April 2011May 2011 June 2011

05/30 - Dungeness Spit Update

It was a five foot tide, not exactly low, but the beach was surprisingly walkable. There was lots of sand, and the sand was firm, so we walked for a couple of miles, bird watching and beachcombing.

One of the eagles we saw

The view out

A dried starfish

Two mystery birds - Our bird atlas is no help.

Lush green along the redone trail to the spit

Keywords: dungeness spit, birds, eagle

05/27 - St. Germain and Champagne

Ages ago, we used to have the wonderful house cocktail at Wallse. It was an elderberry champagne cocktail and quite good. It's hard to describe the flavor. It's sweet, but there is a strong flowery note.

In any event, we recently came across of a bottle of St. Germain. That's the elderberry flower liqueur that they added to the champagne. We tried it at home, and it brought back the memories. Unlike our dubious encounter with Creme de Violette, an overly sweet and rather cloying violet flavored liqueur in the early 80s, St. Germain is a winner.

Keywords: food

05/24 - Constructomatic

We've been doing some geometry tutoring, and one thing seems to have led to another so we threw together a little program for doing geometry constructions. You put them together from points, lines and circles, and then you can interact with them. If it sounds intriguing, give it a try.

Keywords: software, science

05/20 - Hurricane Ridge, Hurrah!

They say on the west coast, one drives to the weather one wants, unlike the east coast, where the weather comes to you, wanted or not. Well, this year we took our first drive up to winter at Hurricane Ridge. Granted, it is late May, maybe a month from the start of summer at sea level, but at Hurricane Ridge, winter holds sway.

There snow is well over ten feet deep, so we broke out our snowshoes. We didn't get far. There is a gap in those ramparts that kept us from the Hurricane Hill Trail. Besides, we were a bit out of shape for the steep climb back. Instead, we made our way over to the avalanche danger signs for a view of Port Angeles, the Strait and points north. The view to the south was pretty impressive too.

So, if you just haven't had enough winter, and are hoping, perhaps, for a bit more skiing, sledding or just trudging through the snow, take a drive up Hurricane Ridge Road for a little taste of winter. Then drive back down again.

The view to the south - mountains and valleys and snow

The ramparts

Still plenty of snow for trekking around on

Mount Angeles and the north

The ski patrol is still at the ready.

Keywords: hurricane ridge, weather, winter

05/18 - Seen on the Lake Angeles Trail

We have been trying to get into shape for when the high country finally reopens, likely in August. This entails climbing, and our favorite get into shape for climbing trail is the Lake Angeles Trail. This time, we broke our seasonal record, not only crossing the bridge at 720' apl, but we made it all the way to 1200' apl. That's half way to the lake, which we gather is still surrounded by deep snow. When will we make it to the lake? At the rate we are training, likely in August.

The trail at 1200' apl (above parking lot)

The trillium vale

One of those orchids

More trilliums, yay!

Lots of rushing water

Keywords: trillium, lake angeles

05/17 - Seen on the Spruce Railroad Trail

It's definitely getting more spring like.

An abstract painting (Can you spot the salamander and how many didn't we see?)

Actual flowers

Actual mushroom (Sorry, no plural)



Flowing water

Those spooky old maples

Keywords: flowers, salamander, spring, spruce railroad

05/15 - Devil's Claw Shoots

Preston, of Wild West Seafood, also sells wild foraged products. This week he had morels and devil's claw shoots. Devil's claw is a pretty nasty looking plant, and never seemed particularly appetizing. Still, these little shoot lookd interesting. Preston says they have a pine-y flavor, and we suspect that this might be a bit much for us. Still, they'll probably be appearing on a number of spring menus along with the fiddleheads. We were tempted, by curiosity, but we'll pass for this year. There were too many other good things at the market.

Keywords: farmers' market

05/10 - The Trilliums Are Back On The Lake Angeles Trail

We've been hiking the first leg of the Lake Angeles Trail a fair bit lately, trying to get back into shape for the high country which should open any month now. (Right now, we're guessing July, but maybe late June.) We saw our first trilliums at Lake Crescent just recently, and rather late by local standards. The Lake Angeles trailhead is maybe 1300 feet higher, but the trilliums have made it. They're just coming out now. Not all of them are unfurled, but they're back.

There isn't much snow before the crossing at 730'.

But, there are trilliums, ...

trilliums, ...

trilliums, ...

and more trilliums.

