Category Archives: Uncategorized

San Diego Zoo snow leopard

I’m going to have to give you a slow feed of the San Diego Zoo photos because I thought I was going to have a lot of photos from the finch feeder, but I had to take it down! I’m so sad, but they started creating problems in our back yard. Turns out in addition to the seed I was feeding them, they loved to devour the leaves on some of our vegetable plants. All those finches you saw on the feeder? Well, when it was full, there was an equal number on the plants. It was a sad day yesterday. I had to keep the blinds closed so I wouldn’t see them looking for the feeder all day. *sniff*

But I have some good photos from the zoo and I’ll dole them out one at a time until I can get out somewhere to take more photos and have more material to share. Here is a favorite of mine.

4_29_2017_San_Diego_Zoo_P1140610

Snow Leopard, San Diego Zoo, May 2017, photo copyrighted by Nicci Carrera

Chronicles of the #CaliforniaDrought The End

IMG_20170424_141552

A local creek that has been dry for a long time

I wrote around 10 of these chronicles over the last two years, sort of tracking the whole experience. I really thought it was permanent. I had a moment of fear when we were told if we didn’t cut back, California could run out of water. We cut back a lot. The restrictions and warnings and increased prices resulted in a massive conservation effect. We were successful, yay!

I also was sad taking pictures of Sand Harbor because these shallow waters used to be deep enough to dive into.

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

You could still carefully wade out, but even that would be gone soon.

I walked in the Truckee River, the only outlet of Lake Tahoe.

Truckee River

Truckee River bed

The piers weren’t much use any more!

Lake Tahoe winter 2016

Pier

Tahoe sunset-4

These rocks aren’t really supposed to be part of Commons Beach

The gates at Fanny Bridge, the mouth of the Truckee River looked like this two years ago:

Gates

Volunteer anglers working with fisheries personnel caught the huge trout who lived there, put them in aquariums, moved them to the lake, and released them…before it was too low for them to live.

Now all 17 gates are open:

Gates open

Just like we couldn’t assume it would always be like the drought, we can’t assume it would always be like this past year, but it’s a massive relief. We now have a gravel front yard. Here’s a photo from the post when we first had it delivered a couple years ago.

Gravel

We just have drip watering now.

IMG_20170425_172322

Hope you have a nice week!

Wild bunny

This was supposed to go up yesterday for Easter, but I forgot. I happened to capture this little guy by zooming a lot before he hopped away (of course). This was taken in Sparks Nevada, which has a lot of these little cotton-tails and also a lot big jack rabbits.

P1140536-1

This time of year is also for taxes and planting our vegetable garden. One thing is not so nice, but the other is great. We planted two weeks early after looking at the long-term forecast and seeing it wouldn’t get too cold, so we have a good jump on it. It’s been raining like crazy, my husband roto-tilled in a lot of fertilizer, and the plants are growing really fast as a result.

We also now have a wood chipper for our palm branches and can turn them into a nourishing mulch which in turn provides food for the palm tree when you spread it around the base. The dried palm fronds make a golden brown mulch that’s pretty.

We also took the plunge and bought a compost barrel. You’d think we live on a farm rather than the suburbs, but this area (Silicon Valley) is incredible for growing things. It’s more a matter of getting control of the weeds than anything else. We don’t have a lawn any more, but lawns tame the weeds in some ways. Our neighbor’s lawns look amazing again after a brown year last year when our watering was curtailed, but we have gravel with plants and drip watering now. Lawns are in some ways easy and in other ways a lot of work. So is weed control in our vast areas of mulch, especially when you want to be organic. But I guess it’s a matter of what work you like to do. I don’t mind pulling up the weeds by hand as long as there aren’t too many, which we have managed because we used plastic as a barrier. Weeds grow on top of the plastic in the bit of soil that the mulch creates, and they grow through the drainage holes we punched, but those weeds come up easily. Weeding is my job. There are a lot of things only my husband can do, so I do the things I can do. Yard work is oddly enjoyable though!

