Saturday, December 26, 2009

My New (Slightly Used) Christmas Toy

I wasn't expecting anything for Christmas this year. After I crashed the car, I figured I had used up any extra Christmas money. My wonderful husband really surprised me this time. He got my parents and his parents involved and bought me a beautiful new camera. Now he is going to be faced with even more annoying pleas to stop the car. Stop the car, I have to take a picture of that long-horned cattle nursing her calf! Stop the car, I need to get a shot of that herd of elk!

Christmas was exciting for Oliver as well. He received great toys, books, clothes, a Mac Truck (the highlight of the morning) and a bike. And to think I actually worried he wouldn't have enough to open. After he put all of his new toys into a box (to save for later), he spent the rest of the morning playing with a wrapping paper roll, his trampoline and dirt. I know what I'm getting him for Christmas next year!

We finally pried him away from his cheap/environmentally friendly toys and forced him to try out his bike.

I convinced Glenn this morning that we needed to drive to the coast to practice taking pictures with the new camera. We bundled up and headed north of San Simeon to take pictures of the elephant seals. My new camera is a bit more difficult than my trusty old Olympus. I think I need to spend more time reading the manual and possibly take a class to get some better pictures. Here are some of our highlights from the photo shoot today.


Oliver, in his usual fashion, made friends with a cool couple from Santa Barbara. He sat with them and ate their picnic. Making friends with complete strangers is a piece of cake with Oli.

Some seal shots:


Glenn got this cute picture of Oliver holding my old camera. He looks like a little photojournalist.

Yikes-attack shots!


Oliver took this great pic of my camera from Glenn's shoulders. Isn't it pretty?

Here are Oli's seal shots:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Alpacas and Olive Oil

I LOVE alpacas. Those eyes, that adorable mop of hair, those skinny necks! Alpacas even use a predetermined toilet. And alpaca fiber is so warm and soft. Name me a better farm animal! Just try.

Last weekend we were treated to a tour of a local alpaca farm. Alpacas of Cripple Creek is the most clean and beautiful alpaca farm we have seen (and we have visited our share of alpaca farms). Art, the owner, is interested in breeding the darker colored alpaca fibers (blacks and grays), which makes for some cool alpaca color combinations.

Art and his wife Lynn also grow olive trees and make olive oil. We were given a tasting of their three very different (and delicious) oils. Did you know that you should slurp when tasting olive oil?

After the tasting we went back to the alpacas to visit with the males. Our dream is to purchase two males from Cripple Creek.

The alpacas seemed to find Oliver very interesting. He can tell you there is nothing better than receiving an alpaca kiss.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Bag of Bones, A Naughty Christmas Letter, and More

I have been away from my blog this past week because I put all of my energy into my Christmas letter. Every couple of years I write a highly inappropriate Christmas letter and send it to three people. My letter this year is so over the line that I may only send it to two people. Anyway, I'm back. Here are a few things that have been going on in Santa Margarita the past couple of weeks.

1. I crashed the car.

I'm a busy lady. I was trying to read the mail and talk to Oliver at the same time. Apparently I forgot to put the Subaru in park and pull the e-brake. As soon as Oliver and I got to the front door of the house we heard a loud crash outside. It was dark and I assumed it was a murderer or something so we ran inside and locked the front door. Glenn found his car smashed against our truck and a tree when he got home from work at eleven o'clock. I tried to be positive about the whole thing. I told Glenn that he needed a new paint job on the door anyway, "Merry Christmas." Can you believe he was still angry? Then we found out the poor car was totaled.

We got a nice check and set out to find an Outback. Isn't she pretty?

You're welcome Glenn.

2. I sent my son to school with a bag of bones.

Oliver and I found an owl pellet on a hike. Some women may get excited about finding a beautiful pair of shoes. Owl barf really does it for me. We found a perfect specimen and began the joyful task of dissection. What kind of meal was it? Could it be a mouse? Look Oliver, a scapula! It turned out to be a bird. I collected all of the little bones and sent it to school with Oliver for show and tell.

3. Our Araucana laid an egg!

You can see how much darker her egg is compared to the Ameraucana egg.

4. California "Winter" is here.

Oliver and I have had a great time taking pictures of the rain and ice lately. Here are some of our shots:

"Why did it die?" By: Oliver

"Salamander" By: Oliver

"Mommy Splashing" By: Oliver

"Ice Oak" By: Jessica

"Enjoying the Rain" By: Jessica

"Cold Cactus" By: Jessica

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from the Hens

The chickens had one of their best Thanksgiving celebrations ever today. I went outside to investigate after hearing dancing and loud Mariachi music playing on the back deck.

All of the dancing helped work up strong appetites. The chickens dined on persimmons and sweet pumpkins for dessert.

Pepper even got a little drunk and tried to fight the cat.

Then back to the nesting box to relax and lay an egg. A perfect day!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Manzanita Bees

I planned on not blogging this weekend to give myself a break. Oli and I went on a hike and took our cameras along in the hopes of spotting a bear. Instead we found this beautiful Manzanita in bloom with dozens of bees collecting its pollen. I can't resist sharing some of our pretty pictures.

Jessica's Pics (Olympus Camedia camera):

Oliver's Pics (V-tech Kidizoom camera):

Monday, November 9, 2009

Big News! We are Expecting...

Goat Babies! I'm so happy we are adding new babies to the family. And I don't even have to get nauseous or swollen (although I do feel for the goat moms). The goats are currently pregnant and will deliver in early Spring. Our house is about ten minutes from the farm, but I will be ready with my camera to try and capture the birth of our kids. We plan on getting two females and one male (who we will neuter). Later we will get one male from a different farm to breed with our females. Yesterday we went to visit the ladies and give them kisses. Here are some of my favorite shots.

This ram was wishing he could knock me over the entire time. Too bad for him there was a fence.

Our favorite goat, Lilly, died on Saturday night. She is the goat in the photograph below with short ears. She was a sweet girl and lived to be nine. As a tribute to her, I posted a picture of her great granddaughter below. She has got some strong genes!