20140728

Just one of the reasons we live in Nevada City ... Sunday, July 27th


Going to Pioneer Park in Nevada City for a band concert is such a neat thing to do on a Sunday afternoon; it's just a couple of miles down the hill for us.  We load the chairs in the back of Smartie (yes, they fit), pack a nice picnic dinner with water and tea, and away we go!  The theme for this Picnic and Pops concert was, "How Sweet It is!" And it is mucho fun -- the all-volunteer band members not only play well, they sing, and they entertain with wacky skits!  The audience laughs, taps their feet and really gets into the music! 

Pioneer Park Band Shell.  Cheryl Woldseth is the Conductor.  Today's concert had 116 musicians, many of whom were guest musicians for this concert only. 

 Crowd photo; the concerts have quite a loyal following.  All ages, too!

All righty, then!  Concert begins at 5 pm.  Here's our program.

With "The Candy Man," youngsters circled the audience with baskets and handed out snack-sized candy!
Oh boy!

The Jazz Ensemble with their lively rendition of Glenn Miller's, "It Must Be Jelly (Cause Jam Don't Shake Like That)" had us all giggling at the lyrics and seriously toe-tapping.

Here's the Stamp Mill Stompers with a way different take on "O Sole Mio!"  Terrific, too.

Okay.  We chow down our dinner during the first half of the program.  Jimmy historically  bestirs himself during the last selection in the first half  and walks over to Lazy Dog Ice Cream, where he buys us a delicious and homemade ice cream bar, which we eat during intermission.  Us and a whole lot of others!  Mine was caramel-pecan swirl (covered in pecans) and his was a dark chocolate cappuccino (covered in cappuccino bits).  They're served in cardboard trays so nothing is lost!
Hoy, we've been off sugar for a while, so this was a REAL treat!

 Yo Jimmy (after our ice cream)!

 This was cute -- band members in small groups popped up in the audience when "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" began.  And the singing began (in perfect harmony?).  

 Beautiful voice:  Diane Miessler was the vocal soloist for "But Not for Me."  Really good. 

And then, in the following three pictures, this bit of zaniness below.  Celebrating the tune, "Variations on a Kitchen Sink," a small group, dressed appropriately (!!), performed front and center on all manner of kitchen implements.  Dressed in proper kitchen attire, as you can see: 


This kid was great on two skillets!

It was kwazy, mixed-up and nonsensical ... and highly entertaining!

Finally, you want to talk about some rip-snortin' music?  These people EXCEL at John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever."  The brass section rose to the occasion.  Conductor Cheryl and the Concert Band got a well-deserved standing O at end of the two-hour show?  Fun, fun, fun!

Next up?  Road Trip!


20140724

Ah, those summer days!


Whiling away these warm (often hot) summer days usually involves work of some sort.  Watering is always an issue, and we are still mostly using our captured water (off the roof and stored during the last rains), but that source is nearly dry.  Soon we'll be using water from the hose spigot.  We're kinda proud that we managed our water usage so handily w/o draining more from the city system.  Nevada City has been teased the past two weeks by off/on overcast days with rain potential, but -- alas -- nuttin', honey.  According to AccuWeather, there's no rain on the horizon, and I mean for months!  Jimmy is designing and installing a drip system for both front and back yards.  to be continued

Our first keyhole garden is about kaput.  Only thing left in it is Swiss chard and some onions, which I continue to harvest and enjoy.  We used the last of our lettuce, I pulled the garlic and it's stored in the spice cupboard, adding quite a fragrance.  Two potato plants established themselves in that garden (just made themselves at home!), I guess from discards in the compost.  So far I haven't disturbed them.  I'll wait till I'm real hungry for taters!


The above jungle picture is of the second keyhole garden, and the verdict is mixed.  None of the pepper plants is producing fruit.  Flowers, yes, but nothing has set. The tomato plants are all producing, but no pretty red ripe maters to sink my teeth into yet.  I did yank out an overgrown "no name" tomato (on the left in the pic) that never did a thing except grow, till it was head and shoulders above me. I bought organic green bean seeds earlier this year, deliberately picking "bush beans."  But when I saw the shoots beginning to vine, I looked again at the package, which said "Pole Beans."  Rats.  The durn things are so leggy and wandering all over the place, like Jack's beanstalks.  They're flowering, but no beans as of right now ....

The entire keyhole concept needs to be reworked for me.  I dislike the compost well in the center as it seems to foster unwanted pests.  I quit using it for compost.  All the materials/dirt we put into the garden areas sank, naturally, as it settled, and the gardens need to be built up considerably.  Have to add better dirt, too.  When the growing season is over, but before the snows fly, we'll spend some time looking at what we need to do for optimum produce.

Meanwhile, the farmer's markets are open and well stocked with fruit!  Beautiful, sweet-smelling, delicious fruit. Take these huge Suncrest Peaches, for example.  



 That flat of peaches will make our winter oatmeal bowls sooo tasty!

 And then I picked blackberries one day and made this cobbler.  Best ever, Jimmy said!

 It didn't last long!

 A flat of organic strawberries at Costco transformed into 

 eating berries, freezer berries (for smoothies, etc), and

 Jimmy's all-time favorite, Strawberry Jam.

All this kitchen work keeps me busy, so I stay out of trouble. (well, mostly ).  Jimmy and I have taken the motor home out for short jaunts, always fun, with a longer trip planned soon.  Heading north, but nothing too far away, up in the mountains or along the coast, or both.  Cooler, doncha know!

Meantime, we're eating well.

