Sunday, November 23, 2008
So I just returned from the Downtown Chico Christmas Preview - hundreds of people strolling the streets of Chico while children dance and carolers sing. Mrs. Amy Gore invited me to join her and baby Jonathon for the festive stroll through town. The only thing really limiting me from getting into the holiday spirit was the weather - it really isn't cold. But I did have a candy cane!
Earlier today Jake and I met Amy and Stacy and of course Jonathon in Oroville for lunch. Oroville you might ask? We had to run by my office and Jake wanted to look at some travel trailers he saw for sale. And being the super-duper husband that he is, he even went into a few downtown shops with me.
We started with grand intentions and plans on Saturday - maybe a road trip to Redding or dinner at the casino in Oroville - but we scaled way back and only ventured to the Farmers Market and into Walmart. This in itself was a challenge! Walmart is crazy on Saturdays; especially before a holiday! Later that night we tried a local restaurant - Sicilian Market - and it was really good and reasonably priced. So much so that we even hit Baskin Robbins on the way home for a little ice cream.
While I am at it I should probably wish my sister Chrissy at Happy Birthday. Today she is 32! And more congratulations to her and my brother-in-law Tim as they will celebrate their 2nd wedding anniversary on Tuesday.
The rest of the week was really boring with one exception. And I wish I had pictures but you can blame this one on Jake. He has been craving to go hunting and he finally did on Thursday. The result was a big bear. Yes my husband shot a bear - legally of course. He had a tag. So in a few weeks we will have some bear steaks, sausage and pepperoni sticks. However, my husband brought me proof of his kill - a paw. Where is it you might ask? In the freezer. Not exactly what I had in mind but as long as it doesn't smell and I don't see it, I guess it can stay for a while. And if you come to visit, he can take it out of the freezer to show you. Some people keep a rabbit foot for good luck. Jake needed something a little bigger I guess. Thanks for reading! ~mrs. c
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
But, them I remembered that tonight I would get to watch the Country Music Awards uninterrupted on the big screen TV as I would have control of the remote. So after a long day of work I came home, made myself a healthy microwave diet dinner, put on one of Jake's sweatshirts and assumed the position on the couch.
And then the camera panned to the front row and there he was - George Strait. There is just something about this man and many of you, my dear friends, will agree - he is HOT! And I know he is the same age as my dad. Whatever! I think they created Wranglers for him. So tonight, I will sit here on the couch, smiling from ear to ear, enjoying the sounds of the Country Music Awards and awaiting Mr. Straits live performance. And by the way, he won the first award of the evening, Single of the Year for "I Saw God Today."
Tonight I will dream of George. Tomorrow I will be sad again until my real true love comes home from his hunting trip. Thanks for reading! ~mrs. c
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
And since I am on the subject I might as well get this out of the way. Yes I am disappointed by the results of last nights election. I am scared for our country. More than half of our population has elected a man with less than five years of experience in government! How does that make you qualified to run any country let alone the United States? I guess we will have to just deal with it now and hope for the best. I just feel as though my vote did not count. It really is disappointing that the election was called as soon as the polls closed in California. If this really was an election by the people and for the people, than why don't they count the people's votes and not the electoral college?
So the weekend started on Friday night of course and that meant candy, costumes, and a Halloween Party! As you can see Jake even got into the spirit and dressed up. I took this picture with the cell phone so its not very good but you get the idea. We had a smaller than normal swarm of candy grabbers rind the doorbell. In all, we went through three large bags of candy - the Costco size! Kids are pretty damn cute but there are a few who I wanted to take their candy away after I had given it to them. Namely the the Jr.High aged kid with a pillowcase for carrying his loot and no costume who cheerfully came to my door and said "trick or treat." After I gave him his candy he turned around to run away and yelled, "No on 8; Go Bama!" You see I had a "Yes on 8" and McCain sign in the front yard. Oddly enough after Jake and I returned from the party the "Yes on 8" sign had vanished. Hopefully by the time he gets the chance to vote, he will have wised up and learned some manners.
As the crowds began to fade, Jake took over at the door so I could put on my costume - Little Red Riding Hood with stilettos! No pictures of me - Sorry! And believe me its probably better this way. We attended the annual Merrill Family Halloween Party that was just around the corner and within walking distance. No need for a designated driver that night - we were hoofin' it! Jake was a party favorite as his costume was functional - yes the tap really worked! We had a great time at the party and managed to be home and in bed before midnight. I guess we are getting old.
