Sunflowers, Art, and Agriculture in Yolo County

Yolo County opens its farms up to local artists monthly. The last time I took advantage of this event was in July of 2019. Part of the fun of photography is seeing new places, and part is sharing the experience. I finally felt like I could share the experience with one friend, and so we headed out. This was the last part of June, and I was feeling like pushing aside CoVid 19 just a bit.

Sunflowers are showing up all over Yolo county, and there was a field on the Harrison Farm. Not the tallest flowers, not so spectacular, but I was traveling with my Fuji xt2 and my 80mm 2.8 macro lens. The weather was just perfect. With macro photography, even the slightest movement can look like a big magnified blur. Usually, I have experienced a gale-force wind creeps up just as I take out my macro lens. Not this time!

Lots of bees around sunflowers.
Such a flirty face
One amongst many

This Thursday in the last part of June I didn’t expect a large turnout. But I guess others felt the same, and there I was social distancing from a nice group of artists.

Traffic duty. Each car was carefully check in and she explained the guidelines.

Many uses for this pond. The ripples reminds me of an impressionist’s painting inspiration. The rope swings looks like fun. And the kayak and fishing poles is someone’s idea of a relaxing afternoon.

We each tried to capture our selfie wearing our protective CoVid masks.

On this day I carried my Fuji xt2 with three lenses. I heard there were sheep here, and I wanted to grab some animal photographs. Well, the sheep were resting in the corner shaded area. I wanted and finally one ventured out to eat.

Using my xf 55-200 lens I caught this little cutie.
Back in the shady side of the barn
Plein Air artist starting on his canvas
I appreciate the two red barns using my camera
I like the way this gate frames the image.

I wandered around the flower garden for these next photos.

These next images represent still life on the farm.

Backlit lighting on the walnut tree.
Someday I may be found in some baklava. That would be yummy!
Walnut trees. Careful. Drip irrigation leads to muddy sandals.
Pulling away from the walnut orchard was this fire engine kicking up a lot of dirt.

So ends this months Yolo Art & Ag event to the Harrison Farm. Looking forward to my next outing.

The Natural World around me!

I have gone on a couple of photoshoots since the reopening from quarantine. Each was outside and I mostly stayed to myself. Usually, after an outing, my CTD group likes to grab a bite to eat. I’m not there yet and pass on the friendly banter with my fellow photogs.

Old Fair Oaks Village provided the backdrop of my first time out with my friends. Easy for me since it is about 5 minutes away.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

WPA Rock Garden and Land Park Pond provided a nice opportunity to get out and use my Fujifilm 80mm 2.8 macro lens with my Fuji xt2.

I captured the magenta and green combination in the morning light.

Walking around William Land Regional Park I find all kinds of wildlife enjoying the pond. Dragonflies, ducks, and turtles all using the pond in peace.

Since none of the Lotus flowers were in bloom I headed over to Vedanta Society of Sacramento.

Now this is how to keep social distance when meeting friends.

The Sacramento Zoo has now reopened. As a zoo member, I was invited to preview the new format as it reopens. Only members were allowed during the first two days with a set appointment time. CoVid 19 guidelines are stated online. As I entered the zoo I was reminded to stay with my flock, wear a mask, and stay 6 feet away from others. I had a 1pm appointment time. Not my usual zoo time since I like to visit first thing in the morning. I was lucky, and the weather was very mild. Perfect.

The zoo has been closed for 3 months, but the facility has been making some changes to accommodate new zoo occupants. Flamingos welcome the visitors.

I’m practicing social distancing!

And these flamingos have gotten all sorts of mixed signals. It’s confusing! And possibly not in the best interest of the flock, or in the case of flamingos a flamboyance.

Black Crowned Cranes are dealing with issues.
Ok. All is good with Black Crowned Cranes.
Got an itch.

An ostrich, a duck, an emu, and a Himalayan Monal all walk into a …….

Don’t bother me, I’m napping.

Usually, when I arrive at the zoo in the morning the Red Panda is sleeping. Found this one ready to pose for a close-up.

I wonder what the front of this animal looks like?
Here is an Okapi. One of two that reside at the zoo.
Just hangin’ out. Glad to see visitors.

