On the Move! Thursday, May 30th, 2013

All packed up and ready to roll.  Away we go!  Our aim is for the Chester CA area, roughly 150 miles north of our home in Nevada City.  We have options, tho, on our route and debated about whether to take the twisty-turny scenic way or the relatively flat and hopefully boring road (because you know we picked the scenic Feather River Byway).  From home, we traveled down Hwy 20 to Hwy 70 and after passing Oroville, the road began following the Feather River.  Jimmy and I agreed that this scenic byway was one of most beautiful drives we've been on.  Even Tergel didn't seem to mind it (too much).  Of course, twisting, mountainous roads are not the way to achieve optimum gas mileage!

We are on our way to Montana.  You've heard of the Slow Boat to China?  That's me and Jimmy, the slow motor home to Montana.  We've never traveled Hwy 395 north of Reno, so we've elected to do it this time, into eastern Oregon. Tomorrow, if all goes well, we'll don our bike shorts and give the Bizz Johnson Bike Trail a try.  Weather is fantastic - blue skies and warm (not hot) temperatures.  

Into Plumas National Forest, with the Feather River below.  Far, far below!

That's not a highway  left of the river.  It's a rail bed, and by golly as we stood there gazing down, we spotted a six-engine freight train chugging along in our direction.  The first engine is at the red arrow.  Six engines!  Those strange looking lines on the right are actually cleared areas where transmission lines have been placed.

A bridge we traversed, but we had no shoulder to pull off onto to take a real photo.  Instead, I took a picture of this photo (displayed at a Rest Station) showing the highway bridge with the train bridge below..  Quite dramatic in person. 

And as we neared Chester, snow-capped Mt Lassen hove into view.  Took our breath away!

Isn't this a sight!  These brilliant orange-scarlet Oriental Poppies grow across from the small RV Park where we're staying in Chester.  Growing up in Niagara Falls, we had a small flower garden between two cherry trees, and poppies popped up (sorry!) every year, much to our delight -- as children, for pretend, we used the dried seed pods as salt 'n pepper shakers!  Fun.


Smile for the birdie! Saturday, 5/25

What began as a simple trip to the Saturday morning Grower's Mkt (which opens at 8 am) in Grass Valley CA took us all morning.  The Fairgrounds are a short hop from the Mkt, and provide a quiet walking path amongst the trees.  Parking is free and the gate is always open for walkers and runners.  Today held an added bonus to our walk - the 16th Annual Cal-ILA Llama Show.  Naturally we had to check out all the animals, touch the fiber, and look at the handmade fiber items for sale.  Can't tell you how long we spent there, but after finishing up at both hardware and grocery stores, it was lunchtime!  Who cares?  We're retired!

It was a grand morning!

These llamas!  "Llamas, a camelid originally bred as pack animals by pre-Hispanic Andean cultures endemic to South America, are incredibly intelligent creatures."  That quote is from our newspaper.  You'd think they'd all appear about the same, kinda hairy or woolly, yes?  Absolutely not.  Interesting to see the varieties, colors, types of fiber and so on.  I'm not sure if one of the judging categories was "prettiest llama," but we did see some pretty critters...

... but not this one!  Smile... hey, what're you laughin' at?

 Jimmy tho't this spotted llama looked more like a giraffe.

Look at the long, thick fiber on this very fancy "beast of burden."

BFF:  Best Friends Forever.

I'm sorry - this guy just makes me laugh!  Look at those ears.  That face!  He's GRINNING! Hahahahaa
Would this be considered the opposite of a Mohawk?

Nevada County Fairgrounds are spacious and gorgeous.  This green-space is where the midway is located during the fair held in August every year.

The boxes next to the wide walkway have just been planted with marigolds, so the flowers will be in full bloom by fair time in August.  Walkway leads to the food "court."  Animal barns and show areas are off to the right and back of this picture.  We asked several llama farmers if they sold llama poop for compost.  None did.  Heck, they'd never run out of product.  Think I'll visit a nearby llama farm and see if I can get the local poop on it.

