Happy Birthday, Ayla!

Ayla has been guarding for us for 11 years! Way to go, old girl. (check out the goat action in the background). Our goats are safer because of the Anatolian Shepherds. Ayla is our second Anatolian.

Some of you have seen the video, below, but if not, it’s worth a watch, when Ayla was a puppy with our first Anatolian.

Note: David and I look a bit older now because of course we are, but we have always half-way joked that Ayla took years off our lives because she was always such a night-time barker. She has amazing hearing, even mice in bushes 100 yards away would set her off. She has a number of raccoons under her belt and also survived a fight with a pit bull (it was her fault, she wandered onto its property one day when she decided to just go check out the neighborhood after nine years of staying within fences. Never did figure out what that was all about.

This is How We Do Christmas Trees

Gallery of Trees, 2007 – 2019

  • Picture of a lit, decorated Christmas tree in a house a night. Thousands of lights and hundreds of colorful and unusual ornaments. Stunning, with relfections in multiple windows in the background.
  • Picture of a lit, decorated Christmas tree in a house a night. Thousands of lights and hundreds of colorful and unusual ornaments. Stunning, with relfections in multiple windows in the background.
  • Picture of a lit, decorated Christmas tree in a house a night. Thousands of lights and hundreds of colorful and unusual ornaments. Stunning, with relfections in multiple windows in the background.
  • Picture of a lit, decorated Christmas tree in a house a night. Thousands of lights and hundreds of colorful and unusual ornaments. Stunning.
  • Picture of a lit, decorated Christmas tree in a house a night. Thousands of lights and hundreds of colorful and unusual ornaments. Stunning, with relfections in multiple windows in the background and a glimpse of deep blue winter twillight through the windows
  • Picture of a lit, decorated Christmas tree in a house a night. Thousands of lights and hundreds of colorful and unusual ornaments. Stunning, in a large, long room with vauted wooden ceiling, large beams, hardwood floors, long table, and forest trees in background through windows
  • Picture of a lit, decorated Christmas tree in a house a night. Thousands of lights and hundreds of colorful and unusual ornaments. Stunning, with relfections in multiple windows in the background.
  • Picture of a lit, decorated Christmas tree in a house a night. Thousands of lights and hundreds of colorful and unusual ornaments. Stunning, with twilight mountains in background throug the windows
  • Picture of a lit, decorated Christmas tree in a house a night. Thousands of lights and hundreds of colorful and unusual ornaments. Stunning, with reflections of lights and tree in multiple, surrounding windows and a high, wooden ceiling.
  • Picture of a lit, decorated Christmas tree in a house a night. Thousands of lights and hundreds of colorful and unusual ornaments. Stunning, with relfections in multiple windows in the background.
  • Picture of a lit, decorated Christmas tree in a house a night. Thousands of lights and hundreds of colorful and unusual ornaments. Stunning.
  • Picture of lit, decorated Christmas tree in a house at night
  • Daytime picture of a lit, decorated Christmas tree in a room with a high wooden ceiling and skylight in background
  • Daytime picture of a lit, decorated Christmas tree in a room with a high, wooden ceiling and skylight in background
  • Picture of a lit, decorated Christmas tree in a house a night. Thousands of lights and hundreds of colorful and unusual ornaments. Stunning, in a room with a high, wooden ceiling
  • A thirteen-foot Christmas tree in a home, decorated and lit during daylight hours
  • A thirteen foot Christmas tree lit at night

In 2016, the venue changed when we moved. We still do 13′ trees that we harvest (with $10 permit) from the national forest land 25 miles up the road from us. When lack of snow allows, we go to around 5,000 feet elevation and get what locals call a ‘silver tip’ (a cross between a red and Douglas fir). In deep snow years, we get what we can get. Not sure which of the trees above was what we called the “heart attack” tree. No, we did not get heart attacks, but we said never again will we haul a giant tree up a steep hill in deep snow through dense thicket. Now we look for proximity to road, downhill, and as little snow as possible, even if it means driving up and getting the tree right after Thanksgiving. The current home also requires trees which are less dense and smaller diameter. These are usually lighter trees, which is fine by us these days.

Photo log for 2019 tree, from forest to fully decorated (below).