New residents here at the zoo.

A new giraffe joins the tower.
American Alligator takes his place at the Sacramento Zoo.

As a nod to Tom Paxton and the cd Goin’to the Zoo I’ll call this “Allen gator. A little alligator with a great big bite, he was Allen gator he wanted to do what’s right!”

And I hope that everyone does what’s right!!!

Six weeks with my doodle!

I have been living with Charlie for 6 weeks. He is now 13 weeks old. At 3 months this little guy is showing us his smarts.

I want to remember when he fit under the chair. This is where is settles when we are eating. I may change this to his “place” when he stops destroying beds.

The last time I trained a puppy was ten years ago. At that time I enrolled my puppy in classes at Pet Smart. She started at ten weeks. My Labrador Retriever crate trained and potty trained easily. With CoVid 19 training and socialization is on hold. My breeder Jo at Serenity Springs Labradoodles sent out emails with tips to prepare me for my new puppy. So I rely on what I remember and my updated reading and YouTube training sessions. I purchased Training the Best Dog Ever: A 5-week program using the Power of Positive Reinforcement. I found much information is found on the Internet, and most are in agreement. Zak George (Dog Training Revolution/Pupford), Rachel Fusaro (Save all the damn dogs), and Ian Stone (Simpawtico). Consistency, patience, and positivity. I also joined the online group, Doodle Kisses, and am getting support on the Forum.

Charlie loves his Wubba Bear Friend. This one remains in one piece. His Ultra-strong Kong Elephant immediately lost its tusks, and I needed to amputate the remaining bit of tusk. The ears are on the way out.

This week I have seen real progress in our day to day living. For one thing, potty training is progressing nicely. Not going through as many rolls of Bounty. My mother collected South East Asian bells. I hung some up on my slider and Charlie now rings the bell when he wants to go out to potty. We are getting the message! Just have to make sure to come inside before playtime. Then we go out again. Well sometimes there are false alarms, but better to go out than ignore.

After he rings the bell he often heads to his very large bed/playground near the door.

In the past few weeks I have worked on some basic commands. Of course, all these commands are being tried in various rooms in the house, but not under many conditions. Sit, Down, Off (no jumping), Leave It, Look at me, Come, Give, Go Potty, Go to your room (crate), Bed (place), Paw, Gentle, and Settle, and I am working of Stay. I think that is it.

“Charlie, Look at me!”

Today is Mother’s Day, and my puppy Charlie ordered me a tee shirt. Can’t wait to wear it in his honor.

My daughter and family stopped by this morning. Brought me some homemade cupcakes from two mini bakers. I will enjoy this with dinner tonight. CoVid 19 stay at home directives have left Charlie to interact with me and my husband. Today, all at once he had three boys ages 2, 4, and 8 all surrounding him. At first he wanted to go back to the house. I held him and introduced my grandsons. He met my son-in-law and daughter and had some “real-time petting”. After a short while, he was on the ground, wagging his tail and giving puppy kisses. In the six weeks he is making progress and getting over his shyness with new experiences. 

Shopping for groceries the CoVid way, online is becoming easier. Now there are more time slots for order pickup. A few weeks ago, I needed to place an order with Bel Air, and expect to pick up groceries in a week. Yesterday I placed my order and today most everything was delivered to my car. I am getting into the routine. Items that I can’t get at a grocery store I order from Target. Their website is a bit different, but I figured it out, and I can pick up my order within 4 hours. This is the new normal.

One thing that most puppy preparation books forget to include are bandaids. Oh my goodness. Those shark teeth have been getting me lately. And it is not from nipping or biting per se. Charlie got me good while we were having a fun game of fetch. I almost always say “Give” and wait for the ball to be dropped. This time our signals were crossed and he grabbed the ball as I was about to throw it, (ready, set, go), and sliced into my finger. Wow. Blood pouring out. This required two bandaids one on top of the other! Now I am sporting 4 bandaids. Numerous scratches, cuts, and nibbles are now healing. Once stores are open for shoppers I will recommend bandaids be sold at pet stores. Maybe a line of cute bandaids for new puppy owners should be designed! Sending ideas out for the creative entrepreneurs.

