Monthly Archives: October 2007

Rolling along…

That was a nice little roller-quake last night, wasn’t it?

According to the USGS, it was 5.6 in strength with an epicenter ~5 miles from where we live. When it initially hit, typical of a roller, the whole house began to roll back and forth like you might if you were standing on an old funhouse sidewalk… or standing on a plank with a barrel under it, trying to keep it in balance.

If you haven’t been through one of these, it’s initially a bit disorienting because there’s no sound, just swaying and gentle movement so it’s quite normal to think, “I’m a little off balance for some reason.” Once your brain starts registering what’s happening – usually visual / audio cues like lamps swaying and glasses rattling – you settle down and think, “Ok, gotta check on everyone in the house… pets, spouse, antique leaded lamps ;)” and make the rounds, cause there’s not much else to do.

After last night’s roller, several neighbors came out of their houses and we swapped “Dude, that was totally like surfin’ – kewl!” stories. Ok, not that language, but that’s not far off. A few minutes after that, a very community-oriented neighbor came by to check in and make sure everyone was ok – thanks, Audrey!

What strikes me interesting about this particular episode is that just yesterday afternoon there was a 2.9 shaker over in Concord where I lived as a child. Given the various faults in the area, USGS is suggesting we may well expect more significant activity over the next week or so.

Stay tuned, film at 11.

Just passing through…

Here are a couple of recent passers-by to the backyard…

The dastardly Great Blue Heron who grabbed our fish. (Would it be illegal – or just grammatically criminal – to wish this to be a Her-on-fire? 🙂

Two of the five parrots of the local flock.

96 Jars of Jelly on the wall, 96 jars of jelly…

Take one down, pass it around
95 jars of jelly on the wall….

Remember I was telling you about all of the gallons of pomegranate juice I pressed? Well, yesterday Joanne began working on making jelly. It took her most of the day (only a brief break for lunch), but by the time she shut down @5, she’d made 8 cases of pomegranate jelly.

Here’s what goes into making 96 Jars of Jelly:

4.5 gallons of juice.

8 cases of ball jars.

40 lbs of sugar.

3 cups of lemon juice.

8 packs of pectin.

Each batch is boiled, ingredients mixed, re-boiled, canned, wiped, then double-boiled, cooled, tightened, extended-cooled, re-tightened, then boxed. (custom labels created, printed, cut and applied at a later time.)

That’s a lot of work!

(and more to come since we have 7 gallons of juice remaining.)

Party time…

Last night was P & J’s first house party in their newly remodeled home… very nice.

Here are a few pics of some of the neighbors / family stopping by to enjoy the good food, gab and new digs.


From what I hear, the last of the guests left ~11:30… after all, the invite said, “4:30 until the last guest leaves”, right? 🙂

Ellen, Joanne & Laurel

Dave pointing to Mike (who didn’t quite make the frame 🙁

Kids love iPods. Hey, adults appear to love iPods, too. (they were all watching “Bambi vs Godzilla”, an animated short made “back in the day”.

Why I take Pan to the Farmer’s Market…

Earlier today it occurred to me that since I’m posting pics of Pan @ the market, there may be some people who don’t “get” why I take Pan out in public. Having been around Pan her entire life and now having taken her out in public over the past 3 years, it seems the most natural thing to do in the world. Here’s how it came to be and what it looks like from my perspective.

As I mentioned in a (much) earlier post, I was never a “cat guy” – always dogs (and fish, but their leashes kept slipping when we went out so I dropped the fish-thing.). Pan and Dee are house cats who never go outside, except when I’m working in the backyard in nice weather… then I put their body harnesses / leashes on them and put them each in “their chairs.” Dee’s often fidgety (although somewhat less so now that she’s 10 and a bit more mature), but Pan’s always been perfectly at home just hangin’ in the yard, very laid back just watching whatever’s happening around her.

It’s always been much the same when we have company at the house – Dee’s usually skittish and Pan’s the greeter… always right in the middle of the happening’s… just loving being in the moment and soaking up & dishing out affection to whomever visits with her.

One day several years ago while I was working in the back yard, I finally connected the dots (loves being outdoors / loves being with people / people love her) and thought, “Gee, I wonder how she’d do @ the Farmer’s Market?”. Doh! Not a bad question, and I decided the only way to answer it was to give it a try.

So one bright Sunday morning I got up, conned her into her necklace and drove to the market. She was shaking like a leaf when we got there, but as we approached the market, I spotted a tree in full blossom. Knowing how much she loves flowers of all types, I lifted her slightly into the tree and within seconds, she settled right down into my arms giving me the best purr ever, as if to say, “I’m ready to go, let’s see how this Farmer’s Market thing plays out.

As we walked through the market, some folks appeared a bit surprised to see her but most seemed to accept her. I remember one guy in particular who (with something of a smirk) said, “why would you bring your cat to the market?”, and I responded, “you know, I was wondering the same thing about you and your dog.”

