March 2011April 2011 May 2011

04/30 - Lake Angeles Trail Report

The snow on the Lake Angeles Trail seems to come and go, but lately it has been going. We haven't nerved ourselves to cross the little bridge yet, but we've made a few trips that far already, and surely, we'll cross that bridge on our very next trip, or the one after that.

Here are a few pictures, so you can size up the situation for yourself. For a more complete picture, you can check out the park's official trail status page. According to their reports, there are six feet of snow at the lake. That's for folks hardier than we are.

The bridge is clear of snow and ice. It's the trails that are still a bit messy.

The stream was, as usual, beautiful.

Most of the trail below the bridge is like this.

Keywords: trails, lake angeles

04/27 - A Word From Johnston Farms

We just heard from Christy at Johnston Farms. They haven't been at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market lately, but they are planning on coming back by summer. For now, the Clark Family Farm beef people are selling some of her salad mix, and if you call (360-452-1936) first, they'll be selling salad mix and other vegetables at the farm on Heusline Road off Old Olympic. That's great news. Johnston Farms was a real important part of the market.

Salad mix - That's proof!

Keywords: clark family, farmers' market, farms, johnston farm, port angeles

04/26 - Quick Trip to Seattle

We took a quick trip to Seattle. Everything is sort of a haze. Yes, we flew in on Kenmore Air. We got back to Maneke which is as wonderful as ever. We had lunch at Monsoon which has a terrific pho and some great noodle dishes. We even tried out Fare Start which is a restaurant that helps the down on their luck get started with culinary careers. They had some pretty good salmon burgers and a falafel like vegetarian sandwich. The Seattle streets were full of ninjas attending some kind of conventio. Then, we bought a whole pile of cheese, had lunch at Seatown Snack and flew home.

The Olympics are pretty amazing from the air.

That's the REI garden.

That's Fare Start in an old industrial space near the courthouse.

Keywords: kenmore, seattle, salmon

04/22 - Along Lake Crescent

Usually, the Spruce Railroad Trail is adorned with trilliums by now, but this year winter has been lingering. Still, there were a few little yellow violets and the first signs of Indian paintbrush. It isn't much, but it's better than nothing.

The first paintbrush of the season

The trail

A rock garden

Keywords: spruce railroad, trillium, spring

04/21 - Mangosteens

They were selling mangosteens at the local Albertson's. One always hears about mangosteens in books and newspaper articles, but, unlike mangoes which are on sale everywhere, mangosteens are harder to find. Curious, we bought a few. They were hard and husky. Our first thought was that they had dried out and wouldn't be edible. We set to work. It took a bit of doing to crack them open, but we were in luck. The fruit was still moist, and it was delicious. It's hard to describe the flavor. It was nothing like a mango. It was more of a citrus flavor, but not exactly. They are definitely delicious, so we'll be keeping our eyes open if another batch comes in.

Keywords: food

04/18 - Spring Comes to the Lake Angeles Trail - Slowly

We made our way up the Lake Angeles trail to see how spring was progressing. Slowly seems to be the operative word. There wasn't any snow on the trail until we were almost up near the little bridge which is about 730' above the parking lot. (That seems to be our trail elevation metric.) To be honest, we didn't see all that many signs of spring, but the snow has been melting, and we'll have to be satisfied with that for now.

The little bridge

The stream

Snow on a log

Now, that's spring like, melting snow.

There's no snow at the first crossing, but that wasn't surprising this time of year.

Keywords: spring, lake angeles

04/16 - The First Trillium of the Year

Spring has been slow in coming this year. Salmonberry usually blooms in February, but this year it waited until mid-March. The weather has been unseasonably cool, probably because of the same reason that there is still 160 inches of snow at the stake on Hurricane Ridge. We are often seeing trilliums in bloom by now, especially at lower elevations, but this year it took until mid-April. We finally saw our first trillium blossom, but it wasn't along a trail. It was right along Piedmont Road in the recently logged area towards Joyce. The area doesn't look like much, but it was nice to see this sign of spring.

There it is - proof!

