Monday, December 26, 2011

Chocolate Stout Cake

Catherine and I made this cake for Jamie's birthday Christmas Eve. I'll never make a box chocolate cake again. It was simple to make, moist and delicious.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup stout - we used Rogue Chocolate Stout

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder - we used Ghirardelli

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan, remove from heat and let cool.
2. Mix in the stout and cocoa powder.
3. Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
4. Mix the eggs and sour cream in another large bowl.
5. Mix the stout mixture into the egg mixture.
6. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet.
7. Pour the batter into one or two greased and parchment lined circular cake pan(s).
8. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean. Two 8-inch round pans took 30 minutes.

We frosted the cake with a Bailey's Irish Cream frosting, but it would be good with anything.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Two Springs

This week I have practiced being a snowbird. I have decided that I need lots more practice. Wednesday I did our laundry; after hefting the bags back down the street I told Tom that I would rest a bit before putting it away. His answer? "There's no hurry." I've been hurrying for 59 years. How's that going to work out for me?

I think that once I retire maybe I'll spend the first year sleeping.

Yesterday before Thanksgiving with 140 (or so) of Mom's closest friends, park friends got together to present her with a lovely fountain in memory of my dad.

Another bright and sunny morning here in North Palm Springs.

The dogs have enjoyed their regular walks.

Kady: "Look, over there!  Another bunny!"   The park is full of bunnies and roadrunners. 

Farewell but not Good-bye.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Sun Will Come Out

From the webcam at home this morning: snow on the ground and more coming down.

But in Palm Springs it is a different story.


Fog spills over the pass but does not reach us.

But you can tell how windy it is from the palm trees. Last night gusts of up to 50 mph rocked us to sleep.

I have sad news to report: my dad passed away at 5:45 yesterday morning. We just missed being able to have a final visit.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Camping with Joshua trees.

And a high desert sunset.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Across the Border

Yet another cold, drizzly morning in Southern Oregon. Everything is UO colors of Green and Gold . . on a Gray background.

It never ceases to amaze me how often it is that the sun comes out and the temperature rises 20° as you cross the Oregon/California border and head down the back side of the Siskiyous.

Mt Shasta Splendor.

And Mt Diablo Sunset.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Backyard Birding

A Black Phoebe.  Not a bird that we commonly see even though we are included in its range.  It should be headed to Mexico for the winter.

Not to be confused with:

Black Phoebe

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Table Rock Sunrise

Just another pretty drive to the office this week.

Last night we watched "The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia" on Showtime.  Wow.  And now I guess I know why there is a "White City" here in Jackson County, OR.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The View from the "Office" Window

I'm doing a payroll this morning.

Some people want me to hurry up so they can go play on the beach.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Special Birthday

. . . of special kids.
Pilot, Chase, Libby, Molly and many more are four today.

Fuzzy brother Cosmo and his "sister" Sweet Pea say "Hi" from Eugene.

Molly is, of course, on a camping trip for her birthday. Last night/this morning we were at Clear Lake State Park. Normally when we go down we stay at Tom's mom's, but we were unsure about getting the motorhome up the driveway and concerned about tall dry grass in the pasture. Also the park was conveniently close to the wedding venue.

Pretty and shady, early fall in Lake County.

"Why are we in jail?"

Because we were putting on appropriate wedding attire and didn't need you underfoot.

We didn't get back to camp until after dark, at which time there was a small SNAFU power-wise. California state parks, unlike the more civilized Oregon model, do not have power at the sites. We had things to do which require power. Never fear, thought we, as we now have a generator! Which ran for all of about 2 minutes before making a clanking sound and quitting. And which would only make the funny sound and not restart.

But this is why we are doing a short shake-down cruise, right?

We were able to use the power inverter to log on to our computers briefly this morning, though we didn't get coffee (whimper). We decided early that Molly needed to camp at the beach for the rest of her birthday trip, and that we needed to be at an Oregon state park with power. So we headed up 101 today.

A beautiful spot for a "potty break" for the dogs.

October on the coast can be beautiful. Today was sunny and warmer than our trip in July.

"How about a birthday kiss?"

Tonight we are camping at Harris Beach State Park, which has some special memories for us. It was here in 1976 that Mandy took her first steps. And it was here in 2005 that we first heard that Alice was looking for a new home. She came to live with us a month later.

Pilot is a Silver Grand Champion who has won the herding group 5 times. Chase is a Champion with countless performance titles as well. Molly may only be a half-a-champion (8 points, 1 major) but she is BPE (Best Pet Ever).

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Shake-down cruise

Thursday: Tom started hooking things up, took her back to dealer to have water leak repaired, hooked up satellite for tv. Yesterday: stashed what had been in the trailer into various cupboards and compartments in the motorhome. Got water-leak fixed for sure. This morning: packed clothes and food. This afternoon: 80th birthday party for my Aunt Gay. And at 3 p.m. we're finally off! Heading to Northern California for the wedding tomorrow of our niece Robyn.

We'll be back on Tuesday.

I want one of those little maps on the back where we can stick on the states as we travel.

Mt Shasta from the Northwest

Lake Shasta and marina

Sacramento valley sunset

Over the olive groves of Corning

"Camping" at the Rolling Hills Casino and RV Park. Support the local tribe.

Having walked several circuits of the RV park now with various combinations of four dogs, I can tell you that it is very nice. A little van continuously circles to provide security and/or to ferry you over to the casino and back.
For those who requested a tour of the inside . . . well, it isn't big: about 28' nose-to-tail. We are dwarfed by some of the units in here. But we will fit better in state or national park campgrounds in the future plus she's a comfortable size on the road.

Bedroom. Walk-around queen bed with our sleep-number installed.

"Living room"

The seats turn around and become "recliners". Dinette on slide to the left. Dog condominiums (300 crates) above with extra storage behind. The three girls are up there while Hux is riding in an additional crate beside the bed. He said that he was terrified that I was going to drop him when attempting to lift him down. I tried to assure him that I wouldn't, but he wasn't going for it.

Kitchen, tv ready for ducks game.

I debated whether to show the bathroom. I could only get part: the shower is behind the door.

There is also quite a bit of storage outside; the big compartment will even hold the booster bath when needed.

Now, back to watching the ducks!