Sunday, October 26, 2008

Visiting Portugal

Recognizing that their second Starlight mouse needed a little sunshine, Lucy and Bill invited her to join them on a visit to sunny Portugal. (Their other mouse preferred to stay in Belgium to explore rain-soaked streets and alleyways with Jolie, his new cat friend... quite adventurous for a bread dough mouse).

You can see in this photo that the trip perked her right up. Here she is enjoying the sunny balcony of their beachside hotel in Bergau, Portugal.

Turns out that before leaving, this bright little mouse had been checking out Portuguese tourist information on their friend Gary's computer and she'd read about the Wind Rose Compass at the fortress of Prince Henry the Navigator in Ponto de Sagres (sometimes referred to as "the end of the world"). When she told Bill the Sailor and Lucy the Librarian about it, they too were excited about seeing it.

She explained that way back in the 1400s Prince Henry organized many expeditions to explore the world beyond Portugal. Henry was especially interested in the development of maps and navigational equipment. This compass is said to have been built at his fort during his lifetime. It was a seafaring tool used to identify the directions of the winds. The wind rose compass evolved into the compass we use today (which is much easier to carry in your pocket).

And she found a really cool looking rock right nearby to sit on...
so Lucy could take her picture.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Stalking the Giant Pumpkin

You might or might not have noticed over on the Starlight Bakery blog that one of the Starlight mice joined us in our visit to the Padaro Floral Pumpkin Patch in Carpinteria this week.

The pumpkin patch is located on Via Real to around behind and to the right of the Padaro Floral building. We got off at the Santa Claus exit, turned left over the freeway and right onto Via Real. Then headed toward the large pumpkin balloon floating above the patch.

The patch is run by Michelle Van Wingerden (owner of Padaro Floral) and her parents. The guy on the left is a representation of her dad, who has sold pumpkins, gourds, and Indian corn from the patch for over 10 years. (If you click on the photo, you'll see our fearless little mouse sitting in his hand.)

Taking a closer look at some Indian corn still on the stalks, I found my mouse friend had gotten there before me and scurried up the stalk to see if he could peak at the colorful kernels inside the husk.

A few minutes later I found him gazing at some nearby egg-shaped squash or gourds, still attached to the vine.

He suggested that this gourd when dried, could be made into a boat just his size.

And this turban squash would make a lovely home with a few windows and a tiny door. Romantic, but not really very practical. However, these squash do make lovely pumpkin pies.

Aha! There it was, just as he had expected... the giant pumpkin he had hoped to find.

We were quite glad we'd invited him because he helped us see the pumpkin patch in a whole new way.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Belgian Cat Meets Starlight Mouse

One of Lucy's Starlight mice, the most adventurous one, decided to explore the house Lucy and Bill were visiting in Belgium. Lucy forgot to warn him about her friend Debbie's cat, Jolie.

Jolie obviously had never met such a brave little mouse before and wasn't quite sure where he had come from or why he was sharing her chair. I suppose Belgian mice are more hesitant to greet a cat face to face.

Within moments, however, Jolie recognized that a smart little mouse like this could make a good friend. Plus she found his American accent to be quite adorable.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

An American Mouse in Belgium

My friends Lucy and Bill were leaving for Belgium last week so I went over to visit with them before they left and give them a few challah mice. I guess I should have reminded them to check the freezer before they left to be sure that all the mice were accounted for.

They had two stopovers on their way to Belgium. The discovery of the first Starlight mouse came in Denver when they were checking on their flight to Washington DC.

This little stowaway apparently hid in one of their carry-on bags. Starlight mice like to travel, so it is best not to leave your suitcase unattended while packing for your flight. I have to admit, if I was small enough to get into a carry-on, I would have been on that flight with them too. But I guess the next best thing is to enjoy the trip through the eyes of a Starlight mouse.

Oops, make that two Starlight mice.

Already a bit fatigued from travel and waiting between flights, these two mice rest together, people watching in the waiting area before they board the plane for the long trip over the ocean. I'm curious how they made it past security. I think it helps to be cute.

So Lucy emailed me that they all made it safely to Belgium. She says it's raining quite a bit, but that isn't stopping them from exploring.

Here's Bill taking a photo. Note the little alcove to the lower left of the large wooden doors. Looks like a good place for a Starlight mouse to get out of the rain. Unless you are a mouse, you probably wouldn't have noticed this. We would have just been looking at the size of those gigantic doors and wondering if a giant lived there.

I'm anxiously awaiting more photos from Belgium. I've also heard that there have been Starlight mouse sightings in Portland Oregon and Columbus Ohio, and possibly Berlin Germany, but I have yet to see actual documentation of them. I'll post it as soon as I do.