Gearing up -- yee-haw! Friday, Nov 29th

Tis the season ....  Notwithstanding the FIVE pounds of ad papers we rec'd in Thursday's Sacramento Bee newspaper, we had no intention of shopping on so-called black Friday.  I wonder how many pounds worth of ad inserts were in a mega-market paper like the LA Times?  Actually, who cares?  The closest I got to shopping today was to drop off packages at the Grass Valley PO - got right in, no lines!

I didn't cook a turkey this year.  Jimmy and I had a delightful Thanksgiving dinner with friends in Grass Valley, followed by the usual postprandial stupor from pigging out.  All those delicious side dishes are what does it!  Maybe some desserts, too.   One of our group was observing the first day of Hanukkah, a rare occurrence on Thanksgiving, so we had a dual celebration.  Be a long, long time till Thanksgiving and Hanukkah coincide again.

Today I deleted all the pictures from my computer, except a file containing flower pics I've taken around the US, and stored them in "the book."  I'm trying to clear space for potential trip photos and videos.  We are gearing up!  The bed in our guest room is covered by suitcases and the STUFF that's going into them.  Both of us have rummaged around in our closets, trying to take the least amount of clothes and shoes to last us a month, and in temps ranging from tropical summer to cool Patagonia.  South America, here we come!  Jimmy has been checking his list and ticking off items as they get done.  Lots involved in getting house and yard winter-ready.

This evening we donned jackets and gloves to join downtown Grass Valley's Cornish Christmas festivities at 6 pm.  Our first time.  It was kind of disheartening to drive around looking for a parking space because that meant a BIG crowd.  Indeed, Mill Street was thronged with milling (sorry) people.  Didn't see much in the way of Christmas.  We met our friends for a little bit, and then we all escaped.

So:  Back to our trip.  We'll take off Monday for Los Angeles, driving to my son's place.  He'll take us to the Golden Princess on Wednesday, Dec. 4th., which will be our home for 17 days!  Then another ten days wandering through Chile!  Whooo-ee!  We are excited.

We're taking the new GoPro camera and our old Canon.  I took a couple of videos on the GoPro while we were ripping down a mountain road on our bikes a few days ago, but haven't got the editing process down yet.  I am challenged (also lazy).  Took a few still shots too, but managed to delete them... not what I intended.  (sigh...)  Don't know how often I'll be able to add posts to the blog.  We'll be at the mercy of wifi in coffee shops and perhaps libraries in other countries!

Since we'll be away from home for Christmas this year, we're not bothering to put up decorations.  Cards and packages had to be finished this week.  (I am way ahead of the game, historically speaking!)  This trip is one WOW-EE Christmas present for Jimmy and me.  We won't be doing any shopping, and will not miss seeing the incredible consumerism rampant on television and in newspapers.  That ain't us.

This is us, traveling and enjoying life!


Does a bear, uh, well, uh, YOU KNOW... Sat., 11/23/13

Been a rough couple of weeks critter-wise at our place.  I didn't post about the deer incident because I tho't it was gross.  I took pictures, but deleted every one, 'cause they WERE gross.  Short version is this:  We installed a 7' fence around the perimeter of our backyard a few months ago to keep deer out and protect all the growing things.  One afternoon we accidentally left our nice wide gate open when we went to town, and when we returned, two young deer were IN the backyard, and Mom was on the other side of the fence, watching.  One made it out.  The other one slammed into a tree or fence post, broke its neck, and had to be "dispatched."  Thank goodness the Sheriff's office sent an animal control officer out and he did the deed for us.  The deer had already nibbled to nubbins the few veggies I had growing in the keyhole garden - sigh.  The whole business was awful.  Jimmy has since installed an automatic gate closer, so that won't ever happen again.

Our weather has been very windy the past few days, blowing a cold front east, so we didn't hear anything untoward last nite.  I did wake up a couple of times... these pics are what greeted us this morning.  Today is my birthday, but none of this is the kind of present you want to see on your birthday morn!

 The garbage can is always tethered to the left-hand tree, and bungee corded to the point where I have difficulty putting garbage in.  Not so for the bear that stopped by in the nite.  It even managed to twist the can out of shape!  I don't think our trash is worth all that effort, tho the Cool Whip container (which only had dregs in it) was licked clean!

 Then, after eating whatever the heck it wanted from the trash, it climbed over our 7' deer-proof fence (bending it in the process), and proceeded into the backyard.  It knocked the bird feeder pole out of the ground and ate all the "new" seed I got as a birthday present from the small feeder.  Didn't touch the "old" seed in the long feeder you see in the foreground - sigh.

 You can barely make out the tipped trash can top center.  It climbed over the fence near there.  The fallen pole feeder is at left, and the completely emptied round feeder is below the keyhole garden at right.  Its top is ten feet away, but at least it wasn't broken.

 The bear left the backyard here - opposite from where it came in.  The wire isn't supposed to look like that!

And then, adding insult to injury, it deposited this swell calling card, not far from the keyhole garden.  The answer to the question is:  The bear dumps where it wants to!
This is NOT a Happy Birthday present!

No damage was done, thank goodness.  We live in the foothills where critters like these, and others, live.  This was up close and personal, however.  Guess from now on the bird feeders will go into the garage nightly.  The garbage can stay in there, and the dang bear can go visit somebody else's yard!


Oh, Ho, Go Pro! Tues, 11/19/13

The newest member of our family is seen below.  And it's both exciting and exasperating -- because of the brain drain this learning curve will create.  While planning for our upcoming South American trip, we originally thought to buy a "throw-away" camera that would also take pictures underwater, as we plan to go snorkeling and river rafting. We kept forgetting to buy one!  Then we spotted a GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition on television, and when I saw that, I said, "that's the one!"  My main research man went online and found out all kinds of info on the GoPro and all it could do, and then, by gum, he ordered it!  Thanks, Jimmy....

