Tuesday, July 31, 2012

TWD: Baking with Julia - Blueberry Nectarine Pie

Finally I am getting back into baking along with the group... it's been a bit of a hectic summer... what with fires and all...  anyways...  this weeks recipe was Blueberry Nectarine Pie and I just couldn't pass up making it!  Hopefully Mikey is up for eating it!  The hosts for this week's recipe were Hilary from manchego's kitchen and Liz from that skinny chick can bake.

First it started out with cooking half the fruit with some sugar and flour till the juices got thick.  Then the recipe called for half the pie crust recipe listed in the book, I might have cheated a little and used a pre-made pie crust, don't tell!  The Olympics are on, I can't peel myself away.  So, back to the fruit, I cooked half of it and then combined it with the remaining half of fruit that was not cooked.  After that I just had to wait for it to cool and then pour it in the pie crust.  After pouring it in the crust, I added a few pieces of butter and covered it with another crust and into the oven!  It is currently resting, so here are my pictures minus a picture of what it looks like cut up, hopefully it's not too juicy.   I'm sure we will get through eating it even if it's soupy!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Redwoods

We left Oregon pretty quick the next morning, because we really wanted to get to the Redwoods and check out the awesome trees.  Our first camping spot was in Jedediah Smith State Park, which houses a large chunk of the Redwoods.  Their jewel of their park is called Stout Grove, because it has some of the biggest Redwoods around apparently.

The good news for us is that the road to the trailhead was closed, which made it about a 1/2 mile walk to get to the trailhead from the nearest parking.  This of course completely turned off most of the other travelers in the park, so we pretty much had the grove to ourselves, free to wander and enjoy it in peace. 

There was a lot of gazing up on this hike

Why yes, we are both wearing flannel!

We went back to camp and walked around there for a little bit, enjoying another wonderful campsite.  We had some dinner and went to sleep.  Unfortunately the ground was kind of wet, so it got our tent and sleeping bags a bit wet too, but it was well worth it!

A roadside attraction of Paul Bunyan got us to stop!

The next day we drove down the coast a bit to find our next hiking trail, called the Coastal Trail, we hooked up with it at Yurok Loop, and we wanted to hike down to the mouth of the Klamath River.  The first few miles were exceptional, with great views and beautiful trees and ferns to walk through.  We heard some seals barking down the hill from us, but couldn't see them.  The barks sounded so much like dogs we thought we were coming up to a trailhead with lots of people!  Unfortunately for us, the trail started to open up a bit and once it got exposed to the Sun, the snakes decided to sun themselves on the trail with us.  We probably saw 15-20 gardener snakes of all sizes.  The problem was we didn't know that they were gardeners at the time, so we were worried that they might be poisonous.  This led us to clapping and singing to try to warn them so they got out of our way, which was actually kind of effective.  We did pass by a beach along the way and then we made it all the way to the Klamath River.

The mouth of the Klamath River
Our plan was to hike back the way that we came, however with the all the snakes, we decided to hitch a ride.  Julie asked one couple for a ride, and they were happy to take up back up the road.  They turned out to be fellow Coloradans taking a trip very similar to ours.  Thanks for the ride guys!!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Oregon: Part 2

We'll pick it back up where we left it off, coming into our second day in Oregon.  We slept wonderfully right by the ocean, the sounds put us right to sleep.  We woke up the next morning and took another quick hike, then hit the road, since we had another long drive ahead of us.

Leaving Cape Lookout
 A few shots of the amazing coast line on the way down to the next state park. 

We met another couple from Colorado at this overlook!
We arrived at the campsite at Mt. Humbug State Park and decided that we didn't like it very much, so we walked around the camp ground to find a better one, and we found one with a good flat spot for our tent.  Unfortunately, another guy came right after us who also wanted that spot, sorry dude!  This guy lived in Colorado a while back, but now lives in Oregon.  That sounds like a great idea.  Anyway, we set up camp and walked to the beach again, and wow. 

The guy we met earlier was also at the beach, and he said that this was one of the two most beautiful beaches he has seen in Oregon, and he has been to almost all of them!  This is a black sand beach in a small cove, which is inviting to many birds and sea creatures.  Quite a fantastic place to be.  

Seagulls flying away as I approached

It was chilly, but amazing

One of the seals we saw eating dinner

Black sand beach in the cove
We ate some dinner, which went a bit long, so we missed the sunset here unfortunately.  We went for another hike down there in the morning, and the scenery was equally amazing with the sun going the other way.  It added new depth to the rocks, and we even got some mist that morning!

We left shortly thereafter, anxious to get to the Redwoods in California! 

Leaving Oregon in the convertible

The Fire Post

For those that have noticed, we haven't posted in a few weeks, not even to finish up telling the tales of our trip to the West Coast.  The biggest reason for this absence has been the Waldo Canyon Fire which is burning just over the hill from us. 

The fire started on Saturday the 23rd of June, and Julie and I just happened to be at Costco when the smoke first became visible.  We looked to the west and saw the first of the smoke plumes, which looked close to home.  We finished running our errands, and went back to see just how close it was to our house. 

The smoke from our driveway
The smoke behind the 7-11 on Centennial
 It looked pretty close, which is why it wasn't too surprising when we got notice that we were on a voluntary evacuation.  So Julie and I packed up the house a bit, and decided what we wanted to take with us and got just about everything that we would want.  Unfortunately we got a call that we were on mandatory evacuation just a few hours later, so we took off to Julie's parent's house.  With all of our stuff.  We learned later that evening that it was a false alarm (someone had tweeted it incorrectly...) and that all evacuation notices for our area were lifted. 

We stayed with Julie's parents for the weekend because my lungs couldn't really take the smoke smell too much, but it was nice to get away from the neighborhood for a bit. 
The smoke from Bill and Debbie's neighborhood
 (In the picture above the northern edge of the smoke is right over our house)

The smoke did make for some good sunsets

Life was relatively normal until Tuesday, when we got word again that we were on pre-evacuation notice, so Julie and I left work and met at home to pack our cars.  I went back to work since there wasn't much going on at the time.  Whoops.  Around 430 or so, Julie noticed that the hill side behind our house was on fire, so she went into super gathering mode, and grabbed as many clothes and other items from the house as she could.  Not too long after, a police car came driving by using the megaphone to tell people to evacuate.  Pretty scary.  This was taken right in our driveway, the same place as the smoke pictures above.

This shows the flames from our driveway
Julie stopped by one of our friend's house to make sure he was leaving too, and this is where she got these shots.

The fire above the rock quarry

Just behind this hill is the Flying W Ranch

The Wilson Ranch pool is in the foreground
We have a big rock quarry behind our house (as you can see in the pictures), and that contributed a great deal to our house still being around.  Most importantly though, the Firefighters did an amazing job keeping fire lines away from houses and saving as much as they could. 

The next week or so is a blur of emotions, as we didn't have much information as to the status of our house.  Our favorite weather man lives very close to us, and the hardest part was watching him choke up a few times on air because of the damage to our neighborhoods. 

We spent the time watching the news, and trying to find out information about our house.  We had lunch with Andy and Pam (also evacuated) one day, and went to the staging area at UCCS to see if we could see our house.  

The media staging area by UCCS
Part of our neighborhood is in the smoke way back on the hill
We had already planned a trip to Texas for Julie's cousin's wedding, so after much deliberation we decided to head down there to see family and to get a bit of a distraction.  This turned out to be a good idea, as it was wonderful to see the family and we got to go to Rachel's wedding. 

There is no good way to end this post.  We are happy to be home, but so sad that many of our neighbors lost their homes and that the hills around us were decimated by the fire.