Rain, rain, rain

So much for the dry winter – the cold rainy days have set in finally. The whole next week is supposed to be like this. The sheep/goats aren’t liking it much, but they are in a much better mood since I made them ‘free range’ today. Since we can’t mow any of this wet grass, I did the next best thing – use the furry lawnmowers. They’re all happy now, wandering around the yard, munching down the grass and tasty weeds. Go sheep…

Playing shepard at nite…

is not very much fun. In order to reduce the chance of an alien-conspiring cougar from sneaking in to the top pasture and making off with yet another lamb, I moved the flock to the front pasture, which is closer to the house and has a higher likelihood of being safe for ’em. Normally, the adult sheep are fairly straightforward to herd with a bucket of food – however, lambs have not learned that the bucket means food. Most of the lambs followed their mom’s down the hill, except that three of ’em decided they didn’t like it and doubled back up to the top. Sigh… I spent a good hour trying to encourage ’em to go toward the flock – got quite the workout going up and down the hill. I pondered more than once what a 3 week old lamb might taste like :-/

Whirlwind trip of SoCal/Vegas

Realizing I had a leftover ticket from Southwest that had to be used by the 24th, Fraley and I headed down to SoCal & Vegas – totally last minute. I had wanted to see the Planes of Fame museum in Chino for awhile now, so that was the first stop. Chino sorta looks like Modesto/Fresno – a place that used to be mostly farm fields, now with a smattering of commercial buildings and several smaller airports (which I assume might have either been strips for crop dusters or left over WW-II bases):

The Planes of Fame museum has a really good collection of WW-II and other era planes. About 1/3 of their collection is still flyable.

From there, we wandered off toward Salton Sea, which is on the other side of Palm Springs. I had heard many stories about how the Salton Sea is basically a huge cesspool, home to hordes of tweakers (meth addicts) and generally a not so nice place. Maybe the western shore is, but the eastern shore where the park is, isn’t so bad.

A few notes tho – the ‘white sandy beaches’ you can see at a distance – are in fact not sand. Its actually mounds of barnacles and dried fish bones. Mmmm – just the sorta stuff you want to get barefoot in and go for a run. Not.

After an hour or so exploring Salton Sea, we zipped over to Joshua Tree – I’ve been thru most other deserts in CA/NV, but this was the first time I’ve seen Joshua Tree. I wish there were more time to hike around. The thing I found interesting was that the rock formations aren’t at all like the slickrock or petrified dunes in Utah/Nevada – this is mostly like small bits of quartz glued together with sand/limestone:

There a bunch of formations that look like enormous skulls:

And of course, its always neat to explore hidy-holes left by the local critters. “I wonder if there are cougars in here”

And what’s the back woods of America without eclectic stuff like this:

After all this fun, we stopped over at the Marine base in Twenty Nine Palms to see Fraley’s nephew Joe. Joe was pretty cool – he gave us a quick tour of the base, his quarters, etc. Fortunately he’s not going to Iraq at this point.

Time to get back on the road and get our kicks… on Route 66 🙂

Next stop: Vegas. It was dark for the ride up to Vegas, so we didn’t see much.

Our choice of weekends to visit Vegas was less than good – it was NBA All-Star weekend. The place was full of fans, generally being obnoxious and convincing the locals that they didn’t want to host the All-Star game again – there were a bunch of shootings, fights and typical gangsta activity. Sigh.

We did get to visit the Atomic Testing Museum, that details all the atomic tests from the 40s thru current day. Pretty interesting stuff. Vegas actually used the atomic tests as a means of tourism in the 50s and early 60s. Pretty whacked…

The most compelling reason yet to go outside.

Snicker snicker snort…..!

(Art is out of town. Driving thru the desert right about now, to be exact. Probably has very limited internet access I’m guessing. So I am taking this opportunity to poke a little fun at my favorite geek. Let’s see just how long it takes him to reconnect, check the website and post a retaliatory comment!!!! Oohhhh, fun with nerds!!!)

For those of you who flaked and didn’t come to my birthday party….

Mmmmm…..the ‘loser’ part of that heading is implied, of course.

On the off chance that you were out of town, way out of town, at a wedding, at a funeral, on your death bed or just really engaged in the ultimate scrabble smackdown deathmatch of the centruy (these being the ONLY acceptable reasons not to attend my birthday party)…here are some highlights….

Since this was my 36th birthday, it should have been obvious that I am a big girl now. But maybe not, so to avoid confusion as to who the presents should be directed to and what her special new big girl talents were, I was forced (but it didn’t take a lot) to wear this:

The cake was good, the oversized candles lit by my husband, who has an uncanny knack with a blow torch (there were matches on the hearth, I don’t really get this part of the party)

Not everyone, however, wanted cake. Some….emphaticaly…

It was pouring rain and dark by the time everything really got going, so pony rides had to be modified to fit the situation. This girl really had a thing for ponies. She kept shouting “Bad pony, baaadddd pony” and smacking her own ass. It was the one and only time the entire party fell silent, but only for a brief moment.

