The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels


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Jefferson County Farm Tour – Part Two

Marrowstone is a beautiful island with distinctive spaces. Bluffs and beaches rim the island.   A patchwork of cleared farmland and thick woods blanket the rest. I hike and visit the beaches here often.

We were sure to share this special place with my visiting friend.

My first trip ever to Port Townsend included a friend taking me around the farm tour.  The deal was sealed after that. I was hooked!

Here are pics from one stop featuring the One Straw Ranch and WSU Twin Vista Ranch. The Organic Seed Alliance also had a booth set up.  I found a video on WSU’s website that records speakers during the dedication festivities at the ranch.

Bucolic.

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Unprocessed Romney fiber is their specialty.

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Fleece and yarns with a name tag.

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This was a real hands on stop which we enjoyed.  I’ve never had quail eggs. They’re so wee!

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I’d only seen wild California quails not domestic ones.

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One furry bear meets another. Pete and the barn cat really hit it off. It was gas seeing such a huge cat sponging the love off him.  Such a sweet sight.

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I really fell hard for this place. We talk about having a patch of acreage ourselves someday.  Pete loves outdoor work, making things, and he’s a helluva gardener with some experience working on farms. I’m smitten by the romantic aspect of it.  And I’d love more of that sort of honest work that produces food.  Those long summer days, when we stumble in after nine PM from the garden, are some of my happiest.

But I also see the work, and some restrictions to travel when you have such responsibility. Conflicted thoughts…

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Old apple orchards and a fine table and flower garden were obviously lovingly tended.

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Hops.

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Remember my mentioning quinoa in my last post? Here’s what it looks like growing.  Not sure what the flags are for. Being afiliated with Wash. State University I wonder if there was some seed testing in progress? The light was getting odd and it was hard to get the correct color of the plants which was more saturated than this.

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There was a fenced off area with a few of the excavators (hogs).  Seriously. They turn and fertilize and loosen up that soil. How clever to have that benefit.

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A calf.

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And turkeys. Yum!  I know birds are for eating and not just eggs. I’d have a tough time slaughtering them though I know it’s necessary.  I now know the difference between eating commercially produced vs free-range turkey and I won’t go back.

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We finished up our Farm Tour with a stop at Fort Flagler (look for a post on this park coming soon) to share the expansive view across the water to Port Townsend with Anise. But the rain came and cloaked it all. And soaked us.

Can’t wait for next years tour!


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Getting to Know the Elwha – Yep that’s water on my lens.

This weekend I enjoyed the company of my friend Olivia.  A co-worker back in CA noted my knitting on break and suggested I meet her.  The friendship was meant to be.   Olivia has a quiet and  calm presence.  We enjoyed much time knitting on the couch.  Her homemade soup, pie and company warmed me more than the cozy fire in the stove.

On her last day here we went to Olympic Nat’l Park (ONP) and hiked up the Elwha River and down to Goblin’s Gate, a rock stricture in the river that makes it roil and quicken.   I’ve been in ONP to see the Hoh Rainforest Hall of Mosses and hiked out by Hurricane Ridge on my first trip up here.

This was my first trip into the park since moving in November.

Something big’s happened in ONP.  The Elwha Dam is removed.  A second dam is nearly removed.  The waters of the Elwha now run freely from their source to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  A lack of fish ladders prevented 10 species of anadromous fish from spawning.  Sediment and silt built up and erosion changed the landscape.

The salmon, denied access for so long, are returning already.

This is an NPS PDF that gives  info on restoration related to the dam’s removal.

You can also watch a video chronicling a year of the removal process through time lapse photography:

It brings me great joy to see the needs of nature supported in this way.

We began at the Whiskey Bend trailhead.  A PDF map from the NPS is handy.

High above the river, fog and clouds blanketed the river and hid the hills across the way.  Occasionally, I caught glimpses of the other side.

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The hike wasn’t long, maybe 4 miles total.  After walking out the mostly flat Elwha River trail we headed down to the river on the spur labeled “Rica Canyon.”   This is a STEEP half-mile  to Goblins Gate.  Even with poles, my knees crunched.

