Thursday, February 25, 2010

For a Friend

My friend, Nikki, a former grad student in the department moved away up to Michigan last year. =( She got a job at a pharmaceutical company up there, and her fiance, Nick, is going to law school there as well. They both grew up in Michigan, so naturally, it made sense for them to go back home once they finished with school here in Texas. But oh how I miss my buddy.

There were so many hours of fun game nights, with margaritas and Scene It! (fun game) . While they are not as frequently held now, we always play this classic for game nights that I still have at my apartment. There is always a sad empty spot on my couch, and it's just not the same without them. I will never forget the time she and Nick convinced Ryan and I to finally check out The Oasis (where Nick proposed to Nikki [awww!]), a beautiful restaurant high on the cliffs above Lake Travis. The sunsets there are quite breath-taking. Anyhow, we made a big trip to go out there (it's a bit of a ways out of town) one summer evening. Sure enough, as we get there, huge rain clouds are moving in. We decided to take our chances. As soon as we sit down, torrential downpours had us soaked in seconds. We all laughed, and thought it hilarious something like this would happen to us during all the possible summer nights we could have chosen to go there for dinner. Needless to say, we did not get to see the sunset that night, but still enjoyed their great company and dinner. I cannot think of Nick and Nikki without thinking of that dinner. good times.
Nikki and I were also pool buddies, shopping buddies and the likes. I miss her, and the fact that there haven't been too many girls here in the department makes her presence missed even more. They are getting married this summer, and just bought a house. I knew had to send along some things as a sort of house-warming gift.

First I did some crochet produce bags. Nikki was here when I decided to take up learning how to crochet and knit. Remember that knit square I did way back when? Yeah, she was the second person I proudly showed it off to, in a sort of "Look, Mommy!" moment. As well as many of my other early projects. She thoughtfully picked up a knit and crochet magazine for me one day when she was at Barnes and Noble, so I wanted to do at least one gift of that craft for her.

two crochet bags: one dusty rose and the other heather grey cotton blend

The pattern I followed for these was from the Purl Bee - Whit's linen grocery tote. I love the Purl Bee, they always have such great tutorials on this site. I have done several of them, and this was another easy, relatively quick project. I hope they work out well. . . it looks like they can get pretty stretchy. She already has plans for riding her bike to the farmers market downtown and using them once it warms up. I'm glad she likes them.

I also did a napkin set, using this great tutorial. I'd made them before, for my sister Ashley. She is keeping hers in her hope chest. =) Though now, I'm kind of feeling bad that she got those particular ones. They were the very first thing I made with my brand new sewing machine, and pretty much making something on my own. ever. So they've definitely got all that first-time love and little mistakes going on. Nikki's set turned out drastically different.

front of the napkin. the back is a dark wine red, you can see a glimpse of it to the left of the top-facing napkin.

I am kind of confused by that picture. Does it look kind of blurry to you too? It's weird, some parts look clear, others blurry. maybe my eyes are starting to give out on me. It's my only one of a single napkin front so I had to use it. please forgive me if it's just a bad picture! I'm really trying to be better and more conscientious of the photos I take.

I chose that print because Nikki spent some time in Paris, and I remember her telling me about some of her travels in Europe. I've never been there myself, but this reminded me of that, with the fancy flowers, swirlymagigs (I can imagine this embedded in the ancient architecture, moldings, etc), French script, and Paris passport stamps.

with one of my plates

I am so glad she liked the fabric, and she told me she was really needing a set of napkins. They just got a new dining table and she said that they looked great together. As if I had seen their table and made the set accordingly. I don't know how I am so lucky with picking these sorts of things out!

