Sunday, August 17, 2014

Camping with a Baby

Loft Mountain Campground
is at the bottom of the map
We did it! We went camping with a baby!

Last weekend, we took David on his longest car ride yet and his first camping trip! He fussed the first 30 minutes in the car and we almost turned back, but thankfully, we powered through it and made our way to the Shenadoahs for a Blue Ridge Overnight.

I pulled the map off another website (Midatlantic Hikes). You'll see the campground loop at the bottom where you can also see the Appalachian trail (white line) loop around the campground and mountain ridge.

Great job setting up the tent David!
We drove up on Saturday morning with a friend of Sara's who was visiting with her 4 and 1/2 year old son from Switzerland. After several pit stops for bathrooms, breast feeding, diaper changes and gas, we managed to find a tent site at Loft Mountain Campground in the Shenandoah National Park. 

Now that is a happy camper :)
For essentially having no plans, it couldn't have worked out more perfectly. We found a nice site that gave us some extra space, set up our tent and went for a short hike before making a fire and having dinner. 
Heading out on our first hike.
Picking berries. 

The trail encircles the campground. All in all, we hiked about 2 miles. A perfect easy hike through the woods and mountain ridge provided spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Davids

Happy Family. Mom and Dad each with the emergency clip-on baby attire.

The Appalachian Trail swings around the
campground with spectacular views. 

Collecting kindling.
After making a fire, roasting hot dogs and s'mores, we all called it a night. Our Coleman tent (borrowed from Kevin over at Sweet and Salt was spacious and cozy at the same time. We set up a Pack-n-Play in the tent for David and he did great while Sara and I cuddled up on the floor. 

On a side note, Nicole, Sara's friend was worried we'd see a bear. I told her not to worry as it was pretty rare. Also, the ranger at the station told us, as long as we store our food properly, it won't be an issue because there are plenty of raspberries and apple trees for the bears to munch on. As we got the fire going we stopped to fully absorb our home for the night only to notice we were surrounded by berry bushes and covered by a canopy of apple trees :) We laughed a lot about that, but not too worry, there were no fuzzy, big-pawed visitors.

A very cool silver spider at the bathroom.
He had to go too, apparently.

We woke early, as we always do with baby David, to have a nice breakfast and start our morning hike to the Doyles River Falls. It got hot fast and the kids were heavy (yes, Nils, needed up needing carrying too). So we trudged back up the mountain and enjoyed lunch before making the drive home at midday.  It was a short and perfect trip. I enjoyed a re-broadcast of Prairie Home Companion while everyone snoozed most of the way home. 

The Upper Falls
I've got a Lamb's Ear Leaf in my hat to match David's.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Painting Through Prosek: Provo River Strain Bonneville Cutthroat

The cutties in Utah used to be big. Real big. We are talking 10lbs big. Long gone are those day, but there are some remaining strains of the ancestors of those big fish. I can just imagine James Prosek and his buddy, navigating the Utah landscape in an old pickup truck, searching for the unique strains of trout. 

With only a few paintings left in this project, we stop to admire the Provo River Strain of the Bonneville Cutthroat Trout - a strain native to Utah. 

I was a little too light on the par marks and could have gotten my red coloring of the lateral line better, but I'm happy with the fin. 

I think I have four more set aside to paint. Then it is either on to Trout of the World, or time to look at something other than trout. 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Painting Through Prosek: Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout, Again

So, funny story. I guess I'm tired. I just realized I painted this trout already. Nice one, David. 

After another 12+ hour day at work, I came home to a sleeping household. Wife. Baby. Cat. All sound asleep. After finishing a couple chores, I decided to move forward with the next object of study in the Painting Through Prosek Series

The state fish of New Mexico is one I would love to see in real life. The Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout comes in many colors, but it always seems like you can imagine a desert landscape in the profile. 

Prosek's version is colorful. Mine is inaccurate, but okay nonetheless. 

If you are interested in acquiring a couple prints of the Painting Through Prosek Series, visit my Etsy page. All proceeds go to our local trout unlimited chapter. The bundle of cards will come tied in fly line. My very first fly line, in fact. 

His is better :)

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies:

On a totally separate note, try mixing 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 egg, and a dash of cinnamon together and baking for 10 minutes at 425F. Crazy easy. Crazy delicious. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Eastern Shore

When life starts to get really crazy, we are so thankful for the quick getaways like the one we had last weekend to our friend's "Shore House" on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The weather couldn't have been better and the company was top notch. No fish, but the word is the Tarpon at in Virginia. 

Here are a few shots from the weekend. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The next stage of the Painting Through Prosek project?

I found a heap copy of James Prosek's book "Trout of the World" on amazon. At a quick glance, I see some fun new additions to the painting project. I suppose I have to finish getting through the first book. 

As a bonus, the used copy still had the free poster inside! Score!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Come on Luci Light my Fire

If Jim Morrison had a Luci Light, the words to his famous song would have been just like the title to this post.

The Luci Light is one of those things that is so perfect, so simple, so practical, it makes me excited just thinking about it. The makers mpowerd are on a mission to eliminate energy poverty. Ambitious, to say the least, but every big idea needs to start somewhere, and I believe this product has amazing potential.

Essentially, it is a waterproof, 10-bulb LED, solar powered light that can light up an entire room, run for ~8 hours on a full charge, and hold 50% of its full charge for 2 years. It is light weight and compact.

I'm using it to read at night and check on the baby, but I can see it being great in the car as an emergency light, camping lantern, for boaters, backpackers, campers, lighting tiki bars, and who knows what else? Plus, it is $15. I'll give up two Chipotle Burritos for this any day (yes, I rationalize my spending habits in terms of Chipotle currency equivalents. That is how much I love my chipotle).

collapsed, about the size of a stack of cps, but much lighter weight.

the solar panels, with the on button in the middle

inflated, like a beach ball. 
lighting up the living room at midnight

the stats on the box.

instructions shows without words so anyone can follow them,
regardless of literacy or the language you speak. Of course, my photo is upside-down.

Pretty darn cool.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Painting Through Prosek: Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout

The saga continues following James Prosek's lead.  The state fish of New Mexico is as beautiful as a desert sunset. I would love to see one of these in person. 

Prosek's on the left, mine on the right.

It is better in person.

Maybe someday this could be yours :)

If you have enjoyed these paintings and are interested in how you could get your hands on a cheap print, check out my new etsy shop! You can get a set of four different prints on blank greeting cards. For now, all proceeds will go to fund my local trout unlimited chapter.