A Worrier Justified

Bidwell Mansion, Chico, California- Sweet Little Wood

 M. and I had a fantastic time away while our children learned the value of having an unpaid slave about the house who does 90% of the house work without being asked… yeah it feels great to have your 16 year old admit she is so glad your back because being Mom is not as easy as it looks!

I would like to say that my worrying was totally justified!  I am not kidding that I got 2 out of 5… almost:  First of all a man DID break down and knock at our door while we were away… fortunately he wasn’t a psychopath… he just wanted to call AAA… unfortunately K. E. and J. didn’t do the things we had prearranged in case a random stranger showed up at the door.  SIGH.

And second: one of our chickens was taken.  We don’t know when but we suspect it was at night as one of the Delaware hens was particularly stupid (for a chicken): she would sit on the roosting bar all day and then get stuck outside the hutch when the automatic door closed at night.  The girls forgot to check and didn’t do a count in the evening… anyhow we found a mess of feather’s outside the hutch door and a path to where the varmint dug under the enclosure leaving some of it’s fur behind on the barbed wire.  So one stupid hen down and one coyote/fox/raccoon/bobcat well fed.

On the bright side we came home to find the baby rabbits had opened their eyes  and are so adorable!

New Zealand Rabbit kit, 14 days old @ Sweet Little Wood

They are starting to get out of their nest which makes Champagne a very grumpy Mamma Rabbit!

New Zealand Rabbit kits, 14 days old @ Sweet Little Wood

Sleepy Bunnies. So sweet!

M. and I went to Chico.  Its a beautiful town (in the middle) and a bog standard San Joaquin town on the outskirts.  M. and I were pretty happy to enjoy the time we had and explore some of the green (and sometimes not green) spaces.

Bidwell Park, Chico, California- Sweet Little Wood

Lower Bidwell Park. Bidwell is the largest municipal park in CA.

Bidwell Park, Chico, California- Sweet Little Wood

The only proof I have that I was even there!

 

Bidwell Park, Chico, California- Sweet Little Wood

A potentially grungy Highway 99 underpass painted to look like a forest was unexpectedly charming.

Bidwell Park, Chico, California- Sweet Little Wood

Little Owl. x

Sadly Bidwell Mansion was not open when I was there but I enjoyed looking around the grounds none the less.

Bidwell Mansion, Chico, California- Sweet Little Wood

Bidwell Mansion, Chico, California- Sweet Little Wood

Bidwell Mansion, Chico, California- Sweet Little Wood

Afterwards we drove out to Oroville and visited the lake and dam.  The situation in Lake Oroville is pretty horrifying: so little water! So take note LA county… your water supply is low… stop watering those darn lawns!

Lake Oroville, California

Look at the huge swathe of dry bank… at the end of winter with a 6% snow pack in the Sierras!!

IMG_6108

En-route home we stopped of at an awesome little flea-market where I picked up a collection of  Spode Fairy Dell china:  $20.  I am so thrilled!

Spode, Copeland, Fairy Dell chin

Spode, Copeland, Fairy Dell chin

I was happy to be home and in my own bed but I do miss being away  just a little:  the hotel room had the most enormous bath in the main bedroom suite without any children knocking to use the restroom, and I didn’t have to think about feeding anyone for awhile.  Oh well, back to being the unpaid house slave.

xx Joanna

Mothering Nerves

I am currently suffering from a great deal of maternal worry-warting!  So the thing is: M. has to go away with work overnight… I hate it when he goes away, he hates it when he goes away.  Our mutual spouse-addiction does not allow for separate quarters… so the plan was we could all go with him.  However the girls don’t want to go as they are in the midst of some serious Spring Break R&R and suddenly we have all these baby rabbits and baby chickens that need daily input.Ice Skating. Snoopy's Home Ice Santa RosaSo for the first time ever we have decided to leave the girls ALONE overnight. It is terrifying!

Ice Skating. Snoopy's Home Ice Santa RosaI have absolutely, ABSOLUTELY no concerns with the capability of my children to look after themselves and be responsible.  But I keep thinking up all these wildly unlikely scenarios which might require adult intervention or a complicated plan so they know how to respond:

1: someone breaks a leg or gets bitten by a snake while out rambling cross the fields and hills! (I actually worry over this one nearly daily as they go off into the blue where no cell phone signal reaches)

2: a wild critter gets into the animal’s hut in the night! (I can’t help it… I worry about this one regularly too)

3: the house catches on fire! (this one is a little more reasonable as our home is heated with wood-burning stoves exclusively but it doesn’t usually worry me)

4: someone breaks down in our driveway and turns out to be a homicidal maniac!

5: Ebola! (OK that one is pretty far fetched)

Ice Skating. Snoopy's Home Ice Santa Rosa

M. keeps trying to talk me into a cheerful state of anticipation for the first child-free get away we have had in two years because he is (annoyingly) an eternal optimist.  What the optimist in him doesn’t know is that the realist (I formally reject the word “pessimist”) in me needs to work through all the worst case scenarios.  I just have to pretend that they could happen, until I know that if the very worst case scenario happens I have confidence in their response.

