Tracking at 522

This is my favorite time of year in WA.  The sun is warm, the air is cool and the rivers are low.  One of the prime local tracking spots and been under construction for the last two years.  Every time I go down there they have more fences up, trespassing signs and heavy equipment blocking the mud.  It took me over an hour following the river, crawling under bushes, over boulders, through blackberry bushes, across down logs to the promise land.  I admit the thorns drew blood and almost a tear but the berries were delicious.  I finally mad it to the sand bar and was rewarded with these.

Two hours later, with a pocket full of feathers and 90 pictures, I walked into the sunset and straight through the f’ing construction site.

Michelle

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pickling Dandelion Roots

Hey All! So I’m interrupting the Alaska-Picture-Extravaganza with a little lesson in pickling dandelion roots!

Why pickle dandelion roots, of all things, you might ask? Well, for one thing, they’re free! And, what can be better than eating something you harvested and preserved yourself? They also taste delicious once pickled.

Preparing the dandelion roots for canning:

The pickling brine that I use is a pretty standard one; the following measurements are for filling two quarts of dandelion roots (i know it doesn’t seem like that much in the pot, but remember that most of your jar will be filled and packed with roots!):

3 cups white vinegar, one cup water, 2 tablespoons of pickling salt, and a 1/2 cup sugar

Put it in a saucepan, and bring it to a boil. At the same time that I am doing this, I am sterilizing my jars and lids by letting them sit in boiling water for 10-15 minutes (I start heating the pot of water long before this though, since my huge pot takes forever to boil!)

Once the jars are sterilized, and before I pack in the dandelion roots, I fill them with these spices: (sorry I’m not very exact with the measurements, I just eyeball everything. If it is your first time, I do recommend finding a recipe online with exact measurements so you get an idea of how much to put in)

a couple whole cloves of garlic, a pinch of celery seed, 6 to 8 peppercorns, a pinch of cayenne or red chile pepper flakes, a pinch of mustard seeds, and some dill (preferably fresh)

So in the spices go, then the roots (which you really got to pack in there!), then the pickling brine. Fill up the jars to about a 1/4 inch from the rim, give the rims a quick wipe down (spices stuck to the rim can cause the lid to not seal properly), and throw on the lids…

Now that all of the hard stuff is over, you’re ready to let your jars sit in boiling water for a final 20 minutes or so…. and YAY, YOU’R DONE! … (after you remove them, don’t forget to let them sit on your counter overnight to give the lids a chance to “pop”, or seal)

THEY WILL TASTE DELICIOUS!!!

–vita

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Alaska pt. 3

HEY Everyone,  we’re back from Alaska! It was such an amazing trip– sooo many beautiful places, so many awesome animals, and so many fun/funny times. I completely fell in love with the land there, so much so that I plan on going there to work next summer!

Anyways, now that we’re back, we are faced with the grueling task of sorting through thousands of photographs. As they get sorted out, I’ll keep on posting! The photos below are mostly landscapes and people pictures, and I’m thinking the next “Alaska” post will be all birds (so check back again soon!).

On a side note: For those of you who donated to our kickstarter fundraiser, and who are receiving photographs as prizes, don’t worry, your prize photographs will not be posted on our blog for the public, they will be e-mailed to you privately (or else they wouldn’t be much of a prize, would they?)

Thanks again to everyone who made this possible!!!

–Vita

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Alaska pt. 2

So since the last post, we traveled from fairbanks into the arctic circle, through the brooks range, to the arctic ocean, and back. The pictures below are some highlights from this leg of our journey. Some personal favorites were seeing musk ox run (they are funny things to see run), watching arctic terns attack michelle, putting my feet in the arctic ocean, hiking through the brooks range, seeing the wolverine trail lope its way up the river, scaring a short eared owl out of the tussock sedges, trying to cross the Sag river (which Jamie and I really tried hard to do, but after walking in to our waists, decided the current was just too strong and the river was getting too deep), finding the perfect grizzly bear trail who was walking like a raccoon, seeing the biggest owl pellets that i have ever seen, watching a group of female dalls sheep walk across the top of the ridge (with 3 babies in tow), and seeing tons of caribou mamas with their babies.

enjoy the pics, there will be more to come…

–vita

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Alaska

This gallery contains 26 photos.

So here we are, Me, Michelle, Jamie, and Sandy, in Alaska! We came up through the Yukon into AK, and made some awesome stops, one of my favorites being Denali national park. Since the photos from our phones were the … Continue reading

Gallery | 1 Comment

We Met Our Fundraising Goal!

The Kickstarter Fundraiser to raise money for our trip to the arctic and the production of our booklet ended yesterday. We raised $3,296. Thank you so much to all of the people who donated, we could not have done it without you.

A super special thank you goes out to:

Maryann, Evelyn Iocolano, Stefani Linda Weaver, Carmelo Gagliano, Jessica Ennis, Dave Blattenberger, Jessica Peziol-Thorn, Diane Peziol, Dillon Redmond, Jared Moderie, Laurie Adorno, Christina Miller, Patty and Ray, Sheila Adorno, Steve Reynolds, Cindy Puja, Eric Grey, Eve Neulander, Charles Perakis, John Suwala, Corey MacDonald, Noel, Jamie Weaver, Jean, DL Vita, Neva J. Hundley,  Heather Swift, Rob Shoemaker, Nancy Davidson, Matt Sullivan, Christine Lee, David Richardson, Shaun Mellor, Katrina, Nancy DiPientrantonio, Bonnie O’Hara, Mike Taras, Dawn Skrzynski, Francesca Lamanna, and Mikhail Ushanov. 

…those were our supporters! 

We leave for the Alaska and the Arctic on June 24th, and will be returning to Washington at the end of July. We will be updating you all along the way!

–vita

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New York: part 1

So here I am, in New York state, the place where I spent the majority of my life. But, out of all the places I’ve lived, this is the place whose plant life is most foreign to me!

Since my arrival, I’m trying to explore the woods and get to know the trees here a little better. Here is what I have discovered so far:

egret

Birds: So far I have been seeing so many egrets! They’re everywhere along the river that I live by, with they’re breeding plums and all. I have also been seeing orioles, black throated green warblers, blue grey gnatcatchers, red eyed vireos, sparrows, hawks, and more.

Trees: Ash trees, black walnut trees, sweetgum trees, tulip poplar trees, sycamore trees, Red maples, silver maples, sugar maples, hickory trees, basswood trees, black locust trees, and of course there are a ton more that I see but don’t know yet! see some pictures below:

Here are some other interesting things I found in the woods…

a black eastern grey squirrel, and carrion beetles…

    … a black rat snake……and a toad…

…there will be more to come!!

–vita

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment