Wednesday, October 23, 2013

***SOLD OUT *** Native American Cave Paintings Tour - Nov 2, 2013 ** FULL**



Just heard back and this is fully booked - no more people will be able to go.. if they do a second one I will post it here.


There is another event that I wanted to broadcast in case anyone is interested in going with me.. :)

Native American Cave Paintings Tour
Saturday, November 2, 9:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.
Lake Camanche, south shore
Native American Cave Paintings Tour
When: Saturday, November 2, 2013 9:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.
Where: Meet at the Camanche South Shore Staging Area (Directions below)
ADVANCED REGISTRATION REQUIRED as space is limited. Contact Steve Diers at . Please provide your daytime phone number. Should the event be cancelled due to an emergency and we have to contact you. There is no charge for this event.
Activities: You'll take the "ankle express" (walk) to the Canal Cave site, stopping periodically to talk about Native American plant uses, and view the local fauna. Special guest Fred Velazquez will be sharing information on Native Americans and performing a stone tool making demonstration. The location of the canal caves is rich in Natural History; this area was used both by Native Americans and subsequently the gold mining community. Come experience these beautiful pictographs, learn their origin, and the history of the area. Because this site is behind locked gates and is not accessible to the public w/o a Ranger you will all arrive together and leave together
Bring:Lunch, long pants (for stickers & insects), comfortable hiking shoes, backpack, canteen, sun screen, insect repellent, binoculars and a camera.
Minors:Children who are age 7 or older welcome...(younger children may become bored). Those under 18 must have written permission from a parent or guardian, and an adult must accompany those under 16.
Difficulty:Round trip is 2-3 miles. Most of the route is moderate grade but without shade. You may encounter poison oak. Please take the appropriate precautions. The cave is a shelf cave which is about 50’ wide, 15’ deep & 10’ high. There is ½ mile near the beginning that is a gradual climb. Near the middle of the hike we will walk across uneven ground and negotiate through 50’ of cobble. The last ¼ mile is steep descent so on the way back it is a challenge.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Basic Butternut Squash Soup

Basic Butternut Squash Soup

1 – medium butternut squash, roasted with seeds removed
½ - large yellow onion, chopped
10-15 baby carrots chopped
Ginger paste
1 box (4 cups) of low-sodium chicken broth
Black Pepper
Red Pepper

Step 1 – Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds, lightly coat with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees for 40-50 minutes until almost soft. Remove and let cool – you can do this a day or two ahead and just take the squash out of the shell and store in the refrigerator. I do this when I am cooking Sunday dinner and roasting other items at the same time.

Roasted Squash

Cut up and store in the refrigerator until ready

Step 2 – When you are ready to make the soup - start with a medium (4 or 6 quart) soup pot over medium- high heat. Chop up the onions and carrots and sweat them for about 7-8 mins with a bit of butter.
Onions chopped

Onions and Carrots in butter
Step 3 - After the carrots and onions are soft (7-8 mins), go ahead and pour the box of stock in now. If you want a "vegetarian" soup, use water with vegetarian stock. Let this boil for another 5 mins or so before adding the squash.
After adding the stock and squash let it boil gently until everything is soft
I add a couple of squirts of ginger paste
Step 4 - While it is boiling add your spices - I use ginger paste instead of raw ginger for soups because it is smoother. I also put in garlic powder, red pepper and black pepper but not any salt at this time. I wait until the end because the soup can concentrate down and get too salty if you salt is as you go along.

Step 5 - Remove the soup from the heat and let cool before you blend it with a stick blender. You need to be careful not to get burnt when blending the soup.
My mom's old stick blender!

Finished and smooth soup

Season to taste and then eat!

Once it is blended, just season to taste and then enjoy! I always make more than I need and freeze it for later. 


Monday, October 21, 2013

More winter garden prep - Oct 2013


I am almost done with getting the garden finished for the winter hibernation - or in the case of the raised beds, the winter planting.

For the raised beds, everything summer was removed and garlic and broccoli was planted. The only plant from the summer that is left is the basil which just keeps on going and going... I have onions as well as some seeds for beets and carrots in the beds too. They are covered with netting so I am hoping they will make it and won't be eaten by the birds or the deer or the gophers or the squirrels or the raccoon, etc. Some people say that people who fish are the ultimate optimist, I think a gardener might be a delusional optimist!
Some of my winter garden seeds.. yep I have a lot of them!

