Old Home Week(day)! Monday, 4/29/13

We read each other's blogs, comment on each other's pictures.  Sometimes it feels like we've known each other for years, which is wild and crazy since we've never met in person.  Sometimes an opportunity arises that lets us meet.  When Sue and Mo, fellow Bloggers and RVer's from Rocky Point, OR, drove their MoHo to NorCal on their way south to the desert, we wanted to get together.  Sue and Mo already knew Laurie and Odel (who now live in Placerville CA), and so did we, thanx again to Blogging and RV'ing,  A meet-up for the six of us at our house in Nevada City was arranged for Monday.  Plus Abby, Sue and Mo's heeler/cocker mix, a calm, sweet dog.

And just as we supposed, our new friends became fast friends.  The six of us sat in the living room and shared histories, stories, where we've been, how we got there, comparing notes on great RV parks, and other anecdotes, and so on, and you can bet we laughed a lot.  Laughter is good for the soul and the digestion, too.  After visiting for an hour or so, inc. a tour of our digs and a thorough look-see at our yard "improvements," what else would RVer's want to do?  Pick a fine restaurant for lunch!  Lefty's Grill in Nevada City was chosen, where we could sit creek-side on the patio almost on top of Deer Creek -- a beautiful setting.  On such a picture-perfect afternoon, it was a great choice.  Everybody ordered something different, and I think everyone enjoyed their lunch.  I had a pizza with dried apricots, pork bellies and spinach on it.  Quite yummy, actually.  I don't believe I'd ever made the acquaintance of a pork belly before!

Here we are!  L to R, back row:  Mo, Sue, Odel.  Front row:  Laurie, me, and Jimmy, taken @ Lefty's Grill, after lunch.  We all look happy, don't we?  What a good time we had.

Abby came in, cased the joint and plunked down on the rug.  She sure looks comfy!  I had to wait till she closed her eyes to get a picture.  Whenever she saw the camera aimed at her, she'd avert her face!

After lunch, Laurie and Odel had to leave us, so Sue, Mo, Jimmy and me (and Abby) walked historic downtown Nevada City.  Sue took pictures of the older buildings, all of us admiring the few Grand Dame homes close to downtown, as well as the gorgeous spring flowers.  We looked in shop windows, then looked in the shops, and by the time the parking meters (two hours for one quarter) expired, we were ready to quit.  With hugs all 'round, we parted company -- they to continue their journey to the desert, and us to our happy Nevada City home.  Thanx for the muy bueno visit everybody.  Come back soon!

 This azalea is blooming in our front yard.  Luckily deer don't like to eat azaleas.

 Another view of the same azalea... red AND white on one plant!

Our ant farm.  How many ants can you count?  Fire ants and other biting ants are not allowed.  In fact only hand-picked ants can join the farm.  Wait, is the ant on the right pushing a wagon laden with gold?  Oooh...! 


WOW! A Wednesday Surprise -- April 24th

How can a person feel bad/lousy in such surroundings?  Not possible!  Last week, a friend named Jane asked me to go with her and a few other ladies to the Ananda Tulip Festival, but our hot tub was being delivered that day and I wanted to be home for that.  I sweet-talked Jimmy into going Wednesday morning.  Neither of us had ever visited this place, nor had we even heard of it before last week.  Located about 20 miles north of us amid green rolling hills, Ananda Village is situated high above the North Yuba River.  Beautiful terraced gardens, expansive vistas, and peace of mind await every visitor.  It was a lovely, serene setting; the flowers were out of this world. Jimmy not only didn't mind being here, he was as appreciative of the beauty as I.

10,000 tulips?  That's what I heard.  Wow!

Not just tulips, either.  Here we sit in the midst of fragrant candytuft (et cetera).

 Vibrant color in every direction! 

Not a tulip, tho I'm not sure what 'tis.  Wait, sure:  It's a whopper!

 Another day with not a cloud in the sparkling blue sky enhanced our flower garden experience, and the cameras liked what they saw, too.

Isn't this delicate, feathered tulip just THE most incredible sight?    

 Nor did we step from one area to the other merely aiming our cameras, we sat on benches provided, relaxing and admiring.

A peony the size of a salad plate.
Some of the wisterias were 35 years old and had trunks the size of small trees.  What perfume - bees buzzing filled the air....

