Friday, May 28, 2010

It's berry season!

Location, Home, CA

For the past week I have been picking boysenberries every other day. The last two times I picked 6 baskets each day. I thought I would show the process used to pick, clean, and store the berries.
I have 2 rows of berries each 16 feet long. There really aren’t that many plants, however each plant has several vines which are strung on wires as they grow.

A view of the berry rows.
Close up of berries. The vines are heaviest with berries right now as picking has just begun.
Today’s picking.
The berries are washed and left to drain in a colander.
After draining, they are placed on trays for freezing.
After freezing they are placed in dated zip-lock bags for storage in the freezer.

Berries are thawed and made into jelly or cobblers as we need them. We still have a few berries in the freezer from last year.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Final cruise blog.

Location, Home, CA

Last cruise post:

We departed Cabo San Lucas at 2 PM on Wednesday May 12th with the rest of the afternoon and all day tomorrow at sea to look forward to.

The gang waiting for a show to start in the Princess Theatre.
We had a tour of the kitchen after the wine tasting yesterday which I will show the photos here. I didn’t want the post yesterday to be too long.

A display of vegetables and cheese.

Cooks hard at work. 
All stainless steel. 

 A display of meats offered for dinners.
 Fruit and vegetable display.
 Fruit made from turnips.
Carving a watermelon 
Our final day at sea included an assortment of desserts in the Horizon Court for lunch. Some of us only had dessert for lunch.

The sea had been kicking up all day which made for an interesting ride. Not rough but interesting.

Here is a view of the Lotus pool with the water sloshing over the sides.
We gathered by the Lotus pool for a final cocktail hour before going to dinner.
Our bags needed to be packed and set outside our stateroom door before we went to dinner tonight. We kept one bag for last minute items and put it out before we went to bed.

Arnold, our waiter.
Vincent our Jr. waiter pouring champagne as a final dinner celebration.

We arrived in Los Angeles at 7 AM on Friday May 14th.

Look at all the solar panels!!!
Cargo waiting to be loaded.

We are parked at our dock ready to disembark. Our debarkation time was scheduled for 9 AM but there was an hours delay because only 6 immigration agents showed up to handle 2000 passengers. Once off the ship immigration and customs was just a formality as we were quickly passed through and down to pick up our luggage. Our friends Peg and Lee were awaiting to drive us home. Thank you guys for doing that. Much appreciated.

What a great trip with good companions, great food, and many memories!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cruise blog for Cabo San Lucas.

Location, Home, CA

Cruise post for Cabo San Lucas:

We left Acapulco at 5 PM on Monday May 10th with another sea day tomorrow to look forward to.

We also had all signed up for another wine tasting. This one however, was all premium wines with canap├ęs selected for each wine. It was a great event with some memorable wines to taste concluding with a taste of Opus One, a joint venture between Robert Mondavi and Baroness Philippine de Rothschild. Each bottle in a restaurant sells for more than $300. Aboard Island Princess a bottle sold for $169. It was a treat to taste this wine.

Thomas and Debbie at the wine tasting.
After a day at sea we arrived in Cabo San Lucas on Wednesday May 12th at 7 AM.
Early morning sunrise as we approach Cabo San Lucas.
We had to anchor out in the bay and tender into the dock.

There is always a Senor Frogs at the docks.
A view of the small harbor.
Just follow the signs to get back to the ship.
Again, we did not have a shore tour scheduled so once again we just walked off the ship and toured on our own. We did check out some shops a block from the docks including this Dairy Queen, my favorite place on the road.
While strolling along the sea front we noticed a harbor side bar selling Corona beer at $10 for a bucket of 5 so planned to make that a stop on the way back to the ship. No Corona sold on board the Island Princess.
We left Cabo at 2 PM. The beach between throcks is called "Honeymoon Beach". The water on this side is the Gulf of California and is warm while 100 yards on the other side is the Pacific Ocean and the water is much colder and the wind blows.
The famous Cabo Arch as seen from our balcony.
Another day at sea tomorrow, our final day before arriving in Los Angeles.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Huatulco and Acapulco Mexico

Location, Home, CA
The wind has been blowing for days and as a consequence the temperature has drooped significantly. It is sunny but cool.

