Sunday, June 28, 2009

A day excursion to the Sierra Nevada Mountains...

Saturday I headed with some friends to the Sierras for a day away from the hectic Bay Area. That's one marvelous thing about living in California; in less than 3 hours, we can be in the mountains, OR headed for a day at the beach.

(Remember to click on the pictures to see them full size!)

First thing we visited was the Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park (known as "Chaw'se" to the native Miwok Indians). These bark huts were used as housing, and off in a secluded part of the park are other huts that can be rented out for camping.

The grinding rock is where the tribespeople would gather and grind acorns into meal. These divots are about 7" across, and there are TONS.

Thanks... good to know!

After, we headed down to the small town of Sutter Creek. It was founded in the 1840s as an outpost for pioneers, and later, forty-niners who were panning for gold.

The creek itself!

One building in town captivated me; my mind was wandering, thinking of all the layers of ads and words that had been painted on the wall.

We headed next to the Jackson Vista, a lookout over the small valley we were visiting.

A panorama shot...

Since the Sierra Nevadas are GOLD COUNTRY, there are a number of mines in the area. This is the head shaft of the Kennedy Mine (the head shaft is the top of the track that controls the ascent and descent of the mining cars). Behind me is the Argonaut Mine; these two mines are listed as California Historical Landmarks. The Kennedy Mine is noteworthy in that it's one of the world's deepest (almost 6,000 ft. DOWN), and the Argonaut Mine has the unfortunate distinction of being the site of the worst mining disaster in the state's history.

We then headed to the house of the person we were visiting; this is the site from the back deck. I could get used to this!

Lastly, this is an interesting shot; the temperature there was about 90*, and lo and behold, that's SNOW!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Friday "My Town" Shootout--Colors of the Rainbow!

This weeks' Friday Shootout theme was chosen by team member Debby from Germany.

Dublin is part of a rare climate zone called a Mediterranean Climate, which means that all our precipitation happens in the winter--not a drop in the sky at all during the summer! So sorry, but no rainbows to be seen.

I wanted to capture the color in everyday life, so I took a walk and had the camera at the ready.

These flowers are outside my house and I've always found their colors fascinating.

The colorful jersey of this cyclist caught my eye.

These flowering bushes are all around, widely used in landscaping.

The sun playing on the ivy...

Some white roses giving their last gasp...

And how could I go wrong with a Great Blue Heron?!

Sun shining through an empty wine bottle... (and NO, I didn't drink it all myself! ;) This empty was left in a park.)

Some plants ready to be planted in the median....

... and the hard-working men in their chartreuse vests doing the work!

Even though we're not in the South, we have magnolias that scent the air with their wonderful perfume!

I loved the angle of the sun on the silver car and how the rays danced in the taillight.

The shadow....

... of a basketball hoop!

The bright (and HOT!) green in a playground slide...

Some local flora...

With the 4th of July coming up, I had to include our colors...

And living in Dublin, this was the perfect photo to end it all--a GREEN street sign for EMERALD Avenue!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The joys of summer wildfires....

I'm sure you hear every year of the wildfire season in California... almost like Hurricane Season in the Southeast and Tornado Season in the Midwest.

Annually, CalFire (also known as the California Department of Forestry) conducts training for local fire departments in Dublin should a wildfire pop up in their respective areas. Today was that day!

Dublin is the home of Camp Parks, a reserve training facility for the 11,000 men and women in the Bay Area serving as Army reservists. It's not unusual to hear artillery and cannon fire going off at all hours of the day! The only thing that bothered me? When they did an air-raid exercise at 3:30 AM!! That one took a few years off my life, I think. If one is up early enough (read: 4:30 AM) and the weather is still, one can actually hear the strains of "Reville" come through the chilly morning air.

(and for those of you who are fans of Mythbusters on Discovery--the Alameda County Sheriff's Bomb Disposal Range that they're so fond of is located just on the other side of the base!)

First clue that it was training day?

Luckily with all the signs, Dubliners don't get alarmed when they see the plumes of smoke wafting over the hills... (plus, they put notices in the local papers)

I had seen them working this area earlier in the morning; the brilliant bright orange of the controlled burn stood out on the brown, dry hills.

The operation headquarters from afar...

And not to be left out, they also train the aerial forces as well!

Thanks to the men and women of CalFire!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday "My Town" shootout...

Today's theme was chosen by Shootout member Audrey from Canada, and the theme was METAL.

I had to think a while before the local dog park idea came to me. These sculptures are made of simple, everyday metal items like pipes, nuts, bolts, and gears.

Those things in front are metal cut-outs in the shape of dogbones!

And being a musician, how could I not include a brass instrument like a French horn?!