Tidal Pools at Haystack Rock

May 19, 2018

When we were on the beach yesterday ti was high tide so we couldn’t get very close to Haystack Rock. Today we had low tide around noon so we headed out to get a look at the tide pools.

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As you can see in the pictures we weren’t the only ones with the idea. Haystack Rock at low tide is the place to be. Docents hang out and tell folks about what we are looking at.

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Clams, mussels, and barnacles cling to every bit of rock.

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We saw plenty of critters in the pools andon the rocks.

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We crossed over a bit of water to check out the south side of the rock and caugt a seagull spreading his wings.

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After about an hour of tooling around, the tide was coming back in, cutting off some of our access, so we headed back toward the house. I took the high road while Carla strolled  along the tide to get her feet wet. She got this awesome picture of a star fish out in the open

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Because the tide was low, I got another shot of the lighthouse off the coast.

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Posted in Oregon Coast, Mobile | 1 Comment

An Afternoon at Cannon Beach

May 18, 2018

We are in Cannon Beach for the weekend and I’m using the time to work through my method of moving photos from my camera’s SD card into LightRoom Mobile and then into my blog.

Cannon Beach is named for a cannon that washed up on the beach many, many years ago. But it’s real draw is Haystack Rock. There are a few of these structures along the Pacific Coast; when I was a kid the family went to Morro Bay in California. That beach also sports a huge rock in the bay – appropriately named Morro Rock.

Haystack Rock is visible up and down the long beach.

We walked south down the beach to get closer to the rock. It was high tide so we couldn’t get to the tidepools, but we saw a love message

We saw plenty of birds. There. were a lot hanging out on the lower rocks.

And more along the shore.

Here is a view looking north from the dune near the house we are staying at.

That little rock on the far left edge is an old lighthouse. The nice thing about my Sony RX10IV is its extreme zoom lens.

After walking for a while it was time to head back to our place and start dinner so the kids would have something to eat after fighting the traffic from Portland. Although we didn’t have any wind, we saw evidence of just how windy it can be.

Windy much?

Posted in Mobile, Oregon Coast, Travel | Leave a comment

Testing Mobile Upload

Usually when I travel I carry my laptop in my backpack. With my camera and all the other stuff I need in there the backpack gets heavy. I’m working on a workflow where I can get the laptop out of the loop. These are the steps I think I’ll need to take.

  1. Take pictures. No change there 🙂
  2. Import pictures into Lightroom Mobile. (Currently I import into Lightroom Classic CC)
  3. Edit the photos in Lightroom Mobile. Unfortunately LR Mobile doesn’t have the “Auto” color button that I use as a starting point on the laptop
  4. Export the photos to a spot on my Google Drive (New)
  5. Use the WordPress mobile app to upload the pictures, write the post and publish.

Today I’m working on steps 4 and 5. (Why go in order?). I’ve exported a photo from LR Mobile to Google Drive. Now I’m going to try to upload it into WorkPress.

I found the photo for import and it was pulled in automatically. Nice. The image above is full size. I’ll try the same picture below saved as “Large”

Now, the proof of the pudding is to publish and view in a browser.

Here goes Publish

The photos are different sizes in the editor window but in a browser they look to be the same.

Unfortunately, I don’t see how I can create links in the photos to bring up a larger version.

Hm, I went to Google Drive and turned on link sharing for the image – let’s try that

I’m not sure I like the idea of linking directly to my Google account documents, so I need to research that a bit.

Posted in Mobile, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Maui!

April 22 ==> 28, 2018

We’ve been to Hawaii a few times – the last time was 2006 when we celebrated a milestone anniversary. We told each other we shouldn’t wait so long to go again; well we did. But my oh my it was wonderful – we shouldn’t wait so long to go again!

We felt like 12 year olds on summer vacation: wake up, put our swim suits on, eat some breakfast, then head outside to play all day; come home at the end of the day and the grownups have made your dinner!

