A big week last week with celebrations for our newly minted 13-year-old – he had no idea about his present which we have purchased for his school in Melbourne as the kids bring their own device (BYOD). It certainly was a huge surprise to him – when asked what he got for his birthday he mentions it last in his list of gifts as it is something just for a special day! I love that about my kids they really are not that focused on consumer items and appreciate what they receive, thank goodness after living in this area where consumerism is everywhere and everyone has to have the latest tech gadget. Our house has one TV but everyone has a computer, mmmm maybe we have been sucked in too, so much for my anti-consumerist rant!! One of his fave things now are YuGiOh cards and has spent most of his birthday money on them – at least it is something that is creative and has a math component to it, so win win!
After all the fun celebrations of the week, we took it easy and went camping with our school for one night under the redwoods. This was my first time visiting Portola Redwoods State Park and it was just beautiful. We were in two group sites called the Circle and the Point and it was surrounded by massive trees and right by the creek.
My daughter took me on a walk through the obstacle course to get to the creek and we found one of the heroes of the redwood forest the banana slug doing his morning duty.
Looking up high so many tall trees and the energy in amongst the green in the morning was so relaxing. I felt a bit stiff in my body as my mattress had sunk to the ground and it was freezing so in the middle of the night I got up and blew up my mattress and found myself in the same situation come the morning, blah!
We had a couple of friends take us on the 1-mile return hike to the Old Tree, it was a very special hike leading to a very old redwood that 23 kids circled around on the docent-led hike the day before.
Massive fallen trees provided many spaces to jump up and walk upon – these are 10-year-olds hopping upon this giant log.
The sun was peeking through the trees in the morning and we really enjoyed the energy of these tall trees.
Finally, we made it to the tree and my son is trying to climb it, I gave it a huge hug and said farewell to the redwoods. This is something I will really miss when we go back to Australia but there are other old trees that I can enjoy in the forests around Australia.
This sign has the info on the age of the old tree at over 1,200 years old protected and living in a State Park. As ambassadors of the environment, our job is to take care of our earth so we can all enjoy the air that we breathe thanks to the trees.
This week before my CSA delivery came the fridge was empty and as my daughter is out on science camp it was a prime time to get into some beets! I made an amazing coconut milk (from coconut milk powder) beet latte for lunch and for dinner I found the Beet Balls recipe in my Samurai Salads book – I think I will have to look at it for more inspiration for autumn dinners. The beet balls were made with lentils and are the perfect addition for a wrap or crumbled into a salad.
Last week it was time to say farewell to my life as a teacher assistant and get back to my life as mama and student. I made little gifts for the 14 1st graders I worked with by getting them a ball of yarn each to do finger knitting over the summer. And for the kinder kids I made them a kumihimo loom with some extra thread to practice counting and to get crafty.
The staff at Ventana sent me off with this lovely book as a farewell gift, it was sad to say goodbye to all the lovely people who work there. This dinner is a beyond meat sausage with porcini mushrooms and fennel over a bed of brown rice noodles.
This amigurumi koala was made for our sitter and friend L who looked after the kids while I was working. I was so lucky to find her to take the kids to their after-school classes and the like and take care of my kids as if they were her own, they will really miss her too!
Saturday I was ready for some me time so I got on my bike and rode the trail on a cloudy morning. I found this little guy moving fast as ever on the trail.
Saturday we headed on over to Spring Lake Regional Park in Santa Rosa for a group camping with our school. It was a great weekend away and perfect timing to get away. We stopped off at Petaluma for some delicious pie for lunch both savory and sweet. For dinner it was a potluck and I made a mexican inspired black bean salad which disappeared quickly.
As the group site was booked up when we decided to go we stayed at this beautiful cabin for $98 a night (including reservation fees) – in the pics you can see the interior with a bunk bed and a double bed so it fit the 4 or us perfectly. Friends of ours joined in the fun and camped next door, so a total of 8 people can stay at this spot. There were super cool details, with solar lights on the balcony, a little broom cupboard, a table for your goods plus a seat for your bags so it was super spacious inside. We sat out on the balcony in the morning and enjoyed a mug of oatmeal with mixed nuts and maple syrup watching the hawk hanging out in the tree.
Before we left we went on down to the lake for a swim as it was a hot day and met an evil swan guarding the canoes, kayaks and SUP boards. The kids enjoyed the cool water and if you were there all day you can hang out at the water park for $10.
We are now back in our regular routine of feeding the chickens and doing the chores each week, it was so good to see the little ladies out and about dust bathing in the sunshine.
Back to mama time and time in the kitchen I made this delicious crumble with coconut whipped cream and nuts. It feels so good to be free with my time and I am thankful for the time I had with my work but I really appreciated to be a master of my own time now.
What a lovely Thanksgiving break we had with a day out with friends in Oakland for a beautiful vegetarian feast of Quorn and all the trimmings with a yummy salad and vegan mango cheesecake I made for dessert. The cat stood in the pumpkin pie our friends made and they had mini pecan pies as well – we were well and truly stuffed by the time we left their house that evening.
The break began on Wednesday which made a total of 5 days of just chilling! I had to complete a paper for University on the Humanist perspective on behaviour in the classroom – whew! So that took up a lot of my time as I was exhausted from work. The bonus of Wednesday was that I chatted to our architect in Melbourne and viewed concepts of our house for the future – I was thrilled to see how beautiful it will be! Patience and we will get there, one step at a time…
Anyway back to relaxing! We booked a campsite from Friday through to Sunday for our time away at Samuel Taylor State Park. We arrived late on Friday with just enough light to find our little tent spot and heat up out leftover dinner of the Thanksgiving feast, so that was super easy. It did not take long to get into relaxing mode and realise this is it under the trees for a couple of days. The campsite was perfect for entertaining, and our friends were on the site right next door to us. The bonus was that the bathrooms were a quick walk down the hill, I would definitely book that site again in the future!
Saturday came, and we wondered what to do – the vote was to do something low key and relaxing. So we opted for a trip to the beach for the day. Our beach of choice was Limantour beach just a short drive away from Point Reyes Station. We had been to Point Reyes before, and we really loved our adventure there, but that was about 8 years ago when Missy was a baby, now look at her in the water enjoying the freezing cold Pacific Ocean. I wanted to feel the ocean on my toes, but I did not last long as it was ice cold! The waves were beautiful to see, and the kids enjoyed getting their pants all wet and playing hide and seek in the spiky grass.
We packed up a picnic lunch of egg mayo sandwiches for me with some fruit and beers for the gang, and we just enjoyed listening to the sound of the waves and reading our books. Currently, I am reading Pie by Sarah Weeks, as my daughter recommended I read it! I have been really enjoying kids Graphic Novels and Young Adult books when I have the opportunity to read.
My friend was reading this book called The Seed Collectors now if you look at the text of that book above I would say that is my family written in the book. When I looked at the family tree at the back of the book, my name would be Bryony in their family. This was really strange to see most of my family written about in a book, I will have to read it one day! Apparently, the kids have those names in the book as the names of the people in the family are named after trees and plants.
A highlight of the beach day out was seeing this guy with his rescue horses and riding them along the beach. One of the horses was just wandering around without a rope looking wild and beautiful! We patted the horses and chatted to the rider, and he said both of his horses were rescue horses. He told us briefly of the stories of the horse he was riding was super skinny when she was rescued. The red stallion was a rescue too, and he mentioned a tragic story about the horse’s parents (I would rather not hear if it is a sad story about animals). He gave me hope and faith in humanity that he rescues these amazing creatures and lets them run free to greet people with their incredible presence and energy.
Here we are ready to leave the beach, it was such a relaxing day that we did not want to go but all good things come to an end, and we slept so well that night. The next morning we woke up to hear rain on the tent and feel a puddle forming beneath the tarp! We hightailed it out of there.
The gang getting ready to leave the beach – boo hoo!
