Sunday, April 27, 2008

Scene with acorn cap dolls

Here is a little scene that I created in an old wallet box that a friend gave to me. I used origami paper, two of my acorn cap dolls, beads, a glitter gel pen, and a couple of self-adhesive pin backs to hang it on the wall. The one in the blue tunic is supposed to be me, and the one in the tan pants is supposed to be my husband.Today's Giants game was painful to watch. Oy vey.

Ta ta for now,

Pine Hill Preserve, 4-26-08

We visited the Cameron Park Unit of the Pine Hill Preserve (PHP) yesterday. An avian highlight was seeing (and hearing) a California Thrasher singing. I know the basic/core chaparral plants, but it was great to be with people who really know the local flora – people who can name any plant you point at. According to their Web site, "The Pine Hill Preserve was established to protect rare native plants in El Dorado County, California, that occur on a particular soil type known as gabbro soils" and "The Pine Hill Preserve's rare plants are a collection of eight rare plant species that share the unusual growing conditions of a small area of western El Dorado County." (Sources: and

Gabbro is basically the intrusive equivalent of basalt. I kinda sorta remembered that from those two geology courses I took in college so many years ago, and lo and behold, I was right.

For you Simpsons fans, do you remember the episode where that creepy ventriloquist's dummy (OK, what ventriloquist’s dummy ISN’T creepy), Gabbo, stole Krusty’s job? The newspaper headlines screamed “GABBO, GABBO, GABBO!!!" Whenever I hear about the gabbro soils at the PHP (or gabbro in general), I always want to say “GABBRO, GABBRO, GABBRO!!! (and I do, if I’m around sympathetic Simpsons fans). Speaking of The Simpsons, my husband and I were big fans, but stopped watching it around 1998, when it “jumped the shark.”

We saw the following rare plants yesterday: Pine Hill Ceanothus, Bisbee Peak rush-rose (no flowers, yesterday,though), El Dorado mule-ears, Red Hills soaproot, and Layne's butterweed.

We saw the Pine Hill flannelbush a while back at the Pine Hill Unit of the preserve.

We saw this morning-glory, but I don’t know if it is the rare one -- Stebbins' morning-glory.
We think that these are Tumbling flower beetles on this Layne’s butterweed. They didn’t tumble for us, but, when they do, it’s pretty cute. This Layne’s butterweed isn’t sick. It is normal for them to have just a few petals.
Unidentified beetle
Whiteleaf Manzanita – smooth and cool to the touch


Iris -- this photo does not do justice to the depth and breadth of its purple.

I think that this is a Wyethia, but I don’t remember what the rest of the plant looked like.

Wyethia leaf skeleton

Possibly a sanicle, with what is probably a Tumbling flower beetle

Blooming Sonoma Sage blanketed the floor of the chaparral. The air was perfumed with its sagey goodness. Ahhhhhh …Fairy lantern

This ring I bought at Target looked pretty in the sun …

I am so tired of people and their McMansions. This mini-castle is under construction and within view of the trail. Nouveau riche with delusions of grandeur, I say! It’s bad enough that they had to build something so large and tacky, but do I have to see it from the trail? Ugh!

Ta ta for now,


Friday, April 25, 2008

Funny Cat Video

An Engineer's Guide to Cats, via Cute Overload

El Dorado County, Part 2

More from our trip to El Dorado County last weekend ...


I saw some of the most AWESOME fungi ever!

These look like little nests with eggs.

Check out the acorn caps and the tiny beetle in this photo.

Our friends have several cats. Norgay is the deepest, glossiest black, but it doesn't show up so well in the first photo. He is a sweet, handsome, confident cat. (I didn't get any photos of his brother Tenzing, who is very shy around visitors. I saw him once the entire weekend.)

Isn't Zoe beautiful? She is a little shy, but playful.

Here is Elsie, who was a stray, pregnant cat that they trapped on their property. She had five kittens. They were two weeks old when we visited.Tiny scorpions live under the bricks that surround our friends' compost pile,along with centipedes.
Well that's all for now.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

El Dorado County, Part 1

We spent last weekend (4/19 and 20) in El Dorado County at the home (well, we spent more time outside) of the neat couple that we went to San Francisco with in January. I have tons to share, so I'm going to break this up into installments. One of the most interesting things we saw was a female Merlin dive-bombing and screaming at a plastic owl on a fence post. She also sat still (rare for Merlins) for quite a while between attacks on the faux owl.

We watched this Red-breasted Nuthatch excavating a nest hole. We were only a few feet away. It was SO awesome! I got some video footage with my camera. Here is crappy still photo, but you get the point.
Douglas Fir cone

Years ago, someone shared this sweet myth with me: A long time ago, during a raging forest fire, the Douglas Fir trees told the mice that they could hide in their cones for safety, and the mice did and they survived the fire. The little tufts on the cones represent the tails (or feet?) of those mice.

American Robin looking lovely

Canada Geese -- adults and goslings

Buttercups (The genus is Ranunculs, which is SO much fun to say, especially if you roll the "r.")

Ribes sp.?

The dogwood trees were oh so lovely in the filtered sunlight of the forest.

So were the Big-leaf Maples
Manzanita flowers are such a neat shape.Check out the tiny seeds inside.

Calochortus sp.?

Red Maids
Shooting Star
Tomorrow is my scheduled day off, but I have to drag my sorry carcass in to go to a Sexual Harassment Prevention Training (we have to take it every few years). After all of these years, my employer has finally had the sense to add "Prevention" to the title :-)

Ta ta for now,