Monday, September 30, 2013

Stormy Weather

If you were in the area last night I bet you didn't sleep well. We have had such a stormy and cold weekend.

I busted out the lap blanket for my computer work on Sunday. Leela is happy. Believe it or not, that is her happy face. And it took until this morning for Emile to figure out she was under there.

Until the downpour stopped, Nim wasn't leaving the bed.

The second we got a break in the rain we explored the storm damage in the yard.

The smells are apparently fantastic after a storm. This is standing on the bridge over the Snoqualmie River.

We were trying to fit a quick walk in-between squalls. It was a very small window and we got rained on.

I guess I will get a lot of homework done today - thanks to this fantastic weather. Or maybe some knitting. :) Have a good week!

Friday, September 27, 2013

School Starts, Summer Ends, Peanut Butter Kandy Kake, and Vegetable Soup

Notice my "catch all" title. It has been awhile since posting.

Last week we had sun...

Today and this coming weekend has been a lot of rain. The sun shade on the car is actually sized for my mom's suburban and I am sad I probably won't need it again for literally months.

Now that the cold weather has started Leela has resumed her favorite spot on Nim's head.

This quarter my homework and quizzes mostly fall on Fridays. This is a bit unusual as most of my previous online classes have had Sunday deadlines. 

Once my homework and quiz was submitted for the week I decided to take the rest of the day to watch World War Z, clean the house, bake, and make soup. 

When I saw this recipe for Peanut Better Kandy Kake I knew I had to try it. The only reason I even know the name "Tasty Kake" is thanks to the Stephanie Plum series.

I have no idea how close this comes to the real thing, but it involves basically a vanilla cake base with peanut butter and chocolate on top. Hard to go wrong. You will note I took the lazy way out and didn't make individual rounds.

I also made this Vegetable Soup and that turned out REALLY well. It is a very easy and inexpensive soup to make.

I basically stayed true to recipe although I don't bother with the vegetable stock and I forgot the celery. I did use the Delicata squash as she did (big advantage when you don't have to peel).

Have a nice Friday evening!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Another Quilt and the $20 Gamble

You know when you see a deal so good you know you should walk away because it has to be a scam? Well recently I was presented with a WAY too good to be true price, but I wanted to be true so badly I went for it.

I was online last week to buy hopefully my last textbook for awhile and managed to find it "new" for $20 (everywhere else listing for about $175).

I took the $20 chance and received what I think is the correct book in the mail today. I am waiting on the syllabus for the class, but it appears I wasn't scammed. (Nim's toy was in his mouth by the way, not sure why he deposited for the camera. He looks thrilled for another quarter doesn't he? Or maybe it is the heavy book I rested on his body.)

The rainy weather has been conductive to quilting and I quilted my last finished top today. Now I am back to piecing projects and in the interest of clutter in my tiny house I can't let tops build up like that again.

Similar to other lap quilt I finished a couple of weeks ago with the same pattern I used a more flannel/fleece backing and no batting. I kind of wish I had put the batting in because this is a much thinner backing, but obviously I am not taking it apart.

I started looking at the pieces of two tops that were in is going to take me a bit to figure out what I was doing on both of them. I think they both had issues in the first place which is why I stopped working on them.

Monday, September 16, 2013

New Years Day Mystery Quilt 2013 Finished!

This was a good weekend for finishing another quilt. I finally got the binding on the New Years Day Mystery Quilt 2013. I do like the quilt, I am not thrilled with my quilting work however due to the skipped stitches and constant thread breaking.

I will get better though.

Last night a strong storm came in again. I don't know what the deal is this summer with the thunder and lightning storms.

Emile is the only one in the house that will actually hide, but then he still wants to watch from under the bed because he is sure he is missing something like little birds in puddles.

It is much cooler and rainy out today. This is my last week before another quarter starts so I am making the most of it. I did some more quilting this morning and I am sure Nim and I will take a walk today even if it is rainy.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Johnson Ridge, Sunrise Mt, Scorpion Mt, Joan Lake, Skykomish - Wild Sky Wilderness

We are in another unseasonably warm streak and tomorrow will be hotter. I took a gamble today that the mountains might not get as hot and I was pretty much wrong. Johnson Ridge is still a beautiful hike and it was really hard to decide which photos to share of the probably 60 I took.

