Featured Post

Baltimore by the Sea

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bear Valley Wildflowers

Spring has sprung, and when the birds don't cooperate, wildflowers fill a bit of the void. Barb was up visiting from Monterey so we headed the hour's drive north to HWY 20 Eastward, then north onto twisty, windy, gravely Bear Valley Road. It's lovely having a Valley named for me, you know? Bear Valley Road gets you to one of the best wildflower viewing areas in the country - or so I decided to see for myself.

Bear Valley's first 8 miles are private road and if you get out of your car, true to its name, wild Bears are apt to run up & eat your face - or not.

Mostly not.

Bear Valley Road - rather gravely and bland to start

At first the claim of 'some of the best wildflower viewing the country seemed a bit overstated. The first wildflower I photographed was so... bland, I wasn't even sure it was a wildflower.

Almost too plain to even be a wildflower; Purple Sanicle

Mostly we did stay in the car, obediently viewing wildflowers out the car window - mostly.

Checking the Paintbrush Flowers just out the window

There was these strangely named flowers; 'Butter and Eggs'. Don't be fooled as I was, when I looked it up, this balloonish looking wee things are parasitic - that's why it is reddish brown, and not green - it steals nutrients from other plants. Bwah, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Butter and Eggs

Then after many miles of not much more than the odd buttercup, Barbara yelped; Wildflowers ahead! There, in a meadow, set far back from the gravel road were loads of pretty purply-pink flowers, that I had to peer at with my binoculars just to get a handle on them - they seemed to be lilies of some sort.

Lilies of the field!

A closer look and I was happy to announce - and wrongly so - we had found wild crocus - not so fast Lady Linneaus! Late night research revealed them to be the rare and beautiful Pink Adobe Lilies.

Close-up of the rare Pink Adobe Lilies

A few more of the lily lovelies

We were quite pleased with those lilies of the field. They were so far out in the meadow, we had to photograph them using telephoto lens. The Adobe Lilies were Barb's favorites for the day, and next we found my favorites.

Cream Cups - my personal favorite for
their poofy, starburst centers

Cream Cups dotted the Valley in spots

Potpourri of Goldfields,Bird's Eye Gilia,Cream Cup buds & Fescue

Western Wall Flowers


Popcorn Flowers speckle a pasture white

Barb photographing the uh... pretty scenery

Redbud and a view of the hills

Chia - not a pet, but still, it's a bit of Dr. Seuss, isn't it?

Tidy Tips; wildflower or new brand of internal ear cleaner?

All together it was an nice colorful, flowery, sort of day.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

It's Lambing Time!

Sunday morning is a good time for visiting, so myself and Barbara (who is visiting me) drove over to visit Robin in Vacaville. We sucked down fresh bagels/cream cheese and coffee while catching up on the Lynde Family adventures.
Then it was time for the grand tour for a look-see at the new spring lambs - there are 75 of the little speckled buggers, and with several ewes looking like water balloons ready to pop, there are more lambs on the way.

Barbara and I visited Robin - leader of the pack!
I hardly visited Robin at all this last couple of years; she's busy, and I'm too tired on Friday evenings after work to drag my spinning wheel to her spinning parties on Friday evenings after work - bummer. Robin is guilty of teaching me to the one who taught me to spin/weave/dye wools, etc. She teaches all of the above as well as breeding/selling Jacob sheep and earning a living from as many sheep oriented projects as you can imagine. She even invents new ones as she think so them, like her ram horn buttons.

For the pet deprived, visiting the lambs is 7th heaven!

Four horned ewe and her lamb
Jacob's sheep are spotty as Dalmations, rather small, the new lambs being the size of cats. But it's their horns that are their claim to fame - they have anywhere from two to six horns, and the horns, particularly the humongous ram's horns, grown any which way. Here is one of Robin's prize Rams, "Chicory Lane Houdini".
"Chicory Lane Houdini"
photo by Robin Lynde
There are oodles of Jacob's sheep at the Meridian Ranch, but there a few other animals too- such as Chris's prize Toggenburg milking goats. I love the goats, unlike the sheep, they're as friendly and sociable as dogs. The last time I visited, I got a goat milking lesson - not as easy as it sounds and you have to have strong hands.

