Owl Watching & English Feast

Trip Start Aug 06, 2011
Trip End Aug 15, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Monday, August 8, 2011

I got up at 6:30 as did Larry and we drove Erin to work. When we got back Derek was up.  We didn't do much in the morning.  Larry and I read, Derek surfed the internet for a place to hike.  I cleaned off the kitchen counter in preparation for tonight’s big meal.  We tried to find the hole in Larry’s air mattress without success.  He has woken up with a flat mattress both nights.  We packed our lunches and headed out about 11:00.  We stopped at Fred Meyer (correct spelling this time) to get a new air mattress, a pitcher and some 'real’ tea for Larry (with caffeine).  We drove to Cougar Mountain and parked at the Coal Hole Trail lot.  We ate our lunch before we went for our 4 mile hike. 

Along the Coal Hole Trail we saw many sink holes caused by the collapse of coal mines.  Cougar Mountain Park is a large area that can’t be built on because of these old mines.  We also hiked along Fred’s Railroad Trail and the Coal Creek Falls Trail to make a loop back to where we started.  After we crossed the bridge at the falls Derek spotted what we thought might be a spotted owl, but when we identified it later it turned out to be a Barred Owl which we can see in Ohio.  The barred owl was perched on a snag about 15 feet in the air.  We watched it for about 20 minutes and it never moved, even when we moved closer and then by it all the time taking pictures and video.  It was hunting as we saw it watch the ground and we saw and heard movement where it was looking.  But as long as we were there, it never moved except its head which it can turn more than 180 degrees.  It looked intently at us most of the time.  Up to that point we had not seen another person the whole hike.  All we heard was the water in the creek, birds and an occasional airplane high overhead.  When we got to the main trail we started meeting people coming up the trail with their kids and their dogs, so we were glad we went when we did.

Our hike took us longer than expected and we got back 40 minutes after I had intended.  I needed to get back to get the beef roasts in the oven.  When we went shopping on Saturday they didn’t have one roast big enough so I got two smaller ones.  When we got back I got the roasts in the oven while Larry and Derek moved Erin’s computer off the dining room table.  Derek cleaned the table and chairs and vacuumed the carpet.  Then it was time for them to leave to pick up Erin.  While they were gone I beat together the ingredients for Yorkshire pudding, cleaned and cut up the potatoes, and had a few minutes to sit before making the rest of the meal.

Erin’s oven must run low because the roast was not cooking as fast as it should so I upped the temperature.  I cooked and mashed Yukon Gold potatoes with the skins on, put peas and brussel sprouts in the steamer and one pan of Yorkshire Pudding in the oven.  Erin didn’t have a second pan so I used her deep baking pan for the second pan and it worked fine.  I got the roasts out and made the gravy.  Larry cut up the meat.  We set the table and sat down to an English feast about 6:45.  We didn’t get up from the table until after 8:00.  Since I had done most of the preparation of the meal, I didn’t have to do the dishes.  Larry cut up the rest of the meat and he and Erin made two casseroles of shepherd’s pie from the leftovers, one little one to freeze for Erin and one to take for tomorrow night’s supper.  Then he and Erin did the dishes.  Derek was down for the count on the couch.  I played computer games and enjoyed being off my feet which are bothering me because I lost my right orthotic and didn’t wear the left one when I went hiking.  Flat feet are not fun!  Thanks Dad!

Larry helped Erin put up the woven crosses she got in Ireland, on the wall outside the second bathroom.  Derek went to bed early.  I went about 11:00 but got up when I remembered I had not made any ice cubes for the cooler for tomorrow.  
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