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The Internet Ramblings of Matt & Lori Knowles

December 2001

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Sat, Dec. 1, 2001 - Grandma's Visit

Grandma's Visit

Last month was pretty lame for updates, what with being gone for Thanksgiving, and then being sicker than a dog the week after that. So I'm going to try and do better this month, starting with a picture from last month. Getting pictures of Grandma is tough, because she usually hides when she sees me with the camera. So when she had her head buried in a book, I figured that was my chance.

Sun, Dec. 2, 2001 - Almost Over the Top

Almost Over the Top

The rain and wind have been pretty fierce the last week, and our little creek almost overflowed. Just the week before I was able to walk across it and barely get me feet wet. Now it is about 15ft deep. With all the wind there has been a lot of branches falling down and there is a bit of a log jam that I need to clean out. Sure didn't have to worry about that in San Jose!

Mon, Dec. 3, 2001 - Hello Down There

Hello Down There

Class clown at it again. Ricky's favorite spot is on top of the heater, and this is what it looks like if you're a bunny down on the floor.

Tue, Dec. 4, 2001 - Parlor Medallion

Parlor Medallion

One of our stops while in the Bay Area was at Omega Salvage in Berkeley where we purchased 3 ceiling medallions. This one will go in the parlor. I took this photo so I could play with the color design in Photoshop. It's much easier and cheaper to play with the colors in Photoshop than to experiment with real paint. I finally figured out a good way to do this in Photoshop and here is one sample of the "colorized" version.

Wed, Dec. 5, 2001 - The Leaning Tree of Ferndale

The Leaning Tree of Ferndale

Ferndale, like much of Northern California has received a lot of rain the last few weeks. Couple that with high winds, and you end up with trees that look like this. While it started leaning last winter, it has really tilted after this last storm. The ground is so saturated right now I'm not sure it's going to last much longer. I had intended to clean up the debri from the last branches that fell down this summer but the day that I finally got around to scheduling some help I ended up with a sore back so it never got done. So with this big wind and rain storm that meant we ended up with a huge log jam. I went down to the sporting goods store and bought myself a pair of wading boots, something I thought I would never own. They were just the ticket though for standing in chest high water for two hours while I dismantled the dam. It was a good thing I got the creek opened up again because last night and today it poured and for the second time this week we had water almost up to the edge.

Thu, Dec. 6, 2001 - Maren Decorating

Maren Decorating

Today's picture is actually from this weekend, but I just got around to downloading it. Last Sunday was the annual Ferndale Christmas Tree lighting and all of the traditional activities that go with it. The day started off with Lori singing at the church in the Ferndale Community Choir, then we went to the Tree lighting. It started pouring rain just as the ceremony began so the Christmas carols were cut short. After the tree was lit we had some hot chocolate and cookies that the town provides, one of my favorite memories from last year. Then it was over to the Portuguese Hall for a linquica and beans dinner, at which point the rain stopped. After dinner we went over to Jessica and Lowell's and watched them decorate their tree. Maren took her job very seriously and decorated the lower limbs very nicely.

Sat, Dec. 8, 2001 - Ferndale Community Choir

Ferndale Community Choir

Lori sang four concerts with the Ferndale Community Choir this month. Each concert was the same program, just different locations. Tonight they sang at a church in Fortuna, which was a stark contrast to the historic Catholic church in Ferndale. I would like to tell you that she sang wonderfully, but with 50 voices, it was pretty hard to pick out individual voices. She could have been singing great, or maybe she was just lip synching the whole time, I couldn't tell. Anyways she had a lot of fun singing with a choir and that's what counts.