A little taken aback (isn’t it “normal” to take your dog to the market?) he immediately said, “would you mind if I pet your cat?”… “not at all, I’m sure she would like it – but please say her name – it’s Pandora – as you’re leaning in to pet her and she’ll be more relaxed.”

And so they became instant friends, Pan and the dog-guy. His face lit up and he commented on how big and soft she was, how big her eyes were and began asking questions about her.

What breed? Maine Coon.

How big is she? 19.5 lbs, 3.5′ feet long.

Does she eat a lot? Several cans of wet food, half cup of dry and half can of Starkist Tuna (in water – she’s watching her weight 🙂 every day. (Plus occasional treats of honey-ham, smoked gouda, bleu or farmer’s cheese, bits of fresh carrot and lettuce + whatever else she can pimp from me.)

Does she always purr this loudly? Only when she likes the person petting her.

When we parted company, he was a changed man on the “why bring this cat” issue. (We ran into him a few weeks later and he made a bee-line for Pan, hardly noticing I was holding her 🙂

From there I remember several children wanting to see her up close and pet her – Pan’s fur is amazingly soft, a lot like cashmere or alpaca – and not a single child had anything but pure pleasure in their eyes… lots of little-kid happy-squeals going on… and I was right in the thick of it.

Why do I bring Pan to the market? You’re kidding, right?

Happy kids & Pan – for me, it just doesn’t get any better. Ever.

As our initial walk turned into a Pan-fest with her and so many people enjoying their moments, I knew I’d made the right decision for Pan, for me, and for the people she interacted with.

So there you have it.

I probably won’t post much for several days, I’m behind on some other things, so thanks for visiting and until next time, be well.


More Photos

So, where to begin on these photos?

I know neither the tall blonde woman or the guy… she’s an artist and sells at the market and if i recall correctly, he was passing by and wanted to visit with Pan who, in turn, loved visiting with them.

The photo of Pan & her friends, Treg and Candace – amazing local glass artists – – is really a great photo because they’re such good people and Candace showers Pan with huge amounts of affection during her visits to market.

Joanne took the spider web shot on our front porch… in general, I think the spider webs creep people out until we get to Halloween, then they’re considered “atmosphere” 🙂 Since we’ll have more folks at the house soon (jamming parties, Halloween, etc), we’ll likely clean them all out. sigh, there goes the neighborhood.

The pic @ the dining room table is of Claire and Ellen (and me) having lunch after they returned from the Wildlife Center (read more about them below.)


Pimpin’ Pomegranates

Two weeks ago I drove by the home of Scott’s oboe instructor to ask about taking guitar lessons from her (I found out later she doesn’t teach guitar, so don’t waste your time calling her 😉 and as I was leaving her house, I spotted an awesome Pomegranate tree right out in a front yard. About 10 feet tall, it was full of huge deep red pomegranates – a more than a few were leaning over the decorative wall, as if to say, “hey sailor, new in town, need a fresh squeeze?”

Yup, that’s me – always looking for a fresh squeeze.

Nobody home to ask if they were going to use the fruit.

Dang, I’ll have to come back.

For the next two weeks I cruised the neighborhood hoping to catch the owners at home to roll out my, “pardon me, sir, but could you spare a few pom’s to help Harry’s Cats?” routine. Residents throughout the tract began watching me and no doubt coordinating their surveillance of my surveillance efforts. I’m sure it went something like, “keep your eye on the old guy cruising an SUV” or “old guy riding a Honda GoldWing – yeah, the purple one – keep your eyes on him.”

On Sunday my efforts were finally rewarded. We happened to catch the oboe instructor at home (just leaving, so can’t talk long ;), found out that she doesn’t teach guitar (but gave us the name of someone who does) and could heartily recommend the pom-owners as great people and, oh-by-the-way, he’s a great tile guy, too!

Joanne couldn’t jump out of the car fast enough to run to their house – and the owners were home – woo hoo, does it get any better?

Turns out it does because they’re very nice people and as a bonus, they don’t use their pomegranates and were very happy to donate them to our Two Big Cats canning efforts.

Yesterday I returned to the scene and harvested the fruit. This particular tree grows some of largest pomegranates and best berries I’ve ever seen… I’ll take a few pictures later and post them here. (In case you’re wondering, the abalone / pomegranate theory held true yet again yesterday – BIG THORNS on this particular tree.)

I’ll post more pics of market and goodies over the next few days, it’s time for a bike ride.


Got flies?

Here’s Joanne with an amphibian friend at the open house for the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley on Saturday morning. – a bit about them:

We support The Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley because it provides high quality care and rehabilitation of injured, sick, and orphaned birds and mammals within Silicon Valley. Through the dedication of approximately 150 volunteers, they care for nearly 5,000 birds and mammals from over one hundred species each year

Phresh Photo’s!

Phresh Photo’s!

Here’s Claire at the house wolfing down the rest of lunch so she could have a chocolate chip cookies for dessert before heading home.

The flower girl is Mika – Mika always asks how Pan is when we’re at the market… she and Pan really like one another. (Mika took over the post when her sister, Micki, left for University three years ago.)

I’ll post more over the next few days….