Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bird Creek Meadows

Last Saturday, we had the most awesome day hiking the trails at Bird Creek Meadows. This link is cool, it allows you to click on the cameras to see the view at that spot. Our Nordic Club gang met up in Husum, and headed out to Trout Lake, past the Sno-Parks, through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest into Yakama Reservation lands. It was a hot day back at Columbia River level, but a hike at elevation (6,000 ft) was the ticket to escape the heat.

The wildflowers were blooming like crazy. We drove through a forest of Bear Grass on the way up, both sides of the road full of the interesting flowered stalks that bloom every 5-7 years. How lucky was THAT? Native Americans use the grassy leaves for basket weaving.

We parked at the picnic area, got our Yakama day use passes, covered ourselves with bug spray and sunscreen and headed up the trail. It wasn't long before we started seeing lupines, paintbrush, alpine asters, buttercups, false solomon's seal, subalpine mariposa lilies, and much much more. The gang regrouped for a photo op at the main meadow with the Mt. Adams backdrop, which you can see at the ONC website, did couples shots in front of the nearby waterfall, then we hiked up to the Hellroaring Creek viewpoint for our lunch stop. I stayed far away from the ledge. I don't like ledges.Brindle found a shady spot for her break.

It looked like it was going to storm, but nothing came of the dark clouds.

I could have sat there forever. You could almost reach out and touch Mt Adams. You could see the glacier really well with the binoculars, and hear the roaring of the creek so very far away as if it were right next to you. If you can't quite see it in the first photo, right of center. The second shot is a closeup of it.

We looped back to the parking area down a little steeper, rockier trail than we had come up. I'm glad we did it in the direction we did. Brindle is following Cindy down the trail. Brindle knows when she's 'heading for the barn' and likes to lead the way.

The mossies got really bad as we approached the cars, so we didn't dally. A little bit of rain finally came out of the dark clouds as we headed down the dusty gravel road, enough to wash the car off a little bit and so the windshield wipers wouldn't scratch the windshield! The end of hike festivities were moved to Jan and Fred's in Husum, and included champagne to celebrate Jan and Fred's 12th anniversary and Skip's 60 something birthday. Another great day in the neighborhood.

There are lots more cool photos in our nordic club album. Check them out!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hot Time in White Salmon

So I was going to write about how damn hot it is. Like hotter than Texas hot. Without the humidity, of course, so it's tolerable...I was all ready to focus on the thermometer, shown here attached to the underside of the deck railing, and the digital reading showing it was 114 on the deck at 3:53, and how the 'top reading' for the day read 127 (deck heat)...but my story shifted to the draft pile.

We went to town tonight for dinner with Will, who is visiting from California. He took us out to our local brewpub, Everybody's, which is now officially brewing its own beer. Yay. We had chips and salsa. We tried the new beers (my porter was yummy, bordering on stout). Our food had just arrived when we spied smoke out by the back deck.

I went to investigate and was met by a fireman who was shooing everyone from the deck tables. Within minutes, a hose was wetting down the deck and roof of the brewpub and the firemen were ordering us to evacuate in an orderly manner. The waitress tossed us go boxes, we transferred the piping hot food into the cardboard, chugged our beers, and exited in an orderly manner. Oh, and Will took time to pay the bill, what a sweetie. He actually carries cash!

In this picture, the pub is on the left, the gallery is on fire (yellow front) and Artisan's is on the right. Lloyd moved the car, which was directly in front of the pub, we crossed the street and sat on the benches in front of the Postal Annex where we proceeded to dine and watch the trucks arrive. After White Salmon trucks and the Husum truck and the Underwood truck were there, we were told to clear the block because the gas line might blow. No need to tell us twice...we know what happens when fire meets gas. Besides, I was done with my gyro by then. Skamania and Hood River trucks drove up.

We moseyed around to the side street to check out the back side of the fire. It was pretty amazing. Sorry I only had my cell phone camera to work with. The corrugated metal addition was totalled, with fire coming out the holes, water going in from several hoses. Firemen, fully armored with suits, tanks and helmets, had gone in the front door and were spraying from inside. The ladders were spraying on the top.

We stayed around until things were pretty much under control. It was impressive to see the quick response of all the area fire stations. We have lots of volunteer fire departments here in Klickitat County. The firemen (and women) were very professional. Thank goodness, our brewpub was spared, and the wonderful Artisan shop on the other side looked none the worse for wear. But for Blue and Roz, it was not a good night. White Salmon doesn't want to lose ANY of our shops, to the economy or fire or ANYTHING.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What's Cooking?