Old or not, I had to be up and ready by 6am to head to Rohnert Park for the November California Women for Agriculture (CWA) Statewide Meeting. The trip was wet as the much needed rain was pouring down and the sun was not even close to rising. By the time we slid into the rain soaked Sonoma Valley we had light but no sun.
We started with a meeting to discuss the upcoming budget ( and I started with a bloody marry). And as always the meeting was lively. After all, we are a group of opinionated women with one common goal - ensuring that agriculture is at the forefront of all discussions - legislative, consumer and elementary alike. As with all non-profit organizations, times are tough right now. But we will make it work!
One of the perks of this trip was the chance to attend the Jeff and Lesa Carlton Annual Harvest Party. I was bummed that Jake could not go but I knew he didn't want to spend the rest of the weekend with my CWA sisters. Following the meeting my actual sister Christine Lott (she's a CWA member too), Amy Wolfe, Mandy Critchley, Kara Backman and I loaded up and headed to the party. It was a great time until we had to leave to get back for our Executive Committee meeting. And after a few hours of fun beverages this was even more difficult. But we loaded up and made it to the meeting about 15 minutes late. I am sure our swagger and tardiness to the meeting made it apparent we had a few adult beverages in our system. Not the most professional but we can't be perfect all the time. And besides, the rest of the group had been wine tasting before the meeting.
The meeting ended and like good party-goers we headed back the party. It was almost 10pm and we had been informed by text message that the DJ arrived shortly after our first departure. The night was still young! We arrived to warm wishes from people who had many more drinks than us and had already got their dancing groove on. Sorry there are no pictures of this but if you have access to Leas Carlton's Facebook, you can view her pictures.
Lucky for us we got an extra hour of sleep as the time changed. We held a successful meeting on Sunday morning and headed back to Chico before dark. Along the way, Joan and I stopped at Granzella's in Williams. It was my first visit since they reopened after the fire that destroyed the I-5 landmark. I have to say, the place looked almost exactly the same and the sandwich's were great.
So what did Jake do all weekend? Well he cleaned the house, did the dishes and made a big pot of chicken soup and still had time to relax on the couch with a few movies!
I hope you were laughing when you read that last paragrah because if you know my husband you know the truth. Soup and movies yes, housework no. A girl can dream though...Thanks for visiting. ~mrs. c
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
However just because harvest is over, does not mean our lives slow way down. Quite the contrary. Okay truth be told maybe Jake slows down but his wife (that's me!) is still going 100 miles an hour. And yes this frustrates Jake but he knows that I love it and I am really trying to create a balance between work, my volunteer obligations and spending lots of quality time with my him.
This last weekend brought some of that much needed quality and quiet time. After a week of contemplating heading up to Lake Almanor for the weekend, we finally elected to head out early on Saturday for a quick getaway.
Good friends of ours, Amy and Stacy Gore had invited us to join them on a weekend camping adventure as they too were looking to escape after a lengthy harvest. As I mentioned before we wanted to go but could think of the millions of things that we really needed to do at the house over the weekend. You should see the grass. We are going to need a small herd of goats or a harvester soon!
So how cute is my husband pushing little Jonathon Patrick Gore. I think I can see him pushing a stroller for us someday. And by the way, no time soon, but someday we too will have a stroller to push.
Is he the cutest kid or what! Obviously takes after his mommy Amy.
We should of headed out Friday night but I got home to late and we had not packed a thing. But on Saturday Jake packed some food and adult beverages. I packed some clothes and jackets and we headed North.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Election day is Tuesday, November 4th!
So I took up residence on the couch this evening and watched the back and forth dialogue (commercial free of course) of Wayne from the Humane Society, the organization behind Prop 2 and a pretty good mix of farmers and ranchers who speak like me. Sure Wayne was polished and slick but I commend the men and women of the farms represented for their honest opinions.
And Kudos to Oprah kinda. I was really worried about the show considering what she did to the beef industry a few years back. However she did tell everyone to make their own decision. Better yet, she pointed out what opponents (that's me and hopefully you) have been saying about this poorly written initiative - what about the economics? In this economy, can folks in California afford to feed their families free range eggs? And lets not forget, California's farmers will be put out of business because they won't be able to compete with imports from neighboring states and countries that don't have the same restrictions.
