August 2010 Archives

Heyburn Bike Ride

Colin hasn't done much bike-riding this summer. We had some free time Sunday so we drove to Heyburn State Park, which has a great "rails-to-trails" bike path. This cool bridge is close to the Chatcolet campground:


The bridge is sort of stepped. For a while Colin was able to ride up it, but then he decided to walk his bike up.


Seems like most of the people we met on the trail were of the retired couple type. We got a lot of smiles. The few kids that we saw were either riding on trail bikes or in trailers. We saw a bike-trailbike-trailer combo with a dog in the trailer.

We turned around after reaching the end of bridge. On the way back we stopped to hone our rock-skipping techniques. The rest of the ride back was great. He made it all the way, even though it was a little bit uphill.

Apparently the bike trail is 70+ miles long. Would be fun to ride the length someday, but I wonder if there are any hotels along the way?

Moonrise + Photoshop

Last night was a harvest moon and I rushed to the water tower hill just in time to see it rise. It was a hazy evening, so the pictures mostly came out bland. But then there is always photoshop...


Too much?

How to make Dill Pickles

Acquire cucumbers

Get yourself a box a fresh, small cucumbers. A box of this size fills about 12 quart jars. Don't forget to wash off all the dirt and bugs.


Prepare and fill the jars

Clean your wide-mouth canning jars and make sure you have enough new lids (with the rubber seal) and rings. You cannot re-use old lids. If you have to go to Safeway at the last minute, look for canning supplies on top of the frozen pizza freezers.

Place a couple of heads of dill seed (thanks Aunt Karen!), some garlic (thanks Jaeckels), and some grape leaves at the bottom of each jar. Then stuff the jars full of cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers if they are too big to fit.


Add the brine

Prepare a brine solution with pickling salt and vinegar.

Fill each jar with brine, almost to the top. Wipe of any liquid from the mouth of the jar.

Boil the lids to sterilize them, and secure them to the jars with rings.


Boil 'em

First, warm up the jars by bathing them in hot water from the faucet. Then place them into a pot of boiling water. Let them boil for about 10-15 minutes. If you happen to have some super-hip friends, they will let you use their fancy outdoor propane stove!


Remove and inspect

Use a jar grabber to remove the jars from the boiling water. You should see tiny bubbles inside the jar indicating that the inside water is also boiling. Also expect the cucumbers to look a lot darker already.



Fermentation takes about 4 weeks at 70-75°F, or longer at a lower temperature.

First Harvest!

Earlier this year I finished constructing a raised garden of sorts in our back yard. It wasn't completed in time for a proper planting, but today we have a bountiful harvest:


That's a few leafs of lettuce, a small-ish zucchini, and a single strawberry.

Although, the strawberry came from a hanging basket, not the garden.

Laird Park

We spent the afternoon at Laird Park, after driving past the not-really-bustling towns of Harvard and Princeton.

(Someone once told me that these small towns in Idaho were named for the alma maters by sons of railroad (or was it mining) moguls who were sent out here to manage their fathers' operations.)

There is a small dam on the Palouse River with a sandy beach. I think the water must have been quite cold. Colin enjoyed playing "erosion" more than swimming.


Meanwhile, we tried to stay cool in the limited shade of this tiny tree


Anderson Building

I rent an office in Moscow from my Aunt Karen. Its such a great little space. I think the building has a lot of retro charm. No doubt it's had many different tenants over the years. I particularly love the way all the suite numbers are different!


Chinese Monopoly


About a year ago Colin and I were playing a lot of Monopoly. He was really into it. We had many occasions to talk about things like not cheating and being a good loser. It's such a good game for teaching about money and math skills.

Last November I took a trip to China. In a department store I found a Chinese Monopoly game. It barely fit into my luggage for the return trip. Colin thought it was pretty neat, but we didn't play it very much at the time.

After giving Monopoly a rest for many months, we started playing again two weeks ago. We played the normal version a couple times and then Colin suggested we play the Chinese version instead. We've played it for the last eight days. We play in the morning, and before going to bed. Since I was busy last night with mowing the lawn and making ice cream, Colin opted to skip reading bedtime stories so we could play before ending our night. I have to play a few minutes each morning before leaving for work. This morning he woke up immediately and in a good mood -- a very rare combination in our house! -- just so we could play.

Colin will also play the game by himself, which doesn't always work to his advantage. If he moves only his own character, then he'll get low on money from paying me rent. I come home to a stack of bills waiting to be filed away under my side of the board.

Instead of "tokens," we call them "characters." I'm usually the iron (because its easy to grab). Colin likes to be the bag of money.

Somehow, he always manages to buy Boardwalk and Park Place. I don't think I've had a chance to buy Boardwalk once during our recent series of games. I did get Park Place once, which was traded for some other cards.

The Chinese version is different from the standard game in a number of ways. All the properties have different names. Boardwalk is Dongshan (the neighborhood of my very fancy hotel last year). All the prices are multiplied by ten. Railroads are called stations. Most of the chance and community chest cards are the same, with just a few subtle differences. All the cards are printed in both Chinese and English.

One of my favorite things about the way Colin plays is that its important for him to have at least one of each type of bill, if at all possible. A year ago it was a bit of a problem. He could have a huge stack of 100's and need to pay 50 for something. He just wouldn't pay because he didn't have a 50 bill. Now he's really great about "making change." If he runs out of a bill he'll make change to fill that spot back in. We have an informal and not-always-enforced rule that you get to be the banker if you have at least one of each bill.

Another aspect I enjoy is watching him jump his character ahead by knowing, rather than counting, how many spaces it is from one spot to the next. For example, its 10 spaces between corners and stations. If he's on a station and rolls an 8, he knows that its the next station, minus two.

If you were to play Monopoly with Colin and I, you need to know about a few house rules:

We start off with no money. You have to go around a few times and earn some salary before you can buy any properties.

We haven't quite mastered "percents" yet, so if you land on Income Tax, you have the option to pay 10 dollars/yuan if you have such a bill.

Jail is for suckers. If you have a get-out-of-jail-free card, you don't have to go. You get to stay where you are. If you don't have the card, you have to go, but you get out right away.

Colin gets to read the Chance and Community Chest cards for all players. This is my fault because I used the game as a way to get him to read things on his own. Now he takes it as his responsibility.

We like to share the free parking money. This is especially helpful to players that might be missing some bills.

Doesn't it sound like fun?

Wessels Family Reunion

This weekend seven of my Father's siblings and their families met for a reunion in Lewiston. It was great to spend some time with the aunts, uncles, and cousins. Good to reinforce those dusty memories and meet the new young-uns.

urban.jpgroy.jpg maryjean.jpgdon.jpg mardell.jpgdarlene.jpg ella.jpgbernard.jpg marva.jpgralph.jpg

Click on any of the pictures below to download the full size image file


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This page is an archive of entries from August 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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