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Friday, April 13, 2012


Sometimes I really ought not be surprised. Last week Barbara, her Tante Judy and I cancelled a wildflower tour because it was supposed to rain. Almost needless to say, the week turned out to be bright and sunny. This week however, if the adage 'April Showers bring May Flowers' is true, next month there will be a bumper crop of wildflowers - it has rained all week. Oh well! On Wednesday Barbara drove up from Monterey, picked up Judy in the Napa Valley and drove to my house. When they arrived at my front door it was pouring rain.

It not only rained but the annual hail maelstrom hit as pea sized frozen pellets pounded the back yard. Here's a peek at what happened outside the picture window.

Did the hellish hail storm stop us from going on our wildflower tour on Thursday? Hale no, it did not! Mind, as I drove us north, the hour to Oroville I must say I had my druthers - periodically along the hour drive we were hit by rain that pelted hard enough it seemed likely to crack my windshield. But as incredible luck would have it, as we wound round the twisty, narrow road up to the Table Mountain Wildflower Reserve we were unmolested by rain, and greeted by pretty pastoral scenes.

Black-bellied sheep graze on rolling pastureland

Across the valley 'wasserfalls' flowed

Table Mountain is the splatter field from an ancient volcano, where cool black volcanic rocks are spread around meadows, dotted with wildflowers and vernal pools. Not that we got up that high on the mountain very fast - we couldn't stop gawking out the window at patches of Lupines and Blue Dicks.
Wild Blue Lupines

Oh, and the bit about 'Blue Dicks' is not my... questionable sense of humor. The B.D.s are little purplish wild lilies. Aren't they adorable?

Tiny Blue Dicks, in all their glory

After lots of through-the-window wildflower gawking, we got to fields where we could park and go walk-about in the golden flowered fields. When we got out of the car it was cold, and I mean, windy, drippy noses cold! Judy and I decided to walk out in the meadow and have a nice look around.

Goldfields & Stone Crop speckle the roadsides

Judy enjoying the meadow

The meadow on Table Mountain was not the blue field solid with Lupine's we'd hope for, but it was beautiful none-the-less. There were hints of vernal pools and if you looked down, tiny little wildflowers waited for our admiration.

Shy Douglas Violets

Succulent little 'Corn Lily' or 'Stone Crop'
By the time we finished inspecting the meadow and poking the mini-mushrooms out there, the sky had turned blue and it was very nearly warm. So we decided to take a little drive down to the historic Oregon City Covered Bridge which was only up the rode a piece.

Once a Gold Rush mecca, now the town of Oregon City is rather a ghost town. We were pleased when a v. friendly, & not too ghostly man at the little school house there, unlocked the door and let us in for a look around.

Old Oregon City Church & former School House

Inside the School House

After a chummy little tour of the school house, the historian told us how to go up the road so we could visit and pay our respects to the local cemetery.

The cemetery's oldest 'inhabitant' was buried in 1878. Interestingly there were loads of Masonic types buried there and many of the inhabitants were born in Wales and Germany to name a few exotic spots of origin. The cemetery is rather weather worn and the lichens seem to worry away at the headstones. Creepy!

Our Funereal tour over, we decided to picnic - in the car - down by the old Covered Bridge. Then, full up with food and nature, we headed back to home. Wouldn't you know it - when we got home it was, you guessed it, pouring down rain. We all had to marvel that we had the good luck to manage to have a nice dry day for our wildflower adventure!
Wild Rainbow Iris
by the Old Covered Bridge

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