Sunday, November 23, 2008

Laura made a cake!

Laura made a cake yesterday to celebrate Mike's parents birthdays and arriving at The Craftsman B&B. They are visiting for Thanksgiving, 11 days total.

So back to the cake. She saw it on the cover of Sunset magazine last fall and wanted to make it ever scence. She thought it would be too rich for dessert for Thanksgiving, so any fall celebration would work, just when could she do it? She finally found the chance to make it and pulled it off wonderfully!

The Spice cake with Toffee Crunch recipie is here.

It took a few days.  Day one, she made the toffee.  She left out the espresso as Mike hates the flavor of coffee, and the smell, yeah I know, he runs a B&B and doesn't like coffee.  Day two was cake day.  Three cakes and after they cooled, Mike sliced each in half to get the six layers.  Day three was frosting and assembly.  Oh yeah, they also started eating it.  Day four, they ate some more of it.

Our guests took pictures of it on there way out to dinner, so we cut them slices when they returned.  Pretty darn good is what I heard.  I didn't get any but that's OK, I like a cookie stuffed in my Kong, I need a project and that's a tasty one for me.  Mike, the baker of the family was impressed, so try it yourself, a perfect Fall cake.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Working on the B&B

Sorry for the lack of blogging, I was busy watching Mike work on The Craftsman B&B.  With the start of our slow season, he applied a coat of oil the woodwork upstairs.  It's amazing how the blond wood, Hemlock, turns a gorgeous shade of red with the oil.  He uses Watco Danish oil.  Laura doesn't like the smell, but Mike and I do.  Wait, there is no smell I don't like.

The Mackintosh Room got it's stencil work done too.  This is the first time Mike has ever stenciled anything, but like everything he does, he figured it out on his own.  He has seen it done on TV, so how hard could it be.  He borrowed a design from Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the icon on our brochure.  Mike used flat white ceiling paint for the bedroom and the bedroom green for the bathroom, the bathroom walls are a light shade of green.  It really livens up that room, the dark green walls really pop now.

Mike's parents, Jack and Mary are arriving today from Denver.  They are here for Thanksgiving and will stay for a 11 days.  They like to help around the house during their visits, so Mike has a list going.  Not a lot of stuff, but Jack like to paint, so there are some touch-ups that are needed.  Suitcases and painted walls don't mix very well.  Mary like to walk on the beach, so now that I am "mature," maybe she'll take me out with her, not likely, but it's worth a shot.

We plan on wine tasting this weekend at the wineries around Salem.  They are not open Thanksgiving weekend, so we will hit them and do our other Salem errands too.  Got to stay green and combine our trips to "the city."

We will be wine tasting on Thanksgiving weekend too.  Laura will work a day for Basket Case Wine at their custom crush facility, 12th and Maple in Dundee.  With the Tasting room, Twist, Portland Farmers Market and wine tasting weekend, they will need and appreciate the help.

Another busy weekend here at the B&B, so back to watching the work.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


W5, that would be Walla Walla, Washington Wine Weekend.  Mike and Laura left me at home last weekend.  They went to Walla Walla for wine tasting with friends.  They rented a house south of town with 5 other couples.  This was there first visit to the AVA and enjoyed it a lot.  They set a record pace, 12 people may have slowed them down a bit but the visited 13 wineries.

One nice thing Mike liked about the area is that some wineries have taken up shop in the downtown area.  It makes it easy for the taster to sample with out driving miles to each winery.  They only visited 2 wineries down town, but the idea is great.  It supports other retailers in a down town area by having tasters walking through the town, not just driving through.

All in all Mike and Laura purchased about 4 cases of wine.  This is Cabernet Sauvignon country.  They got wine that is not distributed, that is, not sold anywhere but the winery.  Many of the wineries have limited the production, they are not growing the business.  They keep the production the same year after year.  This saves them in having to buy fruit form others and insures they sell out every season.  With that, demand has also increased.  Many wineries in the Walla Walla Valley have pre-sold the wine, year after year.  If you have ever been wine tasting, you will notice how wineries like to sign you up for their wine club.  That way they can ship you wine every season and make you a long time customer.  Some wineries in this region have filled their club lists, the only way to get the wine is to be on that list.  Now, because the lists are full, you are required to buy a certain amount of wine every release, let's say it's one case.  If you don't buy the case you are off the list.  Mike and Laura have friends who are on closed lists.  They buy the wine and sell it off to friends.  Mike and Laura are on a wait list for a few wineries.  If current list members don't buy, they move up the list.

All of it will be for their personal cellar as the cellar for The Craftsman B&B is local wine found within a few hours of Pacific City.  This is for our guests that are traveling from around the country, they want local wine.

