Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sometimes my thought run wild... (by Kat)

Sometimes, I'm just not content with the status quo.

Sometimes, I want to stir things up a little and examine the aftermath. Is it better? Is it worse?

Take bread, for example. I wondered if it really tasted better homemade (okay, no I didn't. I knew it did, but just work with me here, okay)? Would I be able to keep up with the household demand? Was the homemade bread train headed down the tracks in the right direction and I just never knew I needed that ticket? The answer was an overwhelming yes on all accounts.

Take soap, for example. Some people make their own. How weird is that? No, wait, how cool is that? Should I try it too? Could I try it too? Was the happily ever after story of homemade soap a myth? Was it a lye (sorry, couldn't help myself)? Turns out making my own soap totally rocks. Why didn't I try it sooner?

Bees? Same thing!

Fireworks? Sure!! Well, no, Mr. Boom handles the explosives around here, but I watch. Do I get a little bit of credit for that?

So, what else can I shake up?

Welllllll....we're going camping this weekend. I've got a bee in my bonnet to try at least one of the following three adventures: sous-vide steaks, ice cream made with dry ice, or solar cooking. Yes, all three have to do with food. What else is there, right?!

Will it be a habit I keep? Honestly, I don't see any of them sticking around for long. But I'd sure love to try each of them at least once.

Have you tried any of these meal preparation strategies?

Did it work? Do you still do it?

Cook Your Meat in a Beer Cooler: The World's Best (and Cheapest) Sous-Vide Hack from Serious Eats

How to Make Instant Dry Ice Cream from

Solar cookers from Teong H. Tan

Camping is so much fun!

I can't wait!

I've been accused (yet again!) of procrastination.


Gotta go!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Random thoughts (by Kat)

Previously titled Today's Randomness, a title stolen *STOLEN* I tell you, by another blogger!
How did she steal it before it even posted? Is she in my head? Will she trade her cute little sweetie of a baby for a teen? Will she weed my garden, too? Careful, Paperseed. I'm on to you!

I would like next month's Daring Baker's challenge to use zucchini. Do you think that will happen? No, neither do I.

Thunderstorms everywhere, but no rain.

Jayne, of the Barefoot Kitchen Witch, is having a very cool giveaway. I'm loathe to tell you about it, because I'd really like it for myself. But, I'd like you to have it too, so here I am telling you about it. Have you ever read either of her two blogs? You really really should. Really. She makes cheddar cheese and is willing to show you the mold. It was Jayne that set me straight on using whey in bread. And she made a Star Wars cake that will never be topped. Ever.

My tomatoes are tall. It's hard to tell in this picture, but they're just about as tall as I am.

My apricots are ripening too, but my camera died. The lens won't shut. The screen won't light up. This is sad.

Mr. Boom is contemplating using my zucchini in his potato canon this weekend. Some nerve!

The three of us played Boggle tonight. I made an eleven point word! S C A L L I O N ! Of course, it had to be a food word...

Bet (you know, my co-blogger and friend extraordinaire?) and I graduated high school twenty years ago. The big reunion was this past weekend. Neither of us went. I wonder if our names came up at all? I think hers probably did, and I just hope mine didn't.

I'm getting a new vacuum cleaner. Well, it's used, but just barely. Mr. Boom's aunt who's moving from the Tetons to the Aloha State bought a Kirby less than two years ago. She sold it to me for less than half of what she paid, and less than a third of the current value. I'm psyched. I finally get to shampoo my carpets, and with four cats in the house you can bet they need it!

What else. Two ticks on me at work Wednesday. Yuck. And my work truck has to be jump started every time I need to use it now. I hate not being able to turn the engine off. If someone steals it from me while I'm off in the stream doing what I do, I'll be making a long walk in my waders. Oy.

Best part of being back from out trip? My espresso maker.

Worst part? I slept better in our tent in the backyard of Mr. Boom's aunt's house than I've slept in years in our house.

Well, that's a pile of randomness. Hopefully, you just skipped most of that and went to Jayne's blog. Jayne rocks my world, I must confess. I bet she never gets ticks and she was the prettiest girl in her high school class! She even runs! Wow......

