Thursday, March 24, 2011

Motorcycle Riders Course - 3/19-3/20/2011

Nick and I signed up to learn to ride a motorcycle and get our licenses. He wants to learn mainly because of the distance to his girlfriend's house and when he moves to Fresno. I just have always wanted to know how to ride a motorcycle. Just one of those items on my list of things to do... 
Anyway we signed up for a course that satisfies the requirements for the state test. It has a classroom session for 5 hours on a Thursday night, and 2 - 5 hours riding sessions on a weekend. We signed up for last weekend to ride during the 7am-12pm sessions... yep 7 AM. We had a play to go to that Saturday night and couldn't do the afternoon session. The morning is fine with me, but the weather was horrible! Rain, cold and wind.. so bad that my hands were frozen by the end of the class. We rode through it all...Nick even crashed near the end of the class.. probably because we were getting hypothermic! When we woke up Sunday morning at 5am we heard the rain and it was coming down hard. I had decided we were going to reschedule because I didn't want to go through those miserable conditions again. All the way driving there it rained buckets and the wind was blowing so hard! But we got there and it started letting up... and the whole class it rained just a bit on and off. It was the first time riding for both of us and I have to say that I am pretty bad at the whole shifting thing still. My feet are just too big to work between the foot peg and the gear shift. But you are not going to believe this, we both passed the driving test. We can now get our licenses! Here are some of the pictures from where we were riding. It is in Alameda at the navy base where the USS Hornet is docked. You can see the big boats in the background as well as the angry skies... notice the time stamps. The morning after all of this, we were stiff, sore and just beat up.

Me at the start of day 1

Our rides parked with the ships in the background. See the water on the parking lot?

Nick on the first day at the break

Part of our group listening to the instructor and trying to stay warm

 I have to say it was a good learning experience. Nick learned that he still wants to ride and will be wearing all the protective gear he can. His knee and shoulder were banged up pretty bad and swollen just from that slow speed crash.(We had gotten him a coat with the kevlar pads in it and it protected his shoulder. His knee was a wreck and swollen to about 3 times normal size.)  Me? I am going to get my license but I will be a fair weather rider only... seriously.. no idea why anyone would want to get that cold and wet on purpose.


Monday, March 21, 2011

BOLETUS OROVILLUS - Not a new disease, a mushroom name

I found the name of one of my mushrooms... the one that looks like french's mustard underneath.  
(comment from the website below)
This bright yellow bolete is a rare and striking find. Unusual for boletes in our area, it appears before the fall rains, perhaps utilizing moisture from the dying roots of Monterey pine stumps near which it fruits. Thiers originally described this species as having red pores, but later amended the description to cover a variant that has yellowish to yellowish-brown pores. Local material fits the amended description. An interesting aspect of this mushroom is that fresh material bruises blue quickly, but at maturity, the bluing reaction becomes faint or nonexistent.
It seems to be very rare and no one knows if you can eat it or not...

My picture from the house- early December

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March 6th, 2011 and President's Day weekend

Trying to catch up on the blog... I have been really busy! So here is 2 trips in one...
President's Day weekend, my friend Susan came up to the house.. it was so cold and rainy I was hoping for snow. We got some but just a trace. The following weekend when I wasn't there they were getting several inches.. I will eventually figure this out. There was tons of rain and water was everywhere.
Also I have made contact with a mushroom club out of Sacramento and invited them to come out in the winter when the mushrooms start sprouting. I am excited to finally find someone who can tell me the names and edibility of the dozens of mushrooms that grow out there.
Creek 1

Creek 2

Some kind of slimy fungus

More of these mushrooms

My onions! First vegetables I have planted, hopefully I will get something out of these.

Quail in the front yard

Quail - Very pretty

Snow... on my handrail

Snow on the deck chair - Don't Laugh! I know it is just a trace!

Spring that bubbled up in the pasture - posted video on youtube

This weekend the 5th and 6th, Nick and a few of his friends came along. He was pulling a Tom Sawyer on them and enlisting them to help plant his sunflower seedlings... I think we had about 50 of them.  We have some plants blooming now and dozens of ladybugs in the front yard...
First Poppy blooming for the season- after the cold and rain this is nice to see!

Just one of the ladybugs in the front yard - One plant had 7 on it. Not sure why they are all there but I am glad they are.

Pretty and Tough bush.. it has survived 2 summers with very little water. Don't know what it is so I need to find out.
 My plum and peach (?) trees are blooming and they were full of bees.. here are the pictures of them.

See the bee? Tons of them in these flowers

 Here is Nick and his friends working on the back hill.
His friends were not sure about this manual labor thing.

Finally they all got working. It took about an hour to get the seedlings and seeds planted.

All the seedlings lined up waiting to be planted.
 Ok for those of you who are squeamish... skip this part. Saturday morning when I got up a few of the quail were pecking around the front yard. I let Casey out a little later in the back area, and went to make coffee thinking nothing of it. I heard a bit of a ruckus but couldn't see anything. I got my coffee and saw Casey through the glass door on the deck, a dead quail laying neatly on my mat, and Casey with a feather stuck to her mouth. It was a bit of a shock... remember Casey is 13 years old and not a bird dog. Although she is part fox hound, I have only see her kill a rat before never a bird. This bird was perfectly intact, she just broke it's neck and brought it to me. No puncture marks or anything.
So I rousted Nick out of bed and he cleaned it with his new Bear Grylls survival knife. The other kids were a bit freaked out by the whole thing. But he did it and we ate it with dinner... it was delicious if a little chewy. We gave Casey a couple of tastes of it and man she loved it!
Absolutely perfect, no bites or anything.

Nick almost through plucking it.. it is a tiny bird without the feathers.