Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter 2010

Easter 2010! We arrived at my sister's house around 10:00 in the morning. Cassandra had been waiting for the Easter egg hunt, and in a couple minutes she was running around the back yard finding Easter eggs. These were the plastic pop-open kinds, so there weren't any jellybeans rolling around in the dirt. There were the regular plain ones and some cool animal shaped ones I hadn't seen before. The eggs had the traditional candy, some stickers, coins for the piggy bank, and a few little toys (I think - the toys may have been from something else).

After the Eggs had all been found we sat in the living room for a bit and were entertained by the ever changing tale of Belle, the horse, the snail, the bunny and Charlie Brown. I didn't quite follow the narrative, but Charlie Brown did get to sit in the Dora the Explorer chair. More family and friends arrived and at around noon we had a tasty lunch of grilled chicken, potatoes, green beans and salad - as usual, very good. This was followed by a very good fruit tart for dessert along with coffee.

Showed Cassandra how to hear the ocean in a couple big seashells we found last week at Carpinteria Beach. She thought it was interesting and kept listening to them, sometimes in stereo. She also found a penny and a shiny jingle bell in a planter, and had a great time hiding them under shells and having people find them again - usually under the same shells each time.

We left around 3:00 or so - tomorrow is the first day back from Spring Break and still need to get some last bits together.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter on the Farm 2010

Today we went to the Moorpark Farms "Easter on the Farm 2010" festival with family and friends. It's a two day event and not as elaborate as their Fall Festival, but it's still fun. There were a variety of farm animals including pygmy goats, rabbits, horses, ducks, etc. For some reason they weren't selling carrots this time, but you could buy animal food pellet for a quarter. One thing that was new (or at least I never saw it before) was a wooden walkway high in the air between the different goat pens on the farm.

Most of the rides and exhibits were for little kids (we had two with us). They had a pony ride, a straw pyramid, wooden trains and trucks that the kids could play on, and a grassy area with some kid-sized tunnels. The kids ran around and all and all they had a good time.

Around 11:30 we left for lunch. We decided to go to the Roundtable Pizza in Moorpark as it was close by, probably kid friendly and in the past we've had pretty good luck with their pizza. Not the best of plans. Ordered the pizzas and then got some salad at the salad bar. As I was eating, found a big clump of stuff in the potato salad. First thought it was hair, but it appeared to be a clump of thin nylon threads that had gotten burnt around the edges. Quite gross. Gave it to the clerk, but got no real response. Owners came in a bit later (I'm pretty sure they were the owners) and never said anything. They also got our order wrong and the "grab a stuffed animal" machine was weighted or loose (as per Jim - I've seen him use those machines, and if he says it's rigged, it's rigged!). We won't be going back there again.

Went on our way after that and made a quick stop at the Moorpark Farms in Somis (they have a produce stand) to pick up some fruit and vegetables.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch & Carvel's Ice Cream

We went to Goleta this afternoon to meet a friend and have dinner. We decided to go to the Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch in the Fairview Shopping Center. Back when we lived out there we ate at the Santa Barbara location quite often for lunch. This was the first time we went to the new Goleta location, and we were happy to find that it was just as good as the original restaurant. The interior was similar, but larger with a bit more space. We all gave it a thumbs up and would go there again.

Deane and I had talked earlier about the fact that there weren't that many ice cream or frozen yogurt places any more. Back when we were in high school and college there were a couple in the area that we went to quite a bit. Swenson's Ice Cream was on Calle Real about a half mile away and there was a frozen yogurt place in the Fairview Shopping Center. Lo and behold - Deane spotted a sign for a Carvel's Ice Cream two doors down! We went over and got some ice cream. The place was very clean, the service was good and the ice cream was great. Definitely a place we'll be going to again. They also had some cool ice cream cakes - we thought about getting one, but it probably wouldn't make it home to Ventura.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Los Angeles Zoo & IKEA

We're setting up a workroom for Deane's art and rubber stamp business. We've used the room for storage for the last few years, and decided to tidy it up over Spring break. We found some nice shelves and a desk from IKEA and worked out where everything would go. Our first plan was to take my 20 year old "commuter" van to pick up the furniture, but realized that the back seats didn't come out, so the shelves wouldn't fit. We decided to have the furniture delivered, but wanted to do it at the store instead of online so we could confirm everything.

Since we were taking Deane's car, we decided to visit the zoo first. It's only a few minutes from IKEA, and we hadn't been there for a while. We arrived around opening time and hurried to the gorillas and orangutans. Most people start at the front of the zoo and slowly work their way to the far end so if you don't start at the entrance, you avoid the crowds.

The some of the gorillas were roaming around, but most were sitting and eating. The orangutans were doing the same, except for one naughty youngster that was climbing all over the exhibit and pestering the older ones. They took it with good grace, but it was amusing. The orangutans' exhibit is surrounded by wire mesh, so it's difficult to get good photos though. We stayed at the zoo for a bit over an hour (we have memberships, so don't have to pay each time) and then left to IKEA.

