California Rolls

If i'm not working out of town, then there's a good chance that i'm sitting at home being bored. So the other day i decided to make california rolls for lunch. I had made them twice before and they came out pretty well. They tasted the same anyway and were actually easy to make. Here's what you need:

Sticky sushi rice
Nori - that's the dried seaweed sheets
Crab legs
and i added Mustard this time too but i probably won't in the future
Soy sauce for dipping

and something to roll everything up, you're supposed to use a bamboo mat but i didn't have that so i just wrapped a heavy cloth placemat with saran wrap

First make the sticky sushi rice. It's important that you boil out all of the liquid or else when you're spreading the rice it gets mushy. Then let it cool for a few hours. It seemed like around 1 cup of dried rice was enough for one roll.
how to make california rolls, ingredients, pictures, steps
Cut up the avocado and cucumber into stripshow to make sushi, rolls, california rolls, cut avacado, crab, rice
Wet the nori down a little then spread out the rice on one side. By the end your hands will be covered in the sticky rice.
california rolls, spread sticky rice, nori, seaweed
Now flip it over and add everything in a row.
how to roll california rolls, roll in rice, seaweed, nori, crab, cucumber
Use the mat to roll everything up as tight as possible, so that it doesn't fall apart when you try to eat it.

how to cut a california roll, eat, soy sauce
Wet your knife down and cut it in half.
make california rolls, sushi, cut roll, rice, crab, make at home, delicious
I usually get about eight 1" thick pieces. Including the ends which always come out crappy looking. I don't think i'm rolling the ends right or something.
homemade california rolls, make at home, sushi, cheap
Here's what they look like.whats in a california roll, ingredients, sushi
and here's what's in themwhat is in a california roll, diagram, ingredients, crab, avocado, rice, nori, cucumber
Like i said they are actually pretty easy to make and tasted just as good at the $10 california rolls you buy at the restaurant.


Garden - August

By this point it wasn't as much a garden as it was an area of my yard FILLED with weeds. Next year i'm using Preen for sure to prevent that from happening. I spent a good hour pulling enough weeds to fill a garbage can.

But lets start with the good stuff. The tomatoes, carrots, pumpkins and corn are growing great. Everything else isn't.
backyard garden harvest, tomato, corn, beans, onion
backyard garden, cherry tomato on vine
gourd in backyard garden, growing on vine, green
pumpkin just starting to grow in garden, green
baby carrot in garden
green tomato on vine, almost ripe
corn just starting to grow on stalk, corn on cob
Here's what it looked like after pulling the weeds. Notice the big pile on the right.
pulling weeds from garden, weed garden, preen
how to get rid of weeds in garden, pull, preen
and here's the new compost pile, maybe i'll end up with some good dirt for next year

simple compost bin, pile, wood posts, fence

Book Review - 2

Percy Jackson & the Olympians - The Sea of Monsters - by Rick Riordan
percy jackson and the olympians, the sea of monsters, rick riordan, book cover This is book 2 in the 5 part series. Although i really liked book one, having all the potential of being a really interesting story, this was a terrible continuation of the first. It added NOTHING new, felt like a carry-over from the first book and still felt like it was for kids.

I'll still probably read the remainder of the series but my expectations are lower after reading this.

a disappointing 2 out of 10 thumbs upthe sea of monsters, book review, terrible, 2 thumbs up out of 10

Percy Jackson & the Olympians - The Titan's Curse - by Rick Riordan

rick riordan, the titans curse, bad book, reviewBook 3 of the series. This actually gives me hope. It was a lot better then #2, new story, new characters and now i'm thinking the final 2 books might be pretty good. Still no Harry Potter but getting closer.

