Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ozette Potatoes

Ozette Potatoes
Ozette Potatoes. Well, that's what they call 'em up here, after the lake named after a Makah village. Supposedly they came in with the Spanish a couple centuries ago. Sounds right to me. They certainly look like the original breeds of tuber that came up from South America through Europe.

The ones I've seen have often been small, as the original tuber types often are, but as you can see in the photo, they respond very well to fertilizer and water. The larger ones average a foot and a half long. Under equivalent conditions, compared to reds, blues and various whites, they're the best producers in the garden, at least for this cool, salty, windy climate.

They grow in upright bunches that would make them excellent for container gardening, and produce long, strong vines, that would take a lot of burying to produce even more potatoes.

They have rather difficult-to-clean sunken eyes, but they never seem to have any hollow or bad spots inside. They steam up nicely and they're tasty. At a certain stage, they're waxy like salad potatoes. Steamed more, they become fluffy, like Idaho bakers. They're particularly easy to prepare for pan-fries; simply slice them like carrots and slow-fry in oil.

Note: if you only have poor soil and little water, go for blues; they seem to be jump-started by drought, even happier, and produce more than anything else. Tough guys, blues. 
Roberta Gregory's potatoes just came up in Seattle. April 10, 2013.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

WTF is THIS thing?

Body of the beast.
Ah, the mystery of the sea. Somebody up here must know what this thing is. We found two of them on the beach. It seems to have - um - feelers, and perhaps a mouth on the opposite end, and are those guts? Animal or plant? You tell us.

Head or tail or something.

I just received this email. I suggest going to this gentleman's site, which is full of wonderful photos, as well as contact info for diving services. The skate backbones had been washing up on the beach of late, so yes, this is very likely one of their egg cases, in a very degraded state.

Hi Donna,

Thanks for the comment on the site.  It is a labor of love. 

It is hard to tell from the pics, but if I had to guess I think what you found is an egg casing for a shark or skate.  It looks fairly deteriorated as it has long ago hatched, but unhatched ones look like this:

Thanks for sharing!

Keith Clements
Emerald Diving, LLC
Discover the beauty within Pacific Northwest waters

Friday, October 26, 2012

Scared Silly

Clallam Bay Haunted House
Well, I nearly was. I had the gall to go through the Haunted House in the Clallam Bay Visitor's Center, all by myself.

Their claim is, "Your head will say it isn't real, but your eyes will say it is." I can vouch for that.  I knew every one of these kids, and all the scare tricks, and it still scared me as bad as when I went through the old San Francisco haunted house.

I haven't had so much fun in years. You gotta go. It's open this weekend (2012, the weekend before Hallowe'en itself, and Hallowe'en night). Only $4.00, which goes to The United Way. Yes, they have less scary hours for little kids, too.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Big Sis

Me and my sis Dotti at Mukilteo.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Kurt Vonnegut in the Berry Patch

Us: Lalalala, let's go pick some berries and make wine and pies. And not pay attention to it being a Krakatoa year, and berries might not be as common as they usually are.

Bear waking up on the hill: RAWR! (Translation: You fucking monkeys get off my hill and away from my hibernation food!).

Me: Click all car doors open, walk quietly but QUICKLY over to Dan, and mutter, "Pick up all your equipment and get in the car."

Dan:  Didn't say a word. Picked up his equipment and got in the car.

The September 11 harvest.
Well, for most humans, berrying and stuff is only a hobby, anyway. We can buy all kinds of subsidized food, including berry jam. Ursa Major up there needs the food he can pick to make it through the winter.

And when you see two-inch-thick berry canes ripped to shreds, as with a machete, maybe not so much arguing with a much larger, more irritable omnivore who is worried about the food source.

So we went and picked Chanterelles, instead. Results: Blackberry wine, blackberry pie, more blackberry filling, and mushroom rice for supper.  Not so shabby. That double dish is corn-breaded fish fillets from the freezer, from a couple day's teasing the greenling on the beach.

(Kurt Vonnegut, captured at the Battle of The Bulge, said he and his fellow platoon-members didn't say "Nuts!" or anything to the SS. They held up their hands and went along quietly. Basically, we didn't make any smart remarks to anything that heavily armed and wearing black, either.)

