The Ground Erupts

Well, it was a quiet weekend around here.  Too cold (in my opinion) to go outside for any length of time on Saturday and on Sunday it poured rain all day (warming to a “balmy” 38 degrees).  We did some shopping, chores around the house, and I put most of the Christmas decorations away.  I’m still posting much more regularly over on my Instagram site, so if you’ve not seen me here for a few days you may want to pop over there to see what I’ve been up to.

I took my new salt block for a spin on the Traeger grill Saturday evening.  It’s an 8×8 block of Himalayan sea salt intended for cooking.  Per the instructions, I slowly brought it up to between 300-400 degrees, then put a t-bone steak on it in the Traeger.  The only seasoning applied was pepper.  While the actual cook time is within normal parameters, the prep is quite lengthy (sloooowly bringing the block up to temperature), but the flavor it imparted in that steak was pretty darn amazing.

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Besides the salt block, there were two other highlights to my weekend.  The first was vacation planning.  Lots and lots of vacation planning.  We are headed to Costa Rica this spring!  So excited about that!  And, as I am our travel agent I spend a lot of time researching, reserving and arranging.  I booked three different locations for us this weekend:  a hotel right on the beach in Playa Hermosa, a cabin with a volcano view in La Fortuna and an apartment in the cloud rain forest that is Monteverde.  I have a couple more transportation legs to take care of, then I can start researching things that we might like to do.  Hiking is high on the list (of course).  Relaxing.  Photographing everything that moves (and doesn’t move).  It should be an amazing trip and we are so looking forward to it.

The other highlight is reflected in the photos you’re seeing.  Ever hear of frost heave?  It’s pretty cool stuff when it’s occurring in your backyard and not anywhere that will cause damage.  On Saturday the husband was looking out the window and noted the heaves.  I was willing to suffer the cold for the 20-30 minutes it took to take these photos (such a coastal girl).

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The technical definition of frost heaves is as follows (according to Wikipedia):  “Frost heaving (or a frost heave) is an upwards swelling of soil during freezing conditions caused by an increasing presence of ice as it grows towards the surface, upwards from the depth in the soil where freezing temperatures have penetrated into the soil (the freezing front or freezing boundary).  Ice growth requires a water supply that delivers water to the freezing front via capillary action in certain soils. The weight of overlying soil restrains vertical growth of the ice and can promote the formation of lens-shaped areas of ice within the soil. Yet the force of one or more growing ice lenses is sufficient to lift a layer of soil, as much as 1 foot (0.30 metres) or more. The soil through which water passes to feed the formation of ice lenses must be sufficiently porous to allow capillary action, yet not so porous as to break capillary continuity. Such soil is referred to as “frost susceptible”. The growth of ice lenses continually consumes the rising water at the freezing front.

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Now you can say you learned something today.  In layman’s terms it looks like the ground is erupting ice and if you walk on that eruption it quickly collapses with a very satisfying crunch.  To a human.  You should have seen the large orange cat trying to walk across the heaving area.  He didn’t think it was very fun and bounded for the back door.

So, that was our weekend in a nutshell.  Hoping to get out more soon, but winter can be tough.

 

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