Thursday, May 27, 2010

The lowdown from DNR on Tuesday’s earthquake near Carnation

By Ear to the Ground

It wasn’t DNR’s mapping that caused it of course, but, just by coincidence, a geology team from the department had recently completed seismic mapping in the area of last Tuesday’s minor earthquake east of Seattle.

On Tuesday morning, May 25, at 5:21 a.m., a moderate 3.4 magnitude earthquake rattled residents near Carnation in eastern King County. We have heard no reports of damage or injuries, though there were stories of family pets acting oddly shortly before the quake occurred (but if you own cats, how can you tell?). A lot of people slept through the quake. The epicenter was about 3 miles east of Union Hill Rd. and Novelty Hill Rd., at a depth of 3.9 miles below the ground on a segment of the Rattlesnake Mountain fault.

It just happens that at least one homeowners’ association we know of in the area has an aggressive program of earthquake preparedness. The Trilogy at Redmond Ridge homeowners’ association takes part in the Map Your Neighborhood program from the Washington State Emergency Management Division. They have trained and educated 68 percent of residents in the community’s 1,600 homes. Tonight, Timothy Walsh, DNR chief hazards geologist, is speaking to Trilogy residents at a previously scheduled emergency preparedness meeting. Tim is one of the experts featured on a four-part series on earthquakes in the Northwest, “On Shaky Ground,” scheduled to air June 8 through 11th on KUOW-FM.

More about earthquakes is on the web page of the DNR Division of Geology and Earth Resources, which maps and assesses earthquake faults so homeowners, businesses and goverments know where the risks are.

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Banana This; Recycle Old Peels~ fertilizer or silver polish

There are things you can do with that old peel.

1. Do you have a green thumb? House hold plants and outside gardens require fertilization. A great way to give your plants nutrients is with a banana peel. The banana peel is very rich in potassium and phosphorus, which give that added boost to your plants soil, especially so with roses. Here is how to use a banana peel to fertilizer your soil for your plants. Remove the peel from the banana. Place the banana peel on a cookie sheet to let it air dry. Grab a paper bag or envelope. Crumble the dried banana peel and place it in the bag. Let the banana sit at room temperature for about two days. When your caring for your plant, give it a potassium treat of crumbled banana peel. Mix well in the soil to ensure the roots are fed evenly.
2. Have you been thinking about pulling out that old silver? Well there is no time like the present. Bananas peel can also be used to polish silver. Yes, polish silver. Take the old peels and place them in a blender. You want the peels to become smooth and creamy. Once they have, grab a cloth and small amounts of the creamed banana peel and begin polishing your silver. The shine will be breath taking.


Wild yeasts exist in the air around you and to some extent on the wheat berries. There are wild yeasts on grapes (unsulphured) and apples and other fruits. It is those wild yeasts which are 'captured' to make a sourdough starter. The process takes from 3 to 5 days. I wish I had specific amounts for you, but you could start with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour and mix in enough warm (not hot) water to make a thin paste. DO NOT make it too soupy. That, in fact, is the trick to a good starter, according to the French bread makers, and I think they should know. And after you've fooled around with the flour and water thing, you might wish to branch out into adding those unsulphured grapes, apples, sour milk, etc as a catalyst in order to capture other strains of yeast. Each of these strains has a slightly different taste. In fact if you move to another area, you might end up with a starter that produces an entirely different flavor. For instance, San Francisco sourdough bread is well known and has a distinct taste due to the wild strains in the air there. On day one you mix the flour and water (and add any catalysts to encourage fermentation) and place in a warm spot. After 3 days, the dough should be moist, inflated, and slightly sour. More flour and water is added (mixed in) and left to sit in a warm spot. After 2 days the process is repeated. Then the next day it is done again. Note the order: 3 days, 2 days, 1 day. At this point you should be able to make a loaf of bread using part of the starter and adding back what you took out in the form of more flour and water. Rule of thumb: Use about 10% starter to size of loaf. In the case of a 2 lb loaf this is a bit over 3 oz of starter (3.2 to be exact). For a 1 lb loaf 1.5 oz would be used. A book that describes this process in great detail is The Village Baker by Joe Ortiz, copyright 1993, published by Ten Speed Press, Berkley CA. If it's not still in print, try the used books stores, that's where I got mine. Or try your local library. If they don't have it, they might be able to get it for you. ©2008 by Ernestina Parziale

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