Long View

It was a lovely and relaxing day yesterday. Cinco de Mayo is my birthday, and I spent it doing things I wanted to do. We ended the day with a celebratory dinner out. It seems there is much to celebrate right now. Even feeling comfortable going into a restaurant feels celebratory. But let's back up to the beginning, shall we? 

No day gets off to a good start without a little slow stitching. I took the first stitches on Plate #6 from Pieces of the Past. Yesterday, I was mainly using leftover floss bits from the last time I worked on this project. And, as a reminder, I last worked on this project right after my bike accident. It's a lot easier moving the needle through fabric now.

After that, I needed to water the flower pots and fill the bird feeders. I'm filling the bird feeders every day now. While I was out, I noticed the wisteria is doing really well. Mike gave it some wires to climb up the pole and across the front porch fascia.

Bumblebees were active on the blooming clematis.

Backing away for the long view, the clematis looks like this:

Smitty caught sight of me and headed my direction.

He paused to check for activity in this ground squirrel's hole. Nothing going on there.

One of the things I did on my weeding expedition last time around was to whack back the "spreading evergreen," (sorry, I don't know its proper name) on the left. It grows up about five feet, then bends toward the ground, then grows horizontally outward. It was completely blocking my access to things growing closer to the house unless I just stepped on it as I walked. So, I whacked it back to create a path, and Mike added stepping stones. Mud is always an issue at the Three Cats Ranch, and the stepping stones will make it possible to walk there even when the ground is wet.

Below is a better image of the Gracie Memorial Catnip Garden. It's a moving garden. I move her stake to wherever the catnip springs to life each new season. I kind of like this spot, and this is its second year. 

If you're wondering about that little "headstone," here's a close-up. Gracie isn't buried here, but it's where we remember her. She loved catnip.

The lilac bush is putting on quite a show. We bought this dug-up shrub in an Albertson's parking lot on Mother's Day about ten years ago. It turned out to be a great plant.

Behind it, the dogwood is blooming.

Walking around to the back of the house, I noticed the lily is putting up a second stalk. I had to spread some slug bait for the other one. You can see it's leaves have been gnawed on. I'm glad to see the new one looks intact. Note to self: pull up that weed.

Here's the rhododendron with the most open blossoms. It's grown so big, it blocks the sidewalk there.

It's neighbor at the other end of the herb garden is still just getting going, but some of its flowers have opened fully now.

Here, Sadie caught sight of me. Unlike Smitty who walks toward me when we meet outside, Sadie runs the other direction. Once an outdoor feral, always an outdoor feral. She only likes people when we're in the house. Outside, people are bad. This is why Sadie will never go on camping walks with us.

Mike was busy building and grooming a bed for the new blueberries planted last year. We took out two huge butterfly bushes here. Butterfly bushes are considered an invasive species in Oregon now, and are no longer available for sale in nurseries. I believe we bought ours right before they were banned. They grew to enormous proportions, and we took them out when they got so big and leggy they were taking up half the yard behind the garage. Now we have four blueberry plants there. Mike added the row of bricks and some bark dust there, and it looks so much better. I'm hoping we get some berries this summer.

Okay, so back inside, I did some more work on my quilting. The largest sky sections are nearly finished. I'm hoping to get going on the leaves and stems today.

Here are a couple of pictures of the poppies. I'm hoping you can see the quilting in the flowers.

Here's where I left it yesterday. I'm still working on the sky sections, and I'll stick with those until they're all finished.

When I turned around in my chair, I found Smitty half dead from hunger. His dinner was approximately 44 seconds late.

Downstairs, Sadie was living out her last moments before death from starvation lounging in the dining room sunspot.

We celebrated with dinner out. I'm just about to show you a series of pictures of our food. It was all delicious and elegant, but I know some folks find those food photos boring. I'm giving you fair warning: bail out now if you're not into food. Now, if you're still with me...here's what we had for dinner.

We had dinner at a favorite restaurant in Dayton, Oregon: The Joel Palmer House.

Joel Palmer was one of the original settlers of Oregon, and so the restaurant and house have historical significance. I'm really glad they've survived the pandemic. Here's a little information about Joel Palmer and the restaurant, if you're interested.

But if you really just want to talk about the food, here is the menu from which we made our selections for our five course meal.

We started out with this little grated carrot "amuse." I love it when a meal includes this little sampler. It's so elegant and fun. The Joel Palmer House specializes in mushrooms, and that little dark fleck is a type of mushroom.

