If you have seasonal allergies to oak pollen, I would suggest you avoid central California, my yard or stay inside. I know this happens every spring but the coating of pollen seems extra thick this year.
Just a mere week or so ago we had rain and freezing temperatures. Then the temperature shot up to the 80’s the last few days and in the photos below you can see what coats my backyard bricks, tables and chairs. What’s even scarier is I cleaned the yard yesterday and wiped the tables down.
My pet hens are very happy to gobble up the pollen which is highly nutritious and will help color their yolks an even deeper orange.
In 2017 I discovered the Prisma App for iPhonography. People love the images I’ve created and so do I. I decided my year of photos in review this year would be 12 images edited with the Prisma App. Enjoy.
I was surprised to realize one doesn’t need to travel far to find objects or scenes of interest and intrigue. I picked 12 of my favorite images from 2016. Surprisingly, half of my favorites were taken within yards of my house, others from just a few miles away.
How did I pick these twelve shots? I quickly went through my images and labeled ones that were favorites. I then selected ones that created an emotion, feeling or memory for me. Not just another record shot. I then sorted the 80+ images into sets: black and white, food, landscapes, macro’s, people, animals, insects, artistry shots and such. I then narrowed it down to one or two from each category.
I’m certainly learning what interests me and along the way I’m surprised that my passion in photography turned out to NOT be just macro’s of flowers. It will be interesting to see what 2017 brings as I acquired my new iPhone and DXO camera attachment towards the 2nd half of 2016. I’m just beginning to learn the new phone and camera features. I hope 2017 allows me the time to take more photos and to explore new ways to see life.
Day two of our weekend get away to McKenzie River area of central Oregon found us deciding between taking a walk through the forest or riding out near Cougar Reservoir.
We had thoroughly enjoyed a slow morning, plenty of fresh coffee, a delicious breakfast prepared by our BnB host, Sharon, of the McKenzie River Round House BnB. We enjoyed the company of the host, her husband, the other guests including a pair of cyclists who are riding their bikes across America. They are a delightful couple from Munich, Germany. The other guests were a math professor from Rutgers University and his family. We had the most interesting morning conversations with them.
We said our goodbye’s to the German couple after exchanging blog URL’s. You can check out their progress at QuerDurch!!
On our way back from the McKenzie Pass summit ride the day before we had stopped at the local bike shop in McKenzie Bridge to check it out. I had noted that they sold a good selection of maps. Not knowing where to hike we stopped in again in the late morning to pick up a map and to inquire where we could hike and hopefully avoid the crowd of folks hiking into the famous Blue Pool. It was now a weekend day and we had heard about the hordes of people that had descended on the area the weekend before and the overflowing parking area. Not the kind of scene I enjoy being a part of.
The young man in the shop had some ideas. One which sounded promising was a hike out Rainbow Ridge Trail leading to a rock outcropping and potential view of a distant waterfall. Sounded good to us so we headed up the road and made the turn onto a dirt road. We continued for a few miles and found the well marked trailhead.
The following are a selection of photos from our hike/stroll through the forest. What was most delightful about this hike is that we did not see another sole the entire time until we drove back out on the dirt road.
The ride up to McKenzie Pass from the west side proved to be far easier then either of us expected. We realize we underestimate the grade and difficulty of Mt. Diablo which we use to train on weekly. I really felt over prepared which is not a bad thing. Our original plan was to ride from McKenzie Bridge over to Sister’s and then back the next day. However, turned out this was the week of the Sister’s Rodeo and I was finding suitable lodging in Sister’s hard to find. So we decided it would be just as fun to ride up to the pass and back down the same way. We stayed at a delightful new BnB in Vida, OR called the McKenzie River Round House BnB. The next day we had planned to do some more riding but instead found a great hike through the forest along Rainbow Ridge Trail with a view of Rainbow Falls. We later drove to see two more water falls. I will post pictures of our hike and the falls in the next blog. This ride convinced us that we will be doing more touring.
Parenting! Never easy and no two children are the same. Once again, I have been hearing about challenging children and challenged parents, parenting or NOT! Maybe because last Sunday was Mother’s Day I’ve been thinking about what was my parenting philosophy.
Yes, I had my challenges with my girls. Days of doubt, frustration, anger and disappointment. But, as most any parent will tell you, they will do just absolutely anything for their child. Parental love is “normally” a very powerful thing. Parents do their best with the skills they have and the circumstances under which they live. We must be forgiving of the mistakes our own parents made, realize that we are not perfect parents either. We all just do the best with what we know. Again, as I’ve mentioned before, if we only could do it all over again, with the wisdom we gained from our mistakes from the first time.
The following is a quote from the bookThe Training of the Human Plant by Luther Burbank. Even before I discovered this quote, what it conveys was the foundation of my beliefs of what a child needs in addition to the basic necessities.
I recently came across this while minimizing my paper plunder once again. I think I need to get this book from the library. Enjoy!
Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water-bugs, tadpoles, frogs, mud-turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb, brooks to wade in, water-lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hay-fields, pine-cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets; and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education.
By being well acquainted with all these they come into most intimate harmony with nature, whose lessons are, of course, natural and wholesome.
A fragrant beehive or a plump, healthy hornet’s nest in good running order often become object lessons of some importance. The inhabitants can give the child pointed lessons in punctuation as well as caution and some of the limitations as well as the grand possibilities of life; and by even a brief experience with a good patch of healthy nettles, the same lesson will be still further impressed upon them. And thus by each new experience with homely natural objects the child learns self-respect and also to respect the objects and forces which must be met.
Looking at the world through a lens gives me a chance to pause and to truly appreciate what I’m seeing.
Photographing a plant, a bug, a rock, a child, a water droplet, a pet, a pattern or a landscape causes me to stop and to really begin to look and see.
I slow down. I breath deeper. I feel more. I notice more. I feel more alive. Colors start to appear more vibrant and rich. Sounds become clearer and more melodious. Scents become more perceptible. I start to notice associations and repeating patterns in nature. I notice how most of life can and does live in harmony. I find myself relaxing. My compassion and patience for other fellow humans increases.
And, now my photos and observations can have a greater purpose and impact. Through technology my images and limited knowledge can be shared. My photos can have so much more meaning when I share them with databases such as iNaturalist, Calflora and CalPhoto.
With the recent emergence of the field of big data, scientists can make better use of contributions from citizen scientists, citizen naturalists or wannabe botanists like myself. We will now be better able to monitor biodiversity and the changes which are occurring on this delicate blue sphere we call earth.
By sharing my images on iNaturalist I give a purpose to my pictures. They are shared with the scientific community and others of like mind. iNaturalist has encouraged me to look and see the small stuff on the trails.
iPhonography and iNaturalist have helped me become a better observer of nature. I have been richly rewarded with what I have seen. May it be the learning of a new species or the sighting of an old friend again.
Check out my local biodiversity project that I have created on iNat: Project: Sycamore Valley Regional Open Space Preserve I have started documenting the species on a few acres of open space preserve near my home. I couldn’t find good data on the area so I decided to create my own data. Maybe, someday, this information will prove useful to the surrounding community or maybe even to scientists as they monitor the movement of species caused by climate change. Or, maybe I will be able to document the natural recovery of this region from the historical aspects of cattle grazing or the impact of modern day humans on this now preserved space.
With advancing age, I continue to grow in amazement of the natural world around me.
So, instead of taking another selfie, think about using your camera next time to collect data about the world around you. You too can be a citizen scientist.
Here’s my photo dump of just SOME of the flowering plants seen on our weekend BioBlitz to Death Valley. Two days was not nearly enough time, but it was all the time we had.
There is, oh, so much that I didn’t see and will never see because there isn’t enough time in life to see it all.
A visit to Death Valley can only capture just one singular moment in time. The variety of species blooming can literally change from one day to the next.
I have “guestimated” many of the scientific names and added common names. Several of the flower’s I have just ID’ed to genus. Without pulling some of the plants apart or waiting for seeds to set I can not confirm ID’s. Knowing where the plant was observed, the soil type, elevation, associated species and time of year, a pretty good guess can be made in most cases.
For lack of a better way to organize the photos, I have attempted to display them in a color sequence. Please enjoy and let me know what you think. The photo’s have not been edited.
In mid-March I found myself registered to participate as a volunteer botanist and iNaturalist contributor for the 2016 Death Valley National Park BioBlitz, part of a centennial celebration of our National Parks.
A BioBlitz as defined in wikipedia is “an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area. Groups of scientists, naturalists and volunteers conduct an intensive field study over a continuous time period (e.g., usually 24 hours).”
For the DVNP BioBlitz, the primary area of study was the area of Salt Creek.
Not only would scientists and iNaturalist be out in the creek area collecting data, but several programs and presentations were set up for the general public. The access road to Salt Creek was closed to traffic and the public and volunteers could either park out on the highway or another designated parking area and take a shuttle to the sight.
The park was blessed this year with above normal rainfall resulting in a rare super bloom of wildflowers. And, just the night before the BioBlitz, the valley was blessed with another rare sprinkling of measurable rain. The creek would be flowing a tad higher and some of the plant habitat’s would present some unique water crossing challenges for the field botanist. Not something one would expect in such a barren and hospitable landscape.
Here’s a link to the iNaturalist posts showing the species count results for the DVNP BioBlitz of March 12th, 2016.
These images where taken at the BioBlitz of the groups working area’s of biological study. I was able to contribute to the iNat project site 17 observed taxa, 20 total observations, of which 16 qualified as research grade. To date I have been notified that 9 of my observations have been selected for use by the project.
I am so honored to have been a participated for the 2016 BioBlitz. In another post I will identify some of the more common wildflowers seen over the weekend. We had an absolutely stunning and amazing visit to Death Valley National Park(DVNP). More Death Valley posts to come.