Newer Entries  Older Entries

08/22/11 - Some Notes on Morse Creek

When we are lazy, we take the trail west of Morse Creek down to the strait. It's an urban trail, but it is green and relaxing, and just a short drive. It changes with the seasons, and here we found the first sign of autumn, falling leaves from the old maples along the trail. The trail shoulders have been freshly trimmed to the ground; the peak growing season is over. That's probably another sign of the summer passing.

We also noticed a new fence in Morse Creek proper, visible from the old, lovingly restored railroad bridge. Our guess is that they are counting the fish, first funneling them through the gate and recording them on video. Somewhere, someone is watching the Salmon Channel, and mainly seeing water, but now and then a fish or two. (That is so much like life.) It doesn't sound like a cable option we'd be interested in, but we're hoping for good news on the fish population at Morse Creek.

Signs of fall

Freshly cut

Fish management

Keywords: autumn, morse creek, salmon, summer

12/04/10 - Quick Trip Into Seattle

We made a lightning run into Seattle to handle some business. Even though the trip was short, we did manage to get around a bit.
  • We had the Beef Seven Ways at The Tamarind Tree. A vegetarian friend recommended this restaurant, so we were surprised to see this on the menu.
  • We wandered around the International District. We rarely just wander around this part of town. In the summer, it is just too hot.
  • We discovered Hing Hay park. This is another one of Seattle's great freeway parks. It's a community, memorial and mediation garden set hard between the I-5 freeway and the international district. It was a bit past season, but still quite pretty.

That's beef four ways.

We really liked this space available sign.

The view from Hing Hay Park. Yes, there is a bit of climbing.

Some autumn color

One of the lanterns

Keywords: autumn, seattle

12/02/10 - The Winter Farmers' Market

It's the winter Farmers' Market, and we've gotten way behind with our photos and updates. Just about all of the summer vegetables are past, but this is our favorite season, so there are finally lots of lacinato kale, all the great local potatoes, carrots, cabbages, and brussels sprouts. Everything was a bit late this year, and it has been a cold autumn, so we have been making the most of what is available.

If you do go, remember that Preston and Tuna Dan have been selling salmon, steelhead and black cod, and Preston has been selling chanterelles and white truffles. It's a great place for food shopping. We get our eggs, Clark Family beef, Bell Street Bakery bread and most of our seafood there. The Mystery Bay folks have been at the market too, selling oysters and clams, in the shell or steamed with butter and garlic. We've been sore tempted on some of these cold days.

Lazy J Farm

Johnston Farm

Nash Huber's Produce

Westwind Farm, a carrot close up because we didn't take an even number of photos.

West Wind Farm

Keywords: autumn, farmers' market, oysters, shopping, winter, clark family, westwind farm, johnston farm, nash huber, salmon, kale

10/23/10 - Wild Sky at Hurricane Hill

Winter is teasing Hurricane Ridge even now. There's already a touch of snow on the lodge roof and a fair bit more fresh on the distant mountain tops. There's still a lot of autumn color, but now that is starting to fade. We started our latest hike with the mountains shrouded in white cloud and a light sleet, but the clouds parted and swirled. The sky was gray, nearly black, then white, then gray again, then blue. It was quite a show. It made up for the lack of marmots, now sensibly drowsing, we presume. It won't be long before the dominant shade is white, and getting to Hurricane Hill will require skis or snowshoes, so this might be a good time to say goodbye to autumn.

An unprepossessing sky

Autumn colors

Light and mist

Quickly moving shadows

Harvest gold - it looks better here than on one's refrigerator

Early snow

More autumn color

More wild sky

The glow of the sun

Keywords: autumn, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge, marmots, winter

10/08/10 - Obstruction Point

This may be our last trip to Obstruction Point this season. It's October, so it might snow any day. The signs of autumn are obvious now. Most of the great fields of snow have melted, and most of the flowers are gone. Parts of the trail remind us of Edgar Rice Burrough's Mars with brilliant red foliage at our feet.

Obstruction Point also seems to be chock full of marmots, particularly in the Marmot Meadow perhaps a half mile before the parking area. Interestingly, this seems to be a bad year for the red algae or bacteria, or perhaps archaea, that mottle the melting snow fields. This year they are still almost white.


Welcome to Barsoom

Red Planet Earth

More Red Planet

The lakes

Melting snow

This looked rather Christmassy. Everyone seems to be jumping the gun this year.

A reminder of summer

One of our marmot friends

Keywords: autumn, flowers, marmots, obstruction point

09/29/10 - Deer Park

The drive up to Deer Park doesn't offer the same spectacular views as from the road to Obstruction Point, but the scenery up top is impressive. We try to get up there once a year. Since we waited until late September, some of the foliage was already changing for the fall. The mountains, as usual, were spectacular.

That's lens flare, not an alien death ray.

This is what alien death rays do to foliage.

A view from the trail

Keywords: deer park, autumn

09/21/10 - At Long Last, The Harvest

It is almost autumn, and the Port Angeles Farmers' Market is in full gear. It hasn't been the best year, but we'll let you judge from the pictures.


Johnston Farm

Johnston Farm

Nash Huber

Nash Huber

Keywords: autumn, farmers' market, johnston farm, nash huber, westwind farm

09/19/10 - First Steelhead of the Fall

Tuna Dan had steelhead filets at the market, so we had our first smoked steelhead of the season. That's our Kaleberg mix of coriander seeds, black peppercorns, salt and brown sugar we used as a cure.

Keywords: fish, autumn, kale

08/28/10 - Hurricane Ridge

We were up at Hurricane Ridge and couldn't help but notice that autumn is coming.

Autumn is coming

Keywords: autumn, hurricane ridge

11/18/09 - Out Of Whiskey Bend

We had the Whiskey Bend trailhead to ourselves. The road was wet, but otherwise in good shape. As we headed out on the trail, we could see the snow covered mountains across the valley, but the trail itself was below the snow line. So on we tromped, past the little seasonal streams, now burbling briskly and the water running in the drainage channels at the side of the trail.

Most of the decidious trees have lost their leaves, though a few still glowed brightly yellow. We made our way down to the river canyon, but not to the river bottom. This was not the summer Elwha. This was the Elwha in full roar, though not in flood. After a dry summer, the fall rains have come.

Down towards the river

The river bends

Passing the buck

Hume's Ranch

Michael's Cabin, or is it the other way around?

The Elwha from above

An open view

That little creek about a mile from the trailhead.

A touch of snow

Keywords: elwha, autumn

11/08/09 - More Snow on the Mountains

Storm King on the south shore of Lake Crescent got its first dusting of snow recently. The sky wasn't sure if it wanted to be blue or gray. That's typical in the autumn. The snow line on the mountain adds to the drama.

Storm King

The trail
The Spruce Railroad Trail itself is covered with leaves, and in places, it is turning into mud. It is as beautiful as ever, but expect muddy shoes and cuffs. That again is typical for this time of year.

Keywords: autumn, lake crescent, spruce railroad, storm king

10/31/09 - Something To Grouse About

Autumn is the time for game birds. For those of us who cannot be trusted with firearms, that means D'Artagnan, the specialty food provider founded by Arianne Daugin, the daughter of one of France's great chefs. This recipe calls for four grouses, or perhaps four grice, if that is what are available at your market. It also calls for a head or two of savoy cabbage, twelve rashers of the best, smokey bacon you can get, a tart apple, at half a stick of butter, dried thyme and/or marjoram, pepper and salt.

Grouses, or perhaps grice

Shredded savoy cabbage
Clean the grouses, or grice. Save any good insaginnies. Clean the cabbage and save eight of the largest leaves for wrapping the grouses. Shred the rest of the cabbage using the slicing blade of a food processor. Cut up four rashers of bacon into 1/2" bits. Toss the shredded cabbage and bacon with a teaspoon or two of thyme, marjoram or both, and some salt and pepper. If there were any hearts or crops, chop them up and toss them in as well.

Cut up the apple into eight pieces. Put a piece of apple, a chunk of butter and as much of the cabbage mix as you can into each grouse. Put the remaining cabbage mix into a flat roasting pan. Put each grouse, breast side up, on a cabbage leaf. Drape two rashers of bacon over it and cover it with another cabbage leaf.

