I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Poppy Quest Thursday

This is Lake Tabeaub in Amador Co.
It's a small lake and reservoir in the foothills of the Central Sierra Mountains of California. The Prospector and I drove up on Thursday looking for a way to access the Mokelumne River Canyon above Electra Power Plant. We were on a poppy quest. We drove as far as we thought we should on a road called Ponderosa Way, which appeared to be mostly private property and "no trespassing" signs. We always respect these signs and private roads because we live on one too and have had trouble with people who don't.
So, we drove to the lake and took a short hike down a path beside a water channel.
I found some information about these ditches. They were built to divert water over to Pine Grove.  The development of all of these ditches and canals extended from around 1850 until the turn of the century.
During the early settlement of the Amador County, the major industries were gold mining, timber, and cattle raising.  These early settlers, in order to obtain water for domestic, municipal and agricultural uses, diverted  the water from larger rivers and streams.
 When demand increased for power, the Upper Standard Canal was built and water was diverted a half mile upstream from the present PGand E Tiger Creek Powerhouse.  The Upper Standard Canal followed the same course as an earlier canal but remained at a higher elevation.  This water was subsequently released into Tabeaud Reservoir and then could be released into the Amador Canal. It appears that this is still the case.
It's a beautiful canal. From the parking lot to the pump area is a short walk.
This photo shows the pipe that carries the water up out of the lake to the canal.
And this sign tells you that you had better not mess with any of it.
Pacific, Gas and Electric can sound very official in some really beautiful places, but they have had power grids blown up (here in California) so they don't mess around.
We walked back up to the canal and watched the water fall to a different level as it flowed back toward the road.
I had to laugh at the sign on the side of the pump house.
It said, NO SWIMMING. There were tiny, planted trout and a lot of algae in that water. I can't imagine anyone wanting to swim in there anyway.
That was when I realized we were not alone. I turned around and saw a dog... in the water. Guess he didn't read the sign.
His owner pulled him out of the shallow water and stopped to talk for a minute. We said we were trying to find a road that would get us over to the river canyon. He gave us detailed directions about how to do this. We thanked him and he and his dog walked on down the road.
We walked back to the car, drove around the edges of the lake and a few miles later, we found the trail head... right where the man had told us it was. Another car was parked there too. This reminded me of Geocaching only this time we were trying to find flowers, not hidden treasure.
It didn't look very official, but we took all of my camera equipment and hiked up onto the trail.
This was one of those beautiful California Sunshine Days that you heard about in the songs... you know... The Mamas and the Papas dreaming about California sunshine on a dreary, winter's day.
or Waylon Jennings....
...They say those California girls are fine
They know how to really walk your mind
Well, one of you get ready 'cause you're mine
I'm headin' for that California sunshine."
And, of course... The Beach Boys singing about beaches and bikinis, wishing all girls "...could be California girls."
It was a magic word back then... California. I'm sure these songs were written about a day like this one. Blue skies, warm breezes, sunshine........flowers in my hair.
Oh, man. Sorry! I got caught up in the 60's for a moment.

The Prospector and I walked to the top of the ridge.
The view was amazing and so beautiful.... but I didn't see any poppies.
My favorite river, the Mokelumne, is down in that canyon, somewhere.

































There was a lot of green grass, small white flowers (California fairy poppies or meconella) and Fiddleneck (Amsinckia retrorsa).


And this... a fiddleneck unfurled.
And one that the Prospector showed me (without picking it).
I believe this is called  Common Brodiaea  or Blue dick, desert hyacinth?..(this certainly isn't the desert.)... or even more likely, a different Brodiaea, called a Twining Brodiaea  or twining snakelily. This wildflower did have a twining stem.
The only poppies we saw were a few miles west on another hillside.
There they were... in all their orangeluminous beauty. I was beginning to think I should stop the madness and just go back to the small display of poppies on my own property, put my macro lens on, and do some 1:1 close-ups of the flowers near my house.
I was a bit disappointed, but I still had some other options. I had directions from another Facebook "poppy lover", who had taken pity on me and given me very good directions to the area off of Ponderosa Way. Should I come up here again? Should I obsess until I find the gold at the end of the rainbow?
Well, at that moment, I had to get the Prospector off the ridge area before I lost him to what he thought was an old tertiary river bed with some very interesting rocks in it.
He was getting that gleam in his eyes.
These rocks were very heavy... with lot's of crystallization in them.
 I might have lost him forever if I didn't make him start back to the car with me. The rock was an interesting lode type rock that could have started a serious dry-washing project... so it was time to move on.

(Why is this being written in orange? Because I went on another Poppy quest today and found what I was looking for. Wait until you see the beautiful photos tomorrow.
 I found Poppy Heaven on Electra Rd.... That sounds like the title of a good song doesn't it? Stay tuned.)


Monday, April 7, 2014

"All right, Mr. Demille, I'm ready for my close up."

MJ came and showed me how to give Amethyst eyes. She helped me outline and draw in with color. Now, my home girl can see things and tell me what she wants to wear... with your help.
Her head is attached and she has new arms.
Her hands have four fingers and a thumb now.

So, now it's 'dress the lovely lady' time... the fun part. Tell me what you think and which is your favorite. This will help me decide what to do. All these embellishments are just temporary... for her photo shoot.
First is the one above. It's a Nuno felted scarf that can be fitted to her. She will still need a covering for the neck (where the head was attached), a bodice or blouse, and hair.

Then there's the beautiful fur and sparkle design...
 ...using a rabbit fur and some sparkling ribbon with crystals on it. She will have long, real, hair that might have two skinny braids in front of her ears. I bought some real hair at a beauty supply store.

This would be another choice.
This is felted material with a darker beaded ribbon.

This is how she would look with some hair and lace pieces holding it in place.

And then I could go all little girl, fairy sparkle and give her satin ribbons and pretty layers of organza and tutu's underneath.
Please tell me which direction you think I should go. 
Because I have to clean up this mess pretty soon.
The Prospector is, for the first time in our life together, asking me when I'm going to put the sewing machine AWAY. For years he has given me a bad time about never sewing anymore and now.... he's afraid that the sewing machine is going to be a permanent fixture on the dining room table... that it's never going away.

So, what do you think? What is Amethyst telling you.? Old world "fairie" with felted clothing like the Hobbit movies, elegant and magical lady with fur or sparkle and fun?
 She will have some feathers in her hair. She will have more hair that is eight inches long. She will also have wings that I have to attach to her back and make clothing allowances for. I've decided that boobs are not going to happen on this doll for personal reasons.
And guess what... I bought more patterns. I think this may be another addiction.