Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wood duck

For more watery sites and sights, click the badge at right.

I love the wood ducks. They look like a painting so I put this male in a frame.

Monday, April 27, 2009

South Yuba State Park

We recently went hiking in South Yuba State Park. It's a great spring hike in the California Gold Country.
I bet you didn't know California had covered bridges. This is one of only ten historic covered bridges in the state. It was built in 1862 and at 251 feet it is the longest single span covered bridge in the country. If you want more information about this bridge, you can find it here.

The Buttermilk trail crosses the bridge and follows the Yuba river upstream. You can see that the river is far from flood stage. It will come up when the snow melts in the Sierra but it is unlikely to approach the high water line in this third year of drought.

In spring you will find a great variety of wildflowers as we did on our hike.

The slope down toward the river was green and sprinkled with a variety of flowers.

When we reached the park boundry we retraced our steps back to the bridge.
To see more worlds, click here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sky Watch Friday

A storm blew through last week. No rain, just this spectacular cloud.

Summer is almost here, the snow is melting in the Sierra and we will be spending our time at our cabin or camping, comming back to lincoln every few weeks to pay bills and make sure all is well. We'll be off the grid and off the Web for much of the next five months. I will have some auto posts scheduled but usually I won't be in a place where I can link them. If I don't respond to your comments, I'm not ignoring you, just out of touch (hard to believe that in this day and age there are still places off the web.)
To see more skies click here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A watery tale

The creek that runs down the ravine behind our house usually looks

like this.

Recently it started to look like this. What's going on? We haven't had rain to bring the creek up.

I think I know.

There's the culprit!

A beaver has moved into the neighborhood.

He's cute and the birds like the habitat he has created but he will destroy the few trees we have in the open area.
For more watery sites and sights, click here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Michael does learn

Our grandson Michael is part of our world. Michael is nine and he is retarded--severe to profound.
There, I used the "R" word, I know it's not politically correct but you know what I mean. Or do you? People often think that it means Michael will never learn anything, never progress but that's not true. He does progress but very slowly and with a lot of help from family, teachers and therapists.
Michael needs to wear these DAFOs to help support his feet and ankles. They make him more stable when he walks. Some thought that he would never walk and he was almost 3 when he did; 18 months when he learned to crawl.
Michael used to pull his foot away when you put the DAFO on. Now he not only pushes his foot in, he hands you the tongue that goes inside and then the shoe.
Michael and Grandma were playing side by side, each with a different toy. If Grandma stopped he would prompt me to start again by handing me the toy or just touching my hand. Michael doesn't speak but this is one of the ways he communicates. If you pay attention you find that he is quite good at communicating.

He likes his bath. If he thinks it's time he will take you by the hand and lead you into the bathroom. Even if it isn't any where near bath time he might try to con you into it. If he is hungry he will find a an empty sippy cup and hand it to you. He might open the dishwasher to find one. He is pretty smart when it comes to getting his needs met. Of course it helps to have a family that loves him and is determined that he have as pleasant a life as possible.
Michael has learned to go safely down the stairs. I will never forget the day when he was three and he crawled up the stairs at my house. He hadn't been out of sight for more than a few minutes when I went looking for him. I saw him at the top of the stairs and raced up just as he stepped off, tumbling down. He wasn't seriously hurt but you better believe there was a safety gate installed the next day.
Michael likes to go for walks. He walks slowly and awkwardly, but he walks.
For another story about Michael click here.
To visit more worlds click here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Monochrome Cho-cho

I don't usually work with monochrome but I thought I should give it a try with this steam locomotive.
For more monochrome shots click here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Steam Locomotive No. 844

I hadn't intended to post this weekend but when I heard on our local NPR station that a steam locomotive would be on display Saturday at the railroad yards in an adjacent town, I had to investigate.
The Union Pacific site had the train's schedule and gave updates on its progress from Reno over the Sierra to Roseville. When we knew it was getting close, we got in the car and drove about 8 miles to the old train station in nearby Loomis.
Quite a few others had the same idea.
We heard it before we saw it and then the gates came down and the bells clanged. Here she comes!

And there she goes!
She was really moving along. The railroad had added a couple of diesel helpers to get her over the mountains.
I was surprised at how long she was.
For more information about No. 844; for its schedule click the links.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Skywatch Friday

Good Night Pinnacles

Good night Morro Bay

Click here to see more great sky photos.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Carrizo Plain

The last stop on this trip was the Carrizo Plain. I had read about the Carrizo Plain and its magnificent display of wild flowers many years ago but we had never visited.
We started seeing wildflowers along the road long before reaching our destination.
When John Muir wrote about the wildflowers of California, people in other parts of the country didn't believe him.

Sauntering in any direction, my feet would brush about a hundred flowers with every step... as if I were wading in liquid gold-- John Muir describing the Central Valley of California in the spring of 1868

It is said that the place that comes closest to what Muir saw is the Carrizo Plain. While the northern section of the Soda Lake road is paved, the rest is unpaved and the better display in this drought year was in the southern section, down this well graded and maintained dirt road.
Here the bright yellow goldfields catch your eye and if you stay in the car that is all you will see.

If you get out and look, you find a great variety of flowers growing among the goldfields.
The rangers said that this had been a poor year with many varieties not blooming at all but it was still a sight worth seeing.
The thistle sage plant really does look a lot like a thistle but the flower is much different and very pretty.
If the wildflowers weren't enough, this is a good place to see evidence of the San Andreas fault. The fault runs along the front edge of the temblor range seen here in the distance and if you drive over to the elkhorn road on that far side of the plain you can see an offset of Wallace creek where it crosses the San Andreas. The west end of the creek has move north relative to the east end of the creek.

We didn't go over to Wallace creek but we hope to in the future. The only facilities in the monument are some primitive campgrounds and the visitor center. There is also a self guided trail at Wallace creek.

For more information about Carrizo Plain National Monument, click here.

Next month look for a photo journey to Yosemite, one of our favorite places, a place we try to visit every spring and fall.