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February 27th, 2010 by Matt

27 February, morning:  Attend Houston’s Downtown Rodeo Parade.

27 February, night:  DIY Rodeo Parade (and instruments).


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Butterfly Pictures

February 27th, 2010 by Matt · 1 Comment

Photo collection of Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies, eggs, and caterpillars on Zebra Hollyhock (Malva sylvestris). Note how tiny the caterpillars are, at about 24 hours old, compared to the adult.

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Sail away, sail away, sail away

February 21st, 2010 by Matt · 1 Comment

This week, like so many men before him, David decided that he needed a boat.

It was all part of a bigger plan. He wanted some fish in an aquarium, and what better way to catch a few than from a boat? He also wanted some fish for dinner, which sounded like a much more sustainable strategy, and he figured a boat would help with that as well.

J: A couple of weeks ago at the beach David thought he could float over the waves on an enormous washed-up tree, and catch fish that way. When he realized the tree was much too large for us to shove into the water, David reprimanded Matt for coming to the beach without his chain saw. Then last week, while I was on a mission at REI for a new pair of sunglasses, he found exactly what he needed: an orange and yellow Old Town two-seater kayak.

At first, we noted that there was no place for it to fit in our house. But after a bit of scheming with our neighbors, we decided that it would really look great hanging from our living room ceiling. We’d probably need a mounted marlin, a waterfall or something, and then we’d be headed right towards the high-end seafood restaurant look. Problem one solved.

So then we noted that the potential captain didn’t know how to swim. That argument fell flat after learning about life jackets. And, like all explorers before him, you can only prepare for so many things to go wrong. Why worry about this one?

So nothing stood in the way of this career change. However, financial analysts do recommend that before taking out a subprime boat payment, every five year old should try the sport out once to make sure that it’s something you really want to do. And so we did.


Using nothing more than a net, our captain caught a full-grown, um, insect in the water. Not long enough to be legal, but a success nonetheless.

J: As I watched from the shore I watched David look toward me from the middle of the lake.  Then his little voice rang out, “MOMMY, I NEED MY BLUE BUCKET!” (The bucket, by now temporarily in the ‘Ru, was already holding three snails, several dragonfly nymphs, and a large freshwater shrimp.) Matt dug into his backpack and found a months-old container of stale rice crackers. Carmen tried to feed the rice crackers to fish who refused to surface (of course not, the crackers were stale!), and David got a specimen container.

He then moved right into the next part of his plan: Homemade aquarium-building, temperature-controlled.


And the boat payment verdict: The rowboat was nice, but the engine was a tad slow. We need a sailboat.

J: You know, Carmen was a little reluctant to participate in this particular adventure. First, I wasn’t going in the water. I knew my wanky vestibular system would get me feeling discombobulated quickly, but Carmen didn’t exactly see that as a vote of confidence. And second, maybe in part because I wasn’t going, and maybe in part because we had warned Carmen that they would need to wear life jackets in the water, Carmen began to worry that she would find herself wet and stranded in the middle of Lake Raven at Huntsville State Park. But she did it, tough cookie that she is. (She assured me that next time if I took a canoe ride with her and got dizzy, I could just jump out. I stalled a bit. “Don’t you know how to swim?” she asked. “No,” I answered, feeling a bit slimy since I had been encouraging them to learn. “Oh, well,” she said, “you can wear a life jacket. Your head won’t go under the water that way. Just wear your swim suit.” Thanks, kiddo.)

Update 23 Feb:David also drew a map of his travels:

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Sky Loom Weavers

February 14th, 2010 by Joyce

Saturday we took a trip to Sky Loom Weavers.  I’ve already had to promise Carmen we’ll visit again.

(Good Lizabeth took the pictures and shared them with us.)

Here are two of the four mohair goats.  I couldn’t resist pointing out to C&D that they lived in a very big pen, much bigger than our living room.


I get a kick out of that strawberry hat.


Llama (me and my llama, me and my llama) and two alpacas with a funny haircut.  It’s the “Lion King” look.


From the left:  raw llama fleece, raw mohair fleece, raw sheep fleece.  The sheep’s fleece felt oily from the lanolin.


Dyed sheep’s wool roving, all ready to be made into yarn.  We couldn’t help but take some home, as well as some undyed wool from a sheep named Josie.  C&D snuggled with theirs the whole way home. 


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