Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Burning California skies

This has been a terrible week for people across our state.  Wild fires have burned so hot and so fast that some people literally had no where to run.

Our son took these shots from his back yard.  They are from the Woolsey fire in Southern California.  Although the fire came quite close at times, the winds kept it moving to the west, away from his home. 

Here in Lincoln and throughout the Sacramento Valley the air is filled with smoke from the camp fire in Paradise.  You can see in this shot from my yard the sun shining weakly through the haze, most outdoor activities have been canceled.

For us it is merely an inconvenience, for the people of Paradise it is a catastrophe.  So far 48 people have been found dead and over 200 are still unaccounted for.  Thousands are now homeless in an area that already had a housing shortage.

Our "Dear Leader" has chosen to blame the people of California citing poor forest management ignoring the fact that most of our forest lands are managed by the federal government and the Woolsey fire is in an area with few trees, mostly grass and brush.  Perhaps it would be better if he would acknowledge climate change and establish policies to reduce global warming.

You can find more views of the sky (hopefully more pleasant ones) at SkyWatch, Friday

Monday, November 12, 2018

Fall Color in Yosemite

We missed the fall color in the high country but a visit to Yosemite at the end of October made up for it.

I'm afraid my images don't do justice to the beauty.

Some of the best color was "drive by" in places I couldn't stop or easily walk to.

Maples were yellow, gold and orange

Dogwood were turning from pale green to yellow to scarlet in the valley sun.

They were more purple up in the Sequoias.

Dogwood is a double delight with their white flowers in the spring and their fall color.

It was a delightful visit to one of our favorite places.

See more views of our marvelous world at Our World, Tuesday

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Autumn Sky in Yosemite

The Summer fires that made the air so toxic that much of Yosemite was closed for a few weeks are now gone.  Blue skies and a few high thin clouds greeted us on our recent visit.

Clear blue sky at the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias.

The sun shining clear and bright in the valley.

See more views of the sky a Skywatch, Friday

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Night Godzilla Ate Our Shed

I'm in the process of organizing my image files and I came across this one, a scanned image dating to the the early 1990s.

At this time my husband was working at a hydroelectric plant in the Owens Valley on the Eastern front of the Sierra Nevada.  To operate the power plant water is sent through a very large pipe, called a penstock, to a turbine that in turn turns a generator producing electricity.

On the night in question Hubby was at the power plant and I was home, soaking away the cares of the day in a hot bathtub.  Suddenly there was a loud "BOOM" followed by a sound I could only describe as like a giant creature was tearing apart the aluminum shed in the yard.  This was followed by the sound of rushing water.  Now, the housing at the power plant was in a narrow gorge, downstream from a dam holding back a large reservoir.  To say all of this was alarming is an understatement.

So I got out of the tub and headed over to the plant, picking my way through mud and debris to find out what was happening and see if I should evacuate.  It was dark, our access road was washed out but I was assured that there was no danger and we would have to wait until morning to asses the situation.

So, what had happened?  The "BOOM", that was a water hammer caused by the abrupt opening and closing of a value at the plant, it blew out this section of pipe.  The sound of crumpling metal?  Well, have you ever held a finger over the end of a straw and sucked on it and had it collapse?  That is what had happened to the penstock.  When the water rushed out a vacuum was created up above a place where the pipe narrowed called a venturi. 

The company quickly repaired our access road and meanwhile the residents could use a road normally used only for official business.  Repairing the penstock took a lot longer.  I don't recall the distance of pipe that was damaged but I think it was over a mile and this happened at the end of the first gulf war where this large heavy gauge pipe was needed to repair the oilfields. It wasn't just the generation of electricity that was at stake, this was a major source of water for the city of Los Angeles!

A temporary work around was found to continue sending water downstream and a source was eventually found for the pipe.  Men worked long hours to repair the damage but they got the job done surprisingly quickly.

Going through old files can be a walk down memory lane.  This was my world many years ago, a place where I could hike and ride bicycles and have an occasional adventure. 

Find more views of the world and maybe more stories at Our World, Tuesday.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Morning Sky

I leave the blinds open at night so that I can awaken to the sunrise.  This morning I was rewarded with this!

