August 26, 2009

Heading into the Part of the Year That is Not Summer

Things seen around town-grape trucks, butternut squash and Gravenstien apples, yellow leaves floating in the River, kids with backpacks on...fall is here. Fall and I have a strange relationship-I hate it at first because it means summer is over, and then we settle into a grudging truce.

We celebrated Dad's 60th this past weekend with a huge surprise birthday dinner at Negri's-we had the whole back room. I made him a big cake, and we had about 30 people. He was totally shocked. The next day Jordy and I threw a party at our house for about 25 people to celebrate the birthdays of Misha and Jeanny and Lisa. Jennifer came over and helped me cook-we had a ton of fun!

Chickens are huge now, and all moved out into their coop. They're all pushing 2lbs now and fully feathered-we're at the start of week seven. They begin to lay at about 20 weeks, but we might get fall molt beating us to the punch before we can get any eggs. Jennifer and I have decided not to induce artificial laying with lamps, so we might be going until the first warm days of spring to see eggs. We're not really in a hurry and the girls are all so tame-they enjoy being held and sitting on laps, so we're content just to let them be.

School has started. Jordy is taking programming and trig. I'm now rising at 5:30am five days a week to work out-I have body conditioning and tai chi. Jennifer and I started our sewing class and it's a ton of fun-it is really nice sewing only for myself for once. We are planning fabric shopping trips into the City since we are charged with making one, complex final project, and we want cool fabric.

I am in the process of hiring a new assistant at work, and getting ready for the crazy part of Memory Walk season, which is September and October. Jordy is going to Toronto in September for work and I'll be home and in charge of the farm. We are off to Utah for Labor Day weekend and very much looking forward to seeing many old friends from school. Jennifer and I are getting ready to put up a ton of tomatoes and make pickles, as our gardens are overflowing. I might be able to hang onto to summer for a few weeks yet!

August 4, 2009

Three week old chicks and their painted new home

What have we been up to? Well, we've had a string of folks come through (our friend Josh, who you might remember from our Utah Days; Anna's friend Alan from high school) -- both were in the midst of road trips and we hope we were able to make their stop-overs enjoyable.
We've been sharing our office (and our laundry room when we had company) with ten chicks (birds, not babes), and we're anxious for them to go live in their real house. It's almost done, but today Anna put the first homey touch on the coop.
Here's a great view.

And from above you can see it hasn't visibly progressed much from where we left it before, but at this point it's something of a timing puzzle -- we need to move it into position to slide in and bolt down the floor of the run, but we can't do that until it's painted (see! It's painted now!), and we can't finish the run enclosure until the floor is in place...
So, like I said, it's one step at a time.
This will be the "Home Sweet Home" picture for the girls once their run is ready.
There's a lovely red trim coming -- let the white dry, first! :)

This view gives you a good look at another element as yet unfinished -- the roof. We're working on that, but rest assured, it'll be done. :)

And what do you get when you have a dog that wants to express more of his dalmation lineage? Well, when it's a black dog around white paint...
Who, exactly, will be moving into the pretty painted coop? I'm glad you asked -- here's a video of the three-week-olds. They're in that not-so-cute transition between chicks and chickens. I swear I heard one of them cluck instead of cheep the other day:

July 31, 2009

Two Week Old Chicks

So tomorrow we're coming up on the chicks being THREE weeks old, so this video is up a little late. But better late than never!

July 14, 2009

Hot Chicks!

We've got chickens! It's been sometime coming, but they're here. Here's the lowdown.
It started with the clearing of our chicken area. That meant clearing a lot of weeds, ivy, two juniper trees, and a ton of rosemary. It was a hell of a day, but I got it done.
A month later on the morning of the build, you can see the result. The pots were employed to help me visualize where the coop would go.
My Coworker, David, offered to help me with the build. He was absolutely instrumental with his know-how (he built two coops of his own, and innumerable other projects), his tools, and his truck which transported all the wood. Thanks Dave!!
And we were off! I had drawn up plans as best I could, but after we got the basic structure together, we just sort of played it by ear.
By lunch we had the front and back assembled and attached. But it wouldn't last; we ended up taking this apart and shortening its width by a good foot and a half. It was certainly the right decision, as with the dimensions we have here we're ready for factory farming!
Our disaster area.
Meanwhile, Anna, Jennifer, and David Erik headed to Western Feed Store. It was time for chicks.

