Monday, April 23, 2007

Earth Day Choices


setting out
Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

At 9am Meredith called, asking if we'd like to bike over to the Santa Rosa Creek, where a clean-up had just begun. Sunday morning, Earth Day.
I'd been up since 7, but was still in my pj's and hadn't had any breakfast. India was still asleep. Ugh. "Maybe we'll see you there".

About 5 minutes later Karen called and asked if we'd like to go for a hike at Sugarloaf. Hmmm.

There's an EB White quote that goes something like 'every morning I wake up torn between improving the world and enjoying the world...this makes it hard to plan the day!'. Yes indeed.

I would have enjoyed cleaning the creek very much, but it wasn't in the cards. We decided to meet at 1pm for the hike.

So I spent the morning planting and transplanting my beloved veggie starts, with Eden joining in.
We planted sunflowers up front in the half wine barrels. Both girls planted the 'dinner plate' dahlias they'd gotten in their Easter baskets. But my favorite moment was re-potting my little basil starts.
I don't remember, but I'm guessing their seeds were pretty small, because in each cup there were 5 to 7 little seedlings. They are beautiful plants, with little roundy leaves and they came apart easily, without any tearing or stress. I swear they were giving off a happy energy or something--it really felt like they were enjoying being transplanted--each to their own cup. I found the experience inexplicably and profoundly enjoyable.

Our hike was beautiful but rather chilly. We even got sprinkled on just for a few moments. With all the rain we've been having, the moss on all the trees and rocks was a wonder to behold.

About half way through we spotted something wild. And tawny. And Feline. It was almost certainly a young mountain lion! I came up late and just caught sight of it slinking away. It seemed to me to be about three or four times the size of a house cat. Very exciting!

After that we kept Eden and Zoe a bit closer. We were all wondering if the mama cat was around. Though with so many fat deer around, it seems unlikely our noisy kids were much at risk.

Sugarloaf


overlook
Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

What an absolutely perfect place.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Random Notes


Still enjoying my little camera! This is another shot culled from 'burst mode'. I promised Jerry I'd delete the really silly ones (and I did). Uh, actually the background I photoshopped in. In case you were wondering WTF?

I'm way into my little veggie garden project these days, and I've been trying to stick with lunar planting--and so I'd been waiting for today. Waxing Moon in Cancer, pretty much the best phase for all around planting and transplanting.
I know, it's actually a bit more complicated than that. Some plants like different signs. I'm trying to keep it simple. And I'm trying to be patient.

But it was sprinkling when we woke up and it never really slowed down all day. In fact it's really coming down now!

I started off picking snails off the calla lilies. I was horrified to find that one of the little pumpkin starts I'd put out front had been nibbled down pretty bad. I know it sounds idiotic, but I had forgotten all about snails and slugs. Ugh. I reckon I got about a pound of them. I took them over to Meredith and Steve's house for tasty chicken snacks. Yum Yum.

We have three little planters along our back Southern window and I took out the poor scraggly carnations and geraniums that were languishing there, amended the soil and planted little pepper starts. Five different varieties, including one Eden and I salvaged from an ancient cayenne wreath--I never expected those seeds to sprout! They may or may not produce peppers, I suppose.

I potted the geraniums and carnations. I think they'll be much much happier and maybe even thrive. Otherwise the day was a wash out, veggie wise.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

20 Hotels

It's cold, gray and drizzling out and the travel bug is nibbling on me. Check out these 20 amazing hotels and let's plan a trip! My favorite is the Poseidon undersea motel on Fiji. They have a great website with a cool video of the planned resort.
I was very pleased to discover that we'd actually stayed at one of these 20 places. Guess which one!

I Love My New Camera!


