Sunday, February 27, 2011

Christchurch New Zealand

Last week's devastating earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand sent me to my archives.
 We had visited New Zealand in 2007, a wonderful trip but three weeks were far too short to get to know this beautiful country and its friendly people.
 We only had a few hours to spend in Christchurch but that was enough to know that it is a special place.
 I watched the chess players in the square with their giant chess pieces.
 The punters on the river Avon.
 We enjoyed the historic buildings of Canterbury College.
The Canterbury Provincial Council building.
 Christchurch Cathedral
The beauty of Christchurch was not limited to the historic buildings.  There are, or were, many beautiful modern buildings as well.
The Art Museum.

I wonder which of these buildings are still standing.  I know the Cathedral was badly damaged and I'm sure many other buildings we had admired have been damaged as well.  However sad the loss, buildings can be replaced, people can't.  I feel sad at the loss of life and I know the days ahead will be difficult for those dealing with their loss, may God ease their pain and give them strength to get through the coming days.

See more of our amazing world at That's My World, Tuesday, hosted for us each week by Klaus, Sandy, Wren and Sylvia.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Gull in the Clouds

I took the shot to ID the bird (a gull) and found I had a great shot of the clouds.

Find more skies from around the world at SkyWatch, Friday, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren and Sylvia.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Entertainment in the Garden

I noticed this little guy in my garden. It took me a while to identify it, a California Towhee.
This ground feeder decided that he really wanted the stuff in the suet feeder but he is not very well adapted to eating from the suet feeder.
But it is a stubborn bird.
It did a kind of jump/flutter up to the feeder, over and over.
  Sometimes it would manage to grab a bite.
Occasionally it actually managed to hold on, though rather precariously.
It couldn't manage to hold on long before falling back to the ground. We found it to be one of the most entertaining birds to visit our garden.

You can find other view of the world That's My World, Tuesday, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren and Sylvia.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Moon Over Lincoln, CA

I try to watch the sky as the sun sets, just in case there might be some spectacular color.  No color on this evening but I liked the way the elements aligned themselves in this composition.

SkyWatch Friday is hosted for us each week by Klaus, Sandy, Wren and Sylvia

Monday, February 14, 2011

Yosemite's Frazil Ice

There is a fascinating phenomenon that can be seen in Yosemite creek in late winter or early spring; it is called "frazil ice".
Our recent visit was too early to see anything but a hint of what it may be like later in the year.  It has its genesis in the build up of ice that forms along side the falls during the chilly nights.
When the sun hits the cliff the ice falls off and into the creek.  You can glimpse a bit of it flowing here in the creek.  It's not the ice clinging to the rocks but the slushy bits flowing in the creek.  There was not much, not enough to impress.
The ice flowed down the creek until it was stopped by a log jamb.  Had there been more water in the creek it would have kept going, down to the Merced River.  When the creek is high and there is a lot of this frazil ice there's a river of slush, interesting to watch and dangerous to anyone who would walk out onto it thinking it a snow field.
There is a great video of this Phenomenon produced by Yosemite National Park and the Yosemite Fund.  You may have seen it, it has gone viral.  I got the link from three different friends.

Find more watery sites at Watery Wednesday, hosted for us by 2sweetnsaxy.

Fort Tejon State Historic Park

In the mountains separating Los Angeles from the Great Valley of California lies the site of the historic Fort Tejon. 
The fort was active for only ten years, from 1854 to 1864.  Except for the barracks, only foundations remained when the land was acquired from the Tejon Ranch Company in 1940.  The barracks, above, was restored and other buildings recreated.
In the barracks you can see the austere life led by the dragoons stationed here.  Their bedrolls lie on the floor under the pegs on which they hung their uniforms.
The commanding officer and his wife had more comfortable quarters, two rooms down and two up with a kitchen behind the house.  The junior officers shared a similar house two officers to a house each getting one upstairs and one downstairs room and sharing a kitchen. 
In one of the quartermaster's shops was a very substantial treadle operated sewing machine which I assume was used to sew leather as it was in the tack room. 
They even recreated the poultry yard, complete with chickens.
The fort was established to protect American miners and settlers from the native Americans who were not too keen on seeing their land usurped by these invaders.
An interesting exhibit in the barracks shows the various uniforms used during the period.  I was surprised to see how much they changed in just ten years time and how fancy the uniforms of enlisted men were.

