Saturday, August 20, 2011

Interesting Things I Saw On King Mountain Trail

Huge claw marks in the side of a tree.

Charred wood from a massive forest fire . 

King Mountain Trail

King Mountain Trail is not for the feint of heart. About 30 minutes west of Forest Grove are a set of trails that are pretty isolated and very challenging.

We hit this today. Its summit is about 3200 ft. We made it to about 2200 ft. and realized we did not bring enough water for us and our two dogs in the 87 degree weather. We turned back and plan on bringing more water and finishing it another time.

It was 2.4 miles and we did about 2/3 of it in 3 hours. It is pure up hill climbing with some spots you need to almost double over to make it up. On the way down it is quick but tricky with very steep trails covered in loose rocks. I have good Salomon hiking shoes and still had a hard time on some spots.

There were people taking their kids up and lots of dogs. Our dogs struggled a bit towards the top and are now dual snoring on their beds. I would definitely try and hit it but not place it on your list of firsts if you are just getting back in shape. You will feel the burn.

Add caption
Add caption

Ecola State Park

Yesterday my husband and I went to Ecola State Park. This is just down from Haystack Rock where we visited last weekend. This could be one of our favorite walks because it was a combination of forest walk, steep hiking trails and beach. It was like a secret trail that went to a beach that only had maybe 5 or 6 people on it when we got down there. It was fantastic for the dogs.

You enter a cute little tourist town for either beach. For this beach you take a right and head up this perfectly smooth narrow road that curved its way through some of the most stunning forests I have ever seen. I was grateful for the moon roof on the MINI so that I could look up at the towering trees above me. The giant spruce trees there give their seed then provide a base for the trees to grow on. The roots draped over the rotten stumps of fallen parent trees. The mass of the previous trees was very apparent because some very large trees still had rotten stump remaining beneath them. For the trees the stumps had finished decomposing beneath stood on arching roots like elephant ballarinas. It was fantastic to see.

We emerged from the very dark forest to the very blue coast. The park has set up a place to picnic that overlooks all of the beaches. The fog was rolling out to sea making everything even more dramatic. Giant rocks slammed their heads out of the ocean mimicking the jagged forest mountains on land. We are new to the concept of planning hikes around tidal levels. We tried to get there when the tide went out so we could check out the pools but when we finished the hike to the beach we were a bit late. That did not deduct from the experience in the least bit though. When we entered the trail my husband spotted the biggest slug I have ever seen in my life. It was as long as the tip of my pointer finger to the joint where my thumb starts.

There were also lots of horsetail plants about. I thought at first they were baby trees but was excited to see the prehistoric plants. They are slightly different then the ones found in Upstate New York. They have needle like specialized leaves jutting out of them making them look like baby pines.

There was a gigantic tree carcass that had been sawed to allow hikers to pass. It was as tall as Roger in width and hollowed out like a wooden cave.  Moss was on everything. Ferns grew at the base of trees and even up in the trees. There were large masses on some of the trees that had lots of tinny branches growing out of them. I was not sure if this was caused by a diseased area or if a branch had been knocked off and smaller branches had emerged from it much like a willow tree would do.

It was a full sun day but extremely dark in the woods. The path wound round and round and though it was only a little over a mile it was for experienced hikers with lots of tree roots, steep slops and fallen logs. Our dogs were having the time of their lives. Ozzy the cairn grew up as a pup hiking Clarks Reservation in Syracuse, NY and has always loved rugged trails. Daisy's hound dog instincts kept her nose to the ground transversing the uneven path. We crossed small creeks rushing down the slope to the ocean. The park had built a couple wooden bridges but for the most part it was a dirt trail with rocks or boards in the soggy areas where water may cause erosion on the path.

