Farewell

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This time of year there is so much to do, and we catch up with many people before the summer is out. The one big event at our school last Friday was saying farewell to the playground before construction comes in to take it away, tear down some trees and place our temporary school in the same spot as the playground. The new school will be built at the current location while our school of over 300 kids in their portable classrooms with a grass playground – it will be a tight fit I imagine! It is going to be our last and quite a dramatic year at school next year!

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So Friday night I went out with my lady friends to enjoy cocktails and a lovely dinner at Scratch to relax. We all needed it, and this is a great tradition we have to 1. catch up with each other and 2. to celebrate each others birthdays. This pic was taken to remind me of the good times in Mountain View and the city I have called home for the last ten years – it is now time to go back to “our home” in Australia in 2018 and be with our families!

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I have been studying mostly and writing my final two assessments worth 50% each on the subjects of mathematics and science, very current topics that I feel are so important in education. So I am enjoying the assessments but every moment of my time is spent studying and even in the evenings! So between social engagements (three last weekend) and my life and study, there is not much room for much else. Still, each day learning something new and making the most of every day encourages me to have still the energy to continue with the resistance. One of the ways I am giving back is to knit pussyhats for friends, and they can donate $ to a cause that needs it at the time – which indeed are many at the moment. My friend managed to find this gorgeous fuschia in my favourite yarn Malabrigo Rasta – here’s to taking it to the streets and continue to fight for our rights!

A piece a Week – A cozy hat and a camp trip to Napa in a Yurt in the Rain

What a wonderful lazy week it was with having a Thanksgiving Break for the whole week. No school from Wednesday and hanging with the family and seeing Big Hero 6 – Amazing!!! Preparing for our Thanksgiving crab feast with a vegetarian main of Shepherds pie and desserts that included Cranberry Tart, Vegan Pumpkin Pie and Quince and Pear Crumble. We had a wonderful day with friends who came over from Oakland and we hung out and ate and relaxed and took the kiddos to the park to play after all the food we ate.

Cranberries waiting for their pastry bottom with some lemon zest

After the day was over we had to get ready for our weekend away to Bothe Napa State Park to stay in a yurt! Yes I was so excited to stay in a yurt again and I knew it was not going to be like the Mt Shasta fancy yurt experience which was 3 times the size of the yurt at Napa. On Thanksgiving Day my friends told us that it was going to rain on the weekend!! Oh that was not going to stop our weekend away…  What fun to camp in a yurt in the rain in California, a very novel idea indeed!!

Bunny sculpture in a winery

On our way to the state park we had some time to check out the mill and find out how flour is made. The Bale Grist Mill from 1846 still makes all types of flour and sells it for $5 a bag – my husband the bread baker was very excited! We took the tour of the mill and it was fascinating to see all the processes of the mill and chat to the docent who is a baker too. He had the tastiest cream puffs to sample left over from his Thanksgiving Feast.

The Mill powered by a 36 foot water wheel 

A stone that makes the stone ground flour 

Vintage Flour Sifters

Scored some Whole Wheat Bread Flour ready for an artisan loaf of bread

Milling today – How lucky were we!! 

Check in was at 2pm so we headed on over to the yurt and it was nice and dry. As it is winter the light is limited so we were getting the fire started early and starting to cook dinner. Lucky for us as soon as we had heated up our Thanksgiving leftovers and were eating it started raining so dessert was in the yurt – which prompted a song by the kiddos… dessert in the yurt, dessert in the yurt!!

Cranberry tart travelled in a lunchbox in the cooler 

The yurt had a a queen size bed and 2 camp cots for the kiddos inside so we bought our sleeping bags, pillows and blankets to keep extra warm. It was very cold in the yurt but as there were 4 of us when the door was closed it warmed up fairly quickly. We made it for dessert and as it was raining there was no hanging out with the campfire so we opted to go to bed super early – as early as 8pm!! Sleeping listening to the rain on the yurt was so relaxing until it got super heavy and then blobs of water from the trees above woke us up from our slumber.

The yurt in the morning

The yurt freshly rained on!

We headed over to Calistoga the next day for brunch and to escape the rain. We enjoyed the farmers market and had a lovely brunch at Cafe Sarafonia I ordered the Spinach and Portobello Benedict and it was just the right size and oh so tasty with avocado. We really enjoyed Calistoga and next time we go for a mud bath or a spa! When we wandered around and went to the Sharpsteen museum for some California history, they have a diorama of the town which is meticulously crafted and well worth a visit.  After the museum visit we came out and the sun was shining and our window for hiking was upon us!

A break under the old oak trees

Climbing a manzanita tree

An enchanted moss covered forest

Beautiful Manzanita shows its colour in the rain

A fun guy on a tree

A world of fairies and tiny mushrooms

The camp hosts dream Airstream! 

Oh and in between eating and camping I started making this wonderful hat out of my favorite yarn Malabrigo worsted. This pattern is Anjas Newsboy Hat and is meant to have a brim, unfortunately I ran out of yarn. Still it is a warm hat to wear as it covers your ears and this is a teeny bit loose but the yarn was challenged while it was being knitted in the rain and by the campfire. Still it is a super easy pattern to follow and cannot wait to make another one soon – this time with a brim!

Pink  malabrigo hat for the winter

NaBloPoMo – Day 19 – A knitting odyssey

I am in the process of beginning a project for a friend as a trade off for some lovely barkcloth fabric she gave me. I gave the option to choose yarn and she liked the Malabrigo – my favourite yarn to work with! It is absolutely beautiful and soft to the touch and so snuggly. The cast on has been an absolute test to my knitting knowledge – for some reason I have been having trouble with the long tail cast on. With so many videos of ‘how to’ I am still not getting the right length and either my tail is way too long or too short! Today I managed to get a perfect row of purl stitches down the needle but then the tail is too long and I don’t know if I am doing it right yet again… So it’s back to unravelling and starting from scratch. Well at least I will be mastering this technique by the time I am finished with it!

The great balls of yarn that I was unravelling while reading to missy at the playground today

Lots of yarn everywhere – mmmmMalabrigo