Four dozen scrambled eggs, three pounds of bacon, two batches of pancake mix, one seedless watermelon: Tuesday breakfast

Five loaves of garlic bread, four large lasagnas (plus one small vegan), three boxes of brownie mix, two big salads, one blackberry crisp: Tuesday dinner

Fifty-one breakfast burritos and leftover lasagna (by request): Wednesday breakfast

The happy faces of the kayak campers: priceless

When we heard about the need for volunteers from the folks at Wet Planet Whitewater, we recruited a few friends to make meals for First Descents, which was hosting a weeklong whitewater kayaking camp on the Klickitat and White Salmon Rivers. First Descents, a non profit based in Vail, Colorado has been using kayaking and other outdoor adventure sports to promote emotional, psychological, and physical healing for young adults with cancer. This year they had nine programs in six states!

We've lived here two years now, and had no idea that the Columbia River Gorge Hostel in Bingen even existed. The historic Bingen School was built by the Civilian Construction Corps, and has been a hostel since 1988 with both private rooms and hostel beds. You can shoot hoops in the old gym, store your stuff in the hall lockers, write notes to self on the blackboards in the rooms, and make food in the self serve kitchen (in which we were delighted to find a commercial stove with a griddle top for our pancake feast). It's also just a few blocks' walk from the Amtrak station, as any good hostel should be!

The first breakfast went very well and we'd gauged our food pretty much on target. We did have some leftover scrambled eggs. Rather than send my cholesterol levels soaring, I thought we could turn them into breakfast burritos for the next morning, as that meal was still in need of a volunteer. It also solved the problem of what to do with a big bag of potatoes I'd gotten on sale. So in between meals I made up the burritos, wrapped them in foil and stuck them in the fridge for rewarming in the morning. Then it was time to bake the lasagnas for dinner. Lloyd went down early with the the garlic bread, salad fixings and the brownies I'd made for dessert while I waited for the lasagnas (one veggie, one small vegan). Jan and Fred brought a turkey lasagna and blackberry crisp, Janet and Skip brought a veggie lasagna, Lisa and Randy brought a veggie lasagna with white sauce and a salad, and voila, dinner for 30 plus us.

After dinner, we headed back to our house. The sun was down enough to enjoy our deck and some fabulous white sangria that Janet wanted to try from this week's Oregonian. It was a smash hit. I highly recommend it for summer sipping. Here's how to make enough for 8:

In a large bowl or pitcher, combine 1/4 cup brandy and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Let stand 5 minutes then stir to dissolve sugar. Add fruit- 2 firm ripe peaches (halved, pitted, then thinly sliced), 1/2 honeydew melon (seeded, peeled, cut lengthwise into thrids and sliced thinly crosswise-abt 4 cups). Add one bottle of white wine (sauv blanc or pino gris, well chilled). Stir to combine. Just before serving, add 12 oz can seltzer or club soda and stir again. Serve over ice. You can keep it refrigerated up to 1 day.

It's been a busy start to our week, after surviving Nights in White Salmon (more on that when I track down some photos). I think we'll take a short hiatus from our good deeds and go fishing....we need to recharge our batteries!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

TGIF and Kayak Painting

Update: we did win Best Costume! The rest of the 'team' can see me at the next HYC gathering to get your official Kayaks on Wheels coffee mugs made by Klickitat Pottery! They are quite fine. We've tested them out.

For the second time this month, the Husum Yacht Club met at our house for TGIF and to paint the kayak for an event. To get our creative juices flowing, we TGIF'd first, painted later. The results were stunning.

We left the red and white strips from the 4th of July decorations, but painted the hull like a big salmon. The kayak will be perched on this wooden cradle with wheels that Lloyd designed, and pulled by four people up the main street of town on a blue chalk 'river' prior to the start of the Art and Wine Fusion I wrote about the other day.

No one wanted to ride in the kayak, even after TGIF. Probably a wise decision. So we had to recruit a friend of Alina's who wouldn't mind falling off if the 'river' got rough. We even found a life jacket to fit him. Safety first!