So Sunday morning we woke up to rain and plenty of it, so we packed up our gear and put all the wet stuff in the car and off we drove to the closest coffee shop before we headed home! It was such a beautiful time under the redwoods, and Samuel Taylor State Park is a super special park with hikes and beaches close by.
Another weekend away this time with the Camping Crew from our elementary school. We have a super team of Camping organisers at our school and they found this great camp location the Pinnacles National Park on the weekend of Earth day. We were warned that it would be busy this weekend but I did not predict the crowds we experienced on Saturday. Earth Day coincided with National Park week which meant that it was free to visit the park so it was packed, lucky for us we had a group camping reservation for 80 of us adding to the crowd!
We had visited the park in March 2013 with our camping buddies and the only thing I really remember from the trip was that our 2000 Honda Civic broke down on the way home. I tracked down video footage of what it was like exploring the caves back in 2013 with the kids so small! And home from the Pinnacles is close to a 1.5-hour drive and 90 miles (144 km) away we had to tow our car back home – thank goodness for AAA. Looking at a map of Australia – it is a similar drive amount from Melbourne to Lorne, and from what I remember we camped there too (B.K. Before Kids) in the rain.
It was just three of us exploring the caves this weekend as the older one stayed with his friend at the campground with the other families. Missy was very excited to see the inside of the caves and explore with her headlamp and of course, it needed batteries! Anyway, we powered on in the dark for moments in time until we came out of the tunnels and back out into the daylight after being in the caves, we all enjoyed exploring the caves with moss covered rocks and hearing a water fall, that I could not see.
Pinnacles National Park unique rock formations were created from a volcano which eruped 23 million years ago. The movement of the earth created talus – broken rock fragments that have collected over the years to make the caves. It was crazy to look up and see a massive boulder held up by an arrangement of rocks below it.
It was the perfect hiking day but there were so many people on the trails as well so we went back. We wandered a bit more and we ended up taking a loop turn back to the entrance. On the way back to camp, we did wander by this mini cave that Missy worked out that birds lived in by the amount of poop residue on the ground.
The rock formations are like pieces of nature art with their colours and textures. I especially loved this rock with the coloured lichen of yellow, orange and green. This rock looks like a dinosaur mouth next to Missy who was excited to have found another small cave.
The photo opportunities were endless at the park and unfortunately, the sky was a bit overcast which was a shame as the rocks would be amazing with a blue sky behind them. The colours and formations of the rocks were amazing. As we were camping we hung out at the pool afterwards where a few kids were brave enough to go for a swim in a cold pool. It was hot enough for a t-shirt and skirt but not hot enough for a dip in a cold pool for me!
Such a beautiful spring weekend to be away and enjoying a National Park on Earth Day 2017 and hanging out with friends from school. It is always a perfect way to relax as the kids entertain each other and the adults are free to chill out and do whatever.
Spring Break last week and we managed to literally get away from the crowds and be the only people camping in a Yurt in a location just over 1 hour away from our house! Now as I write this it seems impossible to get away from ALL the people in the Bay Area because where ever you go within an hour or so from your home there is usually many more Bay Area folks camping or doing whatever within your vicinity. Never in our camping experiences, have we gone away especially during a break from school and been by ourselves! Just to have that experience was incredible so before I spill the location be sure that you don’t mind setting up camp next to a graveyard on an abandoned Naval Base!
This beautiful part of the Bay area was in Vallejo on a peninsula called Mare Island named after the white mare who swam to shore after her ship was sunk. It is a place of beauty and solitude with the added bonus of yurt camping with all the gear supplied including a gas grill and a super clean porta potty close by. The view from the top of the island is of 7 counties surrounding the island and right by the lookout is an art installation called the Spirit Ship in honour of the Naval families who once lived here. Spring brings the beautiful poppies, and the smell of wild fennel was in the air.
Surrounding the Mare Island Preserve are barbed wire fences – man I thought I was in a detention centre in Australia when I saw these familiar eucalyptus trees. But no, looking through the fence I found abandoned houses and buildings still needed to be cleared up by the US Federal Government due to munitions being left behind – I imagine that is a huge task and they have better things to focus on at the moment!
