Thursday, September 27, 2007

Moonset Bandon OR 9/26

Woke up at 6am and saw this beautiful moonset over the beach in Bandon OR. This was taken through the window of the hotel with my cellphone. See Cranky Old Geezer in a couple of days for better photos -- with the actual stunning blue/pink colors.

What's the difference between horses and logging?

Horses make the landscape look more beautiful.

The Oregon trip continues.....

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Bride is a Saint and a Martyr

This is the first of several beautiful views we stopped for this morning Before Breakfast, so the COG could take photos.

As is her usual wont, The Bride nobly forbore to complain that she was becoming paler, weaker, even faint with hunger, while the COG took photos. Not one word of Suffering passed her lips and, thus, she gained stars for her crown in heaven.

The morning light and the views between Yachats and Florence were a bit of heaven on earth, come to think of it.

Later, around Coos Bay, we started thinking more of Isle, MN with ocean views.

Oblivious to Metaphor

Oblivious to all possibilities for metaphor the Bride and the COG watched the setting sun when the day was done.

Admittedly, the Bride had to step away from the COG briefly to snap this photo of him.

Views, Seafood, Views

Oregon coast, Day 1: view from restaurant where we had lunch (Bride- salmon, COG - Pacific oysters, Both - Oregon wine)

The beach by the hotel where we stayed.

The beach by the restaurant where we had dinner (Both - Cioppino and Oregon Wine)

The view from our bed when we woke up this morning.

Stopping to Smell the Flowers

Forgot to mention that on Sunday we went to the Rose Garden, which was completely wonderful. We last saw it in February, when it was tiny bare stems sticking up from the ground. Now they are beautiful.

Also, have been admiring the bouquet on the table of Cattus Domus. Does anyone know what the green stuff is? The dahlia's are just georgeous in these autumn shades of yellow and orange.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Portland - a Quickie

Arrived Saturday night, late. Eleven-thirty here in Portland (note The Bride's continuing crusade to Save The Hyphen), but 2:30am by Boston time. Spent Saturday in various city pleasures. We saw Will playing soccer, here throw-in.

We also were privileged to see The Niece riding her bike standing up and doing a 'leaping dismount'.

Today we are off to the coast. More later.

France's Loss, America's Gain

Brother-in-law and Sister of the Bride at a creperie in Sarlat, April 2007. A good day.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Tragic Demise of Hyphens

Quelle shock! I read in the BBC news this morning that hyphens are gradually being lost from the English language. The new OED has just eliminated 16,000 of them. Some hyphenated words became single words (chickpea, leapfrog, bumblebee, logjam, and crybaby), and some became two words (fig leaf, hobby horse, ice cream, pot belly, test tube, pin money).

What is this world coming to? When I was a girl, we valued our hyphens.

If you want to know more about this tragic loss:

Bloggin' Blues

The Bride is discovering that one problem with blogging is that you've made a commitment and you need to keep it up. And as The Bride is sort of conscientious about commitments, she ends up feeling like she ought to be blogging.

So just to satisfy that conscience, at the risk of being incredibly boring, here's the latest.

The COG and I are leaving for a week in Oregon tomorrow. I was talking to a friend and I said that I didn't know why I was so excited and she pointed out that I rarely go anyplace with the COG. For the last few years, anyway, I go without him, and sometimes he joins me later. This time we are lock-step the whole way and that will be really nice. We've got some really fun activities planned, but more about that later.

I'll have my computer and I'm hoping I'll have time/ wi fi/ things to blog about.

Monday, September 17, 2007

All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by

The Geezer and I went down to the sea again this afternoon. He wanted to sail solo, with me as back-up. My role was to do nothing, unless he was about to back the boat trailer into a rock (in which case my role was to scream before he hit it) or if he fell out of the boat and couldn't get back in (in which case my role was to call 911 before he drowned).

I performed my role admirably by sitting propped against a sun-warmed rock, reading a book, with Sheba lying alongside. She's such a restful companion.

It was sunny and autumnal - gulls crying overhead and waves lapping at the beach. The air smelled of salt and ozone. The picture is the Geezer prepping our little sailboat.

Collioure --May 2006

The Sister of The Bride just visited the lovely seaside village of Collioure. Here is a picture of The Cranky Old Geezer in an uncharacteristically cheerful moment, taken in a restaurant in Collioure. The second picture is the view from the same table in Collioure.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Clams, beautiful clams. Also mussels

The Cranky Old Geezer and I went clamming this morning. This is because he has received his free over-60 clamming license, which is good until he dies. He's going to have it laminated and I'm glad that he is feeling so optimistic.

Anyway, we went clamming. I use the word 'we' in the Royal sense. The only thing I did was hold the dog's lead and tell the COG what he was doing wrong. He paid no attention to me, of course. We had no idea what we were supposed to be doing and I'm afraid we crushed as many clams as we found. In the end, we threw them all back and got mussels instead.

Mussels are easy-- at low tide they litter the beach and you just pick them up. Now they are on my kitchen counter in a pan of brine with cornmeal in it. As pets, they aren't too interesting, so I imagine the COG will want to cook them after a while.

Even without clams it was lovely to be on the beach at low tide. It's sunny and cool and there's the smell of the sea an the cry of seagulls.