We hit the road around 6:30am and drove roughly 2 hours for Johnson's Ridge, a trail I read about on accident while researching another hike. I will admit, I don't hike much of the US 2 wilderness and after dealing with Hwy 203 and US 2 (both 2 lane highways) to get to the hike this morning I was reminded why. I am really spoiled that there is plenty of good hiking much closer to me.

Notice the lack of switch backs. Much of this trail runs ridge line, but the parts that go up or come down do it sharply. Nim is snoring next to me as I type. For a seemingly straightforward trail, I think we are both pooped from this one.

Johnson's Ridge starts on what I am assuming is an old road. It is a steady climb and it is cobble in spots.

Eventually a fair amount of the hike is in old (second?) growth and it really was beautiful. When we started out we had a decent breeze and the sun wasn't too strong. It would have been a great trail to have started in the dark actually just to enjoy the sunrise.

As you can see in the below photo the climb up and descent down of Sunrise Mountain is a straight shot. When you go up, all you can think is you have come back down it, and when you drop down the other side, all you can think is you have to go back up it.

Once we left the old growth we were on exposed ridge and it was absolutely beautiful meadows. The trail is more narrow and sloped. Nim was having a meltdown over all the little birds. This exposed part of the trail would end up being a real beast on the hike back out. It was a very hot part on the hike.

Eventually you get to an unmarked intersection and you can clearly see Joan Lake below you. We decided to go up Scorpion Mountain first.

Such a pretty and open area up there. I think it would be windy at night for camping, but definitely a place that one could camp.

We were getting pretty hot up there and I contemplated cutting Joan Lake entirely as the temperature seemed to suddenly jump, but we were nice and close and at least it was a water source.

Dropping down into Joan Lake I was definitely aware that I was going to have to come back up.

Can you see the tadpoles around Nim? All he could sense was motion. I found it funny that they actually were flocking to him when he would step in the water. This was actually that smaller feeder lake to Joan Lake. Nim went into the water on both.

On the return hike to the car I felt a bit rushed. I knew I had to get us back into the old growth and even then it was still very warm with no breeze but Nim did much better with the protection of the trees. There is no water on this trail aside from Joan Lake and I had a heavy pack full of water for both of us because of this.

Despite being a shorter hike for backpacking, this would be quite a fun area to overnight in. The meadows as you drop towards Joan Lake would be my preference for more protection from the wind. There were signs here and there that people had been camping on both Scorpion and Joan Lake.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

First Real Weekend of Fall

What a weird weekend. I didn't feel well Saturday at all. Poorly enough to consider a nap during the day (which is unheard of for me). I was desperately trying to nap when my neighbor called to let me know that hunters they had allowed on their land were tracking an elk they had hit with an arrow onto mine.

As you can probably imagine, I was pretty upset about this news, made worse by overwhelming exhaustion.

I was attempting to settle in again to nap and ignore the possible killing and dying going on in my yard when I ended up getting a front row seat to a hawk taking out a baby bunny. Readers, this was overwhelming beautiful and upsetting all at the same time. That was it. I cried.

***I promise I will attempt to tell a funny story at the end of this post.***

As the weather as become more fall like, the snuggle is back into rotation. 

The leaves are absolutely covering the yard. Nim basks in the sun spots and I rake. Raking leaves for me is like weeding. I never get tired doing it. It is one of those lightly physical repetitive activities in which you really can't go wrong.

And now, I leave you with a story. I really wish I could do it the justice it deserves. I will outline it the best I can, and let you fill it in with your imagination.

Cast of characters:
Emile - orange cat
Wooden floor drying rack for clothing
My bra drying on lower level of rack

The scene:
Nim and I come into the house and somehow manage to spook Emile who was under the drying rack. He jumped vertical, got his head stuck in my bra strap and what happened next really can't be described.