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Back from the Tetons (by Kat)

This past weekend was a bittersweet journey for us. Mr. Boom has the dearest, sweetest, most fun aunt, who just happens to live in the prettiest place I know. She and her husband built their log home from scratch on five acres at the base of the Tetons many years ago, and their they raised two amazing boys.

Amazing? How about spectacular!

The oldest boy just married a girl he met at helicopter school in Hawaii. She's such a sweetheart, and a babe to boot. They stayed in a cabin that the younger son built this summer. From wood he cut in the forest. And hauled back to the house, and stripped, and hewed out at the ends, and stacked, and chinked, and roofed, and holy heck how did he do that?!

The younger son, having given up his cabin to his older bother and brand spankin' new sister in law, stayed in the tipi he built the year before. And by tipi, I mean a 12 foot tall, 12 foot wide, stone-floored, sewn canvas, antler buttons to attach the canvas to the poles, mansion of a tipi.

The younger son followed the older son to Hawaii, though, and now mom and dad are following. So this weekend was a combination wedding reception and farewell to the Teton Valley party.

Did I get any photos of the tipi, the cabin, the beautiful yard? No. My photos are filled with the faces I love that I won't see again for a very long time. Therefore, I don't have a lot to show you, which kinda sucks.

But you know what? I learned a great deal this weekend. I saw awesomeness in action. I'm not the kind of person to put up with a lot of whining if people aren't willing to make changes. Now, I do whine quite a bit myself, but that's different, right?

So, here's Mr. Boom's aunt and uncle, complaining about the long (and I do mean loooooong) winters. So what do they do? They both quite their good-paying and very secure jobs, sold the house and everything in it, and they're following their sons to Hawaii.

Just. Like. That.

They're not sitting around saying "how could we ever move from this home we built by hand" and "this isn't the economy in which to quit a good job" nor "how will we ever find a place to stay in Hawaii." They're saying "watch out, here we come!"

Cowabunga, dude!

Isn't that cool?

Okay, so here are the few and the ugly. My vacation photos from the Tetons, the worst you'll ever see on the web!

A whole lot of gorgeous nothing near Salmon, Idaho

A house with a great view. I'd love to live here.

A moose on the outskirts of Driggs, Idaho.

A near-full moon lit the world and our tent the last night there.

Early morning view of the Tetons from our pillows in the tent.

A view of the Teton Valley from Horseshoe Canyon Road

An old farmstead up the Horseshoe. I'd like to live here, too.

Amazing light show on these aspen trees, but I couldn't capture it.

After the last fire in the pit, a little light shining up from
the top of the tipi, the son's cabin in the background, all lit by moonlight.
(This shot was taken after midnight w/out flash!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July Daring Bakers Challenge: Swiss swirl ice cream cake (by Kat)

Blog checking lines: The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

As you know by now, each month a different Daring Baker poses a challenge to the rest of us. It's our mission--and we dare not choose to accept it--to complete whatever challenge is thrown our way. This month, Sunita threw a really fun challenge our way. Each of us Daring Bakers made our own flavor of swiss swirl ice cream cake. While many components are required for the assembly, each piece was relatively simple to do and could be modified to suit any taste. Also, it's a frozen dessert, so how perfect is that for summer?

Actually, many DB'ers live in the southern hemisphere, especially Australia, and even though summer is gone for them, some of their creations were the most astounding.

The dessert is comprised of a jelly roll cake (any flavor cake, any flavor filling), two flavors of ice cream (or sherbet, or gelato, or ...), and a fudge sauce (or vanilla, or caramel, or mango, or...).

See? Free reign to grab the bombe by the horns and flavor it as you see fit. The most challenging part of this confection is deciding what flavors to use. The second most challenging is the waiting for the various parts to either cool off or warm up, depending on which part it is.

The cake must cool off before the creamy filling is applied, then the cake should be frozen before continuing. Except that I didn't, and it came out okay, so there's obviously room for error (thank goodness!).