(Sadly enough, ran into my childhood in the Pacific Northwest, again. When I was a kid, dumb-ass grownups used the back gully as a rubbish tip. Ran into a local rubbish tip up here, again, when you think people would finally have learned better. One wonders, sometimes, if one is in a time-warp from the 1950's.)

Short Commons, River Tension, Live Heart, OMG

Which is the phrase for "There's not a lot to eat." And why birds are dying and washing up on the beach. Yesterday, found this adult red-tail hawk washing around on the edge of the surf, and picked it up, bedding it up on the beach plaintain.  No, we can't feel anything when we're dead, but - you know. We do it out of respect.

How do you know the Clallam River is rising as the tide comes up? The surface tension on the dry rocks is swelling.

A Douglas Fir that went down a long time ago on Slip Point (Clallam Bay beach) and cut. Still bleeding blood-red pitch.

Dan, making fun of the Chemtrail sillies.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Real Working Forest

Believe me, even loggers up here KNOW forests are the lungs of the planet - and even the food-link to the algae that produce so much of the oxygen. They're asking, "But what do we do for our grandkids?" Admittedly, they still wince at the word "education" (imagine the industry propaganda that caused that) - but their kids are teaching them!

As one girl (admittedly south state) had tattooed on her belly: "We are the ones the grandmothers have been praying for." They're asking questions, they WANT education (including the highly necessary arts) and they can see ahead. One converted logger said his grandkid showed him how much money was in FUN (and your entire paycheck doesn't go fixing the @#$!!! machinery).

This is an Audobon Area - all those birdwatchers want good trail guides, and will pay, and fancy wild birds, in a proper environment, are a self-replicating, no-expense resource. If we must put it in those terms for us Geezers. "Jobs" are about serfdom, but a fully-restored forest offers hundreds of self-employment jobs. Now we need more classes about running your own business - and it's not that hard!
Note: a waitress at the Lake Crescent lodge (on a slow day) listened to how to run her own comicon at the lodge, as did people on the bus. They're all listening to the possibilities of tourism and entertainment. The term "Working Forest" works even better if it's a fully-restored forest with beautiful trails.  The real money will be in beauty and fun, for everybody, because the old model of theft, murder and greed is failing under our feet. 
We owe it to the kids to stop wiping our butts with the lungs of our planet - and pooping in our drinking water.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Sheds Off House

Yes, they are. They came down in an hour. Now I need to get a shot of the side of the house, painted. Which it is.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

More Clearcut Dancing

Follow-up to the Pillar Point cut, which seems to have been part of a "salmon-stream clearing" project.

On the way up the west coast of Washington State, so many - MANY - well-printed signs about the "Olympic Land Grab."

First of all, it's another expensive print run. Which organization or corporation is paying for the printing and distribution? Who's got the money?

Secondly, logging interests talking about a "land grab" are practicing historical projection (Look in the mirror, folks).

On the Hoh river salmon-stream clearing project, a crane was vandalized, evidently by "environmentalists," as a local paper has it. The red spray paint referenced clearcuts.

The Pillar point cut goes quite a ways into the woods and along the highway. A chance for somebody to pick up some trees under cover of a state project? The same on the Hoh river?

Did the highway 112 cuttings finally set off a reaction? Again, asking and wondering. These things seem to be linked. Maybe folks are tired of the lungs of the planet being slashed down to make chipboard and to wipe our butts with.

Oh, and down by Chehalis, ran into some fellow born-in-Everetts, but they bragged about living in that forest-failed armpit for 50 years (never getting out?) and put down "kids today" who "don't want real wood," but replace sawdust board cabinets every five years.

And where, pray tell, are said kids supposed to get "real wood?" Hire Dr. Who to run back in the Tardis a half century or so and bring some back? Please. Do get out and THINK once in a while.

Down On The Farm.

My aging hens are safe and happy at Dryads Rest, in Chehalis, Washington. They have a farmyard, a clean roomy coop, a whole flock of hens and a big handsome rooster named Tiberius. They're sorting out the pecking order. Black and Tiberius had a cockfight, and he's still trying to keep the peace as the hens work it out. Red, who was so terribly torn up by the neighbor's dog, is just fine. Little Inky seems to feel safe.

