Monday, February 14, 2011

And A Very Merry Birthday Toooooo ME!!!

I have had the MOST AMAZING 27th Birthday!!

Two days of just pure awesome and good friends AND family! Thank you so much to everyone who went out with me and made my first Washington birthday so wonderful - ESPECIALLY considering my husband couldn't be here to pick up some of the slack!

 My Momma got me Tulips!!

Aunt Leanne & Ken came over and took me to dinner on the 13th!

 I went out and got my toes done!

I mean come on, pretty toes AND a massage! Spells perfect birthday activity to me!

 Then Ashley and K came over!

 And brought a HEART SHAPED PIZZA! Which we then cut EXACTLY the way it usually happens! HAHAHHA!

 But this, this was the best part - Ash surprised me with a box of chocolates with birthday candles shoved into them! Seriously - AMAZING
Kaleb helped me blow them out :)

And this was just what I have pictures of!! I couldn't even show you the manager of Silvercity singing me Happy Birthday in Italian in front of 6 of my friends! Or the learning how to snorkel in a jacuzzi!

Holiday birthdays can totally suck, especially when your significant other cant be there with you. But this year, totally not the case. This year was absolutely wonderful! 

Friday, February 11, 2011

There's nothing better than tromping!

To be specific: There's nothing better than tromping around in the mud! In fact, this is such a wonderful past time that I decided to get A DEGREE IN IT! That's right people, we're talking fabulous, mud and water filled, desperately-needing-restoration, wetland tromping! Specifically, today, I'm talking about the Klingel Wetland!

I've mentioned my tromping before, when I posted about getting my first-ever, pair of galoshes, but I've never really told you what its all about...
 Do you remember now?

I was made aware that the Klingel Wetland existed just three short months ago. I was invited out by the Great Peninsula Conservancy, to "come take a look, because we have a proposal for you." So I did, I went out, tromped around, got the history of the property, heard about the on-going citizen science project, gathered some data for it, then of course... fell in love. The property is BEAUTIFUL! Maybe not to an untrained eye... but even under the decaying mats of reed canary grass and the lurking stench of rotting eggs/sulfur... I saw the most beautiful landscape. A place that had been badly abused in its past and needed a facelift - I saw Klingel for all it could be.

This is what Klingel looks like now...

This is how she should look in a few decades....
(This is Klingel's sister wetland, just on the other side of the dike) 

Which is exactly what they wanted.... exactly how they KNEW I'd react. So then came the proposal: how would you like to take over the ongoing data gathering and run the monitoring project? I'll let you guess how I reacted...


This is what is being removed, which will reintroduce the ocean water (to the left) to the wetland (to the right).
So that's how it started. That's how it came to be February and I was back on the wetland, again, but this time showing others where to go and what to do. Luckily its a pretty fun project - see GPC wants to remove an old levee, thus re-introducing salt water to the presently (and unnaturally) fresh-ish water marsh. Doing this should do quite a few things, change the elevations, modify water channels, provide better habitats, but most importantly/interestingly change the plant species. Currently the land is over run with invasives (scotch broom, reed canary grass, nooka rose) which have overgrown and out competed all the natives, but luckily they are not salt water tolerant... so the hope, introduce the salt water and the native (WAY COOLER) species come back. To monitor this progress, we go out to four designated areas of the wetland (areas that represent a change in vegetation, thus elevation), take some pictures, determine the absolute coverage of the different plant species present, then go back to the office and crunch some numbers. The goal is to do this as close to monthly as possible.

One of the monitoring sites. 

This is such a wonderful project! I love everything about it - planning the days, doing the research, taking people on the field trips! Finally using the education I spent four years getting!

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Chorizo" Beans: Vegan Delicious-ness!

Here is a new one to add to your list of weekly staples - it's literally that good! I fed it to a friend and her kids and they LOVED it on chips - THEN I told them it was soy/vegan and they just giggled and kept eating.

If you don't care about the healthy-ness of it all, use the real chorizo (but make sure to cook it all the way though), and sprinkle it with cheese at the end (Cotija or Jack).

"Chorizo" Beans

  • 1 tbls olive/canola oil
  • 1 fresh poblano or anahiem or 2 jalapenos, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, smooshed/minced
  • 6-8 ounces Soyrizo (or other chorizo-like product)
  • 1 can black beans (or pinto or whatever kind)
  • 1 tomato, finely diced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup vegetable broth (or chicken, if not veggy)
  • small handfull fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon or lime, juiced


In a medium/large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions and chile - cook for 5ish minutes. Then add garlic and cook for another 2-3, or until everything is getting translucent and tender. (To keep the recipe low-fat, I tend to add a couple tablespoons of water into the pan whenever I think things are cooking/browning too quickly)

When cooked, put the peppers and onions into a bowl off to the side, cause now you need the pan to cook the "chorizo" or in this case Soyrizo (which is my soy chorizo product of choice, you can use whatever). Since its already cooked through, you're basically just going to want to heat it through and add a bit of brown color to it.

While the "meat" cooks, drain and rinse the beans. Reserve half of them in a bowl, then mush up the other half.

When the Soyrizo is done - add the pepper/onion mixture, tomato, and all the beans. Stir and cook for just a minute or so, then add the broth and cilantro. It should be kinda runny - so if its not, add more broth.

Bring this to a boil, then down to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until it has thickened. Once to that point - remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lemon/lime juice and ENJOY!

Served burrito style with some shredded lettuce and fresh onion.
Great for tacos, burritos, with corn chips or even a fried egg!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

10:23 Homeopathy Overdose 2011!!

I know what your thinking: Homeopa.... what??

Well, let me tell you:

Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine in which practitioners treat patients using highly diluted preparations that are believed to cause healthy people to exhibit symptoms that are similar to those exhibited by the patient. The basic principle known as the law of similars is "let like be cured by like." Homeopathic “remedies” are prepared by serial dilution with shaking by forceful striking on an elastic body, which homeopaths term succussion. Each dilution followed by succussion is assumed to this increases the effectiveness.

Sounds like crap right? Well, who really knows, but today I decided to join a group of my fellow Kitsap County Skeptics in protest of their popularity. We set out to represent an ever growing, skeptical movement, the 10:23 Homeopathy Overdose 2011, to to educate the people, errr the masses, about the bogus-ness of these "natural" remedies. We came armed with informational fliers, current studies and information and best of all : we came with an actual concoction. An actual representation of exactly what a diluted, succussioned, homeopathic remedy would look like. We diluted a concentrated solution, exactly as you would a "remedy" including the "forceful striking on an elastic body" (we used a harry potter book).

An actual passerby-er reading our information!
To tell you the truth, it looked like water. It tasted like water. For all intents and purposes, it was water. Granted we used water as our dilutant, but all homeopathic remedies use SOMETHING benign to dilute. So we drank it - took it - in protest of its ineffective-ness.

The 10:23 Challenge is a follow-up to the 'overdose' protest staged by the 10:23 Campaign in 2010. International protesters from more than 10 countries, and more than 23 cities gathered for over the weekend of February 5-6 2011, to make the simple statement: Homeopathy - There's Nothing In It. We were the only representatives for the Pacific Northwest of the United States. But hey, you have to start somewhere.

My badge says "I OD'd @ 10:23"
If you want more information on the topic, here are a couple sites you can check out:

I feel so grown up, I've officially attended my first real protest for something I mostly believe in! YAY! Activism!!