All ready to bake, except for the top cabbage leaves

Grice, or perhaps grouses, in the cabbage patch
Add perhaps a quarter inch of water to the baking pan and bake for about 45 minutes at 325F. Check the birds. They should be cooked through and getting tender. We raised the temperature to 350F at this point and gave them another 15 minutes. A lot depends on your oven.

When the birds are basically cooked, remove the upper cabbage leaves. Slide the bacon down to the sides of each bird so it doesn't burn. Raise the oven temperature to 450F and give the grice another 10 or 15 minutes. This should brown the birds nicely. They can be served straight from the oven along with the cabbage.

Ready to eat

Keywords: autumn, birds, grouse, recipe

10/25/09 - Gray Skies, Silver Water

We tend to remember how Lake Crescent looks on a sunny day. There is nothing quite like the blue of that water, but autumn means more cloudy days, and that means the lake turns silver and the mountains are shrouded with clouds. It is hard to capture silver water on film, but sometimes, if the light is just right and you are in just the right place, you can almost get close.

Keywords: autumn, lake crescent

10/21/09 - Hurricane Hill In Gold

Obstruction Point Road is closed, as is Deer Park. We were up at Hurricane Hill and had the mountain nearly to ourselves for a bit. Even the marmots and grouse seem to have vanished for the year. The grasses have turned golden, and there are splashes of brilliant color set off by the somber greens of the forest. Was it really 97 degrees and so very green up here back in July?

Corn lily stalks

The golden fields

Fields and mountains - still on the top of the world

One of the views

The clouds like the valleys.

Some color, but fading already

Maybe we'll do this on our mantel for Christmas.

Keywords: hurricane hill, marmots, autumn, grouse

10/15/09 - Some Autumn Color at Butchart Gardens

We visited Butchart Gardens in Victoria again. We didn't go for the flowers. That's for the spring and summer. We went for the fall foliage. We figured that the local color in the Port Angeles area was so impressive this year that the leaves at Butchart Gardens would be something special. We were not disappointed. While it is possible that the autumn leaf color at Butchart Gardens is always spectacular thanks to the miracles of modern horticulture, we had nothing to complain about this year.

Japan, like New England, is noted for its fall foliage, so we were not surprised by the Japanese Garden with its brilliant maples, but it was the Sunken Garden that really showed off the reds and oranges of autumn. Yes, the season of flowers is passing, but there is much to enjoy this time of year.

Some dahlias

Changes in the Japanese Garden

More from the Japanese Garden

Even more from the Japanese Garden

Get the idea?

The Sunken Garden

More from the Sunken Garden

Even more from the Sunken Garden

There's no need for a caption here.

Keywords: autumn, victoria

10/12/09 - Some Autumn Color on the Spruce Railroad Trail

The North Olympic Peninsula is not noted for its spectacular autumn colors, but this year, the trees, notably the maples, are doing their bit. We were on the Spruce Railroad Trail the other day and saw a lot of maples turning bright yellow. It's probably the cold nights. It also might be the brilliant blue of the lake's water. In fact, the maples all over the north peninsula are quite impressive this year.

Some maple color

The blue water

More color, more water

One of the spooky maples getting ready for Halloween

Bright red

Keywords: autumn, spruce railroad, lake crescent

09/28/09 - Fall Color in the High Country

Autumn is a great time to explore the high country of Olympic National Park. If nothing else, the colors can be spectacular. The alpine flowers peak early in the summer, but then the vegetation dries and withers. In the fall the foliage gets a second chance with its brilliant autumn colors.

We drove out to Obstruction Point to see if this year's dry spell would deprive us of our anticipated reds and golds. As it turned out, we had no reason to worry. The trail crossed quite a few patches of bright red. It was like walking the Field of Mars.

We also had a great marmot sighting. One of the little guys was right by the road. We just had to stop and roll down our window for an amazing close up view. All told, 2009 has been a great year for marmot watching.

One of our local golden marmots

The same guy, on the lookout

Some scenery

More scenery

Lingering snow

Bright red

More autumn color

One of those garden show rock gardens

The trail through the Field of Mars

Keywords: autumn, flowers, high country, marmots, obstruction point

Newer Entries  Older Entries