Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What I Did Over The Weekend

You knew I was busy, but what was I doing?

Starting on Wednesday, I hosted family members as they visited us out here in the desert. On Thursday we wandered down to Eric's school and helped him move some stuff from his old room to his new room. Then we went on a visit to a place with dried fruit, and got chocolate covered cherries. My parents also bought a box of fresh and REALLY good peaches at a fruit stand, so we all had fresh peaches over the weekend.

For lunch on Thursday we visited the new Italian place in Churchville and had a great meal. For dinner my mom and sister made pizza crust which we put into pie pans and everyone made their own personal pan pizza.

On Friday my family and I left Eric to clean for his visitors and we went to some tourist spots in the Yakima Valley. We visited dinosaurs in Granger first. We brought Torvald along and took a few pictures. Here's one:

Granger Dino

After Granger, we went to Toppenish, which is known for its murals. There are 71 official murals as of this year, and each one depicts events in the history of the town. They are actually very impressive, and we ended up taking a tour in a horse-drawn wagon to see most of them with a good bit of patter. This image shows the horses, Frank on the right and Jesse on the left, about to enter a mural and cross the bridge.

Toppenish Mural

The tour guide suggested the Pioneer Kitchen for lunch, so we stopped there and had a pretty good meal. We finished the trip by visiting Zillah and looking for the Church of God. We were a bit disappointed that their was no sign that said "The Church of God - Zillah, WA" but we did find the God-Zilla and get a picture.


After we got back to Churchville, some of hubby's visitors arrived and we made simple American tacos for dinner (just tortillas and various ingredients, and everyone makes their own taco). Early the next morning my family left, but Eric's visitors, the Oogaboos, stayed on!

The Oogaboos are the inhabitants of the Northwest corner of Oz, and in terms of Oz fans, Oogaboos live in the Northwest corner of the United States. This last weekend was our first time to host an Oogaboo Rendezvous in Churchville. The usual events: show and tell, croquet, and lots of good food, happened. We also went over to Sunnyside to visit the Dairy Fair and go on the tour.

Now, if you've ever been down to the Dairy Fair to do the tour, you know that it is... well, worth the price of admission. It's free. And self-directed. And ... well, 98% of the time it could be described as "lame" or "boring". This time, however, in preparation for our trip, I hunted down an article that claimed you needed to come by either before 10am or after 2pm to see any action. So we timed it to hit the place at about 2pm.

There was not really any action.

Except for one guy with a walrus mustache who was checking the vats, the floor was just a bunch of giant churning machines.

Dairy Fair

One of the Oogs, who I'll refer to as "H", and I watched the guy working, and tried to work out exactly how the process actually worked. H noted that if the machines were painted to look like cows, it would be a much more exciting tour. We also discussed how the vats were clearly creating cheese curds, but we couldn't see any way for them to go from the vats to... well, where ever they went to next.

Dairy Fair

The guy who was testing the vats left a door open, and we could see the curds being churned out of the whey inside. Even while we watched, the mixture thickened and more and more curds lifted with each movement of the paddles inside. We were discussing how the machines worked and trying to figure out what each of them did when the door behind us opened and the guy with the walrus mustache came out into the gallery hallway to say hello to us!

Dairy Fair

He pulled out his ear plugs and said hello, then started to give us a nice overview of what each machine did, and what he was doing down there on the floor. He'd noticed that H and I had been looking at the floor for quite awhile and decided to come up and answer questions. Hubby-Eric and another Oogaboo just happened to be there as well, the rest of the group was downstairs getting Diary Fair's famous ice cream.

The Diary Fair guy, Audie, told us what each set of machines did, and when I asked how curds moved from one place to another he pointed out the 4-inch pipes that I'd seen but hadn't thought were quite big enough. He told us that he, personally, was the lead of the team that won 2nd place in a national international contest of Monterey Jack cheese. We later found the trophy in the case there in the gallery. He also said that the factory worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and still didn't manage to make enough cheese to meet demand.

He pointed to a machine on the floor that was blinking yellow and said that he had to go, that machine needed his attention, and he was gone as fast as he'd appeared.

We stayed a few minutes more to digest the information, then headed downstairs to tell the others what they'd missed. They didn't seem too upset, but then, it was a cool experience for us. Instead of getting ice cream, I bought a bag of cheddar cheese curds. Yum.

The rest of the time with the Oogaboos was more normal... it was too hot to play croquet outdoors (and we don't have a lawn) so we played indoor multi-level croquet. Some folks also played on my Wii and Wii Fit. In fact, I think H plans on getting a Wii Fit now. There was a lot of talking, pizza, and I think hubby-Eric even made some people watch Doctor Who.

All-in-all, a most successful weekend, and a VERY exhausting one.