...specifically birds of prey! Even more specifically, owls. I did my research, got a pair of binoculars, and took our camera lens with the best zoom out for my first attempt! I also took my super-supportive husband who puts up with all of my random ideas.
Things started off pretty slow with a few geese and some gorgeous scenery.
But our bird watching picked up quickly when we spotted a hawk on a fence post!
We saw another one just a little ways down the road!
Hawks turned out to be everywhere in this area. Here's an awesome shot of a red-tail landing!
This guy was feeling very photogenic and gave us some great shots.
Now here comes the amazing part of our journey. I had really, really wanted to see an owl that day. I did my research and knew generally where they liked to hang out. It was getting to be dusk, and we still hadn't been able to spot one. I had heard they were pretty hard to see, so I didn't have very high hopes that we'd end up finding one.
We were on the freeway driving home when I saw a spot not far from an exit that I thought would be perfect for owls. We got off the exit and decided to check just one last time for the day. We were cruising like total sketchy people through a parking lot when a cute old couple drove up beside us. I was hanging out the window looking at a bunch of trees with my binoculars, and the man leaned out his window too. He shall, from here on out, be known as "miracle man." I almost died when I heard what he said.
Miracle Man: "Hey! Are you looking at the owl in that tree over there?"
Me: "Wh...What?!? WHAT?!"
Man: "Yeah! There's an owl in that tree! Just across the river. We come here almost every day to see it."
Me: *jumps out of car* "SKLJDLAKJLFDJSKFJSKJSALKJLDKASJ"
Man: "Yep! Just right in that tree!"
Me: *tears in eyes* "Oh my gosh oh my gosh it's an owl!!!!"
Me: "This is the best day of my life!!!!"
Me: "THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!"
Man: "You're welcome. Enjoy!" *drives away probably straight off into heaven*
And that's the story of how I saw my very first wild owl of my whole life.
Well...that's almost the whole story. It turns out, we could just see the owl's silhouette from the side of the river we were on. Now that might be enough for most owl enthusiasts, but not this one. This was my first real owl sighting, and I was going to make the most of it. Daniel and I drove around to the other side of the river to try and get a closer look. Unfortunately, we were met with a barbed wire fence and a giant "No Trespassing" sign. But did that deter this owl lover? Not a chance. We hopped the fence, and ran about a quarter mile down the riverbank through mud and slush and came face-to-face with this absolutely gorgeous creature in the most magical light I could have ever imagined.
When we got a little too close for his comfort, he even flew to another branch to give us a better view! He was winking at us ;)
It was amazing to see an owl up close in the wild. It was also kind of addicting. In fact, I have seen no less than SIX additional owls since this first sighting! So if you ever want to take up owling, you know who to call ;)
Still playing catch up over here... This is the story of our visit to Tracy Aviary back in January! So much fun. It was pretty chilly the day we went, but the birds were still out and we had a great time. (FYI - teachers get in free!)
If you know me, you know that I have a serious affinity for all things owl - especially actual owls. Here's some photos of the owls and other feathery friends we encountered that day.
First, some ducks...
...and some pelicans!
Then, a very neat endangered pheasant.
And an Andean condor! (it was giant)
A beautiful golden eagle.
And a majestic bald eagle ('Murica).
Then I chased a peacock...
...and we became friends!
Finally...The OWL FOREST!
Great Horned Owl
And another Great Horned!
This guy is a barred owl!
Not pictured: two tiny Screech Owls and a Great Grey Owl who were camera shy.
And that was our trip to the Aviary! This adventure sparked an interest in my new favorite hobby: Bird Watching!
This past Thanksgiving, I got asked to bring a pie to dinner. I had never made a pie before, but it felt like one of those rites-of-passage to adulthood so I decided to do it.
I researched all the kinds of pies like a crazy person, and finally decided on this recipe for Razzleberry Pie. I was hoping it would turn out like the one from Marie Callendar's by the same name. And guess what...IT DID!! I can happily report that my first pie experience went very well!
I suggest you make this tasty pie for your next gathering. If I can do it, you can do it!
November was a crazy month. Pretty much all of our stories from this month start and end with one thing: WOOD. Wood seems harmless enough, but it singlehandedly caused two epic adventures for the Sorensens this past November.
The first story is a lot more hilarious when I tell the long version, but I'll keep it short for blogging purposes. One evening, Daniel was working with his friend John taking down some heavy wood cabinets for a house remodel. As they were removing them, one of the cabinets fell and hit Daniel on the top of his head. After sending some gruesome pictures to his dad (a surgeon), it was determined that Daniel needed stitches. So he TEXTED (not called, texted) me to let me know. I freaked out remained calm and drove him to the Instacare, and all was taken care of. It could have been a lot worse, and he was lucky to get out of there with 9 staples, and no sign of a concussion!
