iNaturalist

This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed making observations and participating in citizen scientist projects. Check out our first phenology post! And if you know a little bug lover, then this post is for you. And definitely this one.

Are you using iNaturalist yet? We’ve mentioned the app a few times in other posts, but thought that a formal introduction was in order.

iNaturalist provides both app and website forums for sharing your wildlife observations. These observations can be seen by other wildlife enthusiasts, naturalists, and scientists. Basically, it’s creating an amazing forum for collecting data about wildlife across the world, and the best part is that you don’t have to be an expert to contribute data. This is citizen science at its finest!

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Having many observations across a wide geographic area and over a number of years help scientists track data about the location, movement, and timing of biological activity. For example: is the range of a species changing? are they migrating earlier or later in the season? is the timing of plant budding out/flowering/fruiting changing? Simple observations across a large group of people help to collect the data that will answer these questions.

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tomato jam

Ginger is our ingredient of the season. So far we’ve shared a super simple ginger dessert and a savory shepherd’s pie minus the mash. You can find our archive of previous featured ingredients here. So far we’ve

Tomato jam is the jam! Bet you didn’t see that coming.

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I do find that many people are surprised at the idea of a tomato-based jam. This isn’t something to pair with your peanut butter. This is a savory and slightly spicy jam that’s serves as an amazing condiment. I like to pair it with cheese, but it’s also amazing as a spread on savory sandwiches. Think of a grilled cheese with caramelized onions and a thin spread of this amazing concentrated tomato+spice flavor. Or imagine a pulled pork sandwich with a spread of jam. Do we have your attention? This stuff is amazing.

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Sweater Season

It’s sweater season! … at least for a day. Oh fall, you fickle thing.

I wanted to share the details on two sweaters that I’m excited to start rotating into my wardrobe this season.

Bohus Cowl

First up is the Bohus-inspired cowl neck sweater. It’s from an issue of Vogue Knitting, but lucky for you, the pattern is now available as a free download from their site!

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If you don’t know much about Bohus sweaters, it’s worth going down that rabbit hole and learning about these beautiful designs.

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Two Bits

We want to break down these internet barriers and invite you into our lives and we’re hoping you’ll do the same.  You are welcome to share a bit of your week or day in the comments, or if they’re better represented by a photo, tag us on instagram @liveseasoned.

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Sarah Here :

Happy Friyay babies! As a photographer, people are always asking me, “How long have you been taking photos for?” And my response is usually, “ah, about five years.” As I drove away from the shoot today, I realized I’ve been lying to everyone. I’ve been taking photos for as long as I can remember.

I can remember taking stealing my Pop’s camera and taking it to school in first grade. My teacher promptly confiscated it and when I tried to turn it on at the end of the day, I couldn’t. I was so terrified that I broke it and that my Pop would be upset. I’m not sure whatever happened to that camera, but I don’t remember getting yelled at so I’m sure it was fine.

When I was a couple years older, I was gifted all types of funky polaroids and when I got to middle and high school, my parents bought me point-and-shoot cameras. A lot of them. I wish I were kidding, but I probably went through five or six cameras! One was stolen at a party, another I lost on a ski slope, one was carelessly put in my backpack and the screen broke, another got too hot at the beach and the screen exploded, and so on. Even though I would lose or break these cameras after only a few months, my mom always bought me a new one. She scolded me for being careless, but she never gave up on my love of photography even though at the time, I’m not sure we knew the extent of it.

Now, let’s say twenty years later, I’m still taking photos. I find it intuitive to capture a scene and tell a story and that’s why in 2008 I changed my major from magazine journalism to photojournalism. I can still remember the moment, the first time I said it aloud to my roommates, ‘I think I’m going to switch majors.’ The uncertainty was overwhelming. My parents asked logical questions like, ‘Can you actually make a career of it?’ I wasn’t sure, but I knew I wanted to try and here I am, almost ten years after making that decision and I’m still not sure. I mean, I’m doing it, but it looks radically different than I envisioned and that’s what I hear when I talk to my fellow TU alumni. We’re all hustling, few of us are working at newspapers and even fewer are employed full-time as photojournalists. We’re the freelancing generation. We hustle. We have to prove ourselves at every gig and we’re terrible at business, but that’s not why we got into it. We wanted to tell stories and I think we’re all doing just that.

With this question of, “How long have you been taking photos,” in mind, I looked back through my archives and discovered I have digital images from way back in 2004. Then I decided to browse year by year to see what exactly I had been up to during the last decade of September 22s. With just a single photo, I’m able to remember the days so clearly and the two years that lack an image, I lack recollection. I’m lost without my camera so even if it turns out that I can’t make a career out of it, I can make a life out of it and that’s just fine with me.

