Virtual Living

“Stay at home” order is in effect. This is a good time to appreciate the good times. One way to do this is to look over my organized 40,000+ photographs I have on my computer.

Today, I will take you on a tour of the Capay Valley. Located in Yolo County, this rural valley is northwest of Sacramento. This was the last CTD event I participated in. Early February the almond trees come into blossom, and the Capay Valley hosts the Almond Festival. My photo group decided to avoid the rush and headed to the valley the week before.

My CTD (Camera Totin’ Days) friends head down the lane. Photo demonstrates “Leading Lines”

The almond trees blooming, and some farmers have fenced their trees in so they would not escape.

We found an unfenced orchard

No, so that the many photographers would not trample their fields and leave an unsightly mess. This has become a problem lately. Aware of this we parked along the fence and with the sun shining grabbed some shots.

Perfect day to pull out my new macro lens. Used the 80mm f2.8with my Fuji xt2.

We headed to Rumford and came across Hayes Longhorns Farm. Don Hayes, an owner/operator of heavy equipment invited our group to roam around the farm and encouraged us to photograph anything.

This barn has seen better days.

I found the No Parking sign ironic, the flatbed wagon a forerunner for a Ram Truck, some rusty parts that looked like cats, a face tilt, and a surry without the fringe on the top!

Plenty of photo opportunities, and listening to Don I learned that everyone in the area was getting ready for the Almond Festival.

Before leaving Rumford I checked out the post office. The postmaster pointed out many of the original fixtures inside.

Before leaving I grabbed a bag of freshly picked oranges and left $5.00 in the can.

We always end our day with lunch. This time we returned to a favorite spot of ours, Road Trip Bar & Grill. Great food, great service. And the name fits our day as we travel around our area.

Listening to the advice of medical professional I plan to be socially responsible and remain at home until advised otherwise. So stay safe, and enjoy my virtual journey.

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.

Napa Road Trip minus the wine

My friend’s road would be slurried, she wanted a landscape of a vineyard, and I went along to capture some new images. No formal destination and no time constraints. Armed with ice coffee, plenty of water and music for the road.

Early morning departure means little sleep for me. My sleep cycle has really flipped this summer. Even if I try to get to bed early, I fall asleep around 3:30 am. This also seems to happen if I am going somewhere the next day. Need to start making a switch, and wake up early before the temperature rises.

Silverado Trail is our first stop. Vineyards on both sides of the road, but the fields planted along the mountainsides are not as mature and lush.

Grapes ripening on the vine
My imagination goes wild with the bark of the vine. Peeking animals.

I see a cute sign post with a donkey, and then I spot donkeys. I approach animals carefully, but one donkey was particularly friendly. Almost called her such a good puppy. A natural mistake given my situation.

I first spotted this cute garden art. Then OMG donkeys.
Ready to say hello
Just so sweet. Came right over for some love.
Pregnant donkey (called Jenny). Gestation takes a long time. 11-14 Months! I wonder how long this Jenny has to wait?
Good bye my donkey friend.

Facebook has been reminding me that nine years ago Liberty came into my life. Having her, missing her, and needing another dog is a tribute to my Libby.

We brought my Libby Love home 9 years ago.

David would want to have another English Lab, but I am open to looking at another breed. Looking for a medium sized dog. I would like to be able to lift the dog up, be easily trainable and have a good personality. Thought about a cocker spaniel, or Logatto Romagnolo.

I decided to go with an Australian Labradoodle. The DNA includes Labrador retriever, Poodle, and Cocker Spaniel. This is multigenerational hybrid that was essentially developed to provide canine assistance to those who are allergic to dog hair. Since poodles improve the chances for this characteristic, and the Labrador retriever has a proven track record for training the hope is for the best of both. The Labradoodle comes in three sizes, and so this satisfies my need for a more portable dog. Having less hair to sweep up is a bonus! Though I will need to become informed about the grooming. My Libby was a wash & wear dog.

