And here’s Pt 3!

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I call this one: “Coyote proudly carrying the severed front end of some small marmoty critter”

 

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Montana

 

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Big Sky Country – they say.

 

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If stepping on glass doesn’t make a good Adventure, I don’t know what would.

 

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mmmm…beer. Bonners Ferry Idaho

 

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Into Washington

 

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Swung into civilization quickly, returned to camp with teriyaki (and beverage)

 

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In her element

 

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Romping around camp

Rr-r-roadtrip pt 2

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Craggy

 

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Sadly, loooots of these all over the desert West – a good number being highly toxic and/or radioactive.

 

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Bird o’ Prey

 

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Fortunately it has its own sign

 

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Homesteadin

 

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Current status: Found

 

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Elk herds, Tetons/Yellowstone

 

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Tetons, north of Jackson near Yellowstone

 

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Canyon hike

 

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Geologically significant rest stop

 

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Yellowstone/hotsprings

 

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A balmy 200 degrees

 

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Sulfurific

 

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Happy Horses

 

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Jaeda will protect me, right?

Weekend Jaunt

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Wy’east (Mt Hood) White River/Glacier; frist stop on the drive from Bend to Hood River

 

Dinner at Pfriem in Hood River.
Dinner at pFriem in Hood River.

 

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Evening hike into Gifford-Pinchot National Forest (Mt St Helens)

 

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jDa

 

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Sun’s setting, probably need to find somewhere to camp

 

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Mt St Helens, eastern slope

 

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Cooler weather rolls in finally. A good heatwave sat over home for a week prior to this. Ahhh.

 

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Grabbed a back corner camping spot. Invited a pair of cyclists to share shortly after the small FS camp filled up.

 

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Up and on the road early, driving up towards Rainier.

 

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Mt Ranier

 

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Mid-Afternoon I rolled into Camlann Village, east of Seattle. It’s an authentic medieval living history village with a working farm, restaurant, venue etc. http://www.camlann.org/

 

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Pottery Wheel

 

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Drippity

 

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Planing boards. All the buildings, furniture and…well, everything…is handmade using traditional peasanty methods.
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A big chunk of bread, a goblet of mead, and a bowl of pottage. Who’d of thought peasant slop could be made so well, kuddos! Very tasty.

 

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baaaah.

 

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Around 2PM I hit the road again, deciding to head towards the coast. A few stops around Seattle and some quick 15min hikes in the Olympia/coastal range.

 

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Spent the night at Ft Stevens State Park, right on the beach at Astoria, Ore.

 

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You can drive on many public beaches in Oregon. I had a rental car…so you know, why not. Turns out donuts and sweet stunts are a tad dull with AWD.

I’ve got a lot more photos, expect a followup post!

Graupel

We had a unusually exciting Monday due to some freak weather conditions. The day started with over and inch of snow – on this tax day – having begun falling before I woke and continuing a couple hours into my morning at work. I was feeling meteorologically inclined today, so here’s a blog post about the weather!

 

bend oregon snow storm

 

That’s the view from my office window, no mountains to be seen today!

 

A good breeze brought the sun, melting everywhere but the tiny shadowy corners by maybe 3pm.

 

 

 

This was followed up by another storm front, dropping an hour of really good graupel. Yep, you read that right. It’s a fairly complex phenomena to describe, here’s a Warticle about it. Supercooled water vapor latches rapidly onto snowflakes, turning into a soft styrofoam-like hail.

 

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It’s really unique when it gets deep. Eventually the pellets changed over to a light snow, but not before coating all the streets over again.

 

I decided to share the graupel with our flock. The reception was inquisitive and exuberant.

 

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You’ll notice they’ve become rather gangling and bristly since their last appearance on this blog 🙂 Jaeda however…it didn’t amuse her. I think she was also disappointed by my graupelman

 

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Also the word graupel is pretty great.

 

 

 

Three Extra Feet

Demoing a pair of 36in peg stilts, custom made by the good folks over at http://www.thespinsterz.com/

It’s been 10 years since I’ve stilt-walked, so the first few steps were treacherous as I clung to my zombiecusher, a pair of kneepads the only thing between me and the distant pavement. My internal gyroscope was working good this morning, and I was gallivanting about the parking lot in no-time:

Out-o-the-house

Sure, I get out of the house every day to walk the dog, at the least. A few times a week I’ll go run errands, grab dinner or drinks. Then every couple weeks I roll over to Iowa with the wife to visit family. It’s been a few month though since I checked out anything new; been out ‘exploring’. Today I decided to make a visit westward towards Lincoln though, to get some fresh air and go for a drive.

My first stop was Conestoga, a state rec area centered around a large man-made reservoir. The weather was up in the 50’s and I made my way around the lake in about half an hour, Jaeda in toe. Despite the probably-freezing water, you can’t keep a lab from wanting to wade out. It was nice and remote; only a boy scout troop at the adjacent campground, and the sun to balance out the wind.

Our next stop was Lincoln itself. It’s thoroughly a college-town when you reach the downtown strip. There was also a basketball game or something, so roving packs of kids were abound, cheering, hooting, and generally being boisterous. It reminded me of a town like Boulder, Charlottesville, or Morgantown; lots of young people, tons of bars, a bit grimy and well-worn. It has more personality than Omaha, quite a lot more, and a fraction of the size. I wish we had visited some crazy football-game Saturday, just to see the menagerie, but alas, we’re moving from the Midwest next month.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable afternoon, and a perfect escape from the routine I have found myself falling into. Maybe another short roadtrip will be in order sometime in the upcoming weeks? Any suggestions?

Homemade dog food gruel

Anyone would agree that dogfood can get pricy, especially if you go for anything other than cheap-o name brand.The fact is, dog bodies aren’t meant to eat corn byproducts (nor are livestock for that matter), which is what most big-brand dog food is these days. This stuff causes myriad health effects; everything from digestion problems, tumors, and shorter lifespans. Corn’s (the cheapest) filler material, which is why big brand dog food has a ton of it in there.

We generally feed our dog a mix of dry kibble and some sort of wetter food mixed in. This wet addition has been everything from pureed pumpkin, leftover people food, canned dog food, or occasionally a raw egg.The dry kibble we use is decent, from Nutro. It’s middle-of-the-road. It’s still got lots of grains, but no corn. It’s not organic, but it’s cheap. We’ll occasionally mix up the flavor, but it’s generally the same brand.

 

One thing we also started recently, is to make our own dog food.This is something that anyone can do, and if you follow these quick suggestions, you might even enjoy doing it, as well as justify the time and cost. I’ll list my tips first, and our exact recipe will follow:

  • Leftovers! Most dogs will eat everything including the kitchen sponge. If you have dinner leftovers, institutionalized canned food in the pantry, barely overripe produce… throw it all in. Obviously be conscious about dog allergies/toxicity. Avoid chocolate, avocados, and all those no-no food items. If you’re curious, just google the food to see what vet’s say.
  • Shop in bulk. Rolled oats, rice, and other stuff is incredibly cheap from bulk bins.
  • Plan to make the food in a single pot; easy to clean up

 

Now for our recipe, and price breakdown. Obviously your exact concoction can be anything you want. This is what we put together for the most recent batch:

  • 2 cups of rolled oats (these puff up like 4 times their volume when cooked) bulk: $.40
  • Broth and water. (our broth was made from a chicken carcass weeks ago, and frozen. I don’t recommend canned/boxed broth, as it’s often very salty) broth/water: $free
  • 2 russet potatoes, 1 big sweet potato, 1 butternut squash. These were are from cupboard, starting to spud-out and get rubbery. The butternut squash had been hiding for like 3 months. $1
  • Bacon grease…so tasty. This was the drippings from a pack of bacon, maybe 3-4 tablespoons. $free
  • 1 cup of apple sauce. Again, old fridge leftover. $.50
  • 1 cup de-shelled spanish peanuts. These were leftover from x-mas baking $.25
  • Other ideas: rice, ground beef/pork/turkey, peanut butter, canned pumpkin, stale cereal, carrots and veggies, pasta, egg, etc.

Total cost for a huge pot of dog food: $2.15

Cut up the starchy things into 1 inch cubes. We baked/roasted them in the oven, as we were making some seasoned taters for ourselves too. You can also boil. Roasting will make the texture less slimy though.

Make the rolled oats per instructions in a large pot. You can also do rice instead of (or in addition to) oats. I believe for either, the ratio is 2:1 liquid to grain. Once the oats are cooked and steamy, dump in all the other ingredients except the tater chunks. Cook everything for 10-15 min until it’s hot and consistent, then gently fold in the potato chunks. The idea is to maintain some texture…otherwise everything can quickly turn into just a pureed paste. I like to think Jaeda enjoys the chunks, heh. In the end, it should be thick grey gruel. Go ahead and try it. It won’t taste terribly appetizing by people standards…but have you ever tried to eat dog food? 😉

 

Let it cool, then portion out into either freezer containers or ziplock bags to store. We keep one pack in the fridge to use, and pull one from the freezer when it gets low. We mix a few spoonfulls of the gruel in with half a cup of her dry kibble, and she looooves it, nosing around and eating the gruel bites out first.

 

Cleanup is a breeze: one pot, one mixing spoon, one cutting board (and a cookie sheet if we decided to roast the taters).

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Frozen and stocked up for the next month. The orange chunks are squash and sweet per-tater.

 

 

 

Paging Doctor Fido

LongerRoad mascot and occasional guest-poster, Jaeda, went under the knife yesterday to have a fatty (lipoma) tumor removed from her belly. It was about the size of a gooey softball, underneath a muscle where it was hard to get at.

Surgery was a success and she’s home resting, a bit tired but seemingly happy. She’s also sporting a spandex compression vest to keep everything tight. Quite stylish, I might add 🙂

 

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