Saturday, October 27, 2012

DNA Testing 2012 - Surprise!

Back in 2005, the National Geographic Society launched a project to get  DNA samples from around the globe to track back to human's earliest ancestor groups. These are called "haplogroups". Nick and I did this and it was entertaining but not terribly surprising... I was from a group in the far north that was the last modern human group to live in proximity to Neanderthals. My testing was based on mitochondrial DNA that is based from mother to daughter. Nick's haplogroup was asian, in the far reaches of china, which comes from his Y dna passed from father to son.

Interesting but not terribly exciting...

Nowadays, DNA has progressed a lot so the company I did this with sent me a marketing email about a new test called "Family Finder" that looks at your ethnic percentages for up to 5 generations back. It will also look at their database of other people who have taken the test and let you know if you match to someone and who they are. Nick and I did it and so has my Dad... although Dad's test is going to take a while because they had to get his DNA mapped first. They had the lab samples still from Nick and I, so they just tested those again.

Here is the surprise - my test said that I am basically 95.81% "Orcadian". That is the area of Scandinavia, England, Russia, Scotland... you know... really white people.But there was a small percent, 3.79% that is Middle East (Jewish, Iranian, Palestinian, Bedouin). Now the mystery is to find who in my family tree was partially Semitic?

My mom has been doing the family research for years, and is pretty sure it is on my dad's side of the family because his mother's maiden name was Offenstein and she said she was German. The mystery will not be solved until my dad's results come back in mid-December.

One other thing this test showed is that not many minority populations are doing this and more need to so that they can get more detailed results. Nick's results were at such a high level without details because not many asian people are doing these kinds of tests. 

If you are interested in this, here is the company we used:

Get the 2 tests - the Y or mTdna and the family finder together for the best results. Only 1 sibling needs to do it, not everyone so you can save money that way. (Assuming all siblings have the same parents, their results will be identical.)


Monterey Trip - October 2012


I had a work function in Monterey on the 16th and 17th and took some pictures of the area to share with you. Yes, we really did work but hey we had a bit of fun too!
Most of our group went out kayaking except for me and a couple of friends. I took this picture of the group while my friend and I were sitting at the oyster bar at the far end of fisherman's wharf.
Kayak Group - see them by the rocks?

Otter (one of many) by the wharf

We had dinner that night at a famous restaurant on cannery row called The Sardine Factory. But instead of being up in the main restaurant we had the wine cave for our group. It was like being on a movie set or in old England. The pieces in there like the mirrors and candelabra are centuries old.
A shot of our table and the stain glass.

This chandelier is from the 16th century.

Personal ice swan with gelato and glowing light underneath to cleanse our palate.
Lobster Bisque en croute
 The food was fabulous but really it was the atmosphere that was over the top... we had a great time. The next morning we had meetings all day but this made it worth it.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Downed Oak Tree for Sale -10/15/12

I contacted a couple of the people in the lumber business in the area and they are not interested in my oak tree. I have posted it on craigslist for $300 and I hope someone wants it to mill it into boards and use it for some project. I just don't want to sell it for firewood! If you have any interest or know someone who might please email me, here is the post on craigslist.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sad News - 10/14/12


I went up to the house on Saturday, because I was meeting the insurance adjuster for the claim about the power outage. As I was taking a picture of the big tree that came down, I noticed Lil' Guy was laying near there dead.  I know he had a very small shot at surviving because he was born so late in the season but I was still sad.
This was him last Sunday
Here is the dilemma;
He was lying on the hill by the ATV path so he was out of the way, but I could still see him. I thought about trying to climb up and over the tree debris and pull him out of sight. But I had fallen already on the oak leaves so I didn't think that was a good idea. He looked like he had died during the night or early morning, and so I left him there. That night about 9:30pm Casey jumped up, started sniffing the air and doing that warning bark she does, when she doesn't know what she is smelling but knows it is different. Later when we were getting ready to go to bed, I tried to take her out. She went out the door with me about 5 feet, stiffened up and spun around and ran back into the house. I followed her! This morning, Lil Guy had been dragged about 15 feet down the hill. I am thinking we must have had a mountain lion come through after smelling him. So sad... he was quite the cutie. His friend or cousin or whatever, is still around and looks healthy. The does and the other fawns are gone.

While walking around I saw this hole and it turned out to be a wasp or yellow jacket nest that something had dug up and pulled all the combs out and ate them. Not sure what does that, maybe a skunk? According to google that is the most likely culprit. (How did we find out stuff like this before Google? I used to read a lot and would have had to do some research to find this in the library. Now it took less than 30 seconds...amazing!)

Here is a shot from my yard of the tree trunk that came down from the lightning strike. I am going to see if someone wants to come take it away. It is too big for me to deal with, my chain saw isn't big enough!
You can see to the left there the tree it broke off from.. see how big the trunk is in comparison to the other trees?
I was hoping that my frig would smell better when I got there this week but it doesn't... it is still making the house smell. The insurance guy noticed it as soon as he walked in the front door.. I am hoping they will replace the flooring and the refrigerator because bother were expensive. Cross your fingers everyone!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Deer Everywhere and Tree Debris

First off - we have a lot of deer at both my houses, but the hill house has deer that are born there on the property. They grow up and have more babies and stay in basically the same area. Last month I noticed a new fawn hiding in the tall grass, which is very late in the season for deer to be having them... most are born late spring or early summer. And has it is for this time of the year, food is getting pretty tough to eat and the deer are hungry. So I drove up Friday night and found 5 deer on my front area of the house. 2 Does, 2 teenagers and this baby. 

Did my driving up and opening the garage scare them? Nope... so here are the pictures of the deer that know me too well and what they think of me trying to "shoo" them away.

3 in the picture - one doe is up the hill behind these guys. You see how small the one on the right is?

This doe was not impressed by my yelling at her... she even took the time to pee in front of me!

Little Guy again... not sure if he will make it through the winter but he is pretty brave!

I was pretty sick so didn't do much... except plant my garlic in my new raised beds. Hope they grow because I love garlic! (Picture below)

 Now for something else.. I have lots of oak trees but there is one on the trail that is at least 200 years old. He is about 50 feet tall and you can't wrap your arms around the trunk it is so big. Well it looks like it was hit by the same lighting storm my transformer was... 1/2 of it was on the trail. The debris pile was at least 10 feet tall! 
Here is the tree this spring, on the left there with the two trunks. And the pic on the right is what that trail looks like now.

Notice the whole trail is blocked? that is about 30 feet across

Closer look at the debris pile, you see the trunk in back there.

Closer look of what is left - notice the wood is very healthy looking, no rot or anything

This is the burn marks on the trunk on the ground. This is a massive amount of wood!

To give you a perspective on the height of the pile, I am 6ft tall. You can see that it is much bigger than me and is spread over the whole trail.
I will leave you with another nice sunset picture... this is why I go there. 
If anyone has a chainsaw and wants to come cut up some firewood email me!