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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gualala with Friends

For the Veteran's Day weekend, we got to have some friends come up to Gualala with us.  Well, they didn't travel with us but came up a few hours after Eddie and I did.

Eddie and I did our usual Friday-before-we-leave-for-Gualala stuff: breakfast, gymnastics, got the dogs from the house, ran a few errands in the car in town, then hit the highway.  This time we stopped at Costco for some supplies (like a zillion eggs and a giant watermelon I'd promised Eddie), pizza for lunch, and a copy of Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.  I intended for Eddie to watch it in the car during our long drive, but our janky headrest DVD player wouldn't recognize the disc as being the correct region.  No matter, Eddie was content to watch the first Ice Age for the zillionth time...he still laughs like crazy at the melon/dodo bird scene, as if he's never seen it before.
Eddie is obsessed with "red melon" right now.  Maybe Ice Age has something to do with it?  Sadly (for him) this is probably the last melon of the season because I'm NOT paying for off-season melons.
The Bower menfolk were still at work when we arrived, so I set to working getting dinner ready.  Tri tip on the grill, sauted greens with bacon, salad, and fresh, cheese-stuffed gnocchi from Costco.  The pasta turned out only "okay"...Dave and I prefer the dense chewiness of the vacuum packed variety at the regular grocery.

Our friends, the Bairs, arrived a couple of hours after dinner and ate some left overs before I showed them the little apartment where they were to stay.  Dave and Eddie had finished installing a new vent hood in the kitchen and started a fire in the stove for them so it was toasty warm when they walked inside.  I'd put a bunch of (really, really old) whole cloves in the humidifier kettle on the stove to try to cover up a stench in the apartment, but sadly it didn't work.  Danny and Anna were good sports, though, and didn't mind the stale smell.  (Dave is working diligently to find and fix the smell.)
We had our regular pancake/bacon/egg breakfast the next morning before heading out for a windy and cold walk on the runway.  Eventually, we made our way downtown to have pizza before loading the very tired children into the van and lulling them to sleep while I drove us around to see some Gualala sights: the river, the redwoods near the campground, our soon-to-be residence, the water company office, etc.  We then decided to let the kids (and their dads...) continue their nap so I drove us up to Point Arena to the pier.  Once everyone had woken up, we got some ice cream at a shop and wandered around on the pier watching the boats, fishermen, and surfers.
Three Bairs on a mission to find some mushrooms!  I had misplaced my phone charger that day so this is the only picture I have of our friends... Danny is my officemate at school, a fellow soil scientist.  His wife, Anna, is a wonderful mama to little Elia and to a soon-to-be baby boy.
When we got back to the house, we all wanted to rest a bit but John convinced us to go outside to search for mushrooms behind the garden.  No luck.  Later on, while I was making dinner, Danny, Dave, and John did find one down at the park...but it was the size of a store-bought mushroom.  I think it'll be a week or two before the King Boletus really start to bloom.

Of course, we had our traditional abalone and "green pasta" dinner that night.  We bathed the kiddos and got them into the their jammies before the Bairs departed back for Sacramento.  Eddie was especially sad to see them go; I know he wanted his "friend Elia" to stay to play.

The next morning, Sunday, we just sort of hung out and did nothing in particular (a rarity for us up there).
Eddie and I cuddled on the green chair to watch some of the new Ice Age movie.
We did take a truck and the backhoe loader up to the north end of the runway to collect the accumulated horse manure from the "neigh" bors (get it?).  I really, REALLY need to practice using the loader bucket on that machine...yikes.  I'm glad only Dave was there to witness my miserable attempt.  I was able to flatten out the existing compost pile from the previous months and mix it a little.  But then I let Dave have the controls and he showed me how to really mix the pile.  We sure lucked out, having 5 horses living so close our future giant garden--the thin coastal ridge soil needs all the organics it can get.
All of us Bowers (I'm in the mirror of the backhoe).  Here you can see Dave and Eddie dumping the load of manure into the pile.
While Eddie took a long nap that afternoon, I got to take a short snooze before Dave and I headed to the little apartment to install a tv.  There's no cable, phone, or internet there but now people can at least watch a movie (if we find a player to connect to it...and maybe some rabbit ears).
Me and my Taters.
Dave and Puppy: she's like a blue belly lizard: crazy and fast until you flip her over and rub her tummy.  Then she's falls asleep.
Peggy treated us to some Thai food take-out that night.  I loooooooooooooove that there's a Thai restaurant in Anchor Bay now!  The proprietors are currently renting the Coast House, which will be our house starting next year sometime.  I hope they can stick around because the coast is that much more perfect for our family them their yummy food there.  Mmmmmmmmmm, I could slurp down Thom Ka Gai soup all day long.

