My Happy Burfday

January 25, 2015

Because you don’t turn 59 every day.

Jim, Peter and I tried a restaurant for brunch we’d not been to, Kitchen 428 on First Street in Woodland. A farm to fork place. Quite good. Not likely to enter the regular rotation, but definitely worth the drive.


And I always forget, Woodland has a bit of historic charm:


The restaurant is in the old Morrison’s location.


Peter drove our car back to Davis, and Jim and I took his truck out to the 18,000 acre Conaway Ranch where Jim’s been doing a lot of levee measuring lately.


My driver…


…who’s smiling despite the fact I was doing this the whole time and kept saying things like, “STOP HERE” “NO, HERE,” “NO, BACK UP!”


…famous wildlife photographer that I am. Ahem. (But she has fun.)

Conaway Ranch is quite a place. I’m always sort of astounded at what lies beyond the interstate. You get on the smaller county and access roads, in this case a private road along a levee, and see lots of wildlife in lots of habitat that, from 113 or I-5 or I-80, look like vast expanses of nothing.

Definitely not nothing. Here are some shots:

First off, this is the levee, which runs eight miles due south along a canal (the part of the levee on their property anyway). It started off grey and foggy, and kind of dark for 1:00pm, which felt moody and far away:


Here are a couple of hawks, probably, in a tree (definitely in a tree, and probably hawks):


And some cormorants, probably:


A nice shot across the rice fields and just thousands of ducks hanging out and maybe mud hens and grebes.


On the way back, the haze started to lift. That might be a blue heron in flight.


Used a cross-process filter on this one:


There were hundreds of some kind of fat bird sitting in the reeds and bushes along the canal:


A nice egret (this one I know):


And more cormorants (so I’ve been told):


Off the property, heading home along Rd. 25, east of Rd. 102.


Jim spent a few hours in the kitchen.

He baked a German Chocolate cake.  Some GC cake trivia:

Contrary to popular belief, German chocolate cake did not originate in Germany. Its roots can be traced back to 1852 when American Sam German developed a type of dark baking chocolate for the American Baker’s Chocolate Company

On June 3, 1957, a recipe for “German’s Chocolate Cake” appeared as the “Recipe of the Day” in the Dallas Morning Star.[2] It was created by Mrs. George Clay, a homemaker from Dallas, Texas.[2] This recipe used the baking chocolate introduced 105 years prior and became quite popular. General Foods, which owned the Baker’s brand at the time, took notice and distributed the cake recipe to other newspapers in the country. The possessive form (German’s) was dropped in subsequent publications, forming the “German Chocolate Cake” identity we know today and giving the false impression of a German origin.

It had a syrup that went down as sort of a primer coat, then the coconut/pecan (and cream, etc) topping that went both between layers (four in all) and on top, and finally a rich dark chocolate frosting that coated most of the rest. Good lord. Will show you a picture in a sec.

First: the dinner. Grilled salmon with a kiwi salsa, steamed broccoli and brown rice.  Fantastic. Every bite, fantastic.


Then presents:


Then out comes the cake (the flying hair shot was better than all the others, sorry. Grateful it didn’t catch fire.):


I’m not kidding.


Muy rich. Killer.

My mom and three brothers sent these which I loved:


And that was my birthday, happy.