Sunday, June 22, 2008


Car shows and other things.....

I don't know where the time has gone. I don't think it has ever before been two weeks between my getting at least a text only post made here. Until now. We have been busy, seem to be on the go most of the time. I have gotten involved again with my genealogy project for which I have moved my data from the old DOS program Roots III I used in the past, to Roots Magic which is a Windows program. Of course everything didn't transfer cleanly so I am spending many hours trying to straighten out the source records. I'm making progress but it sometimes seems to be awfully slow.

Anyway we really have been doing a few things. On Father's Day we drove out to Sedro Woolley (how is that for a town name- spell check burped at both of them) to attend a car show at United General Hospital there in town. It was pretty good, 40-some cars in attendance on a day when the weather was kind of iffy. Today we went to an even larger car show in the neighbor town of Burlington, part of their Berry Dairy Days celebration. I took some photos at both shows and have a couple to post here.

Car shows 01
Here is a classic hotrod, a Ford Model T roadster pickup. I would love to have one of these things and when I noticed Pat standing there by it, looking into her purse (see the left side of the photo) I thought maybe she was checking her cash to see if she had enough along to buy it for me. No such luck! But it is a nice car.

Car shows 02
I am partial to these cars as my first car was a 1938 Chevy 2-door sedan, much like this 1939 model. Mine was even painted about this color. My parents had the car from 1940 on and whenever they would get another car I managed to talk them into saving this one for me when I was old enough to drive (legally.)

My 1938 Chevy001edited
Here is my car shown in a snapshot of it taken in front of a friend's house, probably over Thanksgiving weekend in 1961. We had just the month before finished installing the Oldsmobile V-8 engine that I had rebuilt over the past year into the car and got it running again. It was a fun car to drive, with it's big engine, rolled & pleated Naugahyde upholstery, etc. But it only got 12 miles to a gallon of ethel gas which at that time usually cost about 35.9 cents per gallon. I commuted about 40 miles a day to and from college in the nearby town of Cheney so I did use a bit of fuel. Happily, it wasn't nearly $5 per gallon like it is now!

School is out now in our area so there are no more school buses to delay traffic- we live almost next door to two schools. The weather is finally starting to be more like it should be for this time of the year so we feel like doing more outside. I think we are even going to take the motorhome out for a trip in a week or so, just a few days to a fairly close destination, but it will be an outing. I really do enjoy those trips even if they are short. And I'll try to do a better job at getting things posted here.

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Sunday, June 08, 2008


Kitchen Witches - the play

Last winter a new dinner theater opened in our city of Mount Vernon, WA. We attended the first production the new River Belle Dinner Theater presented in January. Last night we went to our second of their productions, this one called, "Kitchen Witches."
Kitchen Witches 01
Here is the cover of the program we were given. The play is set entirely in one scene but as it is over a period of a few weeks, some things change. It starts out with Dolly Biddle staring in a cooking show called "Baking with Babcha" being produced by her daughter, Stephanie, for the local Cable Channel 4. Babcha is supposedly a Ukrainian cook.

Kitchen Witches 02
Unfortunately the show has been canceled and this taping is the last one. Here is Dolly on the main (and only) set for the show with Stephanie in the background, out of camera view, directing.

Kitchen Witches 03
Since it is the last show, Dolly decided to pick out one of her favorite aprons to wear, much to the chagrin of Stephanie. I like it and in fact bought some tickets to try to win the apron in a drawing after the last playing of the show. I'd like to get that apron for Pat- I am sure she would love it (yeah, sure!) I should know soon after the end of June if I did win.

Kitchen Witches 04
The show that had been on in the month before Baking with Babcha was called "Cooking with Izzie" and featured Isobel Lomax who has known Dolly a long time. In fact they are kind of at odds with each other although we don't fully know why. Yet. Anyway, Isobel arrives on the set and the two give a pretty good display of how they don't like each other.

Kitchen Witches 05
Stephanie walks off the set to answer her phone (and get away from the bit#*@ng.) It turns out that the call is from the wife of the station owner who really likes the "new" approach these ladies have taken to an entertaining cooking show and she wants the two of them to do a show together and continue the "fun." Stephanie has quite a time talking them into it but finally succeeds.

Kitchen Witches 06
They decide the new show will be called, "Kitchen Witches" and show up for a rehearsal prior to the first taping. Of course things don't go too well. Here are the two leading ladies along with Stephanie and her assistant, Roberta. The main features of the set are pretty much the same (this is a very low budget cooking show) but there is no agreement on what costumes the two stars will wear.

