Archive for the ‘resources’ Category

Don’t get washed away by floods

King County is preparing for the possibility that there may be serious flooding this winter.

If you live in the Green River Valley, you really, really don’t need me to tell you this because you’ve been hearing about it for a while. Still, it’s important that you don’t just tune these messages out – floods can be devastating.

King County’s Flood Preparation page has good advice for you. Flood preparation materials are available in seven other languages in addition to English and the site has a lot of useful information, including a list of sandbag distribution sites. (Note to residents of other flood-prone regions of the county – be sure to check for your jurisdiction on the list, too.)

The county also has a Flood Warning Page you can check for updated flood infomration, including real time river gage readings . You can check river levels at the automated King County Flood Information Line at 206-296-8200 or 800-945-9263. Twitter fans can sign up for alerts at And should a flood actually arise, the King County Flood Warning Center will be staffed 24 hours a day during the flood to provide information at 206-296-4535 or 800-768-7932.

one bus away has a new, free iphone app

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one bus away in the app store.

I’ve long been a fan of One Bus Away, a University of Washington-based project, and their multi-modes of quickly, cleanly, and efficiently finding out when your bus will arrive (often the most frustrating part of the public transit lifestyle). To the list of phone, SMS, and web, they’ve now added a smart new iPhone application that improves the already great experience dramatically. Namely, it uses GPS to show you all nearby buses on a map, lets you save your regular stops, saves your history, and streamlines the process of finding routes.

If you have an iPhone and take the bus ever, get it. [itunes]

(via seattletransitblog)

The PAX Pox

video games ruined my life by poopoorama [flickr] via our group pool [#].

In case you missed it, Seattle’s premier gaming expo was ground zero for an outbreak of swine flu (or what Wired is calling H1Nerd1).

Penny Arcade, the organization that hosts the event, has a list of outgoing flights that had passengers with confirmed cases of the flu.

In addition, the University of Washington just issued an e-mail that two probable cases of H1N1 have been reported to the campus health center, originating from a particular sorority house. The University will be monitoring the flu outbreaks on campus, but officials are encouraging students and staff to take necessary precautions.

And since this flu is hitting everyone from gamers to sorority girls, be sure to wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick, and keep up to date with new info on the swine flu from King County.

King County offers Flu Preparedness Comic Book to residents

comicbannerWe’ve all heard by now that H1N1 (also known as “swine flu”) is out to get us. Experts continue to predict a severe pandemic and want everyone ot be prepared ahead of time.

King County’s helping out local citizens by offering a guide to dealing with a flu pandemic in helpful graphic format. No Ordinary Flu is available for free download on the King County Public health website in English, Spanish and a variety of other languages commonly used in King County. If you’d rather have a print copy, you can order one to be mailed to you for free at the same site, but only if you live in King County.

If you live outside King County but within Washington state, you can order the English or Spanish version from the Washington Department of Health. If you live outside the state, or if you’re a Washingtonian wanting the book in another language besides English and Spanish, you can get it from the health organization NACCHO, but beware that quantities are limited.

King County Public Health has an entire page of flu advice relevant both to H1N1 and to the more ordinary sort of flu which so far actually kills way more people each year.

Free Pool Admission

Swimming race at Colman Pool, circa 1960 by Seattle Municipal Archives

Swimming race at Colman Pool, circa 1960 by Seattle Municipal Archives

From 1:30-3p.m. Saturday, you can get free admission into the Rainier Beach and Meadowbrook pools, part of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Summer Splashtacular. There will also be free diving instruction at Madison Beach from 2-5 p.m., and at West Green Lake, Pritchard, Matthews and Madrona beaches. Flotation devices from Oodles of Noodles will be available from noon to 6pm at the beaches.

Little ones will get wading pool toys and activities at 14 local wading pools from 1-4pm.

Free Skin Cancer Screening Tour

In the news lately are reports that tanning booths contribute to even higher chances of developing skin cancer than previously thought. Coincidentally, I received notice of a free full-body skin cancer screening tour coming to Seattle in August.

The Skin Cancer Foundation Road to Healthy Skin Tour with the help of Kerrie Spoonemore, MD and Sidney B. Smith, MD will be stopping by Seattle, Sunnyside, and Kennewick in the Tour’s 38-foot customized RV to offer free full body skin cancer screenings and the latest skin cancer information to the public. Screenings are first come, first serve. Local dermatologists that have donated their time will be available for media interviews.

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Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than one million cases diagnosed annually across the country. Skin cancer is also one of the most preventable and curable form of cancer if it is detected early. The tour will be making 80 stops at a variety of locations including participating Rite Aid stores. The goal of the tour is to save lives by detecting skin cancers early on, and educating the public about skin cancer prevention by means of sun protection and the need for prompt, effective treatment.

Might be worth checking out even if you don’t utilize tanning beds.

Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam

On Sunday, I bought 6 flats of organic strawberries from Tiny’s Organics, who has a stall at the Broadway Farmer’s Market on Sunday afternoons. When you buy in bulk, most vendors will give you a discount. In this case, they gave me 10% off and they threw in a 7th flat of strawberries for free, bringing the total to an amazing 42 pints of strawberries.