When we went last time we stayed at Kaanapali. This time Carla found a VRBO condo north of there at a place called Napili Shores.

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It was a long flight capped with a frustratingly long and confusing line at Budget Rent a Car. But as soon as we stepped into our place we were relaxed. As we unpacked the sun was setting to the south of Moloka’i. Carla had snagged one of the best five or six condos in the complex. It was on the second floor looking directly out across the ocean with  Molokai on the other side of Lahaina Roads.

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Quite a few people we talked with about our trip knew Napili Bay and recommended we go to The Gazebo for breakfast and try the macadamia nut pancakes. The Gazebo was there before the condo complex was built. People told us to get there early as the line backs up for over a hundred yards. We strolled downstairs about 20 minutes before it opened only to discover there was indeed a line. But they serve coffee in line and we had a nice chat with a young couple and their infant on one side of us and a couple from Ohio (Ohio!) on the other. I thought that people in the east would go to the Caribbean for their sun and surf. But, no – there were many, many people from across the United States. Later in the week I grabbed a picture of the restaurant and the line.

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Our condo was just next to the pool in the bottom left corner. We overlooked a rocky reef that, while good for tide pool watching, was not for swimming. No worries – it was just a short walk to the beach at Napili Bay. It is a quiet protected bay perfect for sunbathing and playing in the surf. There is a bit of a drop off just a few feet into the water, so this isn’t the best beach for little ones. But it is great for snorkelers. you can see a long reef crossing the bay a short swim from shore.

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And here is a few from the rocks outside our room. Don’t let the clouds fool you; it was plenty warm.

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Our mission for the week was snorkeling – and we accepted the mission! On the first morning on my way  out to the reef I looked to my right to see a huge sea turtle coming right at me. By first thought was “wow s/he is beautiful” followed a second later by “um, do they bite?” I decided that – to paraphrase the Bard of Avon – “discretion is the better part of valor” so I kicked my flippers to get to his side. As I turned a came up next to another snorkeler and we watch him/her pass. [From what I later read on the internet, they are not dangerous. ]

I then turned to the reef to view the multitude of tropical fish nibbling on coral.

We spent our first three days out on Napili Bay bobbing, snorkeling, and sunning. The tropical sun is a force. Even though it was partly cloudy everyday, I’d get back in the evening to find the parts on my body that I didn’t cover with sunscreen. I was a bit red but not bad at all.

When we returned to our room for lunch we saw plenty of action with catamarans and motor boats plowing up and down off shore.

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Tuesday night  we were treated to another beautiful sunset, then we had a special dinenr Sea House on the other side of the bay.

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Wednesday was a bit rainy but we were undeterred; we headed out to the beach and sat in our beach chairs holding our travel umbrellas over our heads. We figured – hey we are going to get wet, we might as well be in the ocean – so we snorkeled a bit but the water was a little cloudy. Nevertheless, we got a nice rainbow.

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Wednesday night was party night. We took a Lyft into Lahaina and went to Warren and Annabelles for a night of magic and comedy. A group of magicians work there for a week or two at a time. We saw John Shryock and Chris Blackmore. After enjoying drinks and appetizers in the bar; you are ushered into an intimate theater where you are treated to some amazing sleight of hand tricks and plenty of comedy to go with it. I can’t recommend this experience any higher; we will go every time we go to Maui. Be sure to buy tickets ahead of time as it sells out regularly.

We wanted a change of scenery for Thursday; after Googling for the best snorkeling sites on Maui we headed down south to Maulaka Beach south of Wailea. It was over an hour drive, but it was worth it. There is a parking lot at the northern end of the beach – it’s small go get there early. Maulaka is part of the area known as  Turtle Town. We set up our spot on the south end of the beach near the rocky outcrops. We saw a turtle shortly after getting in the water. One hung out on a bit of reef just a few yards off shore. We headed out to the reef and saw more beautiful tropical fish.