On this day :

2007 : I distinctly remember throwing up in the parking lot of a Breaking Benjamin concert although I cannot remember a second of the concert.

2008 : Probably getting stoned on campus, contemplating switching my major to photojournalism.

2009 : Katie Albin and I jumped on a tiny three-foot trampoline, in the middle of Temple’s campus and I don’t think we have ever laughed harder.

2010 : I spent the day at my sister’s apartment in Philly before heading to the Reading Terminal Market to shoot video of street musicians.

2011 : I lazed away with my then boyfriend as I would move to Thailand in just a few weeks.

2012 : I photographed an event on an army base, a new and different experience for me.

2013 : The Schu siblings visited the Bloomsburg Fair with baby Alex in tow!

2014 : I worked a gig in Charlotte that tested my knowledge and techniques. I remember feeling the pressure to deliver that day.

2015 : I learned a new (and horrifying) shat kriya technique during my yoga teacher training in Nepal.

2016 : Whatever I was doing, I didn’t take a photo of it.

2017 : Today I’m taking a three-mile walk across town with Cash to pick up my Schubaru from the shop.

2018 : Will surely be my most important September 22 as I’ll be celebrating my best friend’s wedding. <3

What are you up today? And how about ten years ago? And what about ten years from now? xo

 

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Ginger + Vanilla

Ginger is our ingredient of the season. You can find our archive of ginger posts here and our previous featured ingredients here. Today we’re adding something sweet to the docket.

Get ready to start planning your next dinner party, because we have the perfect dessert : vanilla ice cream + ginger spread. This is such a simple combination, but the results are phenomenal. ginger_icecream

We used Talenti Vanilla Bean Gelato for the base, and topped it with a syrup made from Ginger People’s ginger spread. I scooped some paste into a ramekin, added almost an equal amount of water, and microwaved it for a few seconds until the syrup was warm but not hot. Then I gave the mixture a good stir and drizzled it over the gelato.

Can’t find ginger paste in your grocery store? Amazon delivers.

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And I’m not joking about the dinner party. Sometimes a fancy dessert is in order. Sometimes you can plan ahead and bake something the day before. But sometimes, a tub of ice cream is the way to go. This combination takes that easy dessert and dresses it up just enough to leave an impression.

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Plus, maybe it’s time that we make ginger the new flavor of fall! Pumpkin’s had its run. #outwithpumpkin #gingerishot #gingersarehot Wait. Am I doing this right?

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A Day at Circular Quay in Sydney Harbor

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Your first stop in Sydney will inevitably include a trip to the harbor and really it should, it is the most beautiful and active harbor I’ve ever seen. There is so much going on around The Quay that you’ll have no trouble spending an entire day in this area.

First, take a stroll up and down the steps of the Sydney Opera House and wander around the backside to watch the ferries streaming back and forth to Manly beach. If you can, try to spot the Sydney Harbour bridge climbers and contemplate if it’s something you’d like to do yourself.
If you’re hungry, head down to the Opera bar. Nestled right under the opera house near the water, the Opera restaurant and bar has mostly outdoor seating, with a few tables undercover. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to shift your gaze from the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the majestic Sydney Opera House all the while making sure those ballsy Sydney seagulls don’t steal a hot chip from your plate. Watch it, because they will.
After you’ve had a bite, wander slowly around the harbor, taking in the sights of street performers and beautiful sounds of street musicians. Over the course of the weekend that I stayed in the Sydney CBD (central business district) I discovered a handful of new favorites. There is some serious talent hanging out at the harbor waiting to be discovered or simply playing in-between gigs.
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If it’s the weekend, the street artisan market will be in full swing. Wander the long way around the harbor (past the big cruise ships and the Park Hyatt) until you see the bridge overhead. Wander through the lovely lawns of the park and take a rest under the bridge on the Adirondack chairs. Then hit up The Rocks Market. Simply head down George street until you see Argyle Street and you’ll run into it. Weave through all the market stalls, following the market onto Playfair Street. If you’re feeling an afternoon snack or brew, the market streets have ample offerings in the way of food stalls and sitdown restaurants.
After some shopping in The Rocks, roam back towards George Street and The Quay and you’ll see the back entrance of the Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s free of charge so enjoy and leave a donation on your way out if the experience spoke to you.
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After art comes gelato. There are a plethora of places nearby, I had Royal Copenhagen, it was divine. I highly recommend the passionfruit, but go ahead and sample them all first.
Take a nice rest on the lawns in front of the art museum while you watch tourists enjoying the harbor for the first time and locals making their way home from work. Let flocks of Australian white ibis invade your spaces as you listen to your new favorite street musician.
If you’re feeling energized, walk back up through the rocks to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Stroll to the center or climb up into the Pylon Lookout and watch the golden hour cast a beautiful color on the city of Sydney with soft yellow light. If that sounds like too much work, head into the Sydney Theatre Company, or one of the other dozen theaters, take a seat, and enjoy the show.
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Moroccan Spiced Shepherd’s Pie

Ginger is our ingredient of the season. You can find our archive of ginger posts here and our previous featured ingredients here.