Oh ya and even though their all about 300 pages, you could read all of these books in about a half a day if you really wanted to. Perfect for my lack of concentration.
a promising 6 out of 106 thumbs up book review, rick riordan

Cottage - August

I spent the second half of last week up at my parents cottage again. Although the weather wasn't all that great it was still fun. My sister was there so we still did a bunch of things including going to Lumbermans Monument along the Au Sable River.
panorama, au sable river, lumbermans monument, sand dunelumbermans walk, hiking on the au sable river, lumbermans monument
The bear at "The Bear Store" was not as excited to see me as i was to see him.the bear store, m-55, sleeping, black bear
jack looking cool, sunglasses
building sandcastles, on the beach, moatsandcastles
Max swimming with his kong.
lab swimming with kong, toy, retreiving
dog jumping off dock into the lake
labrador jumping into the lake, off the dock

Poison Sumac

Well like i wrote about earlier, over the course of 2 weeks in the swamps in Jackson i readily accumulated more and more poison sumac over my arms and legs. Because our pants were wet from being in the swamp, the oil from the sumac trees was apparently able to soak through to our legs.
Several of us had it and by the middle of the second week, we decided to go to the local hospital and get shots. Waking up at 3 in the morning because of itching isn't a lot of fun.

Like Jerry Seinfeld said, i was pretty happy when i got called by the nurse from the big waiting room to the "littler" waiting room. After the physician assistant (named Rodney, who was big, mean, fat and wearing flowery scrubs) came in and told me i could get prosecuted if i did NOT file this under workman's comp, I got bored sitting in that second littler waiting room.

Here's my heart rate and arms. I don't know if 137 over 73 is good or not. I haven't had to go to the hospital for at least 10 years.
in emergency room, monitoring heart rate, what's a good heart ratemonitoring
It's kinda hard to see from the picture but i had it all along my arm.
poison sumac on my arm, bad rash, itchy
It's been a weeks since getting the cortisone injection and steroid pills and its finally almost all gone.


Swamp Pole Vaulting

So the last day in the swamps we were all pretty excited about going home and i was particularly happy that morning. Normally when we came to a creek that was too deep to cross we would try to either go around or just wade through it. This time i had a different idea. I figured i could pole vault across.

Just to note ... that was a mistake.

Here's what i had going against me:

  • big rubber boots
  • 1" of mud inside the boots
  • 2" of water in the boots
  • insufficient approach distance
  • forgetting that a swamp has 3 feet of mud at the bottom
  • lack of athletic ability

Now this first time the pole sank into the mud right as i pushed down.
In spite of that i still almost made it all the way across. Really i did.
I landed mostly on the other shore.
trying to pole vault a river in the forestfalling in river while trying to pole vault, wet
Here's the video:

Being the smart guy that i am, on the way back i just knew that i could make it across. This time i left the pole stuck in the mud from the first jump so that it wouldn't sink any more. Too bad it was way out in the middle of the river and when i jumped instead of pushing me forward, the angle at the top pushed me backwards. I believe the word you're thinking of is FAIL!

I guess i was thinking that "low running" would somehow help???
about to fall in river, pole vault
Right here i'm thinking "oh ya....i got this"
river jump, jumping, pole vault, fall in river
This is about the point where i realized that the pole was in no way helping. Notice the angle of the pole is still pointed backwards.
river jump, jumping, pole vault, fall in river, splash, all wetfail, falling in river, pole vault
Video #2:

To my defense, if i hadn't of jumped i would have waded through the water anyway. But there's nothing better then being up to your waist in mud at 8am, then have to work 12 more hours.



Well more out of town surveying. This time however i was closer to home, Jackson, Michigan. We worked anywhere from 11 to 13 hours a day in corn fields and in swamps. Although it felt like the fields were few and far between. It mostly consisted of being ankle deep in black mucky water, cutting bushes with a machete. The final tally:

Number of times falling/sinking waist deep in the swamp................24
Number of times falling face first in the water.............................2

Percentage of body covered in poison sumac after 2 weeks.............30%

And yes i won the contest for the person with the most poison sumac. Later i'll post the pictures of me having to go to the hospital for that.

wet and muddy boots, muddy socks, swamp
This was after having to walk around with 3" of muck in my boots for several hours. pouring mud out of boots, swampmuck boots, leak, muddy boots
After 3 days of leaving my "formerly white" socks on the AC unit outside our motel, the cleaning lady finally threw these out. I WAS going to have quite a collection going.drying socks at hotel, ac unit
And here are the rest of the pictures i took. Trying to show the more fun parts of the trip.