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It’s apparent the topography here consists of steep hillsides diving down to rivers.  This trail had few switchbacks.

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Olivia knows plants well. She could survive in the woods with all her knowledge of hunting and plant gathering. This is DULL OREGON GRAPE.  The blue berries it produces are edible but very sour.  My plant book actually suggests combining the grapes with salal berries for a jelly.  It had medicinal use (one apparently for shellfish poisoning) and the inner bark made a yellow dye.  It’s flowers are yellow. It’s an evergreen.

BTW, I know little about plants and their medicinal uses/whether they are edible.  I’m gleaning basic facts from reference sources.

The book Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar and Mackinnon,  is a great resource if you can find a copy.

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This is VANILLA LEAF or DEER FOOT.  Growing from rhizomes, they can form thick forest floor carpets. Having no petals, a single spike of stamens only sits atop one leaf per plant.  When dry, like this lacy specimen, it smells of vanilla.  Native Americans used the ground up plant as an insect repellent.

Moss is boss in ONP.  The moss below the Vanilla Leaf is called FERN MOSS.  Up close, it looks like miniature ferns.

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Viewed as a whole, a lush carpet of green.

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Pretty sure this is a Douglas Fir.  Being so huge,  I couldn’t see any needles.

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Anticipation made me antsy to get to the river.  Here she is!  Like usual, the photo doesn’t share the true picture.  That’s still inside my mind.

This bend in the river had a meadow on the other side.  Steep hillsides stretched up in the background. Layers of clouds, the rain make a moody setting.  I’ve mentioned before how my eyes rest here in the PNW.  Lines and colors are softened unlike in CA where light defines more sharply.   I took a video but I can’t figure out how to get if from my Mac to here.

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Yes there is water on my lens. It only got worse!

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The gates:  Arms of rock defy the water, funneling it through a narrow passage.

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Just above the fallen wood before the Gates we noted 5 Roosevelt Elk (who live west of the Cascades) grazing away.  Rocky Mountain Elk live in the Cascades.

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This was a teaser of a hike.  Having ONP at my back door is a treat.  There are alpine, rainforest and coastal places to explore.  Can’t wait to return!


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CO Climb and Camp – July 2013

Let’s go back to CO.  In addition to a fun day of climbing in Eldorado Canyon with Ed, Denise, Elasha and I had a morning of climbing at a little sport crag up clear Creek Canyon called the Canal Zone.  A quick approach (maybe a mile walk from downtown Golden?) several well-bolted routes and AM shade appeal to those seeking moderately-rated sport climbing.

Clear Creek flows down through Golden, CO.  The Creek’s been loved to death,  (kayaking, swimming, walking, picnicking).  I noted much needed riparian restoration is happening along the creek.

Lookout Mountain above Clear Creek. The “M’ is for CO School of Mines.

Denise, Elasha and I met at the rec center and walked up the creek, crossed the bridge, and headed up the hill to the crag.

The creek looking up canyon:

An aqueduct of some sort once snaked up the side of the canyon.  Remnants are still visible:

Saw some cactus not seen in my home-place.  No rattlesnakes were encountered, fortunately.

A trip above treeline was one of my CO trip requests.  Friends Kurt, Todd and I headed a ways west out I70 to Eagle, CO and headed south down Brush Creek Road.  Through a pretty valley studded with horse farms we went, then past Sylvan Lake State Park.

Passed a cattle drive.

Followed the dirt road about 20 miles out.

I think (but not sure) the mountains in the background are in the Holy Cross Wilderness.

So pretty!

We were headed for a  4×4 fire road above Lime Creek familiar to my travel companions.  It was gated.   Bummed, a bit of time was spent driving up other fire roads looking for the perfect campsite with a the most important qualifier, a VIEW.

And this we found.

Kurt set up a slack line, a source of entertainment new to me.

I wasn’t steady enough to walk sans poles.  I’d love a place with a yard so I may set one up.  It’s great balance exercise. I could feel my core working!

I also slacked in a hammock with a helluva view.  Napping bliss!