We were planning on six chicks.

The man at the feed store said they should get eight to account for mortality.

David Erik raised him two.

Ten chicks, ready for transport.

The good news is that the coop will easily accomodate ten birds. There are six seperate roosts, so they don't even have to be the best of friends to all fit comfortably. Speaking of which...

It's just about quitting time at coop-central.We've just finished the laying box for the ladies.

Here's looking at the coop from the side, showing off the removable roosts (for easy cleaning!).

It was around 5pm and David and I were beat. We called it a day with the coop at about 80%. There's still plenty for me to finish up on my own -- I have to wire underneath the coop for an integrated run, I have to build an enclosure to surround their little walkway down into the run. Oh, and as you can see, I need to hang the side door and get and hang a door for the laying box (we ran out of wood). The roof is unfinished presently, and we're still talking about what to do with it. Most likely we're going to tarpaper it and set it up for a living roof later on. But I'm happy with the progress!

Upstairs, the chicken habitat was being finished. Here Jennifer surveys the cuteness.
And here they are! Too cute!!

Anna and a chick.

And a closer picture of the ladies. I'm told the tally is as follows: 2 Black Sex Links, 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Gold Wyandotte, 2 Golden Sex Links and 2 Light Brahmas. Total: ten cute chicks. Don't believe me? Check the video below.

We'll have more chicken pictures, no doubt!

July 13, 2009

Summer Is Here!

So much has happened this last month! Jordy has pictures coming soon, I promise! We are having a great summer.

Just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. Hard to believe it’s been that long. Jordy and Dave spent the day building my chicken coop! It’s gorgeous and HUGE…there is still a bit left to do on it but I am sure pictures will be coming soon as Jordy is rightfully totally proud of it. Jennifer and I have some time carved out next weekend to paint it, and we went together and bought our baby chicks this past Saturday. Originally we were going to start with 6 chickens but we ended up getting 10. They are in a brooder in my office right now, where they will stay until they get their feathers-about four weeks from now-and then they can move into the coop. We can’t wait to show the girls their new home!

4th of July was celebrated with a huge BBQ party at Jennifer and David Erik’s house. Misha, Evan and Cynthia spend the weekend with us and we had a great time taking the boat out and watching the fireworks. Later this month our friend Josh from Utah is spending a few days with us, and then a week later my dear friend Alan arrives from Ohio to spend 4 days with us during Bear Weekend. This weekend we are hanging out with our friends Bryan and Kathleen from the halibut at their pad in San Mateo.

Jennifer and I have been busting out butts in a water cardio class at the JC, and so far I’ve lost 7lbs in the last 5 weeks. I’m on board to take two more classes at the JC starting in August-Tai Chi and Body Conditioning. I’ve been working with a clinical health educator at Kaiser this summer who has custom tailored a workout and eating regime for me to help me lose the last pounds to my goal, and with her help I’ve made great progress. Jennifer and I are also taking a flat pattern design class at the JC in fall to hone our sewing skillz.

I am loving my weekly bass lessons, which are so much fun. Hard to believe I’ve been playing now for 7 months! Jordy and I saw Dirty Projectors last week in SF, and are going to Bedouin Soundclash and then Rock the Bells in the next few weeks. And then Memory Walk season will be here and I’ll have no time at all…☺

This year has totally flown. But I’m having a blast this summer and Jordy and I are chillin on the River, filling our house with friends and having a great time. Hope you are too!

June 3, 2009

Lightening Update

Seems almost everyone we know is on Facebook, or talks to us on the phone, or sees us regularly-however, for those of you in the old school mode of catching up with us via Sluglife, here’s a quick summary of the last few months.

Biggest News this Year: Misha and Jeanny are set to welcome a baby boy the first week of November! Jordy and I are thrilled! We can’t wait to have a little nephew running around. The pregnancy has progressed well and Jeanny is healthy, and that’s all that we can ask for. So for now it’s the long wait until he makes his appearance in the world.

