Wednesday, October 15

Blog Tagged

I've been tagged by Raleigh. Blog Tag goes something like this: I tell you 6 random things about myself, then tag a few other people who proceed to post 6 random things about themselves.

1. I have a strange fetish for 'People' magazine. I wouldn't consider myself superficial or materialistic, mostly I'm a realist who is not deceived by fantasy, but for some odd reason I can get hooked on the celebrity gossip commonly found in magazines like 'People'. When I lived in NC with Mindy she had a subscription, so I could get my "fix" each month. Since then I've refused to buy them, because I'm too practical to rationalize the expense for, what I even consider, trash. But at doctor's offices, libraries, friends houses, and now, even at Lavender Wind Farm, I find myself drawn to the ridiculous, paparazzi-driven magazine. Unbelievable!

2. Auto Mechanic: I've tossed around the idea in my head to take a few classes. I am completely ill-equipped to diagnose, assess, or fix my car. That, makes me feel ignorant. I'd like that to change someday. I mean...I can change a tire, change the oil, and check the fluids, but anything above and beyond the basics, is completely out of my realm. The knowledge of an auto mechanic would be invaluable to me!

3. I hate crickets. Even after "getting close" to bugs in my Entomology class in college, I reserve a cold place in my heart for crickets. Especially those disgusting, brown, camel crickets with the hunched backs. Sick! They aren't easy to catch, like spiders, or cute and furry like mice. They are completely unpredictable. I've had one leap up on me when I was trying to corner it in the bathroom to get rid of it. Scary! And the worst is that they crunch when you kill them. That just makes my stomach turn.

4. I wish I could live on bread alone. Truly, I do. I love all bread. Sweet breads like pumpkin, zucchini, apple, or banana. Healthy breads like multi-grain, rye, whole wheat, or oat. Other breads like baguettes, biscuits, corn bread. Mmmm. Pancakes, waffles, scones, muffins. Yes, I even consider those, breads. If only I could live on bread alone...Oh to be a pastry chef...

5. If I could pick any sport to play throughout life, I'd choose ping pong. Referred to in most countries as table tennis, this sport has all the components to make it the perfect game. It has individual and team aspects, hand-eye coordination requirements, it is fast paced, with little room for error. It is extremely competitive and can be played and practiced practically anywhere. Not to mention, it is completely cost effective (paddle and balls?). In college, my friend Kate and I, used to spend hours in the game room perfecting our serves, backhands, and spins. We jokingly spoke of giving up our softball scholarships to take on our new passion of ping pong (if only we could find a trainer/coach). To be quite honest, I think we would have ditched softball if someone approached us with the offer.

6. Most of you probably know this, but for those that don't: my two front teeth are fake. And since their placement in my mouth, at the age of 21, I've been nervously awaiting the moment in time when the glue doesn't stick anymore and that moment will be one scary picture show! I have two tiny little whittled down teeth that pose as anchors for the porcelain caps to afix to. So when the caps do decide to come loose and fall off of their posts, the remains of my teeth will be stage for one horrific smile! Lord help us all when that day comes!

I've done my duty, so it is my turn to tag some people. Here it goes: Lana J Wilson, Kristi Miller, Alaina Falk - YOU ARE IT!

Last Trip of the Season

Dan, Bailey and I decided to finish the hiking season with one last overnight trip. We chose Buckhorn Wilderness which shares the eastern border of Olympic National Park. We were hoping for views of Puget Sound, Whidbey Island, and the Cascade Range. After gaining 3,000 ft elevation we made it to the campsite that sat at 5,400 ft. Most of the trail we followed was covered in snow. The temperature starting out was 37 degrees at 2,300 ft. We should have known then, that it was going to be a cold night in the mountains.

With the closing of the backpacking season I am gearing up for snowboarding season. Let the snow begin!

Marmots that Whistle

Amber, Bailey and I spent some time in the North Cascades at the beginning of September. Pasaytan Wilderness was dog friendly, had phenomenal vistas, and was only a three hour drive from the island. An hour into our four day hike, I realized we had left matches at home. Quite disheartening at the beginning of the trek to imagine cold rice at the end of a strenuous day. Thankfully a few hours in, we passed some hikers who were headed out and they passed us their spare matches. Whew. That could have been a disaster.

