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Evening Walk

Lots of wildflowers

Last Friday, it was a perfect evening for a hike. We took advantage of the longer daylight hours and the warm spring air to hike our familiar trail.

Purple Chinese Houses
We spotted some Purple Chinese houses right off the bat as we began our way down the canyon.

Fairy lanterns
I had my eye out for some Fairy lanterns and I found many that were just getting ready to bloom. I spotted this one blooming along a side path.

Golden Brodiaea
The Golden brodiaea is blooming right now too!

My son spotted a few Larkspurs just starting to bloom.

California Poppy
Also there were some California poppies.

Mules Ears
We found another big cluster of Mule’s ears blooming in our meadow.

Now wasn’t that worth the effort to get out and take a walk after dinner???

If you would like to see some photos from our Arizona desert trip, pop over to my other blog and you can view them in the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival entry!

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Wildflowers Again….Our Daily Walk

Starting off with some pretty clover.

Mule's Ears complete plant
Next are some Mule’s Ears…this is the biggest clump I have ever seen with them all in bloom. Perfect. (Ignore the camera strap in the corner of the photo.)

Mule's Ears
So much like a sunflower and the bloom is rather large. You can really see the soft looking texture of the leaf which gives this flower its common name.

Mule's Ears with a Bee
I wasn’t the only one enjoying the blossom.

Miniature Lupine
Next came the lupine again….so much of it now along the trail: Miniature lupine.

Lupine leaf
Here is its leaf.

California Poppy with bud
Last but not least, the California poppy. You can see one getting ready to open up and the other still in the bud stage with its “hat” on.

I have about four entries worth of photos to upload but I am out of time this evening. Stay tuned….our bird entry is coming up in a day or two as well.

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Some Migratory Visitors: Cedar Waxwings

Cedar Waxwings: Seven on a Branch
We were visited by a migrating flock of Cedar waxwings this morning. We had a break in our rainstorm long enough for these beautiful birds to take a rest in the tree outside our window.

Cedar Waxwings: Preening
They were busy soaking in the sunshine and fluffing their wings and feathers.

Cedar Waxwings: Yellow tips on the tail
Can you see the yellow tips to their tails?

Cedar Waxwings: Crests and yellow bellies
Their bellies are a softer yellow and they have lovely crests of feathers on their heads.

Cedar Waxwings: Chillin in the Tree
But my favorite parts of all are their black masks and beaks.

These birds are not discussed in the Handbook of Nature Study, but we read over the section on beaks (Lesson 5) and migration (between Lesson 3 and 4) Then we looked Cedar waxwings up at and in our field guide.

After looking at the migratory map in the back of our Peterson Field Guide, we realize that these little birds travel all the way back up to Canada to breed. Truly amazing when you think about it for a minute.

What a great gift this morning to have these visitors to observe and enjoy.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

In case you are wondering, I took these photos with my old point and shoot through the window….how about that? I was really happy with how great they turned out. 🙂

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It Feels Like Spring Today: Hike At the River

We had to get out and hike today with the sun shining and everyone home from work.

Confluence 1
This post is no way to make anyone jealous of our weather…but rather to remind those who are weary of the snow up to your eyeballs that it will be spring again soon. The photo above shows the start of our hike which winds along the edge of the American River. We hiked up to the bridge, underneath, past, and then around the hill to a lake.

Just as a sidenote: The reason the bridge is so tall is because they were planning on building a huge hydroelectric dam on this river. The bridge was built in anticipation of how high the water would rise after the dam was built. The dam has never been constructed for a variety of reasons, but just keep in mind that everything you see in this post would be far under water if they ever did proceed with the dam project. I thought about that a lot as we walked along. (It is the third highest in the US and the highest in California.)

Confluence 2
Here are all the guys heading up the trail and it is true that my middle son is wearing shorts.

turkey Vulture 2
This is a great trail for birding as you go and these turkey vultures were soaring and spiraling upwards on a current of air. They are actually very graceful in the air and a lot of fun to watch.

North Fork
I commented about the fact that with very little effort we could leave the crowds behind and have the trail mostly to ourselves. It was a wonderful day to just listen to the river roar down the canyon and to feel the sun on our shoulders. I must admit that I was a little warm as we hiked up the hill. I was thankful that I had layered up so I could shed a few layers as we went.

First Wildflower of the season
This is the official first wildflower of this year for me. The boys spotted it and of course I had to stop to admire it and then take a few photos. I have not yet had a chance to identify it.

So this must be the second wildflower of the year….some kind of saxifrage that was just beginning to blossom with delicate pink blossoms.

Flowering bush
Then around a few more bends in the trail and we found this yellow flowering bush! I have no idea what it is but it was gorgeous. About this time my boys are calling to me to catch up because they have kept walking while I am snapping photos.

Clementine spillway
This was our destination today and it did not disappoint! The spillway at Lake Clementine was roaring as we went around the last corner. It was so nice and cool as we stood and listened and marveled at all that power. This is not a hydroelectric dam but rather a debris control dam they build back in the 1930’s.

Mr D at Lake Clementine
Here is my photo buddy/oldest son taking some shots of the spillway. He has become quite the photographer and it is great to share a hobby with him.

Confluence bridge late afternoon
Here is one last photo as we return back to where we parked the car. It has been a great afternoon out in the fresh warm air. We all feel great! Our Kona dog was eager to get in a little swimming before we started for home so we detoured down to the river’s edge and let her splash and play for a few minutes.

I was exhausted when we arrived home so the boys decided to prepare dinner for me. What was on the menu? One of their specialties is spaghetti with meat sauce and this time they added some zucchini and topped the meal off with garlic bread. Yum! Being outdoors makes us all have an appetite.

Thanks for the great day to all my men.

Here is a link to another hike we took last spring to the same place:
North and South Forks

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Bright Shiny Day Snowshoe Hike

The sun was out and we jumped on the chance to go to the snow for some fun and refreshment.

Let’s just say it was breathtaking….far too awesome for words.
(Not sure if you are on an email subscription if the video shows up, but you can click over to my blog and view a 30 second video of the landscape.)

It was so quiet and we had the whole place to ourselves. This is the best kind of hike…time to enjoy the quiet and the beauty. Look at those cattails. It reminds me that in the summer this place is hopping with red-winged blackbirds and egrets. This day we saw nuthatches, mountain chickadees, and a raven. It was surprisingly quiet.

Taylor Creek 1
The beavers have actually dammed up the regular waterway and it is now flowing around the right side instead of straight through. Fascinating.

Winter Snow at Taylor Creek
Some of the creek is actually all covered over with snow…you can see openings where the water is frozen over. As many years as we have been coming here in the winter, we have never seen this before.

Mammal tracks at Taylor Creek
Not very many tracks in the snow this time…

Snowshoe Jan 2010
As usual, we end up spreading out and just taking the trail at our own pace. We are usually all within eyesight of each other but keeping a nice distance in between.

As much as I hate to miss a day of regular schoolwork, we really needed this day to wander out in the sunshine and fresh air.