Other News: Jordy has gone back to school full time for a CS degree from Sonoma State. This means we are back in “student” mode, but it will be well worth it. To occupy my time while he’s in school this summer, I’ve signed up for a water cardio class at the JC that meets four nights a week, 2 hours a night. I love water and love to swim, but this class also includes deep water running and calisthenics and such, and will be a huge amount of fun! Can’t wait.

The chicken coop project is well under way, Jordy having cleared out the brush from the area that we want to build it in. We have our money ready and are finalizing plans, so construction will start as soon as we have a free weekend.

Best friend Jennifer and I have started back up with our summer canning-both of us having put in our tomatoes and gardens for the year. Last weekend we put up a ton of strawberry syrup-we were able to find beautiful strawberries at a farm outside Sebastopol and promptly dispatched them. We also made rose petal jam for the first time this season. Jennifer was able to find a 5-gallon pickling crock and I’ll be putting in pickling cucumber seeds this weekend.

This summer is packed-shows we have tickets too include Neko Case, Bedouin Soundclash and Rock the Bells at Shorline in August. In a weird twist, we ended up with the exact same seats we had for last year’s Rock the Bells. We’re going to Utah on vacation over Labor Day to spend some time with our good friends M.E. and Ellis.

June is a crazy month! My boss will be leaving our office at the end of June as she has accepted a CEO position with another non-profit. Our office is busily trying to tie things up and prepare for her departure-we wish her the best of luck! This weekend is the Memory Walk kick-off party, and our friends Andrew and Jen will be with us. The next weekend is my birthday-we’re having a big lunch a Chevy’s with all my co-workers for that, then the weekend after we’re down in the South Bay for my brother-in-law’s 30th birthday party and I’m having a girl’s day with my friend Tata. Then the weekend after that our friend Kim and her dog are up. Summer is here and I’m sooooo happy! This has turned out to be a wonderful year full of great surprises, and I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner!

May 17, 2009

Playing Catch-up

So besides Anna's post below, we've been fairly out of the loop lately and haven't posted here for some time. Here's a collection of pictures that we've been meaning to put up just to catch you up to where we are! If you're a friend on facebook then you've likely seen a lot of these photos already, but otherwise, ENJOY!
As Anna Mentioned in her last post, we've been trying to go to a lot of shows, which primarily take us to the City. For Los Lobos, however, we went back to our old haunt, Santa Cruz. And When in Santa Cruz, we'd be fools not to go to the greatest taqueria EVAH, Taqueria Vallarta.
She mentioned her bass lessons, too. Here she is actually playing one of her basses!
One of the big events of this year came last month when we drove down to the central coast for our friends Nick and Crystal's wedding.
The wedding itself was on the beach with the sun at the perfect place to make pictures of the ceremony difficult. Instead, here's a picture of me with our self-named Krew of Deviancy.
Here's the lucky couple (at the reception, of course)!!
Anna and Kim during the reception. If you look at this picture and think, "What joke did they tell just as this picture was taken?" Just know it was likely deviant. And hilarious.
Our friend Mark was the officiator and here Anna gets caught between a hug.
Zoe, Mark and Cindy's daughter, became my BFF during the visit. Here I entertain her with bubbles.
We stayed the night at Mark and Cindy's. Anna sat on the couch. I mean, Anna sat on SOCRATES' couch. He moved to take his seat back and made it clear that Anna would have to cuddle him as penance.
Remember him? It's Winston! He's pushing a year and a half now, and just as cute as ever.
Here he is with those patented Puppy Dog Eyes. Sorry, Winston, we're not going to the dog park right now. "But that's my favorite! Puhleaze?"
And finally, today was the first swim in the river for the year. Lord knows it was hot enough!
That should about catch you up on events so far in the Life Of The Slugs. Next big event will be our chickens! So stay tuned!!

April 5, 2009

A Warmth in the Heart

Mowing my lawn this morning made me realize that summer is almost here. Where has the year gone? The big barrels of pansies we planted for Rachel’s wedding, which bloomed furiously all winter, are now dying and in their place come the lilacs and geraniums and roses-my favorite flowers replacing the old.