the whole set and pouch

There are six napkins and a linen pouch to store them in. The tutorial is awesome, I was able to follow it on my own, with little to no prior sewing experience to make that first set for Ash. Next time I make these though, I think I will make the napkins a bit bigger. I have long legs and they had just a little extra over my lap. I don't think they could even begin to think about covering Ryan's lap, plus I like a nice big napkin. Half the time I'm using them to keep my legs warm anyways. =)

tucked away inside their pouch

Ryan was impressed when I showed them to him, he thought they looked like something you would buy at a department store. I made sure to be as impeccable as possible, but I thought he was being overly nice, because he loves me and is always complimenting me like that. I talked to Nikki after she got them, and she said that when she opened the gift, she and her mom could not tell if I had made them or not. I had attached washing instructions, but did not say if I had made them and they had a hard time telling the difference. Can't say that I'm not proud of that. =) So Ash, if you want a better version of that napkin set, just let me know, k? You can tell me if you want different fabric too. I can whip it out for ya.

The last part of the gift was a game, since they helped me establish game nights down here. It's the Werewolves of Miller's Hollow. I don't remember if I raved about this game yet on here, but it's awesome. It's for large groups (you need a minimum of 8, and can get up to 50!) and it is a lot like the Mafia game. I've never played Mafia myself, but others who have played both say that Werewolves is more fun. The overall point of the game is the same, but there are special characters and situations that add some nice twists and keep the things interesting. We love it here (we've even had a department game featuring the game and that never happens here), and it's spreading like wildfire at my sisters' college campuses. Since Nick comes from a family of 8 and all his siblings pretty much have their own families, I knew they would have enough people to play. This is what the game cover looks like. It's just a small box with a set of cards, and their is also an expansion pack. I have both, bought from Amazon and it's so worth it.

Get this game I tell you!

at the Iguana Grill on Lake Travis celebrating my 25th birthday
(me, Ryan, Chris, Nick, Nikki)

Congratulations on your new house Nick and Nikki! Hope to catch up with you guys in person sometime soon.

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Cousin is Cool

This post is a shout out to my cousin, Alyssa. She is one of the So. Cal 9 (the 5 from my family, 2 from Tante San [Willem and Meryl], and Tante Bay [Alyssa and Brad]), so we grew up together and we're all really close.


She is an officer in the Coast Guard, and 2009 graduate from the US Coast Guard Academy.

My sisters and I with her during graduation weekend
(Chanelle, Ashley, Alyssa, me, Ingrid)

She is currently up in Kodiak, Alaska patrolling the Bering Sea and keeping up the fishing regulations/ law enforcement on the boats up there. There is also a lot of drug smuggling that goes by way of those northern waters, so they patrol and monitor that situation as well. scary! The ship, or more properly cutter, she is assigned to is the U.S.S. Munro. I'm not remembering all the stats, but it's one of the best cutters in the Coast Guard. She actually gets to steer the ship, turning it around, driving out of the harbor and out to sea. Talk about responsibility! Here it is:

This photo was actually taken by a crew member's wife from the dock. Alyssa is manning the wheel at the very moment!

One day, they were notified to board another cutter, not knowing that she was going to be going aboard the Wizard! She was filmed on the Deadliest Catch doing safety rounds, log book checks and all that good stuff. . . though I am not sure if it aired yet this season.

A picture of them leaving the Wizard. That's Alyss!
Brrrr. . . that water looks mighty cold.

It's king crab season. In Alaska. Thusly, crab is cheap. For her. So she sent a whole boatload (maybe not quite that much) to California, and my whole family (minus me) feasted on crab. Oh no, my mouth is watering again. She spent over $200 on the shipping (wowzers), such a sweet way for her to spoil all of them. lucky people I tell you!

The whole point of being stationed up there is to log hours doing all kinds of various duties. While her main objective is to act as assistant boarding officer and law enforcement, she also does things like help Coast Guard helicopters safely land on deck (landing signals). You can imagine this gets pretty hairy at night and when it's storming. The Bering Sea is not a nice place, especially in the heart of winter. Yet she and her crewmates know how to make it fun. . .

You know that's Alyss in the middle

Oh, and on off days she gets to do fun things like snow mobiling, shooting, hiking, 4-wheeling, making friends with bald eagles, etc. Yes, I said making friends with bald eagles.

