Saturday, December 03, 2016

The tree is decorated

Thursday, Ann and I went to three places before finally settling on the right tree for the right price. It looked great at the tree lot and only cost $40. People say that you could get a nice artificial tree for a bit more than that and that it would last for years and not cause damage to the environment by cutting down trees. My argument has always been, well, when you get rid of that fake tree eventually, how long is it going to take to decompose in the landfill. One thousand years? Ten Thousand? Besides, most real Christmas trees these days are grown on farms for the exact purpose of becoming Christmas trees.
We got the tree home and of course, it doesn't fit in the stand as is, so I had to remove some of the lower branches, in addition to about an inch of the trunk so it would absorb water. The tree seals itself off after cutting so you need to make the cut and then get it into water within a few minutes or it will not take up any water and thus become even more of a fire hazard than it already is as a real tree.
Once the lower branches were removed, one side of the tree didn't look perfect any more. But see, that doesn't really matter. Even Charlie Brown's tree looked beautiful once it was decorated, and we knew we could fill in the gaps and open spaces with dangling ornaments and lights.
I put the lights on Thursday night, and Ann got a lot of it decorated while I was at work on Friday. When I came home, she was beat and I finished decorating it. And really, it looks pretty nice. Now we can relax and enjoy the glow.


Friday, November 25, 2016

Love you inside out--the Bee Gees rocked it back then

Some of my formative years occurred during the 1970s, which at the beginning was a decade of hippies and the peace/love thing, but by mid-decade had begun morphing into disco. By the late seventies, disco ruled. King of the disco bands in those days were the Bee Gees, who had quite a few big hits. One of my favorites was this one, Love You Inside Out which topped the charts at number one for one week in June of 1979. Here is this classic from the disco era.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour" a classic!

This may be Stevie Wonder's greatest hit, and he had a lot of them. Anyway, it's a great love song, and really high amongst my favorites. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Trip Report: Hiking the Red Pine trail

I enjoyed a nice hike on Friday up to Red Pine Lake. I started just after 8:30. The weather was gorgeous and after about half a mile I was warm enough to take off my jacket. I had been up this trail up to the lake, then over the ridge to White Pine Lake and down many years ago. I had gone up this trail recently a couple of times either with limited time, and thus not making it to the lake, or with my young grandkids in tow, some of whom weren't quite up to the hike. So, I was determined to make it this year, weather permitting.
There is always a nice touch of light in the morning.
I always like the fact that I'm hiking in "the wilderness".
About a mile or so up the trail, I rounded a corner and saw a huge buck moving up the trail ahead of me in the same direction I was going. He went behind some brush that lined the trail and I tried sneaking up on him to get a pic. As I neared the place he had vanished I continued moving slowly for about ten minutes, finally figuring I had lost him. Just seconds after I began hiking normally again, I rounded a curve to see him still ahead of me on the trail. This time, after he went around a turn, I sped up, thinking that I might still get that pick. Unfortunately, I must have spooked him because I never spotted him again.
The sun just peaking through the trees is always a nice image for me.


Here is the sign you would see if you were coming from Maybird
The trail splits here. To get to Red Pine, you continue up the left
side of the stream. If you cross the bridge, you'll end up in
Maybird Gulch. 

An old mine dump partially covered with snow.
I continued on up the trail and the higher I got, the icier the trail got. I started looking for a hiking stick as my trekking poles had been borrowed and I still didn't have them back. I found a stick, not perfect, and pretty heavy, to use to help me keep my footing across the ice. I found that I had better traction if I left the trail and hiked up through the snow that hadn't been packed down as much.
There was quite a bit of ice, and quite a few people had left
the trail to try and avoid it.
In roughly 2.5 hours I made it to the lake. I had been passed on the way up by two women who were planning on doing the Pfeifferhorn, and a guy coming down who had already been up on that peak and was heading home.
When I got to the lake, I sat there and ate some snacks, admiring the scenic beauty of the surrounding peaks. I looked over at the ridge that separated Red Pine from White Pine and knew that today wouldn't be the day that I'd duplicate that hike that I'd done with my dad, siblings, and friends in the early 1970s. The way up to the ridge was steeper and longer than I'd remembered it and it looked rather intimidating considering how tired my muscles felt after slipping and sliding on the icy trail.
If you look closely in the middle of this pic you can see the two guys
fishing. The prominent peak is Little Pfeifferhorn.
Two guys were fishing in the lake and I thought about walking around to where they were and asking them how the fishing was. I ended up not doing so, again, my tired legs not wanting to go to the trouble. About that time I was wishing I had come with a hiking buddy to kind of spur each other on. I need that sometimes and while I normally hike alone on a regular basis, to me it's just as fun or even more fun to hike with a friend.
Yours truly taking it all in.
I took some pics of the lake and peaks and then headed down. I found my stick that I had left once I reached the flatter part of the trail near the lake, I was glad I had picked it up again just a little later as I stepped on some ice and my feet went right out from under me. The only thing that kept me up was my arm strength on that planted stick.
I ditched the stick when I felt I no longer needed it (you can see it lying across the trail in the Maybird fork picture above), and made my way down the rest of the trail. There were two more deer of which I caught fleeting glimpses, further up in the brush, when I left the trail for a minute.
The rocks where my son Ben and I had stopped with my grandkids
to eat lunch back in the summer.
I continued on down and soon I was back at the parking lot--maybe a little bored, now that the hike was over, but looking forward to the next adventure and thinking about the last one.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Putting the garden to bed