It took 90 minutes to hull all of the strawberries and pack them into bags. Tuesday, I brought them to a friends’ house and taught them how to make jam. It’s easy to do in small batches (so you don’t have to buy 42 pints like I did).

Strawberry Jam

The quick and easy method: hull strawberries. Place 8 cups berries into a large pot and bring to a simmer on the stove for 10 minutes. Add 6 cups sugar and 1/3 cup lemon juice. Stirring often, simmer for 15-20 minutes. While berries are simmering, place 8-10 jars in the top rack of your dishwasher and run through the rinse cycle to sanitize (or boil in hot water for 2 minutes). In a small pot with water, boil lids with rubber seals for 2 minutes. Turn burner off and let strawberries sit for 2 minutes. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/4″ room at the top. Wipe down the rims with a paper towel and center lid on top of jar. Screw outer band over lid and place each sealed jar into a big pot of water. Bring to a boil and cover for 10 minutes. Remove jars from pot and as they cool, listen for each “pop” as the seal takes. Now you have jam. Store in a dark cupboard or pantry.

Strawberry Jam

Last note: you can easily make different variations by adding in fresh chopped herbs right before ladling into the jar. We added fresh mint and fresh tarragon to two different batches. You can also add lime zest for a really intense flavor.

Spring Cleaning

Skiing 14th

Well it’s actually summer, but the sentiment remains the same. We ran into a dilemma a few weeks back. We have a pair of skis that we do not need and wanted to find a home for. No one is looking to buy skis in May or June, and so we checked with various used sporting good stores in the area. All told us the same thing: no one will accept them and likely no one will take them from us. One even recommended sending them to the landfill.

I finally decided to check with Value Village. They, fortunately, will accept skis. Hopefully someone will use them the next time we have snow in the city.

If you have items to get rid of, there are a lot of options. Most used sporting good stores will take sports equipment, just call ahead to confirm. Seattle has a local division of Freecycle that I have used a few times to offload stuff we didn’t want or have room for that was still perfectly usable. Craiglist and eBay also work well for that, though I haven’t used either of them for that purpose. Check out how to recycle electronics here.

What you shouldn’t do is assume that no one would want it and send it straight to the landfill, or dump it on the street corner and hope someone picks it up.

Sofa to go by smohundro

Sofa to go by smohundro

Greenway Days June 20, 21

Mountains to Sound Greenway

Mountains to Sound Greenway

4 ways to participate!

Compete in the Mountains to Sound Relay – One Day, 100 miles
Registration open until June 18th

Take the Greenway Challenge – a summer-long scavenger hunt with great prizes

Go Geoteaming – use GPS to find hidden caches at Rattlesnake Lake, North Bend

Volunteer for Greenway Days

Events include:
Fenders on Front Street Car Show and Cruise, Issaquah
Fall City Days
Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center, Bellevue
Kayak Rides in Luther Burbank Park, Mercer Island
Tours of the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility, Ellensburg
Kite Making and More for Kids at Meadowbrook Farm, Snoqualmie
Interpretive Hikes at Tiger Mountain with Greenway educators

For more information and a complete list of events, visit
or contact Stephanie Dunlap at or 206.382.5565 x21

Go hiking!

Snow Layers

My husband, dog, and I attempted to hike to Snow Lake on Memorial Day. (Trailhead is located about an hour from Seattle). The entire trail was covered in 2-5′ of snow. About 2 hours in, we finally gave up and turned around after eating lunch on a sun-dried rock, but it was still fun. The turnoff to Snow Lake is actually hard to find, so there is no real destination at this time. I managed to fall through two snow bridges and land in the melted snow runoff (brr). This trail is normally covered with snow well into July, but is extremely popular despite this. Currently I would rank this hike in the more moderate skillset, at least until the snow melts.

This is the view we had while eating our lunch.

If you’re not up to hiking in full snow, I recommend heading north to Heather Lake. (Trailhead is located about 90 minutes from Seattle). The entire thing will take you about 4 hours round trip, but it’s worth it if you want to play in the snow in June. The trail itself is dry for about 3/4 of the way up, then you’ll run into snow. Previous hikers have made the trail fairly visible to the lake, but it can be slick so be careful. This hike is currently on the easier end of moderate, but should be alright for everyone when the snow melts in another month or so.

Falls Below Heather Lake
Falls below Heather Lake

Heather Lake Hike
Part of Heather Lake…surrounded with snow.

Heather Lake Hike
Snow, snow, and more snow.

Heather Lake Hike
And finally, my badly stitched photo showing Heather Lake below Mount Pilchuck.

So if you want to get out of the heat, this Saturday there will be no $5 parking fee at the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (where the Snow Lake trail is, and many other trailheads). This is the perfect opportunity to go hiking if you haven’t been this year. Coming up…Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, Lewis & Clark National Historical Park, Fort Vancouver National Historical Site and Whitman Mission National Historic Site all will waive entrance fees the weekends of June 20-21, July 18-19 and August 15-16. (Full list here).

Just FYI, an annual parking pass is only $30 and is good at all trail heads in Washington and Oregon.

And as a public service announcement: I do not recommend hiking in sandals in the snow. It’s cold. I wore these on both hikes, which I admit was a pretty stupid thing to do. Luckily, nothing bad happened.

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