TRI to keep it WILD - Raising funds for Nature Conservancy of Canada

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pasta Night

What to do with all this free time over Christmas break? Bust out Christmas gifts of yore. The dough only has to go through the rollers 11 times. Please pay no attention to the watermelons we STILL have lying around from this summer. I've just been waiting for the right moment to haul them out to the compost pile. Or maybe they're still edible!?!?!?

When I grow up, I want to have a pull-out cutting board in my kitchen like this one. It's really handy. Do you dig the retro tilework in our kitchen?

Fresh and tasty noodles ready to boil! Only two ingredients! It's fun to make a little mess once in a while. It's worth it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Finally made it to the end of the semester so now I can enjoy Christmas shopping and hanging out with friends. I do have a few more finals to grade but I think I can knock them off in one day.

We've been drinking various holiday brews at get-togethers with friends and eating cookies, getting fun cards with pictures and lettters, and making lots of trips to the post office. The only thing we're missing is snow, which I hear we'll get plenty of when we get to D.C. on Thursday. Instead we still have to water our plants out on the patio as the drought and warm weather persist. The natives only know icicles of the plastic and electrified variety. The neighbors don't rake snow, but fallen palm fronds from their roofs. California, ha ha ha!

Merry Christmas!

(These pictures are from our Memorial Day 2008 backpacking trip in King's Canyon N.P.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving '09

This year we rented a cottage in gold country in the northern Sierra. The resort we stayed at was in Downieville on the Yuba River. It's a really cute historic gold mining town: with a population of 325, it's the county seat of Sierra County. We passed on the opportunity to pan for gold in the river right outside our cottage since the water was so cold. But the guy running the resort had all the gear (pans, a sluice box, and even a now-banned dredger) and said that guests collect flakes of gold on a regular basis.

We considered bringing the canoe here to Bullard's Bar Reservoir on the way up, but it's a good thing we didn't. The water was very low which makes for ugly scenery.

But there was fool's gold everywhere!!!

This Steller's Jay visited us each morning. I don't know if he was scared or just showing off, but he kept puffing up his feathers for us. These birds are pests from the crow family and are always scrounging around for food at campsites and picnic areas.

We went for a hike, partly on the Pacific Crest Trail and otherwise just relaxed. We saw lots of bear tracks and mistletoe as we followed along the Yuba River. There was snow on the trail but nothing major.

Views from our hike.

Crossing route 49 on the PCT between Sierra City and Sierraville. Everything's very Sierra-ish here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sorry, I'm taking over the canoe blog.

Since Scott is on to less crafty adventures lately, and we haven't taken the canoe out in a while, here is a picture of my new project - a Dresden Plate quilt.

Of course this part is fun - making the quilt top. We'll see what happens to the pace once it's time to applique all these plates onto the background. Then there's the quilting...groan. I'm planning for this to be smaller than twin size but bigger than the batik mat.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quilted Mat

Here's a project I started this summer after I bought a jelly roll of bright batiks. I didn't really know what a jelly roll was. It's a bunch of small strips of fabric of a certain size rolled up and sold in a bundle. The fabrics aren't necessarily up my alley, but after lots of playing around, I came up with this baby floor mat/stroller blanket that used up the whole roll. I had to buy the red fabric for the back and the binding separately. I really love the way the turquoise quilting looks with the bright prints. I did all the quilting by hand since I only have a Featherweight sewing machine.

Now... who do I know with a baby that would appreciate my handiwork and doesn't mind the tropical look? It's pretty stain-friendly :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Redwoods National/State Parks

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

We spent a 3-day weekend in the Redwoods north of Eureka. On the way we saw lots of grapes being hauled in and out of the vineyards in big buckets on trucks. We also saw some exciting forest fire-fighting action (CalFire planes and helicopters)!

From Elk Prairie (where we camped) in Prairie Creek Redwoods we hiked in a big loop through the big old trees to Fern Canyon, then along the beach (from which we could see another forest fire to the north and lots of seals and pelicans in the water), to Gold Bluffs Beach, back through the trees to camp. CLICK THIS to see the map. I guess the hike was about 12 or 15 miles. The redwoods are impossible to photograph since they're so big.... HUGE! and amazing! Here's a lichen-covered specimen that dripped on our tent loudly all night the first night. We moved to the open meadow for the second night.

The car camping was pretty luxurious; smores, fresh fruit, clean dry clothes, no heavy pack, woo hoo!

At Elk Prairie there are lots of chances to view the Roosevelt Elk, if you can spot them through the fog and the ferns. Zoom in on this shot to see a nice rack ;)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hardly Strictly

We went to the free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate park yesterday. There were a lot of great acts in an amazing setting. We saw the Old 97's, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, and Gillian Welch, with a special treat, a few songs with Emmylou Harris! Even heard a few strains of Steve Martin on the Banjo through the trees. There were going to be some great shows on Sunday too, but SF is a bit of a drive for us. Despite the high winds and lots of pot smoke, we had a great time with Nate and Jude.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Back to Spicer!