Kitchen Witches 07
When it is time for the first taping, Dolly sneaks into Isobel's dressing room and steals her clothes while Isobel is in the shower. Dolly leaves her idea of a costume for Isobel and since that is her only option when she gets out of the shower, Isobel comes onto the set in that outfit. She is not a happy cooker.

Kitchen Witches 08
The taping of the show starts and it isn't too long before they start bickering with each other. One thing leads to another and Dolly takes a rubber paddle and paints Isobel's face with chocolate.

Kitchen Witches 09
Not one to let bygones be bygones, Isobel takes the dough she has been mixing and stuffs it down Dolly's blouse which doesn't please Dolly.

Kitchen Witches 10
Stephanie is able to patch things up to the point where they return the next week to produce another show. I don't know who picked out these costumes but at least they kind of match each other. At some point, Stephanie learns these two have known each other since early in their school years and in fact dated the same guy, Stephanie's Dad, who has been deceased for some time. Isobel went away to chef school in Paris and when she returned four years later, she had a short affair with the guy who by then is Dolly's husband. Of course she gets pregnant but they arrange an adoption of the baby, so Stephanie knows she is adopted but doesn't know her Dad is her actual father, nor that Isobel is her mother. Until now.

Kitchen Witches 12
Somehow they stay on track with the show. One feature this day is a race where the two stars prepare a dish from ingredients selected by Stephanie. They have only a few minutes to prepare the dish, then a judge is selected who will determine which is best. Here is Lex, the control room techie, who was drafted for judge duty, put into a large bib and is about to be fed by the two stars. It seems like a loose - loose situation for him to me!

Dolly has not been feeling well, with severe stomach cramps, and after the show is taken to the hospital.
Kitchen Witches 13
That gives Isobel and Stephanie time to talk with each other, while sharing a bottle of Dolly's booze.

Kitchen Witches 14
Isobel is shown here during her talk with Stephanie.

As taping time for the next show approaches it looks like Isobel will have to do the show herself, but no....
Kitchen Witches 15
Dolly leaves the hospital and comes directly to the studio to participate in the taping.

Kitchen Witches 16
It looks like the bickering will start up where it left off and Stephanie has about had enough of it. She is just coming to terms herself with the knowledge that she has two Moms and all of this is just a bit too much.

Finally we learn that an intestinal blockage was Dolly's problem and it has finally cleared out. When it cleared out, she learned what had happened to Isobel's missing ring. It apparently had fallen into the biscuit dough she was mixing and during the food fight, stuffed down Dolly's dress. Dolly, never one to waste food, ate the dough which caused her to have an intestinal blockage that put her in the hospital.
Kitchen Witches 17
Here she happily presents Isobel with the ring which magically appeared about the same time her blockage cleared. Isobel isn't sure she wants it anymore so presents it to Stephanie as it is a family heirloom from her father's side of the family.

Things get patched up, at least for the moment, and it looks like they will learn to live with each other and a shared daughter. Although the ending sort of leaves that all up in the air for the viewer to figure out.

Kitchen Witches 18
Here the cast, except for Lex who is running the lights, are taking their final bow. It was a fun evening, good food, and we will look forward to going back for another play in the future. Boy though, seeing a family like that one sure makes me appreciate mine that is just pretty normal!

There was pretty good stage lighting and by pushing my camera's ISO up to 1600, I was able to take pretty sharp photos. The ladies who stared in the play are also interested in seeing them and getting a copy of at least some of them. These have all had the color cast of stage lighting corrected but that would be quite a project to do with all of them, about 88 photos! I'll have to decide how to proceed with these photos.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Wineries and wine tasting

Washington State has developed into quite a wine production area. I guess our latitude is about the same as some of the best of the French wine producing areas and so we are able to grow similar grapes. Most of the wineries are fairly small operations but a few are quite large. While we were on our recent RV trip around the North Cascades Loop Highway, we visited a few of the wineries in the Wenatchee and Chelan areas. Those cities have in the past been best known for apple production but in the last ten years or so many apple orchards have been changed over to grape vinyards and a lot of wineries have grown up in the area. We visited about half a dozen on the trip and I have photos to post from three of them.

Wineries 01
The first one we visited is the Chateau Faire Le Pont in Wenatchee. We had lunch there, then tried their wines in the wine tasting room, shown here. Of course we bought a bottle of the one we liked best!