Ok, seriously?

Am I the only person jealous here? =) I know her job isn't safe, she's worked her tail off to get there and continues to do so everyday. Yet despite the difficulty, I know she is having some amazing adventures and quite the time of her life.

Isn't he amazing?

Love you Alyss, and praying for your safety out there! Can't wait to see you in the summer.

Unrelated, but maybe kind of is since most of these pictures have snow. . . it's snowing here today! I mentioned it yesterday and boy was I skeptical. I thought we were going to get sleet at best. Sure enough, at 4:00 this morning I heard it skipping against my window. Did not enjoy it at all on the drive in (a tea latte had to make up for that) (Mom, I decided to drive in case they shut down all the buses and there was no way home, don't worry, I was and will be careful) due to all the overly-slow driving. See this post regarding that. Anyhow having Lisa, one of my students, shout out in class today, "Vanessa, it's snowing!" quite giddily, and everyone pausing their lab experiments to gaze in awe, smile and laugh, gush, "Ooooh, that's a big one!", then complain about not being able to be outside made up for all of that. I'm pretty sure I even squealed. And I have proof.

1) I am looking out my window and it just started coming down again. This morning, there were HUGE chunks. You don't know how hard it was not to run out of my lab section this morning when it started snowing. It sucks when you really have to stay inside! Ok, but that is just my word right here. In case you don't believe me. . .


I know, another weather report

But did you see that? Not just snow, but heavy snow. K, just checkin.

3) These were taken while I was teaching, from a dirty iron-paned glass window, from the fifth floor, and I'm sorry (perhaps more for myself than you) that I was not able to be outside. I REALLY wanted to be outside. The hugest snow flakes were falling. I'm talking lumps of snow nearly the size of my palm sometimes. Does that mean it's wet snow? Because they are sticking together? I don't know, having grown up in Cali, where it's essentially desert, I'm not a snow expert.

Yes, those are flakes!

This was near the beginning of when it started falling. There were times when the whole outside was white.

Over the trees for some better contrast against the dark leaves

And of course my camera battery is low, so my picture taking today to chronicle this fabulous event is going to be minimal. big time boo.

the aftermath of those heavy morning showers. You can see it accumulated on the tin roofing, and in the flower beds.

Besides that, this is so fun. Even if I have to be at school. I love looking outside my window at the furious little flurries. They're really little right now (the flakes) and still swirling around, but it is supposed to continue until the end of the day. It's hard to believe our local high was 83 degrees only two days ago!

Sheesh, it is still snowing. All through the time it took to write this post, including uploading, editing and placing pictures, finding them online (Alyssa's fb pics) and writing. I'm in love.

I'm having an AWESOME day. Hope you are too!

All About the Weekend(s)

Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's weekend! I did. Our weather has been kind of cold, but I don't mind being cooped up indoors for a little bit. I did some not-so-spring cleaning. Washing the walls. and the base boards. cabinets too. REALLY good vacuuming. dusting. even those bits that collect so well on the fan blades and in the air vents. all the laundry. then I lit some lavender candles and did lots of sewing. That's why you guys got those tease photos of Myla's quilt. I had so much fun. I haven't gotten to do that much crafty stuff in a long time. Usually when I do things it's because I have to. I am leaving for a wedding that week and I need a wedding present. Or it's someone's birthday. You know. And while I do have a stack of things that I "need" to do (like Myla's quilt because she was born just over two months ago), things that are bugging me because I don't like having a bunch of unfinished things left around waiting to be given to that special person to commemorate that significant moment in their life, there isn't that big of a rush for when I get them done. Gifts like those can be given at almost any time. I put those deadlines on myself.
So I had a really fun weekend of sewing, because I decided to do so for myself. And now I'm wishing I could all the time. Maybe someday.
Anyhow, Ryan got me some great presents. Gingher goodies!

rotary cutter

I already had one, but it was the cheap-o one from Joann. It get's the job done, but it's not something that will really last. And when Joann has a 30% off sale for a President's Day sale, you gotta thank honest Abe (along with our many other great presidents) and let your man treat you once in a while. Am I right? This thing cuts so smoothly. I'm excited for when I'll have the time to use it more often. I'm thinking I'll send the other one to my sisters. To my knowledge, they don't have a rotary cutter and they only do light sewing, so I think it will suit them well.