Basically I didn't know a cat could move that fast and jump so much with a bra billowing behind him. Leela and Nim were actually stunned into statues and even I just stood there. I was positive that should Emile ever stop I was going to be making a trip to the emergency vet.

Once Emile finally shook my bra, he stayed under the bed for a very long time. My bra was located several hours later when I noticed Leela pawing at something under the shelving.

I hope your imagination made you laugh. :)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Quilt, Cake, Summer Storm

Last night Nim had his nails done and got a full massage after his hard day of hiking. He definitely got some new dings from the Dog Mountain hike. I think there are some great advantages to a short-haired dog, but there are some protection disadvantages.

We woke up around 3am to a serious thunderstorm and according to the morning news a storm to end all storms was coming. So I ate a huge breakfast assuming no hiking today and then guess what...nothing happened. It is 2:30pm right now and still no storm.

Since I was too full to hike and Nim probably needed a break anyway we did yard work. As you can tell he was thrilled. I am sure in his mind time would be better spent sleeping in bed with occasional breaks for eating.

I finally finished quilting another quilt Tuesday night. I have a new most hated error message on the sewing machine. I didn't think it was possible to break a thread so many times while quilting.

Doing some Internet searching this is most likely a free motion technique issue on my part. I think I am going to need to relearn my tension and technique for this new machine.

Tuesday I also made a Vegan Pudding Cake. It was fun to dump boiling water over the top of it before baking.

It is a REALLY rich dessert which coming from me says a lot. I would say it isn't super sweet but I also used dark chocolate powder. I have actually enjoyed it more a day or so afterwards.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Dog Mountain/Lennox Creek Trail - North Fork Snoqualmie

I was going to do a post about quilting and chocolate cake but made a decision this morning to attempt Dog Mountain and so that is the post of the day.

Dog Mountain/Lennox Creek is an abandoned trail that is accessible from the North Fork. (I also know that people attempt a Dog Mountain approach from the Middle Fork - I haven't tried it). I attempted Dog Mountain today fully expecting not to make it, but we did good.

This trail is also called Lennox Creek on some maps (like my Garmin Mapsource software). Over the years I have been on the abandoned road portion, but never made a serious attempt to complete the mountain.

You start out parking at a very obvious road collapse that my dogs can usually climb up but coming back I have to lift them down. You could park at the Bare Mountain parking area and walk to this point, but I recommend driving up there and getting eyes on the area from the safety of your car. It is a camping/shooting/transient living area at times.

Can you see the old growth logs laying the foundation of the bridge?

We didn't find these sign posts for Dog Mountain/Lennox until the hike out. I couldn't find the signs. You don't even reach these posts until some mileage on the road.

For being such a photo heavy post, I am leaving a ton of photos out. Basically, this trail is a fair amount of hard work. The trail is hard to find frequently and I did some tripping and sliding navigating it.

Sometimes you will find pieces of an obviously old trail, and sometimes you are on a boot path carved in a sloping hillside and covered in thorny brush.

There were beautiful signs of fall and the more I climbed the more moments of beauty we found.

I greatly underestimated the mileage the road added and found myself frustrated with the constant switch backs that seemed to go longer than I thought they should have and no sign of the ridge line. And then suddenly we were in a beautiful meadow! My GPS was helpful enough that I knew I was on the ridge line altitude and at that point I figured we would go as long as we could, but that the hike had been an unexpected success.

Just gorgeous.

So in the below two photos I believe Dog Mountain is in the background. I decided this was our turn around point. We had worked hard to get there and I knew darn well what that scramble was going to involve.

No complaints from Nim.

Happy boy at my side.

As you can see from our track we were just below Dog Mountain more or less when we stopped. Had I stayed on the ridge, I might have had a lake view or something, but I am fine with our turn around. The trek down was far worse than the trek up.

It was roughly 10.5 miles round trip according to the Garmin and by the time we made it back to the car there was thick drizzle fog and we were both super hungry.

I really wish this trail would be salvaged. It is incredibly remote, but it would be a shame to lose it. Some abandoned trails people don't want to talk about so as not to draw the crowds, but this trail could use some public help.