I mentioned this dish in my recent farm share post, and with fall right around the corner, it’s a perfect time to add this to your repertoire.

This dish includes all of the best comforts of shepherd’s pie with added interest from the Moroccan spices and added simplicity from the sliced potatoes. The first time I made this we took it to a friend’s house and everyone around the table (from the 1 yo to the adults) loved it!

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We are big shepherd’s pie fans, but honestly, I never make it because I don’t want to mash the potatoes. But as soon as I saw this recipe, I was all in because the potatoes are sliced instead of mashed. The recipe is from Modern Israeli Cooking, with just a few slight variations…  I have a feeling you’re going to see us mentioning this book many times throughout the season!

This dish also appeals to me because it takes familiar ingredients and makes them a platform for introducing new flavors through the spices. And, from a Seasoned perspective, we love a good savory dish that includes ginger!

Moroccan Spiced Shepherd’s Pie

Moroccan Spiced Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 cups veggie or beef stock
  • 5 potatoes peeled
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • more paprika for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat about 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a sauté pan. Added the chopped onion, carrots, and bell pepper and sauté until they begin to soften and the onions are slightly translucent.
  2. Add the ground beef, breaking it up with a fork as it cooks.
  3. When the beef is no longer pink, add the ginger, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, salt, black pepper, and tomato paste. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the flour and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add the parsley and stock. Bring the filling to a low boil, then turn down the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. While the filling is simmering, preheat the oven to 400F.
  7. Put the peeled potatoes in a pot, cover them with water, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 12-15 minutes, until the potatoes are just undercooked and slightly firm. Drain the potatoes, cool slightly, and cut into 1/2 inch slices.
  8. Stir the peas into the filling, and transfer it to a 8x11 (or 9x13, which worked for me) baking dish. Arrange the potatoes on top of the filling, overlapping slightly as pictured. Brush the potatoes with olive oil and season generously with paprika and salt.
  9. Bake for about an hour until the filling is bubbly and the potatoes are golden brown and cooked through. Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
http://liveseasoned.com/moroccan-spiced-shepherds-pie/

Promise me, the moment temps dip below 60F, you’ll give this dinner a try. It’s delicious, comforting, and perfect with a glass of wine!

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Recreating Family Portraits Year After Year

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We’ve all seen the amazing examples, family photos taken in the same spot, with the same clothes and poses, a decade spanning the two. We wish we had one of those, but hey, we’re working on it. Year by year we’re taking the time and energy (and appropriate bribing methods) to sit down on the front porch of the beach house and snap a family photo or five.

We don’t bother checking to see who sat where or looked in which direction, however, we’re hoping to amass a large group of photos that depict our growing flock and shifting group of friends who stop by. Sometimes we take a photo during Russian Christmas wearing masks and holding our dogs and other times we scrounge up all the elephant pants we own. Sometimes I accidentally wear a tank top that says fuck on it. It all depends on the month and the amount of caffeine running through our bloodstream.

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Backpacking on the Ozette Loop

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Hey there! In July, I hiked the Ozette Loop in Olympic National Park in Washington. Although I completed the loop as an overnight backpacking trip, the Ozette Loop would also make a nice day hike.  The nine-ish mile loop starts in a coastal forest environment, forks right and winds its way across boardwalks until it dips slightly to the coast. Walking along the beach is the more challenging section, but only because you’re trudging through sand. Eventually, you reach Sand Point, a gorgeous outcropping with a large rock that you can climb atop of. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset and the ease of the return trip makes it possible to hike back during twilight and even as darkness falls if you’re not keen on camping. Over the course of the loop, the elevation change is less than 500 feet and beside the beach, most of the trail is on a wooden boardwalk. It’s nearly impossible to get lost and while you should always take a map, you shouldn’t need to consult it even once.

