Chillin’ in the ‘Couv’

This fall season has been a bit light on cold weather but the last few days have brought a little chill typical of December and the holiday season. The trade-off for the nippy mornings has been brilliant sunshine sustained across multiple days. That is always a warm welcome in the typically gray late autumn weeks.

Winter however is right around the proverbial corner with just 10 days till the solstice. That sun is hanging low and struggles to warm us from the low twenties too much above 40 degrees. Somehow it feels warm when the rays of sunshine strike your skin, 42 and sunny is warmer than 48 and raining, somehow, some way.

This dawn of winter isn’t breaking any records my friends, just the typical cold associated with those uncommon clear nights. The holidays just aren’t the holidays when it is unseasonably warm, so I welcome a frosty morn and a cool afternoon.

The National Weather Service in Portland seems to think this weather pattern will continue for most of this week. This is great shopping weather. Nice and cool with that nice bit of winter crispness. No rain or even snow to soak you down as you meander through all the stores looking for that elusive ‘whatchamacallit’ that so and so wants under the tree.

I recommend pulling the convertible out of the garage and soaking up the rays while you can… better run the heater on full tilt it’s a bit chilly out there 😉

Ah the ‘Couv’ life; it is good, and the Holidays are better here too.

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Ratta-tat-tat-tat, what’s that?

This adorable little bird with the animal print feathers is a bit of a menace. First of all, he is much bigger than he looks, those are large leaves on the grass nearby. He is about half the size of a crow. He is (could be “she is”, not sure actually) one of six varieties of woodpeckers in the greater Portland -Vancouver metro area.

This guy, or gal, is hammering away at the side of my house. He is smart enough not to try the Hardi-board siding, or he tried it once and never again 😉 But it is pounding on the wood fascia underneath the upper level eaves. It is rather loud, enough in fact to scare my Labrador Retriever, who likes to hide from the big scary woodpeckers under my desk.

I looked this critter up and it is indeed a common bird here in America’s Vancouver. According to both the Audubon Society and the State of Washington, it is a Northern Flicker one of the aforementioned six varieties of woodpecker found in our region. I have an old hazel nut tree in the back that he could easily hammer on yet he is after my house. I checked around in the attic near where he was pounding hoping not to find insect signs. Whew! it’s nice and dry, with firm wood. No signs of wood pests. I think he wants a penthouse nest in my attic. NO! Fortunately he has not been at it long enough to cause any real damage.

So the trick according to the wildlife advice at the State of Washington is to hang a scare-crow… er, uh, I mean scare-woodpecker. Apparently shiny tin or aluminum pie pans dangling nearby will likely shoo them off. I say “them” because I spied a pair of these little rascals on my back lawn yesterday.

Left to their own devices these seemingly harmless and cute feathered beasts can peck a hole the size of an old school silver dollar in the side of your house.

So if you hear a hammering woodpecker sound in or around your house, be sure to politely scare the birds off or you may have a large hole and woodpecker nest inside your house somewhere. The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife has information here.

Ah the ‘Couv’ life; it is good even for a woodpecker.

Ho Ho Ho… Now it’s really Christmas Season.

How many of you saw Christmas Season stuff in certain stores BEFORE, Halloween this year? Yep, so did I. Are you kidding me with this? Jeez, at this rate by 2030 Christmas season will run from February 1st – December 25th and the rest of the year will be “After Christmas clearance”. Enough already. Why can’t we just have Christmas “season” run from after Thanksgiving until the 25th of December? What’s wrong with that?

I like the holiday spirit; really, I do. It’s not just Christmas, because there are other significant religious holidays and observances that occur in the month of December. But this notion that we have to start pushing the “retail” aspect of Christmas in early October is annoying.

Is this just a ‘Couv’ thing or is October 1st just the new start for holiday season marketing. It could be that Vancouver retailers are simply trying to get ahead of our ‘no sales tax’ counterparts in Oregon. I don’t know for sure, but I do like having the “holidays” during the actual “holidays”. Just sayin’. OK, enough of that.

My wife and son at Joe Brown’s

I went downtown on Saturday morning to have some breakfast at Joe Brown’s Cafe. I had never been in there till now. Odd since I have lived here for a long time. This place has been around since 1932 and that qualifies as ‘institutional’ time. I am not affiliated in anyway with the place, but I’ll throw out a plug none-the-less. Great chow with hippo-sized portions, that won’t sting the wallet. It is a classic small urban diner. Nice!

After waddling out of Joe Brown’s stuffed to the nines with classic breakfast Americana, we went down along the new waterfront to spy on the progress. The cable suspended pier is coming along nicely and the two retail restaurant structures seem to be hitting on all cylinders. One of them is already sided. The two structures under tower cranes seem to be moving along as well. The underground structural on one of them is already back up to street level. As you all know, I am rather excited about the waterfront project.

The ETA for the Grant Street Pier and park with the restaurants and retail is this spring. I hope they stay on track through the winter. I am looking forward to having a nice waterfront park and pier.

I do so hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and wish you all a warm and delightful holiday season. Hey wait a minute… I’m starting to think the Mayor isn’t reading this blog. Where’s our Holiday outdoor ice rink in Esther Short Park! Mr. Mayor? Are you there? So Happy Holidays. Yes it’s the last week of November and holiday salutations are certainly proper etiquette now 😉

Ah the ‘Couv’ life; it is good.