Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Stehekin Valley Ranch open weekends till mid-June

Here is cook Gordy Courtney cutting the whole chickens up for our dinner at the Ranch.

Stehekin Valley Ranch is open weekends till the middle of June for dinners and cabins as well. We went up on Sunday for their "Chicken dinner" with all the trimmings. The chicken had been smoked, in the new smoker-BBQ, before being put in the oven to roast. My favorite part of Sunday dinner is always the homemade mashed potatoes and the fresh cooked carrots add a festive look to your plate. A variety of salads are available through the week depending on the day. All were excellent!
Here is a look at the Sunday night line up at the Ranch.

Beth is one of the "prep-cooks" this year and did a dandy job on the salads last night.

Krissa greeting folks and finding out what they would like for dinner.

Here is Samantha ready and waiting to serve you with some scrumptious dessert!
Look at this amazing piece of Carrot Cake made by The Stehekin Pastry Company for the Ranch.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Life of Pie (in Stehekin)

Beryl Courtney was famous for her pies...good ones and lots of 'em
 Pie. It has a history around here.  There have been and still are some extraordinary pie bakers over the years in Stehekin.  Beryl Courtney was known for her pies served at the cafe at the landing in the 50's and 60's.  Locals say she made 80 in a day at times during the busy season.

There are pie stories, too. Some nice, some not so nice.  Pie hikes, pies at potlucks, birthday pies, sweaty pies.    

Pie construction

 I once went on a surprise birthday party hike around this time of year.  The planner brought the birthday girl up to a nice lookout with a pie in her backpack ( I don't know how she did that!), and the rest of us were to hike up and surprise the two of them.  None of us had been to this particular look out, so we were looking for a marker in the trail.  We looked at a LOT of suspicious looking sticks, but ruled them out too wimpy to be an arrow.  After what seemed like too great of a distance for a "short jaunt", a couple of us had to turn around due the time so we never did find the birthday girl and her pie carrying companion.  We wrote a note in the dust on her windshield "We tried but couldn't find you".  Bummer.

Pie birthday party
Pie can be romantic, too, you know.  My own first experience with pie in Stehekin was in June of 1985.  Just graduated from high school and arrived on the boat to work for the summer at the landing.  A local boy invited me that day to the Ranch for pie.  I really wasn't a pie-eating sort of gal.  More like vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup, but I would soon be converted.   Up the road we drove in the '69 Chevy to the Stehekin Valley Ranch and had Raspberry Apple Pie.  Married that local boy.
Sour Cream Apple.  Favorite of local boy.

Speaking of marriage, here's one for you from Stehekin's past.  Legend has it that a wife made her husband a pie one day, and he unwisely commented that it was good, but not as good as so-and-so's pies.  That offended pie went sailing out the back door and the pan remained in the yard like a monument for years to come. Oops.

Pie lesson

Stehekin Pastry Company and Stehekin Valley Ranch still serve a mean piece of pie. Some of our favorites are Lemon Surprise, Sour Cream Apple, Washington Nut (walnut), Blackberry, Apple and Lemon Meringue.

Circumference is directly related to pi(e). (That for you Math fans)  

Lemon Meringue
 A story of a lemon meringue: A recent birthday of a dear friend and neighbor inspired the making of a lemon meringue in our household.  It only takes about 29 pieces of kitchen equipment to make the silly thing. The time came to leave for an evening meeting and we still had not delivered the birthday pie, so, as I walked to the meeting, I placed it in the seat of the beloved neighbor's pick up. The meeting went pretty late, and as we were driving away, noticing the pie recipient visiting and not getting in his truck I commented "I hope the dome light in his truck works".  

 Next morning, I see an e-mail from him: : "Well, it was practically dark when I finished talking and went to get in the car. Opened the door, waved to my friend who was leaving and sat down in the front seat. "What the heck is that I'm sitting on?" I wondered as I felt something soft and yielding beneath me. Rising quickly, sort of jumping out the still not closed door, I put my hand back to find I'd just sat in a lemon meringue pie that now looked like a brawl had taken place on it. Licking my fingers I was rewarded with a delicious taste sensation. Nice way to end the night although I had some cleanup to do and had to sit on some cardboard to keep from messing up the seat. Other than the laundry I'll being doing and the loss of what must have been a fantastic pie - actually, I still have some in the frig. - all went well. I want to thank you for the effort to deliver what was a wonderful birthday treat. Of course, everything above this sentence is a fabrication......"


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Boxelder Conundrum Part ll

These bugs just don't quit. Yesterday while eating the soup of the day at the Bakery, a grandmother told of an Elderbug that invaded her ear and performed an unwelcome Eustachian Waltz. Fortunately, the Boxelder was coaxed to leave the premises in an interesting manner. Practiced in the ways of Elderbug extraction, her son-in-law beamed a light into her ear. Seeing the light, the Elderbug promptly crawled out of her ear and literally into the light of day. This was certainly a relief to the grateful grandmother and most likely for the Elderbug as well. 

So...how do you get rid of Boxelders?

Modern day truth seekers consult the Oracle of Googi. 

And here is some of the advice this truth seeker found:

A mother wrote - "Have been fighting boxelder bugs on and in our house, since the fall of 2014. Have bought a large shop vac, and will be going to the store for a sprayer, ammonia, and lemon dish soap. You can probably relate to my going crazy with killing these bugs all winter! Last fall five different men told me not to worry about them. They said the boxelders would be dead by the start of winter. One was my husband!"

Found the last two sentences to be interesting. Not exactly sure if her husband was assassinated along with the Boxelders.