I could write on this topic and create pages of blog dialogue but I won't today. I'll just say this. I believe in what California and American farmers do everyday - feed the world. Prop 2 will take that away. Thanks for reading. ~mrs. c
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Jake is up to his eyeballs in walnut harvest. Lucky for him, we got a little rain over the weekend. While he thought this was an inconvenience (and it was) that slowed him down, it forced him to take a break and spend sometime on the couch napping on Sunday. He's grouchy when he does not have enough sleep. And they say women need their beauty sleep.
That is about it for now. Enjoy the sun and the cooler temps. And thanks for reading! ~mrs. c
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Yes, this is our Festus or as Jake would say, "his cat" as opposed to my cat Mo who does not spend too much time indoors since the arrival of Festus. I will probably be one of those parents who takes the most random pictures of their children doing the strangest things. But for now I will just practice on the pets. I remember my mom always wondering why she bought us toys since we found so much more entertainment in pots, pans, and laundry baskets. These photos are proof that the same logic works for pets too!
Festus kept himself entertained with this bag for quite some time last night and graciously posed for these photos. I do apologize for the quality. I took them with the cell phone.
Needless to say he is pretty cute! At least we think so. ~mrs. c
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I believe a man's greatest possession is his dignity and that no calling bestows this more abundantly than farming.
I believe hard work and honest sweat are the building blocks of a person's character.
I believe that farming, despite its hardships and disappointments, is the most honest and honorable way a man can spend his days on this earth.
I believe farming nurtures the close family ties that make life rich in ways money can't buy.
I believe my children are learning values that will last a lifetime and can be learned in no other way.
I believe farming provides education for life and that no other occupation teaches so much about birth, growth, and maturity in such a variety of ways.
I believe many of the best things in life are indeed free: the splendor of a sunrise, the rapture of wide open spaces, and the exhilarating sight of your land greening each spring.
I believe that true happiness comes from watching your crops ripen in the field, your children grow tall in the sun, and your whole family feels the pride that springs from their shared experience.
I believe that by my toil I am giving more to the world than I am taking from it, an honor that does not come to all men.
I believe my life will be measured ultimately by what I have done for my fellowman, and by this standard I fear no judgment.
I believe when a man grows old and sums up his days, he should be able to stand tall and feel pride in the life he's lived.
I believe in farming because it makes all this possible.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Fast forward to the spring of 2008. Its Baaack! Who knows why this weed has chosen our yard but it did. When it returned we had already begun the yard transformation for the hosting of our wedding rehearsal dinner in early July. You would think with the impending gala Jake would immediately remove the pesky weed. However his then soon-to-be-wife (that’s me) became fond of the weed and asked for its life to be spared. After all, it grew with such vigor that maybe it was Jack the Beanstalk?
As the weeks and months passed, the weather became warm and we hosted various back yard gatherings, we made sure to note the presence of the odd weed now turned tree to our many guests. It is interesting to note that we don't even know what kind of weed this is. With Jake being a farmer and myself also working in the industry, we obviously have friends who also partake in a farming career. It was these people who we also asked their opinion on the variety of this hearty vegetation. The verdict was milkweed. I just assumed it was a tree.
July came, we hosted our rehearsal dinner, became husband and wife and the weed now tree remained. A few of our family and friends recall the "bean stalk" and ask if it is still growing strong. It was rising five feet above the gutter of the house, until Monday, Sept 1. You see, Sunday night brought a gusty bought of wind to Chico. The bean stalk did not fall down of course - it now has a sturdy trunk. It did however beat against the gutter of the house all night and interrupted my husband's slumber. I was advised to say my goodbyes to my bean stalk because upon Jake's return home that night from work, he would bring out the chainsaw and cut it down.
Now he has threatened this before so I kind of thought he was joking. Boy was I wrong. The chainsaw roared before he even opened his beer. And if you know my husband, anything taking place before he opens his beer is pretty serious! Jack the Bean Stalk is now gone. My fairy tale is over…for now. Stay tuned. It might be back in 2009. ~mrs. c
Monday, September 1, 2008
The weekend has been pretty low key and we needed a low key weekend. Friday got off to a stressing start as my work laptop decided to crash - something about the mother board? Sounds like a alien space term but nonetheless, I was without a computer and the verdict on the "one year old device, really good quality" laptop is that it would have to be returned to the company for repair. "What? I am going to be without my computer?" I don't think so. You see I purchased my computer from a local company. This was good idea number one. I also purchased their three-year "we'll take care of it if it breaks" plan. This was good idea number two. So the computer is covered under warranty and the local company I bought it from is providing me with a replacement and they are loading all of my program and files on to it. I have to pick it up today (I guess computer guys don't believe in holidays either?) but I am sure the loaner lap-top will be better than the alternative - no laptop! So if you are ever in Chico and need a good computer place, check out PCI Computers. The guys in there are very responsive, pretty quick to get me answers to my problems, (even after I threw a little fit) and they are funny!
