Glamping in Madras

We spent the (long) weekend of August 17-22 in Madras, Oregon so we could see the 2017 eclipse. Madras is in the path of totality, but just out of town there was Solar Town, dead center in the path. We got a “Glamping” (Glamorous Camping) package, which got us a very large tent (including set-up and tear-down), two cots, two blankets, a table and two chairs. Also included were showers, which were a luxury to have while camping. We brought everything else needed to survive for a week with minimal services.

We brought the canopy that is in front of our tent, which was really nice to have as the sun was very intense for the weekend. (It was August, after all.)

We arrived early Thursday evening, but got stuck in a two-and-a-half-hour line of cars waiting to get in to Solar Town. It was almost 9:00 P.M. when we finally got into our tent.

With the influx of people continuing Friday, and everyone immediately going to the kybo after the long wait in line, the maintenance crews were unable to empty the shower grey water. The showers were down Saturday and Sunday, which was a bummer. (Kybo is a scouting term for a Porta-Potty or Outhouse.)

Sunday night the Day campers arrive and inundate the kybos (pun intended). They all left Monday after the eclipse, most on the road by noon. The line of cars was very, very long – probably a couple of miles of cars and RVs.

We rode the shuttle into town for a dinner out. We went to Rio Restaurant, which makes Mexican cuisine. We had what were marked specialties on the menu: Puerco Moreliano and Puerco Enmolado. Two big thumbs up! That meal was muy delicioso. See (The “festival” prices were much higher than normal.)

Sometime after the hordes departed, the crews caught up with emptying kybos and got around to the shower grey water. The showers returned to operation Monday night! We departed Solar Town on Tuesday morning. We encountered just normal traffic and had a pleasant drive home.

One idea we had worked really well: We filled two one-gallon plastic jugs with water and froze them solid in our freezer to use in the ice chest. It was three days later (Sunday) before the ice was mostly gone, as was our perishable food, so we had cold water for drinking!

Garden Railway Construction

I got permission from the boss to build a garden railway in our backyard largely because I am going to put it in the previously uncivilized portion of the yard. So, step one is to civilize the wild parts.

A couple of years ago, I began an ivy eradication project. There must have been 1,000 square feet of ivy, which made that area useless for anything. So, repeated applications of Bayer Advanced Brush Killer has wiped out most of the ivy and some other brush from our yard. (I’m on my 3rd container of Brush Killer.)

Now, I could tackle the wild iris, pyracantha, hawthorn and blackberry canes. Here’s a couple of before photos:

You can see the wild iris on the left, and the massive tangle of brush that I had to contend with. Note also the remnants of (very sickly) ivy. After about a month, here is my progress: 

I still have quite a bit of brush, but it is no longer attached to the ground. And I’ve beaten the iris back to less than half what it was. In a few weeks, the sticks and iris will all be gone.

Note the progress on the wild iris (before and after, above), and the elimination of some holly sticks that were left after the brush killer. As a bonus, friends are taking the dug-up iris away to plant on their property.

Update: Here is the garden area, almost bare ground where there was all that ivy and brush. This represents two to three months of hacking and raking.

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Perfect Hard-boiled Eggs

Place eggs into salted water that covers them by at least 1/2 inch.

Bring to a good boil, remove from heat and cover them. Let sit for 15 minutes. One of the eggs developed a tiny crack, and lost some white. No problemo!

After they have cooked, drain the hot water and use ice and water to chill the eggs thoroughly.

To peel them, crack the shell slightly all over the egg. Put them one at a time into a container with about 1 inch of water. The container should be large enough that the egg has plenty of room to move.

Put the lid on and shake the container vigorously. The water will help to prevent damage to the egg and float the shell away from the egg.

Here they are, after about 1 minute of work. And note that the yolks are perfectly done.