Started at the front door and wandered around taking photos on this perfect autumn day.
Started at the front door and wandered around taking photos on this perfect autumn day.
Purple and gold
carpet emerald grass
from recent rains
Note: I live on a canyon rim near Amarillo, Texas. One story as to now Amarillo acquired its name is from the fact that in the both the spring and fall, the countryside is carpeted with yellow flowers.
Not dreaming, real. My college roommate and husband (we all went to Grinnell College in Iowa together) moved to California a number of years ago. We take turns visiting each other at least once a year or take a trip somewhere together. This year was my turn to visit them. First, I stayed at their house near Carmel.
Taken later in the day after the fog lifted. They live where fog creeps in during the night and burns off slowly.
Late one morning we drove to Big Sur for lunch at Nepenthe. The name really fits. It is Greek for pain free or painless. Definitely this place makes everyone feel wonderful, especially the views.
Succulent heaven resides in this area and around San Francisco. Here are photos of a few near the shop below the restaurant.
On another day, we drove through the Salinas Valley to Salinas to visit the house where John Steinbeck lived and the John Steinbeck Museum. The following views show fields along the way. This is lettuce country. The majority of the lettuce consumed in the US grows in this valley.
Taken from the car window.
The following is a photo of the John Steinbeck House.
Volunteers dressed in costumes of the time serve a lovely lunch.
From an elevation nearly sea level, another day we drove on a gravel road up into the mountains above Carmel Valley to an elevation of 5000 ft. About half way to the monastery at the end of the road, the road enters Los Padres National Forest.
The pine trees in this area bear huge pine cones. The tree here and a similar one in the previous photo possess unique trunks, limbs, and foliage. I never learned the species of either. There is a parking area and some hiking trails. While not particularly difficult, the trail we took goes up and down and can be a bit steep in places. The views are spectacular.
These Mexican Bird of Paradise speak for themselves.
Caprock Canyons State Park, at the southern end of Palo Duro Canyon, requires about 1 1/2 hours to drive from my house. Yesterday, we met the Panhandle Native Plant Society there to investigate flowers and grasses.
When we first arrived, it seemed blue might break through the cloud cover, but it did not.
The park ranger took us to several different sites to identify different flower and grass species. The above is an area which in the early 90s was a cotton field and has been restored with native vegetation.
We drove to another area which remained “wild”–never cultivated.
Then we drove to a picnic area overlooking the lake. Close to there we found the poppy below.
After lunch, we parted with the rest of the group and drove to the end of the road. Martina had hoped to see bison–the state bison herd roams there. At this point we had seen none. As I drove along, a bison bull was strolling down the road. Martina took this photo from the side window. He was only a couple of meters from the car.
We stopped and took a few more photos where the road ends. I have hiked from this point in the past, but not yesterday.
After leaving the park, we headed to Silverton, Texas, to visit a coffee shop there which was recently featured in a Texas magazine as the place to go.
I loved the murals and sculptures. The owner is a sculptor and also a raptor trainer. The shop features coffee, desserts, unique clothing, and art.
On the way back we stopped at the Palo Duro Canyon overlook/picnic area on highway 207.
If you are in the Amarillo or Canyon, Texas, area, I highly recommend this day trip.
All these spring showers result in lots of flowers–wild flowers and iris.
Several weeks ago, the tail of my favorite horse, Miracle, disappeared. When she died from colic after giving birth several years ago, one young lady at the vets took hairs from her tail, made a braid, and gave it to me. Since then, it had hung in the hallway next to Dad’s spurs and a photo of the family farm above Dad’s parade saddle. Suddenly, it disappeared. Where could it have gone? No one had recently been to the house except Martina, my Italian exchange student, and me. My daughter and grandson had stopped by, but no one else. Nothing else had disappeared. It was a mystery like the time I found a handful of dry dog food under the saddle. I never solved that one and had given up on solving this one. I had even considered looking for something else to hang in its place.
On my birthday yesterday, the principal walked to my room with a bouquet of flowers and a package. The bouquet was from my grandson. I opened the package. Much to my astonishment, there was Miracle’s tail, the top of the braid carefully and colorfully wrapped, a thin copper wire winding through it, and and then wrapped around the bottom. My daughter had managed to take it without my seeing her do so, took it home, and had wrapped it so it would not come apart. When I originally told her about it, she and my grandson commented how strange it was and made note of the dog food incident as if some mystery lurked in that particular place in my house.
My grandson had picked out each individual flower. He obviously knows my favorite color is orange.