One day soon I will figure out how to put pictures up and you'll see how lovely it was.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Walnut Liqueur Recipes

First, The Bride is sorry to tell you that it's too late this year to make walnut liqueur. It turns out that the walnuts need to be green, as in immature, not simply green, as in encased by hull. The French traditionally pick them on the feast of St. Jean, which is June 24th or thereabouts. In the mountains (pays de Montagne) of France, the nuts are picked on Bastille Day. In California late May or early June is better. So, make your best guess.

Second, The Bride warns you to wear latex gloves and use an non-staining cutting board because the walnut juices stain a deep, indelible brown. If you don't take this precaution, don't blame The Bride, she tried to warn you.

Thirdly, the COG and The Bride have made many variations of these home-made liqueurs over the years. It's lots of fun and we think everyone should try it. One hint: you need to pre-plan to accumulate really large containers and bottles with screw-tops.

Recipe 1: from the San Francisco Chronicle, by Georgeanne Brennan

Vin de Noix


35 green walnuts
7 750-ml bottles dry red wine (inexpensive, yet drinkable red wine-Cote du Rhone, Cote de Provence, Syrah, Merlot and Zinfandel are good choices.)
1 quart vodka
4 1/2 cups granulated sugar


With a small mallet or hammer, strike walnuts hard enough to crack open green outer covering. Put them in a glass jar or crock large enough to hold them and wine. Pour wine over them, cover and store in a cool, dark place. Let stand for 40 days.
Then, using a fine-mesh sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth, strain wine into a large, clean, dry crock or pot. Discard walnuts.
Pour vodka into a nonreactive pot or bowl. Add sugar and stir until it has dissolved, about 10 minutes. Pour this mixture into wine and stir well. Using a funnel and a ladle, fill bottles with now-fortified wine to within 1 1/2 to 2 inches from top. Push in a cork or otherwise seal.
Makes approximately eight 750-ml bottles

Recipe 2: translated by The Bride from the French cookbook Vins Aperitifs Maison

Vin de Noix
5 liters of vin rouge
25 young walnuts, picked on the feast of St. Jean
1 kilo (2.2 pounds) granulated sugar
1/2 liter of vodka (in France they'd use eau de vie, but here, vodka substitutes nicely)
5 grams of bitter orange peel
a Tablespoon of plain tea

Clean the nuts and cut them into morsels and put them into a dame-Jean with the red wine and other ingredients. I have no idea what a dame-Jean is and babelfish translates is as 'dame-jean'. My best bet is that it's a demi-john, or other very large container.

Bitter Orange peel -- hmmm. In England you can buy bitter oranges for marmelade. I've never seen them here. Maybe grapefruit, or just plain orange peel.

Let everything macerate for 6 weeks, agitating it frequently, to stir it up.

Filter carefully (we've used coffee filters or clean linen towels placed in a sieve) and put in bottles to age. Place the bottles in the shade, or better still in your 'cave' or in the 'chat-bouton', if you live in the Luberon. Which you don't, but I thought you'd like to know that its a little room, like a pantry, situated on the north side of the house, often under the stairs, well ventilated but sunless.

Recipe 3: from the San Francisco Chronicle again.

Nocino, an Italian variant of Vin de Noix, sans vin


25 green walnuts
1 quart vodka
2 cups granulated sugar
Zest of one lemon
4 cloves
1 stick cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water


Cut walnuts into quarters and put them in a large, clean jar with vodka, sugar, lemon zest, cloves and cinnamon. Close jar and setunder sun for 60 days.
For syrup, combine 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Store covered in refrigerator. Add syrup to steeping nuts to ensure they are covered at all times. If necessary, make additional syrup, but not to exceed 1/2 cup. At end of 60 days, add any remaining syrup, then strain liquid through a fine mesh sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth. Discard nuts, lemon, cloves and cinnamon. Bottle liqueur and seal.
Makes about 1 quart

Monday, September 10, 2007

Nuts to you

Interesting factoid:

The botanical name of the American Black Walnut is Juglans nigra. Juglans comes from Jovis glans, meaning Jupiter's testicles.

Don't you just love the internet?

So many blogs, so little time

Suddenly everyone has a blog. Even the Cranky Old Geezer (hereafter referred to as COG) expects me to be up to date with what's happening on his blog and he is sitting not 5 feet from me as I write. Of course, he's typing not talking, unless you count swearing at your computer as talking. Which The Bride doesn't.

But it's nice to see what's happening in everyone else's life, with pictures attached. My life is pretty boring, but since blogging is mostly a one-sided conversation, I'll just keep talking to myself.

So here's what happened in my life today. I found a Black Walnut tree in Louise's yard. We've been wishing for a walnut tree, so we could try to make a walnut liqueur, like the one we (Sisters of The Bride, Brother-In-Law of the Bride, and the COG and The Bride, herself) had in the Cevennes, at the first gite we stayed in. So I'm going to try to make it with Black Walnuts. The hitch is that you need the walnuts to be in their green shells, and so you really need a tree.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Oh and I started this blog. I tried to insert a picture, but it didn't work. I"ll work on that later.

Oh and also I got into google, finally, so now I can blog and post to other peoples blogs. I was having a weird problem where I entered my name and then it switched to Portuguese. But I think I've figured it out now. Eu não penso que começará falar no português outra vez. Ao menos eu espero não.