Jasmine and I took a trip down to Portland over the weekend to hang out with some family and we had a fun time of it. Nothing too crazy happened. We just went to a winery, went on a hike, and hung out with family. It is nice to have a chill weekend for a change of pace.
I decided to make Lloyd a knit tiger rug for Christmas last year. Yes, it is March, but that’s pretty good for my big knitting project gifts! Part of the delay in making the rug was that I had never done color work before. Rather than starting in on the rug and hoping for the best, I started with a smaller project. That gave me a feel for it and then I launched into the tiger rug.
I got the pattern a while ago from Knitting Faux Taxidermy. While I had practiced with a small color work project, I was not prepared for the resource management task of two-stranded color work with three colors. Storing the project midway through with all those balls of yarn was a challenge, but certainly manageable with planning.
The rug was knit in two basic sections: a top and a bottom. I liked that this was presented as a chart rather than written instructions; I think that they’re much easier to read.
Once the main body sections of the tiger were knit, I sewed the top and bottom together with a thin (1/4″) piece of upholstery foam in between so that the tiger would keep its shape. I didn’t like the ears the pattern specified, so I made up a new ear pattern based on pictures of tigers Lloyd looked up for me. I also cut a nose and eyes out of felt and sewed those onto the tiger to complete the look. In the end, it turned out pretty well and I’m happy with it!
This weekend was the first sunny and warm one of the year, so this can mean only one thing: hiking! We went up to Cougar Mountain and hiked the Wildside Trail with a couple of friends. It was a trail we have done before; it was a pleasant and not very long hike, only about a 3 hour round trip. But now that we are almost in spring proper, the long hikes are fast approaching and I am getting excited!
It is also fun to see a trail in spring that you hiked in the winter, just to see all of the changes. And it should be fun to do the same trail in the summer and fall.
So in a weird change of pace, we were tourists in our old home town of San Francisco. We had a fun time visiting old friends and visiting most of our old haunts. On top of that we, did a lot of very stereotypical SF activities like: brunch!, walking the Embarcadero, hipster happy hour, a too cool restaurant (exhaust fans should be required at Korean BBQ), and a hipster coffee shop to boot. We enjoyed ourselves.
In the continuing adventure of exploring our neighborhood mountain range, the Issaquah Alps, we went out to Squak Mountain over the weekend. It was a bit of a rainy and foggy day, but we decided to walk all the way out to the top of the mountain! Surprisingly, it was actually quite busy on the trail; the trail head parking lot was about 90% full! I think that rain doesn’t really dissuade Seattlites. I guess you get used to it. This is not like California, where the slightest drizzle gave us the trail on our own.
The hike was very nice, similar to all of the other Cascadia hikes we have done around here. The fog really made the colours pop in some locations and all of the rain / snow made everything full of waterfalls!
The only downside was that the peak of the mountain was just a communication tower and a generator for the same. So not really the buena vista we were hoping for, but all of the side trails on the way up and down more than made up for it.
On occasion the various fish mongerers that we go to have small oily fish for sale, be they anchovies, sardines or, in this case, smelt! Cooking the small fish doesn’t work very well, but they are quite tasty and versatile if you cure them. Cured smelt can be used just like oil anchovies out of a tin, but also can be eaten on toast points – just like sardines!
This recipe is for salt cured anchovies stored in oil. First start with 1 lb of fresh smelt; freshness is judged by lack of smell and clear eyes. You want to go ahead and rinse off all of the anchovies in water. Then clean and gut all of the anchovies by removing the head, guts, and tail. I save the heads and guts and make Roman style fish sauce: Garum!
Next, spread the smelt out in a container layer by layer, adding a fair bit of kosher salt and herbs de provenance as you go. This then goes in the refrigerator for 1 day.
Next, rinse the salt off of the fish and recover the smelt in an acid, I prefer lemon juice. Rest for another 8 hours in the lemon juice in the refrigerator. Then drain off the acid and fill a ball jar with the smelt. Fill with olive oil to completely cover the smelt, and now you are good to go!
These are good to store for a couple of months, but I don’t think they have ever lasted that long in our house. If you couldn’t tell, I love all sorts of fish for every occasion.