Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring Break, 2015 - Eagle Peak Hike

Grandpa said he was up to around a 3 mile hike. He did not specify elevation change....so I picked Eagle Peak. It's 3.8 miles, easily makes 4 miles if you meander at all, and just over 1,100 feet of climbing. For a hike in the 3 mile range, it's about as much bang for your buck as you can get.  It was a beautiful day, not too warm out. Grandpa did great, and the mountain was beautiful!!


The rest of Spring Break is here.

Spring Break, 2015

Spring Break 2015 brought Grandpa for a visit! The kids look forward to this week all year.  We hiked on Diablo, shopped, rode horses, ran/bike/hiked, and due to a good deal, we scored season passes to Six Flags!! In no particular order, here are some pictures from the week-

Grandpa getting his run on.

Myles braving the bmx track on his own finally!!

Grandpa giving it a go.

Park time.
Myles and I spent most of the day together at Six Flags while Grandpa and the girls did the bigger rides. We all did the go karts together though, and had a blast.

My face ruining a picture of us hiking up Eagle Peak on Diablo.

Picnic time.

So fun, the massage chairs at StoneValley Mall.
Horse riding.   

We had a great time!! Thank you, Grandpa, for such a great Spring Break. There were lots of memories made!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Garrod Farms, Saratoga, CA

Well, it's Spring Break for us, and I have lots to get you caught up on, but for now, here's some pictures from yesterday's adventure. Grandpa is visiting and took us for a trail ride out of Garrod Farms in Saratoga.  Great stables, great horses, great staff. It was beautiful, and the horses are trail horses that know exactly where they are going and what they are doing. No plow reining like last year's trail ride. These were nice, easy, neck reined horses that you barely had to rein at all. Nice western saddles, not English. It was a very comfortable (not snooty) ranch.  For those who like wine, there is also a vineyard and tasting room on the property...but again, very down home, nothing like Napa.  It was really a great day! Thank you, dad!

They actually didn't allow cameras on the ride itself, but dad snuck in a few. Thanks for sharing.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Good Morning!

A little gift for you to start the day with. 
It was amazing.
And he did indeed do the 3rd verse : )

Friday, March 27, 2015

No Bull!!...or Know your Bulls??

So...I've learned a lot about bulls in the last 24 hours. If you are out on the trails this time of year, you probably already know it's calf season. There are cows everywhere, and occasionally you will probably come across a bull. If you are having an exceptionally exciting day, maybe two bulls...in one herd. If you know your cattle, you may know that last sentence isn't always a good idea.
So here's some interesting facts that could help save you some medical bills should you come across some frisky, or confrontational bulls, or just to help you recognize aggressive behavior when you have an encounter.
-If you come up on a herd w/babies, know that the bulls will also protect the babies, not just the mama cows, and both are more on edge when babies are around.
-If a bull shows you his broadside, he's trying to show you how large he is. Meaning if he comes towards you, even slowly, and then turns sideways so you can see him from the side. This is also an aggressive move, and means he thinks he's bigger than you and ready to prove it. Again, it may seem like they are just standing there sideways and mean nothing by it...but that's not always the case.
-If he turns to face your direction and lowers his head toward you....don't assume he's leaning down to eat some grass, or just looking down like the bull in the below picture. This is a picture of what they look like before they charge. Seems pretty innocent, but the lowered head, toward the thing he doesn't like...not a good thing.
-If you come upon a bull who is digging in the dirt, or throwing dirt, he is highly aggravated and wants to fight. There are pictures of this, but the most awesome example of it I've ever seen is in the video below.
-Bulls can run 25 miles an hour.
-If a bull is ready to confront you and you run, you trigger his instinct to chase you down, and he can.
-Bulls have a 20 foot ring around them of .....anger, danger, a fight zone...whatever you want to call it.  If you observe aggressive behavior, face the bull and slowly back away. If you can get out of that 20 ft, you are most likely ok.
-Bulls are considered to be the most deadly domestic animal.
-Should you feel the urge to pet a bull, never pet or touch his forehead. This triggers his charging instinct and he'll want to head butt you.
As you watch this video from yesterday's trail outing, keep in mind I knew none of the above info at the time. There are no fences between me and them, and I don't run faster than 25 miles an hour. I was out of the 20 foot radius, but if there's two does that make it a 40 ft circle??Not sure. As I came up on this herd, there was a big commotion and dust flew up in the air, so I slowed and got out the camera. These two bulls were not happy with each other and head butting/pushing each other around. Once I realized what was happening, I found it too awesome to not just stand there and video it.

 Pretty awesome, yes?? I don't remember, even at rodeos with super mean bulls, ever seeing one throw dirt like that.
After reading up, I don't imagine ever standing that close and videoing something like this again. I'll probably be slowly walking backward past herds for a while.

Here are the sources for that info - Here, Here, and Here.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sophie's Band Concert

So we've had our first band concert! I never played an instrument in or out of school. Brian played the Saxophone. I always said I would never had a kid in band....until they re-implemented the 5th grade band program in our local schools this year.  I guess years ago it existed, but had been cut many years ago due to budget cuts.  In our area, at least for the past 8 years I've had kids in school, there has been no elementary school band program.  It came back this year for those who wish to participate. Basically, if you want to play an instrument, you can. You pick what you want to play, it's provided totally free of charge as long as they have it in stock.  Any supplies, or books are also provided free of charge. You are pulled out of class twice a week to go learn your instrument and play.

It took a while to really get up and running. They didnt' get the instruments in for a long time, and then it took weeks to get any music to learn.  They've only really been learning songs for maybe 2 months.  Sophie plays the Trombone, it's the one with the long slidey thing that you sort of blow raspberries into and it only has 3 buttons. Although she brings it home daily, I've only heard her play it at home in her room once.  She wont play for us unless she has the song totally down.....so she just hasn't wanted to play in front of us. I was concerned as to how this would work when it came to the main event - our Area Band Fest.  It was 3 of our local elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and one high school. It took place at what will be the kids high school, in the gym.
 She's on the far side, in the back row, facing us.
 So elementary school kids were on the far end, middle schools in the middle, and high school on the other end....where these empty chairs were.
 This is just how we roll.
 ....because work never ends.
 Jazz band played before the actual event started, sort of warming up the crowd. I've decided that when it comes to "band" in general....Rally Band is my favorite, then Jazz Band. I don't have favorites after that.
 Those drums were so loud and we were right above them.

Although the schools had never played together before last night.....they sounded pretty darn good!
This is the elementary schools playing -

She did really great, and was relieved when it was over.  I think she's partly relieved to about be done with her time in Band.  She came, she played, she did great....and she's done. : )  I'm glad she's had this opportunity and experience, though.