Who are we? We are two wacky artists from either side of the country who have discovered that we are kindred spirits- in fact, elf sisters. We both like to be outdoors and exploring, so we've created the blog to share our adventures!
Note: Here be spoilers. Well, sometimes, but you may find photos or info about the location or description of a cache. You've been warned!

Cooking Adventures

Blog post by Live, Love, Laugh, Write!
Saturday, June 26, 2010 | | 2 Comments »

My dear elf-sister and I started this blog primarily to write about our geocaching adventures. We've both agreed though that we can use this blog to talk about any and all adventures! Which is fantastic, because I have had adventures lately, but none of them have been in the beautiful out doors. I've been too sick for that. (Darn those migraine monsters!) So here's my most recent non-outdoorsy adventure...

I've been experimenting with cooking a little bit again. Now normally that's a bit of an adventure just because we have no idea how it will turn out, or if we'll like it even if it does, but this time I managed to have even more of an adventure than normal! Small disclaimer, I was trying to cook while watching Serenity and with a migraine. I'm sure the distractions didn't help any. The hubby was being really good though and letting me pause the movie when I needed to get up and work on the food, so that was something! And I've only seen it about 5 times now, so it's not like I was desperate to see every second because I didn't know what was going to happen!
Now the first step in this recipe was to hard boil 6 eggs. I thought that was pretty straight forward. After all, I've boiled eggs many, many times! Apparently not. Normally when I hard boil eggs I boil them about 10 minutes after they start boiling (I like to be SURE they're done). Well, I somehow switched that around in my head (I blame the migraine) and I only cooked them for 10 minutes from when I turned the stove on. So I go to start shelling them, and I ended up with yoke ALL over my hand. Which was even more entertaining because I was shelling them in the living room while watching the movie. (Is shelling them even the right term? Ah well, good enough for me.)

So I tried putting the rest of the eggs back in some water and boiling them longer. I KNOW I've done that before successfully. Not this time. I ended up with exploding eggs. Which looked entertaining, but wasn't extremely helpful. I got frustrated and tossed the batch. My friend Cara told me later I should have saved them and mixed them in with scrambled eggs, she's smart, so I'm saving that tip for next time!

Ok, next batch of eggs and I follow boiling protocol perfectly. Now its time to cool the eggs off so that I can shell them. One of the other things Cara had told me (this was her recipe) was that the best way to cool eggs so the shell comes off easily is to let the water run over the eggs until their cool. This sounded much more efficient to me than my usual method of filling a bowl with cold water, dumping it, filling it again, and so on until the eggs were cool enough. With the first batch of eggs (the botched one) I had just tried doing this in my big spaghetti strainer. Well the top egg was pretty cold, but some of the others weren't because the water was just escaping. So with this second batch of eggs I put them in a bowl thinking the water could just over flow out the sides.

Well overflow it did! Make sure if you use this method to cool eggs that you DON'T let the bowl plug the sink. You'll end up with a lake in your kitchen, just like I did.

On the plus side, the eggs shelled easier than any I can ever remember making.

Oh, and the end recipe was pretty good too :)

Taurandirath adventures again!

Blog post by Meri Greenleaf
Sunday, June 20, 2010 | | 2 Comments »

Yesterday I went geocaching again! :D This time I went with my fiance as well as my dad; my dad had once again found these caches earlier but came back with me and Josh as we looked. Our travels took us to the small Indian Acres park then back over near where dad and I had gone the other day to the Linvill Trail.

As we pulled up we noticed this structure, but didn't get a chance to explore it until we were leaving- I'll share it first, though:

A random chimney; we're trying to figure out what it was to and why the opening is facing downhill. My theory is that it was on an outside wall, maybe to prevent the fire from catching inside but still keep the building warm. Who knows, though?

Me and dad standing in front of it:

I did think it was neat that one of the families on the plaque is "Yarnall"; that's Josh's last name and it's highly likely that he's related to them:

Back to caching. The first one we hit was Phobia #10, a bee-themed cache. The GPS took us right to it and Josh saw it before I did:

This was a micro cache hidden in something not so micro. ;) We signed the log (and Josh drew his signature goblin drawing), but since this was a micro there was no room for swag.