That night we enjoyed a campfire, smores and the Supermoon’s rise:

Glad to have some time, up high, camping with friends.  We were above 10,000′.  Boy could I feel it!  Living at sea level’s taken its toll on my altitude fitness.

Missing this sort of landscape.


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Eldorado Canyon, CO With Ed

‘Bout a month ago I spent a week in CO visiting a mighty fine gaggle of friends.  Leaving my home state of MN, at age 24, west I ventured to CO.  A rock climbing trip there fanned the flames of an interest in the outdoors and climbing.  Once steeped in CO, a fully ignited passion for mountains and wide-open vistas let loose.  Over the course of 12+ years I taught grade school, changed careers to nursing, and made some of the dearest friends to me.

Upon arrival, knowing just one person, I posted a note on the Neptune Mountaineering cork board looking for a climbing partner.  One can only boulder and solo the third Flatiron so many times.

Ed answered and we climbed. Boy did we climb!  I used to get out four+ times per week. A true friend I made. Though far apart in miles for many years, now, some bonds of friendship last.  I’m thankful for these connections in life.

Ed and I spent part of a day climbing in Eldorado Canyon, the park we frequented, visiting old favorites.

 

Seeking shade, we climbed on the Bastille formation.

Atop the Bastille:

We climbed two multi-pitch routes, Bastille Crack (5.8) and Werk Supp.  (5.9)  Werk Supp was the first lead climb I did in Eldo and I remember thinking, “I’m not in MN anymore!”  Ratings are not soft in Eldo.

Heading up:

The Bastille formation looms above south Boulder Creek.  The bridge below crosses to trails and oodles more climbing.  There’s a lifetime of climbing to be had. My photos show just a smidgen.

Ed re-racking gear up top.

Looking up the canyon, South Boulder Creek flowing past and Redgarden Wall to the right.  It’s huge, folks, scale’s hard to come by in photos.

 

Looking out the canyon towards the town of Eldorado Springs and the plains of Boulder.  The Flatirons bust out to the left at the ridge seen on the left back of the photos.

 

Still grin when I think of this day which I do frequently.  Climbing’s healing, being way up high, feeling the texture of the rock, moving, watching birds and hearing the creek roar below.  Not much climbing in my new locale.  I miss it and need to figure out a way to return this therapy, of sorts, to my life.

Working on it!

 

 


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Mmmm…Oysters!

 

Couple weeks ago my friend Amy came down from Sacramento for a surfing lesson in Bolinas.  The wicked heat wave plaguing the western US affected us here as well.  The Bay’s natural A/C was no match for the heat with days in the high nineties and moments over 100.  Farther inland (including SAC) roasted in the 100’s consistently.

Fortunately, tempered summer weather’s returned (70-80).

Amy (read about her hiking goals and outings),  my friend Michelle and I planned a picnic at Drakes Bay Oyster Company in Point Reyes National Seashore just a 40 or so minute drive from me.  I’ve developed a real taste for oysters, especially raw.  Here, you can buy ’em shucked or whole.  I’ve learned to shuck them myself, saving some dough and having fun while at it.

DBOC is a local  business at huge risk of closing down.  I whole-heartedly support their niche in the local economy and contribution to the health of Drake’s Estero. They have just as much a right to be there as the cows which have grazed the peninsula since the 1800’s.  Visit their website for more details.

L-R: Amy, Michelle and I

 

Oh what a spread we enjoyed!  Great picnic.

We snagged a picnic table right on the Estero. It was windy but we survived and enjoyed the sights, sounds and briny smells.

Because of the wind we picked a beach visit to Drakes Beach. Quite protected, one can usually find shelter from the strong winds which scour the outer coast of the peninsula (our original destination).  It was hot and calm.

 

Perfect for a beach nap, reading and knitting. After a snooze I worked on my Starry Night Ananke Shawl.  It’s knit out of Becoming Art Cielo Fingering Yarn.  The colors glow!

 

 

A most enjoyable day.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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“Slowshoeing” Through a Winter-Wonderland

The sky unloaded a foot plus of snow in the Denver area last Thursday.  I worked that day and was lucky to get home that night.  Some weren’t lucky.  The hospital let me go.

