Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hollister Visit / Agility Training

Linnea and "Buddy"

I went with Linnea to her agility training with her dog Buddy.  It was quite an eye opener.  The course and all that is involved is quite difficult.

You have to be fast.

The dog not only has to be fast but you also have to be ahead of your dog to be able to give signals.

The dog also has to have the athletic ability and the intelligence to succeed in this sport.

The dog has to approach each obstacle from the correct side as marked by the blue cone.  This may seem easy but it depends on how close the obstacles are to each other and if the dog has to return around to enter the following obstacle.

The Airedale breed is not usually seen in this sport.

Border Collies are very often used in Agility competition.

It was a pleasure seeing them work together.

Buddy looking to Linnea for signals.  All in the training.

Don't count me out.

I can be just as graceful.

Almost ran into you.

That's better timing.

Mastering the teeter totter.

Good job Buddy

And good job Linnea.  A great bond is developed between the two.  It was great to behold.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Return to the Santa Teresa Hills

View of San Jose from the hills.
I wanted to hike the Santa Teresa Hills where our family had spent so much time riding horses and walking the dogs.  I also took Kellie, my grand daughter, up these hills in a child backpack when I was baby sitting her.  So one weekend Maria, Ray, Linnea, and I returned to these golden hills.

View of San Jose looking north towards the Bay.
I didn't realize that Maria had not been here since we left back in 1992.  Almost 20 years.  She said she didn't want to see how it may have all changed.  It was a great experience reminiscing about all the good times we had in these hills.  Maria was glad she finally returned.  Maria's daughter Linnea, the third generation, learned quite a few things about what her mother and I had experienced here.

View towards Morgan Hill.  Mount Hamilton observatory is covered by clouds.
Neta, Maria, and I walked our dogs here almost every day.  My dog, Chico, a rottweiler, and Silas, a Scottish deer hound, ran these hills.  There were deer, coyotes, skunk, wild turkeys, great owls, and much more.  I rode my horse, Santiago, a quarter horse palomino here.  Maria rode Chiquita, a morgan.  Neta rode Chip, a morgan thoroughbred cross.  Maria also rode Rysack, an arab on these hills.  Great times.

The house we lived in is the one with solar panels across the street from the red house.
There is a black SUV parked in front.
There was still a cattle ranch across the street from our house  at that time.  The old barns and house have since been restored.  The property has been taken over by the Santa Teresa Park of San Jose.  It is a now historic site.

I kept my horse at Warda's place.  You can just see the stables in the center of the picture.
The horses had the run of those hills.  I trained Santiago to come when I whistled for him.  He always had a few carrots waiting for him.  I still remember him running over the hills with the other horses towards the stables.  It was a sight to behold.

Ray, Maria, and Linnea
Looking South towards Santa Teresa park and the golf course.
Bonetti's, house in the trees next to the open field in the center of the picture.
Mr. Bonetti, a rancher back in the day, was a great influence to our family.  He graduated from Davis University and is the reason Maria decided to go there also.  I can't tell you of all the fond memories we have of him.  He was a mentor of sorts, especially for Maria.

Maria, Ray, and Linnea

It was a fine day.  We all had another great experience courtesy of the golden hills.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

San Jose / Hollister Visit

Hollister hills.
I flew into San Jose from Seattle and was greeted by Linnea and Ray.  It was the beginning of a great time at Maria's house.  Maria was at work, but was going to take the rest of the week off as vacation time to spend time with me.  On the drive to Hollister we stopped at Costco to do some shopping.  It was an absolute joy to walk through Costco.  It is something I miss in Sweden.

Santiago my "old" horse / Friend.
When I got to Maria's house one of the first things I did was to greet my 30 year old horse.  Maria has been taking care of him while I have been away.  He gets plenty of Purina Equine Senior.  Santiago and I began our relationship in San Jose, then he came with me to Mariposa, and now he is here in Hollister.  We have had a lot of good times together.

Santiago still has some moves.
Merlin, Santiago, and Justin with the familiar Hollister hills in the background.
It was great doing the everyday chores and activities at Maria's house.  Everyday we would walk the dogs around the block (2 miles).  Feed the horses do the shopping and cooking.  And do a little sightseeing around Hollister, San Jose, and Carmel.

Ray is walking Buddy and Maria has Tia.

Maria was also participating in some sort of health / exercise program competition at her work.  This week she had to climb 15 flights of stairs three times in a day with negative points if she used an elevator.  I accompanied her on her stair climbing.  If you know Hollister at all you know that there are few tall buildings in town.  Where we ended up going was downtown Hollister where they had built a five story tall free parking garage.  All in an effort to revive the downtown business.  It hasn't worked too well and the fire department had to get a new ladder truck for the tallest building in town.