I got some photos as we hiked over to the next cache. The creak running along the trail:

We passed some huge trees and I figured, what the heck, time for another group picture:

The light looked so pretty on the trees, but alas, it didn't come out so well on the camera:

This was a very old stone fountain that we passed. I wonder how long ago it worked?

This wood plaque was on a tree, but I have no idea why (trail marker?) and any writing that may have been on it was no longer there:

We thought I had gotten us lost (we went around a longer way than dad had gone before) so we made some jokes about hobbits and their direction sense (I offered to call Tom Bombadil if Josh and dad got eaten by a tree), but I finally lead us to our destination, Scouts' Stash. The GPS was pretty accurate here and after only a bit of looking we found the cache in a hollow log.

When I opened it up I went "Hey, a geocoin! ... Wait, that's the same geocoin!" I'd forgotten that dad had dropped off the travel slug coin he'd found a few days ago in this cache when he originally visited that morning, so no wonder it looked familiar. LOL!

I took a beetle toy (Josh loves bugs) and left a bracelet, then we signed the log and Josh doodled another Igik:

Dad changed his username to Yosemite1 after we got home, so he's still Gary87 in the logs he signed yesterday.

Then off to the 3rd cache! This one (X-Men Marks The Spot: Colossus) was a LOT harder to find than the other two- the GPS kept leading me in the wrong direction until Josh finally found the (very well camouflaged) cache. Of course after he called over to me, then the GPS told me the correct direction. Go figure! This one was really really cool and actually looked like a log and when we opened it up, we figured out the reason for the cache name:

The action figure was attached to the underside of the lid. See all that bumpy brownness? That's what the outside of the cache looked like- a log. That mummy rubber duckie was what I took from the cache when I left a bracelet.

We headed back to the car (detouring at the chimney) and drove over (well, drove to the street nearby) to the last cache of the day, Sink or Swim. We passed a lake on the way to it:

This was an easy one to find once we got there, but first we had to cross the stream. This was a lot further down than it looks and it took me a while to cross on those large rocks (I have very poor balance), but luckily I managed to not fall in. ;)

This cache was in a large old ammo box:

This one was filled with little toys, which was cool! We left a bracelet and a bunny toy my dad had picked up at another cache so I could get a silver-colored cat charm/pendant thing and- hooray- a geocoin! This is the first one I've gotten and it had just been put there probably not even an hour before (it was dropped off by someone sometime after dad had gone geocaching that morning and we were out in the early afternoon). I'll be moving this to a new cache very soon. :) I forgot to get a picture of the coin, though.

This logbook was a bit larger than the others, I think, so along with the drawing of Igik, Josh also wrote a cute "by the way, Igik says hi", but I forgot to get a picture of the log. Darnit!

This last cache was right down the hill from a swim club, so after a day of geocaching I was all sorts of jealous of the people we heard swimming!

I'm running out of bracelets to leave behind, so I think I'm going to make some keychains next so I can change things up a bit. :) If you notice the photos look better quality than before, that's because I found my sister's old digital camera and will now be using that instead of my cell phone. Yay, hand me downs!

Half of Taurandirath takes on apples

Blog post by Meri Greenleaf
Tuesday, June 15, 2010 | | 3 Comments »

Or, rather, apple-themed geocaches. Today I went on a quest to find a trio of connected caches located on the Middletown Trails (near Linvilla Orchards) named after apples: McIntosh, Honey Crisp, and Granny Smith.

Dad had found these last week but went with me so that I could find them (my fiancé didn't come along this time). After a stroll along the trail (which was rather strange, since it butted right up against a neighborhood and their yards and some of the houses didn't even have trees planted to block their yards from the trail), we reached the first cache, "McIntosh". This was pretty easy to find because the GPS was telling me I was standing right on top of it; after spinning in a circle to figure out a likely spot, I found it in a log.

