Monday, April 27, 2009
I love growing things! Gardening, at least to now, is so fun. We have a tray of squash starts in the living room window and they are really starting to grow. We planted delicata, spaghetti, and butternut squash. I realized the other day that our families might get squash for Christmas this year, we planted alot of squash.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Before we planted the potatoes today Ian did some reading on what potatoes like. This led us to believe that we needed to test the pH level of the soil before planting the potatoes, which we did with a really old test kit. The soil was either neutral or the tablets no longer worked! We planted the potatoes, we'll see how it goes!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
We got to Big Beaver late afternoon, early evening and had enough time to set up camp and wander up Big Beaver trail. The trail was covered with blow downs and where there wasn't a few inches of standing water it was covered with crusty snow. We didn't go far before we decided it was time for a campfire, dinner and wine.
We paddled out the next day, against the wind. Its interesting, how predictable the wind is on a warm day. The lake is cold, so as the warm air settles the wind begins to blow north, up the lake. Of course we were headed down the lake. It was a long, tiring paddle back. But, on the bright side, I got to practice some new paddling techniques!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I leave for a week and everything changes! I guess that should be expected in April, but it was still startling to come back and see so much changed. The first thing I noticed as I drove up valley was the absence of snow. The learning center campus is nearly snow free! Small patches remain but piles of snow and patches of ice are now gone. The second thing I noticed was all of the shrubs that are leafing out. The red alder, red huckleberry, beaked hazelnut, and indian plum all have small leaves forcing their way out of too small buds. Soon, leaves and flowers will adorn all of the shrubs and trees on campus.
I also noticed the birds. I am not a birder, that is where I should begin. I know there are species I missed, or heard and could not identify, but I did see a northern flicker, a ruby crowned kinglet and I was told a loon was heard on the lake. Varied thrush, robins, and dark eyed juncos' have been around for awhile now; however seeing them in the trees and shrubs is still exciting after a long winter.
Lastly, on the Buster Brown road, I found young palmate coltsfoot pushing its way into the world. This was possibly the most exciting find of the day. It was as if this signified a shift. Suddenly new growth, coming from the once frozen ground, is pushing its way into the world.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Who knew we could eat so many "weeds" in Washington? Our newest foraged dish is a Wilted dandelion salad. I found the recipe from the before mentioned blog, Fat of the Land, and adapted it slightly, to avoid going to the grocery!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
The pesto was such a hit I'm thinking about harvesting more nettles and making enough pesto to freeze, replacing at least some of the basil pesto we would store this fall.
Stinging Nettle Pesto Recipe
We planted our first seeds in the garden yesterday. Carrots. Next weekend, potatoes. We're starting small, this is my first garden, so we're focusing on growing vegetables we can store like potatoes, squash, onions and carrots. We'll likely throw a few other things in along the way, but as for now this is the goal.
Friday, April 10, 2009
The original plan over spring break was to climb a few peaks near Diablo, peaks that I see every day walking to breakfast. Mother Nature wasn't interested in playing along though, the avalanche danger was pretty high, there was a mix of snow/rain coming down and we chose a warmer, drier option. We headed to the Olympic Coast. The plan was a four day, three night hike from Rialto Beach to Shi-Shi. The only hitch was transportation, we didn't want to take two cars and we didn't want to pay a man named Willie Nelson (the only shuttle we could find!) $200 to help us out. So we came up with a simple, although multi-layered, public transportation system to get us from Shi-Shi back to Rialto.
Day 1: Bellingham to Cedar Creek.
We caught an early ferry from Keystone to Port Townsend, made a mandatory stop at Pane d' Amore for coffee and pastries and we were off. Our first stop was the Port Angeles Ranger Station where we obtained a tide table (which proved to be indispensable), a bear can (which proved to be too small), and a Pocket Naturalist guide to seashore life (which was fabulous).
We heard the sea before we saw it. I had somehow forgotten how constant and rhythmic the sound of the surf is. The first day we hiked from Rialto Beach to Cedar Creek. We realized quickly that a hike on the beach is more than just sandy beaches, driftwood and sea shells; huge downed trees, slimy rocks, smooth/ankle twisting fist sized rocks, tides and sloping beaches were also part of hiking on the Olympic Coast.
Day 2: Cedar Creek to Cape Alava
We started the day off with an AMAZING breakfast. Maybe we're just used to eating oatmeal out of a freezer bag for breakfast when we are climbing, but......scrambled eggs, garlic and herb biscuits with mascarpone! Delicious.
After a late morning start, due to the tides, we crossed our first headland trail. It hadn't had much attention lately. The lower rungs were in pretty bad shape, but the view from the top was great, so who cares?
We saw ~15 eagles along Kayostla Beach, this is a
juvenile and there are a few more in the tree behind it.
Bull kelp heap
Looking south at Yellow Banks.
get any good pictures because of the dim light, but I had to put one in.
All of the exploring made us hungry and we tried our newest backpacking creation. Coconut mango brown rice! Amazing. It is going on every trip. Freeze dried mango, 5 minute brown rice, dried coconut milk and dried maple syrup. So good. And somehow I convinced Ian to cook on the beach mid-day! He was pretty hungry.
the water is always brown. At least it tastes good.
Day 4: Shi-Shi to Rialto Beach (via the Makah Reservation, Neah Bay, and Forks)
Half of the fun of this trip was figuring out how to get back to the car and then hoping it would work out. And it did, flawlessly. Well, there was some concern that we would miss the last ferry out of Port Townsend, but that all worked out. We started the return trip with a long road walk to the Makah Tribal Center where we caught a public bus. That bus took us to Neah Bay where we caught the Clallam County Bus to Forks. In Forks we caught yet another bus that headed toward La Push. We jumped off before La Push and walked ~5 miles back to the car at Rialto. What is amazing is that we paid $3.50 between us for three bus trips!
Hiking from Rialto Beach to Shi-Shi was a perfect spring break trip. We got some much needed sunshine, I finally got to explore the Olympic Coast and because it was the off season we had the place pretty much to ourselves. Oh, and did I tell you that the weather was fabulous?