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  • Archive for December, 2012

    prolific

    My word for 2012 was Prolific. I’d say the first half of the year was pretty good word wise but the last half went downhill, unless you count endless work on the house and yard as being prolific!

    I definitely find that the first half of any year is better word-wise but some years are better than others. The year I turned 28 I had a list of 28 things I wanted to do. I made my way through the list pretty well but didn’t manage to get them all done. Oh well, but the point was having something tangible, writing actual goals down instead of something general.

    Picking a word is also enjoyable but lends itself to being more creative too. Sometimes words surprise you too, you never know where they will take you.

    Prolific didn’t quite get me where I thought it would but here I am at the end of the year and am still glad I chose the word anyway. What happened over the last year, prolifically or otherwise?

    It wasn’t a crazy adventurous year of the last couple of years but it was still full of exciting things and prolific in other ways I suppose.

    Here’s to 2013….and another word. 😉

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    I was in my studio before Christmas thinking that I really needed to make something. I pulled out some blue and grey alpaca yarn I had on hand and decided to make a scarf for my brother in law’s girlfriend. I was hoping it would turn out longer but the shorter length ended up being perfect for her to use. It was a nice to feel the yarn through my hands, turning a skein into something usable. I think I’ll be making more projects soon!

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    In the early morning hours of Christmas morning the rain started in heavy with a bout of hail sometime in the night. It rained most of the morning and stopped sometime after noon when we went to visit my grandmother at her assisted living facility. We checked the radar and the snow line was coming closer and before we left our visit the snow had started.

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    We didn’t expect it to accumulate but it did! All afternoon the snow fell in heavy flakes and finally when it accumulated enough Chris and I went outside to play!

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    Our heavy winter wear was not with us so my dad let us bundle up in some of his clothes.

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    Chris wanted to make a snowman but it turned out that the snow wasn’t nearly as wet as we thought…

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    The truck hood snowman is the best he could do in the circumstances.

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    SNOW!

    Putting the hive together

    Yesterday our beehive arrived! Yep, we’re going to delve into the world of beekeeping! A couple of weekends ago I went to a beekeeping forum at one of our local nurseries and it really set us off about getting our bees set up for the spring. We put our order in with R. Weaver Apiaries and we can pick them up in Navasota, Tx on April 13th!

    Chris put the hive together yesterday and will be adding a few things to make it nicer over the coming weeks, including building a stand for it.

    As for what else is going on around here, nothing that I can think of worth writing about. I do have a couple of longer posts written in my head but they haven’t been typed out yet. I may spend some downtime in the holidays working on photos from Washington and our camping trip to Lost Maples last month…I still have a lot to share but editing the photos is the most time consuming part and I can never get myself in the mood to work on them in the evenings.

    And life…life is rather quiet, which is fine and good. But the early evenings don’t lend themselves to a lot of nature photography. I finished painting my studio a few weeks ago and spent an evening or two starting to organize and will need to return soon. Art and craft projects shall be returning to my life in the New Year.

    The New Year—-I’ll have to write a post on how much I didn’t really stick to my word ‘prolific’ this year, at least in the way I wanted it to be, but I’m also not going to choose a word next year and instead am going to focus on one action….finishing my Florida Trail book. If my word was going to be anything this coming year it would be action. Make it happen!

    See y’all on the flip side of the holiday weekend!

    PS: That’s the couch-and-a-half that we bought as a floor model…the couch is coming sometime in the next week or so. Oh, that’s what else we’ve been doing, buying furniture!

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    After leaving campsite A the East Trail climbs steadily for maybe a quarter to a half mile before plateauing on top of the ridge (which I wouldn’t really call it a ridge, definitely let’s go with plateau…hence plateauing). The climb itself isn’t difficult, just steady, and since I am a slow hill climber and because my nose loves to run when I’m climbing a hill, I take my time.

    Up top we were rewarded with sweeping views in all directions. The trail itself stays level on top for maybe a mile, probably a smidge less, before descending down towards the West Trail and Can Creek.

    There wasn’t a whole lot going on up top, the wind was blowing and the day started out overcast, and not a lot was blooming up there.

    Missed the other Lost Maples posts? See Along the Sabinal River, Monkey Rock, Hale Hollow Creek.

    pecan

    pecanbutter

    A couple of months ago I was looking through my parent’s second fridge in their garage. I noticed several large ziplocs full of pecans from their yard circa 2010. Yep, time to be used. I think that was also the last time they harvested a good crop. The last few years the squirrels have hoarded the pecans for themselves.

    Several years ago when I started reading about the do-it-yourself food movement I found out how to make your own nut butters. It is super simple and this time around I went with the same nut I tried last time…the pecan. It isn’t a nut butter you would normally see and unless you really love pecans I doubt many people will love eating it on a consistent basis. The flavor is more earthy than the usual suspects in nut butters, even more so than almond butter I think.

    I threw in a good dose into my food processor and set it in low for awhile and then switched it to high until the grinds thickened up and started taking the consistency of what you would associate with a nut butter.

    Good stuff!

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    Hale Hollow Creek branches off the Sabinal River near Campsite A and heads west through the northern portion of the park before running into private property. We didn’t walk that far down it, but to kill some time before setting up our tent and waiting on our friends we decided to explore the creek bed a little bit.

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    Maidenhair fern line the walls of the creek, some in better shape than others.

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    Virginia creeper provided a nice contrast in color along the way.

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    Even the maidenhair fern were providing some fall colors throughout the creek.

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    We are fairly certain this is an orchid, in particular I think the chatterbox orchid. Maybe this spring we can get out and see them in bloom.

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    Some stalactites growing from the sides of the creek walls.

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    We stopped when we reached this tree and Chris took a few shots. I sat and lingered, taking in the light coming through the maples.

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    Passiflora lutea I believe.

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    I love ducking into quiet and seemingly unexplored regions of a park. I’m sure that people have explored this area, but the rest of the general population there that weekend wasn’t there exploring it and that is what mattered to me.

    Some quiet time with nature.

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    Parsley

    shrooms

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    radishes
    Easter egg radishes

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    Olive leaf broccoli

    The leaves in the garden are creating a second layer of mulch throughout. I poked around this evening, still dressed in my work clothes. The snap peas are coming up, a few radishes were ripe for picking and found themselves cooked into our stirfry tonight. A day of rain on Tuesday produced good conditions for the fungi to grow. I’ve gotta start learning to identify them better as our yard seems to proliferate fungus after a good rain or several dewy mornings.

    We’ve had rather warm days lately with a couple of cooler nights interspersed, but my brother is warning of a real, deep cold front coming later this weekend. Grreeeat.

    Now that Chris is back from being gone for practically the entire last 11 months, he’s taken the rest of the week off to do some work around the house. We now have blinds on our windows upstairs! Who knew blinds were so expensive? Man! He’s been attacking his man-cave, insulating the garage door and installing an attic ladder…he was worried that the attic wasn’t even insulated as the wall unit air conditioner runs constantly in the summer and since it is a converted garage, who knows if it was finished up correctly. Apparently the good news is that so far the roof is insulated but he hasn’t had a chance to investigate the walls yet…..to be continued on that front.

    This weekend: yard work and furniture shopping. Chris also said he’d see Twilight with me so I am looking forward to that. No, he doesn’t like it but he offered….I wouldn’t mind a double header and seeing the Bond movie after.

    Have a great weekend! More adventure recaps coming next week.

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    A continuation of our trip to Washington state back in August….

    We packed up our campsite and set off early down the Hoh River Trail, early enough that everyone in the campground was generally still sleeping. The forest itself was relatively quiet with a few birds chirping here and there, the sound of the river faintly heard in the distance. If we continued on this trail we could eventually end up at Mt. Olympus, however our destination for the day was only about 3 miles down the way to waterfall. A short hike and waterfall??? Sounds like a winner to me…and the sights—-oh the sights were truly magnificent! Little bits of beauty everywhere and we weren’t even to the waterfall yet….

    lostmaples8
    We arrived at Lost Maples, which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere west of San Antonio, to find we were definitely not the only people at the park. This park is known for its fall color and people from all over flock for day or overnight use. A line to check in, lines for the bathroom up front, a full parking lot—this place was busy! There are few and far between state parks that I have been too that have ever been this crowded and usually they involve a beach (Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park comes to mind).

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    We found a parking spot and got our gear together to head off down the trail. We were planning on spending two nights in the backcountry, which isn’t all that backcountry-ish as the park is relatively small, but it was hiking! Two of our friends/colleagues were coming too but would be meeting us later so we were in no rush to make miles or get anywhere in particular. We’d pegged the first campsite, A, to be our destination for the night knowing that the other two would be coming later, possibly during dusk.

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    We meandered about along the Maple Trail which was supposed to have the highest fall color with the bigtooth maples in this area. I think we were off by a week with the color, but it was still beautiful.

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    Lunch was a dry spot in the middle of the low-flowing Sabinal River. The trail was busy with people.

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    We stopped here and there to look at plants, trying to identify ones we knew and becoming curious about the ones we didn’t.

    Our next stop was Monkey Rock and after that we still had plenty of time to explore before setting up camp for the night.

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