Once I’ve done that and gotten far enough away from the house to warrant calling them every couple of hours I will be fine knowing that if a coyote attacks the chickens and one of the children breaks a leg chasing it off so they have to flag down a passing car that is driven by a homicidal maniac who sets our house on fire before he dies of Ebola: we got that covered!

Ice Skating. Snoopy's Home Ice Santa Rosa

Phew, got that off my chest!

xx

Joanna

A Day at The Sea

I spent 15  years in the UK  trying and failing to make people understand how diverse California is.  Northern California- and especially in the mountains- is a totally different sort of climate to Southern CA which most non natives associate with all of CA.  M.’s brother lives in Southern CA and they have had some “cold” weather into the 65 F range which made M. and I laugh as we built a fire this morning and scraped thick ice off our cars!  No kidding…  we could see our breath in the bathroom this morning.

A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little WoodThe beaches in So Cal and Nor Cal couldn’t be more different from each-other.  For the most part our Northern California beaches aren’t that swim-able as we have some seriously deadly rip tides and rogue waves regularly take folks. More often than not its very misty on the coast.  But all the locals know that in spring and fall the mists lift and the Mendocino coast becomes a wonderful place of light, sun, sand and blue seas.  So sometimes we like to get sand in our shoes and enjoy the smell of salt air.  It makes M. a little homesick as swimming at the beach whenever possible is probably his family’s only real tradition.

Seaweed & A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

seaweed & stones

A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

Do you see the heart in the cliff face between K. and E.?

Driftwood. A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

Driftwood log that is a remarkably good bench.

A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

Such a typical picture. M. and J. heads together playing some game with E. in her own world but nearby.

A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

M.’s stone named Mr. Bob. See… he has a little smile! Mr Bob won the “sea trials” where sadly Pink Punk and New Pink Punk were lost to the waves…

Sand in Toes. A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

Black sandy toes.

Knitting & A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

My day at the beach…

A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

Sausages cooked on our old secondhand camp cooker.

A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

A misty but bright day

Seaweed & A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

more seaweed & stones

May your mists burn away and leave all your day with light and sun!

xx Jo

Giants in Autumn

Hibernation started early in the Sweet Little Wood!  We saw our chance for a long weekend and grasped it with two hands.  It was so glorious we are still floating in the bliss of a relaxing family and fun filled time.

We got out into nature which is pretty spectacular this time of year, so because not a scrap of crafting was done I will leave you with this view of our adventures: Hendy Woods in autumn: our local redwood grove.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

The Redwoods in Autumn are just coming to life.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

And evidence of summer’s abundance remains

Hendy Woods in Autumn

The heat of summer has gone and moist cool air encourages the little green flourishes to arise.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

But the evidence of past lives remain.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

And the wood cycle flourishes

Hendy Woods in Autumn

There are bridges to magical kingdoms.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

And places where the fey stalk the living.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

But take care when crossing bridges

Hendy Woods in Autumn

for the trolls are looking for lunch.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

Wonder at how the tiniest cones produce the biggest trees.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

And imagine the baby bird that found its way out of an egg the size of a small acorn.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

Its a place to sit and wonder,

Hendy Woods in Autumn

at the magnificence of creation.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

Where trees can look like lions…

Hendy Woods in Autumn

… ahem… and other things.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

Its worth remembering that bees live in old tree stumps…  for when you put your foot in a bee’s nest.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

Savor it all and enjoy the ride.

xx Jo

Weekend Plans: September 12th – 14th

1: My weekend is going to start at the Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show which is our local fair in Boonville.  It is my favorite ever because of the delicious California State Wool and Fiber Festival which is housed in one of the main pavilions.  So many different vendors and displays!  Last year I learned how to use a barrel carding machine and began to seriously mourn my spinning wheel (sold in England before we moved a year and 9 months ago).  As Death would say: I AM SADNESS.  I got so excited last year I forgot to take a single photo of anything in the pavilion!  Seriously if you have never seen the State Wool and Fiber Festival get on up here!!  This year I am committed to be helping out at the 4-H booth on Friday but I shall be scooting over to pet some lovely soft roving and slobber over the hand dyed skeins.

California wool and fiber festival

2: A certain Birthday Girl wanted only one thing for her birthday and that was a trip to Six Flags Great America.  Well, we told her no and then they came out with a spectacular annual membership deal which made the trip worthwhile. This time however we will try out Six Flags Discovery Kingdom which is about an hour closer to us and we’ve never been to that one so… Yee-haw!

3: The CCPRA finals -excuse me- semi-finals are held at the Apple Show on Sunday afternoon.  You better believe I’m gonna be there baby!!

CCPRA Rodeo. Mariposa County Fair 2013

CCPRA Rodeo. Mariposa County Fair 2013

Have a wonderful weekend friends!

xx Jo