Wandering through the preserve right by the graveyard are some beautiful roses right in bloom for spring and for the two days I loved taking pictures of them in the different light. The graveyard was so peaceful and so old – graves dating back to 1856, this is the oldest Naval cemetery on the West Coast.
My hubby and I wandered to the top of the hill of the afternoon we arrived – the kids get a bit mad about walking up hills, but we know better. The bonus when you climb a hill is always the view, and this panorama is what I saw when I was up there, surrounded by water most of the way with land on the horizon.
Then we came back down to set up the Yurt for the evening. This yurt is made by a local Vallejo yurt maker Yurtastic, and he used billboard fabric for the exterior, roof and floor. What an excellent idea, the light is bright inside, and we had Dory on the floor from Finding Nemo.
Oh, and did I mention the views from the top of the hill, the Spirit Ship in panorama with the detail of the floor beneath the Spirit Ship with nature growing up around it.
Dinner was homemade lentil rolls we heated up on the gas grill – it acted just like an oven! On the side, we had watermelon radish and ate by the candle light of a citronella candle as there were quite a few mozzies though they did not bother us that much.
In the evening our lovely host Myrna took us for a spin with her dog Nitro down to the bunkers. We sat in the back of the truck and saw this island in the light of dusk with the beautiful colours all around. Myrna was the best and so thoughtful with her organisation for the yurt supplies in the outdoor kitchen including an outdoor screened tent, so we were mozzie free. Nitro was the sweetest dog who loved pats and was ever so friendly with all of us, we had such a fun time together.
The next day was Thursday, and we were on our own on after a night of rain over the yurt we thought our riding plans were busted but no, the sun came out, and we borrowed bikes – yes bikes were included in the trip! So we went riding to look for the entrance to the San Pablo Bay Trail entrance and back again. The visitor centre was a place full of Mare Island history including treasures from one of the original residents who grew up on the base and donated her doll and Kanga and Roo from her collection. The other bonus of the visitor centre apart from its massive size is the resident cat Linus, who reminded me so much of my little buddy Macaroni. This guy loved pats and would come up and purr near us, and we happily patted him and gave him love.
The island is full of eucalyptus trees, and after the rain, it smelled of Australia – like I was home. Wild is where nature is at here in this part of the bay with the poppies growing in between the railway tracks. And the kids enjoyed having stick fights with the wild fennel, and that kept them occupied as I wandered the graveyard to see what history this place held. As we were interested in seeing the birds, Myrna loaned us her binoculars so we could watch the baby osprey and the osprey who nests there. This is the view I had through the binoculars to observe the baby birds way up high. We also saw snowy egrets, blue jays, wild turkeys and turkey vultures who call this place home. In the evening we heard the sound of the coyote talking and yipping to each other, lucky we were tucked away in our beds in the Yurt.
We had one last visit to the visitor centre and an evening by the campfire (there are no other places on the island where a campfire is allowed as it dangerous) with Myrna and Eric (another volunteer who shared so much interesting information on photography and nature). We washed the dishes and lay cleaned them and packed them away neatly and off we went to see Linus and the ephemera at the visitor centre. The collection of teacups was beautiful and the evening before Myrna and I shared a pot of rooibos tea in a cup and saucer – very fancy! The fire was perfect for our marshmallows, and we enjoyed learning about the history of Mare Island and its inhabitants.
Soon it was time to leave, and the preserve was open to the public, we wandered down to check out the bunkers the view and got this great picture of all of us in the massive bunker (built during the mid-1920s to store munition). The bunker we checked out had astroturf on the ground and digital print of the first cave painting from Lascaux, France. A bunch of folks had a caveman dinner in the bunkers which explains the paleo inspiration.
And there is Dory on the floor – we were so happy to enjoy our couple of nights getaway from it all. If you are keen to check it out and visit Myrna and Nitro the dog, go to Hipcamp where you can find this yurt and the other romantic yurt for two further up the hill. If your camping party is big just camp in the bunker and watch the sun rise, so many options to camp and support the Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve.
