Thursday, May 5, 2011

Denver, Lincoln, Ramsey, MN

After trying a fourteen hour drive earlier in my trip, I didn't really want to push the limit and try the fifteen plus hours straight from Denver to the Minneapolis area, so last Thursday, I found a halfway point in Lincoln, NE, and got to hang out with my old roommate, Tyler Huckabee and use his house for a free place to sleep.

Friday morning I headed out to Minnesota and have been staying at my Aunt Kris and Uncle Brad's place. I got hired on as seasonal help at Green Valley Farms, where my uncle works, and this week leading up to Mother's Day is the busiest week of the season. Since Monday I've been working 12+ hour days at the greenhouse loading trucks, putting together orders, and making deliveries. The work is fairly hard but all the people there are so great, so it doesn't seem so bad. I'll try to make sure I post some pictures of the greenhouse before I leave.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Livin' off the land

My Aunt Joanne and Uncle Greg live outside Denver...way outside Denver. GPS will just get you lost. Here's a mini tour of their farm.

This is Aslan. He's an Akbash, a Turkish breed of dog which is genetically wired to guard his property. Despite his friendly appearance, if a coyote tries to come in and eat some chickens, he will have the wrath of Aslan to reckon with.

Feeding the turkey, chickens, and guineas.

Feeding the cows

Mama cow and baby cow.

Letting the goats out.

Greg makes his own biofuel using leftover cooking oil from the area schools.

Farm cats are the best.

Joanne raised this Walabee from a newborn.

Denver sunset

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Phoenix - Denver

After leaving California I drove down to Phoenix to visit my good friend Tim Franks (nickname DJ Timbits, long story) and his wonderful wife Alicia. Tim is the youth pastor of a church in Phoenix and this past Sunday morning we got up nice and early for an Easter sunrise service, spent the day at church, and watched the Lakers game that night.

From Phoenix I made a 14-plus hour drive to Denver, Colorado. I saw my Aunt Jayne, who made me a great ham and turkey sandwich, and I also got to see my cousins, Zach and TJ.

And now I'm out in the Colorado country, visiting my Uncle Greg and Aunt Joanne. On the road to their house, you can see Pikes Peak (altitude 14,115 ft.)

Here's a place in the area which someone refers to as the "John Wayne Vista View"

My Uncle Greg and Aunt Joanne also have quite a few animals too. I'll post some pictures of the critters and the farm in the next post...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

more CA-1 + San Francisco

On my way from Monterey to Santa Rosa on highway 1...

Farm Table. My friend Seth suggested I check out this place to grab a coffee...I also ended up getting a hard boiled egg sandwich.

Avatar Restaurant.

Really tasty pumpkin enchiladas

San Francisco houses

I guess I didn't leave my heart in San Francisco, but I left fifteen bucks for a couple CDs. Amoeba Music Record Store on Haight straight.

Friday, April 22, 2011

CA highway 1 - Big Sur / Shrimp vs. Prawns

Growing up, I remember always seeing TV commercials for the "Big Sur Waterbeds" store. Who would have thought that there is actually a real place called "Big Sur" which has amounts of water massively greater than that found in waterbeds.

Eucalyptus corridor. Several times while driving along the highway here I would suddenly smell Eucalyptus and realize these trees were lining the road.

Had dinner with my friends in the Monterey Bay area. We had delicious oysters and fried prawns at a place called A.W. Shucks.

In addition to discussing hockey teams, we asked the chef at A.W. Shucks if there is a difference between shrimp and prawns. He said he didn't know. I copied and pasted this scientific sounding explanation from someone's blog:

Arthropods can be subdivided into several classes, one of which is the Malacostraca.

This class contains about half of the crustaceans. The members of this class have a primitive body plan that can be described as shrimp-like, consisting of of a 5-8-7 body plan. They have a small carapace that encloses the head and the thorax, and have a muscular abdomen for swimming. They also have a thin exoskeleton to maintain a light weight. These general characters are common in all members of the class.

The class can be further divided into the Decapods, which are even still divided into the Duedrobanchates (prawns) and the Carideans (shrimp and snapping shrimp).

The prawns have sequentially overlapping body segments (segment one covers the segment two, segment two covers segment three, etc), chlelate (claw like) first three legs, and have a very basic larval body type.

The shrimps also have overlapping segments, however, in a different pattern ( segment two overlaps segments one and three ), only the first two legs are chelate, and they have a more complex larval form.

Boom. There you have it folks. There is a difference and you must take a side.

Just kidding, you can like shrimp and prawns. :-)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Redwoods

The Redwoods in Big Basin National Park. These pictures really don't do justice to how massive these trees are...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Monterey Bay Aquarium

I went to the Aquarium yesterday. These Jellyfish are almost invisible in the water so the aquarium shines black light on them to turn them this orangeish color.

This one is less than an inch wide

The egg-yolk jellyfish.

Sardines circling the ceiling.

Okay, today's trivia question is hopefully a little more challenging than yesterday's. What sea creature do you see in the picture below?