Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Visit to "C"s and a Road Trip.

First let me say that, as you know, I've been waiting for my new camera... and it finally arrived.
The new header photo was taken with my amazing new Nikon D5100 camera. This is a technique that is done with a special effects mode... INSIDE the camera. It's called color sketch.
I'm learning about this wonderful new camera... reading the manual, learning how to use it properly and taking a lot of pictures.
 I think that I've died...
 and gone
Could there be such a place?

Allow me a few more days of fun and serious learning. Then I will give a review and more examples of what this amazing camera does.

For the next few posts I would like to tell you about the Road Trip that my friend "C" and I took last Wednesday. We took a drive through the California River Delta. This area is reclaimed marshland. Please read about it here. It's fascinating!
I arrived at my friend's home in Sacramento on Tuesday afternoon. It was still frying pan hot... and, even with a small breeze, it seemed like the middle of summer. The evenings have been cooler and it makes the day's heat more tolerable knowing that the nights are showing signs of Fall.
 "C" lives on a lake and it's very nice.
She's my good friend with the little dog... Max.
Who was tired of being cooped up in the house.
So when he overheard us talking about taking a drive... he perked up.

The next morning he was packed and ready.
"And don't forget my water bowl... and some biscuits."

We left Wednesday morning and drove out to the highway and turned south. Then we drove west to highway 160, the old River Road and our first stop, Courtland.
 Courtland is located along the Sacramento River, 17 miles  south-southwest of Sacramento. This town  was named after Courtland Sims, son of James V. Simes, a landowner who opened a steamer landing in the community in 1870.
It's a small town with some big buildings.

And some that were for sale.  This house (below) was built in 1925. It's got 7,513 sq. ft. of space inside. Heck... for around $500,000 we could all move in together and each of us could have a whole section of the house to ourselves. The Prospector could have a man cave and fish all day.We could even have a special "dog" room for Carl, Cutter and Max. It's a HUGE house. I can't find any history, but I think it might have been a school or lodge originally.
 It has a blue insignia over the entrance. I think that it's odd that there's a Masonic "compass and rule" insignia over the doorway. I guess it was probably not a public school.

There was a funky little market on the highway.
 And really old places that were sagging a bit.
This one seemed to be apartments. The Chinese came to built the levies in the 1870's, so there are a lot of buildings with Chinese names and writing on them.
Some of these places are still occupied, but others have a notice posted that says they are not livable and are condemned. Houses with nobody in them... but with history hanging from their walls. I would love to know all of the history here.
"C" is looking for a small house near the river. She would like something with character and history, but these old places have a bit too much character for anyone.
 We move on...
 I don't remember ever visiting this town except, maybe, when I was a very young child. My Dad might have taken us here on one of his wonderful day trips. He would pile us in the car, very early in the morning and we would go traveling all over the place for the day. I would come home tired but happy, about all the places I had seen. It's a good memory. But, I don't remember Locke.
 "C" remembered visiting a lot of these towns and camping here, on the Delta, with her family. She told me that she had great memories of being here with her Mom and Dad, when she and her brother were young.

You must read about this town. It has a wonderful history
It is a town built completely "by the Chinese for the Chinese". This is Locke's one-room Chinese language school, established in 1926. Now it's a museum. At the entrance stand two large bronze busts, on pedestals, of Confucius and Dr. Sun Yat-sen.
The main street of town is a combination of deserted houses and businesses in a state of arrested decay and some with open businesses and stores.
Some buildings are bulging and look like they will collapse at any moment. I love the second story door (upper right) that goes out onto a long vanished balcony.

Some are old entrances to forgotten attractions.
This one says it was the entrance to the Star Theater.

There were also some open businesses and stores..
 I love the name... STRANGE CARGO
A rather modern art gallery...
and an old sign...I'm not sure if this was a recent restaurant or just an old sign.
We drove around the town for a while and I made a mental note to see this place, again, and take more pictures, spend some time in the shops and visit the museum. 
Max was anxious to move on.
"Which way next?"

Tomorrow we will drive through Walnut Grove, Ryde, Isleton and Rio Vista. Come back and read about a house that "C" might be interested in and our grand adventure over the Sacramento River and beyond...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Heat, Dust and Hen Holes

Will you look at this...
This use to be a nice garden area, with bark and some Iris lining the border. But the ecologically right thing to do is to let your chickens FREE RANGE these days. So we let our darlings outside to, supposedly, eat grass and bugs and produce quality eggs.
 But no... all they want to do is dust themselves.
I'm sure that it feels good to wallow in the damp dirt on a hot day... but my garden is taking a big hit. It's a good thing that the garden in the front of the house has a fence around it. It's safe from this blatant disregard for my efforts.
This "garden area" ( and I use the word loosely)  is across the driveway and fair game for the chickens, the turkey and anything else that happens along.
I know that my chickens are pretty. I know that they give us eggs.
But... between the chickens, the deer and the turkey... I have just about given up on trying to make the driveway look like anything but... a driveway.