Friday I borrowed my kind housemate’s snowshoes and headed for the hills to Golden Gate Canyon State Park.  About 15 miles from Golden, it’s a splendid park with views of the Continental Divide in places.  I wanted views.

Stopped at my friend Denise’s home to drop off something. Visited with Keto, the wonderdog, whom I adore. She has a winter coat that must be six inches thick. Hah!

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Look at that face!  I took a bunch away with me on my black shirt and pants. It’s worth her lovin’, though.

Parked at Panorama Point and took in this view, just a snippet of the view that stretches, well, panoramically. (Is that a word?)

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Had the whole place to myself.  Broke trail with the slowshoes…I mean snowshoes.  It’s an adjustment.  I haven’t snowshoed in a couple winters.  I didn’t really have a winter this year. (NM and CA!)

Waddling in them…I mean walking in them, is work!  There was 12″ of snow to get through.  Observations are more thorough at this slow pace. Hills are more steep!

In the busy Front Range area, it’s a rare treat to have an entire trail to yourself, freshly blanketed in snow, with no evidence of humans around (not counting the trail markers and depression in the ground that provides evidence of the trail being there.)  There were a couple spots absent of this depression.  Took some sleuthing in spots to find my way.

Some views from the waddle:

Something was up earlier than me. See the tracks?

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Imagine how this red berry caught my eye?

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Mt. Thoridin. It’s much bigger than it looks here. There’s rock climbing routes on it.

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IN FACT, I met Denise on this very trail some years back.  I was hiking up to Mt. Thoridin to investigate the rock.  A storm raced in.  With a good ol’ fashioned Rocky Mtn soaking imminent, she and her hubby trucked it out the trail at the same time I did.   We chatted a bit in the parking lot.  I mentioned a trip to the quilt shop up the road and her eyes sparked. 

With that common interest (and many others) we swapped numbers and to this day, I cherish her friendship. 

What a gem of a day I had slowshoeing in peace and quiet. 

PS:  If you’re looking for a new ride this beauty is parked at Gap Rd and Hwy 119.  The sign reads,  “Good Car  $800, Runs Good.” 

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Why do I love Golden, CO? Let me show you…

It’s good to be back, back in Golden, CO that is.  For two months and change I am able to regroup, see friends, play in the hills, do those familliar things I’ve missed while traveling.   Such may include:

  • Walks along Clear Creek
  • Visiting the local library which I love
  • Climbing the Dakota Sandstone of Eldorado Canyon
  • Eating chicken fried rice from New Peach Garden (done tonight!)
  • Reading the “Golden Informer” for its community calendar, the fire dept. news, the annual tree sale

Sounds cheesy?  Sure.  Random? You bet.  I embrace both.

I’m in a slight state of unrest.  Being here is helping me back to the ground a little.  It’s comforting. 

This is the  kind of place I’d be excited to raise kids in.  Golden is the kind of place you see people you know at the grocery store and while walking down Washington (or Main St, as I’m prone to call it).

Why do I love Golden?   A  few pics from a walk-about-town today to help explain:

Above “Main” St:

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Clear Creek (very low for this time of the year, I noticed. Frighteningly dry winter I’ve been told.)

 

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Cowboy fishing (Couldn’t get the fish at his feet or the whole rod above his head. Trust me on this one.)  There are neat bronze sculptures throughout town including: Kids reading on a bench by the library, a giant bug, a Native American Woman, Deer, Fish, many more.

 

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Best quilting shop ever, Golden Quilt company:

 

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A hardware store where THEY find you and offer help before you’ve found them!  (You can even get a few nails in a paper bag.)  You can get almost anything at Meyers.

 

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Dark pic, sorry about that.  “M” is not for “Mom” or “Marlys” as my mom proclaimed upon seeing the “M” lit up on the side of Lookout Mtn.  It’s not for “Mountain” to warn off wayward planes either. It’s for “Mines.”  CO School of Mines. This is a town of scientists, engineers, and teachers and their students. What else can I say?

 

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I love Golden, CO.