I have to think about whether or not I want chicks in the spring. For one, I'd have to find a place for the aging hens, and there's only so many non-producing adoptees a farm can take. Then again, they'd still have the ability to produce some chicks and add to the bloodline. We'll see how I feel when I get the January gotta-do's in the yardwork and building line.

For second, Dan says my homemade tofu is an acquired taste - and he's acquired it. And I use a lot of homemade soy-milk. So maybe the whole hen operation will be replaced by a couple bags of soybeans every year.

Though, if I ever end up on a bigger piece of land, I can run a chicken operation, now I've learned about their care and medicating, etc. 

In the meantime, the co-op's tourist operation and the locals all want my homemade sea salt, and since I make it for us anyway, I can get the extra cash that way.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The girls safe at Dryad's Rest

The girls are all at home at Dryad's Rest, JoAnne Kirley's farm in Pe Ell, Washington State.

Dryad's Rest has a big, beautiful rooster, Tiberius. Our big black hen, Black, seemed to decide he had disappeared her tiny black companion, Inky. She went for Tiberius, and was pulling feathers out of him before I could make her stop. When Inky finally reappeared, Black calmed down. I knew she was top hen, but didn't know a hen would beat up a rooster twice her size. Bad girl!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Flowers and Roots

Slip point beach. One of our neighbors was "sold" a beach. Nature redecorates.

Salt Air road; the neighbor that tries to keep things cheerful. During the winter, they keep Christmas lights on day and night. it's pretty.

Underground flowers. Or Potato Monsters.

Summer 2012 Festivals with the Makah.

First, Fourth of July fireworks in Neah Bay, on the town beach.

Fire balloon over Neah Bay
Photosynthesis Festival, in July. Hobuck Beach.

Techno-lightshow tent. Good dancing.
Outside the tent, the bonfire.
All-night dancing and drinking tea, and zoning out in the Snake Temple. It rained down like out of buckets, but who cared?

We could all get dried off around the bonfire. The light from the tent colored the smoke and the mizzle rain, out into the night. Beautiful.

Bicycle jousting at Castle Camp.

ToorCamp! Geeks, Nerds and Bacon Science. July daytime.

War Dance in Neah Bay
Makah Days, right downtown, August. The War Dance; other Makah villages (back before we dragged them into one) representing other tribes, for example, visitors from Alaska. They're very much a greeting/party/festival people, the Makah. They do it right.

That young man in the foreground is a powerful dancer.

Metal Washes Out

Old metal "ribs(?)" at mouth of the Clallam River ("old" being a relative term).

The river is washing back into the old camping area by the highway, chewing the roots out out of the bank below the trees; that big electrical pylon may be next to go after the trees.

Could be spectacular.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pillar Point Rape

Up here, historically, rumor wanders of the logging companies HATING the Pillar Point recreational area's trees because it was a knot in their rope of clear-cuts on Highway 112.

Well, a logging company managed to get it. This formerly beautiful tunnel of maples and conifers - a refuge to locals needing a break and shellfish and a growing number of tourists on their way to spend money on the west end - is just a crumble of stumps.

When the Scenic Route was launched, one of the logging company officials said to me, "We're going to use this to show people what a working forest looks like." As a reasonable person, I assumed he might mean that a compromise had been reached, in which some of the forest was worked while other parts were allowed for scenic - that is, tourism dollar - value.

112 was subjected to a full-blown clearcut attack. It looks like the Taliban has been here.

Note: The signs going up here are not only expensive, but they contain that phrase. This kind of print run - and others appearing on the peninsula - cost money. Whose?

The ripping down of Pillar Point's trees: Theft? State park staff collusion? What? Is it an attempt to damage the growing and sustainable tourist industry (or, as resource industries die - and they always do - the desperate historical urge to get the last bit squeezed out before the collapse?)?

Is this even in the local papers yet? Will it ever be?

Note: An Elwha tribal member reported that there are survivors of a logging company bulldozing of the river - making it unnavigable - and the homes of the Elwha river tribal community, while members were "in Port Angeles to go to a party." When asked why such a thing would have been done, the reply was, "To get rid of Indians."