And the fairgrounds is landscaped beautifully.

Like I said, a nice place for a walk.  But it sure is easy to get side-tracked!


Oh yeah, we bees jammin' in Nevada City! 5-15-13

On Wednesday afternoon, I "did" just two rows of strawberries, that is to say, I walked between two rows of berries (out of maybe 30) and picked what you see in the bowl below - five pounds worth!  Time was of the essence as rain was forecast for Thursday, so as soon the farm folks gave me the okay to come on ahead, I put on my "farmer shoes" and made straight for the berry field.  Rain can spoil strawberries, doncha know.

Beautiful sweet berries.

Three pints of our favorite strawberry jam (plus the little squirt), and another four cups of eatin' strawberries.  Life is good!


A Sunday Flower Parade, May 12, 2013

I think that header should probably read MY Sunday flower parade.  Sunday, of course, was Mother's Day.  Yesterday I picked the white roses and a bleeding heart stalk (picture below) in my front yard, and tho't it made a pretty bouquet for the day.  I cut a few for my friend, Fran, across the street, too.  The roses are very fragrant.  All the low leaves on the bush are gone - gee, three guesses who ate them .  The flowers are up too high (it's a tree rose) for sweet little deer lips, which I'm sure is the only reason I get to pick and enjoy them!  When these are ready for the compost pile, I'll cut more.

Our town offered many options for brunches and dinners this day, but we signed up at the Nevada City Elks lodge for a Mother's Day champagne brunch.  I think we arrived around 9:30ish and quite a few people had already gathered in the dining room.

You can see we arrived in style.  No, wait, that's not our car, but we do see it driving up and down our mountain road frequently.  Jimmy thinks it would be fine to run around town in it!  Cute, huh?

I was warmly greeted at the door:  "Happy Mother's Day!"  A handmade tote bag was offered - "please pick out the one you like best."  That was tough; they were all very nice.  I like paisley, so I chose the one above.

The brunch was a buffet and we managed to fill our plates.  And then we did pretty well at cleaning 'em!  Not shown is the plate of fruit... which we also dived into.  The food was very good.

If you've visited this blog before, you know where this picture was taken.  After the heat of the day passed, and after we talked to our loved ones, we decided to hit the canal trail.  This was our first time walking in late afternoon.  Personally, I prefer a morning hike; dodging banana slugs "streaking" across the path makes the hike more challenging then, too!  The afternoon was still warm at 4pm when we started our walk.  For the first time in the year we've been in NorCal, we were stalked by blood-thirsty mosquitoes.  If we stopped moving, we got bit.  I didn't realize it till too late, but every time I paused to take a picture, I got nailed.  Anyone who knows me, knows that biting bugs love me.  That feeling is not returned.  I'll have those itchy bites for at least a week. Bleah!

 Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus Nutt.) is already in bloom.  The fruit is edible and quite tasty.

I wish I knew what this (large) bush was.  Its needles were sharp, not soft, and flying insects of every kind found the flowers irresistible. 

Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) bathes the foothills in bright yellow.
Too bad it's nonnative and invasive.

 We even have this pretty little posy in our yard.
Endemic to California, it's a Pacific Coast Iris (Iris hartwegii).

Is it raining violets?  Nope - Jimmy blew the puffers off a dandelion!

White lilac hanging over the water.
Lucky for me a branch full o' blossoms was close enough to inhale!

We encountered several patches of these cheerful low growers.

Finally, wild roses were beginning to flower.  Wild roses and ferns.  Nice.  Seemed as though the water level was up from last time.  'Course rain fell on the county last week, that may account for it.  We even saw several small trout in the canal.  Well, that makes me think of Livingston, Montana!  In a couple of weeks, we'll be hittin' the road for Livingston and the Yellowstone River... and all the trout we can catch and eat!  Yeehaw!