The path took a round about way but then started the decent zig zagging its way down the slope. No steps till the last 100 feet of trail then we hit the beach. The beach greeted us with a massive rock. The beaches here are cool. You are able to take your shoes off and walk across the sand no problem. This beach was sand but had eroded large rocks near the cliff area and many giant logs and driftwood. The most interesting sea plants wash up on the shore and I saw large clusters of broken off oyster clumps. The rocks are just breath taking. When people act shocked I have moved here from so far away I am shocked by their reaction. I am grateful I was not born here and am able to be blown away by this landscape. It really is quite exotic and rugged. Being able to see these monumental natural wonders after just an hour drive is mind boggling. The beaches on the east coast are nothing like this. Here you just feel more isolated and like you are being exposed the the inner workings of nature. The only east coast beach visit I felt like this was when I went camping with my sister and brother-in-law in a reserve down the coast of Virginia. Still it did not have the massive cliffs and mountain peeks that this coast line does.

We really enjoyed this hike. Today we plan to do a hike by Mount Hood. I will post pictures again and write about the trail we went on. Thanks for reading and I hope you get out there and try these trails!

Quick Egg Tip

My husband was asking me this morning if I thought the eggs from the farmer's market were still good. If you are buying eggs from the farmers market the chances are they are more fresh then the ones from a store. The eggs from a store have to be shipped and processed. After driving cross country I can conceptualize how this would make the eggs at least a week old at the least.

Another way to figure out if your eggs are still good is to break them from a reasonable hight above your bowl. When they fall in and the yolk still stays in a nice solid clump they are still good. Smells are a good indicator too. A stinky egg is a bad egg.

Red dots in a egg just means it has been fertalized. If you are buying farm eggs this is going to happen because the chickens are free range and able to do it. hehe. If it grosses you out eating a egg with a red dot it it you may have no business eating eggs in the first place. Food that comes to us in its natural state is much healthier. We have all heard the saying "We are what we eat."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ecola State Park

The Wooly Bear

In Upstate New York there is a caterpillar called the Wooly Bear. It is a brown and orange caterpillar that is incredibly fuzzy. It looks like a cheese puff snack. You can always find the wooly bear crawling across some dirt road always on an endless and parolees journey to the other field.

The Wooly Bear is a huge part of our culture because in a state that gets harsh winters and has as many types of snow as there are stars in the sky we count on the Wooly Bear to foretell how long of a winter we will have. My grandmother told me about this fortune telling caterpillar when I was a child. Depending on the length of the orange your winter will be long or short.

The Wooly Bear was a big part of growing up for me. We would always catch them feeling their prickly hairs on our hands. They taught me my first lessons on life and death after I caught one at the tender age of four I sadly chopped it in half wondering if it would grow into two caterpillars like I had heard a worm would. White slime squashed out and it no longer moved. I was devastated when I realized it was no longer alive and that I had taken its life. I learned that day to respect nature and to never carelessly take a life.

I remember a cow pasture filled with them where we had stopped to get fire wood one time. That day was filled with discoveries. I found miniature wild snap dragons and the catapillers. I remember wearing a wool plaid coat and watching the caterpillars climb up it. It was funny because I saw a cow pee for the first time that day and thought it was making water. I figured cows made milk and that they just produced all beverages for us. I was not the shiniest penny in the well.

When ever you come across a Wooly Bear be gentil. It will curl up into a little C shape when you pick it up. It is terrified. Gentile put it back where you found it even if the news is bad and it indicates you will have a long winter. The Wooly Bear is a gentile creature and should be treasured. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

An Amazing Artist

This painting is one of my most favorite paintings. It was done my Curtis Yax in 1978. He was far ahead of his time and each brush stroke is like a work of art in its self. Each stroke seems to be moving on the page allowing the viewer to see this fantastic moment as a favor I had no right to ask for.

I felt so incredibly honored when Curtis saw a stone carving of a octopus I did and said he would be willing to trade on of his amazing paintings for it. I had admired a colored painting much like this one with a turtle in it and I very much wanted a turtle.

He took great time picking out the painting he was going to allow me to have and hand wrote out instructions on how to take the greatest of care of it. I understood his caution about giving his art away when he told me horror stories of people pinning his paintings up to the wall with thumb tacks.

This is the most stunning painting and I treasure it with all of my being. I am so grateful to Curtis for allowing me to trade my art for his and have placed the painting over my office desk so I can admire it every day. I will never be as amazing an artist as him but am inspired by his talent every day.

