Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

We've had a laid back day of not doing much. I was up at 0600 at spent some time doing exercises while Jim and Boo slept in.

After breakfast I'm not sure what we did! I know I spent time reading magazines and watching the French Open for a bit. I planted some seeds and hopefully I'll have some mesclun and parsley and basil coming up soon.

For dinner I fixed some spaghetti with garlic bread. We shared this with Anne and Scotty and after dinner the resident peacock came by!

Anne was able to get this picture with her phone. He seemed to know we wanted pictures.

The peacock wandered over behind our rig and Jim grabbed his camera and got the rest of these pictures. Apparently the dude doesn't mind people!

After lunch Jim went for a ride on his trike. He was gone quite a long time considering the terrain and the fact he hasn't ridden in awhile. He finally shared some pictures with me

the new rack which should hold the trikes better

Here it is! Not orange but yellow and there are a few different features

ready for travel

I hope you took time to remember those who have died in the service of our country. Without them our freedoms would be lost.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Craft Fair

We've been enjoying the crisp mountain air since we arrived last Thursday. Because of the Memorial Day weekend we've decided not to go to Yosemite until Tuesday. Anne and I went to Oakhurst to get groceries Friday and saw a craft fair in Coarsegold but the traffic was heavy and we decided to check it out on Saturday.

The flamingos are snuggled up in the bushes because the nights are chilly! Felicia and Frederico need a sunny beach
Our park is quite pretty with trees, bushes and flowers and I'll be posting more pictures. Also need to get pictures of the birds! We have Scrub Jays, tufted titmouse, hummingbirds, acorn woodpeckers and California quail. The grey squirrels have been entertaining us this morning by trying to get to the window feeders. Boo has been trying to protect us!
We did go to the craft fair/flea market yesterday and the four of us wandered around for a couple hours. Bought some fresh cherries for $2.50 a pint basket. Yum!

We left the fair and went across the street to NAPA auto parts and we saw this sign, turned inward of course because there isn't snow at this elevation (about 2000 feet). There is fresh snow in the higher elevations.
We decided to check out Bass Lake so we headed north to Oakhurst. The guys hadn't been there and it was a good place to stop for lunch. Todd's Place had BBQ, fried catfish and Gumbo on the menu and cold beer. I had some gumbo, Jim had the catfish plate and Anne and Scotty had ribs and catfish.

Then it was on to Bass Lake. The drive around was beautiful with all the tall trees and flowers blooming. We made a couple stops and checked out the water. Boating and swimming was a bit chilly for us but some folks were enjoying both activities. The campgrounds and day use areas were full of folks enjoying the sunny but cool day.

Back home we made coffee and sat outside enjoying the afternoon sun. We all commented on the fact that this lifestyle is wonderful. Who said retirement was boring? Some quails entertained us and the birds scolded us because we sat to close to the platform feeder!
Our dinner was bits of leftovers and we spent a quiet evening indoors. Once the sun goes down it starts cooling off.
Had an early phone call from Ed this morning! I'm sure glad I was up. :) It was good to hear his voice

"Retirement is wonderful. It's doing nothing without worrying about getting caught at it ~ Gene Perret"

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Coarsegold, California

We left Bakersfield, California this morning around 0945. Driving north on hwy 99 was very interesting. Vineyards and orchards on both side of the road. Some areas had feed lots. I even saw some cornfields. All of this greenery was wonderful to see. We've been traveling through desert areas and I was tired of seeing cactus!

We're at a SKP Park, Park of the Sierras and it's lovely. We're close to the southern entrance to Yosemite. The grounds are laid out using the natural terrain and there are trees, flowers and rocks everywhere. Our plans are to stay a week, but who knows, we may have to stay longer as there is a lot to see and do here, plus we need to enjoy our surroundings!

Felicia and Frederico enjoy the bushes we have, I think they may be cold!

Jim grill some portobella mushrooms for our dinner and I fixed a salad. We had a nice glass of wine from D'Vine Wine in Manitou Springs, Co. Didn't know we had any of it left!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Endangered Blue Pupfish

Yesterday we spent the whole day exploring Ash Meadows NWR. What a neat place! Of course we had to drive forever to even get in the park and then we drove all over the place to see the various springs and the reservoir. It encompasses over 23,000 acres of spring fed wetlands and alkaline desert uplands.

"Water is the key natural resource that makes Ash Meadows a unique ecosystem in the dry Mohave Desert. Where does it come from? Over 100 miles to the northeast, water enters a vast underground aquifer system. This water, also know as 'fossil water', takes thousands of years to move through the ground. A geological fault acts as an 'underground dam' blocking the flow of water and forcing it to the surface into 30 seeps and springs. Over 1000 gallons per minute flow year round, most of which come from seven major spring. "

Blue Pupfish, picture by AnneBlacktail Jackrabbit, picture by Anne
Zebra tailed lizard,picture by Jim

The springs are warm and the temperature can reach 90 degrees. the water is crystal clear

sandy bottom of the stream

I like dead trees and this one has only a bit of green left on it

even though water flows just a couple feet from the bank its dry

one of the springs, if you look in the lower left you can ripples on the water, that's where its flowing from underground.

Yerba Mansa, we saw it at every spring

the water was very inviting and the three of us took many pictures!