Wineries 02
Here is another view of a different part of the building which used to be a warehouse beside the railroad tracks. The tracks are still there but the building is now housing something a lot different from what it did in the past.

The town of Chelan is smaller than Wenatchee but probably even more tourist oriented so wineries and wine tours are a big thing there. Tour buses transport people around. There was even a group of flight attendants that we kept meeting who were doing the tour in a limousine. Friends R & D live in a town near Chelan and D worked for a dentist who when he retired started a winery in Chelan. He bought quite a bit of property in the area and has sold some of it to others to start wineries. Apparently they really do better when there are more of them in the area. The tour buses wouldn't be likely to come for just one or two.

This first winery is Karma Canyon. It was started just three years or so ago by a couple who own a metal production business in Wenatchee. They bought their property from R & D's friend and the two wineries are just a short distance apart. I kind of need to put some limit on how many photos I try to post here so the first one is just showing a part of the building.
Wineries 08
Wine production requires a constant fairly low temperature for the wine to season in the oak barrels. There are different ways to set up those cool areas and this is the most interesting one I have ever seen. They call it the wine cave. As I said above, they own a metal production business so they built a metal shell that extends off the building. Just a few feet away it is covered with dirt and rocks to provide the natural insulation the earth provides. The climate in this area is pretty cold in the winter and hot in the summer, so good insulation is important. This photo shows the "cave" extending off the back side of the building and into the ground, which is landscaped above.

Wineries 03
This scene is inside the "cave" and shows the interior lighting as well as many of the barrels of wine that are spending time getting ready to be bottled. This is one arm of the cave- there are two others as it is shaped like a cross.

Wineries 04
Here in another part of the cave our friends and Pat are having part of the process explained by the wine maker and our tour guide. I believe the temperature inside is maintained at about 56F degrees.

Wineries 05
One arm of the cave is behind glass doors so they can maintain a different (warmer) temperature there and use it as an event room. This view is looking into that room through the glass doors. They haven't started using this yet but do expect in the future to have some events where this room will be used as a tasting room and for meals.

Wineries 06
Here is our little group of wine tasters sitting at one of the outdoor tables waiting for our selections to be brought out. This shows some of the landscaping which is beautiful and will be even better as it matures. Remember this place is new.

Wineries 07
The wine steward has brought out our six selected wines. Pat and I liked best a desert wine that had a price of $35 per bottle and it turned out to be only a small 375ml bottle at that! We only bought one of them. But it sure was good. We all liked this winery and their products.

Our next stop was almost next door at Tsillan Cellars, the winery started and owned by Dr. Bob, D's employer for some 30 years in the Seattle area. The word Tsillan is pronounced Chelan- we were told that is the Indian way of spelling the name. I didn't know that the Indians used our alphabet. Anyway, it is probably the largest winery in the Chelan area and has been there a little longer than most of the others so it's landscaping is a little more mature. I don't know it's exact starting date but think it was about 1999 or 2000.

Wineries 09
This first photo was taken inside the tasting room. Pat, D & R are at the bar near the right side of the photo and our flight attendant friends are farther over to the left alongside the bar. There was also a large motorhome in the lot with a group of friends who were using it to tour the Washington State wine country. We sat inside to enjoy our wine tasting with the sandwiches we had for lunch. And it is a lot of fun to people watch!

Wineries 10
After lunch and tasting, we ventured outside to see the grounds. Here our group (less me as I was taking the picture) are crossing a foot bridge to an outdoor dining area. This winery brings in some pretty big name entertainers to put on shows along with dinners and this is part of the area used for that. Again there probably should be a lot more photos to show the whole area but I can't include that many. The building in the background is the cool room, like the "wine cave" in the Karma Canyon winery, where the wine ages in oak barrels. By the way, those barrels all come from France and cost something like $1200 each. They can be used twice for red wines and three times for white wines, then get sawed in half and end up in your gardens with plants growing from them. Or some other creative use- they are oak wood after all!

Wineries 11
Another view of part of the outside area at Tsillan Cellars winery. The pond has some large and colorful Koi fish in this lower level.

Wineries 12
Here is part of the upper level of the water system with two of its residents. I expect there will be ducklings around some time in the future.

This post has just touched on three of the local wineries. They are all a bit different and all fun to visit. Even if you are not fond of wine, visit some of your local wineries. You will find they are beautifully landscaped and if they offer food, are a good place to eat also. We sure enjoy them.

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