Moving on to the "official" menu, for my first course, I chose the mushroom risotto. I absolutely love risottos of all kinds. Each course was served up so pretty with an edible flower. This was a little rose petal.

Mike had their mushroom soup. Mushroom soup is always on their menu, and I've had it many times. It is truly delicious.

For our second course, we each had the mixed green salad. It had slices of pear and candied walnut. There's some kind of little pickled mushroom under the pear there too.

And then, we had this little palate cleanser. It's important to keep your palate clean at all times, obvi. This was a little slurp of pureed cucumber soup and a spicy roasted tomato gazpacho. We were instructed to either sip it or take it as a whole shot. It put me in the mood for some homemade gazpacho, let me tell you.

After that, Mike had the beef stroganoff...delicious. We tasted each other's.

Mine was the angel hair pasta with some lobster mushrooms. It's the best macaroni and cheese you'll ever eat.

For our main courses, Mike chose the elk. It was so tender and delicious.

I chose the Mushroom Wellington. Also delicious.

For dessert, he chose the chocolate mousse. Dessert items were on a separate menu, and I forget what all this entails. The little mushroom there is a sweet candy cap mushroom.

I had the candy cap mushroom creme brulee. It was served with some homemade butterscotch cotton candy. I moved it over into the light so you could get a good look at the cotton candy. I absolutely love cotton candy, and so that was quite a treat. The creme brulee was just a bonus. (It reminds me of those little troll dolls we used to play with as kids.)

We were still starving, of course, and so they finished us off with a couple of chocolate truffles.

It was a very nice evening and a nice way to celebrate our good fortune. Good fortune: being alive at our age. There's still more to celebrate ahead. Mike's birthday is tomorrow, and I'll be making his favorite Eggs Benedict for breakfast tomorrow. The kids are all coming up Sunday to celebrate everyone's birthday (Mae's birthday was May 1st) and Mother's Day. That can only mean one thing: grocery shopping. I need a few things for those upcoming meals. After that, I'll get back to my quilting. I'm hoping to get well along today.


Barbara said...

Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears. ~ John Lennon


a happy late birthday to you--and I think your meal was 'fullfillin'that is for sure!!!
I am now celebrating a 'new' age as of today--!!!
keep those kitties feed on time--we don't want them to faint from hunger!!!!
luv, di

Terri in BC said...

Happy belated birthday, so nice you were able to celebrate! My birthday was in March, so it was my second lockdown non-celebration. I told the kids I want one hell of a party when we can living normally, since they had to cancel my surprise 60th last year.

Sandra W said...

That is a very exotic menu. Interesting. The servings look small and there are a lot of them. It's unusual for a restaurant to specialize in mushrooms, isn't it? How unique. But also smart in terms of offering vegetarian options. Vegetarians are always complaining they don't have enough options, in my experience and it's probably true. Happy Birthday to the both of you. I recently turned 75--which sounds old but I still feel 28.

ckrut said...

Happy birthday to you and everyone celebrating in your household. Also Happy Mother's Day. Truly enjoy reading your blog!

Julierose said...

Happy Birthday fellow May b-day-er;))) Sounds like you had a wonderful day of it;))
So nice to be able to eat out again, isn't it?
hugs for many more Julierose

Janarama said...

Happy Belated Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to Mike too! Lovely pics of your beautiful gardens. I do believe you need to pay more attention to Smitty and Sadie and make sure they get their dinner on time. They look famished. LOL

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Happy belated Birthday!

djquilting said...

Happy birthday to you and Mike. Every birthday is a good one as it sure beats the alternative. That was quite a celebration dinner! We're celebrating combo birthday and Mother's day this weekend as my son was born on Mother's day.

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

What a marvelous birthday dinner! So glad the cats were rescued from starvation just in time.

Teresa said...

Happy birthday and thanks for sharing your day with us. I enjoyed seeing all the pictures!

piecefulwendy said...

Sounds like a perfect day all around! Happy Birthday to Mike, and Happy Mother's Day to you!

MissPat said...

Happy Birthday to you, Mike and Mae. Always good to have a reason to celebrate, but having them all at the same time means fewer celebrations. Looks like you had a very elegant meal. No wonder the cats were feigning starvation. They knew you were living high on the hog.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Happy Birth Day wishes to both you and Mike! Lots to celebrate this weekend for sure. And my goodness - however did you manage to eat all that; I would have been full with just the salad! Mind you, I could have managed to add in some of that dessert.