Them's the reports, or at least the un-detailed and unatributed version I'm releasing now. Put 'em together as may be needed, and ask the pertinent parties the relevant questions.

Monday, August 06, 2012


This is a big old Cabezon, dead on the beach. Why didn't anything eat him/her? About as long as my arm. Old age? Disease? Swallowed a hook?

Now something has begun chowing down.

Nothing left but the backbone.

Finally, the jawbones float loose and end up farther down the beach. Someone else made a nice circle of red stones, to which could be added the bones.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's YOU!!

Walking back from the beach with a fish for today's breakfast, saw this little guy and did the horse head-throw and low nicker at him. Just to be polite.  He walked toward me, interested, but was on a tie-down, and so I waved and walked the block home.

While filleting the fish, I saw him in the yard outside.  Had he followed me?  I once walked all through town, not knowing the art gallery's long-haired Chihuahua was dogging my heels before the owner showed up in her car. I didn't want him to get down the road to Highway 101 and the inevitable miniature horse/logging truck pileup.

He transformed, throwing up his head, tossing his heavy mane, and raising his tail into a black waterfall.  He pranced at me with great joy, flinging his tiny black hooves in the air.  Only when he got close, did he stop, and the look in his eyes said, "Oh.  You're not HER."

Once I coaxed him close enough to grab his halter, he tried to dance and side-kick at me, but please, I'm almost bigger than he is. I called Dan the not-horse-person to come out, and he held Mr. Prancypants while I went down and got the horse's owner to come take him home.

Went and got his owner. His name is Stewy.  He definitely has Pomeranian syndrome; he thinks he is an Arab stallion.

Horses must recognize by sight. By his reaction, he's really missing somebody he loves, who looked like me. :{

This is the second miniature horse I've rescued. Last time, a neighbor's big malamute, Chewy, headed him off at the bridge before he could gallop to the highway.

Animals work better if we treat them like people.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Poor Red

Leo and Fearless helping Red.  Actually, drinking her water.
From now on, I take a flashlight into the coop. 

Last night, I thought Red was just sulking in a corner.  Turned out, she'd had her leg stuck in a side of the nesting box and was stuck there all night!

She's in the house, now, warming up, letting some circulation get back into her leg, and drinking from a syringe once in a while.  Priority today is fixing the nesting box.

More: I should have posted this a long time ago, but no sooner had Red healed, but she was attacked by the neighbor's uncontrolled Husky. I thought she would die, but with the help of some antibiotics and cat pain-killers I keep in the house she healed, and went to Dryad's Rest for retirement.

Here's the horrible dog-bite wound, already closed:

Here's Red, back on her feet in the cage. She went back to laying eggs and is enjoying herself with Black and Inky on a lovely farm.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Accidental Chocolate Sorbet

Totally accidental, totally delicious.  This is a recipe for Real Cooks, who measure everything by eye and stuff anyway.

Make a bunch of spaghetti. Keep re-using the water for about 3 batches (don't worry, you'll eat it in the next couple of days, anyway), until you have thick pasta water.

Stir in cocoa powder and cinnamon and sugar.


AMAZING!  Smooth, the tiniest ice crystals, rich. 

Friday, May 04, 2012

Beautiful porcelain insulator

Close side view.  Note thickness of copper wire.
Side view, with thick copper wire.
View from the base.  Partly glazed.

Found this on the beach last week. Wondering if it was tsunami debris.  Yes, I know it wouldn't float, but you never know what's connected to what, especially with the line of thick copper wire.

But --

Got this answer from Bill Meier, at a neat insulator collection site.  Check it out.  It's pretty cool!


Top view
"You have a typical porcelain insulator, produces in the millions or more likely billions. I wouldn't expect it the least bit uncommon to find one at the bench. They are all over everywhere!

Since there are so many around, I find it very unlikely it came from far away... I'd saw from a utility pole probably within a few hundred yards away! Used for low voltage electric power.

Regardless, given the weight it would sink and it doesn't have a lot of surface area to "push" it and I would find it extremely unlikely to have come from Fukushima. A piece of wood perhaps... Consider it like a rock in the water... could that travel thousands of miles?