The Finished Table With My New Chair

Bought this chair off craigslist and LOVE it. The detail is fantastic.

Lotus Table

A table top I am working on for my office. 

To do this project you start with a cute puppy.

I added painter's tape and cut it into the shapes you want.

Have your husband have you sign important papers. Puttin' out fires and making art. 

Make sure the design is proportioned well the the surface.

I will be adding polyurethane to seal it later. 

The Fall

The fall is my favorite time of the year. It always has been. I found it was when the best flowers came out in Upstate New York, the best food was served and the most fun holiday activities took place.

One of my best memories growing up was taking hikes up the dirt road with my grandmother. Coming into this time of year you would see asters, golden rod and joe pie weed surrounding the pines my family had planted in the old pastures growing up. There was one section just filled with a sea of pink joe pie weed that came about half way up the pines at the time. The pines grew fast as did we so I am sure they are much taller then the flowers now. I made countless bouquets of purple asters and goldenrod filling old crystal vases that were miss matched probably purchased at a dusty smelling thrift store. The roads were lined with queen ann's lace, bird's feet, chicory and clovers. I was told that the changing colors of the flowers were a indicator of the changing seasons with the dominant purples and golds coming out in the fall. I found nature as the most reliable calendar of how close the new school season was.

One of the first trees to change was the ash just before my grandmother's house. It was in full sun and just looked like it was on fire when fall came. It was so amazing and my mind has taken many photographs of it. You would often find my grandfather on a Johndeere lawn mower underneath it. Old baseball cap (the kind with mesh on the back), white t-shirt suspenders and faded old jeans. If it was chilly he always wore a denim shirt with pearlized snap buttons.

This was the time of season you took the dogs to go black berry picking. Blackberry pie, toasted marshmallows with blackberries in the golden peeled off outside crust and blackberry jam were all key. My grandmother made the best potato bread I have ever had in my life and the most flakey crust that only grandmothers can make. Squash, pumpkins, corn, potatoes and many other garden vegetables were on the stove being canned. We greedily waited for my grandmothers mason jar canned white grape juice but knew we had to wait for the third frost before the grapes were ready.

Firewood was starting to be chopped and my grandfather would put back and forth from the woods in his Johndeere tractor from the 1940's towing behind the manure spreader turned wood hauling cart behind in the old days. The woods are filled with chainsaw sounds or the crack of a hunter's gun this time of year. You don't head out to the woods in November unless you are wearing a bright colored coat to warn hunters you are coming. I would tie a scarf on the dogs.

The crick is cold this time of year and you have to pass around the old Ford Fairlain decaying in the woods to get to it. All of the old spots like the junk car have to be inspected rediscovering the antique tricycle and old bottles that lay around it. When I started to get into photography I snapped a picture of the face like tail light. Still one of my favorites. The creek is bitter cold and refreshing. Sometimes your sneaker would let a little of the water in shocking the top edges of your foot but it was no big deal and quickly warmed up as you moved up and out of the gully. I would stop by the area where my family cut wood for years and the biggest tree in our area that my uncle had once made a tree fort in. I would visit all the big rocks that rested at the edge of the forest. They had once been in the fields and had been halled out with an old tractor and some chains.

Fall is the greatest time of year. Even when there is a chill in the air you don't feel it because of the warmth of the trees fiery glow. It is a time when you get to harvest all of the hard work you did all summer. It is a time when the country side starts to cover its self in the golden patchwork quilt of fields it had stored in a cedar chest all summer. It is a time of excitement before everyone heads off to their winter sleep. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rustic Shelf

So I wanted to make my office kinda rustic and funky. I found a old shelf on craigslist for 20 bucks and then thought since it was only 30" tall it would look cool with some pipe legs. If I ever do this again I will find old pipes. I didn't realize they would be kinda pricey from the hardware store. I forgot they are kinda outdated that people mostly use plastic now. Anyway here are the pictures of my awesome project.

Iron pipes with some spray paint on them.

It is crazy what you can fit in the back of a MINI.

When looking for something to use look for solid wood. This is from the 1920's or 30's I think. 

Screw the pipes into the fittings. I added lil coupling things to the bottom.

Felt feets