Also, new thread snippers.

it's a cute stork!

I had snippers (emphasis had), some my sister Ashley got me, and they got lost when I brought them up to Oklahoma at Thanksgiving. I looked everywhere for them. sad. These guys will do as a replacement though. I love watching the stork open and close his beak as he snips my thread. I'm very easily amused.

So I spent most of the weekend, using some of my new tools in working on Myla's quilt. Sunday night Ryan and I went to the Alamo to see a movie. Jeff Bridges, one of Ryan's favorite actors, has a new movie out called Crazy Heart. I had no idea what it was about, Ryan didn't really either, but it was Jeff Bridges, so it had to be good. It WAS good! It's a musical , not like Moulin Rouge but more like Walk the Line, and it is country music. Jeff Bridges sings. So does Colin Farrell. What? not expected. I was pleasantly surprised, they are both really good, and the story was great too. I am sure Ryan will end up buying it when it comes out. I love films where the actors do things like singing and playing the guitar or other instruments. It adds a whole other dimension to them, and I respect them all the more for it, especially if they weren't very musical before the project.

They actually filmed a part of the movie at a Toby Keith concert in New Mexico in 2008, so it's a live performance. Pretty crazy. Take a peek:

We had some time to kill before the movie, so we went to Barnes and Noble. I went upstairs to the craft section to check out Alicia Paulson's book, Stitched in Time. She is the wonderful artist who wrote the pattern I used for Myla's quilt, and I love visiting her blog. It's definitely in my top three. I love her style, her writing, and she is a big inspiration for me. Everything over there just seems so magical.

Ryan ended up getting that for me too!

I'm such a spoiled girl.

This weekend, so funny how time always manages to fly right on by, was really nice too. Yesterday was absolutely GORGEOUS. It was about 75 degrees and sunny with a light breeze. Our first warm day of the year. Oh man, I soaked that up. Ryan and I went to a UT baseball game, part of their opening weekend. Emma and James joined us there (she is a first year in our group and my workout buddy). For someone who seems to fail to have an internal thermostat and maintain her own body temperature, it was so nice to wear a sundress outside and not need to be bundled up in warm-ups and a sweater. I even got a little sunburned on my shoulders.

However, I am confused. How can you go from that sort of weather to expecting 1-3 inches of snow tomorrow? Really, I just checked the weather, because it is brrrrrr. . . cold outside right now.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Our Newest Family Member

Meet Brooklyn Nichole Van Delden.

Check out that head of hair!

She was born on the 18th, at 8 pounds 6 ounces. And she is perfect.

A picture of a picture. She's holding her daddy's finger.

My uncle was in the operating room when they were delivering her (C-section). When they took her out, he said she looked around, took a big breath and started crying. Then he made a cooing sound (which he routinely did when he would talk to her when she was inside Kelly) and she stopped, looked in his direction and went to sleep. How cool is that?

My mom and sisters keep telling me is super soft and has that yummy baby smell. Kissing those cheeks is like kissing butter. I am SO jealous. Isn't she a total cutie?

The nurses kept talking about how big her feet were. Her older sister, Brianna, is tall and plays volleyball. Looks like Brooklyn could be following in her footsteps!

Congratulations Oom Tiki, Kelly and Brianna. I love you guys!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Want to see something AMAZING?

Head over to Lisa's blog The Blue Dress. now.

It's stunning. I can't get it out of my head. It never occurred to me that a quilt didn't have to be a bunch of squares sewn together. The possibilities are endless!

She's one of my heroes. For reals, I got in touch with my crafty side after feeling so inspired from stumbling upon her blog one day.

thanks Lisa.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ducks, and then a Tease

And so the hunting saga continues....

