So last week saw the girls finish their last week of school, which was a busy week for Beth. Sophie had a end of the year party, which Beth helped out with followed by a Gold Rush Day for the 4th grade class. The kids panned for "gold" painted rocks, sang songs of the era, and ate picnic food. This included the 40 hot dogs Beth got up early to cook. The kids got awesome report cards and are on to 3rd and 5th grade next year.
So needless to say, SCHOOLS OUT!!!
What this means is a lot of swimming, playing, and some day trips and running on the weekends after field service.
So first up was a a trip to Old Borges Ranch. This is located about 15 minutes away from the house in the Shell Ridge Open Space.
This was a ranch that was founded in the Mt. Diablo foothills in 1896. Heritage Day happens once a year and is sponsored by the Walnut Creek Open Space Park District, and 4-H. For $5 we were able to take a tram up to the ranch, the kids got to ride ponies, learn about honey bees, watch country clogging, disccover what create oak tree galls (more on that later) and tour the homestead.
All off this while it was 108-degrees out!!! Yes it was the hottest day of the year and loved every minute of it!!! Nothing that a cool ice cone or lemonade couldn't rectify.
What we learned this trip though was very interesting. Have you ever seen the spheres that hang on Oak Trees? I always thought it was some sort of growth that was due to an imperfection in the tree or disease. However, we learned that these spheres are created by the oak tree when types of bugs leave their larvae on a leaf or branch. So that the larvae doesn't enter into the tree, the oak creates this perfect covering for the larvae to live. What is even more interesting is that the shape of the oak gall will change dependent on the type of bug it is protecting. Sometimes they are round, sometimes the shape of a Hershey's kiss, sometimes a prickly ball. So here the obvious questions are: How does the oak know what type of gall to create for the type of bug? And why does it do it? And why so many different intricate shapes? Could this have happened by chance? Things that make you go Hmmmmm........
Saturday evening, Beth and I had our first date night in a couple of months, and we certainly needed it. Between me out of work and the death of her grandma (and dealing with the associated family dynamic) has been extremely challenging. So we spent the evening getting an awesome dinner at Cheesecake Factory and saw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I typically do not recommend movies; however, we definitely liked this one.
After meeting on Sunday, we took a peaceful run around Lafayette reservoir. It was now in the low 70's, an ideal time for running and this also allowed the kids to appreciate further the animals on the trail as well as playing at the play structure.
That sums everything up. Oh, one last thing, at work this week I learned and used Skype for the first time. It is a free video conferencing program on the web which requires you have a camera on your PC. We now finally have an account. Do you Skype?