Sunday, April 27, 2008

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,



Joe said...

Great shots. What camera and lens do you use?

I use a Canon Rebel XTI w/ the Tameron 28 -300 MM lens, a Canon PowerShot SD 800 IS, and my iPhone.

I went back to the Mount's plant show today:

Sylvie said...

Thanks! I use a Canon PowerShot S2 IS, and I know nothing about photography, but I enjoy capturing images of beautiful and/or interesting things that I can enjoy later. The fanciest thing I can do is use the macro button.

Joe said...

That is a nice camera. It has a good lens.

Check out my other two blogs:

I added your site to my blogroll.hy

Aphra said...

Is there a moat around the mock castle? Although I've never fancied a castle, there are times when a moat and drawbridge seem like attractive additions to a home in the country. If I had a tower, I could spot undesirables a mile off, and pull up the drawbridge.

Sylvie said...

We didn't get close enough to check for a moat, but I can definitely see the benefits of a moat-tower combination.