On our way back the sun was shining I took some pictures of the beautiful chapel with its Tiffany windows – you can visit the church with a guided tour which is $5, the kids were done, but I would have loved to have seen them. On the way home, we opted for a walk just below Mt Diablo in a place called Shell Ridge Open Space Preserve where we found a ranch complete with chickens and a sleepy rooster. It felt we were away from civilisation for longer than two days, now that is what I call a break from it all!
Back to study for me as I have an essay tomorrow and Assessment 2 is just around the corner!
Spring Break last week caused me to put projects on hold for the week as with entertaining the kids with trips to the park, library and their friends hamster sitting took up a lot of the time. It was hard for me to focus so I took solitude in my garden when the sun was shining. We also visited a friends community garden at the senior center and made Kale chips with this recipe which were delish!
So I am posting a project I made at the end of March and have not had the opportunity to wear it – so I need an outfit for the Maker Faire. I will be volunteering with FabMo this year and I will be able to say that I made the top out of the fabric found at a distribution of theirs. This is a corset top made from a cotton jersey screen printed fabric and the skirt is fabric from a sari a friend gave me to repurpose. I loved the colors in the sari fabric and have been saving it for something special so this is the perfect opportunity.
The colors in the skirt are that beautiful! (even though a filter has been used here)
Here it is on my model – I love how it works together
I had the library workshop on Tuesday night and I was at the park cutting fabric with my rotary cutter and mat prepping while the kids were playing. They decided it would be fun to use my scraps and tie them together to make a pulley so they were completely entertained while I cut out 15 sets of fabric for the workshop. I am happy to say that it was a complete success and everyone completed their bag! Each one I do now I learn something new myself how to gauge the project so it can be successful for everyone as we do only have a limited amount of time. A big thank you to my friend Nicole from nicoleathome.com for letting me use her tutorial! Now I need to create the next project for May – the wrap around pencil case…
The instruction sheet and a completed bag – a success
This is a lovely little find from the hardware store that I put up using my husbands drill and a couple of hooks on the fence. We first had to remove a renegade tree (with the help of my 10 year old and his Dads axe) that was taking up valuable real estate in the garden to make way for the trellis for the vine. I was wondering how this is going to work out with such a small garden but I am going to make it a succulent garden with the passionfruit climbing up the fence. I cannot have many deep rooted plants in this mini space as the redwood is right next door and with its veins of roots distributed throughout the soil so the succulents with the shallow root systems work well. I used mason twine in neon colors (an idea from my sister who uses it for macrame) for training the branches up the bamboo trellis and will add to this as time goes on – but for now we will see this little guy reaching for the sky!
Go passionfruit go!
Friday and Saturday we went to a group camping trip to Big Basin Redwoods State Park with our camping group from school – I did not know many of the families before the trip but by the end we are all sharing our pics on Google drive and will now chat to each other on campus. Group camping is fun with the kids hanging out together and entertaining each other while the adults get to know each other and enjoy snacks and wine in between prepping meals and the like.
Kids on a big fallen redwood log
Saturday we had no real plans so we ended up hiking with the kids and what a hike it was! We ended up going on the Berry Creek Falls hike which is around 11 miles (17 kilometers), by the end my feet were so sore as well as my whole body from the traveling down the falls and once you travel down you have to come back up again! See the sign below, I really should have taken note but the kids were so excited to check it out that we powered on ahead and made it!
Strenuous hike – I can agree with that!
Wandering on the fallen redwoods
Home of some spectacular redwoods
A banana slug in action
We stopped by Tim’s Creek for a snack – really it was lunch and I was so unprepared!! We had rice cakes, sesame snacks and chips in our backpack with only 3 bottles of water – for a 6 hour hike that is not too good at all. I ate as many sesame sticks I could handle and tried not to think about food. The water is a huge issue on such a long hike on a fairly hot day – lucky for us one of the parents is super organized and carried 2 backpacks full of food and extra water saving us from dehydration and starvation. That may be a bit exaggerated but even though there was water in the creek bed do not drink it due to the microscopic bacteria that can make you very sick. We made it back to camp in the end with my motivation to have an ice cold bottle of kombucha waiting for me in the cooler.
