Friday, December 12, 2014

Biggest Storm Since 2008

On Wednesday, we got the news that the biggest storm since 2008 was coming on Thursday. All day we were monitoring the latest news on the storm and whether the school was going to close on Thursday. Some people laughed at the word "storm." They don't think California has storm. Some people laughed at the possibility the school would be closed because of this "storm." Having been a resident of Northern California for over thirty years, I knew it could be bad. While we are usually suffering from drought, when it rains, it could rain hard for days, and then everything breaks down - traffic lights, big trees, cars (get stuck in gigantic pools of water), power supplies, hills (mud slide), etc. At the end of Wednesday, we got the words that Oakland Unified School District, San Francisco Unified School District, and many other schools were closing on Thursday in order to avoid putting any student and school staff in danger. When I made the announcement to the entire school community, the staff members started cheering. I was extremely relieved that I didn't have to take a sick day. My voice was completely gone as I had been sick and still dragged myself to work.

On my way home from work, I could feel the wind picking up speed. The sky was a dreadful shade of gray. I stopped by the store to get a bunch of canned soup. All I wanted was hot soup when I wasn't feeling well.  When I woke up around 4 a.m. on Thursday morning, I noticed that the power was out. It was still out when I got up at 7 a.m. I could see BART train running from my window but all the houses around me were completely dark. I went looking for my camping stove and lamp to make breakfast. The heavy rain was steady and coming from all 3 directions. I couldn't open two of my doors without my floor getting wet immediately. The only door I could opening without forming a puddle of water inside of the house was the door to the dog run from the garage. Kelsey and Cracus stayed inside all day. I took Cracus out 3 times to go to the bathroom. He got almost completely soaked just from being out for a couple minutes. Kelsey absolutely refused to go out. She barely drank any water and didn't go to the bathroom all day. It was a treat for all of us to be able to stay home on a day like this.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cracus' First Off Leash Walk

The weather cleared up briefly today for a change. It was the perfect chance to take the dogs somewhere so they could take a nice long walk. I have taken Cracus to Point Isabel a few times already but always kept him on a leash. I guess having a couple Alaskan Malamutes as my first dogs, I am always unsure whether a dog would just take off. Not that they were bad dogs, but Malamutes are very independent and tend to go on their own adventures. Niki and Okami escaped and went on a few trips of their own although they always managed to come home.

By now I know Cracus is a lap dog. How did people ever create lap dogs? He just wants to sit on my lap all the time while I am at the desk or watching movies. He follows me everywhere when I am home. I was pretty sure if I let Cracus off leash, he wouldn't just run away to be on his own. Well, it turned out that he was more well behaved while we were out. He followed me closely and ran up to me whenever I called his name. He wanted to play with other dogs regardless of their size. Having Kelsey as his big sister, he's fearless of large dogs. He didn't run into any mud puddle or jump into the bay.  He didn't bark at any person or dog and didn't act crazy at all.  People thought he was cute.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Turkey Tails

Wild Turkeys of El Cerrito are back

The wild turkeys of El Cerrito started showing up under the BART track on Masonic in between Marin and Darthmouth every morning for the past week. I have been seeing them every day on my way to work. Today I had my camera in hand to take a snapshot as I drove by.  I really wanted to get out of the car and get some better photos; unfortunately, like most of people, I am always running late in the morning. The photo says 8:35, but it was actually 7:35 a.m. and I have to be at the school no later than 7:55 a.m. to open the doors to let the kids in. As I drove by, all the gobblers were showing off their tail fans to the hens. As you can see in the photo above, the hens are the ones on the right without tail fans. I always wonder where the turkeys hang out for the rest of the year since I usually only see them around end of October to December. How I wish I could put a tracker or a small camera on one of the turkeys.  What do they do all day and where do they go? These are the questions I wonder.

It's been raining on and off for the entire week. Today I noticed the wine barrel planter in my backyard is full of turkey tail mushrooms!  Turkey tail is the common name of rametes versicolor for obvious reason. It's a common mushroom found throughout the world. It also contains medicinal components. It is believe that it may be useful against cancer. Turkey tail exact can be purchased online or one can just grind turkey tail into powder and make tea with it.