Once we had arrived in southern California, we celebrated my brother's birthday on Christmas Eve. We had a delicious home-cooked meal and the great company of family and a few close friends. Then, Christmas Day, we DIDN'T celebrate Christmas. I know, what's wrong with us? Well we didn't do Christmas in the sense of opening presents and all that. Why, you ask? As I am sure I've mentioned before, my family (immediate and extended) is rather large and we all celebrate Christmas together. At least in the good old days before everyone grew up and moved away. We also have the Secret Santa thingamagig which I mentioned when Ryan got his hunting gear. With this year being quite lean compared to most, we knew there weren't going to be a whole lot of presents, so the Secret Santa and white elephant exchanges were going to be a highlight. Oom Tiki and his girls were going to be with Kelly's family on Christmas day. AND, Tante San, who now lives in the great wet state of Washington, was in Vegas with Mem, who had to work until the 27th, but then they were going to come to see us. So we decided to hold off on all the present opening until everyone could be here with us and participate in the special events like old times. So, our "Christmas" was on the 28th. It was a good time, though not quite like old times since we were missing some people (mainly Alyss and Willem) but nearly everyone was there. Also, Tante San was flying out the next morning, so there was not enough time to make the big Dutch-Indo spread that she used to do. Anyhow, we were going to have another family classic, sate with spicy peanut sauce and cucumber salad, for dinner followed by opening presents on the evening of the 28th. Jopie took Ryan out to Salton Sea for duck hunting earlier that day.

With a morning that started at 3am, it was a trekker. I didn't get to go so I couldn't get any pictures while they were out there. But here's what I got when they came back.

seven birds total: 1 coot, 2 greenheads and 4 ruddies

Did you know Daffy Duck is a coot? Aw, sad. These aren't just from Ryan and Oom Jopie, the Robs also went with them (Jopie's friend Rob, and his son "little" Rob). Ryan got three of the birds. Actually, funny story. It seems that with duck hunting, you can't really just go out to the lake/pond and go hunting. There are clubs and special days, yadda, yadda, and certain times you should go to increase your chances of getting some birds. Ducks can be elusive creatures. Basically, you want to go on days when other hunters are out there, so that the birds they scare come flying over to you, and vice versa. OR, you want to go on a day that is cold, windy, rainy and basically, miserable. This is because the ducks will constantly be moving around to find a better place to sit on the water, and they might come towards you. However, the day that the boys went, it was sunny and was the hunting club's off-day. No one was out there (this is why Oom Tiki didn't go). Well Oom Tiki called one of his friends who lives/works? out there to ask him if he has seen anybody(my uncle and the boys) and the guy says, "No, it's been really quiet. There's no one out here. Well except for these two fat guys in a canoe rowing around the lake." Oom Tiki says that this cannot be my uncle because he knows that you don't want to be rowing around in a canoe! You need to be in a duck blind waiting for the birds to come your way. Oom Tiki relayed this conversation to all of us back at home since we were waiting for Oom Jopie and Ryan to return from the trip. They didn't have their cell phones on them while they were out hunting, and the drive back is through the desert and the boonies with no signal, so we had no idea what is was like until they returned and we got to ask them how it went. This was their response..." Oh, it sucked until we got the canoe out." At that point, we all just started busting up laughing while they looked at us cluelessly, because what could possibly be funny about rowing around in a canoe? Apparently Jopie took command of the canoe, rowing around to make the birds fly while the others got to shoot. Each of the other guys took turns sitting at the front of the canoe shooting and moving to different locations around the lake. Since there was no rain, wind or other hunters around to do that job, Jopie was a good sport and rowed around all day. Hilarious story though.

The ruddies aren't edible. While they don't taste very good, I think because they are mud-sifters, they have high levels of toxins in them. The coot is not edible either, but the greenheads are.

Can see that gleam of green on their heads?