In my case, the ice cream bases had to be heated to make the custard, but cooled before going into my ice cream maker. Subsequently, the ice cream had to go into the freezer to harden off, but then left on the counter to warm up slightly before going into the mold. Likewise, the fudge sauce was cooked to create, but cooled before pouring into the mold.

So, yes, a good deal of time is spent waiting, but that waiting was soooooo worthwhile!

My version used the chocolate swiss roll recipe straight from Sunita's challenge, including the vanilla cream. I also used her fudge sauce recipe. I didn't use the chocolate or vanilla ice cream recipes she provided, however. I wanted to make something a little more reminiscent of a Mounds candy bar. You know, coconut on the inside, chocolate on the outside, in the prettiest little blue wrapper?

Are you drooling? I am.

Anyway, I turned to the first gentleman of ice cream, David Lebovitz. I used his caramelized white chocolate ice cream for one layer, and his toasted coconut ice cream recipe (via the amazing Tartelette) for the other layer.

Some of you just clicked on those links and I'll never see you again. I just know it. I don't blame you either. Please come back???

The verdict on both those recipes?


We had company over celebrating the evening I made this. I hastily snuck out the back door to snap a few quick pics and then the bombe was devoured. I wish now I had a few more to show you...but you can always type the blog chekcing lines way up there at the top of the post into Google, and you'll see hundreds of completed challenges from all over the globe.

Here's the recipe as presented to us. As always, feel free to ask any questions! And, as always, Go Sign Yourself Up!!!

Preparation time-

For the 2 Swiss rolls-

30 mins each + cooling time (at least 30 minutes) before filling and rolling. The filling can be made while the cakes cool.

-For the ice creams- 5+10 minutes + freezing time

For the fudge topping- 5 minutes + cooling time

Assembly- At least an hour of freezing time between each layer (I took much more)

The Swiss rolls-

Preparation time- 10 minutes

Baking time- 10-12 minutes

Rolling and cooling time- at least 30 minutes

Filling-5-8 minutes

Filling and rolling- 5-10 minutes


6 medium sized eggs

1 C / 225 gms caster sugar /8 oz+ extra for rolling

6 tblsp / 45gms/ a pinch over 1.5 oz of all purpose (plain) flour + 5 tblsp/40gm /a pinch under 1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together

2 tblsp /30ml / 1 fl oz of boiling water

a little oil for brushing the pans

For the filling-

2C / 500 mls/ 16 fl oz of whipping cream

1 vanilla pod, cut into small pieces of about ½ cm (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

5 tblsp / 70gms/2.5oz of caster sugar


  1. Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C /400 deg F approximately. Brush the baking pans ( 11 inches by 9 inches ) with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat till very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.
  3. Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water.
  4. Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pans.
  5. Place a pan in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch.
  6. Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it.
  7. Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.
  8. Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.
  9. Repeat the same for the next cake as well.
  10. Grind together the vanilla pieces and sugar in a food processer till nicely mixed together. If you are using vanilla extract, just grind the sugar on its own and then add the sugar and extract to the cream.
  11. In a large bowl, add the cream and vanilla-sugar mixture and beat till very thick.
  12. Divide the cream mixture between the completely cooled cakes.
  13. Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).
  14. Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.

The vanilla ice cream

Preparation time 5 minutes+freezing

I have made the ice cream without an ice cream maker.


2 and ½ C / 625 ml / 20 fl oz of whipping cream

1 vanilla bean, minced or 1 tsp/ 5 ml/ .15 fl oz vanilla extract

½ C / 115gms/ 4 oz of granulated sugar


Grind together the sugar and vanilla in a food processor. In a mixing bowl, add the cream and vanilla –sugar mixture and whisk lightly till everything is mixed together. If you are using the vanilla extract, grind the sugar on its own and then and the sugar along with the vanilla extract to the cream.

Pour into a freezer friendly container and freeze till firm around the edges. Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely.

The Hot fudge sauce- I made this just after adding the layer of vanilla ice cream to the cake.