Our team of salmon will be costumed in hand painted White Salmon Tshirts by Mikki, with silvery capes attached. On their heads will be these fine fish hats by yours truly. I only hope that it isn't 100 degrees at 4:30 like it has been the last couple of days. Good thing it's a short run. And no, I'm not running. I pulled the thing in the 4th of July Husum Pride Parade and in the .1k run. It's someone else's turn for the glory. Also, the Marimba Band starts playing at 4:50. My talents are needed there.

I'll let you know if we get the award for Best Costume...after all that knitting and painting, Mikki and I think we deserve it!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nights In White Salmon

...never reaching the end...

Apologies to the Moody Blues (not really). Actually we ARE reaching the end. Only two more days to wrap up this year's event. Lloyd has been so busy organizing this year's Art and Wine Fusion, he'll be ready for some down time, preferably in a quiet fishing spot out of cell phone range. This week was full of Murphy's Law moments, and he's learned more than he wanted about the WA Liquor Control Board and some seemingly inane rules and regulations. By Sunday it will be in the books, with many lessons learned for the next person to chair this event. I don't think it will be anyone in this house!

That said, it will be a great family evening here in White Salmon, with artists, music (including my debut with Jamba Marimba), food and wine tasting in our downtown shops. For the cost of a souvenir glass and five tasting tickets, you can enjoy some great local wines. Take your passport into the shops, get it stamped, then drop it in the raffle box at the end of the evening to win some fine prizes. The more stamps, the more chances you have to win.

And don't miss the first ever White Salmon Slalom, a kayak street competition. You'll have to see it to believe it. I have been working on the Husum Yacht Club's costumes for weeks. Photos next week...

SO if anyone reading is in spitting distance of White Salmon, come on out and have some fun with the locals.

By the way, the very beautiful poster, by the very talented Joanna Kaufman, will be available for purchase at the event. I know I want one...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cool Free Stuff


Show your support for CLEAN ENERGY with this very cool sticker! MoveOn's partnering with acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey — who designed the iconic Obama "Hope" poster — to offer a FREE "Clean Energy for America" sticker.

Just CLICK HERE, the first one is free, including postage. Such a deal!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

On Africa Time

I've been obsessed with learning to play marimba the last few weeks, after finding my way to a fun group called Jamba Marimba. As I try to make my hands do what my brain and ear tell them to do, while trying to match the songs with names like Chemwanyera, Nyungwe, and Siyakudumisa, I'm giving my head a real workout. So, dear readers, I've not spent as much time as usual writing. My debut with the band will be at the Nights in White Salmon Art and Wine Fusion. And I'm getting nervous, so I will be practicing a LOT in the next week or so.

One of my marimba friends sent this amazing video performance by an a Slovenian capella jazz choir called Perpetuum Jazzile. The first few minutes are astounding.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Wine Bag Failure Alert

I've been trying to do my part to reduce the number of those plastic bags from the grocery store that go to recycle, and have a fine collection of reusable grocery bags. Some were free, some I bought for 99 cents. They hail from Whole Foods, Safeway, Thriftway, Petco, and Trader Joe's. I've actually trained myself to remember them, and try to keep a few in my car.

When Trader Joe's was out of wine boxes one time, I bought two handy wine bags that hold six bottles each. I use them now for TJ's, Safeway (rather than those cardboard caddies that end up in the recycle), and when I go to my local vintner. They haven't gotten too much use, which is why I was SHOCKED, I tell you, SHOCKED that my handy wine bag failed the other day.

I'd been up at Wind River Cellars, and picked up a couple of bottles of the 'official wine of my 2009 birthday' to replace some of the bottles I drank (with help) during birthday week. It wasn't even a full caddy. Just a couple of bottles that I balanced in the bag so as to distribute the weight properly. They made it safely from the tasting room to the car. From the car to the house. That's when I ran into trouble. I took the caddy downstairs to put the wine in the garage fridge. I opened the door, and suddenly, CRASH, SMASH. And the sweet smell of pinot gris. The bottom of the bag gave way for no apparent reason. I was very sad.

Had I gone straight to the garage perhaps it wouldn't have happened. But then, next time I used it, I could have had a FULL caddy, and that would not have been good (though it would have been full of $4 a bottle wine, not two $20 bottles).

Was it a fabric flaw? Did the bag break down in the hot car? If so, that really stinks because I'll NEVER remember to take them with me on a specific wine run. I don't know when I'll get to TJ's again, so I will send them a letter asking if this has happened to anyone else. I certainly don't want to lose any more wine this way. I'll let you know what they say. Meanwhile, be sure to keep your reusable bags in the shade, just in case....