Any day now, this lady Toggenburg doe will pop with triplet kids
If you visit Robin's Blog (see left panel for Claire's Lynx) you can see photos of this doe's baby kids, born 3/24/09.
♪♪♪I get to feed the lamby,♪ I get to feed the lamby!♪♪♪
et to feed the lamby, I get to feed the lamby!
Robin hugging one of Chris's Toogenburg kids
Tiny Toggenburg tootsies
Worshipping at the Udder Glory of Ma-maaaaa's milk bar
Hiding out in one of Robin's HUMONGOUS looms
While touring the ranch, Barbara found one of Robin's barn kitties, stranded in the workshop. Kitty doesn't look at all lost, stranded, or at all guilty, does she?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Sound of Quibbling

HAHAHAHA! Sorry - I'll have control of myself in a second... Last night Rick, Mommy Nancy & meself attended the Davis Musical Theater Company's (DMTC) production of "The Ton of Der Equal Opportunity in Der Hinterland", otherwise known as "The Sound of Music".

I'm being silly with the title; I was tickled that one of the infamously musical Von Trapp Children was a child of color, being Asian. Such casting is old for the DMTC, but dang it, if it still doesn't tickle me. I mean, I can't help wondering what Mrs. Von Trapp told the Mr. when his Aryan daughter turned up looking somewhat un-Aryan. HAHAHAHAHA! Yes, I'm silly, but you already know that. I know that Hans would have found such totally unsurprising - the Polish leaning eastern bits of the Reinland were long ago invaded by Attila the Hun & his ravashing hoards. To this very day, now and again the Asiatic genes pop up and little Freidrich or Inga appear with straight black hair and narrow slanted eyes. Sort of Mother Nature's way of jumping out from behind a shrub and shouting, 'Booga Booga!'

DMTC's cast doing their Doe Rae Me's

Now, back (sort of) to the topic of The Sound of Music. My titterings over the casting was something of a needed distraction for me. I only just read a Salon.com article on what is called The Quiverfull movement, which reported on religious groups that believe women should bear children until either their ovaries run out or their lives do. So during the play it occured to me that the dearly departed original, Mrs. VonTrapp (pre-Maria) whom I never gave a thought to before, had met her end due to Mr. VonTrapp's Quiverfull leanings. Ok, I realize that back in 1930-something the lack of family planning was not The Quiverfull. Back then it was just called 'life as usual', or rather 'life w/o birth control'. Come on, there must have been something available. Anyway, thinking on it made me wonder why, if Captain VonTrapp loved his first wife so much, why didn't he ease up on the procreation side of things - I know, I'm just saying...

Ok, I'll shut up on that tricky topic. So Mrs. Lincoln, other than that, how was the play?

Fun! It was the usual adorable musical. Maria had an angel's voice and was not old enough to drive anything but a tricycle. The Captain VonTrapp was a tad stiff, even after Maria was to have softened him up a bit. The kids were adorable and the best test of the play was that it was very, very, v-e-r-y difficult to not sing out loud. I was reduced to soundlessly mouthing the words. "Up on a hill a lonely goat heard La-eee, o-de-la-ee...O-de-la-eee..." You remember the rest.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Journey Home Through Air-brushed Hills

The end of a Hen Party is always a bit of a downer, but on the other hand, driving over hill and dale on back roads can really cheer you up. The hills and fields were festooned with great sweeps of yellow and white , with the occasional patch of periwinkle and/or blue.

Nancy enjoying the colorful vista

I recognized some of the flowers, such as these Fiddlenecks.

Common Fiddleneck


I guessed these white flowers were either Meadow Foam or Popcorn Flowers - they are the latter.

Popcorn Flowers

Red Maids, which actually look more like Fushia Maids, but there you go

Too pretty for only one name:
Frying Pan / Sierra Gold Cups/ or Lobb's Poppy - whew!

Look at this - doesn't it look as if some impressionist artist has swept a brush along and up the hillside?

Nancy insisted I photograph this beautiful little hillock

Ok, vow to self: MUST do some more wildflower hunting before the summer heat sets in and all the green stuff turns to brown crispies.