And here's advice for anyone considering hiring a pro to come in any spray: "Had pros come out to spray, not once but twice, they will be back this Sat. Still have a real problem. Their sprays are not helping. So save money and do it yourself."

Under the heading: How do you get rid of them? the oracle proclaims:

"Remove or kill them by hand. If the infestation is still small, you can literally squash the problem early by stomping on or swatting the bugs when you see them in your yard."

If we followed the stomp, squash and swat advice ("S" cubed) we'd all look crazed dancing around and swatting the air as if demented. 

· More advice:  "Alternatively, you can trap them in jars and release them outside of your yard. Wear gloves when doing this in case you are forced to touch them in the process." 

  Now just think about that for a moment. Trap them in jars and release them outside?? OK, sure, to each their own. If you want to chase them around the house and trap them in jars fine. It's your life. And just don't forget the gloves just in case you actually touch a Boxelder. Yikes!

One truth seeker asked the Oracle of Googi, are box elder bugs poisonous? The answer...

"I have not found any evidence to support box elder bugs being poisonous to any animal, although, they do give off a terrible smell and taste."

One wonders about the poor subject who had to taste and smell Boxelders to provide this evidence. 

"Boxelder bugs are nuisance pests. However, they do not sting or transmit disease, and are generally not known to bite, though there are rare reports of defensive biting." 

Though they are unwelcome guests in our homes, Elderbugs are generally non-aggressive insects. This writer has not been bitten by a Boxelder, however stories do arise claiming that they do bite. As of yet, no one has shown me broken skin evidence of biting Boxelders.  

Here's some more sage advice the Oracle of Googi offered concerning Elderbugs

1.   Preventing box elder bugs from entering a building will reduce this nuisance insect. 

Really? Does this sound a bit like "no duh" advice?

2.   Avoid squishing adults because they can leave a stain on fabrics and can release a foul odor.

This advice says nothing about squishing adolescent Elderbugs. Is that OK?

3.   If your pet is prone to eating bugs, try to steer them clear of tasting a box elder bug.

Yes, try "steering Bosco clear" of Boxelders. "Bosco, stay away from that Elderbug! And that one! And those! And....!"

4.   If “steering clear” doesn’t work and your dog does eat boxelder bug, expect it may become sick and make preparations for that to happen by taking your dog outside or confine it to a room with tile floor. 

Would linoleum work?

5.   If you’re concerned about the well-being of your cat or dog after it consumed a boxelder bug, contact your veterinarian for additional guidance. 

Yep, that’s just what you should do. Use Skype or some emergency line to call the vet who resides more than fifty miles away. Ask them what to do about your boxelder eating feline or canine. Hmmm, does this seem a bit of an overreaction? Beware, contact the vet only if you want friends and neighbors to burst into paroxysms of laughter at your expense. 

6.   Cats seem a little more likely to snack on and tolerate boxelder bugs. 
And that is just one of the reasons we have a cat.

AAACCKKKK!  Boxelders are AWFUl!

Next week - hearing from the other side - 
Boxelder Boosters Respond 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Two in One: Barnhart Photography

Nancy and Mike, Self portrait in Stehekin

Inspiring, invoking, thoughtful…these words come to mind when describing the images created by “Barnhart Photography.” Long time Stehekin residents, Mike and Nancy’s mutual interest and trade is the result of historical ties to a original homesteading family, inspiration from professionals they have met along the way, and through the opportunity presented daily from living in the beauty of the North Cascades. 

Mike, capturing Stehekin snow beauty

Mike follows in his great grandfather’s footsteps. J Robert Moore (Of Moore Point, Lake Chelan) who was a photographer in New York before heading west. When working on a pack trip for his uncle, Ray Courtney, Mike met inspiring photographer Ansal Adams. Other inspirational photographers in Mike’s life have been Paul Bergman (Stehekin photographer whose specialty was coloring black & white photos) and National Geographic photographer,  Bruce Dale.

Mike’s Black and Whites: timelessly drawing us into the mountains
Nancy at work, Upper Lake Chelan

Nancy joined Mike in Stehekin, bringing along, as she claims “many an art interest” and experience from photographing family adventures in New England. Their individual work compliments the other.

  Nancy’s ability to frame a whimsical but in-depth look into nature creates colorful, unique images and draws our eye to interesting patterns we wouldn’t normally see.

 Nancy's love of art and nature, combine

Their start into the business aspect of photography consisted of a little shop simply called the “Photo Shop at the Stehekin Landing. Mike and Nancy’s  photos were sold as prints, then post cards and eventually were collected into two meaningful and informative books for sale including:
Find Nancy and Mike's work locally at the Stehekin Craft Shop

A great love of history and his family ties to Stehekin spurred Mike on to producing: At Home in the Woods: A Family History of the Moores and Courtneys that is personable, interesting to read and full of descriptions of the lifestyle of those who came before them. Find this book at: https://sites.google.com/site/barnhartbook/home
Nancy's wedding photography

Mike and Nancy’s work has become well known throughout the area and highly sought after. They’ve shown in galleries throughout N. Central Washington and exhibit regularly in the Golden West Gallery, in Stehekin. The Barnharts have helped define and interpret Stehekin to the visitor, and given focus to the unparalleled beauty of the North Cascades through artistic and beautiful photography. Thank you Mike and Nancy for your special contributions to Stehekin life and community, and for your inspiring photographs that we know and love.L.C.

Visit the Barnhart's website

Find out more about us at: www.stehekinheritage.com