The Kaleberg Journal - April 2018


04/10 - X.O. Alambic in Dayton

We took a side trip up to Dayton, a bit northeast of Walla Walla. Our goal wasn't a winery, but a distillery. Like many towns, Dayton has an agricultural business incubator, basically big open spaces with concrete floors, big doors, loading docks, good plumbing and good wiring. There was a Jolly Green Giant on the hillside behind it. This area is frozen vegetable country.

One never knows what one will find inside one of these spaces. They are intentionally generic, so businesses can make what they want of them. A step into the X.O.Alambic space was a trip into steam punk. We were suddenly back in the 19th century or early 20th with pipes, valves, shining metal boilers and condensers, pressure sealed windows and an air of organized clutter that would not have been out of place aboard Jules Verne's Nautilus.

There was methanol dripping from the recently charged still. Neurotoxic, we were informed. Our host carefully isolated the bucket and set up a new one. Soon, proper ethanol would start condensing. We stood and marveled. The drivers of modern industry are so dull in comparison. Compare the uniform matte racks of a modern server farm with the gleaming stainless still and rich copper of the alambic stills.

We tasted firewater prepared using the cognac process. It had been aged, and was quite good. We tasted a variety of whiskeys. We had passed grain farms and granaries on our drive to Dayton, and here a variety of grains were being fermented, then distilled and the product aged in oak barrels. We aren't whiskey people, but it was fun tasting. We'll stick with wine for now, but it's good to see people thinking and experimenting like this.


The Jolly Green Giant

Welcome to Captain Nemo's laboratory

A view towards the rear

Stills and barrels

Copper can be beautiful

The bottling area

Aging barrels

What it takes to keep things running

The tools

Another telephone; perhaps for calling one's broker when the silver standard returns

Our host preparing for sea trials

Keywords: farms, walla walla


04/09 - Bennington Lake in Walla Walla

It's that time of year again, the Cayuse spring release. It wasn't very spring-like, but we headed out to Walla Walla anyway. Usually, all the fruit trees en route are full of blossoms, but this time only a handful were. It has been a slow spring on both sides of the Cascades.

In Walla Walla, we made a point of walking around Bennington Lake. It is very different country from where we live. There were dry grasses and old seed pods and wide open agricultural land with mountains only in the distance. The Army Corps of Engineers had closed the sluices, so the lake was low and the side stream was dry. We assume they know what they are doing.


Dry grasses

Distant mountains

Very different from the Olympic Peninsula

This is where one fords the feeder stream for Bennington Lake. It was just about dry.

The closed gates

A view with some water

Agricultural land

Dried berries

Dried seed pods

Bare trees

Lovely country

Keywords: spring, walla walla


The Kaleberg Journal - March 2018


03/31 - West Side of the Elwha

We've been locked out of the various Elwha River hikes for a while now, and it looks like Olympic Hot Springs Road is going to be closed for a while. Missing the river, we decided to try one of the less accessible hikes on the west side of the river. It was different, but it was the same fern filled forest with moss everywhere. We followed the trail down and further down, crossed a stream and then headed up a bit. Then, we started to get some views of the Elwha River, as beautiful and wild as ever. We turned around, leaving a fair bit more of the trail to explore, but it was nice to get another taste of the Elwha.

The forest and the ferns

A foot bridge

More forest trail

First glimpses of the Elwha through the trees

The Elwha River, calm in its course

More of the Elwha River

A boardwalk made the going easier.

Another view of the river, less calm

Moss, rocks and water

More moss, rock and water

Looking up the wall of green

Keywords: elwha


03/21 - Cherry Blossom Special

We had been following the action on the webcam. The buds were starting to open. It was too much to resist. We Kalebergs just had to be in the quad where it happens, so we headed into Seattle, up to the University of Washington and onto the quad where the cherry trees were at peak blossom. These were big old trees, gnarly and dark with a cloud of pale pink flowers about them. The quad was full of people there to enjoy the blossoms and the late start of spring.

Cherry blossoms

More cherry blossoms and admirers

Admirers and cherry blossoms

An old gnarled branch

More CBs

CBs

Dark bark

Another branch

More CBs

Did we mention cherry blossoms?

I guess we did mention cherry blossoms.

Keywords: flowers, seattle, spring


03/20 - Foster Island

After admiring the cherry trees in the University of Washington quad, we headed south across the Montlake Cut. We descended to the waterfront and headed east towards Foster Island. First, we took a foot bridge to Marsh Island which true to its name was marshy and muddy. Then, we crossed another, longer foot bridge and then followed a causeway with wonderful views of the university, the Cascades and Lake Washington. We followed the trail across Foster Island, then headed south towards the Arboretum and back to civilization.

The Montlake Cut and crew

Marsh Island, true to its name

On Marsh Island

More of the marsh, hardly in Seattle at all

The causeway

Across to Foster Island

Some great bird watching

That's 520 overhead; there were ducks below.

On to the Arboretum

Keywords: seattle, trails


03/18 - The Eagles of Towne Road

What were those big birds scrounging in the field by Towne Road. The darker ones looked like ravens, but the larger birds were browner. A closer look revealed distinctive white markings.

Birds in the field

A closer look

And another closer one

Keywords:


03/17 - The Elwha Again

Given what the park service is up against, the lack of an immediate plan to get Olympic Hot Springs Road open again is not surprising. The Elwha River now has a full fledged tributary running through what was once the Elwha Campground. A temporary bridge is possible, but we haven't even seen the spring melt. The older temporary bridge is still in place, but one can imagine a running battle with the park service building temporary bridges and the Elwha River finding clever new ways to branch around them.

Meanwhile, the mule camp is being relocated. If you've ever taken Whiskey Bend Road, you might have noticed the mules in the field near the start of the road. They work for the park service, but the old mule camp is no longer reachable by road. Yes, the mules could walk in, but it's much easier to deploy mule power if you can get all your mules in a truck or two and take them where they are needed. So, their new seasonal home will be the field just past the Madison Falls parking lot. We probably won't be seeing much of that bobcat who hangs around there. Mules have an ornery reputation.


A river still runs through it.

River meets road.

Another view of the river

Fencing for the mule enclosure

Spring flowers - finally

Keywords: elwha, spring


03/14 - Dungeness Spit at Low Tide

Every two weeks or so, there are some great tides at the Dungeness Spit. We recommend planning any long walks on the spit when the low tide gets down to three feet, but lately, the daytime low tide has been getting down below one foot. That means lots of broad beach, and there is lots of sand for easy walking. The light house is only five miles out. What are you waiting for?

For our Dungeness Spit tide tables . Good, low, daylight tides are marked in green.


Wide, sandy beach

An eagle on the driftwood

The orange cap marks "my spot"

Good, easy walking

A view from above

Keywords: dungeness spit, eagle, tides


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