Alkaline crust just off the boardwalk. one side skirted the stream and the other side was dry desert

Miss Anne looking pretty in pink in front of this huge rock, two more smaller ones are on the backside.

restored cabin of Jack Longstreet who lived here 1891-1899 He had a spring not far from the front door.

bridge over the water This is the Crystal Reservoir and is open for day use. You can swim and boat as long as the engine is electric or human powered. no fishing either

We ended up having lunch at the Longstreet Casino in Amargosa Valley. Nothing to shout about but it filled the empty hole. We didn't realize there was so much to see or we could have brought lunch.
Our last stop was Devils Hole but you can't see much because it's all fenced off. Apparently they send divers down for exploration and study the system. Devils Hole is part of the Death Valley NP.
We arrived home around 1430 and for me a cup of coffee was first on my list. Also fed Boo, he sure was glad to see us!
Since lunch was so late we didn't have dinner, just snacked on leftovers. A cold front came through an made the day pleasant for wandering the desert. We had to close the house up after sunset because it was in the mid 60's and dropping quickly. We slept under the comforter and stayed nice and warm.

It was 57 degrees in the house when I got up at 0700 this morning. Time for the fireplace. Clouds have moved in and the day is chilly, only 63 degrees as I type this. Taco soup sounds like a mighty fine idea for lunch.

"Nature chose for a tool, not the earthquake or lightning to rend and split asunder, not the stormy torrent or eroding rain, but the tender snow-flowers noiselessly falling through unnumbered centuries ~ John Muir"

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dos Flamingos!

I slept late this morning! I didn't get up until 0700 and Jim was up about 15 minutes later....

We had a slow start to our day. We just sat with our coffee, computers and GMA. Jim needed to return something to Home Depot and I decided to go with him. I'm so glad I did!

Felicia and Frederico arrived a day or so ago....they had stayed behind in Lake Mead to enjoy the water. Anne and I are glad they showed up, we were beginning to worry!

Jim and I headed out around 1030 or maybe it was 0930, I don't remember. You see we don't look at clocks very often and we don't wear watches. First stop was the post office to pick up our mail. I love getting mail! Then Home Depot where Jim made his return but couldn't find what he needed. Then we stopped for fuel, $2.99 for diesel. I also dashed into Walgreen's where I picked up some lotion and a ceramic coffee mug. Then we headed to Ace Hardware for the needed connections.

As we were heading home Jim asked if I wanted to check out the winery. I said sure! We love wineries...Pahrump Valley Winery is the first in the State of Nevada and has been operating for only 20 years.

While waiting for the tour to start we sampled a few of their wines. We found a couple that were tasty. Then it was off for the tour. If you check out the link above you'll see some pictures because we forgot to take any. The grounds are lovely and it truly is an oasis in the desert. After the tour we decided to have lunch in their restaurant, Symphony's. Good decision!

We enjoyed their last bottle of Pinot Gris and we almost finished it!

for starters we had baked Brie for two and I could have made a meal with this dish.

Jim had the Winemaker's Club
Smoked turkey, avocado, applewood bacon,
tomato, provolone & red onion on grilled ciabatta bread

I had the Chicken Tuscany
Chicken scaloppini, marsala & sherry mushroom wine sauce, garlic potato mashers, sautéed vegetables
For dessert (yes we had dessert too) we chose bread pudding for Jim and Creme Brule for me. Our meal was delicious and we each brought some home. When we left the restaurant we went back so I could taste their sherry. Light and smooth so we got a bottle along with two other bottles of wine.
Back home we just relaxed in the cool comfort of our home. I think we both snoozed for a bit. All that wine and good food was conducive to napping.
No dinner for us, just popcorn.
"Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity ~ Voltaire"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

China Ranch Date Farm

Again I was up a little after 0600. I guess the mountains are calling me! I enjoyed the quiet and did some exercising. Then coffee and computer time. I woke Jim around 0800 which gave him time to have coffee and breakfast before we left on our journey.

Before we left I stripped the bed and started washing sheets. Of course I did up the dishes and packed our picnic lunch.

Our destination today was the China Ranch Date Farm in Tecopa, California. But first we drove through the Mohave Desert to get there! Jim routed us so we could travel on the Old Spanish Trail. I don't think he knew it would take us this far off the beaten track.

For a few miles were in the middle of nowhere!

Gravel roads, then desert tracks and eventually the paved Old Spanish Trail. We all enjoyed the trip even if there were times when we wondered where it would lead.
Apparently this area was mined for gypsum, borax and other minerals and I cannot imagine mining in the heat we had today and it's not even summer.

The drive was interesting but once we turned on the road to the Ranch we were all impressed and I'm sorry we don't have pictures of the descent into the valley. Stark walls with little vegetation. Closed up mines with boards or fencing blocking the entrances.
I'm not sure how many people live on the ranch but we saw several dwellings of various construction, even an older 5th wheel that I'm sure was air lifted in! It couldn't have come in via the same road we did.

Jim took these pictures and I'm not sure where he found this blooming cactus but it sure is pretty.

This and the following two pictures are date palms. There are several varieties and in different stages of growth.

this row was planted from seed and are the oldest.

I love this truck! I took this picture along with the following two palm shots

the Tecopa Hot Springs, are in the area and I assume that's where they get the water to irrigate the grove of Palm Trees. We had our picnic lunch by a flowing stream of clear water.

After our lunch we took a few more pictures then left going back via a different route, traveling on paved roads once we left the ranch road.

Anne took the following pictures, all of them worthy of being jig saw puzzles!

Scotty did a fine job of navigating the ruts of the dry desert bed. We did have a GPS and it said we were on the road so we kept going....
"Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe ~ Anatole France"