May 31, 2005
May 30, 2005
- 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 tbsp peeled, grated ginger
- 2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro leaves
- 3 tbsps sugar
- 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce (plus a little for brushing)
- 3 tbsps sake, Chinese rice wine, or dry sherry
- 3 tbsps sesame oil (plus a little extra for brushing)
- coarse salt
- ground black pepper
Pound the garlic, ginger, cilantro, and sugar into a paste in a mortar using a pestle. Work in fish sauce, sake, sesame oil, salt, and pepper. We didn't have sake so we replaced it with 1/2 rice vinegar and 1/2 mirin. Spoon the marinade over the fish, covering both sides, and marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, turning once or twice. You can broil the fish or grill it. Either way, cook until it cleanly flakes. This marinade can also be used for shrimp. We had a great time.
May 28, 2005
It didn't take long for us to realize that we were not two of five registration coordinators but two of two registration coordinators. Slowly, the place began to fill up with people, all wanting to register for the scramble. Singles, teams, families, dogs, etc. You'd think for a bunch of A-types most of them would have arrived earlier. Patience thinned as the start time grew nearer but J and I were doing our best. We decided half way through the registration that we wouldnt' be volunteering in the future.
Long before the mayhem of registration, we had decided to not officially participate in this scramble. Instead, we took a scramble map and hit the sidewalks at our own pace and discovered the Lake Hills Greenbelt, a wetland coorridor right in the middle of the burbs. We followed the trails to Larsen Lake and then on to Phantom Lake and then back again. We covered close to five miles and that was enough. It was really hot. Back at the mall we shared a combo platter of kabobs, hummus, and a greek salad. Back at home we crashed and had a nap.
May 27, 2005
The straw bale bed now houses various squash, peppers, egpplant and cucumbers. It's also kind of a work table for me. The yellow bed has onions, garlic, shallots, radishes, beets, bok choi, carrots, parsnips. All of the tomato plants are in the long green bed behind the row of garlic.
May 25, 2005
Millersylvania Sate Park, about 10 miles south of Olympia. When we left Seattle we were under partly sunny skies. The further south we drove the cloudier and darker it got. As soon as we secured a camp site we set up everything. When you are camping, even car camping, you need to make the most of every opportunity as it arises. Set up everything at one time if at all possible. This is your home for at least one night and it's better to make sure everything is in place before you take off to explore. With the weather threatening to rain, this becomes even more important. Once the tent was up and the canopy covering the picnic table, we scavenged quite a bit of wood from empty sites to supplement what we had brought. Few people were around. When the weather is not optimal it makes for quieter camping simply because fewer people bother. Lucky for us.
Our first stop was to the Mima Mounds, a mysterious assortment of geological earth mounds. They are not man-made and there are a few theories as to their existence. Some say they are the remains of glaciers. Some say prehistoric gopher-like critters constructed them. The mounds used to cover about 20 miles. And this phenomena is not unique to Washington or even this part of Washington. Regardless, the area is home to lots of wildflowers and butterflies. Perhaps it was a little early in the season for a full display of either, but as we walked the trails we found interesting plants, flowers and fungi.
Two things that interfere with a peaceful hike looking for wildflowers and butterflies; remote controlled airplanes and gunfire. I don't like being the tallest thing in an open field with the sound of gunfire cracking a half mile away. But I also don't like the less dangerous but equally annoying buzz of the remote controlled airplane. We hadn't seen a sign for the shooting range so when we first heard the shooting we stayed in the car, ate lunch, and waited for other hikers to return to their cars unharmed. We then determined that it was safe to roam. We had seen the sign for the airplane gathering but didn't know we'd be anywhere near it. I had a not so secret fantasy that the two hobbies would cross paths and cancel out each other; the gun-happy weekend warriors would run out of ammo destroying the incessantly buzzing mini squadron.
