Saturday, January 22, 2022

Our Cat-Dog Keeps Us Laughing

Shiva, in front of some incriminating evidence.

Before I went for a walk, there were four saltines in cellophane-wrapped packages, leftovers from a meal out that I felt would be better served atop our homemade clam chowder. When I got back, there were three cellophane-wrapped saltine packages . . . one empty cellophane package on the carpet and a few telltale crumbs.

Better than mousey, I suppose.

We're still looking for a place to call home, and Shiva still keeps us laughing in the meantime. She's a cat-dog: she'll snarf any foodstuff dropped on the floor before you can blink (though a dog would eat that saltine packet in one gulp, cellophane and all), enjoys a good game of fetch (though you may need to do the fetching), loves to follow us around, play guard-kitty, and snuggle up next to us. We're lucky our kitty is happy to call home wherever we are with her.

For us, being untethered is wearing. We're ready for a real address, not one that's borrowed or temporary. We're ready to become part of our community . . . wherever that is. It's hard to be patient when we don't know how much longer we'll need to be, but considering that's our worst problem—we're doing well.

While we sort it out, there are some gorgeous spots to hike nearby—even in January. Just bring your crampons or microspikes. Mine are still buried in my camping gear; fortunately, my friend Kathi loaned me hers on our hike yesterday, while she relied on her hiking poles for stability. (I've got a pair of hiking poles stowed away, too).

Monday, January 17, 2022

Limbo-ing Along: Making the Most of Winter in the PNW


One-minute road-trip video, a bit grainy from my phone cam.

We're still limbo-ing along in transitionville. Despite spending summer in Florida at a time when most sane folks flee and arriving back in the Pacific Northwest in the wintertime when we last fled it, we are finding ways to make it work.

On a rare, dry weekday in January. we cruised along the Historic Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway, where we could immerse ourselves in the dense, earthy woods of the Pacific Northwest and gawk at waterfalls (and caught a few of them on video). No matter how many times I see them, even the same ones, I never get tired of them. (Scroll down to see what Latourell Falls looked like in fall 2019). Even in January, the most minuscule parking lots along this highway fill up quickly on weekends.

With temps a few degrees above freezing overnight, then "warming up" about another ten degrees Fahrenheit during the day, this is comfort food weather; the perfect time for creamed mushrooms on toast* I sub the creme fraiche for the half-and-half and sometimes instead use an herb-encrusted bit of soft chevre (goat cheese).  Like avocado toast (another fave), I sometimes top mine with a fried egg, over easy.

*If you can't access the NYT recipe and want it, let me know.

Image pilfered from the New York Times.

I picture my dad smiling over my shoulder whenever I make creamed mushrooms on toast; it's something I grew up with, one of Dad's many casually delicious meals I took for granted. I remember being shocked Wayne didn't even know what creamed mushrooms on toast were! That's since been rectified and it's now on his list of favorites, too. 

A vat of spicy posole filled the slot left vacant by the hearty stew Wayne made and we polished off. For those of you unfamiliar with posole (or pozole), it's a Mexican soup with hominy (dried corn kernels soaked in a mineral lime bath to soften them, which sounds terrible but is pretty yummy in posole). 

Posole, a favorite comfort food to cut the chill.

While I love posole the most in chilly weather, I justify eating it in warmer climes because spicy foods work up a sweat that then cools as it dries. If you doubt it, I challenge you to a bowl of tortilla chips and salsa on a broiling hot day and your favorite cooling libation. Hmmm, maybe it's really the libation? 

Posted previously, here's "my" posole recipe. I make sure to bring the ingredients when I provision up for cruising as Mexican food is the "American" food I miss the most when I travel. It's pretty easy to make, but be sure to account for an hour and a half of cook time. 
Shiva, in one of her mellower moments.

Even Shiva is getting into eating-sleeping hibernation mode. But by March, we will notice how many more minutes of daylight we can enjoy between sunrise and sunset as we leave the winter solstice behind.