The first Saturday of each month the park features Living History Demonstrations.  Twice a year there are civil war re-enactments.  You can find a calendar of events at the link.

 Find more about our wonderful world at That's My World, Tuesday, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren and Sylvia.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Found in a puddle

A gentleman at the Indian museum suggested I look for the reflection of Yosemite Falls in some puddles nearby.  I did and found some very nice ones but later saw this reflection on the path to Lower Yosemite Falls.
Your can find more interesting reflections at Weekend Reflections, hosted fro us by James at Newtown Area Photo.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Uncooperative Skies

We booked a winter stay in Yosemite in advance several months ago, hoping we would get some fresh snow and great winter scenes.  It seems that folks in the rest of the country have been hogging all the interesting weather this year and Yosemite had just some patchy snow remaining and no new snow in the forecast. 
 With clear skies in the forecast I thought I could at least get a picture of the golden light from the setting sun lighting up Horsetail falls.  This effect, like a  firefall, can only be seen in February or early March and if the setting sun is not obscured by clouds.
 What's this?  Clouds building in the west.
That's the life of the photographer, my camera and I will just have to return, seeking the perfect conditions for those great shots.  Any time spent in Yosemite is magic, the photos are just a bonus.

See more skies from around the world at SkyWatch Friday, hosted for us each week by Klaus, Sandy, Wren and Sylvia.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ide Adobe--California State Historic Park

California's 278 state parks are in danger.  The states financial problems may mean that some will be closed.  Perhaps 278 is more than we need, the citizens are certainly unwilling or unable to support them all.  Hubby and I have been trying to visit as many as we can, while we can.  Recently we visited Ide Adobe SHP.
 One of the first things we noticed was this huge, 400 year old oak next to the adobe.  The house, built in 1852, is the only existing example of a gold-rush era adobe.
 Furnished as it would have been in the 1800s it allows us to step back in time.
 School programs help fourth graders learn what life was like and Adobe Day in August re-creates the ambiance of the era with music, dancing and pioneer crafts.
 Exhibits in the visitor's center tell of William Ide's involvement in the Bear Flag Revolt of 1846.  In that revolt American settlers captured the Mexican commandant Vallejo and established the California Republic. The California Republic (sometimes called the Bear Flag Republic)  lasted only 25 days before Navy Commodore John Sloat claimed California for the United States.
Researchers have determined that Ide never lived at the site but it continues to be called the "Ide Adobe". 
While we were touring the adobe we heard a large crash.  When we went outside we saw that a limb had fallen off the giant oak.  I don't know what the state will do.  It is a beautiful old tree but it is a hazard to visitors.

To find more views of our world, visit  That's My World, Tuesday; hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren and Sylvia.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Eagles on the Ice

I promised to tell  of the eagles we saw at Klamath NWR.  I'm sorry that I my lens couldn't bring them closer but then I wouldn't have been able to get both in one frame.
 We stopped to watch the tundra swans and didn't notice the eagles at first.  The one on the left looks like he is ice fishing.
 Then he looks over his shoulder at the other bird.
 He turns to face the second bird.
 He moves closer.
Then stops to observe the swans flying over head.  We didn't stay to see what further interaction there might be.  We had been there quite a while just to get this much.  As we continued on I was able to get a much better shot of an eagle and you can see that at Around California.
If you are thinking that this was a quiet, peaceful spot, think again.  It is amazing how much noise a bunch of swans, geese and ducks can make.

More watery sights can be found at Watery Wednesday, hosted for us by 2sweetnsaxy.