Angels
Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

I finally decided to get a new camera. I've become more and more into my photography and the old one just wasn't cutting it anymore. Not enough control and way too much noise in low light situations.
I was torn between upgrading my little Casio spy camera, or really stepping up and getting a professional dSLR Canon XTi for about $1000.
I probably will get the Canon at some point, but the learning curve and the thought of a (relatively) big camera hanging around my neck again gives me pause.
So I bought the newest Casio for $250. 10.2 megapixels and lots more control than my last one. It's a bit bigger, but still pocket size.
This picture was my first test for noise and I am delighted!
The camera also has an amazingly fast 'burst' mode--about 10 shots per second. You know, like the classic fashion photography thing "work with me baby, show me love".
I tested that out on our spooky cat Scout, who gets very nervous being photographed! I was able to nab about 10 clear shots of her and the only challenge is deciding which one to keep and which ones to delete.
So far I'm loving my camera and I'm very sorry to bore you with these details, but there you go.
More shots on Flickr.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Flickr Fun


Flickr is one of my favorite places on the web. My own account is divided between my artistic en devours and the more snapshoty images of family events and milestones.
But I also have a huge collection of favorites--great photos by other Flickr members. Clicking on a favorite will lead you to the photo's page with it's title and any comments. From there you can visit it's author's photostream (and see their favorites!).
You can find a Flickr member's favorites tab up at the top of their page.
Here's a small sampling of mine. Click on this image to see it big.
And I invite you to explore them all here!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

easter dawn


easter dawn
Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

We had a delightful Easter weekend. On Saturday we got to hang with our 'tumbleweed' friends at Peg and Dave's gorgeous country home. An egg hunt, birthday party and treasure hunt all rolled into one.
Sunday was the traditional easter basket-egg hunt at dawn followed by a lovely family brunch over at Krista's folks. Jerry and Joyce knocked themselves out, preparing a feast. And great grandma Sylvia was imported from the old folks home and brought a happy good energy to the table.
Photos over on Flickr.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Spin

I really love this short film. I posted it once before then it disappeared off YouTube. It's back!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Another amazing breakthrough! Yea!

Here's an interesting development! Original article here. (Perhaps worth visiting to read the comments or if you want links.)

Conventional wind turbine technology has been a bit out of reach for most residential consumers living in urban areas—until now. Researchers at Hong Kong University and Lucien Gambarota of Motorwave Ltd. have developed Motorwind, a micro-wind turbine technology small enough for private use in both rural and urban environments. Unlike large-scale wind turbines, Motorwave’s micro-wind turbines are light, compact (25 cm rotor diameter), and can generate power with wind speeds as low as 2 meters/second.

The gear-like turbines can be linked to fit just about anywhere and a row of eight turbines costs just $150 for now (prices may decrease once the turbines are mass produced). A portion of the revenue raised from the sale of Motorwind turbines (available for purchase here) will be donated to Hong Kong University to continue researching renewable energy technology.

According to tests, turbines arranged within a surface area of one square meter and a wind speed of 5 m/sec generate 131 kWh/yr. We’ll be watching when the Hong Kong Sea School installs 360 micro-turbins (20 square meters) next month. A second installation of another 880 micro-turbines will be realized if the first installation is a success. Plans are also on the way for the World Wildlife Fund’s Hoi Ha Marine Reserve to install micro-turbines some time in the near future.

My comments: even though the amount of electricity produced is small, imagine if whole buildings were covered. Parking garages, office buildings, homes. I can so easily imagine economies of scale drastically reducing the cost. And using recycled plastics for the fans. Very cool.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Occidental Fools Parade


threesome
Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Sunday we headed on up to Occidental for the second annual parade of fools (it being April 1st and all). It's a very brief parade--short but very sweet, that ends up with a live band and a dance party. Very very fun. About as close as Sonoma County gets to the Oregon Country Fair.
Lots more great photos over on flickr. Check 'em out.
Oh, in case you are wondering, India was dressed up like a skunk! She had a white furry stripe down her back and all. It was a hot day too--talk about sacrificing comfort for style.
Here's a bumpy little video clip