August 2011September 2011 October 2011

09/25 - A Farmers' Market Recipe

Autumn has come to the Port Angeles Farmers' Market. The tomatoes are passing, but pumpkins and other squashes are coming in, as are the potatoes, cabbages, chards and kales. We'll try for a more detailed report soon, but for now we'll offer a recipe for banh mi. There was a booth at the market offering samples made using Pan d'Amore sourdough bread and Clark Family beef along with a collection of other market vegetables.
NOTE As usual with our recipes, feel free to experiment.

This is an awful picture we took of the ingredients. We promise to take better pictures for our next market report.
  • 3 cups finely shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded carrots
  • 1/3 cup thickly sliced green onions (including tops)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 pound ground beef or pork, browned w/ salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 thick, light-textured baguette, cut into 4 sections
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 8 teaspoons of garlic chili paste
  1. In a bowl, mix cabbage & carrots with 1/4 cup rice vinegar, the salt, and sugar; let stand about 30 minutes.
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine remaining 1/4 cup rice vinegar with green onions, lime juice, ginger, garlic, and five-spice powder. Whirl until smooth
  3. Split baguette sections lengthwise almost all the way through, leaving halves attached at one side. Spread about 1 tsp. chili paste on 1 cut side of each. Add on top, then add cooked pork on cabbage mixture and cilantro leaves.

Keywords: autumn, clark family, farmers' market, port angeles, recipe, kale

09/24 - Hurricane Hill Was Crawling With Critters

Hurricane Hill was crawling with critters on our last visit. There were marmots, chipmunks, and blue grouse wandering about. The flowers of summer have passed for the most part, but our big disappointment was the corn lilies on the side spur. We had hoped to, at long last, catch them in bloom, but they don't seem to have blossomed this year. Still, there seem to be a lot more of them.

A golden marmot

Chipmunk alert: watch your shoelaces!

A plump blue grouse

A couple of marmots

The disappointing corn lily crop

Early autumn colors

More golden grasses

and mountains

and more mountains

Keywords: autumn, flowers, grouse, hurricane hill, marmots

09/22 - Mediocre Tides at Dungeness Spit

We like hiking on Dungeness Spit, but the tides haven't been very good lately. Since the easiest walking is between the water and the high tide line, we plan our walks around low tide. Our best bet is a low tide of three feet or less sometime in the early afternoon. That just happens to be the magic number for us, but the daylight low tide is rarely that low these days.

Still, did manage to get a bit of a walk on the spit recently, mediocre tides notwithstanding. We didn't make it to the lighthouse, but we did make it to the two mile mark. The beach still has a lot of sand, so we didn't have to walk on a trail of pebbles and stones.

The next good low tides are in late January, but by then we expect the winter currents to have washed out the sand. We'll have to see. We have hopes.

For your convenience, we've posted the next good tides at three of our favorite coastal hikes in the left hand column of this page. Just scroll down to find them, or check our tide tables.

The Dungeness Spit

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides

09/17 - Hoh Rain Forest

We were out on the Hoh Rain Forest Trail for the first time in a while. This is a World Heritage trail, so we don't have to say much, especially this year. We arrived mid-week in the shoulder season and found the parking lot full. We're betting that the park had a record summer in terms of visitors, even with the Elwha area closed.

We walked up to Five Mile Island and made our way to the campground. Things had really changed. The river had eroded a fair bit of its northern bank leaving a much narrower flat area between the rise inland and the river itself. The gravel area across the channel had grown with a big region of fresh gravel contrasting with the shrub covered region of older gravel. It's easy to look at a river and think of it as defined by its banks. In fact, the a river like the Hoh is constantly remodeling and reinventing itself, moving its channels this way and that and redecorating its banks with gravel and driftwood.

We had also forgotten just how big some of the trees are. When a trail has a lot of big trees, it's easy to walk along categorizing them as "middling", "middling large" and so on, when in fact it would take a small team to just link arms around one. Early along the trail, not all that far from the trailhead, there is a fallen tree lying parallel to the trail. It's quite a walk from the broad section where it had broken from its stump to its upper reaches. It seems that a few hundred feet on there is still a tree beside the trail, and it takes a moment of thought to recognize that this is just more of the same tree.