Last evening we had a neighborhood BBQ in the street. It was a good chance for everyone to get together socially. We also have some new neighbors and lots of little kids on the street now. It is like old times here but boy was it cold!!!

Now for the Mexican coast part of the cruise:

We left Costa Rico at 7 PM on May 7th with another full day at sea before we arrived in Huatulco (pronounced Wha-tool-co) Mexico. It is a new resort area being built on the west coast with the intent to make it another Cancun. It will be another 10 years before it is built out.

We arrived at 1 PM on Sunday May 9th. We had a tour scheduled shortly there after. Because the area is new, there is not a lot to see yet. There is a church and some shopping.

A beach resort from the ship.
We had to walk to the end of the dock to reach our tour bus.

A craftsman painting Oaxaca crafts.
Church ceiling.
The tour did include a stop at a restaurant where we were served a sample Mexican meal with a small tamale in a banana leaf, a sopa, and a tortilla, along with refried beans, mole negro, and a red sauce. They also gave us a choice of soda, water, or beer. It was all very good and a relief to get out of the sun and get some refreshment.
This rooster was directly behind the cook in the above photo.
Our group is at the closest table to the camera.
A nice view of the ship.

Back aboard ship we had a shower and got ready for dinner. The ship left port at 6 PM and headed for Acapulco with an arrival time of 9 AM on Monday May 10th.

We did not have a shore tour scheduled in Acapulco so we decided just to walk to town for shopping. Our first priority was to find a Farmacia (pharmacy) as Clyda needed some Amoxicillan as she had a sinus infection.
All the taxis are Volkwagon bugs.

A local attached himself to us as a guide and he did lead us to a Farmacia and helped negotiate a sale. We did some shopping in the local market place and then worked our way back to the ship.

Parked right at the Malecon

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cruise day 7 and 8.

Location, Home, CA

Continuing the Cruise saga, Day 7 and 8:

The ship departed Puerto Amador at 8 pm on Wednesday May 5th after spending 12 hours at anchorage. We are headed for Punta Arenas, Costa Rico, our next port of call to which we will arrive at 7 AM on Friday May 7th. That means we have a day at sea before arriving.

What does one do with a day of leisure to look forward too? Sleep late for one thing. No early morning tour to meet so might as well sleep in. Actually, sleep in is relative as light creeps in around the drapes so you know it is daylight outside and might as well get up.

Each night before you go to bed a copy of the Princess Patter, a newsletter is slipped under your stateroom door. The newsletter gives you information you need to plan your next day. For May 6th the Patter gave us times for classes at sea, special interest lectures, movies, special interest group meetings, and what and who are appearing in the theatres and lounges. It is more than enough to keep you busy. Beside all that, there are two pools with lounge chairs and hot tubs, and of course, the spa to consider.

An at sea day is a nice time to have breakfast in the dinning room instead of the buffet.

It is also a good time to walk the promenade deck to stave off those extra pounds from eating too much. Three circuits of the deck is a mile.

There were two guest lecturers aboard. One gave talks on our shore stops and the canal of course, while the other was a forensic scientist who gave lectures on CSI stuff. All very interesting.

This at sea day was also our second formal dining night. Some people don’t like them but I rather enjoy seeing everyone all dressed up.

On Friday, May 7th we arrived at Punta Arenas at 7 AM.

The ladies all dressed up on the dock are there to have a picture taken with you as you leave the ship for your tour. Our tour was in the afternoon and the ladies were gone by then, so no photo.
Busses waiting to start the tours.
We were scheduled for a tour to the town of Sarchi in the mountains.

Sarchi is in coffee country and also is the home of the largest ox cart ever built. In Sarchi, we visited the factory where they still build and paint ox carts but now they are used as decorations and serving carts.
Ox carts of all sizes for sale. They are Fed Ex'd direct to your home. For a price, of course.

While there we found out what a cashew tree looks like. The cashew is at the end of the flower.

We also visited a church made out of steel which was imported from Germany.

The Carnavl Elation parked next to us. It was the only other cruise ship we saw on the trip.