Then to top off the day my son also sent flowers. It dropped 50 degrees from yesterday afternoon to late last night, the wind shrieks, clouds loom dark and ominous. It is a good day for bright flowers.
In spite of only one inch of rain since last autumn, many flowers persist: sundrops, black foot daisies, chocolate flowers, wine cups, primrose, desert (Mexican) birds of paradise, red yucca, salvia, catmint, native grasses, milkweed. I took these photos after feeding the horses this morning.
Late on a Monday morning, Gaston’s parents and I headed toward Cafayate, a relatively small town at the edge of the sierra which grows some of the best wine grapes in the world. It is a long drive through incredibly varied landscapes.
One of the first towns we drive through is Jesus Maria. As in many Argentianian cities, trees line many streets. Here acequias provide water for the trees.
Except where cleared for farming–giant soybean and corn fields, much of the land through which we drove looks like this.
Taken as we sped along, this photo show soybeans in the distance. Since it seemed relatively dry here, I asked if they were irrigated. Gaston’s father told me no, that they had developed a type of soybeans that require much less water.
When I first saw this out my window, I thought maybe water, but no, this was the beginning of miles and miles of salt.
Another photo taken looking through my window.
And then we speed into the cloud forest. I was astonished my whole time here. I had to idea there was such a thing in Argentina.
We climbed higher and higher and stopped at a visitor’s area where displays explained the flora and fauna which live here.
This area is a subtropical jungle.
Often we drove through clouds or along the side of rushing mountain rivers. And then as suddenly as we arrived in these mountains, we were on the other side where it was dry. The selva–jungle–stopped almost as suddenly as it began. One side of the mountains lush and green with ocelots, all sorts of other wildlife, and on the other semi-arid country, equally beautiful but so astonishingly different only a few miles away.
After sitting in the airport in Iguazu for four hours because the plane was delayed over and over, we finally arrived in Cordoba around midnight and rushed to La Finca, the family place out in the country, for dinner. Yes, dinner. Gaston’s family, including his 92 year old grandfather, uncles, cousins, aunts, everyone had actually stayed up and waited to meet us. I could hardly believe it.
I know Argentinians are the biggest consumers of beef in the world. We did not have beef; we had leg of lamb grilled over the special grill his father and uncles had built–a separate house just for grilling and eating. It was a warm night and we ate outside. It is a family ritual for everyone to congregate on weekends, but especially Sunday afternoons at La Finca to eat and socialize. Gaston and I went there both Saturday and Sunday.
It was the end of summer (Southern Hemisphere in March). The crop in the distance beyond the trees is potatoes. Gaston’s grandfather, who is 92 now, bought this land, planted the trees, created this peaceful get away in the country. Gaston’s uncle and aunt now live there with their college age children.
The building in the background houses the grill–chimney on the left–and the dining area I mentioned earlier. We ate inside once around the table that must sit at least twenty. The rest of the time they hauled the tables outside and we ate under the trees.
Gaston’s grandfather and I standing before the trees he planted decades ago.
The same trees upclose. Yes, those are very sharp protuberances sticking out all over the tree. You see these trees in cities too, but there they have cut off all the sharp pieces so people cannot get hurt on them. I could just imagine what would happen if a person pushed another person against one of these.
The drive from the main road to La Finca. Sunday afternoon Gaston’s mom and I strolled up and down this drive while Gaston with his dad and uncle and a cousin installed a drip line to water the bushes on each side. Like here, they are suffering a drought. They did not want years of work to die.
The original house where Gaston’s uncle and his family live is on the left. I loved it here and felt very privileged to spend a weekend with the family doing whatever they do on weekends. On Saturday, the men all went to help someone move while I sat with Gaston’s aunt, her friend, some cousins. We chit chatted, drank mate, took naps, ate pear tart and other desserts, and whiled away an afternoon.
Occasionally the peace was disturbed by the raucous chatter of parakeets. The huge nest in this tree is shared by many parakeets. They do not build individual nests. When they get going, they are really loud.
Just as in New Mexico in the US, water comes through acequias. The drive goes over this little bridge in the foreground.
Near this acequia the family grows lemon trees, vegetables, flowers, and other delectables for family use.
It was so lovely and peaceful here, I did not want to leave.
Gaston’s aunt and mother love succulents and flowers. This is only a tiny portion of the plant collection growing everywhere around Gaston’s aunt and uncle’s house. His aunt is very proud of her plant collection. Many of her plants were familiar. Some even have the same names in English and Spanish probably due to their Latin origins.
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