It's an amazing trail, and we have only explored the first bit of it. Despite the full primary parking lot - we parked in one of the overflow lots - the trail thinned out quickly. Most people just explore the short interpretive Hall of Mosses trail at the start, but it is worth wandering a bit up the river to get a better sense of the river and the forest.

The twisty trees and vines of the rain forest

More twisted trees

The view up the river

A fallen tree on the river gravel

Another view up the river - the magic of framing

Pacific dogwood in bloom and in fruit

More amazing rain forest trees

A fungal friend

It's hard for a photograph to give a sense of how big some of these trees are.

A glimpse of the river

Another view up the river

Keywords: hoh rain forest

09/13 - Wood Fired Pizza

For a while they were going to build some luxury condos on this lot. They even dug a deep hole for the foundation, but now it's back to a parking lot and wood fired pizza. We didn't actually try their pizza, but they've got the wood and flames all right. If nothing else, it shows imagination in the face of economic collapse.

You can see the flames

Keywords: seattle, food

09/07 - Pickled Tomatoes

Our friend Julia dropped by a few days ago to show us how to pickle tomatoes. She makes the most amazing pickled red tomatoes from an old Russian family recipe. For our part, we bought a 20lb box of Sunny Farms Roma tomatoes and dithered around ineffectually. Julia provided the cherry leaves, currant leaves and the jars, as we hadn't even bought the right kind of jars.

The recipe is pretty simple. There is the pickling liquor made by boiling 5 liters (or quarts) of hot water, 8 tablespoons of kosher salt, 2 cups of white sugar and 2 cups of white vinegar. For each one to two quart jar add 4-5 cherry tree leaves, 2-3 currant bush leaves, 2-3 tablespoon chunks of fresh horseradish root, 1-2 horseradish leaves, 5-6 cloves of garlic, 1 dill flower "umbrella", 10 black peppercorns, 4-5 whole allspice berries, and 2-3 cloves. All right, maybe it's not that simple.

Bring a big pot of water to boiling. Stuff as many tomatoes as you can into each jar. Feel free to squeeze them a bit, but don't reduce them to a pulp. Then, pour boiling water into each jar to sterilize the tomatoes and the pickling spices. Then, using a strainer to catch anything that tries to escape, drain each jar and top it off with the hot pickling mixture. Be careful to shake the jar around a bit to get out any air bubbles. Quickly screw on the lid and flip the jar over.

Store all the jars, upside down, wrapped in a heavy blanket. They'll stay hot for at least two days, cooking and ripening all the time.

That's the recipe on the left, in Russian. We're lucky we had a translator.

Currant leaves

Cherry tree leaves

Garlic cloves and horseradish root cut into roughly tablespoon sized chunks

Lots of Roma tomatoes

We had to run around to find the fresh dill with flowers. Albertson's was out, but Safeway had them.

Black peppercorns, allspice berries and whole cloves - Spices are so pretty.

The jars filling with leaves, herbs and spices

Boiling hot water to sterilize each jar

Full of pickling liquor, ready to seal

Put them to bed

Keywords: food, recipe

09/04 - Obstruction Point

The road to Obstruction Point has been open for a while now. We managed to make our way out and took a little walk, stopping just before the big descent to Grand Lake below. There wasn't very much snow on the trail, but there was lots of snow still melting all about.

The carpet

Some mountains

More mountains with snow melting and scenery in the foreground

One of the smaller lakes

Lupines and more mountains

Yup, more mountains

Melting snow

More melting snow

The melting snow patterns were unusual this year, either that, or the snow has lingered.

Another little lake

And yet another

Keywords: obstruction point

09/03 - The Flowers at Obstruction Point

There were so many wonderful alpine flowers at Obstruction Point that we took too many pictures to fit in one post. Think of this as the overflow post.


Glacier lilies

Lupines by the path


We have no idea.


Ghost flower - We made that up.

We really do need to take a course or something.

This isn't mouse on a stick. (We didn't make that one up. There really is a flower called that.)

More pretty

Lupines and dirty sock plant, oh, and some mountains that sort of sneaked in

Keywords: flowers, obstruction point

August 2011September 2011 October 2011