 So here's the camera itself - tiny, but with a good heft to it. 

 We'll need to attach a lanyard to something this small so we don't lose it!

And here ya go:  All the parts and possibles that come with the camera.  Gosh, I know "parts is parts," but this is ridiculous!  We'll have to read/study the small black manual in front center to maximize the camera's potential.  (In other words, so we can use it )  When I saw how many pages were in the manual, I winced, till I discovered I only needed to read the first half; the second half is in French.  More good news is that we can study the manual online, where we can enlarge the print so we can really see it!!

I wasn't home when the GoPro camera was delivered, so after removing all the pieces/parts from boxes and bags, Jimmy got a head start on checking it out.  When I got home, the first thing I wanted to do was see how to make it go, and then the questions began.  "What's this for," and "Where does this go," and "Why?"  We had a regular two-ring circus going on here for a while with Jimmy showing me what he learned and me trying to absorb it right now, but:  hey, move your fingers, I can't see what you're doing! what's this for? for what? wait, which is the on/off? is this the shutter? - move your hand, I CAN'T SEE WHAT YOU'RE DOING.  And so on and on, you get the picture, pun intended.  We settled down at the table and got camera serious!

GoPro takes great action videos, wide angle shots, and it'll even take 30 "burst photos" in one second - wowzers!  Plus all kinds of other stuff.  I don't have any photos to show because we were enjoying our first rain in two months (kind of a novelty in this neck of the woods), and snow is falling in the Sierras.  Hooray!  Maybe tomorrow or this weekend we can get Out and About with our new camera.  Just no underwater stuff yet!


Hello, Auburn, California! November, 2013

I left home when I was a mere child of 17, home being Niagara Falls, NY.  My sights were set on life in the bright Southern California sunshine, and nobody was going to talk me out of going (tho they tried!).  When I consider how physically far away I've been from family for much of my life, I doubly appreciate spending time with my sister and brothers and their families, and especially with my son, Matt.  He and his fiance, Jen, drove up to the Mother Lode Country last week from their home in Los Angeles, and here are a few pictures of one afternoon in Old Town Auburn, a 40-minute drive from our house.  Both Matt and I lugged our cameras with us several times last week and neither one of us remembered to use the dang things.

 Jimmy stands in front of the prominent "Gold Miner" statue, representative of Claude Chana (1811-1882), who discovered gold in them-thar foothills.  This concrete statue weighs 45 tons!

 While we were admiring the statue, Jimmy allowed as how it would be neat if a train appeared on the trestle just beyond.  Speak and it shall happen!  A BNSF rumbled by!

 Dome of the Placer County historic Courthouse, completed in 1898 (most of the building materials came from Placer County).  It's now a museum (free!) that houses Placer Co history, native American artifacts, and GOLD!  We peeked inside, but didn't have a chance to really explore.  Next time!

 This cute l'il building is the Old Auburn Firehouse, built in 1891.  An old-timey fire truck is housed inside.

 Matt and Me at Auburn Alehouse where we ate an early dinner.  Good food, great company!  Old Town has lots of restaurants and antique shops, fun places to poke around in.

And this photo has nothing to do with Matt, but I did see this mushroom family growing in our front yard.

The kids have already gone home, back to work.  We'll see them in a couple of weeks when we head south to Los Angeles, and board the Golden Princess for our cruise to South America!  Looking forward to THAT!  Jimmy and I have already begun the packing process, as in: taking the suitcases down from top shelves and thinking about what we might need, clothing-wise, etc., to see us thru a month during the South American summer!  Quite a challenge, as it will definitely not be summer when we leave Nevada City!


A pretty drive on a gray Sunday -- near Washington, CA 11/3/13

The road sign for Washington is on Hwy 20, maybe 15 miles east of Nevada City on the way to Truckee. We've wanted to see what's in the Town of Washington, what it looks like, since we first saw the sign last year.  Today was the day, or as Pooh sez to Piglet Let's go on an Explore!  From Hwy 20, a winding six-mile descent took us more than 1,000' down to the town along the South Yuba River.  The Prius liked the descent part .

What we discovered was that Washington is an old mining town, settled during the California Gold Rush in 1849, that produced a large amount of placer gold.  Hard rock mines were established soon afterword and were very productive. Washington is the only settlement in the vicinity to have survived to this day.  Maybe so, but other than a few characters standing in the one-lane-each-way road drinking tall beers in the morning sunlight, with unrestrained BIG dogs roaming freely, we didn't see anything in the block-long town to warrant getting out of our car.  Instead, we continued on a dinky gravel road following the river for approx three miles.  Near the town we could see signs of long-ago hydraulic mining on the river by way of massive piles of roadside boulders.  Nowadays, the 65-mile river, which originates at Donner Pass at the crest of the Sierra, rolls placidly on.... 

A very picturesque river.

 Clear, cool water!

Imagine this river during spring rains and snow melt! 

Photo taken from a one-lane wooden bridge.  We had to turn around - very carefully! - after crossing the bridge as the road became impassable, and we were only a quarter of a mile from river access (and parking) at Golden Quartz.  Otherwise, no parking in this area.  Nuts.  We thought this spot looked like a great swimming hole during hot summer months (bet it is, too).  During floods, water must shoot thru this narrow slot like gangbusters!  Every site we've been to on the South Yuba River has been beautiful.  We consider ourselves very fortunate to live so close to the splendor of these mountains and rivers.

But, our Prius preferred going downhill...!