Kohlrouladen (Cabbage Rolls) and Cabin Fever

Happy New Year – can I still say that in February? I know I know…I have been absent….again…for several months. But I guess that is a good thing, that means I am far from being bored! Wow, what a year it has been, not as crazy as 2021 with selling and buying a new house, moving to the country, Mike retiring and me working in a new job, but it was still somewhat crazy with getting two horses, two trips to Germany, several business trips, more property improvements and building a cabin.

I want to say 2022 was the year of family and friendships – true friendships and “cancelled” ones. When you move far away and distance comes into play as well as the need for help, you see who really makes an effort to stay in touch and is there to help you. We have made new friends here in Northport, have strengthened existing relationships with some of our oldest and most cherished friends and we have lost a couple of friends in the process too. Mike has found some amazing fishing buddies and I have found some lovely ladies who like horses, cooking, gardening and girly stuff as much as I do. Our neighbors have been nothing short of amazing and have always offered their support and helped us when needed. Our friends have taken long road (and air-) trips out to our place multiple times to help us with projects and to spend some quality time with us on the Out of Bounds Ranch and surroundings. We are truly blessed having friends who will always be there for us, no matter the distance or even political and/or personal opinion(s). 

It has been 6 months since my last blog entry – this place is a complete time warp – and 6 months feel like 1 month….here the chronological update: 


We had heard of a “Wild Wild West Bar” here in the mountains in Northport called Schaffer’s but you can’t just show up since a) there are no signs to get there and b) you need to be invited since the bar is a “hobby” of the owners and not an official bar where you just show up, order a drink, pay and then leave. Mike and I always wanted to go and see what this bar is about and Labor Day Weekend we finally got the opportunity to meet Steve and Sally and the bar was everything we had heard about.

The owners are extremely welcoming and showed us the saloon, game room, gun range and movie theater. It truly looks like a movie set. In relative close proximity is a Dude Ranch (Bull Hill) located and the wranglers from the dude ranch stopped by with approximately 20 horses which made for a great “movie set photo opportunity”. 

Once or twice a year the Shaffers offer up their property(for free) to the navy seals to do their training and have them just hang out there for a weekend. It’s amazing to see how people who have a hobby/dream, just move out here and make things happen and on top of this are so generous with their time and resources.

The small town of Northport even had a Labor Day Parade which was a lot of fun to watch, there were a lot of really cool old cars, music and even horses.

Since I’ve seen my dad in March, he still wasn’t doing all that great and still randomly passing out, so I decided to visit my parents again in September to check in on my dad and celebrate his 74th birthday with him and my mum.

Unfortunately my dad passed out again when I was there and he hit his head and ended up in the hospital getting some stiches in his eyebrow. After that we did a round of Dr. visits but no luck finding out what is causing him to randomly faint. Now he has to walk with a “walker” in and outside the house so that he doesn’t hurt himself when he passes out.  Mum is still visiting doctors and now he is getting his pacemaker re-programmed and we are hoping that this will help and mum and dad can go travel again and come visit us. During my visit, mum cooked of course my favorite food, which I proudly present below.

And just when I came home and played Frisbee with Murphy, he threw out his back and injured one of his hind legs. The first couple of weeks he could barely walk and couldn’t pee and poop on his own, that was really sad. In the picture below he is getting acupuncture and a form of electrical current stimulation but it has only helped a little bit. Now he has healed up pretty well but he is still limping with his right hind leg and we don’t know if that will ever go away, no more frisbee playing for Murphy :-(.

One of the last “fishing” hoorays for Mike before the fishing season was almost over was Mike catching crawdads. I’ve only heard of these tiny “lobsters” and now I got to eat them and they were delicious. No dungeons crab but crawdads are the next best thing when the Puget Sound is a good 6 hours away.


October was a really good month for riding, sunny days and nice temperatures. Stan unfortunately cannot go on the rides with us, he has to stay home since he is old and has arthritis, but Penny was happy she made a new friend in Gretchen’s horse Buck. It’s so nice when you can just saddle up your horse and ride for hours straight from your property, no trailer needed – hauling horses is a really big pain for everyone, rider and horse, so I am glad that I don’t have to trailer Penny and can ride around in our neighborhood, it’s a real riders dream.

Although Seattle is no longer the Seattle I came for over 20 years ago, it still holds a special place I my heart and so I look forward spending time in Seattle during my business trips and try to see my Seattle friends, drink lots of coffee from the artisan coffee places and of course eat some of the best Sushi in town.

This time I tried out Sushi Momiji on Capitol Hill and it was outstanding. And as luck had it, just when I had to leave for the airport, I run into my friend Michelle! I mean what are the odds to run into your friend from Minneapolis in Seattle?