20140714

A most beautiful valley! Friday, July 11th, 2014


We've passed this site coming and going every time we've traveled north on Hwy 89, a few miles above Truckee CA. I've wanted to stop, but the timing was never right ... till today.  This historical site at 6,000 ft in Tahoe National Forest is called Donner Camp Picnic Area and Interpretive Trail.  The place is Alder Creek Valley and it is a most beautiful valley.  An easy 1/3 mile interpretive loop offers glimpses of what the Donner party went thru in this valley where they had to "camp" in the winter of 1846-47.  After we set up our own camp on Friday, the 11th, we drove the few miles from our c/g, parked the car and with water in hand, set out to discover history.

Alder Creek Valley

 The sign in front of Jimmy reads:
"We camped by a tall pine tree, we cut poles and stood them up around the tree and cut brush around the tree to serve until we could build a house.  But the snow came and that was all we had with our tents."
Elitha Donner Wilder (14 years old during that fateful winter)
For many years, this ancient stump was thought to be the aforementioned tree; however, archaeological evidence revealed no evidence of a campsite right here.  Evidence of the campsite was found nearby.




Isn't it hard to fathom snow up to 20 feet covering this serene valley?

Once begun, it's hard for us to quit.  We found this path off the interpretive trail and set out for the tall trees on the right, (really).

I don't know if this dinky stream is Alder Creek.  Barely any moving water in it a'tall.

Aha!  Beavers live here or have lived here.  We doubted any could survive in such low, stagnant water, but we followed one dammed up pond after another, searching.  No dice.


Wandering, we made our own path.

A very large lupine continues to bloom next to the creek.

Wildflowers abound!

Sadly, at trail's end, we spotted this sign/tree.  Enlarge the photo to read the words.
Maybe it is fitting after all....

20140713

Up we go into the Wild Blue Yonder! Saturday, 7/12/14


Last week while walking around "Downtown Truckee Thursdays" (with Matt and Jen), Jimmy and I were handed a brochure -- a FREE EVENT -- Tahoe-Truckee Air Show at the airport on July 12th.  Well sir, I've never been to an air show.  We like the Truckee area.  A plan was formulated then and there.  We would take Tergel and camp Friday/Saturday nites at Prosser Family C/G, 10 minutes north of Truckee in Tahoe Nat'l Forest, and spend Saturday at the air show.  A reservation was made and we were all set.  Since it doesn't take us but an hour-and-a-half from our house to the campground, it's an easy come and go.

Saturday morning dawned clear, warm and sunny.  As I was making coffee around 7 am, I heard a strange noise. Here's the scenario -- me in the kitchen, Jimmy getting dressed:  Me: What's that noise? Jimmy:  I don't know. Me: There it goes again. Jimmy: It sounds like the refrigerator. Me: I've never heard the fridge make that noise. Jimmy: We're not hooked up, maybe the fridge is ... Me: I heard it again!  (I put my ear to the fridge and ... nothing.)  As soon as I moved away to the stove, the sound returned. Me: Please go outside and check. Jimmy: OK, and out he went.  30 seconds later, him outside, me inside, we figured it out at the same time.  The whooshing sound was... as you see below!

Hot air balloons, rose from the valley, both Saturday and Sunday mornings.  The fridge was fine! 

 Gates opened at 9.  Show started at 11.  We arrived around 10:30, along with lots of other people, and the day had already heated up pretty good.  Full sun tarmac.

We enjoyed viewing various antique aircraft on display. 

U.S. Air Force Wings of Blue Parachute Team.  Impressive entrance! 

I wish I could tell you who piloted which plane, but I can't....   One of the best was an 81-year-old stunt pilot named Tim, who thrilled the audience with an awesome show in his tiny green and white bi-plane.
Yup, 81 years old.

 I can tell you that watching the stunt performers tuck and roll, upside down, right side up, stall and negative G-forces... I can tell you that my mouth stayed open, as I gasped and even backed away!  Unbelievable feats!

 This was my favorite:  Courageous Kent Pietsch, sponsored by Jelly Belly, made that plane zing!  (note the Jelly Belly colored smoke!)  He did a "dead-stick" routine (turned the engine off at 6,000 ft) and my heart about stopped watching his plane drop back toward the airstrip.  Of course, he pulled out.  And then there was this, below:

He is going to land that plane on top of the Jelly Belly truck platform (billed as the world's shortest runway!), both moving at 60+ mph down the runway.

Clouds have built up and cross winds came into play.  Here he approaches the platform.

Both these things are "flying" down the runway!  Ta-da!  Here he's touched down and is inching his way to the front of the platform to "lock in." 

 Not enough that he's landed his plane on top of a pickup truck.  Now, he's gonna take off!  And he does, successfully.

This would be Dan Buchanan doing his aerobatic hang glider performance.  Dan actually launched his hang glider from a moving winch trailer, driving down the runway at about 35 mph, with a flag, streamers and bright orange smoke trailing -- very entertaining!

Injured in an accident that left him unable to walk, Dan started to fly again and gave us a fantastic show.  

Saturday nite's full moon rising over the tall trees, lighting up the campground sky.

We spent hours at the air show.  Hours on that hot tarmac, most of the time standing or walking.  Lots of the time gazing up, mouth agape, hand over heart (me).  We drank lots of water, ate our homemade granola, drank Gatorade, and more water.  People watching the show had their chairs under any available shelter, even airplane wings.  Soon we were seeking cover under anything.  Cumulus clouds dotted the sky, but never offered shade. Jimmy and I wore our Tilly hats to prevent sunburned faces, but I forgot that I'd be looking skyward half the time, so I ended up with scarlet cheeks and a bright red nose, à la Rudolph.  Fried the top of my feet, too, in my sandals (always forget to slather sunscreen on my feet).  Tar bubbles appeared on the tarmac, so you know it was HOT. Temp in the car when we left the airport?  97.  We returned to our campsite to sit and read in Tergel's welcome shade, with our feet up.  All in all, a really fun day.  Now I can say I've seen a heart-stopping air show!