2015 Kite Makers Conference

WP_20150315_001The “Fort Worden Conference” was not at Fort Worden this year – instead it was held at the Warm Springs Center near Camano Island. The State Parks Department had been making it increasingly expensive and onerous to conduct a 3 day conference at the Fort. The new location is cheaper, more spacious, and more conveniently located since you don’t need to ride a ferry to get there. It’s a little sad, since the Fort is such an iconic place; but overall this change ought to improve the quality of the conference and boost attendance.

My big project for this year was a modern rendition of Hargrave’s classic box kite. Wendy and I collaborated on the design for this one – I think it turned out rather well. I still had enough time left to make a small Japanese Tosa kite with a funky printed fabric.


Posted in Kites | Leave a comment

Vancouver Weekend

IMG_1338It’s been a while since our last visit to Vancouver, B.C. And since Vilde had never been to Canada, we decided to take a weekend trip up north.

The weather was not very cooperative. As it turns out, Seattle is a fair bit drier than Vancouver, thanks to the rain shadow effect of the Olympic mountains (37″ annual precipitation versus 46″).

Luckily, the city offers many attractions for rainy days as well. A highlight was our visit to the Museum of Anthropology with its outstanding collection of Pacific Northwest tribal artefacts. IMG_1361

Any of the these objects has a really powerful presence – now imagine walking into a hall filled with towering 30′ totem poles and all manner of other mythical figures. It’s easy to see why Emily Carr was so enthralled; and sad to contemplate the oppression of the coastal tribes and the destruction of their culture.


As usual, we ended our trip with a stop at Granville Island. It’s so much more than just a giant indoor market. For example, we discovered these merry fellows adorning a cement factory.

All in all, it was a fun weekend and a great introduction to Canada for Vilde.

More photos …

Posted in Travel | Leave a comment

Wet Hops Brew

IMG_0735 Wet hops does not sound very enticing, but actually it refers to brewing with freshly harvested hops instead of the more common dried hops. Ideally, fresh hops should be used within 24 hours of harvest; and the beer should be consumed quickly before the volatile aromas have diminished. As a result, wet hops beers – or harvest ales, as they are also called – are only available for a few weeks and in limited quantities.

Thanks to the warm summer, we have had a decent crop of Tettnang hops for the first time this year. We decided to use it to brew a wet hops IPA. This is going to be a seriously hoppy beer, using 2 pounds of fresh hops in the brew and another pound for dry hopping (i.e. adding to the secondary ferment without boiling it).

Tettnang does not exhibit the strong pine or citrus notes that are typical for the Pacific Northwest; but it should have a nice floral aroma while also being a good bittering hops. Check back here in late September to find out how this one turned out.

IMG_0779 IMG_0799 IMG_0800

Posted in Brewing | Leave a comment

Garden Giants IV

IMG_0288Every year in the garden is different. Last year the favas were the undisputed stars of the spring garden – this year they look pretty rough because they had to compete with corn.

But we have a new freak vegetable to take their place: the parsnip. We decided to let a few plants go to seed, as the flowers are considered excellent attractants of beneficial insects. We expected them to be about the same size as carrot plants, but they continued to grow and grow. The tallest topped out at about 8’ – truly a giant among vegetables.

Runner-up for ridiculously tall plant this year: foxglove.



Posted in Gardening | 2 Comments

Variations on Hugel

Thoughts on hugelkultur posted on the Brandon Triangle site.

Posted in Gardening | Leave a comment