Friday, August 26, 2011

The Poudre

Last weekend we woke up on Saturday and decided we should go camping.  I packed, Dave figured out where to go, and we were on our way.  We headed up to Fort Collins and then went west into the mountains, trying to camp on Red Feather Lakes.  Nothing open.  We went to the Poudre River, Kelly Flats campground and found the last spot.  It was a good one, just above the Poudre River.  We fished, we grilled food, we read (currently reading Game of Thrones), we slept, and we returned the next day in time to clean up and get ready for the first week of school.

Red Feather Lakes, where we spent all of 15 minutes.

Dave getting our poles ready.  Dave ended up catching rainbow trout!  Very cool.  I caught nothing.
Our campsite on the Poudre.
We got this stove for $4 at the recycler and it worked on the first try.  They sell for $60 at REI.  Making potatoes to go with the burgers cooking on the campfire.
Fun with photography.  Loving our new half-dome tent.  There's a door on both sides!
Bacon and egg sandwiches for breakfast with Chai tea.  River in the background.

We went to Culver's in Fort Collins.  This was Dave's first Culver's experience.  He had a butter burger and said, "I mean, it's a step up from McD's."  He also had some custard and agreed it was good.  Culver's originated in WI and there's three of them in my home town, one of which I worked at in high school and college.

This pictures is sideways, but I just don't care right now.  This is a Kelloggs Breakfast tomato.  I combined two of these, about six San Marzanos, two Jet Stars all from my garden plus two mystery tomatoes from my CSA, oregano and basil from my front porch, and made THE MOST AMAZING pizza sauce and then pizza that I have ever eaten. 
These are my super-productive basil bushes.  If I stick around this weekend, I will likely harvest and make my third huge batch of yummy pesto.  That's flowered mint in the background. 
This one massive tomatillo plant helped me make a quart of green chili salsa, which I served over pressure-cooked pulled pork from a 8lb pork shoulder/butt.  We have extra salsa, so I might have to make some soup.  The tomatillo plant is still making more, so round two might happen in September, however, it has been very hot this week.  We set 2 temperature records and tied 1.  We're about 10 degrees warmer than we should be and my plants are taking a beating. 
I go outside last night around 9 to water plants and am totally weirded out by the look of this guy.  I go back in and proclaim that someone or something assaulted one of my small tomato bushes.  I grabbed the headlamp and found...

Tomato Hornworms.  These guys are freakin HUGE!  At first glance it looked like a snake. 
Much larger than my pointer finger.  I violently killed both of them out of fear that they would take over the other 15 plants in my yard and somehow get to the garden.  Take that, nature!  That makes flea beetles, aphids, and horn worms in my organic garden this year.
Harvesting is continuous around here.  Tomatoes for every meal, basil as well.  I'm also going to have to do something with these cucumbers ASAP. 

First week of class went well, except, as usual, I'm totally wiped.  I hope your August is finishing off well! 

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Summer has proven to be fun, but unfortunately, winding down.  Dave's birthday was a huge success, we spent the day at a Brew Fest put together by one of the band members of String Cheese Incident.  For a small donation, we spent the day sampling amazing beers, listening to great music, and hanging out with great friends.  The unexpected part was that you could get three pints of beer as well as a meal with your donation, and it turns out that the Redstone Meadery had a booth.  I got sufficiently drunk off of a pint of mead plus several tasters of other mead and gluten free beer (New Planet).  Mead is honey wine and we actually make our own in our closet (water+honey+yeast+time=mead), but Redstone's is so super yummy.  Normally people don't drink a pint of mead and I was shocked they were serving it to me!  This helped the afternoon be extra enjoyable!

Dave also let me cut his hair into a nice mohawk for a day, then buzz cut!  (See previous post for motivation on why this was so important.)

I then had a week with Dave, remember he had been in New Jersey for two weeks, before heading to Wisconsin for a week where I spent fun time with 51 of my closest relatives on a lake boating, eating good food, and relaxing.  Last Saturday I spent about 16 hours traveling before finally getting home to my own bed.  I picked up Dave in Winter Park from a bike trip after my flight to Denver.  I forget how far he had gone, something like 150 miles in two days and a huge elevation gain (Boulder to Winter Park, plus all of the ups and downs in between).  Here's one of the beautiful photos from his touring trip.  The trip ended early with a knee injury, poor guy! 
A picture from Dave's 150 mile bike tour from Boulder to Winter Park.
This past week I was at a workshop at NCAR in Boulder learning about the latest and greatest weather data so I can be the professor with the most up to date, ground breaking materials in my courses.  It was a long week, but spent with great people and I learned quite a bit.

Friday was Dave's company picnic and then we finally got to catch up with friends we hadn't seen since Dave's birthday.  Yesterday we took a bike trip just a few miles from our house to South Boulder Creek to go fishing.  We caught zero fish!  I even killed a grasshopper and stuck him on my hook to see if fresh bait would help the situation.  Nothing.  The bike ride home has inspired me to start taking my old $100 Target special Schwinn bike to the Park N Ride to get to work instead of driving my gas guzzler the two miles before catching the bus to Denver.  Two miles seems like nothing, but there is a 400(?) ft elevation gain on the way home that keeps me from wanting to do it.  However, it will be a good way to get in shape and stay that way during the friendly-weather part of the semester. 

I could probably win an award for the cheapest bike in Boulder.
Dave fly fishing on South Boulder Creek

Trying to entertain myself after loosing my bait several times.
Finally, this week I have some odds and ends to do, the sorts of things I do to keep my life organized before entering a semester where I'll have zero days off until Thanksgiving, like getting a hair cut and fixing my car.  Then, I have to get ready for my semester of teaching four college classes at a time.  Two classes are easy as pie since I have taught them both several times.  One upper level course will be my second time around, but I have lots of room for improvement.  One course will be new, but based on a course I taught once, so I have slides, but I'm not sure how helpful they'll be.  I did spend my summer prepping for these courses, but it just never feels like I've done enough when the time comes to jump in.  I also have to write a paper explaining why I deserve my job for my annual review, due within the first few weeks of class.  Classes start in a week and I'm excited, nervous, and hoping I can keep my professional life to Monday through Friday so that summer doesn't have to end today.

Meanwhile, my CSA has been giving me some good veggies (cherry tomatoes, green beans, broccoli, peas) and some not so good (cabbage, turnips, collards, more kale and lettuce, too many beets to eat).  My garden looks amazing except that it is the hot and dry season right now, so I just water it every chance I get to keep it from wilting away before the tomatoes all finish up.  I'll take some pics and share those, but otherwise, I might be signing off for most of the semester and just try to blog when we take fun trips worth talking about.

I hope your summer is finishing off wonderfully!