Married on the third day of December in our backyard, Canberra, Australia.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


This is my current staff photo, I'm sitting in the sysops GEM car. Thanks to our AA for the Hello Kitty gear! This ride is fully pimped.

Summer in Mountain View

We went for an afternoon walk around Mountain View. We wanted to get photos of the magnolias, since the huge flowers were in full bloom.

On our way to the park, we noticed that the gate to the seniors garden was open. It is a little slice of land between what appears to be a mains water distribution pumps and houses.

There is usually someone tending the gardens when Sean walks past on his way to work in the mornings. We didn't see anyone, but they were probably there at the far end. We got some good photos of an artichoke and other vegetables.

The bee hive is in a little fenced off section of its own.

We left the garden and went to the park. At the park there was a squirrel rummaging through the rubbish.

Here are the pictures we were after.

Check out how large the petals are. They smell lemony.

On the way back home we got this good picture of a bumble bee collecting pollen.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Shoreline Lake and Park

The car is due for a service, so we didn't want to go to far this weekend. Luckily, Shoreline lake and park is literally just down the road.

The lake and park were built on 700 acres that were previously flood plains, a sewage treatment plant, a junkyard, a pig farm and a dump. About 15 feet of landfill raise the land level high enough to prevent flooding. These days it is a park comprising a golf course, a lake, some cafes, Rengstorff House and a nature preserve. The Shoreline Amphitheatre is right next to the park.

From 1978 to 1993 methane was extracted from the ground under the park to supplement the gas needs of the local community. This gas paid for the parks maintenance. Local rumour has it that in the early days people sitting on the lawn at the Amphitheatre used to poke holes in the ground and light the methane that seeped out.

Rengstorff House, now located in Shoreline Park, belonged to one of the early settlers in the area. It is now open to the public, and can be rented for private events. Henry Rengstorff was a German immigrant. He arrived in 1850, but must have decided that he had missed the 1849 California gold rush as he stayed in the bay area as a farm hand. He saved up until he could buy his own farm, where he built Rengstorff House. He used local redwood and other tall timbers, some beams span from one end of the house to the other. By the time he died he owned 6 local farms.

When developers bought the land where Rengstorff House was originally located, the local council bought the house from them for $1. They moved it to just inside the Shoreline Park gates, where it sat for 10 years before being moved to its current location and restored. In exchange for opening it to the public, the council reserved the upper floor for council member offices. The city web site has more info about Rengstorff House.

The 50 acre lake divides the park into a golf course and a picnic family area. You can rent bicycles, boats, kayaks and wind surfing equipment.

Whilst we were walking, we noticed that there are a lot of lizards living in the undergrowth. You can see one if you look closely at the photo below.

As we left, just before we drove past the kite flying area, we saw a burrowing owl foraging in the grass.

There is a virtual tour of the park, with lots of photos and background information, on the Bay Area Governments web site.