Day 85 and 86: Napa Valley Swine Tasting

If you remember how much my muse enjoys the opera, here’s some fun contrast.

Warning: If you’re a vegetarian, or a person who doesn’t
like bacon, you should probably click here.

This weekend we’ve gone to Napa, to attend a livestock auction and buy a pig.


This is the Napa Town and Country Fair and it’s great.

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There’s music, barbecue, rides, funnel cakes, and farm equipment (both antique and brand new).

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None of the old tractors have cup holders, but the new ones do. Cups must be a recent invention.

Yep, there’s even a demolition derby. Awesome.

mudflap girl
If this isn’t the best bumper sticker ever, it’s surely in the top five.

In the livestock area, there are sheep, bunnies, cattle, swine, and all sorts of other critters. The livestock are being auctioned off by the pound, so it’s important to know how much a cow weighs.

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I’m totally bidding on that piñata.

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Inside it’s bustling, and there’s free food and beer.

The auction sounds something like this:

“Folks, number 308 is up next, and what a beauty.
We’ll start the bidding aaaat…
…and SOLD the hog five fifty gentleman in blue.
Now number 309 look at this one folks do I hear

You’ve gotta be quick if you want to get a pig here.

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My brunette is fast like a farm ninja.

Once the word SOLD is shouted, there’s some paperwork to do.

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…and we get to meet and talk to the person who raised the pig.

These prices (typically $3 to $5 per pound) are way above market value, but the point is to support 4H and Future Farmers, and get an extra-tasty hand-raised pig. One of the kids is giving the money to cancer research, in honor of his mom. His pig goes for more than $18 a pound, which gets a big cheer.

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Megan, the young lady who raised our pig, has just joined the Army’s airborne division.

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Rob tries to distract them, but when my muse and Ashley are together, they’re unstoppable. They’re so good at bidding that we’ve ended up with two pigs.

But what happens to the pig? It gets professionally turned into the best bacon and sausage and ribs you’ve ever tasted. We’re going to have to invite a lot of guests to our place for dinner and breakfast this year. Want to come over?

Mmm… bacon.

The rest of the weekend is a nice relaxing time in Napa. We’re staying with our friends (thanks guys!). My muse cooks dinner (and excellent dessert, yay!), and there’s good wine and that brilliantly easy perfect-weekend tempo.

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Random assertion: If you find a girl who enjoys both opera and livestock auctions, marry her quickly or you’ll have to get in line.

Steganographic data: 1864/4.1

Published in: on August 13, 2008 at 5:40 pm  Comments (2)  
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Day 43: The Approximate Weight of an Angel

The beautiful Palace of Fine Arts, designed by Bernard Maybeck in 1915, is being renovated.

The scaffolding alone is a complex and impressive structure. During the renovation, the site is closed for safety reasons. You can’t even get close to it without a hard hat and an escort.

So this morning, we’ve got hard hats and escorts.

says that one of the things he needed to do for the project was to calculate the weight of the concrete angels under the dome.

Having these two as guides is excellent. Jan Berckefeldt is the executive director of the Maybeck foundation, and the driving force behind the restoration. Charlie Duncan is the architect leading this impressive project.

Does this remind you of Donkey Kong? You can zoom in on this map and read it.

In the evening, we head to David and Julie‘s house for an excellent dinner with great stories. They’re both scientists and teachers, and as it turns out, classmates of my muse. A fantastic evening to end a fun day.

The wine was a very special treat, made and bottled by David’s father. It’s excellent.

Random assertion: Immortality is elusive, but architects get closer to it than most.

Steganographic data: 1866/2.8

Published in: on June 29, 2008 at 1:01 pm  Comments (1)  
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Day 37: Danger and Baking

I collect icons of danger. Maybe I’ll start posting them here.

Here’s one I saw today:

…so I’m allowed (maybe required) to shoot lightning from my fingertips, but am not supposed to explode televisions in other vehicles. So many rules.

This morning, my muse expressed her love by making fresh scones.


In the evening, we went to Alex, Ashley and Scott’s place for dinner and some helicopter-related electronics work. The wine is a special treat with a hand-made label.


In case you missed it, water has been found on Mars. Cool, that’s one less thing we’ll need to bring with us.

Random assertion: Regarding icons of danger: that little guy from the men’s room sign goes through unspeakable hardships to keep us safe, and it still doesn’t always work.

Steganographic data: 1860/1.2

Published in: on June 23, 2008 at 8:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Day 22: They Started It, Really

My parents arrive today.

Dad is teaching a statistical analysis in the laboratory workshop at a local biotechnology center next week, so they’re using our place as a B&B and base of operations. I need to stop by the Ferry building to pick up some special ingredients so my muse and I can make dinner for them.

First things first, time to stop to hang with acrobats for a few hours.

Alan, E-Beth and Kendra are a blast to fly with.

Michael is doing some setup for the upcoming shows.

I wasn’t able to find everything I was looking for at the Ferry Building, so we had to improvise a bit, but it turned out really well. Dinner at home:

  • A tasty Burrata (my muse’s idea, and a good one), with tomato, basil and olive oil
  • Steamed clams in a spicy wine sauce
  • Seared grouper and asparagus
  • Gelato, macaroons and a blueberry tart
  • Wine we brought back from Ingrid’s vineyard

Over dessert, we tell them about Secret Plan 170, which involves them (and will likely require an armed escort, but just for a few days). They’re up for it. In fact, they can’t wait.

Random assertion: If you enjoy cooking and traveling with your parents, they have surely done their job well.

Steganographic data: 1864/2.2

Published in: on June 8, 2008 at 9:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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