Tuesday, September 30, 2008

FY '08 is Over!

Yippee! About bloody time!

What is it about Federal agencies? They wait until the last three months of the year to use the rest of their budgets, and then panic. Afraid that if they don't spend-spend-spend, they'll get less money next year. Geez.

Suddenly their lack of planning becomes our emergency. So we contractors get inundated with too much work, all with tight deadlines. Most of my overtime happens during the last quarter of the year. You know, end of summer, people taking vacations or leaving for college, gardens and weeds in full production mode, weather hot and dry. Just when I'd like to take things easy for a while. Figures.

Anyway, it's all over now except for the clean-up. All the little things I haven't been able to get finished because some other work had a higher priority.

At least the weather has cooled off. The days are getting shorter and the afternoons just don't heat up like they used to. I'm still getting lots of raspberries, but the tomatoes are nearly finished. Happily, with the cooler weather the arugula has started coming back. And so have my delphinium and some of the other perennials. The orange cosmos is in bloom too. Makes a fun color combination, the dark blue and bright orange. The camera flash makes it look a bit funny, but it was worse without it.

Tachy and I are participating in See Spot Walk this coming weekend. It's a fundraising walk for the local Humane Society. I still feel bad about leaving my cat, DC, with my aunt and uncle in Indiana. He never took to them and disappeared during the year I was in Korea. So I've decided to do this walk whenever I get the chance. We're not always in town that weekend. Hopefully it won't rain TOO hard. We're supposed to get another Pacific storm coming through on Saturday.

Anyway, I'm getting Tachy groomed in a new way for the walk, and I may try to find some kind of fun bandanna or hat for him to wear. I'll probably bring an umbrella as well :-\. I'll take pictures and put them on flickr.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lots of Rain

Whew. Feels like I got a lot done today, although I doubt anyone could tell from looking at the house!

We just had all of our average September rainfall in 48 hours! Friday night was incredible. I haven't seen it rain that hard here since I moved to Idaho. Beautiful lightning display on Friday night as well. I heard on the news that it's been 59 days since our last rain.

It rained most of Saturday, though not as hard. So I didn't get out to the garden until Sunday morning. Just as a note to self for future reference - a lot of rain falling on nearly-ripe raspberries is not ideal. They looked positively water-logged! So I picked everything I could and let them dry a bit. These won't freeze as well as the others, but since I have eight zip-lock bags already in the freezer, that's ok. Oddly enough the strawberries have started producing again, though not a huge amount. It's nice to have a few to put in our granola in the morning.

There were also a few beans and limas to pick, and some of the Marconi peppers were ready. One was nearly a foot long and a lovely dark red. It's a shame so many of the others got sunburned. It seems to stunt their development a lot, although the rest is still edible. Because the ground is so soaked and pepper plants don't have deep roots, I had to prop them up with sticks. So I lightened their loads of peppers as much as I could. It's always very tempting to pick them too soon, before they've had time to develop decently thick walls. But the big one turned out to be much thicker than any I've picked previously. Now I just hope we still get enough heat and sun to get the rest of them red - or at least partly red.

This afternoon I finally tried roasting peppers. I'd never done it before. It works really well, as long as you resign yourself to the fact that you're not going to get every bit of skin off. A bit fiddly, getting the charred skins off, but they turned out great, especially that big one. Now I've done it once, I'm hoping the rest will get ripe so I can do more. I put some pieces in olive oil w/ garlic and basil to marinate in the fridge. Then I divided up the rest and put them in bags for freezing. I also roasted some root veggies for dinner tonight.

I really should be planning my lesson for dance class tomorrow night. Better get busy.


I could survive for 1 minute, 19 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Not Much to Say

Tired. Busy. Here's another photo from our trip...

Paradise Point beach, north of Port Orford, OR.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Trip to the Coast, Part 1

We got back yesterday from our week on the northern California and southern Oregon coast. We had a general idea of places we wanted to go, but aside from that we just made our decisions each day and let things happen.

After an overnight visit with hubby's father in Yreka, CA, we went to the Jedidiah Smith Redwoods. We camped that night in the redwoods, which is not something you can do at many redwood groves further south. Most of them are so small that space for campsites can't be spared, and so much foot traffic compacts the ground around the trees. Not good for the trees, and it kills off the undergrowth as well.

So it was a rare treat to actually camp in a redwood grove. I wish now that we'd stayed a second night. The Jedidiah Smith Redwoods Park is big, and there are lots of older trees. You can hike or drive for miles gasping at one huge tree after another, marching off into the distance.

The next day we moved on to Gold Bluffs Beach, a beach campground in the Prairie Creek redwoods park. It's a bit of a drive on a dirt road to get there, but worth it. We found a decent site behind the dunes. It was very windy. We had to weigh down the tarp under the tent with stones and make sure the tent was well-staked. The beach is amazing, it seemed to stretch on forever. The waves are huge there - nothing to slow them down between Hawaii and the coast. Landward is a prehistoric jungle of redwood forest. Isolated and wild. It was cold with the constant wind, so we didn't swim, but we did walk for a long ways up and down the beach. It was a cold night for me, in spite of a blanket over our sleeping bags. But it was great to hear the waves in the near distance whenever I woke up.

Fog rolled in that night, which got everything surprisingly wet. We packed up and drove two miles up the coast to Fern Canyon. It's a beautiful deep ravine in the redwoods, worn 30-40 feet deep by water action. Now there's just a little stream, so you can walk up three or four miles into the ravine. The walls are covered with five different kinds of fern and other plants. Very picturesque.

After our hike, we drove to Eureka. We spent the afternoon walking around the old town and the marina, and had dinner at Lost Coast Brew Pub. Hubby had a great dinner of sauteed oysters. I had a gorgonzola linguine. It was very nice, but I might have enjoyed the oysters more. On the other hand, the Lost Coast Apricot Hefeweise was amazing! Wonderful apricot aroma, but not sweet.

The next morning we drove up to Arcata to see Humboldt State University. Hubby's daughter is thinking about going there. So we picked up some info for her. Saw an Obama campaign office in town, which isn't too surprizing, considering. Then on to Trinidad, where we walked up the Trinidad rock for some great views up and down the coast. Trinidad is a very pretty little community on a small south-facing cove. Somewhere nice to retire to, it looks like.

On to Port Orford, OR, that day. We were lucky enough to get the last room at the Seacrest Motel, just south of town, overlooking the harbor and beach. Port Orford is pretty small town to live in, far away from everything, but a great place to visit. Amazingly, I saw an Obama campaign office there too! We remembered eating at the Port & Starboard restaurant last time, so we went there again. Hubby had another great oyster dinner with sauteed veggies and garlic mashed potatoes. I ordered a pesto-cream linguine with scallops. Sounded good on the menu, but when it arrived it was a huge pile of mint-green sauce and noodles, with six oysters buried in it. Tasted ok but the color was not attractive, and it had waaaay too much sauce. Way.