Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sunday Brunch

This Easter is the eleven year anniversary of Ruth Ann Braun's death.  Due to the eleven year repeat of the calendar, the days line up exactly.  She died on Sat., March 30, 2002, the day before Easter, and her death anniversary was this Sat., the day before Easter.  As life continues without those that we once loved, the past memories mix with new memories and reach a state of equilibrium.  She will not be forgotten but we will have a happy Easter, full of family, fun and good food (the three 'f's).  

Cheers, Marla.

My favorite, Deniches (Denise's quiche recipe).  I made one with kid friendly veggies (asparagus, corn, and carrots), and the other was a spicy asian Deniche.  

EVERYBODY (even vegetarians although they won't admit it) loves bacon.  

Happy Easter from the Brauns and Heltons!  

Friday, March 29, 2013

395 south

After an absolutely lovely time with Steve and Denise (who are THE BEST hosts) we said our goodbyes after a hearty breakfast and embarked on the 10 hour drive south.  

10 hours is too long to drive without a few stops, and there are so many choices on the 395 it is hard to decide what to do.  
We first stretched our legs at Mono Lake.  

Mono Lake is a terminal lake, meaning streams flow in but there is no outlet.  The salts from the eroded rocks build up in the lake as water evaporates and the salt is left behind.  
Unfortunately, in 1941, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power decided to take the water that flows into the lake changing the entire ecosystem as the water became twice as salty because the water level was halved.  
Luckily many organisms are resilient and are able to adapt when humans make changes that suit only our needs.

A few hours later we found ourselves at Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery.  Although there are only tours in the summer the grounds are open for walking around year round.

The hatchery was built in 1916 to "match the mountains and last forever" (Fish and Game Commissioner Connell).  It looks like something that would be found in the Netherlands.  

The hatchery supplies about 8 million golden trout eggs to hatcheries around the state.  Golden trout is a subspecies of rainbow trout that is native to California, which is why it is our state fish.  The Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery is the sole source of golden trout eggs in the state.

If it were the season for spawning this area would be full of water and trout. 

This is a perfect place to escape the 395 drive for a bit and have a picnic.  You just have to share it with the 60,000+ visitors that have the same plan as you.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

History and Virginia City

Our morning (and Denise's birthday) began with a VIP tour of the South Lake Tahoe museum, the museum was closed to everyone but us.  If you look at the picture with the gloves you will see why.

In the museum we learned about the history of the area, from indigenous people to logging to gambling.  

We continued on to Virginia City, Nevada, an old mining town.  In the 1800s Virginia City was the most important city between San Francisco and Denver, and made millionaires out of poor miners.   

Mark Twain worked as journalist for the Territorial Enterprise, whose goal was to pique the citizens of Virginia City's interest about their local news.  Mark Twain will elaborate, "to find a petrified man, or break a stranger's leg, or cave an imaginary mine, or discover some dead Indians in a Gold Hill tunnel, or massacre a family at Dutch Nick's, were feats and calamities that we never hesitated about devising when the public needed matters of thrilling interest for breakfast.  The seemingly tranquil Enterprise office was a ghastly factory of slaughter, mutilation and general destruction in those days".    

Saint Mary's in the Mountains is a beautiful church, inside and out.  It was built in 1868, burned in a devastating fire in 1875, and then rebuilt in 1876.  

The small museum located below the church is way too full of things to looks at; newspaper articles, art, church paraphernalia, historical documents, and docents who will not stop teaching you about their city until you walk backwards towards the door, nodding and smiling, feeling behind you for the door handle and a pause in a sentence to sprint outside.  


The Storey County Courthouse was built in 1876, and continues to serve its original function to this day.    

It wouldn't be a trip to old city without exploring the local cemetery, or at least this is what Denise and I thought as the men waited in the car.  This cemetery was found to be very disorganized, and not very well maintained (although they are trying to restore it).  Many of the tombstones have been erased by years of exposure to the elements. 

This one caught our eye, it is not too often you see a tombstone that says 'murdered' on it.  Denise later discovered that the man was killed by a local, who was later tried and hung.

Fred and I did not realize that a day in Nevada would not be complete without going to the Nugget for an Awful Awful (a huge hamburger that comes on top of an inedible amount of french fries).   We are learning...

I got the fried calamari sandwich, and we were all happy with our choices.  And oh-so-full afterwards.

A night at the Haerrs would not be complete without a game of Scrabble.  
Denise won.
And with all of this I will say HAPPY 51st BIRTHDAY DENISE!! 
  (Pretty suspicious winning on your birthday.  It is almost like we let you win...)  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Road food in Tahoe

Our morning at Steve and Denise's cabin started like any other, with hot cross buns I found in the street the day before.  Eating people's disappointments are delicious.  
(The story- Fred and I were eating sandwiches at Schat's bakery when I witnessed a packaged baked good fall off the roof of someones car as they were leaving the bakery.  After explaining what I saw, and a little hesitation about risking my life running into the middle of the 395 for the item, I decided to take my chances.  Fred thought my main concern was littering, but really it was not wasting perfectly good road food.) 

After breakfast we headed to Emerald Bay, one of Denise's favorite spots in Tahoe.  
 Emerald Bay is beautiful  and so full of history.  

At the edge of the bay is Vikingsholm, a incredible Scandinavian inspired summer home built in 1929 by Mrs. Knight, a philanthropist who loved to entertain.  The house is not open during this time of the year, which is a good thing considering Steve and Denise volunteer here and we are visiting.  

Eagle Falls is just a short walk from Vikingsholm.

We then headed to Squaw Valley, where the 1960 Olympics was held, and the village designed by Walt Disney himself.

Fred couldn't snowboard due to his injuries but we relaxed in the sun and enjoyed the scenery.  

The last stop on the agenda (literally, the agenda that Denise had typed up for us upon our arrival) was rum runner Wednesday at Beacon's Bar and Grill.  The appetizers were incredible, not to mention the drinks, location and the company.  

We could not have had a better first day in Tahoe.
Of course having the best tour guides in town helps.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Manzanar internment camp

Manzanar is one of ten 'relocation centers' built for people of Japanese heritage after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when prejudice against Japanese Americans was high, and good ideas were hard to come by.  120,000 people were forced to sell their things for practically nothing and sent to live in confined areas such as Manzanar.  They were told it was for their protection, due to the increased prejudice, but really the government was fearful of sabotage and espionage by Japanese Americans.  

Manzanar housed 10,000 people of all ages.  They spent three years in the Owens Valley, living their lives as normal as possible, wondering if they would ever leave.  They had everything they could possibly need; churches, a hospital, gardens, a fire department, a school, a police station, a newspaper... everything except freedom.  

The kitchen and dining area have screens with photographs of Manzanar internees, memories of their lives here remain for future generations to witness, and try to comprehend.  

The colorful origami cranes in the cemetery are a statement that the people who lived and died here will not be forgotten.