March 2010April 2010 May 2010

04/30 - Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge is still open, so if you want some late season skiing or sledding, head on up. There were signs of spring though. That snow geyser, was just the spew from one of the snow removal machines making its way towards the road to Hurricane Hill. The park folks are getting ready to open the road, maybe in a month or two. In the meantime, there is lots of snow to enjoy.

Old Faithful - the original snow geyser, a major attraction in Olympic National Park


More mountains

Snow covered trees

The view from the roda

Keywords: hurricane ridge

04/30 - Dungeness Dike Poppies

Here are some of the amazing orange California poppies along the Dungeness Dike Trail. They were so brilliant, we thought they were artificial, like surveyor's marking tape, from the distance.

California poppies up north

Keywords: dungeness dike trail, flowers

04/29 - Trilliums on the Lake Angeles Trail

We've already noted a number of trilliums at the lower elevations, but now we've seen a few up around 2,000 feet, on the Lake Angeles Trail. Right now, they are only blooming near the trailhead, but they'll be opening up at high levels soon.

All kinds of flowers

Some kind of orchid

Another trilium

Keywords: flowers, lake angeles, trillium

04/24 - Asparagus and Other Signs of Spring

Washington State is famous for its asparagus. Even the stuff at the supermarket can be great this time of year, if you make sure it is local, but nothing can beat the stalks at the local farmers' market. We wait all year for the crop at Westwind, and now Johnston Farms has asparagus too.

Other sure signs of the season are rhubarb, baby arugula and garlic stalks. Garlic stalks look like scallions, but taste more like garlic than onions. They're great sauteed. On the fish front, Tuna Dan has been selling good looking tru cod and steelhead, and the fat spring salmon have been coming in.

Great asparagus at Westwind Farms

Johnston Farm has asparagus for the first time this year.

Is that rhubarb?

Keywords: farmers' market, johnston farm, westwind farm, salmon, washington state

04/23 - Shadow Mountain Telephone Booth

The telephone system seems to enter a time warp out near Lake Crescent. It's easy not to notice, but if you look carefully at one of the many telephone cable warning markers along East Beach Road, you'll see that they have good, old fashioned Bell System logos. There's none of that Qwisp, or Quaker, or Qwest stuff they put on our phone bills these days. The Bell System was a telephone system. Qwest was a breakfast cereal.

There are even a few markers, and some curious equipment, right along the Spruce Railroad Trail. You probably haven't noticed it because there is awful a lot of distracting beautiful scenery. Still, it is time warp country. Check out this telephone booth at Shadow Mountain. That's the store along route 101 that sells gasoline, hot dogs, books of ghost stories, and just about everything else. We suppose that Sasquatch uses it when he comes out of the woods and changes into his civvies. As we said, it's time warp country.

They have just about everything else, so why not a phone booth?

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, science

04/21 - Kol Simcha Lamb Shanks

Kol Simcha Farms has been selling their lamb for a few weeks at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market. We've finally gotten around to doing a taste test with a bunch of lamb shanks. We steamed them up Moroccan style in our couscousiere. We put the shanks in the bowl with an onion, some parsley, some butter and a pinch or two of saffron. Then, we steamed for two hours or so, and when they were ready, the meat was falling from the bone. We served them with a mixture of ground cumin and salt, and Kaleberg Laboratories says they were delicious. The meat was tender and full of flavor. We don't know what kind of sheep they're raising, but they are mighty good eating. That's our first report. Now we have to try their lamb chops. They are next on our list.

The shanks are sold frozen, in packages

That's our couscousiere on the stove top.

Those are tender lamb shanks.

Keywords: farmers' market, port angeles, kale

04/18 - 1930s Tourism Brochure for the North Olympic

We came across an old tourism brochure for the Olympic Peninsula. It is clearly from the 1930s, though the exact date is uncertain. Most of the local attractions seem unchanged. That's one of the big differences between urban and rural tourism. (Of course, it was all national forest back then. Olympic National Park wasn't designated a park back then.)

Click here for the brochure.

There's some familiar scenery

Keywords: historical

04/17 - Trilliums

Trilliums are a certain sign of spring. They can be surprisingly tricky to find, for it seems that the mind builds a block against seeing them, but once one has been found, others abound. We noticed this on the Spruce Railroad Trail and on the Elwha Trail out of Whiskey Bend. Trilliums like water, so watch for them near streams where they often lurk. We wish you luck in your trillium spotting, but note that success, especially in this endeavor, favors the prepared mind.