Look, here she is again, hogging the pony. Sigh.

There was lofty conversation (all doctors….to the back of the room please, back of the room. Please, all doctors stay behind the food. And talk about serious stuff only please)

There was a little remedial sign language (in this one Jay and Jodi were indicating, appearantly in ASL, how hard they heart me…. or someone, or something….I’m still not sure)

There was a whole fuck of a lot of confetti and streamers and silly string. That canned silly string shit is sticky, people, and reeks of chemicals. I’m pretty sure it’s probably known to cause cancer in the state of California. Those of you who live here will find that worthy of a giggle or two, seeing as FUCKING TAP WATER has been known to cause cancer in the state of California. As well as hairspray, tall non fat lattes and the occasional crop of iceberg lettuce. And they take great pride in posting notices everywhere, including public restrooms, to ensure that even the lowest IQs out there are summarily informed. But I digress….

Silly spray was just as much fun at 36 as it was at 6, once you got over the chemical fumes and odd icey feeling it left on your skin.

Please to be meeting my sister, Laura. She’s the life of the party and most dudes fall for her instantly. Until she opens her mouth, that is. I’m talking literally. My sister has no qualms about scratching belching farting trash talking or showing you what’s in her mouth at any point in time during a conversation. I suspect I am one of the only people who finds it expected, in fact, slightly endearing. Besides her boyfriend Jeff that is. That’s Jeff, slightly off to the left, looking very serious about her mouthful of cake. or is it icecream? Who the hell knows. Who the hell wants to know??

Speaking of my sister, she brought the indoor pony. She spent a fair bit of time, she told me (and I quote) “shoving candy up it’s asshole. So…where can we hang this bad boy?” Hmmm. Pony-Whore was not please with the decision to punish her ride with a crowbar (for lack of a baseball bat).

But we did. The pony went DOWN….hard. And it was true. It was full of sugary goodness. Ever see grownups fall to the floor in a mad candy scramble? I have. 😉

Jodi got over it though, and the next thing you know she’s got a party hat strapped to her crotch and she’s clubbin’ it up in my kitchen. I have video, if anyone is interested.

Of course, what party would be complete without torturing the dog a little? He was disgusted, suspicious, and eventually just resigned. Good dog, very good dog.

My house was trashed. The aftermath was….well, very confettied.

The sparkling apple juice flowed freely, cake was plentiful, there were pony rides and dancing and fireworks in the end, big ones. (illegal explosives + almost gale force winds = huge explosions a mere 50 feet above the ground. Fucking awesome, man, awesome!) You may be wondering to yourself “Hmmm, sparkling apple juice? No booze? What the hell is that all about?” Well, if you’ve ever driven up the road to my house, you’d get it immediately. This ain’t no cakewalk. It’s not like someone could get in their car slightly imbibed and drive real careful like on quiet side streets all the way home. You sneeze you die on this road. Let’s not even consider the fireworks part of the quotient. So apple juice and diet coke seemed the way to go. Besides, I don’t think I could live with myself if I had to watch Jodi do the cone dance drunk. As cute as she is, I just don’t like to think of her that way. And besides, I’m 36. I’m not weathering the hangovers as well as I did when I was 25. Life is truely, too short. Way too short for hangovers.

And, might I add, way to short for any of you to have missed my birthday party.

But I still love you, I suppose.

1 too many

The vultures circling this morning sorta answered my question as to whether all three newborn lambs would survive – the ewe kept pushing away one all day, only letting it nurse occassionally, but probably not enough to have any hope of surviving. It didn’t seem to bright in terms of staying with the ewe, unlike its two siblings. None of the other ewes would let it nurse much either. Eh, guess the vultures need to eat too …

More lambs

Whew – we are officially awash in fuzzy little lambs. One very prego ewe popped out three today. Yep, three. The challenge will be to see if the ewe nurses all three, given that sheep only have two teats. But so far, so good – she’s taken refuge in the lambing shed and all three lambs are with her. Its been pouring rain all day and plenty windy, so I’m sure they’re happy to be in out of the weather. If its not pouring tomorrow, we’ll get some pics.

Free beef?

We seem to have a break in our fences somewhere on the back hill – I looked up the hill and saw sizable moo-cow on our land near our gate by Mark & Nanette’s house. I’m sure the cow was driving their dogs nuts. I guess its time to wander the fence lines and see what’s up.

Lab work

Well, not lab like chem or physics lab… more like electrical lab. Lisa & Dee-Pants went to a dog show down in Fresno this weekend, so I grabbed Dretti and a bunch of folks from the group at work to clean up our router lab @cisco. Yea, boring. Lots of re-cabling, racking in new gear, etc. Tho, I have a new appreciation for Lisa spending 10+ hrs working & standing all day. Damn but my feet & back are aching today. And we only got about 1/2 of the work done after 11hrs straight.

Dretti mostly sat in his soft crate in the lab and watched. He can watch work with the best of ’em.