I signed the log:

Took what I thought was a geocoin (turns out it was Pathtag- I signed into that site and logged it when I got home) and left one of my bracelets (a yellow and orange one).

We then headed off to find the second part of this cache trifecta. This time the GPS was acting a bit screwy and kept leading me off in random directions. My dad helped by telling me I'd gone past it and after picking a wrong tree to look around, I found it in a hollow tree a few feet away.

I signed the log (left a brown wooden bracelet and took an hourglass- how neat! I love hourglasses!) and noticed the drawing on the back of said log; you can sorta see it in this picture- it's an arrow with a criss-cross pattern:

That means train track time! Here I was tempted to walk back to the car because I was getting very tired and worn out, but I'm glad I didn't because the 3rd part of the cache series was very close by.

Sure enough, after passing some stone ruins, we made our way to a very overgrown (and very old) set of train tracks. I didn't get pictures because ... well, you could barely see them this time of year. We couldn't actually go onto the tracks where the drawing told us because a large branch had fallen on them, lol. Eventually I found the cache (much quicker than my dad had, but I did have him there giving me the general area it was in) hidden just off the tracks in a place where the wood beam had split.

This cache had some cool swag, too (all three of these did- it was awesome!), and I couldn't decide between goofy glass:

(I really wish that photo had turned out better! Darn phone camera!)
Or a useful pair of gloves:

After modeling the glasses, I decided to put them back and leave them there for a kid, then took the far more useful gloves. Considering all the poison ivy we'd been passing, that was the logical choice. I signed the log, left another bracelet (this time in blue and yellow- I feel bad leaving the same thing each time, but at least they're all different), and we trekked back to the car. Well, I stopped back at cache number 2 to get pictures of the log (I'd forgotten to do that- I like to keep them documented).

We also took a detour at those ruins we'd passed on the way down the hill to the tracks. The one side had a large building with only three walls left:

You can see the left and back wall in this photo. I'm wondering if this was a house, but I can't figure out where the fourth wall would have gone, unless someone reused that stone to make another building somewhere else.

Right across from it was a smaller stone building with four walls, but a gap in the front where I'm assuming a wooden door once stood; I'm thinking this was probably a barn of some sort:

That greenery in the middle is the gap in the stone where I think the door must have been.

You can tell this has been in ruins for a long time, judging from the tree growing right in the middle of the building:

My dad thinks that tree is at least 60-70 years old. I'm really curious about what buildings used to be here, so I'm wondering if I can find that info out somewhere. I thought it neat that sometime in the near past, someone had patched up the stone with bricks- "near past" is relative, though; this could have been a hundred years ago.

We got some pictures in front of the smaller building:


Me. You can sort of see the bricks behind us in the photos.

I thought this was kinda funny- on the way back we stepped over a power cord laying out on the trail in the middle of nowhere. What the heck is this connected to? There's nothing electrical that I could see; it must belong to the orchards, but it was out in the middle of the forest. I bet there's a family of squirrels who get cable tv. ;)

When we got back to where we'd parked we noticed that someone had pulled up behind us. When they got out of the car my dad asked "Are you geocachers?" and it turns out they were, which was cool because we'd never met other cachers before. We talked to them for a bit and they told us they'd been doing this for a few years and had over a thousand finds. Woah! I'd only just finished my sixth, lol!

Oh, and here's the swag I ended up with:

The Pathtag, the hourglass, and the gloves. :)

I'm tempted to start bringing my camera with me so I can get better photos than my cell phone takes, but I really don't want to risk damaging it. I did learn that I need to invest in a good walking stick, though; I found a useful fallen branch after snagging the last cache, but had I had one from the beginning, that would have been helpful. Now I know why my D&D character carries a quarterstaff; it doubles as a walking stick and those things are useful!

The trip ended with a stop for water ice on the way home, so definitely a fun time even if I am sore and worn out now. With all this walking I'm bound to get in shape!