I just compiled this list for a friend and thought others might be interested as well. It is some of my favorite minimalist/homesteading blogs and websites. I went out on a limb toward the end and added some entrepreneurship and big dream stuff.
http://www.theminimalists.com/ Tons of great articles about minimalism with a definition that I like (being happy with less). The website is better than the blog.
http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/ A fairly random blog about small houses from a guy that literally wrote the book on small houses. He also muses about music, surfing, photography, etc.
http://waywardspark.com/ A family in Oregon living an off the grid lifestyle. Her posts are about gardening, chickens, goats, honey bees and other great stuff.
http://www.hipchickdigs.com/ A Portland mother talks about her urban homestead that includes a huge garden and chickens. She wrote a great book on the topic as well.
http://zenhabits.net/ General good living advice covering many topics including habits, meditation, tea, and exercise.
http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/ Good advice on learning, networking, and thinking. His free e-book is good.
http://www.the1bigthing.com/ Another really good e-book about making dreams happen.
http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/ One of my very favorites. He just got back from visiting every country on the planet. His manifesto is awesome and both his books are very good. His blog is great and his website has tons of free info.
http://www.thisepiclife.com/ I just came across this site but really like his message. It is all about being you. His e-book is also very good.
http://hackthesystem.com/ Also a new site to me. I am still getting into it but some interesting stuff here too.
I am planning a cider tour this year. I don’t know when but I want to visit 5-10 cideries in the Willamette Valley. My goal is to find out what kind of apples they are using and where they get them from. I would like to start my own apple orchard to supply local cideries. After some reading most brewers agree that mixing apples produces the best cider. Selecting different apples based on varying qualities help round out the cider for the best taste. I would like to grow one or more popular varieties.
On my starter list is all the Oregon cideries listed here: https://cydermarket.com/Oregon.html. I will make some email inquiries to determine the short list. I am hoping to find some willing to share what kinds of apples they use.
My interest started a couple years ago when Tonya and I visited three cideries near Port Townsend, Wa. We were immediately hooked on the beverage but also loved the process of growing apples. I started my own “orchard” adventure last year by planting a few fruit trees in our backyard. We have 2 apple, 1 pear, and 1 peach tree. I am using a tiered espalier style along a south facing fence for the apple and pear trees. I am hoping for an apple or two this year.
I would love to expand the fruit tree operation and even get some land of my own. I have seen some impressive espalier orchards, including one at a cidery in Washington. This style allows for maximum output and keeps the trees healthy and productive much longer than a typical orchard. The low growing style also makes harvesting quick and easy. I am eying a few books to bolster my knowledge but I am also using some online forums and YouTube videos. I would love to get my own small cider press and even brew some hard cider.
Books: The Holistic Orchard, The Apple Grower
Forum: Home Brew Talk,
From internet searches I am starting a list of possible apple varietals. Here is a list of websites with information about cider apple trees:
I found this on Wikipedia:
“Normally, ciders are blended using juice from several apple cultivars to give the best results. There are few varieties that will make a good cider all by themselves, Golden Russet is one such variety, and is prized in both single variety and multi-variety blends of cider.
Three apple cultivars from England are ‘Kingston Black’, ‘Stoke Red’, and ‘Dymock Red’:
Famous American cider apple cultivars are Harrison Cider Apple, ‘Campfield’, Hewe’s Virginia Crab, and Yates. The first two originated in Essex County, New Jersey before 1776. The Hewe’s was grown from early 1700s and by Thomas Jefferson in his cider orchard.”
I’m not much for resolutions, but I do have a few goals for 2013.
1. I recently found an online version of Stanford’s CS 178 Digital Photography course. I would like to take the complete class including all reading and assignments. I am not sure if I will push myself into the 10 week time frame but I will treat it like an actual class.
2. Edit and post more pictures. I want to learn more about Photoshop, particularly masking. Post equally on Google+, Flickr and Facebook. This means I will have to take more photos. To accomplish this I want to plan more hikes, drives, and trips.
3. Read What the Plus – Google+ for the Rest of Us. Start using Google+ as my primary photo related social media site. Read The Art of Photographing Wildlife. Right now I am more into nature, scenery and landscapes than portraits.
4. Start a new garden at our new house. We didn’t get one in last year and I was disappointed. Last year I did plant some fruit trees and I am looking forward to harvesting fruit this year. I would also like to install a rain barrel system for irrigation.
One of my favorite hobbies is photography. It got a big kickstart when I bought my Nikon D5000 DSLR a couple years ago. With the ability to change settings and simply take high quality pictures I have begun to expand my photography hobby. My favorite niche in digital photography is HDR. Defined simply, HDR photos display a larger range of light than a normal single photograph. I love the look of HDR photos. Trey Ratcliff is considered one of the best HDR photographers and he got me hooked. His website showcases his work and has many tutorials on the subject. Here is the best description I have found on the mechanics of taking a set of HDR images. I purchased Photomatix a while ago and it is great. I recently purchased Lightroom 4 and it is dramatically improving my work. I have alot to learn about work flow but am starting to get a good understanding. HDR One is fairly new but has some great workflow tutorials and other tips and tricks. Below are some of my favorite HDR shots.
On Saturday we ran in the Color Run at the Portland International Raceway. The race was alot of fun and it was Tonya and Terri’s first 5k! What a fun way to start running 5k races. Here we are at the start line, pre-color.
Here we are at the end, in all our powdered color goodness.The color cloud at the end was a great way to celebrate. It got pretty dark in the middle of the cloud, but definitely worth it.Here are a few more close ups of the action.
Last weekend we completed our third annual guys weekend. We camped at Suttle Lake and hiked the Canyon Creek Meadows trail including the 3 mile spur up to a saddle on Three Fingered Jack. The weather was great and the smoke from the Pole Creek Fire didn’t affect us at all.
The Suttle Lake campground is a mile up the road from the road that leads to the trailhead. I followed the directions and used the hiking map here. We woke up around sunrise to break camp and get at early start on the hike. The closer you get to the Jack Lake trailhead the rougher the road is, but it’s nothing to worry about. The parking lot is big with plenty of space for 20+ cars. We paid our $5 day use fee and filled out the back country hiking form. After two minutes from the parking lot you can see Three Fingered Jack towering over Jack Lake and a forest of Silver snags from a 2003 fire.
To the west we could see the Three Sisters and smoke from the Pole Creek Fire. To the east We could see Mt. Jefferson over the glacial lake we passed on the way up.From here we walked to the orange-ish ridge in the picture above for more photos.To the south of us was another cool rock formation. We left exploring that for another day.Here is some detail of the coloring on Three Fingered Jack.After descending back down the ridge we completed the loop. The path remained dusty and much of the walk was through dead forest. It was amazing to see the undergrowth emerging as the forest continued it’s life cycle.
Since I haven’t posted for about 6 months there is alot of catching up to do. I just posted about a trip in August, now there is September through December. We moved from our old place in September, purchased a new home in October, and had Thanksgiving and Christmas in our new house. We also managed some house projects which we will posted soon. Next post: New House Tour.