Sunday, May 11, 2014

May the Roses Keep Blooming


                                               and foxglove and strawberries....

These are a few of the roses in my garden .  Roses are blooming all over town and up and down the country roads.  You can click on any of these photos for a larger view...

In the neighboring town of Petaluma, I saw a tree that had such lovely flowers that it distracted me from

looking at its leaves which would have told me instantly it was a  buckeye tree.  The clue of five palmate leaves finally broke through to me. However, in my defense, this is not the native California buckeye that I  have known all my life, but a bright multi-colored showy flowering cultivar.  Once these bright flowers  had my attention I began seeing these trees all over Petaluma.   It might just have been me a having a "frequency illusion" or it may be that once someone sees these trees blooming they have to plant one too.

                                                                     Later that day a quieter smaller flower got my attention...hey look down here at your where you are walking.   A friend had thrown open her new rental house to celebrate earning her teaching credential. The landlord mows the grasses, but it isn't exactly a lawn and there they were. Several people asked me if I knew what they were.     Brodiaea came to my mind but not quite to my tongue. The flowers were so close to the ground I wasn't sure.  So I  snapped their picture and later scoured through my wildflower books...and I think that is indeed what they are..a form of Brodiaea, little wild lilies...that can vary  from a few inches in height to sixteen inches depending on conditions.  They tend to bloom as the grasses begin drying...and you know that is what will happen next...the green grasses are going to dry.  Here in California we have had an early fast spring, very little rain, and now  lots of roses and  soon the green rolling hills of the Redwood Empire will turn golden.
There  once was a wild flower of a woman, a local musician named Kate Wolf, who sang sweetly of the golden hills of California; if you like, you could take a listen here:   the Golden Rollin' Hills of California

May the roses keep blooming...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Driven to the Coast by April's Wave of Heat

April 30th I saw in the sunrise what the weather watchers had predicted, it was going to be hot. The morning cool passed quickly under pulsing sun rays. The mercury was headed for 90.  

We don't live far from the western edge of the continent and, in an automobile, a car, we can be at the coast in 20 to 25 minutes.

 I say "in a car" because I am grateful and self conscious about the privilege of being able to travel with the ease we do.  I am reading What I Saw in California,  a journal of an 1846 journey west across the continent from what was then the United States.  Edwin Byrant, a news reporter from Kentucky, described the step by step progress in a daily journal, often closing each day's entry with the number of miles traversed.  It wasn't unusual for a whole day's travel to be no more than the distance from  my town to Bodega Bay:  15.6 miles, as I said,  achievable for us in twenty minutes. 

          Looking  toward the bay and the Pacific Ocean beyond
 from Bay Hill Road

The Point Reyes Peninsula is visible in the distance. It was one of those days when the off shore winds made it  almost as warm at the coast as inland.

                  This photo, taken from the driver's seat  through the skylight gives a little prospective to these Tower of Jewels, flowers that are growing wildly along a road above Highway 1.  The bees and butterflies like them ever so much.

               Native Cow Parsnip about to open in bloom in a valley just inland.

                                            Cow Parsnip Heracleum maximum is also known as Indian Celery or Pushk and it is important not to confuse it with the dangerous giant hogweed.  Cow Parsnip is a native of most of North America and was used by early inhabitants in multiple ways.  Here is the best link I found for distinguishing it from dangerous look a-likes.

                          Willow Creek waters making their way to sea...

               Looking north...some of the northern coastline has but little beach,
                                       especially when the tide is high and in.

            About four miles inland on a road that no longer allows full access, this barn is still being used.

                             When I see relics of farms now gone,  I think of some of my dear friends who would love an old shed or barn in which to set up an art studio or raise donkeys or goats. These buildings have been unused for many years now, but they belong ever more deeply to where there are, just as they are.

                                              Was this once a  Home Sweet Home ?

                                              A long shot from high up on Coleman Valley...

                       and a close shot at the beauty at my feet...  Blue Eyed Grass

                                               Almost time to head back to the barn...

                                            traveling east again now through the lovely hills.

As I  suspected the heat of this last day of April opened many of the roses in my gardens.

    At this rate, What might  May bring?

~Shared with thoughts of friends in climes not quite yet warmed up~
with best wishes,  Jeannette