November 2015December 2015 January 2016

12/27 - The Spruce Railroad Trail is Open

This was a real surprise to us. The last time we visited the trailhead a few weeks ago there was a huge pile of dirt instead of a parking area. This time the trail was open, and a lot of people were there for a hike. The trail had been closed since last July, and with so many trails closed this winter having the Spruce Railroad trail open was a real treat.

Of course, the trail is quite different this time. They've turned another half mile or so into a road, cut into the hillside and maybe 16 feet wide at points. The old intimate experience of nature just isn't possible with this kind of road cut, but they did manage to smooth the descent to the lake side. The original rail line probably looked pretty raw in its day, so we're hoping things grow back over the years.

Otherwise, the lake is as beautiful as ever, and it's great to have the trail open again.

The Spruce Railroad Trail is open.

It's pretty wide and looks pretty raw.

There are some nice lake views though, and the descent is easier.

Here the new trail meets the old one.

They haven't gotten rid of the waterfalls yet.

Here's some of the old trail, mud and all.

A view of the lake in the direction of Storm King.

More of the old trail

Twisted growth

Another little waterfall

More ferns and running water

Keywords: spruce railroad, trails, winter

12/21 - Cookie Party

We held our annual tree decorating party, and all of our friends helped us decorate our cookie tree. Then we lit the candles. With fire marshalls standing by and extinguishers at the ready we stood in quiet awe admiring the glow of the candle flame. There is nothing quite like it. (Amusingly, one of our friends with a new iPhone took a few Live Photos, and they captured the subtle motion of the candle light very well.)

The tree lit

Another view

An evocative - we hope - close up

It's not the same with electric lights.

Either our friends, admiring the tree, or a shadowy group of conspirators.

Keywords: christmas

12/16 - Our Christmas Advent Calendar

Our Christmas Advent calendar game is online again. Just click the link and use the arrow keys to explore our Christmas village. The lights come on, and the trees light up as you explore. You can explore on a cell phone or tablet using the touch screen. It is sort of minimal, but sometimes you only have time to enjoy Christmas on the go.

Keywords: christmas, software

12/14 - More Signs of Christmas

Do you recognize that thing to the right? That's our Christmas cassoulet, franks and beans a la Francaise. It's a dish of white beans full of duck confit, garlic sausage, pig's feet, pig skin, bacon, pork shoulder, andouille and so on, all rounded out with a bucket of chicken stock.

The other two pictures are of our Christmas party and our two Christmas trees, one large, one small. With the two trees and the roping the place turns into quite a grove, and it's all illuminated by Godzilla's atomic fire. So, there are definitely signs of Christmas chez Kaleberg.

Cassoulet - That's not perspective; that's gravitational warping.

The big tree

The little tree - That's Godzilla glowing with atomic fire on the right.

Keywords: christmas

12/11 - Signs of Christmas

We Kalebergs are dangerously over-excited. Christmas has come in with a vengeance. We were out for the Port Angeles Christmas fire truck, and our house has been invaded by trees.

The fire truck comes

That's Santa up there.

In passing

Our big tree

After a bit of work

Keywords: christmas, port angeles

12/09 - Gingerbread Star Wars at the Sheraton

Every Christmas season we try to drop by the Sheraton in Seattle and check out the gingerbread cookie displays in the lobby. This year the theme was Star Wars, and they had six gingerbread concoctions, one based on each of the movies. Being fans of IV through VI, we probably missed some of the references in the cookie palaces based on episodes I through III. As best we could tell, Jar Jar Binks does not make an appearance.

Every year, there is a lot of wonderful imagination at work in creating these confections, and there is a lot of technical skill involved. They aren't just cookies with a bit of icing. There is a whole confectionary along with the appropriate lighting and sometimes motion. Even if you aren't a Star Wars fan, it is worth dropping by the Sheraton and getting a dose of the Christmas spirit.

Star Wars in gingerbread

Is that the Death Star?

Is this episode II?

More Star Wars magic

Darth Santa being pulled by two AT-ATs.

The Death Star to the rescue, or was it the other way around?


More Star Wars

Uneasy lies the head and all that ...

More magic

Who gets to eat the leftovers?

Keywords: christmas, seattle

12/04 - Seattle - City Christmas

We were in Seattle for a few days last week and walked back from Fremont to our hotel. Cities are always beautiful around this time of year. Businesses and homes put up their Christmas lights to counter the winter darkness. Since half of Seattle seems to be under construction, it's great that so many of the looming construction cranes are illuminated as well.

We tried to get into the Volunteer Park Conservatory, but it was closed for a few days.

A view from Fremont Bridge

Along the waterfront

Construction cranes alight

A view across Lake Union

The Space Needle and a bit of a crane

City lights

City sidewalks

Keywords: christmas, seattle, winter

12/01 - Lake Angeles Snow

There's already snow on the ground along the Lake Angeles trail. It's a Christmas wonderland.

This looks Christmas-y.

Are those Yule logs?

That's the little bridge.

Maybe it's time to start shopping for a tree.

White snow, black stream

Keywords: christmas, lake angeles

November 2015December 2015 January 2016