See more views of the sky at Skywatch Friday.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Changing of the Seasons

We were late getting to the Eastern Sierra to close the cabin.  The aspen were well past their peak.

I got what color I could then looked around to see what else I might find to photograph.

Over at the creek I realized why we had such a hard time heating up the cabin the previous night.

There were some wonderful ice formations along the creek.

The next day I decided to check out a small cascade up by the lake.   The sun was in the wrong spot for the easy shot.  The sun flare wasn't nearly as pleasing as in the shot of the aspen. To get in a position to put the sun to the side I would have clime around and up the large rock the water was flowing over.  Is this old lady still spry enough?

Of course!

And, of course, my lens cap and my foot wound up in a pool of water.  I rescued the lens cap and my shoe was just a little damp.  

Find more views of our world at Our World, Tuesday

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Sound of a Different Era

From time to time I hear above me a sound that I associate with WWII moves, it sounds like a squadron of old prop planes.
I assume they are coming from our local airfield, perhaps residents here at Sun City since they fly mid day, mid week.

 Sometimes the cute little red biplane seems to have trouble keeping up.

I don't know if they are practicing for some airshow or just honing their skills.

Their final maneuver as they headed away was a missing man formation as this plane pealed off and the others flew on.    
I always enjoy watching these old planes, common when I was a kid but not so common to see today.
Do you remember the skywriters? 

See more views of the sky at Skywatch, Friday

Monday, October 22, 2018

Along Moonstone Beach

Moonstone beach is a wonderful spot to stroll.  Whether one stays on the boardwalk along the bluff or ventures down to the water's edge it is well worth a trip to Cambria, California.

Up on the boardwalk you can get a great view of the ocean and beach.  There are several of these driftwood structures down on the beach.

I wish I knew what this plant is.  They were common along the boardwalk, some not quite finished with their bloom others dried out.

The cypress trees along the walk had lovely mature cones.

Jules found the footing too uneven to venture onto the beach so I went alone to view its treasures.

Tide pool always lure me to explore.

I saw lots of anemones

but only one seastar.  This one was covered with snails and hermit crabs occupying snail shells.

If you find yourself in this part of California try to make time to walk along Moonstone Beach.
Find other parts of our world at Our World, Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Coastal Skies

Low clouds and fog are common along the California coast.

The sky was clear enough as we headed south from Monterey to get a peak at the Bixby Bridge although we were unable to find parking at the more popular view point.

The clear sky allowed the beautiful blue of the pacific to shine.

The next morning and farther down the coast we could barely make out the ocean.

With a little patience the ocean and cliffs appeared but the sky was still missing.

As evening approached the sun tried to peak through a few holes in the clouds giving a sheen of molten silver to the sea.

See more skies at SkyWatch Friday

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Birds Along the California Coast

I showed some of the sea mammals (here)  I saw on our trip down the coast highway but we also saw a lot of coastal birds.  Moss landing is not just a place for spotting sea otters it is also a great birding spot.

We watched these terns and pelicans for awhile, they were hanging out near the otters.

Then we moved to an area with shallower water to see some wading birds like these two egrets, a great and a snowy.

I managed to catch a shot of some sand pipers in flight.

This curlew posed nicely for me and gave me a nice series of images. 

For some reason it made me think of a ballerina.

 Down at Cambria we saw a regular feeding frenzy of the pelicans.  They dived straight down into the water. 
 Find more birds at Wild Bird Wednesday

Thursday, October 4, 2018


We have had our first rain of the season here in the Sacramento Valley.  Some got a lot, some got little, at our house we received 3/4".  We hope that it is just the beginning of lots more to come.

  Perhaps this sunset rainbow is a good omen.

In addition to the rain we were treated to a spectacular sunset.

Find more views of the sky at SkyWatch Friday.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Recreation on Tomales Bay

We had a perfect view of Tomales Bay on our recent trip to Point Reyes National Seashore.  We watched the many was people made use of this gem.

In the morning, the bay was calm, perfect for these paddle boarders.

 In the afternoon the wind came up and the kite surfers came out.

 At Hearts Desire Beach some people enjoyed playing in the water.

 Others found it a good place for kayaking.

  As for us, we just enjoyed people watching and stayed out of the water.

Looks like fun but I think I'll pass.

For more views of our wonderful wold check out Our World, Tuesday