Yay or nay? Vacation …

29 05 2009

Last year’s buzzword was “staycation”, is this years “naycation“?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly going camping and sailboat camping this year as usual. We still want to go to Yellowstone, the Badlands and way up north into BC, but we’re sticking closer to home. This year we have chickens, but we’ve often taken month-long camping trips when our own personal economies have been in the doldrums. Of course, gas was cheaper then too.

Still we’re going to pick up a Northwest Forest Pass and take advantage of living on the edge of the North Cascades National Park and the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. With that $30 investment into our daytrips, we still need to get some good camping in too. We have beautiful state parks here, but we’re not interested in investing $20 per night or making reservations just to listen to someone’s generator drone on while they watch DVD’s. Luckily not all the state parks are like that, but it seems there’s nothing but huge RV’s everywhere! So the trick is to go where they’re not …

Camping in the Okanagon National Forest for $8/night

Camping in the Okanagon National Forest for $8/night

There are deals to be had too. A great book to have on hand when you’re out and about without an itinerary is Ray’s Guide to Free Campgrounds in Washington State. Oregon and Idaho have their own volumes and it can save you searching for a site in the dark or from sleeping in a parking lot by the Columbia River (in 24F degree weather no less, but that’s another story). Also we have public lands such as those administered by the BLM and various other resources.

If you’re lucky enough to be boating, you can find plenty of moorage in our marine parks system. Let’s not forget the Gulf Islands either! When boating, a mooring buoy is usually less than $10 per night and anchoring out is free. If you’re sailing like we do and anchoring out, you can usually have several weeks of vacation for the cost of much less than 5 gallons of gas. That’s not including the cost of the hole in the water, of course. ;)

Sailboat camping $0/night (NIC boat)

Sailboat camping $0/night (NIC boat)

So I say YAY for an inexpensive vacation!





BBA #2

27 05 2009
Artos - Greek celebration bread

Artos - Greek celebration bread





Fireweed salad

21 05 2009

I wanted a salad this evening so I grabbed a paper sack and wandered out to see what I could find. For some reason the Claytonia (miner’s lettuce) isn’t very prolific in its usual places. In fact, I could hardly find any! So as I was wandering back to the house pondering yet another “winter salad”, I saw the fireweed patch. Now this is mostly a couple feet tall already, but I did find a few smaller shoots in the garden and elsewhere.

Since I know it can be bitter when larger, I tasted each piece as I washed them. I used scissors and snipped them and the few Claytonia leaves into my bowl with a couple of chopped spears of asparagus. A pinch of kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, vinegar and oil made for a wonderful first spring salad.

Now I’ll have to keep my eye out for any young shoots left. I shouldn’t have dawdled!

More on fireweed here and here.





Independence Days #3

16 05 2009

Posting early this week since we’re off for a quick trip across the pass! Back Tuesday.

Plant

Weather has been cold and rainy so I only reseeded some of my starts inside.

Harvest

The first rhubarb!

Preserve

Froze the 3 1/2 lbs. of rhubarb.

Prepare and Store

Picked up a pair of Sperry Top-Siders for $15 (original price $65)! Also stocked up on stainless fasteners.

Manage

Have begun emptying the outside freezer for defrosting and updating the freezer list.

Reduce

Designated a pantry shelf and a freezer spot for food items needing to be rotated out.

Learn

Learned that our native banana slug (the only one I don’t kill on my twice daily sprees) seems to be somewhat territorial. This one has been seen in several locations in the yard including curled up next to some kale seedlings. I left it alone and the kale seedlings are still there as is the slug at the same time each evening. It seems to have quite a range!

Community

Nothing on this front. Enjoying some hermit time. :)





BBA #1 – Anadama Bread

16 05 2009

Since I’ve already made the Anadama bread in Bread Baker’s Apprentice in the past, I decided to bake the version in his Whole Grain Breads book. I posted it to the BBA pool on flickr. In general I’ll just be posting a picture here and a link to the flickr image which will have more commentary.

Like most everyone else in the group, I’m finding this to be a versatile and tasty sandwich bread. I’m having fun making everyone’s acquaintance and swapping hints and tips. I look forward to seeing everyone’s creations in the 43 weeks to come.

Next up: Christopsomos!





Independence Days #2

11 05 2009

Plant

Kale, radishes, mache, Brussels sprouts, arugula, cauliflower, potatoes, beets, collards and hollyhocks.

Harvest

Lone asparagus stalk eaten for breakfast in the garden.

Preserve

Froze nettles, homemade waffles, spicy beans and corn tortillas for quick meals during planting season.

Discovered that my rye starter had become contaminated so I refreshed my frozen stash. Froze a fresh batch and will freeze some of my regular sourdough starter as well. Disaster averted!

Prepare and Store

Acquired 5gal buckets with lids and burlap coffee sacks.

Manage

Collected foods needing to be rotated out of the big freezers into the refrigerator freezer for easy access and visibility, used the last of the whole wheat pastry flour, hemp seeds, poppy seeds and protein powder in the waffles. Noticed that I have too much chocolate, theoretically. ;)

Reduce

Lost a chicken to a predator in the middle of the day. :( Seeded vegetables and sprinkled bone and kelp meals right before a rain so I didn’t need to water them in.

Learn

Modern roosters, even of heritage breeds, are noisy and useless.

Signed up to participate in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge which will be working through Peter Reinhart’s book of the same name. I’ll be doing some of the recipes from his Whole Grain Breads book too. The challenge will be encouraging me to try some of the recipes that I might not otherwise bake.

Community

Participated in the 5th meeting of our monthly discussion group with the topic of “2012: Cataclysm, Turning Point, or Business as Usual?” where we talked about the environment, local economy, alternative energy, peak oil, etc. Set up a simple blog site for our group so we can continue to share ideas outside of our meetings.





Local Foragers on KUOW!

11 05 2009

Listen to local forager Langdon Cook who blogs at Fat of the Land on KUOW’s Weekday show!








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