Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Field Trip

Yesterday was cold and windy, but dry, and so in the afternoon we both got outside to work in the yard for two hours. I pruned the roses and a few shrubs and did lots of picking up. Tom pruned one of the maple trees. 

There is lots more to do, but today was dark and drippy, so we decided to run away for a while.  We are contemplating redesigning an area in the front yard and are beginning to study shrubs that might work. We decided to go to Watson's Greenhouse and Vassey's Nursery, both in or near Puyallup, because both have great plants and fun gift shops. And Watson's has a cafe for lunch.

 I bought some of these pretty primroses for my pots on the front porch. 
After studying all of the shrubs outside we went inside to look over the indoor plants and the gift shop before having lunch in the cafe. 
 There were lots of cute bunnies. 

After a leisurely lunch we drove over to Vassey's Nursery and studied all of the shrubs there too. 

There's just something about big fat buds, such a promise of things to come. 

Tomorrow we march into March. Many of you are still deep into winter, but spring is looming. I thought I'd bring just a touch of it to you today on this last day of February. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sibling Gathering

The snow stopped. Most of the highways and roadways cleared, although sister Ilene had a hairy drive from Vernonia, Oregon to Winlock, Washington over hills and tree shaded roads. 

Brother Hank, who is still teaching, caught a bug, no doubt from a kid, and so he and his wife couldn't come. 

My two sisters and I and our cousin Kathleen  gathered at sister Laurie's home for lunch and talk and family history stories. 

These are Ilene's photos, which I have cropped down. Thanks, Ilene.

Laurie prepared a yummy chicken casserole and fruit salad and Ilene brought a tasty broccoli salad. We ate well and laughed well and talked a lot.

We retired to the living room and shared old family photos and my photos of our trip to the homelands in Norway and Sweden and stories we could remember about our Norquist parents and grandparents. Several times we wished that we had asked more questions when we still had these people in our lives. 

We came back to the table for dessert and more sharing. The lemon meringue pie was a big hit, and the pie plates were "licked" clean. The apple dessert was OK, but didn't pass my muster, so that recipe will be tossed. 
Left to right: Laurie, Tom, Linda, Arnold, who is Laurie's husband, Kathleen and her partner Mike. Ilene is behind the camera. 

Tom and Arnold are both big into genealogy, so we have to keep them from getting into the weeds on some of this stuff, but they are very handy for supplying dates and locations. The rest of us just like the stories. 

One can't help but think of the hardships endured by past generations, raising 13 children on a small farm in Montana or South Dakota or the hills of Oregon.

We are blessed with abundance, and blessed to have each other. 

Friday, February 23, 2018


A couple of weeks ago Tom's niece, who lives in San Jose, sent us a box of lemons, Meyer lemons, and limes. Their trees are producing an abundance. What a treat for us!  We shared them with Jill and the kids. Irene especially likes lemons. She just eats them like oranges. 

I have been having fun finding ways to use this gift of California sunshine. We have had lemon chicken, lemon zest encrusted salmon, lemon bars that I shared with Jill and the kids, and today I made lemon meringue pies. 
The pies will be part of the dessert at a siblings and cousin lunch at my sister's house tomorrow.

Before I had the lemon option, and before we had to cancel the first lunch date, I had planned to make this apple cream torte, since Laurie asked for a "light " dessert.  So I made it too.
I haven't tried it before so we'll see how we like it. I found it in a magazine some time ago and added it to my recipe binder.

It was 23 degrees here this morning, and now that it has warmed up to 33, we are getting a bit of light snow. It should turn to rain showers over night. I hope so. If the lunch, which is a long drive away for most of us, gets cancelled, we have a LOT of dessert to eat!

Thursday, February 22, 2018


It began to snow ever so lightly last evening.

We have had teasing snow flurries for days, but even though there was snow to the north and to the south, we went without, or escaped, depending on how you feel about snow. 

The snow fell in tiny crystals, slowly accumulating in a sparkling fluff. We knew it wouldn't be deep, but we also knew it would be sticking around until morning.

It was 26 degrees when I checked about 8:00 this morning. When it was time to walk out to the street to get the newspaper, I layered up, grabbed my camera, and spent some time all on my own, enjoying the snow. 

"The very fact of snow is such an amazement." -Roger Ebert

I was not the first one to walk here. Were those rabbit tracks along with the bird prints? 
The icy streets wreaked havoc with the traffic this  morning, but we had no place we needed to go

Snow covers the blooming winter jasmine. 

I smiled too.

I wonder what drama occurred here.
The emerging tulips slowed down, waiting for more warmth.
"There is just something beautiful about walking on snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you're special." -Carol Rifka Blunt

The little rusty wren on the bonsai bench didn't fly away when I approached. 

The morning sun selected what it would light up

I think I found a cat visitor freeway. 

Witch hazel blooms
A cotton plant?
Who made these? I'm thinking a rabbit?

Drooping snowdrops. 
Hardy cyclamen are lovely but tough. 
The mimi-daffodils would prefer not to wear a snow coat. 

Patterns In Snow
Overnight the flakes had descended, 
and left a carpet of pure white, 
A fox awakened from his sleep, 
patrolled the frosty night, 
The silent frozen world had now, 
become a canvas, new, 
For patterns to be created, 
by the feet of creatures, who
Had ventured out to sample
this delightful snowy land, 
Fashioned by an invisible Master, 
with his gifted hand.

His paints so subtle, had with skill, 
produced true moonlight hues, 
Such lovely shades of brilliant white, 
soft yellows and deep blues, 
An eerie earth, a changed and strange
vast open wide expanse, 
Where, up above, each dainty snowflake, 
had started its downward dance
And settled, on the serene landscape, 
clothed, in its simple dress, 
Where we imprint our patterns too, 
across a snowbound wilderness.
© Ernestine Northover