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Showing posts from March, 2014

Deception Pass Regatta

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This past weekend, the rain stopped long enough to get an easy hike in at Deception Pass State Park (.pdf),  I started with the Sand Dune Loop trail at West Beach (#12 on the map).  Then I headed over to East Cranberry Lake.  The trail (#13 on the map) begins skirting the campground which is already in full swing.  Then it crosses the road and follows the lake shore to the fishing dock at East Cran.  On the return to West Beach I spotted....the America's Cup?


Not quite the America's Cup, but this was just as amazing in its own way.  These are members of the Deception Pass Model Yacht Club.  Their website describes these as one meter radio controlled model yachts.  They are sailed from the shore by wireless devices that looked similar to game controllers.


Number 31 caught my eye.  Right-click the photos to see them full-size.  The yellow boat nimbly rounds the buoy.  These are real sailing boats powered only by the wind.  I had never seen this before, but I was mesmerized watc…

Oso Landslide

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I am reminded once again that I live in a geologically active corner of the planet.  The Oso, Washington landslide has become an international news event.  In loss of life terms, authorities are telling us it will exceed the Mount St. Helens eruption.  As of this morning, there are 26 confirmed deaths with 90 still listed as missing.  The New York Times has one of the best stories of the event I have found.

The slide crossed State Road 530 and the Stillaguamish River.  Mud and debris is at least 40-50 feet/12-15 meters deep in some places.  The lake in the foreground of the photo began forming when the river was dammed by the slide.  The river is now cutting a new channel through the debris field.  This is lessening fears of a catastrophic release and flash flood downstream.

The view in the photo is looking down the Stillaguamish Valley towards Arlington.  Turn 180° towards Darrington and the jagged, snow-capped peaks of the North Cascades come into view.  It is little wonder people …

A Pacific Northwest Forest Garden

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I have had this large, empty, triangular space in the back corner of the yard.  It has remained untouched since I moved here twenty-six years ago.  It didn't matter since it was hidden behind a grove of large rhododendrons and it couldn't be seen from the road.

Turning it into a garden presented several problems.  A closed canopy of large Douglas and Grand Firs puts it in deep shade all day.  The soil is classic Pacific Northwest glacial till.  It is nutrient-poor, composed of sand, rocks and clay, and devoid of organic material.  It does not hold moisture at all.  Regardless of rainfall or watering, scrape away the bark mulch and you will find a desert underneath.

Besides creating full shade, the big trees are also efficient resource hogs.  They will quickly consume any nutrients or water that does manage to get into the soil.  They use a network of rootlets just under the surface that reaches out far from the tree.

Experiments with ground covers on the back bank to the driv…

Moving WeatherLink to Windows 8

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In a previous post, I described my experiences with a new Windows 8 desktop computer.  Recall that I thought all the sturm und drang over the W8 user interface was overblown and whiny.  I discovered it was really Windows 7 with this other screen thing that you will rarely use on a desktop computer.  I quickly got used to its little quirks and I have mostly enjoyed working with it.

I more or less quit using the old Windows XP desktop PC quite a while ago.  It is now almost ten years old.  Its only function lately has been as a server for my Davis Instruments Vantage Pro2 weather station.  In this capacity it has been a reliable and steadfast friend, uploading data for display on this website.  In the post "It's About the Weather," I described how all this works.

I bought the Windows 8 machine with using it for the weather station uploads in mind.  Back in 2006, getting this all up and running the first time was difficult.  A lot of trial and error, mistakes and stress wa…