Sunday, June 12, 2011


Even though we are planning in a big trip to Yellowstone in a few days, culminating in meeting my sister-in-law and brother-in-law at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, and then on to visit family in Lincoln, Nebraska; we still went on our annual trip to Yosemite this week. A friend of mine from work has been organizing this trip for almost thirty years, and we've been going for about five of them. There were over forty people as part of the group this year, staying at Housekeeping Camp in generally the same areas. Smaller groups of us have often gone on organized hikes together, but our only real obligation as part of the group is to be part of one cooking group for either breakfast or dinner during the four or five days that most people are there.
 My family always camped in tents at Yosemite when I was a kid, and I wasn't that excited about these cinder block and canvas "cabins" at first, but I've grown to like them. It was supposed to be in the 30s at night this week, so I brought our down comforter to put on our bed. It wasn't that cold, but it still felt good!
Our group was in charge of a breakfast this year. We had tons of food, including the perfunctory scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, and bacon. I almost overslept until I smelled the bacons, which one of our partner's had started by 6:45. There's nothing that smells as good as breakfast in the mountains. That griddle in the background was my grandmother's. She's been gone nearly thirty years, and I think I probably got it when she died, so it's made quite a few pancakes and still works great. In the foreground is my "magical" pancake dispenser, which works pretty well. I gave it to Russ several years ago, and we'd never taken it out of the box. We also had our own "Yosemite Blend" coffee, which was a mix of Pete's Major Dickason and French Roast, an expedient way of mixing the coffee from two coffeemakers into one big urn.
We didn't go last year because Paige left for Europe right when everyone was going, but last year the campers stayed in cabins by a bridge that had this view. Unfortunately, at two in the morning, they were  awakened by a ranger who told them that the river was rising, and they'd have to move out. Almost everyone slept in their cars for the rest of the night. They did get a refund, at least.
This year, we were in cabins that weren't right by the river in the hopes of not getting flooded out since the Merced River was starting to rise again. Russ and I walked over to the village store and bought a couple of Ahwahnee Pale Ales from the Mammoth Brewing Company. I'm not much of a beer drinker, but I was so happy with my beer that I had to get Russ to walk over to the store with me again to get another one. Oh! and the next day, I couldn't sit here because the river was starting to rise! But, that was O.K. since I just found another place to drink my beer.

Russ and Kai are standing about where I had been sitting the day before. I guess that they anticipate having to close the camp for several weeks this year when the snow really gets to melting.
This was the view from one of our friend's cabins the morning we left. All of that wet area  was dry the afternoon before. Our cabin was to the right and a little uphill of this cabin, so we probably would have been OK had we stayed another day like a lot of our friends did.  It was a little colder too, so hopefully that slowed the "melt-off" some.
Friday morning we set off on a hike with some friends, planning to start on the "Four-Mile Trail," which  goes to the top of Glacier Point. We knew it was closed because of snow somewhere near the top, but we thought we'd just start on it anyway. 

You usually see lots of deer at Yosemite, but it seems like there are more this year. There's one in the path ahead of Kai above.
We didn't get very far before we had to stop because we hit snow and a waterfall blocking the path. The water wasn't deep at all, and would have been easy to cross if there hadn't been a good-sized cliff  that it was roaring over. One slip and we'd have been goners. Kai disputes this assertion, which is why, I'll bet, that most of the fatalities in Yosemite are people under twenty-five. We decided to turn around after throwing some snowballs at each other.

 Poor Kai missed out on the excitement of the day. He and a friend hiked ahead of us after we decided to turn around  Look carefully to the right of the picture above...that's a little bear cub,  which was really exciting but also made us nervous because we knew that there must be a mother nearby.
My friend Jim is the closest to it, taking pictures. I told his wife that I would be yelling at him if I were her, but that if he didn't get mauled by the mother, I'd wanted copies of those pictures, ha, ha. He wasn't too foolish really, but we were worried about that mother.

We ended our visit with a little hike up to Lower Yosemite Falls. Ohhhh! and I'll bet you thought I wasn't going to mention knitting. 

I worked on this Cuddle Up Cushion Cover on the trip up and back, and during an epic Scrabble game one afternoon between hikes.  I like this pattern, but I'm not crazy about the yarn. It's Rowan Scottish Tweed that I bought from Little Knits because it was so cheap.  It's kind of rough to work with even though it's really pretty. Other people must agree with me since I notice that it's now on sale at

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

School's Out!

    For most of the years that my kids were young, I would leave school on the last day with an entire two and a half months of freedom before me. Summer vacation is now more like two months long, and for the last four or five years, I've somehow found myself teaching summer school, which usually puts a bit of a damper on my celebratory attitude. If I'd be more fiscally responsible during the school year, I wouldn't be complaining about this fact. Although I'm not complaining much this summer since I will still have a lot of free time. I'm subbing eight days of summer school for a friend in July; plus, I'm splitting a contract to teach a night class at the college, which means two nights a week for four weeks. That's certainly not "nothing," but it's much less than I'm used to, so I'm excited. It will be nice not to be rushed about pretty much anything, including knitting projects. I felt a little rushed with finishing my little project for my friend this week. I didn't get the Mary Janes finished for my friend's grandbaby, but I did knit her a cute little hat from Susan B Anderson's "rosebud hat" pattern in Itty Bitty Hats. I'll just have to knit the Mary Janes later.
I didn't really have enough time to knit the rosebuds, so I knit a little flower from 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet,  I don't know how to crochet much, but this book makes me want to learn. It has some really fun patterns. I was inspired to buyit from Knot Garden, who creates gorgeous flowers creations. I'm sad that she hasn't posted since December because her stuff is wonderful.

One of my summer goals is to be more faithful about my food posts on Fridays, but since I've been so infrequent with the food posts lately, I thought I'd post a recent success while it's fresh on my mind. We had some friends over on Sunday night and had an indoor picnic since it was too cold and windy outside. (Yes, cold and windy in Central late May!)  We had pulled pork sandwiches, thanks to Trader Joe's, but I'm proud to say the potato salad was homemade. I'm still on the "Southwest" kick and found a great new recipe on a blog that I unfortunately forgot to bookmark!

Southwestern Potato Salad
  • 4 lbs heirloom, thin skinned potatoes, cut and boiled until tender but not mushy
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, roasted until soft
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 Poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2-3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
  • 2 cupe  mayo
  • 2 tbs Grey Poupon mustard
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin 
Mix the mayo, mustard, agave, cumin, and lime juice. Squeeze in the soft insides of the roasted garlic and mix well. Set aside. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, peppers, onions, cilantro, and chopped garlic until well mixed. Pour the mayo mixture over all and blend gently. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I had good reviews on this recipe although it was really on the spicy side.