We arrived at IKEA around lunch so we went to the cafeteria and bought the traditional meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy and lingonberry sauce. As an added bonus, we received in change two of the new 2010 pennies with the new design. They changed it for Lincoln's 200th (actually 2010 is his 201st) birthday. Very nice design. We then found our way to the furniture section and ordered the shelves and a desk. The smallest shelf would fit in the Civic, so we decided to take that one home to get started. We bought a couple other odds and ends (almost impossible to leave the store without doing that) and got home by mid afternoon.

LA Zoo: Chimps

LA Zoo: Tortoise

LA Zoo: Tiger

Deane buying some Glazed Almonds

The Shelf - All Set Up & Some Monkeys!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Carpinteria Valley Museum of History

While browsing the Internet I found that Carpinteria had a history museum. We had been to Carpinteria countless times in the past, and had lived there about 10 years ago or so, but never realized that this museum existed. It was only a block away from the Foster’s Freeze we usually stop at when we're in Carpinteria.

We arrived in Carpinteria around 11:30. The museum opened at 1:00, so we stopped at the above mentioned Foster’s Freeze and had some hamburgers and fries. After lunch we walked over to the museum. It was closed, but had a courtyard in the back that had some antique farm equipment and such. After that we went to the new library bookstore that was in the same block as the museum and Deane bought a couple craft books.

We then decided to move the car, as we didn’t want to leave it in the Foster’s lot for hours. We parked in the parking lot next to Senor Frog’s on Linden Street and checked out some of the shops – Deane bought an old foldout postcard thing for a couple dollars and an “antique” shop, but that was it. We strolled around until about 1:00 and then walked over to the museum.

We were the first people at the museum. It was well constructed and used a number of parts of old Carpinteria houses that had been demolished in the past. A docent took us on a short tour of the museum and told us details about the exhibits. It was very well done for a local museum, and the exhibits ranged from the early Chumash period (about 10,000 years ago to the time when Spain / Mexico colonized the area) to the early part of the 20th century. There were displays on Chumash culture, early aircraft (Carpinteria had an airfield in the past) and dolls. The displays were a bit random, but all had to do with Carpinteria history and were quite interesting. There were also a number of dioramas, some on the Spanish period, but most were centered around 1850-1950, the period when the town developed into what it is today.

The museum is located at 956 Maple Avenue in Carpinteria, and is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated – we thought the trip was well worth it, so we donated!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Shakey's Pizza in Northridge

Back again!

We went to Shakey's Pizza in Northridge today. It's located in a small strip mall on Reseda Boulevard. I'm not sure when it was built, but it has the atmosphere of the one I remember going to in Goleta when I was a kid. It had the "Old Time" Shakey's motif complete with a fireplace, player piano, signs on the walls, and stained glass lights (the light was a bit dim). The restaurant was a bit run down, but that's how I remember the one in Goleta. They had a reasonably priced all-you-can-eat deal that included pizza, chicken, "mojo" potatoes and included salads and drinks. We didn't eat that much, but some of the customers were getting their money's worth...

After lunch we went to the Northridge mall for a bit and stopped by the Sugoi Life store (cool Japanese stuff). They hadn't received the re-ment (miniature models of stuff) that Deane was waiting for, but we bought a few things, including some interesting erasers to send my sister in England.

On the way home on the 118 we visited the Somis nut house to replenish our nut supply - Hazelnuts, Walnuts and Brazil nuts! They had some new retro T-shirts, but we didn't buy any - might get one later though.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Underwood Farms

We go to my sister’s house in Chatsworth fairly often. It’s about 45 minutes to an hour on the 118 depending on the traffic. More often than not we stop at the Underwood Farms produce stand and buy strawberries and other produce that’s in season. It’s locally grown (as far as I know) and much better quality than the stuff you get at the big chain supermarkets. They also have a small playground and some farm animals in pens to the side. If we have the time we’ll buy a small bag of carrots for a dollar and feed the animals. They have a few pigmy goats, a couple regular sized goats of different breeds, a llama and some chickens.

The pigmy goats have a series of wooden platforms and ramps that they rest on during the day. When they see people coming with carrots they scuttle down the ramps to get their share. Around the corner are more goats and the llama. They know where the carrots come from too, and crowd around the fence. One of the goats (the white one under the red sign) has learned to rattle the fence with his hoof if you don’t pay attention to him. There’s also a big one with floppy ears that peers over the fence to get his carrots – Deane thinks that one’s a bit scary.

Underwood also has a large farm near Moorpark. They hold a variety of events there, the biggest being the Fall Harvest Festival. The festival runs from the end of September to the end of October. We went there last year and had a good time. It’s a low key event, with a lot of farm animals (and small bags of carrots) as well as rides for the kids. One of their biggest attractions is their pumpkins. The Fall Harvest Festival has acres and acres of pumpkins. Huge pumpkins, small pumpkins (I think they’re actually gourds), white pumpkins, round pumpkins, splotchy orange pumpkins – more types of pumpkins than I knew existed. We had already bought some big pumpkins at the store. With all those pumpkins, we felt obligated to buy something so we bought a couple small ones. One started getting moldy last April and the other we just threw out last week – we got our money’s worth from them. The next one starts on the 26th of September and we’ll probably go again this year.