Moving on to Saturday, not much here. I had a little yard sale in the morning. I got rid of some clothes and kitchen wares and made a few extra bucks. I took the extra bucks and went and bought my husband some new work pants - Tractor Supply here we come! You see, I sold all of the old ones at the yard sale. Of course they we all to small and had to go. I guess I can cook since he now wears a size bigger.
Jake had to work on Saturday but was able to accomplish all of his tasks by about 1 pm and came home. He proceeded to assume the position and took a three hour nap!
As I mentioned earlier, Jake has been busy with harvest so "Colleen time" has been limited. He did however make up for it Saturday night when he took me to dinner. And better yet, he had to talk to me while we ate. You see Jake has this habit of needing a newspaper or magazine or book when he is eating at a restaurant. But not this time. I really think he forgot to bring something but I will take it as he really did want to spend time with me!
Another business plug if I may. Jake is a food snob. Yes a harsh statement to make but true. There are not many restaurants that he will dine in once let alone twice. So this time I got to choose and I was really excited to take him Original Pete's. Nothing fancy - Jake is not fancy. But I thought this place offered some pretty good home-cooked kinda food with a ton of Italian influence. Now I know this is a chain restaurant but I was really excited to take Jake because I knew he would be able to find something on the menu to make him happy and consider a return visit.
And I was right! I think the selling point of our evening was our service. Our server was excellent! She smiled, was happy and accommodating. And she really liked her job. Jake said she was by far the best server he has had in a long time! Moving on to the food. Gotta love a place that serves beer by the pitcher. And it was cold. Also very important. Next up appetizers. Jake and I love seafood and we love calamari. Granted it was fried but who was counting calories. Not me even though I should have been. Home run number two. Jake loved it and there was nothing left. Of course all good restaurants serve a nice salad with their entrees. Fresh greens and loaded with garbanzo and kidney beans. Yummy! As you can imagine, we did as most and loaded up before our entrees arrived. That's okay though. We ate some and took the rest home. Lasagna (Jake's choice) and cheese tortellini with mushroom and Gorgonzola sauce (this was luscious and my choice) will heat well on Sunday for lunch.
All in all a great evening with my husband!
Sunday usually starts out the same. Reading the paper in bed, fighting over the Food Network and Car shows and for breakfast, bagels and cheese . After this traditional lounging, Jake did have an hour or so of work to complete. So while he was changing irrigation water and checking sprinklers, I cleaned up around the inside of the house. When he returned we mowed the lawns, and called it a day. Granted it was only 11am but we had done enough for Sunday. We went to Patty's for a few minutes, headed to Tractor Supply for those new work pants and came home to the couch. Gotta love a Sunday on the couch. Only thing that would have made it better is if we got some Preseason NFL on our local stations. I am so excited for the regular season to start this Thursday! Woo Hoo Go Niners!
It was obviously my lucky weekend as Jake offered to make dinner. It was also - let's try all the new things we got as wedding gifts - dinner. This included the food processors (large and mini), the new cutting boards and the ice cream machine. Jake fried up some bread clams, zucchini and summer squash and cream cheese won tons. I was in charge of the green salad and the homemade vanilla and toasted almond ice cream. The only negative of Jake making dinner (and I say this with all my love) he makes the biggest mess and does not do dishes. But I love him!
With that said, I am going back to the household chores. Thanks for reading. ~mrs. c
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
However for me the State Fair is about the kids and the animals. Specifically the hundreds of 4-H and FFA projects that are exhibited by California's finest young agriculturalists. In a time when school scores are declining and drop out rates are going through the roof, I am so proud of the young men and women of our 4-H and FFA program.
These kids go to school, get good grades, raise animals and develop businesses, help their younger siblings, keep up on family chores on their farms and ranches and still find time to be active in sports and other extra curricular activities. I guarantee no other program does a better job preparing our youth for the real world than 4-H and FFA programs.