Snacking out at lunchtime
From our lunch / snack time break we ended up hiking the last 1.1 miles down and down into the falls area. The scenery was so beautiful as we were wandering the trail but you have to be super careful and look out for stray tree roots and also fallen trees from the recent rains we have had. One part of the trail I had to climb up and around a fallen tree root to get back to the trail. Finally I turned a corner to a little vista point and there I found my daughter sitting and looking at this beautiful waterfall – she was complaining that she wanted to go straight away and I said wait for the rest of the group to come back from viewing the falls from the platform on the path further down. So off I went to check it out close up and take some pictures. It was so beautiful and super shallow too. It is a highly recommended hike but if you go be prepared with lots of water and snacks that will help you power through the many ups and downs of the hike.
The kids made it back to camp together with one of the other adults while I slowly made it back with the motivation of getting back to relax with a drink by the fire. What a super cool camp trip with one spectacular hike.
Berry Creek Falls in the afternoon sunlight
A close up of the falls with a rainbow
Using the platform to keep me standing – man we have to walk back uphill now!!
I would have to say this project took me longer than a week to complete but I have to say that I am happy that I finally completed it! A lesson in all new tricks and techniques from the great book On the Go bags. It took me a while to understand how to apply the exterior pocket with zip to hold your passport and papers with a pen holder – now I will be well and truly organized for our trip to Australia in the Summer which was the inspiration behind making this bag. I accidentally made it taller rather than wider but it worked out well as my purse to hold cash and credit cards etc is a rectangle so it is perfect! I really like the fact I have reduced the amount of crap I carry around – yay!! And I feel so organized with those exterior pockets one for the phone and the other side for my glasses.
This little pocket stores my phone
At the moment my glasses go in here but I will be sticking the passports in there too!
For the Easter weekend I booked a cabin 6 months ago when the California State Parks had their sale as Samuel Taylor State Park is a popular destination for people who live in the city of SF. We travelled up to 2 hours to get there in bad traffic on a Saturday afternoon but still it was so worth it! The cabin is amazing – I have to say it is the best cabin I have stayed in at a State Park, the last time we went cabin camping I was freezing, this time – no way as there was an electric pot belly stove to make the cabin nice and snug. I loved the cabin and just outside our own little fire ring, picnic table and little BBQ (where you have to bring your own briquettes). We had a lovely beet felafel with goat cheese wraps in foil cooked on the fire with a salad for our easy dinner. For dessert we had banana boats which is a banana sliced in the center to make a boat then tuck in some chocolate chips and marshmallows wrap them in foil and have it all melt together – yum!
Our dinner beet felafel wraps and wine from Chile
The kids at the beginning of the hike find a California Poppy
In the afternoon before dinner we decided to go for a hike up hill to Barnabe Peak 1446 ft (447 m) high – which is 2 miles up and up and up the fire trail. At times we looked up and thought we are never going to make it as you can see from the pic below, Ash was ready to give up but we kept on powering on! I was dragging behind taking the pictures and it wasn’t until I said hi to a Michael Franti lookalike that said to me ‘almost there’ was when I felt the inspiration to keep on going to the top. Once we got there the winds were strong and the fog was rolling in – still it was an amazing 360 degree view and worth the hike!
I can’t walk anymore!!
Green to the horizon
Feeling the wind as we are nearly there!!
You can just see the sea on the left
Heading on back down with views of the Kent Lake spillway
Going back down was fast though it was tough on the feet to stay balanced and not fall down the trail. We certainly slept well Saturday night with a few aches and pains in our legs.
An Indian Painbrush flower
As we were going down we saw lots of wildflowers in amongst the green – lots and lots of California poppies which was a real treat!
There they are little specks on the trail!
