Monday, May 21, 2012

Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY

I typically post about the entire weekend together, but it became clear on Saturday that this Sunday deserved its very own spotlight.  Soooo much was planned, which meant that much more would occur that was unexpected.  It always seems to be that way.

Our friend, Kyla, is a REACH helicopter crew member.  (Their website does not explain the acronym, but other sources indicate Redwood Empire Air Care Helicopter.) As a nurse and emergency medical provider, she rides in that copter on life-saving missions.  I found out on Saturday that Kyla's REACH team was going to provide a demonstration at the Graton Fire Department's annual pancake breakfast.  As a child whose father was a volunteer firefighter in rural Colorado, I have fond memories of these breakfasts.  As a child of a military family with an uncle who was career Air Force, AND my dad also working for the space program, I have fond memories of air shows.  When I have an opportunity to support a small fire department, especially this 100% volunteer department, AND see the REACH land, you betcha I'll be there.  I made plans Saturday night to meet up with daughter Amanda and her friend Ashleigh bright and early the next morning.

Bright and early is a normal weekday routine, but since Becca had risen early on Saturday, too, I wasn't sure how this would play.  She was eager to go, and although we hit a couple of snags and were behind schedule, we still arrived at the fire station at just after 7:30 am.  I was surprised to see how busy it was, and that we'd need to go to the old station and catch a shuttle.  That wasn't a problem, parking was easy, and the volunteer who drove the full-sized yellow school bus shuttle was friendly.  I got to tell stories to Becca about riding the school bus when we lived in Franktown.  Everyone was in a good mood, and the quiet of Graton on a Sunday morning really struck me.  I liked the peaceful feeling.

I'll be honest about the breakfast.  I've had lots of pancake breakfasts and know what to expect.  I'm not sure what they did to the eggs, but they tasted a bit odd.  I ate a little, but hated that I tossed most of it.  The rest was what I expected, good hearty fare, eaten at long tables with folding chairs, set up in the bay where they keep the fire engines.  There were lots of people talking and laughing, a large group of Boy Scouts and other volunteers to help keep things going smoothly, and the line grew longer throughout the morning.  Amanda and Ashleigh arrived not much later, and we ate and filled out our raffle tickets.  Yes, we each put an entry in for the chain saw, in addition to the "adult box" for the wine and over-21 prizes.  Wouldn't it be funny if one of us won the saw?

Checking the time, we knew Kyla was in the air, and went outside to get a good spot to watch the landing.  A figure was spray-painted on the ground in orange, and firefighters were hosing down the area around it.  I wasn't sure why until the copter landed, and then it became VERY clear.

We got excited, seeing the red helicopter coming in, and then watched it circle around.  The pilot was observing the area to make sure that it was safe to land, and he radioed down to ask the firefighters to ask some people across the road to move.

Then he began his descent to land ...

As the copter descended, wood chips and bits of grass started flying out from the spray-painted target.  THAT was why they'd hosed down the area - to help keep a serious debris storm from happening.  As the copter was circling, we had noticed that the doors were open, and they stayed open as they landed...

We remembered Kyla telling us that one of her jobs was to look back and let the pilot know when the wheel was on the ground.  We didn't realize until this moment that that meant she had the DOOR open to do so!  No wonder it was such a challenge!

Finally, it was on the ground, and we had a chance to go say hi and take a closer look at the copter.

Mandi has the up close and personal shots.  I was too busy looking and talking to take pictures.

We visited for a while and looked at some of the equipment, then, after determining that the Boot Barn was closed until 11:00 am, Becca and I headed over to Windsor to meet daughter Jessica and her friend Erica at the farmers market.  We always have such a good time there.  Though I only bought a few onions, it was just as fun, if not more so, to see what Jessica was finding.  She came prepared for her weekly grocery shopping, and also found some great plants and bulbs.  Erica's bouquet of sweet peas smelled as sweet as their name, and we had a great time visiting and walking through the market.

After we'd made the circuit, Becca and I headed down to Santa Rosa's Boot Barn to find me some new cowgirl boots.  Remember that Breezy ate half of one of my boots about a month ago?  My girls are the best, and they gave me a gift certificate to Boot Barn to find a replacement pair for Mother's Day.  This was the day to go take a look.  I think I tried on 10 pairs trying to find the right one, and finally saw one that fit the budget AND my tastes AND my feet.  Even though this means breaking in another pair of boots (my old ones had been as comfy as house slippers), I am tickled to have these.  It is so worth it!

I was going to re-post the picture of the half-eaten boot, but it's just too heartbreaking to see again.  I'll focus on these pretty and durable things.  Notice that I photographed them over Breezy's outdoor crate.  NO TOUCHY!

I was really tired at the end of this running and walking around.  I took a little bit of time to rest and then got busy again.  We put the chicks outside again next to the Americaunas to continue their get-to-know-you routine.  It was nice to have Becca's help.  I had hoped they would be able to integrate after just one more day, but it was pretty clear that Persephone and Chilly, of all birds, (named because she's so "chill" when you hold her) were not getting along through the wire.  We'll have to see how this plays out.

We had used the Sonoma Chicken Salad all up by now, and I really wanted MORE, so I decided to make another batch that afternoon.  That meant turning on the oven to cook the chicken and toast the pecans.  The house got a LOT hotter than it would have, but it was really worth it.  I increased the pecans to one cup from the 3/4 in the recipe and ... yeah, yum, just right.  I thought about adding some freshly chopped onions, but I really like the flavors in this as is, so I'm gonna leave it alone.

I stepped outside later and I noticed that the light looked ... funny.  I can't even describe it, but you can just tell when something is off.  I looked at the time and realized it was 5:40, and the eclipse was beginning!  We gathered cameras and tripod and headed out back to take a look at the show.  I was really disappointed that my camera didn't have enough freedom to really set it to get some good pictures of the eclipse itself.  I guess that's what happens when you leave your eclipse photography research to the time of the eclipse.

I did get some pretty cool pictures of the crescent light filtering through the leaves ...

 And a few fun shots.  These weren't what I was looking for, but turned out pretty.

After the eclipse excitement was over, it was time to feed, move and milk the goats.  Becca went in to the pen with the dwarf goats while I was tending to the adult chickens, and asked me if I knew Luna had lost her horn.  I said, "NO!  Is she okay?"  She was.  Even though all the goats were disbudded so they wouldn't grow horns, Luna had a partial horn that had grown out and curved over her right eye.  It was close to the skin but not pressing into her face, so I had let it be until I had a chance to consult with a vet about whether it would be okay to leave or if we should remove it.  Apparently she had done something - rubbed, fought with her brother - to knock it off.  The scary thing about goats losing horns is that there is an artery that runs through them and they can bleed out if they break.  Thankfully, the blood supply to Luna's horn was as deformed as the horn itself, and although there appeared to have been some minor bleeding, it was nothing serious.  Becca located the horn in the pen...

And Luna looks much prettier without it!

Luna is going to have to learn to live without her little weapon.  It used to be that if we would lead her by holding onto her collar, she would tip her head back to dig the horn into your fingers in an effort to get you to let go.  It was funny how she kept trying to do that to Becca last night, and it just didn't work ...

Here's to a great week ahead.  Finals week for Bex,and then summer vacation.  Hurrah!

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