This is a perfect beach for swimming and snorkeling; there is no drop off next to the shore and the water was quieter – at least on the day we visited. Beautiful. This is what comes to mind when I think of Hawaiian beaches

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On the way home we had a late, late lunch in Kihei then stopped in at the Maui Ocean Center which was fantastic. There is a plexiglass tunnel you walk through with ocean creature swimming all around. A massive sting ray lay right down on the tube above us.

We headed down to the tide pools in the evening and saw a bobbing rock. Looking closer it was a turtle hanging out in a tide pool having salad for dinner. S/He blends in with the rocks so you may have to look for a bit to see him/her.

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Thursday was a busy day and we were tired. Knowing we had only one more full day we were determined to take advantage. Referring again to the Hawaii Snorkeling Guide website we discovered that Kapalua Beach was just on the other side of the northern point of Napili Bay. The road isn’t pedestrian friendly so we drove over only to find the parking lot full – we found a spot on the shoulder of the road.Screen Shot 2018-05-05 at 3.12.13 PM

The guide says this is one of the best beaches for beginning snorkelers. I think we saw the most variety of fish there, including a flounder nestled in the sand waiting for his dinner to swim by. However, if you go here, check the tide charts and go when the tide is closer to high tide than low. We were there at low tide and were a little nervous swimming over the shallow coral reefs. At low tide there aren’t many places to stop and drop your legs without banging into some of the sharp coral.

I’ll leave you with another sunset, my alternate banner photo and a view of some of the tropical flowers we saw.

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Maui is wonderful. We hope to get there again next year.

NOTE: May 6, 2018. I missed a flower picture I wanted to include. We think this is the flower leis are made of.

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Posted in Foliage and Landscape, Travel | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Tualatin Wildlife Refuge

April 21, 2018

A couple of buddies and I went out to the local wildlife refuge today. Even though trains don’t roll through it – like the Ridgefield Refuge – there was plenty to see. Jay is updating his plant field guide so we focused on plants. It’s still early spring but we got our eyes on some nice buds.

 

This refuge is only about 20 minutes away from our house. We live in a beautiful place on the north end of the Willamette Valley; though to be accurate we were strolling along the Tualatin River today.

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If I remember what Jay told me, this is a gall. It occurs when a wasp lays an egg on a tree; the tree builds this growth around it then the wasps eat their way out. Simpatico.

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I took some pictures of trees and leaves, but for the blog today, I’ll focus on the early spring blooms. I’m real pleased with the image quality my little RX10 creates.

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There are plenty of old tree stumps that are home to ferns, mushrooms and mosses.

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I caught a quick picture of an osprey up above.

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Getting pictures of birds in flight is a learned skill. My Sony RX10 will zoom in but it’s hard to find the bird when the zoom is out; so I pull back to a wider view to find the bird, then zoom in – I wish they would hold still – I get the camera on it only to have it dart in another direction out of the frame.

There were lots of visitors – many, many packs of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts – and volunteers out today. Jay is a guide there but he wasn’t on duty today. He and John checked in today about the location of a local yew tree.

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After our walk, we went out to lunch at a Red Robin – you know what I liked about it? Not a dang thing. There’s a reason we haven’t eaten there in a long time. It definitely has the vibe of a corporate chain – everything is planned out. Well, there is one good thing about this Red Robin – it share its parking lot with Handel’s Ice Cream. We dropped in for some small scoops of creamy deliciousness.

 

 

 

Posted in Foliage and Landscape, Wildlife | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Wood Ducks 2018

It’s that time of year again: wood ducks are pairing up and looking for nesting spots.  Thanks to our neighbor Jon we have a great wood duck box (is it a duck box that is made of wood or a box for wood ducks?)

If I remember their habits correctly, at this time of year, the female goes into the nesting box for about an hour each morning to lay another egg while the male keeps watch. I think this is the female checking out her spot. They hang around a while to make sure the coast is clear.