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I found the Ozette Loop to be equal parts easy and exciting. As I mentioned, there’s not much elevation change and much of the trail takes place on a wooden boardwalk through coastal forests. While hiking on a boardwalk can be a bit boring, it gives your brain a chance to focus on your surroundings instead of your next steps. Walking amongst giant hemlock and cedar trees and seeing beautiful ferns and moss dripping with moisture had me thinking about ancient reptiles, sea creatures, and dinosaurs (turns out the first dino bone discovered in Washington happened just a couple years ago).

After about three miles, you’ll shuffle down a short and steep section (there’s a rope to aid in your decent) that spits you out on the sand. At this point, my hiking partner and I took off our shoes and shirts, found an enormous downed tree and had a quick snack and snooze. Then it was time to march on along the beach. Looking out towards the sea stacks we thought about the expanse of the Pacific. Was the trash on the beach from Japan? Some of it seemed so.

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I opted to hike the two beautiful miles along the beach in Chacos. I tried bare feet for a few moments, but the sand was a bit too coarse for comfort. There was also a fair amount of sharp debris, kelp piles, driftwood and rocks covered in barnacles underfoot. Depending on the changing tide, there will be a few impassable headlands. You’ll have to scramble up over a big boulder or two (apparently there are ropes to assist, but we didn’t see or use them) or hike into the woods to navigate around them. These areas are evident and I found them to be easy enough to manage with an overnight pack. I thought that navigating around the series of downed trees was more exhausting, mostly because I’m short and those tree trunks are huuuge.

As you make your way around the headlands, be on the lookout for the Wedding Rocks petroglyphs. I’m sure I would have missed them if my friend hadn’t pointed them out to me. They are so amazing we thought that they might be fake, but a quick google search proved us wrong. I had seen petroglyphs in Mesa Verde, Colorado, but these were radically different not only in style (obviously) but also in size and definition. Thinking back, I wish I would have prepared myself for that moment because I would have stayed and enjoyed them longer instead of thinking I was being duped. I had expected to see small paintings, not large rock carvings. The petroglyphs were carved by the ancestors of the Makah tribe using tools made of rock and bone.

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Soon enough you’ll reach Sand Point and a whole host of campsites. We wandered around for a good bit trying to find a site that was semi-secluded, which proved to be tough since we rolled in late on a Friday evening. Although we could see other tents from our site, once the sun went down I truly forgot that anyone else was around. There was also the option to camp on the beach, but we liked the sheltered feel of the forest. If you do camp on the beach, know where the high tide line falls or you’ll wake up soaking wet. The next morning, bask in the sun and eat your breakfast on the beach before hiking the 4ish miles back to the trailhead.

Know before you go :

  • As always, Leave No Trace.
  • No pets, use of weapons, or wheeled devices on the trail.
  • Reservations and permits are required for overnight camping between May 1 and September 30 & must be made no more than 48 hours in advance. (The website said 72, but we were told 48 at the station. It may depend on the month)
  • Campfires are prohibited between the headland north of Yellow Banks and the headland at Wedding Rocks including Sand Point.
  • Only use driftwood for fires. Don’t gather firewood from the forested areas. Use existing fire rings or build fires on the beach to prevent damage to tree roots.
  • All food, garbage, and scented items must be stored in a park-approved bear canister. Bear canisters are available to rent when you pick up your permit.
  • Max group size of 12 people.

Water & waste :

  • There is a creek at Sand Point and Cape Alava, but beware that Cryptosporidium and Giardia are present in coastal streams and rivers. Bring a purification system or boil your water. Iodine is ineffective against cryptosporidium. I didn’t know that until this trip. I’ve been using iodine all my life. I ended up purchasing these chlorine dioxide tablets, which treat both Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
  • Pit toilets are available at Sand Point and Cape Alava. Elsewhere you must bury your waste and paper six or more inches deep and seventy steps from water sources and your campsite. LADIES! Always take your used toilet paper with you after you pee. It’s offensive to see it on the ground. I carry a plastic ziplock that I put all used toilet paper in. It’s that easy.

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What to pack for a day trip :

If I’m day hiking, sometimes I like to be extravagant. Wine with dinner while watching a sunset, anyone?

  • Apply sunscreen + bug spray before you leave
  • Water
  • Purifying tablets
  • Map
  • Compass
  • Knife
  • Snacks
  • Lunch or Dinner
  • Wine?
  • Sunglasses
  • Pullover
  • Rain jacket
  • Chacos
  • Camera
  • Hammock + straps
  • Headlamp

What to pack for an overnight trip :

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The food we packed :

We started later in the day after we ate lunch so we packed snacks, dinner, and breakfast for our overnighter. And wine. And weed. Relax, it’s legal in Washington.

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