Keywords: trillium, lake angeles

05/09 - Look Who's Back

The Port Angeles Farmers' Market is getting more and more spring-like. This time the asparagus were back, real spring vegetables. Both Westwind and Johnston Farms had them. That's right, Johnston Farms is back. That's wonderful news.

Johnston Farms is back at the market.

Keywords: farmers' market, johnston farm, port angeles, spring

05/07 - Dungeness Spit

Work is continuing apace at Dungeness Spit. The new pavilion is taking shape. It should have new interpretive signage and provide a bit more shelter for the volunteers who greet visitors. The direct trail to the spit was closed, so we took the detour along the bridle path and got to see the sea spray in bloom. It's a longer route, but it has its rewards.

As for the spit itself, it seems to have gotten a bit rockier, but that may just have been our tired feet. The spit was as beautiful as ever as was the view of the mountains. We aren't ready for the lighthouse yet, but the tides have been good, so one of these days ...

The new visitor pavilion

The spit

The mountain view

The bridle path

Sea spray

Keywords: dungeness spit

05/05 - It's Official

The sun took its sweet time crossing the equator this year, but spring seems to have arrived at long last. The flowers on the Spruce Railroad Trail prove it. Just last week we had marveled at a lone trillium by the roadside, but now there were lots of trilliums in bloom right on the trail. There were other flowers as well. Sometimes it just takes a few blossoms to get that sun to move in the sky.

The first on trail trillium of the season at Lake Crescent

Wild currant is still in bloom.

Indian paintbrush has already started its season.

There were little purple orchids.

And there were yellow violets.

Keywords: flowers, lake crescent, spring, spruce railroad, trillium

05/04 - Russian Easter 2011

We held our annual Russian Easter last Saturday, and we are still digesting all the wonderful food. The blini had the starring role. These are traditional yeast-risen buckwheat pancakes drenched in butter. Butter is supposed to symbolize the return of the sun in the spring. It also symbolizes lots of calories. We also had our home made pork sausage with the meat chopped, not ground. You can see some of the other co-stars in the photos, including
  • Enemies of the Czar - corned beef and swiss reuben paninis
  • Trotsky's Bane - wasabi tequila shooters with tabikko, served in cucumbers, a specialty from Trotsky's later years, exiled to Mexico
  • Our Token Nod to Good Health - asparagus and endive with walnut coriander sauce

Ironically enough, to celebrate the melting of the snows, we made snow, with our new ice shaving machine. It gave our Champagne Garden a whole new look, and it made the glasses a lot more stable.

So, once again, we told the tale of the Defense of Moscow, with Moscow played by a gigantic bake Alaska. Once again, we asked in desperation: "How could we defend mother Russia from the monster, Napoleon?" and once again we answered, "With scorched earth and flames of French brandy!" The burning was spectacular with the decorated brownie domes collapsing in flames and the satay sticks that held them in place igniting. We could almost imagine Napoleon desperating seeking a way out of the burning city as the walls collapsed around him. (That was in some version of War and Peace or another.)

So, until next year, Happy Russian Easter, and say Welcome to Spring.

For more on our traditional Russian Easter, including recipes, check out our Russian Easter page.

Enemies of the Czar, Trotsky's Bane and home made sausage

Our champagne garden

This years baked Alaska for our Defense of Moscow

Keywords: russian easter, spring, alaska

05/01 - Farmers' Market Update

The Port Angeles Farmers' Market is going green now that the weather is a bit more cooperative. There are lots of raabs. Those are just kales and cabbages and the like that have started to flower. They have a wonderful, slightly fuller and perhaps sweeter note than the unflowering vegetable. They're great sliced thinly as the base for salads or sauteed.

Johnston Farm was only present by proxy. This time Westwind Farm had their salad mix, and a welcome sight they were. Westwind is also selling kale and cabbage raab along with those sure signs of spring, rhubarb and nettles. Yes, they're awfully late this year. Late too are the asparagus. Usually we've been living on Westwind Farm asparagus for weeks now, but not this year. We haven't seen a spear. Hope springs eternal and all that.

Westwind raab and rhubarb

Westwind was selling Johnston Farm salad mix.

Raabs and more at Nash's stand

Keywords: farmers' market, johnston farm, port angeles, spring, westwind farm, kale

April 2011May 2011 June 2011