You can look forward to some plant photos at some point and I have a surprise planned for you, but I have to wait for the rain to stop before I can do that. I have to tell you, it’s bizarre getting this much rain in California. In the mountains it looks like January. It’s starting to rain up there so maybe the snow will melt, but honestly, it’s not going to melt this summer. They are planning to keep the ski resort at Squaw open all summer, which is pretty exciting in some ways, but the locals are quite sick of snow. It’s feast or famine, I guess! Down here in the valley, there was some catastrophic flooding and California roads are a disaster. The legislature just wrote a bill to slap us with a 12 cents a gallon tax to fix the roads. That’s understandable, but the thing I don’t know is, where was the money for roads coming from before? Why is there a shortfall in funding for that? I’d like to know what money was spent before and if the storms caused a shortfall in funding, and if so, how long will we need that tax? I think the roads have been under-funded for some time. I’d like to know why. I have so many questions, but so far, no answers.

Well that’s it for this wandering post. Have a great week!

Memories of snow

We were up in the Sierra mountains during the peak of the snow. People were out taking photos, having fun and shoveling out.SONY DSC

Drought is determined by the level of snowpack in the Sierras in March. We went from a low of 58 inches of snow a couple years ago to about 48 feet of snow this year.

SONY DSC

Winter recreation has been amazing this year, although there is such thing as too much snow to ski. The roads leading up to the ski areas were basically closed in February. Not just snow, but mud slides were to blame.

16997726_670390716499660_57342822900342828_n

Road work on Interstate 80

17022271_670389116499820_4434022657668856160_n

Mud slide on Interstate 80 covered by plastic

Digging out

Buried Chairlift

Buried chairlift

There can be too much snow! But it’s nice to be out of the drought. We rid our property of all grass and only have drip watering to the plants we want to keep alive. We won’t put the grass back, but we have eased up on water rationing inside the house.

We still have a lot of snow in the mountains, and the ski resorts plan to stay open until July 4th, promising continued recreation into the early summer. Much fun lies ahead.

The best thing of all, Lake Tahoe is full again, and the Truckee River is flowing. Fish and wildlife will thrive, and the forest is a dark, rich green.

 

Back in the saddle

Sorry for the long break in posting. I am starting again.

I’ve been taking photos, reading, and using our new home cardio machine. I try to do 90 minutes on it most days and then I’m tired! The days do seem to click by. I should say they fly by but that’s not really true because I slowed down a lot. I want to enjoy life, not to feel rushed. I took a big break, I relax more, and I would say that I get more out of each moment, but time does still fly.

Spring has sprung in parts of the world, including ours.

P1140203

Moon over plum blossoms

P1140211

Ants like the plum blossoms

Have a great rest of the week.

Bodega Bay California

The rain stopped just in time for our planned overnight to this coastal town. Neither one of us had been here before. It’s a cute town with gorgeous scenery located in Sonoma County. We arrived in the evening and braved some cold and wind to take shots of the bay, town and harbor.

This is shot from the breakwater at Spud Harbor.

dsc06468

This is shot from outside Gourmet Au Bay, a wine-tasting place right on the water.

dsc06487

The town is best known for being the site of the Alfred Hitchcock film, The Birds. Fortunately the birds are, in reality, cute and pretty.

dsc06819dsc06648

We had breakfast at The Tides at the Wharf, a restaurant and inn that replaced the original where The Birds was filmed. The new building is lovely with high ceilings and beautiful wood open beams with tongue-and-groove roof paneling. The tables overlook the calm bay where we watched ducks and, unfortunately, a drone. I didn’t photograph that, but it flew in and hovered over the birds, scaring a few into relocating. It was probably somebody wanting close up photos of the birds. Wait until there are hundreds of amateur drones hovering out there. It will be hideously ugly. I have some science fiction short stories I’m working on about drones, just taking a look at some of the unintended consequences of the coming nightmare, should they be approved for widespread use.

dsc06500

dsc06532

At Bodega Head, the cliffs block tumultuous waves that make for gorgeous photography. It’s a state park with bathrooms and parking and has a high accessibility-to-beauty ratio.

dsc06669

dsc06760

dsc06737

There is a famous tree out there, famous in the sense that it is oft photographed. It’s really quite striking. As a friend of mine pointed out, it’s easy to see which way the wind usually blows.

dsc06750

Cutting back to Highway 101, we passed by beautiful working farms, a lot of them organic dairy. I even saw a farm that participates in the organic cooperative whose milk I buy: Organic Valley.

dsc06922

Sorry  I missed a few posts. I really didn’t have any new photos. It was raining continuously, so I couldn’t get out. The Bodega Bay trip was the first dry day in a couple weeks. I’ll be able to milk these shots for a few more posts, so please do continue to check in on Mondays and Fridays. I will be getting more photos!

Have a great weekend.