This week Charlie heads to Sunset VCA for his second visit. With safety in mind, once we park we call inside and a Vet Tech comes to get Charlie. I remain in the car. Keeping “Socially Distant” and safe. I wonder what I would do without wifi and cell phones. Thoughts for another time.

So much happening, so many decisions to make

When last I sat down my grandson Baby Colton arrived, and a week later my puppy-to-be made an appearance.

Three weeks later and much has happened. My 22-year-old grandson visited us for one week in February.

Sacramento Metropolitan Airport public sculpture. I see my red Samsonite!

I haven’t seen him in two years, and the visit ended with him saying, “Best vacation ever!” Not that he has taken many vacations in his short working life. It seems like for being on his own he is doing well. But there were a few details that needed to be addressed. Haircut, eyeglasses, cell phone upgrade, and work clothes set the stage for a busy week.

One thing I have to say about this guy is that he is a foodie. Straight away he planned to eat his way through Sacramento. Straight from the airport, we head to his favorite Fish and Chips place. Interestingly enough, the owners remember him. I guess he frequented this establishment when he lived close by. For dessert, I visited Icicles. Curled up icecream created right before your eyes.

Delicious. Never knew this existed. I plan to visit again.

After taking care of all those details, we planned a day out of town. At first we wanted to go to San Francisco to meet up wtih my son and family. With everyone having a different schedule this was difficult to arrange, and so we went with plan B. Headed east with Reno being our destination. This is the first February where we didn’t have a drop of rain. Weather is just lovely, but I am starting to hear talk of drought again.

First stop, Donner Summit. Checked out Donner Lake. I tried to imagine the Donner Party stuck here.

It was the end of February and there was no snow around.

My two guys!
Some fishermen getting ready to cast their lines.
Another tourist from the Sacramento area. Love the colorful sari.

Searched for a open restroom. Didn’t know this was a seasonal condition. LOL!

We visited the Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center with a very nice restroom.

We continue on to Reno and arrived about lunchtime. Headed for miles of food buffet.

Buffet at the El Dorado Casino

My grandson first took a look at the miles of desserts.

Miles of tempting desserts

He then placed his drink order. He has a unique way of ordering his meal items. But he does it with a pleasant demeanor and the servers try to oblige him.

We walked around Circus Circus, but no performances to view. We checked out the arcade. We needed to walk off that meal!

Tried our hand at 25 cent poker machine, and quick when we were ahead. Winner of $0.55. It was nice sitting and talking while we tried to beat the machine.

Argggh!

Thanksgiving in February with all the trimmings, except pumpkin pie. My grandson requested this holiday meal back in November so I kept a turkey in the freezer for this occasion. He remembered that I usually put walnuts in my stuffing. Not this time. Oh well. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to cook for a couple of days afterward.

Been paying close attention to the upcoming presidential race in November. California moved up the primary vote, and Super Tuesday came and went. No further comment here. I just hope, upon hope that our next president will be someone other that our current ____. You fill in the blank. Decisions, decisions, but not the greatest of choices.

My grandson headed back to Knoxville, and we focused on our upcoming trip to New York City. Then the news of coronavirus ramped up. Decisions, pro/con. After much discussion, we decided that New York City will be there, and we would postpone our trip. Booking.com made it easy to cancel the hotel reservation. I had a harder time with AAA air travel. I purchased travel insurance for my Jet Blue tickets. But I would need to file a claim, and there would be a big hassle. I called Jet Blue and they agreed to give me a 1-year credit for the tickets.

So next up, was opening day of baseball. But it was rained out. Luckily, game was called early. Go figure!

Each day from 1 pm until 7 pm I get to watch puppy television, starring Ginger and her litter of 10. And after 4 weeks they are playing and eating gruel. Next weekend the plan is to drive up north and meet the pups in person. Ginger has 10 puppies. Three girls, and seven boys. I am pretty sure that we will be bringing home a little girl pup, but we will see after we meet all of them next week. We wanted a solid colored pup (only a couple of boys fit that description), but all are so cute and personalities are starting to form. That is more important in the decision process. So excited.

So that is it for the moment. Trying to stay healthy. Relaxing and getting ready for my new adventure.