Preparation time 2 minutes

Cooking time 2 minutes


1 C / 230gms/ 8 oz of caster sugar

3 tblsp / 24gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tblsp /15gms/ 1 oz of cornflour/cornstarch

1 and ½ C /355ml /12 fl oz of water

1 tblsp /14gms/ 1 oz butter

1 tsp/5 ml / .15 fl oz vanilla extract

  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour and water.
  2. Place the pan over heat, and stir constantly, till it begins to thicken and is smooth (for about 2 minutes).
  3. Remove from heat and mix in the butter and vanilla. Keep aside to cool .

The chocolate ice cream

Preparation time 5 minutes + freezing


2C/ 500 ml whipping cream

1 C/230gms/8 oz caster sugar

3 tblsp/ 24 gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder


  1. Grind together the sugar and the cocoa powder in a food processor .
  2. In a saucepan, add all the ingredients and whisk lightly.
    Place the pan over heat and keep stirring till it begins to bubble around the edges.

  3. Remove from heat and cool completely before transferring to a freezer friendly container till firm around the edges. If you are using an ice cream maker, churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instruction, after the mixture has cooled completely.
  4. Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely.

  1. Cut the Swiss rolls into 20 equal slices ( approximately 2 cms each ).
  2. Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap.
  3. Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm (at least 30 minutes).
  4. Soften the vanilla ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm ( at least 1 hour)
  5. Add the fudge sauce over the vanilla ice cream, cover and freeze till firm . ( at least an hour)
  6. Soften the chocolate ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set .
  7. Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily.
  8. Keep the cake out of the freezer for at least 10 minutes before slicing, depending on how hot your region is. Slice with a sharp knife, dipped in hot water.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

On your mark, get set...(by Kat)

The Forester is packed to the gills!
We pick up Mr. Boom's mom in fifteen minutes, and then we're off on another adventure.
The views will rival Cascade Pass, but this time we'll have lots of family to share it with.
I can't wait for this day to be over, as the entirety of it will be spent driving.
If you guys beg, Bet might write a post....
Otherwise, see y'all later!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What's in the box (by Kat)

With the help of Mr. Boom's aunt, who decided to make the beekeeping adventure a joint process, I finally opened up my hive last weekend.

As you can see, there really isn't any need to spend lots of money on bee keeping outfits. I'm wearing an old men's dress shirt and jeans, plus the hat I purchased for about $30. She's wearing a tyvek suit (ignore the radioactive markings, please) she bummed off her husband and a hat and veil she made herself from some old sheer curtains, a bit of elastic, and an old straw hat.

The shirt I was wearing is labeled Van Hesusen. Anyone else remember the commercial in which the lady was wearing her husband's shirt in their bedroom? He calls her from work and she says "I was just thinking about you?" Anyone? Anyone? I loved that commercial. Actually, I couldn't' stop thinking about the commercial as we were working the bees. This is why I don't have a TV!

So, us gals were suited up and had the smoker in hand. Mr. Boom sat with the camera about six feet away. He wasn't bothered one bit by the bees, and I think the two of us might have been a bit overdressed!

As you can see below, the smoker lived up to its name and really smoked.
It smoked us more than the bees. I'm not sure I'll use it next time.

Ever so gently, she pried up the lid...

The lid finally came off with a little bit of a struggle.


See the bright white wax on the lid? This is pure, freshly built honeycomb.
It doesn't belong on the lid. As thrilling as it is to see, it means they're overcrowded and that I need to get a super on there as soon as possible.

In this close-up, you can see them building all over the place. Not good. All the comb should be on the frames, not on top like this. Normally, you'd pull the frames out one by one to inspect the hive health and look for the queen. This is so built up, though, that we decided just to put the lid back on and wait for the supers to come. Then we'll clean this all up and let them go back to work in their new quarters.

Do you see the golden liquid just above the inverted W? That's honey, my friends.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Croissants and des pains au chocolate (by Kat)

Earlier in the month, Julie, over at Willow Bird Baking, challenged her readers to attempt to make croissants and les pains au chocolate.


Wait, what? What did I just agree to do?!!

Actually, I made croissants once before, I think when I was about thirteen or fourteen. I began very early in the day, and worked away in the kitchen. There was kneading, there was margarine (no butter in our house!), there were muttered grievances (also, no swearing in our house!). It was just me and my mom's cookbook, out to set the world on fire.