Also I pulled all the weeds from the asparagus bed and put compost on them as well as starting year 4 of the garden. See the pictures below for more info;

Asparagus bed cleaned out

I put a border around it and have watered in compost

For the other main planting area - I am continuing the "Lasagna" method which means no tilling or turning over the dirt. I took all the plants that were pulled out and put them in a pile. Raked up some of the edges to the middle to neaten it up.
Lots of plant material to add to the pile
 Then I added compost and steer manure and watered it in well to help it all compost faster.. 
Bags of "stuff" about to go on...
Watering in everything to get the decomposition going before it gets too cold
Also my friend came up to visit and you know it is fun to hear the reaction from people when they go out on the deck and look at the view. They all visibly relax and just want to stay and soak it all in.. I really try and capture that as well with the 1000 pictures I have taken from my deck, but don't know if it is possible or not. Here is one more.. sorry.. but I just love seeing them..
Deck view

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

UPDATE - Hotel Leger - Up For Auction ! - Cancelled!

I just checked website and the Hotel Leger has been removed from the auction, so someone has paid the bill! There are some interesting properties and the lot my friend and I looked at on Comanche Lake was really nice. There are some steals of a deal to be had here... 


I got an email from the Calaveras county with a list of properties that are going to be auctioned because of past due taxes and of course, I am going to look at them because the real estate bug is a serious illness. 

I saw a few properties (mostly vacant lots) and then I noticed an address that was on Main st. in Mokelumne Hill. After looking up the address I was shocked to see it was the hotel. They are apparently late on paying their taxes and owe $56,000 so the county is going to auction the property.

This is really sad... I know that logically there isn't a way for this hotel to make money as a hotel in that little town. But it still has so much history and I have to believe there is something that could be done. 

If you are interested in the properties that are going to be auctioned, here is the website.
On the left of the page is "County Tax Sales" and if you go there you can see the listings. My county as well as Amador and Sutter county have some interesting deals... who knows? If you buy something we could be neighbors!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fall Garden Prep - 10/5/13

Fall is here!

I haven't been able to go up to the house for a couple of weeks because of work and I couldn't get there until Saturday morning so it was a shorter time than I would have liked. The weather has really turned cooler and you can feel it in the mornings especially. With the change in temps it is time to plant the garlic for the winter. I tore out all the plants that were still in the yard from the summer because they will not do anything now.. especially since they have been eaten by the wildlife. Also I mowed the yard in the front the last time I was there and spread more wildflower seeds that will hopefully will bloom in the spring.
Here is the front yard prior to mowing it, and let me tell you this isn't a quick job like your suburban lawns. This takes at least an hour with my big string trimmer and man do I have bruises afterwards so it is only done twice a year. Talk about a commercial for Aleve the next day as well.
Before mowing...

After mowing everything down and of course the turkeys show up!
In the front yard is a lavender plant that is very popular with butterflies and bees. There isn't a lot of flowering plants left at the end of the summer so anything that has pollen is swarmed.

One of the many butterflies on my lavender plant

Another task that I have been putting off was to prune one of my grapefruit trees. It has gotten really tall and was actually touching the oak tree branches above it. I put it off because if you have never had citrus trees you have no idea that they have long, sharp thorns. When you trim them they fight back and yes I was scraped and bleeding. You can see below where I was almost done and only had this last, central branch to cut off. I had to use the long pole saw and I was working on it for 20 mins trying to get through the wood.

Last branch is taunting me!
But someone how I got the saw stuck in the cut that I had been working on and it wouldn't come out. I finally gave up because I was so frustrated and went inside to watch baseball. I got it out the next day by using another long handled tool and pulling the branch down. It finally gave way and now it looks better.

This saw is stuck!

My 4 basil plants are still going strong so I cut a bunch of it and gave it away to a couple of friends.  
Basil coming out of my ears!
 I also got out and cleared out the raised beds and planted some garlic and carrot seeds..
Poor tomatoes never stood a chance... 

Garlic is in and hopefully it will grow as well as last time.
I am going to try and sell the garlic in the spring if it produces as well as last year.. I am sure the folks who got it for free this year will not appreciate it but hey, it is organically grown and hand-delivered!