Our next stop was the Bob Bammert Grove Trail in Capitol State Forest. This trail was kind of overgrown. With all the rain we had, this left plants very wet. This left us very wet as we hiked through the plants. This trail was similar to the rainforest in appearance. Be careful to avoid the banana slugs. If you lead, you are obliged to alert those following you when there is a slug on the trail. We aren't into killing the critters. Besides, they are huge and they really gush. We ran into some snails we had not seen before. And we were exicted to discover two rough-skinned newts (taricha granulosa). Like the earth in this area, the newts are a dark red in color and theyhave a brigther orange belly. They were not alarmed by us and made no attempt to escape. They were easy to pick up and observe. Our first newts on a trail. Just as exciting as our first bear but it can fit in the palm of your hand. About 2/3 through this trail it began to rain but the thick canopy kept us relatively dry. It rained for the rest of the day and all night. But we returned to a dry picnic table thanks to our woman-made canopy. We enjoyed a bottle of wine, some chevre, crackers and fruit and played rummy. When the rain eased to a light drizzle, we got a fire started and cooked dinner on the camp stove. By the time we went to bed it was pouring again. But we woke on Sunday morning to sun. Took a walk to the lake and hoped the weather would hold for our tentaive plans to rent a canoe and float down the Black River. These hopes were dashed while out on a hunt for coffee. The skies turned dark and the rain returned. But we had a good time and will camp again in the rain any time.
yesterday was the first chance in over a week to work in the garden and i took full advantage of it. the weather was perfect and i was quickly covered in dirt, cuts, a few bruises, and probably a little slug guts. sowed more arugula, parsnips, spinach, and some nutri-red carrots. harvested and ate a fair amount of bok choi. very tasty. discovered the first ripening strawberry of the season but i fully expect to lose it to the slugs. planted some sunflowers that i had started indoors. J assisted in securing the peas we have in a large container. they are growing every which way. she slid into McGyver mode to fasion a plant "girdle" out of an empty soda bottle and some zip ties to keep some other plant in order. i noticed that my echinacea (purple cone flower) is thriving though hasn't yet bloomed. the holly hocks are well on their way, the hosta has a couple flowers coming, and the lillies i bought 2 years ago from the grocery store have come back for the second year in a row. thought the lemon balm was dead after it wintered outside. a severe pruning a couple of months ago has resulted in an abundance of new growth. The coleus is brilliant and the columbine healthy.
today after work i must purchase more dirt so i can bury the potato plants. they are out of control and i've got no extra dirt in the yard. if i want potatoes i need more dirt. the peppers and eggplants will begin their life in the straw bale garden today. more seeds will be sown outside for beets, carrots, bunching onions and more seeds have been started indoors for basil and sunflowers.
one of the rhododedrons died so we are considering a birdbath for the empty space. any ideas for an inexpensive yet attractive birdbath? drop me an email.
May 17, 2005
After the other guests had gone J and I got to dig into the personal photo albums. I love looking at pictures of folks I don't know. Plus, you never know when you will be treated to a blatant cleavage shot or a sitting on the toilet shot. It's the chance you take, you know? Then there was the ping pong competition. Ping pong is more fun than I remember it as a child. I think this is because now I can freely curse and say any rude thing I please. But there is still a good deal of rule bending. For instance, why limit yourself to the ping pong table as the game surface, right Steph? When there are four walls and a ceiling, who needs the table? Table? We dun need no stinkin' table! If you play with Steph, it's best to don protective gear like a helmet, goggles, a breast plate and a cup.
May 16, 2005
May 11, 2005
Yesterday I happened to peek outside to take in the view of the garden and I spot Henry in a drug-induced frenzy - munching, stomping, rubbing, rolling, bathing in the bowl of catnip. He was manic, high off his nut on fresh catnip. At one point he rolled right off the straw bale garden onto the ground. All I could see were his white socks sticking up in the air. He loves to roll on the ground anyway so he hung out for a while on the cool grass catching some rays. He recovered and went back to massaging his face with catnip plants. He was so in the zone that my yelling didn't faze him. He couldn't hear me or see me and didn't care. "Ah hah! You are so busted, cat!" After I got my digital evidence I went to retrieve the bowl. He was again on the ground, belly up, eyes glazed over in euphoria, "Hey, ma. Whoa, you gotta try this shit. It's primo, man. Smooth."
"Where the hell do you think you are?" I yelled as I swiped the bowl. "Pierce County!?"