Sunday, December 30, 2012

cache and camp

A beautiful day around Christmas provided an
opportunity to do as I did last year, plant the
winter gear cache

About 10 kg. of warmth and supplies

with the Inland Sea shining in the distance

A few days later and the weather has turned

With a leisurely late start I arrived at the summit around 2:30.
Plenty of fresh snow and things were looking good for tomorrow.

the rain tarp from a small dome tent gotten
cheap makes a good floor-less shelter
for winter camping

I hadn't tested it in the snow yet and setting it up was
trickier than imagined.  So it wound up with a smaller than
anticipated interior  because snow had to be piled
around the oustide edge to keep it taut.

This is the first time I've ever shoveled snow into
my tent to make a level sleeping platform.

a little after  dark the snow turned to rain
my gamble that the summit would get
walloped with snow went bust

condensation poured down the inside surface
of the tent and it was impossible not to touch it
and with the constant flapping from the wind
drops sprayed everywhere
it was impossible to even read a book.

luckily I was saved by my small radio and an
awesome military surplus gore-tex bivy cover
can't say enough good things about the bivy!

about 1AM I awoke a little cold to put on
a fleece jacket.  The rain had stopped and it was
bright enough to see outside unaided.

By morning though the good snow was shot
and all the effort spent carrying up my
skis was for nothing but exercise.
One of these years I'll get a sunny, powder
filled morning.  Missed it by 1 degree or so.


イタチ?Weasel or  テン Marten ?

still scractching my head about this one,
looks like a good sized dog, but...
the rain last night wiped out all the old
tracks on the trail.  So either there are some
loose hunting dogs all the way
up here or this is something else.
Could be a fox, a big one.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This is as close as I've gotten to capturing a shooting star.
The Geminid showers were great this year.  I tested my winter
camping gear and stopped counting at about 100.
There were fireballs with tails.
 Flashes of light without a
streamer, like a star going pop.
 And even some double shooting stars, two at once
in the same direction, different directions and different parts of the sky.

Life has gotten a little easier for me and a lot more fun for my
son who can now split kindling for the stove, he loves it. So do I!

Came home to find this large buck napping just in front
of our house on the side of the road.  I think he's been hanging
around our area for the last few years.

A good early winter snow and the chard is nestled
nicely under their cloches.

A pair of scissors and a bowl is all you need.
I use it mostly in miso soup instead of spinach
and also treat it just like broccoli rabe.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fall is here and winter is on the way
up on the nicest part of the ridge trail

found a new reliable source of acorns

getting better at leaching them
Types of acorns in Japan
I think I'm dealing with コナラ and ミズナラ
which seem to be the high tannin types
of course, sigh

Even though these were processed for almost
3 weeks things could have been sped
up if I had broken them up into smaller
pieces first


drying the flour on the stove

Here's a great video with an actual acorn shelling machine
and hand grinder.
I've found out my regular blender does well
for both rough cutting and making flour 

From here Eat the Weeds I got probably
the best info so far on how not to mess up
namely either do hot or cold processing not both
I heat the acorns a little to crack the shell easily and
that probably contributes to the lengthy leaching times
using about1/5 acorn flour
made a nice whole wheat like bread
that the family praised

My goal someday is acorn soba from
Probably the most comprehensive list of acorn recipes

yamanashi- mountain pears

making wild pear liquor 
pierce each pear with a fork twice
add rock sugar and 20-25% alc. shochu
wait 3-6 months

pickled radishes, from seed to fridge in 3 weeks, so easy

view from the top looking N

I didn't know that baby snakes are born in fall
I wonder what this is?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Signs of Fall

Parasol mushroom

Xtra large

This year our fig tree has been super productive
We've gotten many a bowlful

Acorns have been plentiful this year as opposed to last
when they were noticeably absent

the perils of the gatherer
ヤマビル mountain leeches and ticks
thought it was too cool for them now but I was wrong
bloody mess
it itches like a mosquito bite for days

The processed nut meats after the final roast

after shelling I tried a new processing method

Soak the whole or half nut meats in a large glass container
and change the water 2-3 times per day  for 10-14 days
until the water is clear.  Sometimes I added a little
salt or baking soda to avoid spoilage and remove tannins
but had no problems

I don't have a hand crank grinder for wheat so used
the food processor.  Had to add some water to keep the flour
in the mixing area

A nice firm dough.  I added more sugar, salt and yeast than
I would for a normal loaf to give it some lift.

This loaf was almost 1/2 acorn flour and tasted a bit like
a pumpernickel bread, it got a thumbs up from my wife.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wood boiler update 2

Back at it again with the boiler contraption
running a mix of charcoal and wood

Found a nice and cheap drill pump

Takes standard sized hose, nice and easy

Great flow rate and temperature

Hey what's that sheen on the water??
The drill pump is packed with a petroleum jelly
as a lubricant...uuhhggg
100L of greasy water

Taking a break 
These style mugs make great lanterns

Got a new pump
It's a solar garden pond or fountain type pump
It runs on DC current so is safe to use in water

A little more expensive than the drill pump
but no oils involved

Getting the right power source was a little tricky
Had these "wall warts"  AC-DC adapters lying around
tried them seperate,  and in tandem

A little low on power

And flow: 0.5L / minute
that's not gonna cut it

Luckily I had one more adapter lying around
 from a long gone laptop

It's a little overpowered for the pump motor
but flow and temperature are great
It may burn out the motor prematurely
but it ran 7 hours non-stop in testing
with no problems

All this low tech can get complicated

Finally!  A proper hot bath
and a truly portable one at that

Overall a good turnaround
Though I may try running a power wire
direct from my solar battery bank
to the new DC pump as it will match
voltage better.