Which brings me to my second story. Daniel has decided recently to take up woodcarving. It's a really neat hobby (except when wood shavings are all over your living room) and Daniel is very good at it. This Santa is only the third thing he ever carved!
One day, Daniel was carving another Santa similar to this one, and a giant, sharp, terrible chunk of wood went rouge and shot RIGHT INTO HIS EYE!! I am not kidding you. It was stuck in his eye. Craziness ensued. It took me almost 5 minutes to get it out. I ended up having to pull it out with tweezers!! After all of the stress was over and we determined that Daniel was not blind, the two of us had a straight up laugh attack in front of the bathroom mirror where we had been trying to get the wood out of his eye. It was such a freak accident, and we were so glad he was okay!
Don't worry, the next day we were at Home Depot buying eyewear for wood carving. NOT making that mistake again!
And that is why M & D are not friends with wood. The end.
Still playing hardcore catch-up over here....[Actual Date: October-ish 2013]
This past Halloween, Daniel and I threw a really fun Clue party with a few friends. It was super fun! When I first came up with the idea, I figured I could get on Pinterest really quick and find someone who had already pre-made all of the stuff, and all we'd have to do is get dressed up!
Boy, was I wrong. I couldn't find much of anything! We ended up coming up with the gameplay, invitations, place cards, instructions, and all of the other materials ourselves. Totally worth it, as you will see below. We had a blast!
DISCLAIMER: all apparent abuse pictured below is completely fake :)
Miss Scarlet and Colonel Mustard
Colonel Mustard actually does have real army ties, so I think we get bonus points for that.
This is Professor Plum FULLY committing to his character by shaving a very realistic looking cul-de-sac in his hair. Also, Mrs. Peacock's fur coat was incredible.
I laugh SO hard every time I see this photo!!
Mrs. White and Mr. Green
Professor Plum and Mrs. Peacock
The whole gang - which one of us is guilty?!
If you are interested in throwing your own clue party, here is a rundown of how we ran ours. (If you don't care, you can stop reading here. I will love you anyway! :)
We pulled a lot of the party elements from the movie Clue, and some of them from the board game. First, we created invitations. I made one invitation per person in order to assign them their character.
We ended up having the party at my parents house so that there were enough rooms. I made labels for each room in the house and printed them on old fashioned paper. I set the table, complete with a clue-themed centerpiece that contained all of the weapons and a bunch of vintage cards from the game. I also made place cards for each guest.
When the guests arrived, we welcomed them into the "study" for "drinks" a.k.a. cream soda. Daniel and I thrifted an excellent decanter and some tumblers which we washed out and put the cream soda in. When all the guests had arrived, we adjourned to the dining room for dinner. I served 2 kinds of soup (a throwback to the movie) along with a salad, Lion House rolls, etc, and pumpkin roll for dessert. One of the soups I made was this Lemon Chicken Stew. It was to die for!! We stayed in character during dinner and after we ate, the party was on.
We went back to the study to debrief. I explained the gameplay we invented, which went like this:
The first part of the game was set up exactly like the board game. We used the Clue cards from the board game, and selected one room, one weapon, and one person at random, and secretly put them in the "confidential" envelope. Then, we divided the rest of the cards up evenly among the six of us.
Here's where the gameplay changed. We each went to a random room in the house so that we could put all of the secret information we just received on our scorecards. Then, we hid the cards we got around the room.
Afterward, we all met again in the lounge. It was time to "search the house" like they did in the movie. To find our partner who would search the house with us, we drew straws. Then, we went with our randomly assigned partner to a room of our choice to search for the clues. When we went into the rooms, we both looked for the clues and shared them with each other when we found them. Some people tried to be a little more sneaky than others...
We did this a few times. Between each of these searching rounds, we met back in the lounge for a guessing round. The guessing rounds were exactly like the board game - we took turns saying a scenario we thought might be true, and asked if anyone could prove us wrong. If no one guessed it right, we picked a new partner and repeated another searching round.
Since we were good guessers, I think the game lasted only 3 rounds, which was perfect. We finally determined that the murderer was Miss Scarlet, with the rope, in the study.
After the game, we all went down to the "ballroom" to watch the movie clue, complete with popcorn, drinks, and snacks. It was a super fun night!
I wish I had taken a million more pictures. Some of the most fun touches were in the details of the rooms, and I never took photos of them! I hope you still get the idea, and feel free to ask if you have any questions.