  • A Toyota pickup with a pine tree in the bed sticking out beyond the tailgate twice the distance of the man with outstretched arms standing there
  • A pine tree standing in a living room, floor to ceiling.
  • Looking up from the base of the pine tree seeing the amazing, snowflake-like symmetry of the limbs in layers of six, radial branches like spokes around the tree.
  • A Christmas tree lit with lights wrapped around all branches
  • A thirteen foot Christmas tree lit at night
  • A thirteen-foot Christmas tree in a home, decorated and lit during daylight hours

The Stand

To hold a heavy, 13′ tall tree, we had to come up with a suitable stand. David saw one priced at about $500 on the Internet. It looks like a great stand! However, with materials at-hand, I made our own.

Materials:

  • 1 discarded, hollywood bedframe,
  • 1 piece of 13″ steel pipe,
  • 4 large, long bolts with matching nuts,
  • 1 piece of sheet metal,
  • 1 1/4″ lag bolt 3″ long
  • a can of green spray paint

With an ox-acetylene torch, cut the bedframe into 4, equal lengths. Use the torch to cut the desired length of pipe and to cut a piece of sheet metal for the base and to heat the bolts to bend their ends into something like large eye-bolts for easier hand turning. With an arc-welder, weld the pipe to the sheet metal base, ensuring solid weld for no water leaks. Weld the frame to the sheet metal base to support it. Use the torch to cut four holes near the top of the pipe (at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock) to accommodate the bolts. Weld a nut onto the pipe on the backside of each bolt-hole. Weld the lag bolt upright on the sheet metal in the center of the pipe. This bolt will help keep the tree centered in the stand while the bolts are tightened. Wire-brush after welding and paint. The bolts adjust as needed to straighten tree and hold it firmly in place. It will not tip over, probably even if we climbed the tree!

Homemade tree stand for very large trees
How we string lights on the Christmas tree

This is How We Do A Thanksgiving Feast

  1. Harvest turkeys a few days before (photos not included)
  2. Start cooking the day before (pies, cranberries, and other sides)
  3. On Thanksgiving Day, get up at 5:00 a.m. to stuff the turkey
  4. Put turkey in oven at 6:00 a.m.
  5. Guests arrive at 12:00 p.m. with additional, amazing food contributions
  6. Take turkey out of oven at 12:30 p.m. to rest
  7. Bake bay-leaf-scented spoon rolls
  8. Eat Hors d’oeuvres
  9. Feast!
  • The Joy of Cooking opened to page 327 with a recipe and a bowl containing the completed stuffing.
  • turkey in a pan ready to cook with breast covered on olive-oil soaked cheesecloth
  • turkey in a pan ready to cook filled with stuffing
  • turkey read to cook in a pan. Breast is covered with olive-oil soaked cheese cloth.
  • a foil tent on a turkey in a pan
  • a turkey in a pan covered in foil in an open oven
  • bowl of cranberry jell, two packages of cranberries front/back to show recipe and brand, and an orange
  • a pumpkin pie and an apple pie
  • A recipe on a page from a magazine.
  • A recipe printed on a magazine page.
  • A recipe, a container of sour cream, and a bowl of dough
  • A muffin pan half-filled with dough spooned out of a large bowl.
  • Two, twelve-space muffin tins filled with dough and a bay leaf stuck in each roll.
  • Hors d'oeuvre
  • A pastry dough with squash, onions, herbs, goat cheese and olive oil waiting to go into the oven.
  • A long, eastern black-walnut table with 9 place settings.
  • A roasting turkey in a pan in an oven
  • A roasted turkey in a pan sitting on an oven. Turkey is nicely browned.
  • Table and chairs in front of a picture window to the lawn.
  • A Greek-style salad
  • A plate of yellow, cubed squash
  • A broccoli salad with rice, raisins and bacon.
  • a casserole dish filled with shredded yams
  • a casserole dish of yams mixed with cream, sugar, and walnuts
  • A pot of beautiful cider-brazed greens.
  • A casserole dish filled with broccoli and gorgonzola cheese.
  • A platter of white and dark turkey meat.
  • People scooping amazing food onto their plates.
After feasting, we went out to visit the critters. Fun for all. Lucy loves Brenda, and Brenda loves Lucy!

The Cabin Gets a Floor Upgrade

Before: old carpet was on old linoleum glued to pine planks (not high quality or tongue-in-groove)

New floor (below) is hardwood (hickory) planks installed by Moore Flooring out of Oroville – highly recommended. Dillon and crew installed identical floors in our main house before we moved in. Pictures below show the new floor. We still need to buy, paint and install new baseboards.

  • a new, hardwood plank hickory floor in a bedroom
  • a new, hardwood plank hickory floor in a living room
  • a new, hardwood plank hickory floor in a bedroom