Rolling Logs and Crashing Waves

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We spent Saturday night down at the beach.  The waves were majestic and extremely powerful. There were huge waves and they were picking up a lot of debris from the beach.  I enjoyed watching this log being tossed and thrown around by the waves like a toothpick.  It did remind me of why there are so many signs warning of danger from logs in the waves though, as I watched the waves effortlessly move it back and forth, and when I saw how many logs and other items were in the surf.

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This time, we stayed in a beach house in Lincoln City, Oregon.  We were with my sister and her family, and had a great time.  Since our time was so short, we spent most of our time there watching waves from the large, glass windows instead of taking trips to sight-see.  The view was amazing!

We stopped on the way there for a picnic.  That’s where I enjoyed watching the logs get tossed around from the safety and comfort of my van.  I couldn’t resist getting out for a closer look, and some photo opportunities.  Of course, the sea gulls were out in full force, and wanted our picnic badly.

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At one point, while we were in the van, one gull kept trying to come through the window for tasty tidbits he was interested in.  We had my niece, nephew and 2 daughters with us.  They all got a laugh as Rob turned on the windshield wipers to scare the bird away before it could leave any presents on the window of the van.  Other people were feeding them, so they quickly moved on to greener pastures, leaving our kids to eat in peace!

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Dutch Oven Chili

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4 cups soaked pinto beans

1/4 cup mild chili powder

1 teaspoon of salt, add more if needed to season to taste

2 teaspoons ground pepper

1 pound ground beef

5 stalks celery, chopped

2 medium onions, diced

1 quart of canned tomatoes (ours are home-canned, but you could buy a 28 ounce can)

1 quart water

Brown the hamburger until no pink remains.  Add the chili powder, pepper, salt, celery and onions and salute until vegetables are tender.  Add the soaked beans, tomatoes, and water.

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There are several ways to cook the chili.

One way is to set the barbecue to 250 degrees and set the entire pot, including the Dutch oven lid,  inside of the barbecue with the lid of the barbecue closed.  This takes about 3-1/2 – 4 hours, or until the beans are soft.  You could also put the Dutch oven in the oven in the house at 250 degrees.

Another way to cook this chili is to simmer it over a fire in the Dutch oven for 1-3 hours, or until the beans are soft and the flavors are blended.  After the chili comes to a boil, you need to make sure it is not directly over a hot part of the fire, so it can simmer.  So, pull it out a little bit from the hottest coals and to the edge of the fire where it still gets to cook, but not over such hot coals.   You can cook it longer, but you need to add additional water if the chili becomes dried out so it doesn’t burn.  Of course, you could use a camp stove, or a stove in your house to cook it, as well.

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The chili can be served with cheese, onions, or any other toppings that are desired, or served plain.  Leftovers can be frozen for a quick dinner another day.  While camping, people are usually so hungry that leftovers are no problem!  This makes 10-12 hearty servings.

 

Raccoon Tracks

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Our recent snow storm seems to have brought out some furry friends roaming through the neighborhood!  Yesterday morning, Rob pointed out some rabbit tracks in the fresh snow, and these raccoon tracks.  They were still there this morning, although fading a bit.  This guy came up the driveway and cut across our grass.  Then, he meandered down the street, off to nameless pursuits.  Although we did not see the rabbit or the raccoon, it’s nice to see that there are some animals roaming our new neighborhood.  I will continue to think it’s a good thing until the day one of them starts nibbling on my garden…….Until then, I loved seeing the tracks from our new furry neighbors.

Ice and Snow Storm

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We are in the middle of yet another snow and ice event here in our part of Oregon!  It is so unusual for us to have this much cold weather, but this winter, it just keeps coming.  Today, we are trying to thaw out from our latest blast of winter chill.

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This latest event started with 4 inches of snow pouring down on us during the day on Saturday.  During the night sometime, the precipitation changed to freezing rain–liquid moisture that freezes on impact and builds up on everything.

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It is beautiful, but very dangerous to shrubs, trees, people who try to drive in it, etc.  People tried to stay home if they could.  Even church was cancelled.

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It was a perfect day to stay at home, cozy beside the fire!

During these storms, it is common to lose power.  We were prepared.  We have lots of firewood, and heat with a wood stove.  We have a back-up generator that the house is wired for, that won’t run everything, but would keep a few lights on and the freezers running if needed.  (I think the freezers would stay frozen for quite a while in this weather, though, since they are in the shop)  We have plenty of food on hand, and could keep some outside if needed.  Should all else fail, the camper sits right next to our house and is heated with propane.  The propane tanks are full.  Rob made sure that the camper was prepared for the ice blast by keeping it heated, the water slightly running, hot water tank warm, etc.    It’s easier to enjoy these storms when you are prepared–it takes all the anxiety out of the situation as long as no one has to drive.  No one did.  It was a very relaxing weekend!