Sun, Dec. 9, 2001 - Bubble Lights

Bubble Lights

After a two day project, Lori finished decorating the Christmas tree. 10 foot ceilings allow you to get a pretty big tree, the limiting factor appears to be the width of the front door. Our tree fits in the bay window very nicely, like it was made for it. We cut our tree at a lot in Loleta, for only $19, what a deal for a 9 foot tree. I can't give the whole tree away just yet since it would spoil it for those family members who are coming to see us for Christmas. But I decided to show you my favorite part, bubble lights! These were always my favorite memory of Christmas at Grandma Knowles' house. It was always a lot of work to get them started, but once they were bubbling, they were fascinating to a little kid. They seemed to disappear from the market for a long time but last year we saw them again so we bought a couple sets. Reading the warning labels I'm surprised they can still sell them. What makes them work is methylene chloride, which I am really familiar with because I used gallons of it stripping paint in our old house. Aside from stripping paint, it will burn your skin nicely and disolve most plastics. It's also a carcinogenic. So make sure you don't break those bubble lights folks.

Thu, Dec. 13, 2001 - Barn and blue sky

Barn and blue sky

We've had a lot of rain lately and it doesn't seem like I've seen much of the sun for weeks. So it surprised me when I came across this picture I took last weekend. I went for a short and very cold motorcycle ride up Bear River road. Not a cloud in the sky, at least in this view. I think it was like that for a few hours before the next storm blew through.

Fri, Dec. 14, 2001 - New Neighbors

New Neighbors

Another cow picture for Derek. Lori has been anxiously watching the cows next door for the newest arrivals. The little one getting a drink from her mommy was born shortly after Lori left to go to Paula's, so she missed it. Later that evening we had a huge storm blow through again with about 2-3 inches of rain overnight and winds that pushed the rain right past the weatherstripping on the front door. We've had to get in the habit of putting towels down behind the doors to soak up the windblown water. Now remember, our front door is covered by a porch that extends 8 feet out, so you can get some idea of what angle the rain was falling. All in all a rude welcome to a little cow who's been in the world just a few hours.

Sat, Dec. 15, 2001 - Early Christmas

Early Christmas

Lori got back from visiting Paula today, and brought back with her a present for the kitties. They (or she) couldn't wait until Christmas to open the present. In case you're wondering what it is, it is a furry ball with feathers and bells that hangs from a pole that has a suction cup so you can stick it to things like the oven door. They all took turns playing with it, but Meg seemed to have the most fun with it. Galen still likes the mouse on the long piece of elastic that hangs from the doorway. Only the mouse is long gone, so he plays with the string. I think he enjoys it more now, and his favorite thing to do is to pull the elastic halfway across the kitchen and then watch it snap back. One of these days he's going to put someone's eye out doing that.

Sun, Dec. 16, 2001 - Flying Cows

Flying Cows

One of my favorite, only in Ferndale events, the lighted tractor parade. Like the tree lighting ceremony last week, the parade was held on a very rainy night, but that didn't dampen anyone's spirits. This tractor was one of my favorites, with the cow leading the way and towing a huge carton of milk that was continously filling the glass.

Mon, Dec. 17, 2001 - After the rain #1

After the rain #1

For a short time we saw the sun today, and it presented the opportunity that I have been waiting for. Much of Ferndale and the surrounding farmlands is a floodplain, and the recent heavy rains have reinforced that notion. As long as the water isn't flooding your house, it can be quite picturesque. I saw this barn in Loleta a few weeks ago and have been waiting for a sunrise or sunset to take advantage of it. Last week on my birthday, I got up early hoping to catch a clear sunrise but it dawned dark and cloudy. This afternoon there was a break in the clouds and I thought it might just be a decent sunrise so I headed back over to Loleta. The sunrise did end up being pretty and I ended up with several good shots. I tried to enlist Lori's help in picking one to highlight for today but she couldn't decide either. I guess that means that they are all good, or maybe not. So today I am showing the first one I took and for the rest of the week I will feature the other four favorites.

Tue, Dec. 18, 2001 - After the rain #2

After the rain #2

Here is the second of the five finalists from yesterday's shots. Today it was raining most of the day so it's a good thing I had this one in the bank.

The calf that is in the foreground of Dec. 14th's picture decided to come over and see us today. It seems he found a section of their fence where he could squeeze through and he worked his way along the creek into our back yard. Fortunately he remembered where he came through the fence and managed to get back to mom, who was either scolding him or yelling at me for chasing her boy.

