Caution, cuteness.

The annual Estes Park Wool Market was last weekend (June 10, 2011…someone needs to get on the ball about posting. Yeah, that’d be me). Thousands of woolen creatures–sheep, goats, alpacas, vicunas, llamas, rabbits–all there for the petting. Oh the cuteness.

A handsome llama waits for the pack-llama judging to start.

If he were my llama, I’d name him “Bucky.”

100% cuteness.

110% cuteness.

Such a chill, smart-seeming goat. I think we really had a connection. Had I a farm, I’d have taken this one home with me. It could have ridden in the back of the Subaru, right? I’d name it Cleo. I promise to trim it’s hooves.

Wooly goat!

Wooly goats…oreo style.

Baby goat! The ultimate in cuteness.

The day wasn’t all cutness. There was also the eating of cute animals. There is something a little disturbing about a lamb sandwich for lunch before you go pet some lambs, but only if you think about it too much.

Under the tomatoes and delicious Greek yogurt sauce was some Colorado-grown lamb patty. Yum.

Chowing down on Greek-style lamb patty on a pita.

Then,  something we’d never seen before, or even heard of–llama agility. I snagged some front-row seats in the shaded arena where we watched llamas compete in a complex agility course. It was really cool to see the relationship between animal and handler–most of the obstacles really seemed to be about the llama trusting its human.

The tire walk. Seemed like the objective was to get the llama to have all 4 feet inside the tire at the same time.

The water obstacle! The little pool was filled with water and floating plastic balls. The llama had to walk through. This guy kind of jumped out at the end.

For this one, the handler rolls an excercise ball around a kiddie-pool. Seemed like more of a human-trick than a llama trick.

The “up and over” challenge.

Towards the start of the course, the llamas had to walk through a pile of branches.

Here, the llama is supposed to face its handler and scoot sideways along the hay bales. More than one llama came to this challenge and was all, “snack!” chowing down on the hay. Um, no, llama. That’s not how it goes.

In this one, the llama has to walk along this narrow carpet between some rocks, keeping all its feet on the carpet.

The hoola-hoop. The handler would pass the hoop over her body, down the lead, onto the llama, and then back the way it came. The llamas mostly just stood there and took it. If I were a llama, I think I’d have been spitting about this. There’s probably a point deduction for spitting, though.

After llama agility, there was “leaping llamas” and “llama limbo.” There was one small llama–looked more like an alpaca–that won the limbo on account of being so short. The crowd really got into these events, cheering on the llamas and giving them a collective “Awwww,” when they’d knock the bar down. It was also pretty funny to watch the handlers. Some would jump the bar, others would try to go around, but that usually confused the llama who was like, “You didn’t jump, why should I jump?” Videos captured the action better than stills. Enjoy!


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A Walk Up the Poudre

Something you probably don’t (want to?) know about me: my sense of humor is roughly that of a 12 year old boy. That’s probably why, when my good friend Jodie asked me if I wanted to walk dogs tonight–up the Poudre–I snickered and giggled and tee-hee-hee’d to myself and said yes.

After last night’s hailstorm, today was gray and dreary. Mr. Sunshine decided to march into the gloomsday parade late in the afternoon, though, so we had perfect weather for a walk up the Poudre (hee hee, I said it again).

The river is running high right now. I had heard that parts of the trail were closed because of flooding. We didn’t encounter that, but there was A LOT of water roaring by. Check it out…

Raging waters. My dad watched some show on The Weather Channel about flood risk along Boulder Creek. This picture's for you, Dad.

At one point, we watched a good sized log race by. That water's movin'! Don't worry Dad, I know where the high ground is and this is really far from the house. We're not likely to be swept away.

Looking up the Poudre. Sorry. Couldn't resist.

This is Izzie-dawg. I think Fischer has a bit of a crush on Izzie. Look at that face? Who wouldn't have a crush on that?

Izzie and her mamma.

Fischer-dawg, all tired out from a long walk. He had to wear his embarassing anti-pull collar on account of his total lack of doggie social skills. He did try to put the moves on Izzie, though. Maybe another walk or two and he'll figure out how to charm her and stop being such a grumpy old man.

