Hoy! Happy First Full Day of Spring! Saturday, 3/21/15

Jimmy and I are usually game whenever anyone asks if we'd like to go somewhere, either hiking or pretty much anything else.  When Matt suggested a hike at Bridgeport at South Yuba River St Park on Saturday, we said, "sign us up!"  Saturday turned out to be a perfect spring day, which made our afternoon even better. We wished Jen could've joined us, but she had business to take care of.  The temp was probably in the mid-70's, and we agreed that it was warm enough to wear shorts.  Poison oak is always a threat to me, so I wear jeans when hiking at this elevation (below 3,000' ft).

Matt, with friends ... Maggie and Sophie and Big Grizz!

We stopped at the Visitor Center to get a trail map of the entire South Yuba River St Park area, and to see what else was offered.  They feature quite a collection of plants and animals, plus geological specimens. Afterwards we walked to the covered bridge to see the progress made on its restoration.  Word is the bridge won't be open to the general public for a couple more years, as more work is required than originally thought.  Par for the course. Then we set out on the picturesque Buttermilk Bend trail that follows the river.

This may not look like much, but the South Yuba is a clear, cold and fast, very scenic river, which originates at Donner Pass at the crest of the Sierra Nevada.  65 miles long, it's a main tributary of the Feather River. 

Spring wildflowers are a big draw; both parking lots were full of camera-totin' folk.
Top, L-R: Bush poppy, Bush lupine; bottom, L-R, Globe lily, Silver puff, Bowl-tubed iris. 

 We can't stay on the trail, none of us ... we simply have to clamber down to the rocks and water.

Brilliant Canyon dudleya (Dudleya cymosa) and Bird's foot [fern] cliffbrake (Pellaea mucronata) 

Sculpted rocks and deep, swift water.  I think Matt is looking for swimming holes (for summertime!).

What a gorgeous day to be Out and About ... Matt, Sophie, Maggie, and me.

Fluffy, the lizard, enjoying the sun.

Pipevine swallowtail, and they were everywhere!

When a girl gets thirsty, she's gotta drink.  This small stream into the Yuba was just the ticket.

Ohmygosh, the trout were amazing.  Telephotoed this pic from up on the trail ... and these are big fish!

Matt climbed down to get a better view of the fish.

Happy to be on the Buttermilk Bend Trail @ South Yuba River St Park.

More trout are visible in the water (left, foreground), but since this is a state park, we figured there would be a no-fishing regulation.  Hey we can dream, can't we?  We had a lovely time on this fairly flat path above the river canyon.  Maggie's furry feet got entangled in some kind of brier/barbs that adhered to her like glue, and both dogs were tuckered out and needed a good bath when they got home.  Come to think of it, the same goes for the people, too!


Into each life ... the week of March 7th - March 15th

... comes death.  Nobody escapes this one.  It was a rough week.  I didn't know if I wanted to write about it, but this is, after all, not just a chronicle of mine and Jimmy's travels, it's a journal of our lives, which touches on our families, too.  So, it's with a saddened heart that I tell you about Jimmy's Mom, Betty.  She went into the hospital (in Mobile AL) early in March with a digestive problem.  We never did get a proper diagnosis.  We all hoped she'd bounce back and return to her apartment.  Not so.  The problem couldn't be fixed, and she passed away peacefully on Saturday, March 7th, with her daughter, Kathy, at her side.  She was 90 years old, had lived a good long life, and was ready to leave her tired body.

Jimmy and I swung into action and got airline reservations, packed, and were on the first (of three) flights that day by 10:30 Sunday morning.  Very long day.  I'm not going to highlight everything that we experienced last week. Suffice to say, the week was stressful and exhausting.  Her funeral on Wednesday was what she wanted (she'd taken care of everything in advance), and family members came from several states to bid her farewell. She would've liked that.  After the funeral, most everyone retreated to the apartment she shared with Kathy, for the funeral lunch.  I took very few pictures.

Rain and showers pestered Mobile the entire week.  I guess I could've finished the subject line with the words "... a little rain must fall."  Fall it did, off and on, all week.  The gray picture above overlooks Mobile Bay, between rain showers.

Not all was gloom, however,  Dinner for the family Tuesday evening at Zea in Mobile was enjoyable.

 L-R: Betty's grandson Nick; son, Jimmy; daughter, Kathy; and brother, Raymond.