The recipe made exactly twelve croissants. The twelve croissants were perfectly aligned on their baking sheet and baking in the oven when Russ and Evelyn, my grandparents of sorts (my grandfather's cousin and wife, to be exact) stopped in. I was thrilled! I loved Russ and Evelyn.

With my brother and parents, the count was now six. Then my other grandparents, who happened to live next door, came over to see Russ and Evelyn as well. The count was now eight. Then and aunt and uncle were on scene. Ten.

So, my twelve croissants were gone in less than ten minutes from oven removal. I was lucky enough to get one, though! I made sure Russ and Evelyn each got the extra one, and they each split half with me. Two! I had two! Still, it felt like an awful lot of work just for that...

So, fast forward back to present, and my wondering why I was doing this again! Russ and Evelyn are both long gone, and no matter how good these smelled I new it wouldn't bring them back again.

Having made puff pastry a few times now, I've got a much better handle on laminated doughs. The trick is to have the dough and butter at just the right temperature. Too warm=butter squishing out everywhere. Too cool= butter breaking through the dough, which then results in butter squishing out everywhere. The trick is to use the fridge as a lifeboat. Every time something seems to be heading south, throw it all in the fridge. After it's cool, take it out, let it warm just a bit, and then continue.

Julie's challenge was to make the traditional crescent-shaped croissants as well as les pains au chocolate. It's the same dough, but rather than being baked in a crescent shape it's formed into a rectangle with a nice melty piece of bittersweet chocolate baked into the center. C'est bien, bien sur!

Here's the photos from my challenge. Look at Julie's site for the recipe and detailed instructions.

Most importantly, have FUN!

three cubes of butter, cut in half the long way, rolled into a rectangle

dough, after mixing

butter centered on rolled-out dough

dough folded into thirds, surrounding butter

two dents indicated two "turns"

after six turns, the dough is split in two and rolled flat

a pizza cutter gives you sharp edges that raise well

raising in my 1910 home's warm upstairs bedroom
(this heat is good for something, right?)

Une pain au chocolate!

Beaucuop des pains au chocolate!

et les croissants....
bon appetit!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It blew my mind (by Kat)

The North Cascades National Park blew my mind.
It left me speechless.
We took lots of photos, but they don't do the landscape any justice. Most of what we saw can't be captured on film, and really can't even be adequately described in words.
We left the tiny burg in which we live on Friday afternoon, headed north (stopping at a favorite fruit stand along the way), and eventually met up with the Columbia River. Some call it the mighty Columbia, but it really isn't' mighty at all--not anymore. Today, the Columbia River is a slinky toy. Water pours over one dam down to the level of the next dam, just like a giant slinky going down the stairs.

I think I came up with that analogy myself, but if I stole it form someone I do apologize.

Anyway, we followed the slinky river up to Pateros, then finally began the westward portion of the adventure. The highway was laid down along the floodplain of the Methow River. The amount of water in the river was startling to me, as the Methow has no reservoirs. I'm so used to giant reservoirs holding back the rivers, then releasing the water in the summer to provide habitat for fish and irrigation for crops. Seeing all that water running wild down the Methow reminded me of the first time I saw a parrot flying free in the wilderness (thanks to the PBS series Nature). I remember thinking how funny the parrots looked, and wondering who fed them, and who cleaned their nests? The Methow River struck me the same way. Unregulated water is awesome.

The first evening we drove up and down every single road we could find on the east side of the park, and once we were off the main roadway, we only saw four cars.

Four. Cars.

We seemed to have the wilderness to ourselves. Well, ourselves, the moronic bunny rabbit (actually a snowshoe hare), quite a few deer, three buhzillion mosquitoes and crane-flies, and a grouse and her baby. Wait, what's a baby grouse called? A grousling?

Cheeper! Seriously! I just looked it up and a baby grouse is called a cheeper. Somehow, knowing that makes the little guy seems all the cuter! AWwwww...