Wed, Dec. 19, 2001 - After the rain #3

After the rain #3

Number three in the series.

Thu, Dec. 20, 2001 - After the rain #4

After the rain #4

They say a man's home is his castle, and a proper castle is surrounded by a moat. Well we are three quarters of the way there. Ferndale seems to have reached saturation point and there is simply no where for the rain to go. The ditches along our front and side yards are now full time creeks, eventually making their way into Williams creek that flows in our back yard. So if you want to attack our house, your best approach is from the south. Just watch your feet, there's a lot of cow poop out in that field.

We're at day four in the exposition of photos taken last Monday. Last one tomorrow.

Fri, Dec. 21, 2001 - After the rain #5

After the rain #5

Last one.

Sat, Dec. 22, 2001 - Broken Toy

Broken Toy

Just last week we featured the cat's new toy which was supposed to be a Christmas present from Paula. Lori let them open it early, and it was an instant hit with Meg and Galen. (Ricky would rather beat up Galen or play with our board games than play with cat toys.) So Meg and Galen played with their pre-Christmas present all week, until this morning when Galen killed it. All of that purple stuff on the floor was a little ball that was hanging from the string. Now it's just another broken Christmas toy beyond the repair of Santa's workshop.

Mon, Dec. 24, 2001 - Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve dawned with one of the most beautiful sunrises of the year, and one of the first times we had seen the sun in quite a while. I rushed out to take pictures, Derek slept through it. Derek and I spent the morning playing in the mud, which we'll be posting the video of shortly. Then Derek, Mom, Dad and I went to the Lost Coast Ranch where it was very soggy so I didn't manage to take them all the way out to my favorite scenic spot. Lori stayed home and prepared a wonderful ham dinner, and after we all scarfed out on that we went to see The Majestic. Ok it wasn't the great movie that we were hoping for, and Jim Carrey's dramatic acting wasn't all it was cracked up to be, but it was fun spotting our friends and the local scenery throughout the movie.

Tue, Dec. 25, 2001 - Shy Boy

Shy Boy

After a ham kiesh (I feel that we're going to be having a lot of ham leftovers this week) we all gathered to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, opening all those presents! We especially enjoyed the theme presents from the Hoopers, and only wished that they could have been here with us. The cats were pretty interested in everything going on. Meg watched from underneath the tree, and Galen found a secure spot under the TV cabinet. After he was spotted there, Lori used some ribbon to play with him, providing today's picture.

Wed, Dec. 26, 2001 - Christmas is over

Christmas is over

First a disclaimer about today's picture, it was really taken yesterday. But doesn't it capture how most of us feel the day after Christmas?

For those of you who were in such a rush to get back to the Bay Area yesterday, you missed the birth of the cow next door by one day. The calf is all black, like her mom. I was hoping to get a picture of her, but so far she hasn't ventured over to our side of the property.

Thu, Dec. 27, 2001 - The Big Yellow House

The Big Yellow House

Back to the windy and wet weather today. Just as the sun set, we got a bit of a break and I took the oportunity to take some shots of our neighbors' big Victorian set against the vibrant clouds. If you look closely, you'll notice three deer in the field. We must not have anything left to eat in our yard because we haven't been seeing deer lately.

I also finished working on the video Derek and I shot earlier this week.<

Fri, Dec. 28, 2001 - All of the babies

All of the babies

Two days after it was born the newborn calf and his mom finally decided to come within camera range. The black calf next to his mom is the one born the day after Christmas. Further to the right is the one born right around Thanksgiving, and on the far right is the one born around Halloween.

Sat, Dec. 29, 2001 - Thanksgiving Calf

Thanksgiving Calf

Happy Birthday Dad!

Sun, Dec. 30, 2001 - Finished the Ceiling Medalion

Finished the Ceiling Medalion

Today I finished painting the ceiling medallion and got it mounted in the parlor. So all of you who were polled earlier can check out the results. I think the colors will make a lot more sense when the rest of the room is decorated, but for now it's a great feeling to have made some progress in the restoration.