Being midweek, not too many other people were present, but we were asked several times by kind folk if we'd like our picture taken together.  OK, and thank you very much.  Nice, huh?  We watched a little girl (4 yrs?) step into this pool, but the water was too chilly.  The larger swimming pool close by and in full sun had a shallow, warm wading area perfect for a little girl.  She happily skipped to it.  BTW, the blur of white in the upper right hand corner is a solid mass of dogwood blossoms.

We stopped at a cafe on the grounds and bought sandwiches, which we ate under a spreading cottonwood tree.  Then  we ambled to the car and drove home,  delighted to find a new site to occasionally visit.

Besides, people need a break from everyday chores (and yanking out St Johns Wort)!


"We felt the earth move under our Feet" -- Sunday, 4/21

I adhere to the notion that anything worth doing is worth overdoing!  Hence, below are many photos of the yard work we had done on Sunday.  Before and After.  Front yard and Back yard.  Lots of pictures.  Be grateful these are all I did use!

When Earthworks stood us up the previous Monday, Jimmy thumbed thru the Yellow Pages looking for a replacement.  One call led to another, and on Saturday, Carlos came to see the work we wanted done.  He said, "No problem.  We can do it."  We asked him how soon.  "Tomorrow?" he inquired.

"Yes!" we replied.  He and his two helper-workers showed up Sunday morning at 7:30, and tore into the invasives:  St Johns Wort, Vinca Periwinkle, Ivy.  Oh, and hidden logs 'n stumps.  They uncovered quite a few!

The Front Yard:

Jimmy in front of the garage.  The foliage in this area of our front yard is out-of-control and we have no idea what all is under it.

Same area; different view.  We knew one stump was hidden beneath that big hump, but what else?

Five stumps!  And lots of log sections... all of it grossly intertwined with ivy and St Johns Wort.

This pic shows their trailer half full.  By the time these guys were finished, the trailer was bulging!

Looks a little different, eh?  Two stumps were removed.  These others were too big to tackle, and the trailer was overflowing by this time.  Carlos will return!

The Back Yard:

1.  Very green.  Impossible to use.  Notice stump.

Vinca periwinkle - pretty flowers.  Stay back:  VERY AGGRESSIVE.

We had no idea where to begin.  This stuff is impossible to contain or control.

Again, we were unsure what was under the greenery.  Our neighbor, Fran, looked at this mess the other day and said it looked like it had grown exponentially in a week.

I didn't like standing in the St Johns Wort.  Spiders hide in it.

2.  Our heroes arrive!  And they set right to it.  Notice the stump is uncovered.

Carlos staggers to dump this load in the trailer just out of the picture.
He looks like an animated Christmas tree.

Hard work.  We didn't want heavy machinery back here because of our septic tank field lines.

Uh-huh.  Another uprooted stump is uncovered, with blackberry vines,
St Johns Wort and Vinca all tangled in the root system.

Many hours later, and roto-tilled, doesn't this look fine?
Looks like good garden-growing soil.

3.  They got that uprooted stump on the right out of the ground and will take it away when they return.  We now have a back yard.  The work isn't quite finished, but at least we can see the ground!  Again, compare stump on left to photos 1 and 2.

Well, that's our Sunday story.  The guys worked steadily almost eight hours.  (Fran and Anson - who live across the street - came over in the midst of the work and asked Carlos about taking down some sketchy oak trees in their yard.  He said yes.  Win-win.)  We're very pleased with the work done and are soooo glad we didn't attempt to do it ourselves.  Ha ha, that's actually funny.  Imagine us mauling those stumps out of the yard!  Or me hauling St Johns Wort on my back, like Carlos, with spiders crawling down my shoulders.  Ugh!  No way!

Next up:  Carlos is going to install a seven-foot, deer-proof fence around the back yard.  Let the deer devour somebody else's flowers and veggies and dogwood leaves with their sweet little deer lips.  No hurry on this, tho, we still have plenty of work to do. 

BTW, me and Jimmy really enjoyed soaking our aching muscles in our new hot tub after the workers left!


Potpourri 'n More Stuff -- April 2013

Trillium chloropetalum var. giganteum, aka Wake Robin, growing in the back yard.  Giant trillium is right!

Neat li'l morels (or more probably false morels) at the side of our house -- you can look, just don't sample!

This is Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis), which popped up out front.  I'd never seen it before.

And this is Fluffy, the deer, who likes to nibble on flowers anywhere in our yard!  This particular morning, she's in the front yard.

