they are again weighed before being dumped into the huge vats of milk.  He made a little mistake at that point, having to dump some back ... which made a mess.  Immediately his trainer grabbed some cloths and wiped up every single drop.  Ooops!!
Wouldn't you know, the ice cream tasting station upstairs was closed.  RATS!!  As you head down the back staircase, you are funneled into the cheese tasting area.  The curds weren't squeaky at all ... don't know what happened there, but the rest were delicious, once I finally got up to within arms reach.  Some lady in front of me was too busy taking 89 pictures of her kids tasting cheese and blocked the path for everyone.
The "exit through the gift shop" exists here, except it's the cheese shop.  There is an amazing variety I've never seen before, including lots of smoked and habanero blocks.  The ice cream is delegated to one small corner .. what's up with that??   If you want a taste, you have to follow the switchback lines to the good stuff where you pay!!
My plan was to have a nice Centennial Grilled Cheese sandwich, which they use in a lot of their advertisement now.  Unfortunately it was 10:45 and despite my pleas, the cafe wouldn't make one before 11:00am.  It's not my fault they forced me to eat ice cream for breakfast!  With no one in THAT line, I walked right up and got my rocky road and a taste of salted butterscotch.  That's a new one that is pretty darned good!!
I tried to show restraint and only bought three bricks of cheese so I could make my OWN centennial grilled cheese for lunch.  The cow tipping t-shirt I wanted wasn't available in my size, so I sadly picked out another, along with this nice coffee cup to remind me of the free ice cream I missed out on.  Don't worry, I've got 8 more days to make 8 more attempts at the free stuff and several disguises so they don't kick me out of line.
Back at the rig, I made a WONDERFUL grilled cheese on sourdough bread, accentuated with a side of fritos and of course tomatoes, because I'm on a diet!!  YUM YUM!!!
In the afternoon I took a short drive South to Bear Creek Artichokes.  There's plenty of room for a couple of RV's if you are going North on Hwy 101.  They are family owned and have some of the best fruit and vegetables EVER!!  They even have strawberry or peach shortcake with real whipped cream!  
Along with some veggies, I picked up their garlic artichoke dip and some garlic pine nut pesto.  No wonder there's no man in my life!!  By the way, you can taste everything in the store before you buy.
For dinner, I baked the lasagne Miss Terry made as a going away present for me.  If I said it before, I'll say it again ... Miss Terry is a GREAT chef!!  This lasagne with homemade sauce is the best I've ever eaten.  I even cut it into four pieces so it would last longer!!  It makes me want to try and be a better cook, so you might see my own version of lasagne in the future as I try to duplicate it.  Haha!
Here's her cookbook, available on Amazon in kindle or book version.  You can even find a few recipes at (click on Miss Terry's Kitchen), but buy the book.  Her pizza recipe alone is worth the price!!
Since I've eaten more than I should over the last two days, it's time for a good hike to burn off some of those calories, so today's destination is Cape Meares Lighthouse and hopefully a beach with a little wind!!