You have to look hard, but it's more obvious in the photo of Ryan holding them. Their feathers, particularly the down on the their bellies, are sooo soft. Actually feeling what goes inside those down pillows and comforters lends a great understanding as to why they are so luxe.

daytime. aren't they pretty?

Don't worry. . . we didn't let that meat go to waste!

mmmm....Asian duck pizza.

Not the prettiest, but it sure was yummy. Ryan says this was the best pizza he'd ever had. While it was good, I don't know if I would go that far. I am sure his manly pride was having a severe effect on his taste buds. =) Duck meat is pretty strong and has a distinct taste, I don't think I'd ever really had it prior to this. I'm glad that we did something where the flavor was more diffuse, rather eating a whole stuffed duck or something. The greenheads are also fairly small, like a cornish game hen, once they are dressed, so there was not a whole lot of meat to begin with. We got the crust from Trader Joe's. So good. I'd make more homemade pizzas, except we don't have a Trader Joe's here. Guess I have to go exploring for a good equivalent.

Oom Tiki took Ryan out on another trip, with more "ideal" conditions, but they didn't get anything. Bummer. But that goes to show you never know what you're going to get. Ryan had so much fun though, and I know he's aching to go out with my uncles again in the fall. Thanks Oom Jopie and Oom Tiki for showing him such a good time!

This man is SO proud of these birds.

Want to see a bit of something I am really proud of? It's not quite done yet, but I worked really (like really) hard on it this weekend. My fingers are sore. I hope this makes you smile as much it did me!

sneak peek of Myla's quilt top outside

on the floor getting ready for a sandwich!

I'm about to burst with excitement to show you more . . . but it will have to wait. Don't worry, I have other things to share in the mean time. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Brooklyn's Birthday!

So baby Brooklyn's birthday has been set. . . February 18th! She is in the upright position, so they have scheduled a C-section. I just found out that I was like that too, then turned and ended up being a week early. Maybe she will also turn and come early, otherwise that is when we can expect to see her! Can't wait.

As another part of her Christmas present, I made 12 burping cloths. These are just Gerber cloth diapers ($8.00 at Walmart), with some fabric bordered by a ribbon sewed onto them. This way, they are obviously burping cloths, and not a diaper! Wouldn't want to get those switched, even if it was washed. yuck. All in all, I'd say these are around $20 for supplies, and then time and love to make. But I think they are really special, and would love to get some cute burping cloths when I eventually welcome a little one . . . or I could just make them for myself.

There are two of each type of print. The ribbons may vary.

These were SO much easier to make than the ones I did for Nolan. For one, the diaper cloths were actually diapers. The ones before were just like, huge cloth squares. I bought the exact same thing. Maybe a lack in quality control? not sure. I had to resize his, which ended up being a lot more work. Erinn loved how they were so big though.

I think I am going to be making these for every person I know that has a baby. They are just that simple, and I think, practical. Question though: I made the fabric and ribbon strips go across the width of the cloth rather than from top to bottom. It seemed to me like you wouldn't want to rub baby's face with some ribbon since it can be a bit coarse. I've been asked why I didn't run these lengthwise. Makes sense to you guys, right?

Some closeups of the prints . . .

I love those dots. They remind me of sherbert ice cream for some reason. Oh how I am longing for some warm spring/summer days right now. We are COLD here. Like 25 degrees lower than our usual for this time of year. I was walking back to lab in sleet/ rain/ hail/ ice / craziness today.

Ugh. I need to pay more attention to my photos! Sorry I was in a hurry. The monkey is upside-down, but it says "little monkey". And the one to the left of it says, "sweet baby, miracle baby". I think all of these prints are super cute. The furthest left is a baby animal with its mommy (zebras, elephants, giraffes, etc.) I got all of the prints at Joann. Hmmm....don't mind the ironing board cover though. yikes. Maybe one of my sisters can make my mom a new one (hint, hint girls!).

