Sunday, January 8, 2017

Ocean perspective

Looking out into the ocean can bring a sense of calm, even when the waves are crashing.  Trips to the coast always entails a beach walk.

Next to Redwoods, I don't feel so Giant

Its 2017, a new year upon us.  Reflections on the past year's successes, failures, events, dull-drums, etc can become overwhelming, causing one to feel low.  Then you look into the night sky, see a vast universe of stars and all your reflections and perspectives become irrelevant in scale.  Staring into the ocean can give a similar result, washing away things and leaving a clear mind.
A walk in the Redwoods, among the Giants, can cause thoughts and sensations of being a part of a larger system, one operating on a long range time scale, not on a Monday-Friday routine with structured weekends.
These photographs were from 2015, it has taken me a while to post them.  Prairie Creek Area.
Burnt core, the upper part of the tree was still alive.

Note: Todd is in the picture, just below center.  Scale!!

The bark on some of the trees is bizarre.

Todd is on the trail, once again, the scale!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Garden Time!

Northern Cali is a new place for me.  This will be my first year having a vegetable garden at our home.  It is also the first week of June, in gardening terms that typically means its safe to get tomatoes, peppers, and other heat loving plants in the ground.

It has been a slow start but full of work.  First, we had to clear out blackberries and willow trees that have invaded the garden area.  This laborious task was not without surprise, we discovered rhubarb, an ornamental dogwood, spearmint, and an animal trap in the thorny brush.  Next, we replaced the old fence, adding 10 feet on both sides for a total 70 x 40 ft garden area.  Don't go gasping at 2800 sq ft, a large portion of it is apple and pear trees.  Then we had to wait for the soil to dry out from the spring rains before we could roto-till the soil and grass.  For all you lasagna gardeners out there, this will be the only deep tilling for a while, we had to break up grass and tree roots.

Then it was a slow planting of leafy greens, cabbage, and broccoli.  Followed by peas and bean seeds. And most recently, the tomatoes (21), peppers (18), and various squashes and melons.  I look forward to summer harvest, salsa, and canning!  Lastly, I am setting up drip irrigation.  It is so very hot here and water is at a premium.  Todd installed faucets in the garden that supply the garden with river water.  What a relief from having three lengths of hose from the house.

Garden as of June 2
California King Snake
California has plenty of reptiles.  Sunday, I saw a California King Snake slither across our road into the woods.  These are good snakes as they eat Rattlesnakes, which I heard the following day near the property boundary.  My cat was in the shrub that the rattling sound came from.  Luckily for her, she slowly walked out of the shrub, with eyes on the snake.  She was bit last year, not sure she learned her lesson.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Riverine spring

Spring along the creeks is fantastic here.  Within the rivers, an amazing plant is sprouting pink fleshy shoots of flowers from a twist of tuberous roots submerged in the water.  I do not recall the name of this plant.  Come summer time, it has large green leaves that gives a tropical feel to the river.

Also along the edges of the rivers, in meadow areas that were underwater, comes a delicate orchid, the fairy slipper, Calypso bulbosa.
Calypso bulbosa

On the open slopes, a white native lily sprouts and fuzzy pussy ears lily (Calochortus tolmiei), like the sego lily in ID but fuzzy.

Calochortus tolmiei

Spring at the B Bar K home

It is spring time at B Bar K.  This has been a wet spring, especially after the past 5 drought years.  This is also my first spring in California, first spring on B Bar K.

Some wildflowers have bloomed in April, mostly trillium, an early spring flower even in Idaho.  The trillium in California are huge.  The leaves and flower are both twice as big as an Idaho specimen.


Today, May 6, the following plants were in bloom in our B Bar K flower beds.  Most of these are not native, some are relatives of natives, and all are pleasant to see.

Purple Robe locust Robinia pseudoacacia

Columbine  Aquilegia sp.
Columbine  Aquilegia sp.

Columbine  Aquilegia sp.
Iris Iris

Iris Iris


California Dogwood Cornus nuttallii


Puffball Hydrangea Hortensia

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Merced River float

We also floated down the Merced River.  Being with a bunch of Alaskan kids, there was some swimming to be had by them!  Brrrr.

Yosemite NP Vernal Falls hike

We did one hike, it was not far but very steep.  We went to the top of Vernal Falls.
Past half way up

Granite steps, very well done!  There were many of these.

Hi Kate! and the Edwards staff (see shirt).

Vernal Falls