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Weekend Update

We had a wonderful long weekend! Here’s a quick update:

Because Memorial Day weekend is known for furniture sales, and because we had a coupon, we bought new furniture. Maybe not the most responsible thing to do at the moment, I’ll give you that. But its awfully nice.

[Sorry for the craptastic pictures. The regular camera battery is dead so I had to use the phone.]

You can just see in the upper corner of the picture where T painted the walls on either side of the fireplace a couple times. First he tried the gray from the townhouse basement bathroom, but that wasn’t dark enough, so he tried a color called “Zinc” and that seems to be a winner. Strangely, it looks like he painted it two different colors–one on either side. My friend Ariel needed a lot of convincing that both sides were the same. Some trick of the light, I guess. I like it. I tell people it’s “dynamic.”

Saturday night we had a great dinner with friends in Lyons and got to tour their property along the St. Vrain river. Despite the continued soggy weather, we had a fantastic time trooping around the “farm,” envisioning the sheep, goats, and wild yak that may soon live there. Highlight of the night was finding an owl pellet under a ponderosa pine in the dim evening light. We pulled it apart and found the itty-bitty jaw and incongruously large front teeth of a hapless rodent; the owl’s last meal.

Sunday was a pretty chill day. Mostly we organized in preparation for next weekend’s EPIC neighborhood garage sale. The neighbors all say that it is epic. I’m excited. More to see what treasures the neighbors drag out onto their lawns than I am to unload my own junk treasure. But, it will be good to get the front room back, which is where all of our junk treasure is currently parked. On Sunday night, the cousins came over for dinner…a little carb loading before the BoulderBoulder. I wish I had pictures of the girls eating spaghetti–it was too cute.

Monday morning, cousin Cassie and I ran the BoulderBoulder with 50,000 other people. Oh, the humanity. And, oh the spectators. Guy at mile 1 giving out a tray of bacon, the people around mile 4 with a table filled with beer and doughnuts for runners, the Elvis impersonator, the Guns n’ Roses cover band (complete with Slash lookalike)–they were all fantastically entertaining and kept me from thinking about the pain I was in. That course was UP hill, I tell you. We ran fast though. Well, it was fast for me, anyway. The winner ran it about twice as fast as I did, but who’s counting. I came in 17,856th. Not too shabby. Here we are, happy to be finished!

That was Monday morning. I made ribs that afternoon and Tom&Ariel and Matt&Jodie came over for dinner. Are you counting? That’s TWO DINNER PARTIES IN ONE WEEKEND! Who ARE we? We have never been this social as a couple. Seriously, it’s the house’s fault. It makes me want to have people over. I wake up and the house twists my arm and makes me phone up friends. With its space for seating, yard to hang out in, and hot tub to soak in (6 was kinda tight, lots of sloshing…the water level is definitely lower now). I am so in love with this house. And with having people over. We rarely had people over in the townhouse. Mostly just family because, you know, its okay to cram 6 of them into your dollhouse-sized dining room and rub elbows while you try to cut your meat. But friends, people we like (not that we don’t like family)? I just couldn’t. Now, I CAN! So, I DO!

Matt&Jodie brought yummy venison tacos and Ariel&Tom brought delicious creme brulee with rhubarb surprise and lentils that we all agreed were about a “4” (it’s a rating thing for all the recipes Ariel’s been making out of the giant Gourmet cookbook; 4 isn’t very good). My ribs (roasted and grilled with a garlicky balsamic glaze) were tender and good. It was a fantastic meal with lots of laughter and great stories.

Ariel&Tom brought us their kayaks that they don’t want anymore. We’re so close to two different reservoirs and think it might be fun to try paddling around, watching birds. We need to get life jackets to be legal, but hope to get out on the water soon. I tell T that I’m going to teach the dog to sit on my boat so we can all go together. If that doesn’t work, I guess I’ll zip him into his floatie and tie him to the front of the boat. If I put ball on a pole so that it dangles in front of him, he’ll drag me around any lake for as long as I like, I suspect.