The one in the pink has the names and pictures of various animals (horsey, piggie, ducky, etc) including giraffes. Kelly's daughter, Brianna, squealed when she saw them. She loves giraffes.

all folded up and ready to be wrapped up with snuggle bunny!

I sewed these up the day that they were going to be opened (they were coming over for presents that evening). I couldn't have done it without Meryl. She was my pinning hero since the pinning takes the longest. She pinned while I sewed and we finished right on time. I love you Mem . . . you're awesome.

I can't wait for your birthday Brooklyn!

Pheasant Hunting

Now that Ryan has all his gear, we're ready to go. We woke up relatively early the next morning, but it would have been earlier if it wasn't raining, and headed out to the fields. Once we got there, it was POURING. But Oom Jopie noticed a break in the clouds to the east, and so we decided to drive to a little town, I believe it was called Springfield, to scope out places for breakfast. This was a SMALL town, like 1800 people, but we managed to find a little diner whose biscuits and gravy were raved about by people leaving it. Biscuits and gravy is probably Ryan's favorite breakfast, so we rode out the storm there. After having our fill of warm food, coffee, and listening to their cook sing along with the old country western tunes, we headed back to the fields to find that the storm had moved on. While it was pretty chilly, the sun was starting to break through the clouds.

Seriously, look how dark those clouds are. Just to the left are the cold, snowy Sierra Nevadas.

Shelby couldn't wait to get out and start looking for some birds. She would run from bush to bush, sniffing and looking, while we waited for her to show a point. It looks kind of like this. . .

but not really. Mom IS holding a pretty nice point though.
Shelby continued to work the bushes, she is a Brittany spaniel by the way.

And so did Mom.

Just kidding! This woman is hilarious.

We walked and walked, just waiting for Shelby to find something.

Oom Jopie (left) and Ryan

We found a cute, rustic windmill. I like windmills.

and enjoyed the view of the pretty outdoors.

cloud-hidden, snow-covered Sierras

I love the mountains. It didn't rain the whole time we were out there, but it was totally storming just over there.

Pretty much what the entire landscape looked like. A lone pair of trees. Piles of sage brush here and there. Then another cluster way over there. And we'd have to walk to it, because Shelby, with her amazing supply of endless energy was already over there scoping out the bushes and you didn't want a bird to fly and not be there. It was funny, because she would be sticking to a bush and Jopie would tell Ryan to go run over and wait for her to point, and so Ryan would. If it was my other uncle, Oom Tiki, they would argue with each other about whose turn it was to run over to Shelby, then watching the bird fly out and neither of them were there to get it. Then they'd just laugh at each other. Jopie enjoyed Ryan's eagerness to learn and get something.

It was so muddy. I wish had thought to get a picture, but the mud attaches itself and grows on your boots. And you end up with a whole clod of mud, wet grass and leaves stuck to your shoe so that you are carrying an extra few pounds on your legs. exhausting. I think Ingrid is trying to show me here.

sage and hills

There's the pheasant farm. There is some guy that raises the pheasants and lets them out periodically over the season. He has to do that since they are easy hawk/eagle/coyote prey and they often get pushed up into the hills behind his farm (where you're not allowed to hunt - there's a fence). So he ensures that there are birds for hunting.

the Farm

more walking . . .

Ingrid and Ryan

The boys (Ryan, Jopie and my dad) and Shelby also ended up sweeping the whole other side of the field. Mom, Ingrid and I huddled together on a log not too far from the windmill and busted out the snacks. Sadly there weren't any birds, or pheasant at least. Ryan shot at a dove but missed - they were in season too. Shelby was so cute, because she was getting so frustrated about not finding anything. She whined and whined. It was so sad. And she was a tired little girl too.

The Shelbs

She slept with Ingrid and I. Every time one of us would shift or move, you'd hear her let out this huge exasperated sigh, like "guys, would you please let me sleep in peace!" We went out again the next day too. It was sunny and much warmer, but still no birds. We heard one though, crying out as if jesting at us because we couldn't try to find him. He was on the other side of the fence. O pheasants, just wait until next year....