Yummy homemade granola, approx three quarts, into bags for the freezer to take out on hikes.

Aha!  Now we're talking.  These fellers are delivering the hot tub (spa) we ordered!

It's a two-seater, like a sports car, with lots of jets.

We had it installed in the screened section of the back deck.  Jimmy hooked up all the electricity and - by gum - it works!  102° heat shooting thru powerful jets to soothe the aching joints caused by intense retirement!  It's wonderful.  (We can adjust the heat up or down.)

Next up:  We tackle the overgrown yard.  We'll need the hot spa for sure!  We will also need help.


"A Nice Little Walk" -- Sunday, 4/14/13

That's what Jimmy said after dinner.  Another header could read, "Tramping the Trail."  Last Sunday we hiked along the lower section of the Cascade Canal trail.  This week we wanted to walk beside the upper section, which is considerably longer, like 6 miles R/T (a fact we usually forget till we get to the end of the trail and turn around!)  So, after a hearty breakfast of whole grain waffles, with real maple syrup (or maple slurple as I call it), away we went.  We picked another fine morning to be Out and About -- to work off that breakfast!

This is such a tranquil place to walk:  In and out of shade, alongside the shallow, rushing canal water, it's soft babbling a most soothing companion.  Birds, too - songbirds and chattering birds and hammering woodpeckers, keeping pace with us as we walk along.

A cool water slide?

I'm not too good at guesstimating, but these gorgeous dogwood blooms had to be four or five inches across.

Buzzy bee visited this leaf for quite a while.  Is it confused?  There's no pollen on this leaf.

With the exception of clumps of beautiful bleeding hearts, very few wildflowers have popped up along the canal yet.  This blue stickweed (Hackelia velutina) really showed well amongst the green.

A massive black oak with new leaves was a real stand out framed against the clear, blue sky!

During the summer, ferns line the canal, and today I spotted a few squiggly fronds beginning to unfurl, but I didn't get a photo.

We always see joggers and walkers, occasionally a bicyclist or two, on our hike.  Today we were joined by three dogs:  A white dog, a huge black Newfoundland dog with drool slopping off its jaws, and a border collie (not seen in this pic).  All wore tags and seemed friendly.  They must live nearby.  They tagged along for a while, minding their dog business, eventually disappearing.  I steered clear of the Newfie and its drool!

I couldn't wait to get my shoes off when we got home.  My right heel was screaming!  I'd like to say that a hike this long is good for the souls, but not good for my soles!  No matter.  We relaxed later in the day.  Fun day!


Welcome back! Springtime Sunday, April 7th, 2013

It's been a long time and, while we've had adventures elsewhere, we missed walking on our favorite canal path.  Watching foliage change as the seasons evolve one into another, we are almost to the time when we first walked this path:  May 2012.  When last we walked here in December, icy patches dotted the trail, and we had to be careful where we placed our feet on crackling-hard ground.

We've had a little rain this week and the trail today is muddy in spots, but the ground is again soft.  Water is low in the canal, we've never seen it so low, yet our sharp eyes see small trout darting in the clear, shallow water.  Sometimes we hear the wind whispering high in the pines.  I think another cool front is expected this evening.

Delicate spring-green buds dot the deciduous trees, and blossoms shine in the sunlight.  We can see farther down the hill without all the dusty summer growth.  Perennial flowers are beginning to bloom near the canal, much to my delight.  Every time we travel the trail, it's different -- the volume of water, the color of the trees, and the changing sun and shadows.  I'm glad I brought my camera.  I wish I'd brought my binocs....

My Jimmy.
This lower trail section is 3.5 miles R/T, and other walkers and runners were out enjoying the morning.

Western Dogwoods are just beginning to bloom.

 I love bleeding hearts - we had these in Niagara Falls where I grew up -- and lucky me, to have several growing in our yard here.  This group is wet from last night's sprinkle.

Cherry trees glow white thru the majestic tall trees.

 I just like the looks of this ol' boy.  The trunk on the right is still alive.

Oregon grape's bright yellow flowers are eye-catching this time of year.  We have some growing in our backyard.

We saw lots of moss on trees, rocks, stumps, that looked like pasted-on blobs.

Last and smallest is this little flower growing on the canal bank - only one.  I wish I knew what it is!

This is our idea of a fine Sunday morning.