Saturday, October 16, 2010

Her ladyship

Does this look like your seat? I thought not. No, there is no room for you.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Lambtown 2010

A couple of weeks ago we visited Lambtown again. We last went 2 years ago to this sheep festival in Dixon, California. Now the event runs in October rather then August there is more incentive to head up there as it's not so stiflingly hot in October - although it was plenty warm enough. The show includes a variety of entertainment and wildlife.

Adam had fun snuggling with this Chincilla - he wanted one as a pet until we pointed out that Charlotte would think he had bought her a substantial snack!

This year Lambtown was combined with Calpaca - the California Alpaca show - and there were also alpacas to pet as well as sheep. We watched some of the alpaca show judging which was interesting. Some alpacas are more friendly than others (you really don't want an alpaca to spit on you!).

There were a number of other stands there - young farmers, 4H - here are the boys doing needle felting with the 4H.

Finally - we got to some sheep - here is some shearing. This chap is shearing the bottoms of the sheep before the shearing contest. This part is not something you do quickly. They also do this before lambing.

Again, we had a good day out at Lambtown; at lamb, saw sheep. Sadly no sheepdog trials this year (which was a highlight before), and the whole show seemed much smaller and less well attended than last time we went. Hopefully it will grow again next year.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Two boys

Fin's friend Alex went on vacation to Washington State this summer and visited an alpaca farm. He insisted on bringing back some alpaca fibre and chose a lovely soft grey. I spun it into what I hoped was a worsted weight. It was lovely to spin, very soft and easy to manage.

I thought that I should knit something for both boys so I combined the grey alpaca with navy Cascade 220 for snazzy stripes.

The pattern is Jared Flood's Turn a Square. I like the effect on the crown.

Alex was really pleased that I had made something for him - the idea seemed not to have occurred to him that I would. Thanks to both Alex and Fin for modelling the hats in 90 degrees...alpaca is warm!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Riding along on the crest of a wave

Well, not actually riding - more at anchor in San Francisco. This week the US Navy were in town for the annual Fleet Week. The boys and I went up on Monday as they had a day off school.

We did a tour of the USS Chief that was at Pier 37. The Chief is a minesweeper - and we learned loads about detecting, avoiding, and disarming mines. (The sailors told us that their favourite method is to shoot the mines out of the water!) We were shown around by Chief Petty Office Nissen who was both informative and entertaining. The boys were fascinated - especially when they had a go at 'firing' a browning machine gun. We pretended to shoot cars off the Golden Gate bridge!

I had a go too - and I could not even prime the gun (here Adam is being helped - I had to be helped too!). We had a great little adventure. We have not done this before and the boys made me promise that next year we could come back and tour a Destroyer.

Friday, October 08, 2010

How does your garden grow?

We re-planted our garden after the remodel. Our front lawn was in a very sorry state and we were looking for a more water-efficient landscape. We used some blue-stone pavers as a basis for the front.

We planted several varieties of thyme as a ground cover, with some beds of lavender. We moved the olive trees from pots in the back to the new front space.

We also wanted to get some space for a vegetable bed so had a 6' by 8' raised bed built. We planted tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, basil, and onions.

We have had a great crop this summer and are now wondering what to plant once the tomatoes are finally over.

As a reference this is what the front garden looked like before:

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Ferretworld: Glad you were here

We had some visitors here at Ferretworld over the summer. Long-time reader (and sister) Gill, with family: Andy, Nancy, and Ned. We managed to fit rather a lot into the time. We started off getting some much-needed R&R at the nail shop after a long flight.

We managed a camping trip to Sunset State beach. The Americans introduced the Brits to s'mores (not surprisingly they were a hit)

We took a pony ride up in the hills above Saratoga with Flossie and Julie.

We hit the boardwalk - some preferred to enjoy the refreshments and the sights....

... while others made the most of the rides! Adam loved having some roller-coaster-loving companions and actually went on several of the rides with Gill and Andy. He persuaded me to go on the log-flume ride. Is that a smile or a grimace??

Definitely smiles here...

We went to the Aquarium where we ran into Julie and Flossie.

and ended up eating fish at the wharf in Monterey while we watched seals, and sea otters eat their fish in the water below us.

It wouldn't be a California vacation without a trip to the beach. We went to Rio Del Mar beach. Some of us just looked the part...

while others really did try to hang-ten..

it was something of a cultural exchange (here Fin and Ned pictured in a rare harmonious moment!). There was a strong Star Wars content, but the cultural activities included a talent show and a disco.

Cocktails in the garden...
We had a lovely time.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Ferretworld: wish you were here

We had a summer vacation in the USA this year and took the boys to Washington DC.

We had a fabulous time, even though our visit coincided with a heatwave - we did manage to cool off somehow. Here we are in front of the National Archive after we went to see the Declaration of Independence, among other things.

The boys assumed a very "them and us" attitude towards the former colonial power! We spent several days on the Mall hitting the museums. The Air and Space Museum was a favourite - here we are touching a moon rock!

We also took the time to visit the other monuments and memorials along the Mall. This was a favourite...

The Einstein memorial is hidden away to the side of the Mall and was deserted. One day we rented a car to get out of the city and visited Manassas - also known as Bull Run. It's the site of the first major battle of the civil war as well as a second battle on almost the same ground. It was a fascinating park with an excellent Junior Ranger program. Here the boys are brandishing their certificates from the program in front of the statue of Stonewall Jackson. Manassas was where he acquired his nickname: "There stands Jackson, like a stone wall" is inscribed on the plinth.

The same day we also visited the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space museum at Dulles which was excellent. Fin was thrilled to discover that they have a space shuttle.

We had a super time in the nation's capital. DC is very family-friendly with excellent public transport. We stayed at the Kimpton Topaz and the Marriot Wardman Park which both worked out well for us. I think we only hit a fraction of the things that there were to see and do - but that just leaves us an option to go back again!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

We're back!

So, I didn't make it back in September - but it's October and we have finally got into some sort of routine so I am going to try and to some catch-up blogging.

The boys went back to school - Adam is a 4th grader and Fin is now a 2nd grader. Both seem to like their teachers, and Adam is thrilled to find he is in a class where he is friends with almost all the boys. Fin is less thrilled to discover he is one of only 7 boys in his class!

Now that Adam's in 4th grade they can go to school unaccompanied about which they are really excited.