My I have gotten off track. Back to my road trip. Remembering past trips our destination was the CIA – Culinary Institue of America. First stop was the CIA at Copia. I was pleasantly surprised to come across a photographic homage to Julia Child by her husband Paul. Such a wonderful collection of black & white photographs. Well worth taking time out to visit if you are interested in photography!

A Toast!

The space at the CIA was amazing. The light, design, and architecture captured my imagination.

I will certainly schedule another visit and spend time exploring the outside when the temperature is below 100 degrees.

Interesting staircase. Another place to explore next time.
Beautiful glass sculpture
Love the lighting here
Replica of sculpture that rests on top of building.
Serene setting.
These real spices fill the space with wonderful aromas. Makes you hungry!
Grand space

I didn’t spend too much time outside but the outside had much to see.

Outside seating under a pergola. Live music venue at Grove

Fork sculpture made out of forks. But where is the spoon it ran away with?

Went next door to the Oxbow Public Market. Another place I need to come back to for some great people watching with my Fuji x100f. Put myself in a street photography mind set. Ate an interesting gourmet oven baked Mushroom pizza with ricotta cheese sauce. No pictures, just good food!

Last place on our road trip was the Greystone Cellers. This is home to the CIA School. Interesting history. The building was impressive, but the view overlooking the vineyard was difficult to capture. Trees blocked the view. How rude! And then there is the parking lot to contend with. Not to mention the heat.

Massive doorway leads into Greystone Cellers
Impressive main entrance.

Cakes decorated by the students attending the CIA at Greystone. Reminds me of when my daughter decorated cakes in high school in ROP Bakery Academy. Being the good mom I sampled each creation. Made with lard and not buttercream the taste did not match up with the beautiful design.

Among the many collections I was drawn to this clown bottle opener.
Ironic that this truck advertising Vodka was parked next to the vineyard.
Not sure what kind of flower this is. Pretty in Pink.

So ends a day in Napa Valley. No wine was consumed. Any blurriness in the photographs are due to photographer error and not the vino!

Come a little bit closer

Instead of looking at the BIG picture, I decided to explore the world close up. Last weekend while I was out photographing the fields of sunflowers I found that I was drawn to the world of things that fly.

Each year the fields around Yolo County bloom with sunflowers. While surrounded by sunflowers I ended up watching the activity around the flowers. Plenty of bees capturing pollen, and there were the occasional butterfly.

I am here!
Row after row of sunflowers
Butterfly shaped shadow
Mezger’s Zinnia Patch located in Woodland, CA.

Mezger’s Zinnia Patch is a delightful place to visit. This flower garden is privately owned and the public are encouraged to come enjoy the flowers, and pick some fresh zinnias for themselves. The idea is that you should also pick a bouquet for someone who cannot get out to enjoy the flowers in their natural setting. Zinnias available in different varieties and multiple colors. As you enter the field, there are pruning shears, vases and water (for flowers only!). The beauty of nature uplifts the spirit in many retirement homes in Woodland. Sharing has been the reason for Mark Mezger’s continued planting of his zinnia fields.

I have stopped by over the years, and I enjoy watching children selecting, and picking flowers.

Carefully selecting flowers, and placing them together in a bouquet

Not only people stop by for a visit. There are plenty of bees, butterflies and dragonflies.

This butterfly paused for a moment.
Another variety and I caught some sunlight on its wings.
On this flower I found a butterfly and a bee sharing the zinnia!

No dragonflies for me this time.

One last stop on this getting hotter Saturday. The UC Davis Arboretum. As we drove in I was reminded of the many, many trip here with my pooch, Libby.

Plenty of information, and signage to educate the visitor to the UC Davis Arboretum.
My favorite color roses!

I spotted a dragonfly who stopped long enough for me to capture an image.

As close as I could go. Now I am inspired to get a macro lens for my Fuji xt2.

A swallowtail butterfly zoomed around but would not stop.

Taken from a shaded bench. A perfect spot!
Pet owners walking their dogs passed the horse corral.

Time to go. Hope you enjoyed this close-up look at nature. My next stop during the week will be to purchase the Fuji x 80mm macro lens. And hope to get even closer.