Category Archives: Photography

Night in pisgah

A short window of time opened up in our work schedule last week that Joshua and I decided to take advantage of and slip off for a couple nights of camping and fishing.  We went on a short and easy backpack trip with Joshua’s 7 month old puppy Ginger.  She was a bit anxious during this new endeavor, but bravely followed her leaders.  Spring was just unfolding in the high elevations along the Art Leob Trail and the MST.  We passed numerous trilliums in bloom, and the forest was alive with songbirds.  Along with the many towhees and juncos, I noticed some unique yellow colored birds: Golden Crowned Kinglets, and a new sighting for myself, a Chestnut-sided Warbler.  Another yellowish bird provided insufficient time for identification.    The next day some beautiful wild trout were sourced and brought home to provide some high quality omega 3’s.    The fingerprints of the Creator were impossible to miss.  How wonderful to witness the beauty of His creation!

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Oatmeal

I’ve been sick most of the week with a nasty cold.  Just sick enough so that my body won’t work, but my mind will.  What a frustrating combination!  My family can tell when I am on the mend because I start getting really hungry and begin fixing meals at random hours of the night and day.  This was particularly delicious.

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Healing Oatmeal

Water

1 apple and 2 large whole dates, diced

1/3 c whole rolled oats

Handful of raw almonds

Tblsp of raw honey

½ lemon, squeezed

Tsp of cinnamon

Dash of salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Bring water to near boil and begin adding ingredients.  Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes (or until the apples are soft, and the almonds are swollen), stirring occasionally.  Additional water might need to be added while cooking.

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Chasing the elusive snow

Last week Joshua and I took a quick overnight trip hoping to catch the forcasted snowstorm right in the act.  We left Newberry Creek around 5pm on Thursday evening and made it to the parkway in a couple of hours where we set up camp.  We started the hike in the rain, which eventually turned to snow as we neared 4000 feet of elevation.  Unfortunately, only a fraction of the predicted precipitation manifested itself.  It was enough however to make for some adventurous travel conditions and beautiful scenery.  Friday morning we walked into the state park and to the summit of Mt. Mitchell, before returning via the same route.  I was thankful the my ailing Achilles tendon seemed to hold up very well to the 20-something miles that we walked on Friday.  I also got to test out some new backpacking recipes that I plan to share here soon.

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Krauting Galore

November brought the close of an especially productive gardening season.  For the first time, we planted a serious fall garden consisting of multiple varieties of lettuce, kale, swiss chard, broccoli, and cabbage.  By far the most exciting process was making sauerkraut from our abundant cabbage crop (we had nearly 30 heads of cabbage with the largest weighing 8 pounds).   I just finished the last batch to complete a total of five gallons of kraut that will hopefully last a several months.   I fermented the kraut in the croc, then packed it into quart jars where they should keep for months in the refrigerator.

This process of lacto-fermentation was one of the major ways of preserving food before canning was popularized a couple hundred years ago.  Apparently, the history of sauerkraut goes back at least 2000 years.  The cool thing about sauerkraut is that it’s filled with healthful enzymes and probiotics that will bless your gut with an abundance of wonderful flora.   Be sure it is raw though– Nearly all commercial sauerkraut has been canned and hence is missing all those enzymes and little good guys.

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Pack Crafting

I Timothy 4:8  “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

Life is rolling along.  Nearing my 23rd birthday, I consider the potential that at least a third of my life is behind me.  I see how incredibly short life really is, especially compared to the eternity to come!  With that realization, it makes me want to constantly reassess my priorities in life so that I might make a greater eternal difference.  And I love backpacking, but getting out to do it just doesn’t materialize very often.  Spur-of-the moment trips seem to be the typicality.  This is okay though, because it keeps my mind from being kidnapped by the planning process of grandiose excursions.

Wanting to be proactive in living my life in a more eternally-relevant fashion, I felt the desire to consolidate my backpacking gear into a kit that would have more utility rather than specialty.  For a backpack, this meant find a pack that would function for overnights, family trips, fishing trips, and even as an airline carry-on bag.  I liked the looks and specs of the Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus backpack.  But paying the price of a new MLD pack wasn’t worth it to me, especially with a few sewing projects under my belt.  I also preferred the wing belt w/ hip belt pockets of my former Six Moon Designs Swift pack.  So came the excuse to search for a heavier-duty sewing machine (so I wouldn’t have to subject my mom’s machine to pack cloth) and to have some fun sewing up my first pack.  After a few weeks of patiently monitoring the local Craig’s List ads, the Lord blessed me with a steal-of-a-deal.  I found a Singer 500A (manufactured right down the road in Anderson, SC) at an estate sale for a mere 50 bucks.

I openly disclose that the design of my pack was made primarily by reverse engineering.  I fully credit Mountain Laurel Designs and Six Moon Designs for most of the ideas and inspiration in this design.  And I hope that my imitation is indeed flattery.  I did however spend a day making cardboard back-panel models to determine my exact torso length, and the best shoulder strap placement and shape.  I’m particularly thrilled that the fit turned out really well.

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A sure sign of spring

I always anticipate the blooms of the trillium.  I first discovered a large group of them in the woods on our property when I was twelve or thirteen.  Ever since then, I make it a priority to pay them a visit every the spring.  It’s best to enjoy them where they live rather than pick their flowers.  Their blooms are very short lived and it can take a plant whose flower has been picked several years to recover.  I learned something recently about trilliums from Wikipedia that I did not know–  that their seeds are spread by ants.  How could such a beautiful, delicate, and specialized wildflower happen through natural selection or chance?

 

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Crowders Mountain hike

On Saturday, my younger brother and sister tagged along with my brother Joshua and I while we played at our favorite local state park.  The recent rain and cloudy weather must have kept most of the casual visitors away because the park was relatively quite compared to the average weekend.  My brother wanted do some hill running, and I used the occasion to hike several miles to judge how my Achilles was recovering from injuring it a few weeks ago.  Joshua incorporated the WNCTrailrunner’s “Crinnacle” fitness challenge into his 10 mile run.  As specified by the challenge, he began the challenge at the peak of Crowder’s Mountain and finished at King’s Pinnacle via the Backside/Crowders/Pinnacle trails.  And he did it in 36:27!  We met up at the top of Pinnacle for a finish photo.

And a little action from my other brother also documenting his presence at the peak of Pinnacle…

Right place, right time, with camera

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