This year so far has been a year of reconnecting with old friends-Jordy and I have been having lunches and breakfasts, having folks over, and visiting almost every weekend. We’ve also been going to shows-about 2 a month, usually in the City, which is great-we really have a great time staying out late on “school nights.” I’ve been taking bass lessons weekly and Jordy and I often spend evenings playing songs together-we’ve been recording some of his old songs that he wrote back in high school and college, which is great fun!

My best friend Jennifer and I are in the process of starting up our chicken coop! We attended an intensive seminar in Sonoma this past weekend where we learned to care for chicks, how to build and maintain a proper coop and run, how to troubleshoot, what too feed, and all about the different breeds available to us. We’ll be starting our chicks in May, and I am so excited. Jordy and his friend David from work, who owns chickens now, have said they will build me a coop, so just as soon as we pay our taxes, we’ll be starting that as our summer project.

It is such a happy feeling to step out onto our warm deck in bare feet and know that in just about a month or so, our house will be filling up with friends for the summer! This year so far has been one of the best of my life, and I am looking forward to my favorite season after a long and rainy winter. I hope all of you reading this are well and at peace, and that we see you soon!

February 8, 2009

A new addition to our Automotive Family

Remember this picture from the San Francisco Autoshow last year? And I quote: “no sooner did we enter the Moscone Center did Anna make a Beeline towards her future car -- the Honda Civic si. And it's even in the color she wants to get it in. Come February, this will be more than just a picture”
Well, guess what?
As with all things, however, there’s a story here. And a road trip – things are so much better with a story and a road trip! I won’t bore you with our scrimping and saving, but we finally reached our goal and started the process. First we were going to use the Costco Auto Service – the same thing we did for the Corolla. Filled out the info online and they said someone from the Honda dealership in Petaluma would be contacting us in 24 hours. Well, they didn’t. Meantime, our friend, David Eric, has connections with a group of dealerships – the closest one being down in LA. He called in a favor and the fine folks in Culver City made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. We just had to go get it.
So, on a rainy Friday afternoon we headed out. The weather held until we got onto I-5, when some particularly evil-looking clouds opened up their wrath on us. Fortunately that didn't last, and a little later the clouds became a bit less menacing. And the weather held until the Grapevine. There was snow at the summit and the rain just sucked. But we pressed on, knowing there would be smiling faces at the end of the drive.
Oh, wait. I almost forgot the obligatory driving shot. It's been a long time since we had one of these, but in case you forgot, this is the side of my head.
THESE were the smiling faces I was referring to! On (extremely) short notice, our friends, Owen and Sce, said we could stay with them for the night in Irvine. It’s been a while since we have seen them, and we haven’t ever seen any of their So-Cal abodes. MANY thanks to them for opening their house to us at the last minute!
We hadn’t seen their dogs, Annie (pictured) and Cutter (below), in an even longer time – geez, it’s been like six or seven years! Too long. They’re still adorable, though!
Look, Winston, these dogs are resting. Being nice peaceful dogs. Learn! Speaking of which, the aforementioned David Eric and Jennifer were kind enough to let Winston hang out with their doggies while we traipsed down the state and back. THANKS AGAIN!!! :)
We plowed through on the drive down, and by the time we got to Sce and Owen’s we were a bit hungry. Instantaneously they managed to whip together a bowl of polenta and marinara with beef for us. When I say “instantaneously” I’m talking Jetson-quick. They’re that good.
And it was nom nom nom nom. We are eternally grateful for their hospitality.
The next morning they made us a lovely breakfast before we headed out. As I said, it was a last minute thing, and they already had plans. We certainly didn’t want to impose any more than we already had, and we were incredibly grateful. Besides, we had someplace to be, too.
Before we leave, though, a candid shot of a Sce and Owen and their doggies!
When we arrived at the dealership, there it was front and center. Anna, understandably, went all Beatlemania. Inside we went for a flurry of paperwork.
Soon enough, we were done and the proud owners of a 2009 Honda Civic SI!
With the formalities behind us, it was time to get on the road and get acquainted with our new car. Anna wanted me to drive out of LA and she managed this picture as we navigated north on the 405 towards 101. Why 101 and not back to the 5?
Well, besides being more fun than the arrow-straight I5, 101 also happens to pass through Arroyo Grande, home to our friends Cindy and Mark and their daughter Zoe!
In addition to Zoe, Mark and Cindy have a menagerie of animals. Here’s Luna, a black Lab.
And here's Kira, a yellow Lab. One of the things that struck me as funny was seeing these dogs and Owen and Sce's dogs again after spending a year (yes it's been a year on Valentine's day) with Winston. Next to our Creepy Pony, they seem so small, yet I remember them -- all four of them -- as ginormous! Weird.
And Socrates, who refused a frontal picture until it was cleared by his agent – who was conveniently unavailable – Socrates still looks great even after so many years. He’s a cat in command.
Then we were back on the road. In LA the clouds were scattered, and, despite a brief downpour coming into Arroyo Grande, that held for the rest of the drive. The clouds lent themselves to some beautiful scenes.
Not a bad over the shoulder shot!
Same picture cropped.
Day turned into darkness as we continued north. Finally we made it to our stop for the evening -- Lana and Gary's house in Sunnyvale. It was a very necessary stop, as we were beat and just tired of being in cars. A good night's sleep left us refreshed and with renewed spirits for the final push home. The weather, too, held for the final leg of the drive.
Finally, we were home!
It's been a long time coming, and we have worked very hard, but at long last, we've got our new car. Even after 500 miles, Anna still stood up in the office and stared at the car for a long time muttering, "I can't believe we finally have the car." We do. It's gorgeous and fantastic to drive. So far, February, you've been a good month.