Maria has also been running around the two mile block every day.  I didn't run with her but I rode a bike around with her.  She sure has been keeping active.  She even ran a half marathon down by Monterey.  She is doing great.  I am very proud of her.

Leslie's 50th birthday party.
One weekend we went to Leslie's 50th birthday party up in San Jose.  It was great to see Leslie, Carl, Kellie, and the rest of the family.  It was a nice time.  Someone at the party drove up in a Tesla all electric car.  Very nice.  Who got to go for a ride?  Non other than cute little Linnea.  How does she rate?

On another day Ray took his family and I to mess around in Carmel.

At the beach in Carmel.
Ryan, Ray, Linnea, and Maria

Linnea and Maria
This Carmel Mission still runs an elementary school.
Ray went to school here back in the day.
More of this Visit later.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A very wet summer = Mushrooms

Always exploring
So they say, they who know.

Restaurants that usually make extra money during the summers here with their outdoor additions, putting tables and chairs out on the sidewalks (trottoaren) to serve their customers, have had a very meager season due to the bad weather. Not at all  the anticipated jingle in the cash registers.  This is something I read about in the newspaper, (no, I still have not cancelled it) and yes there are many who feel it has been too wet this summer.  We, David and I  do not have enough experience to offer an opinion on this verses other summers. I for one have not at all minded this summers weather.

The bonus is that  this wet weather brings an abundance of mushrooms to all these beautiful forests.  Those who know what they are doing are in their glory! Personally I have no clue. My Morbror (Uncle) Gunnar he was an expert, sad that I did not pay better attention when he was trying to teach me.  It did not seem important at the time.  If I had listened and learned, I too would be out there picking mushrooms.

As it is  I purchase my mushrooms at the local markets or the grocery stores instead.  I love mushrooms!  With all the varying textures and different tastes my special favorite is the Chanterelle / Kantarell with its bright yellow trumpets promising a flavor of apricot.  So delicious!  Unless one dries them or conserves them in any other manner,  the season for the fungi is short and the mushroom is at it's best right out woods then directly  out of the mushroom basket.

A really nice, quick, easy and tasty way to enjoy these little treasures is on top a slice of toasted country bread just as Tina Nordström suggests in her book "A Culinary Tour Of Sweden"

Saute one diced red onion and two heaping  cups of sliced cleaned Chanterelles in three tablespoons of butter adding rosemary to taste.  Cook on high heat about 5 - 7 minutes.  Core and thinly  slice a tart red or green apple,  and the zest from  half a lemon, adding this to the pan of  mushrooms, also adding  salt and pepper to taste along with  three heaping tablespoons of cream cheese stirring  until melted. ( Here we use Messmör a cheese made of whey from goat milk - difficult to find in the U S.  Cream cheese  lacks some of the tang but it works well too). Pile the mixture on four slices of the toasted bread and serve with a good beer!   Very  tasty indeed ...... Bon apetito !

What will I find next?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Seattle Visit

John's house in Seattle.
I flew into Seattle late Friday to spend the weekend with John.  It was great to see him and his family.
I had a great time catching up on all the goings on.  John put me to work right away helping him dig out a tree stump in his backyard and to level an area in his basement to lay down some stepping stones.  All this was in preparation for his 50th birthday party.

Seattle is a fantastic city.
On Saturday we went sightseeing.  The weather was great and the temp was in the 90's.  It was a wonderful day.

Some kids in the park playing songs from the Beatles.
Marivic, John, Haley (Kevin's girlfriend), and Kevin
There was music in the park and people enjoying the outdoors.  Seattle is a very friendly bicycle town.
A good time was had by everyone.

Seattle is a beautiful city.
John was on the phone with Fred our other son in Southern California.
Seattle would be a very nice city to live in.  The weather is very similar to that of Helsingborgs.  The people are very friendly and they are out and about no matter what the weather.

Some Seattleites having a grand old time on their boat.
Watching the seaplanes taking off and landing among all the boaters was exciting.
I told myself that on my next visit to Seattle I would take a sightseeing flight on one of those.  But, on a smaller plane than the one pictured above.  I want to get the full effect on taking off and landing on the water in a plane with pontoons.

Being silly.
It's always a fun time at John's house
I was treated to a great BBQ, went to a very nice Oaxaca Mexican restaurant, visited one of John's favorite local bars, and had good home cooked meals.  What's not to like.

It was too short of a visit.  Next time I will make it a point to spend more time here.  I flew out of Seattle on Monday morning to my next destination in Hollister, California to spend some time with Maria.