The Kaleberg Journal - February 2016


02/05 - Lake Crescent

It is still winter, but here and there we see signs of spring. There were hits, just hints, on the Spruce Railroad Trail along Lake Crescent.

A view across the lake of the Barnes Creek valley

Signs of spring?

A living rock wall

More signs of spring

Another view of the lake

Keywords: spruce railroad, spring, lake crescent


The Kaleberg Journal - January 2016


01/30 - Eagle Season

The eagles have been gathering along the Dungeness River. The last time we took the Dungeness Dike walk that starts off Towne Road the trees were full of eagles.

One eagle posing - click for a close up

Another eagle

Yet another eagle

Keywords: dungeness, eagle


01/24 - Winter Salamander

The mythical salamander was a creature that lived in fire. This salamander is a real creature that lives in winter. We usually don't see salamanders active this time of the year, but sometimes a warm January day will do it.

An Olympic torrent salamander

Keywords: salamander, winter


01/19 - Chicken Fest

Some friends of friends have been raising chickens in the Puyallup area and had a freezer full of them. As happens in Kaleberg Kountry we became the proud owners to two nicely dressed birds. One weighed a mere three pounds and some while the other weighed in at a hefty seven pounds. This called for Chicken Fest, a festival of fowl.

We prepared the birds two different ways. The small bird we spit turned in our little rotisserie and the large bird we prepared following Edna Lewis' recipe for roasting a large stuffed chicken. We and our friends at Chicken Fest had to admit that both preparations of the birds were delicious. It helped that they were the good old fashioned birds, chickens that actually tasted like chicken. Good ingredients are half the battle.

We also found a lobe of duck foie gras in our freezer, so we declared ducks to be honorary chickens and had them join the festival. Preparing foie gras is sometimes a chore with tedious mechanics and a sloshing bain-marie, but we finessed all that with our sous-vide which turned the lobe into a luxurious terrine in less than an hour.


The big chicken

The little chicken

The honorary chicken

Keywords: birds, ducks


01/14 - The Good Tides Return

The tides in the fall are not all that good for low tide hiking, but starting in January there are more and more daytime low tides. We took advantage of one such low tide to wander out on Dungeness Spit. The light, as usual on the spit, was spectacular. The clouds even had a touch of pink in them. The water was fairly calm and the beach surprisingly walkable.

One problem with walking the Dungeness Spit in the winter is that the beach has often lost all of its sand, so one has to scramble through fields of ocean smoothed rocks. There were plenty of rocks, but there were also lots of long, smooth sandy stretches. We'd clamber and clatter for a bit, then, usually just as we were about to call it quits, we'd reach a long easy going stretch of beach, so we went a lot farther than we had expected.

The beach changes from day to day with sand and stones washing in and out. The driftwood sojourns and departs, but it looks like the good tides and some good beach have returned for 2016.


The view heading out

A view of the water - Click to zoom and see if you can see a touch of pink in the clouds.

The view back with a low winter sun behind the mountains

Another view back with the low sun playing with the cloud shadows

Another view out

Waves and water

Some stones and some clear beach and some amazing place to be

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides, winter


01/02 - White Truffles

We always check in with Wild West Seafood for mushrooms. This time they asked us if we could tell the French truffles from the Italian truffles. That's right. They had French truffles and Italian truffles. We aren't sure of the complete story. We're guessing that some supplier in Seattle ordered a few more truffles than they sold for Christmas and New Years and offered a trade for Olympic Peninsula mushrooms. In any event, we haven't seen truffle prices like this since the 1990s, so we bought his white truffles, the Italian ones.

Black truffles are pretty amazing. These are the French ones, though a lot of them are actually collected in Spain these days. They have an amazing, almost undescribable scent, and are seriously better than anything produced in Oregon. Sorry. White truffles blow black truffles out of the water. We made our own pappardelle from flour, eggs and olive oil, cut them by hand and served them with butter, parmesan, garlic and truffles. The truffles dominated.


Here they are: our white truffles.

Keywords: port angeles, food


The Kaleberg Journal - December 2015


12/27 - The Spruce Railroad Trail is Open

This was a real surprise to us. The last time we visited the trailhead a few weeks ago there was a huge pile of dirt instead of a parking area. This time the trail was open, and a lot of people were there for a hike. The trail had been closed since last July, and with so many trails closed this winter having the Spruce Railroad trail open was a real treat.

Of course, the trail is quite different this time. They've turned another half mile or so into a road, cut into the hillside and maybe 16 feet wide at points. The old intimate experience of nature just isn't possible with this kind of road cut, but they did manage to smooth the descent to the lake side. The original rail line probably looked pretty raw in its day, so we're hoping things grow back over the years.

Otherwise, the lake is as beautiful as ever, and it's great to have the trail open again.


The Spruce Railroad Trail is open.

It's pretty wide and looks pretty raw.

There are some nice lake views though, and the descent is easier.

Here the new trail meets the old one.

They haven't gotten rid of the waterfalls yet.

Here's some of the old trail, mud and all.

A view of the lake in the direction of Storm King.

More of the old trail

Twisted growth

Another little waterfall

More ferns and running water

Keywords: spruce railroad, trails, winter


12/21 - Cookie Party

We held our annual tree decorating party, and all of our friends helped us decorate our cookie tree. Then we lit the candles. With fire marshalls standing by and extinguishers at the ready we stood in quiet awe admiring the glow of the candle flame. There is nothing quite like it. (Amusingly, one of our friends with a new iPhone took a few Live Photos, and they captured the subtle motion of the candle light very well.)

The tree lit

Another view

An evocative - we hope - close up

It's not the same with electric lights.

Either our friends, admiring the tree, or a shadowy group of conspirators.

Keywords: christmas


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