Anyway, we finally found spot to camp way up in the boonies. We pulled all the stuff out of the backseat, shoved it into the front seat, and managed to sleep quite comfortably in the back of the car. Subaru Forester, in case you ask. We bought her back in February, and she was christened the bluebell on this trip. The only problem we experienced was fear itself. You see, Mr. Boom opened up a package of ham lunch meat as we were driving down the road. The ham was juicy, so he held the whole mess out the window to let it drain. It drained all right...right down the side of the car.

I'm not scared of bears. I am cautious, however. And considering the considerable bear sign we'd been seeing, I really wasn't too excited about our sleeping arrangements as a giant tin of bear bait. It was very hot, and Mr. Boom wanted to crack the doors open. Due to the fact that I already had about ten mosquito bites on my ankles, I had provided them with quite a feast really, I didn't feel like donating another serving to the local bear population. But, the car grew hot and stuffy quite quickly, so the doors were cracked and we survived the night.

The following morning the mosquitoes were gone, but the flies were out in droves. I hadn't had much coffee yet, so as I protested to the files that I wasn't a cow, I think they only heard moaning and confused that with moo-ing, and figured they were in the right spot. The flies were landing on my hands, in my cereal, on my face, and in my eyes. By the time I was done eating, Mr. Boom had the car all packed up and ready to go.

We wound back down through the hills, and eventually turned back onto the main drag through the park. The main drag through the park, Highway 20, really is a drag. It's a bit like Yellowstone. A long line of cars snaking itself through some rather pleasant scenery. If you concentrate on the scenery around you, you'll hit the car in front of you. This ain't my idea of fun. There are approximately three places to pull over, and all three are very nice, in a Mount Rushmore sort of way. Lots of leather-clad and semi-leather-clad men and women sizing up the surrounding hills and surrounding bikes. Meh.

Ross Lake and Diablo Lake are a gorgeous color of blue oh-holy-heck-watch-out-they're-hitting-their-brakes!

There are a number of trailheads in areas where there are no flat surfaces. When the mountain comes straight down to the road, and the sign says the trail is 16 miles long, I feel a bit excluded from participating in that hike oh-holy-heck-watch-out-they're-hitting-their-brakes-again!

So after many miles of oh-holy-heck-watch-out-they're-hitting-their-brakes-yet-again driving, we arrived in the town of Marblemount. There's a river runs though it, called the Cascade River. There's no sign saying your world will change if you head up this little road. The only sign says there's a fish hatchery somewhere up this way. But hey, it's called the Cascade River, and we live in the Cascades, so shouldn't we drive up there? At least to just say we had?

And here my life changed, my mind was blown away, and I ran out of words. Well, actually, I said one word over and over.



You'll have to go see it for yourself. None of our pictures are big enough to hold the bigness that is Cascade Pass. My brain can't even hold it all.

It was big.

I want to go back. I really want to go back.

Turns out I really like it big.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Packin' up (by Kat)

Mr. Boom and I are heading out in less than three hours for our weekend trip through the North Cascades. Mr. Boom, of course, finished packing his things last night. He's all set. He's ready to go.

Me, well, I'm not Mr. Boom, am I? He's the math major, I'm the anthropology major. Our weekend preparations directly illustrate our educations, I'm afraid! Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny may be disproved, but that doesn't threaten my statement one bit.

In order to prepare for our trip I am cleaning my espresso maker. Some people put on clean underwear in case they die in an auto accident. Me? I clean my espresso maker. Please Lord, don't let me die with a dirty espresso maker on my counter. I couldn't handle the shame...

In order to prepare for our trip I'm making croissants and pain au chocolate (chocolate-stuffed croissants). They're in our bedroom, raising in the heat that older homes are known for in the summer. This is Mr. Boom's dresser. You don't actually think there's room for this kind of thing on top of mine, do you?

I made a big batch of potato salad yesterday. I figure between the croissants, the potato salad and the car food, we should be good for three days. Right? Right?

