Falconer For A Day

A few months ago my mom found a Groupon that sounded silly, but we both said “what the heck” and bought it. Fast forward to 8am on Sunday morning:

Just Another Day With A Hawk
Just Another Day With A Hawk

Yup, our Groupon was for a falconry lesson at West Coast Falconry. Neither of us really knew what to expect but thought it would be a fun experience. It definitely was! We got there and spent some time checking the falcons and hawks out. They are absolutely beautiful birds!

Our hawk (pictured above on my arm) was a beautiful Harris Hawk named Don Diego Alejandro Santiago Saragossa Inigo Montoya Del Gato, or “Diego” to his buddies. He was really well behaved and I was amazed at how gently he landed on me!

Calling Diego
Calling Diego

We used the hawk because they are more like a pack animal – in the wild they hunt with their family group while most other birds of prey prefer to hunt alone. Apparently the falcons are a bit difficult and have to get to know their trainer before they cooperate. They’ve actually become one of the most popular hunting birds in the world! Diego was a great bird… he did exactly what we asked him and showed just how smart these birds actually are!

I’ll post the rest of the pictures to my Facebook page… head on over to check them out!

Proof That Running Makes You A Little Crazy

This morning I ran twelve miles before work. It was a beautiful morning – I started with four miles on the treadmill because it was still dark out, and let’s be real, I have no desire to be eaten by a mountain lion. In fact, I’m scared to death. So, I did some time on the TM and then headed out to my normal road to finish the last eight. It was absolutely beautiful – dare I say that fall is almost here? It was cool and clear and I got to see the sun come up. Not a bad way to kick off your Friday!

While I was running I got a text message from my sister. It was Miss Chloe saying good morning:

Good Morning!!!
Good Morning!!!

Being the fun aunt that I am, I decided to say good morning back in the same way (so that she understands, of course):

Good Morning Chloe!
Good Morning Chloe!

Yup, running actually makes you crazy. Just a little.

Favorite Song Friday – “All Kinds of Kinds”

This week’s favorite song is “All Kinds of Kinds” by Miranda Lambert. Seriously, this girl can do no wrong in my book. I love the song and the general message (we need to accept everyone because it takes just about everyone to make things work). Happy Friday!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02X8bX_EBv4

My Day As A Zookeeper

There are many things I love about my company (helloooo sabbatical!), but today exemplified one of the major ones. Each year my entire organization (hundreds of people across North and South America) take the day to do community service. We do community service throughout the year, but this is one day that everyone does it all at once. There were several options – this year I chose the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary. We had a couple different projects that we worked on while we were there – I chose to help out with cleaning some of the cages and enclosures.

Here are a few pictures from the day – all of these are animals that I was in the cages with! This is Gus, a horse whose mother was a horse in Canada that was bread for her urine – apparently the urine of a pregnant mare can be used in some menopause medication. She was constantly kept pregnant and the male foals were sent off to the glue factory. Gus was rescued. He’s a sweet guy who was very happy with his hay.

Gus The Horse
Gus The Horse

This is a Barbados Blackbelly Sheep… there were two in the pen and they were both a little shy, but eventually ate some hay I gave them.

Barbados Blackbelly Sheep
Barbados Blackbelly Sheep

We also helped clean out the wild pig enclosure, where we met Wilbur and Templeton. Seriously, how cute are those names? Great Charlotte’s Web reference, for those of you who didn’t pick up on it. While in there, the pigs sort of kept to themselves, but we did get to see a bunch of peacocks!

Peacock
Peacock
Wilbur
Wilbur

Seriously, it was a really great day and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to go help!

Meatball Stroganoff

Today I tried a new recipe for dinner – meatball stroganoff (sans mushrooms, of course). I found this recipe in a magazine and it sounded good – it’s a lighter version of the traditional stroganoffs. Enjoy!

Meatball Stroganoff
Meatball Stroganoff

Ingredients

Egg noodles

4 teaspoons canola oil

1 1/4 cups diced yellow onion

12 ounces ground sirloin

3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

12 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup beef stock

1/3 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

dash of nutmeg

Directions

Place a foil lined jelly roll pan in the oven on the middle rack. Preheat to 450 degrees (leave pan in the oven). Cook the noodles according to package. Drain and keep warm.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add onion and saute for six minutes or until tender. Place the cooked onion in a small bowl. Combine beef, bread crumbs, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup cooked onion. Shape beef mixture into 16 meatballs (1 1/2 inches each). Place meatballs on preheated pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes, turning after 6.

Return the skillet to medium heat and add remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Add mushrooms, garlic, and paprika to pan – saute for eight minutes or until mushrooms are lightly browned. Add wine to the pan and cook until liquid almost evaporates. Sprinkle flour over the mushroom mixture and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add stock, bring to a boil scraping the browned bits. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes or until sauce slightly thickens. Stir in the remaining cooked onion and remove pan from heat.

Stir in remaining salt & pepper, sour cream, mustard, and nutmeg. Add the meatballs to the sauce and toss to coat. Spoon sauce and meatballs over the noodles and enjoy!

Don’t Fear The Reaper, DMB Style

Yesterday I met up with Sean, Erin, and Clarissa for the Dave Matthews Band 2013 Summer Tour at Shoreline Amphitheater. If you ever get a chance to see him live, do it. I had an absolute blast!

My DMB Peeps
My DMB Peeps

As always, it was an amazing show. What I love most about DMB is that lawn seats are all you need. You take a blanket, have a beer, and just relax and listen to the music. His songs morph into these epic jam sessions and his in-between songs banter is absolutely hilarious.

Dave
Dave

He played “Crush” (my favorite song), but I think one of the best moments if the show was their cover of “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult. All I could think about the entire time was “needs more cowbell”! It was a seriously good cover. I always judge a band by how well they play live since we all know what kind of magic the folks in recording studios can work. DMB is honestly one of those groups that I think is way better live than on a recording. There’s something amazing about a very talented group of people coming together to just make music!