Given I'm sure there are thousands within a mile where you found it also makes all the less likely, even of the physics supported the theory of the transportation of it." 

There are some pebbles from the beach lodged in the spaces underneath, but I decided not to start poking at them.  Better they remain in place than that I chip the glaze.

Thanks, Bill!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Greenling are Green

Why they call these fish "greenling."

They have the most meat per pound of body size on them, too.
What greenling fillets and backbone look like crispy-fried.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cleanest Beach on the West Coast

Dan and I estimate we've carried four tons of debris off the Clallam Bay beach since 2003.  And that's a very conservative estimate.

This is the debris-tree near the Clallam River bridge. Every year we pile the stuff that's too heavy to carry all the way back down the beach.  Then, each spring, when the bridge extension is replaced across the river, we get our wheelbarrow and haul all this stuff to the Clallam Bay Park dumpster.
This is the other tree, with a big flivver tire on it.  It must have been buried in mud, all these decades.  That rust thing used to be a coil of wire.

This is the cleanest beach between Alaska and Tierra del Fuego.  I dare somebody else to show us a cleaner beach, anywhere, year-long, that's over a mile long. 

All we do is always take a plastic bag along and fill it with every scrap of man-made detritus we see.  We hacksaw big metal apart, and use everything from the tiger carry to fulcrum power to get compressors and piping down the beach.  Yeah, we're a little obsessive.

But we have the cleanest beach on the west coast.  From Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.

Fried Mushy Peas and Eggs Sunny-Side Up

FINALLY got it right.

Like crispy green mashed-potato cakes, with tender-cooked home-laid eggs, drowned in Tobasco sauce.

Go ahead, laugh; it's delicious.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap

TOO MUCH Homemade Laundry Soap
1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other type of soap, as listed above
½ cup washing soda
½ cup borax powder 
~You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size~

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.  Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts.  Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket.   Now add your soap mixture and stir.  Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.  Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.  You use ½ cup per load.

Clean Way To Go

      A young Cooper's Hawk on the beach below the bald eagle's nests, during the time of year when the big birds are tolerating no interlopers, whether they compete or not.  It's also likely the kid made it through the winter, to finally starve in a tough, cold spring.
     We pulled another huge garbage sack of detritus off this beach, but here's some good news -- almost ALL of the garbage was very old.  A couple new Pepsi and Malt Liquor cans and a chunk of Styrofoam were the only really new pieces.  So, except for a few kids and drunks, people up here are pretty aware of the treasure of their own beach.
     There are worse places to end up.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Idiot America, indeed.

Whoever was vandal enough to write this in a NOLS book made all sorts of pencil marks around the author's ridicule of the Illuminati nonsense (and no marks anywhere else; this is what set 'em off).  Yup, up here in Clallam County, the Dan Brown books are taken as terrifying truth, rather than just fun thrillers hooking up some historical research for scary fictional stuff.

Then again, some people really think there are vampires up here, now. It's Bigfoot country, folks.

Monday, March 05, 2012


Enough to dry for winter use.  This should take be enough to make teas to take care of the cystitis AND the potassium shortfalls.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

2012 Dragon Dance

The Dragon starts into Clallam Bay.

Here we go again!  The biggest dance, yet.  We're still on the sidewalk, but for the first time we had spectators lined up all the way to the co-op to watch. 

Next year:  town banner and ginger throwing candies?  We'll see!

Fireworks? Don't worry -- he's with the Fire Department!

Sarah Grafstrom leads the way, drumming
 Got a film of it too, noise and all:

Friday, February 03, 2012

Raised Bed RAISED


The raised bed done!  Took me two days of hard digging and organizing to build this thing.

Here's the new chicken coop -- the final one!!!! -- and the Girls. 

I have learned a construction secret:  NEVER use nails or other permanent fasteners when building semi-permanent structure.  This is all screw and pin nails.  It lets me get the pieces back out if the next step in the scrap-building process does not quite work out.

Scrap building is really hard; you have to think about everything, like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle.  The back of raised bed looks crappy because I didn't have enough good stuff -- the nice little cedar boards Denny Eichhorn gave me last year from another building project teardown.  

Gonna plant flowers around the edges of this thing, so it will be pretty and afford food and shelter for predatory insects.