Dave had to work Monday, so I got up early with him so we could have our coffee together before he left.  And so I wouldn't feel guilty about making him load the car for me.  =)

After breakfast and whatnot, Eddie and I drove around on the ATV.  We took a bucket of apples and a knife up to see the horses.

I told him that each horse could have only a few pieces of apple (halves) since apples are full of sugar and are "treats" for them.  Eddie was eating an apple at the time and looked down at it, sorta confused like, and asked, "Apples have sugar in them?"  I said yes, it is natural sugar but it isn't good for anyone's tummy to have too much sugar--it is important for everyone to eat a balanced diet.  For horses that means some grain and sweets like carrots and apples but also lots of hay.  And for people like us that means protein like cheese and meat and green veggies and carbohydrates like pancakes and bread and oatmeal.  Oh boy: this kid is three and he can contemplate things like fruit versus refined sugar?  What a smart cookie!  We've been talking a lot about eating a balanced diet--mostly when we're eating dinner and I have to convince him to eat a particular item.  I used to get away with saying, "Oooh, Uncle LOVES collard greens.  Don't you want to get big and strong like Uncle?  You gotta eat those collards!"  But now I have to actually explain why he should eat collards: "They are full of natural vitamins and minerals and fiber and they taste so yummy.  Eating things like that will help make you big and strong like Uncle and Daddy."

We ate some lunch with Peggy before heading off down the road.  I miss diaper days for road trips like this. Back then, Eddie would just pee or whatever into his diaper.  Now he makes me stop so he can use the potty.  And sometimes he says he needs to use the potty, when really he just wants to get out of the car.  It bugs me so I'll make him wait like 10 minutes while I find a "good place to pull over" in which case he often loses interest or forgets about wanting to get out of the car.  On this trip, however, he was still able to trick me into pulling over for a no-flow pee break.  Of course, I had to make a pit stop for myself in Jenner later on.

I think we rolled into our driveway at about 3:45 pm and walked into our freeeeeeezing cold house.

 The batteries were dead in our thermostat but I had to wait for 30 minutes for the correct temperature to register on it once I replaced the batteries before I could turn the furnace on.  It started at 70 and slowly fell to the correct temperature.  Brrrr.  Eddie was hiding under blankets on the couch watching a show (only his eyes showing).  With him occupied under the blankets, I was able to unload the car, put everything away, and even start dinner (which kept me warm).   
Eddie and the miniature horses enjoyed their apple snacks.
Me and this sweet mini horse.  I spoke to her human owner last time and he said they have the small horses trained to pull carts, which I think is adorable.
Since I'd cut up a whole pineapple last week, we used up the remaining fruit for pineapple fried rice.  It was scrumptious, even though Eddie declared he didn't like the "yellow stuff".
I used a recipe from AllRecipes.com but used spam and added a cup of diced kohlrabi that I needed to use up.  It was more moist than I would have liked, but my wok just wouldn't get hot enough to crisp up the rice.  Maybe I need to fry the rice separately from the other ingredients and combine at the end?
It was goooooooood.
As it was still quite early after dinner, we went to the grocery store to get a few things and then it was bed for everyone.  Whew, these weekends away are pretty tiring.  I can't wait until we're all in one place!

3 comments:

steph.kelley said...

What a nice weekend, sunny and all. You and your fam and pups are adorable, as are the mini horses. Good for you, teaching your young'un about nutrition! Lastly, unrelated to anything, I covet your blue and white cow butter dish.....xoxoxo

Tina said...

Did you use old rice cooked the day before?

Leah Roy said...

Ugh, I love fried rice. And how smart that boy of yours is!