Keywords: spring, trillium, weather, salmon

04/15 - Morse Creek Eagles

We saw two bald eagles at Morse Creek, a young one without the distinctive "bald" head and a fully mature one. It's spring, so there was a lot of water flowing under the old railroad bridge, and further down the Olympic Discovery Trail towards Port Angeles the bluffs have been crumbling and blocking the trail with mud and fallen trees. The professional maintenance team has been doing a good job keeping the trail passable, clearing out branches, removing the mud and redoing the drainage. We should also put in a good word for the amateurs who have been collecting litter and keeping the trail clean.

Can you see the bald eagle perched on a branch over Morse Creek?

How about this close up? (What do you expect from a point and shoot telephoto camera?)

A younger bald eagle was nearby.

The downstream creek

The trail

Keywords: morse creek, port angeles, spring, eagle

04/14 - Willapa White Sheep's Milk Cheese

The folks at the Renaissance day spa sell local cheese at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market. We recently tried their Willapa White, a creamy sheeps' milk cheese, and we really liked it. It's a bit like a brin d'amour, but without the rosemary rind. Obviously, we could cover one of these cheeses with dried rosemary, but why bother. It's so good just as it is.

Keywords: farmers' market, food

04/13 - Farmers' Market Update

Last year was not a bumper harvest year on the North Olympic Peninsula, and this spring is not shaping up well. Things, particularly vegetables, are, however, getting better. For example, there were cauliflower and salmon and nettles and kale raab. There is a lot more green than there was a few weeks ago, and that means progress.

Renaissance sells all kinds of cheese.

Our go to source for garlic and scallions.

Nash Huber has cauliflower!

Keywords: farmers' market, nash huber, spring, salmon, kale

04/12 - Halibut Pot Pie With Fennel

This is sort of a shepherd's pie made with halibut, fennel and shallots. This is based on a recipe from Bon Appetit, but we've played with it a bit, and filled in some blanks.


  • 1 1/2 lbs skinless halibut filets
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 fairly large heads of fennel or more smaller ones
  • 1 cup peeled and sliced shallots
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 lb spinach leaves (or more if you really like spinach)
  • 1 - 2 lbs potatoes, suitable for mashing (e.g. not hard red ones)


1) Boil the potatoes in a pot of water until they are tender. When they are ready, drain, mash in a big bowl adding salt and pepper to taste, and set aside. You can go ahead with the other steps while the potatoes are cooking.

2) Cut off the fennel tops and slice the bulbs into 1/4" (roughly) slices. Slice the shallots, if you haven't already.

3) Melt the butter and saute the fennel and shallots until they start turning a bit golden. This caramelizing gives them some sweetness. (It usually takes us 10-15 minutes, but your stove may vary.)

4) Sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper. Toss and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.

5) Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. While you stir, the mixture should thicken.

6) Cut the fish into 2 inch squares. If the spinach is in big, broad leaves, you might want to cut them up a bit, but it doesn't really matter. Add the fish and spinach. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes.

7) Preheat the broiler. Put the fish, fennel and shallot mixture into an oven proof baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes across the top.

8) When the broiler is ready, put the baking dish on an upper shelf in the oven and let bake until the potatoes start to turn golden brown, usually about 10 minute, though this will vary with your oven and your potatoes.

Keywords: food, recipe

04/11 - Dungeness Spit Update

There was another great low tide. We strolled out well past where the dinghy used to be, but nowhere near the lighthouse. Going was a bit rougher and rockier than last time but not a real problem. This time we couldn't blame it on the walking conditions.

That's us!

The view towardsthe mountains

The view towards the sea

Keywords: dungeness spit

Ready to cook

04/10 - Skate Wings

They had skate wings at Sunny Farms. They had just been caught the day before. We love skate wings, but rarely get to have them. We dredged ours lightly in flour then cooked them up with butter and capers. It's a simple dish, but it captures the richness and real flavor of the skate. If you like black cod, you will probably like skate. The only downside is the numerous gelatinous bones. Unless you are a big fan of duck's feet or cock's combs, you'll probably want to remove the bones carefully. (They are a good source of calcium though.)

Keywords: food

04/08 - Will This Site Harm Your Computer?

In a word, no.

We have no idea what is going on, but one day Google decided that our site would harm your computer. Naturally, we poked around to see if our site had been hacked, but it's all pretty harmless HTML, pictures, web pages and a few movies. We called our ISP, and they thought it might have something to do with some obscure configuration file. They made a few changes, and told us that Google would figure out that our site is harmless soon enough.


March 2011April 2011 May 2011