Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kestrel News

There's good news and bad news regarding the kestrel. The bad news is that I candled the eggs we "rescued" from the nest box and they proved to be not viable. My theory is that when the female died the period of nonincubation was too long and they just didn't develop.

The good news is that the male found another mate and they have once again taken up residence in the nest box.

Meanwhile, since I now have the incubator I decided to try and hatch a couple of chicken eggs. It seems like not too long ago I had an overabundance of chickens. Then through one happenstance or the other, eventually I just had an overabundance of roosters. So we took care of that and now it is one rooster with five hens.

I put four eggs in the incubator. I know for sure that two of them are good. I'm not too sure about the other two.
Right now I'm going to take the chance that the other two are still good and won't explode into a stinky mess rather than destroy them and find out they were good after all. Chicken eggs take 21 days to hatch, so we may have Cinco de Mayo chicks. Stay tuned!

Here are a couple pictures of one of the kestrels. Or maybe one of each?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Garden Update

I thought I'd share the latest in our garden news. So far it has been doing fairly well. The weeds aren't growing too fast so they are relatively easy to keep up with. I got about half of the weeds pulled last week before the weather got really bad. I'll work on the rest of it later this week.

Here are the beginnings of the crookneck squash.
Oh boy! Squash, onions, garlic sauteed in butter with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top. Mmmm.
Peas are starting out nicely.
Carrots. Some thinned, some not. Eggplant behind the carrots, chard on the left.
The Swiss chard between the crookneck squash and artichokes.
Yukon gold potatoes.
Idaho purple (there were only five of this variety per package).
Various peppers.
The tomatoes have really started growing.
Most are doing really well. Some, like this Roma, are not. (But even still it has a little tomato right in the middle.)
This is the San Marzano tomato I mail ordered. It came in a week ago so it's a little behind the other tomatoes.
The grapes along the fence.
And finally a lady bug helping to keep the garden happy. She needs help I think.
Hmm. I suddenly have a hankering for sauteed squash, onions, garlic...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cheese Class

Last Friday my sister and I went up to Sacramento to attend a cheese class being held in nearby Davis. The class was on Saturday. We went on Friday so we'd have plenty of time to shop.

When we got into Sacramento it was still too early to check in at the hotel so we drove on through to Davis. One of the things I had wanted to shop for was a new bridle for my horse since she broke the other one. (I'm currently using a spare of my sister's.) Prior to the trip I found a couple of tack shops on line that were in the area and we headed out to find this one in Davis.

We found the store with no trouble at all. It was nice because it had a large selection of English tack, something we don't have in Bakersfield. I found a nice bridle and and even though it came with braided reins I bought a really neat pair of reins that have rubber for good gripping. My horse went lame last weekend so I'm hoping it's not anything serious. She is older, after all, and has a bit of ringbone, but that's certainly not stopped her so far. I'm hoping it's just a stone bruise. Time will tell...

Afterwards we decided to see if we could find the location of the class. It was at a Co-op Grocery store and we found it easily enough. I'm sure glad we had my laptop and aircard so we could Mapquest everything!

We broused inside the store for a while. It was marvelous. They had a great deli counter, meat counter, and a good sized cheese counter! We picked up several kinds of cheeses, some crackers, and pears. On the way out of the store we noticed catty-corner was the building where the class was to take place. So far so good!

By this time it was time to check in to the hotel and we headed back to Sacramento. I don't know how this happened but we drove right past the exit and were almost out of Sacramento before we realized we had gone too far. Probably too much yacking in the car.

We finally got checked in and got all our grocery goodies out for dinner. I had brought a small bottle of wine from home and it was the perfect amount for both of us.
I thought the first picture wasn't "pretty" so we decided to play with our food. See what a little food styling can do?
After dinner we went for a walk to the strip mall across the way. On our way there we saw this thistle.
This is the hotel we stayed in, the Residence Inn Sacramento Airport Natomas. I love these hotels because you get a full kitchen. Our room had two separate bedrooms and we each had our own bathroom. It sounds like it would be costly but it was the same or less than a Holiday Inn (regular room) that was suggested to my sister. My husband and I have stayed in this particular hotel numerous times.
The cheese class didn't start until two o'clock on Saturday so we had plenty of time to do more shopping. My sister had heard about the Arden Fair Mall so we looked it up on Mapquest and figured out where we were going to go.

Once again we ended up missing the turn off street and went quite a bit out of the way. We got the computer out and looked again. I'm still not sure how we missed the street but we got there eventually.

We did some more shopping and this time it was clothes for my sister, smelly soaps and candles for me, and makeup and lotions for both of us. With about two hours til class time we found a place and got pedicures.
The cheese class was very interesting, if not a bit intimidating (to me). There were about 18 people in the class and only about 3 of us (including myself) had never made cheese before. And surpringly my sister and I were not from the furthest away. That distinction went to a couple from Long Beach! And I forgot to bring my camera in with me so there are no pictures from the class.

Anyway, everyone was very nice and it was fun. We all got to do hands-on stirring, curd breaking, forming, and salting. We each made our own little camembert (the class was called The Science and Permutations of Camembert) and we were able to take them home. (The pen is to show size.)
It still has several weeks to ripen and age before it will be ready. I hope it turns out ok.

One thing this class did was make me want to have sheep again. But that won't happen until we move to a bigger property (hopefully sometime this year or early next year--I'd rather sooner than later!).

My sister and I had a great time, even though I, for one, spent way too much money. But after thinking about it I don't feel too bad about it. My husband bought a new handgun earlier this year and my purchases were about one fourth of what he spent. So there.

Say cheese! ☺

Monday, April 19, 2010

Get Away To Los Osos

This weekend my husband and I decided to do a little "get-away-overnighter" trip to the coast. We chose Los Osos as our destination. We left early Friday afternoon and took a back road (highway 58) because a friend had mentioned how pretty it was with the wild flowers.

She was right. There are still quite a few wild flower patches to enjoy.

We got to the coast and drove around the bay.
Here's our hotel room with a nice view of the bay.
View of the room from the door.
And just outside our room on the balcony/walkway. (Notice it is low tide here.)
Just down the street is this view across the bay of Morro Rock (in Morro Bay).
Los Osos is a tiny town with not a lot of shopping or anything so we went the couple miles to Morro Bay which is a bit more touristy. We did a little shopping and then visited Morro Rock.

Looking up from the base.

Turned around and looking towards the area where our hotel is. (In the middle of the picture.)
From another view point looking towards Los Osos. By the way, Los Osos means "the bears".
And in case you were wondering:


The power plant next to Morro Rock. Besides the rock the three chimneys are another symbol of Morro Bay.
The second day we went to the Elfin Forest in Los Osos. It's named that because of the dwarf oaks. This is one of them.
There are some nice trails that run through the Elfin Forest. This is a view of Morro Rock from there. (FYI: Morro Rock is a major "thing" in the area.)
This is one of the lesser used trails that we went on. The other trails have regular boardwalks.
Then it was time to go home. We took another route home (46) and there were a lot of wild flowers still along there too.

We had a very nice time and decided to try and do this at least once a month, providing we had the $$ available. All in all it was a good idea.