We managed a vacation a month or so ago and drove to San Francisco for the week. Because nothing spells fun like spending quality time with a squirmy toddler strapped in a carseat for twelve hours, we did a lot of the driving at night and spent a couple of days in Ashland to break up the trip.
View from Sage’s apartment (click picture for bigger image). Pretty sweet! The weather was very proto-spring but at least we didn’t bemoan the fact that we left the down jackets in Portland.
Once we hit Napa, we settled in to Michelle’s place and mapped out the neighboring playground situation (three within walking distance. Check!). Then we did the tourist thing and drove up to Calistoga to see the Tennessee fainting goats. What. What else is there in that town? (If you have never heard of fainting goats, here’s a link to a video. WELL worth the trip, I tell ya!) Unfortunately, the goats were well used to tourists running up to them and yelling “HAH!!!” or whatever so there was to be no fainting on our account. We amused ourselves with feeding them from the goat snack vending machine. The larger of the mama goats (the mamas and adorable little babies were in a separate pen) got jealous of the smaller mama who was getting all the snacks and ran up and butted her. And by gum the goat got stiff and flipped over on her back with her hooves up in the air. It was awesome.
[Fainting goats, fully conscious.]
Okay so they don’t really faint; they have a genetic disorder that causes their muscles to freeze up for a few seconds when they are startled or frightened. Obviously this is a hell of a genetic trait and human interference is the only reason they weren’t all eaten up by mountain lions. We were told that they were bred to be mixed with more valuable stock (wool sheep, etc.) in the case that predators attacked. The sheep would run and the goat would topple over with its legs sticking up in the air. That’s some rotten luck.
[Won’t be eaten first.]
They also had four-horned sheep (and babies!), which are very odd creatures. Some of the horn layouts were particularly bizarre. (They are called Jacob sheep.)
[One of the baby sheep squeezed out of the pen and Joshua rescued it, lifting it back in to the mama. There was much bleating.]
Oh, and there was a geyser. Because of the high water table, it was going off every five minutes or so. During the dryer months it only goes off every hour or two (but it is really high and lasts a long time).
Napa spring appeared to be in full swing with trees budding and flowers blooming everywhere you turned. However, the grapevines still looked totally dormant. We saw groups of laborers working through some orchards pruning still. Seemed odd but all I know about grapes is winemmmmwine.
[The yellow stuff is mustard.]
The other Napa moment came when we were in the car on the way to the marina to check out the boats (mmmmboats). Joshua spied a polka-dotted tote bag lying in the road and, thoughts of incomparable riches dancing in his head, swung around the block to snag the booty. He and Michelle executed a tricky moving-car open-door pick-up of said bag. That bag lasted about ten seconds in our car; another five and it was safely deposited in the dumpster of a real-estate office. For instead of rubies and twenty dollar bills, it was a bag of barf. We had a good laugh and made bag-of-barf jokes until we all sort of started to feel queasy. Finally a moratorium was decreed on any mention of bags of barf.