Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Let's Go Hunting

Here come the posts about the hunting trips! A did a short blurb a while ago right after we got back from California just briefly highlighting our trip. I had booked our flight with Jet Blue, and on our flight out, we had a layover in San Francisco with Long Beach as our final destination. Oom Jopie has an old buddy who lives in Sonoma who got his PhD from Stanford, and they thought it would be cool to pick us up in San Fran, go tour the Stanford campus (Ryan is applying for post-docs there) and relax a little bit in beautiful Sonoma county. We were quite brain-dead since we had both stayed up all night trying to pack and prepare for the trip and make sure things were squared away in Austin and good for us to go (long story that I can't really get into on here). Point is, it was quite an exhausting experience just to make sure we could leave Austin. Follow that with a bumpy flight complete with crying babies and no sleep, and we were running on fumes. It was good though, we were LEAVING.
Jopie and Ingrid were awesome and did the drive to San Francisco to pick us up. We visited Stanford then stayed in Sonoma for a day and a half. We didn't get to see any of the wineries, we mostly stayed at Carlos' place. They were very generous hosts. We were tired and his family was great company so we visited with them. Their house was very cute, kind-of ranch style, with some sheep, chickens running around everywhere, cats lounging about as if they owned the place, dogs and even a horse. Ok, scratch that "kind-of" it WAS ranch style. Jopie and Ingrid has gotten up there a couple days before we flew in and were helping Carlos build a new shelter and manger since one of the ewes was suspected to be pregnant. They also have their own mini-vineyard (I think they have about 750 vines, I don't remember what types) but they do some of their own wine-making so we did get to do some wine tasting and learn about the process. It looked like a really fun hobby! Carlos opened up 6 different bottles of wine (don't worry we didn't drink all of them!) but I sure did sleep well that night. I think Ryan fell in love with northern California. It's absolutely beautiful, even while it was raining our whole time there. Shame on me for not taking pictures of it. Didn't even think about it.
Then we headed down to Porterville, a small agricultural town at the base of the Sierras for some pheasant hunting. Jopie also has a friend who has a house there so we had another great place to stay. We planned to be there for about three days then finally head down to Riverside for Ben's birthday (Christmas Eve). Pheasant season ended Christmas day, so we were taking a gamble that there would be birds left but we had to go and give it a shot.
Since my family celebrates Christmas with all the cousins, aunts, uncles and extras, we do a Secret Santa gift exchange so that no one is left out, and no one goes broke trying to get a gift for every single person. Ryan's secret santa (he lucked out and got Brooklyn's mommy!) totally spoiled him. Kelly and Oom Tiki sent his gift up with my parents since they were meeting us in Porterville to bring Shelby, my uncle's hunting dog. He got to open his gift early since he would most likely need some of these things for hunting.

that's a pretty big box of goodies

waterproof camo jacket. PERFECT for duck hunting

a vest and hat

trying 'em on

a handy knife set

"Who has two thumbs, is completely set up with nice hunting gear and ready to get some birds tomorrow?" This guy.

Ha ha, my ode to The Office. actual pheasant hunting coming next time....

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