Back home, our neighbor Em, who owns a dairy farm, threw her annual Harvest festival for the neighborhood, which was absolutely outstanding! All the kids went on a hayride, there was fresh pressed apple cider, music, lots of homemade potluck. Here is our friend Ed, who stayed with us a little while in September and October to help Mike finish up the cabin, also enjoying the festivities.

By end of October though it had gotten pretty cold and Ed who does not like cold weather at all, was ready to go back to Seattle. Ed, Mike and I had established a really nice routine in the evenings, first hanging out on the porch, then switching to fireplace, talking about the day’s progress, cooking and eating dinner including Ed’s favorite dessert – hot chocolate pudding with freshly made whipped cream – and then bickering at every movie Mike chose until we found one that pleased all 3 of us, watching the movie and retiring for the night. We miss him dearly…and hope Ed will come back in summer just to enjoy himself. He always works so hard that he only got to go fishing a couple times and on top of that no luck catching fish.


November started off with a trip to Austin, a city I always wanted to see. My team was doing 2023 planning and our colleague Megan hosted us in Austin,  taking us to great restaurants – Fonda San Miguel and and Uchiko for Sushi – who would have known Austin has some amazing Sushi restaurants and fun shopping areas. I had no clue that Yeti’s headquarter is in Austin, so we stopped by and stocked up on Yeti tumblers.

I regret not buying Cowboy boots at Tecovas, one of the cool authentic stores in this downtown area of Austin, but it’s hard to choose the right boots with your team in tow just before dinner when everybody is hungry.

The vibe I got in Austin reminded me very much of the fun times in Seattle, I definitely wouldn’t mind another trip to Austin and explore more of the city and see when all the bats are taking off from Congress Avenue Bridge, one of the things Austin is very well known for.

Winter came early and hefty this year in November. We got a LOT of snow and Mike had to do a lot of snow plowing. Mike does not only plow our property but was also chosen to plow the entire neighborhood, which Mike enjoys quite a bit. The neighbors “pay” him with Fireball – no wonder he is in a good mood riding his “plow tractor”.

The deer and turkey are now spending their time in and around our property, waiting for feeding time at 7:00 and 4:00 p.m. when I feed the horses. On the one hand I am glad the deer are not too tame, on the other hand I wish I had a pet deer who would hang out with me, how much fun would that be? We spent Thanksgiving with Gretchen and Gerry, trying out a new “Spatchcock” Turkey recipe which turned out really good.


December brought us minus temperatures, I had no idea how cold minus 15 degrees could be. Even Stan and Penny seemed cold at times with icicles hanging from their beards. Thankfully we have the barn full of Alfalfa and grain for the horses and I was feeding the horses around the clock so that they could stay warm. Mike even installed a heater lamp, but I don’t think the horses were really standing under it, maybe they just didn’t grasp the concept or maybe they did make use of it and I just never saw it. It was so cold that water pipes froze in the cabin, and the house and even some businesses in Northport had to close because their pipes were frozen. Outdoor lights weren’t working anymore and cars had a hard time starting – my god it was cold – MINUS 14 – FEELS like MINUS 25!!!! Thanks, but NO!

Here is my friend Sam who came the week of Christmas when it was minus degrees and we are trying to defrost her car in the shop, drinking Fireball. But no luck, Sam’s wiper fluid would just not defrost, so she had to drive back without using her wiper fluids.

No trip with Sam is complete without a spa treatment, so we spent a night in Nelson, eating Korean food, getting a massage and facial in the Aura Spa in the historic Hume Hotel in Nelson and playing Keno and poker in the Irish pub.

We closed out the year with a quiet Christmas and a New Year’s party in the neighborhood. Then the “big” day came and I moved into the  cabin that Mike built with a lot of help from friends and is now my office. Building this cabin from scratch was a monumental effort and it took a lot of help from friends and a total of 8 months from start to finish. I put a photo gallery together of the different stages of the cabin building phases, starting with the original cabin and the tear down and then building it back up from the ground.

I have been working out of the cabin now for 4 weeks and it has been very nice for Mike not having me yelling down the stairs new work projects for Mike and me having “Tik Tok” and “barkfree” conference calls. “Distance makes the love grow fonder”, even if the distance is only a 1 minute walk away …

January: .

January started off great with me moving into the cabin, our hot tub arriving and me winning $1,100 in the Chewelah casino. That was the first time ever that I won a serious amount of cash in a casino, I can see how gambling can be addictive, it’s so much fun when these machines go crazy with all kinds of additional free spins, music, blinky lights and of course the climbing amount of displayed winning cash. Well when money comes in, money has to go out 🙂 and I spent my casino wins (and more) on decorating the cabin :-).

