I raced down to SFO on Thursday (3 June 2010) to pick up my Dearest Dear Danielle (Aka Rowan). Into The City (San Francisco), check into the hotel and grab a cab to Pier 39 for a non-profit event called Tourism Cares. Wine, food and conversation. Networking with people in the tourism industry may bring me some business. Back to the hotel, out to dinner and then to Lefty O’Doul’s for the piano bar. In bed at near two a.m. Get up at six and force march for the ferry to Angel Island.
There we join several hundred other people from the tourism industry and split logs, stack firewood, dig out and repair drainage ditches, break up old outhouses, put ‘em in a dumpster and stack a ton or two terra-cotta roof tiles. Back at Hospital Cove on Angel Island everyone gathers for a barbeque. They’ll meet later that evening at the Hard Rock Cafe for a party.
I, on the other hand, take an early ferry back to Pier 39 and grab a trolley back to the hotel. No time for a shower, I quickly wash my sunburned face and wipe down with a washcloth. I change into clean clothes, cram my bags full of stuff and hightail it back up to Yuba City. I think I broke some land speed records ’cause I left Union Square at 5pm and got to Yuba City just before 730 pm. 125 miles in 2 1/2 hours on a Friday evening.
The mascot of Feather River High School is a falcon. Feather River HS is a new school and this is the third year they’ve had a graduating class. West Coast Falconry has flown a falcon at every graduation. Much as I’d have liked to stay and play in The City, this is a local school and the kids look forward to the falcons, so I couldn’t bear to disappoint. Marten, Kaylee and Nick had been there with the birds since 630 posing with students and families for pictures.
At 8pm the graduates march out to the middle of the football field. We say the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the Star Spangled Banner. After everyone is seated I release Webster and he does some good stoops, flying close over the heads of students and audience alike. They are very happy.
I take my troops out for our traditional sushi dinner. As we leave the restaurant we watch fireworks going off above the school, part of graduations ceremony and a great way to end our dinner. Then Kaylee and Nick (the kids) take the birds’ home while I head to the market for food for Saturday. Finally get to bed at 1am.
Up at 6 on Saturday (I think it’s Saturday), take a real shower, feed pigeons and chickens, and then wake up Nick and Kaylee. While Kaylee takes care of the raptors Nick and I get breakfast ready for our guests, who will be arriving soon.
Roger and his son, Jacob, show up about 8:45. Jacob is 14 and for his birthday his Dad gave him a Falconry Experience. Jacob loves raptors and thinks he’d like to become a falconer. Over breakfast we talk about his interest and tell him about our birds. Then we gear up and go for a hawk walk. Jacob can barely contain himself as the birds fly from the trees to his glove. I have to take Diego back because he is not interested in playing; he wants to moult. Mariposa is game, though, and entertains everyone.
We head back to the house and teach Jacob how to gut and cut quail and he helps us feed all the birds save Webster. We hike over to the flying glen and Webby does some lovely stoops and blazes inches above Jacob’s head. Webster is such a good bird. After lunch we put a falcon on Jacob’s glove so his Dad can take some snaps. It’s a very happy boy with whom we part company.
The kids are headed up to the lake for a swim. I’d like to go, but Rowan is on her way back from The City, with Joseph the Magician in tow. I haven’t seen Rowan in 4 and a half years and I want to spend as much time as I can with her before she has to go back to Arkansas.
Besides, Joseph the Magician does some amazing things with salt.