I had the opportunity to sit on the panel that interviewed the final four competitors in the State Fair's Champion Challenge program. Talk about work! These four young people knew more about current issues than most of the people I talk to in my professional life everyday. Business, politics and the lack work being completed at the Capital in Sacramento right now- these kids had an opinion on it all. And at the same time they are kids. Taking on the challenges of high school and feeling their way through the maze of getting a college education. These are kids between 17-20 who already have a list of topics - Farm Bill to water - that they are ready to discuss with our Presidential candidates.
Back to the interview, all I can say is wow - these kids rock! It was not easy but with four of us on the panel, a series of questions and after an hour of reasoning, we can to a conclusion and named a winner. As a result the winner took home a $5000 savings bond. Again, this was no easy competition so it was $5000 well earned.
I am the product of 4-H and FFA. I am 34 years old and everyday I use a skill that was a result of 4-H and FFA. Public speaking, writing, reasoning, and responsibility. Sure I honed these skills in college and in my professional career. But I got a great head start in 4-H and FFA.
I made a point to write down the names of the four young agricultualist I interviewed yesterday. I am certain, without a doubt, I will run across these kids again in their future. Their future is in agriculture and each will have a part in making sure that we continue to produce the freshest and safest high quality food California farmers are known for.
In a time when I wonder "how are we ever going to make it?" I am reassured that we will survive, despite increases in costs, changes in our regulatory environment and competition from foreign countries. 4-H and FFA is preparing our future. ~mrs. c
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
For the last 15 years, Jake has had Hank, his trusty yellow lab and all around best friend. When I moved to Chico, I brought with me my one year old black cat Mo. (Mo was unavailable for photos the day we shot these.) Being 15 years old, Hank really could care less about my Mo. However it took some time for Mo to get used to sharing the house with a dog but in the end they respect each others food dishes and sleeping space quite well.
Now the dog is the least of Mo's worries. Enter a new kitten. Jake and I are quite protective of our new little guy. He really has a cool personality until about 4:30 am when playing becomes his priority over sleeping. We hope he will grow out of this.
The first night we had Festus, he was scared being in a new place and cried all night like new kittens away from their mom do. Being the good parents, we thought having him sleep in our bed was a good idea. Now I remember someone telling me that you should never introduce your children into thinking sleeping with mom and dad all the time is okay. Let this be a warning - same goes for pets! Festus has now taken up permanent residence on our pillow right in between us. And WOW - can this cat purr! In hindsight, we should have called him Harley because this is what he sounds like when he purrs.
As the weeks have passed, Festus has gained more free space to roam. He was limited to the master bedroom and bath for a while. Reason being he was so little and if we let him out of our sight, he would cuddle up in random places to sleep and we would lose him. This only happened once or twice. We then discovered a $1.97 cat toy at Wal-Mart that had a bell and colorful feathers on a string. Festus thought this was greatest thing. Since then, we ring the bell and he comes running - at least when he is in the house. He loves to hear his feet on the hardwood floors. He will run laps in the living room and front room just to hear the patter of his little feet.
Festus then discovered the back yard and he had to be out there all the time for a few days. Being so little, the tall sunflowers and other flowering plants are like a jungle to him. I think the newness of the yard has warn off as he willingly comes back into the house now.
Each day he discovers something new. This week climbing onto counters. Who knows what next week will bring. The only thing for sure is that we are satisfied with our new kitten and enjoying being newlyweds! ~mrs. c
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
My brother Ricky escorting my mom Mary.
Our ring bearer Josh
And the wedding party exited quickly. Maybe because the bar was now open and the beer was cold.
Me and My Daddy .
Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Cecil at last!
Hope you enjoyed these as much as we did. ~mrs. c
Thursday, July 17, 2008
A day trip to Astoria took us across the Columbia River on this bridge into the Washington.
I wish our view at lunch could look like this everyday!
And how cool is a community that houses their Chamber of Commerce in a cute red barn.
And while Jake attended to more fishing...
I took some time to do some beach combing.
And like all newlyweds, we attempted to take pictures of ourselves. Not bad I thought.
And one of the really great treasures of the Oregon Coast are the numerous light towers. This one happens to be in the community where we rented our vacation home, Cape Meares.
Nonetheless, we worked hard for these six beauties.
And being the good farm kids that we are, of course we stopped to take few photos of the antique tractors.
And I just thought he was cute!