Tag Archives: pacific northwest

the ice storm

As I stepped outside Thursday the 19th I remember thinking it was like I had walked through a teleportation device and landed in Alaska or Antarctica. I had already been waking at 3:15am for a couple days to get up in time to walk to work in the snow. If it weren’t for the inhumane hour, I would always walk to work. So long as I have my trusty snow boots, I quite enjoy walking in the snow. There is something serene about the undisturbed snowscape before the rest of the world has gotten up and trampled all over it. This particular morning the giant mounds of snow looked different than I’d ever seen before, almost glacier-like. There had been a bit of rain that created a slick layer of ice atop everything.


our bird bath

As I reached about 1/4 the way to work, I started hearing loud cracks from the tree tops. The trees were weighed down with snow that had turned to ice. Branches were falling around me. I remember thinking, “This is not good.” And then as I got just over half-way to work, I realized my face was bare. I had forgotten my glasses on the worst possible day. Within an hour of arriving at the 911 center, things were chaotic. Power lines and trees were falling all over our little county, and we had to switch to full-on emergency mode, with fire departments staffing emergency centers and all of us at dispatch working in overdrive to keep up with the calls for help.


This tree fell in our parking lot while I was at work.

I survived the rough day at work without my glasses, though the walk home was tough. At 4am I can walk in the street, but by 3pm I had some rough terrain over plow snow on the main road with traffic next to me. I’m happy to report I only fell once in thigh-deep snow. Levi and Jess were getting a little cabin fever and decided to meet up with me and we would all go get an early dinner. We had $3 in cash, so we planned to walk downtown and bus back up the hill. Throughout our fun trip downtown, I told them stories of my day and warned Levi that our power would very likely go out. Being hooked on his new Skyrim game, he was not hearing it despite all the downed power lines and dark traffic lights he had seen downtown. It turned to night as we were walking home from the bus stop, and much of the east side was in the dark. Miraculously, our power was still on when we turned the corner to our street. Levi fired up his X-Box and Jess and I turned on the TV and thanked our lucky stars for about 45 minutes before our power finally went out and stayed out for five very long days.


Jess snapped this with her phone as they quickly adapted their route to meet me


A damp Levi as we order dinner

We always talk about preparing for such emergencies, but we have accomplished very little in putting together that emergency kit. Some ways we were prepared:

  • lots of clean, warm clothes to layer on
  • plenty of blankets to keep us all warm at night (the house dropped to the 40’s, so we’re talking a lot of blankets)
  • boots, water proof hooded jackets, scarves, gloves, umbrellas, and hats
  • a functional flashlight for each of us that we were able to get to in the dark
  • lots and lots of card and board games

Ways we failed:

  • not having propane for our camp stove (though I didn’t want to create dishes anyway since we are on septic with an electric pump)
  • not being able to locate our shoe box full of candles
  • never buying those fancy hand-crank lanterns or LED lights we talked about
  • not having a stash of cash, although thankfully we didn’t need it
  • not realizing we could use the snow to refrigerate our dairy in time, although thinking of it in time to save the beer

Memories:

  • standing in a line out the door at the coffee shop when the power went out and everyone moaned, followed by it turning right back on and everyone cheering
  • getting sick of take-out and packaged food by day two
  • lounging in the furniture section at Fred Meyer, enjoying the free WI-FI and keeping an eye on our cell phones as they charged in the lamp aisle
  • writing thank you letters in our heads to the inventor of baby wipes
  • stocking up on those LED lights and clicking them on and off as we went from room to room
  • walking to Big Tom’s for veggie burgers and tater tots and celebrating with the owner as he told us they had already broken their all time sales record since 1969
  • craving a warm breakfast and toasting Pop-Tarts with the creme brulee torch
  • working as a family to dig my car out of the snow as well as a car width path in our long driveway (followed by two days of Jello arms)
  • a slumber party with some of our favorite friends when the first of our three houses had power restored
  • warming up and killing time at the movies (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
  • lots and lots of cuddling


the famous Artesian well continues to flow


Levi entertains a little girl while we all wait for the bus


the most fun card game award goes to Back to the Future


An almost 6 foot 2 inch Levi is tiny next to that monkey puzzle tree


everything is covered in icicles


seriously, everything


Capitol City

We are truly lucky that all we had were big inconveniences. I’m so glad we took care of all our pressing tree work last year. We still managed to have trees from both of our neighbor’s yards fall into ours. Thankfully they narrowly missed our house and cars. One tree landed less than an inch from my car, no exaggeration. None of our electronics were fried, and some people were without power twice as long as us. Now we just need to take this as motivation to prepare for a true disaster and actually put together that emergency kit.

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Filed under family, winter

Chickens Disapprove of Snow.


The first snowfall of the season

We can happily say that winter has arrived in Olympia. The weather people are predicting a ridiculous amount of snow in the next twelve hours, which will get annoying quickly. Snowy weather around here is quite funny. Everyone forgets how to drive. The grocery store shelves are stripped bare. I think our county owns two snow plows? It’s a special time.

We took this opportunity to introduce the chickens to snow.

Chickens are like cats. They don’t really like new things. Most of the time, they hate new things. Lenora had a strong reaction to the snow, while Ramona was just stoically offended. Pepper was too busy hunting worms to be photographed.


Cold weather is a good excuse for some snuggling.


And also snowball fights.