 Napoleon, our rooster, is no help. The other day he got stuck in one of the hen's dusting holes. Like his French namesake, he is small.  He's a bantam rooster and sometimes he gets in over his head. Unlike his French counterpart, he is not a good military commander and  he doesn't like to start wars.
I think I made a mistake on the name.
Poor Napoleon. I'm sure this was quite embarrassing for him. I had to help him to his feet. He's really getting old.

One of the Roadies was driving my dogs crazy near the front garden fence. She was in the area I call THE BOMB DROP.
Look at her! 
This use to be a beautiful garden area... very Italian, with its Cypress trees and terracing.
Now, at the end of the summer, when the deer are hungry, even the "deer proof" plants are fair game. That's  chewed up Lantana, in the planter, in the foreground.
DEER... TURKEY... FOX... AND CHICKENS... they all come and find sanctuary here. It's an equal opportunity rest area.

There she is...
Looking at me like I'M bothering HER.
And see that plant next to her. Yes, It's a lovely, blue flowered perennial that I have to keep replanting.
You, Missy, are on my list.
What? You gave me an egg this morning?
Big deal!
Annie, watching all of this from the fence, sat up and said,
"Would you like some help with this, Farmlady? I can make it happen."
"Would you and the Prospector like CHICKEN for dinner?"

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Camels in Jackson?

The Prospector came back from town yesterday and as he walked in through the door he said, " You better get in the car and go down to Tractor Supply. There's a photo shoot waiting for you down there. There's a camel waiting for his picture to be taken."
 It seems that the new Tractor Supply, in town, had put together a small "Noah's Ark" out in the front of the store.Well, I can't pass up something like that. I had to go into town anyway to get some groceries. I took my camera, hoping it would focus (I've been having trouble with it.) and drove downtown.
Tractor Supply Co. is a new store in our area selling way more than tractors. It's like a feed and supply/ hardware/ clothing/ everything "farm" related store that, so far, seems to be doing well here and has fairly competitive prices.
I pulled into the parking lot and right away I saw the camels. You cannot miss a camel in a parking lot. They're HUGE.
I got my camera ready and walked across the parking area . The first animals I walked by were these miniature cattle.
A lady was feeding one of them some green leaves. I hoped the leaves were OK. This little guy was really enjoying them.
 There was a cute little horse.
Who came over to say hello.

 I asked him if he wanted to come home with me so my "beans" could ride him, but he didn't answer my question. I suspect he just wanted something to eat.
There were rabbits,
And ducks and domesticated Turkeys.
This beautiful blond turkey must have thought the ducks were her babies. She was kind of herding them around and watching over them. It was very sweet behavior!
There was one little goat that looked like my Brownie when he was young. I couldn't bear to take its picture. I miss my goats so.
But nothing was more amazing than the CAMELS. There were two of them They were Bactrian Camels that originated in Central Asia. A Bactrian has two humps.
This one (above) seemed older than the one below.
These camels can live up to 40 or 50 years of age. Those humps don't hold water either. It's fatty tissue.
The smaller one was pacing. It seemed anxious. Then some woman came up and started rubbing one of them. It stopped, kind of got all groovy and just mellowed out.
Maybe he (she?) just needed a little attention.
The camel settled down and got that look on his face like my goats use to when I would rubbed their necks and faces.
This one was older. The teeth looked old. But he/she was enjoying the attention.

They are very tall animals, amazingly tall, and majestic. They have beautiful eyes... horse eyes... and they watch you intently.
Maybe these were mates... or Mom and child. I don't know. But, they were wonderful to watch.
Please take a look at this link if you care to know more about Camels. They are fascinating creatures and I was so glad that I got to see them.
My Nikon D40 didn't fail me. I think it knows that I ordered a new Nikon. It's been working better the last few days. Interesting. But, the lens is making a funny noise and seems out of focus. I had to sharpen these photos with Picasa.
I'm waiting for my new camera, the Nikon 5100D, with the vibration reduction lens, 3D tracking, a flip out rotating monitor... and video with sound.
Oh my gosh... it's in the mail. It's coming!  I can't wait.
No man, animal, flower or cloud will be safe from my incessant obsession.
Have a wonderful Sunday...