All this may sound crazy.  Required to buy a certain amount, waiting lists and all.  But once you have tried the wine and like to go out for date night dinners, bringing your own wine and paying a corkage fee saves you hundreds of dollars.  It's also nice to explore different areas of the country searching for that perfect "whatever" you are into.  It gives your travel a purpose, a destination.  Just like people come to Pacific City on the Oregon Coast and our B&B, they want to relax, hike, fish and explore our beaches and forests.  We love it here and Mike and Laura also love to travel and experience food and wine from other regions.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Today is election day and I'm hear to bark the vote.  Here in Oregon we vote by mail, also known as Postal voting.  No, don't go Postal when you vote.  Mike and Laura already voted.  That hasn't stopped the phone calls telling us to vote and who we voted for though.  I may be a smart dog, but I am not allowed to vote.

Even if you are fed up with government, do your part and VOTE.

OK, time to rant a bit:

Let's talk about taxes.  Here at The Craftsman B&B we pay taxes just like everyone else.  We are taxed twice on a lot of things.  First there is property taxes which any home owner would pay.  Then on top of that, we pay business tax based on property the business uses, that would be the house.  Then we pay for personal property used in the business, washer and dryer, fridge, you get the idea.  Then there is the lodging tax.  We are OK with that because it funds tourism in the state.  We all know about income tax, we pay that too.  So business wants tax breaks to develop the latest widget, clean energy, whatever.  Why do "energy" companies get the most tax breaks yet have the highest profits?  Until Exxon agrees to supply all the schools with solar, wind or geo-thermal power, no tax breaks.  Sell your stock to raise the money for R&D (see below).

The Craftsman B&B is a kid free zone.  That doesn't mean we don't support our schools and library like most childless and empty nesters do.  We vote for bond measures to improve our community, you should too.

The economy.  Yeah it's really bad, but the financial world kind of messed that one up themselves.  We qualified for a load to rebuild this house.  We paid our payments during construction in addition to another mortgage on our house in Portland.  We had to sell our other house and Mike's Land Rover to afford to finish the project.  We have one house that we can pay the mortgage.  We were smart enough to know what we could afford before we even started.  We did not get a mortgage we and the bank knew we couldn't pay off.  So those of you who lend and borrow money you can't pay off are another reason the economy is hurting.  The only thing a new president can do is throw new money at an old problem.  Unless Americans start being more fiscally responsible with their own money will the country won't be able to right itself.

The stock market used to be a way for companies to raise capital (money) to grow their business.  That worked well until the 80's when "greed is good" became the name of the game.  CEO's used to work for the share holder.  A person would buy stock in a company they liked.  Whether it was already successful or had the potential to become successful.  People risked their money in hopes the company would grow and in return, the company would pay dividends (share in profit) to the stockholder.  Business' grew.  Now, CEO's don't work for the shareholder, they try to make money for themselves.  So your 401(k) that invested in rock solid companies doesn't get the return it used to because some CEO gave themselves and other board members a huge bonus before paying your dividend.

Jobs!  Everyone want to create new jobs.  How do you do that?  Well I think that if you don't lose jobs you wouldn't have to create new ones.  Workers want to make more money and have better health care.  Unions were started to insure safety and fair pay.  Now people strike for more money and better health care.  So companies do the math, pay the workers more or find new workers somewhere else to do the job for less.  That's a no brainer for a CEO.  The job goes away.  Why don't workers get this?  Sure we want to make more money, but we also need to make money, no job, no money.  America needs to break health care away from jobs.  A national system that every pays into, we all get the care we need and it's not tied to a job.  Doctors and drug companies are too greedy to ever let that happen so we need to pass laws limiting them to make it happen.  How about no advertising prescription drugs?  The media is too greedy to let that happen (source of link is mainstream media).  Ever watch the national news?  How many ads are prescription drugs?

So today we elect a new president.  Regardless, there will be a change in leadership.  I also would like you to take a look at what you can do to make America better for you and your neighbor.

End Rant.

I am happy with my job as greeter and spoiled innkeepers dog.  I get food, health care and a home.  I don't vote, so I don't have a say in what goes on in your life.  If you want a say in what goes on in your life, vote.

Monday, November 3, 2008


I sure do look sleepy in this picture taken by a guest here at The Craftsman B&B. I was hanging out on the sun deck (click and drag for a 360ยบ view, and can you find me in the picture?) as the guests were getting ready for their day out. I needed to get my ears cleaned and I think I got a "mickey" in my breakfast.

So this photo is a unique effect, no Photoshop.  Our guest has this slick lens, I'm not a professional photographer, but Mike worked in a photo studio for years, so I do know a little bit.  This lens lets you change the plane of the lens board.  Most cameras have the lens parallel to the film board, that give you distortion free shots.  This lens allows you to move the plane of the lens to get all sorts of effects but this one blurs the edges of the photo.

Remember the old style cameras with the photographer under the hood and the big bellows?  This lens lets the photographer pull off the same type of shots as those cameras.  Pretty cool!

Here is a picture of my feet.

Thanks to our guest Reid, for sharing the photo. If you have photos of me, our your trip to Pacific City and The Craftsman B&B, send me a link and I'll publish them on the blog. You can also upload photos to TripAdvisor here.