A couple weeks ago Joel and I decided to take a trip to La Tourelle Falls to go hiking. It was a very cold and *very* windy day. After we had hiked we drove the scenic highway back home and stopped at the Vista House. The wind rocked our car and felt like it would rip the metal right off the car. Wow! But besides the wind the hiking was great!
It was a good time for sure. We hadn't been hiking since we were in Wyoming so it was nice to finally get back to it. It's fascinating to me just how mossy it is (which is why I have an overabundance of photos with moss in them...). This area, also including Portland, is a temperate rainforest, so I suppose its no wonder there is so much moss and green life.
After having copious amounts of time off I finally went back to school. I am now going full time with five classes. I now value time off as it is a luxury. My classes are good, some of the teachers are less than wonderful but at least they have interesting things to teach. Yesterday in my wood class I learned how to turn, or lathe, wood. So after class I went to a wood warehouse in order to get some pieces to turn and it was absolutely fascinating. They have exotic and local hardwoods that are absolutely gorgeous. I bought three pieces including cocobolo, a rainforest wood that has amazing colour and pattern (middle) and a local red maple (bottom), and I can't remember the third piece's name.
I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out. Lathing is very interesting and its great because the machine is completely quiet while it is on, as opposed to most wood cutting machines. However, the thing that cuts is the artist! There aren't massive blades that are being spun at extreme rpms, instead the wood rotates and the person manipulating the wood uses wood carving tools to shape the wood. This completely satisfies me because I absolutely detest the loud noises of most wood machines (i.e., saws).
Recently Joel and I have been coming up with ways to save money but still have a good time, particularly in the food realm. I've been making lots of bread (am going to tonight again!). Last time I made apricot and pecan wheat bread, which is delicious as a breakfast bread toasted with butter. I'm been making a lot of Oven Bottoms which are big round loaves that are slightly sweet and good with everything.
Joel here is cutting some cherry chocolate bread (delicious!!):
I also made lasagna (a *real* money saver!) and Oven Bottom bread the other night and they baked at the same time so they came out at the same time -- nothing beats fresh hot bread and lasagna. I felt very accomplished. :0)
We've also been making popcorn on the stove. We just put 1/4 cup corn kernels (found in most bulk sections at grocery stores) with a tad bit (1 tbsp) of olive oil and let them go. Its way more fun than a bag in a microwave! Not only do you not get disgusting butter-flavoured chemicals but you get to watch the popcorn pop!
And when we want to splurge we buy a box of Voodoo Donuts (okay, we've only done this twice). Its way cheaper than buying 2 for both of us and we get 12. :0) Last time we got the quintessential voodoo donut, the man himself.
For those of you who don't know about Voodoo Donuts, its a very 'Portland thing to do'. Only open from the late night to the early morning in a tiny dark brick building by the river, its considered a 'cool' place. I suppose it is, but its definitely overrated.
As far as the home is going, we're doing well. I got Joel a shiitake mushroom patch kit for his birthday (Jan. 23). Its been a lot of fun watching them grow these last two weeks. The patch came as a big marshmallowy looking thing that had little tiny brown spots all over it.
Which then grew into little globules all over.
Which grew recognisably into baby mushrooms.
That grew out from every part, even under the patch!
And then they grew and grew and in a couple days we should have big delicious shiitake mushrooms to cook up.
They started out under a plastic bag (tent with vents) to keep the humidity up. We recently took the tent off for good so that the mushrooms don't smash up against the wall and mold.
I got the kit from which are based in Olympia, WA. They have conferences and how-to weekends but they're a bit pricey and are for people that grow mushrooms on a much bigger scale (i.e., farms, etc).
As for the rest of the plants (and fungi aren't actually plants) things are growing well. There have been some aborted missions, the garlic being #1, but I've also grown a couple things from seed. I started an Asian pear.
I also started some garbanzo beans. Bulk bins are fabulous for starting seeds! Just make sure they're organic.
My calla lily that I thought was dead was actually going through a phase, its now starting to unfurl it's leaves!
And I do believe that is it! :0)