Saturday, August 31, 2013

How to eat shaved ice

First, you have to talk your SO into taking you to Hawaii.
Which proved to be not too difficult after I told him I wanted to go to Kaua'i, not the more populated islands, against which he is unreasonably prejudiced.
The flights and layovers were long and arduous.
Memo to self: next time, pay the extra fifty dollars for a more direct flight.
Here we are at Honolulu airport, the most beautiful airport in the world. We are still smiling, but still have one more flight to go.

Just to back up my claim, these are views from the open-air corridors in the "secure" part of the terminal.

Then, when you have had a good sleep and have suitably gathered yourself together, go exploring in a lovely little touristy-trap town like Kapa'a. Decide (within minutes) that your crinkly-cotton travel-wear is not going to do the trick at all because you are dying from the heat and humidity and you just have to get not-one-but-two of those cute little dresses at the market, even though they reveal the white flabby tops of your arms and are made of rayon so will probably shrink-beyond-all-fit after you wash them the first time. 
And only then.
Should you go get a shaved ice.  
With macadamia ice cream in the bottom (because you have a coupon for a free scoop) and banana/passionfruit/coconut syrup (because that's what the server recommended) poured heavily all over the ice.

And then, make your sweetie share it with you, even though he ate a huge breakfast and claimed not to want any, because you just can't tackle all that sweetness on your own. 
First, scoop off the syrupy ice, trying different flavour combinations.
Then dig under the ice to find the ice cream.
When you get tired of scooping, use the straw to drink the icy/creamy slush at the bottom of the cup.
And when you absolutely cannot face another spoonful, toss the remains into the nearest rubbish bin.

And then, shy away from sweets for hours afterwards because you are both suffering from sugar overload.

That is how to eat your first (and in my case, my last) Hawaiian shaved ice.
You're welcome.

P.S. I have been gently reminded that it is correctly called "shave ice". Which, in my mind, is ungrammatical, so I shall leave the nomenclature as is.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Hangin' with the elk

I bought a couple of Groupon deals, even though I temporarily swore off them some time ago. I am just more careful about what I buy. One was for a tour of an elk farm that is about an hour away, and the other for miniature golf in Tualatin. I bought enough for a small crowd, so off we went on Tuesday.
Annie was at the tail end of a week here with her baby, Victoria, so be prepared for unending sweetness.

The elk farm is called Rosse Posse Acres. The tours are only $5 a person, and half that with the Groupon. The owner seemed very happy with the business that Groupon has brought their farm, so yay for that!

First up was a fun and educational lecture in the barn. We got to handle some elk antlers and other body bits, and read about the individual bulls.

I noticed, after a while, that Daniel was acting a little pouty  sad, and Bethany informed me that he was missing the water polo day of his swimming classes. Which explained it.

I could only con two of the darlings to pose for me.
Extra points for Kenz and Thomy.

The antlers of the bulls are proudly displayed on the wall. They are sawed off each year as soon as the velvet falls off, to forestall any murderous inclinations. Which are likely to happen, apparently.

Mamas and babies are kept in their own field.

Funnily enough, the girls of the family had been discussing community breastfeeding a couple of days earlier, and here is an example of it. Whenever a baby starts to nurse, another one or two will sneak up and have a nibble. This means that babies that are born later in the season tend to be runts, as they lose some of their milk to their friends.

The yearlings, who will face the butcher next year.

The bulls, who are named and measured for genetic characteristics and generally treasured.

The velvet on their antlers is full of nutrition and is eaten by the elk or other critters. When antlers fall off in the wild, they are also eaten by critters as a source of calcium.

There is a petting zoo on the farm and the kids (and a few parental types) enjoyed the animals.
Popcorn (gender unremembered) the baby goat was a big hit.
Popcorn's mama was probably too old to bear another baby and isn't doing well.
Kind of like how I felt after my last baby.

The wallaby was very friendly.

Daniel, still looking sad and not enjoying the animals.

The owners also breed miniature Schnauzers. 
They were more of a hit than the elk.

I made the mistake of handing over the camera when I held Victoria.
Daniel still looking ambivalent.

Next on the agenda was golfing at Tualatin Island Greens
I like this little course much better than those at amusement parks. It has trees and real green grass and a little stream running through it. And, while there were people in front of us and behind, we didn't feel crowded or hurried. And there is a nice clubhouse where you can take a load off and enjoy the air-conditioning.

Sweet little curls, cheeks, ears, dimply arms. Gets me every time!

Daniel was much happier playing a sport.

So, if you're local, I highly recommend both activities for an end-of-summer fling. 
And I also recommend that you take along something adorable like this.

Feel free to be jealous.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Snippets from the Ranch

Sunsets are always a delight out at the Ranch, especially on the days of unremitting heat when we are forced to run the noisy old window air-conditioner. The temperature cools down rapidly once the sun hits the horizon, and we gaily open all of the windows and fine-tune our bodies for every breeze that wafts into the house.

There were thunderstorms in the mountains on Friday and I sat and watched the lightning flickering in the clouds and listened to the thunder.

Unfortunately, the lightning strikes of last week (1,900 in twenty-four hours, according to one news report) have caused forest fires and one tree faller who was  helping fight the fires was killed by a falling tree snag. 
The air has been smelling faintly of smoke and the sunsets colourful and hazy.
I caught the sun as it was hanging on the edge of the mountains.

And it's gone.

The moon was large and orange a couple of weeks ago. 
I discovered the difficulty of capturing the moon at dusk.

We've had a few visitors to our little abode lately. 
Some of them were invited.

Some of them weren't.

They helped themselves to our flowers anyway.

Remember the poppies?
They are all dried out, so I spent a pleasant interlude on Friday morning (when I wasn't watching lightning or deer through my front window) collecting poppy seeds. I got a cupful without much effort at all.

I spend some time, almost every day that I am out here, pulling Russian thistle, the local incarnation of tumbleweed. A few weeks ago, I pulled up a particularly large one and found this nasty bug among the roots.

I put it in a large cup with some dirt so that I could show the kids when they arrived for their week of camp, but lucky I took a photo because when we went to look at it, someone (or something) had knocked over the cup and the bug was nowhere to be found.
Now I am wondering if another critter ate it.

The fun never ends out here at the Ranch!