January 27th rolled around and I turned another year older – kind of depressing once you are over 50 but being depressed about it doesn’t really make it any better, so I decided to distract myself with a trip to Nelson, CA to go drinking, eating and shopping. This time we only stayed one night in the historic Hume Hotel and checked out a new hotel called the Adventure Hotel. The hotel itself wasn’t so great but they had a fabulous coffee place in the hotel with the most amazing pastries. We might not stay in the hotel anymore but the coffee place for sure will be one of the Nelson staples to frequent when we are visiting Nelson.

This time we also branched out a little bit and tried out some new bars like The Pitchfork (also a really cool restaurant), Broken Hill and my favorite The Couldron – which felt like a goth style bar in a living room setting.

We also drove around Kootenay Lake to the small town Kaslo. It’s a very idyllic little town right on Kootenay Lake with a couple nice shops, an amazing butcher who even had Wiener Sausages, German Mustard and Ham Shanks, a very nice coffee shop serving Huckleberry bars (I am so addicted to everything Huckleberry) and a very eclectic brewery – Angry Hen – owned and run by 3 women who serve the best Asian chicken wings I have ever eaten. If I would be really really rich, I would have those wings flown into my place 1x a week.

Now its February and I am hoping that we are done with winter, it has been a long, hard, cold and dark winter. I am looking forward to some sunny days that will melt all the ice on the roads here in the neighborhood, so that Gretchen and I can go riding. I am in urgent need of some sun and “nature immersion”, all this 8:00 – 6:00 work with no break is not helping with my winter blues. But at least I am working out of a beautiful office setting with a beautiful view, that makes it a little bit more tolerable.

Speaking of “nature immersion”, I am pretty sure my mum is not reading my blog and she can’t read English anyways, so I can already spill the beans, that I have planned to surprise her with a visit to Germany for her birthday on March 25th. She has planned to spend 9 days with my dad and her brother in “The Erzgebirge”, which is a very “woodsy” area south of Leipzig and Dresden, in the eastern part of Germany, a part I have never been to and are looking forward to explore.

Once again – you made it through a long list of updates and pictures and I hope you enjoy my little “diary” of “Living on the Out of Bound Ranch” .

This time I will leave you with a very typical German recipe – Kohlrouladen – cabbage rolls. It’s a very heart dish and the perfect food for cold winter months. Kohlrouladen is one of my favorite dishes, but it’s a little bit work intense and Mike isn’t a fan of it, so I never get to eat it, but when I travel to Germany, I  always ask my mum to make it for me. If you are looking for a “true” German dish, this for sure is one of those dishes that you might not see very often on the menu, since its “Hausmanns Kost”, (food that is not very fancy, quite inexpensive every day food people made back in the day but not really “Restaurant worthy” since its plain cabbage filled with ground beef). But it’s the best kind of food, since its hearty, it reminds me of my country and my childhood and it truly is a very German meat and potato and cabbage dish.

Kohlrouladen – cabbage rolls – makes 6


  • Dried dinner roll soaked in water
  • 1 head of green cabbage (Wirsing in German)
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 small onions, chopped (one will be for the sauce and one will go into the ground beef)
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • Mustard
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, sweet paprika, hot paprika
  • 2 cups chicken broth


  1. Bring a big pot with water and a dash of salt to a boil.
  2. Once the water boils, add the head of cabbage and let it sit in the boiling water for 3 minutes.
  3. Take the cabbage out and let it cool down.
  4. Now prepare the beef/pork mixture:
  5. Squeeze the water out of the water soaked dinner roll.
  6. Mix the ground beef and pork and add the egg, 1 chopped onion and dinner roll.
  7. Season the mixture with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, sweet and hot paprika.
  8. You will need 2 cabbage leaves for reach “Roulade” (cabbage roll) – since we are making 6 rouladen, you will need 12 leaves. Break off 12 leaves, pat them dry and then trim down the “hard” vein that runs through the middle of the leave. This will make the leave softer and more bendable.
  1. Divide the beef/pork mixture into 7 portions and set the “7th” portion aside, this will go into the pot to make the sauce.
  2. Now overlap 2 of the cabbage leaves, add the beef/pork mixture and roll up the leaves and fold in the sides. Now tie up the roll with a really long and thin thread so that the rolls stay together. Repeat this process until you have 6 cabbage rolls prepped.
  1. Chop the rest of the cabbage into small pieces.

  1. Add oil into a bigger pot and start frying the cabbage rolls from all sides until they are golden brown, take out the rouladen and add the chopped cabbage (not more than 2-3 cups), the rest of the beef/pork mixture and other chopped onion  into the pot, fry up the for 2-3 minutes, add back the 6 rouladen and add 2 cups of chicken broth.
  1. Let everything simmer for 45 minutes. If you plan to freeze the rouladen, then only cook them for 25 minutes.
  1. Once the rouladen have cooked for 45 minutes, take them out onto a plate and thicken the sauce with a little bit of cornstarch dissolved in water. Add the rouladen back and serve them over mashed potatoes with a good heaping of the sauce.

Guten Appetit!

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