This panoramic picture shows Crater mountain with Jack mountain just behind. Our 43 mile Devil's Loop hike circled these two mountains providing us with great views for four days.
The highlight of the trip for me was a whistling marmot that was brave enough to stand his ground as we hiked through his territory. The brave little bugger nearly stared Bailey in the face before diving into his burrow, where he continued to whistle his muffled warning from his underground tunnel.

Tuesday, October 14

Reflecting on the Olympics

I haven't given any of my backpacking trips enough print. I was feeling a bit guilty, so I thought I'd post some pictures to satisfy my guilt and hopefully impress you with the beauty of Washington State. Heidi, Kendra and I spent a week in Olympic National Park. This park gets more rain than any other park in the US - 220 inches annually. We made it out that week only experiencing one night of rain and part of a day. Other than that, the weather was near perfect.

Lots of wildlife in the park made this trip exceptional. It is mating season for elk, so we were lulled to sleep most nights by the bull elk's bugling. The herd pictured above contained one bull elk, while the other 30 or so were female or young. Decent size harem, buddy. We watched this group for a spell, and got to see Mr Bull Elk chase off two younger males who were trying to get fresh with the ladies.

Though most days were bright and sunny on the mountain tops, it wasn't unusual for there to be a thick cloud encasing the valleys. This is what I would call, "socked in". We spent two nights at the bottom of this valley camping along the Hoh River. The cedar, douglas fir, and western hemlocks were the biggest trees I'd ever seen.

Many "firsts" for me on this trip.
  • blonde marmot
  • 9 black bear within 2 hours
  • black bear swimming and then shaking like a dog
  • hike to a glacier

post sabbatical

Exactly two weeks ago I completed my month long sabbatical from the lavender farm. Upon returning to the island, I feel like I've hit the road running. Back to working two jobs, tending to the garden, and wearing windbreakers (fall is really here, there is a chill in the air).

In these past two weeks I've tilled, weeded, planted, attended a hockey game, watched numerous movies, trimmed shrubs, harvested vegies and fruit, bought new hiking boots, tested out the new hiking boots on a twelve mile over-nighter, and tented in the snow.

It is nice to be back in the swing of things, watching the full moon set over the water, baking and cooking, getting the mail every night after work, finding excitement in phone calls and cards from friends and family.

Mom and Dad are within 48 hours of arriving in Seattle for a whirlwind tour of Whidbey Island and the greater Seattle area. We are hoping to spot some Orcas on our whale watching expedition, maybe see some starfish and anemones in the tidal pools on my beach, eat some fresh seafood, and visit Seattle's famous Pike's Market. One thing I know for sure: Seattle will not disappoint. Come visit.

Thursday, October 9

do you forget more than you retain?

I like to think that I learn at least one new thing each day. Honestly, its probably more like three or four new things most days. Unfortunately, most new things I learn I file away in my mind where they are promptly forgotten. This, indeed, is a sorry state to be in. Always learning with equal amounts of forgetting yields nothing new.

So it is with great satisfaction that I can claim a new fact that has stuck in my mind for over a week now. I don't know how long this fact will be with me, so I figure I better get it down in print before it escapes the precious gray matter.

Did You Know: 12,000 laptop computers are left at airports every week

A startling realization, isn't it? I was glad I didn't' have my laptop last week when I was flying. I probably would have forgotten it at the airport.

Wednesday, October 1

the mystery of milk

Mom and I met Grandpa, Grandma and Aunt Janet at the Fair Oaks Dairy the other day. The farm that we visited is one of 10 that make up the Fair Oaks Dairy operation. Though this particular Dairy has 3,000 cows and at least 6-8 calves born each day, a cheese and ice cream factory on sight, an education center, and a birthing barn it does not draw on the local electrical company for it's operation.

The farm uses four anaerobic digestors to break down the cow manure and create methane gas which is then used to produce electricity. Enough electricity, in fact, to power their entire on sight operation (milking 2,800 cows three times a day) and still have enough to sell back to the grid!

This ginormous wheel moves very slowly and milks the cows as they take a ride. They are creatures of habit so they know when to get on and off. Kind of crazy. The cows take a ride three times a day, giving up about 86 lbs of milk a day each(12 gallons).

We took a tour of the farm on a bus full of middle school students, therefore, some of the facts about the farm were lost due to the distraction created by 39 adolescents gagging and choking due to the farm smell, the closeup view of a cow pooping, or who knows what else. It is sufficient to say these were 'city kids'. And they were getting an education.

We just missed the birth of the twins. They were about 70 lbs each.