Think we missed seeing this sign on the way up!
Happy to be back in the cabin with this heater!
We had to enjoy the campfire not just for cooking but for hanging out with – it was super warm but the cabin with its coziness of the electric stove tempted me inside. Also I had other plans to do and that was to chat to the Easter Bunny about surprises for Easter morning 🙂
Burn baby burn
A story about the foxes
Surprises from the Easter bunny – eat my little friends he says and here are some eggs from my chicken friends, fair trade chocolate of course!
All lined up behind the blinds
Excited to find these goodies from the Easter bunny
We were sad to say farewell to our Fox Den – it was just an overnight stay but it felt longer and we are now walking that little bit slower and breathing deeper, as taking that time out in the woods was so relaxing.
The beautiful new cabin at Samuel Taylor State Park in the Madrone Campground
The log dude not the log lady?!?
After eating all that chocolate the kids needed to work it off with another hike to the beach – this hike was an easy one straight up to the beach via the Abbotts Lagoon Trail. I was hoping to see more birds but we just saw some hawks overhead – the dunes were closed off as the habitat of the endangered Snowy Plover, those guys are so cute and tiny. The kids decided they wanted to make some art from driftwood on the beach so Ash was on a mission dragging logs and finding sticks and Missy was digging holes for their collaboration piece they left behind on the beach.
My sister found me this gorgeous handspun yarn in Maleny, Australia for Christmas from a local craft guild and I finally found a pattern to make with it – an easy lace 13 row pattern repeat. The Waves of the Atlantic pattern I found on Ravelry was perfect for the weight of the yarn and the color is just beautiful. It is yellow with tiny specks of pink spun through which makes me very happy! I love when the yarn and the pattern fit just right and sometimes it takes more time to make that happen which can be well worth the tries and fails.
Beautiful detail of this sunshine yarn
The scarf being blocked – the drape will be so soft with the lightness of the yarn
Over the weekend we went on our second camping trip for the summer – this time to Little Basin. I was dreading the drive as I thought it was via Big Basin. As it turned out the drive is up through Boulder Creek and we avoid the 9 miles of squirrelly road that made my son throw up in the car last time we visited Big Basin for a hike. The drive was 1 hour and 30 minutes away from our house and it was the usual drive through the redwood and oak forests to get there. Back in the day Little Basin used to be used by Hewlett Packard for their employees until the land was sold to the Peninsula Open Space Trust and Sempervirens Fund and now it is park of Big Basin Redwoods State Park in the California State Parks (amazing) system!! This campground was open to the public in 2011 and is perfect for families. We arrived on the Saturday morning enjoyed lunch at our campground surrounded by redwood trees with our cabin neighbors close by. Still when night came the stars were beautiful as the open meadow was steps away from our campsite and we could look up and see the clear night. We enjoyed this campground so much we have booked the cabins for a Thanksgiving getaway – hopefully we will get to see some banana slugs in the rain, bring on some rain!!
Tom Riddle the Gopher snake in his burial ground after he got run over by a car
The kids had such a fun time with Kaki the ranger on duty from the WOLF school. The WOLF (Web of Life Field) school is open to kids aged 11-13 for a sleepover for a week in the redwoods to learn all about life and science – in a couple of years our kids will get a chance to join in the fun. We met Kaki as we were enquiring about the Junior Ranger program and the next thing we were invited to help build a bug box for the afternoons kids camp program called Sense-o-Rama. The bug box was fun and we got an opportunity to learn about our ranger Kaki. Everything the kids were doing around camp centered around wanting to go back to Kaki to ask her questions about the goings on. Missy found a snake in the morning, as the kids were wandering around the campground while we were packing up and wanted to have a funeral for it. Next thing they had Kaki by their side with reference books identifying this road kill snake. It made for an interesting lesson on this little guy. The night before at the campfire the kids were making Ranger Apples, that is roasted apples on a stick that taste like a hot apple pie without the pastry – yum!
The kids with Kaki their hero – when can we see Kaki again??