Nowadays funerals are not called always that; they're called "celebrations of life."  That sounds nice.  And why not celebrate a long life?  Only last November, Jimmy and I drove Tergel to Mobile, spending a week or so with the family to celebrate Betty's 90th birthday with a party.  She was excited!  She'd had a feeding tube inserted a year ago and hadn't taken food by mouth since then, so she was even more excited to learn she had the nurse's okay to eat a bit of her birthday cake, with frosting.  She loved that!  She ate a whole piece and when she was finished, she licked the frosting off her lips, smiling all the while.  Everyone had a wonderful time.  That's a good memory to keep.

Rest in Peace, dear sweet Betty.  The best Mom and mother-in-law anyone could ask for.


A walk on the wild side ... Thursday, 3/5/15

Wildflower, that is.  Yesterday I took my camera with me on our morning walk and stopped a couple of times to take pictures.  Part of our walk is in the woods and part is along our road where people have planted bulbs.  I know they're not wildflowers, but they sure were pretty.  A few of these are even in our yard.  I grew up in Niagara Falls, where bright yellow Forsythia bloomed every spring beside our house.  I admire it very much, and in these parts it's a stunner.  Deer seem to leave it alone, also, always a good thing.  Since I don't have any in our yard, I aim to plant a bush or two.  While it's still a tad early, flowers sure make it seem like spring!  I know, I know, spring forward an hour this weekend....

Lunnaria annua (Annual Honesty, Money plant) -- my yard

Manzanita (little apple)



Blue Houndstongue (wild comfrey)

Oregon Grape  -- my yard


Western Trillium  -- my yard


A Little Celebration, if you please! Sunday, 3/1/15

Yesterday was Matt's 35th birthday.  He missed being a Leap Year baby by less than 12 hours!  Which means he gets to celebrate every one of his birth days, instead of one every four years.  Lucky duck, good job Mom!  A small family party was planned for Sunday at Matt & Jen's house in Sacramento; i.e., a crab boil in the back yard -- oh boy! 

Matt and Mom.  Check out the back yard orange tree.

As soon as Jimmy walked in their house and sat down, Maggie leaped onto his lap and rolled around like butter in a churn ... so happy to see him!

Into the boiling pot went fresh corn, potatoes, mushrooms, shrimp, asparagus, and lemons, along with the crab boil spice bags.

And three of these little beauties.

Here's lookin' at you, kid!

Everyone was ready to tear into the feast when Matt emptied the pot on the paper-lined table.


Sitting on my lap keeps her out of trouble.

Tom and Alice (and a partial photo-bombing Sophie) enjoying the pretty afternoon.

I made Matt a glazed orange-coconut cake.  Fairly healthy as cakes go ....

After a television interview Matt made about a Sacramento neighborhood called Curtis Park, these door knob flyers were made up to distribute in that area.  As the new kid in town, we hope he sells bunches!

While we were there, both sets of parents bought Girl Scout cookies from two cute young girls at their road-side stand a couple of doors down from Matt & Jen's.  They were doing a bang-up business (you could hear them before you saw them:  GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!). 

Matt, we enjoyed your birthday and thanx for cooking.  Everybody had a grand time and ate VERY well (you're a great cook).  Hope you guys made a terrific crab chowder with the leftovers.


Saturday's Snow Surprise! Feb 28, 2015

Everyone in NorCal was happy at the prospect of rain this weekend, with snow in higher elevations.  Any precipitation at all would be a welcome dent in the ongoing drought.  Since this was a cold front, snow levels were predicted to start at 5,000 ft, down from the 7,000 ft earlier pineapple express storms brought. Later, forecasters revised the snow levels to begin at 3,500 ft.

Beginning Friday evening around 7 pm, a spectacular thunderstorm parked overhead for a half hour or so, which included hail, and then a steady rain fell till about Midnight -- hooray!  Saturday morning, around 7 am, rain recommenced, followed by sleet, and then what you see below is what we saw on our back deck!  Our elevation is 3200 ft.  Looks like the snow level is right here!

Saturday Surprise!  Big, fat, wet snowflakes continued to fall all morning.

Poor ol' rosebush, with it's new growth, might not like all this wet, heavy snow!

Uh-oh,  Wished I would've carted these potted plants to the garage before ....

Native Redbud tree, in bloom, covered in snow.

Hummingbird feeder looks sort of useless to me and to the hummingbirds, as well, I'm sure!

The next day dawned cold, clear, and beautiful.  Some snow remained on the ground, tho half of it melted overnight.  Time will tell if any of my plants didn't favor being snowed on.  Most are hardy enough to cope.  We were really flabbergasted to find out later that just one block away and a bit lower in elevation, no snow fell -- only rain.  Apparently we were at the snow level cut-off point.  It was fun being indoors, watching ... with a roaring fire in the (gas log) fireplace!