This time with Scott's parents. Our favorite campsite was free again, even on Labor Day weekend! Nice weather as usual, and we saw a mama bear with her two cubs up a tree - very cute.

See how much the water level has dropped over the past few weeks?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sierra Backpacking

Last week we did a point-to-point backpacking trip with 5 other guys through King's Canyon and Sequoia National Parks for 6 or 7 days, mostly along the John Muir Trail. We entered from the east side at Kearsarge Pass (11,760') and headed south about 50 or 60 miles, exiting to the east at New Army Pass (about 12,300'). We had 2 "rest" days that involved side trips. The surroundings and scenery were awesome and of course the weather was great - gotta love California for that. No one got injured or altitude sickness and the black bear that wandered through our camp the first morning at about 5:30 seemed satisfied just to walk right through without stopping for a snack :) . Nate and Scott conquered Mt. Langley - a fourteener and most of Mt. Tyndall. The highest point for the rest of us was Forester Pass at 13,200'. Nate's dad Jerry caught 4 huge Golden Trout which made a tasty dinner one night. This was my longest backpacking trip with my heaviest ever pack (starting around 40 lbs.) and everything went great, for me and the whole group. It was an amazing trip! I'll try to make a link later to more photos, but here are just a few for now...

This is exactly what we ate for 6 days; subtract the graham crackers and half of the Crown (no space) but add some fried golden trout and cheese quesadillas, courtesy of the Bowens.

Kim and Tracy and half of Jerry at our first pass - Kearsarge, entrance to King's Canyon.

Me, Nate, and Scott at the top of Forester Pass, highest pass on the whole Pacific Crest Trail. That was the toughest day; packs still heavy and a steep, high-elevation climb followed by a REAL long descent.

On a side trip we found a little shangri-la. Kim and Nate are already plotting how to get back here . It's off the trail and no one was around but some fishies. I'm not telling where it is.

Crabtree Meadow: site of crazy early morning eastern European calisthenics and illegal trash-burning (booo!) with Mt. Whitney lit up in the background. Also home to many Marmots and their poo. Great nighttime star gazing here at this busy trail crossroads. Most people come through here with the goal of climbing Whitney. We were too cool for that this time.

Kim getting artistic with the photos at Crabtree Lakes. This is the lake that gave up its tasty trout for us. Thanks Jerry!! Look at that clear blue water!


Mt. Langley... looks like someone got here first, darned USGS!

A Motley Crew: Nate "Trash Pony," Bob the Bullet, Big Fish Jerry, Kim "Spoon Man," Tom "Booze Pony," Tracy "Fish Face," Scott "Gitch Pony," about to head back down from New Army Pass.

7 days without shampoo gives the hair natural body and shine :D

We DID it!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Adventures in Canning

This weekend I went to the farmer's market with Steph and found that the berries were the fruits du jour. I was hoping for peaches but most of them weren't ripe and I wanted to do my canning that day. I made four pints of blackberry-raspberry jam and four pints of strawberry jam. No seal failures! It turned out to be pretty easy, except you can see from the picture that the strawberry ones have some bubbles and I wasn't too even with the headspace. I had some extra strawberries, and then we got more in our CSA box on Tuesday, so today I made four more pints of strawberry jam. It's really easy, but how much jam can you eat in a year? I'll give some away, but I'll have to make sure I get my jars back. When the tomatoes start rolling in I think I'll try salsa. mmmm.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

First Trip: Spicer Meadow Reservoir

Two posts today since I didn't get around to posting last weekend about the launch. Read below.
This weekend Tracy and I took the canoe up to Spicer Meadow Reservoir. Its a 6 mile long reservoir at 6500 ft off hwy 4, partly in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. I think it is the closest thing California has to a long distance lake trip. The scenery was beautiful and motor boats are limited to trolling motors in the lower half of the lake. We paddled out to the end in about an hour and a half of leisurely paddling and set up camp on a granite hilltop rising out of the water. You get some unique rock formations by the water's edge that you don't normally see in a natural lake. There were a few hazards for the as yet unblemished underside of Thistle, namely numerous submerged and partly submerged pine trees from before the reservoir was flooded. Some of the tops were sitting just a few inches below the surface. Thanks to Tracy's superior navigating skills we got through unscathed. The water was clear down to 20-30 ft and a perfect swimming temperature. Fish were jumping all over the place. Have to bring a rod next time.


She floats!

Last weekend lots of friends came down to Shoreline Lake in Mountain View with us to launch Thistle for the first time. After putting up with the jokes about what IKEA kit I used, the champagne flowed and she took to the water like, well like a canoe. I don't think I've ever seen it rain here in July, but it was threatening last weekend. In the end there were only a few drops and a few of got to test out the boat. Dan and Jen and little Henrik were there. Pete and Ayse and little Selim were there. Adam and Emily made it down. Catelyn and Andy and little Everett were there and Tracy and me. Nate and Steph and Jude didn't make it for the launch, but came over later to drink some beers.