Can't wait to get out on the water. Better make a mental note to look for life jackets on craigslist.

Also this weekend, I discovered that things are growing in my garden. I planted seeds, so its not like I experienced some kind of gardening immaculate conception or anything. But, ever since I planted seeds, it has rained, rained, and rained some more. To the point where I go around saying “Vermont called–they want their weather back” to anyone, because I think its the funniest thing ever. I figured they would all rot, or slide around the bed and all sprout up in one corner. Plus, these garden beds are situated in the shadiest spots in the yard. I’m not sure what the previous owners were thinking. Maybe they weren’t familiar with photosynthesis. So, I planted seeds with low expectations and high hopes. I did a little inventory this afternoon, though, and it looks like things are coming up pretty much where they should be.

This year, I decided to do the “square foot gardening” method. Super duper anal gardening is more like it. AJ used to make fun of me for over-planting and messy rows. This year, I wanted to really try this technique so, I went out there with my ruler and measured off 1-foot by 1-foot squares and planted my seeds just so. I’m curious to see how it turns out. Here’s the first little babies coming up.

Kohlrabi! Wait, maybe its lettuce...or Swiss chard...hmmm...could be spinach...they all look the same at this stage. I planted all those things, but I can't remember where without my garden map. I like to surprise myself, I guess.

Peas!!

Sage and Italian parsley! Oh, and Fischer and ball. He's totally obsessive-compulsive about ball. He knows right where it is all the time and insists on going out to check on it.

Tomatoes! Early Girl, Cherokee Purple, Big Boy, Roma, and one other one that didn't have a tag and I can't remember what it was called. I love the names of tomato varieties. And all the different sizes, shapes, and colors they come in. I only have this one little patch of sun in the yard though, so I couldn't go too crazy and limited myself to only 7 plants this year. Last year I think Ariel & I planted 16 or so.

So, that was my weekend. A little bit of everything. A lot of fun.

Wednesday: Big water & dinner with Matt

Wednesday was tubing day. Colorado’s had a wet spring with lots of rain so, the Saint Vrain river, just a few minutes from Ted’s house, was running high, cold, and fast.

Big water adventure, here we come!

Big water adventure, here we come!

We had a picnic lunch first and watched a few people “float” the river. It looked more like an amusement park ride than the leisurely float we’d been anticipating, but we figured if these jokers could do it, so could we. We lay in the sun for a bit to get warm and motivated.

PB&J, apples, grapes, bbq chips, and drinks right on the water's edge.

PB&J, apples, grapes, bbq chips, and drinks right on the water's edge.

Like turtles, we lay in the sun soaking up the heat until we felt warm and brave enough to get in the water.

Like turtles, we lay in the sun soaking up the heat until we felt warm and brave enough to get in the water....

…and then we took the plunge. It was cold, it was fast, and it was scary! On our second pass, I leaned back too far going over a little rapid and went for a swim! Thankfully, I didn’t hit any rocks with any body parts and managed to hang onto my tube. Mostly I felt bad for Ted, who looked back up river and could only see two feet kicking in the air. We called it after that, saying that we were too old for that kind of excitement…honestly, I think maybe we’re just wussy.

Wednesday evening, Matt came over for dinner. I made pork tenderloin on the grill and it turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. I also made a beautiful spinach salad with carrots, red peppers, and snap peas and an orange-sesame dressing, and corn on the cob. Ted helped by shucking the corn (a job I hate) and then staying outta the kitchen. After dinner, we all went for a walk (Matt’s dog, Cap, came too) which was kind of ruined by the bugs, but the temperature was perfect. Matt’s a great guy and we had a really nice time.

This was our first time hosting dinner together and I was so happy with how it all turned out. Ted’s house is nice for entertaining because of the open floor plan and He’s a great co-host. He made sure we were home in time to relax and have lots of time to get ready and he was great about just letting me cook and be in charge of dinner (too many cooks isn’t a good thing).  It was a wonderful, relaxing end to a fun and exciting day.