Friday, December 31, 2010

Backyard Chickens

Anyone here raise backyard chickens? Mrs Elliott wants to know more about what's involved, how much work it is, what they need to survive our cold season. Toss off a comment if you've some experience in this area.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Green and Yellow Food Suggestions for BCS Party?

"What about green and yellow food?" Mrs Elliott asked.

In case you haven't heard, No. 1 Auburn and No. 2 Oregon will be battling it out at the BCS championship game on January 10 in Glendale, AZ. We have some friends coming over to our house to watch it.

It's an interesting problem.

Things must be themed, of course, but other than pizza with yellow cheese and pesto sauce or yellow corn chips with green salsa I came up with nothing. Cupcakes? You can get cupcakes in any color you want, but the idea of green and yellow cupcakes with beer or after victory cigars seems ghastly.

So I'm crowdsourcing the question to my vast and respected readership. Ideas? Leave a comment.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Rain Stays Mainly on the Chain

When Mrs Elliott were driving up the Oregon coast last summer we happened across a ticky-boo shop selling many fanciful and useless things for the house. We were drawn to a frivolous rain chain, a portion of which is shown here:
Teapot and teacups rain chain
I hung it from the end of the gutter outside the living room window. It's been fun to watch when it rains, water splashing and gurgling down the chain.

This morning when I woke up, I saw this:
Pretty cool, huh?

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Nice Place to Stay Along the Route?

Every year, Mrs Elliott and I drive down to the Sacramento area to visit family for the holidays. This year it's for the Christmas one, next year it will be for the the Thanksgiving one. We alternate.

While our destination is not so far away that we could not do the drive in one day, we prefer to take two. No sense getting tired and pressing hard out of desperation and ending up like one of those cars that pepper the winter landscape alongside the highways around here, turned-turtle after drifting right off the road and into the shrubbery.

Driving during daylight provides endless hours of scenery-seeing. This we find better than spending hours staring down the snowflake-filled tunnel created by the car's headlights in the dark. We also bring a book or two on CD to keep the part of the brain that likes stories active (Mrs Elliott has heard all my knock-knock jokes and just sighs and stares out the window when I unholster a few).

We got this trip mainly sorted out except for lodging. This is turning into a problem.

Every year we have the same discussion about where to stay midway. And so far we haven't found a place we like.

I'm asking for suggestions.

Fig. 2 Crappy brick-in-a-parking-lot corporate Motel 6-like place.
We'd like to find a non-corporate place that is cozy, quaint, and quiet. NOT a crappy brick-in-a-parking-lot Motel 6 or one of its wretched cousins. And I'm not so sure about bed and breakfast places, either.

My last two experiences were not encouraging.

Like that tiny but expensive room we stayed in in Astoria this summer. It was located at the top of a fearsomely steep flight of stairs. The mattress, the bedding, the pillows and the room smelled bad. The bathroom was a modern design -- for 1890. At some point antique goes past "quaint" and moves directly into "decrepit" territory and I reckon that loo passed its sell-by date in the mid-'50s.

We stayed in a BnB near Klamath Falls after last year's Thanksgiving. It was more comfortable, but the poor owner had just learned that his hospitalized wife's health condition was far worse than anticipated, so his mood was somewhat dampened. The mood of the proprietor sets the tone of the place. If the owner is cheerful and fun, the stay can be quite enjoyable. If the owner is morose or has a hook for a hand and habitually lurks within earshot all the time, the place can be a little less fun.

A stay at a bed and breakfast is a crap shoot, my friend. An expensive one. A young Anthony Perkins might show you to your room.

So the quest continues.


In Klamath there seems to be nothing but crappy brick-in-a-parking-lot corporate Motel 6-like places.

A place near Weed the Stewart Mineral Springs Retreat looks intriguing. I'd like to hear from anyone who has stayed there.

Of course we don't need to stay on Highway 97, we could swerve over to I-5 and try Ashland, but the places there seem to be either crappy brick-in-a-parking-lot corporate Motel 6-like places or twee precious wee bed and breakfasts.

We stayed one night at the Railroad Park Resort in Dunsmuir.  It was . . . interesting. Dunsmuir is wanting in restaurant options.

Redding doesn't seem to have any place worth pushing through Shasta to get to. There's a Black Bear Diner off I-5 south of Redding that we somehow ended up in both going south and heading north last year. It was mediocre both times.

So, Dear Reader, if you personally know of a nice inn or hotel midway-ish between Bend and Sacramento, please leave a comment.
 
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