November 30, 2008

A fair walk for a fine day.

Posted in blogging, photography tagged , , , , , , , , , at 7:26 pm by czygyny

west-view

I thought I would break my long silence with the results of a nice three hour hike taken today. Above is one of my favorite cottonwood trees with Bass and Saddleback mountains in the background. What a beautiful day it was today, mid 70s, no wind, deep blue skies. Very nice.

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mudcrak

I could not pass up this drying, checking mud, with its geometric shapes and peeling layers. This image comes complete with dog prints.

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bear-mnt

I love Bear Mountain, and I never pass up a chance for another picture, especially if I can get the lookout. I hope to go up there, someday.

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knothole

This snaggle-tooth mouth shaped knothole made me laugh. it looks like a lamprey mouth or laughing alien creature.

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dying-tree

This tree is slowly losing it’s life. It stands ever starker and barer as time pulls the spirit of the tree. It hangs over a tall bank looming with its grasping branches.

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buckwheat

These orange spotted Eriogonum stems are almost shockingly bright for such muted early winter colors that abound right now.

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Here is the last leg of the journey, just before we get back to our unpaved road. It was a good time for dogs, who wallowed in the mud and explored all over and for me who just enjoyed the quiet and beauty and muted colors of an autumn near ended and a winter near come, that are right in my back yard.

I am so blessed.  🙂

sam

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April 5, 2008

A day in the life of my oak trees

Posted in blogging, photography, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 8:38 pm by czygyny

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Quercus lobata. One of the largest species of deciduous trees in California. Known as Valley Oak, California White Oak, or even Swamp Oak, this tree can get 70′ tall. 

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One of ours is very old, rumored to be in an oak registry somewhere. We call her ‘Grandmother Tree’, the other three are somewhat younger, with a smaller diameter trunks, although one is even taller than the ‘Grandmother’. You can tell that she’s lost some whopping big branches over the years.

 

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I love looking up into the trees, their thick, sinuous branches are heavily furrowed and textured, and adorned with moss on the prerequisite north side.

 

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Here, above, is ‘Grandmother Tree’ with Bear Mountain and some of my sheep in a pastoral evening setting.

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This tree, above, is a tall, skinny oak that had to compete with 300 eucalyptus trees around it, so it put all its effort into standing tall. It makes a good frame for a lovely sunset.

These trees are very special to enjoy. There are so many bird species that live and nest here; House finch, American goldfinch, Acorn woodpecker, Hairy woodpecker, Downy woodpecker, Lewis’ woodpecker, White-breasted nuthatch, Orioles, Western kingbird, Red-shouldered hawk, Yellow-billed magpie, Brewer’s blackbird, Black and Say’s phoebe, White-crowned, Golden-crowned and Song sparrow, various warblers, and those nasty Starlings. Great-horned and Screech owls visit, too.

The downside to living underneath these silent giants is their pesky habit of shedding very large limbs, on occasion. They are just as likely to drop them in the summer as in winter, and we have had some close calls with the barn and house. As well, is the constant leaf and twig litter, and in a good year, acorns are dropped so thick that walking on them is much like walking on ball bearings.

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This tree, above,  was the least healthy of the four. Years ago, someone built up a driveway to get to the barn and covered the trunk of this tree about 3 to 4 feet deep. This is a death sentence for such majestic trees. It had already begun to die back when we moved in, so we excavated the soil around the base and built up a dry well with discarded concrete pieces.

The experiment was a success, and even provided a bit of flood control, as you can see. The rain soaked in quickly and left the flare of the trunk open to the air and slowly the tree has regained its health.

I am so pleased to be a steward to such fine trees. Such richness of local wildlife, picturesque modeling and darned good shade in the summer!

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