Pinus Lambertiana (SUGAR PINE)

I was traveling into Chester, and in an area where the Pacific Trail crosses Hwy 36, I noticed these giant pine cones hanging on the ends of the Pinus Lambertiana (SUGAR PINE).  These large-scale pine cones can reach 22” in length.  When the light strikes the sugar resin, it looks like the pine cone are wearing bling. Shiny glistening diamonds on the pine cones was an amazing sight.

Sugar Pine trees have long graceful arms and soft fluffy needles.  The long pine cones on the very tips gave me the impression of a lady’s arm holding a lantern. So I was surprised to learn the tree held the title of “The King of Pines” as they can grow 100-160 feet tall!!.  To learn more about the pine tree I started to study the bark.  It has a reddish cinnamon color with deep vertical furrows   But the most surprising aspect of the tree is what you find under it –  jigsaw puzzle pieces of bark.  When the tree bark flakes off small flat pieces of bark shaped like puzzle pieces are stacked at the base of each tree along with those long sculpted pines cones.

Further into town on Highway 36, I stopped at the  Almanor Ranger District . It was a great source of information, maps and handouts
on Plumas National Forest. The ranger’s are very helpful, and I picked up some great nature books for my godson.

Watercress Challenge

A group of us felt like going on a bike ride- not too strenuous.  We got dropped at one of my favorite spots –Domingo Springs, 15 min from the Chester Cabin. The plan was to the take a leisurely ride back – less than an hour and downhill.  The water at Domingo Springs is considered the best in the world. Locals come with their jugs to get water from a pipe.  It comes directly out of the mountain after filtering for many years before ever surfacing.

Mike (Chester Cabin Master Craftsman and all around good guy) mentioned the wild Watercress growing  in the pond. We thought it was a great idea to go on this ride with a purpose! We would harvest Watercress for use in our dinner. Carol declared a cooking Challenge, every dish had to include Watercress.

Well I have to say, It was a great dinner and the diverse dishes created were incredible.  It stared with Watercress Martini’s, followed by Watercress and Carrot Sushi as an appetizer.  For the main dishes we dined on Watercress Salad with locally picked Raspberries out of Mike and Susan’s garden.  Delish!!! and baked green bell peppers filled with 5-spice sausage and grape tomatoes, garnished with Watercress.

The Winner of the Challenge “WATERCRESS and BASIL PESTO IN AN ALFREDO SAUCE” served over pasta.  The 3 parts Watercress to 1 part Basil in the pesto was the best I have ever tasted.  It was much brighter and refreshing, plus the pepper twist gave it more pizzazz.  We got our CRESS ON in Chester California !

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