This is not it; this is an old chickadee box that has had its tiny entrance expanded by a remodeling squirrel.

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There’s her bigger box in the back ground.

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Dudette has a mullet!

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One of these years, I hope to get pictures of the ducklings falling from the box – though it can be a bit of “Wild Kingdom” with crows and red tail hawks hanging out like they are lining up at a buffet.

 

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Black Beans in Pressure Cooker

I’ve cooked black beans and rice a couple of times using an America’s Test Kitchen [this used to be free – now maybe not.] recipe: in January 2017 and originally in May 2013. In that dish the rice takes a big part of the stage – and it’s a long cook in a Dutch oven; I mean, it’s really, really good but we wanted just beans. We were planning on making Yum Bowls (if you live in the Portland area you may have had this delicious treat) – which is rice, beans, shredded cheese, avocado, tomatoes, and briny kalamata olives. All topped with Yum Sauce.  So I wanted a quick pressure cooker recipe.

The basic approach would be like my pressure cooker pinto bean recipe; but black beans are much smaller than pintos – how much would I have to reduce the cooking time? Seems like a simple question; I was hoping to find a nice chart with beans and cooking times. I had to search the web quite a while to get a good answer.  I finally stumbled upon Letty’s Kitchen which discussed cooking time for black beans.

  • Overnight-soaked beans with natural pressure release (6 minutes)
  • Overnight-soaked beans with quick pressure release (9 minutes)
  • Unsoaked beans with quick pressure release (20 minutes)

I kind of used her recipe – using beans brined/soaked overnight. To save myself searching again next time I make black beans, I made some notes for myself including an adjustment or two.

  • I like her idea of adding a dried red chili or two – I usually have some in the pantry so I removed the seeds and did it.
  • I chopped my onion as she suggests rather than adding 1/2 whole onion as I would normally do.
  • I didn’t mince the garlic – I skinned and squashed it, then added the squashed  cloves. Mincing would be fine – I was lazy and just wanted to save myself washing my garlic press.
  • I added 1/2 teaspoon cumin – I love cumin in my beans and it makes the kitchen smell great.
  • I had a cup of homemade chicken stock taking up space so I added that along with the water. Letty doesn’t call for that since hers is a vegetarian recipe.
  • Her recipe (and most others) call to cover the beans with water about 1 1/2 inches above the level of the beans. Dried beans are variable; for this cook, my one pound of beans expanded to about 2 quarts after soaking. Using a ruler the called for water came up to the 3 1/2 quart line in my Instant Pot.
    **** THESE ARE MY MEASUREMENTS FOR THOSE BEANS ON THAT DAY ***** Different beans will call for different amounts of water.
  • Sometimes people new to pressure cookers have a let down when they find that cooking something at pressure for 6 minutes doesn’t mean it only cooks for 6 minutes – you have to account for the time for the pressure to build. On this day, with my beans, and my water, it took the pot ~20 minutes to come to pressure followed by 6 minutes of cooking at high pressure, then followed by at least 20 minutes of natural release time.
  • Now that I re-read Letty’s recipe I realize she calls for starting with hot water. That would probably reduce the cooking time a bit – and would be super easy if you have an electric kettle.

The beans were excellent. Start with Letty’s recipe first and adjust to your own taste – if needed.

Where are the pictures? Well, I was cooking beans to stash in the freezer and refrigerator for later in the week. We were having friends over for a light bite to eat and I was in a bit of a hurry. And later in the week when we had our beans and rice I just didn’t get my camera out – next time.

While searching through the internet I started with Mike Vrobel’s Dad Cooks Dinner site and I was reminded of his post on Rancho Gordo beans and his post about Santa Maria Pinquito Beans.  I love Tri-Tip the main dish that goes with pinquito beans and I can’t find them here in Portland. So I went on-line to RanchoGordo.com and ordered some beans.

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