Sunday, May 29, 2011

Just Some Eye Candy

                                                                    Beautiful Weeds

Tree Flowers

And let's throw in some Baby Chicks.
Just Because.

Who rules the roost here? 

                                                                                                                  copyright Stepka 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rural Roads, Good Samaritans and On Star

Was driving down a steep,winding, busy, wet, semi rural, blacktopped road this afternoon...rain very unusual for this time of year in Northern California.

A slow car pulled off ahead of me to let me pass and two curves past, a man was on the side waving his cell phone in his hand, trying to flag someone down.

I knew right away what must have happened and sure enough.

I pulled to the side as other cars just wizzed past and the man yelled someone had driven off the road right in front of him and he couldn't get phone reception. 

As I walked toward him, I tried my cell.  No reception.

 "Can you hear me Now?!"...that phone commercial always asked on tv.  "NO!"  I always yelled back.

 An hour away from San Francisco and a half mile from our town...It is like you are on the moon.

I was afraid of what I was going to see when I got over to the Good Samaritain.  Looking down, I saw a truck that had gone down practically vertically 100 feet, hit a tree and miraculously the driver was outside checking on his passenger.

No, we could not get cell reception.  But they had On Star.

Amazing.  I could hear the operator on On Star speaking to the passenger as we asked about the man and his passenger's condition.  Luckily, the passenger apparently was more shakened than injured also.

If you had seen that drop off.....

Driving away from the scene, after knowing emergency vehicles were on the way, I saw how little an impact on the vegetation the vehicle made going down that embankment.

Yes, a fence was down and tall grass was down, but easy to miss if you were driving at normal speeds down that hill.

I now have a new perspective on those news reports about drivers being found days later in wrecked cars down steep embankments.

Forget cell phones.

We all just have to start wearing On Star buttons.

And yes.... nice to know that there are still Good Samaritans out there.

                                                                                                copyright Stepka 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Petting Bumblebees

We had nasty bumblebees on the farm in Wisconsin.
Big buggers, the size of your big toe.
You'd see them flying out from the hole on the side of the hill, and you turned around and walked in the opposite direction.           

I just remembered.   We usually set up cans for target practice right in that general vicinity.
From that perspective, I can guess that did not help.

Here in California, bumblebees come in different sizes, but all downright small.

Bumblebees visit my line up of blooming lavender in the backyard each year.
The first year I saw this phenomenon, I stayed my distance.
The next year, somehow I tripped and practically fell face first in the lavender and ... wow, nothing.
No mean buzzing of chainsaws as a herd of monster bumblebees swarmed about me. 

After the initial scrambling to get the heck out of the danger zone, I realized, they didn’t even noticed me.
So, I do what a farm girl usually does when faced with such a quandary.
I stick my nose back in to see what’s up.

These bumblebees, maybe 4, 5 to a bush, were just going about their business, hopping from one bush to another, doing a wonderful job of distributing pollen on their back ends in the meanwhile.
And these guys were small, like bees…and stranger still….cute!
California is strange!

I was mesmerized and plopped a pillow onto the ground and watched them eye to eye for quite some time.

One day, I was out checking on my little busy herd of bumblebees and saw they were just sitting there. ..not bouncing around like the happy little buzzers they usually were.
It was towards the end of the blooming season, the evening sun low on the horizon, and my bumblebees were just little zombies in the shade, just sitting there.
This did concern me, so just to be sure they were ok… I poked one.
Well, gently of course!

Are you all right, I said.  It moved a bit, but generally just stayed put.

I think my little bumblebee family was high and stuffed on nectar! 

Being the idiot farm girl, animal lover I am, I just could not pass up the opportunity.

I petted the bumblebee.

Little tickling of hairs on the pad of my finger…kinda springy.   I went from one bush to another and petted another and another and another, then went back inside.

The next morning they were gone, but were back that afternoon, buzzing around as if nothing unusual had occurred, doing their duty as usual.

 They advertise on TV, California has Happy Cows. 

Add bumblebees.

                                                                                                    copyright Stepka 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lassoing Sheep

The 5 month old lambs had escaped from the neighboring farm again.

I had happened to glance out of my living room window and saw a tail flash by that should not have been there.
Almost got them in my gated yard, but no, they were having none of that and fled.
Drove to the neighbor to let them know.

This first time, the hole in the fence was found, made larger and miraculously, the little flock of 5, with a bit of a encouragement from us, grouped together and led each other right back thru.

Next day...out again.

This time I did not hear or see anything until I had decided to go for a walk to take photos.  Some neighbors were actually wrangling them with lassos!  First time I ever saw that.
By the time I saw the commotion, they had wrangled all 5 except one. 
And anyone who know sheep... the last is always the doosy.

After about another half was finally lassoed and hustled in with the rest in a trailer someone had brought.

Lassoing sheep.  What a thought.

Of course, not one photo to prove it.

Was too busy chasing lambs.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Yosemite May 1st

Now this is Nature at her finest!
Sunday, May 1st.
Perfect 40 degree morning...60s in afternoon.
Amazing sites.
Especially Mist Trail to Vernal Falls.
Rainbows at your feet.

Those are people to the left...
coming up wet stone steps.

The trails are not for the weak kneed or badly out of shape...
But if you can get yourself up to the very top of Vernal Falls, it is well worth it!

This is looking straight down over Vernal Falls.
See the rainbow from the Mist Trail.
FYI ...I did not take this photo!
My brave mountain climbing brother did.
I could not even look at him taking the photo, let alone look over the edge!

Views from top of Nevada Falls

I just like looking straight ahead!

Or from the side...Nevada Falls

And look what you can view without hardly even a walk...right in the valley.

Yosemite Falls

And the beautiful Ahwanhnee Hotel

Postscript:    I really do not want to end this blog post with a negative, but the reality that there have been too many deaths at Yosemite this year.  So even though my brother  took some great photos looking over Vernal falls...he is an experienced mountain climber.   Do not take any chances for a photo or for any reason.  Life is too precious.  And there are wonderful photos to be had from afar as you can see.
Stay safe, enjoy life and enjoy Yosemite.

                                                                                                       photos copyright 2011