Over the years, I have prided myself on how long I can keep the tomatoes growing in the garden. Before we moved here in 2013, I used to take sheets outside and cover the tomatoes any time it looked like the weather would be cold enough to freeze. I haven't done that since we've lived here. Part of the reason is that with our daughter, her husband, and their four children living in our basement, I have no place to store the greenish tomatoes for later ripening. One thing a lot of people don't know is that if you have tomatoes that even have a little bit of color on them indicating that they are turning from green to red, you can pick them, store them, and they will eventually turn red. They don't taste the same as vine ripened tomatoes, but it gives a little more life to your garden.
This year I had mixed results with my garden. Early on, the peas and lettuce did well, but I had less success with my onions. Later on, the beets grew like champs, and the chard just keeps on coming, but the biggest Atlantic Giant pumpkin I grew was about the size of a bowling ball, and the tomatoes, which last year I had coming out of my ears, were sporadic and small.
Pea vines, weeds, and the forks that were supposed to keep the cat out
and didn't work.

Picked beets sitting in a basket for later use.

The picked Atlantic Giants, along with the tomatoes and chard.

My lens cap adds a bit of comparison as to the size of the tomatoes.

Chard was the biggest success of the season. Anyone want some?
About a month ago I began removing things out of my raised beds, until now, all that's left to be removed is the tomato plants (they still haven't died of frost, but they are no longer producing much at all), and the chard, which is growing like a weed. I am off today for Veteran's Day, but planning on hiking, so on my next day off (not counting Sunday) I will rip up the tomatoes and chard and put the garden to bed for the winter.
There were several bright spots in my garden this year, but the best surprise I had was that when I inspected my grape vines, which to all appearances were hardly growing, I found three unexpected grapes. I had planted them in the spring and expected nothing. They are Concord grapes and they were just past their prime, but hadn't started to wrinkle, so I ate them. So sweet! I can't wait for next year!

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Hiking: Porter Fork

I needed to get in a good leg/cardio workout today. I didn't want to go to the gym, and I had about an hour and a half this afternoon to do a little bit of hiking, so I headed for Millcreek Canyon. Some of the trails lower down in the canyon were packed, so I decided I'd hike up the paved, but gated, road at Porter Fork.
It was about 1.5 miles to where the road ended and I wanted to make it to that point before I turned around. For those who've never been up this trail, it goes through a cabin area and that's why it's gated. They don't want just anyone driving up there. The road itself is quite steep and I pushed it to get my heart and lungs working. The steepness would take care of the leg workout. Anyway, I began hiking at 2:23 pm and felt that I could hike until three and still make it home when I needed to be home.
The trail winds up the road past a beautiful stream, and through a nicely forested area around the cabins.
I ended up getting within eye shot of the pavement ending at 3:00, and took an extra couple of minutes to actually get to the dirt part of the trail.
Sign right where the pavement ends.

About 25 feet after the pavement ends the wilderness begins.
I only took my cheap camera--my phone--with which to take pics. Of course, that helped me to hike faster not having to pack my Canon digital SLR.
I've traveled this trail a few times in my life. When I was a kid, I came up it a couple of times in the winter to spend some time in a cabin that one of our Scout leaders owned. I also spent a night with a friend at that same cabin catching worms for our Scout week camp which was coming up the next week.
Could this have been the cabin I stayed in as a kid? I wasn't sure, but I thought maybe it was.

Later on, just a few years ago, I climbed the trail once alone, and once with a friend. It eventually links up with other trails leading down into Big Cottonwood, or over to Mt. Raymond and Gobblers Knob. The time I went with my friend, my friend's wife dropped us off at Porter Fork and then picked us up later in the day on the Big Cottonwood side. Today there were a lot of people up in the canyon for November 6th, but not tons of them on the same trail as me. That made it a little nicer. It was cool enough to wear a light jacket, but I had sweat coming off my forehead by the time I made it to the end of the pavement. I took time to notice on the way down how peaceful it was, and it smelled heavenly up there. A short adventure, but well worth the effort.
With late afternoon coming on, the distant peaks looked Beautiful

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Barry Manilow hate him now, thank him later

Someone who once went to a Barry Manilow concert told me that Barry, as he looked around at all the husbands, boyfriends, or other men who had been dragged by their wives, etc. to the concert quipped, "you guys out there are hating me now, but you're gonna thank me later". Of course, he was referring to how his love songs might affect each relationship in a positive way. I always made fun of Barry as I was growing up, but then, I always knew the words to his songs. Here's one that's a classic--Looks Like We Made It.