January 31, 2009

A Wonderful Mid-Winter Day

I said in a different post, it’s been a hell of a January. To many big things to mention, and half of them made the month feel like a year long. Today we closed out January with a fantastic day in West Sonoma County. We’ve made a resolution to try to go to a new place we haven’t been before once a week. Between New Orleans and Anna’s gallbladder, we haven’t had much of a chance to keep up with that resolution. Today, however, we got in three new places.
First stop, the Grove of the Old Trees. Haven’t heard of it? Neither had we until we spotted it in a recent newspaper article. Despite the recent press, on this gorgeous Saturday the place was deserted – and it’s pretty obvious why. It’s in the middle of nowhere, which is part of the reason it’s such an amazingly peaceful place.
Once inside the park, the grandeur of the place takes over. Having grown up visiting redwood forests my whole life, this place surprisingly was able to take my breath away.
Proof we were there.
Just off one of the trails we came across a burned-out tree. Redwood bark is remarkably fireproof, however any chink in the bark allows the fire inside to smolder, which is exactly what happened here. However, despite the fire damage this giant still looks to be in great shape. That’s me, for a little scale.
The moss inside the burn made for a pretty shot.
Speaking of pretty shots, who’s that cutie in the tree?
Looking at the pictures again, one thing difficult to convey is the incredible peacefulness of the place. Among these massive trees, all you hear is the wind and birds. Quite a fantastic place to let go of the month.
As you can see by the little compass thingie in the upper left, this isn’t our photo – no, because I left the camera in the car I resorted to ganking a rather good shot from Google Street View. Not bad! This is Village Bakery in Sebastopol where we stopped in to share a grilled turkey and pepper jack sandwich for lunch. Wonderful. We will be going back (with the camera, I promise).
Our final stop for the day took us down to Cotati to a local cupcakery called Sift. Anna had been craving a cupcake all week, and I’d heard of the place, so… It’s the cutest little place. If you have a sweet tooth and you find yourself on 101 near the Cotati grade, make the stop. It’s worth it.
Same picture as above, just cropped differently to show the unfortunate coincidence of sitting behind the logo in the window.
Our two tastes of Sift were, on the left, Peanut Butter Ripple (chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting) and an Irish Car Bomb (Guinness chocolate cake with Irish cream frosting) on the right. Divine! We will be visiting again!