We had to go for a hike before we left Little Basin and it seemed like we were up for it until we started and everyone was all a bit out of breath by the time we conquered the elevation of the first hill. I think a better breakfast of a smoothie and some fruit would have been helpful rather than the s’mores the kids had!!
Wandering the forest after our elevation climb
Just outside our campground this redwood stretching out it’s branches
Up up high in the sky a family circle or fairy ring of redwood trees surrounding it’s long gone great grandfather tree
The workshop that I was supposed to have next week is moving to the end of July due to hiccups at the library and my lack of time with being “on” for the school holidays and being mama taxi and the like with the kids. Lucky, I can make time to write this while the kids play with Legos or go bike riding around the trees outside. This is another sample for the video I am making as it has French seams on the inside. I will post that sometime but it is definitely a work in progress until I can find some quiet time in the house to record the sound!!
Again this week was another big one with only 9 days left of school it seems like there is so much to do with field trips and pot lucks. So this week I wanted to get my ukelele gig bag made for a field trip my son was going to during the week plus I also needed it for a weekend away to the Sonoma Coast for a camp trip – yay!!
So I found this fabulous tutorial here I had to modify it a little as my zip that was on hand was a bit short and I inserted it on the bottom of the uke which means each time I insert my ukelele into it’s bag it goes out of tune! It served it’s purpose and travelled to Point Montara and to Bodega Bay to sit by a campfire which is just perfect.
The future musician with my ukelele gig bag in a barkcloth hawaiian fabric
While the boys were out on the field trip the girls hit downtown and went to the vintage store on Villa Street – yay Mountain View finally has a vintage store and that is so awesome!!! I found this beautiful silk dress from the 1960s with a water colour neon print that I just love 🙂 Miss Holly and I wanted to go out and try the new pizza joint. A pizza with a thin crust and tasty toppings such as cream of walnut, cremini mushrooms, pecorino and homemade mozzarella – delicious. The baguette and olive and balsamic was incredibly fresh and fancy and reminded my of my times eating out in Melbourne so bring it on Doppio Zero! After dinner we strolled to froyo for dessert, then the music store and the pet store to check out the fishes.
Fresh baguette with olive oil and balsamic – yum!
Cool fish at the pet shop – Seascapes
As it was the Memorial Day long weekend the next day we had to prepare for our camping adventure to Bodega Dunes campground. We travelled via Petaluma to go to the Petaluma Pie Shop for an early lunch before heading down to Bodega Bay. Sonoma Coast is so wild with the winds and the ocean battering us as we trudged to the beach. We walked from the campground to the beach but little did we know that it was not that close to the camp ground and it seemed forever till we found the beach on the horizon – the calves on our legs really did get a workout and we were covered in sand. I love Bodega Bay for its views of the bay and the ocean and this time of year there are wild flowers everywhere. The fish and chips were super tasty too – certainly a treat with the beer battered deep fried fish! That is not food I usually consume The kids had a blast on the beach building forts from drift wood to protect us all from the wild winds.
Finally a view of the ocean – just beyond those succulents, the grass and the sand dune!
The first fort the kids built
The monkeys on the trees out by our camp site number 77
As the sun went down the monkeys enjoyed the tree climbing
Teriyaki tofu with shitake mushrooms with spring onions straight off the camp fire grill
Waiting for the campfire cones by the fire!
We went to the Bodega Bay Farmers Market on the Sunday and oh my I was in heaven with the wool and yarn straight from the Corriedale sheep that lived 3 miles away. The Woodenware by Brian was just incredible and he had a stitch ripper that was so beautiful that I could not leave behind – perfect for my sewing collection!
Shorn fleece ready for sale by Hazel
Corriedale yarn that I could not resist
Roving for our summer project of making felted stones
Brian and Linda at their stall with the amazing Woodenware
Walking on the edge of the earth at Bodega Head
Kids in the belly of a whale tree
A very good looking but not very practical drift wood house by mouth of the Russian River
Saying farewell to the campground – a runaway on the side of the shot!