Seen on the Spruce Railroad Trail

Seen on the Elwha Trail

The first paintbrush

Keywords: elwha, spring, spruce railroad, flowers, trillium

04/13 - Russian Easter

Yes, Russian Easter was Sunday, April 4th, but we just got around to holding our own celebration on the 11th. We gather there are some disputes about the exact date between the Old and New Calendrists. Well, we're the Kaleberg Calendrists, so we get to set our own date.

At least we hold true to tradition with our food. We have our blini, buckwheat pancakes, drowned in butter, our enemies of the Czar, grilled reuben sandwiches with Russian dressing, Trotsky's Bane, cucumber shots of salmon roe and tequila, and our usual set piece, the Defense of Moscow, in which we defend Moscow, represented by an oversized Baked Alaska decorated with brownie onion domes, from the Monster Napoleon by the traditional scorched earth method thanks to a good helping of flaming cognac.

Gorbachev and Breshnev preside by the samovar. That's Trotsky's Bane to the right.

Moscow, as envisoned by Kaleberg Arts, prior to its defense

Our Enemies of the Czar await their ritual consumption

Keywords: russian easter, salmon, kale, alaska

04/11 - Farmers' Market Update

When the icy winter winds howl through the Port Angeles Farmers' Market at the Gateway Center, it seems as if a mere handful of survivors huddle in its vasty space. Now that the Gateway is beset more with icy spring winds, that huddle of survivors has grown to a goodly number of farmers and other vendors, and the vasty space is filling up nicely.

One of this week's arrivals was Mount Townsend Creamery. They're based in Port Townsend, and they've been selling some pretty good cheeses for a few years now. One of our favorites, their Trailhead cheese, seems to have vanished, but they've replaced it with a new cheese, Red Alder, and from our sample, it seems to be just as good. Another new cheese, their washed rind tomme, also seems to be a Trailhead descendant. They are both farmhouse cheeses, great for melting on toast. They're also selling their Seastack and Cirrus cheeses, which are soft, rather than farmhouse in style, and, for a real treat, they have their delicate fromage blanc.

Other notes: There are more greens, everywhere. The garlic shoots made a great stir fry, and check out Johnston Farm for their garlic radish leaves. They were great sauteed.

Mount Townsend Creamery will be at the market, and they are selling two new cheeses.

Westwind Farms with their potatoes

Nash Huber's stand in the foreground as the market fills out for the season

Lazy J greens

Bell Street Bakery

Keywords: farmers' market, farms, johnston farm, nash huber, port angeles, westwind farm, mount townsend creamery

04/09 - Fort Worden

We had some business to handle in Port Townsend, so we decided to take a look at Fort Worden which is a bit north of town. (Our business was to pick up coffee ice cream at Elevated Ice Cream for our Russian Easter party's Baked Alaska.) Fort Worden is mainly a state park now, but at one time it was a military installation, and there is some lovely architecture there, especially along the officer's row. There is also some pretty scenery with great views of the water, but we are a bit spoiled by Olympic National Park so we only explored a little, then headed off to get our ice cream. If you are in Port Townsend, you might want to drop by, but if you have more time to explore, head west.

The main sward

The waterfront

A great old building

Keywords: port townsend, russian easter, alaska

04/06 - Sephardic Gefilte Fish

You may be fond of gefilte fish from a jar, but we find that concoction a bit too sweet and flavorless. Instead, we make our own Sephardic gefilte fish using ling cod or halibut. For more info and our recipe, take a look at our special report.

Great boiling gefilte fish! - See the recipe.

Keywords: special report, recipe

04/03 - The Farmers' Marking is Springing Back

The Port Angeles Farmers' Market is springing back. Red Dog Farm, The Family Farm and Johnston Farm are all back, a sure sign of spring. Wild West had some magnificent halibut and kushi oysters. We went for the oysters at Mystery Bay, because we were too lazy to shuck our own. We were quite loaded down with beef, eggs, fish, kale raab, garlic radish leaves, german butterball potatoes, and other goodies, so we didn't explore everything. We did notice the jam and preserves people had their stand up, and even more people were selling eggs. We will get around to everyone eventually. Word is that more farmers are harvesting, so we're looking forward to the season.

P. S. There is a real demand for local foods around here. The Clark Family Farm expected to sell two animals in their first month. They sold out in a week.

Johnston Farm is back

The Family Farm is back - It looks like spring!

Red Dog is back too!

Keywords: farmers' market, johnston farm, oysters, port angeles, spring, clark family, kale

March 2010April 2010 May 2010