Car food. Dare I admit this to the world? I love Kraft cheese spread in the little jars spread on Triscuits when I'm in the car. This isn't something I'd be caught dead eating at home, but on a car trip it's a non-negotiable requirement. The cheese product (seriously, that's what it's called) is best bought in a gas station. Ideally the jar will be dusty and the label should have evidence of water damage. Like a fine wine, the yellow goo needs to age and have a good story behind it.

I've also made several jars of espresso, frozen solid, to which I'll add milk and call my morning latte. So. Potato salad, croissants, car food, espresso. Three days? No problem. I hope.

In order to prepare for our departure in less than three hours I'm checking on the bees. Because, you know, they're really going to be sad while we're gone. They're going to miss me a lot. Right?

Other items:

The trail cam did not catch sight of the cherry pit pooper last night. We'll set it up again when we return.

The grapes outside the kitchen door are beginning to look like grapes! Pretty!

No, I must get packing. Seriously. No excuses.
Oh look! The kitties are being cute! Grab the camera!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

There's something in my yard...(by Kat)

There's something in my yard...

Besides an artichoke or three...

Besides a zuchinni or two...

Besides the hen who won't stay out of the raised beds.

Whatever it is, it's been eating cherries and service berries...

I think the trail cam goes back out tonight!

On another note, Mr. Boom and I are headed up the North Cascades loop this weekend. Do you have any recommendations on good trails, good spots to roll out a sleeping bag (or maybe even a hotel), or other can't-miss places? I'm just hoping Dwight Schrute doesn't rear his ugly head again. This is a trip we've been wanting to go on for years, and for some reason we just never have--until now. Chirp-chirp is safely ensconced at her cousins' home, and we're doing the Pretend-We're-Young-and-Childless thing. Should be lots of fun!

We have $300 for gas and food, courtesy of my folks who decided I needed to get away from it all after my Grandpa passed away. This is not what my Grandpa would have done with the money, but he's not here, so there! This is also not what my parents had in my mind, but again, they're not here, so there! So, what would you do????

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

To Bee or not to Bee (by Kat)

Okay, people keep asking me why I started up the beekeeping escapade. The trouble is, they usually have this look on their face and a tone in their voice that would better accompany the query of why I decided to become an elephant whisperer or a tightrope walker. People seem to think I'm nuts, and not in the usual "oh she's just nuts but in a kinda cute way." No, the typical reaction I'm seeing is a quick eye dart to the left, then to the right, a glance over my shoulder, and then, escape route decided upon, they'll look back at me.

Except for my dentist. She thinks it's cool, and she'll get the first jar of honey I harvest to give away. I like her.

So, bees. And why?

I definitely wasn't raised to do this. My mom actually asked me a few years ago "did we raise you to be this way or did you get this way yourself?" She was quite serious. She was upset that I was handling something (I don't recall what) in a manner decidedly different than she thought the situation (whatever it was) called for. So, we'll just let her and my dad off the hook right now. No, I was not raised in any type of manner that would seemingly lead to me keeping bees.

Uhm, I don't know anyone who keeps bees, either.

Uh, Little House in the Suburbs did it, so I can too?

No? Okay, ummmmm, I like bees?

Actually, we have about one buhzillion types of bees in our yard. Long ones short ones, fat ones skinny ones...

But with the population of honey bees at such risk worldwide, I wanted to do something to bee a part of the solution. I'm a put up or shut up kind of person, and don't feel you have a right to complain about a problem unless you're actively working to rectify it. So, I see all the bees and think that maybe they'd like a home, and I could give them that, and maybe that would entirely solve the world bee decline. Or at least help out a bit here.

So, a top bar hive, I figured, would house one local colony, and I'd get some honey in return, maybe.

Also, I never had an ant farm growing up. Somehow I convinced myself that a hive would be just the ticket to make up for that neglect....

But here's the thing. I ended up buying a hive of bees from another community and brought them here. This doesn't help out the little guys who were already here. The Lansgstroth hives are harder to get into, and not at all like an ant farm. So what am I doing, and why?

I. Don't. Know.

But I like it......

PS Hope my folks never find out I have a blog.... I most definitely wasn't raised to do this sort of thing.
PPS I know really need to stop making the bad bee puns, but I just can't help myself.