Thursday, August 26, 2010

Foggy Bottoms and Sunny Pastures: Buckeyes and Mist Flowers

This morning I walked down our 1/3 mile driveway to get the newspaper. I was in such a funk I didn't even notice that it was foggy until I got down to the bottom.

After the fog burned off, I decided I should take our UTV up on the back part of our land to plant peach and plum pits. I hadn't been up there for over a month.

I was delighted to find mist flowers growing on the very back---up on the side of the mountain. These flowers are often found at the local nurseries but are native to this area.

This soldier beetle seemed to be the only insect on the flowers.

Lots of knapweed (maybe Brown?) grew in the back grown up pasture attracting honey bees like this one. I had been wondering where my bees have been foraging lately. They go out early coming back to the hive with loads of yellow and white pollen. The knapweed was full of them.

I also saw several Buckeye butterflies on the knapweeds and grasses here. Everytime I see a buckeye, I am reminded of the time when I did a lot of embroidery when I lived in Logan, Utah in the 1970s. I had such a good reputation for doing jean embroidery that a friend asked me to embroider his wedding shirt (cowboy shirt of course). I ended up embroidering a giant buckeye butterfly on the back which he loved. I thought I had a picture of it but alas no.

This Buckeye was rather worn for wear. Neither of the photos turned out great (like Nina's)but I wanted to post this close-up so that I can remember the patterns. Maybe I will try another embroidery like that someday.

I planted the peach and plum pits in this pasture so I'm hoping someday to pick fruit up here.

There's nothing like getting outside and enjoying nature to lift your mood!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

California Trip: Coast

The last half of our California trip was spent along the coast where we made a visit to The Monterey Bay Aquarium. It's my favorite aquarium since we first visited it in the 90s.

I was mesmerized by the jellyfish . . .

. . . and the baby sea turtles.

We then drove south on Highway 1 beyond Big Sur . . .

to a beach where Elephant Seals use---during their molting period. This photo was taken from about 100 feet away. The seals have this great beach to themselves because it's fenced to keep out tourists.

An older seal cools off in the water. He has the large "trunk-like" nose giving the seals their name.

These two young seals didn't get the memo about lying on the beach!

I was surprised at how undeveloped most of the coast was--thankfully the state has set aside much of the coastline for public access.

On our way back to San Francisco for the return flight, we stopped by Big Basin State Park at Boulder Creek. The giant majestic redwoods remind me of what our Appalachian forests might have looked like centuries ago. Back then, American chestnut and oak trees reached these heights (200-300 ft).

No matter how good the trip, I am always happy to get back home.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

California Trip: Yosemite Meadows and Waterfalls

We spent the last week in July in California, first to camp in Yosemite National Park and then touring along the California coast below San Francisco.

We bought a new tent (Big Agnes) last year and wanted to try it out. It has two doors so I do not have to climb over Steve to get up for my nightly bathroom break. I think we were the oldest couple in Bridal Veil Creek campground to sleep in a tent. I'm proud that we are still tent camping in our 60s.

Bridal Veil Creek campground is aptly named--the creek runs right through including behind our secluded campsite, providing a nice meadow but also mosquitoes. My long sleeve shirt with insect shield seemed to work good.

Shooting Stars bloomed along the creek.

After camp was set up, we hiked on a trail that started in the campground and went up to a meadow.

Along the way, we saw dark-eyed juncos (different from ours with the rusty color on the back) . .

...and the Sego Lily with its large blooms.

We hiked about one mile to Westfall Meadow which we had to ourselves.

I wish I could grow a garden that is this pretty.

The next morning, we hiked to Sentinel Dome seen here from the trail. On the way up, we saw a brown bear with 2 cubs. I kept my distance!

Here we are on Sentinel Dome where we saw all of Yosemite Valley.

Look who popped up in my field of view...

A momma ground squirrel looking for a handout.

On one side of Sentinel, you can see Yosemite Falls.

On the other side is the famous Half Dome.

On the way to Yosemite Valley, we stopped by another meadow along the road where I couldn't resist taking this photo of a lady in a white dress taking a photo.

Yosemite Valley was crowded but we wanted to take a short hike up to Bridal Veil Falls.

It was so hot this family cooled off in Bridal Veil Creek on the way up to see the falls.

This was as close as I got to Bridal Veil Falls which really did remind me of a bridal veil.

That evening we watched the sunset at nearby Glacier Point.

There's something about Half Dome that you want to keep looking at it.

In the east, the moon was rising.

We camped two nights at Bridal Veil campground then headed for the coast...