Don’t worry, I have really bad aim so I didn’t hit any chickens. I hope you’re enjoying some winter weather, too. Send hot chocolate.

xoxo,
Jess

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Filed under chickens, winter

Tacoma Soup Picnic

We are in love with a Tacoma soup counter called Infinite Soups. It’s such good food, it’s hard not to lick the last traces of soup from the container. I imagine their soup is the perfect lunch for the downtown Tacoma worker. Since we don’t live or work close enough, we use every visit to Tacoma as an excuse to pick up some soup.

Since there is no seating, we use any dry day in Tacoma as an excuse for a soup picnic. Luckily, Wright Park is just up the street.


chipotle cream

They post their daily soup picks on Facebook (in creamy and non-creamy options that contain meat as well as vegetarian and vegan). There are so many choices it can be hard to choose, but they are generous with the samples.

We have never sampled a flavor we didn’t like.


potato green chile

Wright Park has been around since 1890.


white birch

It’s full of some of our favorite trees.

Late fall means naked trees showing off their woody skeletons, or in this case revealing giant seed pods, perhaps?

No 19th century park is complete without lions.

Or cannons.


strawberry rum ball & valhalla brownie

And if you need dessert, Corina Bakery is just around the corner.

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Filed under fall, food

catching up: Astoria, Oregon in pictures

Sometimes I’m amazed at all we are able to accomplish, and other times our hectic pace catches up to us. It ain’t easy working more than forty hours a week, parenting, cooking, cleaning, keeping up with animals and hobbies, and squeezing in every last bit of fun we can. And that is the short version of the list. One can only use so many commas. Lately what has suffered most seems to be the cleaning and blogging. We’ve been running all around the Pacific Northwest in search of fun on our weekends as my shift-worker schedule is about to start overlapping the traditional Saturday-Sunday weekend for a awhile. I have one more Sunday off, and then I imagine we will do a lot more staying home, cleaning, cooking, and baking. I think our dear readers can look forward to a lot of posts about soup and baked goods in the near future.

Until then, I wanted to share some photo highlights from our recent weekend in Astoria. We already told you about Talking Tombstones, but we didn’t tell you about a late night walk in the woods at Fort Clatsop, Jess performing a quickie wedding ceremony for our friends on the beach next to the Peter Iredale Shipwreck, amazing beers at Rogue, finally climbing the Astoria Column, and so much more.


These witches were crashed into light poles all over downtown Astoria


from piers 39 & 17 respectively


If you ever have the chance, stop at a Rogue location. We didn’t try the bacon maple as it actually contains bacon, but we tried just about everything else.


the quickie ceremony


Catching the sunset on the beach at Fort Stevens


A ranger led walk in the woods in the dark at the Lewis & Clark Visitor Center at Fort Clatsop.


A foggy view atop the Astoria Column


I was told that bird was a crane but I’m not so sure. Look at it large and tell me.


We caught the last trolley of the day


Since we were the only people on board, we got a personalized tour from the best conductors/tour guides ever.

xo Krista

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Filed under travel

hurray for the first tomato!

Growing tomatoes in the northwest is always cause for celebration. This year, with a record-breaking wet spring and a chilly start to summer, we decided to really celebrate our first ripe tomato.

And we literally only have one ripe tomato at this point. I hope to have a lot more, but this good-sized, bright yellow Limmony was the first to cross the finish line.

To really do it justice, I made a balsamic reduction, bought some smoked mozzarella, and harvested some basil to go on top. Now I really hope we get a lot more tomatoes. We found a little blossom end rot in the community garden that we’re trying to nip in the bud. It’s important to celebrate the small successes!

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Filed under garden

20 x 20

Things are happening in our community garden plot!

Probably the biggest surprise: the artichoke starts that nearly died when we first planted them out are looking like they might actually produce! Last year our artichoke plants at home in containers never produced any food, probably because we didn’t choose a sunny enough spot for them. Our new plan is to dig these up before winter and store them in the garage in pots. We’ll see.

We’ve got a ton of green tomatoes over there. FINGERS AND TOES CROSSED!

Corn. Probably not going to happen this year but the sight of it still makes us happy.

Soy, corn, and volunteer borage gone wild behind. Our borage makes our plot very popular with the bees.

amaranth

nasturtiums and zucchini (and maybe some weeds)

Jess has some interesting plans for this calendula

Jess’ favorite gloves

the view from our neighbor’s plot

the food bank squash plot

So glad I finally hauled my camera over there on a day I wasn’t going to get covered in dirt.

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Filed under garden

day-tripping

I’ve had regular people weekends off all summer, but I’ve now reached the part of my schedule where work overlaps the Saturday/Sunday weekends that Jess has off. Boo. We debated what to do with my last Sunday off. Tackle a project around the house? Do something really fun? We opted for the latter, and took a quickie road trip for the day.

Satsop Nuclear Power Plant, Satsop.

Don’t worry, moms, it was abandoned before it was ever used.

Kurt Cobain Riverfront Park, Aberdeen

I remarked on how the neighbors must hate having the park there, but turns out one of them made it happen.

Zelasko Park, Aberdeen

Chainsaw carvings and one of them a lumberjack? This combines some of my favorite Pacific-Northwesty things. We had to stop. The carvings have plaques that say “Louis Benanto Jr. 1971.” I couldn’t find a lot of information about them or the park online.

Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park

I cannot say enough good things about this gorgeous beach.

Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park

Where we saw lots of moss, elk, slugs, and billions of mosquitos.

What a spectacular day. Staycation for the win.

Want to see more photos? Yes, there are more. Full Flickr set here.

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Filed under family