Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mormon Helping Hands, Horseback riding, and Ice cream

This morning I awoke bright and early, had some oatmeal with my cousins and we drove out to Winters, CA where we participated in the Woodland Stake Mormon Helping Hands project.  Our mission to serve the community of Winters and assist in clean up and maintenance of Putah Creek, and other areas.  I'm not sure how many volunteers there were total, but there were lots and lots of people.  We gathered at the church building, read the available volunteer opportunities and then picked our location.  I went with my cousin and her two youngest to Putah Creek.  Our assignment trash collection.  My cousins stuck by the creekside while a friend and I went up roadside to collect the litter.  Since a large group of individuals had gone ahead of us on the road my friend and I searched just off the roadside to see what litter we could find.  We found papers, comics, bottles, cans, plastic, straws, cups, motor oil, and we gathered up what we could find.  Many bushes and trees tried to knock the hat off my head as I attempted to retrieve litter near the roots, but I managed not to lose the hat.  There were a couple of semi steep inclines that I traversed to get to some trash.  Luckily my friend was there to lend a hand so I could climb back up. 

As well as picking up the trash I decided I would enjoy the beauty of the putah creek area.  There were lots of trees, bushes, and flowers to see.  I watched lots of lizards quickly find places to hide as we marched into their territory looking for litter.  At one point on some broad ivy looking leaves I spotted some huge caterpillars.  They were all black with tiny red dots on several ridges that protruded along their frame.  They were pretty cool to watch, and they really enjoyed devouring those leaves.  They looked something like this.
Image courtesy of google images

I also saw lots of butterflies out, mostly black ones with blue highlights on their wings.  There were lots of California poppies in bloom too, which were stunning.  We took our bags full of litter to the drop off point and headed back to the car.  It was a long walk, but well worth the exercise as it was so beautiful outside, sunny but not overly hot.  After gathering our tools, we hopped back in the car and headed back to the church building for some BBQ hot dogs and time to visit.  It was great to see so many friends and catch up. 

I then headed out to one of my favorite places to visit the farm.  I helped saddle up the horses and we went for a pretty long ride.  I love riding.  It is relaxing, and so enjoyable.  This is Buck and I.  Aren't we cute :)

 After the ride we rode a little longer in the one of the paddocks while a couple of the horses got some training work.  Then we unsaddled, then bathed the horses and took them back out to the pasture.  Then I got to help move some of the younger fillies from one field to another.  Then I helped move some fencing so the swather could come through and cut the grass hay.  Then it was time for some much needed hydration.  I think when we got back up to the house I drank three tall glasses of water at least.  Then cereal for dinner and off to Leatherby's to meet my cousins for some ice cream.  It was time to celebrate my good report card from the semester.  Ice cream sundaes all around and it was soooooooooooooo yummy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Mine had triple chocolate, butter pecan, and toasted almond.  It was a spectacular day.  Started off with service, continued with catching up with friends, and ended with an ice cream celebration.  Who could ask for more?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Huge moth

I stopped my car at the end of the driveway today so I could grab the mail.  I noticed something brown up by the garage door and I wondered if it wasn't a leaf or some paper that had blown there.  I put the mail in the car, grabbed the trash cans to bring them back up, and then walked over to investigate what was by the garage door.  It was the biggest fuzziest moth I had ever seen in my life.  Huge legs, huge body, humongous wingspan.  I used some of the circulars to pick it up and bring it into the house to take some photos.  It was still for quite some time and I wondered if it was resting, injured, or what.  After it had been in the house for about 20 minutes and as I was taking more photos, it started to move it's wings.  I didn't have to wait much longer before it was flitting about the house.  I quickly grabbed the kitty so he wouldn't eat the moth, and I opened the back door and helped the moth find his way out.  It was a pretty neat nature moment.  It's wingspan was as wide as the distance from the base of my wrist to the tips of my fingers.  It was a huge moth.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

missionary moment

I signed up to feed the missionaries from the ward.  Since I wasn't able to find someone who could come over for dinner, I figured I'd treat the missionaries to dinner out.  The Elders called yesterday to confirm the dinner appointment and I let them know that dinner would be out somewhere and I asked them to pick a restaurant.  The Elder then asked what kind of food I liked, so I mentioned tacos or pizza.  Round Table was the dinner location of choice.  Dinner was set for 5:30.  I left work and headed over to meet the Elders at Round Table.  The Elders came and we got some fixings from the dinner buffet and went to sit down.  There was a small world moment as I learned that I'd served in the same mission and had known the grandparents of one of the Elders.  Then as we were about ready to start eating, a young woman came over to the booth and asked if she could join us and talk to us for a little bit.  We invited her to sit with us, and then she began asking what we believed in, questions about the Bible, the book of Mormon, and heaven.  The Elders led the answering, and I got to share some thoughts and my testimony of the Savior too.  She eventually had to return to a meeting she was participating in, but it was the neatest thing.  I hope that she takes the opportunity to read the Book of Mormon that the Elders gave her.  I know that hearts are tender during the Easter Season, as we ponder on the reason for the season, the Savior's atoning sacrifice.  I love my Savior Jesus Christ.  I know that he lives, and that he is my Savior and Redeemer.  I want to wish everyone a wonderful Easter.